31 December 2010

Year in Review: Life is uncertain

Wanted to squeeze one last post in before the end of the year. Partly to finish strong (record number of posts this year, by a lot) and partly to wish you a happy new year. I would go through and choose some of my favorite posts if I had the time and inclination, but I don't. I may do it in January if I'm so moved. Or not.

I hope your 2011 is chock full of love and laughs. And hugs. And dessert*.

xox  -c-

* It's easy to remember how to spell 'desert' (no rainfall) and 'dessert' (yum) because there are two esses in dessert, and two servings of dessert are better than one. If you spelled 'dessert' with as many servings as I would eat then it would be spelled 'desssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssert'.

28 December 2010


Forwarded by a friend: total domination in the palm of your hand. Title of the photo was 'pew pew!'
I laughed.

24 December 2010

Happy F'n Birthday Jesus

Me and xmas, enh, we get along only so so. I prefer thanksgiving. The food is usually better and the gift exchange part can be a hassle. Anyway, a friend took this photo a couple weeks ago when we were out and about and I was maximizing my potential. Apparently all I need to get into the xmas spirit is 14 beers. Who knew?

Happy holidays!

23 December 2010

You know I'm workin', nights!

I tried to embed this video but couldn't work it out. So you have to go to this portal site and watch it for yourself. My favorite part starts at 1:04.


22 December 2010

Motorcycles and also guns and other toys

Colin Edwards is a very good motorcycle racer. People tend to forget this because he hasn't won a race since he started in MotoGP, but still.

Anyway, he runs a 'boot camp' in Texas. I want to go. You learn to ride motorcycles, and in your free you learn to shoot guns. That's my kind of weekend.

Texas Tornado Bootcamp from Ryan King on Vimeo.

20 December 2010

Busy today... I'll be brief

Lots going on today so here's a quick summary of awesome, as delivered by the intarnets. Image courtesy Olly Moss, who is that rare designer that makes art I actually want to buy.

Also loved this super hard:


I'm not at all surprised that someone who is good at being a soldier is also good at baking. Seriously. Bakers are infamous for being intense and detail-oriented. From what I'm told by my friends in the service, these are also favorable qualities in a soldier. (I'm not saying that I'm intense and detail-oriented, but I'm not not saying it.)

On vacation for the next two weeks - including today - but I promise to kick out some updates as I find the time. I may have to interrupt my gym/books/xbox schedule to do so, but you're worth it. Soooo worth it.

17 December 2010

Get smarter

Had this one kicking around in the archives, forgot to post it.
Sooooo here you go.

The whole talk is much longer, but this part is a nice summary. The short version is: we need to change our education system. Easier said than done, but still.

16 December 2010

I am an international financier, part the IX

Another in a series detailing my generous (micro)financing work in foreign lands.

I funded Arlene from the Philipines loan in July (?). I guess repayment happens at the end of the term, because the capital will be invested in the livestock until she can sell them. The update didn't make a lot of sense, but whatever. Here it is after I ran it through Google translate:

Arlene grateful to the financial eyang received from lenders, he added there eyang negosyo.medako investment income to give what he pangenahanglanon inadlaw-day that the eyang family.

So that's happening. Mostly I like the picture because it's got a pig.

Load-testing the speakers with Stars "Take me to the Riot"

Saturday nights in neon lights,
Sunday in the cell

Pills enough to make me feel ill,
Cash enough to make me well

Been load-testing the speakers to this for about a week. It's not a new song, but you don't care. There was some kind of music video on youtube but it was awful (40 seconds to start the song? seriously?) so instead you get this fan version. Special bonus: words! Or you can minimize it and get your listen on. (That's my move.)

It sounds a bit like Morrissey, except for the part with the female vocalist.

Song is Take me to the Riot, by Stars.


 I had some posts piled up because firefox v3.6.13 wouldn't let me post pictures for some reason. Upgraded to firefox 4 and it's working again. So here you go: the motorcycle, with some other motorcycles.

The big win!

Managed to eek out a victory against Shannon (NMSNSS) in words with friends. It took a lot of intellectual energy, so I enjoyed a spanking from both friend Skott and brother Scott in 2 other games. I should post those scores too, but they aren't as fun. I got a bit lucky with the letters, played first, and also she swapped tiles, which gave me a very small advantage in terms of letters played. I think her per-word average was better than mine, so she didn't lose as much as she just ran out of tiles. Also: note the hour. I was definitely trying to get this done and sorted before I went to sleep.

