Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

So I'm downtown to pick up Joanne and I'm flipping around the radio and I come across the end of Johnnie Cochran's first night of closing arguments right as Camp OJ appears in front of me.

Camp OJ is the shanty town that's sprung up around the County Courthouse, and it looks like something straight out of bad cyberpunk. Platforms, creaky scaffolding, tower up out of an empty parking lot across the street, tattered sheets wrapping each level. One high-rise climbs four stories above the ground. Trailers, presumably full of cloistered and sweaty technicianss, are lined up like neat little blocks below.

And it's lit up -- blindingly bright -- even the upper levels of the scaffolding. The wind whips the highest sheets around, casting crazy, angry shadows, making each look like the site of some very bad magic, of something evil. Which, I suppose, they are.

I continue down Spring Street and take a quick look up Temple where the front door of the court house is. There's a throng of people out front, a third carrying TV cameras, a third carrying mikes and a third carrying signs or t-shirts or Instamatics or some random delusion.

And I pull by, up one block to First, and turn. The County Law Library is another block, at Broadway, but I'm a little early and Joanne isn't out on the steps yet.

So I pull around -- there's no parking out front -- and take Forth back to Temple. I take a deep breath and plunge in.

And... nothing. Downtown LA is almost deserted after sundown and the four-lane wide street is empty. Even as I pass right in front of the courthouse, the throng is well up on the sidewalk, with no cars parked in the outside lane, no people randomly dashing across the street, no crazys shouting angrily for the cameras.

By now, the participants should be about to emerge...

But there's no frenzy, no pushing, no churning, nothing like you see on TV. Just a bunch of people standing on either side of the courthouse door, quietly waiting for something to happen.

It's been over a year, but even the OJ trail can be civilized.

There's some hope in that, I think.

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 I'd love to hear from you!

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