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With An "H"



My musings on life, love, friends, learning, and Lindy Hop.



Updated: 2017-02-07T20:54:15.911-08:00

 



Passive Voice

2011-02-19T14:50:47.932-08:00

From a fortune cookie last night:

The wise thing to do is to prepare for the unexpected this week.

Dude.  Total passive voice.  Weasel-y language bugs me.  Take a position.  Is something unexpected going to happen?  Good?  Bad?  Or just surprising?  How do I prepare if I don't know the context?  Lame.(image)



Creativity From Structure

2011-01-24T09:51:04.319-08:00

Jon Stewart: The Most Trusted Name In Fake News : NPR

Jon Stewart says something really interesting at about 16 minutes in:

I'm a real believer in that creativity comes from limits, not freedom. Freedom, I think you don't know what to do with yourself. But when you have a structure, then you can improvise off it and feel confident enough to kind of come back to that.

I'm working on adding more "planned creativity" to my life. It makes sense to me that structure helps.

(image)



An Eggcorn

2011-01-11T23:55:53.505-08:00

I came across another eggcorn:

crap chute(image)



Lost Hour - Maybe Not So Lost

2011-01-07T03:00:21.142-08:00

I lost a good hour today after rehearsal swapping culture nuggets:Desaturated Santa (explanations)Just blown away by the effect.  I love the explanation:Santa is an immediately recognizable figure, and a Classic Santa has a fixed set of signifiers. The red and white suit, the black belt, the black boots with fur on top, the hat with the pompom on the end. These things add up in our brains to a Platonic Ideal of Santa.[...]When I decided to make a Desaturated Santa costume, I realized that to remove the visual cue of Red but still be recognizable as a Santa, I had to maintain as many of the other signifiers as I could. The illusion of a walking black-and-white-photo of a Santa wouldn’t be as effective if I wasn’t wearing a very classic Santa outfit.Santa MobDesaturated Santa, Year 2I'm taking leave of Santas Follow @sfsanta & #sfsantaUnion Square Santasblack & white santa#lessambitiousmovies (hash tag on Twitter)Just completely lost it, laughing.  Take a famous movie, then lower the ambitions on the title.Schindler's Grocery ListThe Girl With The Temporary Dragon TattooComing To CanadaThursday Night FeverCasablanketThe Devil Wears Kirkland SignatureHarry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, ArizonaEdward FingerhandsAlice in WallmartMission: DifficultThe Quarterback of Notre DameI.T. The Extra EmployeeBeing John StamosJurassic Dog ParkAssistant Manager of the RingsRoboMallCopBest collections are:Paste MagazineThe Huffington PostRaul countered with Ted Williams - Homeless man with the golden voice[...]



Wish List

2011-01-06T03:53:50.145-08:00

Oh, that's what I should have asked for for Christmas.


the Personal Pie™



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No, not really.

You might think I'd buy anything from an Australian.

You'd be wrong.(image)



Things That Went Through My Mind When She Was Carried Out

2011-01-05T08:48:35.829-08:00

(You've got to understand that I deal with things through inappropriate humor.  Well I guess you don't need to understand it.  Just know that it happens.)

And that's why I don't do pure bal.
And that's why I don't dance shag.
And that's why I lead forward on one.
And that's why I don't go upstairs.
And that's why I take small steps.

And that's why I dance so much: I never know which song might be my last.

A dance friend of mine had to be taken to the ER last night.  She's on my mind.(image)



New Southern California Pickup Line

2011-01-05T08:47:58.939-08:00

Hey babe.  I've got central heating.

It got down to 47F last night!!!  And today's high, 63!!!  What's going on, Southland(1)!  I pay my taxes and fuel surcharge!  Give me my sunny and 72!

(1) No one says Southland except for local weather and traffic reporters.(image)



Quick Hit: Twitter is censoring the discussion of #Wikileaks

2011-01-04T14:00:50.868-08:00

Twitter is censoring the discussion of #Wikileaks | safety first

To be honest, I've never been a big fan of Twitter. And I haven't really followed the Wikileaks issue. And this headline isn't quite accurate. What's happening is that #Wikileaks isn't showing up on the Trends page besides exploding discussion.

