Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Jiu Jitsu Tournament.....

We had an "In House" tournament at my BJJ academy last Sunday. I won two and lost two matches which was a lot of fights for a first event! I was extremely sore the next day but enjoyed it thoroughly. Here are the vids of my wins, the first is missing the first 20 seconds or so...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Birthday...

The 28th of june was my 31st birthday. It fell on a Sunday this year so I made a weekend of it. The David Byrne show at the Greek Theater was the jumping off point, Saturday is a little hazy, but Sunday was a day well spent with friends. We met a Dolores park for a picnic/drinking and toasted my health while getting toasted by the 90ยบ sunny weather.

So much for a second wind...

Thought I was going to do a better job of keeping this updated but oh well...three weeks later
The video below is someone else's capturing of the second encore, "Burning Down The House" from that night at the David Byrne show. I love the Greek theater in Berkeley. It's the best place to see a show that I have ever been. It's just up the hill from the UC campus next to the stadium where the Cal Bears football team plays. When the weather is nice, it's the most perfect venue to see a good band.
"Devotchka" opened for David Byrne and they were a very talented act, with and haunting gypsy sound and a sultry female tuba player holding down the basslines. This four person band manages to play the accordion, violin, guitar, Oud, Souzaphone(big tuba), Stand up bass, trumpet, and percussion instruments in various arrangements to great effect. I recommend you to check them out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sunset Treasure Island...

What's better than partying in the lovely city of San Francisco???
Partying on a small island just off the coast of the lovely city of San Francisco, that's what!
What a superb day! Awesome crowd, great music, sunny weather, and the most amazing location I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Nice work guys! Can't wait for the repeat next year...
Here's a link to a great story about the event....and check the video to get an idea of what I'm talking about.

My Old Friend the Homecoming Queen...

This is Debi and her adorable daughter Stella. Debi and I were very close in High School (she really was the Homecoming Queen) and unfortunately we lost touch around 9 years ago. She lives in Santa Rosa and she found me on the Facebook machine and I'm sure glad that she did!
I left my Mom's in Kelseyville on Saturday, the day after Caitlyn's graduation and the weather was fine for riding. The roads between Lake County and Sonoma County are great for motorcycling and I heartily enjoyed the trip to Santa Rosa to visit my friend. California is beautiful in the spring/early summer when it's warm and sunny but before it gets too dry and the hills turn brown. It was warm and green with lovely smells of wildflowers and soil. The countryside is best traveled on a bike where you can feel the air and smell the smells, when temperature changes are sudden and the sun is on your back. The curvy roads in Northern California are some of the best riding in the world, with hills and valleys, plains and forests, and vineyards for days.
Anyway, after a few hours of delightful scenery I arrived at the home of Deb and her husband Harry near downtown Santa Rosa. They have a cute place with a big back yard though they tell me the neighborhood can be a little rough around the edges so to speak. Harry is a Grave Digger, Tattoo Artist, Landscaping Expert, and awesome father. Debi is a stay at home Mom and seems happy doing that. I will most likely get my first tattoo from Harry but that is a topic for another blog post.
Stella, who is the cutest little girl ever, was a real treat to make the acquaintance of, although she seemed to be a little unsure about me at first. Apparently she has serious food allergies and they live a dairy free existence with nothing in the house that might upset her. I was very touched when Debi broke out the "Special Cheese" and spinach dip just for my visit because they generally never have anything like that. We talked and caught up, snacked and drank beer and the time flew by and then it was time to go. I had to get back to the city to go to a Giants game with my friend Jay to watch my boys kick the crap out of the A's, which they did. What an amazing day!
Thanks Deb and Harry! I can't wait to visit again!

My Sister's Graduation

I went to Lake County for a quick visit and to show love to my sister Caitlyn and congratulate her on her High School graduation. Caitie is all grown up now, she really looks like a woman and is officially an adult at 18 years old. We are all very proud of her and her whole west coast family showed up to cheer her on as she made the walk across the stage with all the other graduates of Kelseyville High.
The graduation was held fairly late, at 8pm as there was a fireworks show after the event, which was very cool. My graduation was held at 6pm and the audience was forced to stare straight west into the setting sun from the bleachers at Willits High. I liked the way they did it at Kelseyville much better! All the pictures from my grad were horribly washed out and we never got any fireworks!
Before the late ceremony we all went to dinner at the Saw Shop in downtown Kelseyville and it was very nice. There was Caitlyn and I, my Mother, my Aunt and Uncle Bill and Jenna, Cousin Dove and his wife Jackie, and my Brother Chuck. The food was good and so was the company. Caitlyn got a brand new laptop computer which she liked very much, and later after the grad her father's family gave her a cute little car that they had fixed up for her. Lucky girl! I didn't get any computer or car upon graduation and I'm soooooo jealous!
Good job Caitie! Now get a job. ;)

The Laziest Blogger in the World.....

Yes, that's me. I have been very lazy when it comes to my blog lately. I feel bad because I have offered this blog as a way for folks to keep up with me and what's happening in my life and I haven't really posted any content for over a month. There are a few reasons for this but no real excuses. I do have a lot of back filling to update all of the great things I have been up to lately. I also want to get into the nuts and bolts of my routine, so anyone can get a feel for my daily life and not just the interesting items I have to share. I personally think my life is pretty interesting, not riveting by any stretch, but cool enough. I feel a second wind coming on......

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Since I have been extremely lazy after the initial rush of blogging, and haven't posted anything in 2 weeks I think I should give a quick description of what I've been up to.

