Log in

silverback gorilla's Journal [entries|friends|calendar]
silverback gorilla

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ calendar | livejournal calendar ]

BRING IN DA KATZ!!! [09 Jul 2015|12:11am]





post comment

Resolutions 2015 [17 Jan 2015|10:32am]

Wispy self-improvement

  1. Be present
  2. Cleaner living (less drinking etc)
  3. Cook more
  4. Teach kids (Izzy at least) to swim and ride a bike


  1. Sell the house, find a new place to live
  3. Get through it


  1. Go roped climbing outside
  2. Go bouldering outside
  3. Get more v3s and at least one v4
  4. Get permanent belay card
  5. Climb at all the touchstone gyms (east bay included)

Stretch goals

  1. Make a snowman
  2. Take a bike repair class

note: henceforth, i'm a try and come back to lists on this blog and update them. e.g. 'rap songs that sound like they were produced by early aphex twin' really needs an update. so all lists will be subject to change. i might add some 2015 resolutions later. will try not to delete any though. then again, if i get everything on this list done, that would be a pretty satisfactory 2015 already.
post comment

Best Rap Videos 2014 [20 Dec 2014|11:25am]
Standard disclaimer, many of these tunes make no sense if you're listening on MacBook speakers. You need a system with BASS-- headphones, or a car stereo or a home setup, doesn't matter just so long as it kicks. Otherwise you won't be able to hear some crucial frequencies. I recommend building a wall of subs and lying on top of it.

1. Snootie Wild (ft. K Camp) - "Made Me"

In 2014 the Dirty South still reigns supreme. This is exhibit A. The gorgeous instrumental was produced by "Big Fruit," who I guess drew the short straw on the day they handed out producer names. Nevertheless, it kicks as hard as anything from Mike Will Made It or Metro Boomin'. I love that moment at 0:40, when the bass kicks in amidst twinkling electronics-- sheer bliss. The music pairs perfectly with Snootie Wild's infectious drawl, which I dare you not to get stuck in your head. Snootie looks pretty fly in this vid, don't you think? Especially when he's rocking that crazy tanktop at the laundromat.

2. YG - "Bickin Back Bein Bool"

For a hot minute, everyone at the office was obsessed with this song. Like everything else on this list, it completely lacks any redeeming social value. But the beat by DJ Mustard is insanely catchy, and Y.G.'s swagger carries the whole thing. I like the way he folds his arms after sayin "better call the S.W.A.T.", and the Blood Walk he busts into while hanging in his friend's front yard. I tried to learn the dance by watching "how to blood walk" videos on YouTube, but to no avail. "Gang-affiliated walking" is probably some kind of HR violation.

If you're wondering what "bickin' back" means: Y.G. is affiliated with the Bloods (L.A. street gang.) The Bloods' mortal enemy is the Crips (another street gang.) Bloods express their hatred of Crips by crossing out the letter or sound 'c' and replacing it with 'b'. So "Compton" becomes "Bompton," "cigarette" becomes "bigarette", and "kickin' back being cool" becomes "bickin' back bein' bool."

This is all well and good, you might say, but then why doesn't he replace ALL the 'c' sounds in "kickin back bein cool"-- why is the song not called "bibbin bab bein bool?" Two reasons: 1) because "bibbin bab" sounds fucking ridiculous! come on even Y.G. has his limits. 2) the "c" sound is ok when generated by the letters "ck," because ck stands for Crip Killer. The More You Know

3. iLoveMakonnen (ft. Drake) - "Tuesday"

Makonnen is an ATL homebody who's definitely driving in his own lane. His shit blew up big time when Drake hopped on the remix of this track, blessing us with Drake-isms like "I think we gettin' too deep; shit I'm talkin' might be too true / Upstairs I got Xans in an Advil bottle, I don't take them shits / But you do / So I got 'em for you" Oh Drake, so romantic.

4. iLoveMakonnen - "Don't Sell Molly No More"

This is a weirder tune based on real life... Makonnen used to sell drugs, but the cops raided his ecstasy supplier, causing an MDMA drought. I like the warbly Metro Boomin filters and the washed out colors in the vid. Isn't it cool how weird rap is these days? Lil B, Soulja Boy, Gucci Mane all paved the way, now Young Thug, Chief Keef and a bunch of others are going sublingual, making up their own languages, singing nursery rhymes, abusing AutoTune in countless ways... it's really fun to see the new generation of rap kids run with the ball.

5. Dhananjay The First - "Let You Love Me"

OMG where to begin. This guy is a young exchange student from Indonesia who's going to Grinelle College in Iowa. He listened to a ton of R&B and rap and issued these covers out of nowhere. They were pretty popular on Worldstar! Would not have predicted that. Anyway dude is kind of gross in his sex rhymes, but I find him funny and charismatic and the vids are just ridic. Those Air Jordans! Lighting his candle in his dorm room with a blowtorch. The gimp that hands him a pencil to smoke. "I know you see the doo-rag... sorry baby if it hurts." Maybe I'm just thirsting for the Great Indian-American Rapper to appear... it's not this guy but it's the closest thing yet.

