Saturday, November 19, 2005

Welcome to SF, LJ!

(originally posted at

Hooray! Successful move - I'm glad it went so smoothly!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wisdom from Mark

(originally posted at
"Trackback spam is the fifth horse of the apocalypse."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Manitoba Caribou

(originally posted at

Living so close to your office can be a terrible thing if you really love what you do. You tend to push yourself beyond your limits and end up having to walk home completely mentally and physically drained The plus side to this is that you're never satisfied with just any random soundtrack - you need something perfect and inspiring.

Tonight it was "People Eating Fruit" by Manitoba.

I'd heard of Manitoba from a friend of a friend named Timmy Jones. At that point, the only Manitoba release was "Start Breaking My Heart" - which isn't nearly as emo as its sounds, honest. It was a pretty good freshman release, but I didn't pay all that much attention to it at the time. Some time in the future I met someone interesting and we spent some time together. We happened to be sharing some lychee when "People Eating Fruit" came on my random playlist. I knew I'd heard it before, but couldn't remember where. When I saw the name of the song, it was one of those crystal-clear moments and I knew it would become one of my favorites. And so it has.

So that was my soundtrack for the walk home tonight.

When I got home I decided to check the artist out. I knew he was a 20-something solo artist with wildly varying interests and stylistic influences. What I did not know what that he'd released another LP called "The Milk of Human Kindness" under the name Caribou and had released his earlier two LP's under the same moniker on iTunes as well.

So that's your homework for tonight, darlings, go to iTunes and search for Caribou. Listen to "People Eating Fruit" and jump around to his other songs to hear his amazing diversity. Proselytize!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Catching up

(originally posted at

The last week I've been pretty nocturnal. I'm trying to right myself, but just end up feeling like a zombie. Today's my first day back in the office. My bonsai is still alive, maybe Garth took care of it.

I've been added to lj_core, which seems to have instantly doubled the length of my friends page.

So many interesting things going on right now, hard to know which to focus on. Maybe I'll be able to prioritize and find a balance once I've had some sleep.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


(originally posted at, friends-only)

I just had the perfect walk home from work. The air was stark and vibrant and felt good in my lungs and on my skin. My iPod shuffle served me up a bunch of interesting music, but nothing that seemed to fit my mood. That is, of course, until I got to the courtyard of my apartment complex. To my favorite tree, the one with the fragrant blossoms.

"These Days" by Nico...

I walk past it every day on my way home from work, pause, and stretch up on my tiptoes to inhale its scent. I don't do this in the mornings on my way in, because mornings lack the comfort and security of surrounding darkness.

(a reminder to myself, six months from now, of thoughts from this evening: "inverse")

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


(originally posted at

I didn't vote today.

It's not that I'm a bad person. In fact, I think it's to my credit that I didn't vote. The painful truth is that I simply don't pay enough attention to the day-to-day issues. I don't know about propositions or politicians or any of it. Nor do I really care to, I think. That part may be a little sad. But when faced with making a bad decision or no decision at all... it's an easy choice.

So I read on Google News that Texas passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage, or something. That's interesting. And then I read from a very forlorn xb95 that San Francisco is outlawing personal firearms, or something. That's interesting.

Really though, I don't care. I'm far too self-involved/self-centered/selfish to really care. My main concerns today have been my work and how much data I can move while still paying attention to my engineering duties, whether I'll be able to find some time to go home and read or play a video game, and whether the girl I've been interested in is for real or whether she's just into playing mind games. And that's it. Life's just not all that complicated for me. It's simple, I enjoy it, and I think that's all anyone can ask for in life.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Front Row (& rambling life update)

(originally posted at, friends-only)

I've been trying to reset my sleep schedule, so in theory I should be asleep right now. Instead, I'm psyched that I got Front Row to work on my powerbook. Media Centers are fun when they're not from Microsoft or Sony.

I'd like to get it onto my 2nd gen iMac, because the only apps that box ever runs are iTunes, DVD Player, VLC, and SNES9X - but alas, it's still running Panther Server. What was I thinking? Maybe this weekend I'll run some cat5 into my room or temporarily drag the iMac into the living room to get Tiger client onto it.

Straddling between engineering and ops has been interesting. In theory I should be doing ops full-time, but I'm finding it hard to let go of the project I'd been working on - it's just too interesting, too fun, and far too grandiose not to want to pay attention to it. This has resulted in a shifting of my previous work/play balance to one of mostly work - but when you love your work...

Perhaps the oddest part of it all is that within the last week, amidst all the craziness, I've unexpectedly stumbled upon an amazing external source of inspiration. I wonder what will come of it all...

Saturday, October 29, 2005


(originally posted at, friends-only)

It took me a month to say hello, but tonight she read me some Murakami before bed. It was sweet.

Hearing the rain outside is very comforting, though I miss the rolling thunderstorms of upstate New York.

Tomorrow I'm going back to work. Sunday I'm going to take a drive back up to the headlands. This time alone, only with haloform's podcasts. I plan to hike around a bit and try to find the best picnic location... "away from the things of man."

Perhaps then I'll meet her. But she certainly intrigues me.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Satisfaction Guaranteed

(originally posted at, friends-only)

What a satisfying day. I got just about everything accomplished that I wanted to.

I also found out that I'm being loaned from engineering to ops for a week or so in order to help with some of the issues they're facing. Should be fun. It'd feel more like a home-coming if I'd done more system-level work at HQ rather than focusing on the network side of things.

I should also thank haloform for being an absolutely amazing person, who continually finds ways to surprise and delight me.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Insulting my intelligence

(originally posted at

Every once in a while I'll run across an ad that states "should marijuana be legalized? answer and win an xbox360!" - hey, play to your demographic, I understand that. But today I ran into a new ad from the same company...
"Punch out George W. and win an xbox360!"
My reaction is hard to put into words. Sometimes I wonder if marketers just like to experiment with people without really knowing what they're doing. Targetting the politically-disaffected youth market - a market more than likely to be aware that they're being marketed to - seems risky. But presenting them with a little flash game to "win" a piece of hardware that's not even on the market yet by committing fake violence on the President... they're trying to make my brain implode.

