“Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30″

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre. It seems that, still, the government is out-of-touch.

In 1965, Jack Weinburg, leader of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, coined the phrase “Don’t trust anyone over 30″. Of course, the Constitution mandates that, to be elected to the Senate, you must be over 30. But, although this quote is an arbitrary standard, let’s see how it holds up against the Senate today (the 111th) and the Senate on May 4, 1970 (the 91st):

Some interesting numbers:

  • The average and median age of Senators in the 91st: 58
  • Average and median age of Senators today: 64
  • Number of Senators today were over 30 at the time of Kent State: 30
  • Number of Senators today who were under the age of 15 at the time of Kent State: 16
  • Number of Senators who served in both sessions: 2 (Robert Byrd and Daniel Inouye)
  • Number of Senators today who were 19 or 20 in 1970 (the age of the fallen): 9

Interesting point: All these numbers are very, very close to evenly split between political party.

The median age of the US by the 2000 census was 35.

It always seems that, by polling numbers, the older generation is out of touch. When fully half of the senate falls in the 65+ category, consider these numbers:

Very current Gallup numbers show young people being hugely disillusioned about voting for the Senate Midterms. And no wonder, when there are no viable candidates to represent them.

I guess I’m still floored that 30% of our current Senate wouldn’t have been trusted then.

(Above numbers I got using Freebase, naturally)

FNB Playlist 5/15

So I DJed at Friday Night Blues the other night, and by most accounts it rocked :)

I could tell from the DJ seat people were enjoying it. Nobody milling about, everybody dancing who was willing and able. Numerous people gave me pats on the back and I heard one complaint “Dammit, Barak, stop playing such good stuff; I shouldn’t be out this late, I have a final tomorrow!”

Because people have requested it, here’s my playlist with comments:

  • Louis Jordan – Three Handed Woman
  • Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
// This got people going. Soul is one of my signatures
  • Etta James – W-o-m-a-n
  • Lighthouse Family – Ain’t No Sunshine
// This was a big win. I don't think I've heard this version played before. Sort of a more triphop version, I like it
  • Tina Turner – Night Time is the Right Time
  • Wayne Cochran – Little Bitty Pretty One
// A neat remix
  • Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Women
// Biggest fail, actually. Great song, in general. 
// Works on the right night. Didn't fit like I wanted it to. 
  • Big Brother and the Holding Company – Turtle Blues
// I decided to play Janis Joplin. This got a number of positive comments :) 
  • Kim Massie – Temptation
// A standard at East Bay houseparties -- it went over pretty well
  • Eric Clapton – County Jail Blues
// Re-blues-ify
  • Ray Charles & Van Morrison – Crazy Love
// Expect more from this album in the future.
  • Karrin Allyson – Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy
// Slow it waaaay down going into my finale
  • Dobie Gray – Drift Away
// I love this song. It's also fun to dance to. People really appreciated it
// less as dancer-music-snobs but as people dancing to something fun
  • Etta James – Son of a Preacher Man
// Classic, soul.
  • Celine Dion – Le Ballet
// I've played this at things before. Heard it first at FNB. People like it though
// regardless if it's Celine Dion (in her french days, before Titanic)
  • Ray Charles – Hard Times (Nobody Knows Better)
// Slow and a great ending song.

Programming and Design

Quick note… personally, I’m coming to see that good programmers need also have some measure of designer in them. While there is a sense of art in the constructs of the code, tonight I’m talking on a purely visual level.

Most of the time, my little hacks are command line apps, without much flash. But lately I find myself doing more and more artsy side-projects.

Aside from my one at work (which is pretty cool!), I’ve been working on writing a Getting Things Done webapp here at home. I named it Sencha after my favorite green tea at Samovar, and the time when I feel most in charge of things.

After designing and implementing the data model, I’m now spending some time on the interface. I sketched this on the BART to work a few days ago. Tonight I finally got to a stage where I’m seeing some resemblance!

It’s just weird that it’s a role I’d never thought I’d like playing or have any talent for. It’s also not something they teach you in engineering school (though admittedly, I never took 160 or 169, but am not sure what level of detail they go into)

And, I mean, me? With a sketchbook?

