Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's a good thing Rian Johnson spells his first name with an "i"

because that way, I can remember it.

He's a filmmaker (writer/director I guess) and he made Brick and The Brothers Bloom. Highly recommend. The first one if you're in the mood for something serious, the second if not.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Internet says: our world is weird in our 20's

I mean, no kidding, right? I offer the following:

First link from a parenting blog I've ever posted here. About quarter-life crises.

I like this lady's blog (please please try to get past the fact that the second post right now is about Sarah Palin). I got linked to a post about how much she hates Tim Ferriss, so that's enough to get me interested right there. But anyway, this post about "what do you do?" is interesting on its own, and and and quarter-life crisis!

If there's a wikipedia article, it must be true.

And, semi-unrelatedly, here's an article about happiness I want to save to read the second half tomorrow, but I don't want to bookmark it, so it's clearly easier to post to the entire world.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Well, I bought a ticket to Burningman.

This ought to be interesting.

I guess I should start saying things like "see you on the playa" now.

In other news, today I am accomplishing very little, as part of my overachieving detox. I'm still itching and anxious, and I will probably be bugged tomorrow that I didn't do more today. Well, it's a step, anyway.

Music news recently:
First, I'm not twittering about albums. I have too much to say.
Second, here are some things I like:

Amadou and Mariam- Welcome to Mali. I was expecting another one of these world-music albums that I listen to so that I can be cool at cocktail parties but that I don't actually like, but then the synth kicked in and I was all over it. Sometimes it's in French. Sometimes it's in a language that I don't understand. Try "DJama", track 4. Sometimes it's in English, unfortunately. ("I follow you" at 12 is kind of comical.)

David Bowie- ... Ziggy Stardust...- I guess David Bowie is not like the Beatles, where after you listen to their hits and kinda go "meh", the deep tracks really surprise you and you love them. But I could still listen to "Suffragette City" and "Starman" all day. The concept is kind of fun, and "Five Years" as a concept album opener is epic! ("that's all we've got!") See also: "8.5 Minutes" by the Dismemberment Plan.

Eluvium- Copia- Recommended by my Uncle Jim who usually likes things that are longer and louder and stargazier than I like. But this is really epic, kind of weighty, yeah, but real movie-soundtrack stuff, and I can listen to it while I work, no problem. Why do I like, say, "Prelude for Time Feelers" (which is just a piano and a cello or something) but not most classical music? Discuss. And put this on in the background.

TV on the Radio- Dear Science- ugh, can I just let every other critic do the talking on this one? I'll say one thing: "Dancing Choose" is my second favorite song featuring the lyric "He's a what? He's a what?"

The Dodos- Visiter- did I not blog about this yet? It's Animal Collective meets Death Cab. ... meets... Dismemberment Plan? "Jody" is great for the more experimental of you, "Undeclared" is a great acoustic song.

Royksopp- Junior- okay, so I caught on to these guys about one album after everyone else, but they're excellent "electronic popsters" (to quote allmusic). And guest vocals from Karin Dreijer of The Knife! (the more music I listen to, the more often I just wish I were listening to The Knife.)

Shugo Tokumaru- Exit- This is some Zelda stuff. Fun to listen to once. The fifth time, you're like "are we in the clockmaker's house again?"

Air France- No Way Down/On Trade Winds EPs- straight off a p4k recommendation, they're the Broken Social Scene long lost relatives, except they actually finish songs sometimes and don't just play for 19847893 hours.

Telepathe- Dance Mother- it's like Tegan and Sara, but more grandiose and electronic. Devil's Trident wins for being the song that made me stop working and listen up. The sort of half-spoken word stuff I just adore (see: Cake, Dismemberment Plan, even various emo stuff I'd hear on the radio)

Junior Senior- Hey hey my my yo yo- These guys are so fun. Even though they already made their best song ever ("move your feet") I guess they've got another album in them. It's nothing deep, but pretty catchy.

