g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
Tal G in Jerusalem
Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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 3/28/2005 -   4/3/2005
 3/21/2005 -  3/27/2005
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12/27/2004 -   1/2/2004
12/20/2004 - 12/26/2004
12/13/2004 - 12/19/2004
 12/6/2004 - 12/12/2004
11/29/2004 -  12/5/2004
11/22/2004 - 11/28/2004
11/15/2004 - 11/21/2004
 11/8/2004 - 11/14/2004
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10/25/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/18/2004 - 10/24/2004
10/11/2004 - 10/17/2004
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 6/28/2004 -   7/4/2004
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12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
12/22/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003
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11/24/2003 - 11/30/2003
11/17/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/10/2003 - 11/16/2003
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10/27/2003 -  11/2/2003
10/20/2003 - 10/26/2003
10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003
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 6/30/2003 -   7/6/2003
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  2/3/2003 -   2/9/2003
 1/27/2003 -   2/2/2003
 1/20/2003 -  1/26/2003
 1/13/2003 -  1/19/2003
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12/30/2002 -   1/5/2003
12/23/2002 - 12/29/2002
12/16/2002 - 12/22/2002
 12/9/2002 - 12/15/2002
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11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
11/18/2002 - 11/24/2002
11/11/2002 - 11/17/2002
 11/4/2002 - 11/10/2002
10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
 10/7/2002 - 10/13/2002
 9/30/2002 -  10/6/2002
 9/23/2002 -  9/29/2002
 9/16/2002 -  9/22/2002
  9/9/2002 -  9/15/2002
  9/2/2002 -   9/8/2002
 8/26/2002 -   9/1/2002
 8/19/2002 -  8/25/2002
 8/12/2002 -  8/18/2002
  8/5/2002 -  8/11/2002
 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
 7/22/2002 -  7/28/2002
 7/15/2002 -  7/21/2002
  7/8/2002 -  7/14/2002
  7/1/2002 -   7/7/2002
 6/24/2002 -  6/30/2002
 6/17/2002 -  6/23/2002
 6/10/2002 -  6/16/2002
  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
 5/27/2002 -   6/2/2002
 5/20/2002 -  5/26/2002
 5/13/2002 -  5/19/2002
  5/6/2002 -  5/12/2002
 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
 4/15/2002 -  4/21/2002
  4/8/2002 -  4/14/2002
  4/1/2002 -   4/7/2002
 3/25/2002 -  3/31/2002
 3/18/2002 -  3/24/2002
 3/11/2002 -  3/17/2002
  3/4/2002 -  3/10/2002
 2/25/2002 -   3/3/2002
 2/18/2002 -  2/24/2002
 2/11/2002 -  2/17/2002
  2/4/2002 -  2/10/2002
 1/28/2002 -   2/3/2002
 1/21/2002 -  1/27/2002
 1/14/2002 -  1/20/2002
  1/7/2002 -  1/13/2002
12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Saturday, July 23, 2005
15:40 - We must stick them with quills! It's the only way!

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Oh, the things that I miss by not drinking coffee. Here's a Starbucks cup that someone left at my house last night.



Uhhh... huh.

On top of which, I thought that said "This insulting sleeve..." —And I thought, Y'know, that's about right.

Friday, July 22, 2005
16:20 - My insidious agenda

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They don't have suicide bombers in the Yukon, right? Good.

So here's my plan, day by day, for the Alaska trip now that it's only a week away. These dates are getting less and less subject to change, less so with every non-revokable, non-refundable ticket I buy on some tour or flight. It's getting to the point where if it's unrealistic for me to make a certain destination in a single day, well, I'll just have to drive faster rather than dip into any spare days—or, more likely, keep on driving into the night until I smash into a tree.

(Feel free to follow along on Google Maps if you want. It's been my obsession for the past few weeks; it may as well be shared.)

So: Day 1, Saturday, 7/30. Wake up early (6-ish). Give Capri his farewell walk. Leave San Jose by 7:30. Stop by work in Cupertino, then drive north on 280 or 101 (depending on the smogginess of the morning—if it's clear, 101, otherwise, 280). Head through San Francisco on 19th Avenue. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and strike northward on 101 through Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties until we reach my parents' place in Redwood Valley, at the confluence of 101 and 20. Spend late morning there rehearsing putting up the tent they have. Eat some brunch, or perhaps lunch, depending on how hungry we feel. (The contents of meals from now on will have little to do with the meals' traditional names or times, so we may as well get used to it.) Then take 20 east, past Clear Lake to meet I-5 at Williams. Then turn north and traverse the Sacramento River Valley until it rises into the Yolla Bolly Wilderness, where the Coast Ranges merge with the Sierras and Cascades, and where Mt. Shasta marks the beginning of the snowcapped portion of the journey, and the beginning of US 97, the highway that peels off from I-5 and strikes through the barren centers of Oregon and Washington until it crosses the border and becomes BC 97, the road that eventually becomes the Alaska Highway. Klamath Falls is the destination for Day 1, with the option for a post-motel-checkin side trip to Crater Lake and back.

