Monthly Archives: September 2006

Hidden Lake Peak and the North Cascades

Hidden Lake Peak On Friday morning, I set off North towards the North Cascades National Park. My first destination was the Hidden Lake Peak trail. After a long drive up one of the narrowest dirt roads I’ve been on, I got to the trailhead. The start was at about 3000′ elevation, and the peak was at about 7000′. I started up the 4.5 mile trail shortly after 11AM. The trail started in a dense forest, still very wet from the past two days of rain. After about a mile, the trail turned up onto an open hillside, full of colorful vegetation. Criss-crossing up the trail, the view kept getting better and better. At first I thought I was headed up to the top of the peak that was directly above the hillside, but then the trail cut all the way across the valley to the other side of the mountain. The peak I was going to was much higher, and out of sight.

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You Know You’re No Longer in the City When

  1. The first people to enter the restaurant after you are all wearing cowboy hats.
  2. The next couple are both wearing black leather biker chaps (non-ironically, and very non-gay).
  3. The next two guys to walk in look 16 years old and they’re in full hunting camouflage.
Three Fingered Jack's

The past two days, I drove up to the North Cascades and around and down to do the full Cascade Loop. The scenery was amazing. The above was from my stop over in Winthrop, which is trying very hard to be a quaint little “authentic” Western town. More on the full trip soon.

DJ Shadow at the Showbox

Last night I went to the DJ Shadow show at the Showbox. Lateef was the opener, but unfortunately he decided to start way too early (8:45 at a show where doors are 8PM, and show is listed as starting at 9? Things never start on time, let alone early. He was all done at 9:20 when we walked in) and most of the crowd hadn’t even arrived yet either. We got there between acts, and it was only 15 minutes until Shadow came out on stage. He knew how to work the crowd, mixing and mashing his biggest hits and some of the songs off his new album.

There was a great backdrop of video projections, some of which seemed to be scrubbed/mixed live DJ Shadow’s actions (or the VJ was paying close attention). I was really curious how they were pulling it off. The turntables and mixers were set on tables on the stage, on top of an extra 2-3 foot riser. This made for a good view of DJ Shadow from any spot in the house, although we were looking at the undersides of the mixing tables and couldn’t see any of what he was doing. Was this to cover up some of the pre-recorded stuff he was just spinning? There were a few points where the crowd would go wild over some scratching/mixing and Shadow’s hands were nowhere near his equipment. Granted a hiphop DJ can’t perform every last little mix live (and the crowd clearly doesn’t care), but I expected a little more from one of the masters. But it certainly wasn’t a disappointment by any means.

The new album songs seemed to throw the audience for a loop because they’re not the same ‘ol triphop/electronic that we’re used to hearing from DJ Shadow’s older albums. He brought out Chris James (a semi-unknown from the UK?) to perform a couple of the songs from the new album, and they came off a little too Coldplay. I like the songs, but in the middle of all the pounding beats and jumping around, the crowd had to switch to awkward swaying mode. Shortly after, Lateef came out and performed a few other songs with Shadow and pumped up the crowd as much as he possibly could.

The encore brought Shadow back out to perform another new song or two and then some heavy, mashed-up versions of Rabbit in Your Headlights (his work with UNKLE), and Midnight in a Perfect World. I thought these two were probably the highlight of the show.

All in all, it was a great set. I seem to remember a little more mind-boggling, jaw-dropping amazement at the live skills of RJD2 and Amon Tobin, but seeing DJ Shadow and hearing his full range of styles in a packed house was still impressive. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another 5 years for a new album and tour.

Vagabond Signs: Destination Vancouver

Cost: $10
Location: #43 bus at 12th and John St.

Vancouver bum sign

On Friday, I hopped on my bus up the hill from downtown, and I knew right away that it was going to be an interesting ride. At first it was standing room only, and I stood near the front. In one of the bench seats behind the driver, there was an disheveled old man (let’s call him “Ed” since I don’t remember his actual name) hunched over a grande Starbucks cup and a doughnut with a single bite out of it. Every once in a long while, he’d take another nibble, or a sip of coffee. I noticed Ed was mumbling to himself and would occasionally speak loud enough for people to hear. After a couple little outbursts, I realized he was repeating phrases from other people’s conversations on the bus. A girl was on her cell phone a few rows back and said, “OK, I’ll meet you there around 7:30 or a quarter to 8.” Ed repeated, “7:30 or a quarter to 8.”

