Archives for January 2004

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music at the pub

Tuesday night I got in my car and took a drive over to Venice to check out songwriters on tap, a monthly show put on by OlivoiL Records, which is really Cynthia from Saucy Monky. Lee Beth Kilgore was playing, so she spurred me into finally getting there. I had, to quote Lee Beth, "dos reasons" to be there, since I had told Cynthia a while back that I'd make it out sometime and just hadn't yet.

SoT is the last Tuesday of every month in a back room at O'Briens Pub. The room's great for the size of the event. I'd ballpark 30 people there, but I could be way off. Someone thought they saw Lawrence Fishburn, but I'm in a position to neither confirm nor disconfirm that rumor. The night works in a round format. Four acts up on stage, each plays one song per round, and I think there were five rounds total. Three of the four acts were great. Lisa Sanders' website has a cdbaby link that has some songs on it, so you can check her out there. I can't find a website for Anita Coats, but she reminded me a bit of Heather Nova at times. And I've talked about Lee Beth before, so just search for what I said then and pretend I said it again now.

And now I get to go hang out in class, pretend I'm listening, and probably just get work done online instead.

why i'm old-fashioned

Sean Bonner recently wrote a blog post titled "Why aren't you using RSS yet?" In it he raves about what RSS -- and more accurately RSS readers -- has done for his experience of the web. I know a lot of people who would agree with him.

I don't.

I don't like viewing a site via an RSS reader. To me it seems that by taking the content out of the confines of the site, and presenting it in isolation, you cut out a large part of the experience. When I put together my site, I don't just think just of the content but also the presentation. I like the way my site looks. I intend that look to in some possibly imperceptible way to alter how you experience the information that I provide. Sure, if you pull my RSS feed into a reader you'll get the things I write. But they'll be orphaned, severed from the contextualization of the environment in which I have placed them.

Maybe this is all egotistical COMM major BS, but to me it means something. When I go to other people's blogs, I prefer to do it via a web browser. Their style colors my perception of their content. I just haven't seen any concessions to this need for context in an RSS reader.

the death of an icon

Mo' BetterIn December I tried to go to Mo' Better Meaty Meat Burgers. The fence was boarded over, and there were no signs of life. I was a bit distraught. Today I drove past again, hoping to see signs that it had been closed for remodelling, or something like that.

No change in condition. Fence still boarded up.

I can't find anywhere where someone has said it's closed. I really hope that's not the case. All physical evidence would seem to point to that, though. If anyone knows any different they better tell me before I go into withdrawl.

another night of music

So I've had this post sitting on my computer for like three days now and haven't finished it until now. That's pretty sad.

I started off the night Friday heading over into enemy territory to see Magilla's band's first show. The sound was very poorly done -- the guitars were running just off their amps, the vocal was far too low -- but none of this was their fault. I blame the bruins. It's always their fault.

Then it was off for a drive down Sunset to get over to the Hotel Cafe. We got there around 9:20, and Resonant Heads were just going on. They put on a good show. Kathy commented that they had very intelligent lyrics. Lead vocalist Dawn Frinta has a great Cranberries sound to her voice, and Rez Heads put her sound on top of a sort of rock, almost punk, musical style. A good show all around.

Jim Bianco was up next. He's amazing. His band is amazing. They know their stuff cold. Stage presence radiates off of them. Some amazingly funky cool stuff.

Final act of the night was Pedestrian. I was falling asleep at this point, and no amount of loud music was going to change that. They played a little harder stuff than I remember last time, but I'm not sure if that's my memory or really a change in what they do. Still good stuff, though.

wifi and catfish

Farmers MarketI'm sitting at the Original Los Angeles Farmers' Market, enjoying wifi provided by Sticker Planet. It's a bit hard to find power, but other than that it's a great spot to hang out and get some work done. I checked with Alan, and just because your access point is a sticker shop doesn't mean you have to buy stickers. I really don't need stickers.

I did just get blackened catfish and a really good creole mustard potatoe salad from The Gumbo Pot. At $7.50 not the cheapest, but really good.

wireless wireless wireless

Kismet ShotYesterday I ran Kismet in my apartment and it found 15 networks. On a hunch today I took my laptop out to our balcony and let it run for a few minutes. This time it found 35 networks. Wow.

