Thursday, June 24, 2010

the road to 5 stars

LCD Soundsystem - Yeah (Pretentious Version)

play this song while you read, hopefully the track is long enough for you to read the entire post to music. right click to save-as the.mp3 if you wish.

i am never in silence. when i have to walk down the 4 flights of stairs to my laundry machine, headphones come with. walking a few blocks from where my car is parked to the restaurant where everyone is meeting up at, headphones. while working (except during phonecalls) the 250watt mackie hr824 mki speakers are pumpin. if it's early then i've got the panasonic over hear headphones. i have an ipod dock in the bathroom so i can shower to music. there's a set of pc speakers that i plug my iphone or ipod into in the kitchen for cooking and listening. and of course i have ipod/iphone integration in my car which has 9 speakers, one of which is a 1000 watt kenwood subwoofer paired with a 1000 watt kenwood amp.

i am never in silence.

i've already managed listening to music where i want. but what do i listen to? how do i govern the 27,549 songs loaded in my current library? how do i manage to listen to what i want, when i want?

i use a few key pieces of information, and a few basic itunes tools to my advantage.

there's two types of playlists, smart playlists and regular playlists. regular playlists are very simple. create one, drag songs into it -done. the downside to playlists is that they are static, and only change when you go in and change them. it's not much different than burning a cd, which we all know that after a number of listens we get sick of.

smart playlists can be a bit more complex, yet far more powerful. rules are associated with smart playlists, and they are updated in real time. it may be simpler for me to outline examples of playlists and smart playlists i use. it's like burning a cd that keeps updating itself with the songs you play most, rate highest, and have recently added to your collection. same list, diff songs. smart playlists follow your musical tastes and evolves as you do.

some of my sample playlists:
- songs for my friend
- napa 2010 road trip songs
- my mixtape mafia session 6 songs
- top ten tegan and sara songs

some examples of my smart playlists:
- songs with a three star rating
- songs with three star rating and less than 10 play counts
- songs with genre equal to 'dance punk' or 'electronic' with download date after 01/01/2010
- songs added within the last 20 days
- 30 songs with the highest play count
- songs with album name equal to (insert multiple album names, for me this is blogs where i download songs from, see below)
- upcoming concerts (by adding artists = each artist i have tickets to see)

(note: itunes adds one increment to a playcount only when the entire song is played. this is how i got jon's most played song to playcount 162, just fast forward to the last second of the song and let it end... playcount +1)

rating songs (stars)
this is the most important task for me, in order to skim the creamiest of songs off the top of the lot. the ultimate goal here is to segregate the songs that i can't get enough of, from the songs that i like, but don't love. star ratings allow that to happen. itunes allows you to rate a song from 0-5, meaning you have have 6 different ratings (no stars, one star, two,..., five stars).

i generally follow this pattern. if i like a song, it gets three stars right off the bat. this rating happens on the computer, the iphone, and the ipod. since i sync all these devices, with my computer. eventually the rating will get translated to the other two devices. and this song is added to my 'songs with three star rating' playlist.

now, just recently i hit about 700 songs with three stars. at this threshold is where i decided to start reviewing songs with three stars, and separate the men from the boys. if i can't live without this song, i will bump it up to 5 stars. as of now i have 30 or so songs rated at 5 stars. again, this is my no fail playlist, songs that i can hear any time, any mood, any day, and completely love every single one of the tracks that plays.

the beauty of the smart playlists and these ratings is that if my mood changes, so does the playlist. "this song is not a 5 star song anymore, down it to 3 and it's out of my 5star playlist immediately". or if i decide that i hate hate hate a song, i'll rate it one star, and have a playlist for 1star songs. when i get around to it, i'll pull up my 1star playlist and delete everything within. this works well for dupes (though itunes has a somewhat competent duplicate detection system, i also use this method).

honorable mention: skip count
if you click on view->view options... in itunes you can see that there are many fields of information that are not enabled. one of those fields (by default) is skip count. if you change the song while it's playing in the first 2 to 20 seconds, the skip count will increment by one. i use the skip count to track which songs i skip the most, some of which also have the most complete listens. a smart playlist parameter i have used before (and may again) is something along the lines of playcount is less than 10, skip count is more than 10. this way i target songs that i don't like.

keeping it open:
since i only use the zero, one, three, and five ratings for songs, this leaves me open to determine what a two star and four star rating means. i like to design my processes with room for growth and expansion, you never know.

i also have tracking my activity, so you can graphically see what/who i listen to most (click on charts and see just how big of a tegan and sara fan i am)

"yeah yeah yeah yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

the eggling pt. 2

it's been 9 days since the eggling was cracked open and named ray.

right now you can see a few little sprouts peeking through the rubble.

here's a closeup shot of what looks like three shoots.

i'm already a proud parent.