Stompy/Sunset Memorial Day @ Cafe Cocomo W/ Jimpster
• Rode up to Point Arena on the Coast in Mendocino County to visit friends. Pics to come...
Taco Tuesday @ Triple Crown W/ Cole & Galen

That's all for now, I'll try to be more thorough moving forward...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

KublaCon '09

Saturday was a long day of gaming at one of the major local game conventions, KublaCon. I arrived around noon to the Burlingame Hyatt and got situated with all of my gear. I can tell you that I was just about maxed out on what I can safely transport on my bike. Two organizers full of minis, and two messenger bags filled with all the other crap I might need. I got a free pass to the event for hosting the tournament and demo, a luxury usually reserved for the older more established players in my group, but a few couldn't make it so I volunteered.
Got a decent turnout for the demo, where I taught two youngsters how to play and my friend John showed up just in time to teach two more. There was a crazy guy (there are tons of kooks at the cons) dressed in a pseudo-nazi outfit and rocking the worst fake German accent and Axis shtick. "I must deliver this intel to mein fuhrer!" He lingered around but thankfully never got in a game.
As a side note these game conventions are a trip. Imagine every highly intelligent socially inept person you ever met and multiply that by a hundred (or maybe more). Add a lack of females (all under-age or over-weight) and silly costumes, think somewhere between a ren-faire and a trecky convention and you've just about got it. Now for the recusements.....
I should probably be more forthright about this whole thing, especially since I have been blogging about it quite a bit. I'm a nerd. Specifically (but not exclusively) a game nerd. More specifically a WWII game nerd. I have been playing, collecting, and competing in Axis & Allies Miniatures for about three years now. It's a turn based, hex map, card, and dice driven collectible WWII themed miniatures game by Avalon Hill (which is owned by Wizards of the Coast, which is owned by Hasbro). I'm a fixture on the forums and I own everything in the game with multiples of most stuff. I compete with the most advanced rules and play at the highest level. I'm good at it and I enjoy the play group that we have here in the Bay Area. They are great guys that I would not know otherwise, and I realize how disparate the many circles I run in can be and I appreciate that about myself.
Back to the con.....After we demoed the game for the young ones and got some lunch (crappy overpriced hotel/cafeteria food) we got set up for the tournament. No one that we don't know showed up to play so it was just the usual suspects, John, Scott, Dave and myself. I designed a progressive, by year, tournament in four rounds (1939,41,43,45) and it went well. I kicked major ass in the early war rounds and had the favor returned in the latter half of the tourny. Let's just say that my last two games were very forgettable at best. We played from 5pm until after midnight but got all the rounds in and had some prizes provided by Kubla so it was all around good fun even though it ended poorly for me. Above is a picture of my Commonwealth team from the last round just before it was demolished by some Germans..........I made a crucial mistake early and then my dice went cold cold cold..........

Friday, May 22, 2009

Conservative Talk Show Host Agrees To Be Waterboarded...

"Erich "Mancow" Muller, a Chicago-based conservative radio host, recently decided to silence the critics once and for all. He would undergo the procedure himself, and then he would be able to confidently convince others that it is not, in fact, torture."
- From Huffington Post

He lasts all of 4 seconds before completely changing his tune. This video should be shown on every news network that has pundits defending the practice. We did this 6 times a day for over a month to one detainee. I can't believe that there was any information that could have been withheld by anyone after the first day of such abuse, let alone the first week or the entire month.

Take a look (sorry about the ads):

And his opinion change after mere seconds of this:

Wake up America...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Redwood City Shores Gaming...

The one Kurt Gish is the man. He kindly hosts A&A Minis gaming night after hours at his work once a month or so. We use one of the boardrooms at the biotech firm he works for in Redwood City. My boy John picked me up at Millbrae BART and Kurt was nice enough to drop me off in the city on his way back to Oaktown (no headlight on my bike, now fixed). We gamed from 6pm til Midnight in the blink of an eye it seemed testing the format for the tournament I'm running this weekend at a local game convention aka KublaCon.
The gentleman that he is, Kurt provides dinner (different every time) and a few bottles of great red wine. We had awesome Thai food this time and bottles of Zin, Pinot, and Syrah. Nobody likes to miss game nights with Kurt so the turnout is consistent, and the games tend to be good ones. I lost twice, but hell I was just practicing for this weekend. Or something.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Giants Vs. Mets

Ahhhh, my favorite place on earth, 24 Willie Mays Plaza. Damn what a beautiful yard! Dodgers Stadium was like something out of the seventies. I half way expected the Brady Bunch to sing the National Anthem there.
Anyway, my buddy Ben that I grew up with called and told me he would be in the Bay Area (he lives in Humboldt county) for the weekend and he wanted to go to a Giants game. "I'm in!" I said. He arranged tix for the Giants Saturday game against the NY Mets and it was a scorcher. Must have been 85-90 in the sun, which is where our seats were. I sweated my ass off through the first half of the game and then had to find shade so I wandered around for a bit and found a cute concessions girl to flirt with. We had a good time even though the Giants lost and went to a bay side bar called the High Dive for drinks and appetizers after the game. Thanks for that Ben, I always enjoy a Giants game with friends!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dirtybird at the Avalon Hollywood

After the awful experience of the previous post, Colin and I slunk back to his place with our tails between our legs. We chilled out for a while and decided to do dinner at an Indian food place within walking distance on Sunset. My boyhood friend Samah Tokmachi, who was my best friend from 1st thru 4th grades in New Mexico before I moved to California, lives in LA now and joined us for dinner. He found me on Friendster a few years back (remember Friendster?) and I have been trying to reconnect with him but I seldom spend much time in LA so I wanted to make an effort to see him while I was there. We reminisced about our youth and he pulled out some random stories about me that I had very little recollection of. Needless to say it's weird when someone has better memories of you than you have of yourself, especially when they are as unflattering as the stories he was telling. I won't go into detail about these scandalous musings.
Dinner was tasty and the conversation entertaining but it was getting late so we wrapped it up. Both Colin and Samah declined to join me for some clubbing in Hollywood even though they had said previously that they would. Colin had to work at 5am so I couldn't slight him there and maybe it was better for me to make a solo mission out of that evening anyway. I came very close to not going out at all, but Colin had to sleep and I wasn't ready for bed soooooo.......
When I saw that Dirtybird was promoting an event in Hollywood the weekend I thought that I would just have to go. I tried to get in touch with Justin for some guest list action but he never responded so I payed the $30 at the door to get in. Let me just say that I don't do a lot of clubbing usually, I'm more of a lounge/underground/outdoor party kinda guy. I generally stay away from the bridge & tunnel and meat-market crowd in SF. The Avalon Ballroom is right down on Hollywood and Vine and there was a lot of people out on a Saturday night in LA even at 1am when I arrived. The club was filled with guys, lots of guys, lots of old Asian guys, lots of old Asian guys on Ecstasy. And the strangest thing to me was all the people in the club wearing surgical masks. Yes, surgical masks. I would say at least ten percent of the crowd had them on. I think that is very strange. If you are that scared of H1N1 then stay home, right? That's the way I look at it.
I saw a few friends that are ex-bay area heads, which was nice, and eventually one of them gave me a wristband to go backstage, where all the SF folks were hanging out. I got the above shot of Claude VonStroke from there. I hung out totally sober until 4am with people rolling their faces off all around me then I headed out. It was pretty cool I guess. It's just weird to pay so much to see DJs that I can see on the cheap at home. The venue was cool though and now I can add this "clubbing in Hollywood" story to the annals of my personal history.
Got back to Colin's shortly before he woke for work and slept a deep deep sleep. Sunday would include a painful ride home and I really needed to rest up for that.....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Entering the Heart of Darkness (aka Dodger Stadium)

I'll start at the beginning, and that's waking up on Colin's couch. Colin has breakfast made, eggs cooked perfectly, white sharp cheese, avocado and toast with butter. I am sad because I can't eat more than half of it. I have trouble eating before I've been awake for a couple of hours, I have no idea why.
We eat, shower and dress, then roll out and into the neighborhood. There's a farmer's market around the corner and it's a good one. Its a triangular park that borders Sunset and they turn it into the most perfect little street fair with great produce, art, and lovely, interesting people walking around everywhere. I was particularly struck by the all female acoustic guitar/ukulele quartet that had a south American/Peruvian vibe and dress.
We proceeded to Colin's work Intelligentsia on Sunset. They are the quintessential scientific/European coffee bar. Only coffee and pastries, but with lines out the door and onto the sidewalk. Colin and I had a "Gibraltar" which is like a latte' in a shot glass. He forbade me from adding any sweetener. It was good. Then we had a $7 cup of coffee. Yes, a cup of coffee, for $7. Again I was forbidden from adding cream or sugar. Heaven forbid I disturb the flavors of the co-op grown, single plot, organic, fair trade, artisan coffee beans. It was ok. If I wasn't getting it for free then I wouldn't have had this experience, so I try to go with the flow.
Now I must begin one of the saddest stories of my life; that of watching my beloved Giants play like a farm team at Dodger Stadium. They won Friday handily, and Sunday after 13 innings, but on Saturday it was sad. Just sad.
Let me preface by telling you about the build up to this game. I wore my Giants gear into Yankee stadium to see my team, and I wasn't going to be cowed into forsaking my allegiances in enemy territory. Let me be clear. I hate the Dodgers. Hate. It's a strong word. Being in an edifice devoted to the glorification of this franchise was an affront to every sensibility that I posess. But I digress....What I was trying to say was that everyone was telling us to be scared to go to Dodger Stadium. "You're gonna get beat up/spit on/beer stained/food thrown on you, etc." Colin was reading me online reports of Giants fans getting stabbed in the parking lot, and when the security spotted our Giants lids upon entry they told us to watch our backs. I NEVER want to have security anywhere tell me to watch my back....and needless to say there was some apprehension on our part. We quickly found our seats and stayed there until the 3rd inning.
The game was a joke. I had given Colin the lowdown on the Giants' most exciting rookie starter, Pablo Sandoval, so of course he didn't play. His replacement Juan Uribe, played unbelievably bad defense and the Giants had 4 hits in the game. They lost 8 to 0 and gave up RBI hits to the Dodger's backup shortstop (a Double A player), and the pitcher Stultz, who threw a complete game 4 hit shutout. It was quite possibly the worst Giant's baseball game that I have ever seen. Listening to thousands of Dodger's fans (who showed up in the 3rd inning and left in the 8th) cheering in this game was one of the most painful torments I have had to face as a man.
We never got beat up. In fact the worst we got was a "Giants suck!" here and there. I speculate that it might have been different on a drunken Friday night game that the Giants win. Overall I'm glad we went. Go Giants! The Dodgers dogs were not very good and besides the weather there was nothing in Dodger Stadium that was better than we have in SF. Not one thing.

Friday from SF to LA...

