Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

So Irvine is Hell, I'm sure of it. And not just because it's where I work.

Irvine, California, is a "planned community," meaning that everything here is nice and clean and organized and totally and completely awful.

Irvine is seductive, in a creepy sort of way. And it's at its most seductive after you've been hit up for a buck six times during a half-hour walk along Santa Monica Boulevard in LA the night before. Which, often, is always.

Irvine is the Answer. It's got Rules that prevent that sort of thing. The Irvine Company owns the land the city is built on, and, from there, makes the Rules. You'd be surprised how much of your Constitutional rights you can sign away by moving into this place.

The Rules: Keep your garage door closed. Don't wash your car in the driveway or on the street. Get approval for the color you want to paint your house. Don't grow -- or cut -- that tree. Keep the lawn tidy. Don't park on the street. Move along. Don't question authority. Ignorance is knowledge. You Are Being Watched.

But the worst thing about Irvine -- the thing that leaves a cold, writhing knot in the pit of your stomach -- is that you slowly realize, driving the wide, easy-access streets, that there are people that belong here. People who should live in Irvine.

Today there was a car in front of me at the light at Pacifica and Barranca, right where I get off the freeway. It was a shiny new Lexus, dark, dark blue. The little gold highlights glinted in the clean, approved Irvine air.

The license plate read: ISELPWR.

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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