Searching the Haight for Signs of Life

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Chicken Romano Approximately

Chicken romano is as follows.

Filet and pound some chicken breasts

Romano batter is say half a dozen eggs, a bunch of parsley, a dash of garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and as much romano cheese as you can afford.

Heat up vegetable oil in a skillet. Turn oven to 450.

Dip chicken breasts in flour and then batter. Fry until golden brown.

Move chicken pieces to oven dish.

Put chopped mushrooms on top.

Spray lemon juice in there, a lemon or two depending.

Pout white wine in (Chablis or sauvignon blanc or anything)

Put in some butter

A dash of water

Cover and bake for a while, maybe 15 minutes. As long as it's sealed, you can overcook and it will still be good.

Five Magic Shots: A Beginner's Strategy for Wii Tennis

UPDATE: I don't blog here anymore. My new project is TrailBehind - a website for hikers and campers. I made a new blog on my site too.

These five shots will serve you well.

Magic Shot #1 - Smashing the Slow Serve (Forehand)
If your opponent dares to loop one over the net to your forhand, swing a bit early with little to no wrist action. If you can do this well-timed with a quick swing, it is a usually unreturnable Agassi-like chop across the forecourt.

Magic Shot #2 - Backhand Return
I find the best way to hit back any serve to my backhand is to return the ball with a quick top-spin flick of my wrist, as quick as I can swing and flick, timed a bit early to send it right. This works equally well against slow and fast serves.

Magic Shot #3 - Backhand Follow-Up
If they manage to return a Magic Shot #2, the ball is almost always hit squarely at your net man, since it's hard for them to get around on the ball. You can usually hit it right down the middle or left to take the point.

Magic Shot #4 - Quashing the Looper
If your opponent tries Magic Short #2 and hits it to early, it will almost always go in range of your net man, and you can similarly put the ball away.

Magic Shot #5 - The Fast Serve
Hit the ball at the top of the arc. You have to wait about a second after you toss before you come down fast and with as much topspin curve as your wrist can muster.

If you play a lot of tennis, or even have just read Infinite Jest, you probably understand the analogy that tennis is like "chess on the run." This analogy to chess is even more poignant in Wii Tennis, because the framework for moving around is pretty much constant. The game is an equal balance of tactical skill and strategic skill, and this makes it my favorite of the Wii sports games.

Learn the various shots and curves and think about how the come together to form a complete game.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Lumberghs

I set up a MySpace bandpage for the band.

If you read this blog, you have probably already heard the two songs I have posted, but I'll let you know if I put up anything else.

The Lumberghs

Monday, November 27, 2006

Missing You on Thanksgiving

It's the first year in a while that I haven't been home to see my family for Thanksgiving, and a few brief phone calls are no substitute for being in the same house. I miss my family, who are usually smart, funny, caring, and kind.

The last Thanksgiving I wasn't at home in Houston was freshman year at college, living in Donner Dungeon. It was me, the international students, and Chewie hanging out for the weekend, buying what junk food we could at the cornerstore, and wiling away the minutes, hours, nights, and weekend with computer games and other laudably innocent pursuits.

I miss Chewie, Jason from my street, my buddies Matt and David, Dain, Bowen, Krepsik, Turian, and all the other people of my childhood and college. Though they have been scattered to the wind, they can never leave my heart and mind.

I miss the girls who I have known and loved and lived with, who taught me a lot about myself and hopefully felt they got something from me as well. A pretty remarkable group if I do say so myself.

I miss my Pittsburgh friends, Eric and Brad and Becca and Sean and the rest, who I'm glad I still have the chance to see, people who I've had enough beers with that they pretty much know who I am, and like me just the same.

Some of these people I'll see again once or twice. Some I'll never see again. But if there's nothing else to be thankful for on this greatest of American holidays, it's the people I've known and the people I know today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Immortality on the Way... Scientists Still Working on Flying Cars

Futurists often overestimate the impact of technology. We know from empirical macroeconomic measurements that technology has a fairly linear impact on business cycles over time, at least if I remember Kydland's class well enough.

