Pearl Jam 11/21/13 San Diego

Posted Nov 24, 2013 at 11:22 am

On Thursday I went to see Pearl Jam at the Viejas Arena in San Diego. I went in with what I was sure were unreasonably high expectations, but I was not disappointed. What I got was the best live performance I’ve seen, removing any doubts that Pearl Jam is the epitome of rock bands.

The show lasted about three hours and had a good mix of new songs, old songs, and a few covers, and they seemed to save the best for last. The sound quality was excellent, especially for an indoor arena. Pearl Jam’s sound people seem to know what they are doing, instead of just turning everything to 11. Eddie did a lot of talking and drank from a bottle of wine between songs (he seemed a bit drunk near the end), even passing a bottle to his mom via audience.

They ended the show with The Who’s Baba O’Riley, Yellow Ledbetter with The Star Spangled Banner guitar outro, and then a great cover of Rockin’ in the Free World. Overall, it was a great set. The only thing missing that I would have liked to see was Jeremy, Daughter, and/or Corduroy.

If you like rock music, Pear Jam is a must!

Soundgarden at The Wiltern

Posted Feb 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

I saw Soundgarden perform at The Wiltern on the 16th. The performance was excellent, the mixing could have been better (the bass drowned out the leads), and the crowd was mature (someone even brought a young child). Overall it was a great experience. I never thought this would happen.

The Wiltern, named after its position on the corner of Wilshire and Western, was a very nice setting. Entering the lobby was like entering a movie theater in the 50’s. The walls and ceiling had lots of fancy carving and molding to admire while waiting for the show.

Here is the set list. It was a good mix of songs spanning their entire career. Matt Cameron’s son played guitar on Eyelid’s Mouth.

  • Nothing to Say
  • Flower
  • Outshined
  • Gun
  • Jesus Christ Pose
  • By Crooked Steps
  • Room a Thousand Years Wide
  • Attrition
  • The Day I Tried to Live
  • Been Away Too Long
  • Worse Dreams
  • Get on the Snake
  • Ugly Truth
  • Non-State Actor
  • Ty Cobb
  • Drawing Flies
  • Blow Up the Outside World
  • Fell on Black Days
  • Eyelid’s Mouth
  • Loud Love
  • Rowing

Encore:

  • Searching with My Good Eye Closed
  • Rusty Cage
  • Beyond the Wheel

Here is a video I found from that night. I was right behind the person recording the video, so this was pretty much my view.

Why We Believe in God(s)

Posted Sep 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I read a book called Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith by J. Anderson Thomson Jr. MD and Clare Aukofer (I believe it was Penn Jillette who recommended it). It attempts to explain why humans have a natural susceptibility to believe in the supernatural by describing various behavioral adaptations in our species. It even goes into some of the physiology and brain chemistry involved.

Some of parts I found most interesting were about the evolution of our species and reasons some of the social adaptations were successful. It also includes an explanation for our natural cravings for food high in sugar and fat, which I found interesting. The overly positive reactions in our brain to sugar and fat are leftover adaptations from when these were very difficult to obtain (there were no grocery stores for cavemen apparently).

It also had interesting insights into psychology and several studies of the brain and behavior of young children. There were many less obvious things that were revealed which really got me thinking.

Overall, I found the book pretty interesting. It’s short and definitely worth reading if you have any interest in evolution, psychology, or religion. I’ll close with an interesting quote:

“Children have been described as ‘intuitive theists.’ Children show what is called promiscuous teleology, a basic preference to understand the world in terms of purpose. This contributes to what we now know about children’s belief. Children will spontaneously adopt the concept of God and a created world with no adult intervention. At heart we are all born creationists. Disbelief requires effort.” [1]

[1] Thomson, J. Anderson; Aukofer, Clare; Richard Dawkins (2011-06-01). Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith (Kindle Locations 766-769). Pitchstone Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Chemistry

Posted Mar 25, 2011 at 2:35 pm

If you are at all interested in chemistry or science like I am, I recommend checking out Periodic Videos. They have a video on each and every element in the periodic table as well as many molecules and other chemistry topics. Their videos are very educational and most are pretty entertaining.

This is one of my favorite YouTube subscriptions. Below is a selection of a few of my favorite videos on their channel. They are some of the more fierier and explodier videos.

K

F

Fe

S

Pandora Radio

Posted May 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Pandora Radio is a free internet streaming radio service that allows you to create personalized stations. The stations select music based on similarity using data from The Music Genome Project. You tell it something you like and it will find other songs you probably like. As you listen, you can tell it what you like and dislike so it gets a better idea of your preferences.

I’ve been using Pandora on and off for a few years and it works pretty well. I’ve discovered some great bands I never knew I liked or even heard of. It’s a great way to discover new music. Of course it also plays a lot of your favorites, too.

You can even further customize your stations by mixing them together or manually adding bands for more variety.

The free version has some short ads and a few limits on usage, but it isn’t too bad. I’m actually thinking of getting the paid version that removes the ads and limits, as well as gives higher quality and a desktop application. Right now it’s only $36/year.

Blue Man Group

Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I saw the Blue Man Group at The Venetian in Las Vegas. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was not disappointed. I think this would be a great way to start off the Reviews category, so here goes…

So what can you expect from three blue men on a stage? The most accurate answer to that would be to expect the unexpected. The show includes sounds, lights, comedy, and just plain weirdness. There’s even some educational parts if you can believe that.

They don’t talk, but they still manage to communicate and have a great personality simply through body language. They act almost like aliens exploring their environment and they seem very intrigued by the audience and human culture.

Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group playing with plumbing (Drumbone)

They do some pretty cool stuff with improvised instruments made mostly from plumbing. Just when you are thinking “that’s pretty neat,” something else happens that makes you think “huh?” (not huh as in “that was stupid”, but huh as in “haha, that’s crazy” IYKWIM). They also have a talented backing band with several drum kits, guitar, bass and Chapman stick.

I would definitely recommend seeing this show, especially if you want to see something totally unique. There’s something to enjoy for people of all ages. Not only is it visually entertaining for younger audiences, it also has some deeper meaning for older audiences to appreciate.

Even the signs telling you to turn off phones are funny. Also as an added bonus, you can meet the blue men after the show if you want.

Three words to describe Blue Man Group: Bizarre, Intense, Hilarious

Notes: There are strobe lights used in parts of the show, so you should be careful if you have epilepsy or other problems like that. There’s nothing inappropriate to worry about, so feel free to bring kids or family along. Individual shows may vary.