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Muxtape 2

"When New York Was New York"

Get Songbird



A random selection from my archive:



Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives


My Wishlist

Moment of Zen


Moment of Zen (inspired by Tim's Koans)

Courtesy of Timmay

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    Wednesday, June 30, 2004

    Wednesday's Monkey

    Don't assume that today's monkey is just a repeat of Monday's monkey. Yes, they're the same species, and they live in the same exhibit, but today's monkey is far more mischievous. He seemed to make a hobby out of trying to destroy these thin trees. Bouncing back 'n forth, he was trying his best to either break the branches in two, or fling himself into the far reaches of the park.

    Wednesday's Monkey

    Tuesday, June 29, 2004

    Tuesday's Monkey

    This little guy was awfully playful. He had a tiny, perfect monkey face. So perfect, in fact, it looked like a mask. He's an endangered tamarind monkey -- apparently very rare. This is the best photo I could get. He acted like he had ants in his pants and wouldn't sit still for more than a second.

    Tuesday's Monkey

    Monday, June 28, 2004

    Lost in London with a pair of headphones

    Want to put your favorite pair of headphones to good use? Spend 14 hours at the London Placard Headphone Festival on July 17. The lineup includes 39 performers each contributing a 20-minute set of electronic music. Enough to make your head spin, I'm sure.

    Maybe there's a way to hear some of these sounds via the web? The press release states: All performances are heard only through headphones... and the whole thing is streamed live on the Net. I'm not entirely sure where to catch the stream, but it may be worth searching out.

    Think of a festival in reverse. Forget about background chatter: for once, it's a chance for some focused listening.

    The Week of the Monkey (in the Year of the Monkey)

    We made acquaintances with a slew of monkeys at the Central Park Zoo last weekend. To celebrate the wonders of the primate, I'm announcing "The Week of the Monkey!" What better way to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Monkey than to devote the next five days to posting photos of our new friends?

    Here's monkey friend #1. A distant shot of a hygenic monkey washing his face in the cool, crisp waters of his habitat.

    Monday's Monkey

    Sunday, June 27, 2004

    Toe! D'oh!

    In my previous post, I mentioned we had an enjoyable stay at The Melrose Hotel in Manhattan. I would recommend it to anyone spending time in the East Side. The hotel is newly renovated, the staff friendly, and the rooms very clean with some well-beyond-the-average-hotel furnishings.

    One important detail though: The standard rooms are quite small. Not a lot of space to navigate and there couldn't have been more than 18 inches clearance between the end of the bed and a comfy, but heavy, wooden chair. It was only a matter of time before I smacked my foot on its unwieldy curved leg. I eventually smacked it, and smacked it good.

    We spent most of the day walking the city and I didn't think too much of my foot. Although, at times, I did detect an interesting twinge that could've been a signal for pain. Now home, I just hopped in the shower a few moments ago, and the fourth toe on my left foot is definitely broken.

    I've never broken a bone before in my life -- aside from a bad elbow sprain back in elementary school. I suppose there's not much you can do for a broken toe. Maybe ice it? Maybe splint it to an unbroken toe? Maybe scold it for being stubborn? If you have any advice to mend a poor guy's broken toe, let me know because that "interesting twinge" from earlier is beginning to evolve into a constant throbbing pain.

    Fire twirlers, strong men, and acrobats -- oh my!

    If you ever have the opportunity to go to Cirque du Soleil, GO. We just returned from a weekend in New York City, and we were amazed by Alegria on Randall's Island last night. Absolutely magical. From start to finish, all the acts were astonishing, including the contortionist who creeped me out.

    We spent most of our time wandering the Upper East Side, an area of NYC I've never explored. The Melrose Hotel, where we stayed thanks to Orbitz rates, was a classy, charming spot in the heart of the Upper East Side.

    When we weren't being harassed by circus clowns, we wandered parts of the Upper West Side and Central Park, including the zoo. Expect to see a few photos here soon. Maybe a monkey or two, if you're lucky.

