5-30-08(21:47)
  • got a ticket in september that i disputed with the city of oakland. they got back to me this week and said that my appeal was denied. nothing quite like the wheels of justice.
  • working on the slate patio at the alumni house tomorrow. not a huge fan of working on the weekends.
  • david marks vs. norm abram: david marks is on the west coast, norm on the east. norm is and old school yankee woodworker, david is a new school wood worker. david is a big fan of veneers and exotic woods. norm prefers classical wood choices like cedar, teak, reclaimed pine, etc. david makes original works and has an artistic eye. norm prefers antique recreations. david likes tung oil while norm prefers wipe on poly, but uses many different finishes. overall i'd say i prefer norm's yankee sensibility and his projects have a utility that david's sometimes lack. they both have unique approaches to woodworking and are at the top of the heap as far as i'm concerned, but i give norm the edge because he's also a field carpenter who can do framing and siding and door/window installation in addition to his considerable talent as a fine woodworker.
  • regarding paint brushes there simply isn't anything other than purdy. i work primarily with latex so i avoid oil-only brushes. the newish pro-extra series is a nice stiff brush which can be good in certain applications, especially outside. the cub series is nice enough, but i prefer the long-handled brushes. my favorite brush is the xl dale with a rattail handle and square edge ferrule. i use it for about 90% of my brush work. what a brush.

  • 5-27-08 (20:34)

  • so someone was shot in berkeley at the top dog in broad daylight and on friday, also in broad daylight, my bike was stolen. it made it 8+ years in davis and i had it for about 18 years and now it's gone. what makes it worse is that i saw the assholes who did it. i was coming back from hamburger dave's with lunch in hand when i saw a truck parked on the side of the road in front of where i lock up my bike. they were fidgeting in the back of the truck with a dewalt cordless trim saw so i figured they were handymen called out to do some work on one of the apartments. i was eager to start eating and it was the middle of the day so i really didn't pay any attention. later that day i went out and my bike was gone. i've looked at one of the local used bike shops to see if they've had any new arrivals, but it's probably a lost cause. if i do find it then i'm going to steal it back. called the cops to file a report and they're sending me some damn form. useless. not feeling the city life lately.
  • got my ipod today.
  • nba playoffs continue to be humdrum and i continue to watch.
  • got an ingrown toenails, that's a first. hopefully it fixes itself because i don't have any insurance. wonder how much a doctor would charge to take care of such a thing. might be a diy project. we'll see.
  • was cutting some tomato today and cut the shit out of my thumb. that sucked. bled a lot, but i don't think it needs stitches. not a good couple days health-wise.
  • painted at the alumni house on sat., sun., and mon. not a huge fan of painting, but there is a zen element to it that isn't so bad. it's also nice because the results are generally fairly drastic and immediate. that last bit of painting means that i've now painted about 75% of the downstairs area at the alumni house thus officially concluding the downstairs renovation. this last part had to be put off until after graduation. now that the kids are gone for summer things should be more mellow on campus.
  • songs in commercials are getting better the last couple years. i think vw started that trend, but it's really picked up lately with the decrease in records sales. i think record companies are trying to find different ways to expose people to new music and commercials is becoming one of those ways.

  • 5-23-08 (14:02)

  • last day of school was yesterday. going to miss the laney experience. hopefully i'll take more classes in the future. community colleges definitely have a different feel than any university i've ever been to. the construction classes, in particular, are much more rooted in a working class reality that makes a lot more sense to me than academia. the pursuit of a liberal arts knowledge is nice and so is the relatively sheltered existence of campus life, but it isn't as appealing as the practical skills and interaction with people who have to work for a living. while going to college i didn't have to work more than 20 hours a week and pretty much everyone around me was in the same boat: we all had some form of allowance from our parents or trust fund, etc. that we drew from. when going to laney, though, i was learning alongside people who had 9-5 jobs, kids, family members who had been shot and killed, people who had been in gangs or jail, but were still going to school in order to better themselves. a lot of them were less than brilliant, but many were a lot more interesting than the people i've encountered at ucb, ucd, ucla, usc, and other college campuses that i've spent significant time on. i think a lot of it comes down to life experience.
  • no work again today. guess it comes with the territory, but it would be nice to know in advance so i could plan the day a bit more.
  • working on preparing my music collection for the arrival of an ipod. finally decided to go for it. wanted to see if there was a bigger version on the horizon, but never got any word back on that one. i'm guessing there isn't since apple seems to have the only 160gb player on the market. i'll have to shave my collection by a big and re-encode some stuff, but it should be fine. i've got enough beastie boys mp3s to fill up a ipod nano.
  • meryl's getting a new car today.
  • what's the motivation behind the conspiracy to convince the public that we've been to the moon? conspiracy nuts say that we haven't actually been there, but i'm not sure why the government would have faked that one.
  • one flew over the cuckoo's nest and cool hand luke are getting new treatments on blu-ray. a ps3 will be my next big purchase.