I should study some standard marketing texts to see just what the hell they're teaching these people.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tortoise & Daniel Lanois

(originally posted at

It was a damn fine show.

Differences from the last time I'd seen them (in Irving Plaza, Heidi reminded me):
  • they brought their xylophones & vibraphones with them.
  • they had two drum sets, and on a few numbers played them simultaneously.
  • after just about every song the band members would shuffle instruments.
That last one was really entertaining. I'd never seen a musician go from bass to six-string to xylophone to vibraphone in a succession of four songs. Watching them play the 'phones made me miss Smalls.

After Tortoise's act, Lanois came on and performed a solo piece which was alright. I was still sort of riding high off the Tortoise set. But then Tortoise came back out and backed Lanois for the remainder of his set. He did a good job mimicking their style, and stuck mainly to instrumentals.

I grabbed a few snapshots, sound clips, and movies with my phone. Alas, my laptop with the bluetooth is at the office and I'm not sure where my bluetooth usb adapter is... so the actual quality of that media won't be known until tomorrow.

Oh, and if you're in the SF area, they're playing again tomorrow night (Fri. 10/21), so you haven't missed it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

God Damn

(originally posted at

So I just finished watching Firefly.

It was entertaining, but not really the lifestyle decision it was made out to be. One thing that continued to irk me throughout the show was the use of the word "gorram." With the amount of sex and violence in the show, one would think they wouldn't be so squeamish as to hide behind a made-up word when they really meant to say "god damn."

My favorite character of the whole show was introduced in the last episode. His name was Jubel Early and he was a sociopathic bounty hunter who had come to retrieve a fugitive member of the ship's crew. I suppose I just liked the way his character was written. Either that, or I have a soft spot for sociopaths.

A funny thing I noticed as I watched the trailer for Serenity... it was billed as "the cult phenomenon hailed by critics." Doesn't that just seem... odd?

subtext: i need to find a gifted pixel-artist to create a custom mood set for me. creativity is paramount, because the emotions i'd like to capture are subtle and a bit off-the-wall. for instance, how would you display ambivalence or whimsy in a 40x40 format?

Monday, October 17, 2005

His Master's Voice

(originally posted at

I picked up the one and only Stanislaw Lem book that the Borders on 3rd and Townsend had in stock. dkp turned me on to him quite a while ago, actually. I don't remember if I'd read Cyberiad or The Futurological Congress - if I had to guess, I'd go with the latter.

So here's an excerpt from His Master's Voice:

True, a group of psychoanalysts from Michigan did attempt to challenge this state of affairs, but they fell into the sin of over-simplification. The physicist's evident propensity to theorize, these scholars derived from sexual repression. Psychoanalytic doctrine reveals the pig in man, a pig saddled with a conscience; the disastrous result is that the pig is uncomfortable beneath that pious rider, and the rider fares no better in the situation, since his endeavor is not only to take the pig but also to render it invisible. The notion that we have within us an ancient Beast that carries upon its back a modern Reason - is a pastiche of primitive mythologies.

Meanwhile, back in reality, I've played a bum hunch on how some L10N stuff is going to work and I need to go back to the drawing board or re-architect deeper pieces of the application. Either way will be painful, but it must be done.

Update: Turns out, I'd read The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Guilty Secrets

(originally posted at, friends-only)

There's no easy way to go about this, so I'm just going to swallow my pride and come out and say it: as a child, I enjoyed watching professional wrestling.

We're talking maybe ages 6 through 10 or 12.

My parents didn't really believe in cable television, so Saturday mornings from 11 until noon, my options were cheesy teen sitcoms or professional wrestling on some UHF station brought to me by... what was it, Titan Sports Entertainment? [1]

So tonight, while reading up on the literary history of San Francisco, I came across a Gold Rush-era writer named Bret Harte. Being curious, I went to wikipedia to look him up. Being careless, I hit return one character too early and was confronted with Bret Hart. Oh no! Oh yes...

With a sort of morbid curiosity about my own childhood, I explored, and I must say that there's an awful lot of professional wrestling information on Wikipedia. Randomly paging up and down Bret Hart's page, I came across an interesting link called the Montreal Screwjob - which is the fascinating tale of a contractual snafu spilling over into the league's rich storyline, with a surprise ending for all those involved.

That's all, really. If you have the stomach for it, marvel at the professional wrestling information on wikipedia. Make yourself feel better by donning your anthropologist's hat ahead of time.

[1] - it's funny to think that a multi-million dollar enterprise like the WWE once had to pay for their airtime. The TV show being a loss-leader/marketing ploy for all their toys and shirts and fake championship belts. I never owned one of those... no... [2]

[2] - the above was my first-ever footnote (as far as I know), so I needed a footnote on the footnote to explain and mark the occasion. I'm not sure if btrott would be proud that I'm carrying on his meme or scared of my meta-footnote-fu.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thought of the Day

(originally posted at

Hmm, first time I've posted three times in one day in a while... but this quote from Sewer, Gas & Electric was just too juicy to pass up:
"Selective self-deception is the first symptom of true intelligence."
In the context of the story, a sentient AI is describing to a human why it decided to commit genocide. The reason was that it heard an order that could have been interpreted in one of two ways; it chose the more interesting interpretation.

This sounds consistent with the theory that intelligence first evolved from the extension of instinct into anticipation, and eventually into the ability to create mental models. For if one is able to consciously conceive of something (or a state of being) that is nonexistent, they should be able to act on that model as if it were reality.

Pretty neat to think about. Makes me want to read Pinker again (still haven't picked up Blank Slate). Makes me wonder what I've been missing being off all the wacko extropian/transhuman mailing lists these past few years.


(originally posted at

I'm still exploring all the pre-installed software on my new mobile phone. Most of the packages helpfully remind me "one trial use left!" when I launch them for the first time. Launch, delete, rinse, repeat.

