July 27th, 2014 by harold

Paul R Williams Residence

This is the Paul R Residence in Lafayette Square. Some soft, chill music was coming out from the balcony, I still wish I had been up there enjoying it with a drink. The square is immaculate and sort of gated so no traffic going through. Beautiful, old trees all around.

I did the West Adams Heights Sugar Hill too. It’s quite fantastic, though you can tell how the I-10 cutting through that beautiful neighborhood tarnished the area forever. Man, houses there are not like this one above there’s nothing modern it’s all Victorian, MASSIVE houses. I mean so impressive I couldn’t even think about taking pictures, I was just blown away. So many different structures and pretty amazing and brilliant woodwork (damn those windows frames!). I need to go back.

The thing is those houses are just not made for a Mediterranean weather, at all. So, many are dying burned by the sun and not being taken care of, thanks cheap landlords (to their defense, that’s huge work). They must be hot as hell. Kind of sad because they are pretty unique.

Mixology in Leimert Park

Spotted this car in Leimert Park. Leimert Park is so charming and walkable. The way the Leimert Boulevard is set up makes me think of a black Versailles. The little downtown makes me think of little cities in the south of France, peaceful. I’m excited to be 15 minutes away from it.

Windsor Hills residence

View Park/Windsor Hills, son. Most houses are in the Spanish colonial style, which I kind of don’t like so much except when the landscaping is done right and the house layout isn’t too douche-y. Quite rare. Otherwise it’s pretty much like the Baldwin Hills with smaller houses in general, except for a couple like this one. It is insanely calm up there like you are in the middle of the Alps.

Next neighborhood will be Ladera Heights. Apparently a lot of mid-century modern shit that I love there, exciting!

Sinuous Pause

July 25th, 2014 by harold

A little track from last month. And oh, another one.

Sunset is from the roof. It is not the best but I don’t usually go up there with my phone.

10 years blogging son

July 20th, 2014 by harold

When I started I was all giddy about the idea of blogging for ten years, there, it’s done.

Me, last year. I probably haven’t changed much.

Five years in French, five years in English. It’s weird because in my head it feels like I barely started to write in English and that most of my blog is in Royal Language but it’s not. It also feels weird that as much time passed since ‘09 than it did between ‘04 and ‘09. The past five years feel like two.

Est ce que je pourrais encore écrire en français ? Je pense pas. Des fois ça me manque d’écrire des trucs genre “ça fait mal au cul quand même MERDE” but it’s pretty much what I write in English, so. I really feel good knowing that just by switching language I can now reach way, way more people. Communication is about this and I’m a global child.

In 2004 Facebook had launched and only a couple of Americans in a campus knew about it. Jacques Chirac was still France’s president. Ray Charles, Marlon Brando, Jerry Goldsmith, Sacha Distel, Rick James and more joined the underground. Meanwhile, I’m setting up this blog on my own, using at that time .Text, a brand new CMS in .Net. It’s confusing (ten years later, setting up a domain name with a website on your own is still hilariously tedious and fucked up) I’m geeking out and finally I can blog on July 16th 2004. I was already blogging in 03 for a friend but now it’s my thing.

1,410 posts. 9,845 comments. Akismet has protected your site from 183,271 spam comments already. There are 8,741 comments in your spam queue right now. Averaging 4,000-5,000 visitors a month and 80K page views, whatever.

In ‘04 comments were so important in the blogging paradigm. Now no one cares about comments, after ten years we all know how it goes, either people suck on your shaft or they want to cut it. Mildly interesting and emotionally tiring.

People don’t read anymore, I don’t know how much they were ten years ago. Now it looks like it’s 30 minutes a day for 5 hours of TV? I pretty much do the exact opposite and that’s probably why I’m lonely too sometimes.

Anonymous? At that time, anonymous really meant troll and no substance. Today, anonymous can be substantial and great –see people on Reddit and 4Chan- but it still means troll. To me anonymous is in the long run toxic, it modifies your persona and you basically become a dick. When your real name is attached to thousands and thousands of words, you pay attention quite a bit. But it also has so much more weight or I like to think so because when I read something very interesting and that I can put a face, a name, a place on it, it makes it way more real and true. It stays in my mind.

#BUTTS. So there’s a picture of my ass somewhere in the archive and it’s still in the top 3 of what people are searching for on my blog with my articles on a MIDI game audio engine. It’s fun. Sex and sound, those things are neat.

I always liked the idea of leaving a trace of my life here, for future bored historians. I mean now it’s just ten but I see myself blogging until the end, so when I’ll hit thirty or forty years worth of blog posts, that will be quite interesting to read I think. Like, they always try to decipher what happened in the past with me it will be like, “BAM here you go, forty years of personal notes on what was going on with my life here, sounds, pictures and shit you’re welcome”. You will just need to be able to read, which might be a “skill” in the near future.

