Monday, August 28, 2006

jose gonzales, herbert, zero 7 with sia, & gotan project @ the hollywood bowl

this one long looked like the best of the bowl this summer with a heavyweight, fairly diverse line-up. alright, all hipster fodder but diverse nonetheless. all in all, it didn't disappoint. not everyone carried their weight, but it was a great show regardless.

jose gonzales
we missed most of him playing solo. happens far too often since it's hard getting that many people moving quickly and after the booze starts flowing nobody is in much of a hurry anymore. nonetheless, we did catch 2 of his songs and he was better than what i had expected. the duo of his acoustic guitar and mellow voice carried a lot better than i had thought it would at the bowl. i still don't feel like veneer is a stand-out album, but he's a capable performer (if not an exciting one).

oh boy, what can one say about matthew herbert? the man has made entire tracks out of sending a full starbucks latte down the garbage disposal. that'll teach 'em! 4 bucks down the drain my man and you didn't get so much as a caffeine buzz from it, someone in seattle is smiling right now and it's not your aunt myrtle. but i digresss...

herbert started out with a fruity pseudo-electric welcome message. it got better from there. he seems to have returned to his house music roots and cranked out some infectious beats. not bad at all. he brought along a vocalist with him who actually sounded pretty good, however, he was so dispassionate (or maybe terrified?) that it was hard to watch him. both he and herbert were in their finest bathrobes for the event. i understand the desire to do something different; to make a statement versus the iconic rockstar model, however, the robes just looked silly. someone should hook him up with Devo, they could lend his group little plastic pyramid hats so that he can still look silly (and cover up his balding head) without looking completely ridiculous and having to waste a perfectly good bathrobe.

oh, and he did squish a canned frappucino to make scrunchy noises at the start of one song. not surprisingly, it didn't add a lot to the track which ended up being good inspite of the can crunching noises. score: starbucks 2, herbert 0.

zero 7
i'll have to say i'm completely puzzled by gotan project headlining in front of zero 7. now i could argue all i want based on my opinion, but shall we consult the all seeing Google for the answer of whom should have headlined? observe:

Google hits for Zero 7:
Google Hits for Gotan Project:

That's a 2 million hit difference!? I suspect Gotan Project is really a mafia front of some sort and leaned on 'em to score the top billing in order to legitimize their Sicilian money laundering scheme.

Regardless of the order they played it, it was easy to see who the best of the evening was. zero 7 was stellar, alternating between the best of simple things and the garden. sia started it off with my flame and moved onto distractions from there. she was a star performer, belting out soulful vocals and dancing around the stage jubilantly. the highlights were back-to-back performances of the stand-out tracks from both albums: destinypageant of the bizarre. jose gonzales did a couple tracks and turned in another nice performance but was eclipsed by the obvious charisma and talent of sia. the guys worked the decks and played live instruments capably, they were clearly enjoying themselves up there. all told, great performance!!

gotan project
nothing really to say here, they sounded good but not great. to be fair, we listened to a few tracks and bailed since jane was not feeling well. i truthfully have a hard time distinguishing many of their tracks from one another-- they have a nice sound but i'm not sure how much range they have or what more they can do with it.

next up: feist in a couple weeks and then paul simon at the greek in october.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

red fish, blue fish, dumb phish

so the infosec buzz right now (among other things) is about how sophisticated online fraud attacks are getting. "vishing", blog-based enticements, IM enticements, and highly targeted attacks. i've heard some pretty good ones of late that target people who lost an ebay bid and get a follow-up message (supposedly from the seller) that alls they have to do is send them the $$$ and they'll send them the desired item as the original seller bailed out. clever.

well, my inbox tells a different story. stretching back to around the middle of last month i've been the recipient of routine, silly phishing attacks for 5th 3rd bank (where i do not bank). check out the screen cappie below, shows 14 since July 20th. each one has a wacky combo of words or excepts from a story of some sort coupled with an image containing the enticement. check it out:

who in god's name would trust this and cough up their identity? do ppl really rush so fast to attachments that they don't read the message? i doubt it.

