December 2008 Studio

I’ve decided I’m going to post a panoramic of my studio every December 31st starting (obviously) this year, Strangely when stressed I have a tendency to change my surroundings.. so it should be interesting to see what the changes are from year to year.

I have a LOT of media - I listen to music 19 hours a day, and I’m a frequent purchaser on the Apple iTunes Store - I’ve never had an issue with Apple’s DRM, I understand the need for it, it’s never caused me any pain - until today.

I’ve been reorganizing my iTunes libraries onto a large (locally attached) external drive, that gets sync’d to my studio server - works flawlessly, except that this morning I realized that even though both of my machines are authorized to play DRM’d content, neither of them could, kind of a scary thought since I have 1000’s of dollars worth of DRM’d music.

On a hunch I relaunched itunes (with the option key down) and reverted back to my original iTunes library (local to my internal drive) and tried playing the same album - played fine, following the same hunch, I relaunched iTunes went back to the new library and used iTunes to import the DRM’d music from the old library to the new library - it plays, cursory examination of the files shows they’re the same, same size, creation dates, modified dates - yet the manually copied files don’t play.

I’ll add it to the list of things I hate about iTunes (coming to this blog very soon)

I spend some time on twitter, my wife spends time on twitter, even my cat spends time on twitter. It’s highly entertaining, and a nice diversion a few times a day - but it’s impossible to catch a buzz with friends while tweeting from your desk - until now, I give you..

Twitter the drinking game.

Like all good games the rules are simple.
Get yourself a pitcher/carafe/jug/teapot/sixpack/bottle of your favorite beverage.

RULES:

Prepare to take ONE sip/shot anytime ANYONE TWEETS:

  • A link to facebook, or mentions a facebook group
  • A picture from TwitPic
  • A reference to public transportation or traffic
  • A reply to more than 3 people in a single tweet

And you need to FINISH the contents of your glass/cup when

  • Jason Calacanis’s tweet DOESN’T mention Mahalo
  • Justine’s tweet mentions food or a uses the acronym OMG
  • John Gruber’s tweet ISN’T dripping in sarcasm
  • A tweet has the hashtag #drinkup
  • Every Twoosh (twitter needs to visually identify the oh-so-special Twoosh)
  • Every Fail Whale

Of course these rules are a work in progress - so they may change, please drink responsibly - try not exceed 140 drinks in a day.

It’s been a really f*cked up 48 hours, but it’s looking up - so I needed something to accelerate the onset of happiness - this song by Willy De Ville is one of only 25 songs that I rate 5 stars in iTunes… It’s a certain keeper.

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Your password is 38 characters long and has 859, 014, 407, 811, 853, 781, 595, 080, 219, 684, 582, 731, 884, 364, 012, 508, 413, 952 combinations.
It takes 3, 125, 076, 210, 605, 962, 047, 684, 734, 787, 925, 054, 595, 268, 608.00 hours or130, 211, 508, 775, 248, 412, 205, 926, 244, 885, 521, 676, 369, 920.00 days to crack your password on computer that tries 137, 438, 953, 472 passwords per hour. This is based on a typical PC processor in 2008 and that the processor is under 10% load.

Brute Force Calculator

It’s that point in the year when everything gets nuts, everyone needs everything NOW - or even better yesterday, As a general rule - I just hold on - try to keep my external client meetings to a minimum and go along for the ride. We’ll have to see how I fare - many sleepless nights ahead!

One of the things I miss by not work at an agency is working on the creative side of projects like the Phillips manalogue campaign, tremendous writing, excellent execution - just can’t beat excellent creative combined with a client that trusts an offbeat concept, looks like they spend some cash too.

Manalogues

I’ve been lax in my blogging here, and for that I apologize - enjoy this audio selection by the very talented Dee Dee Bridgewater, while I get back into the swing of things.

