Categories
Home

Tyler’s BU Graduation

It was just a few short years ago that I posted Tyler’s send off to college. Yesterday he graduated from Boston University. While the last year, for various reasons, has moved a bit slower than the others, the collective four years have flown by in hindsight. I can only imagine what a journey it’s been like for Tyler.

So now he’s a college graduate and we couldn’t be prouder. He not only graduated from a school that was his top choice, he graduated with honors with a major in a department that he chose after an early flirtation with physics at Temple University.

What’s next? He had a few good runs where he made it to the final round at a few jobs and has a few more irons in the fire but no offer on the table as of yet. Today he drives down with his roommate who is also from New York City and will live with us while he nails down his next steps.

I have no doubt he’ll find something. He hustled to secure an internship with the Celtics back office staff and did a paper on the application of options pricing to pricing NBA player contracts. Tyler’s passion is sports, always has been. He has all sorts of interesting ideas about how professional sports can evolve to take advantage of the interactivity offered by new technologies such as streaming and mobility.

But for now, we are just happy to have Tyler back with us and a Summer in a new city before us. Congratulations Tyler, welcome home.

Categories
Home

NYC Subways

I found this short video on how to get around the New York subway system useful.

  • 472 stations
  • 675 miles of track
  • 5.5 million daily riders (pre-covid)

Express v. Local – usually the local train will be up against the wall, express trains on the inside

Uptown v. Downtown – if you’re getting on the train on a local stop, make sure you’re going down the right side. Trains follow traffic on the avenues so downtown trains will be on the right of the road if you face downtown. Brooklyn-bound trains are going downtown, Bronx-bound trains go uptown.

Price v. Practicality – unlimited metro cards (week or monthly) are most cost-effective but per-use cards can be shared among people. You can use the metro card to take the Roosevelt Island tram and the Staten Island ferry is free.

The new MTA realtime map is pretty cool.

Categories
Home

Ambient Antarctica

I’m feeling a lot of emotions now. It’s a mix of things that contribute to a marking of time. Hearing the Derrick Chauvin verdict feels like the end of a chapter that started at the beginning of the pandemic (even though I know it’s only the beginning of another chapter).

I also video-chatted with my parents tonight and see that my father is losing his hearing. He can’t hear what I’m saying and he’s too stubborn to try out a hearing aid. This leaves him to only excitedly talk about something and then leave me to watch disappoint cross his face when he realizes, once again, that he cannot hear my response.

I’m feeling mortal – conscious of the passage of time. If you are feeling the same way, may I recommend this beautiful video-scape of Antarctica, preferably on a big, flat screen TV, in a dark room, with a tumbler of your favorite whiskey by your side.

Balm for the soul.

Categories
Home

Listen

A friend of mine (hi Gregg) shared with me this remarkable interview with someone who can hear music through his finger tips.

The Oscar-nominated film The Sound of Metal (the best of the year frankly) has several scenes in which the director really tried to convey what it is like to be going deaf.

Both the film and interview with Bob Lichtenburg are wonderful examples of how the human spirit can rise up and overcome even the most daunting of obstacles.

Inspirational.

Categories
Home

Getting into the mood

Five Utah school buses with their lights synced up to The Nutcracker’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”

Details about the how and why on the original YouTube post.

Categories
Home

Folksy Database

Part of the charm of the greater Grateful Dead culture was that there was something for everyone. Like any good pastime there was some aspect of a Grateful Dead show to please everyone.

I often compare the sub-culture of Deadheads to baseball fans. There are those that go for the scene, the roar of the crowd or to see their heroes play. Others go for the party, the beer & hot dogs on the one hand or the recreational drugs and lightshow on the other.

Then there are the stat nerds which also exist in both cultures. Go to any ball game and you’ll see people with detailed score cards, recording every hit and at bat using their own custom shorthand.

Baseball scorecard from September 10, 1999 Red Sox v Yankees game

There are stat nerds in Deadhead culture too. These are the people that can tell you the last time the band opened the second set with Saint of Circumstance or when they last played Red Rocks. There’s a special language of code to how they talk and a learned shorthand to normalize communication.

During the time when I saw the band, computers were not that widespread so a lot of the documentation was collected from memory and passed around on handwritten notes. Historic setlists were passed down as legend.

Printknot Printer’s 1985 Year at a Glance

The photo above is something I found in a drawer as I was packing to move house. It’s a handwritten collection of every setlist from every concert the Grateful Dead played in 1985. Crib sheets like these were passed around like a folksy database of shared knowledge.

Detail with graphic annotations

There’s endless detail in the notations that hint at a shared understanding of how a Grateful Dead setlist works. The capital “E” in the detail above ties Estimated Profit and Eyes of the World together as those two are often paired and segue seamlessly from one to the other. The “Gimmie Gimmie” scrawled above Gimme Some Lovin’ is a wink to the fact that Bob Weir was especially enthusiastic in his rendition of Spencer Davis that night.

