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Table Of Contents

  1. 1999/01/21 - SF Magazine
  2. 2000/07/21 - Flying Through The Air With The Greatest Of Ease
  3. 2000/09/27 - May the force be with you
  4. 2001/05/18 - Foosball play of the week
  5. 2001/05/30 - Google searching for coupons
  6. 2001/07/21 - Herrang Dance Camp
  7. 2001/08/23 - Escaping the Pool Police
  8. 2001/08/16 - Polite Recruiters
  9. 2001/08/29 - Burning Man
  10. 2001/09/11 - Stranded in Canada
  11. 2001/09/27 - Fightin' Crime!
  12. 2001/10/04 - The Millenium Falcon is Breached
  13. 2001/10/23 - I'm a movie star!
  14. 2001/10/27 - Lucas Halloween
  15. 2001/10/30 - Endurance dancing
  16. 2002/03/26 - CrimeFightin' Dave vs. Drunk Drivers
  17. 2002/07/18 - Corporate Loyalty
  18. 2002/10/?? - Uncle Dave
  19. 2002/12/25 - Holidays
  20. 2003/02 - Pinky Mulligan
  21. 2003/04/10 - Go Speed Racer!
  22. 2004/03/24 - Wash and Wear Electronics
  23. 2004/04/01 - Customer Service Hell
  24. 2004/06/24 - It's a small world after all.
  25. 2004/08/13 - Dave's Super Tax Bracket
  26. 2004/10/31 - Email Access Isn't For Everyone
  27. 2005/01/22 - LindyGras Ego Boosting
  28. 2005/01/30 - Google Juice Spewing Everywhere
  29. 2005/02/23 - My Life Is Stolen - The Story Of DaveLion
  30. 2005/02/28 - Dancing For Old People
  31. 2005/03/01 - Daveosaurus
  32. 2005/06/10 - Dave's Lindy Mansion
  33. 2005/08/04 - My Software Bites Back
  34. 2005/09/07 - But At Least People Use My Software..
  35. 2005/09/07 - It Really Is A Small World...
  36. 2005/11/12? - Smartass Dave
  37. 2005/10/12 - Archive.org saves the day!
  38. 2005/12/04 - Parking Respect
  39. 2006/01/13 - Justin
  40. 2006/02/21 - Department Of Parking And Traffic Acts Surprisingly!
  41. 2006/04/17 - Telemarketers Teach Dave How To Be Polite
  42. 2006/09/27 - Police And Scooters
  43. 2006/09/29 - Where have I been?
  44. 2006/10/01 - Systems Crashing All Around Me
  45. 2006/11/18 - ATM Cards, Expiration and Magnetic Stripes
  46. 2007/06/01 - Lindy guest, five years late
  47. 2007/08/16 - Dave Fought The Law, And The Dave Won
  48. 2007/10/24 - Paypal implements "two men enter, one man leaves" dispute resolution policy
  49. 2007/12/03 - Dave Fought The Law, And The Dave Won, AGAIN
  50. 2007/12/18 - Dave's secret iPhone
  51. 2008/01/17 - Delta Airlines sucks ass
  52. 2008/01/27 - Item Not As Described
  53. 2008/04/24 - Where Am I Now?
  54. 2008/06/11 - Dave Fought The Law, And The Dave Won, AGAIN AGAIN
  55. 2008/08/09 - Rude Customers and the Sushi Bath
  56. 2008/11/05 - My Travelling Cat
  57. 2009/03/19 - Flourishing Improv Career
  58. 2009/03/21 - High School Hitler
  59. 2009/06/12 - Computer Mass-Suicide
  60. 2009/07/12 - Sad Day On The Dance Floor
  61. 2009/09/16 - The Fulton Fun House Is Closing

1:   1999/01/21 - SF Magazine

I was in a swing photo shoot for San Francisco Magazine with Maggie Moon.
We not only got to be in a bunch of the shots they used, but the photographer
Erik Butler completely kicked ass, and he let us come and make copies of whatever
photos we wanted, and many of them were so well done.  I have some of the
photos up in the Swing section of my personal photo album

2:   2000/07/21 - Flying Through The Air With The Greatest Of Ease

I've come close to death a number of times.
The closest yet was when I was in a pretty gruesome motorcycle accident.

I don't remember much, but evidently I was driving down Pennsylvania St
in San Francisco when a car pulled out in front of me.  The only part of
the accident I remember was seeing a car the very instant before I smashed
into the front end.  I totalled my cycle, and I'm told I totalled the 
car too.  My helmet flew off of me, I flew off of my bike, and I also 
flew out of my shoes (yet to be found!).  I sailed about 25 feet and 
hit the side of a parked van.

I hit the van right on the driver's door, and fortunately my head hit 
the window and went through - if my head had hit the van then I 
wouldn't be here to type this.  I got to see the door of the van 
later - it was smashed in a few inches, though sadly it was not 
Dave-shaped as cartoons had led me to believe.

After I hit the ground, the car that I hit came sliding to a stop 
right above me, having been pushed by my cycle.  Some of the local 
residents came outside to see what happened, and found me underneath 
the car next to the van.  If that wasn't enough, the car caught fire 
above me and they had to push it across the street.  Evidently I was 
trying to move and they had to hold me down until the paramedics 
arrived 10 minutes later - I don't remember, I was having weird, 
non-visual motorcycle dreams and didn't wake up until the paramedics 
got there.

I spent a day in the hospital - mostly just waiting because SF 
General is so slow, and then I finally went home with a broken 
left wrist and a bunch of bruises and some whiplash.  (Although we 
realized a few days later that my right wrist was still sore because 
it was broken, and I ended up with casts on both arms.  Ugh.)

(Speaking of SF General being slow, I was surprised by a newspaper
 report on the hospital problems that came out 6 months later but
 had a photo of me in the emergency room.  Funny.)

The general consensus amongst the witnesses and the paramedics and
the doctors is that I should be dead, not alive and typing (albeit slowly)

For those of you with a morbid sense of curiousity (like me), I have a
photo showing the motorcycle before and after.

You'll notice the motorcycle is about two feet shorter.

I have more accident photos in my photo album, including pictures of the
car that hit me, the van that I flew into, and the surgery pins in my arm.

3:   2000/09/27 - May the force be with you

Today my excellent friend Eric who works at ILM gave me a
fantastic treat.  We went up to SkyWalker Ranch, the well-hidden home to
the genius that created one of the best movies of all time, Star Wars.

The ranch is beautiful - it's like a resort, not like any work environment
I've ever seen.  They have their own fire department, their own lake, their
own pool, and even a vineyard for what I assume is ILM wine.

We had lunch in the main building, which is a gorgeous mansion with a
small collection of Lucas artifacts in the lobby.  In the restaurant
we ended up sitting at a table that had me about 10 feet away and facing
none other than George Lucas himself.  Talk about a good lunch, though it
was really hard to pay attention to Eric since Lucas was talking about
how directing was creating something, much like how an animator has to
direct all of his/her models.

Good day.

4:   2001/05/18 - Foosball play of the week

I was playing foosball with some co-workers.  One of my opponents
put a beer bottle on the table above the goal.  I informed him a-la 
Babe Ruth style that I was going to knock down his beer bottle by shooting
the ball off the board right at his bottle during the game.  He laughed at
the ridiculous notion and said he'd give me $10 if I did.

He caught the bottle as it was falling, so he refused to give me my $10.
I think he ripped me off.

5:   2001/05/30 - Google searching for coupons

I just ordered something from a company called skymall.  They (like most
ecommerce companies) have a spot in their order form where you can type
in a promotion code.  I searched on the web for "skymall promotion+code"
and found myself a special deal from Hilton for 20% off.  It worked.  :)

Update: There's so many bogus coupon sites now that this isn't worth it anymore.

6:   2001/07/21 - Herrang Dance Camp

Herrang Dance Camp is the biggest swing dance camp in the world.
It's held in the little village of Herrang in Sweden, North of Stockholm.
People from all over the world travel to Herrang for 1-4 weeks of dancing
and classes and sleep deprivation.

I've been trying to go there for three years, and I finally made it in 2001,
for weeks 3 and 4 of the camp.

I managed to snag some space in the school house hallway thanks to Anne,
which is lucky since I showed up a day late on Sunday.  Getting sleeping
space in the hallway is not uncommon - it's not like you'll get much sleep
anyways.  The dances go into the night, usually ending around 6am or so,
and I managed to be one of the last dancers dancing for four of the nights
I was there.  I decided not to take classes the second week, instead just
dancing and spending some time in the middle of the week driving down to

Photos in my album

7:   2001/08/23 - Escaping the Pool Police

I decided to go swimming with two friends of mine, Jake and Nadja, 
around midnight.  We knew someone who lived in an apartment complex 
that had an outdoor pool/jacuzzi, so we drove over there and climbed 
the fence.

During a soak in a lukewarm hot tub (the power was off), we saw someone
wandering the grounds towards us with a flashlight.  It later turned out
that they did us a great service by tipping us off.  So we grabbed our
clothes and climbed over the fence and hid behind an apartment building,
waiting for him to go by.  We started to walk to my van - I had pulled my
clothes on without changing my suit or drying off.  My friends; however,
thought that running around in swimsuits wouldn't make them look suspicious.
If I had to run from the law for something serious, these are probably not
the people I'd want with me.

So we walk back to my van, and we notice a cop car parked 20 feet away, the
cop is shining his light towards the pool.  I step into the car, wearing
clothes, looking normal.  My friends have to enter the van from the side
closest to the cop, where the sliding door is, because it doesn't turn on
the interior lights.  They jump in and don't know how to close the door,
the cop starts walking towards us - my friends are in their swimsuit and
Nadja is sliding the door back and forth.  The cop keeps walking 
towards us, like a living dead zombie from a horror movie.  He's six
feet away now.  I'm sure we're goners.  Jake reaches over, dripping 
wet and without a shirt, and closes the door.  The cop, three feet, 
is still only walking, and I'm casually looking forward and 
pretending I don't notice him.  All he had to do was reach forward 
and tap my car, and that would have been the end of it...  I start 
the car, and start slowly pulling away.  Two feet.  The cop just 
looks at the front of the car and I drive away.  Never got a call
from the police station on my license plates, so we're home free!

8:   2001/08/16 - Polite Recruiters

My website is a place where I like to store my stuff, including my resume.
Unfortunately, if you work in a strong job market like hardware verification,
having your resume online means getting called twice a week by headhunters.

Especially when your resume is the first result for a google search
of "verification engineer resume"

To avoid these calls, I changed the objective on my resume to:

 Objective: To stop getting called by recruiters all the time.

Which has actually worked surprisingly well in terms of reducing these calls.

But at 2:10pm on 8/16/2001, I received this call: [mp3, 208k]
  "You may want to pull your resume off the internet, you fuckin' idiot."

Now I'm a fuckin' idiot.  So this guy must be a genius.

He's such a genius that he hasn't heard of caller ID, evidently, which
listed his number as:  818.735.6712.  I call it, and, not surprisingly,
it's a headhunting firm called Transquest Ventures

Transquest Ventures, also not surprisingly, refers to their "product" as
Human Capital.  Not like they are people or anything.

So I find their website and I look up the CEO's name, and I give him a call.
He is very helpful - and I send the message to his cell phone.

Unfortunately, although he makes many promises - nothing ever comes of
it and I don't hear from him again.

Amusing update, someone in the industry contacted me about Transquest
Ventures because they were trying to figure out if they wanted to
associate with them.  Maybe they won't, now.  If you search for Transquest
Ventures on google, I'm happy to report that I come up on the first page
of links.

9:   2001/08/29 - Burning Man

I finally make it to my first Burning Man, after years of wanting to go.

Wow.                 \ /
                     / \

There are some things in your life that are just too big to describe.

I had read plenty about Burning Man, talked to people about Burning Man, seen
photos of Burning Man, watched videos, done research, etc..

The only thing I hadn't done to vicariously experience Burning Man was
smell the playa dust.

But none of this could prepare me for what actually is Burning Man.

BM is about different things to different people.  Generally people
go to BM for some combination of:

-  Freedom
-  Sex
-  Drugs
-  Art
-  Fire

But BM can really be just about whatever you want it to be.  I wanted to
make a list of what BM is and what BM isn't, but I couldn't think of anything
that could definitively go on the "isn't" side.

Maybe it will help to read this essay on how to recreate Burning Man.

Photos fail to describe Burning Man, but of course I took some anyways.