    Friday, June 25, 2004

    I made you! You know it's true! Mr. Picassohead, I made you!

    Flaunt your artistic ability and create your own Mr. Picassohead. I had fun with my submission to the online gallery. So did Chris and Fiona. Even Timmaay's got himself his own gallery now!

    Create your own Mr. Picassohead and post your link in the comments!

    Your reading choices: Revolutionizing IT or Best Albums of the '70s

    I just acquired an armful of the newish David Andrews and Kenneth Johnson book Revolutionizing IT: The Art Of Using Information Technology Effectively. Work had extras after a recent promotion and I walked away with a small pile. I've given it a quick skim, and it's not a bad little book, although I think "revolutionizing" may be an overstatement for the material inside. It's a very, very high level view of IT project management (and project management in general), but it offers some solid advice.

    If you're a member of the PMI or a seasoned PM, then you won't get much out of this book. If you're curious about the topic, though, drop me a note offline and I can get you a complimentary copy of the hardcover edition. (The retail price is $29.95. The Amazon price is $20.37.)

    If the thought of project management makes you nod off, then maybe a list of the top 100 albums from the 1970s is more your style. Pitchforkmedia finished releasing their list this morning. I own 13 of the top 20. A good thing? Not sure. But I'm tossing on David Bowie's Low to celebrate the approaching weekend.

    Thursday, June 24, 2004

    Corporate colors: co-exist cleanly or clash catastrophically?

    I'm in the midst of a client's web design project and I'm trying to find additional complementary colors that can coincide with their corporate brand. I have no formal training in graphic design -- no color theory to fall back on, and no talent to "eyeball" the best colors.

    Cue the Color Calculator. This handy tool got me out of a jam and has a unique take on the classic color wheel that we all learned in elementary school. You can choose from a few different geometric shapes (square, rectangle, triangle, etc.) to overlay onto the color wheel. The intersecting points will give you the best color combinations. You can then dump the values (your choice of RGB, CMYK, or hexadecimal) right onto your clipboard for quick exporting.

    In addition to the Color Calculator, Master New Media has three alternative color theory tools to explore. You'll be matching colors like a big kid in no time.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2004

    Honk a morse code message

    A commute which normally takes 35 minutes took me 2 hours and 35 minutes today. A double accident on 91 North kept my car idle for almost 2 hours. I wish I had this book to keep me occupied. I could've learned how to honk morse code messages, or played traffic sign bingo!

    Instead I listened to an NPR segment on advertising jingles. So now I can't get anything done this morning without thinking I'm a Toys R Us kid.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2004

    Weblog Post #250 (AKA what I saw on Saturday)

    Chris and I caught an in-store by Devendra Banhart at the Newbury Comics on Newbury Street Saturday afternoon. The show started early, but we saw most of it, including the last couple songs when Devendra thought it would be a good idea to stand on the table and dance around with his guitar.

    Devendra at Newbury Comics

    Devendra at Newbury Comics

    If you want to get a sense of his live performance, Spin Magazine has a few streaming video clips of his show at the offices of Spin last April.

    Later on Saturday, the Brazilian Center of New England (Inman Square, Cambridge) hosted Vetiver, Joanna Newsom, and Devendra. Stacie did a superb job organizing the show. It was sold out and all parts ran smoothly, including the post-show breakdown when I helped pack up cords and audio equipment, and generally tried to stay out of the way of Joanna Newsom's massive harp.

    Joanna Newsom

    Devendra Banhart

    Monday, June 21, 2004


    The weekend was a fun one. Spent the first half in Boston visiting with friends and taking in a show. Grainy, dark photos of the Devendra Banhart Newbury Comics in-store appearance and nighttime concert will be posted soon. For the second half, I saw my parents on Father's Day and had a wonderful visit.

