The URI! Zone - 09/2002
Tech wiped out LSU today in their first 'Sunday' game of the season.
Happy September 1. Only two weeks until my next birthday.
I've been hard at work on another non-music project this weekend, hence the laughably terse updates yesterday and today. Look for the completed project on Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest.
In other news, I may be playing on a faculty percussion lecture-recital which has a few brass and percussion pieces scheduled. More thrilling news to follow...
I finished my extracurricular project this afternoon -- I'll post a link in tomorrow's update. Now it's time to get back into 'real' work mode. I suppose I should go grocery shopping at some point too, since I'm pitifully short on food and supplies.
I've started playing the new trumpet I got over the summer on a regular basis, and I'm still pleased with its tone quality. Also, it's much easier to pick back up after a short break of a couple days. With the large bore instrument I used to play, tone atrophy happened extremely quickly.
Every year, a creativity bug strikes me and I get the urge to write another report for www.battlereports.com. This year's bug resulted in a report that I'm pretty happy with, and it even got a front page link at their site . For those in my readership who find game-playing juvenile and lacking in merit, a 'battle report' is essential a play-by-play news story of the more interesting matchups between good players online. Strategic games like Warcraft 3 lend themselves particularly well this reporting. I'll post the report on this site once it's made the rounds over there, but feel free to follow the link to read my report.
We were doing mnemonics for various clefs in my theory class today, and one innovative soul came up with the following for Tenor Clef: Damn Fine Ass Chicks Everywhere.
It's harder to come up with interesting things to write about this semester, because I'm not taking any classes that are patently absurd. School in general seems a little blasé, with no political outmaneuverings or budget cuts. The fact that I'm only taking one class probably helps since I'm not loitering around campus as much. I'm getting some decent composing time in though, and if I can get on some sort of regular schedule, I'll be good to go.
The report I posted yesterday earned a perfect 10.0 at www.battlereports.com. The last time I got a perfect score was back in 1999.
I didn't get my paycheck today because there was another appointment form that I hadn't been told about when I signed all my papers in August. I did, however, finally get registered as a teacher in the system, so I can view my class roll and such. Apparently, since MUT 1001 is a clandestine affair, there's no record of the class or me, so I'm like the Black Ops division of the music department. As of today though, Brian H Uri is officially a teacher. After all the running around I've already done, I wonder if it's worth it to change my middle initial to the proper one. Maybe this way I can embezzle funds without getting caught.
The anniversary of the WTC attacks is coming up, marking the perfect opportunity for public-figure haranguing (and just in time for elections too). In my opinion, the day should just be another regular day, without pause for public ceremonies and endless news stories of heroism. The American public is quite capable enough to reflect on their losses in private without the help of the inevitable carnival of talking heads. Every deep and meaningful speech that just happens to be done within view of a media camera is just exploiting one more opportunity to gain votes.
It'd be nice if Bush would stop lobbying for his private little war. Whether Saddam Hussein is a bad man is irrelevant; the stated goals of any war started by the U.S. will not match the ulterior motives of the people in power. My prediction for the future: The U.S. will continue seeking approval for its war on Iraq while loudmouthing November as a drop-dead date. Around late September or early October, we'll attack Iraq covertly and then apologize for our actions afterwards. Critics of such an action will be labelled as unpatriotic, especially 'in the wake of 9/11' and the adminstration will gain another public relations bonus while all our global allies look on in mute censure but don't do anything about it.
If there's no update tomorrow it's because I've been detained as a pinko and put to work in the mines.
"A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof. And when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven." - Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, on what kind of proof of biological weapons will make Canada support the war effort
We watched the classic movie, Citizen Kane last night. Even though it's obviously dated and everyone already knows the answer to the big question without knowing the plot of the movie, it was still a good movie. The cinematography was especially good, considering the era it was done in, and many of the generic little things stand out more when you realize that this movie was their innovator.
I have my first composition lesson tomorrow afternoon, so I'll be bringing in the starting threads of my thesis. I think this will be a pretty good semester for writing.
I had a good composition lesson today -- my teacher says I'm off to a good start on my thesis and tossed out a few names to look up and listen to for inspiration. I also talked with him at length about the possibility of this being my last year as a student of music, and it'll be interesting to see what pros and cons he can come up with this semester.
"In art . . . as in letters, what makes success is talent, and not ideas . . . The public understands the idea later. To achieve this 'later', the artist's talent must manifest itself in an agreeable form and so ease the road for the public, not repel it from the outset. Thus Auber, who had so much talent and few ideas, was almost always understood, while Berlioz, who had genius but no talent at all, was almost never understood." - Georges Bizet
In 1942, a shy boy receives an exuberant Jack Russell terrier that plays matchmaker and helps protect him from bullies.
Primetime TV tomorrow night looks like it will be a brave and heroic lineup of memorable specials written to remind us of the date (in case we don't have calendars). The WB is the only major network without a special, but it recovers nicely with the memorable story of a heroic and brave Jack Russell terrier.