6. Dhanajay The First - "Say My Name"

The first shot where he's counting stacks while getting his head shaved by a dude in a mask... SO CINEMA! SO SOMETHING! Leaving a rack for Ganesh... wearing two different patterns of camo simultaneously... two iPhones... this dude is really the dude. Vice: Dhananjay the First Is Here to Steal Your Girl with No Remorse

7. Chief Keef (fet. Justo and Tadoe) - "Gucci Gang"

You know why Chief Keef's first two videos (the most popular ones, 'I Don't Like' and 'Love Sosa') are shot in his grimy ass apartment? Because he was on house arrest when those songs broke!! Isn't that crazy? Love Sosa has 16 million views. I do respect how Chief Keef completely eschewed the traditional music video route, where you pony up a decent chunk of cash and hire a director and all that. Keef has his own people and his videos are all resolutely DIY. But they're captivating still. At least, I think so. It's just a bunch of dudes jumping around in a room but somehow I end up watching it enthralled. Not saying this is his best vid but I like the low pass filters, his crazy sweater and the random Mexican kid in his gang. I'd say token, but I don't think he's a token exactly. More like someone's cousin's cousin.

8. Chief Keef - "How It Go"

Chief Keef is the rapper I was most obsessed with in 2014. Noisey (Vice music) is obsessed with him too, and their coverage is pretty exhaustive so I won't try to rehash it all. But if you want to talk Chief Keef, get at me, I could talk all day. About his circumstances, his avant-garde musical tendencies, the scary level of real life violence he's experienced and embodied, whether he's autistic or dumb or smart or some category beyond... anyway for this specific video, all that could possibly be said is said, eloquently, in this Noisey article: Chief Keef Just Released a New Video, "How It Go," and It's Amazing in So Many Ways.

9. Girl Talk & Freeway (ft. Waka Flocka) - "Tolerated"

Don't you want to give Waka Flocka a big hug, even when he's eating a mutilated human arm? "I pull up on you like a workout / Better pull that work out"

10. DJ Snake, Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What"

Asian-American protagonist. *sniff* we've come so far

post comment

My hands are getting increasingly f*cked up [27 Oct 2014|09:29am]
I hope my mom appreciates that voluntary censorship I just did on her behalf. She always feels great shame when I curse on Facebook. (it's true, if you're a good parent your kids won't curse on FB, if they do it means you've failed somehow... probably because you didn't love them enough)

So, my hands. I have a blood blister, multiple "flappers" (what Nathan calls it when a divot of skin peels almost off, but not completely) and various scrapes/cuts. It's from going to Dogpatch Boulders, where I spend an hour couple times a week trying (and mostly failing) to climb V1s. I don't mind the hand damage. It's a physical reminder of time spent practicing something. Hoping with time my grip will get stronger, and I'll be able to get up more routes. I want to experience progress, that enjoyable sensation of gradual improvement over time. At the moment bouldering seems like the best bet for doing so.

Stuff is going on in my life, but I don't feel free to write about it here. Maybe someday. If you know me, you probably know. If not, feel free to let your imagination run wild. (Oh come on. No, I don't have ebola.)

The difficulty level for climbing routes at the gym goes from V0 to V10. There might be higher levels, but V10 is already pretty damn hard. It's the kind of climb where holds are tiny little smooth bumps, and the climb goes into an overhang and then becomes fully horizontal, so you have to climb hanging upside down from the ceiling. Right now I can only do V0s and some V1s. Michael can do V4s some V5s. Nathan is the best of our bunch, he can do V5s and did his first V6 yesterday. It's satisfying to have these problems (that's what the climbing routes are called, problems) where there's a precisely defined difficulty level. It means you can tell exactly where you're at on the progress curve-- either you can do problems at a certain level, or you can't.

To give you an idea of what world class boulderers are capable of, here's this guy doing the hardest bouldering route in the world, "Wheel of Life." Look at his rest holds! I think the positions he "rests" in are outlawed by the Geneva Conventions.

BD athlete James Kassay climbs the Wheel of Life Direct from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

I've also been getting the itch to try top roping-- it's the type of climbing where you rope up and have a belay partner, and you go really high. With bouldering you never climb higher than you could safely fall. At a lot of the climbing gyms around SF and East Bay bouldering seems like an afterthought; the focus is on top roping. The bouldering routes at such gyms tend to not go that high (maybe 15 feet). That's why Dogpatch Boulders is so nice-- the gym is all bouldering, and the routes all go way further up. You can still fall safely, but it's high enough that it's kind of scary, and if you don't fall right you could hurt yourself. But it's not hard to fall right. I actually enjoy dropping down from the top after finishing a climb. Once you've convinced yourself it's safe, it's quite a thrill.

Another thing that's nice about D.B. is that it's kid friendly. They have a kids climbing area and a pretty nice slide, and the kids also dig the relatively exotic, grungy, vastly padded location of the gym. Asha spends all her time running around and collapsing. Izzy enjoys climbing. Someone put it this way-- the climbing gym is basically a huge jungle gym. So it makes sense that kids would be into it!