Friday, June 11, 2010

takin' me back

'this is way before google reader'

i love soccer, and have since i can remember. i played on the aaa competitive teams starting in elementary school through high school. i also played on indoor teams, was picked up by other teams for tournaments that my main team wasn't participating in, and played for my high school team. soccer was life when i was growing up, and there was a time when i thought that i'd like to play soccer professionally (my other two aspirations were garbage man with a blue truck or lawn mower).

during elementary school, 2nd - 4th grade, i lived in penasquitos. i was on the pq express aaa team, along with the other elite 4th grade children around the area. one of these children was steven cherundolo (looks like he goes by steve now instead of steven). he's played professionally in germany since '99, and he's been on the usa national team roster more than most.

the past few world cups steve hadn't really made much of an appearance due to injuries. this time around he's healthy and ready, and so am i (to cheer for him). since he's a san diego native, the union tribune had a story on him recently. it outlined his path from portland's college team, to his father's death due to cancer, to staying in a german hostile while trying out for the hanover team. my dad read the article, cut it out, and mailed it to me [pictured above].

i had to cout the number of awesomes that occurred in this short moment of my life.
1.) i've played soccer with people who are on the national team (graned we were 9 yrs old).
2.) my dad cut an article out of the news paper and mailed it to me
3.) i found and friended steve on facebook, then wrote 'good luck' on his wall <- that part makes me laugh.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

papaya farm

text messages like these are the reason i can't give up on papaya farm.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the eggling

over the weekend i became the proud father of a basil egg. i went to park life in the richmond district (aka that little knick knack store on clement), and adopted an eggling in need.

i have to say that the eggling came to me packaged with care

the eggling's mini pot, seat, plant pot bottom appears to be from germany. what a trip this little eggling has made in order to be birthed right here in foggy san francisco.

the instructions were quite clear. so i got to work helping this little guy. the spoon is mightier than the sword.

with a little encouragement,

and a little water,

we're ready to let that egg shell guard down and blossom into a beautiful little basil! (atop my mackie hr824 mki speaker of course! best seat in the house)

his name is ray

Friday, June 4, 2010

barcelona pano pics

amsterdam panos

london panos

Thursday, June 3, 2010

just about a year

it's been just about a year.

after i turned thirty my life flipped upside down. i had to make an assessment of where i was, what i was doing, and what i wanted. i had just become single, from a relationship that lasted around 2 years, and felt lost in life. welcome to your thirties sucka.

the first thing i focused on was my body, getting in shape was my first new priority. weighing in the high 180's was just a bit chunky for my already thick frame, i think i'm meant to be around the 170 mark. so i invited myself to tag along with my gym going roommate and got those old running shoes out of the closet. at first i was spending most of my time on the cardio machines. running, stair walking, and eliptically increasing my heart rate. i would put in up to 45mins of cardio, and then spend a few mins doing sit ups or some goofy weight machine. after a month or so of this i was referred by my roommate to read the few intro chapters to a body building book he owned. the first few chapters discussed nutrition, then body types, and finally what types of exercise works for each body type (dependent on workout goals of course). yea, i read a bodybuilding book. your thirties do things to you that you may never expect.

i read the book slowly and thoroughly, taking notes while i read. this took me about a month to complete, and when done my workout regimin had matured. workouts went down in time (1 1/2 hours to 45-50 minutes), and results increased. learning about the three body types helped a lot.

mesomorph, endomorph, and ectomorph. the meso is the muscular thick frame. endo is the pear shape. both meso and endo can put on mass relatively easily, though the meso puts on mass as muscle where the endo puts on mass easier as fat. the endo are those that simply can't put on mass, fat or muscle. most people are not 100% each, but a blend of two. i'm mostly a meso, and characteristics of this body type means that i maximise my cardio workout with intensity vs duration. in short, if i run super hard for a short time (usually coupled with a pretty steep incline) i'll see much more benefit than a 75% pace run of twice the duration. some relatively heavy free weight lifting afterwards and i'm on my way to a thinner & fitter self.

all of this was in conjunction with the purple smoothie which i've been drinking almost every single day since the end of may 2009. i spend between $10-$15 per week on various veggies and fruits, almost all of which visit my blendtec blender (that's right, will it blend!!!). going a few days without my purple smoothie puts me in the lethargic and unmotivated state i dislike living in. its become my sunday evening therapy to slice fruit and veggies, blend, then bottle for the upcoming week. most people can't drink it, but to me it's the first thing i want to have in the morning. of course i follow it up with some coffee.

what surprises about this exercise and smoothie lifestyle is how i've kept it up. the gym gets visited three times a week on average. the smoothie is pretty close to an every day thing, though occasionally i'll skip one day during the weekend. and recently i've been taking 3 mile runs around the neighborhood during lunch hour so that my gym time can consist of weights only, no waiting in line for the coveted cardio equipment.

some interesting observations include:
there's far too many people at the gym 'doing it wrong'. too heavy of weight, bad form, wearing denim jeans (like really?), drinking soda on the treadmill, and the list goes on. i've noticed that i have more stamina standing at bars, concerts, or bbq's. when i used to have to sit down, after a short while standing. i suppose i was rather pathetic.
also, the gym does get super packed in january, and the number of doing-it-wrongers is dramatically increased. next january i may take the month away from the gym and pick up some sort of home routine. or find a much bigger gym.

i digress

i've successfully built these very important routines into my daily life. they've stuck for the past year, and i feel good about it. there's other changes and routines that i've acquired along the way, but those are for a different blog. i look back and i'm proud of my accomplishments, regardless of how small they may seem from an outside perspective.