After a game I like to review the board and find my favorite words. I think my favorite word on this board is 'ecru', though I didn't play it. My favorite recent word is 'twee', which is actually one of my favorite words, ever, and fun to play if you have some extra e's laying around.

Also, this article is the worst thing I've seen written lately:


I know you don't much care about motorcycle racing, but you can't help but be impressed by its awfulness. Here's a sample:

SOME ANSWERS: We have a spending problem Houston. The extravagance and false economy that were the driving force until recently have withered. It is a realignment of the stars. The sport in all forms will survive, but a cold hard look at harsh reality is due. Fans will still turn out to see a great show, but they need to be embraced and attention must be paid to what they want to see. Rules have to be made from the perimeter fence inwards instead of pit lane outwards for the benefit of those anointed with that special pass!

To summarize: Four sentences of repetitive cliche, one useful sentence, and a nice run-on sentence to close it out. Here it is again, edited:

SOME ANSWERS: We have a spending problem Houston. The extravagance and false economy that were the driving force until recently have withered. It is a realignment of the stars. The sport in all forms will survive, but a cold hard look at harsh reality is due. Fans will still turn out to see a great show, but they need to be embraced and sponsors, organizers, and riders must pay attention to what they want to see. Rules have to be made from the perimeter fence inwards instead of pit lane outwards for the benefit of those anointed with that special pass!

 It's actually MORE work to write badly than it is to write well.

15 December 2010

Buy American

Here's a list of "stylish and cool brands that make their goods in America". Most of the stuff is predictably expensive, but there's an economics lesson there: we have a high standard of living here in the United States, so it costs a lot to make stuff here.

On the other hand, you get what you pay for. Often when people use that cliche they mean quality, but you might also be paying for exclusivity, or a relationship with the vendor, or some combination of the above. If that's not your thing, go shop at wal-mart.


Chad hits the weights like he means it

Friend Chad is a super nice guy. This is him at a powerlifting competition. I've been joshing around with him for years, usually when I see him at family gatherings and parties. I say stuff like, "Hey Chad! Great to see you! I notice your neck didn't make it this year, because you don't have one, but maybe next year? Super!" And then we hug.

I'm told that the "total lifted is 2nd in the world in his weight class and 8th in the world for all weight classes in 2010".

He squatted 800 lbs, benched 463 lbs, and deadlifted 700 lbs.

14 December 2010

His name was Miles

The guy in this picture was killed by another motorcyclist on Sunday, 12 December 2010. He was 24.

A 60 year old off-duty LAPD officer was speeding on his motorcycle and veered into oncoming traffic on Sunday. He managed to crash into two motorcycles, seriously injuring the rider of the first, killing the rider of the second. The second bike was carrying a passenger, who was seriously injured.

The rider of the speeding bike that caused the crash was killed.

If you're keeping score, that's two people in the hospital and one dead person caused by a speeding off-duty cop.

Since cops don't give tickets to other cops, it's not a great surprise to me that he was speeding. If I could be assured of not getting a ticket I would speed too. Though I hope I wouldn't veer into oncoming traffic and take one life while I mangled two others. I hope.

There's been a lot of hot air blown around about how the deceased is 'in a better place'. He's not in a better place; he's fucking dead. Not to mention: what about the people broken into pieces? Are they in a better place? I think not.

Why does this bother me so much? Because I used to ride this road once a week, and still ride it now and again. I was planning on taking a friend for a ride there so we could cruise 2-up, probably on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Sort of like this past Sunday.

13 December 2010

Chicken Strips, not from popeye's, and also xmas is just around the corner

Greetings from mostly-sunny southern CA. I got this fresh photo of ze motorbike from my friend Graham, who took it at the bottom of the hill while we prepped to make our way back over. He also had very nearly killed himself about 3 minutes before, so we're talking about that while he takes this picture.

Not sure if this image thing will work, because Flickr is a fickle bitch.

I think that's a Yamaha R1 on the far left, my bike in orange in the foreground, and a ZX-6R on the right (barely visible).

This photo is a couple weeks old. I have another, more recent photo taken from the same spot with some slightly different bikes. So I'll share that when I get a chance. Fun!

