October 26, 2013

Ballade, my third rock opera

This week, I finished writing a short rock opera that I started back in 2006, not long after I finished The Silent Spectrum. There were many years of interruption where I was either doing Android programming or working or just simply avoiding music. Creativity can fill you with such self-loathing that I thought I'd never finish it. Then, in a manic mood at the beginning of this year, I recommitted. The melodies have been in my head constantly since 2006, so it's nice to have them out.

Here's the main page with lyrics, downloads, and streaming from SoundCloud. The recording is converted from the score with viola used for the voice part. Apologies for the notable lack of dynamics. I hope to have the time to work up a live recording soon. Here's the story:

From the late 1990s and early 2000s, Robby Todino tried to use the Internet to connect with people in an attempt to deal with disruptive memories from his childhood. To accomplish this--in the period before online social networks--he obtained spam email lists and mailed out thousands of requests. His hope: that those who had the missing parts to his time machine would sympathize and respond. This is what I think happened to Robby and his time machine.

And the songs:

  1. The Ineffable
  2. ... was it a truth that I should have believed?
  3. ... a clear discrepancy between intent and practice ...
  4. ... I hope that there's a dark hole in the sky for me someday ...
  5. ... a mountain up close is no longer a mountain ...
  6. The Calculus

I had originally heard of Robby Todino from a 2003 Wired article titled "Turn Back the Spam of Time". To me, Todino was the perfect metaphor for how people want to use the Internet in particular, and technology in general, to fix their lives. Online connections become a palliative for past shame. Yet within the pathos of Todino's schizophrenic-ish crusade, there's a basic commonality with the actions of most everyone else in the world. And, with all sincerity, you have to envy the madcap passion of his requests. Here's one from a 2001 newsgroup posting:

If you are a time traveler or alien disguised as human and or have the technology to travel physically through time I need your help!

My life has been severely tampered with and cursed!! I have suffered tremendously and am now dying!

I need to be able to:

Travel back in time.

Rewind my life including my age.

Be able to remember what I know now so that I can prevent my life from being tampered with again after I go back.

I am in very great danger and need this immediately!

I am aware that there are many types of time travel and that humans do not do well through certain types.

I need as close to temporal reversion as possible, as safely as possible. To be able to rewind the hands of time in such a way that the universe of now will cease to exist. I know that there are some very powerful people out there with alien or government equipment capable of doing just that.

If you can help me I will pay for your teleport or trip down here, Along with hotel stay, food and all expenses. I will pay top dollar for the equipment. Proof must be provided.

To me, he'll always be one of those patron saints of the Internet. Sort of an iconic representative of something eternal and eternally true. The Wikipedia page Time travel urban legends has some further information. And--filed under there's-never-an-original-thought--several other musicians have used him as inspiration for their compositions.


posted by sstrader at 1:24 PM in Music , Personal | permalink

October 12, 2013

My history of phones

1990s/2000s? - Qualcomm?


Vaguely remember this. Lisa and I had matching phones (aww) and I know there was some sort of text Internet thing where you could browse headlines and short news articles. Oh, and a little pixel worm game. Weirdly ancient.

2004 - Audiovox Thera

[ On Wikipedia ]


This was a funny thing. It had speaker-phone-only, and you had to plug in an earpiece to listen to a call non-speaker. Browsing the internet of 2004 was what you would imagine. One night at a bar, I wowed friends with the ability to bring up porn. We had simple needs back then.

Feb 2006 - Treo 700w

[ On Wikipedia ] [ Blog ]


Got this around the time I was doing Windows CE development. Chicklet keys were the best for not-look-typing (i.e. texting and driving) as was the little toggle button.

Dec 2008 - BlackBerry Storm

[ On Wikipedia ] [ Blog ]


Back to no keyboard! This had a never-before and never-since feature of a physical click when you clicked on the screen. I and a minority of people in the world liked it; most hated it. This was also my first and only experience with screencrack and the basic unfixability of it all. 2008 doesn't seem that far in the past, yet my memory of using this phone feels like it was a decade ago. And now, of course, BlackBerry is circling the drain.

Mid 2010 - HTC Incredible

[ On Wikipedia ]


Compared to the first few, phones are looking much less exotic. My first Android phone and the beginning of doing Android development. My dislike of Apple's walled garden made this choice obvious.

Early 2012 - HTC Rezound

[ On Wikipedia ]


Continuing the Android thing and the HTC thing (with the HTC One likely my next). After almost two years it's getting that old-phone-lag. This also marked the point when Lisa joined the Android fun with the Razr Maxx.

[ updated 30 May 2017 ]

Joined Google's Project Fi in Mar 2016 and got a Nexus 5X for me and a Nexus 6P for Lisa.

posted by sstrader at 10:13 AM in Phones | permalink