April 30, 2005

Upcoming Kabao show

Friend and electronic musician Robert Bao will be performing at the Dojo Yakko Gallery on Friday May 13th along with Dames A'Flame (burlesque, no less), Elevado, Soulhound, and DJ Eric Yerlow. Should be a cool show in a cool space. I'm hoping to meet the chick on the 3-speed to trade baseball cards.

dojo front

dojo back

Continue reading "Upcoming Kabao show"
posted by sstrader at 10:50 AM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

Ha-ha-ha-HA-ha

I read the recent stories of the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker [Wikipedia] with some interest but not really that much. It's nice, and rare, that a species gets to be un-extinct even if only for a short while. Then I listened on NPR to an ornithologist breathlessly describe how excited he was when he first heard the news. His heart pounds at the thought of the rediscovery. That humanized it for me and made me more interested. How nice that it's so meaningful to some people.

And yet no commentator has referenced Woody Woodpecker [Wikipedia] this whole time.

Continue reading "Ha-ha-ha-HA-ha"
posted by sstrader at 10:35 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

April 29, 2005

600th entry

I have been struggling over the content here. I don't want to just be a link monkey ("hey, look at this cool site") because my primary intentions are to get my thoughts down in some organized manner and to document any interesting events in my life. If I come back in a year, will this just contain links to some Web oddity or will it be a Poloroid of Me Today (ignoring the ontological point that what I link to, to some degree, is Me Today)? The public aspect of this forum eliminates the opportunities for detailed cathartic outbursts, but other benefits outweigh that loss.

So, I've been trying to put more what-I've-been-doing into the mix. And finally, I realized that the links often aren't just links. They're linked because they sparked some thought (or, more likely, some argument) that I have the opportunity to wrestle with.

And, on that note, we shall be headed to Nam later this evening for dinner. I'll have mine without fish sauce, please.

Continue reading "600th entry"
posted by sstrader at 6:41 PM in Misc | permalink | comments (0)

"Hey baby, wanna create a quadrilabial implosive?"

CHOMSKY: THE MOTION PICTURE [via language hat]. I really don't know what to say about this. It's baffling. I think it broke my brain with all of its references. I may have caught most of the grammar and lit references--along with a quote from Glass's opera Einstein on the Beach--but the rest I'll just have to accept as nonsense.

(Or maybe it needs a Cliff Notes.)

Continue reading ""Hey baby, wanna create a quadrilabial implosive?""
posted by sstrader at 6:14 PM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

Gore on the judiciary

Al Gore's recent speech transcribed in Salon.

Gore's situation is an example of the anti-intellectualism of this country. The other Gore (Vidal) pointed out, helplessly, that something ... has made Americans contemptuous of intelligence whenever they recognize it. I've similarly blamed it on this country, suspecting that we don't want to imagine that some things aren't created equal. Some people are smarter than us, thankfully, and some people are more well-read. We can achieve an equal level of study, but others will simply have a more keen skill at making the connections. We should be grateful for that--and yet at the same time still be cautious enough to question those conclusions.

Instead, we get lost in a power struggle with a testy "you think you're better than me?!?"

Al Gore's writing always reads very clearly to me. He presents his ideas with the research that formed them--allowing the reader to question the conclusions--yet doesn't create a dry restatement of facts. And he often presents the doubtful areas of his suppositions within the text itself. His clarity is both of presentation and of ideas (many of which I am biased towards).

Sarah Vowell, in one of the essays from The Partly Cloudy Patriot [Amazon], compared the 2000 election to Revenge of the Nerds, but where, unfortunately, the jocks win. I've heard conservatives defend Bush with statements such as "at least he has smart people surrounding him" (as if a puppet would be a favorable option for president) and "he seems like a regular guy." I'm a regular guy too, but believe me, you would want someone smarter in office.

(I was recently pointed to a book that seems to fulfill the anti-intellectualist bend called A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose [Amazon]. The author supports his position based on difficulties Oprah Winfrey had while reading a Toni Morrison book.)

Continue reading "Gore on the judiciary"
posted by sstrader at 1:10 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (1)

"I was ACTING!"

The bro'-in-law-in-law (my brother's wife's sister's husband) has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award [Wikipedia]! He's in a musical version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels [IMDB] playing the role of the French inspector. The bro' and sis'-in-law got to go to the premiere and attended the Swanky Premiere Party. Wing ding! Here's the email from the sis'-in-law-in-law with the lowdown:

Greg got a Drama Desk nomination ... these are kind of like the Tonys in that they're for NY theatre, but are broader in that they cover more than Broadway (off- , off-off, etc.)

DRS got 10 nominations ...

