Saturday, December 27, 2008

mix tapes, mix cds, and playlists

back when i was in middle school, cassette tape was the medium for purchased music. tape players were the method of playing owned music. and after i had collected twenty or thirty tapes, cd's came into my life. the compact disc was louder, cleaner sounding, and best of all it was able to perfectly rewind or fast forward to the beginning of each song. the problem with cds was their high cost. $17.99 + tax to a person who made only $20.00/week allowance is not feasable. that allowance paid for clothes, shoes, entertainment, and contributed to savings.

the only way to satisfy my starving hunger for new music was to purchase cds, and blank tapes, then record the CD to the tape. afterwards the cd would be returned to the music store (an opened cd could not be returned for a refund, only store credit). you were allowed to return cds 3 times, so the third time was normally a cd that i knew i wanted to keep. remember that this time period did not have the option to listen to an artist's music online, there was no itunes music store or usually cds were purchased blindly, based on the cover.

usually a cd contained 1-3 songs that were listenable. thus, the ultimate listening experience came from mix tapes. having a tape with good song after good song required lots of time and effort. choosing the songs normally took the least time, it was the recording process that required not only constant attention, but also calculations.

this time period is where i remember mixes at their height, at least in my little world bubble.

shortly after, computers and internet came into my world of music. mp3, cd-r drives, napster, downloads, uploads, wav converters, and blank cds threw everything into orbit. the method to buy a cd, record the good songs to tape, return the cd, and repeat was now obsolete. with napster + a cd writer possibilities were endless. however, time seemed to always be spent downloading and hoarding, instead of listening and creating. time spent making quality mix tapes was time that could have been better spent discovering the next artist. instead of creating and sharing a great mix, an instant message was sent "hey friend, download this artist. you'll love them."

i made a ton of mix cds for myself, they took virtually no time and energy. however, since they were so effortlessly crafted, the quality of my mix cds were far inferior to the quality of my mix tapes. the idea that if i really wanted to, i could sit down and pound out the ultimate mix cd as i had every resource at the click of my mouse button. i never ended up making that ultimate mix. i just continued to create crappy mixes (in 15 minutes). i did stick to one rule, always put the best song on track number 9. i'm not sure where that came from, but i've formed a philosophy about track 9 and will discuss that at a later date.

ff to today, and cds are obsolete. the playlist is the new cd which was the new cassette. everyone has an ipod, strike that, everyone has more than one ipod. shuffle, iphone, ipod classic, ipod nano, and the list marches into the sunset. there is no use for a cd that only contains 15 songs, when the smallest ipod carries 250.

yet the trend continues, and this is where my sadness increasingly grows. when it was too much time and effort to make a mix, beautiful mixes were created. now that infinitely more resources are at our fingertips, it brings me down to think that i can count the number of good playlists given to me in the past 3-4 years on one hand. three of those quality playlists are a traditional birthday-present mix given to me by michael, a dj who creates compilations for the world famous pacha, and spins records weekly at establishments in the LA area.

it all boils down to a quote i've used one too many times:
"What may be done at any time will be done at no time." - scottish proverb

Monday, December 22, 2008


every once in a while i look at my bedroom, and think to myself... why do i have so many computers. immediately afterward i take a picture and grin.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

i'm losing my edge

lcd soundsystem has a few songs that just make me smile. when tracks like daft punk is playing at my house, yr city's a sucker, and all my friends start playing on my ipod i have to listen to them through to the end.

one song i've always had quite a strong affinity for is losing my edge.

the song starts out mellow, and simple. james murphy starts off talking about the kids, and how they are coming up -surpassing him. and you feel that this song is about james losing his edge. until he says "but i was there". that's when one eyebrow raises and you wonder, is this song really about him losing his edge?!

"I'm losing my edge to the kids whose footsteps I hear when they get on the decks."

slowly he talks about how he's old, and not 'cool'. but he gets it. and the kids who think that he's losing his edge, still think he's losing his edge.

I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables.
I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars.

the song is just under 8 minutes long. you didn't notice it, but ever so gradually the music and the vocals are picking up steam.

"I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know."

the song continues to crescendo, and the lyrics start to mention artists, locations, and events that shaped the music we have today. the picture is painted so clearly towards the end of the song. james, who's never clean shaven, probably cuts his own hair, and has the physic of a computer programmer standing over a skinny tattooed 22 year old wearing tight pants, a tight vintage 'ironic' shirt, and neat accessories from european countries, a hipster.

and then it ends. the song soothes out, and you realize that there's no hate here. this isn't in the same fashion of tupac vs. biggie. this is simply a demand for some respect.

