August 28, 2010

my letter to the Rice development office

I've been a little incommunicado regarding the proposed sale of KTRU to U of H. Here is the letter I wrote to the Rice development office (the office that calls all the alumni begging for money).

Please spread the word, and do what you can to help save one of the few truly independent college radio stations.

November 24, 2008



I have finally cleared my "never played" playlist in iTunes. It won't last long - I am constantly receiving new music from hip-hop artists and ripping old records from my collection - but this is a minor victory. At one point, I think I had 10 or 12 days worth of music to which I had not listened. Technically, it's a bit of a cheat, too - I'm excluding my radio archives and multiple versions of a song (if I get instrumental, clean, and dirty versions, I only listen to one) - but throw me a bone. I win!

October 30, 2008

BandCamp - professionalism

Matthew asked me to give a talk at BandCamp on the 19th at Caroline Collective. I kept my remarks as short as possible in the interest of time, but I'd like to use this space to recap my talk, mention a few more things, and further expound on some of the points that I already made.

My talk was about "professionalism" in the music industry. And by that I don't mean wearing a suit, but rather how to build and maintain relationships and protect your rep. Simply put, don't be a dick. The music industry is called that for a reason - it's a business. And businesses are built on relationships between people. While a lot of people get into music to express themselves, have fun, party, and so on and so forth, if you want to be successful, you have to develop positive relationships with other figures in the industry.

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February 12, 2007

a four hour tour

me, in the mix at Archi-Arts

On Friday I was hired to do a four-hour set at a party (Archi-Arts; thrown by the sophomore Rice architecture students). I had a lot of fun, except that it reminded me why I rarely do private parties - I hate taking requests. I'll try to upload the choicest bits of the set sometime in the coming weeks; I was pretty wildly all over the place musically, but I kind of had to be to appeal to the broadest cross-section of party-goers possible.

November 10, 2006

another photo Schmap'd

shortly before the blown save

Another one of my photos has been included into an electronic travel guide produced by Schmap, but this time it's for Houston. (The last three were from Chicago.) They've chosen a picture I took from the third base side of Minute Maid Park during the 9th inning of a Dodgers-Astros game earlier this year. Just prior to this picture, Kenny Lofton hit a triple off of Brad Lidge, who went on to blow the save.

October 7, 2006

some observations from my recent travels

fog envelops the end of the bridge

I've been traveling a bit lately, and I've made a few observations as a result. First and foremost, Houston is dirt cheap compared to everywhere else. Cali, of course, has high real estate values (and therefore rents), relatively higher food and gas costs, and perhaps most annoyingly, virtually no dollar bins left in any record stores in San Francisco. New Orleans had higher food and drink costs, as might be expected post-Katrina and also for a city where one of the primary industries is tourism.

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September 8, 2005

a dose of normalcy

Tuesday night traditions
Every time I check the news, it infuriates me. I mean, it's pretty plainly obvious that the Bush administration dropped the ball and is now trying to cover up their mistakes, even though their energy _should_ be going towards actually doing something for the people affected by Katrina. Sometimes you just have to step back and breathe deeply (literally or metaphorically) in order to maintain some sanity. For a lot of people, including me, that means falling back on routines. The daily New York Times crossword puzzle goes a long way towards calming me down (even though the rest of the paper regularly drives me crazy) and when I combine it with a pint it makes for the perfect post-radio show tradition. I'm not even going to try to cover all of the Katrina-related news, but I will point you towards some sources of news and (liberal) commentary that I've been checking: * AmericaBlog has been on top of breaking news better than anyone else I've seen. * Oliver Wang a.k.a. O-Dub is actually a music writer, but he's an educated man (Ph.D.) who writes coherently, and has been touching on a lot of the social issues implicit in Katrina's devastation (poverty and race). * The usual suspects: Daily Kos, Political Animal, and Eschaton. * Update: Check out this timeline of events put up over at Talking Points Memo. I was heartened by the way that the media tore into the Bush administration last week, but all signs are pointing toward the media reverting to their natural sycophantic ways and regurgitating Bush administration talking points. We'll see what happens - when all is said and done I expect that Katrina will have an unprecedented body count, ecological damage beyond imagination, and an economic impact that will last for years.

July 12, 2005

Tombol Malik, R.I.P.