But isn't the service's utility compromised if you can't trust whether it's acting the way you assume it acts? Are you a Twitter user? Does this behavior make you concerned?
(image)



Detachment From The Physical

2011-01-03T02:02:26.987-08:00

I won't bury the lede: I'm starting the transition away from physical books.Starting.  And I'm not sure what the path will look like for a while.  I've been a life-long bookworm, with some of my fondest childhood memories being of trekking back and forth from the various local libraries that my family frequented.  One of the main failings that the city of Brea, where I spent my 6th grade through high school years, is it's sad branch of the OC Library system.  We have more square feet of bookstore in Brea than library.  We've built parks, community centers, and housing tracts without putting money into having a better library with better staffing, hours, and accessibility.  Ok, my library rant isn't the point here.  The point is, books are one of the main lenses through which I view the world.  "I read a book about..." is, I assume, one of the more annoying things I say in conversations.Since I transitioned to buying books, they've become ... sacred objects.  They're not just something I consume, they've become something that I have emotional ties to.  A book invokes memories of the times I've read it, good times and bad.  A book reminds me of the times I've shared it with others.  My sister reading A Spell For Chameleon.  My brother telling me that he finally read it only after I left it on his pillow. My sibs tearing through Ender's Game after I pushed it on them.One of the first books my brother shared with me, The Botany of Desire.I haven't lived with my mother for years, but I still have tons of books in her garage (sorry Moms, I'm working on it...).But as I look back, books didn't start out as sacred objects.  I loved L. Frank Baum's Oz series as a kid, but I never owned a copy of any but the first book.  All the others were borrowed (quickly) from the the University Heights library when we lived in the suburbs of Cleveland.  My parents might have been the original music pirates when they (allegedly) borrowed LPs and ripped them to ... Reel to Reel.  In retrospect, I guess we were an audiobook family from way back as well.These objects add clutter to my life.  That's the bottom line.  I love the content, but I don't need the objects to enjoy the content.  So what's the alternative?  I suppose I could buy eBooks versions of what I own.  But it kind of sucks to buy copies of things I already own in another format.I guess I let go of my compact disks a few years ago.  My entire collection is mp3 now.  Can I go electronic for everything?  Well, maybe not for everything.  And I do like the experience of reading paper versions.  But FedEx Office will cut the binding off a book for $1.50.  And I own a duplex-scanner with document feeder for easy PDF creation.  And tablets are bound to come down in price.I've already done this with a few books I own.  The ones I would buy copies of to give away.  Now I send a PDF and ask the person to buy a copy if they feel moved to keep the author employed.  I don't know if this will become a huge thing in my life, but we'll see.But really, it's not about the technology.  It's about separating the emotions that the object evokes from the object.  Maybe I'll have a separate blog to document memories and emotions tied with books.  Or other object.  Or maybe I'll do that here. :-)What are the things in your life that you have emotional attachements to?  Is there a way for you to preserve core of the bonds without having the object clutter your life?[...]



Vincent Cassel

2011-01-02T03:23:23.035-08:00

Saw Black Swan on New Year's Eve, 2010.  My immediate reaction?

Best insane, self-injury, lesbian, ballet movie ever!
Black Swan Trailer

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Yeah, a pretty intense movie.  One that I'll have to think about a bit.  But more important than all the Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis sexuality was the reminder of how big my man-crush on Vincent Cassel is.

Vincent Cassel Capoeira training scene

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That dude is awesome.(image)



Resolution

2011-01-01T23:50:14.159-08:00

I just had a rip-roaring good time reading through my past blog posts.  But they end abruptly back in March 2010.  I'll have to fix that this year.  Wish me luck!(image)



Wait, What DID You Say?