Perspective? I am still the same wishing I was skateboarding more but with like, so much more knowledge. I wish I knew how many pages and articles I have read to blog about, it’s probably ten or twenty times the amount of posts I have created. Maybe I feel a slight fatigue though. Computer games, they’re awesome but there’s so much frustration too. I totally get Jon Blow’s bit, “you’re 35 and you somewhat don’t really want to introduce yourself as making games”,  I didn’t feel that way a few years ago and it makes me frown.

There are books about adoption for parents who want to, but there’s no book for 30+ years old adopted people and I could write one, the title would be “Got Confused?”. The simple fact that ethnic wars happen and seem validated by people choosing sides sort of denies my entire life, like it couldn’t happen. The Exception Dilemma. But it happened and it is happening even though having lived exclusively with white people for 35 years as my scope widened has been weighing on me. Because of the bullshit. Because of the “I love other cultures, especially mine” fuckery that everyone is applying. I’m really out of that loop (whatever culture has something good, I’ll take it) and I love it but it isolates the shit out of me. The more humanist you are, the more satellite you become and gravitate in an empty space.

Sometimes I see a white person alone in the middle with tons of black people around and you can read the despair on their faces while they try so hard to maintain a straight face, it’s too much. I’m on another level of relationship, a tourist level where I’m too curious to judge and too genuine to be scared. If I enter a Mexican shop with Mexicans around, they can tell with my pants up, being polite and smiling that I am just like them even though I’m not. To respect other humans is some basic stuff. Or I’m at the café surrounded by every ethnic background possible, everyone is smiling and I’m reading that Arabs and Jews can’t live together since 1947. Uh yes, they could.

It’s funny and fucking twisted how shit works in this world.

Without blogging I wouldn’t be in L.A. today. I met my first California friends online by reading a blog, I didn’t want to wait for French websites to translate articles and news I wanted to read so I was going ahead and reading them, “connecting” with the West coast without really realizing it. When Digg was Reddit, man. I spent so many evenings back in France reading hilarious stuff and learning about English/US/Aussie culture. I’ll never quite understand your thirst for greed in your mind or sugar in your plate but you guys are some funny motherfuckers. Then I visited CA, fell in love with someone and I was like why not make the big jump? I like it here. Well that was a bit presumptuous to think it would go without trouble but here I am, settling down.

Thank you for reading that stuff from time to time, I hope you learn some things here and there and I’m sorry when I’m cloudy and can’t really express things correctly aka therapy time.

Onward on the next decade. Plan: sustain some income using my skills, buy some land, build a passive house. I might need the next two decades though. May your life be awesome, awesome reader.

Sports and games (world cup and EVO)

July 15th, 2014 by harold

For da love of da game

High skill level is great to watch, whatever it is. It’s showing us what can be done, it kind of expands our knowledge of an activity by adding those incredible moments in our heads.

It’s always funny to hear US people’s frustration about football because nothing happens for 120 minutes. The ones who like it, know how hard it is to control a ball with your feet on a field wider than US football ones for 30 minutes more.

You just need to try for 5 minutes to extrapolate at what level the world’s best players are playing at.

It’s what I’m going through with EVO. I don’t understand everything at all but I have played some fighting games and I can see how high level those matches are.

So it’s weird to see game designers think football is lame or football fans think video games tournament are ridiculous.

But also people get mad when two players or two teams are so close. That’s what is good and intense, people.

You don’t know who’s going to win. There’s friction. Competitors both analyze, try to read the other, trying to find a way through them, it’s the meta game that is so interesting not so much the outcome and which country/team or player wins. It’s the story inside their heads at the time they play that is so beautiful, from having the advantage to having doubt about it, from redemption to revenge, from “controlled randomness” to perfect ace, from despair to perfect execution. Invisible narrative, that’s classy as fuck.

I love to see how games are such a big thing, worldwide. Now I really wish there was more women because I want to see more meta game shit going on like an old woman playing with a pad and fucking the shit out of a dude using a big ass arcade stick. I want to see what a super tight mixed team can do too. Mind games.

Biking LA, some tips

July 9th, 2014 by harold

My bike is awfully heavy but I love it. I did so much with it.

The more I bike this city, the more I know I’ll need a car at some point but the more I spend time in a car sitting in traffic and the less I want one? Meanwhile on my bike, free, using my body to propel myself, getting that sun into my bones, cruising beautiful side streets I feel like I’m the smartest.