A good man and a good friend was murdered last week. I met Tombol several years ago in Chicago. We had some good times, from partying with his brother at the University of Illinois to boiling in the heat at the Rocksteady Anniversary outdoor shows. Unfortunately, we had fallen a bit out of touch over the past year or two, and now I can only regret that I hadn't caught back up with him as I often planned to.

This article describes the tragedy.

His family started this website as a tribute.

Goodbye man. I'll see you some time.


UPDATE: I have closed comments. If you would like to discuss the case, please go here.

May 13, 2005


This yellow rose's trade name is Henry Fonda.
My dad has apparently become quite the gardener all of a sudden. The flower above is a "Henry Fonda" tea rose that my dad planted in his new backyard in Phoenix. That's right, my fam moved to Phoenix. No more small town Illinois for me... He's got a million other flowering plants in the yard, all of which I'm sure will perish in the sweltering Phoenix summertime. I have to admit that late spring in Phoenix is pretty damn nice, though. I think Galesburg and Chicago will always be where my "home" is, though. I am too much a product of small town Midwestern life to ever think otherwise. Other than my skin color, I really grew up as your clichéd all-American kid. Baseball at the end of the street, lemonade on summer days, climbing trees and all that jazz. It's unfortunate that a lot of kids don't get that opportunity anymore - kids are forced to grow up a lot sooner than they used to be. And my hometown is dying - all the major manufacturers are gone now that employer loyalty is gone - it's cheaper to build everything in Brazil, Mexico, or China. I'm happy for the fam, though - small town America is a difficult place to be when you're an immigrant. No matter how well you speak the language, or how successful you are, small town America is a place where culturally immigrants stand out, and by standing out, are also isolated. Which isn't to say that my parents had no friends, but rather, very few. As much as America is touted as a melting pot, inevitably people gravitate towards others with similar experiences and similar mindsets. They have that now in Phoenix; I hope they make good use of it.

February 16, 2005

free at last

Rice University thesis receipt

Freedom from 7+ years of indentured servitude looks like this slip of yellow paper and costs $103, not counting printer fees. Lovely, isn't it?

February 15, 2005

two years

At about 2am tonight, it will have been two years. I am newly reminded because of this link.

October 4, 2004

my kind of town

It was very nice to be back in Chicago. I did not buy a single record, mostly because I had no time and no money, but I intentionally packed only one bag that was _not_ a DJ bag to ensure that I wouldn't have any room to bring them back if I wanted to buy any. I _did_ stop in at Dusty Groove to see their new digs, though. I hadn't been to the new store yet; back when I went to Dusty Groove, it was only open one day a week. Now they're a seven day-a-week music powerhouse. The new space is bigger (slightly) but it actually feels more cramped because they've jammed in a bunch of extra records into the retail space. I'm sure that the storage area for their online operations is much bigger, but they haven't really made the retail area any bigger. I also got to go to Green Zebra, which is a mostly vegetarian restaurant on the border between Wicker Park and River West. The food was fantastic, if a bit on the pricey side. Granted, my brother and I probably eat more than the average person, but we managed to run up quite an expensive bill between the two of us. We each had three courses, which ran from lighter to fuller in flavor, but I would hesitate to place names such as _appetizer_ or _salad_ or _entrée_ on them because they didn't quite break down so neatly.

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August 31, 2004

on New Year's resolutions

So I finally accomplished part of my New Year's resolutions, as mentioned in this post. I successfully defended my thesis on Thursday afternoon, and then promptly went off and got smashingly drunk. I've largely spent the entire weekend slacking off, and intend to continue to do so for the next week or so, but I _am_ thinking ahead to what could be next. Of course, I have some revisions to make on my thesis, but after seven long years, I'm essentially done with graduate school. For those of you who know me, you know that I've mentioned a number of possibilities regarding what to do next, and you also know that I feel that I have a few obligations as well. I definitely have an obligation to the people who listen to my radio show, I have started to be decidedly politically active, and I have a concept for my own company. The short term plan is to stay here in Houston and volunteer for Richard Morrison's campaign against Tom Delay. It will be a good experience to be a foot soldier in a political campaign; I'll get to see how a campaign is run from the very lowest level. And anything I can do to piss off Tom Delay is a good thing. Beyond the election, things are a little hazy. I would like to try to start my own company, but that's a risky road to travel. There are a couple of government jobs that I'm looking into, but I'd like to stay in Houston for a while instead of relocating to D.C. In other news, my site was just hit with a few hundred comment spams. I've deleted them, but until I can find a way to minimize them, I am deactivating comments on this site. If you have anything to say, you're going to have to email me...

