Questlove memoir

October 6th, 2017 by harold

Finished Margo Jefferson’s. Finished Questlove’s. Rick James’ in progress.

I really enjoyed Ahmir’s book. It was fun and funny enough, it gave me answers that I was wondering about when I was a teenager looking at The Roots as if they were my answer to a lot of things. Following their weird pace and label changes through early 2000s, the break out ‘You Got Me” single. Here’s his take on a Jay Dee’s track:


I wasn’t into hip-hop at that time BUT I tripped on that particular track after borrowing the album from a friend because those beats sounded real good. I wrote about it in my upcoming book:


Yes, I felt validated by the fact that I loved that track and that it fucked up Questlove too.

I share a lot of his opinions and I know why: we’re only six years apart. He’s my big brother, same generation. Questlove wonders how to get more fans while keeping the old fans and it turns out that it’s complex. But it’s in the end, simple: a creative endeavor, especially music, is generational. It attracts people from one generation more than others. The Roots being a Gen X band, and the Gen X population being the smallest generation alive… Millennials had Kanye, Boomers don’t care about hip-hop. That’s why it was hard and weird for them and why becoming a backup band for a TV show made a lot of sense.

Now, I’m super surprised that Quest doesn’t mention MC Lyte or Queen Latifah from the golden era or Missy Elliott from the very productive end of the 90s/start of the 00s. Those girls destroyed! It seems to me that if one of hip-hop’s strongest feeling is unity, then you have to talk about the divide and women rapping, because they have been since the beginning. You know, a chapter about it would have been cool. I guess I’ll read their books.

Five stars. I always rate everything good or good enough five stars.


October 2nd, 2017 by harold

Mainstream news are trash

Hold up, Reuters.

The first article I read about the Las Vegas shooting immediately references 2015 Paris attacks.

Reuters, established in 1851, compares and claims that a single, old white man in America shooting over fifty people dead for no reason –for now at least- is reminiscent of a bunch of young French Arabs attacking a rock concert with a clear motive?

How. The. Fuck.

How can you be so desperate for attention that you write that kind of horrifying shortcut? How can you lack so much integrity while being such an old and experienced news agency? How can you go to sleep knowing that you fuel racial tensions with blatant lies? Those two events have nothing in common at all.

How come a news agency compares America and France’s tragedies but never go like “while America is debating on universal healthcare, most countries on earth have been enjoying a version of it for decades.”

Mainstream news have become the worst of trash.

Reading and connecting

September 29th, 2017 by harold

Questlove on his parents

From Mo’ Meta Blues, Questlove’s memoir.

“something switched over in them” “in the early eighties”

This is the world inequality ratio, the closer to zero the better:

World global inequality ratio

So many things went bad and were hidden back then after the start of that decade. I think Questlove’s parents turn to Ned and Maude Flanders’ ways was a reaction to the rise of inequality, which is mostly fueled by disgusting laws targeting some people. They lived through the 50s, 60s, 70s and saw progress back and forth but mostly forth considering the start of the century. As you can see on this graph, the eighties were a different beast.

His parents probably saw that being carefree and screaming like Prince at that time would not help their son. They were right in a way, but diving into religion and Christianity didn’t miraculously washed society off of “the devil”. There is no devil, only hate and greed.

Fear is powerful and makes us make the craziest turns.

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September 27th, 2017 by harold



serendipities (plural noun)

  1. the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

This does happen less and less, thanks to algorithms. I’m realizing how much of my life has been brought up to me by serendipity. You have to be active to enable positive events and now you have machines deciding for you, for everything. All the time.

You grow/grew up with those machines deciding for yourself so now you don’t even have the tools built-in in your mind to make serendipity happen. You say “no” or “yes” but the “why”, “what” “how” are disappearing.

I guess we need chance less now that we have access to so much in a few clicks, being able to be part of multiple worlds more than ever. But I don’t like when the built-in processes, the good habits are going away.


September 23rd, 2017 by harold

This off season is crazy.

Here’s what’s going to happen: LBJ joins the Lakers next year. IT follows him. IT and I, both 1,75m lefties fusion. We beat all the teams forever.


The NBA cancels the East Coast in December before y’all get your ass whooped by the entire West Armada.


It’s going to be interesting. My Spurs have the hardest road, filled with teams that are very different with all those trades. That’s going to be their strength: they all know how to play together compared to teams that just got players with strong ego and skills. Down the stretch, that will make a difference.

I’m scared of the Pelicans, man. If AD and Boogie go off, shit’s going to get ugly. They can’t be stopped. The Rockets with CP3, are a walking nightmare. Hopefully Chris clashes with James so that Aldridge the Fridge –WHO SAID THAT– can score and ruin other teams’ hopes that he’s the weak link. I hope Popovich put him on a skateboard all summer so that he worked on his balance and foot work. I believe he woke up after the last playoffs. I want to believe he lands switch 360 flips by now.

The Warriors got another absurd 3-pt shooter so there’s that. And OKC has three crazy good players now. I think that might be a bit too much for a team to digest at once. It looks good on paper but they will have to change so many things in their habits. The Wolves look hungry as hell, they will hurt.

The season starts soon and I’m so ready.


September 23rd, 2017 by harold

I was reading Jeff’s blog post on fad controllers and read a comment thread where people shamed some dudes who were playing games on keyboards. Here’s my take.