2010-03-26T01:18:43.495-07:00

Was listening to the 22 January 2010 episode of NPR's Planet Money podcast (yes, I'm that far behind in listening to it), and realized I was listening to Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYIAfiVGlukOr wait... is it a remix.  A visit to the blog referenced an artist I'd never heard of, Jason Derulo, singing "Whatcha Say."  Say what?!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBI3lc18k8QNew R&B song featuring tons of T-Pain-influenced Auto-Tune and an Imogen Heap sample.  Interesting that I don't like Derulo's use of Auto-Tune but do like the Imogen Heap use?  That's a good question.  After listening to the tracks, I think Derulo used a fairly simple processing that was totally unnecessary.  He seems to have a nice voice, and the stylization that this kind of Auto-Tune effect adds really just hides his voice.  The Imogen Heap use is really just part of an entire package of processing.  After listening carefully, I realized that the lead vocal track is only very subtly processed (except at very specific phrases).  There's actually a harmony track that seems to have been generated by heavily and severely processing the lead track.  That's where all the severe-pitch cutoffs are coming, not on the lead track (the vast majority of the time).  And at times it sounds like there are actually three vocal tracks: mostly unprocessed lead, echo-y effects lead, and heavily processed harmony.The best part of the Derulo track is the Imogen Heap chorus.  It really stands out.  The re-mixing of that is actually pretty interesting.  It's sped up (and not pitch-corrected) over an interesting rhythm track with some interesting repeats.  I'd much rather have heard the producer remix the original track with some studio singer adding strategic vocals.By the way, it's obnoxious for the opening non-Imogen Heap lyrics by Jason Derulo to be "Jason Derulo."  Of course, before that, the producer inserted his own name as a vocal.  I just read that it's his signature to do that.  How horrible would Quincy Jones's career have been if he insisted that his name open every track he produced?Wow, I'm probably over-analyzing this.[...]



Thanks a lot, Friends!

2010-03-12T18:46:39.249-08:00

I just wanted to thank all my friends and family who helped me reach
my fundraising goal for the 24 Cancer Dance-A-Thon (starts tomorrow!).
I've just personally met my goal (minutes ago) and see that the total
2010 tally $131K! I know that the fundraising will continue
throughout the event so if you'd still like to donate, please feel
free to do so!

http://www.danceathon.org/participate/?loadbody=mip&mid=686

I'll try to post pictures and stories from the event for you all to
give you a feel for what's going on.

Thanks again!

--John White(image)




Danceathon!

2010-03-07T01:31:21.652-08:00

Friends, a quick note to ask you for some help.  I'm participating in the 24 Hour Cancer Dance-A-Thon again this year!  From 11am March 13th to noon March 14th, someone on my team will be continuously on the floor, dancing (relay-style). In the past few years, you all have been so generous in helping me reach my goal of raising money for the City of Hope.  Can I ask for your support again?

I don't need much from any single person (one Friend donated the $4.75 he got from his month's recycling).  Every bit helps, and to emphasize the point, the money goes to fund cancer research at the City of Hope.

The event has raised over $400,000 since it was started in 2005, not including the $80,000 we've already raised this year.  And that money comes in, one $4.75 donation at a time.  Well, it can be more, but you get the picture. *grin*

You can donate at my link here.  If you prefer to send a check, you can make it out to "24 Hour Cancer Dance-a-thon" (put "John White" in the memo field so they know I raised the money) and send it to:

24 Hour Cancer Dance-a-thon
17961 Skypark Circle Suite C
Irvine CA 92614

If you can help me out, thanks!  If not, we'll still be friends with a whole year 'til we raise money together for the 2011 Dance-A-Thon!(image)



10 Days With The Nexus One

2010-02-27T23:08:57.047-08:00

I'm frugal.  My old phone, the T-Mobile branded G1 worked ... OK, though it was starting to need frequent charges.  The G1 was the first generation Android operating system phone available domestically (Android is the free phone OS that Google is developing).  The G1 got me to love the Android platform.  Everything is in active development.  At first, I had Google Maps, but after a year I had Google Maps with turn-by-turn Navigation.

And then Google partnered with HTC to create their own branded phone, the Nexus One.  The screen is bigger, brighter, and had multi-touch gestures.  The camera is better and includes and includes an LED flash.  There's better integration with social networking sites.  The battery management is better.  The cradle turns it into a kick-ass alarm clock.

I caved.  10 days later, there's no thought of returning it.  Well, the lack of physical keyboard is a slight downside, but the virtual keyboard is much better than the G1's virtual keyboard.  It's useable.  And I'm experimenting with Swype, which is ... magical.

I have the ability to swap batteries and upgrade the internal flash memory, theoretically giving me the ability to carry 70% of my audio collection.  I haven't done this... yet.

