I'm kinda tired of all of the "Engrish" influenced Japanese sites that have dominate the Internet Multiverse. For a change of pace, India may be taking over, and I hope it stays as fresh as these movies:
Vanilla Coke (click "View the Ice Creamy Thanda TVC" for the Best. Commercial. Ever.)Continue reading "Indian influence"
In 1998, the nascent online journal Forbes.com published an article exposing that a writer for the 84 year old print journal The New Republic completely fabricated his story on hackers. The author of the hacker article, Stephen Glass, was a respected writer at TNR and had articles published in several other major magazines including Rolling Stone and (a favorite of mine) Harper's. Twenty-seven of his 41 articles for TNR (touted as "the in-flight magazine of Air Force One") were later found to be either partially or completely fabricated. Shattered Glass attempts to show how someone with so much influence deceived the system for as long as he did.Continue reading "Review: Shattered Glass (4/5)"
This election has become about accusations of lack of consistency. That is: the Bush campaign is trying to push the label of flip-flopper on Kerry, so Kerry supporters have responded with counter-accusations. Let's have a looksee...Continue reading "Flip-flop flack"
I've been re-listening to Radiohead's CD Hail to the Thief. I want to do a piano arrangement of "Myxomatosis" and "Scatterbrain." They're tracks 12 and 13 on the recording, but they work well together paired in isolation.
"Myxomatosis" would be an interesting challenge with the polytonality of the dense keyboard chords introduced above the doubled bass line. "Scatterbrain" is musically less interesting, but it requires a transfer of the hi-hat rhythm into the music. Transferring the sometimes dominant role that the percussion plays in rock songs to the piano is always a good exercise.Continue reading "Two Radiohead songs"
The dream logic that makes up The Saddest Music in the World won't be for everyone (we had two people walk out 2/3s into the film), but its surprising and surprisingly unique imagery and keen satirical rhapsodizing on grief should temper any criticisms of quality. It has both a unique vision and the depth to support that vision.Continue reading "Review: The Saddest Music in the World (4/5)"
Continue reading "Notes: Chapter 7 from Harmony, Walter Piston"
The mental steps involved in the process of harmonization make it one of the most valuable exercises in the study of harmony. ... The attempt to solve the same problems as the composer will afford an insight into the nature and details of these problems and into the manner and variation of their solution.
True harmonization means a consideration of the alternatives in available chords, the reasoned selection of one of these alternatives, and the tasteful arrangement of the texture of the added parts with due regard for consistency of style.
Laurence emailed a link to another good Gore speech. In it, Gore discusses the examples of how America has been ruled recently by fear instead of trust. He goes on to point out that fear stifles progress and that the fear foisted on our society will outlive the current administration, as will the detrimental effects of its fear-inspired policies.
It contains a relevant historical reference to Nixon's paranoia-fueled fear and contrasts it with an Eisenhower quote:
Any who act as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America.
Everybody's linking it. So am I.
And all people have against him are spurious arguments about the Internet.
Gore is one of the most intelligent people I've ever read interviewed. During a profile done several years ago in The New Yorker, he casually segued into a discussion on the effects of animist religious beliefs on societal advancement and how it avoids the search for deeper explanations. Now, I don't like being an intellectualist, bug geez, what an interesting concept to discuss.
Compare with Bush.
One criticism: Gore should have included references in the written version of his speach. Maybe he has elsewhere, or maybe someone will annotate it.
MovableType doesn't produce valid HTML.
I suspected it as I was slowly modifying my templates, but I finally ran it through the validator and was attacked by tiny, unpaired, angle-bracketed fists of fury. Sure, they're probably cascaded from one or two errors early on, but how can you tell by looking at a page with 100s of errors?
But with even Google failing validation, is it hopeless? Should we just accept the chaos?
Just watched the "Black & White & Living Color" episode of Bravo's series TV Revolution. It is at times a surfacy, self-involved documentary ("TV has the power to change society"), but it covers enough material and enough of a time span to be entertaining. We watched the "Out of the Closet" episode last night, and tonight's evoked a similar feeling of historical shame. Maybe more.
Ossie Davis was one of the main commentators, and he discussed a clip of his from an episode of Bonanza where he was an ex-slave. Davis was emphasizing how monumental it was, and I rolled my eyes at the self-praise until they showed the clip.Continue reading "TV Revolution"
This blog entry hits it home in defeating the argument that larger cars are safer. It draws from an earlier article from The New Yorker but includes side-by-side photos of a crash-tested BMW Mini and Ford F150.