May 13, 2004

battle for my parking spot

I'm getting old. Damn. It's been four days since my last soccer game and I'm still sore. Granted, it was the second game in 24 hours, and I ran the center mid for the whole game, but still... In other random news, I'm currently engaging in warfare with the stray cat in the neighborhood. (S)He has taken to pissing near/on my car, with the net result being that I can't turn on the A/C without smelling the foul odor of cat urine coming through the vents. This happened last year, but was an isolated incident. It's now happened three times in the last month. Lucky me. Hopefully it will end when the heat gets worse (like it did last year) but in the interim I've decided to begin waging war. Yesterday I decided to begin psy-ops against the cat - usually I park front end in, but I'm going to start parking rear end in. I have covered parking, and this will open my hood up more to the elements, as well as passing cars in the complex. With any luck this will encourage the cat to move on, or at least minimize the amount of odor in my car. However, I'm also looking at possibly stepping it up a notch with these products. Does anyone have any experience with these? I don't want to hurt the cat, I just want him/her to go away.

May 2, 2004

derby and other things

my dining table, post-party The picture to the left is what I woke up to this morning. The damage in my apartment was surprisingly minimal, all things considered. I've still got some cleaning to do (the floors need to be mopped), but mostly my apartment is pretty clean. More about the party later, though. The last two weeks have been interesting - I've certainly gotten some good stories, anyway. Last Saturday (the 24th of April), some of my friends who came into grad school around my time (one my year, and one each on either side) had a graduation party. Bastards. Just kidding. I'm really glad that they managed to get done. Hopefully I'll be following them soon.

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November 10, 2003

the streak has ended

Or, as an alternative title, "My Dignity for a Fifth of Scotch." I ended my long running streak of having a drink everyday for the last three years last night, as a direct result of overconsumption on Saturday night. I invite friends to fill in the holes in my memory, whether they were present or not. Feel free to fictionalize the events of the evening. Here's what I do remember - Jason bought a fifth of Glenlivet 12. I drank it. The last thing I remember was talking to Dan around the time the two Italian girls left the party.


October 21, 2003

hometown blues

This article from The Onion is set in my hometown. It has nothing to do with my hometown, but it's still odd to see the name of my hometown in a nationally read publication, satire or otherwise.

Man, I need a vacation. But no rest - the data's in, and I'll probably be pulling some nasty all-nighters in the near future to do the analysis and get a manuscript ready as soon as possible.

October 17, 2003

samurai ascension

screen dump after Nethack ascension

This is my third ascension in Nethack. It's getting a little easier. Granted, this time it was with a samurai, which is pretty straightforward hack and slash. It's especially easy if you're two-weapon fighting with +7 Frost Brand in one hand and a +7 long sword in the other. The real key, though, is complete and total paranoia. I find that if you're extremely careful, you're pretty likely to succeed. Get poison resistance as soon as possible, followed by magic resistance, reflection, and an amulet of life saving, and then basically the game is over barring any stupid mistakes.

Oh, the stupid mistakes I've made... my biggest mistakes have been because of moving too fast. Your fingers fall into a routine, and then you do stupid things. Like removing your ring of levitation while you're over a moat. Or picking up a cockatrice corpse when you don't have your gauntlets on. Otherwise, the game itself is pretty straightforward. The challenges now will be to ascend one of each character class - so far I've done the valkyrie, the monk, and the samurai - and then to take on the voluntary challenges (wishless, genocideless, pacifist, atheist, illiterate, etc...)

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October 13, 2003


I finally got my first goal of the season. The ball got passed up to Brad on the right wing, and we drove down fast, in a two on one breakaway. The defender finally decided to go after Brad, and he crossed it in to the middle - a beautiful ball right to the 15. No one on me, so I took a shot. It was ugly - a weak one-touch volley off the shin that the keeper bobbled. Still, it's a goal, and now I'll quit complaining to everyone else about playing up front. In the end, we won 9-5, bringing our record to 3-1.