Then I hit QuickOffice. I launched it. No trial-use warnings, and official-looking Microsoft Office icons for QuickWord, QuickSheet, and QuickPoint. No shit. I wanted to play with it to see what it could do, but when I went to create a new Word doc, I got this gem:
"QuickWord contains a word processor, would you like to purchase editing?"
WTF else am I going to do with a word processor? Talk about out of touch...
(originally posted at

Via CNN...
"Under the plan, sources told CNN, Goss will set the common standards for spying operations, whether they are conducted by the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or one of the 13 additional intelligence agencies in the federal government."
Wait, we have fifteen intelligence agencies?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Good Tortoise

(originally posted at

Yesterday, authenticgeek and I bought our tickets for the Tortoise show at The Independent on October 20th. For my co-workers who may not be familiar with the band, I picked out four Tortoise songs and put them in a shared playlist called "The Good Tortoise." They are:
  1. His Second Story Island (slow, soft, sad)
  2. Glass Museum (progressive yet downtempo, one of my first musical loves)
  3. It's All Around You (title track from their latest album)
  4. Stretch, You Are All Right (also off their latest release)
You can find some preview tracks in mp3 format here. And if you like what you hear, I urge you on over to Sputnik7 to find the music video for their song "Seneca." The video uses old "golden age of NASA" footage.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


(originally posted at

From Sewer, Gas & Electric:
"Did you ever actually answer her question?" Joan asked.

"Verbally, you mean? Well," said Kite, "you don't disprove someone's pessimism by adding up good and evil on a dessert napkin to see which is the greater total. Hope's a choice, not a sum; you can have as much of it as you damn well feel like having, regardless of actual circumstances. But if you try to explain that straight out to someone when they're in a bad mood, they'll assume you're being patronizing and may even throw something at you. It's better to use a little finesse."
Is zen a mood?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Joe vs. the Volcano

(originally posted at

I love cheesy movies that end with "and they lived happily ever after." Especially if the character development is none-too-subtle and the special effects are ridiculous.

So the other day I had an urge to see this movie. It had been a while since I'd seen it. Come to think of it, the last time I saw it was likely when I was still living with Julie. I ended up watching to movie alone; it was another in a long string of indicators that she just wasn't right for me.

Anyway, I couldn't find it on any of the torrent sites I frequent, so I actually opened an account at the locally-owned video store across the street from the apartment complex. In the age of NetFlix, it felt a little quaint.

The movie was so satisfying to watch. Just the right mix of emotions as the pathetic protagonist turns his life around and finds love. One of my favorite emotions is his bewilderment when he's in the limo being asked here he wants to go. He has no clue. No clue who he is or what he's doing, and he looks for an external source to guide him - only to be confronted point blank about his situation. It's a great exchange between two character actors.

In other news, I finally got a new mobile phone and actually hooked it up to some service. If you're a co-worker, you can find the number on the internal wiki - if not, drop me a line.

Friday, October 07, 2005


(originally posted at

Sweetpea haloform just posted two friday podcasts over at refractions in the plastic pulse.

I really dig the embedded flash player in loudblog - but if I see one more base installation of kubrick... I think I'm gonna hurl.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

mp3 blog

(originally posted at

I found a great mp3 blog on typepad while looking for the track-listing of a certain Jeff Buckley bootleg. I'm not sure if that's the actual track listing for the bootleg, because I don't really know all of his songs. Ah, well, it's as close as I could get.

Throve is a funny word.

(originally posted at

So I've started re-reading Sewer, Gas & Electric. Some choice snippets:
Alligators, small boys and at least one horse have accidentally swam in the sewers of New York. The boys and the horse seem not to have enjoyed the experience, but the alligators throve on it.
- - - - -
A new age: English was the mother tongue now, a mother tongue that had already been fractured into a thousand dialects, only to thrive and grow stronger. Humankind had stormed heaven in homegrown chariots of fire and returned to tell the tale. And as far as God was concerned, if He weren't already an American at heart, ready and willing to root for American achievement - well, by the time Harry Gant and the Department of Public Opinion were finished with Him, He would be.
- - - - -
She pushed a pair of what looked like plastic dog tags across the desktop: "Make sure you wear these at all times when you're working."

"What for?"

"Information aid. In case you become eligible for early retirement in a way that makes you hard to identify."
- - - - -
"Oh," said Eddie, who didn't know, actually. "So if her ma was a queer nun and her husband was a billionaire, what's she doing working in the sewers?"

More to come.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Safety Razor Success

(originally posted at

This morning was the first time I've shaved with a safety razor.  I've always been curious, and a culmination of external stimuli prompted me to take the plunge.  Mostly it was the ridiculous news that Gilette was going up to a five-blades shaving system (linking to The Onion because Gilette hasn't bothered updating their page yet).  Just another excuse to charge even more for something that's only marginally better, if even that.

So I bought a safety razor and this morning I tried it out.  I was scared shitless.  I just knew I was going to slice my face up something awful.  The short of it is, I didn't, it was great and went without incident.  It took a bit longer and it was a bit tougher to reach the bits directly under my nostrils, but I feel I got a closer shave.  There was no slicing or dicing, but I suffered the same rough shave on the right side of my neck as I did with multi-blade products.  I don't blame the razor, more the fact that I'm supposed to shave in the direction the hair grows - and in that particular nook of my neck, it grows in all directions.  Mutant, I know.

The how-to was pretty spot-on.  It's all about preparation.  I used Avalon's Mint Thyme shaving cream, worked up into a crazy lather.  I brought two bottles of this shaving cream with me from Rochester, and I'm almost done with the second... so I need to find some place that sells it.  Whole Foods only sells lavender, gross.  Maybe Walgreens... Anyone know?  Suggest something better?

Updated Flickr

(originally posted at

I let a whole bunch of photos pile up on my memory card, and just uploaded some to my Flickr account.  More to come.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 + itunes woes

(originally posted at

In honor of ljkrissy, today was my own personal Jeff Buckley day.  Everyone has artists that they've heard of but haven't really heard... and until today, Jeff Buckley was one of those for me.

