National Do Not Call Registry

The FTC has set up a registry to block telemarketing calls. Sign up at The server might be slammed right now, though. Apparently they’re getting hundreds of registrations every minute. As of 5PM ET, they had 735,000 registrations. You can read more about the Do Not Call Registry at the FTC site.

You can also take steps to stop receiving junk mail at home: Junkbusters provides information and form letters to do this.

Another way to prevent telemarketing calls and junk mail is to send in those opt-out notices that your financial institutions provide. They often allow opt-outs by telephone, too. Credit card offers usually also provide a telephone number to opt-out of credit reporting agency spam lists. One phone call will take you off the lists of Experian, TransUnion, and the rest for two years. They’ll send you a form that you need to return if you want to make this permanent. So annoying, but worth it.

Now if I could only get the ACLU and ActForChange to stop sending me junk mail…

An SUV almost took my life

All this took place in a few seconds:

Driving up the 405 in the far left lane, I noticed several cars up the road in my lane with their brake lights on. The next lane over also had some cars putting on the brakes, but there were fewer cars. I moved over one lane to the right, but figured I should move over another lane because of the sympathetic braking going on in this lane. I also figured a car from the far left lane might try to change lanes.

I checked the next lane over and was starting to move over when the SUV that had been in front of me in the far left lane suddenly moved over. I turned my wheel more aggressively and continued to change lanes. The space between our cars was probably no more than ten inches–I wouldn’t want to be parked next to an SUV with only this much space, let alone drive next to one at 70 mph.

Once I got clear, I checked the rear-view mirror and noticed the SUV swerve left back into his original lane. What a dumb fuck. If I hadn’t anticipated his maneuver and started the lane change, I probably would have totalled my car, gotten my face bruised on the airbag, and fucked up traffic for an hour.

Analysis of his stupidity:
1) Did not anticipate traffic ahead of him.
2) Did not anticipate traffic behind him.
3) Did not check traffic.
4) Attempted to enter a faster lane after slowing down from 70 mph to 50 mph.

Impreza Update

I replaced the spark plugs over the weekend, though I’m not sure that it was necessary to deal with the Check Engine Light problem. The light had gone out when I’d finished, but since I had to disconnect the battery before messing with the plugs, I’m willing to bet that the new plugs weren’t responsible for correcting the problem. Either way, the service manual recommends replacement at 60 months or 60,000 miles, so it was probably a good idea to do it, especially if I intend to sell it.

Today I went over to AAA to deal with my mileage problem. When I registered the car last year, the woman helping me keyed in 060702 for the mileage… but it was actually the date! Anyway, AAA was pretty helpful today when they did the title verification process. I should have a new title with the accurate mileage within a few weeks.

Cars, Cars, Cars

I have a lot of stuff I need to do for my cars.

Impreza: deal with the cylinder misfire problem. The solution might be to replace the plugs. I doubt they’ve ever been replaced, and the car is now 5 years old with 25,000 miles. I’ve posted on the Impreza owner board at, but no one’s been very helpful so far. I don’t get it. The MR2 board and list is much more responsive.

MR2: deal with the brakes. It’s not a problem, but I’d love to have better brakes. That calls for new pads, new lines, and new fluid. Probably around $240 total. After that, suspension. After that, engine. Yeah!

Summer Solstice / Machu Picchu

This weekend marks the summer solstice (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), the longest day of summer. It also marks the beginning of a summer-long exhibition of Inca artifacts from Machu Picchu at the Natural History Museum. The Incans were apparently very into summer solstices, sunsets, and all other things sun-related. They weren’t quite as obsessed with astronomy as the Mayans, but they knew enough to get by.

I’d love to design and build my own house in the desert one day. It would be made of natural materials, oriented to make use of natural light and air currents, and cool stuff like that.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually gone to the Natural History Museum. I’ve lived in LA for most of my life, but the closest I’ve come to visiting is when I’ve gone to the California Museum Of Science And Industry as a kid. The Museum of Science and Industry was always kinda hokey, but I haven’t been back since its reincarnation as the California Science Center. They might actually have some updated exhibits and cool stuff. I think Sunday might be a good day to visit both.