Archive | October, 2009

Random Thoughts While on a Night Bus

31 Oct

So I’ve come home the last couple of nights on the night bus, a long-winding contraption that zips through communities throughout London when the Tube closes for the rest of the night. Here are some stuff I’ve encountered while on a bus at the wee hours of the morning:

So many gostosas on the bus. That means Brazilian women. Hot, young Brazilian women. Too bad I don’t speak much Portuguese.

I had a conversation about Indie music and how Kings of Leon has turned too pop. I made it clear that it was unusual for me to listen to “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire” at a club. I admit I like those songs, but it’s awkward trying to dance to it.

That dude’s boyfriend that I encountered last night sure looks a lot like the Moz himself–Morrissey. I told him that his passed out lover/companion looked like Morrissey, and he didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about. He thought I was insulting him, but I insisted it was a compliment to the highest degree.

People smoking on the bus. They sure are baller.

The Hate-C

29 Oct

If anyone here in London has an image of Orange County (where I’m from in case you didn’t know), they think of sandy beaches, hot girls sunbathing in their bikinis, and of course, “The O.C.” and “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” (please). But did you know Orange County also has a lot of racist wackos that make Nick Griffin look like Mother Teresa? In fact, it’s sort of a way of life for some people.

I’ve been reading through the OC Weekly, and it’s funny because there’s not a single day when they aren’t covering the haters. They tag the stories “The Hilarious Haters.” Yes, we have haters–lots of them, such as Orly Taitz, who believes that President Barack Obama shouldn’t be in office because he was born in Kenya. She’s the anointed leader of the “birther” movement as we call it in the States. Then you have the Neo-Nazi groups that are scattered countywide. Then the list goes on and on.

Orly Taitz, Obama-hater

So visitor beware, there are haters abound.

Happy Days Are Here Again?

29 Oct

I’m not sure if I should start singing this, but I’ll post it anyway:

The reason I bring up this song is because of some positive news from my homeland, the US and A. However the British newspapers want to put it, the truth is economic growth was up at an annual 3.5% in the third quarter, which, according to the Los Angeles Times, “unofficially marks the end of the recession”–at least in the United States. Sorry, Britain, you’re going to have to wait longer. Yet, the British media wants to say that America has emerged from the recession, as pointed out in articles from the Guardian (click here) and The Daily Telegraph (click here). However skeptical I am, it’sgood news for me and many Americans at home and abroad worried about the economy. I hope it will translate to more jobs.

If you really need to ask about what direction the economy’s going to, ask the UCLA student if she’s got all her classes, ask the Cal State Fullerton professor if he’s going to work this Friday, go to the unemployment office in Chicago, or stop by the real estate agent in Fort Lauderdale. Though they could tell you it’s not looking all to well, I have hope it will pick up in full force by next year.

So, I will most definitely drink to this tonight. I might add this will be more reason for Labour to collapse in the next election.

Amsterdam Dance Event was off the hook!

27 Oct

The other reason why I was in Amsterdam last weekend was because of the Amsterdam Dance Event, which brings music professionals to this wonderful Dutch city and gives out an awesome show. This year’s acts for the big event at the Heineken Music Hall were as follows: Timo Maas & Santos, Kaskade, Groove Armada, Pete Tong–and of course, Deadmau5!

I couldn’t believe I was going to listen to these great DJ’s perform in one roof. The fact that Deadmau5 was performing hooked me in; because Deadmau5 was on the roster, it was bound to be off the hook! I might add this was my first all-nighter event, as it ended at 6:00 a.m.

The people who showed up to this event were an interesting bunch. Most of the crowd was Dutch (obviously), but I encountered a few Americans (mostly giggling coeds from Connecticut), a Japanese guy, and a couple from the Southern Hemisphere. Some people decided to make it an early Halloween event, as noted by the Lego costumes and the Deadmau5 masks while observing people. I made some potential new friends, including a few Dutchmen who thought I was cool for some reason. They wanted me to move to the Netherlands and started spewing profanities about Vegas, calling it a town “for pussies.” Pretty random stuff.


This guy from Lelystad lifted me up. Literally.


Me with the Lelystad crew.


Me with a Deadmau5 mask.


Me being caressed by a Lego figurine.

The two best performers at this event were Groove Armada and Deadmau5 by far. I thought Groove Armada’s set was reminiscent of 80’s music and the singer (Saintsaviour) reminded me of Karen O. Deadmau5 on the other hand rocked the crowd with some old favorites, complete with “you have to be there to experience it” visuals and references to video games past.