Thank goodness life goes on with the TV off.
The city of Tallahassee seems to be afflicted with a general malaise of sluggishness. It reduces the urgency of work, makes you want to sleep later, and blunts the need for accomplishment. Last year, I thought it was related to moving to a new environs in general, but after a summer spent back north in hectic northern Virginia, I can say that it's definitely unique to this city. With the exception of teaching, which I still attack with verve, all my grandiose plans to read, write, and listen this semester seem less important now that it's time to get to work. I wonder if there's other folks out there who've encountered the same suppression of urge that I've described.
"In one production of the opera, Carmen, at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, real horses were used to draw a coach carrying Enrico Caruso and co-star Maria Jeritza onstage. The bright lights and large audience so startled one of the horses that he 'expressed his stage fright in a highly unsanitary fashion right on center stage'. In a following scene, Caruso was supposed to stab Jeritza, and she was supposed to fall to the stage. But she refused to die, even when stabbed. So Caruso stabbed her again and shouted, 'Die! Fall, will you!' to which Jeritza screamed back, 'I'll die if you find me a clean place!'" - Uncle John's Bathroom Reader
It's the end of the third quarter right now, and the VT Hokies are beating Marshall 26 - 0. They're looking pretty good on the field, and it's obvious that Lee Suggs is making up for his missed season with lots of slick moves. It looks like construction at Lane Stadium is finally done as well -- the stadium is now completely enclosed on all sides.
The latest version of Netscape (7) is now available and there's a few decent changes since the beta version. The only lack-of-feature I dislike is the fact that it doesn't prevent popup ads from appearing in new windows as advertised. It also throws AOL icons all over your computer, but that's to be expected from anything made by the media conglomerate.
I've posted my recent battle report on the Writings page if you missed it the first time around.
There was a theory department gathering this evening for a visiting scholar, which was a typical affair. I probably won't do much this weekend as a result, because too much excitement can be tiring.
The fourth season of the Sopranos starts up this Sunday on HBO although I only got to the end of the second season this summer. Since I don't like jumping ahead of things, I'll probably try to stay in the dark on it until after I've watched the third season.
There's really nothing new to report -- it was just a slow, rainy day filled with writing, grading, and gaming. I was going to take a trip out to Marsh Sands this morning, but Tropical Storm Hanna probably would have precluded me from getting any good pictures.
Being twenty-three is really no different than being twenty-two. I thought that at the least, I'd get a pay raise and a bonus for lasting this long, but no such luck.
I'm liking what's happening with my thesis piece right now -- somehow I feel like it's very different for me, while being written with the same language. Freshness is something that's tough to fake. I need to start working more horizontally though, or it's never going to get done. Working vertically on the score gives you interesting musical moments, but tends to break continuity if you do it too much.
Games made by Blizzard are always cost-effective purchases. I'm still playing Warcraft in my spare time, and probably will for sometime to come. In one on one games, I win about as much as I lose, but I've got a four man team right now that's ranked #592 on the competitive online ladder. It may not be the most productive hobby, but at least I'm not playing with myself (in games).
Iraq's sudden reversal on weapons inspectors was the perfect play to take the wind out of Bush's war. They've effectively neutered the US offensive while gaining an extra year to give the run around to the inspectors before booting them out again (probably about nine months from now). Now Bush can't launch an offensive without looking like an utter tool and breaking away from the U.N. What's scary is that Bush just might be gung-ho enough to start a war anyhow and feign ignorance next year.
Actually, he probably won't have to feign too much.
"I know why we don't like to vote -- marking your ballot nowadays is like choosing between the 3 AM showing of Beastmaster on Showtime, and the 3 AM showing of Beastmaster 2 on Cinemax." - Dennis Miller
Comcast has an innovative strategy for customer support now. When you finally get through to a customer service rep, they take your number and promise to call back within the hour because of high call load, and then they never do. I got overcharged on my cable modem bill, which was to be expected considering how much hassling it took to activate it in the first place.
"Leave these people in their little studio for long enough and they'll mess something up -- they crank out enough music. Why can't they be like Webern and just write a few little tunes?" - professor on theory in composers' works
I had a rehearsal for the percussion discussion recital next week. It's supposed to be a lecture on the mixing of brass and percussion throughout the years and I'm playing on a drum & bugle style piece and a more modern two-beat jazz piece. Any old-fashioned brass piece where the euphonium plays sustained high thirds throughout is alright in my book. It gives it that happy-go-lucky sound.
I've updated the work in progress on the Music page.
Another weekend's here. This one, I plan to spend using to research the programming language LINGO for future enhancements to the web applications for MUT 1001. Right now, students can do random fundamentals drills all day long and it's completely anonymous. Eventually we'd like to have a sign-in so a teacher could ostensibly track how long students spend and how well they do. I bet the freshmen will just LOVE that. If this all works out, MUT 1001 will eventually be an online-only course.
