Sunday, January 25, 2009

life angeles

coffee & work email; shouldn't i just be reading the paper?
how did i spend 45 minutes and get nothing on my tasklist crossed off?
out the door. late again to pick up jonathan. 
the sun has broken through and i can see the mountains.
it's a good day.

gallinas vivas, beckons the sign on hoover. i'll pass.
spirited discussion about pricing and branding with jonathan.
glad to hear accounting is going well for him.
and that his spirit remains strong in spite of recent deaths around him.
sometimes i remember what he was like 5 years ago when we first met.
and i'm proud of him.
where does his hope, his relentless optimism stem from?

off to newsong. late again.
a reminder to love, a moment to reflect.
a few friendly faces.
off to alvarado. 
gallinas vivas.
mom made chicken with the man doo guk, but far from viva.
the tv is playing sunday morning hoops & we're talking in spurts between bites.
"how's your foot??
"how's english class going? what are you learning?"
mom chuckles a little when she explains they are learning family member names.
way too easy for her, jane admonishes her to move up to the higher level class.
the pan chan is good, fresh and crunches when you take a bite.
jonathan is going to get his hair braided, it's pretty long and edging towards a mini-fro.
mom makes us coffee afterwards as the lakers and spurs pre-game starts.
out the door. jane with a bag of pan chan. 
mom now focused on andrew bynum vs. tim duncan.

a discussion of aesop rock's mix in the car.
branding swapped for bpms and bassline.
berendo, marked by the salvi bakery and futbol gear shop.
study hard, stay safe, see you next week.

vermont is waking up and wearing its sunday colors, blaring its sunday bachata & ranchero music.
i'm keeping an eye out for pedestrians and swerving cars while chatting with dorian.
another billboard for the afro ninja anime.
we stumble upon an irony.
youth today like jonathan have more ability to advance than ever before, but
their environment is more dangerous than previous generations.
if you can survive, you can go far.
high stakes for young people that should be worried more about scoring a date than steering clear of the neighborhood thugs.
i'm glad my youth was spent in relative innocence.
i recall catching lightning bugs & playing freeze tag.
steering through the swamp on a dingy during a rainy season.
drawing fantasy battle scenes on paper with my best friend sam.
going to the gym at the Y-center downtown with my dad.
our mara salvatrucha were the older kids.
the only pain was related to embarrassment, nothing more.

off to see slumdog at the laemmle near our place. 
jane arrived before me and grabbed our seats.
when she sees me, she hands the ticket to the attendant and whispers:
"see mike tyson over there?"
sure enough, there he is.
fat, tattoo-faced in khakis and a green-striped shirt buying a bag of popcorn.
jane's grabbed a seat for us near the back.
the movie is spectacular.
we wonder if mike tyson liked it.
jane and i joked that we would ask him, but it's not like he's jah rule or something.
old dave chappelle jokes age well, apparently.

off to the gym.
sub-7 minute miles are feeling good. 
let's see what i can do in the next race.
jane cranks out nearly 5 miles.
this is from the girl who could not run a mile without stopping when we met.
i can claim no credit, her determination is her own.
we're out at 5pm when the gym is closing;
odd since it's called 24-hour fitness.

i roll up to the parking attendant to pay for my stay.
she's speaking with her friend in the booth.
and ignoring my while she speaks
"bitch was calling..."
really. this is why shopping online is so popular. service is so often abysmal.
i just want to leave the lot, why do i have to feel like i'm interrupting someone's conversation?

finally home and time to make dinner.
spinach salad, stir-fried veggies & blackened shrimp.
frozen yogurt with berries.
and the SAG awards.
red wine (should have bought the better stuff, ah well)
i'm watching tv with jane and plowing through email.
deleting digital clutter, looking up actor facts for jane & editing slides.
the dishes are done and jane is tucked in.
my quiet time with sandalwood incense is waiting.
and a glass of whiskey with rocks.
i check the lakers score, finish my work, collect my thoughts.
and place them where they won't be lost.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

best of '08

constant rotation
elbow, "the seldom seen kid"
while people fawn over crappy indie music like the weepies and los campesinos, elbow quietly (at least in the US) delivered one of the most beautiful, compelling albums of the year. while vampire weekend is fun, elbow is fun, poignant, and lush. imo, the most complete works of the year from first to last track; there's only 2 songs on the album skip past in my ipod.

vampire weekend, "vampire weekend"
i found myself going back to this album again and again. there's something undeniably catchy about the brainy fluff punk of vw, the album expertly captured how i felt on my best days at university of michigan. it can be a little over the top and cheesy at times but it's fun enough to where you hardly notice. best tracks: m79, a-punk, oxford comma, blake's got a new face, mansard roof, bryn.