2005 Drama Desk Nominations received by DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS:

  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - Outstanding Musical
  • Norbert Leo Butz - Outstanding Actor in a Musical
  • Sherie Rene Scott - Outstanding Actress in a Musical
  • Gregory Jbara - Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
  • Joanna Gleason - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
  • Jerry Mitchell - Outstanding Choreography
  • David Yazbek - Outstanding Music
  • David Yazbek - Outstanding Lyrics
  • Jeffrey Lane - Outstanding Book of a Musical
  • Harold Wheeler - Outstanding Orchestrations

The awards ceremony will be May 22, LaGuardia Concert Hall, Lincoln Center.

We'll be in NYC for our yearly long weekend at the beginning of June, but alas will probably not make it to Greg's show. We will however be attending the American premiere of Philip Glass's Naqoyqatsi at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater.

Continue reading ""I was ACTING!""
posted by sstrader at 11:30 AM in Misc | permalink | comments (4)

April 27, 2005

Rock criticism as fandom

A fan began his review of a recent album by saying that to truely [sic] appreciate this album, you must understand everything about it. I've got a problem with this.

Continue reading "Rock criticism as fandom"
posted by sstrader at 10:57 AM in Music | permalink | comments (2)

April 26, 2005

"Be reasonable!!!"

Jon Stewart, when speaking with a recent guest whose name I don't remember, called out to all moderates to take to the streets and shout "Be reasonable!!!" They were lamenting that money moves to the extremes and not to the middle, despite the majority of the middle.

Brian Lehrer, on WNYC today, devoted the last half of his show to callers who can cross party lines with praise. Democrats must offer some aspect of the current administration that they approve of, and Republicans must do the opposite. It was mildly successful but a great concept.

I wish I could follow their lead.

/. has an interesting discussion on the Bush administration removing delegates from a telephone commission because those delegates gave money to the Kerry campaign. White House spokesman Trent Duffy said: We wanted people who would represent the Administration positively, and--call us nutty--it seemed like those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November would have some difficulty doing that. I guess I should be happy that the administration didn't run down a hotel hallway yelling at the delegates because of their dissent.

Jackasses.

posted by sstrader at 12:46 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Representing time in C, C++, SQL, MFC, and Java

Options available in representing date and time values:

Continue reading "Representing time in C, C++, SQL, MFC, and Java"
posted by sstrader at 10:41 AM in Programming | permalink | comments (0)

Can politicians ever reverse their decisions (or are they infallible)?

I stand by my choice. I'm the president.

- What Bush, aka The Confident Bush, will probably say about Bolton

We weighed our initial decision very carefully. However, new more detailed information has been revealed, during this valuable democratic process, that makes it clear that we must reconsider and find a more appropriate representative of the American people.

- What Bush, aka The Honest Bush, could say about Bolton

posted by sstrader at 8:27 AM in Politics | permalink | comments (1)

April 24, 2005

Wherefore cover?

The issue of transcription and arrangement has been in my head recently (working on the Yes and Who songs, listening to Petra Hayden's remake of Who songs, and listening to Yes's different versions of their own songs), so Confidential Report's recent entry on cover songs was a timely coincidence. He points to a CBC article that attempts to come to terms with the concept.

Continue reading "Wherefore cover?"
posted by sstrader at 6:03 PM in Music | permalink | comments (3)

April 23, 2005

Book on Islam

Just watched Reza Aslan on Jon Stewart discussing his book No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam [Amazon]. He was funny and well spoken--both quick and conversant. This is why Jon Stewart is great (ignoring the fact that this fascinating subject was discussed in a mere six minutes). Stewart missed many potential questions to get in jokey-and-only-somewhat-relevant comments, but at least he's bringing these people to wider public attention.

Aslan's main point was that the Islamic extremists are a dying, outdated minority, saying that terrorism is a tactic of the weak. My only quip is that you can too often replace "weak" with "oppressed." He seemed to connote weakness with decay or inferiority, whereas it could just as easily be a result of oppression or minority. Again, this was a six-minute segement with frequent jokes.

And Aslan was smooth with the jokes. Stewart comments: "Your book, The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam ... we're most interested in these future plans." Aslan replies with his hands together a la C. Montgomery Burns "ah yes, our plans for the future..." Hehe. Gotta love a scholar with a sense of humor.

Continue reading "Book on Islam"
posted by sstrader at 9:19 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

Review: Rebirth of a Nation

rebirth

I felt like I was at the East Side Lounge: listening to DJ music and watching art film collage. Even though "stylish" is not a just criticism of art, I'm struggling to find intent or meaning in DJ Spooky's [Wikipedia] Rebirth of a Nation beyond its style. And with a format as strenuous to the viewer as it was, there should be more of an intellectual or emotional payoff.

Continue reading "Review: Rebirth of a Nation"
posted by sstrader at 6:15 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

April 22, 2005

RealClimate gets props

Speaking of "Talk of the Nation," it's Friday which means it's time for Science Friday! And it's Earth Day to boot, so we have environmental scientists laying out the straight dope on climate change. Check out RealClimate for active discussions on the subject of climate change--especially their debunking of Crichton's lies. Lisa recently heard a science writer [who?] responding to the question: "what is your response to Crichton's popularity?" His reply: "Well, Crichton writes fictions; I'm a scientist."

Continue reading "RealClimate gets props"
posted by sstrader at 2:31 PM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (1)

Real gets props

Classy apology by BoingBoing writer Mark Frauenfelder for his mis-configuration of Real and the subsequent, unjustified rants. I followed the recommendation and am now able to listen to KQED more reliably (I love "Talk of the Nation"). We'll see if the fix lasts. Also, it hopefully will fix the intermittent failed recordings from Real content on RadioWave. Hopefully.

Continue reading "Real gets props"
posted by sstrader at 2:06 PM in Science & Technology | permalink | comments (0)

April 21, 2005

Οξύρυγχος πάλιν

Hannibal over at Ars Technica seems to be in the know, and seems to know that the news of the recent papyrus breakthroughs is greatly exaggerated.

As an aside: I tried to update the Wikipedia entry with this new information and found out that my IP has been blocked!! Apparently, it somehow got on the SORBS list. Even though it could be a mistake, how embarassing. I scanned everything a few weeks ago (at the beginning of every month), but I guess it's time to scan the network machines again...

Continue reading "Οξύρυγχος πάλιν"
posted by sstrader at 11:31 PM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

Video of Sonic Youth on KCRW

Found a 40-minute stream of Sonic Youth in the KCRW studios playing to promote Sonic Nurse. I think it's from July 2004. Nice rough set.

Continue reading "Video of Sonic Youth on KCRW"
posted by sstrader at 8:50 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

DJ Spooky's Rebirth of a Nation

We're thinking about going to Woodruff Arts Center to see DJ Spooky's Rebirth of a Nation on Friday. I read about it in Film Comment last September and am surprised to see it here. What a cosmopolitan city we live in!

Continue reading "DJ Spooky's Rebirth of a Nation"
posted by sstrader at 1:27 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (2)

I'm a sticky ball for snobbery

It began earlier this week with WNYC discussing first The Rock Snob's Dictionary [Amazon] with its authors (very funny) on The Brian Lehrer Show. Then on The Leonard Lopate Show, a discussion of quirks in the English language resulted in many Language Snobs calling in to decry this or that usage they're aghast at (usually related to something dangling or mixed). Later, a co-worker passed around one of those how-observant-are-you trivia quizzes (Which way does a no smoking sign's slash run? How many sides does a stop sign have?). A situation free of snobbery you think? Well, the Logic Snobs of the office took issue with the connotative/denotative ambiguity of some of the questions ("a stop sign only has two sides, it does however have eight edges"), succumbing to the urge to try to be smarter than the object that's challenging you. Then today, Alex Ross gave his readers a good laugh by pointing out the sometimes contradictory Music Snobbery of Pope Benedict XVI: Holy cow — Theodor W. Adorno has been elected Pope! [Exclamation mine.]

Continue reading "I'm a sticky ball for snobbery"
posted by sstrader at 12:50 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

April 20, 2005

April 19, 2005

"Throwing away a perfectly good white boy..."

Elodie Lauten wreaks havok with her wonderfully depressing question to fringe composers: Are we better off dead? Responded quickly by Beth Anderson who replies (kindly) I’m not willing to stop composing just because the world isn’t paying me for it. And she isn’t either, even though she has not yet discovered the logic to support her activities. And finally by Corey Dargel who points out (one of the few truisms that constantly needs to be pointed out) We keep composing because we can’t not compose.

An image my painting teacher always used, and one that I will always remember, he stole from the opening lines of Blake's "The Tiger." We can't stop, because there's something in us that's burning and keeping us illuminated. The religious connotations of Blake's lines parallel Corey's observations that [art's] primary value lies in the spiritual realm. I've often said this--perhaps too often, and perhaps too drunk--to friends. I guess it might be annoying if it wasn't coming from such an atheist.

That being said, I don't think Elodie gets enough credit for her observations. It's wonderful to really enjoy striving to realize what's in you, but the need for others' acceptance shouldn't be ignored.

posted by sstrader at 11:57 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

Currently Listening To

Still listening to The Who Sell Out (still loving it), and just beginning an arrangement of "Our Love Was" which I'm completely smitten by. But--gotta move on. I have been waiting for an Amazon shipment of several CDs of Shostakovitch preludes and fugues, but they are still weeks away. Gah.

I've been really sweating over the "Starship Trooper" arrangement, so let's get some more Yes in my head to seal the deal. Close to the Edge and Relayer are both the Rhino re-release with a few b-sides and demos (studio run-throughs). I've always drooled over doing a piano/voice arrangement of "The Gates of Delirium." Hearing the studio run-through provides some insight into the process of the song, but it's still far off. I was blown away to read in the liner notes that Jon Anderson was the primary composer of Gates. Patrick Moraz (the keyboardist) comments:

Jon actually led me through the compositions and through the core of the arrangement and the construction of most of the themes of 'The Gates of Delirium,' which were composed by the time I came in. Not all of it was complete, but everything was in his head. I think he had the plan for the whole symphony. It was like a symphony. In the world of rock 'n' roll, although very influenced by The Beatles and the English music scene at the time, I always acquaint Yes with what Stravinsky would have dona as a rock musician. Yes music has that kind of symphonic approach and arrangement. The sophistication of the orchestration is absolutely staggering.

This from someone who worked on the album, but all the same. I never considered Anderson the "big picture" kind of composer. The Close to the Edge album has a similarly illustrative run-through of "And You & I" and "Siberian Khatru."

Decided also to re-investivate the backgroundy-but-enjoyable Kid A from Radiohead. Brad Meldau played the opening track at the recent Variety Playhouse concert, so it's been in my head. Its simple harmony was used as an example of modal mixture in rock in a recent MTO article (which I tried to make sense of back in January).

Finally, Schnittke's Concerto for Two Pianos and Concerto for Cello. I can't pretend to understand his manic shifting of harmonies, but that's what makes it so compelling. And I-shit-you-not I actually find myself humming melodies (as best I can) from the cello concerto. He reminds me of the harmonic "wow" I felt when I first heard (and still feel when I listen to) Messiaen.

Continue reading "Currently Listening To"
posted by sstrader at 10:51 PM in Current Interests , Music | tagged the who, yes | permalink | comments (1)

April 18, 2005

More connections

Colson Whitehead provided the introduction to David Rees's Get Your War On [Amazon] (of mnftiu fame).

OK, so I just need a little extra time to catch up with the rest of you.

Continue reading "More connections"
posted by sstrader at 10:33 PM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

Connections

Jonathan Safran Foer on KQED's Forum recommending Colson Whitehead via Whitehead's entry in The Future Dictionary of America [Amazon]. Foer is the author of the often recommended book Everything Is Illuminated [Amazon] and more recently, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close [Amazon]. A few weeks back, I blogged a Whitehead short story that I had originally read from Harper's and eventually found online. Several months ago, Harper's had some humorous excerpts from The Future Dictionary of America in its Readings section.

I have some new authors to pick up.

Continue reading "Connections"
posted by sstrader at 1:56 PM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

Jerks

From KnightRidder:

The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.

Not-only-that-but-also:

Last June, the administration was forced to issue a revised version of the report for 2003 that showed a higher number of significant terrorist attacks and more than twice the number of fatalities than had been presented in the original report two months earlier.

The snafu was embarrassing for the White House, which had used the original version to bolster President Bush's election-campaign claim that the war in Iraq had advanced the fight against terrorism.

Jerks.

This could be used unedited as a Tom Tomorrow comic strip. I guess I should just appreciate the absurdity of it all.

posted by sstrader at 8:18 AM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

Οξύρυγχος

Big news in the world of classical literature. A collection of 400,000 document fragments from the trash-heaps of an ancient town in central Egypt can finally be translated. All of the source languages are known (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Coptic, Syriac, Aramaic, Arabic, Nubian, and early Persian), but the papyri were unreadable from decay. Oxford University scientists have now used infra-red imaging to successfully reveal the text. Expect new material from Sophocles, Lucian, Euripides, Parthenios, Hesiod, and Archilochos. Holy crap.

Check out more info in Wikipedia's entry for the city of Oxyrhynchus (and marvel that it's already been updated with the news article).

And definitely spend a few hours or months combing through the wonderful resource of classical texts over at The Perseus Project. It was an invaluable complement to the Pharr book [Amazon] when I was learning (yet have now forgotten) Homeric Greek.

Continue reading "Οξύρυγχος"
posted by sstrader at 7:42 AM in Language & Literature | permalink

April 17, 2005

April 16, 2005

April 15, 2005

Oh drat

Got to Emory on time, but they had already closed the Fiery Furnaces show to non-students. Curse my age!

Went to Everybody's for dinner instead.

Continue reading "Oh drat"
posted by sstrader at 9:13 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

Schnittke's grave stone

Schnittke's grave stone. Nice. And just as I was about to dive back into my Schnittke [Wikipedia] CDs.

Continue reading "Schnittke's grave stone"
posted by sstrader at 12:16 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

Hipster doofus

Reading Lori's wonderful rant against hipster lingo got me pondering the hipster backlash she links to at Stereogum. The Stereogum rants were mostly people recognizing the current buzz and then mocking that buzz--as long as you mention The Arcade Fire or the iPod or PBR, you're on your way to a quality mock. Waitaminute, am I mocking mocking?!? Anyway, how does what's (fringe) popular become something popular to mock? I guess when you're part of groups with specific interests, it can seem that you're immersed in flotsam--flotsam that's being taken too seriously.

But then, sometime people do take it too seriously. Like that scene from Garden State where Natalie Portman says such-and-such band will "totally change your life." You can imagine all those hipsters nodding along with Zack Braff as he confirms the life-changingness of a ... pop song.

posted by sstrader at 8:49 AM in Music | permalink | comments (2)

April 14, 2005

Freak

Just listened to an interview with Steven D. Levitt on WNYC about his new book Freakonomics [Amazon]. He has some interesting ideas on par with Gladwell's The Tipping Point [Amazon]. A couple of his quirky observations: sumo wrestlers regularly throw matches, legalized abortion caused a drop in crime.

One of the (unpopular) comments on Amazon suggests that the abortion hypothesis has been debunked by Steve Sailor. Kottke has this interview with Levitt along with copius links to background info and an email argument between Levitt and Sailor.

posted by sstrader at 2:06 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Heart

I guess prog is bigger than disco. Gramophone has Yes' "Heart of the Sunrise" available for download, along with praise for its narrative structure. Yes' love of Stravinsky is well-known, but here's some good trivia about "Heart of the Sunrise." The unusual technique used in the opening instrumental section, where a theme in 4/4 fades out as a contrasting theme in 6/8 fades in, is paralleled in Stravinsky's "The Firebird." (I need to listen to it again to pinpoint the exact location.)

Continue reading "Heart"
posted by sstrader at 1:04 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

April 13, 2005

Outside

Going to see the movie In the Realms of the Unreal tonight. The film's about Henry Darger [Wikipedia], one of the more fascinating characters from the outsider art [Wikipedia] movement. People are generally familiar with the movement through the work of Georgia's own Howard Finster [Wikipedia] (via the rock bands who put his stuff on their album covers). Outsider art brings up interesting questions about elitism (these are untrained artists creating work, but we're seeing that work only because it is accepted as art by the establishment) and intent (much of this art was never intended to be displayed as art or even viewed by others). Similar to performance or conceptual art, outsider art is interesting in part from examining the process of the artists themselves.

Darger's process, his life, definitely sounds interesting. Whereas Finster's artistic eccentricities are religion-based which are, let's face it, a dime a dozen, Darger spent most of his life creating a unique, disturbing, and epic fantasy story in 15 volumes. My only concern about the movie, going in, is that they have taken some of his illustrations and minimally animated them. That seems completely unnecessary.

Another weird point about the movie: Dakota Fanning is the narrator. Besides the fact that she seems to be appearing everywhere lately, it's an odd decision to have a young female narrator for this movie. Darger's pictures contained thousands of images of nude young girls. It's maybe not a bad decision. Just weird.

posted by sstrader at 11:45 AM in Art | permalink | comments (0)

Fiery Furnaces dls

Fluxblog's got two Fiery Furnaces tracks for download. Both are live tracks. Pared down and quirky. Gettin' ready for the Emory show this Fri.

Continue reading "Fiery Furnaces dls"
posted by sstrader at 12:23 AM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

April 12, 2005

Slam

A comment made on WNYC by John Ashbery [Wikipedia], the Poet Laureate of New York, regarding poetry "slams" [Wikipedia]: They suffer from a lack of modulation. I've never been to a slam, but I can understand the argument that the expressive potential of a medium might narrow with a narrower set of parameters. The interviewer then suggested that even a flawed poetry experience should be praised for the interest it creates in the more accepted forms.

Continue reading "Slam"
posted by sstrader at 11:10 PM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

April 11, 2005

Tapas and jazz

meldau

After a late Sunday afternoon jog to leech out the toxins from the previous three days (ouch), Lisa and I headed out for dinner and music in L5P. First off, some tapas at Miro's Garden. This is interesting: there were several problems during dinner and yet I'd still recommend this restaurant. It was nothing too big (dirty menus and only two bottles of white wine in stock), but our waitress--Cat--was quick to do what she could and friendly throughout. Good food and great atmosphere.