October 10, 2003

business plans

I just finished two days of seminars about "Technology Entrepreneurship" at the Jones School at Rice. It was organized by Rice Alliance. I learned:

  • I have a lot of thinking to do
  • I'm further along than I thought
  • I have a lot of networking to do
  • I need to find some smart people to surround myself with

I met some interesting people, and gained some insights into the whole start-up / venture capital world. While I'm not anywhere close to needing funding, at least I know what steps I need to take and have some ideas on where to turn when I do get there...

September 11, 2003

radio silence

I'm probably going to initiate radio silence until I get my thesis done. (Not that I've been terribly communicative with people lately.) I think I may even clear out my bedroom, pad the walls, and just drop a power tap in and lock myself into a completely austere environment for 10 hours a day to get this done. I'll probably continue to post my playlists, but email and phone are going to go dead for a while.

But before I go, there are some random things I'd like to tell you about. My old flatmate and some other friends who are now in the Bay Area made a CD this summer - As Sequenced By Humans by the Minimal Effort. It's pretty fucking good. I'm not sure if it's available for distribution, but it damn well ought to be, so I'm going to find out for you. The breakout single is clearly "Carpool Lane," but all seven songs are solid. Laura has a disarmingly sweet voice which fits the music perfectly, although clearly she's not a pro. Post-production is pretty good; there are some nice effects thrown in on the instrumentals, along with some slight crispy distortion on the vocals on a couple of songs.

Cory Doctorow has a new book out; it's a collection of some of his short stories, including 0wnz0red which initially appeared at and was my first introduction to Doctorow's brand of sci-fi. He's also very cutting edge; you can download a lot of his stories for free; he's experimenting to see how the Internet might actually help his sales. His entire first novel is available for free, and it's pretty good. I'm planning on going out and buying his books and then possibly donating them to the library.

I'd comment on politics and other news events, but that would probably just make me angry. Let me leave you with this: take a look at the first definition of fascism to appear. Except for the dictator part, it sounds like the U.S.A. under Dubya right now, doesn't it? Replace terror with intimidation, and racism with racial profiling and it's exactly where we are...

August 8, 2003

then silk blues

Right now I'm in the middle of the mind-crushing process of writing my thesis. Things are starting to pick up - I'm starting to settle into the groove - but this is still taking me far longer than I'd like. Of course, I did budget until the end of August to get this sucker done, so I suppose I'm mostly on track. But really, I'm going to see if I can't hit the zone and get the bulk of this done in the next week.

I did take some time off to get out of town for a weekend recently, as evidenced by the photo. It was a good time, for the most part, although there was a lot of random drama going on all around me, mostly when I just wanted to chill or go to sleep. I don't think I spent more than three hours awake that weekend without an alcoholic beverage in my hand. Speaking of which, I highly encourage anyone who is getting married to have lots of booze available at the reception so that their guests can get wasted. This wedding did not. How are you expected to hit on the bridesmaids if you're not wasted?

Anyway, I brought my laptop, but didn't actually do any work on the thesis. I've been having a hard time getting in gear. The funny thing is that I lived these experiments for over four years. I know this stuff inside out. But at the same time, I'm discovering new things about the work, simply because I have to explain it, find the positive things in it, and tie it all together. What was once several discrete steps in being synthesized into a grand staircase. Potentially one made of cards, or perhaps resembling the emperor's new clothes, but if you squint hard, there's really something there.

In any case, the theme music for writing appears to be settling on jazz. Specifically, Charles Mingus. Orange was the color of her dress...

July 6, 2003

weekend insomniac edition

Shit, I shouldn't have had that Coca-Cola.

Anyway, lots of stuff to report on in the last week or so. Many thanks to those people who came out and supported the crew last Friday at Firestation #3. Not as many people showed up as we would have liked, but it seemed like everyone was having a good time. One guy who just moved to Houston from New York asked me why there weren't more people at the event, as something like this in NY would be jammed with people. I just looked at him and told him this was Houston...

Still trying to rehab my ankle. No game this weekend, so it'll get almost a full week of rest. Hopefully that will help.

