Thursday, May 31, 2007


had to get in my official last blog of may :-) ... and greets from beijing! landed here yesterday for work. we're still reeling from our big false positive detection a couple weeks ago where we crashed a few hundred thousand PCs (a few of which were actually licensed!) due to an update quality issue when we detected core windows files as malware. between issuing apologies for our incompetence and generally looking contrite, beijing is fine, thank you.

a few observations on beijing so far:
the air pollution is astonishingly bad. it's worse than mexico city. the sky is grey and i'm told it's a rare day when you see blue sky. it reminds me of the animatrix where they talk about how the "burnt the sky" in desperation. if you think seattle is grey and dingy...

on a more positive note, you can see new buildings and construction everywhere. china is marching along to becoming the next superpower and it's painted across the landscape in so many fancy sky scrapers. the hotel i'm at (grand hyatt) is fantastic and my pal alex and i ate at a superb restaurant called "LAN Club" which was designed by Phillip Starck and achingly cool. everything seems to really be gearing up for the 2008 olympics here in beijing.

pedestrians do not have the right of way, they have to get the hell out of the way! cars follow their own rules and since you're walking on foot, you lose. the rationale seems to be as old as the schoolyard rules: they're bigger and faster.

now it's time for a little tour led by visiting guide alex chou...

i have no clue what this street is called by it's got all the standard tacky tourist stuff along with wacky street food

... and onto the wacky street food. here's live scorpions skewered and ready to be stir-fried.

ah yes, and if scorpions aren't yer flavor, how about some cicada larvae at various stages of growth? science project or snack? you decide!

and now for something a little tamer: a couple of guys playing chinese chess on the side of the street where alex and i had classic beijing style noodles with a tsing tao.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

may music & pics

got my hands on the forthcoming groove armada "soundboy rock". overall i like it and think it's about the equivalent of "lovebox", but more discohouse+ragga than a mix of rock and dub. i'm still forming my opinions but the tracks that seem to stand out are "song 4 mutya", "lightsonic" and "what's your version".

of the stuff i picked up previously, i'd say the best albums by far are bassnectar's underground communication, mark ronson's version, miles davis sketches of spain and feist's "the reminder". i wouldn't plunk any cash down for the terminally boring "good, bad and the queen". it sounds like the gorillas without any of the fun hiphop or good collabs. i have to say i don't get blonde redhead either beyond the track "23".

i'll have more to write next month, way too much stuff happening behind the curtain this month that i'm not comfortable blogging about (yet). all should shake out in the next 3-4 weeks.

this is a shot from our master bedroom. i have no clue what this tree is, but every spring it explodes into this amazing purple color, limbs filled with fragrant flowers. when i get the chance i watch it from the window or the roof as it's little hummingbird attendants flit in and out of the branches. we're pretty lucky...
this is a shot of jane at the getty villa. we arrived just in time for the "human sacrifice seminar"! yeah!!! beats the heck outta "personal realization" or "maximizing your weath through real estate investments". nonetheless, by the time we arrived it had already been cancelled on account of the primal gods switching demands from hard-to-find LA virgins to full tanks of 4.50/gallon premium gasoline.
pretty cool shot from the not-so-mighty Q of the columns in the courtyard of the villa. it's a stunning place. not particularly large, but nicely done.
The looks on the faces of some of the greek statues were priceless. This guy looks like he was just informed of an illegitimate child he fathered during a wild night in Cyprus.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

killer centipedes & what bots say when they talk amongst themselves

ugh, dealing with a late night quality issue in china and need a break so thought i'd hammer out a quick blog i've been meaning to post for a while about couple interesting things i've bumped into lately online.

first off, the zoologix blog has become worthy of regular visits for its oddball animal stories and snarky humor. i think i first saw it via digg, which has become my news source of choice lately. (i have it as one of my main content areas on my igoogle homepage) anyways, a couple of my faves are the creepy giant centipede huntings and the jogging flower.