“He after honour hunts, I after love”

Note to Emily — if you’re reading this early, we’ll be calling you tomorrow to wrapup — so avoid the spoilers :)

So Monday was my 23rd birthday and today was the celebration.

Something was clearly up with Mari and Patrick — I was to keep this afternoon free to do… something…, and after Lindy on Sproul, they hand me a CD case, the cover being a lot of blank spaces and a USB drive and say “here it is!”

Unbeknownst to me, in the past 3-5 days, Mari, Patrick, Bryan, Chantae and Emily put together a full mini-hunt for my birthday party, complete with antepuzzles, a proper round of 5 puzzles, and a meta.

Sadly, I couldn’t scare up much solving help at Lindy on Sproul.

At the end of it all, it was a lot of fun! And I have awesome, smart friends! The party itself was only so-so, but the solving was worth it.

Spoilers and the full hunting story after the jump

Read the rest of this entry »

What Kind of Day Has It Been

The sun came out this morning after pouring yesterday and I found it fitting.

I woke up this morning, early, for the first time in a week, to get in early, to skip lunch, to leave early, to buy Obama/Biden buttons from the SF street vendor outside the BART, to vote, to get food and to go to Katie’s election night gathering.

And you have to understand something when it comes to hanging out with Katie and Erin — they are a witty, fast, talkative pair. To be certain, their friends (many of whom I met for the first time) are likewise fun girls.

I played bartender, pizza was ordered, and a good, loud time was being had by all, until the polls closed in California

And MSNBC called the election for Obama.

I hope never to forget it. We looked at the screen like, “what?” — we didn’t know what to think. We checked Fox News, figuring that if they agreed, it had to be true.

It was.

The room was dead silent.

And we waited. A few snarky comments here and there, as McCain conceded, and waited. We were shocked; we couldn’t quite believe it. And as Obama gave his victory speech, becoming President-Elect, we collectively teared up.

No, that’s not a point of shame, it’s a point of pride.

For every election since I’ve considered myself politically aware, I have not known what it feels like to believe in my country. Every time, I get hopeful. Every time, my hopes are dashed. Prop 22, a precursor to tonight’s Prop 8, I think, was that first election; when I believed in something and felt it was wrong.

An interesting fact about me: I have never once said the Pledge of Allegiance under the Bush administration. Nor have I saluted the flag during the national anthem; I stand in respect for the latter but refuse to recite or salute. For 8 years, for a large portion of my life, ever since I was 14, I have held the firm belief that my government did not represent me. When I marched for peace on February 15, 2003, my government called me a ‘focus group’, and went to war anyway. When I voted for Kerry in 2004, my country, to my chagrin, decided on four more years of corruption and lies. I have felt my civil liberties corroded. I cried in frustration the first time I had to deal with airport security after 9/11; that my bags could be searched without warrant or cause, that I had no right to protest; it seemed that every last right I had as an American citizen was hampered, taken away, or simply ignored.

Except the right to vote.

(And let it be known that’s no cakewalk either — officially, today, I voted provisionally because my polling place moved)

And as I sat there, watching Obama give his victory speech, the tears I felt were hopeful. Which is a weird feeling to those who have never felt it. No, things aren’t perfect. No, I don’t expect Obama to fix everything with some wave of a magic wand. But I feel, for the first time, his first hundred days are going to be my hundred days. That government that I have chosen is coming to be.

That is empowerment. That is why Obama carried young voters in a landslide.

And after the tears, cheers and disbelief was over; after the cheap champagne had been poured and the party began anew, for tonight, our government worked.

As I drove home, both Telegraph and Shattuck were filled with people celebrating. I hear the City is even more crazy — Twitter tells me of spontaneous celebration filling the streets. Scott Beale (@laughingsquid) summarizes it best: “San Francisco is erupting with spontaneous patriotism”

San Francisco and the Bay Area has always been patriotic. We’re crazy, but contrary to the Bush administration, we’re not terrorists. Or communists. Or godless atheists. Or hippies. Or homosexuals. Or Asians. We are all and none of these. We are Americans.