Any way.  It's awesome.  If you want to know whether I think you should buy it, I do.  You should.(image)



Factory Restaurants

2009-12-20T02:02:32.634-08:00

Ok, I'm annoyed shading to amused by the idea of restaurants with the word "factory" in the name.  Who would eat at a factory?  Even one where they make cheesecake?  And if I wouldn't eat at a dessert factory, I certainly wouldn't eat at one where they make spaghetti.

Friday night, I found myself talking Zenaida, who was feeling under the weather, into eating at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

I should mention that I have a terrible association with the place, having had a sports award banquet there as a kid, over twenty (!) years ago.  I seem to remember my choice being red or white sauce, and getting s terrible marinara place-holder of a sauce.  But my memory isn't reliable, and it's really just receded into negative association.  I actually flinched when Z told me about her work holiday party being held there.  But I'm a gamer.

Clearly my memory wasn't reliable, the banquet was cheap, or the restaurant has changed.  For the better.  The cheese bread was nice, the marinara dip was really nice.  Z ordered a combo platter with a clam sauce and a browned butter and cheese sauce.  I tasted a bit of the second which was really yummy.  I had the red, meat sauce with meatballs and sausage (the meat lover's trio, or something like that).  The meat sauce was terrific, as were the sausage and the meatballs.  The spumoni was ok, but was a nice, simple contrast to the heavy pasta.

For a chain pasta place, I'd say it's a good choice.

Z's boss seems like a charming rogue with really interesting ideas about filling the gaps created by schools cutting out the arts.

I chat with William who's a professional salsa and ballroom instructor.  We talk dance for hours.

Good food, good conversation.(image)



Technology Makes Life Weird

2009-11-27T09:20:04.865-08:00

During family discussion in the aftermath of the Thanksgiving meal, my mother picked up her iPhone and tapped away at it for a while.
Surreal.(image)



SSC 27

2009-11-11T21:43:40.916-08:00

Short Shameful Confession:

I thought everyone was mispronouncing "Tumoric."(image)



I Forgot What Comes Next

2009-11-11T08:04:36.050-08:00

One of my favorite Sesame Street clips from childhood.  And of course, my family called ME John John too.

John John and Herry Monster Count to 20

See him watching the puppeteer at first instead of the head?

(object) (embed) (image)



Total Loss

2009-10-15T09:57:05.051-07:00

On Monday, October 11th, I was involved in a front corner to front corner collision in my 1997 Honda Civic.  Everyone involved (me, the other driver, a passenger in the other car) was able to walk away with nothing but the shakes, but both cars had to be towed away.  The other driver turned left from the eastbound side of Imperial Hwy towards Poplar, across three lanes of westbound traffic.  I was in the right hand lane, traveling through the Poplar intersection and we struck, my front driver's quadrant on his front passenger's quadrant.   His airbags went off, but mine didn't (I must have braked and turned away from him to hit on the corner instead of head on.  The Brea Police officer who responded told me that a left turning car is almost always at fault in that situation as a vehicle traveling straight through an un-signaled intersection has right of way over a left-turning car from opposing traffic.  The one issue that might complicate this judgment is that the middle lane had stopped as traffic had backed up to the edge of the intersection in the middle lane (the right lane was still clear).  They might decide I had a responsibility to slow down in that case, and might be partially at fault.  If I were instructing a teenager to drive, I'd probably tell them the same thing.  Cars are stopped?  Slow down, even if you think you know why and think the reason doesn't apply to you.Tuesday morning, I was sore as hell, with joint, back, and neck pain.  I got in to get a physical exam/manipulation, and to my relief was told that it appeared to be "just" soft tissue damage.  They didn't even take x-rays.  That was a relief.  My car got towed to a repair yard to get inspected for a repair estimate.Wednesday I was told that the insurance company wasn't going to have the vehicle repaired as the cost estimate ($4,200) exceeded the wholesale value of the car (probably around $2K).  I'd known that was going to happen, so had begun to put myself in car-buying mode.  I cleared all my belongings out and released it to the insurance company for their inspection process.  At some point the claims adjuster for the accident will decided if I'm at fault at all and wave all, part, or none of my deductible.  At the same time, an inspector will decided how close to the bluebook value my car was and make me a cash settlement offer on the vehicle.In the mean-time, I'm renting a car to get around (insurance benefit) and have begun the car shopping process.  I'm a green sucker, I guess, but I'm looking to purchase a hybrid.  My mother owns both the first and third generation Prius, so I'm biased towards that.  At the same time, the supply is horrifically constrained.  I went by Longo Toyota, the largest Toyota dealership in the world (sales volume), and almost every one of their Priuses were pre-sold.  They had the exact model/color I was looking for available, however (a pre-sold vehicle was pre-sold to someone who didn't qualify for financing).  We'll see whether that's a good thing for me.  The demand means they get the sticker price.  Perhaps I can go through a service (credit union's Autoland or Costco) and get something better.The supply constraint has me re-thinking whether the Honda Civic Hybrid might be a better buy for me.  The comparable models (Prius III with Navigation vs. Civic Hybrid with Navigation) have about the same sticker price.  I'd almost certainly be able to get a better [...]