10:  2001/09/11 - Stranded in Canada

I decide to go see some of my Herrang Camp friends in Toronto, so I flew
out there for a weekend.  Much fun was had in the short time I had there,
or the short time I thought I was going to have there.

I was sitting on a plane on the runway.  It was September 11th, 2001, and
the plane was supposed to go to San Francisco.  That was when we found
out about the plane bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

We found out about it about 10 minutes after it happened - so I know
what I was doing when the planes hit.  And here's the freaky bit:

So I have this portable DVD player that I bring with me whenever I fly.
This morning I was watching Escape From New York.  And at the
time of the incident, I was watching the scene where Air Force One crashes
into the World Trade Center.


That's super freaky.

Anyways, we had to deboard the plane and I ended up stuck in Canada for
the week, finally getting home on Saturday.  Fortunately I was able to
access work remotely, courtesy an internet cafe that became my "Transmeta
Toronto Office," and I got to meet even more of the excellent Torontonian

Either way, I didn't have much to complain about considering what most
people went through.

Update:  2001/10/07
It gets weirder.

Today I woke up to the sound of missles falling and exploding.
Last night I had finally washed everything in my car that was covered
with playa dust from Burning Man.  This included a silly Jar Jar Binks
doll with sound effects, including the missle firing sound.  The circuits
had shorted out, and it was making the missle sound every minute or so.

This morning we bombed Afghanistan.

Freaky again.

11:  2001/09/27 - Fightin' Crime!

My buddy Justin and I were driving to dinner when some guys ran out of a
store and jumped into their car.  They took off pretty quick, which was
pretty odd even for rude people.  Then they started shooting across many
lanes of traffic.  I asked Justin,

  "Do you think they just robbed that store?"

Justin, still surprised, said that he noticed they were holding handkerchiefs
when they opened the door.  So I pulled across traffic and casually followed
them around the block.  I'm getting ready to call the police when they pull
backwards up a one-way street and park up on the sidewalk.  I drive by (no
need to mess with possibly armed criminals) and we go back to the store.

  "Did you guys just get robbed?"

Sure enough the had been robbed by two men with guns.  Fortunately for
them, we had the license plates and the location of the car.

The cops came and wanted to know where the car was, so we rode in
the back of their squad car to the location.  The car was still
parked there, and looked possibly empty.  The cops got out and
walked to the car with guns drawn.  That was when Justin and I
realized that we were locked in the back seat of the squad car,
where the criminals could easily execute us after killing the cops.

Fortunately this didn't happen, as the robbers weren't around.

Admittedly the criminals will probably get away since the car was probably
stolen.  Next time I'll have to wear my black cape, so I can chase after
them, darting from rooftop to rooftop.  I told Justin that he has to be
the effeminate sidekick, since I was the one driving.  He hasn't agreed yet.

12:  2001/10/04 - The Millenium Falcon is Breached

I have a bitchin' 1979 Chevy Van, a.k.a. The Millenium Falcon, due to
the large collection of Star Wars toys that it has amassed, including
a 12" Wookie, my original Chewbacca which sits in the drivers window as
my co-pilot, tempting thieves everywhere.

So, today I walk to my car, and there is glass everywhere.

The Millenium Falcon has been boarded by hostile creatures!

Okay - enough with the geeky Star Wars references...

Here's the best part:

Contents of van before breakin:
  $1.50 in cash
  Two old truck speakers
  Numerous vintage Star Wars figures
  CD player
  400 Watt Amp
  2 bicycles

Contents of van after breakin:
  Numerous vintage Star Wars figures
  CD player
  400 Watt Amp
  2 bicycles

Some genius broke my window and the window frame to take $1.50 and some
old truck speakers.

Way to go, brainless!

13:  2001/10/23 - I'm a movie star!

Much to my surprise I found out today that I'm a movie star!

A few years back when I was starting to get into linux installs, I was
installing RH on my tiny little Libretto at a svlug Linux installfest.

There was a film crew there making a documentary, but I didn't think much of
it, because as a dancer I see film crews all the time that never end up
getting to any sort of production.

In fact, I had completely forgotten about it until someone mentioned to
me they had seen me on the screen.  Evidently this film actually made it,
and it must have accomplished something because it had a showing at the
Sony Metreon, which is the monster theater complex here in SF.

The movie is called Revolution OS (available at thinkgeek)

The best part of this is that (apart from being a famous movie star, hounded
by the paparazzi), I now have a Bacon Index of 3!
  (Please note that my name changed after the movie was made)

  David Ljung was in Revolution OS (2001) with Susan Egan
  Susan Egan was in Hercules (1997) with Keith (I) David
  Keith (I) David was in Novocaine (2001) with Kevin Bacon

(You can also do Susan -> "13 Going on 30" -> Mark Ruffalo -> "In The Cut" -> Kevin Bacon)

Another route that yields a Bacon Index of 3:
  David Ljung was in Revolution OS (2001) with Jose Medeiros
  Jose Medeiros was in Copacabana Me Engana (1968) with Maria Gladys
  Maria Gladys was in Guns (1990) with Jeff (I) Silverman
  Jeff (I) Silverman was in Pyrates (1991) with Kevin Bacon

14:  2001/10/27 - Lucas Halloween

What are my two favorite things?

I would be tempted to say:
1)  Star Wars
2)  Halloween

So, when my most excellent friend Eric Wong invited me to the ILM Halloween
party, I pretty much did the happy dance.

Photos may or may not be forthcoming, depending on how ILM feels about it,
but suffice it to say that the costumes are amazing.

Consider what happens when you let the geniuses from the creature lab
loose upon this holiday.  My favorite costume was the Boba Fett mint-on-card.

Yes - it was someone dressed up as Boba Fett in the actual store packaging,
he needed help from someone to walk around, as his card was something like
10 feet high.  Wow.

15:  2001/10/30 - Endurance dancing

Got second place in a Tempo dance contest with Natasha.
The music started at 150bpm for 1m30s, then it went to 175bpm, then 190, 200,
208, 224, 240, 248, 256, 304bpm...  Whooosh!  Hell, I'm turning 30.
I almost died out there.

16:  2002/03/26 - CrimeFightin' Dave vs. Drunk Drivers

I'm talking geek with one of my computer friends while parked by the side
of the road.

This car pulls up behind us and the driver gets out and is staggering drunk.


So I'm talking to my friend for a while, and the guy comes back to his
car and gets in and starts it up.


So I call the police to let them know they're about to have a DUI on the
streets.  I'm telling them exactly where we are, and the guy is just
sitting behind us, waiting to be caught.  He's there for so long that
a cop car comes...  and drives right past us.  Nice.

Turns out he was having trouble just getting the car moving, he finally
figures out where drive is and pulls forward.  I should note that he's
totally clear for 50 feet or so behind him, and I'm right in front of him,
but evidently the subtleties of reverse are lost on him because he bumps
right into me.  I quickly pull my car forward and call the police again.

The guy pulls out right in front of another car and proceeds down the wrong
side of the street.  He's completely drunk, and he's swerving back and
forth from the left side of the road to the right.  I get the plate and
my friend remembers it while I start following him (yes, mom, from a safe
distance).  He comes within inches of hitting some parked cars on the
left side of the road, and I'm frantically trying to get the police
to get out here before he kills someone.  A car coming towards us stops at
an intersection, and the drunk drives on the left side of the road, right
into his headlights, and crunches into the stopped car.  He backs up and
pulls away and speeds off.  Lovely.

So - we give the license to the police, but they hadn't found him yet.
They have our phone numbers, but I'd be surprised if I ever hear from
them.  I've found that reporting crimes rarely gets anything done.

I need a cape and a utility belt...  Yea.

17:  2002/07/18 - Corporate Loyalty

Surprise, surprise.  I go on vacation after working my arse off for the
end of a project, and again, on this vacation, I find out that I've been
laid off.  This time my (ex)company decided to say goodbye to 40% of it's
workforce, including self.

Anyways, the big question is, what do I do now?

Not options:
1) Leave San Francisco
2) Blow out my savings

Serious considerations in the running:
1) Find another verification job, but work less.
2) Give up my posh but expensive apartment (sadness!) and move into
   either an RV or boat, and then either:
   2a) Work odd jobs to cover food and expenses
   2b) Work part-time or consulting occasionally to cover expenses.

And then, with my free time I intend to work on some projects that
I've been sitting on the back burner, such as:
1) MarginalHacks
2) Wearable computing designs
3) Writing (english, not software :)

Check back in a few weeks..

18:  2002/10/?? - Uncle Dave

So, I have a little nephew named Parker who I get to see once or twice a year.
Last time I saw him he couldn't talk, most he could say was "moo" and "woof"
and "roar".

Anyways, Thanksgiving was coming and my mom was excited to see me again, so
she asked Parker (about two and a half) who was going to be visiting soon.

His second guess was "Uncle Dave?"

Which is a shock, since I didn't even know that he knew my name, much less
that I was his Uncle.

Pretty neat.

19:  2002/12/25 - Holidays

After Mo and I went to my family's house for Thanksgiving, we did the
Christmas thing at her house in San Diego and had a good time.  I have
some friends in San Diego (it's where we met, actually) and they were
holding a Swing Dance for Christmas.  They needed a Santa Claus, so I
jumped in.

It was very entertaining, we had a Santa Dance Jam (which became more
ludicrous as my beard and costume pants kept slipping off).  Then I sat on my
chair and let all the good and bad little boys and girls sit on my lap
and I gave them presents.  Wow, that sounded really dirty.  I thought
I'd have some Santa Photos, but I haven't managed to find any yet.

After a good Christmas, Mo and I took off for Antigua and met up with
my family - my parents had very generously put together a Carribean trip
for the family using the inheritence from my Gramps, the consummate traveller.

Unfortunately, I got sick before I ever got on the plane, and I stayed sick
for almost a week, so most of my Antigua time was less than ideal, including
a grueling 7-hour trip to the Antigua hospital.  The only bonus out of that
experience was the "Antigua Medical Plan" which allows for all of your hospital
visits to be free if you leave the hospital during non-business hours, since
the cashier has gone home.

This came to our advantage again, because we had to go to the hospital a
second time (ugh) because Mo had some insect bite that swelled up and made
her arm all stiff.

Apart from our various hospital adventures, the trip turned out to be very
fun.  I got to Scuba for the first time (down to 80 feet) and swam right
over a Barracuda.  Good times.  We also built a massive sand dragon on the
beach with the little ones, harkening back to my childhood vacations spent
in Grenada where my brother and I learned the art of sand dragons.

20:  2003/02 - Pinky Mulligan
Maybe this should be a FAQ question, but it was too weird a story to not go
into my history.

Also, the story has been updated, the person in question changed their mind
and the original photos are back up, thanks to me posting this.  It's still
too good a story to not have up.

If you look through my photo album, you may run into references to a
person I call "Pinky Mulligan," and you may see a few photos were someone's
face has been replaced by my buddy Mitch Gottlieb.

Here's the explanation behind that.

I dated a lawyer not so long ago.  I'd made this mistake once before, dating
a lawyer, but sometimes it takes me a couple times to figure these things out.

I'm not saying lawyers are bad people.  (And to be clear, I'm not saying
they're good people either).  I'm just saying that I shouldn't date
lawyers.  You can if you want.  Have fun.

Anyways, eventually it became clear that things weren't going to work between
us - she had her reasons and I had mine.  And that's fine - that's how
relationships go.  But last month, over a year later, she demands that I take
down all the photos I have up of her on my photo album site, even though
her full name isn't used anywhere.  Kooky.

So - I'm not happy about this.  The only photo album I keep these days is
digital, and the only copy I have is on my website, so taking down her
images means removing them from my personal photo album as well.

So we discussed it - I initially didn't want to do it, but I finally tell
her I'll take care of it but it's going to need to happen later because
I'm busy.  I had just taken a contract job and was working day and night,
then I was out of town for over a week.  When I get back, I have some
threatening letters from her implying that she can sue me and so on..

Seems like a really great way to treat your ex's - when they agree
with you, threaten them and be mean to them anyways.

So - I took down most of the photos.  Some of the photos were very
important to me (such as photos that were taken by other people, like
the only photos I have of me at my very excellent 30th Birthday party)
so for those I replaced her image with my buddy Mitch and removed her name.
In place of it I needed to make something up, so I made up the name
"Pinky Mulligan."  I think it's a good name, and there's no need to put
her real name in there.  No need to assault her with my google juice.

