Friday, May 30, 2008

Cluster / Tussle @ GAMH, San Francisco, May 25, 2008

I saw support band Tussle. They play synths, bass + synths, drums, drums. It made me optimistic to see two drummers after seeing the Boredoms with three. They play a bit of synth noodling then the two drummers and bassist lock into a motorik groove. Pretty simple but it works for me. During the whole gig there were images projected on the bands and stage. There were fractals and hexagons, and vintage video games, and more and more semi-psychedelic images. There were no vocals and the band didn't say a word. They had a bit of a post punk feel (that's a good thing). I thought of Delta 5 and Shriekback - both bands who featured a lot of bass. I liked Tussle.

You can see in the poster above that Cluster used to have lots of nice piles of analog equipment. Now all that they need is easily laid out on two tables. In the interval I wander to the front and watch the setup. It takes me a while to realize that neither guy has a laptop, which is strange, even guitar bands have laptops nowadays.

Eventually the duo wanders on. They don't look at each other, but each sits at his table. Hans-Joachim Roedelius has a keyboard, some CD players, and a glass of wine. He sits on a bar stool. Dieter Moebius has some boxes with knobs on. He perches on a flight case. The sounds are ambient and gentle. Things change slowly. It is nice, but I wish for the motorik groove. I'm glad I'm right at the front so I know I'm not missing anything. I can see when they tap their feet. The sound cuts out for a second and Moebius glances across sheepishly; Roedelius is looking away. After 25 minutes there's a pause. Roedelius has a drink and raises his glass. There's quite a murmur behind me, I think there are quite a few conversations going on. Many people are intent on videoing or photographing the performance. Sometimes I wonder what is the point of live performances. Cluster are very serious and they are definitely making decisions that affect the music all the time. After a while I go home. I'm glad I went.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bay to Breakers 2008

I finished in 58:16, a new record for me, and under an hour. I was 863rd in the race. Knocking 5 minutes off my time was a big achievement for me. I paced myself better, I think, in that I had nothing left at the end. But the big thing I did was to train at different speeds. That was hard but it made a difference.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A simple heuristic for evaluating Global Warming Policies

From A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies by William Nordhaus

Whether someone is serious about tackling the global-warming problem can be readily gauged by listening to what he or she says about the carbon price. Suppose you hear a public figure who speaks eloquently of the perils of global warming and proposes that the nation should move urgently to slow climate change. Suppose that person proposes regulating the fuel efficiency of cars, or requiring high-efficiency lightbulbs, or subsidizing ethanol, or providing research support for solar power—but nowhere does the proposal raise the price of carbon. You should conclude that the proposal is not really serious and does not recognize the central economic message about how to slow climate change. To a first approximation, raising the price of carbon is a necessary and sufficient step for tackling global warming. The rest is at best rhetoric and may actually be harmful in inducing economic inefficiencies.

I have not read this book but this quote summarizes my position. This is quoted in an interesting article by Freeman Dyson. Dyson is often labeled as a global warming sceptic. It seems to me he admits the problem, but is sceptical about how to tackle it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A twenty-five year old bug

alien insect
Originally uploaded by atomicshark

A twenty-five year old bug has been fixed in the BSD flavours of Unix.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Which Shakespeare Play Are You?

My Score: Macbeth

I scored 44% = Tragic, 34% = Comic, 34% = Romantic, 49% = Historic

I am Macbeth! A supposed retelling of the true story of King Macbeth of Scotland, Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's bloodiest plays. Macbeth, after hearing the prophesy of three witches, believes he will be named king of Scotland. However, this line of thinking eventually leads Macbeth down a horrible road of blood and death as he fights first to gain, and then to keep hold of the crown. Believing the play to be cursed, many actors will not even say the name of the play inside of a theater unless it is being performed and refer to it simply as "The Scottish Play". But you probably don't care about some stupid old curse. As Macbeth you most likely don't take warnings too well and you are so headstrong that you can't take good advice when it comes your way, even if it is for your own good. But being Macbeth isn't all bad. You are most likely a man (or woman) of action. People probably like you because you are good at thinking on your feet and making quick decisions. But be careful, as your rash behavior may also get you in to trouble along the way.

Link: The Which Shakespeare Play Are You? Test

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Avoiding reunions

I continue to try to avoid rock reunions. Fortunately the Gang of Four have now split in two so that's a temptation removed. The main risk on the horizon is the reformed My Bloody Valentine. I think I don't want to see them again after the fabulous 1989 ULU gig (in video above). They are also playing at the dreaded concourse in San Francisco. Nowadays I go to gigs on my own. This can be boring but at least it means no-one will drag me to a reunion show.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Capitalism fails

Free Comic Book Day was a disappointment. The website said there would be manga comics among the free comics. We went to the local comic store. This was the first time G. had been there. She had money burning a hole in her pocket. Comic Outpost is an old style comic store. It was pretty friendly with a two plates of cookies and cupcakes by the free comics. But there was no manga to be seen apart from some books like Akira that were new when I was a kid. It seems like a failure of capitalism when a kid cannot spend her money on what she wants. Fortunately the library provided the goods and we returned home happy.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I won't let you bury it

Good use of music in a sports video. This is "Time Is Running Out" by Muse