Continue reading "Tapas and jazz"
posted by sstrader at 11:16 AM in Music | permalink | comments (2)

April 10, 2005

Transcription: "Starship Trooper" by Yes

I finished the transcription last Tuesday and have made a few minor changes over the past few day as I've been practicing it. Here are the MIDI and MUS files. I need to buy the upgrade to Allegro so that I can save the sheet music to PDF.

My scribbled notes on the manuscript say I began on the 24th, so it took about two weeks to complete. Much of it came very naturally and practically wrote itself. The most difficult section, and most of the effort, was the instrumental crescendo in part III. Three chords repeated and strummed over a three-minute period doesn't offer much to a pianist trying to get the same effect across. I'm happy with the results. I'm still not sure about the ending and how I've solved the issue of the fade cadence, but I think with the right pedalling it will work out.

I'm shooting to get a recording done in the next week or so.

[ updated 28 Feb 2006 ]

There's unfortunately a shortage of transcriptions online, so I'd like to emphasize to anyone looking at mine that I took many liberties to arrange it for piano. I've added too many variations for anyone interested in studying the source or playing along with the album. The most prominent alterations are:

  • The turn at the end of the first measure is a scale step higher than recorded. I wanted to use it against a IV-V harmonization.
  • The chords in the "Disillusion" section are slightly different than recorded. I changed the voicing to fit the hands better while still trying to mimic guitar finger picking on the piano.
  • The harmonized vocalizations at the end of "Disillusion" (at the point the first theme returns) are reduced to octaves in the right hand.
  • Several of the ornaments in the final guitar solo are removed, and the deuling guitars in the stereo recording are changed to swapping between the hands and registers.
  • Throughout, strumming and drum figures are replaced with arpeggios and runs that are not in the original.

Overall, the most prominent bass lines have been retained as has, what I value most in the song, its structure. If you want the keyboard solo from Yessongs, Ian below has kindly offered up his version. For more information, you might want to search Steve Howe's site for references to "Starship Trooper." I haven't been able to find any other information on Wakeman's solo.

Continue reading "Transcription: "Starship Trooper" by Yes"
posted by sstrader at 12:38 PM in Music | tagged yes | permalink | comments (11)

Money for blog

One of my rules has been: no ads on blogs. How in the hell are highway billboards "ruining our landscape," yet the horror vacui [Wikipedia] manifested with Ads By Google is acceptable because it's some kind of new, grass roots, edgy economic model? Maybe we've just given up on escaping sponsorship. Yet Wikipedia is both a rich potential source for keyword ads and also wonderfully free of them. Even after Yahoo stepped up in an incredibly non-evil manner and donated money and equipment to the Wikimedia foundation, Wikipedia is to stay ad-free and unaltered.

Continue reading "Money for blog"
posted by sstrader at 10:44 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

April 8, 2005

Papal

Heard from a letter to NPR (and similar to what I've been thinking lately): "I'm tired of hearing about the pope for every opening segment of the news. Yes, he's still dead, but there must be some important news going on in the world."

Heard endlessly before from critics of the media (and similar to what I've argued): "The media will pick up a story and then abandon it quickly for the next ephemeral event. They never follow up on old stories. We're a nation with a short attention span, and I blame the media for it."

It's wonderful to be put in your place. And even more wonderful when you do it to yourself and don't have the embarrassment of someone else recognizing it first.

Continue reading "Papal"
posted by sstrader at 8:47 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Levy and Tocqueville

Bernard Henri Levy has an essay in The Atlantic Monthly called "In the Footsteps of Tocqueville" (subscription only). I'm finishing up listening to an interview with him on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC [RadioWave]. Many interesting points; I'll have to hit the newsstand after work.

One point he made: Why do Americans fly so many American flags? It's not because of nationalist arrogance, but because of the fragility of our belief in nationalism. We're insecure.

posted by sstrader at 11:55 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (1)

Behold: The Napkin!

Geeks havin' fun. I was going to transcribe the contents, but that'd just make it all searchable and ... well, we don't want to fill the Internets with useless stuff, do we?

Continue reading "Behold: The Napkin!"
posted by sstrader at 11:18 AM in Misc | permalink | comments (1)

"You had that 'save me' look"

That's the line I get whenever I'm just on the edge and need to get home. It's when I'm done in by my own hubris. A point where I've mixed test tube A with test tube B and didn't consider the consequences.