yoav, "charmed and strange"
never left my 4GB ipod through the year after receiving it from kcrw's cd club in the spring. big hit for everyone i gifted it to, and for good reason: the songs are passionate, unique with sparing production focused on masterfully employed guitar and percussion. if only he was touring in the US... best tracks: club thing, beautiful lie, there is nobody, live.

emilianna torrini, "me & armini"
i wish this had only been an EP: 1/2 of the songs are superb and the other 1/2 sound like she swallowed a handful of oxycotin and then alternated picking her her guitar and her teeth. this is why album sales can suffer but online music sales can soar. nonetheless, try listening to jungle drum and not singing along, or feeling a little boost afer big jumps. she's clearly having a good time. best tracks: me & armini, birds, big jumps, jungle drum.

jack johnson, "sleep through the static"
while i originally dismissed jack johnson as surf-folk music for hip department stores, '08 was the year i gave in and became a full-fledged fan. sleep through the static cemented this for me,a very nice album that is the natural continuation of his previous albums. best tracks: enemy, hope, if i had eyes, what you thought you need, adrift.

coldplay, "viva la vida" + "prospekt's march"
after a miserable 3rd album (xy), coldplay returns with a diverse, striking 4th album. the only real shame is that they clearly kowtowed to the label by not including the "bonus" EP of prospekt's march in the original album (artists typically only get paid for the 1st 12 tracks, guess how many viva la vida has?). anyways, the album feels cohesive yet manages to cover a lot of ground from anthems like viva la vida to the sharp opening instrumental (life in technicolor) and the bluegrass tinged strawberry swing (this track was my favorite and became the ringtone on my old nokia).

heavy playcount
- adele, 19
- gnarls barkely, the odd couple
- santogold, santogold
- rodrigo + gabriela, live in tokyo
- top ranking, santogold + diplo (compilation)
- tricky, knowle west boy
- juana molina, un dia
- thievery corporation, radio retaliation
- pacifika, asuncion

hmmmm... not quite but...
- ac/dc, black ice
- evil nine, they live!
- q-tip, the renaissance
- j-boogie's dubtronic science, soul vibrations
- aterciopelados, rio
- beck, whatever the hell his album with danger mouse was called
- monkey by damon albarn & some other guy

- MIA, kala (middle eastern techno & grade school aussie rappers? really?)
- cold war kids, against privacy (title track is great, what happened to the rest?)
- lyrics born, everywhere at once (nowhere i wanted it to be)

Monday, December 08, 2008

thailand pics, part 1

here's jane and i doing a cooking class with the chefs at the alila cha'am. we had a blast and the food (steamed butterfish, deep-fried sea bass and red curry prawn) all turned out fantastic. hats off to chef joel whittaker.

"attention in the produce aisle, someone left a basket of cockroaches next to the rutabagas..."

my triumphant, long-awaited ride on a horse. i had been bitten (fiercely) on the back by a sick horse when i was a "junior zookeeper" at the binder park zoo as a kid in battle creek. it was time for my vengeance on the species as a loaded my carcass onto a horse that was used to small thai-person frames. feel the fury!

chou hanging out in the under arm of an enormous lime-green buddha statue at a little modern art exhibit we visited while in bangkok.

i think this is from the ramayana. either way, it was part of a big old mural on the walls of the grand palace and appears to feature a panty raid conducted be a nasty looking group of monkies. and why shouldn't it?!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

alila cha'am

just a few quick notes as i take a break from my reading this evening here in thailand. i've lots of photos to share but nothing to upload the little buggers with. later eh?

been meaning to post my reading list, which i s'pose will replace my normal playlist this month. here's my holiday reading:
neverwhere by neil gaiman (already finished, well enjoyed)
the hobbitt by j.r.r. tolkein (can't wait for the movie!)
siddartha by herman hesse (profound, brief & beautiful)
life of pi by yann martel (spectacular vacation book)

and to be read still...
sons of haurrin (sp?), j.r.r. tolkein 
anansi boys, neil gaiman
(i figured i would feed my inner fantasy dork after my religious ponderings)

the hotel here was designed by one of s.e. asia's top architects and is striking. i don't think my written description will do it justice so i'll just wait until i can post some pics. i'm not much for sleepy vacations of lazing about but for a first attempt, it seems to be working out fine :-) today we learned how to cook thai food at the hotel and are still digesting the resultant feast of fish, prawn curry, vegetables and various forms of rice both sticky and sweet. 

alright, so i can't resist a short playlist:
the stops, mexican stand off and forget myself from elbow's leaders of the free world album
un dia, the new album by juana molina (dreamy folktech from argentina)
the renaissance, new album by q-tip (not bad, sponsored a strange dream i had last nite)
rodrigo and gabriela, live from tokyo (complete with chopped up nihongican!)