Saint Saviour performing with Groove Armada.


Mr. Mau5 himself.

Although the music was by far nothing I’ve ever experienced before, I would have to say the Heineken Music Hall was a pig sty when the event started winding down. Not really a good way to end it all.

The origin of @strictmachines

27 Oct

Some people on the twittersphere wonder where my name “strictmachines” came from. After all, it isn’t as straightforward as say “edfcarrasco,” but a name’s a name. I just wanted to stand out so here’s a little story:

Many, many, many moons ago, when I was still living in California, my roommate gave me a sampling of his music collection, which ranged from Benny Benassi to Deadmau5. One of the songs in his collection was Benny Benassi’s remix of Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine.” After listening to it for a while, I was convinced this was a pretty cool song, so I changed my twitter name and added an s. Now you know.

Here’s the link to “Strict Machine,” and a link to my other favorite Goldfrapp song, “Ooh La La.” Enjoy!

Health care in the US is like going into an exclusive nightclub…

27 Oct

At least that’s what this video is trying to prove to you. I found it off LAist and if there’s a simple way to tell curious minds here in London or anywhere in Europe where getting health care is not so much a problem, this would be it. If you want to read LAist’s take on this video, here’s the link. Obviously, I think health care should be cost-effective and open to anybody. People shouldn’t be denied health care because they have a pre-existing condition or are bankrupt after years and years of costly treatments. Getting health care shouldn’t be like trying to get in a nightclub at all. Are you with me?

Grilled Cheese Truck: What Will Angelenos Think of Next?

26 Oct

If anyone here in London ever asks me where the best places to eat in Los Angeles, I would direct them to Kogi (a unique taco truck[s]) or In-N-Out (best burgers by none). I may have to recommend another one soon. Folks, tomorrow is the birth of the (drumroll please)…

Grilled Cheese Truck.

You heard me, a Grilled Cheese Truck. But, according to its website, it’s not just your average Kraft cheese slice with white bread. Picture this: Any choice of bread with cheeses like mozzarella and Monterey Jack stuffed with things like basil or fresh tomatoes. Pretty much, it’s like bringing the high-end cafe in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica to the many streets of Los Angeles.

Now, I wonder, if London ever had a high-profile food truck, what would it serve? I have a couple of ideas:

1) Tikka Masala with Chips.

2) A Doner Kebap burrito

3) A ton of savoury pies, any way you want it.

If you have any better ideas than the ones I’ve put, feel free to comment or send me an e-mail!

Wait ‘Til Next Year, Angels!

26 Oct


So no more Freeway Series. Dodgers got knocked out first. Now my beloved Angels.

In today’s Los Angeles Times, Bill Dwyre proves that even though the Angels has sympathy on their side, it doesn’t guarantee victory. Since pitcher Nick Adenhart’s tragic death early this season, the Angels’ season has been full of hope as a sentimental favorite; possibly another World Series title. That’s not happening this year.

Even though the Angels couldn’t muster the mighty Yankees, I feel certain that they’ll be back again for more next year. Hopefully, with Nick Adenhart smiling somewhere beyond us.

NFL at Wembley Stadium: Will It Go Any Further?

26 Oct


If I didn’t have to go to Amsterdam/Utrecht over the weekend, I would have enjoyed a nice, cold evening at Wembley Stadium (provided I have money for tickets). Why do you say that? Three letters. N-F-L. As an American living abroad, it’s interesting that they try to play a season game abroad. There’s even talk about having a franchise here in London. However, as much as I’d like to see another football game play at Wembley, my gut is telling me that this would fail, and for many reasons:

1) American football is not engrained in the culture: It’s safe to say that the British are no eager to flock to the pub to watch Tom Brady score a touchdown just year.

2) Time zone differences: London is five hours ahead of the East Coast, so if there’s a Sunday afternoon game in London, many people would have to wake up early to watch it. Don’t get me started about Sunday Night Football.

3) Previous failure: The NFL did have a European league for many years: NFL Europa. However, that folded in 2007 because of heavy losses.

Roger Goodell can always dream of seeing a world full of NFL franchises. Until he understands the culture, it’s not going to work out.

By the way,  the Patriots saved the day at Wembley with their win 35-7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sleep–“the best drug ever.”

26 Oct

A friend once told me sleep “is the best drug ever.” He’s right, and I feel quite refreshed. I try to sleep more, and the good thing is I don’t feel sleepy in class. We’ve all been through that. If only we had enough time to sleep.