adrian is rad


announcing! april 2013 mixtape (vol 35)

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:11 am

Mt. Abraham

I haven’t posted a mixtape for a long time, but that means there’s just more concentrated awesomeness in this one. Please check this out. It’s a good.

Go ahead and check out the playlist (below) or the liner notes. Adrian’s April 2013 Mixtape (zip file)

Or stream it.

You can download the zip file with the following: 1. mp3s of the songs 2. liner notes (pdf) 3. playlist file (iTunes txt file) (for the iTunes file, simply add all the songs to your library and then go to File->Library->Import Playlist and then select the song list (the txt file). you should now have the playlist 2013April in your iTunes with all the songs in the correct order).

April 2013 mixtape:

  1. Breton Wood Ooogum Boogum
  2. Phosphorescent Song for Zula
  3. Night Beds Everything Trying
  4. Local Natives Heavy Feet
  5. Lord Huron Time to Run
  6. Sin Fang Young Boys
  7. Keegan DeWitt Two Hearts
  8. Chris Porterfield I Would Not Die in Springfield
  9. Hayden Blurry Nights
  10. Pickwick Lady Luck
  11. Llans Thelwell and His Celestials Grazing in the Grass
  12. The Ray Alexander Techniques I Don’t Bite
  13. Frightened Rabbit Late March, Death March
  14. The Mouthbreathers Birthdays
  15. Fionn Regan 67 Blackout
  16. The Local Strangers Uptown
  17. Hey Marseilles Heart Beats
  18. Benjamin Gibbard Bigger Than Love
  19. The Tree Ring Salton Sea

If you like the artists or songs, I suggest supporting them by buying their music, going to a show, buying merchandise from them. And tell other people about the artists!


two pirates fans chronicle the 2012 season

Filed under: — adrian @ 4:19 am

For the entirety of the 2012 season my friend Colin and I exchanged emails in one long thread about the Pirates. From the slow start to the incredible standing in August (16 games above 0.500 on August 6, their best standing since 1992) and their chance to break a now-20 year streak of losing season, the worst in major US sports in history, to their epic (and historic) collapse we followed the team. From the hope to despair, the stats to the intangibles, the interesting to the mundane, it’s all here.

From: Adrian Bischoff

To: Colin Ashe

Date: Fri,  Apr 6, 2012 at 9:37am


How was [the home opener, which Colin attended]? I listened to a chunk of it online at work. Seems like

Halliday had a ridiculous game.


Also, this made me happy. Go bucs.





From: Colin Ashe

To: Adrian Bischoff

Date: Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM


It was good.  It’s true that Halladay had a good game but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.  I was sitting next to Phillies fans and they were complaining about his velocity.  Apparently, he only hit 90mph twice or something.  Also, the Pirates put the bat on the ball a lot, they just happened to hit to where fielders could get it. Sabermetricians will tell you, that’s not within the pitcher’s control.  So, I think Halladay was operating on the lucky side of the hits per balls in play spectrum.  Or, at the very least, he’s pitching in front of a bunch of good defenders.  If you put him on another team with worse defense, the Pirates would have got a number of doubles.


Also, the only run the Phillies got was very nearly an out at the plate.  If the throw had been a little lower or a little earlier, the guy would have been out.


All in all, it was a fun game even though the Pirates lost.  They played well, so it was encouraging – especially since they were up against Halladay and Papelbon.


I’ll be interested to see the 2012 version of that study.  The beer prices at the game yesterday were all like $7+.  I think they’ve raised prices on a lot of things since last season.  They’re still probably on the cheap end of things, but they’re definitely more expensive than last year.





homemade pickles

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:12 pm

I’ve recently been making homemade kosher dill pickles. I’m in the middle of batch four, which is the best batch yet. They’re delicious and crunchy. They’re brine cucumbers (as opposed to vinegar cucumbers), so don’t go into them expecting the standard store-bought taste.

I started with this recipe and modified it very slightly as follows.

3 tablespoons pickling spices*
9 cloves garlic
12 pickling cucumbers
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1 bunch fresh dill

The biggest change from the recipe was that I only left the jar out of the fridge for about 6 hours instead of 4 days. (They took another day or two in the fridge until they were fully pickled*.) I actually left the first couple batches 4 and 1.5 days out and the last batch turned out much better, crunchy and delicious.

Another thing that seems to be helpful is to cut about 1/16″ off the bloom end of the cucumbers. Apparently the blooms have some detrimental enzymes in them.

* I started with the McCormick spices from the grocery store, but for the last batch I switched to pickling spices from Penzeys, which seem to be an improvement. I also read these spices are good.