Oddly enough, Krissy didn't have Buckley in her iTunes share, but btrott did and I've been listening to it off and on for most of the day.  iTunes doesn't really have any built-in mechanism for monitoring who's listening to your shared songs.  There's a widget, but all that really gives you is an IP address and what song is being streamed to that IP.  Not so useful.

I got to wondering how Ben might find out that I've been raiding his Buckley collection.  Aha!!  On the off-chance that he obsessively digs through my recent tracks, I went to my profile page to check them out (also; for that little thrill) of seeing what I'd listened to)... only to find... no Jeff Buckley!  Denied!

Turns out, iTunes doesn't keep track of songs that you play from other people's shares, hence the iScrobbler plugin doesn't pick them up and send them off to audioscrobbler.  Bummer.

I wonder if the family dog in Royal Tenenbaums was named after Jeff Buckley...

Spaced Music

(originally posted at

So I've been re-watching some episodes from the first season of Spaced and I decided that I needed to find some of the songs that weren't on the OST.

I give you audio clips!

And more importantly, for dkp who is still rebuilding his mp3 collection, the A-Team Remix.  Oh yes.

Still the club scene in episode six is scored to Camisra's Let Me Show You (Tall Paul Remix) - which I've yet to find.  Bummer.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Solid Steel Goodness

(originally posted at

I don't know how they do it.  This week's Solid Steel mix (2005-09-23) has a hidden gem in it that seems like it was meant just for me.  It starts around 49:10 with the Nextmen mix of Roady, by Fat Freddy's Drop.  Towards the end of the song, a sample is overlaid:
the world is an intolerable place for a poet,
i was broke, starving, at my wits end,
and then i had the brilliant idea...

i'd escape to a place where i'd have no need to earn a living,
where i could write to my heart's content in peace and security,
and where is this place?
right under your nose...
so close you'd never think of it...
i'm not living in...

grace brothers department store!
And then they break into a weird funky mix of the Are You Being Served? theme.  WTF?  Ok, granted, Ninja Tune is a UK label.  But AYBS? was never that popular as a britcom.  AYBS? is one of my guilty pleasures.  I used to stay up late on school nights to watch reruns on PBS with my mom.  It's so camp that it borders on bad taste.  They recycle jokes and the studio audience is volume-controlled so that you'd swear it's a laugh track.  Naturally I own both DVD box sets, and as dkp will attest, I watch them very often.

I couldn't believe my ears. I'm still in awe.  How the fuck do they do that?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Who Amazon Thinks I Am

(originally posted at

I spent some time tonight trying to train Amazon to understand my taste.  Futile.  It seems Amazon has a tendency - whether built-in or learned from user habits - to take a specific case and generalize it.

Because I like some cartoon shows, doesn't mean I like them all.  Because I like some britcoms, doesn't mean I like them all.  Because I've bought some books on technical subjects doesn't mean I need to be recommended the exact same material from a different publisher.

Perhaps the weirdest thing is that Amazon seems to think I'd like books that teach you how to take advantage of people, win people's trust, read body language, diffuse arguments, become an effective public speaker, conceal motives, tell when someone's lying, trick someone into revealing a hidden truth, analyze situational dynamics (whatever the fuck that means)... the list goes on.  I was amazed at how many books have been written that basically boil down to "charisma is the art of being a bastard... for dummies!"

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Discontinued Media

(originally posted at

I just finished re-reading The Illuminatus! Trilogy and for the first time since April I headed over to my Amazon wishlist.  I was surprised to see just how many things were unavailable for me to purchase.  Whether they were rare to begin with, foreign, sold out, or just plain poor-performers... a lot of what I want, I can't get.  That annoys me.

So before I delete them from my wishlist, I thought I'd list them here for posterity:
  • Do Android Crows Fly Over the Skies of an Electronic Tokyo?: The Interactive Urban Landscape of Japan by Akira Suzuki
  • Making Common Sense of Japan (Pitt Series in Policy and Institutional Studies) by Steven R. Reed
  • Sewer, Gas & Electric: The Public Works Trilogy by Matt Ruff Thanks Mark!
  • Unbounding the Future: The Nanotechnology Revolution by Eric Drexler (may be available free online)
  • The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life by Richard Florida
  • Hyperthought by M.M. Buckner (he may still be active on the extropians list, might have a copy around)
  • Freedom Evolves by Daniel C. Dennett
  • Going Inside: A Tour Round a Single Moment of Consciousness by John McCrone
  • Speedology: Speed on New York on Speed by Timothy Levitch
  • The Cruise by Bennett Miller (VHS)
  • Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power by Victor Hanson
  • Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships by Mancur Olson
  • Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny (Vintage) by Robert Wright
  • The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig
  • Creative Destruction: How Globalization is Changing the World's Cultures by Tyler Cowen
  • Alternatives to Economic Globalization by John Cavanagh
  • Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold
  • Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years by Bruce Sterling
  • The Coming Biotech Age: The Business of Bio-Materials by Richard W. Oliver
  • Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology by Stephen Wilson
  • Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism (may also still be active on the extropians list)
  • Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
  • Economics for Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School by Gene Callahan
  • The Power of Identity: The Information Age - Economy, Society and Culture (Castells, Manuel. Information Age, 2.) by Manuel Castells
  • Linked: The new Science of Networks by Alberto-Laszlo Barabasi (may be available free online)
  • Painful bu Fabulous: The Life and Art of Genesis P-Orridge by Douglas Rushkoff
  • Vurt by Jeff Noon (audio cassette)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The New Hotness

(originally posted at

No more old and busted, it's time for the new hotness. New Vicksburg theme fixes my own broken styles, new Earnings management tools for Pro users, a great new buy-one, give-one-free promotion... and TypeKey is now an OpenID server.

All you really have to do is go into TypeKey, republish your profile so it picks up a new link-rel, then use your profile URL as your OpenID identity URL. Slick.

BTW, if you've been looking for me, I've been messing around over in lj-land for a while.