    With the beautiful weather, all roads were pretty clear too, with one exception. I was relieved to be going eastbound on the Mass Pike Saturday morning, otherwise I would've encountered 10 miles of traffic due to a westbound accident. Our side was slow for a mile allowing me to coast by at 7 mph and snap this unlucky photo.

    jeep overturned

    Friday, June 18, 2004

    Pampah yer cah

    Lately I've been neglecting my car so today's the day to get him all shined up again. Got an oil change, installed a new air filter, cleaned the dash, filled with gas, vacuumed the seats and floors, and of course, got a car wash. Now he's sparkling and ready for this weekend's road trip.

    If you think that's a mundane update, then check out Ripley the cat's weblog and his weekly posts (thanks Alex!).

    Thursday, June 17, 2004

    Mulling over the options

    I'm watching Clue on DVD. When you begin the film it asks you to choose from two options: 1) View movie with all three endings, 2) View movie with one of three endings (chosen at random). This is a neat little feature; plus it enhances the longevity of the DVD, bringing the film closer to its board game's roots.

    Gimmick aside -- how can you beat that all-star cast?!? Tim Curry! Madeline Kahn! Christopher Lloyd! Michael McKean! Martin Mull!

    When it rains...

    It pours. Actually, let me restate that: It monsoons. This week has been extremely busy. A few new projects to kick off. Some I'm responsible for; some I'm just facilitating. And much of it needs to get done before I hit the road Saturday morning for Boston. Visiting family and friends for the weekend, and catching a Devendra Banhart show in Cambridge. Gee, feels like déjà vu.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2004

    A post without purpose

    Sometimes during crazy weeks it's good to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and relax. In this case, I'm posting a photo that was a leftover from last weekend's excursion around New Haven. No point; no purpose. Just a simple photo of a church tower to enjoy.

    church tower

    Tuesday, June 15, 2004

    Who here has submitted false information to get through annoying registration pages on websites? I know I'm guilty. On occasion, I've used a fake name and e-mail address to barge my way into the content I'm looking for. Coming from an internet marketing background, it pains me to spoof these sites. But sometimes I don't think giving up my personal information is worth the payoff. Many sites still haven't determined the fine balance between opt-in registration and free content. So "communal login" services are popping up, like, allowing users to share anonymous logins.

    Some websites have great intentions for collecting personal data, like They simply ask for your e-mail address to keep in touch with their products:

    Stay In the Loop: If you'd like to receive a note when we announce a new product or special offer, enter your email address here. We'll never abuse the privilege in any way. Period.

    However, many sites are still too aggressive when it comes to soliciting personal information. Included in this group are many online newspapers, like CNN has an interesting article about this trend.

    My take is that if you want to discourage bogus registrations, then tell your visitors that the content they're requesting will be e-mailed to the account provided (in the form of a PDF, for instance). That way you know they'll provide a legitimate address. From a usability perspective, this method shouldn't be your first choice unless it's used for specific content like, say, a demo, whitepaper, or best practices guide. This model may not work for online newspapers, but it does speak to the innumerable websites that build moats around their content.

    Monday, June 14, 2004

    Why cous cous when you can quinoa?

    I learned about a new food this weekend: Quinoa. Pronounced keen-wah, it was a staple of the ancient Incas, who called it "the mother grain." We ate quinoa alongside pan-fried scallops, and it was an excellent combination. If you're a fan of cous cous, but looking for something a little different, give quinoa a try.

    It cooks to a light fluffy texture as a band of external germ spirals around each grain. This may sound unsavory, but it's *good*. It has a unique texture because of the soft grain and crunchy germ. Quinoa's a hearty little sucker that packs a lot of protein. You'll wonder if it's the long lost cousin of cous cous or the doppelgänger of oatmeal.

    Sunday, June 13, 2004

    Picnicking on East Rock

    East Rock overlooks the city of New Haven, and we decided to explore the summit this afternoon. The park is a perfect setting for a picnic and it was surprisingly quiet.

    Picnicking on East Rock

    The view of East Rock from below basically looks like this. Power lines and all.