i would have more sympathy for someone who was suckered into helping general ungawa recover his 20 million from the nigerian government than the person that thought that just maybe they're account really was suspended in a message that starts with the words "fishy gimp, pus gamy awe, slue bosh pax ...".

on the flip-side, phishing messages like this would provide an ingenious starting point for coming up with creative, new indie band names. think about it. "she wants revenge" and "clap your hands and say yeah" could have just as easily been "ramage bagpipe brokerage" if they had been cruising my spambox. has a nice ring to it eh? how about "pain roof opal" instead of "death cab for cutie"? maybe these guys missed their real calling...

current playlist

Solitary | Skye Edwards | Mind How You Go
Is It Any Wonder | Keane | Under the Iron Sea
Zueri - Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Nortic Flav Mix | Tosca | Souvenirs (J.A.C remix album)
Funk Box | Visioneers feat. Capital A | Dirty Old Hiphop
Throw Your Hands in the Air | Teddybears | Rock n' Roll Highschool
Blower's Daughter | Damien Rice | O
Storm | Cut Chemist feat. Edan & Mr. Lif | The Audience's Listening
Bullitproof | Breakbeat Era | Ultra Obscene
Canto De Ossanha | Jurassic 5 | Feedback
Lemon Tree - Thievery Corporation Remix | Herb Alpert | Rewhipped
Tippy Tip Toe | Crackpot | Tummy Touch Compilation
Red Umbrella | Kostars | Klassics with a K

Friday, August 18, 2006

w00t detroit city

first the superbowl and now a detroit judge is the first to officially decry the ludicrous levels of surveillance we have been under since 9/11. personally, the surveillance doesn't bother me nearly as much as the thought that i'm paying someone with my tax dollars to sift through millions of calls and emails to do something that could be accomplished much more intelligently through other, more efficient means.

"The landmark decision makes U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's once-secret program. The American Civil Liberties Union had filed suit against the government, claiming the program "ran roughshod" over the constitutional rights of millions of Americans and ran afoul of federal wiretapping law."

Link to full article at

Monday, August 07, 2006

infosec? it's more glamorous than a hotel heiress...

this post is for all of you who wondered what a real security conference looks like (all 2 of you out there). think it would be cool to hang with a group of "hackers"? look no further as i provide a brief look at the dorkstravaganza that is one of the industry's longest running infosec conferences: defcon.

this is a glance at the crowd in the riviera hotel in las vegas where defcon is hosted. for those of you who have not been to the riviera, it is located on the 7th layer of hell, which is oddly right next to circus circus. suckarama. it's cheap even by the standards of lima, ohio. while nearly every hotel worth its salt in vegas is adding marquis chef restaurants, the riviera just added a new "subway" sandwich joint and knocked another 50 cents off of footlong chili dogs.

this my friends is a robot contest. a fight to the digital death for a series of mechnical 'bots created by hacker types for a nail-biting duel at defcon. grab your cheetos and strap yerself in amigo, it's a bout to the finish that would make C3PO blush....

this is the message board and agenda displayed at defcon. it was about 15 feet tall, go big or go home. if you could read the text on the right-hand side (snapped this with my treo like the rest, the camera sucks), you'd chuckle in delight at adolescent humor such as the following winner i read on the big board:

What's the difference between a Northern fairy tale and a Southern fairy tale?
A Northern fairy tale begins, "Once upon a time..."
A Southern fairytale begins, "Y'all ain't gonna believe this shit..."

i've saved the best for last. this is the wonderful wall of sheep, which displays those naive enough to connect to the defcon network without using some form of encryption to protect their communications. this is sort of like taking your chances with a hooker in botswana. bad idea. most of what ends up on the screen is people's passwords for email, ftp and other popular internet activities.

you might be able to see the image of young fella on the left-hand, bottom corner of the screen. the title of this photo is "MySpace Lover!"-- this poor sucker was caught connecting to his myspace account while at defcon. this was greeted with howls of laughter and widespread derision. to think that anyone would use the internet to connect socially!!! absurd.