"But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
And they're actually really, really nice."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

tired of being sexy

friday night we spent the eve with CSS (cansei de ser sexy), the most popular band out of brazil *citation needed.

lovefoxxx, the lead singer, rocked the show!! she combines crazy, cute, high-energy, and "i'm gonna climb on to the table, and dance my ass off till i die" in a fantastic combination.

the other band members consist of a guy who looks like cheech. he plays the bass, and sings background vocals on almost every song. then there's the drummer, and three females who act as guitarists/ketarists/cowbellist/keyboardist.

the encore consisted of 3 super tracks: air painter, let's make love and listen to death from above, and alala.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


around four years ago google did something that changed my life. gmail.

aside from the fact that gmail incorporated google's revolutionary search engine for all of your previously sent and recieved messages, there was the size factor: 1000MB (1 gig)! at the time my yahoo account yielded a 25MB capacity, and worse yet my hotmail account had 10MB. not only did gmail offer enormous storage, but that size was guaranteed to increase.

when i log in today, this is the message i see:
"You are currently using 1690 MB (23%) of your 7271 MB"

it's comforting to know that i have not only have space to spare, it's growing. i don't need spend my precious time debating if i want to keep or toss any number of emails.

another thing that gmail boasted was a "smart" spam filter. every other mail provider bragged about intelligent spam filters -which worked as well as a screen door on a submarine. important messages from known contacts were diverted away from the inbox, while adds for horny hot teens were delivered to my inbox.

over four years later and i'm just starting to appreciate gmail's intelligent spam filter. to date, there's anywhere from 600-800 spam emails in my gmail account's spam section at any given time. since gmail automatically deletes spam messages that are over 30 days old. that means that i receive on average 23 spam emails each day. however, before composing this post, i didn't even know this as no spam emails make it into my inbox. yep, their spam detection is just that good.

before gmail, i was the spam filter. i logged into my email inbox, to see 30 new messages each day. after i was done sending the 27 spam messages to my junk box i was almost too tired to read the emails that weren't from spammers. of course, if i had the time to do so i'd go into the junk folder afterward just to make sure that none of my wanted emails landed in the unwanted junk folder, because every week or so i'd lose an important email.

i'm constantly reminded just how much i depend on the gmail spam filter. sometimes the things that work best for you, are the ones that you never notice.

i don't want to disregard all of the awesome features that gmail has incorporated like gchat and aim in your inbox, labels, filters, colors, themes, the list goes on. but i see the results of those things daily.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

bass, i love you

i'm constantly reminded about the billions of social circles and interest groups that human beings share, thanks to the internet. as i was searching youtube for videos of car speaker enclosures (as i'm in the market), i came across another example of this phenomenon. bass -not the fish, nor the guitar -we're talking about low frequency sounds and the systems that recreate them (at extreme output levels).

as i'm youtubing [searching and watching], i immediately notice a trend in the videos that i'm digging up. first of all i'm amazed at the number of people with low quality digital cameras that video tape their massive car/home stereo's ability to vibrate miscellaneous nearby items. but that's not the trend that caught me by surprise, it was the song! an abnormally high number of these videos were recorded using the same song.

after watching a handful of different videos, each using basstronic's "bass, i love you" song, i had to google the song name and get the real story story here. i do have a very unofficial journalistic background you know.

apparently it's not as exciting as i thought. basstronics had given permission for anyone to use their song (a la youtube speaker pounding showoff video makers) which helped decide the bass thumping system benchmarking anthem. granted there's tons of youtube videos that are aimed at showing off the awesome bass producing power of the video composer's system which do not use basstronic's "bass, i love you". however, there is no competition, basstronics holds the throne when it comes to songs used to prove a stereo's awesome (and sometimes not awesome) ability to produce massive vibration.

i love observing the coming-togetherness like such. not to far back in the past, most of these people would have never shared their passion with so many people with such a small amount of effort.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

my new hero

brought to me from the man* who introduced me to SEWBOR** comes 3 sheets (new favorite tv show). zane lamprey, comedian and drinking aficionado travels the world to experience alcohol.

**SEWBOR = scrambled egg with beef over rice

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

true gearhead

someone got down and dirty (changing oil). needless to say that 3.2 vr6 is running nice and smooth with 5.8quarts of fresh 5w30 fully synthetic mobile 1. the best part is that i didn't do anything except hold the flashlight.