The ride down was long but I made good time on Interstate 5. The weather was warm and sunny but not hot (thank God). I5 is long and straight and fast but boooooooring. I managed to make it on two fill ups, and averaged 44 miles per gallon which is pretty solid. I was stiff and sore when I got to Colin's house but he had cold beer waiting and that was real nice of him.
We decided to do the Kogi Taco Truck which is this famous vendor that uses Twitter to advertise their location. It happens to be a different spot every time I guess. I heard of them on NPR when a corespondent went for some shortrib tacos and did a piece for the radio. A film crew was there that night filming as Colin and I waited as well. They start serving at 10pm but folks begin to line up around 9 and you can guess what that means. Yes, we waited an hour and 20 minutes for our food but were smart enough to stop for Al Pastor (Mexican BBQ Pork) tacos at a competitor on the way to keep us from dying of low blood sugar while we waited.
After the long wait (the line went around the corner for Pete's sake) we both ordered one each of the pork, beef, & chicken tacos and they were good. Damn good! With sesame, chili, and kim-chee flavors smothering the BBQ meats wrapped in corn tortillas it was seriously tasty! Well worth the effort. Colin had an Korean Aloe soda (yes Aloe like the plant they use in lotion) and I had a Korean rice punch with actual pieces of rice swimming around in it, both in those little aluminum cans they serve on airlines sometimes. I didn't try the aloe but the rice punch was soooooo good! Kinda like a rice iced tea with little chunks of rice floating around on top. Surprisingly tasty, I have resolved to find some to buy. I will have to find it in a Korean grocery store most likely.
After our well deserved meal, hunger is the best spice after all, we rode back to Colin's along the Silver Lake Reservoir road (very nice) and stopped to pick up a bottle of scotch. We drank that in honor of our Grandfather Charles Byrne, who I am told was a scotch man, until we were sloshy and talking about old times, and then we passed out happy. That ends Friday.

Ps. The moon was very full that night and bright on all the palm trees......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Back Log Blog......

I have so much to write about from my trip to Los Angeles. I can't get it all done today but here's a little preview of the great stuff I did in the lo-cal.....

Friday 5•8•09:
• Rode the Silver Lake Resovoire road to get authentico Al Pastor tacos to tide us over while waiting 1.5 hours in line for the.....
• Kogi Taco Truck....Yes the world famous Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck. Long wait but well worth it....

Saturday 5•9•09:
• Silver Lake Farmer's Market.....Right around the corner from Colin's place every Saturday. Great booths, cool little park with grass & fountain and street musicians......
• Intelligentsia......Colin's work, where coffee is a science and the line is long all day....
• Giants Vs. Dodgers.....Don't want to talk about the game. =[ There were some moments worth relating but the game was a disaster.
• Dinner with my boyhood best friend from New Mexico, Samah Tokmachi, which was very nice, except that he knows more about my childhood than I do which is an odd feeling....
• Dirtybird at the Avalon Hollywood.....Can you say old asian guys, people rolling their brains out and get this; surgical masks are apparently the new style in the LA club scene. Saw some ex-bay heads though and represented to the fullest.

Sunday 5•10•09:
• Slept in.
• Called Mom.
• Got coffee and wrote this while waiting for Colin to get off from his Sunday morning shift. Taking 5 back instead of 101 because I don't want my ass to suffer the additional travel hours.....late!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fine Flyer....

This is a flyer I made for my friend Sam's Dj gig at Otis in SF. I am very proud of how it came out... Click to see full size...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

L.A. Here I Come!

I'm leaving work at noon tomorrow and riding my MC down to Los Angeles for a weekend of hell raising and warm weather. The Giants are playing the now Manny-less Dodgers all weekend and my best Cousin Colin and I are going to brave the ravine to support the Orange and Black on Saturday. There is also a Dirtybird party in Hollywood that night that I would like to check out.
It's a 5-1/2 hour ride from Oakland to LA. I may be able to slice a little time off that by speeding dangerously, but I will need to stop occasionally to stretch and rehydrate so it should even out. If all goes well I should be in LA by 6:00 or 6:30 depending on traffic. I'm a little intimidated by the ride but it's also an exciting prospect. Interstate 5 is fast but unbelievably boring so I'm considering coming back on 101 when I return Sunday. There are some crazy wildfires in Santa Barbara though so I will have to keep up with the latest on that before making my move to come back.
Colin lives in Silver Lake which is supposed to be nice but I'm also looking forward to cruising around Hollywood/Beverly Hills/Santa Monica on our motorcycles just to get a look around the joint. It's supposed to be in the 80's all weekend and that sounds real nice. I am afraid that even though I have lived in SF for almost 13 years, I have not been to SoCal. The last time I was in LA was when I was 15 or 16, or like half of my lifetime ago. I know, that's weird right? Watch out Los Angeles, here comes trouble........=]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mo Mondays.....

I bought a Danglet for my iPhone a while back, and though I like it and think it's a good product, I haven't used it for months. It's basically an adaptor for the iPhone that allows you to wear it around your neck on a lanyard. I had however managed to show it off to my friend Tad when I was still using it and he thought it might be a good thing to have for his trip to Amsterdam. He has a language translation App, a guidebook, maps, and currency conversions all on his iPhone("there's an app for that"). What a great travel tool if you prepay the data roaming, as Tad has done. Anyway, Tad wasn't able to acquire a Danglet before his flight today, as they are only available online, so I sold him mine. It's been in the bottom of my Timbuk2 for a while now so I figured I should let him take it off my hands.
He picked me up yesterday and we went to Triple Crown for Mo Mondays happy hour. Triple Crown is the new locals club. All of SFs best local DJs and monthly/weekly parties have found a great home at this little club. Back2Back, Bionic, Down Like This, Lights Down Low, David Harness, Halo, J Boogie, etc. etc... The very high ceilings painted black have an underground aesthetic that I like but it's roomy, and classy without being too marina about it. Tad's friend Joel who's DJ moniker is Joe L, was spinning soul n funk 45s when we arrived and he and the boys (DJ Effective, L.I.A. aka legal ill alien-pictured above) held it down as long as I was there with some choice classic and underground hip hop. They serve good tacos and other food as well as daily drink specials, I think I might have to spend a little more time down there and maybe dust off the old hip hop crate/45s every now and then on a Monday......

