NextLevel Squad: Zilla March

Tags: , ,

A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine

Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry, Feb 2012:

A quick search of several neighborhoods of the United States revealed that while pseudoephedrine is difficult to obtain, N-methylamphetamine can be procured at almost any time on short notice and in quantities sufficient for synthesis of useful amounts of the desired material. Moreover, according to government maintained statistics, N- methylmphetamine is becoming an increasingly attractive starting material for pseudoephedrine, as the availability of N- methylmphetamine has remained high while prices have dropped and purity has increased [2]. We present here a convenient series of transformations using reagents which can be found in most well stocked organic chemistry laboratories to produce psuedoephedrine from N-methylamphetamine.

"Institute for Theoretical Experiments, Department of Chemistry, Miskatonic University."

Previously, previously.

Tags: ,


I was not able to stay for Glass Candy because the crowd was so full of bro-tards and stoners: it was like being at the fucking Fillmore. I was trying to decide what made it so brospicable -- did we have Glass Candy, Noise Pop or Mezzanine to thank? When I remembered that Glass Candy were on the Drive soundtrack.

Yup. Hollywood will vinegar it up every time.

Tags: , , ,

Soft Metals

Tags: , , ,

Heavy crime in the naked city

It's just like that Whitesnake video:

"She walks directly to me," he said. "She walks up the hood of my car. And she begins stomping on my windshield, completely naked."

The woman, who Knight estimated to weigh about 250 pounds, cracked his windshield with the first stomp. She got a couple more in before plainclothes officers pulled her off and handcuffed her as she screamed and wailed, Knight said.

Tags: , ,

"The Internet certainly is full of Things."

Katamari your browser!

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , ,

DNA Lounge: Wherein hammers are swingin'!

There has been actual construction work on the second floor of the pizza place! Well, "demolition" work, but that's close enough. Hammers were swung. Massive piles of junk were hauled out.

They've removed the interior walls from the back room. It's a really nice-sized space now! Too bad we're about to shrink it again by carving some bathrooms out of it. Photos:

I don't think I've mentioned what used to be up here before... apparently one of the previous tenants had, how shall I put this delicately, a "hydroponic garden" of some kind. There was a pair of rooms that you could only enter by climbing through a window that were covered, floor, walls and ceiling, with slick white plastic. It was creepy as hell, like a Dexter kill-room but less obsessively tidy:

I also don't think I've mentioned that we're getting a parklet! The location has been approved, and the next step is to get the Planning Department to sign off on our architectural drawings of it.

This is what's on the street now, spanning DNA Lounge and DNA Pizza:


And this is what it's going to turn in to:


The parklet will be about 30' wide, and have tables and a standing-height railing. In addition to that, we're getting rid of two car spots and adding a bunch of bicycle parking.

I wouldn't be foolish enough to make a guess as to when this will be finished, but so far the bureaucracy has been relatively minimal.

You know who has a puzzling internet footprint? Metal bands.

As you might expect, I have a bunch of feeds of searches for mentions of DNA Lounge. Normally this turns up the occasional article or mention of us or a band who is playing here. However, when we have an upcoming show by a metal band, the references go CRAZY. Apparently every metal fan in the world has a blog, and every one of them feels the need to post the entire worldwide tour schedule of every metal band that exists. It feels like the kind of copy-and-paste that you see from adword-farming spam-blogs, but I've looked at a few of them, and it seems not. I guess the metal fans are just obsessive enough that they all consider it front page news that a band they like is playing a show in a city that is six thousand miles away. (Some are reposting articles from other blogs, but mostly they appear to be real blogs.)

So I end up getting half a dozen notifications a day that look like this:

Hails and Horns - PAGANFEST AMERICA Part III to feature four ...
4/12 - Lubbock, TX @ Jake's 4/13 - Denver, CO @ The Marquis 4/15 - Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven 4/16 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre 4/17 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge 4/18 - West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club 4/19 - Tempe ...

Turisas To Headline "Paganfest: America Part III" Tour | Heavy Metal ...
4/12 - Lubbock, TX @ Jake's 4/13 - Denver, CO @ The Marquis 4/15 - Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven 4/16 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre 4/17 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge 4/18 - West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club 4/19 - Tempe ...

Apr. 05 - Oakland, CA @ The Pound (city and venue change, show now in San Francisco, CA DNA Lounge) Apr. 06 - Hollywood, CA @ House Of Blues Apr. 07 - Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater Apr. 09 - Denver, CO @ The Summit Music ...

SEPULTURA North American Tour: Schedule Updated
04/11/12 DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA - No DEATH ANGEL 04/12/12 Branx - Portland, OR 04/13/12 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA 04/14/12 In The Venue - Salt Lake City, UT 04/15/12 Gothic Theatre - Englewood, CO 04/16/12 Manny's ...

Se revelan las fechas de tour norteamericano de Sepultura, Death ...
Abr. 11 - DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA (Sin DEATH ANGEL) Abr. 12 - Branx - Portland, OR Abr. 13 - Studio Seven - Seattle, WA Abr. 14 - In The Venue - Salt Lake City, UT Abr. 15 - Gothic Theatre - Englewood, CO Abr. 16 - Manny's ...

rockcultural: Sepultura e Krisiun anunciam longa tour pela America ...
April 10 - Santa Ana, CA @Yost Theater April 11 - San Francisco, CA @DNA Lounge April 12 - Portland, OR @Branx April 13 - Seattle, WA @Studio Seven April 14 - Salt Lake City, UT @In The Venue April 15 - Denver, CO @Gothic Theater ...

Horns Up Rocks: TURISAS Are Gearing Up For "PaganFest ...
4/13 - Denver, CO @ The Marquis 4/15 - Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven 4/16 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre 4/17 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge 4/18 - West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club 4/19 - Tempe, AZ @ 910 Live Related links: ...