Yogurt

2009-10-11T16:36:22.953-07:00

S: I think it went bad.

Me: What?!  The freshness date is 20 days from now.  And I opened it like 2 days ago.

S: Well... is it supposed to be tangy?

Me: *sputter*  "It's YOGURT!!!"

S: Well... I didn't know!

Me: I'm so angry at you right now.(image)



Expansion

2009-10-02T14:47:17.459-07:00

We naturally expand to fill the capacity that we're given in all kinds
of contexts. When I first got AT&T's Uverse television service, I
thought the concept of needing to record 4 channels at once was silly.
This Wednesday at 8pm, I'm recording 4 shows. I found this out when
I scheduled the system to record a 5th.(image)



Zero

2009-09-11T16:56:49.204-07:00

"Holy crap, you have a lot of soda!"

Yeah, I bought into the Labor Day sales of diet colas and Diet Dr. Pepper.  They happen during the July 4th holiday as well, by the way.

And my preliminary conclusions?  I like Coke Zero better than Pepsi Max.

Yeah, nothing profound to see here.  Move along.(image)



Bing

2009-08-20T20:13:14.303-07:00

Tried out Microsoft's Bing search tool today. My search was "how does
bing work".

Results? Nothing useful.

Bing fail.(image)




Bucket List

2009-08-17T01:13:38.368-07:00

Ahh facebook...  a well for infinite time wasting! :-) Place an "X" by all the things you've done and remove the X from the ones you have not, then send it to your friends (including me).To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, do the list and tag people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish. If you don't see the Tag people in the upper right hand corner you are in the wrong place.Things you have done during your lifetime:(X) Gone on a blind date(X) Skipped school(X) Watched someone die(X) Been to Canada(X) Been to Mexico(X) Been to Florida(X) Been to Hawaii(X) Been on a plane(X) Been in a helicopter(X) Been lost(X) Gone to Washington, DC(X) Swam in the ocean(X) Cried yourself to sleep(X) Played cops and robbers( ) Recently colored with crayons( ) Sang Karaoke(X) Paid for a meal with coins only( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't.(X) Made prank phone calls( ) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue( ) Danced in the rain(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus(X) Been kissed under the mistletoe( ) Watched the sunrise with someone(X) Blown bubbles(X) Gone ice-skating(X) Gone to the movies( ) Been deep sea fishing( ) Driven across the United States(X) Been in a hot air balloon( ) Been sky diving( ) Gone snowmobiling( ) Lived in more than one country(X) Lay down outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets(X) Seen a falling star and made a wish( ) Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser( ) Seen the Statue of Liberty( ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle(X) Been on a cruise( ) Cast a spell(X) Traveled by train( ) Traveled by motorcycle( ) Been horse back riding(X) Ridden on a San Francisco cable car(X) Been to Disneyland( ) Been to Disney World( ) Been in a rain forest( ) Seen whales in the ocean(X) Been to Niagara Falls( ) Ridden on an elephant( ) Swam with dolphins( ) Been to the Olympics( ) Walked on the Great Wall of China( ) Saw and heard a glacier calf( ) Been para-sailing(X) Been water-skiing(X) Been snow-skiing( ) Been to Westminster Abbey( ) Been to Malaysia( ) Swam in the Mediterranean(x) Been to a Major League Baseball game(X) Been to a National Football League game( ) Been to a cricket test match[...]