Thursday, August 30, 2007
Writing from home today as I finish getting ready for the trip to Guadalajara. It is unbearably hot. Weather.com says it's 89 degrees - that must be wrong. It feels way hotter. The 10-day forecast in Guadalajara is all scattered thunderstorms. There is a 50-60% chance of rain this whole weekend. Great. All the more reason to hang out in taco huts. If I visit enough I'll do a write up of each and send them to Bandini at The Great Taco Hunt.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
We finished the second season of The Wire last week, and on Sunday I finished the Harry Potter series. I mention this because these are two of the greatest works of art I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Words won't do them justice; if you haven't seen the show or read the book it would behoove you to start doing so immediately. Otherwise you're missing out, kind of like how I didn't see Fletch until I was 20 years old. After that viewing it was like a whole new world of movie quotes and inside jokes opened up to me.
Ok so it's not that similar to the aforementioned classics but you get the idea.
I am flying to Guadalajara, "the most Mexican of all Mexican cities" on Friday. We're just going to hang out. Between this and China and the rest of the 1,100 photos from Europe that I haven't posted yet I'm going to have to start writing five posts a day to catch up. Or I can post multiple pictures per day...
Friday, August 24, 2007
You know what? I'm just going to start linking to Bill Harris' blog on Fridays. At the end of each week he posts a bunch of interesting links he's received from readers. They run the gamut from video game news/stories to technological and sociological insights to fantastic profiles of people and events - pretty much everything I'm interested in, basically. The blog is called Dubious Quality (the most inappropriate title possible).
Just for the heck of it, here's a link I've posted many times before: The Wages of Wins. This site will fundamentally change the way you look at professional sports - and by extension, the nature of human interaction and individual performance. You won't get all that out of it in just one sitting though. I've been reading the blog for nearly a year now.
In other news, doing 'real' screen printing is much more complicated than I anticipated. I'm nearly finished with the album design but now I have to figure out how to enact it. Anyone have a photo emulsion setup I can borrow?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I still haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth. That should get top priority on my list. I had a conversation with a friend the other day that seems to come up often - why don't we all drive electric cars? Apparently there is a movie that addresses this question, called What Happened to the Electric Car? or something like that. I want to see that too.
The problem I have whenever this topic comes up is that people don't seem fully aware of the concept of energy transfer. Electricity isn't magic. Nothing is. Getting myself from my house to work every day requires energy. Currently I drive a car. The engine burns gasoline and the energy released propels my car at potentially high speeds. In addition, pollutants like CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere.
If I had an electric car no pollutants would be emitted by my car. But the electricity doesn't appear out of thin air - it has to be created somewhere, like at a nuclear, coal or hydroelectric power plant. Is that really a better system for getting millions of people to work every day? It's better for Los Angeles, because the air will be cleaner here. But the air will be much worse wherever the coal plant is, or a tremendous amount of habitat will be destroyed by diverting river water for hydro plants, or a lot more nuclear waste will be created.
I don't think the two scenarios are equal, and as my friend pointed out an electric car wouldn't require much (if any) oil and the engine would be much cleaner in general - thereby allowing cars to run more cleanly and efficiently. Also, I have no idea how efficient the gasoline refining process is; it could very well be less efficient than the coal-to-electricity or nuclear-to-electricity processes.
All this boils down to the fact that we need to reduce our energy needs. That is the only way to ensure a reduction in net pollution. Unfortunately, this is rarely addressed in the political and media arenas. Sure, we could follow Brazil's lead and invest heavily in corn and ethanol production and eventually become free from dependence on foreign oil. But that would result in a massive transfer of energy from the plains states to the nation's cars (via the corn to ethanol process) which, in addition to still polluting the air, fundamentally alters the current ecosystem. All that solar energy that grows the corn ultimately gets converted into ethanol and is burned in cars all over the country, when it would have otherwise been absorbed by plants and things or reflected back into the air over the plains states, and would have stayed put in that area. (I feel like I'm losing my grasp on what I'm trying to convey).
Again, the point is to reduce our energy requirements. And yet I heard a radio commercial yesterday urging Los Angelinos to conserve water because we are in the midst of a tremendous drought (and LA is a desert climate for the love of god), but also yesterday I saw my neighbor cleaning his sidewalk with a garden hose - something everyone in LA seems to do. Is there a broom shortage too? It's simple things like this, enacted on a large scale, that will change things. The Segway is a good talking point here, but I'm done writing for now.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I'm trying to hold off on posting any more new songs until the CD is ready. It's hard though, because I'm frustrated by how long things take. But, as I keep telling myself, it will be worth it in the end. I think the art and the songs are gonna be great.
This time of year seems very slow to me. The Cavs are on hiatus and there is very little movement in the free agent market. They're still waiting out the summer before resigning (or trading) both Varejao and Pavlovic. I'm all for signing Varejao, who we kind of have over a barrel right now. Nobody can offer him the kind of money he (probably) deserves, so the Cavs are almost free to sign him for whatever they want. But being cheap would ruin their chances of keeping him long-term. Pavlovic, I could care less about. I would happily sign-and-trade him for a solid veteran guard, although the decision making Danny Ferry has thus far demonstrated does not give me high hopes for who that veteran would be.
There is still a valuable free agent out there - James Posey. The Cavs already missed their chance to get Matt Barnes (who would have been the perfect addition); let's see if they blow this chance as well.
The video game market is in the doldrums as well, although from what I hear the holiday season is going to be a classic. Oh yeah, Bioshock was released yesterday, but I don't know anyone with an xbox 360. That game might be a system seller from what I hear, though, and I might include myself in that category someday.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Breakfast: tea and a handful of thin wheats (yes, thin wheats, not wheat thins)
Lunch: Super Steak (Great Steack & Potato Co)
Dinner: currently unknown, but sure to be a veritable bounty of excitement
I think the picture pretty much sums up the type of day I've had. I want to go home.
Yes, I forced myself to write this post.
I might purchase an xbox 360 solely to play Bioshock. The reviews I've seen are unprecedented. Then I could buy Table Tennis too, which is one of - if not the - greatest sports games I have ever played.
Monday, August 20, 2007
This weekend I fixed a technical glitch with one of the songs off the album. For those of you with audio tech know-how, and an interest in severe minutiae, the problem stemmed from an audio sample I built the song off of. It was an mp3, and when I began building the song off of the sample I failed to notice that the sample rate of the mp3 was 32,000 mhz (CD-quality sound is 44,100 mhz). Consequently, the session defaulted to the 32,000 mhz sample rate of the mp3 and all subsequent tracks followed suit, and when I burned the 32 mhz mix onto a 44.1 CD there was a strange high end distortion. To solve this problem I went in and upsampled every single track one by one, but when I tried to open the session file I kept getting an error message (presumably because the session file was set at 32.0). So I had to rebuilt the entire session track by track, which to my surprise ended up being a much cleaner, more balanced mix than the original one. (I also could have just upsampled the previous mix to 44.1, but I wanted to remix everything at the higher sample rate).
I didn't say this would be interesting.
So now that the final hurdle is out of the way I can begin on my art project - screen printing the CD cases. I'm doing it myself this time, and I can only hope the end result is as good as what Little Jacket did for the Ultraviolet Effect.
Note - I just learned that the aforementioned UV Effect CD cover design will be featured in a design book (!) entitled "Two Colors: Low Budget, High Impact" by Maomao Publications of Barcelona. Sweet!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
If you spend roughly 10 seconds searching you can find plenty of negative information on Paypal. I know I'm not thrilled with my experience. But, there are few to no alternatives (except google checkout, which I may be adding/switching to soon). For now, though, it's the industry standard.
I'm writing this because I can't add a simple shipping calculator based on location. I try to not charge shipping costs, but international orders are pretty expensive to ship. So FYI - I'm going to build a new page for international orders soon. Until then, if you don't live in the US, you can buy things at the prices currently listed with no extra charges. Good times.
