Rub The Felt: Looking Back At ETech 2007

I’ve just spent the week in San Diego at O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference – aka ETech 2007. The theme was the old Arthur C. Clarke quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I came out to San Diego for two reasons. The first was intentional: my job has an underlying requirement that I be aware of what’s going on in the tech world, and I can’t think of a conference more targeted at that line of thinking than ETech. The second was unintentional: in the time since I booked my conference registration, I have burned out very hard on a serious personal project, and I grew to look forward to this time as a chance to reboot myself in terms of technological interests.

In both respects, I believe it was a success.

Continue reading Rub The Felt: Looking Back At ETech 2007

This Is What You’re Doing Friday Night

Bootie – the “Best Mashup Party In The USA” (as per Complex Magazine) – is coming to NYC for a second go-round. I didn’t even know they had been here the first time – but now I do!

And what’s more, the man they call [PARTY BEN]( is guest DJing.

Need more info? [Here you go.]( Make sure you RSVP for the discount.

Thanks to [A+D]( for giving me the heads up. You folks are too nice. (And I’m going to be rocking out to [Beethoven’s Fifth Gold Digger]( for the next month.)

TaQ at Carnegie Hall

Today was a special day for Bemani nerds in the NYC area.

[Taku “TaQ” Sakakibara](, well known as the producer of hard techno for the Beatmania IIDX series, had his first symphony, “Antevorte”, premiered at Carnegie Hall. The piece was performed by the [New York Symphonic Ensemble](, as part of the Velia International Music Festival.

The program describes TaQ thusly:

TaQ Program + Autograph

>Winning a second prize in the violin competition called “Jugend Musiziert” at 10 years old, TaQ started his career as the composer at the age of 11 in Germany. He is well known in Techno and Electronica at first. However, since he has been familiar to classical music and orchestra for a long time, there have been wide variations among his music in terms of taste of orchestral music. Joining digital sound and analog sound together such as techno and classical music, he immediately hit his stride and excelled. Both digital and acoustic music fans excitedly welcomed his gargantuan distribution to the famous multimedia online game “Granado Espada”.

>Recently, he got more concentrated in orchestration itself. TaQ’s music has been more focused on “ongaq (music)” than any kind of specific genre of music with his faith that there’s no precise and strict boundary in music to enjoy listening.

The notes on the piece:

>Stromatiolite, the oldest of mineral substances that first released oxygen, is often described as an inorganic organic matter that provides a spark for an emergence of life on earth. TaQ’s album *ongaq: stromatolite*, which was consisted of electronic music, runs on the following motif, inspired by the title *stromatolite*: the expansiveness of the nature, the genesis of life, and the long path to the present. A long flow of history that went from a piece of ore and finally formed a town through a sum of things that the nature kingdom holds is expressed through the world of his music.

>Although it is just a little mineral ore, stromatolite has been kept watching the long and the epic proportional life of everything on earth for an excessive amount of long time. Stromatolite has been always philosophical about releasing oxygen though any drastic changes or big biological evolution had been occurred in its surroundings. For the ore, all evolutionary transitions that have been happened in the universe through the enormously long time and eras for us is perfectly same as what it does today and the future is sure to be scheduled naturally by continue doing the same thing. Tremendous long time is almost like a blap. It’s same as the fact that the structure of universe and human cellula are so the same each other.

>This four-movement symphony shows you the parallel universe of “stromatolite,” the world as a theme, with philharmonic orchestra. The keyword for the entire symphony is “time.” Since it is the parallel world, main theme of the symphony is from “stromatolite.” The parallel world shows a life of a person so a lot of changes are happening during the movements.

>Antevorte, the great Roman goddess of “time” and “future” join sthese two world which seems to be different each other together. She lets us know that there’s no difference in time, what we can see is only a fragment of the long time and the future is neither dreamy nor uncertain but full of reality.

The piece itself is what I could best describe as “cinematically orchestral” – it would not feel out of place in a movie or game. It was certainly in line with TaQ’s existing work – I felt some touches of the stromatolite album, as well as the inevitable comparison to Distress (which had a very orchestral feel in the middle).

