An interesting experiment

A Grand Experiment

Not all great experiments are planned, some happen as the result of either a fortuitous or abysmal accident.  Sometimes the actual incident’s association, good or bad, can’t be ascertained until the resultant experiment is complete. In my case it all started when I did something that in the past I had laughed at other people when they did it, letting judgement flow in hails of derisive laughter, namely I dropped my iPhone into the bog/pisseur/toilet. When I swept it out with panicky paws the case wouldn’t come off even though it had let a lot of fluids in.  By the time I got it into a bag full of desiccant rich packing peanuts the damge was apparently done.  When I shut the phone of the screen looked liked a Mondrian reject.  Time for a new phone I decided

What to buy…

Initially I embraced my internal hipster and looked at downgraded flip phones.  I’d show the Mega-Conglomerates and get me a DUMB PHONE.  Yeah, I know, that lasted about 20 minutes. The nerd is strong in this one and the pendulum rapidly swung toward the shiniest of the shiny…an iPhone X. I logged onto my provider’s site and chatted the ears off some dude about what it would cost and so on. My internet acumen made sailing through the ordering process so quickly I didn’t take time to read the delivery date…until I pushed the order button. Then reality struck, my phone was apparently dead and I would be offline and outta touch until the new one got here.

Which would be in two and a half weeks.

Living without my iPhone

When the iPhone first came out a London newspaper did an article about learning to live without a smart phone after you had gotten used to the convenience of it.  The writer tried to to go without for a week, he failed like a gibbering ape and expressed his relief when his iPhone was returned to him. Whereas I am sure there was a level of melodramatic flare inserted into the piece the overall tone was pretty serious.

That article came out about 3 months after the iPhone was introduced. I have be dependent on my iPhone for 10 years. So how long until I am reduced to a gibbering ape?

Behind the Firelines Ep#2

MORNING UPDATE: Despite rumors to the contrary Petaluma is quiet this morning.

After a surreal week I am looking up finally and today will attempt to get back on track with this whole “life” thing. I have still yet to replace my car and filing some other papers got delayed as well. This morning the skies appear clear and in growing dawn I hear neither helicopters for sirens. Glancing at the morning fire maps it appears te carnage has moved east, although in fact that is just an assumption as the maps themselves are confusing.  Yes they show shelters and fires as icons of the same size and any areas of…anything…is defined not so much by a legible color code but whatever seems to be on the google palette du jour.

The closest fire to Surf’s Up HQ is the PRESSLEY FIRE, about 12 miles North East of us. It is one of the smaller fires but is currently only 1% contained. Still, things are somewhat calmer.


I caught some flak yesterday for what I said about the rumors that have been circulated around town.  There were a number of reports about rumors posted yesterday and how they ran rampant very quickly during the events of this week but at the same time I may have worded things a bit stronger than I needed to.  This was in response to my personal reactions to this particular news, amplified by al the hurley-burley that has surrounded me the last month, which was I freaked out.  Odd that bit as since I adopted my new policy about news I have had fewer incidents of said out-freaking.

My new policy

Given the current climate I have adopted a simple rule.  I don’t believe anything anyone says unless I get corroboration. This goes double for anything that I read on the net.  In the face of the growing picture of how certain groups are using the web to bend people to their will (an idea formed by aggregating information from APPARENTLY reliable sources) the words that flow across my CRT have all the veracity of a UFO website with an animated GIF background…meaning NONE.

So in this regard I based my opinion on the info I was given and the corroboration from additional sources, for which I found none.  It may be that I am TOTALLY off base with this and will suffer the firey consequences, so be it, but I spent too many years not writing here to be intimidated anymore.

Ja ne and be safe!

Hot Lapping Social Engineering

Just Because it says “Social” doesn’t mean it has anything to do with “Society”

In 1979 Jimmy Carter was President, the country was just coming to its senses about Disco and I was looking for a new path in life.  My attempt at climbing the ladder to success as a racing driver had fizzled out due to the usual shortage of money and sponsorship, Initially I went back to school to finish up my drafting degree but my heart wasn’t in it. I had a new girlfriend who was so much smarter than me I was in awe and that made me sign up to go back to college.  At the same time I had to work so I went looking for a job in the only place I knew, racing. What I found would not only effect the course of my life but also gave me a unique perspective on the world we are living in today.

I go to work

The job I found was through my friend Mac Law with whom I raced Formula Vees. It was working for a company called MORGAN MOTORSPORTS NETWORK which was run by Dave Morgan. Dave was a charming guy and a bit of a savant in the ways marketing and how it related to racing in the future.  The “Network” Dave envisioned had two parts.

Network before Networks

The first revolved around creating a group of professional racing vendors, builders, trainers and promoters who would work together directly towards a common goal of promoting racing as a sport. This would center on a series of Seminars where people would pay (large) sums of money to come hear professionals speak about how they got to where they are.

Demographic Card Tricks

The second part of the network was the part that effected me most, which was developing effective ways to gather and compile demographics about the people who not only raced but ATTENDED races. In 1979 people were still leery of taking “surveys” so we Dave, Mac and I had long meetings about how was the best way to pry information out of people without them either being put off or indeed drive them away. Once we had a card in place we would put on out polo shirts and shades, go to the track, shake hands and hand out postage prepaid cards. Then we would wait.

The pot of information gold

Initially we were lucky for a f5% return. We would then calculate the data that we got into tabular pads (no computers, remember?) and do a postmortem on that card. We would tweak the questions and head out to another venue. After a year we were getting a return rate of around 30% which was pretty good. This was partially attributed to the questions on cards being tweaked and partially because people got used to our smiling faces and shaking our hands.  The former is refining our demographic model, the LATTER though is my first experience with SOCIAL ENGINEERING. As we became familiar faces people relaxed, when they relaxed they were much freer with the info they would pass on to us. It was exhausting but fascinating work, so much so that when I went back to university (right around the time MMN ran out of money) I changed my Major to Communications and media.

School was to give me a much finer focus on demographics and a deeper understanding of the dark path that Social engineering could take society down…