Now there's no question what would win in a head-on collesion [sic] between the two but then again the majority of accidents involve only a single car.
I'm such a sucker for inexpensive classical CDs. Just got the new Daedalus catalog:
46283 Haydn String Quartets Op. 20 & 76 $5.98 46288 Haydn String Quartets Op. 1 & 54 $5.98 46294 Haydn String Quartets Op. 64, 74 & 77 $5.98 47200 Bartˇk Piano Transcriptions—Italian Keyboard Music of the 17th & 18th Centuries $6.98 47252 Arthur Foote Piano Quintet Op. 38; String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3 $6.98
Haydn quartets are models of classical chamber music and always worth picking up. The Bartok sounded interesting ... I'm completely unfamiliar with the works. They may be similar to Stravinsky's arrangement of Pergolesi's music for his ballet Pulcinella (the opening was our wedding party exit music).
I have only a violin sontata by Arthur Foote, so it will be interesting to hear more of his chamber works.
In this book, [Agamben] considers the status of art in the modern era ... [H]e argues that the birth of modern aesthetics is the result of a series of schisms that are manifestations of the deeper, self-negating yet self-perpetuating movement of irony.
The contained collection of essays provided an inventive, scholarly analysis of the state of art and aesthetics in the present day.Continue reading "Review: The Man Without Content, Giorgio Agamben (3/5)"
Groovy. Tony Banks, the keyboard player from Genesis, has a new CD of orchestral music called Seven: Suite for Orchestra.
Amazon gives us five, minute-long clips to help make a decision.Continue reading "New CD by Tony Banks"
The Who's Quadrophenia (1973) was their sixth studio album and their second rock opera. Much has been written about the story (see Quadrophenia.net and thewho.net), but little of it covers the musical themes and structure contained in the songs, or how those themes are shared and modified across the songs. I intend this analysis to be a description of the music and a musical map of Quadrophenia as a whole.
Unless necessary, I will avoid aspects of Quadrophenia involving themes that are textual (repeated words or lingo such as "street," "scooter," or "face"), dramatic (isolation, youthful rebellion), or conceptual (symbolic use of water or physical transformations). Although the aesthetics of these are most effective when viewed in combination, it is beyond the scope of the current discussion.
This is a work in progress, and may be updated periodically as I research and write subsequent articles.Continue reading "Analysis of Quadrophenia: Part I, Primary Themes"
One of the eminently respectable HTML design gurus declared links that open new browser windows as UI-unfriendly. This is obviously something I use consciously and consistently, and now I have to rethink that decision.
My main argument was based on personal habit. When articles reference an external source, I always open that external source in a new window. I don't like having to use the back and next buttons to refer to both texts.
Nielsen's argument is that opening new windows is a hostile way to try to keep users on your site. He also points out that the user can choose to open a new window if they want to.
The second argument, although Nielsen glosses over it very quickly, is complelling. A _blank target eliminates a choice they would otherwise have from the context menu.
I am undecided.
This entry explains how to trap HTML element events in MFC using the Microsoft Web Control. This will allow you to respond to events such as button clicks and selection changes as they are fired by any element within a Web page.
Setting this up is mostly straightforward. The only tricks are making sure you get the Internet Development SDK from Microsoft's Platform SDK and that you use the correct element type in your HTML.
This was all learned recently, so there are some as yet un-explained caveats.Continue reading "Trapping element events from a Web Browser control"
The Rundown begins as a smart action movie. We get a colorful and colofully filmed night club brawl, where The Rock takes care of bidness within a collection of jarring camera cuts and Monday Night Football-influenced on-screen graphics. Much of the editing creativity is carried on later in the movie, but it's always strategic and never overdone. After the opening scene, we're presented with The Rock as the flawed hero hoping to get out of a debt owed from a Bad Mistake in his past. The details of the mistake are never outlined, but with just one more job he can go free and pursue his dream of opening a restaurant.Continue reading "Review: The Rundown (3/5)"
Pop music often has an irritating flaw w/r/t focus.
In some instances, the music focuses too much on one theme without developing it in any way. This is the general character of jam rock. The primary, and only, theme is stated over and over with no variation. The composers never give a second thought to investigating the theme for further creative expression. More importantly, the uninventive repetition loses the listeners' interest.
