Category Archives: Personal

Ad Blocking Backlash – Can the User Tell Good From Bad?

Been reading a lot about the new ad blocking feature in iOS 9 and this post from John Gruber at Daring Fireball stood out. He comments, “Are we fighting ads, or are we fighting garbage?”

John, I would argue that we are fighting the latter, the problem is that for the layperson, they don’t know the difference since they can’t tell which ad service is doing nefarious things and which are good (like the one you use). Therefore, with this new feature, users are opting to just block everything since they have no way of knowing the difference.

Los Angeles Police/Courts are Broken!!!

So we all know that I got a ticket the other day crossing the street in downtown LA. today I called to try to resolve/pay the fine. I went through the automated phone system and the one online and it had no record of me or the citation (I guess that’s good), so I opted to wait on hold for half an hour to speak with an operator.

When I got an operator, she said that she had no record of it and that it would take up to 21 days for my citation to be in the system. But what about traveling for the holidays, etc.? I told her that I won’t be around then and I’d like to resolve this sooner. Again, she said that she had no proof of the ticket (citation #0578636) but I told her I did, it was in my hand.

When I asked her for her name, she said, and I quote, “Now you are just playing games sir. You signed the ticket saying you would appear, so you have to. Goodbye” and hung up on me….

So here’s the question… should I go downtown to the courthouse and pay/resolve the citation, whether or not it’s in the system? And if it’s not in the system for 21 days, half of the time that I am allowed to get this resolved, and I try to resolve it but they have no record of the ticket, what’s next? If i am going out of town yet they can’t process the citation ’cause of their system, why should I be penalized for their incompetence?

As a former software guy, you have got to be kidding that citations don’t show up in the system for 21 days… What is the officer doing and why does it take 3 weeks for me to be able to give the city of LA money…?

LAPD Have Nothing Better To Do…?

I was downtown today with and as I crossed the street, the walk sign just started flashing as I stepped into the crosswalk, I was given a ticket. The officers involved were standing quietly behind a post, in the alcove of a building entrance, private property by the way, and asked if they could talk with me. They asked with such a quiet voice that I said, “excuse me?” and they repeated themselves and I stepped over to them….

At that point the two officers expressed that I was going to get a ticket for crossing against the light, etc. I’ve gotten many a ticket before, but never for crossing the street. What gets me is that the police officers were really rude… OK, one was quiet and didn’t say anything, it was obvious that he was the junior if not still training (the other officer told him what to do, how to fill out the ticket etc.).

The one female officer really had a power trip going on. When I asked her about this, she was belligerent. At this point I figured I better start documenting this, so I took a picture of the two officers. I also started recording the conversation on my iPhone via the voice memo feature. I asked her for a business card and the badge numbers of both officers and they were reticent to give them out. I had to ask multiple times for the information and only after they were finished writing me up would they give the the info, and then they wouldn’t give me their badge number. They insisted that a serial number is all that I need…. What’s a serial number for a police officer? I now from Adam about that, having been ingrained in all of our heads for decades, get the badge number. I had to look at their badges and get the number myself, they did not volunteer it.

Just for reference, the officers were:
Officer Alvarado – serial #39795, badge #20947
Officer Haro – serial #23019, badge #8699

While they are writing me the ticket, one of the officers had asked me to “stand there” and pointed, and I moved to the spot…. while I was talking with her and asking for badge numbers, etc. she kept pointing to other places that she wanted me to stand. I moved, then moved again, each time, all of about one foot. She was just having fun making me move around…. When she asked me to move once again, I said that I am standing exactly where she told me to and that I hadn’t moved, why do I have to move again, that’s when she called for a car and a sergeant came to the scene with another officer.

So in the end, I got a ticket for using a crosswalk when the no crossing signal was flashing. Don’t LAPD officers have more important crimes to deal with than folks crossing the street? Wouldn’t it benefit the officer from not having a power trip and making me move from place to place. BTW, the reason stated by officer Haro why I had to wait to get their info was so one officer could write and the other could be on “look-out”… but remember there were now 4 officers there, she was just doing that power trip thing again!