** While they’re fermenting, I’d recommend opening the jar at least once a day to let out the gas that they’re producing or you’ll end up with slightly fizzy pickles.

Update: I think I would start with 6 cloves of garlic. 9 can be a bit strong.


using google sketchup

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:07 am

I’m moving in a little over a week and I thought I’d use this opportunity to try Google SketchUp to try to model the apartment. It’s an easy program to get the hang of but it proved difficult to change the model in precise ways after the model is started. For instance, if I wanted to change Bedroom 1 from 13’x13′ to 14’x15′ now, it would prove very difficult.

(For comparison, that would be a relatively easy change in either Solidworks or ProEngineer.)

Note: some dimensions are approximate or not to scale, due to the problem mentions above. Mainly the bathroom isn’t that narrow.


ipad case

Filed under: — adrian @ 7:03 pm

I got the new iPad a couple weeks ago and I decided to make my own case for it, based someone on this idea. I made it out of an old wool sports coat that I felted myself, then cut up and sewed into this pattern. The leather comes from a thrift store women’s belt. The total cost of materials was about $13.

So the case would be ready when the ipad arrived, I modeled and 3D printed a fake ipad to use in designing the case.

Here’s the felted sports coat.


arts this week (IFFB, Archers of Loaf, Horse Feathers)

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:42 am

This past week and a half has been pretty busy, including seeing three movies, three bands and two baseball games. I won’t talk much about the games—you can find out what happened in the two games (Sunday’s 17 inning Red Sox loss and last Monday’s win vs Oakland)—but here’s what happened with the movies and bands.


  • Sleepwalk with Me was the opening night film for the Independent Film Festival Boston, where I saw all of these films. It’s Mike Birbiglia’s semi-fictionalized take on his life, sleepwalking, relationships and becoming a comedian. I liked his comedy for a while. And, really, what I mean by his comedy is his story telling style. I wasn’t disappointed. This is equal parts funny and thoughtful and I’d recommend it. My one fear with the film is that producer and cowriter Ira Glass will get a lot of the credit where most of the meat of the story come straight from Birbiglia’s comedy.
  • Knuckleball!: This is a documentary about the baseball pitch. Since about 1992, when I became fascinated with Tim Wakefield, I’ve liked the knuckleball and knuckleball pitchers. This game an interesting look at the history, some of the pitchers and the mechanics of the actual pitch. Most of the film, though, looked at the two pitchers who were still throwing it in 2011: RA Dickey and Tim Wakefield. (Wakefield has since retired.) I enjoyed it a lot, but I think it may only be for those who are interested in baseball.
  • Under African Skies is a documentary about Paul Simon’s Graceland with a large part of the film focusing on Simon’s first trip back to South Africa since the album was released. (He played in Zimbabwe in 1987, but not in South Africa itself.) He reunited with a lot of the original musicians and through and around them playing the album’s music together again, some of the story about how the album was made and the aftermath were told. I really thing Graceland is one of the best pop albums ever, so I wasn’t a hard sell on this movie, but I thought it was a really well-made film.


  • Archers of Loaf @ the Middle East: I’ve liked this band since I was 18; unfortunately they broke up when I was 17. Luckily they reunited last year and added a Boston stop to their tour dates this year. The show itself was great. It wasn’t just that they played all the old songs I loved, but that there were all these fans seeing the band they couldn’t see for all those years. It made for a fun atmosphere.
  • Horse Feathers @ Brighton Music Hall: I’d seen Horse Feathers before, in a small show in San Francisco almost four years ago. This time it was a Saturday night crowd in Boston and a sold out show. The band played well and from that aspect it was a great show. The crowd was very chatty, though, which distracted from the overall experience. I’ll never get why one would pay 15 dollars to see a band and then talk he whole time.
  • Feist @ House of Blues Boston: After all of the above Margaret and I were not exactly excited for another night out. Add to that that I’m always sceptical of large venues like House of Blues. Feist came out and started the hard, scattershot rhythm of “The Bad in Each Other” and we were won over. And, though it’s very big, House of Blues has good sound and decent sightlines.


me in my astronaut sunglasses

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:55 am

(by Natalie Kardos)

I went to a wedding over Labor Day weekend with Natalie. I call these my astronaut sunglasses. They’re made by American OpticalRandolph Engineering makes the same model—and were apparently the choice of astronauts (and military pilots and Don Draper).


another tip: how to iron a shirt

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:39 am

In the general progression to slowly becoming an adult I’m ironing shirts more often. The above video, from shirt maker TM Lewin, helped me become both better and quicker at ironing. I’ve been using this method for a few months and it’s definitely better than my non-method before.

