Tuesday, September 18, 2007

early autumn musings

so we've moved into our new home here in santa monica and are in escrow on my old bachelor pad just a mile up the road. phew! it's all been pretty maddening given the crappy market and prolonged move (took about 2.5 months) but we've finally arrived to our "big people" home with free-standing walls (no more condos!) and 600 extra square feet. i don't know how it happened but every inch of the new space we have seems to be inhabited by clothes or shoes jane had squirreled away previously. ah well...

the pic to the right was taken on my way to the airport in des moines, iowa. definitely *not* the 105 or sepulveda! i was there for my very last threat landscape presentation, which was cathartic. i've given the presentation 20+ times and have all my jokes, cues, etc lined up to the point that it is an act of some sorts. as of the 17th of this month i officially joined the consumer team at symantec and have been plunged headlong into the wacky world of creating software for families, grandmas and those little dogs that people stuff into purses. so far, so good. i've had a chance to muse a bit while transitioning and ask myself what i've learned in my nearly 12 years of working post-college. the big lesson i've learned can be summed up by the following quote: "One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say" - Will Durant. being a chatty fellow and having more than my fair share of opinions, i've learned over time that the best thing i can do if i'm not certain of my take on a subject is just to shut-up. not very deep, but really useful. it never ceases to amaze me how many people speak when they should simply be listening.

the shot to the right this time was from the korean festival jane and i went to with her mom a weekend or 2 ago. the festival was in k-town, but close enough to latino neighborhoods to draw them in as well. pretty entertaining to see all the koreans and a strong contingent of mexicans who showed up for the festivities as well, not wanting to miss out on a party. pretty fun :-) oh yeah, the foto: a shot of the beauty pageant that was going on while we were though. pretty goofy given the tuxes, near bridal gowns and the fact that they were surrounded by dirt floors, cell phone company promotions and bemused mexicans wondering what the hell the 2 for $5 duk-bo-gi they bought *really* was.

if the picture looks a little better than normal it's b/c i've had a new phone for about 3 weeks now: the nokia e61i. it has its moments, but overall it is the best smart phone i've had. wayyyy better than the anemic moto Q i was more than happy to ditch. the only thing i will miss is bubble breaker! bb was the best cell-phone game ever. small price to pay for a reliable phone with a good camera that works almost exactly how you think it should.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

summer close

well, the air is getting a little crisper here in los angeles and summer seems to be winding down. in my mind, we pretty much officially put it to bed with the underworld performance at the bowl this past sunday which marks the end of the year's world music series.

paul oakenfold kicked it off with carmen rizzo and bored the bowl with played-out trance anthems. poor paul never quite could make the cut beyond his early success breaking other people's reasonably good records to pilled out ravers. growing his hair out didn't get him any closer to the next level either, now not only does he sound tired, but he looks like one of those cavemen from the geico commercials. arrogant bastard also shamelessly promo'd his record-label "perfecto music" in the video visuals. when his logo wasn't spinning around like so much bad powerpoint, it was emblazoned on a hot asian chick who in a purple bodysuit with the perfecto label on her chest. subtle...

underworld started slow with tracks from their forthcoming album "oblivion with bells". note to underworld: if you haven't done a new album in 3 years, you might want to warm us up a little with some old stuff. the new stuff was somewhere between the old breaky beats and the newer atmospheric electronica they've showed off on efforts like the breaking and entering soundtrack. regardless, they returned to form in the second half with rez cowgirl, 100 days off, bornslippy and king of snake. freakin' fantastic stuff. karl hyde is still a great performer and they always put on a solid visual show. they did "jumbo" as an encore, which was a strange choice that was a little anti-climactic. regardless, one of the best bowl performances i've seen in a while and rivaled a strong performance by groove armada earlier in the summer.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


hola de playa del carmen! the internet connection finally got up and running here the other day, it was one of many minor casualties of hurricane dean. while he was little more than a tropical storm here, the mexicans say that "dean nos despeino un poco" (messed up our hair a little).

jane and i did a whale shark snokeling trip-- after a few hundred dives and not seeing a freakin' whale shark i figured the mountain was definitely not coming to muhammad this time. so i strapped on a snorkel and let the mexicanos hunt down the world's biggest fish for us. while we only saw 3 of them (other days they've seen loads, b/w 10-20 or 60-70 even), i'd definitely recommend it if you grew up watching jacques cousteau shows like i did. pretty damn cool. the picture here is definitely not one we took, but you'll get the idea. the one downside of doing a whale shark trip rather than naturally encountering them is that you get 3 boats of about 70 ppl circling 1-2 poor whalesharks, hopping into the water and swimming in their face until the whale shark reaches peak irritation and dives down well beyond a snorkeler's reach. i'm pretty sure jacques would frown on this, but i'm older now and realizing that his is french i naturally think less of his opinion than previously ;-)

if you make it down to "playa", make sure you grab dinner at yaxche and that you spend an afternoon down in tulum at the ruins and the impeccable beach club, ana y jose. ana y jose is a very cool little hotel with a beach club that costs about 8 bucks per person. cheap drinks, good food, nice tunes, shaded loungers, and miles of white sandy beach. tip o' the sombrero to dean for the great recommendations on both places.

another of the highlights was the cenote diving at the cenote dive center. cenotes are a fancy spanish word for "cave filled with water". i drove down to tulum (this time solito) to dive a couple cenotes for the afternoon. we did the "calaveras" & "grand cenote", both which were impressive. calaveras was cool due to the presence of a halocline, a layer of fresh water sitting on top of the salt water below it. i'd never seen a halocline before so diving it was really interesting. it basically makes a oily, hazy mess of the water in front of you when you transition b/w layers of water. given that you're trying to follow someone about 7 feet on front of you in a dark cave, the effect, while interesting, is also a little unnerving.

the grand cenote was more accessible and had a lot more people there (both snorkeler's and divers) in contrast to the calaveras where we hiked a little ways into a mosquito-infested jungle before jumping into a hole 10 feet below us. there's a reason for this: it's a lot more impressive. the grand cenote is a cavernous system with towering stalactites and stalagmites you swim around. as you cruise through the passages, you occassionally get a glimpse of the emerald green water near the open air. the affect is indescribably cool. the best part was coming back at the end and looking at the 3 ladders dangling in the water, which under the brilliant green water and surrounded by the cave seemed like something out of a fairy tale (or, being a bit dorkier than most, the game "myst"). i was more than happy to climb out of the rabbit hole, however, as for the last 10 minutes i couldn't stop thinking " sweet lord what would happen if there was an earthquake and we were stuck in here?"

alright, time for a little more chilean wine and neil gaiman's "fragile things". hasta pronto,
btw, thanks to whoever took the pics!