10 December 2010

Post 989: the entire reason for this blog is captured in this one post

We're coming up on some milestone-type numbers for the blogspace, and I am planning a nice retrospective. Look forward to that.

In the interim, this video pretty well sums up what we're all about over here.

Video comes courtesy mrericsr, who also gives us this gem:


Residents of San Francisco will find it particularly insightful.

09 December 2010

enduro motorcycling vs. downhill mountain biking

This is pretty close.
The coolest thing about the video is that both riders are absolutely flying, though not through the same sections. The cyclist tears through the technical sections where the heavier motorcycle gets a bit bogged down. When terrain opens up the moto has a huge advantage. For those that care about these kinds of things, the KTM enduro is just about the best dirtbike money can buy. The desert rats might argue that the CRF or YZ is better, but the KTM is much, much more reliable. Also: orange and black are cool.


Time.com makes a list so I don't have to

Time.com made a list of top tens. It's a good time waster if you don't want to read one of my 1000 word blog posts. Har.


08 December 2010

If I were making it up you wouldn't believe me: The breaks desk at BofA Securities in 1998

I have had some interesting work experiences. My first job was perhaps noteworthy for it's pronounced lack of weirdos. My second job at BofA Securities was so chock full of them that if I made up the characters and put them on television no one would believe that they were real.

I worked the breaks desk, first on the NASDAQ and then on the 'big board', or NYSE. A trade 'breaks' if both sides don't recognize the same price and quantity for the transaction. One side has to recognize (or 'know', in the parlance) buying, say, 5000 shares at $10, and the other side has to 'know' selling 5000 shares at $10. If both sides don't agree, the trade 'breaks', and it would land on my desk. Conversations would typically look like the trader on the NYSE floor saying, "I know this trade at such and such a quantity, and such and such a price", and then you would take the break out to the dipshit from Columbia that got his high-profile job because he was on the Columbia football team and explain how he screwed up. Fun. I shared the responsibility with 5 other guys, so there was ample opportunity for back and forth in between delivering bad news.

My job working for the breaks desk at 'Banc' of America Securities in the late 90's (in the Transamerica Pyramid office) included the following real people:

The Overweight Lover - A morbidly obese, effeminate gay man who did the balance sheets, and made shamelessly inappropriate comments to the 'boys' in the office whenever he noticed something particularly sassy about our outfits, such as "Love your suspenders! I loooove a shirtless man in suspenders! Do you wear them without a shirt? hehehehehe". I'm not sure if he got a kick out of it, or if he did it because it made us feel awkward, or both. Probably both. He was definitely good enough at his job that no one fucked with him. He wore a short-sleeved shirt to work every day because it was 'hot' in the office. He literally sweated over the figures. Ties were required, but he was over it so he kept a clip-on in his drawer; whenever someone asked where his tie was he would grab it out of his drawer, wave it at his jowls, and giggle. They generally only did this once.

Cheryl the New York Jew - A woman with a mouth so foul that it surprised even me, and I'm not shy about the f-word. Despite living in San Francisco for the better part of 20 years, her New York accent was as heavy as ever. To be fair, she did spend a lot of time talking to her friends and family 'back home' after she came in super early and finished doing my work and the work of 3 other people. The trading floor guys didn't want to work with her, maybe because they got tired of hearing her tell them they were stupid. Every day at 3 AM we would 'go through the breaks with Cheryl' and she would tell you what 'your fuckin' prawblehms ah'. Other important things I remember about Cheryl: she was very good at her job, and she smelled like perfume, coffee and cigarettes. On reflection, perhaps 'smelled' is too mild a word. Reeked of perfume, coffee, and cigarettes, then.

She gave us numerous expressions that live on to this day, not least of which is "take no answer", which is shorthand for "I have no answer to give you right now, and I don't want to talk to you, and I don't have time to explain all of this to you, so go away, right now, and don't bother me again until I'm ready". Cheryl liked to talk REALLY FUCKING LOUD so hers always sounded like 'TAKE NO ANSAH.' When Cheryl told you to TAKE NO ANSAH you literally took it, and took it nice.