Monday, November 10, 2008

tech support

i'm not the only one who gets tech support calls :D

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

1st time

Here we are, there is a first for everything!

my work setup

This is what work looks like if you're me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


we rocked out at the chen's place for our own version of octoberfest, rocktoberfest! (we played rock band).

Thursday, October 23, 2008


it's not often that i go see an 8 piece band that plays house music.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Room 24

Sunday, October 12, 2008

honey chinese restaurant

we always gotta hit up the late night chinese restaurant in seattle's "international district" aka chinatown.



the locks are used to separate high water with low water. basically it's the panama canal in a super small form.

street fair

street fair/farmer's market

after a bit of drinking and bar hopping, we returned to the scene of the crime for a street fair.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

hot dog



first stop in seattle, ikea.

free bloody mary

free bloody mary

we got a nice little bloody mary on the flight. virgin america rocks my socks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

my first baby shower

today i attended the first baby shower i have ever attended. at work.

a guy on my floor is having his first baby. and possibly his last!

we had cake, fruit, cookies, soda pop, and presents were opened. i've never been to a shower of any sort (wedding, baby, sweet 16, first house purchase, first sub 12 second quarter mile run... people have showers for those things right?).

regardless, i was there. first time for everything. there were some people who attended that had blatantly been to enough showers for a lifetime and a half. they were saying things like "the person who brought the 7th present that is opened, is the next person who will have a baby" and "save the wrapping paper, use it to line the children's dresser drawer"

i swear you can't make that stuff up!

the three bachelors (and only males) chipped in for one of those amex gift cards and a greeting card that said "congrats- from the guys in float".

Monday, September 22, 2008

large group dinners

2 is a couple, 3 is a crowd, and 4 is the max for eating out.

over the last three to four weeks i've eaten far too many large group dinners. group dinners normally start out with 7-8 people, and rapidly turn into a reservation for 20 at 8:30pm. granted, if we were in the suburbs and your nearest claim jumper, buca, or other large group accommodating chain restaurant was nearby then i'd not be writing this post. but we're in sf, and dinner in san francisco wasn't meant to be at a large table with your 20 closest friends (and their friends).

these meals are expensive. why do i feel as though every time i eat with 20+ people, the meal i receive yields about a $25.00 worth, yet i pay $50.00+. not to mention you always get pretty crappy service with larger tables, yet they force charge a whopping 18% gratuity. not to mention it's guaranteed that the effort of each individual whipping out a calculator to tally up each dollar and cent spent on which items they personally consumed is enough to fill an 8hr workday. so we go simple and split the bill. the assertive person at the table whips out their phone, fires up that tip calculator program, and says "$47.00 each". of course nobody has anything but $20's and plastic. this is when those people who were prepared for a large group dinner (hit the ATM beforehand to get cash) end up loaning out a few extra twenties to those who showed up with only cards in hand ready to eat.

there's also a lack of social interaction at these types of meals. restaurants aren't fit to have huge groups of people [exception: chuck e cheese]. so normally many tables need to be pushed together, and you end up with either a long straight table, an 'L' shaped table, or a "U" shaped table. regardless, you still end up eating with 3-4 other people since the rest of the people at the table are within shouting range at best. the worst of this scenario is when the person to your right is engaged in conversation to their right, the person to your left is engaged in conversation to their left, and the person in front of you is talking at someone on either side of themselves.

there you are, sitting at a table with your 20 closest friends paying $50 smackers for a meal that's average at best, and you're all alone. this is the time that you wonder to yourself: we're probably throwing down $1000 tonight for dinner/drinks. what other things could we have done for a cool grand?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the border

the beautiful town of san francisco is worldly famous for many things: the golden gate bridge, alcatraz island, fog, fisherman's wharf, and of course food. the city of san francisco boasts a possible highest concentration of upper echelon dining experiences in the world. SF has some good eats! heck, the famous review website was founded right here in san francisco.

as a resident of sf (i love saying that) it's more than likely that your regular tuesday dinner will take place at a one-off restaurant. one off restaurants are those places that don't exist anywhere else, the opposite of a chain. the good ones are run by a family, or someone who's been running that same restaurant for 50+ years. there's a deep feeling of authenticity, passion, personality, and love when you eat at the aforementioned restaurants.

