26 July 2015

All the Way to My Plums: Milk N Cooks Tasty Beats Vol. 7

Usually I listen to a whole mix before I post it here. No time for that right now. This one starts strong enough that I'm going to skip that step. If it sucks I will update this post to apologize. Or not. Not's good.

Working weekends is for the birds. 

23 July 2015

Careful Out There

One of the (few) things I remember about my father is that he was quite fond of the expression, "you fuck with the bull, you get the horns". This gif reminded me very much of that expression.

20 July 2015

Harley Davidson: faster than you from 0-20 MPH; after that, I hope you're not in a hurry

Harley Davidson motorycles are still slow and heavy.
My friend asked about this post so I resurrected it and re-posted the image of the data.

My own motorcycles are long gone but this data is still relevant: Police Harley's are slow as hell after 60 MPH. 


In a headline that I enjoyed (Michigan State Police objectively prove Harleys suck), hellforleather explains the tests that the Michigan staties (stateys?) did on some police models. Whether or not you think Harley's are cool is a matter of opinion, but you cannot argue that they are slooooooooow.

21 seconds to get to 100 MPH? Is that a joke? Yes! But also: No. Almost 25 seconds is a joke. Please note how the numbers are trending - the HD bikes are clearly approaching their top speed. That is pathetic. You don't necessarily need a motorcycle that gets from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, or goes over 180 MPH (like mine does, supposedly, because I'll never know). But 100 MPH is not unreasonable. Unless it's made in America.

At least the Harley's have an edge in handling.*

* No they don't.

Incidentally, the Concours 14 probably gets from 60-120 MPH more quickly than my 1000 cc bike. That thing is a beast. Sexy Rexy is faster in the corners, though. (Unless I'm riding it. Chicken strips!)

12 July 2015

Limited Availability: Back Pain

I've been away from the blog for a while. Not for any good reason (like traveling), but because I hurt my back very badly in yoga class* and have spent the past two weeks either standing up or lying down. Sitting compresses my lower spine and is a no go.

Since I usually do some blogging on the weekend (seated), and I have computer work to do that requires me to stand up all day, I don't have much energy left over to share not-very-interesting comments about the weeks events. Standing in one spot for 8 or 9 hours is fucked. Doing it day after day with chronic back pain is super-duper-mega-fucked. I'm trying to incorporate more variety but that's where I am right now. As a consequence I also haven't been doing much. Work, walking around my neighborhood, watching League of Legends replays on Youtube, reading a book. All things that I can do lying down, except for walking and work.

I will make occasional updates in this space as time and ability allows. When I'm feeling better I will definitely get back on the blog horse with more regular posts. (That sounded awkward but I'm going to leave it.)

See you out there.

* I aggravated a chronic disc injury with some bending and twisting. Felt fine at the time, but a couple hours (and days, and weeks) later: not so much.

06 July 2015

Monday is Time for Pump Up Jams: Tritonal ft. Jonathan Mendelsohn - Satellite (BlueCollar Remix)

Universal Truth: Everyone needs a good pump-up jam once in a while.

Maybe you get down with some funky old school shit. Maybe you thought that Grateful Dead "reunion" show was the hottest hotness. Maybe you got Let it Go on repeat-offender lockdown. Maybe you like country music. Maybe you can't wait for Dre to finally finish the follow up to Dee Are Eee. Whatever. Point is: you need an anthem. This is today's anthem. Tomorrow, who knows? You get today.

Free download? Why yes. Yes indeedy.

28 June 2015

Let's Play Games: Unravel

This game was announced at e3 and the guy that did the intro was very sincere and nervous and charmingly relatable.

Plus the game looks great!

26 June 2015

26 June 2015: It's About Damn Time

Just Two Beautiful Men, Sharing a Moment
** Pictures look best if you narrow your browser window until they are stacked on top of one another **

I love America. This country is full of idiots and bullshit but if you are lucky (and I am very lucky) it can be a lovely place to live and work, because it is also full of wonderful people and places.

Today we got a long overdue reminder that sometimes the judicial system actually delivers a very tiny bit of sweet hot justice: gay people can get married in any state of the union, regardless of which backwards fuckwits think that marriage should only exist legally between a man and a woman in whatever backwater fuckwitted state they choose to call home.

