New Digs.

February 28, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Welcome to Octopushat 2.o. Poke around and let me know what you think…

I’ve switched over to wordprss because I’d grown really bored w/ Blogger. I think WordPress is pretty nifty. I have no real plans for this incarnation. I enjoy writing in only simple sentences.

It is quite refreshing.

Take it to the track…

February 27, 2007 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Our First Visit to K1 Speed in Irvine.
Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

Over the weekend Jules and I visited an indoor go kart track in Irvine. We met up with the Clarks and the Holschers for an afternoon of flinging 20HP electric karts around and had an absolute blast! These karts were more serious beasts than the gas-burners on the slick-track at the put-put course that I was previously familiar with, though I think the helmet-requirement was more marketing than a safety necessity. I was, predictably, the slowest of the boys on the course with the afternoon’s laurels going to Todd. If it wasn’t so expensive (we paid $55/person for 3 14-lap races) I’d be down there again this weekend, but regardless we had a very fun time and were all surprisingly sore on Sunday.

Sunday was, of course, the Academy Awards and I could have FWD the entire show and been plenty happy. I think it is great that Marty FINALLY got his Oscar for Directing. It was long over due. And I’m likewise happy that The Departed (my 2nd favorite film from the year) won the big prize. It is no secret that Hollywood is in trouble, and this year’s dull and lack-luster awards were a symptom of America’s deepening disinterest in theatrical exhibition. I seemed like even the participants were conscious of the downturn this year; they couldn’t muster more than a modest level of self-congratulations.

Violence in the Office

February 27, 2007 at 5:10 pm | Posted in @theoffice | Leave a comment

It hasn’t quite come to that yet, but only because I have such amazing self-control. Well that and I’m under-caffeinated because people keep drinking the last of the coffee in the breakroom without making more. I swear, I’ve gotten 3 cups of coffee today and I’ve had to brew FOUR pots of coffee. So this afternoon I sent the following email to the company, subject: “Coffee. It’s like blood, except you drink it:”

That right folks…
Studies in lab rats (and office drones) have shown that caffeine intake is directly proportional to productivity.

Lowell has been gracious enough to supply the means to an unending supply of that sweet, sweet elixir that will keep as all in the happies.

All that is required is 45 seconds of your time.
Only YOU can prevent empty the carafe blues.

If you drink coffee, and after pouring yourself a fresh hot cup, there is only a cup’s worth left in the pot.

PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, CAN YOU MAKE A FRESH POT!?

It isn’t hard: Dump the dregs. Remove the spent grounds from the filter basket. Insert new filter. Measure the proper amount of coffee (use the white ceramic mug on top of the coffee machine. fill it nearly full for regular, and heaping full for high-test.). Replace filter basket. Hit switch.

THAT’S IT.
SIMPLE.

The single easiest way to always be John’s friend.

But it isn’t just for me…
The entertainment industry is America’s most noble industrial pursuit, and the whole industry is fueled by coffee. Like coal to the steel mills or lumber to the uh… lumber jacks, Coffee is Hollywood’s most precious raw material. With out nature’s sweetest nectar, our Clients would be listless zombies.

For the sake of our clients (who pay YOUR bills) it is of the utmost importance that we always have plentiful and fresh coffee.
Happy clients mean happy YOU.

I haven’t had any response yet, but hopefully tomorrow our 3-pot coffee machine will have more than 3 tablespoons of coffee available at any given time.

Neko Case, Sinus Infections, and Global Warming

February 19, 2007 at 2:49 pm | Posted in LosAngeles | Leave a comment

Crazy whirlwind-weekend that was made more sur/un/hyper-real by my constant consumption of Actifed and related decongestants due to a terribly unpleasant sinus-infucktion. I hate the zombie-under-water feeling that those drugs give me, but I decided it was better than the head-in-a-vise/pressure-cooker feelings without it. Even now I’m struggling through my day-to-day in a fog, unable to think-up interesting diction or even string words together…

Saturday night we saw the insert adjective here Neko Case play the intimate Henry Fonda theater in Hollywood. And even though I was barely on my feet it was an awesome show. I really dig that theater, and if I have to go to a General Admission show the Henry Fonda is a good place to see one thanks to the roof-top bar, mezzanine seating, and well laid-out floor area. It was, unfortunately, about 600 degrees on the floor while we waited for her set, and we had to wait for a LONG time since Neko brought out Country-music legend Porter Wagoner (best know to the Hollywood hipster set as that guy who help Borat write songs on Da Ali G Show) to play a guest-set before she went one. Porter was supported by ex-Johnny Cash band-member Marty Stuart on his set, and Billy Bob Thorton (on drums) and Dwight Yokem (on bass.) A pretty cool Hollywood Easteregg to get the crowd pumped up for Neko’s set.