alright, back to the room. by this time jane must be wondering why it took me so long to to confirm tomorrow's trip to the cave & temple. shhhhh...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

remembering the 4th of november, 2008

jane and i got up at 5:45am, wanting to beat the lines at the local polling station. from early voting areas we'd heard of massive lines and wanting to avoid this we figured we would show up before the station opened at 7, aiming to arrive at 6:40. we walked across lincoln and down marine to the small park building, coffee mugs in hand, and were greeted by the prop 8 people, urging others to vote no on the ban on gay marriage. the line was not bad at all-- we were voters number 23 and 24. people quickly piled in behind us, including marcus wyatt, LA's native son, uber-house DJ.

i don't think i would say that the air was electric, but there was a definite sense of excitement running through the crowd and a nice feeling of community. venice isn't really a battleground community, even for prop 8. when we lean, we go wayyyyyy left until our feet are wet in the beach sand. anyways, we cast our vote after being registered by our neighbor, irene, and set about on our separate ways to work: jane to rosemead and me to culver city.

on the way in, i had a call with our localization team in dublin, ireland about quality concerns (we had issues with finnish translation in the main UI, embarrassing for the locals when showing the product to the finn media). while i'm sure this doesn't matter to anyone, the point of mentioning this is that the call was preceded by 10 minutes of discussion with the irish team about the elections. the 2 women from dublin mentioned that they were going to stay up to see the election results and were thinking it was going to be an obama blow-out win. i hedged: "i think it's going to be very close, down to the wire..."

this got me to thinking about all of my travels this year and the ppl i had spoken to about the elections along the way. the japanese media consultant, german cab driver, norwegian journalist and many, many others. they were all very clear about who they thought we should elect. i remember explaining this to jonathan once, how sometimes people transcend what they are and become symbols-- such that their individual capabilities are ultimately somewhat less important than what they represent: hope, change. this is of course a slippery position, as it can easily turn against you, but with enough substance behind the icon i cannot imagine a more potent leader.

once at work, just like any other day, i kept on eye on my igoogle home page, full of market updates, my gmail inbox, tech news & the latest featured youtube videos. i also popped up the CNN page to keep an eye on the latest happenings. i was expecting exit polls, but quickly remembered (with some prompting) the inaccuracies and woes of the primary season which condemned them to the sidelines. so while i refreshed the page frequently and anxiously waited along with the rest of the world, the day slipped by.

a couple states came in while i was still at work, attending a last meeting. it was split so far, but none of the battleground state results were in yet. i entered the meeting room late and quipped that chuck norris had just pulled ahead of ron paul. i checked out of the meeting a little early as it was trailing off into minutiae and headed home to meet up with jane. we'd decided that neither of us felt like cooking and wanted to be out in the community when the results came in. we walked down to one of our local hangouts in venice, hal's bar and grill, which is a little over a mile away. by the time we had left, it was starting to look good for obama-- they'd predicted that he would take pennsylvania and he had sealed up some important eastern seabord states while mccain racked up a number of wins in the south, such as kentucky.

hal's was packed with people gathered around the 2 tvs behind the bar. we eventually found a corner table in the small bar area where we could barely see the TV. if the sense of excitement was tangible at the polling station, it coursed through hal's in loud conversations & cheers every time a new state was announced for obama. of course there were boos for the states that slipped to mccain. again, venice is not what you would call a "swing" city :-) the man with the loud voice started calculating the possibilities, exclaiming how close obama was to victory. our african american waitress seemed unflappable, keeping a cool demeanor & focused on her job.

while we were wrapping up our wine and burgers, the election was called for obama. jubilant cheers erupted from across the bar and outside the restaurant. an african american woman in the bar, tears in her eyes, hugged our waitress and anyone else who seemed equally moved. jane and i exchanged broad smiles, put on our coats and headed home.

while on the way home, cars honked and cheered, independent of the ethnicity of the passengers. people walking by smiled knowingly, we did the same. when we passed the firehouse sushi restaurant, we caught mccain's concesssion speech. moments later, dorian called. we'd discussed the election for many months and he, as his facebook profile called out, was speechless.

at home we watched obama's acceptance speech-- flawless in words and delivery. he and his family looked every bit the part, their joy and confidence spilling over to the viewers and certainly the people assembled in grant park in chicago. i remember seeing oprah straining to get a view of the stage and thinking that our lakers tickets this coming weekend aren't so bad afterall if that's the best seat oprah can muster :-)

i wound down the evening by working on my concept checkpoint deck for the friday's presentation while listening to CNN and watching people's election commentary on facebook. the next day, the moment arrived when it all sunk in the most deeply for me. i was glancing through igoogle when i spotted this article from the LA times. as i read it, i remembered every person i met throughout the past 12 months across the globe who pinned their hopes on the americans electing obama. i think their hopes were never so much about obama the person, but about the ability of the people to have a voice against the establishment-- to affect real change when things were wrong, broken by greed and abuse of power. it was also about breaking with a past pock-marked with racism, an emphatic statement that everyone is equal and anything is possible.