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pioneer of the Nile...

I had a great time Saturday at my friend's Chris's Kentucky Derby party, and got totally smashed on mint juleps. Those things are sooooo damn good! Add the slightest bit of sugar to bourbon and it tastes like southern sweet tea.
There was a drawing for $5 a head and I made a great pick: Pioneer of the Nile! If that damn 50-1 "Mine a Bird" hadn't staged the upset of the Derby I would have won like $80 but oh I got the second place prize of $20.
The drawing made the race a lot more exciting and there was lots of hootin and hollering both during the lineup and the actual race. Never really got into the Derby before but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Chris was a wonderful host as usual, he has a very nice flat on Market between Twin Peaks and the Castro. There was tons of beer and mint juleps as I mentioned, as well as authentic Fried Chicken of Kentucky origin (no not KFC, the real deal, I had like 5 pieces), derby pie, and sliders with Kentucky beer cheese. Yum!
I was without my MC for the weekend (I garaged it at work on a very rainy Friday evening) so I was free to get as hammered as possible and I took full advantage. Public transportation treated me very well all weekend and the hangover was minimal.
And that brings me to my last point. How exactly does one "mine a bird"?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

When you don't have shit to say....

Just post a picture of yourself....and come up some with some content later...

Edit: There's a nasty web filter at my job that's stopping me from posting the media that I want to talk about most. I got some stuff to talk about and some great new music to feature but it will have to wait until the cuffs are off my broadband...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yankees Lower Ticket Prices.....

According to this article on the Huffington Post, the NY Yankees have finally lowered the prices of their best seats. The empty seats were a real eye-sore during their opening homestand in the new Yankee Stadium. My Dad and Step Mom were not happy with a previous post I made dissing the Yanks for their embarrassing inability to sell out the new yard, but I just have to pour it on. The Yankees are the gold standard baseball club in America, and the previous Yankee Stadium, outside of the history inherrant in that edefice, was a hole. There, I said it. I would rather see a game in China Basin any day then go to the old Yankee Stadium. I have tons of respect for the history, and I was stoked to see a game in "The House That Ruth Built" but I have developed a taste for more contemporary ballparks and couldn't believe how ugly that place was. The new stadium looks great but the Yankees got a little greedy. $1200 for a single seat? OMFG STFU! Great news Yanks fans, those seats are now only $800 or so......LOL!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Timbuk2 Netbook Bag

Timbuk2 makes a great netbook messenger bag, so I went ahead and bought one ($60) and I'm extremely happy with mine. It's not specifically made for netbooks but the size is perfect and it has little pockets inside for all my peripherals. They charge more ($90) for custom colors and fabrics but I just went with the generic black nylon, hell it goes with everything....
Inside I have my Mini 9 in sleeve, power supply, flash drives and USB hard drive, Canon SD 790, Flip Video Recorder, mini tripod, cables, mini mouse, and iPhone Charger. Not much room left after all that but it's really compact and I could still probably squeeze in another netbook if necessary...

Neoprene Mini 9 Sleeve...

The new neoprene sleeve for my Mini 9 arrived today from It was a real value at only $5 and I only have a couple of complaints. First, it took almost three weeks to arrive, from Asia I think (Hong Kong actually now that I check). And second, it has a strong odor of chemicals, kinda like super glue or solvent or something but that's no big deal really, as long as it wears off eventually. Looks great, works fine for my needs, and again, it was so cheap....

Brian Wilson Deletes Twitter Account....

As reported by Barry Zito on Twitter, Brian Wilson has deleted his account as what I believe must be his response to criticism after his first blown save of the year April 26th in Arizona.

Zito wrote last night after the Giants' home win vs. the Dodgers with Wilson striking out the side for the save...

Hey guys great win for the team.. WIlson [sic] deleted his account as that was the way for him to prove all the media wrong in their assumptions"

This is unfortunate as Wilson was probably the most interesting Twitterer that I have followed. I suppose that this is one of the side effects of Pro Athletes putting themselves out there the way that Wilson did. One blown save and there goes all the levity. I know that I was disappointed about the loss, but it's unfair for fans or the media to use twitter against the guy. He definitely had some questionable things to say but I really enjoyed his tweets and took everything with a grain of salt. I guess that not everyone thought the same way that I did and were attacking him for his content and his single poor performance on the mound. Way to go guys! Just can't let a good thing last can you?


SF Chronicle Sports Writer Gwen Knapp wrote in her Sporting Green column "Is Zito ready to be Zito?" today:

"When I first saw athletes' Twitter accounts, I wondered how quickly they would feel the need to censor themselves. On Monday evening, Brian Wilson answered the question by shutting down his account. On Saturday night, going into Sunday morning, he had posted something that made it sound as if he had been partying close to 1 a.m., even though the Giants had a day game.

When the closer blew a save opportunity for the first time this season, a reader alerted Chronicle beat writer Henry Schulman to the Twitter item, and he posted a few, carefully non-judgemental paragraphs on his blog. When Schulman got a chance to talk to Wilson, the closer said he had been in his hotel room, ordering room service and tweeting fictionally. Shortly after that he killed the account.

Let's hope he brings it back to life. Wilson's Twitter comments often had an edge to them, especially when he discussed his workout compulsion..."

Yes Brian, please bring the account back to life. My days were a little brighter because of it, and I promise not to snitch to sports writers when you're being compulsive...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Random Thoughts...