few realize that as time passes, the human stomach yearns for that which it once despised. fast food! this weekend i had a taco bell craving, and despite the 8,391 awesome unique restaurants that are only located in the gorgeous city of san francisco, i ran for the border. i feel guilty for doing so, but once in a while ya gotta indulge in the clinically-proven-to-taste-good food that is mass produced and fits the description of the bad guys in fast food nation.

and yes, it was glorious.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Geekin' out sunday night

sometimes you just gotta sit at home and bust out all your laptops/desktops and get some computing done. every true geek knows that it's impossible to have the perfect setup, however we continually pursue the dream of an ideal...

right now i just want a simple remote access setup from desktop win xp pc to laptop mac, for a more greener download pc. a desktop consumes much more electricity than a laptop, and sometimes i have a download that may take 3-4 days. i'd rather have the laptop on for 3-4 days which will download just as efficiently as the desktop, however only use a fraction of the energy.

basically i'm going green, (sorta).

Monday, September 8, 2008

Power Peace

i was cruising down the street in my '04, and i saw tons of folks walking to the park. tons.

so snacks and i cruised down to the local dim sum shop and then meandered over to the park to see what was going down. we were greeted by 60,000 people jammin' to ziggy marley singin' his father's tune 'redemption song'. some people were young, some old. we saw tattoos, dogs, dreads, and beer. a few people were walking on stilts, others were doing the tightrope walk.

san francisco is a great city to live in :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

hands in your pockets

hands in your pockets

i held my first ‘career’ job back in the 50’s. technically the year was 2003, but the technology, mentality, and furniture was straight outta 1956. the company [carlton forge works] didn’t have a website. when prospective employees google’d the company name, my blog was search result #1 (i’ve since then changed that) because i mentioned the company name in a blog post or two. they barely had computers, let alone an online presence.

I almost choked on my own vomit when they introduced me to the machine I’d be using, a p2 450mhz powered computer with 256mb of ram.  (i had a 1.5ghz computer at home, and we're not talking the newest specs either). i brought my own chair in, it was easily older than my parents and probably made out of wood at some point. i brought in my own mouse, and keyboard.  but i could go on an on about how outdated and backwards my first job out of college was, everyone can to some degree.

there was a man who worked at our company. this man was very well known, and respected throughout the industry –albeit a bit creepy. there were plenty of rumors and stories about him, but really he wasn’t a bad guy. he was from the ‘old school’ and used to always give me shit for having my hands in my pockets. nothing pissed this guy off more. i thought, never has anyone cared that i put my hands in my pockets, but this guy sure had a pet peeve for it. when he first explained the reasoning behind his disgust for pocketed hands he said “in the movies, they always show the dummy walking around with his hands in his pockets” he may have said it more clever than that, as he obviously focused way too much time/attention on other people’s hands and where they were resting them when not in use.

my pants came with pockets, why not use them for more than a wallet and my phone?

the other night i was reminded of this old school mentality, and how things aren’t so similar these days. someone was talking about their workplace, and how they start their day at 7am sharp. everyone shows up at 6:40 or so, to get some coffee, read the paper, and warm up before the day starts. the person explained that there was one coworker in particular who showed up at 6:59 each day, and sometimes ended up pushing over into the 7:01 territory. he kept on about this person’s idiosyncrasies in the daily schedule of their office. at one point, he noted that it wasn’t abnormal to see this guy “hands in pocket whistling dixie” come 7:20. 

i almost blew milk out my nose when he said that. i realized that there’s a whole generation of people who hate hands in pockets. (this person was pretty 'old-school' as well) no wonder clothing of yesteryear was so friggin tight, so people were not able to put their hands in their pockets! pockets were to be used for any nickels you may find on the ground or for pocket watches if you had the luxury of owning one.

i wonder what my generation's pet peeve is? not knowing how to change ringtones? when i'm 60+ yrs old what blatantly normal things will get me all ruffled and result in me telling some whippersnapper that he's doing something wrong continually?

Monday, September 1, 2008

labor day

labor day, the day where everyone who participates in the labor that occurs here in the good ol' us-of-a gets to rest.

well, i rested. i can't say i really do labor on a daily basis -but i do work for a bank and banks believe in holidays.

so how to better enjoy an atypical monday (a monday with great weather that is) here in san francisco, than to hit up the full house houses with some wine and a frisbee! i think i need more mondays off.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


my friends are in town this week, and when friends are visiting there's always something going on. but as we get older i've noticed that the energy is the same, but the stamina is on the decline. sometimes just staying up that extra ten minutes means you don't miss out on something that could be talked about by everyone the entire remainder of the trip.