But this InformationWeek article (Kurzweil: Computers Will Enable People To Live Forever) is nonetheless inspiring, and maybe Dr. Kydland underestimated the possibility of an exponential increase in productivity through computing. If you believe Ray Kurzweil, MIT professor and recipient of the National Medal of Technology and the Lemelson-MIT prize (from the article, paraphrasing a speech at SCO-06):

—Doctors will be doing a backup of our memories by the late 2030s;

—By the late 2020s, doctors will be sending intelligent bots, or nanobots, into our bloodstreams to keep us healthy, and into our brains to keep us young;

—In 15 years, human longevity will be greatly extended. By the 2020s, we'll be adding a year of longevity or more for every year that passes;

—In the same timeframe, we'll routinely be in virtual reality environments. Instead of making a cell call, we could "meet" someone in a virtual world and take a walk on a virtual beach and chat. Business meetings and conference calls will be held in calming or inspiring virtual locations;

But still no flying cars.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ding Dong!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Photo Sensate

My dad takes a lot of good pictures, evidenced by the number of people who select them as favorites on Flickr. Obvious themes: animals, children, landscapes, women in bikinis :)

But that's a fucntion of what people like to see pictures of, since this is a favorites collection:

Top 9 Blogs for Entrepreneurial Software Nerds

Of course, there's no accounting for taste. What do you and your friends read?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Good Press Releases

Corporate America and the PR army that serves it would do well to pay attention to the politicos for advice on how to write a good press release. Where corporate press releases are often confusing double-speak, full of branding and jargon, political PR can be refreshingly to the point, probably because it MUST appeal to the masses.

Case in point, Chris Dodd's release promoting a bill to chastise Bush and restore human rights to terrorists is simply worded and even includes bullet points to give you the really meaningful insight. Good job Chris Dodd's PR guy! I have a job for you!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is it the ads or the product?

An advertising agency is a lot like a venture capital firm, a different cost structure, but still focused on finding winners. I think that’s part of the success of the agency I used to work at, the ability to choose clients who are growing and selling. As much as good advertising makes a product look good, a good product makes advertising look good (and profitable).

BAA USA, a client from my last job, is the branch of the British Airport Authority that designs and manages retail in airports such as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Boston. They focus on providing, at worst, “regular mall pricing” in airports and giving you the same sort of selection you get at the mall as well.

Paying $3.05 for a bag of M&M’s, $2.9 for a bottle of water, and $6.25 for a glass of wine tells me that the concessionaire at the Oakland (OAK) airport has a different, and probably inferior, idea about how to run airport concessions. The idiots in charge of this circus don’t even have an Apple outlet in the whole complex, despite being a few miles from Cupertino and being a portal to a city (SF) that plasters iPod ads all over, particularly on freeways leading to the Oakland Airport.

It’s not even greed, just stupidity that makes the Oakland airport host crappy food, generic retail, and an experience worth forgetting. You can only gouge people so long before they start packing their own M&Ms and cutting the concessionaire out completely.


I don't work in a cubicle, but nonetheless I can feel the dull dreariness set in sometimes. This blog post relates the oppressiveness of American working life very well. Sounds like the guy had a rough night.

Monday, November 13, 2006

10 Rules for PR Success

Prompted by Seth Godin's post on the Zune player, here's the lessons I learned talking technology to a bunch of careworn reporters as part of my gig at a boutique ad agency.

I've been thinking a lot about what I learned from agency life, as I start to think about PR for my new venture. These are more along the lines of how to build relationships. I'll save what a good "press release" looks like for another post, but this company has the best in the business.

10 Rules for PR Success

1. Don't expect to get a story placed unless the reporter knows your first name. Better yet, knows your favorite football team, your birthday, and likes to catch lunch with you when they're in town.

2. If you have news about your company, call the media early. These people work long hours, run around, and in general have a lot of people trying to talk to them. Weeks, months early. Tell them as soon as you know... they like news.

3. Do you answer spam? Neither do they. A good PR operative can call 4 reporters and place 2 stories. A bad PR operative will email 100, place 1 story, and alienate the other 99 who didn't need a pinch story for a deadline or have some online text dump. Build up an opt-in RSS subscription to your company's blog or get personal permission from a reporter to send them links and two sentence announcements upon occasion via email. A good PR operative will eventually begin to pull incoming phone calls, inquiries, and traffic to the company's press site, rather than just pushing out information.

3. Be a resource, not a pest. Schedule interviews effectively and quickly, call reporters back quickly, and don't BS them. It helps to be a little deferential, because they (the media) are "noble," and you (the corporate sell-out) are "well-paid."

4. Think about what they care about... stuff in their domain expertise/beat, elements of a good story, credible sources, and a pitch that shows you care at least a little bit about technology and in particular your company's technology or whatever you are selling.