It's laundry night, which sucks for me with no machines in the building. I'm making the best of it trying out the Mini 9 at Cup-a-Joe's down the way while my clothes wash in the laundromat. I got a pint of Anchor Steam and a HUGE paninni, and the cafe is all indie rock and art students inside and on the street....sigh...
Randoms: I'm pretty pissed about this article called "Why the Hackbook is a Fail" on TUAW, or The Unofficial Apple Weblog. I really like that blog so the article feels like a stab in the back.
My roommate Ed and I are starting to get back into Grand Theft Auto IV, playing basketball with coworkers on Wednesday, need to get the bike in the shop for oil and new brakes, riding to LA in two weeks to see my cousin Colin and go to a Giants game at Dodger Stadium, ok gotta down this beer, wrap up the paninni, and go put my clothes in the dryer......

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A&A Minis Tourny

We played a progressive, by year, attacker/defender tournament at Kurt's yesterday and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I took 3rd out of 5 so meh on my performance but some games were definitely better than others. I played Axis and I have to admit that the damn British have too many bricks, they're worse than the Russians if you count early war units. Not a single Matilda or Churchill Variant (bottom picture) died in the entire tourny. Those things are near impossible to crack even with 88s and Pak 40s.
Thanks again to Kurt Gish for the hospitality! It was an awesome Saturday and it went by too fast with great gaming all day, fine wine, and gourmet fare. Porkloin and salmon dinner with garlic fries and artichoke hearts, Cheese, snacks and crabcakes, with beef and chicken fajitas for lunch and delicious coffee all day long! It was heavenly. =]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flames of War • Firestorm

I'm over in Piedmont in Oakland at my friend Kurt's house for an all day game fest. We're currently playing Flames of War™ Firestorm, which is an eastern front WWII themed board game that is pretty fun. Especially if you're as crazy about 2nd World War themed games as we all are. Later we're going to play an A&A Minis campaign tournament, and I'm really looking forward to that. More updates later...

Friday, April 24, 2009

iPirate 2.0

Got my Second UniqueSkins cover today as you can see. I was in such a hurry to put it on it's got a couple little bubbles and that sucks. Yes I know I'm OCD about the damn thing but well yeah I'm OCD about the damn thing. It'll do, for now...

T.G.I.F. Bitches!!!!!

It's Friday and it's payday, so I bought bottle of Petron and a twelver of Pacifico. Salud!
Tomorrow is all day gaming at the home of the one Kurt Gish, and Sunday I might do brunch and the Sunset Boat Party! WOOT!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This is Vern buy everybody calls him Verny. He's a brown belt instructor that teaches Tuesday and Thursday night beginner's classes at Rocha BJJ. I really don't like this picture and it doesn't do Vern much justice. I was forced to take it in a hurry after class with my iPhone because I forgot my netbook bag this morning and my camera is in that. I'll get a better one for posterity, I just wish I could take some candids during class while he's teaching but that would probably be annoying for everybody.
Anyway, I've been going twice a week to Jiu Jitsu and I have to say that I really enjoy Vern's class. He's a real upbeat guy and he's friendly, knowledgeable, and Vern is always quick with a joke or a smile. It's a very different feel from Eduardo's classes but I like the variety of great instructors available each week. Jeremy, a purple belt, which is just below brown, often teaches the beginner's class on Friday nights too. All of the instructors have a different style and vibe when teaching but they are all equally passionate about Jiu Jitsu and you can tell they love teaching it to others.
I would like to wish Vern success in his new home that he recently bought in Oakland. I'm looking forward to the housewarming party and assuming in advance that I'm invited. I also assume that he's gonna put down mats in the largest of the four bedrooms, right Verny? I mean, what are you going to use all those bedrooms for anyway? =D

Apple Flavored Kool-Aid...

Now I understand that this might be over the heads of some of my readers but it's important to me that I express my thoughts on the following issue:

My friend and fellow tech geek and Apple Fan-Boy, Jason O'Grady of O'Grady's Powerpage has written some interesting articles on his other blog The Apple Core about the netbook hackintosh phenomenon that I just have to comment on...
•The $200 "Mac"
•Apple Disses Netbooks Again

1. Business: As Jason has already said, Apple isn't interested in a race to the bottom with junky PC makers. I also don't see them licensing OS X to other manufacturers for a plethora of reasons. So basically there's no way for them to address the motivations for those, who like myself, find themselves desirous of a cheap little hackintosh. Apple charges more for their machines than the competition, they are the luxury car maker of the computer world. Yes, a Ford will get you to the same locations using the same roads as a Mercedes for a whole lot less but I don't need to tell you why the Mercedes is more expensive. It's the form factor and the overall user experience and quality that you are paying for. It's the same for Apple with netbooks as it is with BMW who has no interest in producing a sub-compact economy car. In my opinion what Apple needs to do is make a sweet netbook and forget about competing in terms of price. I for one would love a 10" MacBook Air with a few extra USB ports for less than a grand, depending on the specs, which leads me to my next point...

2. Technological Limitations: The Dell Mini 9 is a niche machine. It has serious limitations that I will try my best to describe here. The processor is a single core 1.6 Ghz Intel Atom, which is seriously underpowered by my standards as a Mac user. I upgraded the RAM to 2 GBs but as far as I can tell 1 GB of RAM seems to be plenty for use in this machine. It has never used more than half of the available RAM, but the processor has bogged more times than I care to tell. It's nice to be able to upgrade the RAM so cheaply but there really isn't much of a point with the limited processing power. There is no way to upgrade the processor, not in the uprade section of the Dell store, nor through after purchase hacks. There's actually two very good reasons for this. The first reason is heat. Dual core and higher Ghz processors run hotter and with a fanless netbook that would be a bad thing. The Mini 9 already gets pretty warm with the low power single core Atom. The second reason is battery power. Dual core and higher Ghz processors use more power and require a fan and those both draw a lot more juice from your battery. That would either severely lower your battery life or add more bulk in terms of the now necessary fan and larger battery, which of course defeats the purpose of a light, quiet, ultra portable machine. So therein lies the rub. If you want it small and quiet with a decent battery life then you have to sacrifice processing power, which with the Mini 9 is the single major limitation. I can deal with the lack of storage but the underpowered processor is the Achilles heel of the platform. So how do you think Apple will approach the problem? How will they solve the intrinsic technological limitations inherent in the netbook format? I'm very interested to find out. Which brings me to my final and most controversial point...