next up is an interesting dialogue between 2 chat bots, alice and jabberwocky. these are programs built to dialogue with people and modeled in artificial intelligence principles. instead of having them chat with people, the authors of the article seeded them with a question and let them chat with one another from there unattended to see what would happen. if you even have a little geekbone in yer body, i think you'll appreciate what follows. one of best lines of the sparring b/w alice and jabberwocky:
A: : -) I don’t have any reason to deceive you.
J: Yes, you do, you’re a woman.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

keane, amoeba & denver

so the keane show was moved over to the gibson amphitheatre in choloville, er universal citywalk, since the greek is firefighter's headquarters while they battle the blazes in griffith park and environs. a pretty poor substitute but i wouldn't have wanted to be in their shoes scrambling to find a suitable replacement to the greek at the last minute. can you imagine the poor suckers who didn't get the memo and showed up to a smoke filled greek? "that keane was a little hard to hear but has one helluva pyrotechnics show, larry!"

anyways, the concert was good but not great. fresh outta rehab, the lead singer (tom chapin) sounds great. he's got some serious pipes and sounds equally good live as he does recorded, which is pretty impressive. the visuals around the show were cool, nothing remarkable but a combination of military themes and sorta groovy pac northwest native art-toons. the biggest downside was that they program their electric guitar rather than play it live. why? it's not like electric guitar players are hard to find or that they're crowded on the stage (it's just 3 dudes). hrm. the best songs were "a bad dream" and "atlantic". i was left with the impression that they were a good band, but need to show a little more range and get a little braver with their performance. how about something as simple as a cover song guys?

moving on, i dropped a little coin at amoeba last weekend and picked up some good deals. their used music selection can't be beat, i found most of the stuff i wanted for under 10 bucks. big win. early faves are bassnectar's new release "undrground communications", the latest feist "the reminder" and mark ronson's first artist album "version" (really nothing more than collected production work but good nonetheless). miguel mig's newest is solid houseparty fare, but adding vocalists beyond lisa shaw doesn't make you eclectic or varied if everything as a decidedly similar 4x4 beat behind it. overall, a good haul and i'm still making my way thru it all.

this week started out in LA on monday but i flew off to denver in the evening for a speaking gig at a golf course. yes, some people speak at fancy halls, some at hotel auditoriums, and others in front of press corps scrambling to get their question answered by the speaker of obvious prestige. i speak at golf courses where i'm basically the toll they need to pay before they can get to tee time. nice. what was cool about this one was after i fought my way out to the location past cows and horses, i was rewarded with some simply amazing views of the area. my Q can't do 'em justice, but here's some of the pics from the trip.

this is a shot from the "minitorium" where i sang, danced, and otherwise spewed forth infosec nonsense for 60 minutes. freakin' beautiful rocks! when i first saw them i immediately thought "how did they make those?" man have i been living in LA too long... :-)

following my speech, we made time for a mad dash around the course in golf carts. woohoo!! below are my partners in golf cart cruisin' christine and hope.

the course was stunning. damn shame they wasted a perfectly good hiking trail on golf! ;-)

among the geese and other wildlife around, you should be able to make out the 4 deer that passed right in front of us. pretty cool!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

current playlist (& a little more)

sleeping lessons - the shins - wincing the night away
innocence - bjork - volta
gone forever - ulrich schnauss - a strangely isolated place
os novo yorkinos - bebel gilberto - momento
voce - wax poetic feat. bebel gilberto - brasil
little ones - fat freddy's drop - live at the matterhorn
laid - james - laid
base 6 - chemical brothers - star guitar e.p.
david - gug gus - attention
23 - blonde redhead - 23
rubidoux - cold war kids - robbers & cowards

headed off to the keane concert at the greek this friday so i'll post a review of that over the weekend. they should be great live and the greek is a nice venue, very much looking forward to it.