In other news, the Supreme Court ended its most recent session with some amazing rulings. I'm glad to see them rule on affirmative action with a majority opinion that recognizes that the strength of the union depends on having a diverse leadership, and that we don't currently have that now. They also ruled in Lawrence vs. Texas that the state has no right to legislate rules governing private adult consensual activity. I'm glad they did this, and I'm rather surprised to see that there are people out there who still believe that gays shouldn't have the same level of rights. Senator Frist (R-Tennessee, current Senate majority leader) has come out saying that he would back an amendment barring gay marriage. That's ridiculous. The religious right should remember that the U.S. is supposed to stand for equal rights for all, and that marriage is no longer solely a religious pact between a man and a woman. Hell, you can get married down at the courthouse by a JP, so it clearly doesn't have to be based in religion. Marriage is no more than a social contract between two people - there is no logical reason that I can find that suggests that the two people have to be of the same gender. In fact, I would argue that allowing gay marriage is to the advantage of corporations. Right now, corporations are pressured to extend benefits to partners in same-sex relationships. One of the arguments against extending benefits has been that is prone to abuse by fraud. Who's to say that those two people are really dependent on each other? If same-sex marriages were legalized, there would be no reason to extend benefits to domestic partners. It would be, to put it bluntly, a situation where the corporation could say 'put up or shut up.' It would force gay partners to get married in order to get those benefits. A possible side effect of this would be the subtle social engineering of the gay relationship. Another complaint by the religious right has been the promiscuous behaviour exhibited by many gay people. If you force gay people to get married to get benefits, well, that also opens them up to divorce and the whole load of other crap that comes along with marriage. It may actually encourage monogamy in the gay community, which then might lead to a decrease in diseases spread by sexual contact. Win-win for everyone!

OK, enough about politics and sociology. Last night I went to see a local Houston vibraphonist (Roman Skakun) with Jason Marsalis on drums. I spent a lot more money that I expected to (the show was moved from Cezanne's to Sierra Grill, causing an estimated 30% increase in my bar tab) but it was worth it. The quartet started off a little rough, but progressively got tighter. Jason Marsalis is an amazing musician - he even brought along a pair of finger cymbals that he busted out near the end of the night. Roman Skakun had some nice four-mallet work, although I felt he wasn't playing loud enough. The guitarist was talented, as was the bassist, but I felt neither of them really stood out. I am, however, slightly biased as a fellow percussionist, having played both vibraphone and drums in my earlier years...

June 25, 2003


Woo. Soccer is really pushing me to the limits of my body. I'm currently playing in a co-ed rec league, which suits me fine, mostly because it's more friendly than the men's leagues, but also because hey, it's co-ed. Anyway, I sprained my left ankle last Thursday, and it's still not 100%, and yesterday I strained my right hamstring. So now I can't even limp around, I just hobble. But I still love it. It's fun, it's exercise, and if it wasn't so bloody hot and humid outside in Houston, it would be perfect. Plenty of people on the team like to drink beer after the games, and we're highly overeducated (several Ph.D's, some architects, engineers, and more) so there's always interesting conversations as well.

In other news, congratulations to the Rice Owls baseball team on spanking Stanford 14-2 in the third game of the best-of-three championship series at the College World Series in Omaha. It's Rice University's first national championship in any sport. ESPN showed a stat box at one point during the game with this breakdown:

# of students~14,500~2700
median SAT score~1450~1450
national championships840 (which is now 1)

Well, I'm going to go back through old entries soon and revise things to make it so that the audio archives auto-updates itself whenever I add something new. Expect the last couple of weeks of mp3 archives to go up soon; those might be the last for a while depending on how well I like Final Scratch.

May 30, 2003

the beautiful game

In my quest to get back into shape, I've taken up soccer again. That running thing just didn't pan out. All of my runner friends kept saying "you'll learn to love it" or "I like the meditative aspect of running" or some other crap. Meditative, my ass. Four months of running two to three miles three or four times a week, and I still hate it. But put a ball on the field, and I'll run for an hour. All I think about when I run is "why am I doing this" and "my shins hurt." The only good thing to come out of all of that was that it forced me to buy a new pair of running shoes, which are now the most comfortable pair of kicks I own. And they've even put arches back into my feet.

I appear to have lost a step or two in my old age, though. I can still sprint the length of the field (although I hurt afterward) but I can't change direction as well as I used to. What used to be some of the easier moves and fakes come with a lot of trouble these days. Hopefully some strength training will help bring the muscles back into line, but frankly, I'm doubtful.

In any case, I'm never going to be Freddy Adu, but I'm enjoying the sport. I'm not enjoying the allergies, scrapes, and sore muscles, but I guess that's the price I'm going to have to pay. I have a feeling that in a month I'll be an Advil junkie...