what this means for me is that the next time i step onto foreign soil, i can do so with a little more confidence, knowing that we've done the best we can to begin to right the course of our country. i also hope it means that when we have children, i can point back to a historic moment i was a part of, and explain what happeneed when a new day broke for our country.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

current playlist

Baligaga - Tricky - Knowle West Boy
Far Away - Tricky - Knowle West Boy
Numbers Game - Thievery Corporation - Radio Retaliation
195lbs - Nightmares on Wax - Thought so...
I Want You To... - Jem - Down to Earth
Ruthless City - Morgan Geist - Double Night Time
M79 - Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Out To The Bay feat. Capitol A & Aima The Dreamer - J-Boogie's Dubtronic Science - Soul Vibrations
Against Privacy - Cold War Kids - Loyalty to Loyalty
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - The Beatles - Anthology
Move Your Think - Lotek Hi-Fi feat. Roots Manuva & Sandra Melody - Move Your Thing E.P.
Losing Keys (Katalyst Remix) - Jack Johnson - Sleep Through The Static: Remixed - EP

Friday, October 24, 2008


jane's big car accident. amazing she is ok when you see the pics.

Monday, September 22, 2008

current playlist

chemtrails - beck - modern guilt
i don't know - lily allen - i don't know single
hott 2 deff - lyrics born - everywhere at once
jesus and mary - martha wainwright - i know you're married but i have feelings too
indago (jez collin mix) - carmen rizzo feat. ladybug mecca - the lost art of the idle moment
think back - galatic feat. chali2na - from the corner to the block
hustle up - galatic - from the corner to the block
big jumps - emiliana torrini - me and armini
jungle drum - emiliana torrini - me and armini
thanks to you (dj cakeface remix) - copeland - dressed up and in line
so many ways - gelka - so many ways single
arcadia - apparat - walls
so special - bomb the bass - so special single

Thursday, September 18, 2008

only in la

rec'd this when i checked my email this evening:

From: Culver City Site Events
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 6:51 PM
Subject: From Facilities - Film Shoot- 22 Sept

Sony Pictures will be doing a location shoot in the warehouse lot across Slauson Ave (5933 Slauson Avenue) north of the 800-900 Buildings. Filming will commence on Monday Sept 22nd 7am-8pm. Filming will involve pyrotechnic work- shooting and explosive devices but in a contained area within the lot so it should not disturb occupants. Sony has permits in place and a fire safety officer will oversee the pyrotechnic work.

Thank you.

somehow i don't think this sort of thing happens in our springfield, oregon or orem, utah offices...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

consecutive interpretation

i thought i'd give a little insight into what really goes on in a speaker's mind while consecutive translation is underway and you're standing in front of the audience waiting for your next chance to speak.

"... and the streamlined UI provides the industry's best customer experience when combined with smart scheduling and silent mode."

(interpreter begins)

"kyoo wa, norton 2009..."

what's on the next slide anyways?
i see, more stuff on usability.
that's really sort of out of order, was that me or can i blame it on pr?
dammit, that's my slide. ah well...
time for a drink of water.
is that guy in the 3rd row asleep or just tired?
his neck just bounced off his chest, definitely sleeping.

i wonder if i could get away with checking my email on my phone...
... nope. turned it off and way too conspicuous.

(big pause by interpreter)

ok, here we go...

(interpreter starts back in)

phew. how did those 5 sentences turn into a full state of the union address in japanese?

is she getting it right? i think i just heard something about an eggplant.
maybe she said the UI is the color of an eggplant.
i hate eggplant, but it's not nearly as bad in japan as it is in the US.
it's smaller and less smushy.

maybe i could try some for dinner, tempura style.
what are we having for dinner anyways?
i need some sake.
that way, if the eggplant is bad, i can just kill it with a swig.

(small pause)

ok, that has to be it.

(restarts again)

unreal. she's definitely making stuff up.
time for another drink of water.

i'm 2/3 of the way done with my water. shoot.
let the race b/w my dry throat and my bladder begin!
check out that guy in the 5th row towards the back.
he's sort of like mr. fuji with donald trump's comb over. yikes.
how can his friends not tell him how bad his hair is?
it's sort of like have toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
speaking of toilet paper, is anyone really going to think that manga toilet paper roll souvenirs are as clever as you think they are?

(dead silence)


"now every year we conduct usability testing but this year..."