I suppose it would have been funny if I had fought back so she could have
sent me a cease-and-desist letter - I've never received one of those, and
then I could post it on my website, and that would be worth some chuckles.

All the cool websites have cease-and-desist letters, right?  ;)

But I suppose it's better to not make enemies (or dates) with lawyers.
Now I know.

21:  2003/04/10 - Go Speed Racer!

I got a speeding ticket driving back from San Diego in February.  I
was speeding, but I was also going the speed of traffic.  Ah well.

Anyways, it had a required court appearance of 4/9.  I didn't want to
drive down to San Diego for a court date, but I wanted to try and fight
the ticket.  Turns out you can ask for a "Trial by Written Declaration"
for situations like this, so I did.  I got the paperwork and took it to
a traffic lawyer to fill out, I figured they could do a better job.

Unfortunately they didn't.  They called me (on 4/9!) to tell me that
the due date on the written declaration wasn't 4/9 like we thought, but
was actually 3/31, and they hadn't sent it in.  I had missed it.
Not only that, but now I had missed my court date as well.  I was unhappy.

But today I bugged my lawyer to try harder to do something about the 
ticket, since he was somewhat culpable for my position.  He called 
the San Diego courts and discovered that the officer had been told of 
the request for a Written Declaration.  Consequently, he hadn't 
appeared on the court date.  So when I didn't send the Written 
Declaration and the court date was back on, he didn't find out about 
it and he didn't show.  An officer failing to appear to the court 
date is reason for dismissal.
Ticket dismissed!

22:  2004/03/24 - Wash and Wear Electronics

I use a Jabra FreeSpeak Bluetooth headset on my cell phone to avoid
radiation into my brain.  And this weekend I couldn't find it anywhere,
until I was folding my freshly washed clothes.
  Oops.    (do not try this at home, kids)
On a whim, I decided to see what would happen if I charged the headset
back up.  It took a bit for my phone to recognize it, but it works.
I'll be damned.  I was never too happy with the battery life on this
headset, but major kudos to Jabra for making a 'washable' bluetooth headset.

23:  2004/04/01 - Customer Service Hell

No, this is not April Fools, though these days it always feels like April 1st.

I seem to be cursed.

My life isn't spent working 9-5, like it used to be, and it isn't spent
frolicking through the fields, like it should be, instead it is spent
with life maintenance - dealing with health insurance, phone bills,
rental issues, car repairs, yadda yadda.

The last few months I've been spending about 4 hours a day dealing with
this.  It boggles my mind how so much trouble can come along.  An example:

Recently AT&T (a horrible, horrible company) decided to steal my phone service.
I spent approximately EIGHT hours on the phone trying to get my cell
phone number back on T-Mobile.  It was amazing how horrible and idiotic their
customer service was.  They'd tell me they'd fixed the problem, then they
made it worse, they'd refuse to talk to me, they wouldn't understand the
problem, they'd disconnect me while I was on hold, it was an endless nightmare,
and everytime I needed to call them I had to put up with HOUR LONG wait
times.  One hour.

In the end, AT&T managed to screwup my phone number (this is my business
phone, mind you) for a number of days until I got it transferred back to

The best part is that after I finally got it sorted out and got my number
back on T-Mobile, AT&T actually had the gall to send me a bill.

I'm not kidding - they're trying to charge me for stealing my phone number.

I called them and sat on hold for hours again.  When someone finally 
answered I *might* have told them that if they didn't take the 
charges off the bill that I would come down and burn down their 
entire fucking building with everyone inside.  I might have.  But I 
certainly wouldn't admit that here.  I will say that I didn't end up 
paying the charge.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about today.  Today my problem
was with PG&E, which isn't necessarily a bad company, but they have
long phone wait times like everyone else.  My power has been flickering
in my house, enough to shutdown my computers (now on UPS which have
to kick in regularly) and spikes that have so far fried one answering
machine.  PG&E comes out and finds something wrong and fixes it and
leaves.  Unfortunately the power is still flickering, so I call them
back and, once again, I'm on hold.  Hold is where I spend most of my
life lately.

And while I'm on hold, calling from my land-line, mind you, believe
it or not, the line goes dead.

No, PG&E did not hang up on me (as our friendly AT&T centers would),
my land line was actually dead.  Kaput.  My DSL was down as well.

To plagiarize from Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

2004/04/02 Update: I spent a half-hour calling AT&T to straighten
the billing thing out.  Much to my surprise, while sitting on hold I
realized that they had overbilled me on my other account by about 20%,
no kidding.  I guess sitting on hold has some advantages.  So I sent
in my final check today, and on the back I wrote:
  By endorsing this check, bearer admits that it is a pudwhacker

We'll see if they accept it.

24:  2004/06/24 - It's a small world after all.

I popped on to the Settlers Java server to play a quick game of
Settlers of Catan (which rocks).

I started playing a game with two random players, and we start chatting.
One of them, from Finland, noting my game name of 'daveola' asks me,
"Are you David Madison?"

Turns out he had seen my web page (at Daveola.com) just a few days ago,
and noticed the similar username on the game.

Let's all sing.

   "There is just one moon and a golden sun.."

25:  2004/08/13 - Dave's Super Tax Bracket

I got my tax results for 2003.  2003 was an interesting year for me - I was
laid off the year before and was enjoying the advantages of what I like to
call a work-lite economy.  My (no-longer) savings managed to make this
possible, since in the end my income put me below poverty level, even for
outside of SF, where the cost of living is so high.  And that's fine - last
year was quite an adventure.  But what's particularly amusing is that
(thanks to 'self-employment tax') my effective tax bracket was:

            ** Seventy-Seven Percent **

(I thought I'd spell that out for emphasis).  Yes, 77% of my income after
deductions, an income that was less than minimum wage, an income that was
less than a third of my rent, yes, 77% of that was sent to the IRS.

Thanks guys!

Thanks for the roads and stuff!

26:  2004/10/31 - Email Access Isn't For Everyone

Because I write some very popular software that generates photo albums, I
often get mail from confused surfers who think that the person who
wrote the album tool must be the same person who took the photo.
If that were the case, I would have taken millions of photos by now.

Anyways, if you try to contact me, which I admit is (intentionally)
difficult, you'll have to pass a guantlet of pages, including one that tells
people that I didn't take the photo they think I took, and to talk to the
owner of the website the photo is on.

Unfortunately, there are still many people who, in their mad rush to get
information about 'my' photo of the Ampullariidae Snail eating a piece
of lettuce, they zoom right past this page that should give them pause.

I finally started collecting these mistakes, I'm well over a 100 now,
I get about 1 a week.  To save time, I simply send them the URL of the
page they missed, simply:


The responses I get are sometimes very amusing.  One of my favorites
was this woman who kept mailing back asking about the picture and wondering
why I kept sending her the same URL.  Finally she read it and then got
very angry that I would make fun of some poor woman who didn't know how
to use the internet.

Make fun of?  Please, if you haven't yet, take a look at the contact page.
It simply states that I didn't take the photo and suggests contacting the owner.

Today I got a particularly good response - good old Al Aranowitz (or
should I say "AL ARANOWITZ" because he hasn't learned how to turn off
his caps lock yet) didn't like my one-line response with the contact URL,
so he replied with a one line response of his own (I've left in
his spelling/grammatical/capitalization errors in order to keep the
'flavor' of the original document).  To quote:


Thank you, Al.  Have a nice day!

27:  2005/01/22 - LindyGras Ego Boosting

I went to LindyGras, which was just about the greatest thing that has
ever happened in my life, not counting poetic moments of love.

And I had the greatest compliment of my life.

I was walking the waterfront with my two ladyfriends, Haley and Jen, and
we passed by this lovely black woman sitting on a park bench.  We were
in a cuddly mood (I think 'cuddling' was a theme at LindyGras) and we
huddled together in our hooded jackets in a triangle.  The woman saw us
huddling there in the distance in dark and asked if we were okay.  We
laughed and said everything was great, and she laughed with us and 
explained that we looked like a bunch of homeless kids huddled 
together for warmth, wondering where our next meal was coming from.

It was an amusing picture.

Anyways, on our way back, I was walking with a beautiful woman on each arm
(pimpin', baby!) and she got a better look at us and said with surprise:
  "Now that's the prettiest white boy I ever seen!"

That is, without a doubt, the best compliment I've ever had.
No flowery claims of being the most attractive man ever, but
the prettiest white boy she ever saw.  She qualified it,
and in that she gained creedence in her statement, and my ego

K'pow!  I was king of the world that weekend!
(Having the company of two beautiful women and being at the top
 of my game with my dancing helped as well :)

28:  2005/01/30 - Google Juice Spewing Everywhere

So, I know I have lots of google juice, and that's nice, but it
usually moves me up the search results in ways that make sense.

By sheer chance I came across this very strange result.

There's a good book that you can buy at Amazon, "Why Is Sex Fun?"
(Coincidentally enough, I own this book and it's pretty good,
perhaps google has been spying my bookshelves?)

Okay - so follow me on this, it's only two steps, so open up a new window.

Then, if you search for that book on google
(you can also do it by searching for the title)

And click on:

  Find web pages that are similar to www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465031269/

(or on 'similar pages' if you searched by title)

You get some very surprising results.

(I've grabbed a screenshot in case the results have changed)

I'm honored to be linked to a book about sex being fun, sure, but why
my Zoo page??  What does google think of me, exactly?  :)

29:  2005/02/23 - My Life Is Stolen - The Story Of DaveLion

One of my lindy friends came up to me yesterday and said:

"I've been meaning to ask you Dave, when did you learn portugese?"

I told him that I didn't know any portugese.

He explained that he ran across my photo blog and it was written in
portugese, and he was pretty sure it was me.

I was pretty sure it was not, since I was still holding on pretty
tightly to my not-knowing-portugese thing.  I wondered aloud if I
had a doppleganger somewhere who spoke portugese, and he had maybe
confused the two of us.

He said it was possible, though strange that this person who looked just
like me would also have a photo of his UW-Madison graduation with someone
who looked just like Bert and would have the word "Bert" in the caption.

Excuse me?

I have a photo of me at my UW-Madison graduation with my then girl, Bert.

Oh yes, and things were even stranger than you might expect.

No - I was not living a double-life (nor was Bert).

I headed over to the URL he gave me, and much to my shock, someone
had tried to steal my web life.  Let's call him "Rick" for now - since
I'm pretty sure that's his name.

Seems that Rick went ahead and created an account for me as DaveLion, a
portugese speaking resident of Luzerne, Switzerland (where I've visited,
as can be seen from my photo album, where you can find the photo that
presumably inspired the name, Dave Lion).

Then over the course of the last three months, he regularly stole photos
from my album and recreated a new fiction of who all these people were
and what were doing.  Sometimes he changed names, sometimes not.  That wasn't
enough for him, so he took my friend Mel's photos (many of which can be
found on my site) and created another persona by the name of "CatiaLuzern" who
is, as near as I can tell, my sister-in-law.

And then he kept posting photos of us and made many friends in this entire
Portugese pic/blogosphere.  He invented a story about my wonderful dog Kodi
who had died of cancer, re-inventing her as "Skiper" - the old dog who was
still battling tumors and in need of operations.  DaveLion had a huge list
of friends (I think my artificial life had more friends than I do) all
concerned about how "Skiper" was doing.  Evidently I had a car accident in
Germany and "Skiper" saved my life by getting the attention of some sheperds
while I was bleeding to death - and there are photos (from my motorcycle
accident and from another accident) to help tell the tale.

Fucked up.

Amongst all the friends, there was one in particular who seemed to be
a good friend of "DaveLion" and "CatiaLuzern" - his name was Rick Ipanema and
he was from Brazil (where it turns out all these photos were posted from).

DaveLion and Rick would often comment on what good friends they were
and Rick talked about how he met DaveLion through "CatiaLuzern".

In fact, I discovered that Rick had another photo album on another
website with a whole section of (my) photos devoted to his buddy DaveLion.

It got to the highest level of fucked-up'edness when Rick copied a joke
photo I had from Herrang of being kissed by two girls.

He copied the pose and then put the photos next to each other.
(That's his text on top of the images, not mine)

Hello, psychotic stalker hotline?  I'd like to file a complaint...

I'm comforted by the fact that many of the comments from the cute Brazilian
women (from what Portugese I could translate) seemed to think that DaveLion
was cute.  I suppose that's something.

