March 30, 2006


I'm not a big lifehacks person, but I did recently optimize my pockets by reducing the number of keys I carry to four (house x2, mailbox and bike) and the number of things in my wallet to five (BART card, check, ID, debit card, credit card).

The latter reduction in force coincided with getting a new wallet, one of those Tumi jobbers recommend by Nelson. I recommend them as well and I now feel much better about my whole pants situation. And I discovered a new way to even further optimize the money clip. Instead of folding your money in half ... fold it in thirds!

I know - it's crazy. Who can fold things in thirds? You can! Like polyphasic sleep, it takes a little getting used to but is worth the effort. In no time, your money clip will be a sleek thing of beauty with no excess dollarage dangling over the sides like so much currency cameltoe.

March 21, 2006

Belle and Sebastian

Update: This is the 3rd time I've seen them and I'd have to say it was an even better show than when Eugene and I saw them in Berkeley. Getting to have the New Pornographers open was a special bonus at tonight's show. And despite being an especially weird venue, the Concourse Exhibition Center (home to comic book conventions) allowed for a giant crowd while still letting folks get close to the stage.

Seeing Belle and Sebastian is sort of like going to a dorky summer camp. Everyone has their own favorite parts and there are some loosely traditional elements (like getting someone to come up and dance on stage). It's also the best behaved concert crowd I've run across. Except, of course, that each person really wants to hear his or her favorite song and the range of favorite songs is seemingly quite broad. But since they closed with my favoritest song, I'm stoked.

Here's the set list for the curious:
  1. Stars of Track and Field
  2. Another Sunny Day
  3. Funny Little Frog
  4. Sukie in the Graveyard (apparently about an SF Art Institute student)
  5. If You're Feeling Sinister
  6. Electronic Renaissance
  7. Song for Sunshine
  8. We are the Sleepyheads
  9. Piazza, New York catcher (folks love hearing their hometown mentioned in a song)
  10. Fox in the Snow
  11. She's Losing It
  12. Your Cover's Blown
  13. Dog on Wheels
  14. I'm a Cuckoo
  15. Jonathan David
  16. White Collar Boy
  17. Judy and the Dream of Horses
  18. Simple Things (first encore)
  19. Boy with the Arab Strap (second encore)

March 19, 2006

Back from the Strip

There's a scene in Fear and Loathing where Hunter Thompson says "North Vegas is where you go when you've fucked up once too often on the Strip." Somehow Anna managed to get us there on Saturday morning before we'd even really had a chance.

March 16, 2006

Mashed Tabs

I'm reading DeLillo's Underworld and digging it a bunch. I'd previously read the prologue and its multi-POV retelling of the Bobby Thompson homerun. No one does crowd consciousness like DeLillo. Also, Russ Hodges' call is amazingly captured and, while stretched across several paragraphs, it has this immediate and total emotional effect on me.

Having found the above recording of the call, I was listening to it on my laptop. In the background I heard this lilting, ethereal music that I initially mistook for feedback. I thought, "How weirdly cool that someone set an ambient song as the backing track to 'The Giants win the pennant!'"

And then I realized that I had left the Flash game, Flow, open in another tab.

March 14, 2006


Goodbye Omni

March 13, 2006

Hands in the Air

From the Blogger Party at SxSW.

March 12, 2006

Texas BBQ

Vegetarian hostile.

March 11, 2006

March 06, 2006

Gonna set my soul on fire

Since my recent conversion to Las Veganism a couple of folks have sent me Malcolm Gladwell's disparaging comments about Sin City.

Seeing as how my next trip is with my college debate posse, I felt I should offer the following rebuttal:

  1. "You can't get a cab." I've never been more impressed with a cab system than at McCarran Int'l Airport. The system is efficient, fair and the cab drivers know the destinations by name. All destinations on the Strip are within 10 minutes with the cost being around $10. Apparently, Mr. Gladwell has never tried to take a cab to San Francisco from SFO or to Manhattan from JFK. Both are signficantly worse experiences and more than 4x as pricey.

  2. "It's 120 degrees outside." I must confess that I've never been to Vegas in the summer (I understand it's in the desert) and I'm no fan of the heat. But inside is the optimal temperature for humans, as far as I'm concerned. Plus it's scented with sandalwood.

  3. "The food is terrible." The food is awesome. I had the best breakfast of my life in Vegas the last time I was there. And, the service is incredible. If you eat at the $5 buffet, you're gonna get what you paid for but there is many a fine meal to be had in Las Vegas.

  4. "Everyone loses money." Everyone does lose money. It's a statistical certainty. Pure mathematics is what keeps the casinos in business afterall. But the fact that people lose money by gambling is only a negative if, for some reason, you've convinced yourself that blackjack is a good way to increase your riches. Otherwise, it's just the price of entertainment.

    Plus, and also, not everyone loses money.

  5. "Large packs of enormous, glassy-eyed people in stretch pants." The important thing to understand is that Vegas is America at its most pure and unpretentious. It is a Red State destination without any question. But it's a culture of inclusion, not division. Everyone - even the morbidly overweight or comically unhip - are welcomed to its sandy shores. The real Statue of Liberty should be moved to Vegas for this reason.

  6. "Why would I want to see Celine Dion?" No one should see Celine Dion. In fact, I feel that she should be forced to perform 6 shows a day - once every 4 hours - and that she should be permanently attached to the stage via an artificial feeding and circulatory system so that she becomes the world's most overpaid Showbiz Pizza cyborg.

    But there are many other fine options. Lane and Sutter really dug Zumanity. And Avenue Q had me singing showtunes for a solid month. Saying there are no good shows in Vegas because Celine Dion plays Caesar's Palace is like refusing to see a game at Yankee Stadium because the Moonies once had a mass wedding there.

  7. "I have more fun walking to the laundromat." Actually, I don't have any problem with this argument. Some of best hours of my life have been spent in the living rooms of my closest friends doing what could only charitably be described as nothing.

    Liking Las Vegas doesn't mean you must turn a jaundiced eye to the other pleasures of your life. But to reject it outright is like condemning Halloween as a pointless delusion. Of course it's a pointless delusion! That's the point. To not be able to surrender yourself to that - even a little - is to be the poop of the party.
Because we must side with unpoopishness, we must oppose.

March 03, 2006

Hear that whistle blowin'

Last night, just around midnight, there was the loudest thunderclap I've heard since leaving Mid-West. It was a rolling, surging boom that sounded so much like a freight train that I had to check out my window (after it had subsided) to make sure a tornado hadn't torn away the backyard.

After the crest, the thunder echoed for a good minute longer. It was so out of the ordinary for San Francisco's impossibly tranquil climate that I'm surprised there aren't more reports of it.

The sky was falling, people!

March 02, 2006


Update: I'm totally in love with Laetitia Sadier. It's as though Rachel Griffiths were a french speaking rockstar who also plays trombone.

I believe she sang Cybele's Reverie for me.