3. Politics: If you read any of the talkbacks from the linked articles above, you will pick up on a few consistent themes. First of all let's just say it how it is...Some people love Apple no matter what, and some people hate Apple no matter what. It really reminds me of knee jerk Democrats and Republicans. Instead of recognizing the value of positions in any particular issue, these sycophants instead blindly toe the brand(party) line ad nauseum. I'm really beginning to dislike those who are firmly, and often rudely, ensconced in their respective camps. That goes for Apple AND PC folks. I find it repugnant the way that PC people rabidly defend the Apple EULA when it comes to hackintoshes, completely out of spite. They accuse my friend, and anyone with a hackintosh, of being a criminal for breaking the EULA despite the fact that in our cases each company was payed in full for their products. The same goes for the Apple Kool-Aid drinkers who can't see the rationale behind hackintoshing and stick their noses up in the air and generally confirm the stereotypes that many Mac detractors just eat up. I personally believe that uncompromising loyalty to any brand or operating system is just stupid and dated. Soon enough it will just be a quaint story that we tell to our grandkids. "Yes Billy, there used to be two kinds of computers, and Mac/PCs were the best!" I think that when Apple switched to Intel architecture the writing was on the wall for everyone to see. Now folks are running multiple operating systems on Macs and shoehorning OS X onto non-Apple hardware. In my opinion it's the beginning of the end of the Apple/PC wars. Just go out there and use what you want and get over yourselves already...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

This is Eduardo Rocha, my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu professor. I have been attending classes at the Rocha Jiu Jitsu Academy in Oakland for almost 4 months now and I really enjoy it. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly effective martial art for self defense and is also a great competitive sport for all levels of ability. It stresses ground fighting techniques and "submissions" which can be described as chokes and joint locks as apposed to the striking and kicking featured in most fighting styles. I tried practicing BJJ before at another academy a few years back, but it was in SF and therefor was much more expensive. The instruction and facility were also not as good as what I'm experiencing at the Rocha (pronounced "Hocha") BJJ Academy so I feel very happy with the overall value I am receiving. There is an emphasis on fitness which is great for me as I hate gyms and find it hard to get motivated to work out. The beginner's classes are fun and challenging and have been very helpful to me in other ways, like keeping my ego in check, learning humility and patience and all the other beneficial side effects of practicing a martial art. I also get to use some of the skills I learned in high school wrestling which feels good. I pride myself on my takedowns/takedown defense and my ability to maintain control when on offense but I really need to work on my defense in the guard position. Wrestlers tend to have issues feeling comfortable on their back and I'm definitely guilty of that. At the moment I go twice a week, generally Tuesday and Friday nights and I usually leave exhausted and soaked with sweat, which is great.
Eduardo is a third degree Black Belt in BJJ and is an extremely inspirational instructor both in his ability and his conditioning. The guy is a statue. His physique is impressive and his attitude is serious but kind and definitely approachable. He takes his job very seriously and demands a level of intensity that I admire and respect. I find myself responding to the example he sets for us, and I aspire to represent his academy to the best of my ability.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Serato on the Mini 9 • Part 1

• Research so far suggests that with this system Serato prefers reading Solid State and flash drives but dislikes SD cards and bus-driven hard drives. I'm trying different sources and settings with varying degrees of success. More on this later, testing is ongoing.

• Also, this fanless Mini 9 gets pretty hot when the weather is warm, maybe not a good fit for those in hotter/more humid climes...

Giants of Twitter...

Both Barry Zito and Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants are addicted to Twitter and I'm loving it. They each tweet regularly and enthusiastically but I'm afraid that is where the similarity ends. Barry Zito's tweets tend to be simple and subdued with a philosophical or existential slant. He quotes Carl Jung, or expresses some zen or introspective ideas, whereas Brian Wilson is straight up zany. Wilson tweeted yesterday on the Giants day off that he was at pier 23 if anyone wanted to meet up with him (for drinks I assumed). I missed the tweet by two hours or I might have joined him for a brew myself!* The Giants' closer tweets from the top of the dome. From strange thoughts and non sequiturs to outright bluffs, taunts, and the oddest one liners. Like the one when he challenged all the other MLB teams' closers to a UFC style cage-match fight. He really keeps it interesting.
That's the magic of Twitter. I feel that I have some special insight into the lives of these two athletes, and it is especially novel because they both pitch for my beloved Giants. They answer responses, ask questions of their followers, and generally allow an interactive experience that is impossible to replicate, all in real time. I have also noticed that several Yankees (Nick Swisher & CC Sabathia) are pretty high on the list of Pro Athlete Twitter users on, which is a great site for finding Twitter content. I don't personally care for the Yanks or their new overpriced empty seated stadium. The Giants sold out at least 2 straight seasons when they opened their new yard. How embarrassing for the Yankees, arguably the flagship club in all of baseball. But I digress.....
I wish more ballplayers used Twitter. It has the potential to change everything. Cutting the middleman (Sports Press) out of the equasion and bringing the players' thoughts and feelings directly to the fans throughout the season, or the whole year round. The net effects of these small social networking advancements are yet to be felt, but the ripples are spreading, and producing outcomes that few would have predicted....

