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
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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
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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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  4/5/2004 -  4/11/2004
 3/29/2004 -   4/4/2004
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 1/19/2004 -  1/25/2004
 1/12/2004 -  1/18/2004
  1/5/2004 -  1/11/2004
12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
12/22/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003
 12/8/2003 - 12/14/2003
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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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 3/17/2003 -  3/23/2003
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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
Sunday, July 31, 2005
01:41 - Greetings from Kelowna

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Well, here we are in Kelowna; we made it this far.

It's not without some adventures (naturally) and some misadventures (but of course). So far we've done 648 miles the first day and 690 the second; some of these distances right off the bat look like I bit off more than I could chew. And there have been a few logistical curveballs to fend off, too.

Day 1 began with Paul's lost suitcase, which we managed to pick up at the last minute with a swing past the airport; then "braunch" (brunch + launch) at my ancestral home in Redwood Valley (quite a spread put out by my folks). We made it to Klamath Falls without incident (except for an unaccountably hazy sky all the way north, tinging the sky a rusty brown), but the Crater Lake there-and-back run turned out to be a little on the tedious and long side (my dad had warned me, but did I listen? Nooooo). Crater Lake itself was marvelous, though—I hadn't seen it since I was a kid, and we got lots of photos just as the sun was setting, and the deep blues were all in evidence. We got back home late enough to scoop up great clouds of bugs in our radiator and across the windshield, and we got lost in the rather dreary downtown of Klamath Falls looking for our motel that we'd checked into earlier.

Today, we got off to a good start, enjoying the sequence of climate regions central Oregon has to offer: first high wooded desert, then rolling farmland, then high dry plateau country, all featuring panoramic view of the eerily regularly spaced Cascades volcanoes. I remember an old Indian story in a book on the Cascades I read as a kid in which two giants—Pahto and Wasco—fought over the hand of the young and beautiful giant Loo-Wit. The two burly giants threw smoke and fire at each other in a fierce battle until all three were turned into mountains: Mt. Jefferson (Pahto) to the south, Mt. Adams (Wasco) to the north, and Mt. Hood (Loo-Wit) in the middle, slender and graceful and equidistant between them. Looking at the three mountains stretched out over the horizon from the viewpoint on the high empty plains, it was wasy to see how the story came about, and easy to see the whole scene as a gigantic piece of geological theater for the benefit of any humans living in that particular area.

Anyway: we reached the Columbia River gorge and had Subway at the Biggs junction for lunch, then enjoyed a further variety of climatic regions throughout Washington: high woodlands, then bare canyons heading downhill to Toppenish and the fascinating Yakima valley; then up and over a hair-raisingly awesome view-laden freeway and into Ellensburg, then more wooded mountains (where we arrived on the scene of an accident moments after it happened—we joined a throng of about twenty people in a dozen parked cars helping a guy out of his car that he'd just driven off into a meadow and flipped over). The highway from the pass there went down in altitude so far we couldn't believe it—finally we reached Wenatchee and turned north into the stunning Columbia River gorge, which we followed north until it split into the Okanagan River branch, crossed the border, and led up into the Canadian resort towns of Penticton and Kelowna.

That's where things got interesting. We ate in Penticton at about 8:30, but slow roads and deepening darkness took us until after 10:00 to get into Kelowna—and there we discovered that this is a three-day summertime weekend in Canada, and the entire West Coast is in Kelowna for vacation, and the only place in town that had a vacancy—which we didn't find until 11:30—was the Enigma, a residential apartment/suite hotel. The price ($180 Canadian) seemed fair under the circumstances; the alternative, after all, being the $500 "Caveman Room" or something at the local Madonna-esque fantasy-suites resort, or sleeping in the car. And for what it's worth, it's a very nice suite. Wireless network and everything.

Tomorrow, we try for Dawson Creek. Sleep first, though. No pictures today, sorry—that may have to wait for Fairbanks.


08:00 - AUTO-POST: Oregon and Washington, the Back Way


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Note: This post was submitted by an automated script.

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.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
08:00 - AUTO-POST: Alaska or Bust


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Note: This post was submitted by an automated script.

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.
Friday, July 29, 2005
16:50 - Somewhere Blue

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15:23 - I'm a geek

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So here's what I'm going to do.

Throughout the coming 20-ish days of Alaska vacation, I have an automated script that will post each day's agenda from my itinerary in the morning. That way, the blog will always indicate where I'm supposed to be on any given day. Then, on those days when I have Internet access (perhaps in Whitehorse, certainly in Fairbanks and Anchorage), I'll be able to post additional entries, including photos and such, describing where I really am. With any luck whatsoever, they might even match up.

(Luck so far has not been in great abundance today, incidentally. Today, my traveling companion is flying in, and I'd been hoping to start off the trip with an evening bird's-eye tour of Silicon Valley from the peak of Bald Mountain south of my house... but as lack of luck would have it, today is the smoggiest day I can remember in San Jose in years. Perhaps ever. It's absolutely insane: I can barely see the mountains two miles away in Cupertino, let alone the ones twenty miles away behind Milpitas. And all this month it's been admirably clear, too. But today? The one day I need it to be clear? Nooooo...)

Anyway, I will also most likely temporarily change the blog to show all the entries from the past three weeks at once, rather than just the past week. That'll ensure that the entirety of the trip will always be visible on a single page.