Long term, I'd love to try climbing outdoors. I think what would be best is to go w/ some experienced friends would are willing to show me the ropes (no pun intended). I just need to figure out who these friends are first. In the meantime I think top roping indoors is a reasonable goal. I forgot how to belay but Michael said he can show me, it's not that hard.

This guy Alex Hunnold does a thing called "free soloing," where you climb unaided (no ropes belays etc) like in bouldering. But unlike bouldering you do it way way higher than you could safely fall. It's pretty nuts. If you look on Wikipedia a lot of free soloers are dead due to climbing accidents. That said, it is amazing that human beings can do stuff like this.

post comment

I contemplate vandalism for the 1000th time [17 Aug 2014|04:35pm]
Thoughts while running

  • why is the sky not covered In stars (why is there darkness)

  • who do I want to be

  • embedded mesh network of microphones record all conversations that happen play them back. resolve arguments-- "let's go to the tape"

  • but who would transcribe

  • what can u pay people to do (outsourcing, Craigslist, commissioning custom dolls from china. Craigslist)

  • wish I was going to BM . yags light thing looked cool

  • why art? to ease the pain of life. to fill the need for creative self expression. because it's fun to do

  • paper airplanes

  • I want to touch the world and not get caught

post comment

Save me [21 May 2014|10:10pm]
Save me
post comment

I'm still here [15 Mar 2014|12:15am]
Shouts outs to 3000 piece jigsaw puzzles, 500 piece jigsaw puzzles, therapy.
post comment

1. Chief Keef - Baby What's Wrong With You (Prod. Phatboy & ISO Beats)

2. Wiley - If You're Going Out, I'm Going Out Too (Prod. Wiley)

I have to credit this Noisey article on Chief Keef with teaching me the word berceuse.

ber·ceuse - noun \ber-ˈsœz, -ˈsüz\
1 a musical composition usually in 6⁄8 time that resembles a lullaby
2 lullaby

"Keef's cadence has always been naturally berceuse, and on "Citgo" it shines like a reassuring nightlight."
post comment

2013 - Everything Else [17 Jan 2014|12:47pm]


  1. Todd Barry Podcast - 29 - LIVE: Sarah Silverman, Natasha Lyonne, Andy Borowitz, Nick Turner

    This is the first comedy podcast I've heard that made me think: wow, this is an entirely new medium. Usually I'm kinda meh on Sarah Silverman, but she is super funny on this. Love her sarcastic repartee with Todd, Natasha, and the other guests-- it sounds like age old friends sniping at each other in the best possible way."My therapist says there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices." "That's what you talk about with your therapist? What did you say that made her say that?" "I don't know, I guess… 'Is there bad weather?" Just check it out, the whole episode is hilarious.

  2. Todd Barry Podcast - 22 - Mike Birbiglia

    Todd: "Wow, this is the first time I'm the louder one." Mike B. fascinating as always. I guess I'm a comedy nerd, cos I love to hear two comedians I like talking shop. They get into things like, do you want lights on the audience? What happens when the crowd hates you? etc. Plus Mike B. is so good at telling stories, pretty much anything he says is compelling.

  3. Marc Maron - 458 - Artie Lange

    (can't go wrong with Artie Lange)


  1. Johnnie To - Drug War


  1. Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High
  2. Stoner
  3. Clockers
  4. Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
  5. A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel: Murder, Money, and an Epic Power Struggle in China
  6. Crazy for the Storm


  1. Acid Mothers Temple @ Bottom of the Hill
  2. James Murphy DJ set @ Public Works
  3. Quasi @ B.o.t.H.
  4. Maserati @ B.o.t.H


  1. Ran 12 miles (longest run ever) -- then did it again 2 days later

    first run: http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/314154977
    second run: http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/316444589

    I got on a running kick for a bit. Didn't think I had it in me, but I ended up running the equivalent of two half marathons. I started having knee problems though, and also was getting really bored. Wish I lived next to GG Park, instead of Pot Hill's post industrial wasteland.

  2. Scored the winning goal in a soccer game (!)

    Goodreads pick up, seven a side. We were in sudden death and I scored the final goal, ending the game. So exciting! I credit Virgilio and his insane trash talking.

  3. Beat Seth at chess

    Ok, it was a blitz game and he gave me rook odds. But still.


  1. Goodreads got bought by Amazon (1)
  2. Housing market came back
  3. Karoaked for the first time
  4. Went bouldering with Rich (ouch)
  5. Sven and Nicole moved to Cape Cod (boo! boo-urns)
  6. Magnus Carlsen became world champion at chess (2)
(1) It was a surprise, but at the same time it totally made sense. Atlantic: The Simple Reason Why Goodreads Is So Valuable to Amazon. "The site is a great platform for convincing people to buy books." YA THINK?!

(2) About time. Anand was long past his prime. Very satisfying to me that the world champion is now the highest rated & objectively 'best' player.