HAVOK To Release EP Late May | Unhallowed Nation Magazine
4/11/2012 DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA. 4/12/2012 Branx - Portland, OR. 4/13/2012 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA. 4/14/2012 In The Venue - Salt Lake City, UT. 4/15/2012 Gothic Theatre - Englewood, CO. 4/16/2012 Manny's - Billings, MT ...

Fans of other genres don't do this. It's weird.

The other thing about metal bands: they still use Myspace.

As we get repeat visits from bands, DJs and other performers here, I update their URL links on our calendar, and there has been a steady progression of replacing their old Myspace URLs with new Facebook URLs. I don't think I've added a new Myspace URL to the calendar in five years -- except for metal bands, who are all still using Myspace. It's baffling.

I'm not seeking theories to explain this (I'm sure you have them), it's just a little internet-sociological oddity that I've noticed.

So, Free Coffee February is almost over, and has resulted in what can generously be described as a "smattering" of new customers. Not exactly the hockey-stick graph one dreams of.

I had a frustrating conversation the other day with someone whose company has for several years been in the office building on our block that is just past Slim's. Though he's a regular of DNA Lounge, and enjoys our pizza, he was somehow unaware that we were open in the morning, or that we have espresso. I asked him, "Have you even noticed that we have those A-frame signs on the corners hyping coffee?" He said, "Oh, I walk by that every day. I walk by and think, 'Oh, hey, DNA, I like those guys'. I've never actually read it, I guess!"

It was frustrating because here's a guy who is exactly our target market for the morning/lunchtime crowd, and we were completely failing to reach him with our message of, "Hey, we exist". I don't know why, and neither did he.


Computer Game Bot Turing Test

Carlos Bueno wrote:

Before I talk about my own troubles, let me tell you about another book, "Computer Game Bot Turing Test". It's one of over 100,000 "books" "written" by a Markov chain running over random Wikipedia articles, bundled up and sold online for a ridiculous price. The publisher, Betascript, is notorious for this kind of thing.

It gets better. There are whole species of other bots that infest the Amazon Marketplace, pretending to have used copies of books, fighting epic price wars no one ever sees. So with "Turing Test" we have a delightful futuristic absurdity: a computer program, pretending to be human, hawking a book about computers pretending to be human, while other computer programs pretend to have used copies of it. A book that was never actually written, much less printed and read.

The internet has everything.

Last year I published my children's book about computer science, Lauren Ipsum. I set a price of $14.95 for the paperback edition and sales have been pretty good. Then last week I noticed a marketplace bot offering to sell it for $55.63. "Silly bots", I thought to myself.

Then another piled on, and then an overseas dropshipper, and then another bot. Pretty soon they were offering my book below the retail price.

The punchline is that Amazon itself is a bot. Noticing all of this activity, it decided to put the book on sale! 28% off. I can't wait to find out what that does to my margin.

My reaction to this algorithmic whipsawing has settled down to a kind of helpless bemusement. The plot of my book is about how understanding computers is the first step to taking control of your life in the 21st century. Now I don't know what to believe.

It's possible that the optimal price of Lauren Ipsum is, in fact, ten dollars and seventy-six cents and I should just relax and trust the tattooed hipster who wrote Amazon's pricing algorithm. After all, I have no choice.

But I can't help but think about that old gambler's proverb: "If you can't spot the sucker, it's you."

Previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , ,

How public is a "public space" that requires you to sign in?

Presumably it is also behind a door marked "BEWARE OF THE LEOPARD".

The Roof Terrace at One Kearny shows why we're lucky that San Francisco requires downtown developers to provide space in their projects that is accessible to the public at large. [...]

But the only exterior hint that the terrace exists is a see-through sign etched into the glass at knee level by the front door. Once inside, a guard requires you to sign in before going farther.

Previously, previously.

Tags: ,

Pre-Millennium Tension: The Dali Clock Y2K Easter Egg

It's been over 12 years since I pulled this prank, so I guess it won't really be a spoiler to talk about it now...

You kids may have heard about that whole "Y2K" thing, where all the date-manipulating code in the world was going to go sideways once '99 turned into '00. Planes were going to fall from the sky, ATMs were going to jackpot cash into the street, nuclear power plants were going to melt down, dogs and cats were going to move in together, and so on. People were feverishly spending their time digging through any code that cared about what time it was. Warnings were added to compilers. Anyone who wasn't planning to convert their money to krugerrands and ammunition was a fool! It was a full-fledged nerd panic.

So I have this program Dali Clock that maybe you've heard of. And for many moons, Dali Clock had been distributed on the CDs along with just about every Linux distribution in the world.

And I had an Idea.

So, in late 1998, I hid a prank in it. I had to start on this project very early in order to ensure that there would be time for the code to make it out into the world: it would take at least a year for the release cycles of the various distros to pick up the new version and get burned and shipped out. Though, I was certainly helped along by the fact that everyone was in a Y2K-addled upgrade fever in 1999. It would simply not do to be running a software release from 1997, oh no. So I got my code out there, and nobody noticed it amongst the set of other diffs in the release.

The prank was this:

If you happened to be running Dali Clock exactly at midnight on Jan 1, 2000, it it would start running "backwards" -- at midnight, the digits would mirror right-to-left. But this would only happen if Dali Clock had been launched in 1999. If you quit and restarted it in 2000, it was all back to normal. The source code in question also avoided using any obviously greppable constants like "99" or "2000" or "946713600" that might have set off alarms.

A video:

I got a bunch of almost-hate mail between 12 AM EST and 2 AM PST from people who had dug into the code and then eventually realized that it had been intentional... and that it had been lying in wait there for years...

It was glorious.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Previously