Just a thought.

Because it needs to be said
August 30, 2008, 12:51 pm
Filed under: I have a dream..., Rants, Uncategorized

I’ve been avoiding this topic for some time now, mostly because I’ve felt vulnerable every time it’s come up. My internal logic that keeps my good nature afloat requires that everything is connected and that everything will at the very least lead into where I want to be, and whenever this topic bubbles to the surface, I find myself parrying, sidestepping, strafing, pressing L + Right, roll dodging…

This topic is the marginalized identity of the 5th year. 

It’s been in the back of my mind at least since my 1st year at Berkeley, when I would ask older folk at some Senior Showcase, “Yo, who’s that mysterious guy over there playing that guitar like he’s the only one in the room?”

“Fool, he’s a 5th year.” One-two-three-four-fiiiifth.

I’ve had 2 days of class to feel this out. Given my experience, I’m pretty adept at keeping a low profile with the newly renovated Mach 5. I’ve made an effort try out new routes and park at new places just to shake shit up. Even if I have to go through Sproul and park once again at Eshleman just so I could have that good ass rosemary chicken sandwich for lunch, having hands occupied with handlebars leaves none free to take your dumb flyer. (Not like I would’ve been offered one anyway. It’s like I have a 5th year scent. Or maybe it’s more of a musk.) In addition, I’ve finally been given the privilege of having class at Haas and Wurster for the first time, and it feels pretty good to come into it with no expectations of finding people you know, or that pervading jaded feeling that you know exactly what’s going down with the rest of the semester given 3 years in an engineering curriculum. It’s weird being able to stay awake for one of them 80-minute lectures because you were sincerely interested in the topic and were already calculating ways they relate to your own research. 

Given that, it kinda sucks to have it come down to me finding out there are only four boxes to check off in a course questionnaire. I almost wanted to draw a half-box, or maybe protest the under-representation of appropriate check boxes in course questionnaires. One day justice will be ours.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I do feel somewhat weird given the luxury of an extra semester, and for the most part, my peers do feel the same way. I would account it largely to the real-world-Eye-of-Sauron gazing upon us so menacingly, as if implying if we don’t find what we want to do quick, orcs will pillage my apartment looking for my Capital One card.

I’ve been used to letting the world pass by like I was in line for something I don’t necessarily want to do right now and I keep letting people behind me go ahead. This time I’m getting used to shaking my fist and getting what I want. The lady at the Berkeley Bowl express line didn’t like that too much though.


Tribute to Don Cheadle
August 25, 2008, 1:52 am
Filed under: AWESOME, Luckyyy...., Movies, Space

The DonOriginally uploaded by Like The Jetsons™

I tell it to the hot, I tell it to the cold, I tell it to the young, I tell it to the old, I don’t want no laughing, I don’t want no crying, and most of all, no signifying. This is Petey Greene’s Washington. P-town.

Keepin’ in real.

I just wanted to to shout out at the magificent Don Cheadle for his real performance in Talk To Me. His lines were so (lemme drop some GRE vocab on this ma’) mellifluous, I had to pause the On Demand movie just so I could try to see how good it would sound if I said it myself. Almost there, Jarrett. God, I wanted to be a DJ so bad after that movie. I was thinking about names like DJ Ready, or maybe dropping the DJ title for a Prince-like name like Quick Fix…

Other than that, this cat is so comfortable with so many eccentric roles, I sometimes wonder what he does to inspire such diverse characters. His seemingly extemporaneous performances hides the fact that he’s probably one of the hardest working actors of out there. If he were to ask me to make him a roast beef sandwich, I’d hustle over to the deli with such alacrity I’d come back with it wrapped in silk. HAHAHAHAHAH vocab..

To do:

  • Save up for turntables + new Mac
  • Watch Mirrors
  • Kill them GREs
  • Keep them gears turnin’…

Gears Turning
August 23, 2008, 5:42 pm
Filed under: AWESOME, I have a dream..., Nerd it out

turntable 2Originally uploaded by spencerc6

Blessed with the wisdom of local DJ’s Aaron and Norwin, (and my bud Jeff, too) last night I learned how to mix with Scratch Live and a couple of turntables. I imagine me and the turntables were intimate lovers in another life. It’s like this morning, I rolled over in my bed expecting my arm to inadvertently make the pin skip on a fresh copy of Dilla on vinyl (EEEEEEE…EMMCEEESQUAARED…) but be left only with the feeling like I actually had the one night stand with Jennifer Connelly I keep bragging about.