I talked to the owner of buzznet, and he was very understanding and helpful.
Hallelujah to that - not another battle.  He handed over the accounts to me
and I shut them down, which is why users of buzznet now see a 'This Account
Is A Fake' image when looking at DaveLion.  I've sent mail off to Rick,
we'll see if he handles this intelligently or psychotically, so hopefully
I'll be able to understand why "Rick" is doing this and if I have to
fear for my life if I ever go to Brazil.

For histories sake, I've archived the sites at my Archives listing,
even though it wasn't really my website.  

2010 update:  Rick has sent me an email

30:  2005/02/28 - Dancing For Old People

I have a swing friend who often dances at retirement homes for reasonable
but meager pay, the main incentive, as I see it, being to give some joy
to the older folks who live there and can reminisce and be entertained by
a pair of young'uns dancing to their music.

Occasionally she asks me to partner with her, as she did this Monday, and
we headed out to a local 'old folks home' here in SF.  We danced for an
hour, and the senior citizens mostly sit in wheel chairs and smile or
sleep and occasionally try to clap.

I'm ashamed to confess that it's more of an emotional workout than a
physical workout.

My initial thoughts going into this the first time was that it would 
be this amazing exchange of youthful energy for this aged wisdom, but 
sadly this doesn't pan out.

I'm sure they have some wisdom, possibly to share, but mostly they're 
just trying to stay alive and go through another day.  It's hard to 
watch, and it certainly raises powerful feelings of mortality and 
fear of what may happen to me.  It would be so nice if we didn't hide 
our old people away, but after staring it in the eye I can understand 
why so many of us are afraid to go and visit and spend time with our 
earlier generations.  It's hard, and I have to force myself to do it 
everytime we go dance.

I'm always glad that I do, but it always leaves me somewhat 
melancholy.  What will my life be like when I can't dance?  What will 
it be like when I'm going to depend on someone for all my needs?  
What will I do when each day I watch life go by without being able to 
grab it by the horns anymore?

Maybe we need to find a new way to view those that came before us, to 
face our fears so that we don't need to hide from them so much, so 
that these lost generations can be a part of our lives again, and us 
theirs.  If I had the answers then there wouldn't be so many questions
in this little monologue.  Maybe I'll figure the answer out when I'm
old and nobody will listen to me...

31:  2005/03/01 - Daveosaurus

I'm making a costume for Burning Man.  That's pretty impressive considering
it's going to be my fifth year there, and after exhausting all my Burning Man
energy on my various projects, I finally decided to take care of myself
(which is nice, since it means I'll have something warm to wear at night).

That's not the point.

The point is that I needed some horns, which brought me to the Bone Room
in Berkeley.  Now, this place is kind of spooky, especially considering
the fact that I'm a quasi-vegetarian and it's full of dead animals, but
I needed to at least look at animal horns for design sake.
And while I was there I found that you can buy dinosaur fossils.


That's right, dinosaur fossils - and I don't mean casts of dinosaur
fossils, I mean the real thing.  And if you're not picky, then you can get
them supercheap.  I picked up two pieces both about the size of a small cork,
one from a duck-billed Maiasaura and from what is either a Raptor or
a Triceratops.  That's right, a Raptor or Triceratops.  Whoa again!
I had a Triceratops sticker when I was a kid and I thought that
was cool.  Total cost?  $5.  That's nifty.  I almost feel bad that I'm going
to make a necklace out of them once I pick up a dinosaur tooth for $20.
Maybe I'll get a whole set of bones and finally build a full-size replica
of the massively powerful and feared Daveosaurus.

32:  2005/06/10 - Dave's Lindy Mansion

I run what is often referred to as the "San Francisco Lindy Hop Hotel."

If you don't Lindy Hop, this probably won't make much sense, but basically
I have a house with an unusually large living room (which leads to some
fantastic parties..).  And I generally have dancers crashing at
the place from all around the world.  I only started a guestbook in late 2003,
but I think it's safe to estimate that a few hundred guests since 2001 have
stayed at the SF Lindy Hotel.

Evidently, this has become a known phenomenon - I've met many a person that
has already known me through my housing.  The tops of it was tonight, when
I met someone from Australia who was dancing in our city.  I mentioned that
she could stay at my place if she needed a host, and she replied:
"Oh, you're the Dave of 'Dave's Lindy Mansion!'"
(not that I live in a mansion - a stretched one-bedroom, maybe..)
This has happened before, but what's particularly funny is how she heard
about it.  She was at the Cleveland Airport and mentioned she was a dancer
going to San Francisco, and some random person said "Oh, are you staying
at Dave's Lindy Mansion?"

This was some airport somewhere, not a dance.

I guess I got my 15 minutes of fame, and it was really just for my apartment.

Time to move out, I think.  ;-)

33:  2005/08/04 - My Software Bites Back 

So, I use this great software for making photo albums.  Maybe I think it's
great because I wrote it.  Anyways, it played a little trick on me today.
I had put up my photos for Herrang '05, and one of my friends asked
me why I was being so explicit in one of my captions:

  Justina (Lithuania) ..ked with me week one


See, my software shortens captions that are too long by breaking them up
and putting a '..' in the middle.  It just so happens that when you break
up the caption (which is only one character too long):

  Justina (Lithuania) worked with me week one

It turns into an entirely different message.  Sorry Justina!

34:  2005/09/07 - But At Least People Use My Software..

I received two email messages today.  One from a dancing friend in
Atlanta who received an invitation from her brother and noticed
my name at the bottom, which confused her until she found out that
he was using some evite-replacement software that I had written.

And then I received a question about the album software that I wrote
from a church - it turns out it's the big church from right near
where I grew up as a kid.

Sometimes it's good to be used..

35:  2005/09/07 - It Really Is A Small World...

If the last story wasn't enough, I also received a phone call today
from a recruiter who wanted to get me a contract job with HP-FC

Now that's comedy.

36:  2005/11/12? - Smartass Dave

Sometimes I can be awfully shocking in my obnoxious behavior.

But usually it's funny, so it's okay, or at least I tell myself.

Today I outdid myself.  I was talking to a nice, innocent girl
while working at the DogHouse.  We were talking about numbers
and I had figured out something clever and used my line
(particularly amusing since I get paid $10 at the DogHouse)

Dave:  That's why they pay me the big bucks!

Then the innocent girl also figured out something clever and said:

Innocent Girl:  I didn't get my degree for nothing.
Dave:           What was your degree in?
Innocent Girl:  Art History.
Dave:           Yeah you did.

At least it's better than the canonical "fries with that" joke, yes?

37:  2005/10/12 - Archive.org saves the day!

I had a court case against a scumbag from LA (I know, that's a bit
repetitive) who had ripped me off with some online advertising.

He had sold me some advertising and then he pulled the ads without
telling me.  When I discovered that they were gone and demanded that
he put them back up, he refused.  Finally, I gave up and demanded
the rest of my money back.  He refused.


So, I took him to court, and fortunately I had figured out what he
was planning..  I showed up in court and, sure enough, he claimed
that the ads had never come down!  He stood in front of a judge
and told him that the ads had always been up and he didn't understand
why he was being sued.  Scum.

But fortunately I had predicted this and had gone to the wonderful
Wayback Machine at archive.org and had printed out a few pages
from their archives.  Fortunate yet again, it turns out the archive
had taken a snapshot of the page in question just days after the ads
had been removed.  Screw you, scumbag!

38:  2005/12/04 - Parking Respect

I live in San Francisco, and on top of that, I somewhat live in the hood.
There isn't much respect for other people's property here, and people 
are often blocking my driveway.  Today, however, was the penultimate 
in parking disrespect.  Today I noticed a car blocking my driveway 
(not actually in the driveway, they've learned that they can be blocked
in by my car that way, and they sure wouldn't want to be inconvenienced).

Most parking offenders have learned that it takes the city a few hours
to tow, so they can happily ignore my car horn honking requests to get
out of my garage for an hour or so, as long as they move before DPT shows up.

Because of this, most cars are usually gone before I can do anything
about it, so I decided to not sweat it.  No need to waste my energy on anger.

But four hours later with a car still in my way, and with plans that 
night starting to get in jeopardy, I called the DPT.  A couple hours 
later they showed up with a tow truck, and I was free.

So I now could get ready to go out that night, and unbeknownst to me,
as I did so, another car pulled in front of my driveway.  Now I'm
sitting here waiting for the DPT to show up again to tow car number two.

39:  2006/01/13 - Justin

I was heading out to Utah this weekend for another Lindy Exchange, and
had some flight problems.  I ended up getting rerouted through Portland
and got stuck there for a few hours at the airport.  My best and oldest
friend, Justin, actually lives in Portland.  I hadn't seen him in ages,
and he isn't currently working right now, so I called his cell to see
if he could drop by the airport.  Sadly, he's not good about picking up
his cell, he treats it somewhat like people would treat an answering
machine in a remote mountain cabin with intermittent electricity.

Anyways, when he finally calls me back days later, I find out that
he actually could have seen me at the airport.  He could have, because
he was *across* the hallway, at gate C-8.  About 40 feet away from me.

Lesson learned: Answer your phone when Dave calls!

40:  2006/02/21 - Department Of Parking And Traffic Acts Surprisingly!

This is amazing in this day and age.  But first, the pre-story:

In San Francisco we have weekly street cleaning.  If you're parked
during that time, you get a $40 ticket.  I forgot to move my
big old bus on 1/19 and I received a $40 ticket at 1:15pm.
That's a standard hazard of living in San Francisco.

But then I received a $40 ticket at 1:19pm.  Oops!  Those little
scooters that zoom in front of the street cleaner and issue tickets
had gang banged me and didn't even realize it.

Now, San Francisco has a policy that you have to mail in a letter
if you want to protest a ticket and then the ticket goes into holding
while they sit in judgement.  You'll eventually receive their findings
which determine whether or not you have to pay.  Bah.

So I tracked down a phone number and called the DPT directly and
went through their phone maze to find a human operator in the hopes
of saving myself from having to type up and mail a letter (I'd much
rather write this history for you, dear reader :).

And I found a human operator.  And I showed her the two identical
tickets, just minutes apart.  And do you know what she did?
She cancelled one of them.

Can you believe that?  Someone, somewhere, is answering a phone and
acting with responsibility and intelligence.  Can I get a hallelujah!

I think I just might have to spend the rest of today happy.

41:  2006/04/17 - Telemarketers Teach Dave How To Be Polite

The phone woke me up this morning.  It should be noted that because I:

A) Hate telemarketers
B) Work evenings (and generally sleep till noon)

That my number is on the do-not-call list and I'm very protective of
who gets it.  It is against the law for telemarketers to call me
unless we have a prior business relationship.  So I was surprised to 
be woken up this morning by the (already fraudulent) "Domain Registry 
Of America" for a telemarketing call.  I told them to remove me from 
their list and not contact me again, and I heard:

"Is that a demand, request or comment?"

I was sure that couldn't be what he said, so I asked him to repeat.

"Is that a demand, request or comment?"

Excuse me?  I'm not even sure how "do not contact me again" could
be referred to as a "comment" - but a demand or request?  I asked
him what the difference was, and he launched into a sermon on the
virtues of being polite when asking someone - get this - to do you
a favor.

You've got to be kidding me.  A telemarketer preaching to me about
being polite on the phone.  I should have told him (I'm sorry, I
should have "requested") that he run over himself with a car.

But I didn't.  Somehow I restrained myself and merely repeated
my demand (or is that a request??) to never contact me again.
Finally he hung up on me (without saying goodbye).

Ten minutes later the phone rang again and the person on the
other end didn't speak.  Coincidence?  I think not.

If that wasn't enough, later in the day I got another call from
a telemarketer from an insurance company.  Actually I should clarify,
the call wasn't for me, it was for "Kodi Bear."

Kodi was my dog - she died last year of cancer.  Even before the
cancer, she probably wouldn't have taken the call.

She hates telemarketers too.


42:  2006/09/27 - Police And Scooters

So, I have one of those little standup scooters.  They're legal
in California according to California Vehicle Code 21224 (by
definition in 407.5b).

Unfortunately, most police aren't aware of this.  I've been pulled
over twice before (and incorrectly cited once).  Tonight I was
meeting some friends and was pulled over and told:

Officer:  That vehicle isn't street legal.
Dave:     Yes it is.

The conversation went on for several minutes, pretty much continuing this theme.

I told the officer to check the vehicle code and they would see that
what I was doing was legal (I couldn't remember the exact number).
They didn't have a copy of the vehicle code on them.  I told them
I had done my research and there was a section of the code that made
this legal.

