All posts by edcool1

Born and raised in Berkeley, CA. Graduated from San Francisco State. Now live in El Cerrito.

Just trying to get by, get my student loans paid, and hopefully create things that people enjoy in the world.

I’m an extremely fussy bastard

Sleep Report for 2/12-2/13 2012
My sleep patterns are changing.

Any word on if this is a good chart or not? Interestingly, I do remember dreaming before waking up. It’s a little too far in the past to share the dream, but it had some interesting elements. I’m just unable to remember them. OH WELL.

So, what I really wanted to talk about this morning was my eating habits. I suspect this will be a reoccurring theme for this blog. People who know me know that I am very fussy. Fussy to a fault. When trying to decide on a restaurant to go to, it’s always a disaster if I’m coming along. I’d probably be happier if I didn’t have to eat anything at all.

Almost at odds with this, however, I do enjoy food. I like my food cooked well, with interesting flavors and good ingredients. I like to know what goes into my food, I like to know how it’s cooked. I want to be able to cook the foods I like most myself. Since the foods I like are somewhat limited, this is actually an achievable goal.

My mother went to culinary school before I was born, and she has always been very good at cooking. It’s really a shame I’m so fussy, because I don’t get to enjoy most of the foods she makes. My cousin also went to culinary school, and she told me about the concept of a supertaster.

I’m not 100% scientifically certain if I’m actually a supertaster, but it would make a lot of sense if I were. From the wiki article on this subject:

Specific food sensitivities

Although individual food preference for supertasters cannot be typified, documented examples for either lessened preference or consumption include:

That list is very much in line with my food dislikes. The only way I’ll drink alcohol, coffee, and soda is if it is heavily diluted with some sort of sugar. I’ve never in my whole life been able to eat a brussel sprout or spinnach. I’m not particularly fond of any soy product (I don’t even like tofu unless it has been soaking in a soup to absorb it’s flavors). Oh and I don’t like most soups either.

I’m aware that the taste alone is not a good enough excuse for me not eating more of the foods above. There are other complex elements in this foodie equation. Mouth feel is another big factor in whether or not I’ll like a food. If it’s mushy, or mealy, or particularly fatty, I’m more likely to spit it out than swallow it. I don’t like any fish or other sea food. I have a strong dislike for meat I have to pick off a bone. The flavors alone do not justify my dislike for these foods, it has to be psychological.

I imagine some of it has to do with my upbringing. I have often been told the story of my mother trying to feed me vegetable baby food, only to spit it all out at her. She could only take so much of that before giving up, I suppose. I often hear stories from people who don’t share my finicky tastes about how their mothers put food in front of them and expected them to eat it–if they didn’t eat it, they didn’t eat. Not the case with me. Can I blame my parents for not wanting to starve me when I refused to eat the foods that were good for me?

And now that I’ve lived so long with these taste preferences, it’s even harder to change them. I’m far too set in my ways.

But it’s not too late. Maybe I can learn to like things. That will be part of the adventure that is this blog.

Later today: at lunch time, I plan on going to the Safeway near work to try and find something I can eat for lunch throughout the week. Sounds like an adventure already.

Sunday #1

So it’s the end of the first week of this blog. I think it went pretty well as far as first weeks go. I do think I need a break from it, at least one day, so I didn’t post anything on Saturday. I also feel like Sunday should be more time to unwind.

But I can’t just abandon the blog for two whole days.

So why not, on Sunday, reflect a bit on how the previous week went? Things I would have liked to do, but didn’t get around to. Things I still have plans to do. Ideas for the coming week. Stuff like that. But I still want to relax. Case in point, I’m writing this from my bathtub.

Posting in the bathtub
I'll try to keep this website worksafe

So let’s get to it.

The biggest thing in my life last week had to have been my starting a new job. Things are somewhat fast-paced at the San Mateo DMV, but my lack of training and experience allows me to ignore that for the most part. Frankly, I don’t like not knowing what to do, so having to ask for help makes me uncomfortable. I can’t wait to start my training so that I’ll actually be useful to the branch. Until then, I guess I’ll have to be satisfied doing ‘easy’ stuff.

I must say, it’s nice to not need to ask permission to go on breaks, or to lunch, or to quit for the day. Live by the clock and don’t worry about anything else. You’re owed that time, and anything extra costs extra. Puts my mind as so much more ease than working freelance web design, or working for a friend on their iPhone application, or working on a film set 16 hours a day or longer.

A recent episode of Inside The Actors Studio with George Clooney gave me hope that not every film set is the tense, dreary, exhausting mess that has been my experience in the industry, but I don’t think I’m cut out to be on the bottom of that ladder. It’s easy for George to say, ‘I never want to work like that,’ but that’s because he’s George Clooney. At the bottom, I had no right to make that statement, so here I am working at the DMV.