Day 2, Sunday, 7/31: US 97 north through Bend and past Mt. Hood. I figure we'll get sandwiches in Wasco and eat them in Maryhill State Park, just over the Columbia River. Then continue on through the cities of central Washington: Toppenish, Yakima, Ellensburg. The road takes several weird turns near Wenatchee, before turning north into the long lake-strewn valleys leading into Canada at Osoyoos. Finally we pull into Kelowna, where my company has a northern development office, and where Sunday ends.

Day 3, Monday, 8/1: after stopping off at my company's building, there to wave at people who don't recognize me, we strike off north along one of the three branches of BC 97, taking the easternmost arm which joins Canada Highway 1 at Sicamous. This heads east into the Rockies: Glacier National Park, then Banff and Jasper (be sure to check out the satellite views of these). After spending the early afternoon driving north through the formidable valleys that make up these two parks, we cut east and then north on Alberta 40, before reaching Hinton. This road leads through some wild logging wilderness before finally dropping back down to the Alberta plains at Grande Prairie, where we turn west again and try to make it to Dawson Creek—the official start of the Alaska Highway—by nightfall. (If we don't, no big deal.)

Day 4, Tuesday, 8/2: the Alaska Highway segment itself begins. After taking the obligatory photos at the Highway's starting cairn, off we go on BC 97 again (we could have followed it all the way up the center of BC, but then we'd have missed Banff and Jasper). It's anybody's guess how far we'll make it, but I like to think Fort Nelson is a good landmark for midafternoon. If there's time I want to take the gravel-surfaced BC 77 north for about sixty miles, there to take a picture at the "Welcome to the Northwest Territories" sign, and then head back. But if time is tight, that part can be skipped, I suppose. Back down to the Highway; I suspect the best place to spend the night will be a campground in the vicinity of Muncho Lake.

Day 5, Wednesday, 8/3: Several border crossings into the Yukon Territory; the Signpost Forest at Watson Lake; and woods and canyonland until we get to Whitehorse. Here I hope to find such niceties as an Internet cafe, there to update the blog and post a few photos and generally let everyone know I'm still alive.

Day 6, Thursday, 8/4: The main attractions of this stretch include Kluane Lake, bordered by the Kluane Mountains, eastern outliers of the huge bunched mountains in Southeast Alaska, and where Mt. Logan (Canada's highest peak) is. Also lots of glaciers. I hope to make it across the border and into Tok on this day.

Day 7, Friday, 8/5: The final stretch of the Alaska Highway, and the gradual return to civilization and settled land, finally ending in Fairbanks. Then an evening of well-deserved resting up.

Day 8, Saturday, 8/6: Early-morning shuttle to the Fairbanks airport to catch a 737 for a day-flight up to Barrow. It's all guided, and there's no relying on my own driving or anything. Top of the world, baby!

Day 9, Sunday, 8/7: Puttering around Fairbanks. No distinct plans for this day. There's plenty to do in the area, though, so no getting bored allowed.

Day 10, Monday, 8/8: Bus tour of Denali National Park, on what's as close as I can find to be the same tour that my dad used to drive back when he worked here.

Day 11, Tuesday, 8/9—Day 12, Wednesday, 8/10: Two days to take in the road down to Anchorage and the surrounding points of interest. Perhaps a side trip down the Kenai Peninsula, or just some resting and recuperation.

Day 13, Thursday, 8/11: Alaska State Ferry across the Prince William Sound starting at Whittier (there's now a road sharing the railroad tunnel through the mountain—a one-lane affair that travels on the same surface as the train tracks, and they have to meter cars and trains through it in turns). It's a slow boat, and it lands at Valdez at 8:00 PM. Nice lazy day.

Day 14, Friday, 8/12: Not a lazy day! This may not even be physically possible, but the plan for this day is to drive up the Richardson Highway (Alaska 4) to where it joins the Tok Cutoff, then up to Tok and across it up into the interior on the Taylor Highway. The destination, after visiting Chicken and Eagle, is Dawson City, deep in the heart of the Yukon. It's not exactly in easy striking distance, but it's possible—the main worry is not getting over the border before the trailer hosting Customs closes up shop at 9:00 PM. If they do, though, we just head back to Tok and skip Dawson City.

