Thursday, June 30, 2005


My apologies to the 3 regular readers of this column, but my brain has still not recovered from last weekend's festivities (my birthday + friend's bachelor party), and LLMB will resort to music review-age.

Shellac is coming to the Great American Music Hall for 2 nights in August. They don't tour much, and this may be your only chance to see them. Minimalist rock that's indie in nature - but now that indie has become synonymous with emo - it's not really indie other than the fact that it's not on a major label. Math rock at it's finest.

Buy TRS-80's "Shake Hands With Danger". It's kind of a hard listen - no vocals - and crazy electronic beats - but I've listened to it 20 times in the last 3 days, and that has to say something good about it.

Rock on.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


I don't know if many of you have heard of this, but there's a local dude named Barry Bonds who's chasing the home run record. Not currently though. Currently he's sitting on his ass counting his millions and blaming the media for his plight.

But there is another dude I've heard about from a friend of mine living in Chicago. He told me that he's heard from more than one co-worker that there's a serial killer in Pittsburgh who's chasing Barry's record in a different manner. He's mimicking Bonds' home run record in kills. Apparently the Pittsburgh Police Department have given him the nickname "Bury Blondes" because of his penchant for bludgeoning people with blonde hair (both male and female) to death with a baseball bat.

Now I don't have anything to worry about because my hair takes about 10 hours under a sunlamp to turn light brown, but maybe the blondes out here living in San Francisco should take notice. "Bury Blondes" has been operating in Pittsburgh for 6 years now, which is almost as long as Mr. Barry Bonds was hitting home runs in the steel city. Which means this is could be his last year there and next year will be his first year in San Francisco, if the killer is indeed following the career of the slugger.

It's hard to debate the similarities between the home run record and serial killer's record. In 2004, Bury Blondes murdered 25. This year he's on pace for 34, which is exactly what Bonds homered in his final year in Pittsburgh.

Apparently the reason this serial killer isn't featured more heavily in the news is because of pressure from Major League Baseball to keep it quiet. They don't want this thing taking any of the excitement from the home run chase. God forbid something like steroids might do something like that.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Good Karma

I have no idea what's going on, but I've had a mini-run of good fortune lately. Not that you can call your computer dying on you good fortune, but the resulting free-repair-after-your-laptop-isn't-under-warranty-anymore would be moved to the "good" category.

My bike has been sitting in the garage for a while in the recent past because it's used mainly for transportation to and from work. And because you can't really ride a bike from San Francisco to Seattle very quickly or very easily, the work commute has left the bike next to the rake and the broom and the hoe. Huh huh. Hoe. Anyway, the bike has been called to action lately because I've been working close enough to pedal down 14th street and coast to this week's worksite. That's livin'.

The gears on the bike don't shift like they used to, and I didn't think it was much of a problem until I tried to do the slick biker maneuver of blasting through a red light, pedaling my ass off to avoid being run over by a Toyota Tacoma. Well the gears didn't shift like they used to and the gears kinda snapped into an unintended gear at an unintended moment and I didn't have the cranking speed I wanted. That, and my foot nearly slipped out of the pedal, and that could have been disastrous.

So I tried to do the bike tune-up by myself. I'm no bike mechanic, but how hard can it be? It looked like I fixed the gear shifting when testing the gears out with the bike upside-down in my garage, but the riding was a different matter. The problem was worse than before. I'd shift gears and nothing would happen. I couldn't pass those road rage bikers like I used to.

There's a little bike shop on 14th street and Guerrero called "Box Dog Bikes" that has a pit bull type dog that's old and very sweet and slowly comes out to greet you on the street when you pull up. I brought my bike there and a bike mechanic with worn black nail polish came out and asked me what the problem was. He said the rear derailleur cable was too tight. I said "I wonder how that happened?" and scratched my head. He brought out a wrench and did some quick adjustments and took it for a ride. He rode it back into the shop and said "I think I fixed it. Do you want to put some air in your tires?" I did and then I took it for a spin right out front. Fixed. I rode back in and asked him "how much?" No charge. Wow. That's 2 free repairs in 2 weeks. Since everything comes in 3s, I can't wait to see what's next.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Apple Store Adventures - part 3

My laptop computer died again last weekend. At this point, one would think that I might be giving up on the Macintosh experiment in favor of trying out a PC. Which points out the glaring fact that there aren't many alternatives in the way of computing out there. You can get a PC or a Mac. You can get a PC and put Linux on there, or some other operating system, but it's still a PC. The fact that there are dozens of PC makers out there doesn't count. It's still a PC. And based on the fact that you can't get Final Cut Pro on a PC, I will be buying Apple computers until the next great edit system comes along on a different platform.

Anyway, back to my busted laptop. As was the case last time this happened (about 4 months ago), the computer was doing nothing. It became slower and slower until I decided that it would be a good idea to try to back the thing up, and then the backup took about 2 hours. I tried to erase the drive, and no luck. Ruh roh.

I got online and put my name in line for the Genius Bar at the Apple Store downtown. It was about 10 am (which is when they open), so I was first in line. I rushed down there on Muni (which isn't really rushing at all based on the schedule of trains - future rant coming) and arrived about 10:30. My name was first in line, but on the monitors, it said "next Genius available at 11:55 am". Nice. A pair of Euro glam women were tired of waiting for the next Genius, so one of them raised a stink about how she didn't want to wait and she just wanted to drop off her computer for repairs (which is what I wanted to do), and the Genius who was moderating the line fell for her accent and glam look and let her go to the front of the line. Unfortunately I'm neither a woman or have a Euro accent or glam, so I continued to wait.
(The ironic part is that I finished my Genius session before the Euro ladies did.)

Finally my name came up and a guy named David was assigned my Genius. He immediately asked if the laptop was under warranty. Nope. Apple Care? Nope. He attached his Genius toolkit to the computer and came up with the fact that the drive was fried. I told him my story of how the last Genius I spoke with in February (when my laptop was still under warranty) diagnosed that the drive wasn't in danger of frying (not exactly what the Apple Hardware test CD diagnosed) and that I should just write zeroes to the disk and re-install and it would be just fine and dandy. David said he totally disagreed with the other Genius, and asked for his name, which I couldn't remember. In any case, David said they would repair my laptop FREE OF CHARGE. For all my griping about bad customer service at places like Travelocity - which I continue to advise against ever using, ever - this was a glimmer of hope that some people on the other end of the counter actually remember what it's like to be a customer. Thank God for Geniuses. The good ones anyway.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Mr. Steve Magg suggested this YEARS ago, but finally this Wednesday the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved the suffix "xxx" for pornographic website use. The hope is that it will protect children from online smut by allowing family filtering software to block access to sites ending in xxx. The major flaw in this plan is that registering domains under the new suffix will cost about 10 times as much as a dot-com name. And registering under the new suffix is optional. Hmm. So if I'm a porn website owner and I can keep my site and all the traffic associated with it as is at the same cost OR buy a new xxx site and redirect traffic there at 10 times the cost, what should I do? Nothing. God bless America.