Monthly Archives: January 2013

Wednesday Watercooler

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“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore,

There aren’t a whole lot of things in the world that can’t be remedied by a silent but seductive sunset, above the rest of Los Angeles; I don’t know if it’s the awe inspiring colors, or the fact that your perspective has been drastically shifted – but the air up there tastes sweeter, the colors up there are more vibrant and I can feel the heartbeat of the city.

A Double Helix of Data

Storing data on a monstrous hard drive is one thing, but storing data on a double helix of your DNA is quite another!  German genomicists Nick Goldman and Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institude have been researching alternative methods of data storage that can house their collection of exponentially growing information.  Further proof that the best ideas come from a good buzz, the two have been feverishly collaborating on a system that translates data to binary fashion and then encodes it within the double helix structure of our DNA.  So far, they have managed to store copies of an audio snippet of Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech and a complete set of Shakespearean sonnets.

Disney Animated Short: Paperman

Never mind the fact it was one of the only movies I saw in theaters in 2012 – ‘Wreck It Ralph’ was hands down one of the best movies I saw last year.  The plot was unique, the characters were equally obnoxious and lovable and simply put: it was just so goddamn fun.  Now, the irony of this is my favorite part of the movie wasn’t even part of the movie – it was the short film that played before.  It just got released onto Youtube today and I am really excited to share it with you guys; by far my favorite short they’ve ever done!

 World Meets Girl from “Girl Meets World

I don’t know about you guys, but one of the major highlights from my childhood were the TGIF Lineups on ABC – you know: Family Matters, Step by Step, Hangin’ With Mr Cooper, Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  But my hands down, abs-fucking-lutely favorite show was Boy Meets World. Mostly, I felt a certain awkward kid camaraderie with Topanga – that awesomely awkward girl with the crazy hair, fun outfits and cute as a button personality….but I also had a pretty huge crush on Shawn, played by Rider Strong.  So believe you me, when I found out about the up and coming spinoff Girl Meets World I was beyond stoked!  The show is centered around the now child of Cory and Topanga and is going to be played by Roawn Blanchard of Disney Channel fame.

At Least For Today, Blackberry is Still Relevant

The Blackberry 10 Launch event in New York City this morning made it clear that Blackberry still intends on being one of the movers and shakers of the cell phone industry, even if they have to change their name.  That’s right folks, the team that was once known as Research IMotion (or RIM) has been simply rebranded as Blackberry; and for you stock savvy folks – note that their Nasdaq ticker is set to change on Monday from RIMM to BBRY.  Along with the name change, they also announced the Blackberry 10 OS and two brand spankin’ new phones – the  Z10, which boasts a stellar full touch screen on 4.2″ with 720p resolution , and the Q10 which has the signature Blackberry QWERTY keyboard and a 3.1″ screen.

If that news wasn’t hot enough, it seems like they hope they’re soon on fire – they’ve enlisted the help of tech-savvy songstress, entrepreaneur and philanthropist Alicia Keys.  Following in the footsteps of Intel who named artist will.i.am their director of creative innovation in 2011, Blackberry has named Keys their Global Creative Director.

World’s Best Workout Trainer

Sometimes, I need a little motivation at the gym – but if I had this cat, I think I’d be set:

[The Audiofiles] Soundrop – Music To My Ears

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Hello.

My name is Amanda, and I’m addicted to music.

Electronic Music. Acoustic Music. Trance Music. Rock Music.

Live Music.

Good Music. 

All Music.

Thoughts come to me in song lyrics.
I’m too busy dancing to your ringtone to answer your call.
I eat, breathe, laugh and sleep in four to the floor time.
I equally love and hate Shazam when it can’t recognize the eccentric remixes I find.
That ‘new’ song you love? I probably know a remix in each and every EDM genre.

By a rough estimate, I spend at least half the time I’m awake enveloped by the pounding basslines, serenading synths and delicious drops of music: From the moment I wake up, the current alarm tone on my phone sets my pace for the day at 128 BPM, I refresh my Hypem feed as clothes fly around my room like a hurricane and with my iPod in hand – bounce from my apartment to the car, plug it in, turn it up and head out.

The glory of living in the age of social media sharing, technology and kickin’ beats is that there are always new ways to both share and listen to music.

It started off with Pandora and the ability to craft unique radio stations that evolve over time and Last.fm which keeps track of your listening history and makes it easy to share favorite tracks socially.  As the social media craze caught wind, so did the necessity to change the way we’re both listening to and appreciating music.