This continued up the hill, and by now a few people had gotten off the bus, so I was able to take a seat a few spots away from Ed. He would say “Hi” to people as they got on the bus, and “Goodbye” as they got off. One girl had a box in her arms as she left the bus and Ed asked, “What’s thaaat?” She replied, “It’s a food processor” and exited. At the same stop, two girls got on the bus carrying multiple ragged bags and backpacks, wearing some dirty, worn-down clothes. One girl started fumbling through some quarters in her hand to pay the fare, and said she only had $1. The bus driver said the fare was $1.50, but it was pay as your leave. The girls continued onto the bus, whispering about how they lucked out on the fare. Ed spoke up and said, “Hi, I’m Ed” and one of the girls smiled and replied, “Hi, I’m Emma.” They sat down in the seats across from me with all their bags, and a couple Vancouver-related hitch-hiking/bum signs. They looked very tired, but relieved to be on a bus across town to the University Distract.

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Santorum keeps on Spreading

Last weekend I attended The Stranger‘s Hump 2 screening (which was amusing, frightening, funny, disgusting and jaw-dropping all at the same time), and I chatted briefly with Dan Savage. He mentioned his little pet project, which I had worked on, and he said it was featured on the Daily Show not too long ago. A quick YouTube search, and there it is. Santorum segment starts at 1:30 into the video…

And thanks to Google’s algorithm change (I think we were previously hand-edited down to 2nd in the results) in the past few months, we’ve regained the #1 spot for “santorum“. With that one indirect mention on the Daily Show in July, check out the traffic spike on the site.

In the YouTube results I also found that santorum was featured in a full 2 minute spot on Googlecurrent_ which is part of the Current TV lineup. I’m glad to see a little Google-bombing has good staying power and keeps on spreading.

Hiking to Camp Muir

This past Sunday, some friends and I decided to tackle the hike up to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier. As I posted before, you can see exactly where we went with the arrow in the photo here. For an even better perspective of the mountain and where the camp is, this is what it looks like in 3D in Google Earth. I’ve posted a full set of photos from the trek in a Flickr set here. A true mountaineer would probably consider this an easy little jaunt, but for a casual weekend hiker like me, it was quite the exhausting day…

Mt. Rainier Panorama

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Facebook Frenzy

The latest fury over the Facebook redesign and new features has quickly grown to ridiculous proportions. To catch up on the latest happenings, here’s the Techcrunch summary on the new features. And the follow-up about the outrage, with some clear explanations of the ridiculousness. Another good summary of the whole ordeal is available here. The Facebook CEO explains it just right when he wrote,

“The privacy rules haven’t been changed. None of your information is visible to anyone who couldn’t see it before the changes. Nothing you do is being broadcast; rather, it is being shared with people who care about what you do–your friends.”

I think most of the backlash is a result of the users just not understanding how or why the feature works the way it does. Friendster did this same exact thing via e-mail updates and “what’s new in your network” boxes on the site. There was little outcry there (probably because noone remembers/uses Friendster anymore), and Friendster even took it a step further and added the reverse-stalker feature a year ago. You can see a list of everyone who viewed your profile and when, whether they are in your immediate network or not. It was released, and turned on by default.

What really strikes me about the Facebook situation is the illusion of privacy that all these angry users are clinging to. You’re posting your semi-private information, to a semi-public site, where anyone in your semi-private network can view those details. Now your semi-private network can see those details and changes THAT YOU’RE PUBLISHING on the very same site, viewed in a slightly different way. Where did the confusion come from? How did users misunderstand the entire concept of the news feed? Did they just miss how easily-controllable all the details are? Are the ideas and technology (social networks, plus quick-reference news feed) just too new for them to wrap their heads around?

While browsing through all the anti-news feed groups that have sprung up in Facebook, I came across this gem of irony. A group was titled: Is it bad that I found the “against the news feed” group from the news feed?

Enough said.

Lucky Heron

A few days ago, my father sent this photo out to the family. Our dog, Lucky, went running after a Great Blue Heron that was standing near our pond. My father had his camera ready and took some quick shots of the action.

Lucky Heron

At first I thought it was Photoshopped, but on closer inspection, it looked a little too good for my father’s still-developing skills. He confirmed it was a real shot. Well done! Sometimes I miss the old homestead and the endless wildlife display right in the backyard.