Day 15, Saturday, 8/13: Klondike Highway south through the center of the Yukon back to Whitehorse. No stopping there, though: Highway 2 heads south from there, back over the border into Alaska, and over the Chilkoot Pass into Skagway, the historic little fjord hamlet where we have reservations for the night.

Day 16, Sunday, 8/14: The ferry leaves at 10:00 AM, so we have a little time to wander around Skagway and see the sights (or maybe sleep in). After that, the super-fast brand-new ferry heads down the Inside Passage to Juneau, which it reaches in 2.5 hours. We get off, eat lunch, and... meander around Juneau for the rest of the day, being one of the lucky few who has a car there. The next leg of the ferry sets sail at 1:15 AM, so we have to just wait for that rather than finding a place to sleep.

Day 17, Monday, 8/15: The ferry makes quick one-hour stops at Petersburg and Wrangell and Ketchikan, finally arriving at Prince Rupert, BC, at 6:15 in the morning on the 16th. We wake up, fresh and bright and ready for another hard day of driving.

Day 18, Tuesday, 8/16: The Yellowhead Highway (BC 16) inland through woods and coastal mountains to Prince George, a metropolis we missed on the way up. That's probably enough driving for one day.

Day 19, Wednesday, 8/17: Back on good ol' BC 97, southbound this time, and riding it all the way to the junction with BC 99, the road that leads straight to Vancouver and the real world once again (though not before taking in Whistler, which as I understand it is to BC what Aspen is to Colorado). The night's destination can be anywhere in the Vancouver area, perhaps even as far south as Seattle.

Day 20, Thursday, 8/18: The rest of the trip is pretty much at our discretion. We could spend two leisurely days coming down 101, or we could barrel down I-5 and make it home around midnight. It all depends on how exhausted we feel.

And that will be that.

Holy cow, Google Maps now has a "Hybrid" mode. They seem to have installed it just as I was composing this post. How 'bout that?

This on top of Google Moon—damn, those guys are having fun. (Don't forget to zoom in all the way...)


13:08 - Shut up. Just shut up.
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=16765_Muslim_Leaders_Demand_Surrender&

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What can one say?

“Tony Blair has to come out of his state of denial and listen to what the experts have been saying, that our involvement in Iraq is stupid.” His comments were echoed by the marketing manager for The Muslim Weekly newspaper.

Shahid Butt said he believed the threat to Britain would reduce if it pulled its troops out of Iraq. He said: “At the end of the day, these things [violent incidents] are going to happen if current British foreign policy continues. There’s a lot of rage, there’s a lot of anger in the Muslim community.

”We have got to get out of Iraq, it is the crux of the matter. I believe if Tony Blair and George Bush left Iraq and stopped propping up dictatorial regimes in the Muslim world, the threat rate to Britain would come down to nearly zero."

What in the flaming hell do you think we're doing in Iraq?!

God, I need a vacation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
16:34 - Ar-Rahman Noodles

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Right on cue: someone named "Alan Border" forwarded a text copy of this site (with lots of additional bolding and giant fonts) to the Ar-Rahman list that I've been watching with some bemusement ever since I was added to it by some unknown third party about three years ago.

How the Government Staged the London Bombings in Ten Easy Steps

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet | July 13 2005

Ten Step Method To Staging a Terrorist Attack

1) Hire a Crisis Management firm to set up an exercise that parallels the terrorist attack you are going to carry out. Have them run the exercise at the precise locations and at the very same time as the attack. If at any stage of the attack your Arabs get caught, tell the police it was part of an exercise. . . .

...And on and on.

"Prison Planet". Of course. All about the rise of the post-9/11 police state. The kind of police state where sites like this are allowed to roam freely through the sewers without government officials even breathing a word against them.

The site's owner has written like four books on the subject, too. What can they conceivably consist of? Documented evidence of martial law? No wonder they only show the cover art, then, because a side view would be pretty thin.

Let's see how long before the Ar-Rahman list moderators condemn the article. Bets?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005
16:28 - When you hear the secret word, scream real loud

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Documentarian/author Morgan Spurlock would appear to envision himself as a modern Upton Sinclair. Too bad for him, though, that the modern-day "Jungle" is way less scandalous a place than he appears to want us to believe.

Spurlock writes the following of a McDonalds hamburger:

"It tastes kinda like meat, but more like an industrialized meat-flavored substitute."

