Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

So I'm pulling off the freeway, just about at work, and there are birds. Birds on all the street lights and on all the signs and on all the buildings. Hundreds of little black birds.

Eyeing me.


So I'm about to go in and cast my vote into the abyss and I'm reading over the voter information pamphlet they give everybody. I toy briefly with the idea of abandoning my opinions and voting against the side that uses the most CAPITAL LETTERS PREDICTING DOOM in the little explanation boxes for each proposition. But it turns out I was gonna vote pretty much that way already.


So I'm driving to work and I pass a truck that has the words "Plastic Concepts, Inc." painted on the side.

They must be in competition with "Stilted Ideas Corp."


So Corlan and I are sitting around waiting for our food to arrive and I say, "Is there anything non-poisonous that you wouldn't eat a pound of for a million bucks?"

He thinks for a moment, then says, "Nope."

"Really?"

"People are much cheaper than they think they are. I'd probably do it for a hundred grand."

So Larry and Corlan and I are driving back from dinner and we pull up to the stop light at Manhattan Beach and PCH. We're sitting there for a minute or two when Larry, from the back seat, says:

"Hey... Look at that."

I turn around and behind us, one lane to the right, is a couple, the man driving and the woman sitting in the passenger seat.

And she's sucking on his index finger. Intently.

So, of course, we behave like responsible adults and start hooting and cheering and honking the horn.

She hears us and looks up and all the blood drains out of her face, to rush back a second later, all bright red. She drops his finger out of her mouth and buries her head in her hands and starts laughing.

He turns to us and gives us a very small, very slight thumbs up.

So local television news in Southern California, and I mean this with the utmost respect, sucks. Hard. With slurping noises.

We had more journalistic integrity at my high school newspaper. Heck, even the UCSD Guardian knew it was a hack rag.

In LA, the CBS affiliate -- winner of the "Most Massive Plunge into the Scum" award -- makes a point of mentioning the words "danger" and "you" in all their radio ads, apparently in the belief that if they make you think they know something you don't, you'll tune in to find out what it is. Real bit: "Killer bees have finally arrived in California! What's the danger to you? Find out tonight at seven!" The answer, of course, is "There is none."

When I was living in San Diego, the ABC station ran ads all day, saying that "you can help a family find their lost three-year-old!" It turns out that they led their newscast with the story -- in the sixth largest city in the country -- and took well-nigh a minute to tell you that the "lost three-year-old" was a dog. A dog. Before watching this station, I'd always wondered where the spokesmodels went after their gig on Star Search ended.

And today I was driving in to work when an ad for Channel 9, an independent station owned by Disney, came on the radio. A typical news-announcer voice comes booming, "Tonight at seven: Rocky-road ice cream! Hard to believe it's been around for 65 years. Tonight we'll take a look at this frozen favorite. Then, at eight--"

Man.

So Joanne and I are standing in line outside a haunted house on Halloween. The front yard is all made up, with tombstones and spooky lighting and floating lamps. A casket lid slowly pushes back and a skeletonized hand reaches out and waves around before disappearing. A mausoleum wall pulses in and out with a rhythm, like breathing. Lighted eyes blink on and off from an over-hanging tree.

In front of us, a mother is holding her wide-eyed daughter who jerks with surprise when a low moan plays across the yard.

"What was that?" the woman asks her daughter. "What was that?"

"It was a tape, Mom," says the girl. "Sheesh."

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic and Buzz Clock), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is greg@eod.com. I'd love to hear from you!

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