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For the past few weeks Trudiann and I have been celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, we’ve been a number of places - San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, Death Valley, and we’re wrapping up in Las Vegas - we love Vegas - it’s been our go-to spot for the last 10 years or so - we loosely planned a few events, bought some show tickets, and made some reservations at some notable eateries.

Yesterday we had lunch at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, we’d been there for dinner in the past - and we always enjoy it - the menu is a festival of powerful and potent southwest flavor combinations - Mesa’s pricing is affordable and the service is attentive but not pushy - for us it’s a no-brainer.

As our post Elvis wedding dinner we went to Craft Steakhouse. Honestly, words almost escape me as to the quality of this meal, the Craft menu is an Ala-carte menu featuring the finest beefs (Japanese Waygu Beef, Australian & American Kobe Beef), seasonal vegetables, and exotic mushrooms - I should note I’m not a fan of ala-carte menu’s because I like the chef to pair my entree’s with vegetables to their palettes - I discover new tastes in the process - lucky for me Trudiann suggested we order the chef’s ‘Surf & Turf’ tasting menu and get a taste of all that Craft had to offer. What a great suggestion; the chef started us off with 

  • Kobe Beef Tartare
  • Romaine Hearts “Caesar” (with pickled anchovies)
  • Hawaiian Prawns 

I should qualify this by saying up until VERY recently Trudiann hasn’t been what I would call an adventurous eater, tartare and caesar salad both fall well outside of her comfort zone. 

All three starters where amazing - the tartare (with quail egg) was perfectly balanced, the texture was smooth and the portion was more than enough to thoroughly enjoy this rare treat (excellent pun if I must say) - the caesar  was really nice, the perfectly minimal dressing clung to the leaves which were crisp and tasty - the pickled anchovy garnish was a nice twist on the little fish and made the whole dish a bit special. the prawns - tasty glazed grilled goodness, Trudiann loves prawns and we thoroughly enjoyed these.

Next the chef sent out the entrees & sides- 

  • NY Strip Steak
  • Kobe Skirt Steak
  • Lobster in butter and Tarragon
  • Asparagus with Rosemary
  • Whipped Potato’s with Chives
  • A selection of 5 japanese mushrooms including, Hen of the Woods and Shiitake

Now if that sounds like a lot of food,, you’d be right, Craft isn’t the kind of place that skimps on food - at this point we still had a rather sizable bowl of Kobe Beef Tartare on the table - because I just wasn’t ready to give it up yet. The Entrees in a word SPECTACULAR, each with a simple preparation, let the high quality of the ingredients shine - the Skirt Steak was our favorite, it was juicy, flavorful and perfectly medium rare- I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say the best piece of steak I’ve ever eaten. The Strip was also delicious, but our fondness for the other cut was obvious - as we finished that one first. The lobster was interesting, as it’s a dish we never have, and we where both amazed at the varied texture of the claw meat, and the buttery goodness of the lobster tail. The whipped potato’s where amazing - I hope to never find out exactly how much cream and butter were in there, needless to say they were a rich and tasty companion to the steak and lobster.

Of course what’s dinner without dessert? The pastry chef sent out an assortment of tasty things

  • Brioche bread pudding
  • MonkeyBread w/ Caramel ice cream (and ‘happy 20th anniversary written in caramel on the plate’)
  • Raspberry Sorbet 
  • Mint Ice Cream
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Petit Fours

I’m hard pressed to say what was best - but I will say that the mint ice cream was the best Ice cream I’ve ever had in my entire life - Trudiann also really like the mint ice cream and the MonkeyBread, I also finished the bread pudding, because I’m a sucker for bread pudding - it was as good as you would expect.

Overall we enjoyed everything - we must have, we finished most everything.

Service was top-notch, attentive, friendly and informative, the decor was understated and classy - pricing, well, good food costs money - and the food at Craft Steakhouse is excellent - I will happily return to Craft Steakhouse on my next Vegas jaunt.

Mesa Grill Website (Ceasars Palace)

Craft SteakHouse (MGM Grand)