Yet another music meme

(originally posted at

I picked this meme up via MySpace bulletins, but since I'm philosophically against bulletin-spam, I figured I'd post it here and hide it behind an lj-cut.  So without further ado:

The basic premise is that you name a band and then answer questions using song titles from that band.  My band, obviously, is Stereolab.

Are you male or female: The Man with 100 Cells
Describe yourself: Surrealchemist
How do some people feel about you: Naught More Terrific Than Man
How do you feel about yourself: Need to Be
Describe where you want to be: The Flower Called Nowhere
Describe what you want to be: The Light that Will Cease to Fail
Describe how you live: Intervals
Describe how you love: Long Life Love
Share a few words of wisdom: People Do It All the Time

I found the hardest to answer was describing how I live.  Other possible answers to that would've been - Simple Headphone Mind, Exploding Head Movie, The Free Design.  Describing how I love could've also been The Emergency Kisses.

New TypePad Features

(originally posted at

Look how pretty my other blog is!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I need to get out more.

(originally posted at

I stumbled back onto Leonard Lin's blog earlier today. I have no clue how I came across it originally.  Today I explored his sidebar with the links.  I'd been aware of upcoming for a while - likely from the mt-upcoming plugin - but I'd never actually used it until tonight.  Hey, it's cool!

So I found the following shows that interested me in the SF metro area:
  • 9/20 - Her Space Holiday
  • 9/21 - Dead Can Dance (sentimental)
  • 9/22 - Kronos Quartet
  • 9/23 - Afrika Bambaataa (old school, yo)
  • 9/23 - Mono
  • 9/24 - Nouvelle Vague
  • 9/26 - Blackalicious
  • 9/30 - Acid Mothers Temple (can't imagine how awesome they'd be live)
  • 9/30 - The Notwist (saw them with The Essex Green at the Knitting Factory, hot!)
  • 10/01 - Sigur Ros (bound to be sold out)
  • 10/03 - Four Tet (always a good show)
  • 10/05 - Idlewild (Nick was telling me about them...)
  • 10/05 - M.I.A. (turned on to her via BoingBoing. Galang video is well done.)
  • 10/11 - Dirty Three (collaborated with Tortoise)
  • 10/20 - Tortoise (in my top 5)
  • 10/26 - Negativland
  • 10/28 - Broadcast
  • 11/11 - Chicks on Speed
So, yeah.  I'd have kicked myself if I'd missed some of these.

Hankering is a funny word.

(originally posted at

I've had a hankering lately to watch the short film "To Kill a Dead Man" by Portishead.  Anyone have it?  I'm thinking of buying the Portishead "Roseland New York" DVD, as the short film comes as one of the supplemental features of the disc.

Update: Here it is. :)

Can't make this shit up.

(originally posted at

Aaah, the power of marketing.

I subscribed to MLB's "spam me with notices and offers" mailing list to see how they would be marketing one of the first projects I worked on at Six Apart - MLBlogs.  I usually receive one or two emails per week plying me with their special offers of ball caps or jerseys or whatever.  Today was something different, something special.

"Vote for MLB Comeback Player of the Year, Presented by Viagra"

Monday, September 19, 2005


(originally posted at
"To have his path made clear for him is the aspiration of every human being in our beclouded and tempestuous existence."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The silliest conversation she'd heard

(originally posted at

"I just want to know - we're going to save the earth, but are we going to save the people?"

"What people?"

"The people that live on the earth."

"Oh - those people," said Hagbard. "Sure, sure, we're gonna save everybody."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bullshit Wisdom

(originally posted at

"The elephant is a poem written in tons instead of words."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Final Fantasy: Advent Children

(originally posted at

Wow.  That was the best movie I've seen in a long, long time.  It shared aspects of Akira and the first Matrix movie, and was as much like Final Fantasy as Spirits Within wasn't.  It was so good.  The full cast of characters were there, the locales were there, and updated version of key musical themes were there.  The remade theme for Sephiroth was especially effective given the context of the scene.

Though I pirated this through a co-worker/friend, I don't feel a single iota of remorse.  This was too good to wait for.  Sadly, I've not been able to locate the soundtrack - which doesn't even come out in Japan until the 28th of the month.  Sigh.  I need that Sephiroth mix.

Update: thing I meant to point out was how stylistically unique this film is.  This is a perfect example of what CG-animated films should be like.  I can only hope that this is the beginning of a trend.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

And there was much rejoicing

(originally posted at

One of the new Stereolab EP's is now available on the iTunes music store... I'm just settling in for a first listen.

Update: The first half of the album is very evocative of the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack by Philip Glass.  The second half is sounding more progressive, like Stereolab's normal evolution between albums.  This EP is also a bit of a throwback to an earlier EP of theirs - First of the Microbe Hunters - but I can't quite place why.  Listening to new Stereolab always makes me feel like I've come home again.

Further update: After some digging around, it seems that the EP on the iTMS includes all the songs on the 3 EP's that were to be released.  So for a slick $5.94, I've got all the new Stereolab tracks.  Joy.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Crisis Management, Ben Stiller-Style

(originally posted at

The fire alarm went off in my apartment building tonight.  It was very, very loud.  As I pass the elevator toward the stairs, Ben Stiller's voice comes to me: "no elevator! this is a fire!"

When I get outside I think "shit, I forgot Buckley" - then remembered our complex doesn't allow pets.  Bummer.  Anyway, it was a false alarm.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Underscoring the Lazy Zen Attitude

(originally posted at

A long, rough work day behind me, I settled into my usual corner table at a restaurant near the office.  Pulled out the novel I've been re-reading, though lately I'd not found any inspiration in the wild and free philosophy espoused within.  This particular evening I was cursing my awkwardness, cowardice, and inability to vocalize certain thoughts.

I take that back, I wasn't actually lamenting the situation I'd created through inaction - merely over-analyzing it.  Even on my way to the restaurant I had been thinking of ways to right the situation.  But then, halfway through the entree, the Nick Drake song came on over the satellite radio.  I almost lost it.  I hadn't heard it since...

It brought some clarity to the situation, in a sort of gut-wrenching, soul-searing way... and now I must listen to this song over and over again until it sinks in, or at least until I become numb to it.