George the Pilipino Playa - George favored garishly colored suits and ties, with matching ankle-length boots. It was not uncommon for him to rock a purple coat, green pants, and purple shoe-boots, with some kind of white or yellow shirt/tie combo to pull it all together. Believe me when I tell you that it was awesome beyond my powers of description. The boots alone required a level of sartorial commitment you find only in the colorblind, insane, or brilliant. Also, he had a heavy philipino accent, which led to some occasional confusion when asked me questions about audio/video equipment, such as:
"what ees dis ting, dis subwopper?"
Me: The shit what?
George: "What do you do dis ting, dis subwopper? Eet goes wit dee speakers??"
Me: the subWOOFer?
George: "Yeasss, dat's de one! Dee subwopper!"  [cue hilarity]

Or if he had questions about the web:
'heyyyy, how do you surp de web?'
me: The whatnow?
George: 'de web, how do you surp de web?
me: 'surf the web? like, the internet?
George: "yes! dat's de one! surp de web!"

Bit players:
Billy D. - The boss. He wasn't much of a character, and we all made fun of him for his pastel suits and wingtips left over from the go-go 80's, and also for his dead-end job. (Of course we were all moving on to Bigger Things.) In retrospect, we were right to make fun of him for his pastel suits (teal? seriously Billy?), wrong to mock him for his career. Live and learn.

Roland the Weed-Dealing Temp - I know it's cliche, but seriously, I can't make this stuff up. Since he was a temp worker he would come in and work part time. And by that I mean he would plan his weekends and make the interns do his work while he 'surped de web' and did his homework.

Bonus detail:

Coffee was provided, but for people who didn't care for caffeine there was also Sudafed in quantities sufficient to start your own meth lab. I suppose that some people had sinus congestion, but most took it to stay awake and alert in the wee hours of the morning. Nothing more calming than sudafed and large amounts of money moving around.

Get your read on

New list of 'best books of 2010' available, this time from Slate.
I don't think I read a single one, which is unusual. I remember picking up a few during the occasional book browse, but couldn't find anything I wanted to pay for. I know I can get them for free at the library if I wait, but it takes sooo loooong. I'm told that buying used on Amazon is the way to go. I guess I'll try that next.

Been feeling a touch under the weather the past couple days. Apparently the body doesn't appreciate it when you a) don't sleep, b) don't eat, and c) imbibe. Weird. 

Did you know that Hershey's kisses aren't really chocolate, but wax with a very small amount of chocolate flavor? That might explain this commentary

Was all set to post a picture and related commentary but the picture embed thing is acting up, so I can't. I would troubleshoot firefox and the blogger but I'm over it and you are too. Upside: I've got pictures to use in future posts! Hooray!

06 December 2010

Life Lessons: "my room smells like beer and regret"

Not pictured: my dignity (I didn't bring it with me)
I'm in detox for a couple weeks. Need to give my liver and bank account an opportunity to recover from the beatdown supreme they got this weekend.

You learn all kinds of things when you binge-drink. For example, if you can't remember what day it is, you probably shouldn't use the telephone for calls or texts. Or email. Or anything. Take my word for it.

Spent Sunday at the Corona del Mar "Christmas Walk", which is really just an excuse for die-hards like my roommate to mix in a few beers on a Sunday. It should be more accurately titled "holiday booze up and stand around". Credit my roommate (pictured) for getting us there in time to commandeer a table in the 'beer garden'. Again, this is a case of misrepresentation, since they weren't growing beers there, they were growing hangovers. 

I'm surprised they let us in since we didn't have a labradoodle and/or $800 baby carriage for our progeny. It ended up being a good time, even with inclement weather. I was impressed with the turnout.

Blog post title comes from a text message I sent out after waking up Sunday morning (pre 'christmas walk'). It's a poor imitation of the original from last nights text "(my room smells like vodka and shame"), but you don't care.

03 December 2010

Worthy of it's own post: Chart pr0n!

This from friend Ze Smitty, who, in addition to being annoyingly smart is also super nice. And well-traveled. (He's a hard person to like sometimes.) Anyway, he forwards this fantastic website:


There is so much good here I can hardly stand it. The world bank data visualizer was a particular favorite (recommended by Ze Smitty), but I also liked the F1 info.

It's easy to watch the world bank data and figure out that you don't want to be in Africa, ever. It's not trending positively, so to speak.

I don't know, is it?

 Ahhh, this never gets old:


Rode the bike to work today. Hells yeah. I sometimes wonder if it would be more comfortable to commute on a bike that wasn't built for a racetrack. But not often.