Officer:  Do you have a copy of that section?
Dave:     I'm not required to carry a copy of the vehicle code around.

I believe in generally respecting the police, but I get a little ornery 
when I am told I'm committing a crime when I am not.  He said I was giving
him bad attitude, though I disagree.

Officer:  You know, there are plenty of things I could cite you for!
Dave:     Such as?

I never got an answer to that question.  The officer then challenged
me on whether the vehicle was safe or not.  I thought that was odd, since
it was street legal.  Last I checked, the police force is part of the
enforcement branch of the law, not the legislative branch.  Perhaps
he should write his local representative to see if he can get the law changed
for my safety??

Eventually the officer told me he was going to go back to do some research
and find out for sure.

Officer:  My sergeant told me to confiscate the vehicle and cite you,
          but I'm not going to do that...  but the next time
          I see you driving this, I'm going to confiscate it.
Dave:     Please be sure to do that research first so you find out
          that you can't confiscate it.

I have had similar discussions when I'm pulled over in my bus.

Officer:  You need a commercial driver's license to drive a bus!
Dave:     No you don't.  It's licensed as a Class A Motorhome...

And repeat.

That's what I get for my love of unusual vehicles.

Maybe I will carry around a copy of the vehicle code.

43:  2006/09/29 - Where have I been?

Updated 2008/11/09:

So that's a bit out of date.

This is now kept somewhat up-to-date in the DaveFAQ

44:  2006/10/01 - Systems Crashing All Around Me

I run UNIX at home.  I do this because it never crashes.

Pretty much.

Except when it knows that it can really muck things up.
It generally stays up for hundreds of days at a time.  In fact, it
crashes pretty much on schedule, once a year when I'm out of the
country and can't fix it.

Except for the last few days.  This time I was home.  I was having
recent problems with my webserver because of a bug I'd started to hit
with my webserver (conceptually similar to #28637).  It was causing a
good portion of my web pages to show the wrong page of content.  Bah. 
I was trying to compile a new one with the bugfix, and the computer 
my website runs on suddenly shutdown.  And it wouldn't come back up.

This is very troubling, because I make part of my livelihood off of 
my website, and any downtime can lead to lost income.  Fortunately I 
keep a mirror of the entire website as a backup on one of my internal 
machines (over 10gig!).

So I take the disk out of my webserver and bring it upstairs to rebuild
it.  An annoying process that should last about an hour.  Not this
time.  This time, in an amazing "lightning strikes twice" moment, my
backup system crashed during the restore.  And crashed hard.  Like,
I couldn't even read the partition table when I tried to restore *that*
disk.  I had to rebuild the partition table by hand, and use that with
the webserver disk to create a new copy of my entire website, and put it
on a new system with a new web server.  Finally, over 24 hours later,
I have the majority of my website working again with a few glitches
to still clean up.

Suffice it to say I now have multiple copies of my website now littered
throughout hard drives in and out of computers.  Next step is to start
keeping copies in other buildings.  Yeesh.

45:  2006/11/18 - ATM Cards, Expiration and Magnetic Stripes

My ATM card stripe stopped working rather suddenly, and two interesting
things happened.

1) I learned a neat trick to helping a near-dead magnetic stripe work
again.  Put it in a ziploc bag and run that through the machine (obviously
this only works for swipe machines :).  Somebody suggested this to me when
they saw I couldn't get my card to work on an ATM machine, and I thought they
were on crack.  I tried it on a whim, and it worked perfectly.  I haven't
a clue why, but suddenly my non-working, non-swiping card was fully able
to be swiped on the first try.  Weird.  I'd love to know what's happening

2) I finally found out for sure that the expiration date on my first card
was a typo.  The new card I received (in 2006) had a reasonable expiration
date of 2010.  My previous card had a *later* expiration date of 2012, and
I received it in 2001.  The first few years of using it was odd, people
on the phone didn't believe that I was reading the card right because
the expiration date was 11 years out.  And many web orders were difficult
because the pages had a drop-down menu to select the expiration year,
and they usually stopped around 2007.  I had to save the HTML of a number
of pages and edit them just to submit the form.  I suppose this is technically
considered hacking, but I never heard from any of the online shops
about it.  :)

It's kind of sad not having the longest lasting ATM card in the world
anymore.  Ah well.

46:  2007/06/01 - Lindy guest, five years late

Tonight someone knocked on my door and wanted to know where the dance was.

I was perplexed by this - I asked if I was supposed to be hosting him (I
have hosted hundreds of dancers at this point and can easily lose track),
and I asked if he had been told that I could give him advice on where
to dance.  No, he insisted, there was a dance at my house that night.

I was surprised to hear it, since I was just sitting at home working,
and after further questioning was surprised to hear that there was
actually an exchange at my house.

It took a bit of discussion, but finally I figured out that he
was talking about the San Francisco Sleep Over.  Indeed, it was for
this weekend, and indeed, it was scheduled at my house.  But in 2002.

He was a bit late.

He had been travelling to SF and had been searching for Lindy Hop and found 
the weekend and hadn't checked the year.  Oops! 

47:  2007/08/16 - Dave Fought The Law, And The Dave Won

I have a little stand-up gas powered scooter.  They're dangerous
as hell, and very fun.  Unfortunately, because those little motorcycles
are *not* street legal, many police officers are under the impression
that the stand-up scooters aren't either.  They are.  Feel free to
check out California Vehicle Code 407.5b and 21224.  Unfortunately,
most cops don't know this, and most cops don't like being told that
they are wrong.  I've had to deal with this many times before.

So, back in May of 2006 I got pulled over by Officer Mark Eveleth 
(badge 193) in Santa Cruz who told me my scooter was illegal.  I 
corrected him.  He then spent the next 15 minutes combing through the 
vehicle code trying to find things to cite me for.  "Where's your 
muffler?"  "Right here, Officer." "Where's your lights?"  etc..  etc..

In the end he wrote me up on four nonsensical violations.  I did a
Trial By Written Declaration and was found guilty.  Because the courts
don't take written declaration seriously, they allow you to follow
it with a Trial De Novo (new trial).  At the new trial the "judge"
(no traffic court judge is a real judge) Kim Baskett threw out most
of the violations but left the most ludicrous one.  And here's how it goes.

Vehicle Code 21228 talks about what scooters going less than
the speed of traffic should do.  The title is:

  Operation of Motorized Scooters: Driving At Less Than Normal Speed of Traffic

Got that?

And it talks about how you have to ride on the right side of the road,
except if you're doing something like turning left, where you have to
dismount and walk your scooter across the street.

Here, read it for yourself.  (local copy)

That may be fine for those pansy-ass scooters that can't go very
fast, but that doesn't fly for driving around at normal speeds.  And
that's what the law says.  If you're going less than the normal
speed of traffic, you have to do all these things.

And that night I got pulled over, I *was* going the speed of traffic.

In fact, I was traffic, I was the only vehicle on the road besides the
cop who was a block behind me and going the same speed.

Irrelevant, claims the officer, you have to dismount regardless of
what speed you are going.  I explain to the court that this isn't
how the statute is written and ask them to please read it.  Clearly
"Judge" Kim Baskett failed to do this, because I am found guilty.

Now comes the fun part.  I decide that, even though we're only talking
about a ~$130 ticket with no points, there's the PRINCIPLE of the matter.

Not to mention the precedent that needs to be set, so I can ride my
scooter around like a normal person.

So I appeal.  And I decide to do it "In Pro Per" (without a lawyer).
This turns out to be much more difficult than I thought.  There's a
reason why google lists millions of pages if you search for "lengthy
appeals process".  So I have to file a number of briefs, and a 
continuance, as well as some proof of services.  And nobody at the 
Santa Cruz Court House seems to know who these filings are supposed 
to go to, even though they presumably deal with this every day.  And 
then they lose one of my filings and almost get my case thrown 
out against me, and I have to have another court date just to keep that
from happening.

The brief steps are as follows.  I file an Opening Brief.  This turns
out to be quite a legal document, with "Standard Of Review" and "Elements of
the Action" and "Certificate of Compliance" as well as a host of other
things that I used to not know the meaning of.

And the courts (because we're now talking about "People Of The State
Of California vs David Ljung Madison", Appellate  Case Number AP001427,
Traffic Case No 6SM026702) get a lawyer for the city attorney to 
write up a response.  So I get a ludicrous response from lawyer 
Jeffrey Barnes of the firm Atchison, Barisone, Condotti & Kovacevich. 
The Response Brief was full of misinformation, such as completely 
false claims about what the Vehicle Code states.  In addition, it 
claimed my case should be thrown out because my Opening Brief was 
late.  It wasn't.  And in double-checking the dates to make sure I 
hadn't screwed up, I realized that their Response Brief was late, 
and they had incorrectly filled out the dates on their (unsigned!)
Proof Of Service to hide that fact.  I made sure to mention that
in my Closing Brief which pointed out many of their factual
"errors" - but didn't use it to win the case because again, I wanted
to win the case on it's merit so I could set precedent and never
have to go back to court for this.

And so the court date came today.  I drove down to Santa Cruz yet
again and my case was called in the Appellate Courts.  Yet the lawyer
Jeffrey Barnes was not present.  I was worried that the case would
be dismissed in my favor, but I wouldn't get a chance to set the
precedent - thereby opening myself up to having to deal with this
all over again.  Turns out that someone from the City Attorney's
office was there, though.  She asked that the case be delayed, and
the judge said no.  The judge then went on to answer the city's claims
by pointing out that the speed of traffic is a necessary condition for
the statute and that the judges agreed completely with my interpretation
of the statute.  They judge (who seemed, at this point, to be smirking)
asked the city laywer something like, "you don't really want to jump in on
this, do you?" to which she answered no.

I had won.

I thanked the judge, and on my way out he asked me, "Are you a law student?"

I said no, and smiling he said, "This is a very well written brief"

Justice is served.


48:  2007/10/24 - Paypal implements "two men enter, one man leaves" dispute resolution policy

I had a problem with a cheap seller that I paid through paypal, and I needed
to look into their dispute resolution policy.

You can probably find it here:  (unless the URL or text changes)
[2014 update: amazingly it still hasn't been fixed, 7 years later]

  Paypal's Fight To The Death Dispute Policy

First it tells you how to report a problem.  After that, the last paragraph
gives a sobering view of possible outcomes:

  'If you *live* , you can file a general complaint if you unsatisfied with the level of service you received from PayPal.'

I'm going to hope that something is supposed to fit in that blank space
after "live" and before the comma, but perhaps Paypal is building Paypal
Dispute Resolution Arenas (tm) as we speak?

49:  2007/12/03 - Dave Fought The Law, And The Dave Won, AGAIN

After fighting the State of California for an incorrect ticket and winning
in Appeals court (and setting legal precedent for the State of California),
I had one more bone to pick.

Back in November of 2006, after having parked my bus along the park
on Fulton for over a year, the city decided they didn't like it anymore,
and they illegally towed it.  At first they claimed I was violating
CA VC22502A, the vehicle code which requires that you are parked within
18 inches of the curb.  This was nonsense, as my wheels were *pressed up
against the curb* as they are *every single time* I park my bus, since
the thing is so damn wide.

This was confirmed by the towing company, who remembered that the bus
was against the curb.  I got my bus out of the tow yard immediately
and fought the tow.  My tow hearing was denied, with no reason given.
I talked to the belligerent Sergeant Ching, head of the towing portion
of the district.  I've since discovered that Sergeant Ching was arrested
for a DUI back in 2002 and charged with misconduct.  And now he gets
to hassle people who get towed.

Anyways, I called Sergeant Ching, and asked him if he could explain
what portion of the vehicle code I was violating.  He was difficult
through the entire process, and refused to give me the "authority of
tow" (the right they had to remove my vehicle) until two months had
passed, claiming I had been towed for 22651b, a different part of the code.

There's a part of the vehicle code (CA VC22852b) requires that I am
notified of the authority of tow within 48 hours.  This is not just
nitpicking, this is to allow for due process, which I did not get.
This was really important, because I didn't get to find out what I
had been towed for until after I had my tow hearing.  I asked for
another tow hearing, because I can demonstrate that they also didn't
have a right to tow me under their newly claimed section of vehicle
code and was refused.  There goes due process, and there goes the
cities requirements to follow it's own laws.

So I filed a complaint with the city attorney.

He denied my claim.  Evidently it's his job to estimate whether
or not I have a case (and presumably whether or not I was likely
to pursue it).  Perhaps he decided I wouldn't pursue it further.