  • 5-22-08 (10:15)

  • no work today.
  • the lakers/spurs game yesterday was exciting. lakers came back from 20 down to win the game. kobe is still the best player in the league, despite what some have said about lebron. that said, shaq is the best player of the last 15 years. this is the only year i can remember rooting for both the lakers and a shaq team. i wanted phoenix to beat the spurs and shaq plays for phoenix now. and in this series i'd rather see the lakers win than the spurs. it's more a testament to my hatred of the spurs than it is an indicator of my feelings for the lakers or shaq. plus, at least the lakers have jordan farmar.
  • the drywall job is done, primed and painted. turned out better than one would have thought by looking at it without any joint compound. without any joint compound there were 1/4" gaps and steps that screamed amateur job, but all is solved with the delicate touch of the hawk and trowel. it's not what i'd call a good job, but it's adequate and that's all it needed to be since it's in a utility area. one guy who works for campus maintenance said it was better than what their drywallers would do and another guy who works in the membership department at the alumni house said that everything i do is "top notch" work. those were nice things to hear, but there's lots of room for improvement. i think that the untrained eye just doesn't see all the defects that i see. it's like me trying to critique barry zito's form. it looks fine to me, but there's obviously something he's not doing right since he's 0-8.
  • not really sure what to do with my free time today.

  • 5-20-08 (20:35)

  • got a new hard drive today and cloned the one that came with my computer 7 years ago. figured i was running on borrowed time with that one. the new one has picked up where the old one left off. seagate drive clone worked perfectly. back in business.
  • today i went to a local company that acquires blood, white blood cells, and bone marrow for researchers. they're looking to fill the void left by outgoing students on summer break. in my initial examination they said i was eligible to give all of the above (pending an hiv test) and that i have good veins. who knew? at any rate, it's another revenue stream which is always nice. bone marrow donations can garner up to $700 if done over a two day period.
  • had the plumbing final today. 70+ questions, 15 minutes. one last class on thursday. not sure when i'm going to take another class at laney because most of the other classes are during the day when i'm working.
  • did some drywalling at work the other day. definitely not the most pretty job of all-time, but it's in a utility area and my finishing helped make up for it so i think it'll do. drywalling is a valuable skill, wish i had it.

  • 5-14-08 (09:18)

  • yesterday was a fucked up day.
  • here's a good bit from thedigitalbits.com:
  • "Finally today... while we're talking about the possibility of older classic films coming to Blu-ray Disc... there's a very important and related issue I wanted to address today. We've been getting a few e-mails a week (over the last month or so) from readers who are new to Blu-ray, who say they're disappointed in the quality of older catalog titles on the format. They disappointed not so much the selection, but the actual video quality. One person said the colors weren't as vibrant as they were expecting. Another thought the image looked too soft. Several have complained of "noise" on their TV screens when they watched certain older films. It actually took me a while at first to understand what they meant, but now I've figured it out... and as a serious film enthusiast, it's troubling to say the least. That noise some are complaining about? It's film grain! It seems that many people who came to home theater more recently via DVD, and so who may never have seen older films in an actual movie theater before, simply don't understand what film grain is. They don't realize that it's SUPPOSED to be there.
  • "Now, if you're one of those people... look, don't feel bad. It's okay that you didn't know what that so-called 'noise' was, because having grown up seeing older films only on DVD or cable TV, how could you know otherwise? That's why The Bits is here - to fill you in on such things. Here's what you need to understand: Film grain is an inherent part of the texture and character of older movies, which of course were shot on photochemical film stock (see Wikipedia's entry on the subject). The grains are tiny bits of metallic silver that are part of the actual physical structure of a piece of film. The amount of grain you see in the image may be the result of a stylistic choice by the director and cinematographer, as determined by their selection of film stock used during the production, or it's the product of the aging process of the film itself, the chemical composition of which changes over time. Often, it's a little of both. DVD didn't always have enough resolution to render grain properly, but Blu-ray does. So now many people are seeing it for the first time, and those who don't understand the nature of film think it's a defect in the disc! It's not, folks. Just like those black bars are supposed to be there on 2.35 (Scope) films - yes, even on your new widescreen HDTV sets - that grain is part of the film medium itself. Unfortunately, it seems that all too many people are expecting older films on Blu-ray to look like Ratatouille or Star Wars: Episode III. In other words, perfect - super-clean, super-clear, super-vibrant. No 'noise.'
  • "To quote Han Solo, "I've got a BAD feeling about this." I suspect THIS issue is going to be the new anamorphic widescreen, the new black bars. This is the issue that enthusiasts and the studios are going to have to make an effort to explain to consumers who are new to Blu-ray and high-definition in general. Unfortunately, what seems to happening right now is that the studio marketing folks are conducting focus groups with new Blu-ray consumers, who are saying they want perfect pictures every time. As a result, a few of the Hollywood studios are currently A) using excessive Digital Noise Reduction to completely scrub film grain from their Blu-ray releases, or B) not releasing as many older catalog titles as they might otherwise for fear that people will complain about grain. Some studios are even going so far as to scrub the grain out of NEW releases that have been shot on film. Case in point: New Line's Pan's Labyrinth Blu-ray Disc. When I saw this film in the theaters, it was dark and gritty. The grain was a deliberate stylistic choice - part of the artistic character of the film. New Line's Blu-ray, on the other hand, is sparkly and glossy - almost entirely grain-free. So much fine detail has been removed that the faces of characters actually look waxy. Everyone looks like a plastic doll. It's worth noting that the European release doesn't suffer the same fate. One can only assume that there are fewer marketing fingers in the pie over there?
  • "This isn't just a Blu-ray issue, it's going to affect ALL high-definition presentations of older films, if we allow it to. Film enthusiasts (and those at the studios who actually CARE about and respect the integrity of older films) need to really start educating people on this subject - new Blu-ray consumers, friends and family, fellow studio employees. FILM IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE FILM. Older titles on Blu-ray are NOT supposed to look perfect, as if they were shot today on video! The Blu-ray presentation should replicate, as closely as possible, the best original theatrical experience of the film. THAT'S the goal. I'll tell you right now, this is an important issue, just as anamorphic enhancement and presenting films in their original aspect ratios on DVD were before it. As we did with those issues, you better believe it's something the staff here at The Digital Bits will take up as a crusade with the Hollywood studios if it becomes necessary. So you studio folks... let's just say that you'd better get this one right, or you'll definitely be hearing about it from us in the months ahead (and, we suspect, from many others as well)."
  • someone was shot at top dog in berkeley yesterday. i arrived on the scene about 20 minutes after it happened. some lady (presumably the mother) was there crying, and the cops and ambulance had the area cordoned off. there seems to be a lot of daylight crime in the berkeley area.