    East Rock from below

    The summit has a sprawling view of New Haven and Long Island Sound.

    East Rock from above

    The summit also has an ice cream man! Yaay! After a heavy klondike crunch bar all I wanted was a comfortable grassy spot to watch the sky.

    The sky from below

    Saturday, June 12, 2004

    Need a new do?

    New Haven is hosting its annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas this weekend. Parades, outdoor theater, local food, and world music flood the streets -- and there's plenty of room now that Yale is out of session. We caught a colorful demonstration at Broadway Plaza. The hairdressers of Osadía were dazzling spectators with their high art hair art.

    Friday, June 11, 2004

    I've got sunshine

    You can't argue with a weekend outlook like this. Go ahead. Run around outside like a silly little freak. Enjoy yourself.

    Sun! Sun! Sun!

    Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled boxes

    Apparently I have yet to learn my lesson. You'd think by now I could follow this simple rule: If a new box enters our home, then be sure to dispose of it properly before the cat eyes it. This should be my mantra. I should live and breathe these simple words.

    Instead, however, I leave new cardboard boxes around all the time. Simone quickly sniffs them out, and before you know it, she has her own little cardboard party. But having your head wedged into the corner of a box *can't* be comfortable.

    cat paradise

    You may think I could easily break up the party, but I tried that -- it was a rookie mistake -- and I got burned. So if I continue to break my simple rule, then I best let it go. Like dropping your keys into a river of molten lava: Let 'em go, because, man, they're gone.

    So if you feel compelled to contribute to her cardboard palace, by all means, send more boxes our way. Ugh.

    Wednesday, June 09, 2004

    More Gmail up for grabs

    Google has released three more Gmail giveaway accounts to beta users. Last time I had one to spare, I raffled it off to the commenter who guessed closest to my car mileage.

    With these new freebies, I've already given one to my friend Nate, which leaves two. If you're reading this, it's likely that you either already have a Gmail account or don't care much for participating in another contest.

    So let's make this easy. The first two people to leave a comment in haiku form, about any subject they wish, will get a Gmail invite from me. Sound good? Great. Let's go.

    Tuesday, June 08, 2004

    Sometimes you feel like a nut...

    Unbelievable. A cornucopia of '80s television commericials. At the time of this posting, there are 114 commercials to download and view. Everything from Slip N' Slide to Ralphie in a Hershey's ad to the annoying Encyclopedia Britannica boy. Feed your hunger for bad TV.

    On a completely unrelated note, improve your digital photography skills by reading these composition tips. Excellent.

    PS - Working at a 10-hour trade show can be murder on the feet. Next time I'm standing on a carpet. A nice, soft, plush, comfy carpet.

    Monday, June 07, 2004

    Cotton candy COM

    I really shouldn't get a laugh out of something this geeky. My new wallpaper is a nighttime photo of Las Vegas' Circus Circus clown. He just happens to be pointing at an icon on my desktop called "Component Services." It's like he's saying: "Hey guy. Come here. Register your COM objects, and get a lollipop!"

    send in the clowns, and rollback the transactions


    BadgerBadgerBadger swept across the web a few months ago. Like the best internet fads, it was a complete waste of time. Now you can turn your efforts to something new. If you enjoyed Badger, then you'll get a kick out of FootyFootyFooty.

    Sunday, June 06, 2004

    More than meets the eye

    If you're like me, and think Nestea tastes like jet fuel, then try Tejava, an unsweetened microbrewed iced tea. You can get a liter for $1.29 at Trader Joe's. Terrific on ice with a slice of lemon -- or you could always add a little sugar. Plus it's perfect with breakdancing Transformers.

    Saturday, June 05, 2004

    Running the morning gauntlets

    This morning I drove through a gauntlet of neighborhood tag sales to get to New Haven. I uncovered a dusty, unused Barnes & Noble gift card the other day and I wanted to knock a few items off my wishlist. New Haven was overflowing with out-of-towners and parking was tight. Lucky me, this weekend is the Yale reunions for the classes of 1964 (40th), 1959 (45th), 1954 (50th), and 1949 (55th). So the closer I got to the bookstore, the trickier the elderly gauntlet became.