A while back I found a great blog written by a former Rockstar Games employee. He was there during their 'heyday' (which may or may not be over - GTA4 is coming out in a few months). It's fascinating, and I highly recommend it.
But yesterday I checked out the rest of the blog, and apparently he's been to Japan several times, with a new trip scheduled. He has several detailed writeups and they're really interesting and informative. I think I spent a good hour reading through everything, since Japan/Tokyo is next on my Asian trip list (of course Eastern Europe, Mexico, NYC and South America all have a higher priority at the moment).
Anyhow, his posts made me want to write a little bit about China.
This picture pretty much sums up China. First of all, it's polluted. 26 of the world's 30 most-polluted cities are in China, and Beijing is one of them. This picture was taken at about 9 AM and the haze stuck around all day.
Second, there are cranes everywhere. All three of our tour guides joked that the crane was China's national bird. It's not really a joke; something like 80% of the world's heavy industrial cranes are in China right now.
Third, despite all the wealth driving the construction, much of China is still poor and underdeveloped like the wasteland in the middle of the photo. There isn't much of a middle class, and the divide between the rich and the poor is much more severe than in the US.
By the way, this photo was taken from our hotel room window.
This is a photo of the Great Wall. We went to a very touristy section called Badaling, which I had read about before the trip. I heard that often you climbed up with thousands of other tourists in a long queue, but somehow there were only a handful of other people there with us. Maybe we lucked out. You can see all the brand new shops and motel rooms next to the parked buses in the left center of the photo. Also note the omnipresent haze. Apparently the government is guaranteeing clean air for the Olympics next year - I don't see how they're going to accomplish that without building a giant 1,500 foot fan.
The section of the wall on the right was really steep, virtually like climbing a stone ladder in some parts. One of my sisters and I sprinted up to the first gatehouse, barely visible where the two sections meet a third of the way up the hill. There are handrails to hang on to, but when going up and coming down I couldn't help but think that people must fall down now and then, and the gradient, at times, must have been 60 degrees.
Amazingly, this was the view from our hotel room in Shanghai. The city was essentially owned and run by the British, French and Americans in the 1800s and early 1900s, and today is enjoying a resurgance as the commercial capital of China. Therefore the architecture is an eclectic mix of European, Communist and modern design. But the entire skyline in the photo - all of it - was built within the last 15 years. The bulding on the left isn't finished yet - it will eventually be 101 stories and just shorter than the Taipei 101 bulding in Taiwan (if you count Taipei's spire). As you can see it's already taller than the building to the right, the current 4th-tallest building in the world (not counting its unfinished neighbor). So two of the top 5 tallest buildings are on the same block in Shanghai, and something tells me they're not finished building yet.
And here is the same shot during the day. Just ridiculous. By the way, the morning before our flight out of China we walked all the way up to the buildings via that street on the left. It was literally a hundred degrees out and the humidity was around 80-90%, so despite the scenery it was a totally unenjoyable experience.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
(Note - I tried posting this over the weekend but was having problems with Blogger...)
Welcome to Lost on Purpose 2.0.
Really, it's more like 1.5, like the Wii is really Gamecube 1.5, but no matter. I've spent several hours getting the new music page up and running, complete with a more streamlined and efficient paypal system. Now if I could just get that new CD out the door...
Soon-to-come elements of the site are a video page, so you can finally see the video for Right On (which I never put on youtube) and an upcoming new video or two; new photos; and a mailing list, which I know people have been dying to get on (both of you).
Thursday, August 9, 2007
If you're interested, please take a look at my friends' new site. They are filmmakers and have used many lost on purpose songs in their films, and their site blows mine away despite being the very first one they've ever developed. Plus it's chock full of cool art and videos, including the 'acting'* debut of yours truly.
*I don't know if you can call improv 'acting', but apparently the clip has been accepted and will be screened at a film festival somewhere in the contiguous United States.
*I don't know if you can call improv 'acting', but apparently the clip has been accepted and will be screened at a film festival somewhere in the contiguous United States.
I'm doing a little housecleaning on the website but it's not going smoothly. I'm having problems with blogger, so I hope this actually posts correctly. All the code for the page you are looking at is hosted via blogger, but all the other pages in the site are not. So it's a little complicated.