  1. Your uncle
post comment

2013 - Summer Trips [16 Jan 2014|10:30pm]


  1. 4th of July - Interdependence Day Family Campout @ Emerald Earth Sanctuary, Boonville, CA
  2. - w/ Dav, Mie, Tesla, Aila, Jeremy, Michelle, Sofia & Karina

    Late in spring, I was starting to despair, cos I'd been feeling the urge to get out of town for a while yet hadn't managed to leave even once. I posted a FB message in late spring complaining about my lack of plans/friends/inability to go on a camping trip. Liska: "You sound desperate." Me: "I am desperate!!"

    Dav took pity on us and invited us to this cool campout at Emerald Earth over July 4th weekend. Emerald Earth is a radically self reliant hippie commune where they grow their own food, get their own water from a well, make their own houses out of clay, and generally do everything themselves (except for internet, which they do use on occasion.)

    It was a super fun trip! It was Tesla's birthday so the Yaginumae arranged a bunch of random stuff (pony rides, antique roadster).

    We got to camp in the shade of redwoods, on the Emerald Earth grove.

    They had a mucky little pond so we got to swim naked, which I love to do

    Oh and there was this guy who, for Tesla's birthday, strung up a big rocket from high on a tree, so kids could take rocket rides! He got help from his friend who is an arborist, i.e. a professional tree climber. Such a cool job.

    There was a trampoline, which was fun until a girl broke her arm on it and had to be evacuated to the nearest hospital some miles away. That was a bummer. I heard she recovered fully so no harm in the end, but it was scary at the time.

  3. Casini Ranch
  4. - w/ Deena, Will, Suri, Jim, Kelly & Arlo

  5. Casini Ranch
  6. - w/ Matt, Susi, Audrey and Liam

    Casini Ranch is our favorite spot for camping near Russian River, as of now at least. It's got the best "beach" that I've seen, which is still just a bunch of rocks. But it's big and you can rent kayaks right there, and the swimming is good.

    When we went with Matt and Susi, they brought their canoe. I'd never been in one, so I was stoked to try it out. It's harder to paddle a canoe than a kayak. It's harder to keep it straight anyway. Liam and I boated around checking out insects and talking fishing. Also, I learned on this trip that Matt plays chess. Good thing I packed my chess board and timer instead of that useless 'first aid kit.'

  7. Schoolhouse Canyon Campground (a.k.a. 'unsafety usa')
  8. - w/ Deena, Will and Suri

    Not recommended! There's one main road in and our campsite was situated directly next to it. So we had to continually monitor the kids to make sure they didn’t stray into traffic.

  9. Kayaking on Mission Creek
  10. Izzy freaked out and kinda lost it. It's supposed to be one kid and one parent per kayak, but she refused to get in with me or Aliza. Finally one of the kayak guy had to take kayak with Aliza and Izzy, so Aliza could hold Izzy the whole time. Asha on the other hand really loved it.

    This is a thing where you rent the Kayaks near the piers downtown, and then you take a little kayak ride along the SF 'coast', past the ballpark and under those drawbridges along Mission Creek. It was fun kayaking through the canal! Definitely want to do this again.

  11. Dave & Mayra's wedding - Cabrera, Dominican Republic
  12. - w/ Dave, Mayra and a cast of thousands

    Camping it wasn't, but summer it was. Much pool time

  13. Montara rental house
  14. - w/ Bubbe, Boychik, Tani and Fraidy

    I loved climbing the big tree in this house's front yard. And going for walks on the horse trails, and hearing the foghorn every 30 seconds. It's weird, you'd think the foghorn would be annoying but it's actually quite nice. (it's not loud; it's faintly audible, like a heartbeat)

    My iPhone got destroyed at the Pony Farm on this trip :(

  15. Deep Eddy pool - Austin, Texas
  16. - w/ Ajeet, Sarah & Amitha

    Ah the glory of a proper public pool! Quite large and packed. Only thing you can do when it's Austin muggy hot.
post comment

2013 - The Year in Public Art [01 Jan 2014|03:02pm]
I like public art, meaning art that's free, art you can touch/climb on/interact with, art that's not in a museum, art that's part of life. This is the best stuff I saw this year. Standard disclaimer: public art is what I say it is.
1. The Clock
Christian Marclay
single-channel video with stereo sound
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

"Christian Marclay's celebrated video installation The Clock (2010) is composed of thousands of film clips referencing the time of day, intricately edited into a 24-hour-long montage that matches real time minute for minute — a tour de force of appropriation that is also a functioning timepiece. Marclay... spent three years assembling this staggering work, piecing together fragments from films both famous and obscure. The result, awarded the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2011, is a dazzling, genre-defying distillation of movie history, a radical reflection on cinematic duration, and a reminder that time waits for no one."

Man I was OBSESSED with The Clock this year. It was the last thing shown at SFMOMA right before they closed. At the time, my work office was only a few blocks away, so it was easy to go for an hour here and there. They start the movie at 6 in the morning (or whenever) and run it for 24 hours till the next day. Normally SFMOMA isn't open late at night, but they opened it 24 hours for a few weekends so people could see the late night parts of the movie.