Controllers –joystick, gamepad, keyboard, Ouija board- are like musical instruments. You have your preference and you can play any music with it but probably, it fits some genre better than others. With the right skills though, you can do whatever you want: beating Super Meat Boy on a keyboard is a bit like covering some early Pantera on a saxophone, that sounds risky. But if you’re good, you probably can do that. And you’re awesome.

Controller choice doesn’t matter so much. People are having fun? You good. What developers need to do is test different input and make sure they’re all decent, instead of polishing one input scheme to death while forgetting about the others. And  of course, a re-mapping tool should be standard these days.

I miss the Wiimote. I could play golf and physics-based games for the next five decades with it without any issues.

Prince The Machine

September 22nd, 2017 by harold

Prince inside the music and the masks

“and I don’t need to hear that anymore.” I’m screaming. This book, Prince, Inside the Music and the Masks was a great read. It focuses on the creative endeavor and business side of his life which was basically his entire life or so.

Prince’s parents, with six kids and a father dreaming of making it big in music, were struggling. They divorced, his dad left the piano behind, Prince started playing it. The rest is history.

His relationship with Warner starts almost immediately. He is poor and receives his first advance, $80,000, from them after they heard his prowess in the studio. Then he has to give the label seven albums. But producing creative outputs is not like producing furniture or food. He was sometimes right on point –Purple Rain- and sometimes way off –rapping- and it’s fascinating reading about him conquering the world, losing influence, battling with the music industry practices, being thirsty as fuck –his duo with Beyoncé at the Grammys- while he was destroying every single stage on earth on monstrous tours (his last one made close to $100M). So many of his songs sound much, much better live.

He was constantly looking for new ways to sell his shit. He pioneered many business models. His songwriting might have gone down –just kinda lazy I’d say– but he was sharp as hell on the contract/payment end. I’m really sad to not know what he would have been doing right now. I am pretty sure he would have started a social network/streaming service. During the 2000s, he was around but he was mostly just making more money than ever. For what? What would he have done with it? Building a new label with only women artists? Just burn bills in a giant fire pit during one of his show with a new song called Money Flames? Would he have released a dozen jazz albums now that he was getting older? Would he release them only on DVD Audio with discrete surround sound?

We’ll never know.


September 21st, 2017 by harold

So if just one of Facebook’s 2 billion users entered “Jew-hater” as her “field of study”—whether out of malice or a misplaced attempt at humor—an advertiser who typed that same term in the same field could then include that user among the target audience. (Following ProPublica’s and Slate’s reports, Facebook disabled these targeting options.) To the extent there’s a problem, then, it’s not a case of machine intelligence run amok but rather a lack of any intelligence in the process, machine or otherwise. In short, Facebook’s ad tool is dumb.

The entire ad business is dumb, always has been. That’s also why we don’t like ads. Find another fucking business model. Lower your filthy profit expectations and have a good life. Is that hard?

Check up

September 21st, 2017 by harold

Oh yeah, I forgot that I stopped smoking tobacco a year or so ago so happy birthday to me! I also not long after stopped putting sugar in my coffee. Not really something that I planned to do but there is so much sugar in all the food here that I figured that would not be bad to cut down a bit.

After sweating less, not smoking made me sweat more. Under stress, not smoking anymore would make me wet like I have never been before. It’s getting better. The sensation of losing focus progressively went away, I don’t have the issue anymore but I remember how strong that felt. Nicotine trying to be smart.

The funny thing is smelling someone smoking without seeing him/her and thinking “wait, this smell smells familiar but I can’t.. Oh right, cigarettes”. I forgot! Of course the hard first 5 minutes on my bike are gone. I can bike at full speed immediately, lungs wise. I can feel them getting cleaner. Cool, but not life-changing for now.

Coffee is definitely better without sugar but I sometimes miss the sweet morning kick. Sugar stimulates so much of our excitement. It wakes us up, keeps us awake more than  the coffee itself. But also it’s such a drug. I. WANT. SWEETS.

Anyway, my wallet is happy for me too.

Keep your phone simple

September 20th, 2017 by harold

How often do we have our phones with ourselves or in sight? Or more like, how often do we not have them with us?

The answer is pretty much never. They are in our pockets, our hands, nightstands. We do not need complex security to simply use them, it’s overkill. People talk about airport security, forgetting that a vast majority of people never fly. Kids, girlfriends and family? You have bigger issues in your life if you cannot trust the closest people around you. And again, they don’t have much time to do anything to your phone, as your phone is with you 95% of the time.

I have never set up a pin to unlock on any smartphone ever. I got my phone stolen this year for the first time, it was definitely my fault (simply leaving it on a desk in a public space). Some LTE data was used. I could track it precisely but then the battery died (and the USB port was fucked up so, the phone can charge wirelessly but no one knows especially the homeless person who probably used it). If the battery had not died, I either was finding the phone, blocking it or erasing it. Now I can’t but the phone is probably buried in a landfill. Nothing of importance was on it. I lost a few dozens screenshots and mildly interesting videos. I upload my pictures regularly.

I don’t know how you guys can type the same 4 pin code hundreds of time a week. Or people trusting the system and then losing 4 or 6 years of pictures and memories. I know interfaces are sleek and responsive but backend technology is a big mess, don’t forget about it. Do not trust computers blindly.

All I’m saying is, companies induce fear and the need for you to upgrade. Fear is the biggest trigger for action. They know friction is at a minimum: paying for something with cash, or a card, vouchers, is fast enough. the gain of paying with your phone barely exists. But also, without bank and payment data on your phone if it comes up missing that’s a whole lot less stress.

Don’t sleep.