Los Angeles is all about you doing your thing, right?

I have now a couple hundreds of miles biking L.A., did it in traffic, crossed super heavy locations, did hills, rain etc.

So first I have to say that I have biked all my life pretty regularly, I also have been skateboarding and playing shoot’em ups. Those activities made my “upcoming things coming at you” radar super acute. You need to be able to decipher what’s going on pretty fast and act accordingly. That’s the challenging part (but also fun part to me).

You also need to know how to ride straight while looking behind from the left or from right. This is not an option, it’s vital that you can do that but don’t worry, kids can do it so you probably can too.

Once you have those skills:

1/ Respect the rules

I know most bikers don’t and that’s why cars hate us. If there’s a stop, you stop. I don’t care about your momentum or your lifestyle, I care about your life son. Follow the rules is the first rule of not getting hit by a car. It’s pretty obvious but so many bikers think that because they wear a helmet they can do whatever they want. Wrong.

2/ Know what you’re doing

You need to know where you’re going, if you should be on the left or right lane before being on your bike. You have doubt? Stop on the side and read your map, itinerary for the next segment to come. It’s scary for cars to see an indecisive bike. Don’t change your mind like you are alone on the road (oh, I think I should turn left like right now), even if you are it’s bad habit. Again, safety first.

3/ Smile

Nice, gentle smile. Cars love that shit. They feel like they allow you to ride “their” roads, which is the good vibe to be in. Don’t be a dick because whatever happens, you are still only on two wheels with no protection so don’t be a dick. In the animal world it’s called survival, in the human world it’s called not being dumb.

4/ Buy kevlar tires

I haven’t had any puncture in a while with my classic tires but kevlar tires are what you want if you want to make sure that flat will almost never happen: professional riders use some for thousands of miles before getting a flat. Expensive, but worth it.

5/ Sometimes, you have to assert your dominance

It’s not really dominance, but you need to make sure cars know you exist: you are in traffic, about to turn left in the left lane waiting for the light. Stretch out, be visible, wear bright colors. Once the light goes green accelerate like you have shit to do, don’t act like you’re chilling that drives cars crazy. Assert your presence and get the fuck back to your bike lane on the right asap.

6/ Don’t necessarily trust Google bike maps

They are mostly good but sometimes (and again it highlights how machines are dumb) they are not: like they don’t want to put you in traffic on a big boulevard but will make you cross that boulevard through a side street, which is way more dangerous. Being in traffic isn’t great but sometimes it’s actually easier to bear with it for 3 minutes instead of dangerously trying to avoid it.


Sound design decade

July 8th, 2014 by harold

I was born in ‘79 so my childhood was in the 80s. I don’t have to search for a long time to know why I dug and wanted to make sounds and noises and sound design. The 80s are the sound design decade, the golden age as we like to say when we’re getting old and saw some shit.

Dude, sound design was fresh and new and everywhere from this:

AKA the sound design Bible.

To this:

Anime and its unique, particular sound design, so inventive and fascinating.

To this:

How many 80s action movie with fantastic sound design? Too many. Maybe I should have used Robocop or Terminator or Aliens or Raiders of the Lost Ark or Top Gun. And let’s not forget comedy like Airplane! or Police Academy, I mean a character is literally making sound effects to make you laugh. What about Gremlins or Ghostbusters or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. E.T. It’s crazy.

To this:

That Speed Demon song is obviously using sound effects but even the music is very “sound effect” based, percussive and playful with short sounds, from the crazy DX7 slap bass line to the beat or vocal harmonies. And that part, loved it so much as a kid. Cars by Gary Numan with its weird FX synth sounds. Funkytown by Lips Inc with cars honking. Here Comes The Rain Again by The Eurythmics with its rain-sounding arpeggiator’d intro. How many albums or songs with intros and sound design, I don’t know, tons since Pink Floyd’s Money. Back to MJ with Thriller, how could I forget this one?

And of course:

“Video” games. And their brand new computer sounds.

Sound effects were that new thing all across entertainment.

To me it’s almost weird that people who grew up at the same time are not into sound design more. It’s so offensive when for most people design means graphic design when design is design. You design sound or visuals or places or interiors or games or clothes.

Anyway, if there’s a reason to love and remember that decade, it’s definitely for its unquestionable love for SOUND.

Hey Facebook, unfiltered reality please

July 6th, 2014 by harold

Probably the best Facebook article from this week. This quote got me thinking:

When you log onto Facebook, the posts you’re immediately shown at the top of the News Feed are not every post from your friends in reverse chronological order. Of course Facebook has the technical ability to do this, and it would in many ways be simpler. But their worry is that users will be inundated with relatively uninteresting (but recent) posts, will not scroll down far enough to find the few among them that are engaging, and will eventually quit the service.