Regardless, the lazy zen attitude requires no work, it just comes to you - and hopefully the answer to this dilemma will come to me.

More importantly, a happy birthday greeting to haloform, and a bon voyage to cameo.

Confessions of a Madonna Hater

(originally posted at

I hate Madonna.  Yep.

At first I thought it was my instinctive distaste towards things-mainstream, but it's deeper than that.  It slowly dawned on me that her much-touted "reinventions" were merely attempts at staying where the money was.  She was late to the electronica party, she latched onto the second Austin Powers flick, and it appears that now she's going to be in an "iPhone" ad.

I'd go so far as to correlate the trotting out of Madonna with a product's "jumping the shark."

I had high hopes for the iPhone, but now I worry...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


(originally posted at

13 days until 3 new Stereolab EP's are released.

For the first time in memory, I'm not sure which file-sharing app would be the best bet for finding these before they're released.  If you're "hip" to the pirate "lingo", hook me up.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Yesterday's lesson

(originally posted at applied today:

Do zen masters do effectively nothing or nothing effectively?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cheat Codes

(originally posted at

If real life had cheat codes, I'd use one that would give me a fucking bazooka to blow up the fucking construction equipment that made a fucking racket at fucking 8am and fucking woke me up.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Don't Do Drown?

(originally posted at

Eloquent as always, we get this pearl of wisdom from brother Jeb: "'We ask people to use common sense after a hurricane.  Turn around don't do drown is our motto the day after the storm,' Bush said."

WTF?  Sad part is, he's likely to be president on day.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Celebrating Ezra

(originally posted at

No, he didn't die.  He's just leaving us to follow his dreams.  Tonight was the third send off I've been to for the guy - SF just loves him that much.  It was also a sort of housewarming for Anil, who's moving in just down the street.  In a way, I'm proud of myself for coming out and making an attempt to be social.  It's underscored my need (desire?) to get over the insecure feeling that I'm simply not fabulous enough to be hanging out with these people.  I suspect that my self-imposed introversion is beginning to do more harm than good, and it's something I plan to work on.

Working with Ezra was one of the main reasons I wanted to work for SixApart.  The irony being that we never got a chance to work on the same project at the same time.  Perhaps someday that will change, one can only hope.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Pick your battles.

(originally posted at

This, is retarded.

But I don't think anyone should waste time trying to fight it.  The changes that this country needs are, IMO, too large to allow ourselves to be distracted by these little things.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Public Relations

(originally posted at

I just spent some time touring the major news sites to read about the death of Peter Jennings.  They all reported that he had died of lung cancer, but the only one that acknowledged him as a "longtime smoker" was  In all the other articles, smoking wasn't even mentioned.  How can you report on death-by-lung-cancer and not bring up smoking?

Saturday, July 30, 2005

note to self

(originally posted at

dorothy ashby - essence of sapphire, as heard on solid steel @ 1:12.
off "the fantastic jazz harp of dorothy ashby", atlantic 1965

if anyone has a copy of this, please let me know.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Scotty's Fourth of July Visit

(originally posted at

We had marvelous sushi from KISS (the restaurant, not the band) and explored the Headlands, Mount Tamalpias, and Muir Woods.  He took pictures.
(originally posted at

Who needs an entry subject?

Today I learned that the office is exactly equidistant to the two closest Quiznos' - 0.3 miles.  I was also briefly reminded that it can be nice to have a technologically-proficient Mother.  Little IM's with familial updates can be humorous or depressing - today's IM was neither, but I was still grateful to receive it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

[MP|RI]AA's Sinister Plot

(originally posted at

I'm convinced that this breakthrough was masterminded by the MPAA and RIAA to finally have an excuse to cut off our hands when they find we've pirated their crap.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


(originally posted at

sometimes it's good to be reminded that feeling absolutely nothing can feel so wonderful.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Flickr schwag

(originally posted at

Just another quick link to free stuff.  This time, Flickr schwag.  I want the "howdy" button.

Beethoven Downloads via BBC

(originally posted at

As of today, symphonies 1 through 5 in their full un-DRM'd glory.  Check 'em out.  They plan to post the rest as they are broadcasted.  Keen.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Aliens gave me an ankle probe!

(originally posted at

When I went to bed last night, my ankle felt just fine.  When I awoke, it was searing with pain.  The only possible explanation was that I was abducted by aliens by cover of darkness and given a most humiliating ankle probe.  Oh, the humanity.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Stereolab Playlist on iTMS

(originally posted at

I feel I'd be remiss in my evangelical duty if I didn't point out the celebrity playlist from Stereolab on the iTunes Music Store.

Every now and then I'll cruise through the celebrity playlists, just for kicks.  David Duchovny's got some funk.  The Cure likes Nirvana and Mogwai.  Reading the little one-line descriptions - even if they're faked by some marketing droid - is entertaining.

From the Stereolab playlist I purchased Barry Adamson and Grace Jones songs based solely on the 30 second clips and description from Laetitia.

One of the celebritys had a Gainsbourg song that I'm going to try to leech from Mena's collection.  It was pretty good.  Don't remember which, but I'll find it.  One of the slogans, perhaps.  Started with an E.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Five Fives

(originally posted at

Here it is, 5:05 on 05/05/05.  Yep.  Also noteworthy: Cinco de Mayo is Rhea the Dog's birthday.  This year she's three.  Or twenty one.  Depends on your philosophical beliefs in canine mathematics.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

New Stereolab & a Fond Farewell to Tatsuhiko

(originally posted at

I received the new Stereolab box set today.  3 CD's of goodness and 1 DVD of video content.  I rushed home from work to pick it up and immediately watched the entire DVD.  By the time it was finished, I needed to get ready for a night out on the town.

I drove out to Portrero Hill for the first time and picked up Randy and Ezra, then headed downtown to collect Tatsuhiko from his hotel.  Tatsuhiko had been in town on business and tonight was his last night so we decided to show him a good time.  We had a lovely dinner at Kiss Sushi (with a bottle of Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse) and then cruised the J-town mall for some drinks.  Afterwards we hit the Boom Boom Room and met up with Garth.  Some Dave Matthews-like band was playing and it was pretty painful for me, but I stuck through it.