The line comes from a weekend afternoon with friends at The Park Tavern at Piedmont Park. As it approached evening, I had had too much to drink and was getting that too-much-to-drink confusion where I can't understand other people and don't want to have to deal with them. So--and I don't know how I remember this--I go to the wife and wisper "protect me." She asks "from what" and all I can manage is "from things."

We shouldn't have gone for more drinks at Da Vinci's after Hand in Hand last night. It's going to be a long Friday.

posted by sstrader at 8:40 AM in Misc | permalink | comments (3)

April 7, 2005

Meldau and Scofield at Variety Playhouse this Sunday

We'll be enjoying a groovy, jazzy evening at Variety Playhouse listening to the pianist Brad Meldau and the guitarist John Scofield perform. (If we can get tickets tomorrow at the box office because we refuse to pay Ticketmaster's jackass order processing charge along with their jackass "convenience" charge. The unmitigated nerve--someone needs to take them down.)

I heard Meldau years ago on WREK and scribbled his name, spelled incorrectly, in my Newton for later reference. I guess I could blame the Newton on the spelling mishap. I wasn't as hooked as I should have been when I finally got his CD--I was listening to bop mostly, and his style is much smoother--but his stuff eventually grew on me. During my sabattical, I finally heard his epic version of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" on WERS's jazz show.

I first heard John Scofield after a Dave Matthews concert. I was dragged to the concert against my will by a certain person, but was amazed to see that Herbie Hancock [Wikipedia] and the Headhunters were opening. At some point after the show, they gave out cassette tapes with a few tracks from The Headhunters and a few from John Scofield. Before the wife got me my six-CD changer for the Beetle all I had was the tape player, so that got a lot of play.

posted by sstrader at 12:23 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

"hello, this is <old friend from college>"

That was the subject of a recent email that almost got speed deleted by my Delete Finger, which is the same as my right index finger but sounds more ominous. I need to start paying attention to the subject not the sometimes cryptic sender address.

It's difficult to keep in touch with people, but it's nice when an old friend resufaces. Their presence brings back the memories that were there during their absence, but that seemed much less vital without a real person to reaffirm that those events did in fact happen. And it can be just silly stuff. The working together and the parties together and the general hangin' out probably weren't as fun as the memories seem now, but they were still pretty fun.

I think maybe we spend a lot of time trying to communicate to people in the present what we were in the past. Of course, we're only trying to communicate the times in the past when we were actually cool and not just acting like jackasses.

posted by sstrader at 10:16 AM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

April 6, 2005

April 5, 2005

Another weird dream

In a small town, sort of like Asheville, some people have disappeared. There's a cover-up and the police assume that they've been killed. A private investigator is hired. He questions a wealthy mother and her daughter but they don't provide any information and mock him because he also writes romance books on the side. He asks a friend of the family who is standing there, and looks like Robert Gillaume, to search through their garbage cans. Everyone watches him search until the local sheriff arrives and stops the illegal investigation.

There's a short scene on a wooded plateau in the mountains overhanging some rapids. They think the bodies are there somewhere.

At one point in the town, we encounter a thug who takes a long pair of tweezers and shoves them up his right nostril. After a couple of seconds he pulls out what looks like a 6 inch long, flesh colored centipede. It's thick and writhing around. The thug says that because of these parasites he will live to be 2000 years old and that soon everyone will learn of this technique. Everyone thinks he's a crackpot or survivalist.

I enter the dream at night on a street in the suburbs. I'm walking up to a friend's house and there's a party in the back. Their large dog runs up to greet me and I try to quiet him down so that I can sneak up. I finally get to the back. It's dark with just tiki torches for light, and there are around six people.

posted by sstrader at 7:36 AM in Misc | permalink | comments (0)

April 4, 2005

"I hear prog is making a comeback..."

Maybe even bigger than disco.

"In prog we trust" from Guardian Unlimited.

Strangely, I don't listen to new prog. I've listened to a few Live365 and Shoutcast stations with newish prog, but there was no real spark. Some of the songs had too much repetitive jamming over a complex chord progression or rhythm or both. They were reminiscent of the technical playing of speed metal bands but with "jazzier" progressions (9ths, added tones, diminished chords). The obsession with technicality suggests emphasis on skill over art--but I guess these are the criticisms of all prog. What qualities make such experimentation successful rather than self-indulgent?

posted by sstrader at 10:58 PM in Music | permalink | comments (2)

Wal-Mart is evil

A female friend emailed Wal-Mart expressing concern about the recent rash of pharmacists refusing to fill birth control prescriptions. Here is Wal-Mart's reply (emphasis mine):

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for contacting us at Walmart.com regarding women?s prescriptions for birth control. Your comments and concerns are very important to us as we strive to meet your needs.

