Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Rat Of Dead Confederate

Happy to have found this Georgia band today.  Dead Confederate is a little bit of Nirvana, a little bit of Pink Floyd, and a whole lot of alternative rock in between.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Sharp Edge Of Rapturous Delight

I am not and have never been into motorcycles.  I have been on one only once as a passenger.  I enjoyed the ride, and I do understand the thrill of it - the feeling of air rushing around your body, and the delicate stability exchange between the man and the machine that brings both to the sharp edge of rapturous delight.

When I saw the newly designed TT New Generation Chopper, several things compelled me to write about it today.  One of the things was, I could not take my eyes off of the smooth and clean lines of this machine's masculine body.  The second thing was the concept designer is from my country.  And lastly, I wanted my brother to see this, for his love of motorcycles transcends his love for any other man-made object.

Enjoy, dear brother!

Monday, October 29, 2012

* Trioon II

"Too late.
I am floating through a cave-tunnel lit from the bottom.
Darkness but no fears. 
Only lightness.
Every heartbeat a drop of water.
My heart tied to someone else's breath.
I am gone."*

* My own words taken from the conversation with the friend who introduced me to this musician, while listening to this song for the very first time.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

* Lettuce Entertain You At Fred 62

This morning's breakfast feast was at Fred 62 - a Los Feliz diner with a retro decor, and an entertaining menu to go with it.  They have a very good selection of dishes for all hours of the day, catering to the palates of the carnivore, and the vegetarian.  Although the setting, and the outfits of the waitresses scream retro, you do not feel like you are on a movie set.  It feels more like you've been sitting there for the past 60 years, and the place ages slightly every time you rub the sleep off your eyes or look out the window momentarily.

Their Strawberry Beret pancakes supplemented with bottomless coffee were divinely delicious, and way beyond my consumption capacity!  I would definitely recommend this corner diner that serves customers with the same cheerful enthusiasm 24/7!  I will go back and try the "Lettuce Entertain You" salad.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

XEOS3D For Every Household

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to design AND make your own tableware, or toothbrush, or pencil sharpener, or earrings at home with just a few touches on your personal computer.  A personal 3D WiFi printer is now available from XEOS3D with a super user-friendly and PC/Mac/Pad compatible software.  Its newly designed compact robot arm reduces the enclosure volume by 66% compared to earlier designs.  Only you might want to wait until the prices come down a little!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Letterpress Addiction

Letterpress is a newly released, highly addictive word game for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.  I have been playing it for the past couple of days, and I think I will have to forfeit all other word games I'm involved in and become a true addict!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

* I Shall Not Chafe

I have never done backpacking before, so I was as clueless as a dolphin in a disco when I walked into the Santa Monica REI store to see what options I had for my upcoming 4-day Inca Trail Hike.  I was so overwhelmed with the available variety, and the lack of help from the one associate I asked, I escaped the store as enthusiastically as I walked in.

While I was doing my own misguided digital research on what to get, with precious input from my good hiking-capable friends (thanks R and E), I received an e-mail from REI Northridge about a class on "Lightweight Backpacking".  Deciding this was divine intervention to my hopelessness, I immediately signed up.

Oh boy, am I glad I attended!  I learned so many things about the true meaning of "lightweight".  I will not list here all the equipment they demonstrated, however I will repeat the three key phrases I learned by heart:

1. Moisture Wicking
2. Quick Dry
3. Breathable

Also, the guy with the rip-van-winkle beard strongly advised that we do not leave home without this:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vernacular Words

Mysteries Of Vernacular is a fantastic project by Myriapod Productions, creating little movies about origins of one word for each letter of the English alphabet.  So far they have made four short films, and need the language-loving crowd's support to proceed with this "labor & love" intensive project.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nabta Playa

Nabta Playa is a region in the Sahara Desert that lies to the west of the river Nile in modern day Egypt where a prominent civilization took rise around 7000 BC to 6500 BC.  The archeological evidence shows that not only this civilization was able to domesticate animals, farm, and create elaborate ceramic artifacts, but also had an in-depth understanding of naked-eye astronomy.  

They left behind round formations of monoliths similar to Stonehenge but predating it by about 1000 years!  One round rock formation - also known as the Calendar Circle - is a star-viewing diagram that mimics the star placements of the Orion constellation of about 6000 years ago, as it would appear just before sunrise during the few days around summer solstice.  The Calendar Circle is a part of a much larger and complex megalithic structure system - Origin Map - where the incredible amount of astronomical and equinoctial knowledge of the Neolithic Humans reigning this region at the time, is on display today.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Laser Stitching Star Trek Style

How have I not heard of this before!  They have developed instruments to laser stitch flesh wounds with laser in a matter of minutes.  I am looking forward to the near future when I will be able to purchase a pen-sized laser-stitcher for my trekking first-aid kit!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

* Mum's Virtual Visit To Peru

Living ten thousand miles away from my parents, I call them on Skype every weekend, and we have lovely conversations.  Mostly I do the talking, telling them about my adventures of the week about my work, my travels, my life in the city of angels, spiced up with a little humor, and sweet exaggeration.

