Road trip: Joshua Tree, California

  california desert pictures vacation road_trip climbing mountains

I didn't really do anything for my birthday this year, in part because I just wanted some downtime (rather than go to Pantheacon I stayed in a hotel and caught up on my reading, and later on went on a coffee shop crawl) and in part because my birthday gift this was a a road trip to Joshua Tree, California for a long weekend in March.  It's been a long time since I was last in the high desert and, even though it didn't seem like it at the time I was looking forward to both the road trip as …

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The @DNAlounge is in trouble.

  announcement art california dna_lounge music san_francisco concerts

20161228:  The DNA has started a Patreon account to accept donations!

20161222: It seems that the DNA Lounge is coming up with contingency plans, and they need our help!

Yesterday, JWZ, owner and operator of the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, CA made an upsetting and disturbing announcement.

The DNA Lounge is in danger, and may have to close down soon.

JWZ bought the space that is now the DNA roughly 17 years ago and during that time it's become one of the premiere hotspots of SF nightlife.  Just about any kind of event you can imagine has been thrown …

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Blind Guardian - 5 October 2016

  pictures concert blind_guardian california elvish_thrash_metal metal

Historically, it's rare that Blind Guardian goes on tour in the United States, so whenever they come to the States we scramble to get tickets because they put on a hell of a show. Around the house we jokingly call them elven thrash metal because their lyrics are steeped in the works of Moorcock and Tolkien, with influences from many different myth cycles, such as Arthurian legend. To be blunt, their show was face-meltingly good. They played some classic crowd singalongs like The Bard's Song and Valhalla during the show and brought the house down in so doing.

Unfortunately, when …

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VNV Nation in concert, 25 October 2016.

  pictures california vnv_nation concert

In October of this year VNV Nation visited California as part of their Compendium tour, in which they celebrated their twenty year anniversary by performing a five hour set without an opening band that covered their entire corpus of work, comprised of twelve albums (one of which is orchestral in nature, having been recorded with the Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg). I didn't even try to keep track of their setlist because of how long the concert was. I do, however, recall that they played Perpetual, and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. I still get choked up thinking about …

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Charles Stross book signing - 31 July 2016

  pictures book_signing charles_stross california the_laundry_files

This summer Charles Stross went on a book signing tour for his latest novel, the latest book of the Laundry Files series called The Nightmare Stacks. In July his book tour brought him to the Bay Area of California, and a famous bookstore which I strongly suggest that every visitor to San Francisco spend some time at called Borderlands Books. Of course, being a fan of Stross in general and the Laundry Files in particular, I packed up a couple of books that I wanted to get autographed and headed for downtown.

Here are the pictures I took while Stross …

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The Cure in concert - 28 June 2016

  pictures concert the_cure goth classic california

I've finally gotten around to pulling another load of pictures off of my phone. This one is from The Cure concert in June of 2016 during their summer tour of the United States. It's not often that you get to see one of the foundational bands of goth live so when tickets went on sale we jumped at the chance. I'm sorry that the pictures didn't turn out very well, between our distance from the stage and the lighting it was a battle just to get everything in focus, and I've had to cull a couple of pictures that just …

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The grand re-opening of the MADE.

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A couple of years ago the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment opening in Oakland, CA. Due to some significant donations of exhibits by a number of people they swiftly outgrew their old space and held a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund moving to a new location and pay the rent for same. A few weeks ago they held their grand re-opening party in the new space, where they showed off their exhibits (both new and old) and the larger space. If you happen to be in Oakland, California they're open every weekend to not only show off their voluminous …

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Call for participants: The Second Transhumanist Debate

  announcement california debate oakland transhumanism

The Brighter Brains Institute is holding another transhuman debate on 2 April 2016 in Oakland, CA, and they've put out a call for participants. The topics up for debate this time around will be:


  • Eugenics
  • Gun laws
  • Capitalism
  • Psychedelics
  • Sexbots

The debate styles this time will be one-on-one, two-on-two, and a three-on-three verbal battle royale. A couple of discussion panels will also be on the schedule this time around, with audience participation. The audience will vote to determine the winner of each debate.

If you are interested in taking part in the debates, please e-mail brighterbrainsinstitute at gmail dot com …

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Notes from the Transhuman Strategies conference, 21 March 2015

  california conference education foresight futurism infrastructure memes notes orphanage parasites politics social_engineering sponsorship strategies transhumanism

At long last, here are my notes from the Transhuman Strategies conference held by the Brighter Brains Institute on 21 March 2015. It took me a while to find the notebook I wrote them in, so that's why they're a few months late in coming. Anyway, my notes are under the cut.

Hank Pellissier - Transhumanitarian Projects

  • Goals: Extending life, increasing mental ability
  • Life expectency in Japan is 80, in Sierra Leone is 35
  • Hunger is still the greatest killer
  • Shipping food or backing projects
  • De-worming - parasiting infections in children
  • The energy deficit incurred by parasitic infection lowers IQ in children …

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The California t-shirt conspiracy.

  body_image california clothing shirts wtf

All of the t-shirts commonly available in California seem cut to make you feel bad about yourself. No matter your self-image, no matter your body shape or configuration, just about any t-shirt you find is going to make you feel fat. At the very least, most sizes run one size smaller (i.e., what is marked 'large' is actually cut as a 'medium', and so forth).

Upon reflection, this might be why personal exercise is so common in California.