Equal protection and equal rights under the law means everyone, all the time. If that offends or bothers you then you need to get over yourself or move somewhere your views are reflected in the law (I hear Saudi Arabia is lovely this time of year). The Supreme Court did not tell anyone what marriage is, they just said 'hey, treat everyone the same - the law cannot and will not discriminate'. If you think marriage is only valid if it is between a man and a woman then that's cool, get down with your bad self. Keep thinking that backwards shit! But you cannot legally enforce that view because it is discriminatory. (Sad faces.) Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Big shout out to all the dissenting justices (each wrote their own dissent) so they could go on record as flag-bearers for discrimination for future generations! It's like you all knew were going to be remembered as assholes but wanted to be remembered as unique assholes in your own special way.

If you, the reader, insist on pushing and enforcing your discriminatory views out into the wider world on religious grounds then you should just fuck right off. You are on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of human decency. (Which: what the hell? Why are you such a dick?) Someday people will look back on your views with regret and chagrin, and wonder what people were thinking. That day cannot come soon enough, and today was a big step on the way there.

America. Fuck Yeah. Finally.

Jim Jeffries and Gun Control

Big Cheese sent the attached video and asked what I thought about it. I had some thoughts, which I have reproduced here. It's a funny video!

He's not wrong.

Anti-gun advocates like to talk about Port Arthur because Australia enacted legislation and they have not had a mass shooting since then. There is actually a disturbing amount of overlap between Port Arthur and Sandy Hook, the two shootings that white people seem to care about. (Note that white people only care when other white people get shot - more on this shortly.)

Left unmentioned is that Australia, despite all its bluster, is a pissant country comprised of mostly empty space. And they had a lot of shootings! That place is fucked up. Australia has about half as many people as California, and less than 1/10th as many people as the US as a whole. Nice place to visit but it is basically Florida, with worse food. So, yeah: Australia banned guns! :: wanking motion ::

Setting aside the very real problems of scale: yes, constitutional arguments are dated and reductive and feeble in the extreme. It is just as bad as pointing at the bible when you are having a religious discussion; complete non-starter. Also the constitution has a proud history of being impressively wrong about important things: slavery, equal rights for women, booze, etc.

That a gun owner is more likely to use their gun on themselves than someone else is not an impactful argument against gun ownership. So what if they do? The people most likely to die of gun violence are either 1. Young black males, or 2. Older, unattached white men in their 50s and 60s. If you remove suicides from gun death statistics then the people most at risk are young black men, and it is not even close. When white men agitate for gun rights they are, statistically speaking, fighting for the right to shoot themselves. I'm fine with that. Free will is free will.

Guns are too easy to get. The recent massacre in South Carolina highlights this fact all too well. I think owning a gun should be like getting a pilots license. Everyone can apply but it requires a demonstrable level of proficiency and commitment in order to take one home. If you can get through the screening process and demonstrate proficiency then you should be able to own whatever gun you want.

As for Sandy Hook, no one gives a shit about the black kids getting killed around the country every day but when a mentally ill, mentally retarded kid uses a gun his mom bought him (legally) to shoot a bunch of white kids it is the end of the world. Soccer moms across the nation are afraid for their little angels, and the NRA says they should put an armed guard at every school. Both reactions are incredibly dumb. Your kids are not at risk, and an armed guard is just the first guy to get shot.

People want to enact legislation on anomalies. What cascade of legislation is going to effectively prevent a mother from buying an expensive gun and making it available to her sociopathic, autistic child? I suggest: none. That was a catastrophic failure on too many levels. Legislating and adjudicating for anomalies leads to extreme reactions that may or may not solve future anomalies but almost always have unintended consequences. (The militarization of the police in the US saw its genesis in large part as a result of the North Hollywood shootout. That was two guys, one time, and now we have a country literally overflowing with wannabe soldier-cops and provincial SWAT teams.)

Let's address the real epidemic: gun violence in inner cities and urban areas. It has been ongoing for a generation now and shows no signs of slowing or stopping. Let's address the root causes of the violence (poverty, lack of opportunity, the drug war) and instead of taking away guns let's see if we can find a way to give poor people a reason to stop shooting each other.

25 June 2015

I Went There: San Francisco

(One in an occasional series.)

Went to SF for a conference and spent several days down by Union Square and the Tenderloin and the Mission. It was a busy week in SF: the Warriors won the NBA title, Obama came to town to see how I was doing speak at a Mayors conference and it was also some kind of centennial for City Hall. Oh and it was sunny and unseasonably warm for most of the week, which happens only slightly less often than Centennial celebrations.

So it was a happening week in the city. My room at the Parc 55 had a nice view. Union Square is my least favorite part of San Francisco - it is everything shitty about a mall combined with everything shitty about crowded urban areas - but once you got past the mediocre restaurants and aimless throngs of tourists (do they not have a Banana Republic in Germany??) you can wander into the Tenderloin or south of Market for some local color and good foods. The areas do get legitimately sketchy with the mentally ill and drug-addicted homeless but stay out of the alleys and don't be phone zombie and you will be fine.

