Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I want to ride my bicycle...

I recently pulled out my old mountain bike I purchased many years ago in Austin. It had been close to 7 years since I had rode the bike. Not once did I ride it in Atlanta, but after seeing all of the bikes on the road in Santa Monica, and having a great beach within minutes I decided it was time to give the bike a ride. About 8 weeks ago I took my first ride.

On that first ride I simply made it to Ocean Park overlooking the PCH to the beach. I was exhausted and did the best I could to return home. Little did I know the ride down to the beach was all downhill and coming home it would be all up.

After a few more weekends of riding I've been able to get a respectable routine down with a ride between 10-11 miles.

I now have a couple of routes, the first down to Venice beach and the second over to the Pacific Palisades area. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to get down to Venice. The reward of course is the people watching, from the skaters, to the dancing roller bladers, to the people playing basketball. And of course on a sunny Saturday you'll have large crowds of locals and tourists. The crowds sometimes make this a tough route to ride due to so many people walking, riding, skating, and shopping. So I've begun heading to the Palisades when the crowds are out.

The second route heads North of Santa Monica to the Pacific Palisades area. I've only made this ride a couple of times and the last ride drained me. The elevation changes on the bike route are much more dramatic than the route to Venice. Once outside of the shopping district of the Pier there aren't many people on this path. Roller bladers and people on bicycles dominate this path. You can click the maps to see the path in detail.

I've also include a few pictures I took with my Helio while riding these last few weekends. One of the pictures being a self portrait while riding back from the Pacific Palisades. :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bob Schneider at the Keyclub

This past Saturday we had another family outing to the Keyclub. This time to see Bob Schneider. In order to avoid Ticketmaster charges we purchased tickets at the door, this ended up saving us nearly $9 bucks a ticket, and at 3 tickets it was worth the chance. Bob hadn't sold out last time Jacki and I saw him at the Roxy and since this place was slightly larger I didn't see it as much of a risk.

We arrived right as doors opened at 7pm in order to get our tickets. We got our three tickets and headed out for a bite to eat. We went to the Rainbow Bar and Grill, which has become a family favorite on the Sunset Strip. The food is pretty good and you never know what rock star you might see on any given night. We didn't have reservations but the host and the owner graciously sat us at a reserved table. The reservation was for 8:30 so we had about an hour and a half to eat. The great spot about the this table is we could see everyone that walked through the door as they went to sit at a table or as they headed to the bar.

The Rainbow didn't disappoint with celebrities. Rex Brown from Pantera came in, and Jacki and Darian said I was a little star struck. He was with Kirk Windstein from Crowbar. We saw a few more people that looked familiar although we couldn't place them. Then towards the end of our night we saw Sarah Ramirez from Grey's Anatomy.

After dinner we headed back to the Keyclub to see Bob. Walking in we caught the tail end of the open band Elliot Morris, who with his shaggy hair looked remarkably like Bob from a distance. I went downstairs and purchased the web only release of Bob Schneider Greatest Hits Live, and Frunk - the live recording of the evening's show, available immediately after the concert. One of the LA promoters had a booth set up in the merch area that had some shirts I thought Darian would like, so I brought her over and she got a Support Local Bands shirt. As a benefit they gave us comp tickets to the Viper Room, of course in the spirit of supporting local bands.

We timed it right. By the time we got settled into the Keyclub, Bob was only minutes away from coming on stage. They came out and the first thing we noticed is Bob has short hair now. No mistaking it was him, but this is quite a change from the shaggy, bearded look of the last several years. The other thing to notice was the band were all wearing the same clothes, white dress shirt with a tie. They weren't dressed up by any means, but they all looked similar up on stage.

The show opened with Piggyback, which was quite appropriate since this was the song Darian had probably heard the most. Strangely enough I had never seen him perform this live, mainly due to a recorded loop used on the studio recording. The same loop with samples was being played behind the vocals as he started the show, and the full band kicked in on the second half of the song.

The set consisted of the typical fan favorites including Big Blue Sea, Metal & Steel, Assknocker and Tarantula. The band even took a fan request for Psychocaniac. The interesting thing about this set is since he was set up with loops and sample he explored more of his experimental and rap side. Playing a few new songs including Ready Let's Roll, and Cheaper.