Spotify, currently one of the best known third party applications for both listening to and discovering new music with friends, has more or less revolutionized this idea.  The company was started in the United Kingdom in 2008 and finally opened up registration to include the United States in the 2011.  Shortly after, they formed a timely partnership with Facebook that requires all users to tie their accounts together – not only encouraging the social aspect of Spotify, but more or less requiring it. There are tons awesome features on Spotify – like the ability to create collaborative playlists with your friends.  However, once you’ve linked accounts you can tell which one of your friends still listens to Nickelback and who has suddenly become a raver kitten – so world be warned, if you’re embarrassed by your musical selection Spotify might not be the music application for you.

I wasn’t a huge fan of people being able to track my latest and greatest melodic moves, and I definitely didn’t feel like scrolling through a laundry list of the bands I stopped listening to years ago every time I logged into my Facebook.  Needless to say, I was on the hunt for something better.  When another music sharing site called Turntable.fm popped up on my radar, I couldn’t help but get excited: it was unlike anything else currently out there.  After you sign up, you can go to thousands of different ‘DJ Rooms’ that have a five turntable set-up for up to 5 users to DJ “back-to-back” .  When the site was created, rooms had a 200 user capacity – but now there’s seemingly no limit to the number of people enjoying the app.  The only downfall of Turntable.fm being that if you want to have your shot at a DJ slot, you might have to wait an incredibly long time – especially in a popular room.  I used the site for a few months, but found myself going back to Hypem and Digitally Imported, where I felt that  either the sets had more strength or I had creative license to play whatever I want.

Well enter the game changer: Soundrop.fm. I litererally only found out about the website this morning, but after playing around with it for most of the day I think I’ve finally found a keeper.  They took a pretty page from the Turntable.fm book – having genre, artist and label based ‘Rooms’ where each member of the room can both add tracks with the search feature and vote their favorites into higher position.  The more votes, the closer to the top of the queue.

There are currently two ways to enjoy Soundrop, they have a nice little web based interface that’s a little glitchy but very easy to use and – in an incredibly genius move – you can also access the application through Spotify.  To me, the difference between Soundrop and Spotify is both social and temporal.  Spotify is wonderful for creating a catalog of songs your friends love that you can listen to at your own discretion, whenever you want most likely by yourself.  Soundrop, on the other hand, tells you what your friends are listening to right now and let’s you all enjoy it together.  Completely fitting that their motto is ‘Music Sounds Better With Friends’ – and I couldn’t agree more!

Doing It Right: My Lucky Date With Blue Medi Spa

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Some people seem to have all the luck – raffles, clothes, apartments, friends; every bit and piece of their lives seem all too perfect to be real.  I’m definitely not one of those people but believe you me: I’ve had my fair share of luck.  Over the last three years I’ve been blessed with multiple opportunities that simply make my soul happy:  I was lucky enough to visit one of my best friends in Shanghai last year and got to celebrate the Chinese New Years in style, I won a trip to Las Vegas through the good folks at Metrowize and I was privileged enough to not only worth the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles, but I got to interview top notch designers like Christian Audigier and Lana Fuchs!

Over the last year or so, there’s been little luck to be found – which doesn’t bother me much, I definitely felt like I’d used up all my karma points with the universe! Well, a huge thank you to Blue Medi Spa of Sherman Oaks and Yelp’s LA East Elite Team for changing things up a bit – after attending the kickoff event for Yelp Elite’s last week, I got a strange phone call the next day saying that my raffle ticket had won me a night of pampering and a goodie bag. I’d just finished a big workout and literally had to pause and catch my breath -in between descriptions of spa treatments, I managed to squeak the words “…wait, I won?!” into the receiver.  And a week and a few treatments later, I still can’t believe how lucky I was!

First things first, the staff is beyond lovely – they were ready and able to answer all of my varied questions, and are over the moon hospitable! After a quick and nifty iPad driven intake form, I was swept away by a technician named Stacey for some microderabrasion or as the folks at Blue Spa refer to it – MicrodermaBlue.  Using the DiamondTome technology, the skin is exfoliated by distributing a stream of fine crystals and diamonds and then using a vacuum to suction the crystals – and your dead skin – up, up and away. The end result for me were that the top few layers of dead skin were completely removed, leaving a beautifully smooth surface with very little blemishes and an even complexion.  Another perk to microdermabrasion, besides your skin feeling heavenly, is that makeup will apply easier: it won’t streak and you won’t need to touch it up at all! The service itself is roughly $150, but in my opinion it’s completely worth every penny (that I didn’t have to pay…)