Most of us know that and IMO they are totally wrong. If Twitter can be so addictive it’s because it feeds you in finding gems in an unfiltered stream of people you follow. By altering feeds, Facebook pushes me to do nothing: I just look at items and like most of it but I could like anything, that’s the thing.

We’re humans, all different, all weird. Your algorithm is going to show me things that I will like which makes it the Mc Donald’s of social media where I know exactly what is going to show up in my feed. But every time I log onto FB, I wonder about people I don’t see anything from anymore, every time. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Yeah they push me to search and go on their pages but technically, I shouldn’t have to do that. What should happen if that I see someone’s post just because I happen to look at my unfiltered feed and I engage in deeper ways than a like, because I found that interesting thing, not Facebook. Basic psychology. I’d use the shit out of Facebook instead of reluctantly go on it.

God damn greed, over a billion people connected sold to ads, what a shame.

TL;DR: Facebook wants me to be that human in Wall-E and I don’t want to because I find more satisfaction and deeper meaning by creating connections myself (and I believe it’s something shared by a lot of people).

Let Me Know

July 5th, 2014 by harold

It’s weird sometimes how I was just toying with a sample of my own material and bam, then it’s like exactly what I wanted to express at the time I made this track, somewhere in March or April in Paris. So dark too. All the music I make in L.A. is so much brighter.

I wish I could  have mixed it better though but fuckit, it’s raw.

I feel like I have a groove to explore here. Something that is me.

Music: me Picture: my possible future car from across the street.

Suitcase and smell

July 5th, 2014 by harold

I noticed how well they keep smells from where you have stayed long enough. I have smells from Paris and Silver Lake in mine. Still in.

Smells are so powerful. I reach for a shirt and I feel different just because of some scent that triggers an avalanche of thoughts and memories.

It’s like a little treasure that I kind of want to keep as long as I can.

Why no one else but 3 companies make consoles

July 5th, 2014 by harold

Because it is insanely hard. In terms of logistics, I admire them all (and yes MS a bit more because they entered that space when competition was fierce compared to Sony who entered the console market at a time when Sega was shooting themselves in the knees, NEC was dead and Nintendo was asleep).

‘member 1994 y’all. 20 years ago. fffffuuuuu

OK, think about it this way: you’re building a device that needs to be powerful, that will be pushed and stressed out to the max for 12 hours or more, that needs an original input (gamepad), that will be sold widely and needs to be 100% stable with super simple software to use on the surface while doing super complex things under.

It was pretty easy in the 80s, 90s and early 00s.

A console is billions of transistors today, these are very complex machines that need to behave perfectly, all the time.

No desktop computer or laptop really does that, they all idle a lot. A console is meant to run games, one if not the most horsepower-hungry software developed. A console is either off or burning.

Have you seen the mess that is to make a gamepad? How many patents you need to avoid? How hard it is to find a manufacturer that will be able to make them perfect all the time, millions of them without breaking in customers’ hands and without costing you a fortune?

Making a console aka computer game box is a crazy challenge with unlimited variables, it makes me sweaty just thinking about it.

This is why Steam boxes are not here. This is why Ouya is kind of gone and why so many Android consoles are pretty much vaporware at this time. This is why Apple is not doing any of this (no profit? bye), and why it cost Microsoft billions and fifteen years to get somewhere after living hell with the 360 red ring of death (but they had to rush and take the lead in the race). This is why they advertise their work on their gamepad or Kinect because yeah, they worked super hard.

This is why Nintendo is so cheap on tech and always makes everything possible to not ruin their profit margin because all that R&D shit is super expensive.

That’s why all manufacturers are super cool with developers going 2D or light 3D, or are more than happy to show you the features like watching Netflix or tweeting. That’s so much less trouble hardware-wise than the GTAs and the like which are definitely hitting those machines hard while not coming out fast enough (GTA is basically a generation late, first time ever). I don’t think it’s just to show that they’re cool, it’s a way to use that box for less intensive tasks while making consumers think that it replaces other boxes, that consoles are a deal.

The problem is that people got those machines to have them hit hard, they want some jaw dropping “graphics”. At the same time, they’re happy not to have to spend $60 minimum to have fun while they don’t understand why PS4 games are more beautiful but feel and play the same as the PS3 ones. Look around, people are kind of over it and this is why I see so many people arguing that PCs are the best deal ever on every site I go to. Because, it’s true.

That’s why we only have three manufacturers and that’s why they fight so hard to get exclusives. Good luck, guys.