After Obama is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009, I will again say the Pledge of Allegiance. I will again salute the flag.

My country, tis of thee.


Okay, was going to blog about Seattle, but the past hour and a half has to be put down first:

So I landed in Boston and caught the last T out from the Airport (win!) met with the Green Line over to the Red (win!)… and then watched the last T to Kendall Square leave (fail)

I’m feeling good though; I’ve been in Boston enough before to know where I am and my savvy paid off in late-night T navigation. I figure I can handle this leg of my adventure.

So, I hailed a cab, having cut the fare in half by being quick. At this point, my friend’s place in Cambridge is a pin on a Google Map to me.

So the cab lets me off and the lights are on at the place — and there are people up. I walk in the (open) front door and a tipsy fellow greets me. I ask if I’m at the right place.

A gal in the living room says “Oh, you must be Spang’s friend…”

It finally hits me that I’m not in Seattle anymore.

“What’s the story behind this place?”

“This is Pika,” I’m told.

Turns out it was a frat that went co-ed and eventually broke away and became an official MIT co-op. It’s all on their website.

Fortunately, being from Berkeley I know what the gig is. I’ve been by the co-ops. I’ve lived in a frat. This I can handle.

I’m told there are couches to crash on in the TV room downstairs. That being about what I signed up for, I head on down… open the door… and run into someone else.

“Um. Hi! I’m Barak!” I say awkwardly. And repeat my story.

“Oh, she worked out a room for you upstairs. The fellow who usually lives there is in California right now.” Fitting, I think.

I get directions. And that’s where I am now. My friend’s light is off, and she said she’d be jetlagged, so I let her be.

Am having flashbacks to my first trip to Boston, in which I crashed at Random House, thanks to a friend of a friend..

Life’s best as an adventure… had you asked me at my layover in Philly what was going to happen next, I would never have guessed…

From Philly

Never flown first class before. I see the appeal.

Am writing a substantive blog on the plane. Have this weird feeling of “Aw, adventure over” and “Yay new adventure” at the same time.

Lindy in the Square



Pictures, including those of the Boston Tea Party, are now up on flickr….

Right here

Meanwhile, I have a new place to live (pretty sure) in North Berkeley! I am building a server so as to retire my current one and reduce the number of boxes I have… and life continues.

Also — Wordpress 2.5 == w00t.

And PicLens is AMAZING if you want to view photos.

The Club Scene

Sidebar: Site updated for speed — you’ll notice the networks link on the right now, as that will connect you to my pages faster than trying to load some of them in.

My thoughts on standard nightclubs:

I’ve never been a fan. Maybe I’ve never been to a good one. Over time it’s become less of the wretched-hive-of-scum-and-villainy feeling that makes me distrust it; it’s just the fact that I don’t see the fun. Let’s be blunt for a second: getting drunk and rubbing up on people seems generally slimy (for men and women equally). If that’s what you’re into, sure, go for it, but take that away, and what do you have? A crowded place taking itself way too seriously with overpriced drinks and DJ Generic with his phat beatz.

(The place we were at on Friday had a particularly generic DJ. That or I’ve been spoiled by good ones (such as the one who ran the late night in Sacramento two Fridays ago))

Last night, through tutorial by a friend of mine, I figured out club “dancing” a little more, in partner dancing terms. I’d call it a drunken two-step. Oh, and the girl leads, unless you’re a real slimebucket. It’s kinda standing there and bouncing to her rhythm. Proper weight shifting optional. I say that like it’s a big revelation; of course it’s not. Maybe I had higher hopes that there was some rhythmic styling I wasn’t seeing.

So, what then to do on a Friday night, other than partner dance?

Answer: Find a small bar (like we hit up afterward) with pool tables and a friendlier, laid-back atmosphere. Going out should be about chatting and laughing; ostensibly, the reason we go to Sparky’s after 920.

I’m more Cheers than A Night at the Roxbury.

Pages (5): [1] 2 3 4 » ... Last »