He was wrong.

(Maybe he should have read this blog  :)

So on 10/17/2007 I filed suit against the City and County of San Francisco,
and on November 28th I went to court.

It was quite pleasing, very similar to the experience I had with the
scooter appeal.  This time I had two attorneys (City and County) up
against me, and they were bumbling with attempts to come up with reasons
why they could get away with an illegal tow.  On a few occasions the
judge actually challenged what they were saying before I even had
a chance to, and I had to stare at the ground to avoid chuckling out
loud.  My favorite part was when, in answer to my point that I had
not received due process, they claimed:
  "This [the issue over 22852b, notification of authority] is not
   important, all that is relevant is whether this was a legitimate tow."

To which I responded:
  "I am shocked to hear that the city does not feel that the
   vehicle code applies to it.  I am not sure why they feel
   that there should not be due process."

Judgement was filed in my favor (on my birthday, nonetheless) for
the tow fine, the court costs, as well as the cost of the lock they
cut to get into my bus.  Take that, city hall!

50:  2007/12/18 - Dave's secret iPhone

So, I've been wanting an iPhone for a while, but what was holding me
back (apart from $$) was that the iPhone was locked.  It was software
locked and SIM locked (to AT&T, nonetheless).  And since AT&T sucks
in such an incredible way (I'd put that in my history if it wasn't
such a long story), I couldn't use an iPhone.

Then a brilliant team figured out how to unlock it.  So after 
pondering for a while, I decided to get one, and found out that this 
was tricky.  See, the iPhone had come out with different firmware 
versions, and November 8th they released 1.1.2, which the cracking 
team hadn't figured out yet.  They probably wouldn't be able to break 
it until 1.1.3 came out, and nobody knew when that would be.  I 
searched ebay, I searched craigslist, and to no avail - the unlocked 
(older) phones were all going for hundreds more.

Finally I gave up.  I knew that when 1.1.3 came out, I wouldn't be able
to get a 1.1.2 phone anymore anyways, so I went out to buy a new phone.

At the store I asked if they had an 1.1.1 around, and the clerk smiled,
knowing full well what I was planning and said no.  So I bought the phone
and took it home.  I jailbreaked the phone so I could use it as an iPod
even if the phone wouldn't work.  And as I played around with my new toy
I noticed that, according to the settings, I was holding a vintage v1.1.1
iPhone in my hands.  What the heck?  And sure enough, it unlocked just fine.

Perhaps the clerk had some hidden in back and decided to give me a break?

Who knows.

Either way, go go new iPhone powers!

51:  2008/01/17 - Delta Airlines sucks ass

On the 17th I flew on Delta to Fort Lauderdale for the SoFlex Lindy Exchange.

Or was *supposed* to fly to Fort Lauderdale.  When I got to the airport,
the flight was overbooked, and they were offering $400 in Delta credit
to fly out the next morning.  I didn't want to miss the Thursday dance,
so I decided against it.  This turned out perchance to be a mistake.
For one thing, after it was too late to get the $400, I realized I was
actually flying in too late to catch the dance anyways, I had been
thinking of the flight to another city I was taking a few days later.  So
it wouldn't have mattered if I had stayed in SF another day.  Actually,
as it turns out, I would have made it to Fort Lauderdale earlier.

We boarded the plane, and then sat there for a good hour or so.
Mechanical problems, we are told, and we wait and wait.  Finally
the plane takes off and we arrive late into the layover in Atlanta.
As we land, we are told that everyone with a connecting flight has
missed it as all the planes have already left.  So the vast majority
of us whose final stop was not Atlanta head over to Customer Service
to figure out what to do.

And the fun begins.

First of all, I have never seen such an incompetent and lazy customer
service staff.  There were approximately 7 agents sitting around at the
counter, and on average they were helping about 4 people.  Many of them
were sitting around and talking with each other and looking bored.  All
the while there was a huge line of people, all stuck in Atlanta and very
tired.  Finally one of the nearby gates decided to help out, and for reasons
entirely unclear, they would pick people randomly out of the line to bring
to the gate to find hotels and flights, usually taking them from the very
end of the line, helping people who had just shown up, and ignoring those
of us who had been in line for more than an hour.  When some of us at the
front of the line finally confronted the agent as he was picking the 
seven people from the back of the line to help, he merely waved us 
off and continued to bring the seven people with him.  This happened 
when I was standing at the front of the customer service line with 
the inept customer service agents.  I should have gone over to the 
gate, because I *stayed* at the front of that line while those seven 
people got their issues resolved at the gate.  Instead I made the 
mistake of watching 7 agents helping 4 people for the entire time.

Finally one of the agents calls me forward.  They initially suggest
a flight out on either the 19th or 20th.  This is the *17th* mind you.
After much pressure, I finally get them to put me on a flight 24 hours
later than I was supposed to be in Fort Lauderdale, and they give me
a hotel room and a food voucher worth $7.  I'm not sure what I can possibly
eat with that, but at least (I think) I'll finally be able to get some sleep,
as it's now past 1am.  I head out to baggage claim to get my luggage and
wait in another line.  When I finally get to the front I am told that they
*refuse* to get my luggage.  I explain that I have medicine and contact
lens supplies that I need, and they refuse again, claiming that they don't
have any employees to get my luggage.  More on this later.

I go outside and wait for a hotel.  There's a mass of people waiting for
hotel shuttles at this point.  I watch a number of hotel shuttles come and
go.  As it turns out, with the *plethora* of hotels actually near the airport,
Delta Airlines has decided to place me extremely far away, and I spend about
an hour waiting for a shuttle that takes almost another 30 minutes to get to
the hotel.  I spend most of this time calling people trying to figure out
how I'll get to my host's house the next day, but my cell phone dies.
I think about how nice it would be to charge it with the charger which is in
my luggage that they won't give me.

I finally get to the hotel.  I travel quite a bit and I've gotten laid
over because of late flights before, and I can understand that, but this
is, by far, the worst hotel I've ever stayed in.  Motel, actually.  Northwest
once delayed me *in my own city* and put me up in a four star hotel right
next to the airport.  That's class.  This motel was not.

I finally get to sleep around 4am and I'm waken by repeated poundings on
my door by the maids in the morning.  I keep yelling at them to go away,
but it seems they don't understand english.  I'd put a "do not disturb"
sign on the door, but the room does not have one.  I call the front desk
to tell them to make the maidstaff leave me alone, and they remind me
that checkout is at 11am.  I explain that I plan on staying until about
3pm since I've barely slept and my flight is in the evening.  The front
desk tells me that Delta has only paid for that night.  Not even 8 hours.
I get up, exhausted, and sit in the lobby for about an hour waiting for
the shuttle again.  One of the shuttle drivers, incidentally, starts yelling
at me when I politely ask him "Is this shuttle going to the airport?"  I'm
still not sure what he was upset about.  Again, the worst motel I've ever
stayed in.

I get back to the airport and head to baggage claim, so I can get my luggage
(and charge my phone so I can actually make some phone calls).  Again the
baggage office refuses to get me my bags.  They explain that my bags actually
went to Fort Lauderdale the night before.

Excuse me?

Turns out they had gone on the flight I was told I had missed.

Excuse me?

No, my bags aren't capable of travelling in time.  It turns out that my
second flight was late and that I could have caught it, if only the flight
attendants hadn't told me that it had already taken off.  And I could have
missed the awful experience of dealing with Delta's awful customer service
and that crappy Atlanta motel.

Way to go Delta!

Update:  Delta responds with an apology and a $100 travel voucher.
That's a step in the right direction, but not even close to worth
the trouble I went through.  So, Delta's off my future flight plans.

52:  2008/01/27 - Item Not As Described

I was perusing ebay for lightbulbs and came across an 18" neon light
that spells "SEX"  Buy it now for $12, shipping is $12, total cost
of $24, offered by ebay seller rounder23.  How awesome is that!

When the item arrives, I am surprised to see that the 18 inch light
turned out to be actually 8 inches (about 1/3 the size).

I send mail to the seller, rounder23 (also known as Shawn Peacher):

  To: rounder23
  From: Dave Madison
  Subject: Item Name: NEON SEX Bar Sign Light Up 18" w/ Base NEW In Box RARE

  Not quite.  The sign is 8".

  The box isn't even 18", so I'm not sure where you got the measurements
  from.  Did you send me the wrong light?

His response (and only response) is that the box was 18" which I had
already noted was false - nor am I clear as to how he claiming to
sell "a neon sex light in an 18 inch BOX!"

Woohoo!  An 18" box!?  Really!

Oh.  No.  Not quite, my friend.

So, I tried to resolve it with this guy, but he wanted me to pay the
shipping to send this light back, another $12.  I don't see any
justification for having to pay $12 for his mistake/lie.  I told
him that I wanted a refund, if he wanted me to send the item back
then he could pay shipping and I would happily do that.

He did not respond.

Nor did he respond to any of my numerous followup emails, so I opened
up an ebay dispute and a paypal dispute.

Here's where it gets interesting.

It turns out that paypal's "money back guarantee" is a joke.
They don't want to deal with the hassle of actually getting *more*
money from the seller, so they only guarantee the *original* money
spent and only if you return the item.

To illustrate the problem with this, imagine that I sell you 
something heavy, like a generator, on ebay.  You get the item for a 
steal at only $100, but the shipping is $500 freight.  You pay me 
$600 and are surprised to receive a large concrete block instead.
Paypal will give you your $600 back if you pay $500 to ship that 
concrete block back.  You're out $500 because of my scam.
I don't think so.

But I noticed in the paypal dispute that they needed a tracking
number to facilitate processing the dispute.  And that's when
I realized I was justified in acting quid pro quo.  An "eye
for an eye" if you will.

You see, he had claimed to send an 18" light which was really
an 8" light in a box which he then claimed was 18" (but not quite).

So I realized that to properly send this 8" light back, I
could send back a 4" light in an 8" box (but not quite).

And I did.

I took a normal light bulb and then, with the help of some *neon*
colored markers, transformed it into a beautiful "neon 8 inch sex light".


And it was glorious.

And I sent it back, and sure enough, the seller rounder23/Shawn Peacher
was likely confused.  And did nothing.  And didn't realize that a
few days later, when the tracking number showed the item had been
delivered, paypal's automated dispute system closed the dispute,
and refunded the money.

Now do you see the quid pro quo?

That's when rounder23 stepped into high gear.  He appealed the case
at paypal and got furious on ebay, and the disputes stayed open for
a few weeks, but eventually paypal decided to close it.  I can't help 
but imagine the customer support at paypal hearing his story and 
trying to act business-like towards him but at the same time covering 
up his quiet snickering.

And to be clear, I have no intention of ripping him off, as I've 
contacted him multipled times to offer sending back the "18 inch" 
light *if he just sends me the shipping costs* - I have been ignored 
every time.  Doesn't matter to me, because I have my money back.

Point and match, rounder23.  Go try and rip someone else off.

53:  2008/04/24 - Where Am I Now?

"Where Are They Now?"

That's the title of a blog of one of my long-ago exes that a mutual
friend sent my way for a chuckle.

Recently she's become married, and I'm under the impression that she's
happy, and that makes me happy.  She was a sunshiney person when I met
her, and it's good to hear that her sun is still shining.

Her posting isn't as happy, though.  In it, she lists her exes
anonymously, with such titles as "The Uppity" and "The Druggy."

It isn't hard to figure out that I am listed as "The Goof Off"

At least I didn't get "The Druggy"  :)

Anyways, here's the explanation of where her life would be had she
stayed with me, the goof off:

   Boyfriend #8 (The Goof Off): We met and dated in 
   college when his goofing off was cute and age-appropriate. 
   His motorcycle really won me over. But, after I had seen 
   some of the world, it all seemed less charming. I'd likely 
   be miserable, living in a tour bus, traveling the country 
   swing dancing, while trying to write my memoir.  I don't 
   think I'd have had any children with him, given he was so 
   much like a child in so many ways.


I was pretty surprised by the rudeness of posting something like
this online, even if anonymous.  I thought for a while about how
or if I wanted to respond to it, when I realized that the best
response was clearly to post a response to my "blog"

All rudeness aside, what really surprises me is the clear
lack of self that she demonstrates in each of these listings.
My favorite is "Boyfriend #10" where her "life prediction" is:

   I'd likely be a lesbian stripper if we'd stayed together...
   because it seems like those are the people with whom he rolls.