Looks like the links up above have changed, which is good. Yes, I know the music link doesn't work yet. That, the Paypal buttons, and everything else should be fixed tonight. And the 50 MB flash intro with me playing a flaming guitar.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
It was just brought to my attention that the paypal buttons are not working correctly. Apparently they are still linked to an old email address which is no longer associated with my account, but I have no idea why this did not automatically updated when I switched addresses. I can't tell you how many problems I've had with Paypal... I guess that's what happens when there's no real competition.
You can still buy things, but I think you'll have to manually send the payment to the lostonpurpose at hotmail dot com address until I get the site fixed.
Also, I took a look at my t-shirt stock and I'm way low on a bunch of sizes, and alternative apparel recently decided to triple their prices. (I'm not sure what they're the alternative to anymore). So I need to find a new supplier.
I should have the Paypal issue fixed in a day or two, and hopefully I'll have a new shipment of t-shirts on the way by the weekend.
Friday, August 3, 2007
For once I managed to hit a target date. The mixes are finished. The time is drawing near.
I cannot stop traveling. Even though I've just returned from China I'm already planning a trip to Mexico for Labor Day weekend. Any suggestions on where to go? I'd rather drive, so I'm thinking San Felipe, but Mona would rather fly deep into her home country. Sorry, her ancestors' country. The name 'Mazatlan' has been thrown around. I'm tempted to say 'Districto Federal'.
I received a pleasant surprise today when I checked on the Win Score of Mickael (sp?) Pietrus, small forward for the Warriors. I have heard that the Cavs have been targeting him, much to my (former) dismay, in lieu of Matt Barnes, who I know to be an above average player. While my former suspicions that Pietrus is not as good as Barnes were true, he is actually not that far off, and is a much better player than Sasha Pavlovic (and every other guard employed by the Cavs). This would be a good trade, if it were to happen.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
The mixes for the album should be finished tomorrow. Then I'm meeting with a producer to work on mastering it and then it will be done. The CD cases arrived today so I have an art project to work on. Once everything is complete the new album will be avaiable on the website. I can't tell you how badly I want to get this thing out the door.
In other news, Kevin Garnett has been traded to the Celtics. This is somewhat exciting, but I'm not really pleased because this makes the Celtics a very dangerous team. The Cavs, meanwhile, are no more dangerous than last year, which was not altogether very dangerous. Coincidentally, Matt Barnes is still a free agent.
I'm still not back on track from the trip to China. I woke up three times last night, and each time felt fully awake. I wish I was walking around Shanghai right now, 99% humid 90 degree weather and stomach parasites notwithstanding.
I am rereading the sixth Harry Potter book in preparation for the seventh. I am avoiding the news like a plague, paranoid that a crucial plot point will be revealed (like when they made a big deal out of a character's death in book 4). I hate the media sometimes. What a bunch of whiners. But I love Nancy Grace. Love that Nancy Grace. She's the moral authority. Can someone please define 'morals'? What are these things, and why are they important? I think morals are like 'toxins'. Apparently everybody has 'toxins', and they get released when you get a massage, so you have to drink a lot of water after a massage. But does anybody know what these toxins are, or where exactly they come from, or why they take up residence in our back muscles, or why people believe they exist when a masseusse tells them they do? Masseusses are the toxin authorities, Nancy Grace is the moral authority. I don't get it.
On topic, why do people care about role models? What is the point? President Bush is lauded as a moral leader, a role model for the nation's youth. He did drugs, but he's been Born Again. But that Clinton, he cheated on his wife, and hasn't yet gotten around to being Born Again. So he's still a 'bad guy', and how am I supposed to explain that one to my future kids? They need to believe that people can be virtous and perfect, paragons of morality. I couldn't bear to let them know that 'good guys' do 'bad things'... and vice versa. A rigid, black and white outlook on life is very important to a young child's development. Sublety is for commies.
I believe this is known as a 'rant', and is a good example of the criticism commonly associated with 'blogs'.