This morning we took our places in front of our respective laptops once again, and as soon as I greeted them, my mum said "I went to Peru!".  Now, I will be going to Peru at the end of December to do the Inca Trail, and that has been a major topic for the past few weeks, and knowing my mum's worrying nature, I thought she had a dream about my impending adventure.  Anyway, I asked "How so?"

It turns out she watched a documentary about Peru on one of their local channels, and being the very intelligent and perceptive woman that she is, she recited some information about Peru that I did not know.  Here are just a few of what I learned from my mum today:
  • Peru is the motherland of potatoes with close to 3000 varieties
  • A government school in Lima is teaching Turkish as second language
  • The original Peruvian language, Quechua does not have an alphabet and is mostly a spoken language

Thank you, mum!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Assemble's Wooden Sky

Assemble is an Australian architecture and design company with a focus on projects with small footprints, aiming at creating low-cost and flexible work-spaces   Their studio, located in the city of Victoria, is a forest of serenity with the modular and movable work surfaces and storage spaces, and a very attractive wooden ceiling structure.  The lighter color of the wood everywhere, makes it impossible to peel your eyes off of this space.

Every piece of furniture is on wheels, allowing the studio to be easily re-arranged for different activities, and the sofa pictured here turns into a bed that is essential for (as Assemble Director Ben Keck puts it) 'productivity-increasing' afternoon naps.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You've Become A Sound Yourself

Tor Ulven is a Norwegian poet whose sensitivity led him to create pieces that talked about his beautiful observations of the arbitrary, and how each and every moment of our lives is equally precious.   This sensitivity, ultimately led to his suicide at the young age of 42.

He wrote prose as much as he did poetry, however it is very hard to find his works in English.  Here's a rare translation of one of his poems:

Konsert VIII

You're flying, 
or levitating, 
through an enormous, dark room, 
a room of sounds;

dazzling glissandi, 
crackling pizzicati, 
coal-black turbulence holes of loud bass, 
but otherwise empty;

No planets, 
no meteors, 
but elegant clouds of dust 
after exploded music.

You're floating somewhere 
between pleasure and fear, 
in a time you cannot decide;

You find yourself everywhere else 
than in the presence.
And you disappear more and more 
inside these hidden rooms, 
and your character fades out gradually, 
your facial elements are erased, 
your body disintegrates, 
and the last thing you think is 
that you've become a sound yourself;

A thin, 
anonymous sound 
among all these others 
that cry in the empty, dark room.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We Have Band In Yellow Pants

We Have Band is an electronic Briton band from London and Manchester with two fantastic albums under their belt.  I am not sure what it is but I'm feeling a strange attraction to the sound of this band.  Maybe it is the fragmental 80s deliciousness they have or maybe the strength of their beat or maybe it is because they sound like the illegitimate child-band of Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw with Seal as their vocalist.  Who knows!  Here are two sample songs from each of their two albums.  Enjoy!

Tired of Running:


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In The Pleasure Groove

Today, Duran Duran bassist John Taylor's autobiographical book In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran about his wild ride with one of the most world-famous bands of the last three decades, is going on sale in US and Canada!

Monday, October 15, 2012

SmugMug Hires Heroes

SmugMug is a photo sharing website with a heroic approach to their relationship with their customers.  Their services are not free which - to me at least - means a better level of privacy and sharing controls and much better customer service than other social networking/image sharing environments.  The best thing about SmugMug is, when you correspond, you get a great response form a human being who cares.  Now that is a rarity these days!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

DIIV Makes The Magic Pill

Brooklyn, NY has been giving birth to quite a bit of musical talent in the past few years.  DIIV is one such band that released their debut album Oshin in June 2012.  Their spacious guitar sound reminds me of the 80's band Big Country whose songs always left me with a sensation of hearing magic echo from mountain sides.  Here are two songs from Oshin:

How Long Have You Known?


And if you've never heard of the great Scottish band Big Country, here's Look Away:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Confessions Of A Romantic Reductionist

Every time I spend time with my cousin, I learn something new from her.  Today's valuable piece of information was a book called "Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist" by the well-known neuroscientist Christof Koch.  This is a book that explores the relationship between the conscious mind and the brain biology and chemistry with examples from the author's life experiences.  I already purchased and added it to my Nook library.