Wal-Mart does not carry emergency contraceptives. Our pharmacists may decline to fill a prescription based on personal convictions. However, they must find another pharmacist, either at Wal-Mart or another pharmacy, who can assist you by filling your prescription.

Again, we thank you for your comments regarding this issue.

Sincerely,

Customer Service at Walmart.com

Continue reading "Wal-Mart is evil"
posted by sstrader at 12:34 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (4)

Last night's weird dream

The events were alternately a movie on TV and action I was experiencing, although I don't think I was a specific character. A group of people were beamed to a planet in another galaxy in order to explore it. The beaming technology was interesting, because I didn't understand how they could trust, on first use, that the people would end up in the correct location. I thought that they would require a receiver at the destination--but then how to get the reciever there in the first place? Anyway, the people ended up on an island in the middle of an ocean. A raft approached from the distance, and they saw that each of the aliens on it had several long strands of monofibers coming out of their bodies. The monofibers would cut through anything in their path, so everyone was going to be sliced to pieces. The end.

I think that the TV show started off as a "The Day After" type, post nuclear battle mini-series. I don't remember how it turned into space exploration. Everyone watching the show except me was familiar with it. Near the end of the dream, I was obsessed by the beaming technology and the monofibers and kept repeating those scenes.

posted by sstrader at 12:19 PM in Misc | permalink | comments (0)

April 3, 2005

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

I bought a nice hardback of this years and years and years ago and have now dug it out of the stacks. I hope it's not too simplified an examination of communication systems. Windows developers grew up on Petzold's programming books going back to Windows 3.x. It's interesting to see those "academics" cross over into more readable fare (like Hackers and Painters author and Lisp guru Paul Graham [Wikipedia]).

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posted by sstrader at 2:10 PM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

Review: BASEketball (0/5)

TiVoed a bunch of movies recently. This was a groaning waste of time, but I dutifully sat through the whole thing. The story is: professional sports has degrated into such a commodified mess so these average Joes create a new, unsullied sport that becomes an instant hit. Tedius scenes of their team winning, then losing, then winning ... oh, whatever, I have no idea what the drama's supposed to be. The comic scenes were alternately boring and gross. Usually boring. And Trey Parker and Matt Stone had little comic range. Please avoid.

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posted by sstrader at 1:57 PM in Cinema | permalink | comments (0)

Demand

A friend was fretting about the loss of her life after she had gotten cable with one of those on demand services. As if hours of channel surfing with crap is not enough, now she has to deal with the temptation of possible non-crap available at any time.

This is a thought I've been considering for a few weeks: maybe complete access would actually diminish our wasted time consuming excessive media. Part of all of that channel surfing involves the hope that something good is just about to start hurry change the channel don't miss it! It's seldom there, but we keep looking. If all content were always available, we could just go get the good stuff. Or at least we could get the stuff we're really interested in.

Of course, that ignores the fun of random discoveries. But really, how valuable or common are those discoveries to waste that much time? This argument is one of those "hey, maybe the exact opposite will happen," but I don't think it's too strained.

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posted by sstrader at 1:34 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

April 2, 2005

That old house

The wife spent the last two days working on renovating the living room of a couple we know, and now I have to suffer through her suffering ("I'm soooo sore!"). Our friends, Liz & Matt, applied to have the room redone by the kind people of HGTV's Designer Finals. Top design students face their final test—a real-life makeover with a minimal budget, a handful of helpers and advice from a mentor. The minimal budget was $3000, gratis, and the handful of design helpers cancelled at the last minute forcing Matt to call in the 'rents who, inconceivably, drove all night from FL to assist. Chaos ensues.

Continue reading "That old house"
posted by sstrader at 2:20 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (2)

April 1, 2005

Review: Wet Hot American Summer (2/5)

This was an incredibly uneven comedy with some hilarious scenes, but it completely falls apart at the end. And in some places in the middle. And the beginning. But for a weekend afternoon flick, you could do worse. The skits that don't degrade into bad SNL territory (if one could find good SNL territory) have a surprising mania about them.

The gag is that this is a teen summer camp movie making fun of teen summer camp movies. In one scene, a counselor gives a rousing speech to the plucky softball team suggesting that they suffer through their inabilities throughout the game and come up with a rule-breaking, wacky play in the last few seconds. After one of the kids suggests that the plan sounds a little hackneyed, everyone agrees and they decide to forfeit the game. End scene. This approach works with great effect at times and goes horribly stupid at others. Spoofing an already lighthearted genre leave little room for error.

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posted by sstrader at 11:39 AM in Cinema | permalink | comments (2)