He then spends a paragraph detailing what he feels are the more unappetizing features of a McDonalds hamburger patty.
In truth, McDonalds' hamburgers are made with 100% beef (scroll down to the "beef patty" ingredients). It is USDA inspected. The restaurant adds salt and pepper after cooking. That's it. No additives or preservatives. No filler. No beef flavor enhancers.

However in this writer's opinion, it's true, McDonalds hamburgers don't taste nearly as good as they once did. But that isn't because the company uses anything other than beef. It's because the beef they are using is leaner than it once was. Several years ago, the chain capitulated to nutrition activists, and began to use leaner ground beef in its hamburgers. The result? A less juicy, less savory, slightly more rubbery beef patty. That's why your local, independent burger joint probably tastes better (that, and the fact that McDonalds has no choice but to freeze its beef -- many smaller operators use never-frozen beef).
Morgan Spurlock Watch is certainly full of good reading material, and it's balanced—pointing out where Spurlock is right as well as where he's wrong. It's hard to avoid the conclusion, though, that some people just aren't happy even in what by any historical standard is a paradise beyond measure: such people are only fulfilled by ruining it for everyone else.


16:21 - No unified theory as yet

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So I'm having trouble figuring this out. Is the main problem with the mainstream media that they're too timid to say anything that they can't attribute to some preexisting source? Or is it that they're too eager to report any zany story even if the only "sources" are imaginary?

Both seem simultaneously true. I get the feeling that the evening news wouldn't report on its own building burning down if they couldn't get independent corroboration and AFP photos first, but they'd report hearsay as fact if it means "proving" that Iraq reconstruction is a failure or Karl Rove is a hooded and cloaked Nazgûl.


13:25 - Iraqi Bill of Rights
http://www.publiuspundit.com/?p=1379

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InstaPundit points to this post by Robert Mayer, who has found what is apparently a leaked copy of a draft of the Iraqi equivalent of the Bill of Rights.

He has an analysis of the whole thing that brings up all the right crucial points (the right to bear arms, the role of Shari'a, the clauses prohibiting Israelis from becoming Iraqi citizens, the role of oil wealth being constitutionally redistributed into education); but he comes to an altogether too rosy conclusion on just about all of it, I'd say. Most of the commenters seem similarly skeptical, such as Ryan Waxx, whose sentiments seem representative:

That ‘in accordance with law’ crap makes the whole constitution meaningless. The entire POINT of a bill of rights is to put certain matters above the normal reach of government. Without striking that language, that will shorten the useful life of the government being formed by a large factor. But it isn’t as bad as the EU ‘constitution’, whose bill of rights are a laundry list of social services.

What with all these constitutions being written lately, there's a great opportunity for students of law and history to see concrete examples of how different political traditions develop different forms of government, and how certain weaknesses appear in them. Here we have as strong a demonstration as any of the fundamental difference between the U.S. Bill of Rights—with its absolute and injunctive language—and what other constitutional authors always seem to go for, which amounts to "grants" from the government for people to have certain privileges "in accordance with law". One can draw a pretty interesting spectral graph and place different constitutions along it with regard to their stance on inalienable human rights; whether it's Canada's assertion that every citizen "has" the right to free speech and the like (whatever that means when such rights are threatened), or the Iraqis' deferring the definition of "rights" to whatever the legislature should decide, it ought to be fairly clear that there's a significant difference in philosophy between these traditions and a supreme authority that says Congress shall make no law....

It's instructive, at the very least, to note how few democracies there are in the world that have adopted language like ours. Do most societies not have the stomach for such extremity? Or are we just that far out on a limb, even still, historically speaking?

Monday, July 18, 2005
13:37 - Tickle these ivories
http://www.artlebedev.com/portfolio/optimus/

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Wow. Seems high-tech capitalism has really started to take hold in Russia.

Check it out: a keyboard where every single key is a miniature, individual full-color OLED array, with programmable labels. It's platform-agnostic, low-cost, and designed by some fun-loving geeks working in the shadow of the Kremlin. (Just take a look at the column of information down the right side of the page. These guys remind me of nobody so much as Panic.)

They've managed to out-Apple Apple, as said Chris who forwarded me this link. This is the solution to the age-old stupidity of Mac keyboards that refer to the modifier keys (Shift, Option, Ctrl, Command) using symbols, and yet don't print those symbols on the keys. This would be a possible solution. (And surely one they've thought of, given the place of prominence the iTunes icon has in the programmable function key bar.)

You can program the key caps for European or Dvorak layouts, Photoshop tools, Quake actions—I'm sure these images are all mock-ups, but assuming it works, the possibilities are literally endless, and one wonders why this has been so long in coming.

'Course, if it's from Russia, does that mean it comes with a built-in key logger...?

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© Brian Tiemann