This Day In History: 01/12

Saturday, January 12, 2002

The Jam Miami CD which came out at the end of last year is really good. It's a series of live performances of Latin jazz in the Miami scene, with names like Arturo Sandoval and Chick Corea. There's a fair amount of gratuitous high notes on the part of Sandoval, but he's never played as tastelessly as Maynard Ferguson. The CD has some solid charts and performances, and some of the solo work is really excellent. I'm a big fan of through-composed jazz, so it's pretty rare that I find a combo setting or solo-saturated recording enjoyable. Of the small group recordings I've listened to, the only two that I really liked were Chick Corea's early fusion work and the Lennie Niehaus saxophone octet. Most other combos get caught up in their own importance and start talking to themselves in their solos, neglecting the audience. Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis are pretty bad in that regard.

"If you're in jazz and more than ten people like you, you're labelled commercial." - Herbie Mann

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Sunday, January 12, 2003

For the musically inclined, which of these examples is the proper way to notate a passage of violin double stops that's not easily divided into top and bottom (for two players)?

I'm now up to 15 and 17 students in my two sections of sightsinging. One of my students started in the afternoon section, transferred to the morning section, and then transferred back to the afternoon section two days later. Apparently it was determined that 9 AM was just an impossibility when it came to waking up.

I finally got the Blackboard site for my class set up yesterday. You can see it by following this link . Click GUEST to log in as a guest, then click the Courses tab at the top of the page. From there, following the links: School of Music, and then Music Theory. My course is the only one listed.

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Monday, January 12, 2004

Anna got an administrative job at a software firm in Tyson's Corner, so she doesn't have to run the office at the dealership anymore. She starts there on Wednesday, just in time for the big snowstorm expected in Thursday. Go Anna!

Last night's Alias was really good, and for once they didn't drag out the exposition. They answered more questions in one episode than they did in the past five, and all the answers fit into the mythos of the show, luckily.

I did my first mortgage preapproval today. Good times.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    There were no funny or interesting search terms yesterday.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

If you want a good example of a mediocre song made worse by a horrible performance, find a recording of With Those Eyes by Elena. It's so horrible that I can't even listen to it all the way through -- I have to change the station. The vocalist sounds like Ashlee Simpson with chronic bronchitis brought about from smoking a pack an hour, and her caterwauling across the anemic chorus sounds like a hyena in pain.

Alias and Lost are on tonight. I wasn't totally impressed with the season premiere of Alias last week, but I just rewatched it and like it a lot more. It suffers from being a little too long with a little too much filler, but otherwise it actually sets up a fourth season pretty well.

Eliminating your blind spot
Other instructions given performers include a warning not to look directly at Bush while passing the presidential reviewing stand, not to look to either side and not to make any sudden movements.
In-depth analysis of Alias

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Musical Musings

  • Keane grows on me more everytime I listen to their music. A friend from work introduced me to them last summer and I thought they were kind of annoying at first, but they're not so bad after repeated listenings. I would like the song, Bedshaped, more if they didn't use that horrible Game-Boy-sounding choir sample in the middle of the song (207KB MP3) -- it's more unfortunate than the tubular bells in Natalie Imbruglia's Counting Down the Days. That choir sample turns an otherwise good pop song into a tape I might have brought to one of my undergrad composition lessons recorded on my Ensoniq Soundscape.

  • I haven't talked about contemporary composition in years. I haven't had any deep epiphanies in that arena to talk about. Does this make you sad? It makes me kind of relieved. I've been rereading Muse that Sings (because I would go into cardiac arrest if I ever actually bought a new book), and I can't get over how much all the composers have to sell themselves twenty-four hours a day to be successful. Had I become a full time composer, I probably would have sold myself short, and not just because of my height.

  • In normal songs, there's that point right after the first verse where the music builds up as if it's going to the chorus next, but then fakes you out and does a second verse or some other interesting maneuver. This builds up the tension on later listenings, because if you like the chorus, you'll want to hear it, and denying that the first time through is an expected way to prolong the resolution. Nowadays, I hear more and more songs omitting the tension-building and jumping straight to the chorus (see also, pretty much every song brayed by TATU). Take, for example, Daniel Bedingfield's The Way (378KB MP3). He only sings two couplets before jumping straight to the long and repetitive chorus. Doesn't it feel like the song would improve if he had played around a little bit more before showing us his whole package? Even a false chorus that falls into a few more couplets would have worked so well there, but I guess when you're on commercial radio, you have to be more concerned with people getting the chorus stuck in their heads so they can request the song later.

  • I think I would be a good test audience for pop songs. There are so many songs out there that could be improved with just a few minor changes. I would be the guy that says, "You don't need to repeat the chorus fourteen times without change", or "We get that you're Hiiiiiiigh and that's the hiiiiigh note in the song, so you don't need to hammer that note into oblivion (257KB MP3) -- that is not The Waaaay!"

  • I would also like to write a pop song this year. Anyone got any lyrics? Or wheat?