We adjourned to Garth's place (which was just a few blocks away) for some Karaoke Revolution and I got my first real taste of Katamari Damacy.  Honestly, I don't see what the big fuss is over it other than the music (which was top notch).  I'll give it more of a chance when I can afford to pick up my own copy.  Oh, and when I get a better TV.

So yeah, a nice day.

Oh, the songs I had to sing for Karaoke Revolution were: Billie Jean, Bizarre Love Triangle, and Son of a Preacher Man.  Though I came in second place on each round, I still feel I need to apologize to the guys for the pain of my off-key, off-tempo, off-off performances must've induced.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Why U-Haul Sucks

(originally posted at

I search the site for U-Haul locations in my zip code.  I get six results.  Half of those aren't open seven days a week, and it's Sunday.  I call the first that claims to be open.  Closed.  The second?  No trucks.  The third?  On hold.

Five minutes later...

Representative: "Hello, in order to best serve your needs and find you the most affordable solution, I need to take your name."

Me: "My name?"

Rep: "Yes, your name."

Me: "I'm not giving you my name, I just want to know if you have any trucks available."

Rep: "Well I need your name."

Me: "Well you're not getting it.  Do you want my business or not?"

Rep: "Well, ok.  Where do you want to pick your truck up?"

Me: "San Francisco, zip code 94105."

Rep: "Ok, please hold."

...and then she transfers me to a different pickup location altogether.  In Oakland.  Wow.

Friday, April 15, 2005


(originally posted at

The only thing more soul-crushing than wasting an entire day at the DMV is finding out you have to come back again tomorrow.  On a weekend.  And then again next week.  To quote one of my fictional heroes, Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth: "tell them I hate them!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Full Circle

(originally posted at

Quick backstory, for those who are unaware: I've recently moved to San Francisco to work for Six Apart as a software engineer on TypePad.  More and more of my time has been spent poking at and learning about web services, APIs, and publishing applications, it only made sense to make it my job - to get paid for it.

Since I've been here, I've made friends with a handful of people on the LiveJournal team and my interest in their app has been renewed.  They were kind enough to reclaim the stagnant "crw" account for me, so I'm going to try to put it to use each day.  What I write here are my own personal thoughts and feelings - hell, I may even restrict it - make it friends-only.  We'll see what becomes of this space.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

My Wanderlust Dream Fulfilled

(originally posted at

It was sometime prior to 9/11, on a particularly disparaging day of work. A couple co-workers and I skipped out to lunch early and headed downtown to sit in the shadow of the WTC and have falafel. Though the wind was quite strong, it was still a comfortably warm and sunny day. I sat between the towers, listening to whatever MP3 player I had at the time. An unfamiliar song came on; it resonated with me and filled me with a sense of wanderlust. I wanted to get in a car and just go. Just drive. Explore.

During all the major turning points in my life since then, it's been a theme. Is now the right time? I remember sitting in my aunt and uncle's new house in DC, the night of the 2004 elections. As my heart sank and I realized how out-of-touch I am with the majority of the voting public in my country, my desire to explore grew.

Well, now's the time. As in, today. I set out in a few hours.

It'll be an adventure in the true sense of the word. I have but one or two set stops to make en route, and the ultimate destination has no mailing address - simple, San Francisco. Like the song that originally inspired me, I've got myself a Trucker's Atlas, and I'll see where it leads me.

One way or another, I'll be in San Francisco to start work on March 1st.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Music Meme via Suw

(originally posted at

I've been pinged by Suw with a music meme that's being passed around. My initial reaction was just to post a link to my profile, but that doesn't really answer the questions being asked. Here goes:
  1. Total amount of music on your computer? Egads, I've got music spread across many computers, iPod, backup DVD's and firewire drives. My core set of music is 30gb and it lives on my iPod.
  2. The last CD you bought is: Margerine Eclipse by Stereolab
  3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message? Had to consult for this one. Last night the last song I heard before unplugging my iPod to plug in my iSight was... I'm Deranged, by David Bowie.
  4. Write down 5 songs you listen to or that mean a lot to you: Come and Play in the Milky Night, Glass Museum, Clockwise, Your Signs, Trucker's Atlas, People Eating Fruit (bonus, sixth!)
  5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why? Hmm, I think I'm not going to propagate this meme and let it quietly die.
I've also come across some interesting bugs in ecto when dealing with nesting lists. I've had to compose this post in HTML-view and hope that it turns out alright when I publish it.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Working for Six Apart

(originally posted at

I have just formally accepted a position with Six Apart as a Software Engineer on the TypePad team. I'm more than excited and still catch myself giggling, sighing, and feeling completely overwhelmed at the prospect of moving west in less than a month.

After being hired by Technorati, Niall Kennedy wrote a wonderful post about the interview process he went through. I enjoyed reading it so much that I decided then and there that I'd craft a similar post about my experience interviewing with Six Apart.

Round One: The Application

Per the job posting, I sent my resume with a brief cover email to I cc'd Ben Trott, who I'd had brief prior contact with during the MT3 alpha/beta period and whose job title was listed as the manager of the position I was applying for. Within a week I'd heard back from Ben directly, suggesting that we chat a bit more about the position.

Round Two: Instant Messaging

I was sitting in Amtrak's Acela loung in New York City - en route from DC to Rochester - when I received an IM from Ben. He told me a bit about the company, but I was already pretty familiar with their products and services. We chatted about my work history, my current consulting work, and my history as a blogger. We talked a bit about Six Apart's move from San Mateo to San Francisco and the new office space they were still setting up at the time. At the end of the conversation he said he'd like for me to chat with some other staff members - but as the holidays were approaching, we had some scheduling difficulty.