I only hope that it’s not an irreversible decision.

What else happened this week? I tried to go to a movie, and failed, but that’s okay, got to have a meal in Japantown instead.

Did some more work for Tom yesterday. His app, fitness buddy, recently upgraded to 2.0 for the iPhone, as well as launched for android, and you can see a lot of my work in that app, photos and videos. For the amount of time I put into it, it’s only fair for me to plug it here. More on that process in the future, maybe.

What did I not do this week? I didn’t really write anything long or serious, it was all train of thought blogging. I reviewed an album, but I’d like to do better than that in the future.

I didn’t post a new radio show, or any real photography. I did post a video, but it was kind of shaky and haphazardly thrown together. I can do better.

I have the house to myself, but instead of using that privacy to make a radio show I’m taking a bath. Not a total loss, but I can’t get into this habit.

For now, the radio shows are probably this website’s best feature, and I haven’t even posted one yet! Not good. I’ll need to get on that.

On a somewhat related note, worldOneradio.org went down this week due to an accounting error. The site was close to being completely redone, and now all that work is gone. Thankfully, I had nothing to do with these problems, but they’re going to be a pain to overcome.

So, coming soon, a new radio show, a hopefully more thought out review, and some photography.

See you tomorrow.

Sleep

Sleeping chart for Feb. 9-10
Last night's sleep activity

How long does it take for the average person to fall asleep?

I have this app on my phone that is supposed to keep track of my sleep state, so that it doesn’t wake me up when I’m in a deep sleep. I don’t really understand it.

First of all, it seems to wake me up when I’m in what it calls REM sleep. How does it figure I’m in REM sleep when it’s only got an accelerometer and a microphone to make measurements? And doesn’t REM sleep mean I’m dreaming? Is it easiest to wake up when you’re dreaming?

If that chart is to be believed, then I am dreaming through most of the night there, but I don’t really remember any of it. Maybe I should start trying to remember dreams and share them here. I can’t really claim to have interesting dreams, though. I don’t even have bad dreams. I can count the number of nightmares I’ve had since I was eight years old on one hand. I’ve had some, let’s say, weird dreams since then, but every time I do I can usually attribute it to my body warning me from sleeping in a poor position. When I sleep on my arm and pinch a nerve, that’s when I get a weird dream to get me out of that position. Maybe that’s why it’s easiest to wake up during REM sleep.

I don’t know if I snore or not, but it’s likely since everyone in my family does. The paid version of this app I use is supposed to be able to record the noises you make, but I’m not interested in paying a dollar for that feature. It works well enough at not sounding an alarm when I’m in a deep sleep.

If I try to break it down, what happened when I was younger to lift that bad dream burden? The story I like to tell is that around that time, I was taken to a pow wow, and my native American neighbor bought me a dream catcher. I hung it near my bed and I haven’t had a serious bad dream in over 15 years.

That’s a true story, and it’s a cute idea, but come on. Dream catchers don’t do anything (not that I don’t still keep it near my bed). So what really happened? Did the dream catcher give me a sense of security? A sort of placebo effect? Or maybe I was at an age where bad dreams were less common anyway. Or, most likely, I had finally been media saturated enough that dreams really didn’t matter. That’s kind of a sad way to look at it. It’s more fun to just trust in the dream catcher.

As for not getting enough sleep, or just laying in bed for a half hour to an hour trying to sleep, I probably should just be more active. Physical exercise, genuine fatigue, should be the reason I’m tired, not just because I had to wake up early that day.

Thanks to this blog, I’ve been waking up consistently every day. Maybe sometime soon it will even feel normal to be awake before the sun rises. Hard to say.

Sleep is interesting though.

You’re lookin’ swell, Dolly

It says that at the top of the dashboard. Hello Dolly is actually a pretty good movie.

So, as I feared, working full-time greatly reduces the amount of time I have to watch stuff/play stuff/do anything other than go to work and go home. I’m not really complaining, at least not yet, but it means I don’t have a whole lot new to write about here.

Let’s see… I got home last night, watched an episode of Perry Mason with my folks, and then we watched the new episode of Nature, which was all about raccoons. I was starting to fall asleep by the end of it, but the gist of the program seemed to be that raccoons are pretty smart, they’re everywhere, they don’t travel very far, they got hands…

Oh and they’re destroying Japanese temples that have lasted for thousands of years without them.

You see, in the late 70s, there was a TV anime called Rascal the Raccoon. This show put the idea in people’s heads that having a raccoon for a pet was a good idea, and they were imported for this purpose. But people didn’t realize that raccoons stopped being cute when they grew up, and were prone to bite and scratch. So, discarded, the raccoons thrived in a new environment where their only natural predator is the automobile. These ancient temples have a zero tolerance for the creatures, and they’re all killed if caught.