They ended the night with Mudhouse, a favorite off the new album, Sons Of Ralph, arrrhhh..., and closed the set with the Gary Numan classic Cars.

After the show we got the setlist, although it was only liberally followed, and scored a couple of Bob guitar pics. I went downstairs to get the Frunk disc while Jacki and Darian waited for Bob to come out. Darian got the Frunk cd signed and we got a picture with Jacki, Darian and Bob.

Another fun outing to the Keyclub. I think at this point the Keyclub ranks as my favorite venue to see bands in LA.

Click below for more pictures.

Friday, February 16, 2007

D and the Les Paul

It all started a week ago Saturday. The family was in Hollywood on the way home from Amoeba. We had bought a few cds, a couple of posters and a magazine and were just going to take our time in Guitar Center, pick up some guitar pics and head home.

Once we got in I headed to the upstairs area with the drums and Darian and Jacki remained downstairs with the guitars. After playing the electronic kits for about 30 minutes I headed back down to check on Darian and Jacki. By this point Darian had fallen in love with an Ebony Gibson Les Paul Studio. It looked great, it sounded great, and Darian (along with the sales guy) were determined to make her the proud new owner of this guitar.

Usually I can point at the price, or distract her with other guitars and she'll let whatever she is playing go. But this time it was different. This guitar was used, and was several hundred dollars cheaper than a comparable Les Paul. Although the guitar was used it looked brand new, and sounded better than some of the other Les Paul's Darian tried out that day that were new. Instead of making any decisions we asked Guitar Center to hold the guitar till Monday and then we'll give them an answer on if we will get it or not.

Once we got home I told Darian she must trade in one of her other guitars, use it as collateral to hold the guitar, and then sell her guitar to Guitar Center in order to bring the cost of the Les Paul down. I wasn't positive she would go through with it and wanted to see how serious she was about getting this new guitar.

I ended up working late Monday so Jacki took Darian and her Billy Martin PRS SE guitar to Guitar Center. Darian was not happy, but knew this was a sacrifice she would be forced to make if she was going to get the Les Paul. Of course I can't keep from spoiling Darian so although I was making her go through the motions of giving up the guitar I had no intention of letting her old guitar get away. I think of it as a growing experience, and one she won't ever forget.

Thursday was the day we agreed Darian could get the guitar. Once again Jacki took Darian and they picked up the new Les Paul. Once they picked up some strings, a case and paid for everything the Guitar Center guy brought back out the PRS. Darian said, you are going to make me say goodbye to it again! And at that point, Darian realized she was going to be able to take that guitar back home too.

I got home late Thursday evening and snapped these pictures of Darian with her new guitar. Jamming away and happy as can be.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Who ripped who off?

I took these two pictures last week while I was in Seoul Korea. These were taken on my Helio Drift on the way to the SK Telecom offices after a quick Korean breakfast at Krispy Kreme.

My co-worker Taeho mentioned that the Korean writing means 3 circles.

Now take a look at the Bonnaroo logo from 2004 that Jacki and I went to. Looks very similar...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Animation of Neil Peart

Nothing like a little late night distraction. This is a great rendering of Neil Peart of Rush playing YYZ. As a drummer I can attest that this is not one of Rush's most difficult songs on drums, however it is one of the funnest to play.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

The next DVD

Last weekend I picked up the new HD DVD Player add on to the XBOX 360. It comes with the player, a USB 2.0 cable, and the HD DVD of King Kong.

The set up was a breeze. Within minutes of opening the box I had the unit up and running. Since my display will support 1080p I purchased the Xbox 360 HD VGA cable that will output 1080p. If you are thinking about doing this, don't bother. I was extremely disappointed with the quality of the VGA display coming from the XBOX 360. Many of the reviews I read about the cable indidcated it would be hit or miss, and for me it was definitely a miss.

I also purchased U2's Rattle and Hum and V for Vendetta. The first being a music video, which is what I watch the most of at home, and the second being a recent movie I enjoyed through Netflix.

