a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Somewhere, a Chinese Scientist Is Crying

So every day for about a month now, my bulk mail file has been filling up with strange e-mails whose header lines are filled with an odd combination of symbols and lines. I must get a dozen a day.

I tried to open one once, just to see, but I got a message that I needed to convert it into Chinese. Which explains the odd symbols -- it's the computer trying, badly, to recreate the actual Chinese words.

Of course, I don't convert it into Chinese, because even then I wouldn't be able to read it. And I'm sure it's just offering me something to lengthen my penis, which I (cough, cough) certainly don't need.

But the really strange thing is that the e-mails are from the future. All the dates are the same -- Monday, January 18, 2038. The dates never advance, or retreat. It's always that day.

It's probably just a glitch in the system. Though part of me also wonders if the message is coming from the future.

Just maybe, there's a Chinese scientist banging out these desperate e-mails, instructing us to do something to avoid armageddon, like banning tofu or duct-taping a plastic bag around Paris Hilton's head.

And he's weeping, because he's not getting any response. Instead, it's just delete, delete, delete.

So if he's reading this blog in the future, dude, send me a signal. Throw in one random English word -- let's make it "propinquity". Work that puppy into the header, and I'll open it, and get it translated, and I'll do Paris myself if I have to.

But if it's about my penis, let it drop.


Random bad homonym from a screenplay I just read --

The scene? A high school prom.

The students dance on a "parkay floor".



At 10:08 AM, Blogger Steve Barr said...

I wonder how many of your readers are going to "cleverly" send you an email with a bunch of gobbeldegook and 'propinquity.'

(I know I am.)

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Chesher Cat said...

Are you sure the floor wasn't made of margarine?

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Steve Peterson said...

Actually, I think they sometimes spoof the date purposely so that they can insure that their spam is always at the top of your "most recent" pile.

At 11:17 AM, Anonymous gwc said...

This isn't from a screenplay, but one of the idiots on the Real World uttered this bon mot a few weeks ago: "I don't want to be an escape goat..."

Wait, I think I was supposed to say that I heard this from some friend of mine who watches the Real World. Crap.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Close premise of a PGL finalist script "Does anyone remember when Hans Gubben-something-or-other invented the Time Machine?" They sent e-mails from the future to themselves in the present with reminders of things to do/not do that day. Really got repetitive. "Feast" beat it out. Hopefully it'll be released in Nov. as planned... again. Learn that Chinese... they may be soon taking over the world.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger Brett said...

Stupid is the new clever.

Meanwhile, I once damned near choked to death on a bite of Pop Tart as I heard a college roomie describe an out-of-style unattractive tie as "too blasé faire" to be worn to some semi-formal event.

Which actually makes a certain amoiunt of brilliant sense, though I'm absolutely certain that the speaker of that line was just being clumsy rather than witty.

And FTR I liked that Hans Grubenstein script a lot when I read a copy years ago.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

There's a good unintentional (I think) one in the responses to my dream post as well, in which the responder writes "I don't put stalk in dreams".

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Systemaddict said...

2038--- I think John Titor is involved in this...though, he maintained he was from Florida...


At 4:01 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Heh. Did the floorboards lift up and say "butter"? They should at least do that.

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

"Are you sure the floor wasn't made of margarine?"

I was at that prom. I gained five pounds.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Erik said...

January 18, 2038 is the latest date that many 32-bit UNIX systems will understand. (It's sort of the next Y2K.) It could be that the spammer intentionally set the date, or that the system sending the mail is misconfigured and just grabs the largest possible number for the date. Or the spam may not have a date, so your mail server or email program grabs the largest possible number for the date. (Some mail clients grab the smallest number, so those users get spam from 1969.)

Or it could be a desperate Chinese scientist in the future, trying to get you to read his screenplay about a desperate Chinese scientist who travels back in time to kill Aldolf Hitler.

At 4:42 AM, Blogger Optimistic_Reader said...

Signal or no signal, duct-tape Paris! Pretty please?

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

Here is a faux pas that I've personally committed:

"For all intensive purposes"

That's the way I heard it growing up and never saw it written until one magical day.

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Tim McGregor said...

Hold on, Scott. Maybe enlarging our penises will avert the future disaster that Chinese Scientist is trying to warn us about.

I've already ordered my pills.

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous kristen said...

Scott, you should just compile all these into a novelty book.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

I think you're asking for a virus. Open NOTHING that says propenquity.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Lucy said...

I get these ALL the time,tho in Japanese!!! Maybe it's even my fault - you hear about viruses that spread thru ur address book and I have you in mine. Uh oh. Sorry!!

Mine wasn't about my penis when I translated it, but about a conniving horse and a magic teacher, so if the scientist IS trying to warn us about anything, it's the fact everyone in the future is on drugs. Read it here (don't know html!)

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Tom said...

With all the money I'm due to collect for helping the widow of a Nigerian diplomat perform a few simple U.S. bank transactions, I'll invest heavily in the scientific community in China for you, Scott. That should stop those e-mails from the future.

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

phallusies obviously.

But apparently it was a Chinese man who performed the world's first surgical penis enlargement...

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'something to lengthen my penis, which I (cough, cough)'... you certainly don't need it, apparently yours is damn long enough to choke you by accident

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Yoga has changed my life.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger anji said...

Hey, it is happening to me too. Not only am I getting the Monday, January 18, 2038 emails, when I open them they say Tuesday, the 19th - all of them. I am also getting future dates in random, usually within a 2 week time frame. The correct date still comes thru in other emails, so who the **** knows. Perhaps we're on some time warp list - those who have found a way out of the loop:):):)

At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 7:48 AM, Blogger Mike McCool said...

I am getting the same SPAM with the weird dates. Turns out that Jan. 18 2038 is some kind of date when UNIX computers will all experience some kind of date crash (kind of like the Y2K problem) because of how they were originally set up to count time. Some bastard spammers have decided to fake the date of their emails to match this date. It seems like this would make them easier to catch (like a serial killer leaving obvious clues to taunt the police), but despite all the measures by internet related companies, nothing seems to change. I was getting ten to twenty spams per day from the same spammer for over two years, and no matter how many times I reported it to Yahoo, they kept coming.

At 6:22 AM, Blogger RRR said...

Jan,18,2038 email; I have one that says "Do you yahoo?" I have two others. One is a confirmation for a Walmart gift card dated Dec6th,3036. The other is from The Inner Circle Dec5, 2036. All are in English and the header dates are all listed the same . Any more answers would be great!


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