Happy reading!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Other Side Of The Sky

I love the idea of Ballet In Cinema since it is not always easy to fly to Italy or other places on a whim to catch a beautiful performance like L'altra Meta Del Cielo.  I will be watching this on October 21st at my local theater:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

* Uncle Tom's Cabin At Bigfork

Since this is my first time in Bigfork, MN, I wanted to blog about this town.  However, it is such a tiny place even most Minnesotans have not heard about this place.  The most interesting fact I found about Bigfork is that the town began as a settlement when Damase "Uncle Tom" Neveaux built a log cabin on the Big Fork River, claiming the stand of pine there, and began logging activities.  Very pretty place, I must add.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Digital Menu At Taste Of Shoyu

I landed at Minneapolis airport early afternoon today, and had to wait for my coworker who have missed our flight out of Los Angeles.  This in fact was a very opportune event for it gave me more time to spend with a couple of my very good friends, and have lunch with them at one of the finer airport restaurants.  We picked Taste of Shoyu - a japanese/asian restaurant that made us feel like we were in Japan.  Not only the food was delicious but the ordering process was very delightful as well.  They had an iPad installed for each seat!  Yes, every seat, as in four seats, four iPads.  Each of us ordered from our iPads, paid for our food with plastic using the card swipers installed at the table, and enjoyed a game of hangman while waiting for our food.  All this was very nice and future-like but we neglected the old art of conversation while we were so involved with what was on our iPads.  I am not sure if I want this kind of dining experience to become commonplace.  Do you?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Synthetic Biology Circuits vs Electronic Circuits

Christopher Voigt of MIT and his team developed synthetic biological circuits that do not interfere with one another which allowed them to create the most complex synthetic circuits ever built.  Prior to this development, due to the jumbled nature of biological circuits inside a cell, it was not possible to isolate these circuits from each other creating interference, while electronic circuits on a silicon chip do not have this interference issue.

With the improvements introduced by Voigt's team, it will now be possible to implement new kinds of bio-sensing circuits in cells that will monitor their environments and adjust their output proteins accordingly.

Check out the Synthetic Biology Center @ MIT website to learn more about what they do.   

Amazing science!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Eat Smart With IdaRose

IdaRose dinnerware - thanks to the very creative mind of my good friend Robyn - are designed to make one of my most favorite activities (eating) more fun!  She will be launching her line as soon as she reaches a minimum number of orders.  Leave a comment here or go to her website by clicking on her name above, and tell her if you want these as much as I do!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Abbot Kinney

I was with friends at the Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice, CA this afternoon enjoying the sights and sounds, when suddenly I wondered who/what Abbot Kinney was.  Turns out he planted the foundations of this lively city.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Perfect Dream Beachhouse

Dear Michelle de la Vega,

Today, I fell in love head over heels with your minimalist house converted from a garage.  From the glass doors, to the loft bed-space, to the brick fireplace-back, to the skylight over the bathtub, this is the perfect manifestation of the house I have dreamed of for as long as I can remember.  Please build this beauteous house for me on a beach, and I will forever be grateful to you!

Thank you.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Butterfly Magnetism

Indianapolis artist Tasha Lewis has been creating fleeting installations with her beautiful magnetic blue butterflies on any and every metal surface she finds.  Her butterflies are printed on cotton fabric using a technique called cyanotype, giving them the beautiful shade of blue they carry on their wings.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Atlas Shrugs Twice

Who is John Galt?

This first sentence of Ayn Rand's well-known novel had been a favorite tag-line since I read the book more than a decade ago.  On 10.12.12, the movie "Atlas Shrugged Part II" will be opening in theaters.  It is very interesting to see a modern-day Dagney Taggert chasing after the motor of the world in a brave new world.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wear Me Gently

I love a finely tailored custom suit on a man.  I love when it shows that someone paid immaculate attention to every detail of that suit - every stitch, every button, every pocket, the fit through the waist.  

Romualdo, operating out of the unlikeliest of the places, is one such company that turns each custom suit into a piece of art that you can't resist slipping in.  Even their webpage is very attractive!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Music Blooms

A good friend introduced me to an iPhone app created by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers.  Bloom is a very unique application for creating your own ambient music with gentle touches on your screen.  Even the most musically challenged person cannot go wrong with this very simple implement.  The pastel tones of sounds are accompanied with matching colorful dots that bloom on the screen, resulting in a harmonious audiovisual experience.  

Thank you K.

Monday, October 1, 2012

* I Make Bowl Sing

I visited one of my most favorite stores in Santa Monica, CA where they always have very unique and beautiful items from mystical places in Asia.  As I was browsing through the store, I stopped in front of several metal bowls which reminded me of a scene in a documentary I recently watched where a Japanese father and son use a similar bowl like a gong while they pray for the mother who passed away.

Seeing my interest in the bowls, one of the associates came over and explained that those were singing bowls from Nepal and are made of an amalgam of seven metals.  When he proceeded to show me how to make one sing, I was overcome by a feeling of enchantment.  I took the bowl from his hands and tried to recreate the incredibly loud but mesmerizing sound.  When I felt the first harmonic up my arm even before I heard the sound, I knew I had to own this delicately decorated artifact.  Here's me making the bowl sing: