adrian is rad


I’m going to make this shirt

Filed under: — adrian @ 7:18 pm

boston tech shirt

A nod to history, of course.

(Thanks to Dave for making the graphic look right.)



Filed under: — adrian @ 11:22 am

I lived with James aka ob1 for a year at ye olde frat. I knew a great many things about him: he was a triple major; had a fiancee; captained the gymnastics team; played guitar in a rock band; walked up the unstable banisters of the center stairwell on his hands; tried to imitate tricks he saw Jackie Chan do; was built from pure muscle. Then he went off to circus school in Montreal. What I didn’t know was that he’s a good writer, too:

Ten years ago: Circus school teaches me how to drink, how to smoke, and how to love a woman only until morning. My classmates and I are the shaggy, unshaved future of the circus arts, sleeping in the hardwood corners of each other’s apartments. In the candlelit Montreal winters we vow to fight the good fight together. “The future of circus,” we tell each other through late-night veils of smoke and alcohol, “is whatever we make it.”

Six years Ago: Our growing collective of circus artists dedicated to theatrical expression through circus arts has been tapped to receive funding and international tour support from the French government but is forced to disband when two of the four members accept Cirque du Soleil contracts.

Four years ago: I am homeless in the streets of Tokyo until an expatriate Flamenco dancer from Madrid takes me in. She teaches me how to seduce a woman and how to dance with her close. “You smell like cinnamon,” she tells me, and then, like a gypsy curse, “you will be the boss of your own company someday.”

Two years ago: I am the boss of my own circus company with projects in fourteen countries and annual revenues over 300,000 dollars. The future of circus, it seems, is business.

Three months ago: I drink absinthe beside Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River with one of my best friends, a French acrobat. Seven years ago we were street performers on the Ramblas of Barcelona. “The future of circus has forever changed,” he tells me. We are the last generation of artists who knew circus pre-Cirque du Soleil – just as the generation before us was the last to know the great circus families of Europe in their full glory. The trunk has been severed from its roots.

Last time I saw him was in Taipei in 2007–that’s in the “two years ago” section of the time line. It was surreal even then. I’d gone to grad school and worked in Silicon Valley. He’d gone to circus school, busked in Europe, started his own company and lived out of a suitcase. We watched football and played foosball in a sports bar in the Xinyi district of Taipei, not far from Taipei 101. In many ways we picked up where we left off, but our experiences were so different in between.

It’s worth checking out the whole article.


august 9, 2006

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:20 am

august 9, 2006

I’m not sure why I took this photo, but I found it today while looking through some photos on my laptop. I sort of love it.

It’s in my room in Menlo Park, my laptop on my bed. I’d just gotten back from a ten day trip to DC, NYC and Pittsburgh, where I attended two weddings. I think I also bought this Steelers hat on that trip.

I’d been at Function for two years at that point. I had another year in Menlo Park. Another few weeks till I was 26. I was just starting to recover from MIT and grad school. I was blogging a lot.

It’s weird how everything changes and how so much stays the same.


story week, part 7/ final

Filed under: — adrian @ 6:17 am

I’m going to tell you a story every day for the week.

I lived in a crazy communal house in college. On any given day, you might find people programming a laser-light show in one of the rooms (via the internet), disassembling a ’70s motorcycle, debating whether one can be truly selfless, building custom made Nixie clocks—”Don’t touch the back. It has enough voltage to kill someone”—or making plaster molds and subsequently casting wax copies of their genitalia.

The house was in the Back Bay, in one of those coveted brownstones and had been the home to MIT kids since the ’50s, which grandfathered in some lovely things like an open center stairwell. This feature lead to drops. A drop must be loudly announced with the name of what you were dropping; one would yell “laundry drop!” and drop his bag of laundry down four floors. It was a lot more than carrying it down.

While laundry was the most common drop, pennies, large rubber balls, bouncers (our name for Rubbermade polycarbonate mugs that did indeed bounce when dropped), printers and any number of other things were dropped.

The center stairwell was also a brilliant communication method. “Andy! Someone’s at the door for you!” for instance. One day I left my room on the fourth floor with the purpose of throwing away cottage cheese that for some reason came with chunks of pineapple in it and tasted simply wretched. Jesse was at the bottom of the stairs yelling: “Ian! Phone for you! Iaaaan!! Phooooone for youuuu!” Ian lived on the fifth floor which, was built after the rest of the house and was cut off from the main stairwell. Ian was not going to hear Jesse.