All this was just to say that while the ever-connected phones in our pockets are wonderful for precision and recall, they don’t transmit knowledge and understanding as well as these folksy databases of handwritten notes. An illuminated manuscript from the medieval past, carefully hand-copied and embellished, is so much better at transmitting culture and passes on so much more than just the written word.

To listen to two Deadhead stat nerds get into the weeds, check out my post on Alex and JM Hart’s discussion about the evolution of Bob Weir’s playing style on Deadicated.

Categories
Home

Deadicated

Alex Wise is a professional musician (alexwise.com) and longtime Deadhead. As an accomplished guitarist, he listens to the music of the Grateful Dead with a careful ear for detail and can speak to the evolution of their style in a much more nuanced way than your average Deadhead.

Listening to Alex’s interview with Brokedown Podcast’s JM Hart is like listening to two baseball stat nerds get into the weeds on the specifics of the game. I love it. The cracks about Weir’s attempts at slide guitar are something that would make any member of this particular tribe smile.

If you have a passing interest in the the music of the Grateful Dead and wondered what all the fuss was about and how people can listen to so many different versions of Morning Dew, this podcast episode will unveil some of layers of that fan-hood.

The entire episode is above but the two get down to details at around 18:30.

Categories
Home

Walkin’ NYC

Did I mention that we’re walking the streets of Manhattan in order to get to know the neighborhoods? I use this iOS app called Trails to track where we go and then trace it old skool style with a sharpie onto a tourist map.

The nice thing about Trails is that it automatically logs everywhere we go so I can just put the phone in my pocket and go about our day. The location tracking doesn’t take as much battery on my iPhone XR as I thought but I do bring along an extra charged up external battery to top things up just in case.

One app that I also recommend is Urban Archive. They have a database of all the old buildings in NYC and using it, you can quickly lookup the history of buildings you see while walking around.

Here’s the master map with all the traces of where we’ve been so far since arriving on September 25th. Lots to still see (we’ve only spent a short time in Brooklyn) but it’s been a blast.

If there are particular walks you recommend, please add links in the comments!

Categories
Home

Talkin NYC

I can’t believe that New York City is my new home. We’re still nailing down details of a place to live (more on that later, don’t want to jinx it) staying in a furnished apartment in the meantime so it feels temporary.

But no. NYC is our home. Weird. I’m now one of youz guyz.

I’ve been trying to think of the best way to describe what living here is like, from a Californian point of view. Certainly people talk a lot more than back in Bay Area. Walking down the street is like an exercise in verbal river rafting. There’s no time to look down at your phone. Everyone has a quip or comment and you need to be fast with a witty reply to make a connection. Everyone is always, ON.

In this fast moving stream of conversations, whenever a group of New Yorkers gather for more than a few minutes, an instant community forms. This evening was a perfect example.

As you know, the pandemic limits the number of people that can be inside a shop at any one time. There is an amazing cheesemonger down the street, they’ve got cheeses from around the world and a chalkboard listing specials that they fly in each day for their customers. A sign out front that says no more than “two people or one group” at a time in the shop. Outside the store there are three people that don’t know each other, each waiting their turn to go in. As three individuals it’ll take more time to go in because that’s three separate groups.

A man is chatting with two women. Right as Izumi and I walk by I hear the man say,

Wanna be a group?

That phrase, right there, captured the perfect NY moment. A little eddy of inactivity shunted to the side of the overall flow of people walking by. Three people, milling around, waiting. There’s a problem. A restriction, a rule that is slowing their progress. A community forms – collective problem solving is put to work, they band together. Problem solved.

This is NYC. People of all types, strangers, reaching out to solve problems, together, with a laugh.

On a more serious note, we’re heading into what many are predicting will be a dark winter of the third wave. It’s going to be tough but that same resourcefulness from that vignette above gets force multiplied in times of crisis. The blackouts of 1977 and 2003, Hurricane Sandy, 9/11. New Yorkers rise to the occasion to meet the challenge, together.

NYC got walloped by the virus earlier in the year but they know what’s coming this time around and will face what’s coming with grit, camaraderie, and a sense of humor. I’m glad we got to experience the tail end of the Summer but am prepared for what’s coming.

Sign in SoHo paraphrases Queen’s We Will Rock You

Categories
Home

Kyrö Distillery

Kyrö Distillery – proudly Finnish

Friends from Finland shared this advert for Kyrö Distillery, a Finnish distillery, who gives us a master class at how to introduce the world to their unique line of products.

If you’re going to introduce a new Malt Rye Dairy Cream Whiskey to the world, there’s only one way to do it. With a naked man strolling around and staring straight at the camera in all earnestness.

Oh, and the story about five guys in a sauna dreaming up a business is true.