The opposite problem with focus is when a good theme is presented but then neither developed nor repeated. The idea is thrown into the song and then abandoned.
Are these issues bad writing, or is the very style of pop music flawed? A style limits expression by limiting what is generally acceptable. This is more likely just bad writing.
Chapter 11 is titled "Harmonic Rhythm."
Music at the Earl again. This time, it was planned.
Telegram was up first with some slightly Jeff Buckley-esque songs. The singer mixed it up with some short, noise-heavy solos that really worked with the music.
Elevado was the integral part of the plan (friends of friends), but damned if I can remember exactly what went on. No offense to them, it's just that I think we were socializing too much. And the upright bass player for Telegram almost spilled a drink on me. Golly!
The headliner was Hope for a Golden Summer, and although they looked to be some fun we first got pelted with an extended acoustic set from an unnamed refugee from Eddie's Attic. She. Went. On. For. Ever. Around half the crowd was driven away, including us, so we abandoned friends and music to go do the Atkins Park thing.
This is going to be short.
I need to come up with a new phrase for movies that, although not good, are distracting enough to be inoffensive. Movies that don't shoot very high and attain their goal. Movies that should get a thumbs-sideways. Movies that are value agnostic.
Whenever I come up with that phrase, I will use it for Van Helsing.
The only complaint: beware of the Lifetime Television For Women ending. It comes out of nowhere and is incredibly bad. All of the story has resolved itself, but the cinematography of the last couple of minutes is ... well, just weird and sappy.
The June 2004 C/C++ Users Journal has an article by Herb Sutter on the recent C++ Standards committee meeting. He talks about some of the new extensions to the C++ Standard Library that will be included in the Library Extensions Technical Report 1 (Library TR1) due out later in the year. Vendors should be releasing implementations soon after.Continue reading "C++0x"
When Jerry Seinfeld was on Jay Leno a week ago, he performed a very funny standup routine. As Kramer said, he "had some good observations." Check out his American Express video. He makes Superman/Puddy out to be a little bit too much of a rambling goofball at times, but it's still entertaining. Like a lost episode of Seinfeld.Continue reading "Comedian coincidence"
At this hypothetical company, we have a shared code base linked across several branches in source control to accommodate customizations for each client. Customizations include not only configuration file changes but also source code changes that cause the code to be branched from the "base" code. The base code is simply that subset (perhaps 80%) which is linked across all client branches and has no breaks. It's interesting for the fact that it exists only in concept.
This branching is an obvious source of distress. Linked code causes long-distance (cross-client) bugs; branched code isolates features and fixes. What to do?Continue reading "Branch causes"
Overheard misconception about keyboard players:
Continue reading "Misconceptions"
Musicians who can play two keyboards at once are extremely skilled.
There's this hypothetical company, see? And they give developers' phone numbers out to clients so that they can be contacted at any time of the day. Forget the egregious mistake (see Fact 4) made by allowing developers to be interrupted at any time for any length of time while they're focused on writing code. Just know that this is considered standard.
Well, a funny thing happened this morning at said hypothetical company...Continue reading "Corporate chaos"
Someone told me about a dream they had recently.
In the dream, they were dead. However, they had a certain number of days after death where they could walk around and spend time with those they cared about. During that time, they visited with friends and expressed all of the last-time-you'll-see-this-person confessions that could never otherwise be expressed. A relative bought thoughtful gifts, but there was no time to enjoy them. The few days passed.
And strangely, only certain people could see them.
Today is the 108th anniversary of the Supreme Court's 7-1 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson supporting the constitutionality of racial segregation. The argument, that it violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, was defeated with the assertion that equal, but separate, resources would still treat citizens equally. The economics of dual facilities hastened the breakdown of that argument.
And yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education. There, the Supreme Court decided that "separate but equal" in schools was detrimental to black students and therefore unconstitutional.
It took an embarrasingly long time for the logic behind Plessy to break down.
A couple of interesting historical points taken from Tavis Smiley's discussions:
The current state of WMDs, Colin Powell, and Nick Berg.Continue reading "War update"
Almodovar and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo are from Spain. Almodovar's recent film was Hable con ella (2002) (Talk To Her) and before that was Todo sobre mi madre (1999) (All About My Mother). He's been a director for several decades. His films deal with relationships under very unusual circumstances. He handles his subjects with considerable humor and candor.