And folks wonder why the police are so monumentally disliked…. Maybe if they treated folks the same way that they liked to be treated their job would be easier!

The Start of a New Wine & Food Season

menu_xiv.jpgSo it’s the beginning of a new season of a group of gentlemen that have been dining and drinking together, many of them for decades…. They have been gracious enough to allow me into the fraternity, which was far more nerve racking than it was in college, and last night’s event starts the new season. It was an evening of wine from Scholium with Abe Schoener (the winemaker) in attendance held at Michael Mina’s XIV.

For the wines, I can say little more than fantastic. I was introduced to Scholium wines a couple of years ago by a friend, and am very glad that he did. I have bought a number of his wines for both drinking and cellaring, and have enjoyed them all. Abe does some really great things with a grape and takes risks and chances that many don’t, often to spectacular results. Here is what we drank with the meal….

While nothing is ever perfect (a couple of the wines were poured “backwards” and I got a bit lost as to what was what and got re-poured) the wine service was really nice and they did a great job juggling what was a gazillion glasses. We started with the champagne which was very unique. It comes from some clippings of Pinot Noir from England that was brought to Napa and then moved into the whites that went with the first three courses. We then had the next two wines with the halibut and the salmon, and finished the meal off with the reds…. The Babylon Tenbrink is a BIG wine, one of the biggest you’ll drink.

As for the food, you can click through to see the entire menu, it was good. It’s hard to cook for a group of 30, so a couple of the things came out luke warm, but the taste was always there. A couple of outstanding winners: the sweet corn soup, Kobe shortrib and the explorateur. When it came to these dishes, they are some of the best of their kind that I’ve had. Truly outstanding examples.

In the end it was a great evening and I really enjoyed myself and the company, and I hope that the others enjoyed themselves as well. There will be about 9 more events throughout the season and I’ll try to post about ’em as we go. I will be co-chairing an event in January, with a Spanish theme…. 🙂

2005 Bordeaux Tasting

I was invited to a tasting of 2005 Bordeaux’s tonight by the International Wine and Food Society. It was the 449th gathering of this particular chapter. A great group of people and a lot of fun. The food was quite tasty and the wine was even better!
Below is a wine list of what we tasted, their ratings and the retail prices. The event was sponsored by Bob Myerson of the Wine Warehouse, and to him I say thank you. There aren’t many opportunities to drink at a tasting like this and compare this many wines, yet alone wines of this caliber!
The tasting was done blind, and if I said I wasn’t a bit intimidated doing it blind, I would be lying. At the end of the tasting, you were to rate what you thought was your top five, they tallied up the scores and announced them later on.
Again, it was a blind tasting, so you didn’t know what was what…. My score card that I turned in rated them in the following order (1 to 5 as my top five)… E, F, C, J, A. The winners, after all scores had been tallied were: J, E, I, F, H
So to put it into real terms….
1. Chateau Mouton Rothschild (J) — which I rated as 4th
2. Chateau Pavie (E) — which I rated as 1st
3. Chateau Palmer (I) — which didn’t rate 🙁
4. Chateau Monbousquet (F) — which I rated 2nd
5. Reignac (H) — which i didn’t rate 🙁
So all in all, I didn’t do too bad…. got some, missed some. If you want to know what was what and the full list, their RP ratings and retail prices, click on the pdf image below and you can see our tasting list that was given out afterwards, so we knew what we drank.
An amazing evening that I am very, very happy that I was invited to!
2005 Bordeaux Tasting