Image courtesy someecards, who didn't give me permission, so get on over there, sign up, and start sending some funny cards. I already made my contribution. It's not award winning or anything but one of my friends some stranger was nice enough to give it a 5-star rating. I think it's more a 4-star card, but that's me.

02 December 2010

what. the. f.



Yes it is possible to buy the opportunity to host a world cup, even if you have no soccer history, no stadiums capable of hosting the event, your country summer temperatures soar well past 110 degrees, and your country represents a security risk to any visitors that aren't muslim (read: most of them). In a legitimate contest, how does Qatar win out over the United States? It doesn't. The US didn't pay the voting countries enough money. I wouldn't mind FIFA's crookedness if they didn't pretend that it was legit. Ugh.

Qatar. Seriously. Qatar.

01 December 2010

Cookie recipe feedback

In response to queries from our readership: Yes, I read AND bake. And no, I'm not gay. :)

Why did I choose a thumping trance anthem to accompany this post? Because I listen to music when I'm baking. And I've been load-testing the speakers to this jam for a couple weeks now. Boom!

Friend Sonz was asking for a winning cookie recipe, which prompted this exchange:

hrmm... my best cookie recipe isn't anything unique - it's the same as the toll house recipe with minor modification and specific techniques. it makes the best chocolate chip cookies that I'm aware of, but i don't know if they will win a cookie contest. what constitutes a contest-winning cookie? for example, my choc chip cookies are the best, but many people prefer peanut butter, or snickerdoodle (??). if someone tells me they love snickerdoodle cookies i don't even offer to share my cookies; they're not worthy. So it depends on what you want. I do think that the fake niemann marcus cookie recipe is quite good, even if the origin is a myth.

my mom has a recipe for chocolate sugar cookies with mint frosting that is super good, but they take FOREVER to make because you have to roll them out, cut them, bake them, let them cool, and then frost them individually. if you're really committed you make 2 or 3 different colors of frosting (red, green, white) and decorate them. lordy it's a hassle. each cookie ends up a work of art. If you're super committed then I will send you that one. You'll need a full complement of kitchen stuff though: roller, cookie cutters, frosting bag and frosting tips, and a LOT of spare time. you'll want to make a double batch, then bring only the top 12 or 18 cookies to the contest. when flavor is roughly equal, then effort will matter.

here then is the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookies of Legend, lifted straight from a previous blog post, because I'm like that:
recipe for cookies of awesome is based on classic toll house semi-sweet choc. chip recipe. what follows is that recipe, w/ small additions. Note that the changes aren't for everyone. some people prefer a crispy, dry, flat cookie. the standard recipe will work fine for those idiots. for more discriminating palates, and moist, fluffy cookies, use the recipe below.

Buy semi-sweet nestle chips in yellow bag. I like buying the big bag so I can throw in a few extra choc chips when I'm making the cookies, but it's not a requirement. do not add nuts.

* = special steps i figured out through accident and error. they are what separates my cookies from the pretenders.

2 1/4 cups + 1 Tblspn all purpose flour
1 tspn salt
1 tspn baking soda
Pinch of baking powder*

3/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar (light brown is fine too)
2 sticks butter (margarine is acceptable but I prefer butter)
1 tspn vanilla
2 eggs
2ish cups semi-sweet chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Put flour/salt/b soda/b powder in small bowl. Set aside.

Beat margarine, sugars and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. A stand mixer works best, an electric hand mixer will do. (Mixing by hand alone won't cut it.)
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. when well mixed...
gradually beat in flour mix. I do it in three parts, works great.
Mix in choc chips. throw a few extra in if you're feeling zany.

cool dough for 8-10 minutes in fridge before you bake put dough to pan. also, cool dough again between batches.*

put cookies on sheet. I use two regular teaspoons (the small ones in your silverware drawer) because I have years of practice and I'm the shit, but some people use a mini ice cream scoop. whatever.

bake 9-11 minutes. be careful not to overcook.

to cool, place on cut up cardboard box laid flat on countertop, or on a paper bag (like the kind you get from the grocery) cut open and laid flat on countertop.* store when they reach room temp.

And when you least expect it: Jeff Goldblum

Killing hipsters: It might not sound like fun, but after spending last Saturday in Long Beach I can relate.

If everyone is wearing the same ugly clothes and ugly 'ironic' beards it isn't ironic any more, it's conformist.