Things I don't so much like:
Devotchka- a Mad and Faithful Telling- I love the Eastern-Europe sound, but I find I don't often like much of the music. Same reason I don't really like Gogol Bordello.
Robyn- Robyn- a blatant rip off of The Knife ("who's that girl") and a bunch of other pop that would be blasted by the same critics who love her, if she were American.
Dosh- Wolves and Wishes- never really goes anywhere. Which is too bad, because I guess he's responsible for Andrew Bird's "Fake Palindromes" and "Simple X"? Boy! If he made an album of songs like that... although I guess you need Andrew's dreamy voice, face, and whistle.
High Places- 03/07-09/07- weird and Unicorns-ey, I think, but a little high-pitched to continually listen to. Flighty and never that gripping. It's like the Luna Lovegood of albums.
The Tallest Man on Earth- Shallow Graves- just not my thing. I should have known after three seconds of hearing his grating voice and acoustic guitar.

I can't decide if I like:
Dan Deacon- Bromst

Fin for now. Anything you've liked recently?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

God DAMN it, cheesecake factory.

Cheesecake factory! God!

Point: it tastes good

Sorta-counterpoint: it kinda does taste good. But it's weird.

Sorta-counterpoint part 2: it's a lot of food

Flat-out counterpoint: It's god damn gross.

My counterpoint: God DAMN it! God! Who lets this happen?! What kind of ... what kind of brave-new-world-inspired bland-pleasure-dome is this? What the hell! Who runs this company? Who runs this world? STOMP STOMP STOMP aarrrghhh (pounds walls) who decided that their primary virtue would be BEING BIG?! garhg grr arrggh! Gaaaaarrrgghh!

For sale: $57.40 in Best Buy gift cards

$45 OBO. You paypal me or send me a check, I'll email you the codes.

And I have to know you. After getting burned by trying to trade a 27% Mara's for an Annihilus and having some jackass swoop through our trading site in the Kurast Docks and pick up my amulet, I'm not taking any chances.

Oh, also, you have to promise to use them someday. Because when you use a gift card, Best Buy loses. (when you buy a gift card, Best Buy wins. Sadly, they've already won from some of my relatives. But if you can find a use for them, then stick it to the big-box man!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

STP no longer stands for "Stone Temple Pilots" in my head

or Swords to Plowshares. And that's the second time I've used "Stone Temple Pilots" in a title line of a post.

I rode my bike to Portland last weekend! It's 202 miles away! It's not really that impressive, 9500 other people did it too. But it's kind of impressive. Whatever, I don't care whether it's impressive.

I'm not so good at thinking right now. Here are a few jumbled thoughts:

It was sort of fun. Part of the time was miserable, part of the time was just slightly painful, part of the time was pretty good. I went with friend Nick, acquaintance (I mean he's a cool guy but I'd only met him once before so I don't think it's fair to call him friend; what do you call people in this situation?) Kevin, and new acquaintance Andy. Kevin and Andy were fast, Nick was a little bit fast but I could keep up with him. This worked out well. And we all camped in Chehalis, about halfway there.

It rained overnight. That makes camping significantly less fun. Luckily Nick had woken up and put the rain cover on the tent, just in case. Also, my backpack is apparently waterproof. Hallelujah.

When you ride a long way, you eat EVERYTHING. That's kind of fun. Props: Dave's Killer Bread. It's quite good. Slops: Clif bars. Those things are just as fake as anything. It's like eating a plastic brick, but it tastes like a cookie, but not as good.

Now that I've ridden 200 miles, I could ride hrair miles. That's neat. Gives another boost to the idea of just going off and traveling someday. How cool would that be, just go off with a bike and bike from town to town (or town to field, camp, go to next town)?
Subtopic: screw Daniel Burnham. He's the one who's credited with saying "Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized." As I was riding home today, I was going to make another big plan (ride across a continent for charity sort of thing). But when I make big plans, they tend to never come close to being realized. That's demoralizing. If I can't even make a big plan, I kind of have to start somewhere, right?

