Category Archives: General

New Podcast: Invisibilia

Hat tip to Mary for suggesting Invisibilia , a new podcast about the ‘invisible things that influence human behavior’. Their first episode is on fear, and it’s terrific.

The Radiolab inspiration is self evident within a minute, with its inquisitive style and — most notably — its high quality layered sound production.

Definitely give it a listen.

Broods: Evergreen

I previously highlighted a song by New Zealand duo Broods, and only now did I realize that their full length album was release back in October: Evergreen.

Solid effort from a new band, especially with songs like “Mother & Father” and “Sober” beyond their breakout single “Bridges”.

I had to describe the vibe here, it would like Phantogram crossed with The xx.

(also, I didn’t think I’d have two posts with ‘Evergreen’ in the title in a short span)

The launch of Fitz and the Tantrums

Great article at NPR about the little magical breaks the band Fitz and the Tantrums got in their early days which helped propelled them to success.

They did a few shows and ended up performing on NPR member station KCRW’s show Morning Becomes Eclectic. A tattoo artist, visiting from New York, heard them on the radio and bought the EP.

Back in New York, Adam Levine from Maroon 5 came in to see the tattoo artist, who recommended Fitz and the Tantrum’s music. “Adam proceeds to listen, starts tweeting about our music….

A week later, Levine was sitting in the front row at a tiny club show the band was doing. A week after that, the band got an offer to open for Maroon 5 on their big East Coast college tour.

If you haven’t already, check out their album ‘More than Just a Dream’. It’s an awesome, upbeat, indie pop take on Motown soul. And they put on a helluva live show — don’t ever miss them.

Made me think – the challenge of poverty

Hat tip to old Stanford classmate Ricky Yean who shared this Slate article ‘Why Poor People are Poor’.

When you have essentially zero financial cushion, the little annoyances in life can end up having massive, life altering consequences. If your car breaks down and you can’t afford a $300 repair, then you could end up losing your job because you miss too many days of work, or get fired because you are late due to sub-optimal public transit. Salient quote:

Because our lives seem so unstable, poor people are often seen as being basically incompetent at managing their lives. That is, it’s assumed that we’re not unstable because we’re poor, we’re poor because we’re unstable.

This got me thinking…is there any sort of ‘real-time’ intervention model possible to provide an emergency financial cushion for people in need?

Justifying the ‘Evergreen’

Read this editorial by Vox stating their take on ‘evergreen’ articles — stories that aren’t time sensitive but are intended to provide general context and background on a topic. And then read it again.

It seems that the publishing platform Vox started to basically re-publish already published articles with either no or slight ‘touch-ups’ to their content and — despite changing the tagline to ‘Updated‘ – found that visitors (and subsequent page traffic) didn’t really notice. So it’s going to start happening more.

Not sure how I feel about this — on one hand it seems to be the less labor-intensive (lazy?) path to maintaining traffic numbers, but then again there really are great informative articles that can get ‘buried’ under the deluge of the 1400/24/7/365 constant news feed.

Charlie Hallowell on The Eastern Shore

Do yourself a favor and listen to this gem of an interview that Brock Winstead did with restauranteur Charlie Hallowell on The Eastern Shore.

Hallowell now has three successful restaurants in Oakland and spent years at Chez Panisse learning and absorbing the craft of preparing and serving food. He has a wildly curious mind, an engaging and open heart, and an incredible sense of awareness of his place in the world and what is craft means.

I can’t wait to go experience his restaurants in person!


Nice article looking back to “33”, the pilot episode for the Battlestar Galactica television series which premiered a decade ago.

I’ve seen this pilot nearly a dozen times, and its command of detail; confidence in its characters, story, and viewers; and technical execution still impresses me today.

When fancy is frustrating

Four blocks away from the house we’re renting in Santa Cruz is a New Leaf Community Market grocery store. It’s the small store chain equivalent to Whole Foods, with stores dotted up and down the central coast. It’s what you expect — emphasis on organic food, high quality hot bar, local and/or high end brands, fancy artisanal cheeses and wine, higher likelihood of finding hard to find ingredients, elaborate health vitamins and foods section.

Six blocks away is a very large, upper scale Safeway store. It has Starbucks inside. Its produce section has a fairly large organic section, a nice flower boutique, multiple ethnic food aisles, expansive wine & liquor section (though their craft beer selection is sorely lacking), and all the other generalities a nationwide chain has to offer. A comfort in familiarity.

We’ve done nearly all of our grocery shopping at the Safeway. It’s the first store we hit on the way home. The prices are great, we can find practically anything we typically want, and I know where everything is. But sometimes I feel this social pressure to patron the New Leaf. Support local! Spend your money towards good causes! So last night I make a quick stop to buy some sugar and canned dice tomatoes. I find the baking isle and stare at the sixteen types of flour they sell, then over to the eight different types of organic sugar they sell. Pure, organic brown sugar. Pure, organic powdered sugar. Pure organic whole cane sugar. Pure, organic coconut palm sugar.  Fructrose crystals. Turbinado. 12 to 16oz bags, nothing for less than $6.49. Really? I’m just looking for simple, granulated, white sugar. Does that have to be fancy too? After searching two more aisles for a more humbler sugar, I gave up and went to the Safeway.

$2.49 for two pounds of simple, white sugar, and $0.79 for a can of diced tomatoes.