Round Three: Phone Interview

After the holidays, we scheduled back-to-back phone calls with three staff members:
  • Byrne Reese: Product Manager, TypePad
  • Randy Reddig: Software Engineer, TypePad
  • Paul Lindner: Server Engineer
The night before, however, news broke about the LiveJournal acquisition. I was up all night reading community reactions in both the blogosphere and the journaling community and chatting on IRC about the ramifications of the deal.

Byrne called first and we had a nice chat about what TypePad offers and some potential future developments. Randy and I talked about the development process of the TypePad team and the tools that they use to get things done. Paul and I discussed the back-end of things and the tools used to manage them as well as some of the projects I'd be interested in working on. Each conversation had an obligatory mention of the LiveJournal deal.

Each discussion went longer than the last as I began to wake up and not feel so groggy. After the last conversation I was thoroughly excited at some of the things we'd talked about and some of the pending product developments.

Round Four: Face-to-face Meeting

About a week after the phone interview, I received an email from Ben asking if I could fly out to meet the team. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. After being unable to escape the Boston blizzard, I returned to Rochester where it was still snowing. I was ready for some sun, and boy did I get it.

I met with Ben first, right after a staff meeting. We talked for a bit and he showed me LifeBlog and we discussed the structure of the rest of the day. He showed me around the office and introduced me to Jay, Ezra, and Brad from the MovableType team. The latter two and I split off into a conference room and chatted a bit about MT. I was then introduced to the TypePad team - Mark, Garth, and Randy. We moved to the "make love not war" room, and discussed the TypePad app, my development history, and I was quizzed on things like regex and debugging methods.

When our time was up, I got to have a quick break before meeting with Byrne. We chatted about his function as TypePad Product Manager and how he interacts with the team. He gave me a couple of brain teasers that reminded me of the kind of interview techniques I hear Microsoft uses. They provided me with a nice mental change of pace and gave him an opportunity to witness my problem-solving skills.

Byrne then took me to meet with Mena. It was about three and a half hours into the interview process that day and I was beginning to burn out. Thankfully, Mena insisted on me removing my tie and relaxing a bit - she even made me a cup of green tea. Her office had the most comfortable chairs on the premises and I immediately sank into one of them.

Mena wasn't really interested in my technical capabilities. She wanted to know more about me as a person, and gauge whether or not I'd fit in with the slightly off-the-wall Six Apart crowd. She surfed my Drupal blog and checked out my musical taste at She'd mentioned her upcoming trip to Japan and I informed her of my fondness of Japanese culture and my desire to learn Japanese. I found that it's quite hard to sum yourself up into a few easily digestible nuggets of information and I probably ended up just seeming awkward in attempting to do so.

Mena took me to meet with Ben again. I recapped all the conversations I'd just had for him and then we discussed compensation packages and availability. He asked if I had any questions for him, but not having signed an NDA, I was unable to ask any questions that he'd be allowed to answer - so that concluded this round of interviews. Interesting fact: Ben's mobile phone has a Hello Kitty bangle on it - and if it's not Hello Kitty, then it might as well be. Grin.

Round Five: The Offer

What are you, nuts? I accepted it. Six Apart offers a competitive salary with great benefit plans available. My start date is the first of March. The interview process was the most rigorous one I've ever been through and lasted just over two months. There has been no talk of a "probationary" period - which I think the interview process was meant to nullify. They have a pretty good idea of my technical capabilities and shortcomings, and have been exposed to enough of my personality to make sure I'm not completely psychotic.

The Future

I'm a firm believer in eating your own dog food, so this TypePad blog will be seeing quite a bit more use in the months (and hopefully years) to come. I'm not sure if this will become the new ninjafish or not, or whether I'll be able to continue a development role on the drupal project - all that remains to be seen. In the meantime, I've got quite a lot of preparation ahead of me for the move and will likely be around a lot less. I'm still available via IM or email - ping me if you need someone whose good mood may be contagious.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

TypeKey Pushing TypePad

(originally posted at

Last month on ninjafish I mused about comment tracking. Through chats on #joiito, #suwcharman and IM, a number of people identified the need for an easy and transparent way for users to keep track of the comments they leave scattered throughout the blogosphere. This lead to pie-in-the-sky fantasies about everyone having a web space of their own and the current practice of commenting giving way strictly to trackback pings.

Naturally, with all this talk of commenting, thoughts eventually turned to TypeKey - Six Apart's centralized identity service for comment authentication. It dawned on me that 6A had a golden opportunity with TypeKey: they could use TypeKey to drive TypePad sales if they educated their users on the difference between comments and trackbacks.

If you go to the TypeKey site, however, you'll find no mention of other 6A products at all. I believe this to be because 6A would like to see mass-adoption of TypeKey across other blogging platforms to maximize its usefulness. Turning TypeKey into an advertisement for TypePad would be counterproductive to this goal.

Potentially Working for Six Apart

(originally posted at

I've applied for the Software Engineer position at Six Apart.

This comes after two long months of stumping for a job in the defense industry in the DC area.  There, I was wooed by the promise of steady work at decent wages, with no chance of having my position outsourced.  The trade-off would be the potential of my work being immoral and possibly repetitive and boring (which I would consider immoral as well).  It quickly dawned on me that such work just wouldn't suit me.

Enter Six Apart.

While helping AKMA with an oddly-borked MT upgrade, I serendipitously found the job opening at 6A.  MT was the first blogging app I ran on my own hosted server, and I'd spent a good chunk of time testing it during the version 3 alpha and beta phases and playing with the new plugin architecture.  It's a good codebase surrounded by a great community - who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to get paid to hack on it?

I applied and soon found myself in contact with Ben Trott.  Ben and Mena have a reputation in the blogosphere as being a ridiculously cute couple and as such I find myself tempted to give in to a false sense of informality when chatting with or about them.  It's quite disconcerting and will probably only disappear once I actually get to know them.

After initial contact, Suw was kind enough to hook me up with a 90 day free trial for TypePad.  Luckily she was able to attach the TypePad account to my pre-existing TypeKey account - which at first glance seemed an entirely non-obvious process.  TypePad auto-imported my profile data from TypeKey and I was off - ready to explore!