Overall I think I saw The Clock 6 times. I forget what hours but something like 11-1, 2-3, 4:20 - 5, 7,9 and once late night at 11-2 (?) It's weird, there's no particular narrative to it, although some of the clips do cohere visually and the audio editing of them together is superb. And there are certain recurring themes. But there's no story to suck you in. Yet I found it completely addictive. I kept wondering what was happening in the movie at different times.

The funny thing is, when we finally got to check out the late night part of it, it was mostly clips of people sleeping or in bed!! Haha I guess that's what you'd expect.


2. Wynwood Walls
Wynwood district, Miami. Largest open air graffiti zone I've ever seen. Amazing.


3. Gyroid
Paul Stepahin, Eric Dimond
12'H x 12'L x 12'W
260 sheets of routered plywood
Exploratorium, Pier 15, SF

"The Gyroid was made by the Exploratorium's Paul Stepahin, and exhibit developer Eric Dimond from a shape defined by a NASA scientist looking for structurally sound forms." A gyroid is an infinitely connected triply periodic minimal surface discovered by Alan Schoen in 1970.

4. Homouroboros
Peter Hudson
30'H x 24'W x 24'D
steel, aluminum, fabric, liquid crystal goggles, ???
Exploratorium, Pier 15, SF

"Monkey around with this spectacular, interactive zoetrope by artist Peter Hudson. Stretching 22 feet above the Exploratorium’s public plaza, Homouroboros features a treelike steel and aluminum frame that curves like a mushroom cloud over 18 human-sized monkeys hanging from its branches. At the base of the tree are 10 drums. By pounding the drums, you can make the entire artwork spin. At 20 rpm, Homouroboros springs to animated life. The monkeys’ rotation is synced to strobe lights at night, and, during the day, to masks with shutter lenses. Your visual system combines the 18 monkeys into a single animation of a monkey swinging from branch to branch, reaching for then devouring an apple from a snakelike hand."

"Homouroboros was originally commissioned by Burning Man in 2007. The exhibition of Homouroboros at the Exploratorium is copresented by the Black Rock Arts Foundation."


5. The Bay Lights
Leo Villareal
25,000 LEDs, ???
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

"A public light installation consisting of 25,000 LEDs strung on the vertical cables of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge."

Ok, I have to admit-- even though I LOVED the idea of such a huge scale project, I was distinctly underwhelmed by the Bay Bridge lights. Every night when I biked home from work I'd stop and look at them for a while and I think, eh... that's kind of interesting... I mean it's better than them NOT being there... but it's basically like a screensaver circa 1991. Some ovals, a little rain. It's amazing from an engineering stand point but I wish there was more 'there' there. Still, props to the city and the artist for making this happen. A city that has a bridge with a trippy light show happening continuously on one side is preferable to a city that doesn't.


6. Dahlias
Colette Crutcher
galvanized iron
Cabrillo Playground, SF

Simple but really cool idea. She braided the chain link fence.


7. Styrofoam Hummer H1 (low mileage, always garaged)
Andrew Junge
17'L x 6'H x 8'W
Styrofoam, lumber, steel
San Francisco International Airport, Terminal 3, departures level

"American artist Andrew Junge created the Styrofoam Hummer when he was the artist-in-residence at San Francisco’s Recycling & Disposal Inc. Using Styrofoam scavenged from the dump, Junge sculptured a 17ft (5.2m) long, 6ft (1.8m) high and 8ft (2.4m) wide Hummer to highlight waste and consumption in North American culture." Part of the exhibit, The Art of Recology: The Artist in Residence Program 1990- 2013


8. Butterfly Wall
Charles Sowers
12'L x 12'6"H x 1'W
dichroic acrylic, stepper motors, custom electronics, glass & steel casework
San Francisco International Airport, Terminal 2, children's play area

"Butterfly Wall consists of 20 hand-cranked mechanical butterflies that are propelled up a cable to gently flutter back down again in a delightful random choreography dictated by the air resistance of their spinning dichroic wings." So cool! The new SFO terminal has a lot of good art in it. Me and Izzy spent a lot of time at these, cranking the crank to make the butterflies go up and down.


9. EX-DD-06
Shih Chieh Huang
25'L x 25'H x 25'W (800 sq. ft)
modified household materials, plastic containers, garbage bags, computer cooling fans, micro controllers, LED lights
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF

"Shih Chieh Huang creates sculptural ecosystems using computer parts and common objects, such as plastic bags and bottles, which he animates in installations that mix a machine aesthetic with an organic impulse. Gathering inspiration from marine biology, Huang explores bioluminescence and its role in seduction and reproduction in the deep sea." Part of the exhibit, Synthetic Seduction - Shih Chieh Huang.

Bunch of electromechnical jellyfish, took up an entire room. Standing in the dark, there would be breathtaking moments when the whole thing stopped and all the lights died out and all the jellyfish limbs collapsed and everything went silent-- and then it would slowly wheeze and bloop to life again. The jellyfish were made of used PVC bottles and plastic bags and stuff but there was some fairly intricate electromechanical microcontroller action tying it all together.