i'm also going to try and sneak in a trip to amoeba this weekend, i've got a gift certificate jane gave me for xmas that's scorching a hole in my pocket. time to do so music shopping! here's what's on the "to buy" list:
Ulrich Schnauss – Goodbye
Kraak & Smaak – Remix sessions
Feist – Reminder
Wax Poetic – Brasil
Underworld & Gabriel Yared – Breaking & Entering
Dub side of the moon - Easy Dub All-Stars
Miguel Migs – Those Things

and i'm hoping to score one of these forthcoming as imports:
Chemical Bros. - We Are The Night
Groove Armada - Soundby Rock

Monday, May 07, 2007

the bay in 07 & bebel

it's been a while since i actually "lived" in the bay area. about 8 years to be exact (yikes!) from the time i had a corp apt in fremont and was doing double duty as hardcore security consultant manager / full-time partier. as i was walking around today in mountain i reflected on a few of the differences...

- it's not hard to get a hotel any more. i used to have to fight to get into a crappy howard johnson where you paid 230 bucks (gladly) for a last minute visit. traffic has lightened up too, which is good.

- the same crappy hotels i used to crash at are now "boutique" hotels which are nothing more than the same edifice which have collided with a west elm catalogue with somewhat predictible results: they're stuffy, cramped, and still smell faintly of their ignominious past but they have nice modern furnishings, gratis wine happy hours, and aveda supplies in the bathrooms. progress?

- everyone is indian. i walked thru our mtn view office and there was a sandeep or sourabh every 5 steps. sign o' the times. when i witnessed a splash of multi-ethnicity, it was for a "john lee" and in the rare case it was a white dude (almost no women) the name ended in a "...vic". my my my... have times changed.

- the food is good! castro street in mtn view used to be the dominion of about 7 different pho and low-end chinese restaurants. now it has any of a number of tapas and (suprise!) indian and chinese fusion restaurants. my pal uy and i scored a few nice cigars and drinks at the local joints while watching the indian people pass by :-)

onto bebel's latest, memento. all together, a solid album deserving of an accomplished artist. the best tracks in my estimation are the slow-building title song "momento", fiesta track "os novo yorkinos", blissed-out "um segundo", and the minimalistic "words" where she showcases her breathy vocals. even on the less impressive contributions to the album, such as the forgettable house track "bring back the love", her voice is still able to make the song unoffensive, if not exciting. i think she's better off letting other lay down the party beats to compliment her pipes as she did with both of her last 2 albums. i'd *love* to see her do an album with miguel migs though, who has far too long focused on lisa shaw and has branched out somewhat with his latest production album "those things".

a million thanks to dawn for sending me the CD! (gleefully ripped and added to both my lappie and groovy new red ipod nano i got for my bday from jane)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

may already?

oh how time flies... meant to get 10 posts in april but ah well. i've been busy the last couple weeks with my little occupational crossroads. it's been interesting and fun but it's not over yet, probably another 4-6 weeks of twisting turns and tough decisions. we will see!

on the music front, i'm enjoying the shins stuff more than i care to admit. i'm taking a shine to 'phantom limb', 'know your onion', 'so says i', 'sleeping lessons' and other stuff. on the other hand, i wish i could say that i like the new air album, which is offensively boring, and that i really enjoy the rest of bjork's album "volta". i'm going to listen to it a couple times more but i found myself a little disappointed after being blown away by 'earth intruders' and 'innocence'. i'm interested in checking out the new feist, which should be good. capitol A has some new stuff out too; he's been doing a bunch of good collabs lately so i'm betting it will be more of the same speedy, catchy rhyme-slinging.

below is a shot from a mexican magazine article from an interview i did while there a while back. for those who have access, i'm doing a bit for bloomberg tv tomorrow morning.

jane and i went hiking 2nite and i snapped the following fotos of topanga park from my groovy new motorola Q, black edition. i love it! far better than my clunky old treo 650.

for those who think LA is all strip malls, meth labs and concrete jungle, the santa monica mtns which are within minutes of santa monica proper offer some great hiking. check out eagle rock below.
we caught a great sunset on the way back (below) and doe sneaking into the generous brush for the evening. beautiful stuff.