So the show seemed to say that the animals were getting smarter, and like very much living among humans. So that’s fun. Look forward to your future raccoon overlords. Maybe that’s what the 2012 Mayan prophecy is really all about.

This is getting harder every day

A high speed chase ended at the exit I use to go to work. I guess, at least, it’s better because it happened in the middle of the night.

Seems like you rarely hear about high speed chases involving Volvos. Apparently the car rolled several times, and the guy survived with minor injuries. I guess if you have to be in a high speed chase, why not do it in one of those excessively safe European cars. Just seems like it’d be embarrassing when they arrest you.

Forgot to bring my laptop today, good thing my phone does most of the tasks I require.

If I’m going to keep coming to this Starbucks every day, I should see about getting one of those gold card things. What’s the deal with that? You have to spend a certain amount? Every month or what?

Speaking of coffee, I’ve always had this problem where caffeine doesn’t quite wake me up or keep me awake. In fact I suspect it even makes me more tired sometimes. What’s up with that? If that is the case, does anybody else recommend any caffeine alternatives? Anybody who recommends 5 Hour Energy is getting stabbed in the eyes.

Sorry if I’m a little cranky. This sleep situation is catching up with me. I’ve always had this problem where I can’t force myself to sleep, especially when it’s important that I do so. Anyone have any tricks for fixing that?

It occurs to me that this whole website is rather self-centered. I guess, to a certain extent, it needs to be, but maybe that doesn’t make for the most interesting posts. Conundrums. I’ll continue to try and improve. At this stage, I think it’s more important that I keep writing regularly than what I actually write about. When I rebuild my writing skills, then I can worry about making posts interesting.

More to come later, for now, I gotta go to work.

Juicy

Too tired to watch house or Alcatraz. We’ll see if I get to them before they’re erased from the DVR. But anyway, here’s a video about one of my favorite restaurants.

httpv://youtu.be/LRvEsAa_luk

That may have been the best sandwich I’ve ever had in my life, anywhere. If you don’t know, now you know.

Sorry for the shakey iPhone video. I was hungry and/so in a hurry. Also forgot to mute the last couple clips, dunno if it’s worth trying to reupload it. Like I said the other day, I’m a little rusty at all this stuff. I’ll get better.

Potential topics for tomorrow: new tosh.0, first staff meeting, thoughts about procrastination.

For later this week, anybody wanna go see a movie? I think there’s a few things out that could be good. Have a hankering to go to a theater. I’ve got vouchers for century theaters too. Let’s discus it.

What a difference a day makes

Instagram Photo

I am ready to close this window and just take a nap…

BUT NO.

Must keep at it.

So, as I expected, the first day of work was, well, work. Everybody was really nice, but it’s gonna be tough to sit through this every day. It’s harder because I like to know what I’m doing, but I haven’t been trained yet, and I don’t think I will be trained for some time yet. Enough about that, for now though. It just depresses me.

I got this in an email last night, just as I was trying to go to sleep.

WEST EDGE OPERA PRESENTS A NEW ENGLISH ADAPTATION OF MOZART’S MAGIC FLUTE
IN JAPANESE MANGA STYLE

What.

The Manga Flute
What

I really don’t know what to make of this. Corey sounded very impressed by the BWEO, and even invited them to sing at last year’s festival…but that just looks terrible. Maybe I will give them the benefit of the doubt and go anyway.

Does anyone else feel like giving this one a chance?

Have Some Faith In Magic

One of my favorite webcomics is Questionable Content, which I’m still surprised I even like at all (but I’ll get to that another day). I first started reading reading it at the end what I guess was 2004 (holy crap) and Jeph Jacques had posted his year end best albums review. Jeph Jacques is a very different person from me, but there is apparently a small overlap in our vastly separate repertoires. Back then, he recommended The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike, by saying ‘Imagine if Fatboy Slim and the RZA got together to record a soundtrack for a 70’s cop show directed by Quentin Tarantino, and you’d get something remarkably similar to the funky, hip-hop-inflected party music that this British band puts out.’ I don’t know about you, but I’d watch that show. And so, I bought that album. And I’ve been a The Go! Team aficionado ever since.

But since 2004, Jacques has been all dub step and metal and god knows what…So I thought maybe The Go! Team was a fluke. Then he mentions something called post-rock. I’m not an expert on modern music, I couldn’t tell you what post-rock is, but something inside me said ‘eh, wtf, go for it.’ And I did.

Have A Little Faith In Magic by Errors.