  • 5-10-08 (19:14)

  • watched a bit of the philly/pittsburg game today, but missed all the scoring.
  • nba playoffs haven't been very good this year.
  • went to meryl's video screening the other day. she had the best video of the bunch. video students can be incredibly pretentious.
  • spent most of the day off watching movies/sports and organizing my tools, including building a little drawer unit (entirely out of scrap wood). it was nice to have a full day off to do my own stuff. had some fun with my new pin nailer which makes life a lot easier when building just about anything. i've wanted a brad or pin nailer for a long time; they're so useful.
  • first place in my fantasy baseball league. had a good draft and picked up cliff lee early. other than that it's all luck.
  • i find stuart scott to be truly insufferable at this point. in his early days with sportscenter i thought he had a good style and was hip, but i've grown tired of him.
  • there aren't a whole lot of color commentators in sports whose commentary i find consistently insightful. joe morgan is near/at the top of the list. len elmore in college basketball is good. lately i've been liking doris burke in pro basketball. i used to like doug collins, but he recycles a lot of his material. this is actually the downfall of many commentators: if you follow them long enough then you've heard everything they have to say. there are a lot of them out there who are good enough, but very few who actually enrich the experience of watching the game.

  • 5-6-08 (21:44)

  • don't like much about city life. there are too many inputs and not enough time to relax. things are too damn hectic and full of annoyance. someone scratched off my registration tag on the camry a while back and today i got two tickets as a result. what a pain in the ass all because some idiot had nothing better to do. city life is full of this kind of crap along with red tape and other daily annoyances that make you wonder why we bother.
  • i think there are two ways to be free: have no money or have a shit load of money. everything in between and you're just a poorly paid slave to the grindstone.

  • 5-5-08 (20:59)

  • the sharks game last night was insane. 4ot and they ended up losing. great goalie play and a long, tough game. oh well.

  • 5-2-08 (21:38)

  • looks like i'll be doing some painting tomorrow. not thrilled about working weekends lately, but i'm trying to save money and buy tools for the future. also trying to keep all my employers as happy as possible.
  • had planned on going to la this weekend, but that fell through. want to go with sarah to save on some of the fuel costs, but i'm not sure when she's going to be free.
  • back is hurting a bit.
  • watching the rockets/jazz game now. the rockets were down by 19 at one point and came back to within 1. bobby jackson had an opportunity to tie it up at the free throw line, but didn't make it. on the next play williams made a 3 to end the half with a 4 point lead. these kinds of moments within a game are extremely telling to me. 19 points is a huge hump to overcome and they had the opportunity to pull even, but didn't do it. in the next play they went down by two posessions. it's an amazingly deflating sequence in spite of the fact that they cut the lead by 15 points. this kind of thing happens all the time in basketball. unc did it against kansas: after being down by 26 points or so they pulled to within 4, but weren't able to even the score and ended up losing the game by double digits. in this game, the jazz are now up by 12 in the 3rd quarter and will probably win the game. now the lead is 15 because of another williams 3 pointer. he's good and this game/series is over. 18 point lead now, another 3 by williams. told you so.
  • i know i called the jazz early in the year, but if alston didn't miss the first two games and yao was healthy, then the rockets very well could have won this series. right now the big difference between the two teams is the rebounding and you have to think that the tallest player in the league would have some effect on that.

  • been bad about watching movies lately. i knew that march madness, the nba/nhl playoffs, and the olympics would knock me off rhythm. i'll try to get back on track this month.