I just want to write out what I think I’ve understood from what went down last night:

  • A set contains your songs (probably an hour long or however long your gig is)
  • Using the Scratch Live software allows you to manipulate your digital music library as if they were vinyl on your turntables
  • Choosing the next song to queue up for easy mixing requires organizing your music by BPM
  • Depending on how fast you can slow or speed up the turntables, you can choose a wide array of potential songs on a range of similar BPMs
  • Matching beats can come by ear, or by looking at the waveforms on the computer and finding out that (for example) snares correspond to white spikes on the graph
  • Counting the beats allows for “easy entry,” or basically dropping the beat whenever you feel is appropriate. Then you adjust appropriately with the pitch control to match, while remembering to bring the currently playing song back to its advertised pitch in the middle. Here you can cue up to a nice part of the song where the beat drops all nasty, so while switching the fader, the crowd can hear the beginnings of their next jam, then completely dropping it on like a Jeezy ad lib or something.
  • Counting and matching beats by BPMs is essential, but the artist’s ear can still hear an awkward transition even if the beats match. So vibing is definitely necessary, so you can transition to somewhere you and others actually want to go. It’s kinda like taking the wrong step when you’re supposed to dip your partner in tango, because she was expecting it, and yet it wasn’t delivered quite like she imagined.
  • You have to be able to mentally “hold” the currently playing song while creatively seeing where you can go with the next song. The Scratch Live thing is clutch here, where you can prepare playlists, or access a totally different genre easily if inspiration hits. I respect those classic DJs so much more because they had to be so mentally aware of all the songs in their crates, and how far in the song their favorite cue is in. I definitely have to level up on how I think about my music, even what I thought of as my most heart-memorized songs.

Modern Compost
August 12, 2008, 5:49 pm
Filed under: I have a dream..., Nerd it out, Space

This design conference looks like the truth. I like the bit about the fact that we all just need to make less stuff. There are too many steps that separate us from our goals in our daily lives, so designers really are at a “sweet spot.”


by Pam Williams


What started as a way to continue the sustainability conversation that began at the AIGADesign Conference 2003 in Vancouver has now become a world-class event and a reference point for the design profession. “Compostmodern ’08,” an interdisciplinary, biennial design conference dedicated to design solutions, was presented by AIGA SF and the Center for Sustainable Design on January 19 at the Academy of Art University in Downtown San Francisco.

The speakers, the energy of the participants, the media interest—all contributed to the success of this daylong conference. Attendees, conference organizers and presenters collectively shared a sense of optimism and a renewed urgency to address sustainability as an everyday practice and mode of thinking rather than a niche way of working. By all accounts, the conference succeeded in harnessing the potential and enthusiasm of its community while reaching new audiences.

Moderator Joel Makower, GreenBiz, set the stage with his opening remarks: “Sustainability is like teenage sex—everybody says they’re doing it but no one really is. And those who are doing it aren’t doing it very well.”

Worldchanging’s Alex Steffen described the roster of speakers as “a bright green, allstar line-up.” And it was, with each speaker contributing real success stories and fresh ideas about sustainability. Steffen also provided compelling new evidence of the urgent need for innovative, sustainable solutions. “We need to stop making stuff,” he said. “The two best things you can do are to not go so many places in your car to get ‘things’—or do not have a car, or share one. And ‘know’ the stories of how your things get to you—or share those things, too.”

Adam Werbach, former Sierra Club president, outlined groundbreaking initiatives currently underway with client Wal-Mart, which the San Francisco Chronicle revealed a week before the conference. “We need leaders,” he said, “and designers are in the sweet spot.”

Inspiration under a rock
August 4, 2008, 12:10 am
Filed under: I have a dream..., Luckyyy...., Nerd it out

Nothing like a trip on the good ol’ 51 to uplift the spirits. 

On another note, my good buddy Nivay (who recently picked up a sexy blue WRX) noted that both of us have “leveled up” in many different facets of our lives. I’ve always thought of this Sri Lankan with dreads as a peer of mine because we both have come from far places to end up in Berkeley. In fact, he asked me if I was sick of Berkeley yet, and I quickly said, “No.” “Good,” he said. We plan to take a trip akin to a recent movie called Into the Wild minus the dying. But since we’re designers we’ll roll like ballers, two cars plus the best mobile home out there.