Neko’s got rolling just before 11 and her performance cut through the uncomfortable environment, technical issues (she was having difficulty with the monitors for the first 1/2 of the set) and her own fatigue (her 9th consecutive night playing a show) and really brought down the house. The set-list was very similar to last time’s and was a good mix of Fox Confessor and her earlier albums and she opened and closed with two of my favorite songs (“Things that Scare Me” and “John Saw That Number.”) Her band is fantastic, and the banjo/pedal-steel player, John Rauhouse can play the hell out of the motherfucking pedal guitar. And the Banjo. That guy rocks. She played a more banjo-heavy version of Maybe Sparrow (a lot like the version they played on Austin City Limits) and other highlights included a very powerful version of “Hold on Hold On” that blew me away. Neko is an amazing performer and a very unique songwriter that doesn’t get nearly the due she deserves.

Sunday I spent most of the day recouping on the couch and in the evening Jules and I finally got around to watching “An Inconvenient Truth” which was powerful and interesting and not nearly as terrifying as I expected (though the Melissa Ethridge-fuled end credits were a bit over-the-top.) If you haven’t seen it yet go watch it because if we don’t start doing something about the way we live we are going to be fucked. There are a couple of times in teh film where Al Gore says that Global Warming isn’t a political issue it is a moral issue and that is really true. It is tragic that it has been made into a political battle-ground when really we shouldn’t have to debate it. I mean there are polar bears who are drowning RIGHT NOW because their ice-floes are too far apart. What more do you need to know? FUCKING Polar Bears who are FUCKING drowning! That is just not right.

Any Other Wednesday

February 14, 2007 at 5:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Julie and I don’t celebrate Valentines Day.  I’m not even 100% sure why anymore.  We are not cynical or jaded (well, maybe we are, but that isn’t why.)  It just isn’t our thing.  Tonight we’ll be ordering in our usual Wednesday chicken schwarma and watching Jake and Kate and the gang try and get off the island.

That doesn’t stop me from wishing all my nonreaders a happy Vday!  I hope everyone enjoys being with the ones they love, or at least get some amount of pleasure from sulking at home alone!

5k and Change

February 12, 2007 at 5:21 pm | Posted in Scion | 1 Comment



5k and Change
Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

I noticed this morning that I’ve rolled-past 5,000 miles in the (still unnamed) xA in about 5 months of ownership. I’m still loving it just as much as day-one. It is so much fun to drive that I actually don’t dread the drive-to-work in the mornings, and that is saying a lot. The iPod integration i with the stereo is a great feature and having 20+ gigabytes of music on-tap is fantastic.

I recently got grease-monkey on it and installed a Progress Tech rear anti-sway bar. This is a thick steel bar that bolts up under the rear suspension components to increase stiffness in the torsion-beam rear axle. This reduces the FWD car’s under steer and makes the car corner “flatter” (less lean when turning.) Basically it makes the car handle (even more) like a go-kart. The install was ridiculously easy, I was actually able to complete it on my lunch-break with enough time left over for a test-drive. (I wish I had taken some pics of the car up on ramps in the warehouse here at work, but I didn’t have the camera that day…)

The MPG has improved since those initial weeks of driving. Some combination of adjusting my driving-style and engine break-in results in an average of 25MPG on my traffic-bogged 7 mile commute. Though on no-traffic days (like over the holidays) I can easily see over 30MPG. The car isn’t really built for freeway cruising as the transmission is geared short for in-town pep, but on a recent drive over 15 miles of the 101 I hit 40MPG, and that is nothing to scoff at. The Scion xA might not be a hot-rod, but it deserves respect as a refined and fun to drive car on LA’s mean streets.

Yeah, what he said

February 12, 2007 at 4:57 pm | Posted in John Likes, Media | Leave a comment

John likes Gonzo Journalism. John Likes Chefs. So obviously John Likes the king of Gonzo-Chefs Anthoney Bourdain. You’ve seen him eat a still-beating cobra heart, and cheered at his vitriol when he speaks of all that is unholy in American consumer-culture cuisine. Now, in a guest-blogging spot at ruhlman.com, see him tear-down FoodTV. He has lots of mean and hurtful things to say about all those big-headed Chef-bots on the network that so profoundly blew its promise of teaching American’s how to COOK. My favorite tidbit is what he has to say about the ghastly Rachel Ray:

“Complain all you want. It’s like railing against the pounding surf. She only grows stronger and more powerful. Her ear-shattering tones louder and louder.”