10. Dolores Park mobile
Dolores Park, SF

Someone made a crazy mobile and hung it high up from a pole in Dolores Park. (mobile in the sense of an Alexander Calder sculpture, or something you'd hang over a baby's crib)

11. Halloween jack o' lanterns
At Mike Williams's house, we made jack o' lanterns. It was fun. I thought mine turned out pretty good, but then I was blown away by some of the other people's designs. They did things I didn't even know you could do.

I was walking home from the bus, and happened to look at the inside of a trash can. This is one of those public trash cans provided by the city, at street intersections and bus shelters and such. The word "TRASH" was carved into the trash can. But if you look from the inside out the hollow letters look green (cos of the trees in front of the trash can) and the word TRASH becomes HEART!!

13. Whispering Dishes
Market St. @ 5th, SF

It's like a telephone made from two tin cans connected by string, except it's two satellite dish sized concrete chairs facing each other on Market Street! Parabolic acoustic mirrors, is the technical term. This was part of the Exploratorium's "living innovation zone." Also there was a musical bench that can only be controlled when two people sit holding hands.


14. This truck


post comment

Wasteland [05 Dec 2013|11:41pm]
Browsing around on random Livejournals where they put 'public art' as an interest on their profile...

God what a wasteland. All abandoned journals and/or angst.

The only interesting journals are Russian art types where I can dimly make it out through Google translate

Why are the russians so much more interesting on LJ?

It feels lonely in LJ land. I know there must be at least one other like minded soul still using this thing.
post comment

Curse you Sonos! From hell's heart I stab at thee [14 Oct 2013|09:05am]
Radio silence at my house, cos Sonos is on the fritz yet again. At this point I've had so many problems with Sonos, I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

Is the "Bridge" broken? When do I have time to sit there and isolate components? Why can't it just work? I'm ready to go back to a record player

Somehow all this technological progress that's almost but not quite good enough is more maddening then when there was no promise of music in the cloud at all...

I guess if I buy all my music one last time, it's finally available always everywhere (itunes in the cloud, amazon music, etc). But then there's still the problem of fragmentation. Spotify doesn't have most Fabric mixes. Soundcloud is mostly singles and DJ mixes. iTunes doesn't have mixtapes or anything illegal. I listen to a lot of 'illegal' music in the sense that they didn't clear all their samples or whatever

Wireless interference? Is it my router settings? I wish Sonos would at least give you some useful diagnostics. A single blinking light on the device isn't enough!!

I tried plugging my iPhone into my old iPhone speakers but of course, the iPhone 5 has a new audio port that's incompatible with any old speakers.

Marc Maron was ranting about how he hates when people go "first world problems." Like no shit!! You don't see people on Twitter tweeting "not enough food to eat" "covered in flies"

What did the green grape say to the purple grape?
"Breathe, dammit!"

this is my Starred playlist on spotify. you should sub cos it's pretty good. I know Spotify is owned by majors and perpetuates their shit but I'm exhausted and don't care anymore, just get me all the music in one place. Resigned to that fate since I'm not seeing anything better

If they would just be transparent about what they're paying and make it easy for bands to figure that stuff out, I could live with it. They're so shady though

Dilemma of the laptop artist in the only-get-paid-off-tours-and-t-shirts age

Yags is working for a Ticketmaster subsidiary now. BOO HISS but anyway they get tickets with no surcharge. That's a pretty good perk right? I want some perks in this life

If I got rich enough that I didn't have to work ever again, I would do a few things

1. Learn to fold a shirt properly
2. Learn a really good paper airplane design
3. Hire a private chess tutor and get good at chess (like Howard Stern)

Can hear the crowd BOO HISSING. "You can do that stuff now you lazy git!" Yeah but with two kids and work being what it is, I barely have the energy/patience to watch movies let alone do stuff. It's no excuse is it. Once the kids are a little older I hope to light some creative fires again. Collab with em or whatever. Just need to do something, I miss projects

Somebody put a fake (cardboard? wood?) wolf on the rotting piers down by 3rd St. It's pretty cool looking. That's a good starter project. I should add another animal. How'd they get it out there? Did they row out there in a boat?

I paddled a canoe for the first time this summer. Canoes are a lot bigger than ocean kayaks, and harder to keep straight

We camped a bunch and spent enough time at the river that it felt like an unwasted summer. Props to the missus for motivating us. Who am I talking to? Is this just voices in my head. Ooh Belle and Sebastian "Don't Leave the Light On Baby" just came on. Added all these golden oldies to Spotify starred last night. Is it wrong to be immensely pleased with oneself. And yet at other moments I'm filled with despair.