We saw the movie, One Hour Photo, last night and it was pretty good. Robin Williams effectively played another creepy protagonist, even better than he did in Insomnia. I guess this will end the debate on whether he is capable of acting beyond Patch Adams and the guy from What Dreams May Come. The cinematography in the movie was especially well-done, although I thought that the ending was a little out of place.
While out grocery shopping this morning, I saw four war protesters outside of the State Capitol. Besides the fact that the Capitol probably wasn't even open today, the futility of protest has to be demoralizing. These people couldn't get more than four people interesting in their cause, and then the highest and most powerful place they can picket in Florida is Tallahassee, this hotbed of democratic conflicts I call home.
Portal of Evil news was outsquatted when it came time to renew their name, so their old site is now a Hong Kong scam site. If you read the site at all, you can now find it at www.poe-news.com, instead of www.poenews.com.
Our president's stellar approach to foreign policy again comes to the fore in his latest doctrine . I especially like how it refers to the US as the 'world's only superpower' -- it'll be great for provoking just the kind of threat Bush is worried about. Thank goodness there's nothing worth blowing up down here.
Well, maybe Wakulla Springs. Bombing the alligator boat ride would be a serious detriment to democracy.
With so much time to devote to composing this semester, I find that I'm generating the same amount of music as I did in the past. Instead, I tend to throw out or refine ideas much more than I used to. My 'crap' folder is already burgeoning with discarded ideas, and that's something that normally doesn't happen until late in the semester. It's still to early to tell which approach results in a better final product though.
The 'Percussion Discussion' I played on last night was pretty interesting. Headed by visiting professor, John Beck, the concert was an eclectic amalgamation of percussion works, from Yankee Doodle to Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood, segued with brief lectures on the evolution of percussion and world music. In an interesting coincidence, Professor Beck used to work with the drum line at my high school back in the late eighties.
I finally finished reading The Fatal Shore, a giant history of penal colonization in Australia. The book reminded me a lot of A Beautiful Mind, very in-depth and interesting, but its epic proportions make it hard to keep with it. There's plenty of great stories and information in the book, but it probably wouldn't be your best choice if you're just interesting in the material in passing. Still, I'm glad I read it, as it was an area that I had no knowledge about at all.
I recently picked up the latest Dave Matthews CD, Busted Stuff, which is a revamped collection of the discarded songs that preceded Everyday. The music is perfectly agreeable, and there's plenty of catchy vamps, but in my opinion, it still doesn't quite measure up to the earlier recordings. It was definitely better than Everyday, which I thought was just a catchy collection of faux pop charts that didn't have much thought go into them. The CD also comes with a free DVD of something Matthews-related, but I haven't gotten around to watching it.
There's an absolutely brilliant use of music in a scene from The Sopranos, Season 3 Episode 1. Close to the very beginning is a two minute montage showing various FBI agents tailing each member of the Soprano family. The first clip of the montage rolls into high gear with Mancini's theme music from Peter Gunn, but the second clip suddenly segues into the Police's Every Breath You Take. As different scenes play through, the two songs fade back and forther between one another, until both are played simultaneously, with all their harmonies matching up. This continues over a repeat of the lyrics "I'll be watching you" mixed with various horn rips from Peter Gunn, while FBI agents sneak into the Soprano household to plant bugs.
My 4-man Warcraft team is now ranked #194 on the competitive ladder. Not a bad leap from our spot in the 700s.
"Log off. That cookie sh*t makes me nervous." - Tony Soprano to associate using computer
Tonight's movie was Amélie, the foreign film in last year's Oscars that no one knew anything about besides its 'spectacular cinematography'. I liked the movie; it was imbued with a flight of whimsy that you often find in French movies, and although the sprawl of the plot seemed rambling, everything came together eventually.
Depending on the weather tomorrow, I may head down to Panacea for some early morning pictures. I haven't been down that way since I got back to Tallahassee and it'd be nice to 'commune with nature for a spell'.
The Alias season premiere is tomorrow night.
Virginia Tech beat Western Michigan 30-0, and Florida State lost to Louisville, an unranked team. So much for a year of "regaining respect" for the Seminoles. the local sports station doesn't show many of Tech's games down here this year, so it's hard to keep up with how the team's doing.
This week is the newly implemented "Fall Break" which means that there's no classes on Thursday or Friday. I may take the extra time to do something new and ingenious, like compose or practice. The end of September always rushes up quickly, and it's crazy to think that there's really only two months of school left in this semester, and only two or three weeks until we start planning our schedules for the Spring.
Last night's Alias was good, but a little lacking. The first season of any show tends to be very tightly arced, because the writers don't know if the show will survive longer than that. Now that this show's popularity has been established, they're going to have to start introducing new interesting characters for all those that they've been killing off.
I've finally posted a recording of Badinage (version 2) with a proper mix between the piano and trumpet part. An excerpt can be found here (MP3, 655KB).
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