Monthly ArchiveJune 2006

Muzak 25 Jun 2006 12:32 am

Neko Case Performance

Tonight, I got to see Neko Case perform at the Rio theatre in Santa Cruz. She is touring for her new album, “The Fox Confessor Brings the Flood”.

The opening band, Sonny Smith, was great. He tells really dramatic stories with interesting characters in his songs. The music is mostly good appropriate accompaniment to his lyrics. The songs were all quite eccentric, from killing a man for the love of a woman on the street, to the upset of his lover leaving for another man.

So, then after resetting the stage, Neko Case, came on. She delivered, and then she delivered some more. The encore was probably another 30 minutes of songs. The sound was mixed flawlessly, and from where I sat, and then stood, everything came across balanced and clear. If you get a chance to see her, GO.

Her song style is plaintive and sad, but she delivers it with a beautiful, strong voice silhouetted with reverb. It haunts you for days afterwards.

The songs deal with painful subjects – loneliness, loss, feelings of insecurity, a sense that the world is burning. She delivers it with that voice though, and her talented band supports everything as it should be. The arrangements were often country or 50’s ballads, but most carried a punk dissonance in the twang. Some were grungy and dissonant entirely. The steel guitar/banjo player played soulfully and articulately. The guitarist gave beautiful fills that echoed and complemented Neko’s voice.

The accompanying singer had a sweet voice as well, and a great smartass repartee with the crowd. Whenever she sang though that all fell away and her face was serious as she watched Neko and sang with her. She also sang on some of Sonny Smith’s tunes. The whole band was laid back in their demeanor, but watched and played with each other in great time. It was actually enjoyable to see them work so well together.

It’s somewhat surprising that most of the songs stuck to their standard length. Not a lot of improvisation from what I could tell, but that was just fine. The through-composed songs, and their heartfelt, heart-yanking delivery were each perfect little gifts. In between songs, the members of the band improvised amusing little stories on topics such as Frito casseroles, how boring they, as people, were, and how much they loved Santa Cruz compared to say, San Diego. Neko Case, had a great self-deprecating demeanor, but was completely focused and sincere when singing. It was more like we were sitting in their living room, watching them play through their songs. You can hear a sample of their witty banter on their website, here

Overall, this show was better than I could’ve imagined. It takes real talent to make you smile at the beauty of the moment, even when, no, actually because you are hearing painful, sad thoughts.

UPDATE: You can see some live footage from this tour at the steel guitar player, Jon Rauhouse’s web site, here.

Great Outdoors &Miscellaneous 21 Jun 2006 10:45 pm

Proving I know nothing about making movies

I saw this great Wolf Spider outside tonight. It’s body was probably 1.5 – 2 inches long, and each leg was about the thickness of a toothpick, albeit a bit hairier.

I wanted to post a picture of it quickly, and so once again, an unedited Crappy Movie Productions short awaits you. Be prepared. It will suck, but try to see the humor in that.

WolfSpider(warning 77mb) or here is a small version of WolfSpider(1.6mb).

Miscellaneous &Software 19 Jun 2006 11:27 pm

Biologically Inspired Computing

Here‘s a little crappy movie showing part of the really cool bynase protocol experiment with Ward Cunningham at the Maker Faire.

See cybords for more info on the details.

Great Outdoors &Miscellaneous &Philosophy 15 Jun 2006 05:26 pm

Poisson distribution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Did you know that the occurrences of several natural phenomenon follow a Poisson distribution?


  • The number of cars on a given stretch of road over a given time.
  • The number of roadkill found per unit length of road.

Read more at Poisson distribution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Software 13 Jun 2006 01:13 pm

Websites as graphs – an HTML DOM Visualizer Applet

Websites as graphs – an HTML DOM Visualizer Applet. This is a cool little utility that will show you what a webpage DOM looks like in an eye-pleasing graph.

Miscellaneous 11 Jun 2006 03:30 pm

Amazon Profile Publicly Available

Recently, a colleague that I met at JavaOne emailed to let me know that he found my birthday and other pieces of information online when doing a search on my email address. I was quite surprised and did a Google search myself.

What I found was disturbing. The fourth or fifth result was my Amazon profile, which I did not even know existed. It listed my birthday and friends that I had linked to for sharing wish lists. The profile page it linked to also had my recent orders.

I never opted in for this functionality and I have used the same Amazon account for years. I tried to turn everything off, which involved several different privacy settings, but of course it is still indexed on Google, and probably other search engines. I also found that I could change the nickname on my account to not be my email address. Amazon still allows searching on it though. Perhaps this is an update delay issue.

You might want to check your own settings by searching for your email address on Google.

I sent a letter in response to this automatic opt-in to publicly sharing my personal information. I asked them to explicitly ask for permission when they want to share my personal information, and to ask Google, and other search engines, to flush their caches of profiles for people who update their privacy settings. We’ll see if they care.

Apple 07 Jun 2006 11:33 pm

The Omni Group – Applications – OmniDazzle

A new application beta is available from the Omni Group, called OmniDazzle

It’s a great little piece of eye-candy that makes your mouse more visible and many other things.


Miscellaneous 07 Jun 2006 11:02 pm

Good Ingredients

Last night, we had some chicken to cook for dinner, but we weren’t sure what sounded good.

A quick browse through How to Cook Everything and we came across what turned out to be a great baste for chicken.

Honey, garlic, cumin, orange juice, dry sherry, white wine, salt and pepper. It smelled really sweet, but once the chicken was basted heavily in it, it was great!. The honey mellowed and the cumin really came out. I highly recommend the combination.