5. Give reporters insight into your company's vision and strategy. Lay out your product roadmap as much as you can. Make them think you know something. Get them interested.

6. Don't tell the media about: Your Company's Mundane Hires, Your Company's Sales Figures, Your Company's Crappy Deals, Your Company's Awards in Trade Rags

7. Do tell the media about: Your Company's Incorporation, Your Company's Deals With Fortune 500 Companies With Case Study And Interview Back-Up, Your Company's New Products, Your Technical Staff's Research and Event Attendance (to the appropriate outlets)

7. Your media list is treasure to be polished and expanded and cherished. Look in Bacon's, competitor news clippings, Google, etc. Keep a copy somewhere for a rainy day.

8. Local media is your friend. They like local stories and they like local success. Front page business stories in the local leading daily look good in a clip book and on a resume.

9. You must give exclusives to get your company into national media. The exclusive is your friend, and once it breaks, it ceases to be exclusive.

10. Everyone is a publicist. The internet gives most anyone enough information to make a go a PR. If no one at your company is calling the media, then you should probably start tomorrow.

Boom in Code Quality?

Compare and contrast the static nature of these two Web pages and the CS professors who have made them happen in preparation for the commercialization of their research.

Hopefully we can get our Website up before they do! Either way, Java is way cooler than Haskell :)

Feel the bubble swell below you! Invest now!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Lumbergs?

The Lumbergs is what my new California friend suggest for the band name, and the band is starting to seem more band-like now that Kevin purchased a cherry red Ibanez bass today.

He based the purchase on my patented strategy for buying your first guitar, which is to buy the second-to-cheapest one, because there's a reason the cheap one is the cheapest.

Kevin is going to be a good addition to the band. He is sort of anal about things, like calculating deep tactics in go and chess, where I am more prone to play sloppy and count on my strategy to get me through. He is also already encouraging us to "rock" more than I tend to do, as I prefer a more poppy, folksy sound. But if we are going to have gigs at dives in the Haight, he's right. We gotta rock.

Look for the Lumbergs in concert next summer.

Anyone got a drum kit?


I'm sitting here with the back door open. Sunshine is pouring through the door's portal, and flies are chasing each other merrily just outside. I'm sure that they will eventually start to invade, drawn by the hardening lasagna pan and glasses with droplets of sticky wine clinging from the night before. I don't mind their buzz very much, especially in exchange for the warming glow of the sun, the humming of the humming birds, and the chirps of other avians.

San Francisco has funny weather. It could be warm all morning and then drop of in the afternoon. Or it could be foggy all day only to burn off to create a pleasant 4pm. Or it could be cold and foggy one day and warm and beautiful the next. Thankfully, it seems to be more of the latter so far.

Maura Amidst The Wreckage of Someone Else's Evening

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Always wondering, always learning. Watching, thinking, asking. That's the way to be. Eternally curious. Analytical. Different-angle approaching. Finding insight into one aspect of life from another. Skeptical and hopeful. Inquisitive and searching, never satisfied.

There's truth in music and conversation, the Internet and wine. Things to be learned from games, from living, from failing, and from succeeding. From the people you respect the most and the people you like the least. Learn to understand, learn to love, and learn to learn. We live to learn and to teach what we have found. And as each iteration passes, we leave something behind to be built upon and a future so bright we cannot even imagine it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Kevin on Secret Mission to Korea

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Jamie Lidell

Jamie Lidell was not at all what I expected. But then again, I really didn't know much of what to expect, since I didn't even really read the snippet of text on the guy that Cass sent me before I agreed to go on Thursday.

He was supposed to be a soul singer, which he is, but he's also this incredible beat-boxing DJ, and from my bopping vantage point at the front of the stage at Bimbo's, it was a hell of a show. If you only heard him sing, you'd think he was some 70s black dude with a fro, but he's actually a scrawny white kid.

The only points of the show I didn't enjoy were when Jamie Lidell turned up the bass so high that the wax in my ears started vaporizing and my sternum began to shake its way out of my skin. Other than those moments, I was jumping and dancing and wowed by his incredible voice, vocal tricks, and mastery of the beat.

Check out Jamie Lidell's release Multiply.

p.s. The venue was really cool too, Cass, really :)

TransAmerica Building

Here is a picture, courtesy of Russell and his camera phone.