Spent a Friday afternoon drinking beers at Pier 23, which is pretty much the best way to spend a sunny Friday afternoon in San Francisco. Got to catch up with Ze Newbs and his family in person in the evening. That was superb because it made my trip fun instead of just work. Good times.

21 June 2015

Keep Calm and Make It Rain

Congratulations to the Warriors and their long-suffering fans. A great year capped by the NBA title? It gets no better.
Keep calm and Steph Curry.

Ps. Fuck Matthew Dellevadova back to the D-league. That guy is good at all the parts of basketball that are miserable to watch and awful at all the good parts. He is basically the inverse of Steph Curry.

13 June 2015

This Book is Not Good: Maplecroft by Cherie Priest

I was able to buy a used copy of Maplecroft by Cherie Priest for $0.99 plus shipping. I overpaid.

This book is not good. The monsters are not scary. The characters are flat. It is all just a lot of predictable, boring, by-the-numbers crap. Brief periods of action are frequently interrupted with long-winded expository whining. Don't bother unless there's absolutely nothing else to read. And even then: meh.

Priest is good writer but her talents are wasted here.

08 June 2015

Hot Jamz: Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding (Jasper Dietze Remix)

There are a lot of good remixes of this song. I prefer this more uptempo version. Put some bounce in it!

03 June 2015

The Internet Delivers: Weird Fish Rash

The internet is full of an unlimited supply of stupidity. (You can find quite a lot of it on this blog.)
But sometimes it delivers the goods. This comment was from a weird (kind of pointless) story about not eating sewer fish in New Jersey. If you were thinking of eating sewer fish then most definitely do not. But then this happened, courtesy a glorious person that is out there, in the world, doing good work with local wildlife:

A few years ago I went down into a city ravine (water up to the knees or waist depending on where you stood) to help a 3-foot-long muscular sumbitch of a fish get off the gravel pile it had beached itself on and into deep enough water to “breathe”. My wife snapped photos, I looked like an idiot, it was all a very bad idea. Got a weird fish rash. Probably against the law? Not sure what law. Anyway, it was meant to help the fish. Somewhere in there I probably contemplated a mercy killing. Probably killed it anyway by accidentally feeding it an ice cream cone. (It got fish splashed so we dropped it in the water... and the fish went right for it. Gulp.)
Trying like hell to remember why this anecdote was relevant. The end? Thhpbbt.

31 May 2015

The Good Stuff: David Regelin Yoga

Took a class with David Regelin yesterday. Didn't know too much about him except he was from New York. Actively avoided doing too much research; better to go and see what he's all about and decide for myself. Plus I was looking for an excuse to get out of the house and yoga workshops are good because you always learn something, even when they are terrible.

The class was outstanding. Great from start to finish. David is an inspired, careful, intelligent teacher. I cannot recommend him enough. I described him as 'Tim Senesi East' to people that know Tim. Not because they are both annoyingly tall, dark and handsome (though they are), but because they are very athletic, alignment-focused, have a wealth of knowledge and share it in a useful, digestible way. If Regelin is ever in your area then make an effort to get to his workshop or training. Absolutely worth your time and money.

And the tall part matters: the balancing poses are easier for shorter people so seeing a muscular person taller than me teach poses is inspiring and humbling. It's great that the toothpick-armed jockeys can do cool shit but I'm neither skinny nor short so I have other challenges, like fitting my man-thighs into boardshorts. And getting some sun. Maybe.

30 May 2015

Read All About It: The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey and Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer

Jewel Wasp: Giving Roaches Nightmares for Millennia
Happened to read Girl with All the Gifts and Parasite Rex back to back. That was a (fortuitous) coincidence because they overlap a bit and both books are good.

If you have to choose only one then read Parasite Rex. It is sensationally titled as "Inside the bizarre world of nature's most dangerous creatures", which is one of the reasons it sat on my shelf for so long. I thought it would be sensationalistic and dumb. It is neither. It is a cerebral look at parasites and the way they have shaped the world. Turns out the book just scratches the surface but it is very easy and entertaining reading. The variety, complexity and specificity of parasite species is astounding.

If you want some easy science-y fiction then Girl with All the Gifts is a good read. It is perfect light reading as long as you do not mind savage brutality as a plot device. Main character is a girl, so: feminism? Not sure. Some of the characters are a little thin and predictable but overall it's a good pickup if you see it used or can borrow it from a handsome gentleman that does not need it taking up any more of his already overflowing bookcase.