I've only seen Fresnadillo's movie Intacto (2001) (Intact). It deals with a group of people who possess and trade "luck" by competing in various games that emphasize randomness over skill. His style could be compared to the magic realism of Latin American artists. He has had a much shorter career than Almodovar.
Alejandro Gonz´┐Żlez I´┐Ż´┐Żrritu and Alfonso Cuar´┐Żn are from Mexico City. I´┐Ż´┐Żrritu directed Amores Perros (2000) (Life's a Bitch) and most recently 21 Grams (2003). His movies tell stories of several people whose lives intersect in dramatic and sometimes ironic ways.
Cuar´┐Żn directed Y tu mam´┐Ż tambi´┐Żn (2001) (And Your Mother Too) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Y tu was a very raw depiction of two teen boys "coming of age" during a road trip with an older woman.
I always admired Ernest Bloch for a statement he made on his composition process:
I always write in ink.
I don't particularly like his music, but the skill required to compose in that manner is both impressive and terrifying to me. I'll always consider myself a hack or hobbyist as long as I am unable to compose completely away from an instrument.Continue reading "Permanence"
I've been re-listening to Robert Schumann's symphonies recently on Rhapsody.
I have the MP3s ripped from a ShoutCast feed, but for convenience I've begun using Rhapsody as my primary music source. I can use it at work (IT doesn't keep track of bandwidth comsumption) and at home and it keeps track of "my library."
As a further digression, I recently discovered Schumann's violin sonatas on Rhapsody. Very nice pieces.Continue reading "Schumann Symphonies"
So, we've all read news articles at sites that let you vote on how good the article was, right? Well the one I read today had the following statistics:
OK? Now, how can we calculate the possible combinations of votes that would satisfy these values? I quickly realized that this was some math that was beyond a Fine Arts degree programmer such as myself (and also beyond a couple of CS degree programmers in the office).
We came up with a few clumsy stabs at describing it, but were woefully underequipped in solving it or even explaining what form the solution might take.
We can state the equation like this:
[add more later]Continue reading "Voting irregularities"
- Chapter 10, "The Melancholy Angel," from The Man Without Content (1994) by Giorgio Agamben
(review to come)
Minimalism in music arose in response to the sometimes astringent academic serialism of the 1950s and 1960s. (This is an oversimplification, even if admitted to by some of its practitioners, but let's go with it for now--shorthand definitions can often help us absorb initially foreign concepts.) If we look more closely at minimalism, we can see that the rebellion against "difficult" music has only shifted complexity from one dimension (melody and harmony) to another (metric).Continue reading "Glass. Works."
OK, no one's gonna care, but I'm throwing this out anyway.
In tonight's (TiVoed) episode of Futurama, "My Problem With Popplers," we find out that Lela's first name is Turonga.
No so much interesting in itself, but I think it's a weird reference (for no apparent reason) to Olivier Messien's orchestral work Turangalţla-symphonie which the ASO just performed. It's like one of the major works of the 20th century, so listen to it if you get the chance. We were in NYC that weekend (rats).
I know, I know ... you'll find any number of coincidences if you're looking hard enough, but isn't that kinda weird?Continue reading "Futurama reference"
Two "anonymous" calls on my cell phone that Google helped identify:
name withheld - (770) 537-6149 - 315 Field St, Bremen, GA 30110
name withheld - (770) 537-9076 - 117 Greystone Dr, Bremen, GA 30110
How easy would it be (rather, how practical) to hook that up to caller ID? Visual caller ID.
This recent quote got me thinking again about the pervasive Real-bashing that goes on in Internet-land:
As someone who refuses to use either Real or WM, I cannot listen to anything on the Fresh Air site.
It may only be a fringe-geek obsession, but often as goes the geeks so go those who listen to the geeks.Continue reading "Media client snobs"
musicplasma just got posted on BoingBoing a few days ago. It's one of those fascinating-but-what-to-do-with-it-after-five-minutes technologies.Continue reading "Musical thesaurus"
Friday nite we ended up at The Earl in East Atlanta to see whatever-bands-were-playing. That turned out to be:
Only 5-bucks from each of us (that's only $1.66 per person per band) and an evening of fun ensued.
I (finally) finished Quicksilver last week. Here's a review, and some additional links for reference:Continue reading "Review: Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson (4/5)"