  • This is the only arrangement of Twelve Days of Christmas I've ever heard that was not annoying (337KB MP3, by Roger Whittaker). Break the monotony by going into a minor key on Day Seven -- brilliant! Then don't repeat any of those lame-ass presents in the remaining days so the song is over in three minutes rather than fifteen minutes. Why anyone needs five golden rings unless they're big pimpin', I have no idea.

  • The Hives have no redeeming musical qualities. Listening them on the radio is like listening to a nonstop version of Steriogram's Walkie Talkie Man (150KB MP3) but louder, more grating, and without any inherent toe-tappiness.

  • Santa Maria by the Gotan Project is far too long and repetitive, but I love the chord crunches on the downbeats (260KB MP3). Someday I would like to write a tango -- then I could feature it in my one-act off-Broadway musical where I dance with myself. After all, it takes BU to tango.

  • Continuing with the Spanish titles, I like Morcheeba's vocal timbre in Sao Paolo (275KB MP3). It reminds me of listening to hot jazz vocalists at Virginia Tech. It also reminds me of one of my sightsinging students at FSU who was always very quiet and polite in class and sang like a choir girl. Then at the end of the term, I went to a jazz vocalist concert where she busted out with a ridiculously honey-dewed blues solo which, when translated into non-music, said, "I've been toying with your sightsinging class like a cat with a crippled mouse for eight months now and I've been secretly laughing at you when you try to get me to sing louder and project more".

  • I realize this song is now two years old, which probably reinforces everyone's perception that I live in a cave and only leave when Kim drags me out to Ruby Tuesday for chicken fingers with mild buffalo sauce, mushrooms instead of coleslaw, and no seasoning on the fries, but I think Sick Wit Da Flip by Miri Ben Ari (409KB MP3) is very well-produced. Throw a violin player behind some rapping -- brilliant! I bet Kanye West took careful notes back in the day.

  • Oompa Loompa Girl was going through some notes we took for Symphonic Literature listening exams in 2001 where I'd apparently written "Just learn all the others and this one will be the one you don't recognize". That's pretty much the same attitude I adopted to get through the million-song listening exam at FSU too. Luckily, I never actually failed a listening exam even when I came sorely unprepared. Maybe I should have failed one, just to build character. After all, without an F, life is just a lie.

  • David Gray of Babylon fame irritates the poop out of me. I couldn't figure out why, because I used to like him, but then I realized it's because he sounds like a Muppet and refuses to sing one pitch, choosing to be a human slide whistle at all times instead. Is the latest song on the radio, Alibi, even coherent? It sounds like he's just chanting nouns at the beginning of the song (94KB MP3).

  • This particular David Gray song inspired me to write and record my own version in his unmatchable style -- I call it Pizza Pie. I know I'll never have as much fame as David Gray, but here is a rough cut of my music video -- I'm not sure how it's going to end yet but I'm toying with a few different B sections. I hope you think it's Federlicious! (2MB WMV).

  • If you liked Planet of the Apes, you'll love Martin Luther King Jr.
    Naked News: The Program with Nothing to Hide
    Spider nests in woman's ear for 27 days

    tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 3 comments

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:14 AM: When half asleep and taking a picture over your head, make sure to get the lens cap out of the way.

    5:29 AM: You can't really tell from this shot, but I am wearing a sombrero on the mirror.

    5:36 AM: The new Catkins Diet requires that you pretend to feed your felines twice a day until they get thin.

    5:42 AM: This is one of those annoying stop lights that automatically stops the main road so all the yuppies in their cul de sac community can get out as quickly as possible. Crossing the road is one of said yuppies.

    5:52 AM: No one else is in the office yet. At least there's not a cubicle in sight -- everyone gets an office here.

    8:25 AM: Working hard.

    11:47 AM: Friday afternoon tradition of stopping at Popeyes for lunch. You know you go to a fast-food restaurant too much when they start ringing up your exact order before you even get to the cashier.

    1:14 PM: Telecommuting after lunch, from the perspective of a fly on the wall.

    4:42 PM: Bonus Picture "Something New" -- fiddling with my new antenna, trying to get free over-the-air HDTV so I can cancel the wallet-leech that is Comcast. It's Comcastic!

    5:52 PM: Freshly shorn and ready for mischief.

    7:12 PM: Other people eating lots of my cookies.

    9:45 PM: Playing games while waiting for the late pizza guy who may have been an axe-murderer.

    11:58 PM: Returning home just in time for the end of the day.

    See more 12 of 12's at Chad's site !

    Happy Birthday Anna's Dad tomorrow!

    Monster bunnies for North Korea
    I reckon that whale was sorry
    Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 7 comments

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    It's time for the fourth year of 12 of 12, where you take twelve pictures of your mundane day! You can see more 12 of 12ers at Chad's site.


    5:00 AM: Somewhere in the world, more exciting people than I are just getting to bed at this hour.

    5:56 AM: Traveling down the danger-filled I-66 into the heart of Yuppyton.

    6:04 AM: Driving past Ballston Commons to Bailey's Crossroad.