I saw my chance. “Jesse, I’ll get Ian if you try to catch my cottage cheese drop.” I’d save him walking up four flights of stairs, so it seemed fair. There was a slight pause. “Okay.” “You realize if you don’t catch it right, it’ll explode all over you.” “Yeah.” I wondered if the person on the phone was hearing all of this.

With gusto previously unparalleled in a drop announcement, I yelled, “Cottage cheese drop!” and let it go. The container accelerated down four stories at a rate that could be approximated as 9.8m/s^2 if you ignored the effects of drag. In retrospect, Jesse never had a chance. Jerry Rice couldn’t have made this catch. There was an explosion and cottage cheese was everywhere.

I ran up to the fifth floor. I’m not sure Ian could even understand what I was saying through my laughter or, if he did, I’m sure he had no idea what was so funny about there being a phone call for him.

[Epilogue: Yes, I helped clean up the cottage cheese.]


story week, part 6

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:33 am

I’m going to tell you a story every day for the week.

JW is a solid dude. He’s the sort of guy who, if you asked him to take time off work to show around a Malawian guy you barely know around New York, would probably say yes. He’s also the sort of guy who could be the first person to inform me of my receding hairline and I wouldn’t take it as an insult or an effort to embarrass me; he would simply be informing me of a fact.

JW is also the sort of guy that might have traveled to Bermuda on the spur of the moment a few years back and returned with some Bermudan black rum. And though I was of legal age, I may have never have been even remotely tipsy.

And so it may have happened that we may have mixed that rum with ginger beer to make dark and stormies. And I may have gotten drunk for the first time as we sat in the hallway outside JW’s room and laughed and chatted, stumbling down the hall to the bathroom at necessary intervals and marveling at slushy feeling I was getting in my head.



story week, part 2

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:12 am

I’m going to tell you a story every day for the week.

I was in the men’s room on the second floor building 14N, the music floor of the arts building, and I was crying. You might imagine the day I learned how to cry again would have been filled with all-out bawling or hours of tears. Or that fourteen dry-eyed years would come to an end because some catastrophic event. You might be wrong.

I don’t remember when I stopped crying, but as a youngster I cried easily. I’m not sure why; I don’t think I was particularly insecure or sad. In fact, I remember being happy and care-free, but something minor would happen and my eyes would well up and I’m be sniffling and wiping my nose on my sleeve like kids are wont to do.

I don’t remember when I realized I’d forgotten how to cry. I thought I just didn’t have a reason to cry, perhaps. I do remember wanting to cry, curled up in a ball on my floor after my first girlfriend broke up with me and waiting for the tears to come. I waited for hours. They didn’t come.

But I do remember when I learned how to cry again. It was February. It was bitterly cold in Boston. I was halfway through my freshman year and to say things weren’t going my way is an understatement. Going from being a top student at a regular Joe high school to MIT could be the archetype of going from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond.

And so my sense of identity started to erode. The Adrian Bischoff of my mind was a good student, the best student; I was doing okay in my classes. He was a good Christian; I spent my days doubting and questioning. He was a good friend; I had no grasp of how to help my friends cope with a recent suicide of a person close to many of them.

And he was a good musician, which brings us to the second floor of 14N. There was a spot open in the orchestra for fourth trumpet on the Mahler and I wanted it. The Italian director had me audition in his office and, though it didn’t go horribly, he picked apart my intonation and my phrasing. When he was finished, I speed walked to the bathroom and as I walked through the door, I put my forehead against the cold window and my shoulders shuddered and my eyes wet my cheeks.


10 years on…

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:09 pm

August 19, 1999. People celebrate anniversaries of graduations, but that date changed my life far more than the graduation three months before. It was the day I left for college.

My mom had taken me to the airport and my friend Mike met me at the gate—remember when you could still go to the gate to see someone off? I’m still not sure why but in those days Mike loved going to the airport so I told him when my flight was thinking he might come. He did. (Thanks, Mike.) As the gate attendant took my boarding pass for that US Air Pittsburgh-Boston and I looked back at Mom and Mike, I didn’t cry; my eyes didn’t well up. I didn’t know how to cry in those days. It was another six months before I learned again.

But I was frightened. I knew I wouldn’t be a big fish in a small pond anymore. I had no idea what size body of water was coming or anything else.

It wasn’t the ten years I imagined it’d be, but it’s been good. I’ve lived all over the place. I’ve had great opportunities. I’ve met lots of great people and made great friends. I’ve worked on interesting projects. I gained and lost confidence so many times I can’t remember. I’ve gone through phases and hobbies and crushes and and and…


The require readings of 21L.002

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:43 am

I was thinking about this yesterday. The require readings for 21L.002: Foundations of Western Culture II were pretty tremendously varied and interesting.

