Capn Design

November 2005

This month I posted 11 entries, listened to 954 songs, watched 2 videos, bookmarked 1 site, took 42 photos and favorited 1 thing.

Fat Red Carrera

Artist Erwin Wurm creates a crazy looking, puffy Porsche Carrera.

Happy Turkey

Posted November 24, 2005

I'd like to wish everyone a great Turkey Day. It's by far my favorite holiday because it usually gets the whole family together and it involves delicious, delicous food. Honestly, is there a better meal? I think it's just the right mix of textures. The soft, melt-in-your-mouth sweet potatoes, the juicy, tender turkey, the sweet sensation of cranberries popping in your mouth; it's all so good.

My favorite is easily the cranberries. Since I was little I was eating cranberries, but it used to be only Ocean Spray's Jellied Cranberry Sauce. I pretty much only ate that and hot dogs for 3 years straight. Odd, I know.

My deep love for those perfect, crimson fruits is the reason I became disappointed in Americans after reading this Gallop Poll.* Apparently, only 2% of American say cranberries are their favorite and 21% say it's their least favorite. Unbelievable. I now understand that this country hasn't gone to crap because of our president, but because we can't recognize culinary perfection.

Anywho, enjoy your meal, regardless of your favorite dish.

* Thanks for the tip, Gothamist.

Amazing Coordinated Christmas Light Show

I was blown away. Insanity.

Measure Map

Posted November 22, 2005

1105_measureMap-logo.gifI haven't been a stats whore for a long time. When I first start writing a blog, it definitely drove how often I wrote. I wanted to be an A-List blogger ASAP. No surprise, it didn't happen. As I became happy with just writing, I stopped paying attention to stats. Over the last week, that's changed.

I hooked my blog into an early version of Measure Map, an upcoming blog stats tool, and starting seeing my visitors in a much clearer light. The tool is in its early stages, but it already does a good job of tracking visitors, links, comments and posts. I've been using it daily and I'm excited to see where they go with it. It's a great replacement for Refer, which had no guard against referrer spam.

As they get closer to launch, things should get interesting. I'm guessing they'll smooth out the rough patches in the software and add some good new features (XML feed analytics, better toos for comparison) before then, but I'm more curious about their business model. It seems clear that they'll have to charge for the service as there is no other clear source of revenue, but how much will it cost? Since blogging is just a hobby, I didn't feel like spending $30 on Mint, but I probably would have spent $10. But since this is a hosted solution, a one-time fee isn't likely.

What will the price-point be? I'm not counting them out but I fear it may be too high. If they're planning to hold onto all my traffic logs forever then it's gonna have to be at least a few bucks a month, which is already more than Mint. I guess it all depends on who they want to court. If they want me and other even more casual bloggers, they're going to need a free or cheap option. I could justify spending $15 or maybe $20 on this a year, but not much more.*

*I realize this may be more than Mint in the long run, but this software has higher value for me.

Reasons I Turn to P2P for Music

Posted November 21, 2005

I just finished reading about OK GO's opinions on DRM and it got me thinking about why I download albums from file-sharing networks instead of buying. For the record, I would say I buy 80% of the music I procure, with another 15% coming from friends and the rest coming from illegal downloads, which I think is better than most people in their 20s.

Damian (of OK GO) explains how he relies on kids to get their music in whatever way necessary, even if it means they don't pay for it. Since they're still not turning much if any of a profit for the label or making much themselves, exposure is paramount over everything else. This seems to be why so many artists can justify p2p. Now, here are my reasons for turning to the dark side.

1. The CD hasn't been released. Oftentimes I'm really excited about a new album and just can't wait. This is probably the least justifiable excuse, but I also don't download many albums for this reason.

2. The CD has been released overseas but is not available here (for a reasonable price). On Friday I was listening to the We Are Scientists' album and I liked it enough to buy it. Oh, it's an import and it's twenty bucks? Nah. Information moves too fast these days to stagger international release dates. I know, it's not always strategic, but I would have bought the record if it were $15 or less.

3. An album is just too darn expensive. I really wanted the new American Analogue Set but I couldn't justify paying the high price tag (which I've forgotten at this point). So, I turn to Soulseek. I'll buy just about any album if it's $13. When it's more I have to think about how badly I want the album. If it's over $15, it's highly unlikely I'll ever pay for it.*

4. I'm curious about the band, but not enough to spend money. Listening to a single or song samples aren't always enough (if they're even available).

In the end, it comes down to value. I'll spend $30 on an album if it's one of my favorite bands, but you won't find me spending more than $12 on the new Minus the Bear record. I realize that legal downloads solve some of my problems, but that opens up another can of worms, which I'll save for a later date. For now, you can read my potential solution from a few month's ago.