So - the question that bugs me is, doesn't she have any say as
to what happens in her life?  Or does she just have to fit herself
(rather unhappily, as we can clearly see from her ex-boyfriend listing)
to whomever she's with?  Strange.

So, in the same vein, here's my entry for her:

  Girlfriend #6: If we had stayed together, I'd likely
  be miserable, because she's actually married to someone else now.


Okay, now back to goofing off.

UPDATE 2009/02/02:  Someone sent me more of her musings - seems
she's writing reviews from Yelp.com, and she's webbed me again.
This time it was positive, perhaps she was working through something
last time.

Here's the 2 star review for Pomodoro, it's actually pretty amusing:

 "In college, I had this male friend who wanted to date me.  I, on the 
  other hand, felt very lukewarm about him.  I can't tell you why he 
  didn't trip my trigger, exactly, but I can tell you that he didn't 
  get me all a-flutter like the dangerous motorcycle riding senior I 
  had my eye on.

  That's how I felt about Pomodoro.  The pasta was only okay.  The fish 
  was, well, the usual.  Nothing stood out as particularly interesting, 
  zesty... RISKY.

  Pomodoro rides one of those ridiculous scooters to class instead of a 
  big, burly Honda Magna.  Pomodoro will pick you up at your dorm, open 
  the doors for you, and pay for your movie ticket.  And yet... meh.

  Sorry, Pomodoro.  I didn't call back because I... um... lost your phone number."

54:  2008/06/11 - Dave Fought The Law, And The Dave Won, AGAIN AGAIN

So, I've been incorrectly stopped by cops because of my silly scooter
a number of times, and I even got a ticket that I had to appeal in
the California Supreme court (and won!).

I've been pulled over in my Triumph because it has a tiny backseat,
and police want to harass me about that (even though it's not against
the law) and they hold me for questioning.  This is, incidentally,
a violation of my constitutional fourth amendment rights against
unreasonable search and seizure.

I've been pulled over in my bus a bunch of times because police thought
(incorrectly) that I need to have a CDL to drive it.

I've even had my bus towed (incorrectly) by the police when it was
legally parked, and had to sue the city to get my money back (and
won, again, of course).

It seems the police like to pull me over.

So, I was feeling rather brave when I approached the courts to fight
yet another mistake of our loyal police force.  This time I had been
given a ticket for a U-Turn I did that was legal, but the cop did not
fully understand the vehicle code.  I won't go through the entire argument
here, but it seems clear to me at this point that I have a far better
understanding of the vehicle code than most police officers I encounter.
The basic point was that a U-Turn is legal if you have visibility on
the road you are on - I had done it right after a left-turn and the
cop thought I needed visibility on the road I had turned off of.  Incorrect,
and irrelevant when you consider that the maneuver is as dangerous as
pulling out of a driveway at the same location.

And sure enough, today I got my case dismissed.  The amusing thing
is that this was quite disappointing to the cop, who spends his time
sitting on this street looking for violations exactly like this.
Evidently nobody had read the vehicle code and fought him on it before.
After my case was dismissed, he asked the judge, quite flustered, what
section of vehicle code he could cite people for.  The judge, of course,
explained that she could not give legal advice (not even to a cop,
kudos to her for that).  The cop then blurted out, "Well, can we just
throw out the next case, because it's for the same violation on the
same street?"

I turned around to the last person sitting in the courtroom, and he
looked at me with eyes that very clearly said "THANK YOU"  :)

I've got another ticket to fight in a month.  Also nonsense.  And
I expect to get it dismissed as well.

At what point can I get a restraining order to keep the police
from harassing me with nonsensical tickets/tows?  Yeesh.

55:  2008/08/09 - Rude Customers and the Sushi Bath

I went to one of my favorite sushi places tonight, and had a
fairly entertaining and rude experience.

I was sitting at the sushi counter, and there was a (tipsy) woman
and her boyfriend(?) sitting one seat over.  The woman was rudely
harassing the sushi chef, which I don't approve of if only because
he's a great sushi chef and a nice guy.

This woman kept complaining about everything she got, saying that
she was "fucking with her" and that she "wanted the good shit"

So he kept giving her new dishes, trying to please her, but she
kept repeating this over and over, and that she shouldn't fuck with
her because she worked in a restaurant and she was a chef and she
knew what was going on.


I keep wanting to say something in the chef's defense, but I keep
figuring it's better not to butt in - even though the chef was clearly
unhappy with how he was being treated, and she clearly didn't give
a damn.

But I didn't have to worry about butting in, because she scooted
over to the seat next to me and started to try to win me over to
her side (while definitely violating my personal space).  Likely.

So we have a short conversation that goes like this:

Woman:  ..blah blah blah blah..
Dave:   So you're a chef?
Woman:  ..blah blah blah blah..
Dave:   So you're a chef?
Woman:  ..blah blah blah blah..
Dave:   So you're a chef?
Woman:  [pauses, a bit confused]
Woman:  Well...  I work in a restaurant.
Dave:   So then you should know better to treat the chef here like that.
Woman:  What are you talking about?  Are you serious?  Are you fucking with me?
Dave:   I think you've been very rude to the chef.  He's a master
        at what he does.  I think you should sit down, eat your food,
        and apologize when you leave.
Woman:  Oh, of course, I'm all about that, I'll definitely apologize, but ...

And then she tried to win me back to her side.  I simply told her
multiple times that she should sit down, eat her food, and everything
was going to be okay.

At some point tears start to well up in her eyes and she tells me that
I have insulted her.  I'm not sure how I can insult someone just by 
telling them that they're being rude, but then again I've never 
(directly) experienced the idiocy of an intoxicated brain.  She went 
on about how she was thinking about walking out.

I repeat many times that she should just sit down and eat her food and
everything will be fine, but she kept trying to defend herself to me.
It got to the point where the manager came over and asked if I needed
help with the woman.  Fortunately my food came and I told the 
woman that I was going to eat, she should do the same, and that we 
were done talking.

She sat back down, but didn't seem to be eating, she kept talking
to her useless boyfriend.  I happily started to enjoy my meal.

For about five minutes, at least, until I decided to take a bath.

Or not quite.

Suddenly I was covered in water.  The genius woman had thrown
her glass of water at me.  Particularly amusing about this was
that she did such a good job of throwing the water that she lost
her balance and fell down, taking a bunch of counter stools with her.

Hysterical, albeit quite a bit soaking wet.

I'm not sure why I got the water attack instead of the chef,
since she was clearly upset with both of us for irrational reasons,
although it did occur to me that the chef had a sushi knife.

I took out my phone and wallet, neither of which were damaged,
fortunately, and started to clean myself off while the boyfriend
tried to help the idiot woman stand up again.  She eventually
left, and the boyfriend was super apologetic, offering to pay
for my drink (irony being that I was drinking a glass of water).
Finally they left, and the management and waitstaff came over and 
took fantastically good care of me.  They were very apologetic, but I 
assured them that it was not their fault and that everything was 
fine, even a little amusing.  In the end they gave me some special 
sushi and wouldn't let me pay for my meal.  Like I said, great 

On my way out the chef bumped fists with me, as a thank you for
the defense, and I assured them that I would happily come back.

And people ask me why I don't drink alcohol.  Go figure.

Some day maybe I'll understand why the question in society is
"why don't you drink?" instead of "why do you drink?" but not today.

Now it's time to take a hot shower!

56:  2008/11/05 - My Travelling Cat

I had a realization today, which is rather fitting since it would
be my Bear's birthday today.  She would have been 16.

In my house, many years ago, I had a dog named Kodi Bear and a cat
named Cinder.  Into my house came the little kitten Mr. Peterson,
a 6 week old stray who still needed a mom to take care of her.

Mr. Peterson bonded to my dog Kodi in a way that is not normal in
the animal world.  As far as Mr. P was concerned, Kodi was her mom
in ever way.  She followed Kodi around, unsuccesfully attempted to
nurse off of Kodi (for *eight* years), and pretty much ignored the
rest of the world.

She generally avoided people, including me, only tolerating human
affection in the odd circumstance that they were holding her while
standing up.  Otherwise she was content to be Kodi's little "puppy"

It took a few years before I realized what was going on.  When
Cinder and Mr. Peterson first met, they did not get along.  I
had to teach Cinder to not pick on Mr. Peterson and they finally
became friends.  What I didn't realize is that Cinder had actually
learned that he couldn't pick on Mr. Peterson when I was watching,
and Mr. Peterson had learned that I was off limits, and that's when
she finally turned to Kodi for the motherly love that she needed.

I discovered this one day when, in a rather unusual move, Mr. Peterson
came up on lay down on my stomach.  This was shocking behavior for her,
as she generally spent her time with Kodi.  I enjoyed the moment, and
then she suddenly got up and walked away behind me.  I turned my head 
around to watch her go and caught Cinder out of the corner of my eye
swatting at Mr. Peterson and putting her in her place.  All this time,
the best friendship of Mr. Peterson and Cinder was based on a clear
"allocation" of the people in the house - Cinder would get me, and Mr. P
could have Kodi.

Eventually, Cinder passed away, and I wondered if Mr. Peterson would
finally realize that she could be my cat, but any such time spent
together would make her clearly nervous and fidgity, almost as if
she was haunted by the ghost of Cinder.  She was content to sleep
at the foot of my bed, where she always had, so strongly conditioned
to believe that Cinder owned the head of the bed.

And eventually again, as time passes, Kodi Bear passed away.
Mr. Peterson and I became much closer, she would spend more
time with me and definitely started to come to me for affection
and attention, but eventually, as always, would get nervous and
have to run away, chased by Cinder's ghost.

Many of you who know me already realize that I travel quite a bit,
and, marching to my own drum as usual, my cat often travels with me.
I have a rule that I won't leave my cat alone for more than two
weeks, so if I'm gone for longer than that, then she comes with.

It's not always easy, for either of us (you try to plan trips
to Europe where you are restricted to pet-friendly airlines and
pet-friendly hotels), but in the end I think it's worth it.  I
know that she has a great time, for example, every year when we
go to Herrang, Sweden, and she gets lots of attention from the
dancers at the camp there (and gets to eat yummy Swedish cat food!)

But something became clear to me today.  In the last few years,
Mr. Peterson has finally given up the "ghost of Cinder."  She
sleeps next to me, and is totally comfortable with human affection.
I used to think it was just a change that needed to come sooner or
later, but I realized that it was the travel that did it.  Everytime
we travel somewhere, she bonds closer to me.  We go to all these
places that Cinder has never been.  Cinder never flew anywhere with
me, and this makes it clear to Mr. Peterson that we are a team now,
and there's nothing that can come between that.  Cinder was a great
cat, but for Mr. Peterson's sake, it's good that she's finally let
him go.

I love my little cat, we're in Zurich right now, but we'll be
heading back home soon.  When we get there, Mr. P will happily
jump out of her travel bag and meow to me that she's happy to
be back in our (ghost-free) home.

57:  2009/03/19 - Flourishing Improv Career

I've been doing Improv Theatre for a number of years now, but only
took it seriously the last year or so because of my mentor and
teacher Rafe.  I didn't think I was ready to perform however, but
Rafe shocked me by telling me that he not only wanted me to perform,
but that it would be with him.  Wow.  He decided on an improvised
Western long-form.

So then I started to get nervous, because my first performance was 
going to be on stage in a theater full of people, many of whom knew 
me.  I thought it would be nice to get a chance to perform on the 
BATS stage before the big show (BATS is the center of improv 
performing and teaching here in SF).  Perhaps in the Sunday Players, 
which is a student production I've been thinking of joining.

Well, it turned out that my chance came to be on the BATS stage,
but not at all as I expected.  I was flying back from one of my
many travels, and was fortunate to be on one of the new planes
for Southwest Airlines wifi testing, so I was checking my email,
and Rafe had asked if I could make it to a rehearsal that night,
because BATS needed a supporting player.

The rehearsal was for an improvised Hitchcock show.  With four
of the biggest names in improv.  Holy cow.  These are my heros,
and I have a chance to be on stage with them.  I was just a
supporting player as opposed to a main player (i.e., evil henchmen,
waiter, driver, etc..) so I didn't spend that much time on stage,
but it was an incredible experience and an honor to work with
these guys.  In the end, my hope for a warmup turned into something
much bigger than my main show, and the improvised Western was a
cake walk, and lots of fun.  I got to play the psychotic villain
in the first Western, and the next night was a "character redemption"
story of sorts, where I got to play one of the leads across from Rafe.