TW Lewin also has videos on how to press (iron) trousers and how to fold shirts.


house hold tip: don’t use latex paint for furniture

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:58 pm

latex paint on a table

Another household tip for you. Don’t use latex paint for furniture.

I was planning on painting my coffee table recently. I described the plan to the guys at my local Ace and they recommended latex paint. I sanded it down, primed it and painted it with two coats. After it had tried sufficiently, I found that it was still tacky.

As it turns out, latex paint is a horrible choice for furniture because it stays tacky for a long time, especially with things resting on it. A month after I’d painted my table, everything from paper to cloth to dust paint was still sticking to the paint.

In the end I covered it with a coat of shellac which got rid of the tackiness, but it may speed degradation in the long term.

A better solution would be oil-based paints or an enamel.


dyeing an ikea ektorp loveseat cover

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:36 pm

Update: I’d recommend reading this entire post and the comments before dying your covers. I list the directions I used but you may wish to make some changes. (I would if I did it again.)

ektorp loveseat before

ektorp loveseat after

When I bought my Ektorp loveseat, I found that the white cover ($11 at my local store) was reasonably priced whereas the cover I really wanted, gray ($239) was not. So I decided to see if I could dye it close the color I wanted. I found that similar things had been done before.

Here’s what I did. Time required: about 3.5 hours (though you don’t need to be there the whole time). You may also want to reference Rit’s washing machine dyeing instructions and their tips for success.


  • 1 Blekinge white Ektorp loveseat cover—I bought an extra because they were only $11 and I didn’t want to be without a cover if I messed up the dyeing
  • 2 bottles black liquid Rit Dye
  • 1 bottle navy blue liquid Rit Dye
  • 2 cups salt
  • 2 tablespoons laundry detergent + 4 normal loads-worth
  • A washing machine or four
  • 2 cups bleach


  1. Split covers into two lots: the main slip cover and the 4 cushion covers. These weigh the same amount (5.2lb by my measure). Do all steps in parallel for both sets. The instructions below assume you are using two washing machines at the same time. You can also do one set of covers and then the other.
  2. Wash love seat and cushion covers normally.


  1. With the washing machine empty, start the cycle with the hottest water (usually a ‘white cottons’ setting). Wait until it’s about half full.
  2. Add 1 bottle of black dye (8 oz.) to each machine. Add 1/4 cup* navy blue dye (1/4 bottle, 2oz.) to each machine. Make sure to shake well, as instructed on the bottles.
  3. Add 1 cup salt to each machine. This apparently helps the color stay.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon laundry detergent to each machine. This apparently helps the color evenly distribute.
  5. Wait till the machines are mostly full and then add the covers to the machines. (Again: the slipcover to one machine and the 4 cushion covers to the other.) Check that the covers are full submerged in the water. Push them down if necessary.
  6. Let the machine run its cycle. Check about half way through the agitation cycle that the covers are fully submerged.
  7. The machines are probably stained by this point. Remove the covers from the machines. Run a full cycle with the hottest water and 1 cup of bleach to each.
  8. Once the machines are clean, put the covers back in the machines (or if you have access to more machines, you can do this step in two new machines) and wash them normally. Use a cold water setting for this wash.
  9. Dry the covers in the dryer in a normal cycle. One idea is to take them out when they are a little damp so they dry in place on the sofa without wrinkles.
  10. Put the covers back on the sofa.

*If I had to do it over I would put less navy dye in to give it a primarily grey look, with a slight navy tint to it. I think 1/8 cup (half of what I put in) would be sufficient for this.

So there you go.



Filed under: — adrian @ 9:26 am

baldhawk illustration
dramatized for effect

On Saturday I went to the second strangest party I think I’ve ever been to. It involved fire dancers and women dressed as lingerie angels and demons. But these things I’ve seen before. One thing I’ve never seen before was the baldhawk.

There was a man with a balding head, not as bald in the above picture, but not far from it. His hair, overall, was very short.

But here’s what made it unusual. In an arc to one side of the bald spot (illustrated in black above) was a section of long hair, probably 3-4″ long. But it was only in this thin arc. I imagine sometimes he spiked it up in a baldhawk, but at the time it just flopped down to the side.

So strange.


Dats all dat stuff dats goahin round in dem EEmails were instead of callin Picksburgh Picksburgh, they’ll write it aht Picksburgh

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:13 am

Colin introduced me to this hilarious series Greg and Donny over the weekend. It’s about two guys in Johnstown who live down the street from each other but have taken to video conferencing. It’s really funny. Above is my favorite of them.

Also check out “Videoconferencin'”, “Gina Gets a Snuggie” and “Hummus”. Good good stuff.

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