Heed what the man says, he know what he is talking about, and he has nothing but good-things to say about Geek-fav TV Chef Alton Brown. It is too bad that the two of them are on different sides of the food-on-tv divide, because a savvy EP could put together a fantastic “go somewhere and eat stuff” show featuring AB and AB.

Old Habits…

February 9, 2007 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Man, this blogging stuff is HARD.  Or at least I was so much in the habit of NOT blogging that I’m having trouble posting even now that I’ve (notquiteyet)re-launched and am trying to keep the post volume up.

I think I just need to put fingers to keys and push through any doubts I have abuot WHAT I should post and just post.

So yeah.  We are abotu 80% unpacked into the new pad, and things are coming a long pretty nicely…

How Stoked Am I?

February 6, 2007 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Media | 1 Comment

William Gibson, my long-time favorite living author (points for who knows my favorite zombie author,) has a new novel coming out for my birthday! Well, August 7th actually, but who ‘s counting. I dunno what it is about, nor do I really care, but it sounds like he is sticking with the present-day setting of his last, Pattern Recognition. That is just fine by me.

As it is no secret that I’m a huge Gibson fan, I often get asked which book to read by him and my answer is usually “it depends….” and then I launch into a lengthy discussion of the relative strengths of his novels and what the best entry point is. In a nutshell: I break his work into 4 categories:

      The Sprawl Trilogy (Nuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive) is the origonal work, and many believe the popular-genesis of the Cyberpunk movement/genre. Nuromancer (the first in the loosely connected series) is groundbreaking, mindblowing, and really neat but it is also raw, immature, and lacks the craftsmanship of his later work (though these are reasons that I really love it. You can FEEL Gibson’s youthful exuberance in the urgency of the text.) This is the best starting-point if you’re a fan of the Cyberpunk ethos and want to see where a lot of it came from.

      The Bridge Trilogy (Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow’s Parties) are much more mature works. They are set in a (more) near-future, post-earthquake Bay Area and deals with the emergence of a society-altering technology. Like the more “core” cyberpunk of his earlier works it set in a markedly distopian world populated by roughly-hewn and gritty characters, however it has a markedly more optimistic tone and is more forgiving than the darker first trilogy. This is the best entry point if you want Sci-Fi, but are not particularly interested in the genesis of the Cyberpunk movement. The Bridge trilogy features richer characters and better writing, and is still plenty shiny and Sci-Fi. I’m partial to Virtual Light especially.

      Gibson’s post-scifi work is currently comprised of his last novel: Pattern Recognition; which, I would assume, will be joined by Spook Country upon publication. Pattern Recognition is set in present day, post 9/11 world and is tough to sum-up. On the surface you have a prodigy freelance ad-(wo)man/coolhunter who’s unique talent (an allergy to sucky marketing) gets her on the shit-list of a powerful and connected ad executive. Add in the mysterious disappearance of her father in the neighborhood of Ground Zero, the even more mysterious and alluring viral web-video akin (and presage to) Loneygirl13, and the prerequisite cool/weird technology and jet-setting locals (Russia, London, New York, and some Asian metropolis to name a few) and you’ve got a pretty intense and layered “techno thriller.” This is certainly his most accomplished work, and a great starting point if you are leery of Sci-Fi, if you wished Dan Brown’s books were about more than just the mystery, or if you just want a truly “smart” thriller.

      Fill Up Your Queue

      February 1, 2007 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Media | Leave a comment

      A brief, off-the-top-of-my-head, list of movies you may have missed from last year that you should add to your queue:

      • Jarhead (by no means the 2nd coming of Apocalypse Now. Not even Platoon. But still worth the watch and oh-so-relevant.)
      • Inside Man (Spike Lee’s (!) understated heist mystery featuring a weird performance by Jodi Foster and a stand out one from Clive Owen)
      • A Scanner Darkly (mind-fuck-o-rama + awesome visuals +RDJ, WH, and KR = awesome.)
      • Narc (An amazing cop-drama in the vien of the French Connection with Ray Liota’s best role since Henry Hill. Not to be missed.)

      And that’s all I got for right now…

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