The funny part is it doesn't list my network near the top when sorted by signal strength. And yet my network's sitting about 12 feet away from me. Such is the wonder of wireless.

mmm... ostrich

Via Franklin Avenue, I just found out that Fuddruckers bought Koo Koo Roo. Unlike Michael, I have eaten Fuddrucker's ostrich burger and enjoyed it, so I'm looking forward to making my path cross Koo Koo Roo's and picking one up. Perhaps on Wednesday, when I head downtown to the LA Boat Show. Errr... Actually only certain Koo Koo Roo's have Fuddrucker's grill options on the menu. Looks like my possible targets are the Pasadena or Miracle Mile locations.

LA. blogs. controversy.

Over the past few days a bit of a controversy has errupted in the ranks of LA bloggers. is a new big money backed city guide site, and part of their site is a blog LA.comfidential. posted a pretty scathing review. This led to an article at LA Blogs. got drawn into the whole thing too, formulating a linking policy in response to LA.comfidential pointing to several posts in a row. Whew... What a web...

Particularly interesting to me are the comments to both the and LA Blogs stories. I found the backlash against a corporation trying to enter the sort of LA blogging circle fascinating. If you read through the comments on LA Blogs, you'll find that in the midst of the thread the identity of the LA.comfidential blogger turns out to be Brian Flemming, a local indie writer, director, etc. Even though the bloggers up in arms have nothing against Brian, they still don't warm to his role as blogger for a corporate site. Because his primary objective -- whether he intends it to be or not -- is to drive eyeballs to his site's advertisers, the blogging community sort of eyes him at a distance and is reluctant to treat him as they would another blogger.

All of this matters to me because of a paper I'm writing right now. Instead of looking at a physical location, I'm examining "LA bloggers", by which I mean not just people writing from LA, but more specifically people who structure their online discourse around their location. When the Internet was in the exploding dotcom stage, I don't remember such an emphasis on geographical location as I see these days. Now you have GeoURL, LA-specific Buzznet galleries, and all of the LA blogging meta sites I linked to above.

Now my job is to put all of this together. What significance do LA blogs have? Why is it important to these people to tie their online experience to their physical locale? How is their interaction with the Internet framed by the audience they see themselves writing for? Is it solely an LA audience? So many questions...

wifi whu?

I'm sitting right now at the Ragazzi Room, a coffee shop near USC. Near, but really not too near. It's at about Union and 23rd. USC's campus is about 10 blocks south, and "the Row" (where all the frats and sororities are) is about 5 blocks south. I'm making a big deal about pointing this out because I'm confused... Ragazzi Room is a wifi hotspot, but it's a pay one. I'm not all about that. But firing up kismet showed me coverage from USC's wireless network. Granted, it's between 20 - 40% on my signal graph, but it's perfectly usable. What I'm confused about though, is where it's coming from. Is it possible that I'm really picking up signal from the row? I can't believe that. But I don't know of a closer USC building with wireless. There has to be one, I'm just not sure what it would be...

if you need me, my office hours are...

I was looking at my stats the other day and saw a referer that seemed pretty odd. Now, pretty much I don't get a lot of referers that aren't search engines, and especially not from .edu.anything domains. So I went and checked it out. It's a course page for the University of Bah├žeşehir in Turkey. If you look at the URL for the January 8 reading, you'll find that it's a link to an essay I wrote, The Globalization of Hip-Hop Culture. A good essay, if I do say so myself, but I can't say I ever expected it to be the reading at a university in Turkey. This is why the Internet is a crazy thing.


Yesterday Magilla, Kathy, and I went to Grinder for the $2.99 weekday breakfast special (I got pancakes, scrambled eggs, and hash browns). Hitting up their breakfast special is my new thing. I love getting up a little early, heading over there, getting breakfast and a coffee, and getting a start on my day that way.

As we were sitting eating, some FBI agents walked in. Now, normally you see a guy with an FBI hat and you're like, "Somebody got an FBI hat." But I'm pretty convinced that wasn't the case here. About 6 of them came in a big Tahoe, several had combat boots on, and all were earing sunglasses.

Today I read about yesterday's pre-dawn FBI/LAPD raid at a nearby housing project (I saw nearby... maybe 10 miles). Over 400 total officers were involved, so I figure there's a pretty good chance that these guys were heading back to the office after that and stopped by to partake in the special. That's sort of crazy.

getting there...

I bought a new soundcard last night. My old one came with my computer in 1997, so it was getting up a bit in years and I couldn't find any up-to-date support for it. Since they're cheap and pretty standard, I picked up a SB Live!. Installation was a breeze. I stuck it in, compiled the right kernel module, modprobed it, and there it was. The mixer shows 32 elements with volume sliders. I have no idea what most of them are.

It'll be good to have sound out of my computer again. I was getting kind of lonely without it.