To those people hoping for a recording, Carnegie Hall rules forbid anything even resembling a recording device, although there’s a chance the hall itself could release a CD of the event.

While I didn’t get to say much to TaQ myself, these were the bits I caught in conversation:

* He is fluent in English, German, and Japanese.
* He will not be returning to make any more music for Bemani games in the foreseeable future – was very firm about this.
* He did mention a Konami-related project he was asked to work on that he will probably be contributing to – but asked us not to tell anyone, so that’s as far as this goes.
* His manager, Jade, mentioned to me that this was TaQ’s first trip to NYC, that he loved it, and that they would love to do a “bounce” night at a club in New York. Pacha was mentioned as a possible venue. (I agreed this was a fantastic idea.)


(My apologies to anyone who was looking to talk to me more – we had to depart after the intermission because another project needed my time, and I figured I had gotten what I came for.)

Captain Dan

Since I am in close contact with a handful of the Gothamist staff, I occasionally bat around jokes and thoughts about the news that they’re working on posting. Every now and then, they get included in the article.

This happened last week, when MTA head Peter Kalikow rushed to fix an LIRR station at the complaint of a neighbor / fellow yacht club member Deanna Banks. I had offered:

“Oh, we should be dressing up as yacht club members and protesting outside MTA headquarters so Kalikow can get to work on the subways.”

This got included in the article, and the article garnered a few of the regular MTA-griping comments that are typical of any story about mass transit.

But last night, a new comment appeared – from Deanna herself! And this has made my day:

Therefore not knowing who Mr Dickinson is, maybe I dont get his Thirston Howle humor that did not give one positive solution in order to help all of us commuters have a better experience. But hey we can dress up as yacht club members Captain Dan can wear the scramble egg hat with the monkey bars on his shoulders and we all can have a good laugh in order to relieve some of the tension that we seem to be experiencing on the train.

Dan Can Cook

Cooking has always vexed me.

On one hand, I have low tolerance for the prep work, the shopping, the cleaning, the waiting, the unplanned multitasking, and the inevitable throwing away of parts unused. Worse, the occasions I have decided to cook, my instincts to be creative often lead to some utterly stupid meals. (Ask Katie about my attempts to be creative with Chicken Parm.) Result: almost all of my meals are takeout or delivery.

On the other hand, I love food. This certainly doesn’t hurt the desire to eat at restaurants, but it does always pain me that I can’t even seem to make much right at home.

Two weeks ago, I decided to make a run to the grocery store and pick up a few things so I could do something easy, but with a little bit of effort. End result: some excellent homemade croutons that topped a pretty decent chicken Caesar salad.
Inspired by [Serious Eats’ National Pork Day coverage]( – particularly [Meg’s comment about her favorite pork recipe]( – I decided to get cooking again this morning.

* I grabbed some nice fresh european bread, a cluster of vine tomatoes, a head of Boston lettuce, a small bottle of Hellman’s Mayo and a pack of hardwood smoked bacon.
* I baked the bacon after seasoning it a little with some sea salt and cracked pepper. I have learned my lesson that trying to cook a lot of bacon in a skillet is both a time sink and a recipe for grease burns. It still came out the right level of chewy that a sandwich such as this requires.
* I ripped off two leaves of lettuce per sandwich, and sliced the tomatoes into four thin slices. I do not believe in shredded lettuce for sandwiches.
* The bread was toasted so that it just barely browned – leaving the insides chewy but the outside firm enough to hold up the sandwich.
* Mayo was blended with this lovely fried garlic olive oil we’ve had kicking around in about a 3:1 ratio to form a makeshift garlic aioli.

And when it was all assembled, it all clicked.

I Make A Kick-Ass BLT

Yes, cooking a BLT is not the most exciting thing in the world – but I defy you to look at that picture and not get hungry.

Food is even more delicious when you make it yourself. Be good to yourself – cook something. If I can do it, you sure as hell can.