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff luncheon

While I get to go to a lot of cool events due to my “past life” in the concert business and my mother’s really cool job as President of Town Hall Los Angeles, of which this was one of her events, I must say that this was one of the cooler!
Admiral Mullen was very well spoken, had a knowledgeable command of the topic, whatever it was as many questions were asked from the audience, and was in general (no pun intended) just a really nice guy! He spoke/responded about the Middle East, the Sub-Asian Continent (Afghanistan, Pakistan and India), Veterans Affairs. When a former Colonel who had been discharged due to medical reasons recently from active duty asked about what can be done re: veterans, etc. Admiral Mullen was open and straightforward and even told the gentleman that he should contact him directly via email and he’d look into it, as he reads and answers all his own email. I thought that was pretty impressive for such a high ranking official to be that approachable.
At the end of the event, for those high schoolers that were there (Town Hall Los Angeles always invites students) he handed out a number of “coins”. they carry the seal of the Joint Chiefs and say “presented by Adm. mike Mullen” and are really, really cool… I didn’t get one :-(. Was actually told now, they were for “special folks”. My mother got one though, so I guess that’s coming later in life with her hockey puck that Gordy Howe gave her :-)… He did offer something else that is even more cool than the coin, but you’ll have to wait to find out about that one….
Yes, that’s the Chairman as my mother was introducing him… See how close I was (and yes, I got to talk to him (and joke) quite a bit when the event was over… a really nice man!)
Img 0241

People Really do Read This Thing!

Who would have ever thought that people actually read this blog/site/thing…? I went to pick up a friend for dinner and there it was, in all it’s glory, this site on the computer screen. I got the response, “well, I googled you and now I’m reading up on you.” Isn’t that just embarrassing :-)….
What can I say other than, I’m surprised. I am also glad that I write carefully, not mentioning any of those bits that could prevent me from getting a job, get me fired from a job, or worse yet, prevent me from getting a date :-)! I have always tried to write in a manner that only deals with me, and doesn’t “tell” abut others… kind of like the way at the end of a film it says, “names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Well, since I try to be careful about who I wrote about, I don’t have to change any names. That’s a good thing ’cause I probably couldn’t remember them anyway, yet alone after I change them!
As for other things going on right now… I’m watching the markets implode like the rest of you. I am involved in a couple of new start-ups, but again, so is everybody else it seems. I’ll keep you posted how it goes…. Oh, and I start the second of 5 wine classes tonight, hopefully on my way to a certificate in wine.

Mt. Rainier Climb Near

So tomorrow is gear check and we head out to the mountain, meeting up with the rest of the crew early Monday morning. I have read quite about the trip and the climb… While I would be lying if I said anything other than that I was a bit apprehensive, but it is what it is, and it’s time to climb.

We will be taking the route up to Muir Camp, then staying a night 1000′ above that, and then up disappointment cleaver to the summit at 14,410′. All the reports (the most recent) have talked about how the climb is in great shape and the snow good for this time of year.

I have been working out, but I could have always done more. I’m not nervous about the climb, the snow, glaciers, crevasses, etc… my biggest fear is altitude!

Pictures will be posted as I can, most likely after the climb as I’ll be out of contact for three days or so. Wish me luck as I attempt the second tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 states, and what is considered to the most difficult.

TechCrunch50 Judged by Someone Who Committed Securities Fraud

So the TechCrunch50 is about to happen in early September. One of the judges that will be rating/reviewing the companies is Henry Blodget. While Mr. Blodget is a smart man, no denying that, he has also committed securities fraud and has been banned from the securities business for life!!!!
Mr. Blodget did settle without admitting guilt, but if you didn’t do something shady, why would you settle and take a lifetime ban…? What did he do… well, he said one thing as an analyst, and in emails said the opposite (good investment by mouth, bad investment by email). So if he’s been caught doing this before, why would you trust him? Kind of like the old “bait and switch”….
What makes matters even worse is that no where on the site for TechCrunch50, in the blurb, or even in the CrunchBase listing does it tell the truth… It does espouse about his accolades in the securities business, but it doesn’t mention that although he was voted/rated/ranked as one of the top analysts, he is now banned from the securities business for life…. That’s not a good thing!