Category Archives: ramblings

Apparently I'm Running For The San Francisco School Board.


Dennis Yang School Board

No. I’m not really running for the school board. But this Dennis Yang is. And, the other day, I was at a meetup at Udemy, where the *other* Dennis Yang, who works in Technology in San Francisco is the CEO.

I should drop him an email and get coffee or something. And while we’re at it, we should get this school board Dennis to join us. And then we can have a big party. And, if they’re nice, maybe I can give them some email addresses.

my life.. in music.. thus far.

So, someone recently asked me to recount my life.. musically.. It was an interesting task, and a fun one at that, so I looked back… and put together a little mix that represented my musical tastes thus far…

I’m trying something new.. a YouTube playlist of these songs — I’m actually quite impressed that YouTube has ALL of these songs. Wow.

(80s Phase)
Ok.. so I dont actually have any tracks in my iTunes from this phase — it was the 80s, and all of my music is either on LP or Cassette tape, and therefore, not in my iTunes… Anyway.. it WAS the 80s when I was listening to this stuff, so it wasn’t called “80s music” back then.. Back then, it was just “pop” and I remember listening to a lot of it on 107.9, aka POWER 108.

Thriller – Michael Jackson
Let’s Hear It For The Boy – Deniece Williams
Straight Up – Paula Abdul
Piano Man – Billy Joel (my first live concert)

(Classic Rock Phase)
So, In high school, I was big into classic rock.. You know, Zeppelin, Clapton, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles. I listened mostly to 100.7 WMMS (aka the buzzard with the wig). Then, I got my first CD player, a Sony Discman D-4, by saving up for like 13 years, I think. My First CDs were.. Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound of Thunder and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
A Day In The Life – Beatles

(Folky/Classical Phase)
I was a huge fan of Northern Exposure, and this track was in the last episode of that show:

Our Town – Iris Dement

All throughout my childhood, I played violin, so yah, I had an appreciation for classical music.. My favorite classical track of all time is:

The Moldau – Smetana

(Ska Phase)
I’m not sure how I found ska in college, but I did. All throughout college, I pretty much listened to like 80% ska music. I did the whole deal, I had the flight jacket, a porkpie hat, oxblood doc martens, and skanked. Ya, I even had a Vespa (and still do).

007 (Shanty Town) – Desmond Dekker
Message To You Rudy – The Specials
He Wants Me Back – Dance Hall Crashers
Tell You Why – Pietasters
Come Back Baby – The Slackers

(Punk Phase)
The ska thing kind of developed into a punk fascination — I mean, OpIV is ska-punk, so it seemed like a natural evolution.

Sound System – Operation Ivy
Life Size Mirror – No Use For A Name

(Japanese Phase)
I had a brief fascination with Japanese music. Yah.

Baby Love Child – Pizzicato Five
Sugar Water – Cibo Matto

(Electronica Phase)
And then.. I moved to San Francisco. And in SF, electronica kind of found me. I probably spent like 6 months listening ONLY to trance, and on this one trip up to Tahoe, I ONLY had trance CDs in my car.. about 2 hours into the drive, I was so desperate for ANYTHING NON-TRANCE that I almost tore my ears out until I (thankfully) found a cassette tape from high school (classic rock) that I listened to for the rest of the weekend. I have a theory that you can only listen to so much trance in your lifetime, after which you’re just, like, done with it. So yah, even though I remember really, really liking this PVD track. Now, I can’t even be bothered to sit through it. Ugh.

Out There & Back – Paul van Dyk

So, from trance, I moved on to breaks, which I think is a natural progression. I probably spent the most time DJ’ing breaks, and my vinyl collection is primarly breaks. That said, for some reason, I don’t really like listening to breaks on my iPod. Maybe that’s cuz I don’t really like listening to breaks — I prefer dancing to it.

Collect – Emit

(Folky Phase.. Reprise)
I think as a backlash to my years of electronic/trance-ness, I rekindled my interest in folky stuff. These two tracks are my favorites:

The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
Lonestar – Norah Jones

(Hip Hop, Turntabilist Phase)
For like a brief time, I really wanted to be a good scratch DJ/Turntablist, and it was during that time that I found a lot of hip hop that was pretty rad.

From 93 till Infinity – Souls of Mischief
Ghostwriter – RJD2
Point to B – Prefuse 73
Swing Set – Jurassic 5

(Indie Electronic Phase)
I think the pendulum swung back kind of crooked — and since everything merges anyway, I found myself in indie-land, with a bit of an electronic influence.

Hide & Seek – Imogen Heap
Needy Girl – Chromeo

(I LOVE Xmas music)
So, for the past 6 years, I’ve compiled a CD of Christmas music. I heart christmas music, and this is my favorite holiday tune:

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Elf Soundtrack

(Indie Phase)
Ok.. and now we’re kind of in my latest phase, which is just the “Indie Phase” — that said, “Indie” is kind of a wide spectrum of things, and pretty much, for the past few years, I’ve been putting together mixtapes like every quarter. So, here’s just a sampling from those mixtapes of tracks that I find to have a particularly high level of awesomeness.

First Breath After Coma – Explosions In The Sky
To Be Loved – Joan As Police Woman
Falcon Jab – Ratatat
Blood Bank – Bon Iver
Lisztomania – Phoenix
Comets – Fanfarlo

And.. that’s it, I think.. 34 biographically representative songs from my 34 years..

things i learned at traffic school.

Ok, so I got a ridiculous red light ticket in San Mateo (red light cameras are actually one of the topics that we frequently cover at Techdirt, ironically), and as a result, I had to pay a crazy ridiculous fine AND take traffic school to get the point off my license. I haven’t had a traffic violation (knock on wood) since 1997, so this kinda pissed me off to ruin over a decade of good driving.