An honor all around.  Yippee 'kay yay, mother...  *ahem*

58:  2009/03/21 - High School Hitler

My life in Junior High and High School was pretty dark, thanks to a
number of sadistic bullies who tormented and beat me the entire time I
was there.  You can read about it in the High School section of DaveHistory.

One particular scumbag has always stood out to me.  Tony Campagna.
The last of the bullies.  My Senior year, when I had started to grow
from being so tiny, and it looked like people finally might leave
me alone, Tony wanted to show how tough he was by regularly attacking me.

But not by himself, he was always with his "gang" of two other punks,
and often attacking me behind my back.  One of his favorite pasttimes,
it seems, was to sneak up behind me when I was opening my locker
and slam my head into the locker and then walk away.  Very brave.

I actually saw Tony at the five year reunion.  I actually thought
about starting a fight.  He was bigger than me, but I am no longer
the small, frightened child that he picked on, and I was fully
prepared to give him the beating of his life.  My biggest fear
was whether or not I would stop.

But I decided against it.  At some point we need to let go.
Perhaps not forgive, but at least move on.

People talk about forgiveness in these things, but I'm not sure why 
it would make sense to forgive someone who has so brutalized you and 
has seemingly had no redemption to speak of.  Perhaps if I was 
religious this would make sense to me.  As it stands though, I figure 
it's best to forget about these people and look at the fantasticness 
that my life has become since freeing myself from High School's 
despicable clutches.

Fast forward another 15 years.  Facebook exists, and I use it to keep 
in contact with the hundreds of friends I have through the dancing 
world.  Dancers are all tech savvy, so email and facebook are common 
in that crowd.  But now my high school classmates are starting to 
learn about the internet, and in the last year a bunch of them have 
started to "friend" me on facebook.  It's been surprising so far, 
since a good portion of them certainly weren't friends of mine.

I always wondered what would happen when one of the people who
used to attack me got on facebook.  Evidently Penny Arcade saw
this coming as well:

And then it happened, the friend request arrived.
And to top it off, it was none other than Tony Campagna.

What really surprised me was the starkness of the friend request.

No message, no notice of apology or redemption.  Just a friend request.

And this raises a bunch of questions.  I can't help but wonder what
his perspective is on all this.  I can't help but wonder if he has
somehow *forgotten* about his brutality - and somehow thinks of us
as actually school buddies.  Or has he realized the err of his ways
and has somehow magically converted into a decent human.  Considering
human nature and the fact that no note came with the friend request,
I'm guessing it's the former and nothing has changed.  Sadly, his
facebook profile shows two small daughters and I sadly wonder about their
future with a bully for a dad.  I suppose it happens around the world.

And how to respond to a friend request from someone who gave us
such harm?  I remember that facebook at one point had this amusing
application called enemybook which was supposed to keep track of
your enemies, but I don't really need enemies, I always thought it
was a better policy to ignore and move on.

Maybe I'll just send him a link to this part of my website.

Update: 2009/04/09
I sent him the link.

No response.

I guess in the end the fairy tale moral was correct, the coward
was the bully, not the geek.

59:  2009/06/12 - Computer Mass-Suicide
I run Linux at home.  And this means that my computers never crash.

At least in theory.

And at least not while being watched.  Evidently my computers are 
massively insecure and co-dependent, because they manage to all crash 
as soon as I leave on a long trip.  This seems to happen about half 
of the time I leave for a month-long trip, which I do regularly these 
days.  To call it frustrating would be an understatement, especially 
since my email and work and website all require that my home machines 
are up and running.  My failures seem to come in groups, such as the 
time that I realized that the two external hard drives I had bought 
*just* for backup had both failed about a month after the warranty 
expired.  Thank goodness I didn't find that out when I needed to make 
a restore.  But I'd only had two epic failures, one was back in 2006,
and then I had one recently.

First let's do a rundown of the important computer equipment in my house.

1) Laptop (Panasonic *Toughbook*)
2) Workstation
3) Firewall/Webserver
4) Mail server / guest computer
5) LCD Display (Workstation)

Five components, got it?  I was, of course, travelling.  I had my laptop
with me, when the laptop fan started making lots of noise and the laptop
started overheating.  I had to figure out how to open up a Toughbook Y5,
which was a daunting experience.  Unfortunately when I closed it up,
the fan was sometimes working (though the laptop was still getting too
hot) and the screen now had a huge line of dead pixels on it, and two
of the keys were broken.  I've fixed one of the keys, and more than
half of the dead pixels have magically healed themselves, but the laptop
is still problematic.

Twelve hours later my mail server went down.  Fortunately I had a friend
who was house-sitting that night, usually I just need them to reboot and
handle the fsck which I can walk them through over the phone.  No such
luck.  I called one of my UNIX geek friends, and we had to walk through
it the next morning, one of the hard drives had severely failed and needed
to be worked around.  When I got home later I discovered that *two* of
the fans had broken, causing the system to overheat and the drive to fail,
not to mention a second backup drive that also turned out to have gone bad.)

Okay, fine, at least the system was up.  Except that 24 hours later I
couldn't log into my main workstation.  When I got home, I discovered
that the workstation had literally fried - it took a bit to realize the
power supply had actually broken.  I put in a new power supply and decided
it was time to update all my computers.  This was when the firewall
had it's failure - it needed a debian update that it was not able to
finish, I had to do days of tweaking to the packages to convince it
to load everything properly, until then my webserver was down and I
had no network.  Furthermore, my LCD display stopped turning on properly
after sleep mode - it would take minutes of turning it on and off to
get it to wake back up.  My LCD had a hardware failure as well, though
it was kludgily solved by turning off the sleep mode for the display.

So, let's look at that list again:

1) Laptop    hardware failure
2) Workstation    hardware failure
3) Firewall/Webserver  software failure
4) Mail server / guest computer    hardware failure
5) LCD Display (Workstation)    hardware failure

Got that?  It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

  "Do not worry about your troubles in mathematics,
   I assure you that mine are far greater"
                                 - Albert Einstein

60:  2009/07/12 - Sad Day On The Dance Floor
(technically the morning of the 13th)

I'm at Herräng, as I am every July, and things were going swimmingly
until tonight.  I was dancing in the Folkets Hus with Ursi when suddenly
a lead fell to the floor.  My first reaction was to be annoyed with the
people all staring.  I think that the best way to deal with someone
who has a spill on the dance floor is to look away so as to not embarrass
them.  That was not the case here.  It took a few seconds to register
that when he had fallen he was completely prone.  He was lying flat
on the ground and not moving.  After a moment, I realized that this
wasn't just a run of the mill 'embarassing moment' and something was

People had started to gather around, and I think someone mentioned
that he wasn't breathing.  I'm not completely sure, as things become
a blur when you move into high gear.  But somehow I knew that he 
wasn't breathing.  I also knew that my friend Kyle was likely to be 
somewhere in the building, and he is trained in Search and Rescue, so 
I needed to find him.  I ran out of the ballroom, and I think I said 
"We need to get Kyle."

I ran downstairs looking for Kyle and a phone.  I heard someone
mention 1-1-2, which is the emergency number in Sweden/Europe.
I didn't even realize I had a phone on me at first, and when
I did I assumed, incorrectly, that I wouldn't be able to call
112 with my American cell.  Turns out I was wrong, I'll have to
remember that for next time.

I was downstairs and Kyle was found in the bar.  He seems to recall 
that I found him in the bar, grabbed his hand and brought him out to 
the foyer, I seem to recall him showing up in the foyer.  Again, 
things are a bit blurry.  He runs upstairs (pushing people out of the 
way) and I follow.

It's been about a minute or a minute and a half now, and Kyle
goes in the room and stands over for a few seconds to see what
is going on.  Some of the people have started mouth-to-mouth, and
evidently his heart is stopping and/or weak.  Kyle takes over and
starts CPR, giving breaks for the others to do mouth-to-mouth.
The man makes short gasping breaths after getting mouth-to-mouth,
but then stops, and his pulse is very weak.  It's looking bad.

At this point, someone has finally called 112, and an ambulance
is on the way.  The room is mostly cleared, though Kyle tells me
not to leave.  Peter from Portland is also in the room and mentions
the possibility of Diabetes, and we realize we need to figure out
if the dancer has any medical issues.  Unfortunately, nobody knows
who the dancer is, just that he's Swedish, and possibly from Uppsala.

I run outside and start a search to figure out his identity and
eventually find someone who has a name.  I break into the reception
and go through the books to find his info.  Someone points out that
he has a girlfriend, and we only get a first name.  So then we need
to hunt her down, all while an ambulance is coming and a team of
people are trying desperately to keep this man alive in the ballroom.

At some point Abeth(sp?) from reception arrives and tries to find info
on the computer, but it turns out the dancer wasn't taking classes
that week.  My guess is that he's probably staying in a tent, since
the general accomodations are only for registered students.  We get
a last name for the girlfriend, and Peter jumps in a car to go to the
school area to see if he can find her.  Juan and I are standing there
brainstorming, when we realize we just need to go up to the camping
area and start yelling the girlfriend's name, so we grab some bikes
and ride.

It's weird how powerful social programming is, even for someone like
me who generally doesn't concern himself much with social mores.  I
get to the tents and for a second I really feel like it's wrong to
start yelling someone's name at 4 in the morning.  I actually have to
remind myself that a man is dying, and I start hollering for the girlfriend,
while Juan is combing the other side.  I remember that there are tents
behind the Alhambra Ballroom and I run back there, just in time to meet
another dancer who had realized who we were looking for and that he knew
where she was camping, he got to her tent and waved me over.

I checked with her, no medical history, and sent Juan back on a bike
to tell the team at the Folkets Hus while I talked briefly to the girlfriend.

I got back to the Folkets Hus and the ambulance had arrived, probably
about 10 minutes later.  Kyle was still inside, but I didn't want to 
get in the way, so I waited outside to make sure Kyle was okay.  The 
medics decided that the man needed to go in to Nortallje, so a helicopter
came in and landed at the Folkets Hus, and he was transported out.

I talked to Kyle, he was still in adrenaline mode and heavily concerned
about his patient, as was I, so I got Herrang to get us a car and a driver
to take us to the hospital.

When we got there, we found out the bad news.  The dancer hadn't made it.

They had kept him on resuscitation the whole way, but he didn't come
through, in the end he had been on life support for about 90 minutes including
the 20 or so minutes that Kyle and his crew had spent trying to keep him alive.

It's amazing how crushing that is.  Kyle was devastated for obvious
reasons, as was I.  It's a whole mix of emotions you go through.  Feeling
huge sorrow for someone that you had tried so hard to save, especially
for Kyle.  But then feeling odd about feeling so much sorrow for someone
whom you effectively had never met.  And then feeling guilt for feeling
sorrow, as it seems like that sorrow should be owned by the people who
knew and loved him, as if we were emotional trespassers of a sort.

It took a couple days and lots of sleep to get to a point where it
made any sense.  I wish we could have saved him, but I know that we
did our best and that it was out of our hands.

Regardless, as far as I'm concerned, Kyle is a hero, and I'm going to 
renew my CPR certification when I get back home.

61:  2009/09/16 - The Fulton Fun House Is Closing

I've lived almost a decade at 1553 Fulton Street.

The house has quite a history, once the Malcom X Unity House and home of
Patrice Lumumba Publishers, also a halfway house and possibly a drug house.

Since I've rented the first floor, it has become a part of dancing history,
the location of LindyBooty, the largest Blues house party in the world,
as well as a big part of the beginnings of the Blues Dance scene.

It's also the SF Lindy Hotel, and it's had over 500 guests with somewhere
between two and three thousand guest nights, as well as the record
for most Lindy guests for one event (I broke 30 on a few occasions).

And now it's closing it's doors.

After 9 years of paying rent on a huge apartment in one of the highest
rent locations in the world, it had come time to make a choice between
getting another job and giving up the apartment.  In the end, I realized
I was essentially weighing between an apartment and my life, and
of course, my life won.  So I am out.

What next?

Well, it looks like after years of starts and stops, the Bus Project
is finally taking off and I will be moving into my bus.

We'll see how that goes.  After I get my finances back on track, the plan
is to find a few people who want to rent a warehouse and convert it to
a few lofts plus some dance space, so in the end, I may have even bigger
parties without any noise issues.  If you know anyone who is looking
for a massive space for cheap in SF, let me know.

And thus ends an era and begins a new chapter.

Goodbye Fulton Fun House!

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