DESPAIR! melodramatic innit. just need to keep on with the jokes. will i ever be free of addictions. like typing into a computer. so addicted to the internet. it makes me feel connected. such an captivating feeling knowing that if any idea catches your fancy you can wikipedia it. plus intermittent rewards from facebook, goodreads, etc. like most interesting things it's complicated, it's not all bad but it doesn't make you a luddite to recognize that technology can bring out some bad tendencies. yeah i can look up anything but it just means i'm distracted all the time. no attention span anymore. plus the feeling of connection is a kick in the short term but in the longer term i'd be better off building cabinets or something

basically if i were rich i'd pick up life skills. learn to fix my bike. plus the requisite travel etc but you can't travel aimlessly forever, it gets old being a tourist. good to travel with purpose. given up on learning a language.

you have to get REALLY rich to collect art. most people can only aim for medium rich

the girls are sitting coloring . are they soaking up the tunes? who knows what gets in your head at that age. on my way... to the club... fell down a hole

haha this pic always cracks me up

halloween coming, what am i gonna be? they had another bear costume at the bear costume store... black bear... it wasn't as good as the brown one though. liska always wants to do a group costume. i'm not opposed but it has to be a good idea, can't throw something together at the last minute. like when those people all came as in and out workers... that was alright.

i get stymied whenever i try to build a costume. hard to do the scaffolding right. i think you have to learn scaffolding 101 before you can do it up right

that bear suit was hot as f**k and not suitable for the dancefloor. it was fun to walk around in it though. last year i wore it to izzy's class and 90% of the kids loved it and i made 3 kids cry. so, perfect

i watched every one of howard stern's letterman appearances last night. i think he's the best talk show guest there is

he's a great interviewer too. he always asks the same stuff. how much are you worth, who have you had sex with, in what position, etc etc... so crass but he has a fundamental honesty/curiosity/willingness to name names/ability to make people comfortable enough to say things they shouldn't...

his books are both really good.

if you live in pot hill let's play chess gdammit. i have the timer and everything
ok let's do it
but it's not that fun to play against yourself
sometimes i think about taking my iphone and the board to farleys and playing it out against shredder on the board
or else if i just sit there with a chess set will someone sit down w/ me and play
i need to get my kids into it but i'm scared of pushing it too hard cos that might have the opposite effect
i took izzy to a chess in. it was a protest against the police throwing out the chess players from market cos they attract unsavory elements. ironically, while we were there my wallet got stolen!! pickpocketed i think, while i was winning a game. that sucked the most. nothing throws off your game like suddenly realizing your wallet is gone

"The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw"

i was shocked to learn Jack Handey is a real person. I thought he was like Sara Lee or Nicolas Bourbaki or somefin
post comment

I think I have forgotten how to speak [02 Oct 2013|08:47pm]
The subject of this post is bleak

Perhaps I'll write this post in rhyme

The subject should be bad-idea-time
post comment

Prairie Bomb [17 Sep 2013|09:23am]
Prairie Bomb by jcruelty
Prairie Bomb, a photo by jcruelty on Flickr.

Prairie Bomb - Imperial stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans, and ancho chili peppers.

YUM! Five stars out of five. This is what chili chocolate beer SHOULD be. Not like Mikkeller's nasty Mexas Ranger, which I had to pour out halfway through.

post comment

ART RECAP [16 Sep 2013|11:08am]
1. Yasi's Robot Heart sunglasses
2. Rock maze atop Bernal Heights Hill
3. Robot death ball @ Charlie's -- man this thing looked so cool. Wish I could've seen it in motion, especially at night when it was lit up.
4. Dahlias - chain link sculpture at Cabrillo Playground
post comment

Everything great about Richard Scarry in one picture [30 Jun 2013|12:03pm]
This is my favorite Richard Scarry illustration ever.  It's from the story "Building a Road", which appears in Scarry's marvelous guide to infrastructure/modern life, What Do People Do All Day?

"Building a Road" is filled with satisfying nitty-gritty details of how a road actually gets built-- it covers everything from surveying to asphalt mixing to grading/leveling to guardrails and traffic lights.  But it also has Richard Scarry's trademark sense of humor, which is nowhere more evident than in this picture.

So many great things going on here... where to begin?

Fig A: Note the mayoral sashes. I wish mayors were required by law to wear sashes. Also, note the transparent bags filled with money... so much classier than opaque bags marked "$$$".

Fig B: To avoid any confusion, the mayors brought this helpful chart.

Fig C: BULLDOZER DESK! In case you were unclear what the chief engineer's job was. Srsly, I know all these things are to help pre-literate kids figure stuff out, but Scarry must have been laughing his ass off as he drew this.  And you know if road engineers actually COULD have bulldozer desks, they'd jump at the chance.

Fig D: Unfortunately, Scarry was a product of his time, and so his books sometimes contain outdated stereotypes.  For instance today, his lady secretary would almost certainly be using a personal computer.
post comment

Notes on Top 100 Kids Books List that I probably won't write unless someone starts a Kickstarter [28 May 2013|08:39am]
Cube Farm by jcruelty
Cube Farm, a photo by jcruelty on Flickr.

One of the many half-baked projects that's always stewing around in my head is a guide to children's books. "Top 100 Books You Should Read To Your Kid," something like that.

I want to have icons next to each book in my list similar to the icons in The World's Flags Given Letter Grades (tremendous page by the way, you should definitely check it out.) For the most part the flags would be negative, so for instance if a book has talking pigs that would be -10 points. I don't know what icon would represent anthropomorphism, I guess a talking pig maybe. But is that too detailed? Icons have to be schematic. Maybe I can get Alice Chau to help.