May 7, 2003

cubic and cat urine

The party went really well. We had some technical difficulties (the crossfader inside decided to start to bleed, and the slipmats outside had a nasty tendency to blow away) but all told, all of the DJs had great sets. I've got some pictures that I'll eventually get around to putting up. We had a very diverse crowd - Rice kids (grad and undergrad), the local hip-hop establishment, and old friends. And for some reason people seem to think I had a great set on three turntables. I'm not sure - I was somewhat intoxicated at that point.

In any case, it looks like the fun is over. Things kind of all go haywire all at once, you know? After a great week of fun, now I have a heavy week or two of work to get through. And to add insult to injury, the neighborhood stray cat has decided to make my life even more difficult with the onset of summer. It's not as good of a story as this one, but here is my tale of cat urine:

I have a covered parking spot at my apartment complex. Sometime over the mild Houston winter, I noticed that the stray cat would occasionally sleep on the hood of my car. Presumably it was because I was usually the last person in at night, so my car hood would be the warmest. The other morning I got in the car to go to work and flipped on the A/C (it's already starting to heat up here in Houston). All of a sudden I noticed a rancid smell. I thought it might be the old fast food wrappers, or the towel, or something. So after getting to work, I threw the aforementioned items into the trunk. Lunchtime came around, and I got back into my car. The smell was still there. And then I realized that it was the smell of cat urine. Coming in through the A/C. Apparently the cat pissed into the air intake of my car. I've been through the automated car wash, and while lessened, the smell is still there. I can operate with recycled air, but I prefer not to. Looks like I'm going to have to thoroughly hose down the car...

March 25, 2003

beer run plus

Beer-Bike turned into beer-run this year, as rain made the track too wet to ride bikes safely. The GSA men's team actually placed second. Amazing.

As always, alumni returned to drink much and catch-up. It's weird how after a few beers, people you didn't really even know become your long-lost friends. I suppose that's a reasonably well-documented effect of alcohol. I ran into a girl who I hadn't seen in about five years; I got my records from Alexei, and I finally mostly beat this cold, which means I probably didn't have SARS.

It was nice to see the few people that I do count among my actual friends. Chris came back into town and as always, we went to go get dim sum. It looks to me like the hot dim sum spot might be shifting again; it had been Ocean Palace for the last couple of years, but this time it seemed a little less packed than it usually is. Time to start scouting out new spots...

March 10, 2003

relative achievement

So my brother (younger by a bit more than a year) just finished a colectomy the other day. Yes, he found and removed a cancerous lesion from a man who was only in to have a hernia repaired.

Me, I made garlic-cilantro shrimp. Puts everything into perspective, doesn't it? I'm really proud of my brother - he's starting to make a difference in the world. Myself, well, six years ago I was truly idealistic about what I would do when I finished graduate school. But I failed to account for the fact that graduate school is designed to beat the life out of you. Anyway, as I near the end of my graduate career (knock on wood) I have come to realize that yes, I can make a difference, but I think I'm going to take a detour first.

As for the shrimp, here's what you need:

  • 2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled with tail on (I got 21-25 count)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • one bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup of leaves and thin stems)
  • 6 or more cloves of garlic
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 3 or 4 scallions, minced
  • 1/2 cup of clear liquid (water, white wine, or fish stock)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 500 °F.
  2. Puree the garlic with the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Add in the jalapeños and cilantro, puree until smooth.
  3. Add the white wine and minced scallions, and stir.
  4. Put the shrimp in a baking dish or roasting pan, pour the garlic-cilantro-wine mixture over the shrimp, and throw it in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes.

I'd recommend serving with a pasta on the side, maybe fettucine with a simple marinara sauce or a simple oil and parsley dressing. It should serve four, at least. Try pairing with a dry white wine - a viogner, perhaps - or possibly a nice hoppy beer.

February 20, 2003

bad poetry

Mark Pilgrim has created an online magnetic poetry generator. Here's my effort:

bad poem

February 13, 2003

a long time coming

Yesterday was a first for me. It was the first day that I intentionally left my Zippo lighter at home. I've left it at home before, on accident; left it in a bar, on accident; always on accident. I've had this lighter since 1994. It's been with me longer, and more often, than any other item I've ever owned.