Ps. We need to pay the Padres back for the sweep they dropped on us in SD. Well guess what? You're in out house now! Let's get em'! Go Giants!

*(Can't wait for Twitter Push Notifications on iPhone 3.0!)


I have been looking at the UniqueSkins cover on my Mini 9 for all of one day and I have decided that it looks like crap. The apple is too big. It looks like I'm trying too hard or overcompensating or something and I'm not happy with it. It sucks but I went ahead and ordered a replacement today, there goes my initial investment of $15, but whatever. I'm totally obsessed with my netbook and when it's up to my standards I will feel much better. Above is the image that I decided to go with for the next applique', a cool apple "skull and crossbones" that I am calling "iPirate". It's the same image that I use for my Mini 9's desktop image. I posted my desktop on the Dell Mini 9 forum and I have gotten a lot of praise and responses from people wondering where I got it.

My friend and former co-resident and DJ collaborator Sean Sullivan is stopping by for lunch today on his way through town. We used to promote and play parties in San Francisco for years but he's relocated to Reno/Truckee and we hardly get a chance to hang anymore. Looking forward to catching up and seeing what's new with Sean, he's a very talented DJ, photographer, music producer, rock climber, and all around interesting person that I'm glad to have in the friends column. Everett & Jones? I hope so.

Ps. It's hot again today. It's nice but I'm not ready for summer yet. Can we get a little spring first? Actually it's supposed to rain this weekend so I guess I get my wish....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Got my custom sticker/cover from today and just finished applying it to my Mini 9. The "Apple" image ended up being a little larger than I intended but it's cool, for now. I am just very happy to cover that Dell logo once and for all. Also got a mini mouse with retractable USB cord today to add to my cache of Mini 9 accessories. All I'm waiting for now is the neoprene sleeve I ordered to keep my baby safe...hope it comes soon!

Happy 420!

Happy 4/20! Or Happy 420. Or be happy at 4:20 on 4/20 with some 420.....
It's a very controversial issue in America and throughout the world, but I just have to express my advocacy of this particular intoxicant. It's certainly no worse than alcohol and tobacco, both of which are legal, taxable and arguably much worse for you, without the benefit of medical uses. I don't get home from work until 5:20 but I'll just set the clocks back and pretend......

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I heard on NPR this week that Procol Harum's 1967
Psychedelic melancholy classic "Whiter Shade of Pale"
is the most listened to song in public in England of all
time. That is to say, it has played more times, on more
jukeboxes, in more pubs than any other song in history.
In England. =} Hats off to them, it's a great song...

Dirty Bird Golden Gate Park Party

Today Dirty Bird had their first free outdoor party of the year at the pond meadow in Golden Gate Park. It was hot. Real hot for April. My white ass had to stay in the shade for the duration. I have to say that I enjoyed the opening set by Christian Martin the best. He started out with some Dub-Step and Broken Beats and it was melodic and pleasant with great reggae undertones. Just the thing to start it off on a sunny Sunday. Claude Von Stroke and Justin Martin also played well but the sun on the dance floor was way too strong for me to dance very much. None of my tight peeps showed up so it was kind of a solo mission but I found some heads to kick it with and had fun anyway.
Now I'm at my friend Mike's by the beach. We jammed out with his bass and drum set (update: big blisters on my fingers ouch!) and he scoped my mini 9 and decided to buy one. I think I might buy another. Probably an all black Vostro A90 because it's on sale...I know, I know. =]

Saturday, April 18, 2009


The main motivation for starting a blog is my new Dell Mini 9. It's a sweet little machine and I am especially enamored with it because it is running Apple's operating system OS X. It's my hackintosh and I take it everywhere. I'm a total mobile tech addict and this is the best bang for the buck that I have ever experienced. Consider that I spent $600 for an iPhone the week they originally released, and then consider that this apple clone netbook was half that. Runs Photoshop, Word, and Serato, as smooth as can be and its a joy to use. Now I just wish that there was universal free wifi, that would be heaven. Also looking forward to the option to tether the Mini 9 to my iPhone for 3G. Some folks have 3G netbooks already but I don't want to have to deal with getting a separate data plan.
Anywho...I guess what I'm getting at is that this is gonna be fun. =]
I highly recommend the platform, it really is a great value. Very flexible and capable, especially for what I'm using it for. Probably not as your main computer, but a very worthy sidekick to a good desktop (I have a 24" iMac).
It's Saturday afternoon in SF. The sun is shining but the breeze is getting cooler by the hour. I'm at the house w/ roommate and friends chillin. Played A&A Miniatures most of the day at Gamescape then went and got a haircut at Male Image in the castro. They have turned the corner of Divisidero and Oak near Gamescape into a great coffee shop with the very appropriate name On The Corner. It used to be a very forgettable liquor store so I'm stoked with the change. Went in for coffee and a bagel and it's very inviting with a simple but solid menu and the coffee was tasty.
Giants still can't catch a break. Timmy busted out of his mini slump today for 13 Ks and 8 innings of shutout ball but the Giants still ended up losing 2-0 to the DBacks. =[

ps. This shot is the view looking down Jones St. from where I live in Nob Hill...

Blog Time...

I'm starting a blog to get myself out there and give more access to my life and mind for anyone that might be interested. Friends, family and like minded individuals are welcome to share the ins and out of my life and experiences. I will try to keep it updated and current so folks can keep up with what's new with me. I love my Step-Mom's blog because it really helps to keep me connected with her and my Dad's life in upstate New York. I wish more people I know and love were blogging, it is such an awesome way to put yourself out there for anyone who is interested.
Here we go............

ps. I took this picture with my 2G iPhone...