Our town does something roughly once a month called Covidchella. Tons of musicians jamming in front of houses on every block.

Walking out the front door, you just hear a cacophony of music drifting through the air. It is awesome. ❤️

Book Review: The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

Edit: I wrote this on the morning of March 25th. Later that day, we find out news that Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins, died while on tour with the band in Colombia.

An excerpt from the book on the fast friendship between Taylor and Dave:

“Taylor and I had become practically inseparable since he had joined the band the year before, becoming devious partners in crime from day one. During his stint as Alanis Morissette’s drummer, long before he became a Foo Fighter, we would bump into each other backstage at festivals all over the world, and our chemistry was so obvious that even Alanis herself once asked him, “What are you going to do when Dave asks you to be his drummer?” Part Beavis and Butthead, part Dumb and Dumber, we were a hyperactive blur of Parliament Lights and air drumming wherever we went…”


One way to know I’m getting old is that I’m reading (and enjoying!) all sorts of biographies. Some of the more recent ones I’ve read are about Bad Religion and Kurt Cobain. There’s something especially fascinating about sitting down and learning about the people who shaped the soundtrack to my adolescent life.

Anyway, The Storyteller by Dave Grohl has been on my to-read list for a bit now. He’s always seemed like such a character and though I don’t consider them one of my favorites, I’ve definitely enjoyed listening to the Foo Fighters over the years.

His story seems so improbable. (Interestingly, I said the same thing after reading Heavier than Heaven: “Also, after reading this, I think it’s incredible and seemingly improbable that Nirvana actually happened.”)

How did this guy go from a scrawny, goofy high school dropout who was just bashing on the drums for Scream (and then onto Nirvana) to fronting a mega rock band, collaborating with some of the biggest names in music, appearing / performing at countless awards shows, the White House and appearing on Saturday Night Live more than any other musician?

Luck, being in the right place at the right time, and raw tenacity. Plus, being open to whatever the universe throws at him and always up for going along for the ride.

He reflects on his life as he’s gotten older:

“Sometimes I forget that I’ve aged. My head and my heart seem to play this cruel trick on me, deceiving me with the false illusion of youth by greeting the world every day through the idealistic, mischievous eyes of a rebellious child finding happiness and appreciation in the most basic, simple things.”

Aye, I hear that!

He writes about how much music affected and shaped his life and it’s so true. How he spent countless hours practicing guitar and drums by playing along to his favorite bands. I can relate — I remember looping songs over and over again so I could try to nail certain guitar riffs and trying to imagine the slightest bit of what it would be like to be a rock star.

The book is a quick read and I found myself wanting more details about every aspect of his life. But I found myself laughing out loud at a number of parts, and nodding my head in agreement in others (the passages he writes on being a dad and how much his daughters mean to him got me good).

Anyway, if you appreciate Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters, or rock music in general, you’ll probably dig this.

How to play Civilization on your iPad

Do you have an iPad? Because you can totally play Civ on your iPad.


JUST WAIT! I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about Civ V (and even Civ VI).

Photo Proof here:

How does this magic work?

Yes, you guys will think I’m crazy but I regularly play Civ on my iPad. (What?!). I’m also a masochist. But you can totally make it work.

There are a few options:

  • Through Nvidia’s Geforce Experience app:
  • Have a Windows PC with an Nvidia graphics card (What if you don’t have one? We’ll tackle that farther down.)
  • Make sure GeForce Experience is installed. This basically allows streaming through the same protocol that Nvidia Shield uses.
  • Install Moonlight on your iOS device (iPhone?!?!) or even an Android device. Open source app that can connect / parse Nvidia Shield streams.
  • Play Civ! (Via dragging your finger around to simulate a mouse, sometimes tedious, but it works!)

Pros: You get to play Civ on your iPad!

Cons: Kind of a pain to setup.

Through Remotr:

  • Have a Windows PC (hmm, there seems to be a pattern here).
  • Install Remotr on your PC. It should auto-detect Civ V. It doesn’t auto-detect Civ VI for me though.
  • Install Remotr on your iPad.
  • Open Remotr and play Civ!

Pros: You get to play Civ on your iPad! And it’s much easier to setup on your Windows PC, plus you aren’t tied to an Nvidia only GFX card.

Cons: The iPad app is free (good!). But whenever you disconnect from your game (or maybe something crashes), it will show you one of those cheesy popup ads that won’t let you click away for 10 seconds or so. You can optionally pay for a monthly pro subscription through an in-app purchase. Also, Remotr tries to squeeze your (probably 16:9) resolution display into the iPad’s 4:3 display. So things will look janky. Just change the resolution of Civ to 1024 x 768 and things will look good on your touch screen device. (Obviously, change it back when you get back to your real machine though).

Through Screens (I also have a Mac) or a similar VNC client.

  • Install VNC server of your choice on your Mac or Windows machine.
  • Install a VNC client of your choice on your iPad or other mobile device.
  • Open and play Civ!

Pros: You get to play Civ on your iPad!

Cons: While Civ isn’t what we think of as a graphically intense game, prepare for a bunch of jerkiness as you move the map around, delays while various modals pop up, screen tearing. But… you get to play Civ.

Comet PanSTARRS!


I was finally able to catch Comet PanSTARRS tonight from our roof in North Oakland. So hard to see, but awesome.

Caught it with my DSLR and a 200mm lens.

See you again in 110,000 years, PanSTARR!

No spoilers (of the geologic variety)

Hah, a year ago I was on my way to Florida for the STS-134 NASA Tweetup!

Anyway, I just had an update from Timehop emailed to me regarding an interesting Facebook post of mine from exactly a year ago (I don’t think I had publicly shared this otherwise):

British couple behind me is looking out the window and ask a nearby flight attendant if that’s the Grand Canyon below us and to our left.

She says yes, so I look out the window and see that it’s actually Valley of the Gods in Southern Utah (neeeeerd). I turn around to say something, right as the husband says, “Oh, that is so great! I’ve always wanted to see the Grand Canyon!”

Alright then. Just smile and turn around, Dave. 🙂