Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Beacons of Post-Rock: Tortoise

NotesThis piece was first published on Independent Clauses. Too read my original article, click here.

I’m writing this review from Xishuangbanna, a region in southwestern China. It sits along the Mekong river, not very far from the borders of Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. It’s hot, humid, and currently raining almost every day – monsoon season and all. You know how it goes. Anyway, the general attitude is very laid-back, not so much lazy as unwilling to move fast in the heat. I like it here. I like sitting here and drinking chilled mango juice, and I like listening to Tortoise’s new album while I’m doing it.

Beacons of Ancestorship is the name. It’s out June 23rd, fully five years after their last release. This thing has been a long time coming for fans of the band, and trust me, there are lots of them. Quick history lesson: Tortoise is a hugely important band. They’ve been around a while. Back in the early 1990s, they helped to create what is now known as post-rock. If you’re not familiar with the genre, it boils down to music that isn’t rock, but is played on rock instruments. It’s primarily instrumental, and almost always experimental. I like to think that post-rock bands don’t create songs, so much as things that grow and develop as the music continues. If that sounds silly, go listen to some music from the likes of Explosions In The Sky or Slint. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

That being said, Tortoise is a little different. Continue reading


June 17, 2009 Posted by | Music, review | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Shenanigans #1

It might be fun to add some sort of structure to the old blog, right? At the moment, I just sort of slap posts up as they come to me, with absolutely no consistency or discernible pattern. I’d like to try to change that. Maybe I won’t be totally successful at first, but eventually I’ll chisel out something of a schedule, with weekly columns and whatnot. Theoretically I’ll put out something like mobile gaming posts on Mondays, tech tutorials on Tuesdays, etc. Stuff like that, but without the horrific 1950s-style alliteration.

Sounds cool, right? I think so.

Now, it’d be all logical to just start organizing the posts that I already make into categories, but that would be boring and not very T+L-esque. Instead, I’m starting at the end, and writing up a wrap-up of tech and media items of note that caught my eye during the week but weren’t quite post-worthy, as well as some personal tidbits. Furthermore, I’m starting the posting of this column, entitled Weekly Shenanigans, on a Tuesday (because that’s when it makes sense to post something that is part wrap-up, part update, and part caffeine-fueled musing). Never fear, you intrepid logic junkies – that’s only going to be temporary. The following Weekly Shenanigans will go up on Saturdays, or possibly Sundays. I haven’t really worked all the kinks out yet.

Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, and because some guy somewhere once said “know thyself” or something along those lines, I’m estimating that there’s a 28% chance that this will be the first, last, and only ever Weekly Shenanigans. That’s how I roll (28% of the time).

Okay. There. The column has been sufficiently introduced. Without further ado, and in no particular order, I present the contents of Weekly Shenanigans #1. Continue reading

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Personal, State of the Blog, Weekly Shenanigans | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Live from China: Tech+Lifestyle Is Back

Hong Kong Intl Airport

Hong Kong Int'l Airport

The past two weeks have been interesting, to say the least. I’ve been in China since February 23rd, experiencing all sorts of new stuff. Being the nerd that I am, one of the very first things I attempted upon getting here was to get online – my laptop’s battery had given out at the Hong Kong International Airport, and my iPod Touch gave up the ghost not long after.

I was somewhat dismayed to find a complete lack of Wifi here – none in my dorm, or anywhere else on campus, for that matter. I’ve got a single ethernet connection in my room, which I’m obligated to share with my roommate until I can find a cheap switch to use. Even with a wired connection, though, I wasn’t immediately able to get online. For some reason, my MacBook absolutely refused to yield internet access. I endured a week of no access in my room except for two occasions when I borrowed my suite-mate’s computer to check email, and once when I went to a shady internet cafe for a couple of hours. Continue reading

March 8, 2009 Posted by | Personal, Politics, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

On Hiatus, Sort Of

For those of you that know me, or have stumbled across my blog and taken an interest in it, thanks for reading. I feel obligated to inform you that while I am by no means abandoning this blog, the frequency of my posts will decrease drastically for the foreseeable future. On Saturday (Feb 21st), I’m boarding a 747 and flying to China, where I will live for the next five months. I’m doing a semester abroad at Yunnan Normal University in Kunming, studying intensive Chinese language and culture. I’m maintaining a multi-writer travel blog while I’m there Continue reading

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My New Macbook…

Is scheduled to arrive Tuesday! I’m fairly excited, not gonna lie. I’ll do my own unboxing post, along with impressions after some use. I’ll also time the battery life under low usage (word processing, web surfing), moderate usage (same but multitasking and some music or video) and heavy usage (HD video playback).

New Macbook

New Macbook

When I was ordering the thing, it took me a little while to decide which model to get, or if I should even be considering Macs and just go with a PC alternative. Continue reading

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Tech | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment