My carefully updated list of files to backup had grown so long that it made me worry about losing something important and the backup didn't fit on a single dvd so I invested in a WD passport and created an encrypted file system on it:

 modprobe cryptoloop
 modprobe aes
 losetup -e aes /dev/loop0 /dev/sdb
 mke2fs /dev/loop0
 tune2fs -i 0 -c 0 -j /dev/loop0

Then taking a backup is an rsync and some setup-up/tear-down code away:

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