I remember the day I bought the lighter. It was a chilly, gray, blustery November day in Chicago (surprise, surprise) and a light rain had started. I ducked into Big Jim's under the IC tracks at 53rd St. for a minute to pick up some clove cigarettes (I was trying too hard to be a hipster then) and to get out of the cold. Big Jim greeted me with his 'howzit, gubnor' and got up slowly from his creaky chair. As he wandered over to get me a pack of Djarums, a brassy glint caught my eye from the display case. I knelt down to get a better look, and Big Jim reached into the case and pulled out a few lighters. I ended up settling on the brushed brass; I think the warm glow of the brass was what got me.

Anyway, I've had this lighter for years now, and it's been across the US and back several times. There are more stories about this lighter than I can count; more feelings and memories associated with it that I can't begin to list them all here. And yet, it's time to retire the lighter (or at least give it a vacation). For my health, it's time to stand alone, to lose the affectations. I'm sure that in a few months, I'll decide to light up a smoke - I enjoy it too much. But for now, it's time to breathe clean air for a while - to clear my lungs and my head.

February 2, 2003

dreamers lost

Earlier today, the space shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas. Obviously, this is tragic, especially being so soon after the anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

On other forums, people have commented on how the shuttle was a glorified waste of money. The scientist in me doesn't disagree. I'm sure we could be more efficient and accomplish more science with unmanned probes. But I think that in some respects that's not really ever been the point of space exploration.

Probably everybody has wondered at some point in their childhood what it would be like to travel to the stars; every kid in the last forty years has dreamt of being an astronaut at some point. Most of us never achieve that goal. But some people never give up, they follow their dreams and become the select few who can call themselves astronauts. And that's the biggest tragedy about today's accident; the seven crew members who were lost today represent the distilled dreams of humanity. We need manned space exploration because we need to dream of the future, to explore the unknown and to reach beyond the confines of our world.

Could we accomplish more science with less money, and at less risk? Undoubtedly. But at what price? How do you value the dreams of humanity? I hope that this isn't the beginning of the end for the space program.

January 22, 2003

link up, yo

An assemblage of links for your entertainment, education, and edification.

  • A remix of Doujah Raze's "Irish Cream" from H-Peh from Germany.
  • The Mountain Brothers have some new tracks out. At least one (Microphone Phenomenal) sounds super dope. I've been waiting a long time. 2003 is the year my yellow brothers will take over! Yao Ming, the Mountain Brothers, who's next?
  • If you're a student, this store has the cheapest price I've found for the Adobe Design Collection (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat). Even this poor grad student managed to afford it.
  • A low point of Asian-american subculture.

January 9, 2003

almost crushed

So about the accident. A couple of days ago, coming back from lunch, my friend and I were in an automobile accident. We were going through an intersection in his pickup truck when we were broadsided on the driver's side by a Ford Explorer. We fishtailed, then rolled over, spinning and sliding on the roof of the truck as glass shattered around us. We finally stopped about forty feet later, rotated almost 270 degrees. As I hung from my seat belt, I turned to my friend and asked him (stupidly), "What just happened?"

"We got hit." [Duh.]

And then we unlatched our seat belts, fell onto the roof, and crawled out through the broken windows. We were unbelievably lucky to have survived with as few injuries as we have (he broke his finger and has a bump on his head, I have some cuts and bruises) and I have no doubt that we would not have survived if we hadn't been wearing our seat belts.

So buckle up, please.

January 7, 2003

better days

I just experienced my first major car accident today. I'm ok, the driver is ok, and I think the driver of the other car is ok. More info later. Anyway, time to rock on. Tune in tonight for the show...

January 5, 2003

my new crush

Move over, Elizabeth... Merrilees is my new crush. Easiest way to win my affection is to cook me a meal...

January 3, 2003

revolutions per minute

I suppose I never mentioned it, but I'm officially part of the Phonographerz Crew now. Baby Cee and Cozmos asked me to join, along with DJ Dave. I'm still not entirely sure why I'm in the crew, because I don't cut or juggle nearly as well as they do. The only things I have going for me are my obscure records, impeccable taste, and blinding good looks, I guess. ;-)

In any case, we had our first performance as a crew last Sunday (the 29th of December) at the Proletariat (yeah, it's kind of a pretentious name for a bar, isn't it?) with absolutely no practice together. It went pretty well, although it was a little odd doing short little sets in between bands. We settled into the groove at the end when we got an hour for ourselves. The weirdest thing, though, was watching my worlds collide. Several of the staff members from the Gingerman and one employee of the Briar Shoppe showed up. It's strange seeing these people, whom I only know from very specific locations in my life, out in a social capacity. I don't mind it, it's just weird. On top of all that, my good friend A. is back in town for a while, and we've been doing way too much drinking.

