Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

So I'm driving along and I pull up to the red light at PCH and Pier and I notice people looking behind me. There's a bunch of people walking along the sidewalk, gawking at something just behind my car.

I look in the rearview mirror, but all I can see is this orangeish brown color.

So when the light changes, I accelerate fast and pull as far out in front of whatever it is as I can and look back.

And there's a giant hot dog behind me, on wheels, with little windows mounted in the front so the driver can see out. It has little orangeish brown side mirrors sticking off each little orangeish brown door.

It was a Chicago dog, one of the big Polish sausages on a little bun that made up the bumpers and wheel wells. There weren't any condiments, near as I could tell.

Now, that sort of thing can be fairly unsettling, finding a giant hot dog car right behind you.

I really, really want one.

So sometimes I'll go running late at night 'cause the path down by the beach is empty and 'cause it's nice and cool and 'cause I ate half a medium pizza at nine and I have to wait that long for it to wear off. That late, there's not a lot on the radio except lonely talk show hosts crying into the night like crazed loons, so I listen to "LA's only 24-hour Korean language radio."

I don't speak a word of Korean, but the rhythms are interesting and I like the rolly sound of the language. It sets a pace.

There's one talk show that I particularly enjoy. The host just let's his callers ramble on and on and on, sometimes for my entire run, adding only a soft "Nehhh" every few seconds. I imagine that it's a "Yes, yes, go on" sound, but he says it so softly and with such regularity that when he actually comes right out and says something rolly back at the caller, you almost stumble over that little dog that's wandered in front of you.

I also like watching Spanish language TV, but that's just because I'm a huge Erik Estrada fan.

So I go up to Pasadena to have lunch with a friend who doesn't show up. I figure as long as I'm there, I'd stop by Caltech and poke around uninvited, like a pinworm in a crockpot. I've always wanted to do that.

It's a nice little campus, very green with old buildings that look properly distinguished. On the door of the Tom Watson, Sr. Physics Lab there was a notice tacked up that said:

"Seminar: Pure electron flow in negative plasma. Refreshments provided."

I passed people talking in the halls and they said, and I'm sure this is a quote, "Wugga wugga wugga." Maybe I missed some nuance.

Eventually, just by chance, I wandered into one of the satellite sites for the premiere of Apple's new PowerPC Macintoshes. There was a video link to Cupertino and demo machines and lots of neat software displaying lots of pretty pictures very, very quickly -- just the sort of thing that would bring out the nerds in a random sample of the population. (It would have brought me out, had I known.) But this wasn't a random sample of the population. This was Caltech.

And so the demo brought out the nerds of Caltech. Think about that concept for a moment.

I'll wait.


I wish I'd had a camera.

White socks and sandals and polyester and all manner of odd hygiene neglect. And a palpable sense of brains.

I was probably the most socially adept person in the room. I was probably also the dumbest. Heh.

And so, just 'cause I'd never felt it before, just 'cause I'll probably never feel it again, just 'cause such a pure sense of Agamemnon-esque power can only, truly happen once in your life... I picked a guy at random, beat him up and took his lunch money.


So we're in the limo with beer and soda and Vanilla Wafers, obviously heading for San Diego. I don't know what our ultimate destination is, but when the groom-to-be asks the best-man-to-be, he only says, "You'll see."

We get off the 5 in Pacific Beach and pull right into the parking lot of "Les Girls." Heh. I've seen this place before 'cause there's a Rally Burger right across the street, but I've never been inside. The driver lets us out and the best man tells him to be back in an hour.

So we all wander inside, pay the cover and walk past a very, very big bouncer. The room is small, dark, smoky, and has high-backed benches arrayed in rows -- maybe five or six of them -- in front of the stage. There are some marines in the front row, staring quietly at a very limber young woman, performing in front of them. She's completely naked and obviously not allowed to move off the raised, recessed part of the stage. Some random pop music is playing as she wraps her knee behind her neck and does an impressive assortment of splits.

The first thing I think is, "Well, this certainly objectifies women."

I need to get out more often.

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

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic), 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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