When I took it, they were:

  • Bernardino, Fray The War of Conquest: How It Was Waged Here in Mexico
  • Blake, William Songs of Innocence and Experience
  • Card, Orson Scott Ender’s Game
  • Card, Orson Scott Speaker for the Dead
  • Machiavelli, Nicolo The Prince
  • Ondaatje, Michael Anil’s Ghost
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Voltaire, Francois-Marie Candide
  • Whitman, Walt Civil War Poetry and Prose
  • Williams, Helen Maria Letters Written in France

And selected parts of:

  • Cortes, Hernan Letters from Mexico
  • Levinson, Sanford Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies
  • Lowell, Robert “For the Union Dead”
  • Walcott, Derek “A Far Cry from Africa,” “Ruins of a Great House,” and “Season of Phantasmal Peace”

What a ridiculous range of stuff! I’m glad I took it.


beverage cap mishaps

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:11 pm

Two beverage cap mishaps:

  1. March 2002, Orangina bottle. Decided to follow the instructions to “shake well” despite forgetting that I’d removed the cap. Computer lab left sticky.
  2. July 2009, Coke Zero bottle. Tried to drink out of it despite the cap still being on. Knocked cap into teeth.


adrian tries to fit 12 days of travel and vacation into one post [explicit lyrics]

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:49 pm

I don’t know how to do this at all in one post. I spent the last 12 days in Boston, NYC and DC.

The best part was seeing people I don’t get to see very much. Everything else places after that.

Tourism and whatnot:

  • New York Transportation Museum is awesome. It’s in a 1930s subway station. On the tracks are 20 or so vintage subway cars from across the history of the New York subway. It’s pretty great.
  • Brooklyn Museum is pretty good. A decent collection but definitely a second tier museum
  • Coney Island is a lot of fun. The Cyclone’s first drop is heart-stopping and the sliding cars on the Wonder Wheel are pretty amazing.
  • Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers. We had good tickets (3rd row of the bleachers). It was a good game and Camden Yards is a pretty great ballpark.

Music and Film:

  • My friend played backup as part of My Brother the Welder‘s first show ever. It was a good time. Good tunes and impressively precise for a first show ever.
  • Lars and the Real Girl is an amazing movie. Touching and hilarious and awkward all at once. I really liked it.
  • American Teen is a documentary following 5 people (and a handful of their friends) over a year at a midwestern high school. I found this very compelling and I was totally engrossed in each person’s stories. It also serves as a lesson in parenting–many of the parents in the movie just say horrible things.
  • Shaun of the Dead. I managed to see this as part of an afternoon of TV. It was good, but I think I liked Hot Fuzz better.
  • At my friend’s mostly-traditional Indian wedding, there was a really good dhol drummer providing a beat for dancing and the procession. It makes me want to learn yet another Indian double barrel drum.
  • Other Music is a good small record store. I liked their selection and the people working there seemed pretty knowledgeable.

I ate so much food. Where to start:

  • Hallo Berlin is still really good for sausage and fine beer.
  • Patsy’s Pizza might have drugs in the slices they’re so good.
  • Horace and Dickie’s is a fish and chips/ chicken shack that serves ridiculous portions for next to nothing around the corner from the Red and the Black (see below). I liked my crab cake sandwich ($4.80!) and their sweet potato pie was delicious.
  • Three brunches in two days: because vacation is for overeating.

Pure ridiculousness:

  • At a sports bar in DC on Sunday night, two guys were watching the PGA Chamionship. They were more into the sport than anyone I’ve ever seen. Our dinner was oft-interrupted by cheers or jeers. One of my favorite moments was near the end of the event: “FUCK! FUCK YOU, SERGIO!”
  • On the 6 line in NYC, a 30-something black woman got on at one stop and proceeded to preach Jesus (in a pretty compelling and rousing style) for one stop. Then she sat down and read a book.
  • While my friend and his girlfriend were disagreeing about something, I asked them if they were fighting. They responded that if they were fighting they would be yelling into each other’s mouths. They then proceeded to demonstrate: they opened their mouths wide, locked them together and proceeded to scream. I fell off my chair laughing.

Okay. That was the trip. Or some of it, at least.


walter lewin

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:15 pm

This NY Times article reminded me how much I love Walter Lewin. I loved his classes and I remember a lot of the examples and demonstrations they talk about in the article.

My good friend gumbeaux did his PhD with Lewin so I’ve been getting odd and hilarious Lewin stories on the side for a few years as well.


focal TEP

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:34 am

FOCAL tep:

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