Perhaps weirder, though, is that I seem to be getting more gigs as a dj now by not trying than I did before when I actively sought them out. Karma, perhaps? Some sort of weird Zen exercise? We'll see how long this lasts...

January 1, 2003

a new year

It's a new year, and so far it's off to a flying start. I rung in the new year behind a microphone up in the KTRU studio. Last night's radio show was fun - Justin and I bantered for about ten minutes before I started the music, and we went over my goals for 2002/2003. Then I basically just messed around on the tables for three hours.

I dropped in over at Firestation #3 for the joint New Year's-Charlie's birthday party after the show. Everyone was pretty much lit by the time I got there, so I tried to catch up by drinking a bottle of Cardinal Zin. It was great spending some time with my friends, and I even met a very beautiful woman who, according to her friend, thought I was cute. Unfortunately for me, she probably won't remember meeting me because of her state of inebriation. Oh well.

Anyway, I've got a new year to conquer. But right now I think I'll settle for getting some of these experiments done...

December 12, 2002

counting blessings

Looking over the last few entries, I'm beginning to realize that sometimes I can be really negative. It's probably because politics can really infuriate me. But I do have things to be thankful for, and I think I should try to remember that.

I'm a regular at a bar here in Houston called the Gingerman. I'm probably one of the younger regulars, if not the youngest, because they only serve beer and wine and people my age who go out tend to like to get trashed really quickly on liquor. But I keep going back because the employees are great, and the regulars that I do know are genuinely good people. In fact, one of them invited me to come over for Christmas dinner if I was not going home, which I'm not. Plus the bar has great beer.

I also have my health. Of course, drinking all that beer has caused me to put on a few extra pounds, but I could always start working out again.

I have good friends. Always there to get me into trouble when I need it, and get me out of trouble when I really need it, I love those kids. They're smart, and they're funny. And perhaps best of all, together we have music and art.

I need to step back and count my blessings occasionally.

November 28, 2002


Have a good Thanksgiving, everyone. It's cold up here in Illinois. As much as I never thought I'd say it, I'll be glad to be back in Houston. Of course, I'll have to hit the ground running at work as soon as I get back, but that's ok...

[update] Apparently my family is having guests over for dinner. Damn. That means I actually have to look presentable today. Oh well.

November 11, 2002

getting old

I went to a house party the other day (with a bag of records, but that's besides the point) and really, really felt old. The other partygoers weren't particularly that much younger than me, though. What made me feel old was a pair of kids who were rolling for the first time. My hedonistic days are mostly behind me. Now, instead of pills and sweaty mindless dancing, I choose wine (or beer or whiskey) and conversation. How the mighty have fallen...

November 5, 2002

make your voice heard pt. 2

Texas (or maybe it's just Houston, I'm not sure) has a new eSlate voting deal. It was reasonably simple to use, although I'm not sure I trust it. There has been a lot of discussion about electronic voting systems. Essentially, the problem boils down to this. How much do you trust the manufacturer? None of the e-voting machines give you a receipt of your ballot. How do you do a recount? I would like a hard copy. You have to trust that the manufacturer is recording your vote accurately. And in today's day of corrupt politicians being bought off by big companies, I don't see how you can put 100% faith in any of these systems unless paper ballots are given as a receipt.

October 31, 2002

a good day

I had a friend over for dinner. We're in the beginning stages of starting a little dining club. I think we're going to trade off weeks. Anyway, dinner turned out reasonably well, although I need to work on timing everything. I always underestimate prep time.

Anyway, after dinner we were drinking Guinness shakes (take a half-pint of Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream and blend with one pint of Guinness draught) and I showed her my sister's Geschwinday letter. My friend was cracking up - I had told her about Geschwinday before - and was very into it. Anyway, to get to the point, I have the coolest sister ever. Love ya, Gracie!

October 28, 2002

five long years

I finally beat that damn game. For the first time, I have taken a character to demigoddess-hood. I can finally quit playing for a while. I'm sure I'll come back, and try to ascend other character classes, but I have finally beaten Nethack after five years of playing and dying yet another stupid death.