Now, like I said, I don’t know what post-rock or post-electric or Mogwai is (something about gremlins?), so I can’t rightly place this music in a genre. However, I am a large fan of nostalgia. Probably half (if not more) of my music collection found its way in there because it reminded me of better times. Jacques said it sounded like a rock band making a video game soundtrack, and that alone would probably get my attention. Video games are very nostalgic on their own. I listened to it, and it did make me nostalgic, just not for video games.

When I think video game rock, I think of chip tunes, 8bit emulations or imitations of what video game music was back then. Groups like Anamanaguchi, or YMCK. But they sound new. I like them because they sound new, while reminding me of music that’s nostalgic. But this Errors record is different.

The nostalgia it brought up in me was more in line with music from the 80s. There was a sound then that has mostly disappeared from my perspective (at least until now). I’m talking about music like Tears For Fears, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Vangelis, and Dire Straits, to name a few. Maybe I’m describing what post-rock or post-electric is, but that’s not what interests me. What interests me are these new albums coming out that come pre-baked with nostalgia. This album feels like a record I used to listen to all the time, but has lay dormant and forgotten for 20 years. It’s stunning.

Another album that hits this tone is the soundtrack for Drive. Have Some Faith In Magic is good enough to make me want to revisit that soundtrack to see how it stacks up. Is it new music, new old music, or new music that feels old. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to distinguish it, but it’s worth angry.

Another reason I like this album is because it’s very interesting without the need for lyrics. I love my instrumentals. Music can be so good when there aren’t words to cloud your judgement. This album may contain some lyrics, but they’re so chorale and distorted that I can’t tell. Which is just the way I like it.

And that’s my review. I’d like some feedback on it, specifically, did you get anything out of it? Should I include some arbitrary scale or points system or thumbs up/down or 4 or 5 stars? Are the words enough on their own? Should I say anything more, do more research, or is this anecdotal account enough?

Now it’s 9 o’clock and I find myself…tired. Gonna go to bed and do it again tomorrow, though.

Tomorrow’s potential topics: My first day at work, dread, Great American BBQ, House and/or Alcatraz, Berkeley West Edge Opera

And so it begins

Good morning, nonexistent audience!

This is the official day one of my new website. It’s also day one for my new job in San Mateo.

I left home at 6 and I made it to San Mateo in about 35 minutes. Commute was a non-issue at that hour, which is better than I expected. This also gives me an extra half hour to write this morning. The only snag is, this Starbucks I’ve stopped at doesn’t seem to have a functioning wifi connection. I’ll bug them about it in a bit, but maybe the no internet situation will force me to focus more on this writing.

So what shall I write about? It’s Monday, so let’s start with the weekend.

The big news over the weekend was of course the Superbowl. Any chance of me having real interest in the game died two weeks ago when the NY Giants knocked out the SF 49ers in the second round of the playoffs. Football really isn’t my sport anyway, but if the Niners were in it, I might have pretended for a little while. But they weren’t, so who cares who wins or loses.

Traditionally, we go watch the Superbowl with family. We went down to Morgan Hill to watch the game in HD and have a BBQ. Of my generation, cousins Erich and Brooke showed up. We played some cribbage, had some snacks, and generally decided who we were going to root for. I stated that I didn’t like either team, but I knew far fewer people from New England than New York, and Brooke agreed with me. My cousin Erich and pretty much everyone else there decided to take a ‘Screw New York’ attitude, so they were rooting for Brady and his band of losers. Not that it means anything, but when the clock ran out, Brooke and I were more satisfied than everyone else. Good game, though.

As for the commercials, I dunno. Nothing’s really jumping out at me. I had to use the bathroom so I missed the Volkswagen/Star Wars/Dog commercial, so maybe that was good or not, I don’t know. GoDaddy continues to drive away business with their boring, chauvinist commercials. Budweiser tried to class things up with a douchey light club beer (‘Platinum’), and with 2 different period piece commercials. I guess their message was, “After 7 years of prohibition, people would want a drink so bad they’d even settle for Budweiser.” My favorite low-brow commercial was the Doritos “Man’s Best Friend” or whatever it was called ad. It’s the only one that really made me chuckle.

Madona did the best that a grandmother in high heels could do, and the half-time show this year was far more entertaining than last year’s Black Eyed Peas disaster. The technology display in the foreground was interesting, seemed like they were imitating the Chinese Olympics’ opening ceremony, but the thing that made that really amazing (beyond it’s sheer scale) was that there were actually people doing all the work. I was still entertained though.

Overall, good Superbowl.

As first posts goes, this one is probably not that great, but give me some time. I’m out of practice.

Later today, I’ll post my thoughts on the new album Have Some Faith In Magic by Errors. In the mean time, I get to go to work. -_-;;