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In case of emergency

This post is purely informational.

Tommorrow I am running my car in the BMW club's first open passing driving school at Thunderhill, against my better judgement.

If I live through that, I will do it again on Sunday.

If I live through that, i will be driving to Reno Sunday night to meet up with The Cult Of Levitating Plywood. If they don't eat me, then we will spend the the week at Burning Man, where you can reach me (dire emergencies only) at the following address (yes this is a real Black Rock City address):

Silver Domes
Cult Of Levitating Plywood
Alternate Energy Zone
Estuary at 6:45
Black Rock City, Nevada

If this turns out not to be my last blog post (although at this point that is seeming more and more likely), then I'm sure I'll have interesting pictures for you next week.

Happy Birthday

Last night was a very special night for my Subaru. To celebrate, I took it on its favorite road, so that it could turn over 100,000 miles exactly at the intersection of Route 9 and Skyline (route 35).

Who says I'm not romantic.

Of course, what it probably really wanted for its birthday was an oil change and a new timing belt. So maybe I'm more of a selfish sentimentalist.

There's no owner's manual

If you believe in intelligent design, stop reading.

If you're paranoid, like me, and you have something that you hope lasts a long time, like your car, you want to know how to take care of it. You want to know how often you should change the oil ("whenever the red light comes on"), when you should wash and wax it ("whenever you can't tell what color it is anymore"), how often you should change your brake pads ("whenever you crash").

Fortunately, these questions have answers, because the engineers who built your car thought about these issues, and they designed your car so that it would last a good long time if you feed and water it as directed. We engineers are smart, you should do what we tell you.

I wish the same were true of my body. I want to know how much dessert I can eat, how much I have to exercise, how much sex I can have, whether or not a glass of red wine every hour is good for me. I want to look in the owners manual and find out what the engineers intended, so that I can keep myself in good working order.

But the reality is that the "engineer" was probably nothing more than natural selection, so all it really recommends is that I get a girl pregnant somewhere around the age of 15, and then after that it doesn't much care if I live or die. So my body's factory owners manual is kind of useless if I want to live to be a 145 year old severed head suspended in a jar of neural net interface fluid.

Medical researchers seem more to have my interests in mind. It used to bother me that medicine "meddles with nature", but now I think of doctors as performance tuners, souping me up to last longer and run better than I was ever meant to. Thanks, medical research!

Yes, drugs and chemicals are a perversion of the original design of your body, and using an exercise machine isn't "natural". But if the alternative is to adhere to your body's original design, then you should probably already have been eaten by tigers.

All-natural, indeed.

This is the kind of shit you start thinking about once you turn 30 and your body starts going downhill. See what you have to look forward to, kids?

You might also enjoy clicking. Again.

I like Netflix, so it is with a heavy heart that I take a small, critical nip at the hand that feeds me my Deadwood episodes.

I use the Netflix web interface quite a lot, and I know my way around it. (That's pronounced "expert user".) I usually add several DVDs to my queue at once, so whenever I add a movie there's basically a zero percent chance that the next thing I'm going to want to do is be cross-sold on some random items. The "Add to queue" pop-up dialog experience is certainly information rich, but its also slow and disruptive.

So every time I add a movie, I click "Add" and then I wait an eternity (okay about 2 seconds), and then I always click close. Always.

The click-the-stars movie rating interface, by contrast, is delightful. There is no perceived latency, its unobtrusive, and I can go right on doing whatever else I was doing. Why can't adding an item to my queue be like that?

Come on guys, at least give me a "never show this dialog" checkbox, or a config option in the account panel. You know who you are. :)


I took this with my dad's canon. God it's nice. Shhh, don't tell my D50, it will be so jealous.


Its time you knew the truth about why I'm so bad at email. What's been going on is that, out of a combination of hubris and lazyness, I have been using 1980's email technology to manage my own email, instead of using a service.

As a result, I've had (amongst other things) no meaningful spam protection. For a long time it wasn't really that bad, but in the last few years I've been receiving north of 200 spam emails a day, and also your email. I had to delete each of them by hand, and in order to go fast I made lots of mistakes.

Your mail never had a chance.

But a security breach in my network last weekend was the final straw. So I've now thrown away all of my email for the last 8 years and switched it all to GMail for Your Domain. My servers at home are now officially closed except for HTTP and ICMP traffic. Aaaahhhhh.

So now you know: All this time I've been living a lie of email administration, but I'm relieved to say that it's finally over.

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