I first threw in the U2 HD DVD and when the HD DVD introduction for Paramount began I could instantly see the huge difference between your average DVD and HD DVD. The best way I can describe it is it's as if someone finally corrected the focus knob. Things just look much cripser and clearer. I watched King Kong all the way through and in the long shots over New York or even on Skull Island the subject up front of course was clear, but so is everything else in the background. Jacki even commented on how it looked better than DVD.

The other nice thing about this new HD format is the menus for navigating the features of a movie will show while the movie is playing. I never thought of this as something that was necessary but after doing it once you see how convenient it can be.

I've been known to be an early adopter when it comes to these types of things. I purchased my first DVD player the month they came out, and it was so early on they were selling DVDs in only 7 cities, and my city at the time, Austin, was not one of them. Fortunately that early adoption worked for the best. I also bought into the Super Audio CD (SACD) format. Although the titles sound amazing the format never took off and only a handful of titles trickle out every few months. SACD was the victim of a format war with DVD Audio, which also failed.

Now for the High Def DVD format war, HD DVD and Blu Ray, this is just like VHS and Betamax all over again. No telling who will win, but with the $199 price for the HD DVD add on I couldn't resist getting the full potential out of my TV. Sony didn't win the Betamax war, but only time will tell if Blu Ray will suffer the same fate.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Blog Facelift

The Dave Blog finally gets a facelift. I figured after 4 years of having the same layout it was time for an upgrade. The difference is dramatic, but I hope everyone will agree it is for the better. Here is a before and after of the blog.

This template came from Blogger and is titled Dots Dark. In order to take advantage of some of the new dynamic widget features (recent tracks, archive with the arrows to expand and collapse) I had to move my blog pages to Google's hosting service Blog*Spot. Everyone can still goto www.thedaveblog.com to get to the site, the only difference is the server that stores the pages are different.

For you RSS users, the RSS URL has also changed. You can get the new feed here

Please leave a comment if you like the change.


I get to rarely write about the company I work for, in fear of sharing information I shouldn't, but I wanted to share some of the accomplishments that we released to the press yesterday. I'm very proud of what we have achieved, and it is clear we've quickly come into the life and minds of many people in the US and all of this within our first 9 months of launching the company.

If you don't know, I work for Helio, a new mobile carrier focused on delivering a wireless experience that is geared for the data centric web generation. Although I'm sure my marketing people wouldn't approve that description. I run the Platform Engineering team and have touched nearly every aspect of every service Helio has brought to market. As Jacki and Darian can attest we live and breathe Helio, I work long hours, Jacki gets tattoos :-), and Darian is our "man on the street" peddling the goods to the kids in school. And of course I get to write this as I'm on the other side of the globe working at one our parent companies, SK Telecom, in Korea.

Here are highlights from our most recent press release.

Helio's Subscribers

  • Launched 3 devices (Hero, Kickflip, Drift)
  • Expect to surpass 100,000 subscribers in early Q2
  • Average mobile bill is over $100 a month
Multiple Industry Firsts
  • Myspace Mobile
  • GPS-enabled Google Maps
  • Buddy Beacon
  • Gifting and Begging
Subscriber Statistics
  • 25% of ARPU (average revenue per user) from data services. This is approximately $25, and is 2-3 times the industry average
  • MySpace Mobile is used by over 70% of subscribers
  • WAP usage by over 85% of our users (this is the mobile web for those of you that don't know what WAP is)
  • Over 80% of our subscribers with GPS enabled devices have downloaded Google Maps
  • Approximately 70% of our subscribers with GPS enabled devices have downloaded Buddy Beacon
  • And the typical Helio subscriber sends over 400 SMS messages a month
So what does all of that mean? It means the stuff we have been working on is getting used by our subscribers more than we could have ever imagined. We are setting industry records and exceeding all statistics the industry had come to accept. It shows that the people who are Helio's customers are consuming every aspect of our service in every way possible. This is what we had hoped for but we didn't expect this level of enthusiasm so early into our company's existence. Whatever we are doing is resonating with our customers.

This is only the beginning and our future looks very promising. Of course I know what we have coming in the future and all I can say is you have no idea how cool the next 9 months are going to be.

At this point I must give thanks to Jacki and Darian for supporting me on this crazy ride out here in LA. I couldn't have done this without you.

(C) 2003- 2008 ytsanyd | http://www.thedaveblog.com/ | david@jedi.net