    But I found my way and decided on The Best of Roald Dahl and Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (thanks for the recommendation, Tim!). On my return, I snuck down some side streets to avoid the crowds and got lost among the university buildings. I eventually found myself at the foot of this tower, a few strides from my parked car.

    a tower in new haven

    Friday, June 04, 2004

    I heart Jewelboxing

    Recently I received a sample of the Super Jewel Box Standard - a *gorgeous* way to package your own CD. A 30pack of Standards goes for $49 (they also have Kings for DVD packaging). You get everything you need to create a slick presentation -- the quality cases, their design templates, trayliners, insert books, and disc labels. You'd think I was a salesperson for these folks, but I'm simply an overwhelmed customer.

    I used my sample to package a CD-ROM of internet marketing goodies for a client. I've been working on some new drafts of their website, plus I tossed on various documents I'd written for search engine optimization, email distribution strategies, a refreshed library of their logos, and a few other marketing-related tools. They liked the contents, but they were floored by the jewelbox. Whoops! I guess the packaging can overshadow the product. I was just happy that they were happy.

    You can think of a million uses for jewelboxing -- mix CDs, home videos, drink coasters, and (coming soon) photo archives. If you're interested in ordering but don't have use for a full 30pack, I'd entertain going in on a package together. Let me know.

    Thursday, June 03, 2004

    Shhh… Sounds In Spaces

    If you find yourself wandering London with some free time on your hands, treat your ears to the Victoria & Albert Museum's newest installation: Shhh... Sounds In Spaces. If you thought David Byrne (of the Talking Heads) was freaky on record, wait until you hear his toilet-flushes and whispers.

    If you can't make it to England, there's always Sound Art at Mass MoCA.

    Hawaiian wallpaper

    After chatting with Tim about some great websites to find desktop wallpaper, I decided to create a handful of my own desktops from our Hawaii photos. I suppose doing this five months ago would've been more timely, but.. meh.. I've been busy.

    Click on an image below to open the wallpaper-sized photo. Then right-click and choose "Save Picture As..." All are 1024x768.

    And one bonus image for good measure. You're not getting professional grade photography here, but then again I'm not a professional grade photographer.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2004

    MusicPlasma: Shebam! Pow! Blop! Wizz!

    Similar to the Visual Thesaurus, MusicPlasma is a visual search engine for music. A crisp interface allows you to input your favorite (or least favorite) musical artist to see similar artists within the same genre orbit. I don't know how connections are mapped (why is Tiny Tim close to Led Zeppelin?), but it's fun to poke around and zoom in on different orbits, listen to sound samples, and tweak the display (using the Design tab). Another inexplicable direct connection: Right Said Fred and Serge Gainsbourg. Shebam! Pow! Blop! Wizz!

    Tuesday, June 01, 2004

    In a skronk state of mind

    The Sundance Channel was playing Downtown 81 (or New York Beat Movie) this morning as I was getting ready for work. I caught the first 20 minutes and wasn't terribly impressed (neither was However I'm sure if I didn't have to get on the road, I would've kept watching as I found it oddly compelling.

    It's funny how hearing a snippet of music can totally get you in a particular music mood. Early scenes show a carefree Basquiat wandering the streets of Manhattan, passing the Guggenheim as he plays his clarinet. See? Not making movie history, but oddly compelling -- like a grainy PBS documentary. As he strolls past graffiti, the Lounge Lizards' "Bob the Bob" leaks onto the film score.

    That got me hooked. It's been months since I last heard Voice of Chunk by the Lounge Lizards. So I listened to it all the way to work. Now I'm itching to hear more No Wave Lower East Side free jazz/avant-garde skronk today. And that means ridiculous artists like John Zorn. How much of this can you really listen to, though, before you're back to Patsy Cline and Bobby Vinton?