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One thing that I didn’t take into account before my appointment is your skin has multiple layers: the microdermabrasion targeted the epidermis, or the top layer of the skin.  My next treatment, Laser Genesis, targeting the endodermis (bottom layer of skin).   Now, let me preface this section by saying that this is a pretty pricey treatment ($400 for just your face) and there’s no way I would do this on my own dime – but – I absolutely loved it and feel that if you can afford a treatment like this, do it. The microdermabrasion opened up my pores for the removal of dirt and dead skin and the Laser Genesis then goes in and minimizes them.  It takes roughly 30 minutes, and 13 thousand light pulses, to finish your face – and not gonna lie, it feels a little strange.  The light pulses hit your face in attempts to stimulate collagen growth; and as a warning: the light pulses feel very similar to being in a strong tanning bed and can be a little uncomfortable at times.  The end result was that my skin tone and texture were completely evened out, and my cat scratches that I’ve had for years were almost unnoticeable!

Last, but definitely not least, I was presented with a goodie bag filled to the brim with amazing products which includes, but is totally not limited to, a Latisse kit ($120) with a one month supply of applicators and top of the line sunscreen + skin moisturizer from Fenix ($55) to ensure the treatments last.

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Once again, a huge thank you to Blue Medi Spa and Yelp for making this girl feel so special; thank you, thank you, thank you! My face looks and feels wonderful and I couldn’t be happier

Wednesday Dance Break

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So, here we are – Wednesday of a fabulous, four day work week; half begun and half done at the same time, it doesn’t get much better than this.  We’ve been blessed with phenomenal weather for the past week and my time has been consumed with great company and amazing food; believe you me, there are absolutely no complaints from this little kitten!

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Since we had Monday off, I only need to be in the office one day this week – leave it to my coworkers to keep it interesting though: I got in this morning to a stripped down desk; rut roh!  Apparently, five coworkers were playing ‘Musical Cubes’ right before the three day weekend and somewhere, someone had the bright idea to move all of my stuff too.  Now that the dust has settled and I’m back on the computers grinding it out, I definitely need something to get my heart beating, feet moving and fingers tapping – so thank goodness I have a couple kickass mixes to keep me going today.

The first mix is from Mister Tommie Sunshine – who lately has caused quite a stir in the EDM world with his recent article on the growth of EDM in the music community, as well as the industry at large.  Originally, the article was published in the Huffington Post but since then it’s made its way around the interwebs with lightning fast speed.  Known for smashing basslines and eardrums, Tommie Sunshine pays homage to his Chicago House roots and lays down the funk; he even includes a few tracks from a local favorite in LA: the Hot Natured crew!

Tracklisting:

  1. Duke Dumont – The Giver
  2. Debora & Hannah Holland – Fight [Citizen Remix]
  3. Dan Beaumont & Terry Farley – Fire
  4. Rudimental feat. John Newman & Alex Clare – Not Giving In [Huxley Remix]
  5. Jamie Jones – Road To The Studio [Fly Mix]
  6. Northbrook – Dance [Tommie Sunshine Dub]
  7. Jamie Jones – No Rush
  8. Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans [Omid 16B Remix]
  9. Aphex Twin – Windowlicker [Tiger Stripes Remix]
  10. Sidney Charles – House Lesson
  11. Jesse Rose – Love The Feeling High feat. Ed Weathers
  12. Deichkind – Leider Geil [Solomun Dub]
  13. Deboa & Hannah Holland – Skentello [Donewrong Miami Mix]
  14. Ts7 – Heartlight (Polygon)
  15. Fake Blood – All In The Blink
  16. Duke Dumont – Need U (100%) feat. A*M*E & MNEK
  17. Chromatics – Ceremony feat. Ida No

This second mix is from Wolfgang Gartner and was released by good people of Dancing Astronaut earlier today; every once in a while, Wolfgang really surprises me.  Granted, I’ve actually never enjoyed a show of his live – but I love the production value in all of his tracks, the liberties he takes in his unreleased material and the constant evolution of him as an artist.  After listening to this lovely little 90’s throwback mix I’m a little more inclined than usual to give him another chance:

Up in the number three spot, is my main DJ crush of the past year: the man, the myth, the legend, the Lee Burridge! I’ve been to three separate All Day I Dream events and each was better than the last; I’m so excited to see what he does next – but in the meantime, check out this mix from the Robot Heart bus at Burning Man 2011.

Today’s 4pm, in the homestretch tunes, are brought to you by the letters W&W.  They blew me away when I saw them close for Cosmic Gate last month, and their weekly podcast – Mainstage- is what gets me through my morning runs: you just can’t help but move!

Quotable: MLK Jr

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr

So, so excited to have the day off – but let’s not forget the reasons why: an altruistic man who sacrificed himself for the greater good of society; a wise man who made the world a better place for people like me – and you. ♥