Anyway, I just finished traffic school, and I thought I’d share with everyone an example of the quality things that I learned today that will SURELY make me a better driver.

Which of the following is an unlikely alternative to driving?

  • flying a hanglider
  • riding a bike
  • carpooling
  • walking
  • Driving steadily can improve your gas mileage by as much as ___ miles per gallon.

  • 1.3
  • 1.5
  • 1.7
  • 1.9
  • It is your responsibility to ______ and protect the environment you enjoy.

  • destroy
  • tread lightly
  • repair
  • use
  • Uh yah.. awesome. Well, I sure do feel like a better driver now, don’t you?

    i had the 8th most memorable election tweet

    CNET called out my obama puppy tweet as the 8th most memorable election tweet.  Sweeeet!!!

    As for the rest of the election, maybe I’ll find some time to write some more about this, but in general, I’m really looking forward to some good changes enacted by the Obama administration, (despite Picked Nits’ fears — interesting counterpoint reading, if you’re into it, btw…).  I’m befuddled by the whole Yes on 8 thing passing, it’s just sad.  I’m happy that the train proposition is looking like it’ll pass… and I’m annoyed that L didn’t pass.  Grr.  I’m really tired of walking around piss and poop in this city, and if something like L worked in NYC, then maybe it would work here too.  Luckily, the funding has already been approved, so hopefully we’ll get to see if it works.

    bailey voted too

    … is a double edged sword.

    So, I was emailing back and forth with my friend Dan this morning, an efficiency expert.. A long-standing debate between us has been whether or not IM increases or decreases one’s work efficiency.

    Anyway… of course, as per most conversations that involve me, our discussion digressed.

    On Sep 17, 2008, at 9:39 AM, Dennis Yang wrote:

    see? this is why IM is better than email.

    On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 9:45 AM, Dan wrote:

    ah yes…. but like a sword, IM has two edges. as long as you’re using the right edge, you’re okay.

    On Sep 17, 2008, at 9:47 AM, Dennis Yang wrote:

    i dislike that metaphor. who says that there’s a “wrong side” of a double edged sword anyway? i mean, last i checked, a double edged sword affords the wielder *more* cutting power, both in a thrust and a backhanded swashbuckle. i don’t think that having a sharpened opposing edge of a sword really increases the danger to its wielder appreciably. sword wielding skill is still paramount, and if you’re hitting yourself in the head with a single edged sword, it’s really your fault, and not the sword’s.

    On Wed, Sep 17, 2008 at 9:54 AM, Dan wrote:

    Touché! (So to speak.)

    shirt shift

    good stuff from james, jablow, korby, hersh, paul and chazzy.

    shirt shift
    (wait for the image to fully load, since it’s animated… or click here to view the full size version)

    apparently someone was wet or sweaty or something, so the shirts all ended up slightly damp.


    tivo's emergency broadcast message

    So, last night we were watching a recorded program (So You Think You Can Dance FTW!) on my Tivo when suddenly, an emergency broadcast message comes on… I go to fast forward through it, but the Tivo gives me the “BONG” noise..

    WTF? Why can’t I fast forward through this emergency broadcast message… I mean, this isn’t even timely anymore, since this was recorded like an hour before…

    Or.. wait.. Could it be? The Tivo is actually playing a *realtime* emergency broadcast message whilst I’m watching a time-shifted program?

    And indeed, it was… apparently, even if you’re watching a recorded program, when there’s an emergency broadcast message, Tivo will interrupt your watching… It automatically pauses the program that you’re watching and shows you the emergency broadcast message.

    Pretty cool.. The only thing that I’d suggest to Tivo would be to somehow let us know that it was indeed doing so..

    Maybe something like an announcement a la “We interrupt this recorded program… this is not a test….”

    i hate you firefox password rememberer

    My computer is really pissing me off this week. Maybe it’s because I’ve been burning the midnight oil on a super awesome new project for work, but I feel like all things computer-y are annoying me. My brand new laptop is being bitch, even after “upgrading” from Vista to XP (which, by the way, is NOT a trivial operation). And, to top it off, my wifi card is dying and ThinkPad support is NOT being my friend on that. Dammit, I should have just gotten the MacBook when I had the chance, I’m being punished for being PC guy. Not that I want to be Justin Long… I mean seriously? Those are the choices we have? PC Guy or Justin Long? Hmm. I digress.

    Firefox is on my poo-list for today. Why? Well, first, for some reason, today it was being an poohole and crashing all the time, and had to be fixed with the Flashblock extension. The web kind of is the suck without flash, imho. I like all of the little distracting little things that decorate the web all over the place. Although, it’s scary to see how many people use Flash for simple things like, um, a header.

    But no, that’s not why I’m pissed off. It’s because of this:


    Yes, it’s the Firefox password rememberer. It’s a fantastic feature, and I really like to not have to remember my passwords, but I think that the UI flow is all wrong. (And, thanks to my Windows XP upgrade, I’ve had to re-train Firefox to re-remember all of my passwords)..

    Anyway, here’s what usually happens when I go to a site now:

    1. I enter my username/password.
    2. Firefox asks if I want to remember that
    3. I say.. Yes! (Thanks Firefox! You’re so nice.)
    4. It’s the wrong password. Crap.

    I mean… shouldn’t it ask if I want to remember the password AFTER I am successfully logged in? C’mon.. that would make a lot more sense. Sheeza.

    Yes, I could just turn it off, but that’s the easy way out.