Northward ho!

Thursday, July 28, 2005
16:46 - I guess they don't have "summer" there

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Dishearteningly, I've been finding that the weather forecasts for places like Whitehorse and Fairbanks call for rain pretty much continuously for the next ten days.

Well, that's weather.com; Dashboard reports "partly cloudy" for all the days that weather.com says "rain" for. Ugh. Oh well, I guess as long as that's the only mystery...


13:38 - BREAKING: Purpose of military is to kill people
http://ravishinglight.blogspot.com/2005/07/you-got-your-tricks-good-for-you-but.html

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Please tell me Western society is not this far gone—where politicians can profess horror at the very thought that the job of a nation's military might include "killing people".

The "End of History", as I understand it, was about the idea that all those icky, ugly "wars" we used to fight back in the benighted ages (heretofore defined as "before 1992") were something we would never again have to revisit as a species—interstate warfare was this thing that some shambling precursor race did, but not us. We've become beings of pure energy now, you see. We've shed our meat bodies and the brutish baggage they bore. No more wars ever. No more killing. Militaries might exist, but only for "peacekeeping", which—you see—doesn't involve killing, because they're, y'know, keeping peace. Not because they have to eliminate threats to peace or anything; no, it's more like how the UN can scowl and write letters and draft resolutions and reality will rearrange itself accordingly. Peacekeepers, in the same vein, can merely strut around in helmets and camouflage, and everyone around them will magically become peaceful. That's just the way it's gone down in Bosnia and Rwanda and such places, you know.

The tests being applied to the military these days—whether it's about the treatment of illegal enemy combatants in Guantánamo, or the occupation of unsecure cities, or the treatment of mosques being used as arms caches, or the role of coalition forces in Afghanistan, seems increasingly to be every bit as stringent as the ones the same people are trying to apply to domestic civilians. The military must be civil, non-aggressive, non-intrusive, culturally sensitive, infinitely patient, willing to absorb infinite insult without retaliation, and—of course—unarmed. Because weapons kill people... and we wouldn't want anyone thinking our military kills people.

Yeah, there is a gulf between us and our forebears, so wide it often does seem like we're a different species. I don't, however, think this is an upward movement on the evolutionary ladder.


11:49 - I'm gonna burn for even linking this
http://www.pwned.nl/ayb/

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Don't hit me. But it has to be shared. You'll understand once you've seen it.

Poor Queen. Poor, poor Queen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
16:50 - I've heard all this before
http://www.weathergraphics.com/tim/arctic/index.htm

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My brother Mike sends this illustrated travelogue of a couple doing the Alaska Highway in 1999, following a route almost eerily similar to the one I've got planned. True, they didn't do Denali or Anchorage or the Gold Rush interior, and they came at it from Texas rather than California—but everything else is in there, including the Alaska Ferry leg on the way back, prior preventive car maintenance, and even the day trip to Barrow from Fairbanks.

What's more, they did the entire Alaska Highway in three days. Here I've been fretting about being able to make it in four... and these guys averaged 700-800 miles per day, even taking into account construction and sightseeing. I suppose it helps to be able to roll into a town at 11:00 PM and get a motel room. They didn't even get on the road typically until 9 or 10...

I'm gonna print out these pages and take them with me.


13:49 - Fun with Signs

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There's this pothole in the middle of an intersection of two residential roads near where I live; I see it every day when I walk Capri in the mornings. It's round and deep, and you could really do some damage to your suspension if you drove over it. Lately, someone in one of the adjacent houses has taken to trying to call the city's attention to it so as to get it fixed.

A couple of days ago, the hole had four cones around it, a big bouquet stuck in one, and signs in the others reading CITY OF SAN JOSE - FIX THIS PLEASE!! and WHO VOTES FOR YOU?!

Now, though, the enterprising resident seems to be upping the ante:



I'll start carrying my camera with me on the daily walks, I think. I don't wanna miss a chapter in this little saga.

Next we turn our attention to this sign I saw on a construction site on Santa Teresa, riding my bike past it the other day:



That has got to be the funniest industrial slogan I've ever seen, just because of the way it initially strikes the eye. The marketing manager must have burst out laughing when he first saw the proposal... but my hat's off to him for saying, "What the hell, go with it."

I like this town.

UPDATE: Looks like it worked.



They added the "Subterranean Estates" sign the day after I took the first picture; and today the city has a crew there fixing the hole. Way to rattle the cage!

Monday, July 25, 2005
03:00 - Where credit is due

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I've got to admit that while I usually just turn down the volume when the anime block comes on and tune it out, Paranoia Agent is a series that I can really seriously enjoy.

It's intricate, self-referential, smart, creepy, and written in such a way that the compelling parts of the storytelling survive the translation intact. The people don't just look like people, a rare treat in and of itself—they act like people, too. That's really something I appreciate, whatever the genre.

It's also got an opening sequence that is pure, injectable nightmare fuel. If you've seen/heard it, you know what I mean—but if not, I won't even attempt to describe it.

Those Adult Swim guys know how to pick 'em.


21:57 - paTTon: weeeee i got a jeep
http://www.livejournal.com/users/snobahr/148082.html?#cutid1

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I'm busy packing and stuff. So—quick! Look over here!

It's funny.

(Reminds me of this—but probably a lot more realistic in syntax...)

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© Brian Tiemann