* There are exceptions. While in Japan, I bought Quruli's The World is Mine for over twenty dollars even though I had already downloaded it. The combination of my being a big fan, it's lack of availability in the U.S. and the relatively cheap price compared to other Japanese albums made me buy it.

Hitachino Nest White Ale

Posted November 17, 2005

white-ale_1105.jpgOn Friday I visited Momofuku Noodle Bar for the first time. It was excellent, but that's another story altogether. While eating, I took a chance on a beer called Hitachino Nest White Ale and it was the most exciting beer I've ever had.

Hitachino Nest White Ale is a Japanese beer brewed by Kiuchi Brewery. Their brief description calls it, "A refreshing mildly hopped Belgian styled beer with a complex flavor of coriander, orange peel, nutmeg." It was definitely the spices that grabbed me as the flavor was quite memorable. I'm no beer connoisseur, but I know this was tasty. If you don't trust me, check out its Beer Advocate profile.* Now if you don't trust them, know that the White Ale won a gold medal in the 2004 World Beer Cup. That should do the trick.

The other thing I loved about this beer was its label. It has a decidedly Japenese aesthetic, but is very inviting to me. I probably would have bought it based on the packaging alone.

It seems that you can get Kitachino Nest beers at a Park Slope beer emporium called Bierkraft. The Kiuchi Brewery makes about 10 varieties of Hitachino Nest beer, but I'm not sure how many are available stateside.

* In addition to rating the beer (it currently has an 87), Beer Advocate offer good pairings with food, glassware selection and ideal serving temperature for beers in the Witbier family. Good site.

Pee & Poo Toy

Answers the age-old question, "Can bodily excretions be cute toys?" Absolutely.

Petition for Nike to Create Make McFly's Shoes from Back to the Future II

Oh, I'm so behind this

Various Football Thoughts

Posted November 16, 2005

  • I find the Terrell Owens saga terribly interesting. I've flip-flopped a few times on whether or not the Eagles handled it correctly, but as of this moment I think they did. He's causing more harm than good to the team (despite losing, the Eagles dominated the Cowboys on Monday) and by releasing him they'd lose the option of trading him in addition to giving him more than he deserves. Last week's Monday Morning QB best explained why releasing him is a bad idea (quickly: imagine how others would act if they knew bad behavior could get them out of a contract). Yes, the punishment is harsh, but he deserves it. And he's still getting paid after the suspension. You made your bed T.O, now quit pissing in it.
  • I am a huge Bears fan. Like most, I'm a little skeptical of our success thus far. 6-3 is nice, but we've looked like crap at many times during our five-game win streak. Yes, our defense is the best in the league and we have three solid running backs, but we're going to need Kyle Orton and the passing game to show up if we want to beat the Panthers and earn some respect. I think we can do it, but sloppy mistakes will lose this game. My favorite matchup for this game is the Bears' #1 red-zone defense and the Panthers' #1 red-zone offense. Finally, a Bears game that warrants the nail-biting.
  • Why are there not more football blogs out there? It seems like the more games in a season, the more popular blogs are for a given sport. My guess is it's all tied to the amount of stat-parsing you can do, but given the fervor of football fans it's somewhat shocking how few blogs there are. The Bears finally have one with Windy City Gridiron, but it hasn't found its groove yet. I've been tempted to start one, but I know I don't have the time and I don't want to subject you all to every Bears thought that pops in my brain.
Sound Opinions Moves to Chicago Public Radio

Ooo, hopefully this means I'll finally get to listen.

I'm Back

Posted November 1, 2005

Wow, that trip was fantastic. Unlike my Italy and France trip from last year, I found Hong Kong and Japan to feel much homey-er. That's probably because they are both large cities like NYC, but this feeling led me to believe I could come back there a number of times and still enjoy myself. That's true more for Tokyo, but I really loved them both.

As you've probably noticed, I've written a travelogue for my Hong Kong adventures and I plan to do the same this week for Japan. I'll also write a more condensed version for those who don't feel like reading about every little thing I did.

In the meantime, you can view my flickr set for Hong Kong or Tokyo. Tokyo is not yet complete and Kyoto is still on the way (expect them tomorrow).

As of right now, I feel like I'm over my jet lag. On Saturday night I was a mess; on Sunday football distracted me from any ill effectss; and yesterday I was worthless again. Finally, today, I felt whole again. Including the switch to standard time, it was a 14 hour difference. I left Tokyo at 4:55pm and arrived at 4:15pm, 40 minutes back in time. Crazy.

Now, I'm getting everything back in gear at work and trying to get back in the groove at home. I feel like I have a million movies to see and a stack of twenty magazines to read. Now it's time to fall asleep watching Infernal Affairs, reliving my Hong Kong days.

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