Sandals are great! I didn't get wet socks. I'm still not super-sold on the clip-in pedals. Seems like more trouble than it's worth. But I should have brought bike gloves...
oh, and another layer...

It was full of bicycle folks. I feel as out-of-place with them as anyone. It's so white rich male. I think I saw one black person the whole time. I feel like, after you get a certain level of intense, like the level where you must have clip-in pedals and drop handlebars, draft off other riders, and take ibuprofen to survive, it's not real anymore. It gets to the point where only white rich males can do it. (and not even most of them. see: ibuprofen.) It's like bodybuilding... lifting weights so you have muscles to carry things or whatever is cool; lifting weights for its own sake gets really weird. And damaging (see creatine for bodybuilders, or ibuprofen for bicyclists).

As a result, I never ever ever want to be in a bicycle race.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Also, I can't sleep.

All those times I sincerely thought I was joking...

Google Chrome OS.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Quarter-life crisis

I guess you could also call it the "real world" crisis.

Hey everyone in college and high school and so on: why do you build us kids up so much? Everywhere you turn it's "you're going to change the world" and "you'll do great things" and "here's a 24-year-old entrepreneur who started (internet company x)" and "this guy is a (senator, footballman, mayor of Pittsburgh, whatever) at 26". And then we get out and there's no way we can do that. We can't possibly measure up, because nobody can, unless he/she is very lucky and very very good. This year has been a fun voyage of convincing myself of that.

But the world needs us to be very lucky and very very good! Right? Fading into obscurity and carving out your own little niche would be fine, except that if everyone does that, the world implodes. Even if your little niche includes you contributing $100 to the stop-hunger-in-Africa fund, using reusable shopping bags, and driving a hybrid instead of an SUV.

I've heard all the soothing "you just have to do your best"s and they ring really hollow. Everyone's been doing their best, and our world is still hosed. (or else, everyone so far hasn't been doing their best, but I don't buy that either. Is our generation really the first one that's going to turn the world around with our wonderful unselfishness? Are we that much better than the Boomers and the Xers and whoever else? ... are we any better at all?)

I guess I figured that, even if I fizzle out someday, at least maybe during my wild, carefree, rocking 20's, I'd take out my giant boots and stomp a big Dan Tasse footprint into the side of the world. Or not even my footprint, just a footprint, that anonymously or nonymously leaves the world a better place. And hell, maybe I still will. But how to reconcile the "I don't need to do so to be a good person" with the "somebody needs to"?

How are your 20's going? Are you having a quarter-life crisis too? Or have you gotten over yours?

Finally, in my happier times, I tell myself that I'll always put a disclaimer on any really cynical things I think during my sadder times. So take everything I'm saying here with a grain of salt, and if you're feeling pretty good about things, don't let me harsh on your parade.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hey, that game theory thing is actually real

I guess it's called "Braess's Paradox" but CS students everywhere (and math, polisci, etc students too I'm sure, but I'm not one so I don't know) know it as "that simple application of Nash equilibria that blows your mind. No, not the prisoner's dilemma. The other one. You know, with the roads that are in a diamond shape and you add another one and it makes everything worse."

(okay, so not quite. the deal in real life is that fewer roads makes people drive less, not that it makes them route differently. either way, I like it.)

Also, highway interchanges are so cool. I mean, besides the whole "destroying the world and particularly the United States" thing.

Friday, July 03, 2009

So, I still hate musicals, BUT

"A Chorus Line" is a meta-musical, right? A musical about musicals?

Then that means... Every Little Step is a meta-meta-musical? Okay, no. False alarm. Apparently it's a documentary about a musical about musicals. Not quite meta enough for me to actually want to see it.

Then again, the last meta-musical I saw ("Title of Show") was pretty great. Someone just needs to make a musical about making "Every Little Step," and I'm so there.