(why is it that 99% of all kids books feature heavy use of anthropomorphism? inevitably there are pigs and cows and whatnot dressed in clothes, in place of humans. WHY? It seems like the obvious answer is "it's less intimidating/threatening to kids" but I don't get why this is such a universal trope.)

Other negative icons:

NIGHTMARE INDUCING - canonical example would be this book I picked up at SF Public Library Big Book Sale about this giant trapped in a well... there's this one page where you look directly into the well and see the giant's huge unblinking eye staring back at you... I shudder to think of it

WTF - here the canonical example is this Richard Scarry book we were reading, one of his standard "here's how the world works with handy labels" type deals. And we're looking at a farm... and the farmers are of course anthropomorphised... so it's Farmer Pig raising cows... and I guess pigs... WTF? Even Izzy saw what was wrong with this picture. I guess WTF at a lower level becomes "illogic / dissonance" like why is Little Bear friends with all these animals but he eats fish... why isn't he friends with fish? Every book would probably get that icon though so not very useful.


RHYME WITHOUT METER - UGH I hate when people do this. Look at Dr. Seuss and learn from his example people!!

CAPITALIST DOGMA - This is for any book that has "Worker Bee" and "Postman Dog" and so forth... you know the kind of books I mean. If you don't, this guide will show you (if it ever comes out)

PERPETUATES OUTDATED GENDER STEREOTYPES - Mommies belong in the kitchen and so forth.

There would be some positive icons too

EXCEPTIONAL ART - let's face it, kids books live or die by art. A book with great art and terrible writing will do just fine, the other way around forget it. Most good kids books have exceptional art though so perhaps we'd have to break it down further into art style...
-WHIMSICAL YET FRIGHTENING (Maurice Sendak is the exemplar)

PAGES WITHOUT WORDS - not enough books make use of this technique. Have a break in the action and for several pages it's just a wordless sequence

ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN FAMILIES OR ANIMALS OR SHIT - for instance, "How big is a million" - thank you

INTERESTING USE OF FORM - notable pop ups would go in here, and those McSweeneys books that expand into posters

BREAKS THE FOURTH WALL - Harold and the Purple Crayon, Monster at the End of This Book

LEADS NICELY INTO BEDTIME -- you know like "Goodnight Moon" or "Harold and the Purple Crayon" where the book ends with the kid getting into bed

post comment

That's quite a good name for a store actually. [13 May 2013|08:31am]
Izzy: Why is the corner grocery store called Good Life?
Amar: It's just an arbitrary name... they could've called it anything. Like "Blah" or "Veronica's Shop for People"

For some reason I woke up with this old song in my head:

Christmas - This Is Not a Test

Christmas was this weird cool band from back in the day... I stumbled across their LP Ultraprophets of the Psykick Revolution in the 25 cent remainder bin at the late great Benway Bop in Vegas in early 90's... vinyl of course, this is back in high school when I had a record player. I had endless time back then to listen to random 25 cent albums. Mostly they were crap but you'd find some real diamonds in the rough, Ultraprophets Yadda Yadda being one.

Christmas - "Richard Nixon"

I think the folks in Christmas went on to form the slightly more popular band Combustible Edison. But Christmas remains unknown as hell. They're so obscure you can't even find most of their songs on YouTube!! To me that's the definition of obscure.

It's too bad, Ultraprophets Blah Blah was actually a really good album. I should buy a CD off ebay and rip it. Except, my computer doesn't even have a CD drive anymore! Plus nobody except me cares.

Pro tip: if you're naming your band, don't name it "Christmas." Name it something memorable, like "Veronica's Shop for People"

Christmas - Stupid Kids
2 comments|post comment

2012 Year in Review [08 May 2013|07:47pm]
Found this in Documents. Better late than never, I suppose.

Best purchases
1. stuffed walrus
2. chess.com membership
3. triple weighted chess pieces w/ vinyl mat

lina+rich - naomi
anthony+daniela - delfina
fraidy+tani - ephriam
us - asha
daphne + zoho - phoenix (rainbow sweater)
heather + jeff - penelope
paru + jeff - lazlo
john h - lily
sandeep + mith - ayan

Swam in:
Pinecrest Lake
Twain Harte Lake
Rio Grande
Russian River (?)
Pacific Ocean (MX)
Hotel pool in NYC (josh wedding)
Terra Linda pool

Temporary Obsessions
1. tao lin
2. probabilistic graphic models (? not really though)
3. beer
4. chess
5. paper airplanes - link to that one helicopter design?
6. jeremy lin
7. al-qaeda / saudi arabia
8. rye whiskey / scotch
9. land art
10. state sponsored malware (flame/stuxnet/duqu)

1. Stay in shape
2. Make beer (still have beer making kit sitting at home)
3. Learn to properly fold a shirt
4. Learn a few useful knots
5. Ironing

Recurring ideas
1. Domesday Book cataloging all Izzy's toys

People I beat in chess at least once (face to face)
1. William C.
2. Eric
3. Dav
4. Ettore
5. Virgilio
6. Alexa
7. Louise
8. Arnab

People I did not beat in chess even once (face to face)
1. Dave D.
2. Patrick
3. Seth

todo done
post comment

[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]