    7:32 AM: After finishing my early morning tasks, I head home through historic Falls Church, which consists of eight churches and a Comfort Inn.

    7:52 AM: There's probably something poetic about the traffic and the storm clouds, but it's far too early for poetry.

    8:28 AM: Cats are so lazy. This one hasn't moved since 5 AM.

    10:10 AM: At Costco, using my $70 coupon for a set of new tires.

    10:39 AM: Eating the Big Two-Do at Friendly's, which is only $3.99 on weekdays.

    2:14 PM: Later in the day, with four new tires and a full stomach, telecommuting.

    3:49 PM: An afternoon snack of chips and salsa.

    7:08 PM: Shells and cheese for dinner, but a lesser version that's not the delectable name-brand.

    7:58 PM: Ending a day of pigging out with triple chocolate ice cream!


    Sex abuse charity raffle winner is a sex offender
    State Department has sanctions for reply-all
    Pelicans fall out of the sky

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 12 comments

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    This year marks the fifth and final year of 12 of 12, during which anyone with a blog and a camera can take twelve pictures of their day on the 12th of the month.


    6:29 AM: The post-shower picture doesn't work as well when you forget to defog the room.

    6:45 AM: One way to get to work.

    8:36 AM: On a muted conference call in my new office, which is one door away from my old office. I need to put something on this wall.

    9:12 AM: If the view from your office sucked, and you move next door, it will still suck.

    1:01 PM: Obligatory shot of a cat licking a newspaper.

    1:04 PM: Leftover chicken fajitas (which were surprisingly delicious even though we only marinated for 45 minutes) for lunch.

    4:34 PM: Winter cleaning task #64 -- consolidating all the DVDs from the Too Much Packaging department into slim cases, to make room for future shows.

    5:15 PM: Booty assists with the operation, and dislikes 24 because each season comes with an odd number of discs.

    6:08 PM: I have been eating Velveeta Shells and Cheese for dinner for longer than 12 of 12 has existed.

    6:57 PM: Amber keeps me company while I work.

    7:12 PM: Dish washing always requires more motivation when the previous night's dishes are still soaking in the sink.

    7:33 PM: Under the house, looking for something nostalgic and fun to write about in tomorrow's post.

    See more 12 of 12ers at Chad's site!

    Fans depressed after watching Avatar
    She is the youngest of four sisters and behaves a bit like a boy
    Washington expands beer for blood program

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 15 comments

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


    6:03 AM: Making the executive decision to call it a Snow Day.

    6:37 AM: Learning that my new computer has been delayed by snowstorms in the South.

    8:33 AM: A late shower after a morning's work.

    9:22 AM: Telecommuting.

    9:53 AM: Hiring a local to shovel my driveway while I work.

    11:02 AM: On a conference call.

    12:53 PM: Checking on our herb garden after lunch, to see if the parsley is ready for devouring. It was not.

    2:42 PM: Cats, anxious for lunch.

    4:46 PM: Tidying up the Guild Bank in World of Warcraft.

    6:48 PM: To offset the atrocious mundanity of a stay-at-home day, I decided to make homemade pasta for dinner, finally using one of our wedding gifts for the first time.

    7:24 PM: Making pasta is fun.

    8:00 PM: Spaghetti with a tomato, basil, beef sauce!

    Today was also "no flash" day. See more 12 of 12ers at Chad's site!

    Monkeys hate flying squirrels, report monkey-annoyance experts
    Police raid homes to stub out smoking habit
    Tigers can go for a walk, but only with permission

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 7 comments

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12


    7:24 AM: Waking up late in hopes of combating a cold with extra sleep.

    7:31 AM: A peek behind the bathroom mirror.

    7:35 AM: All of Rebecca's classmates swear by this stuff, but I don't notice it doing much that Dayquil can't do.

    7:41 AM: A quick bagel breakfast.

    7:55 AM: Working from home in the morning.

    10:01 AM: Amber is my office assistant.

    11:15 AM: A quick ham sandwich before heading to the office.

    11:41 AM: View from my (new) office.

    4:06 PM: Finished with afternoon meetings.

    4:17 PM: Sunset on the way home.

    4:35 PM: Booty is pretty much right where I left her.

    6:50 PM: Leftover Chicken Reuben from the crock pot for dinner.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Weekend Wrap-up

    • Friday
      • Ate burgers off the grill with smoky chipotle cheese for Rebecca and colby jack cheese for myself. Caught up on episodes of Black Mirror and played Hearthstone.

    • Saturday
      • Early morning Costco run for sandwich fixings and kitty litter. Stayed indoors for most of the day rereading Transformation by Carol Berg. Met up with the Lowrys at Sweetwater in Merrifield for dinner, followed by the movie, Bad Grandpa, at their house.

    • Sunday
      • Stayed indoors until the temperature got above freezing, and then took a nature hike through the snow and iced-over creeks of Sugarland Run. Had more burgers for dinner and started the movie, Extract, until Rebecca fell asleep.

    tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    5:22 AM: Showered and unimpressed with this image quality.
    5:43 AM: Arrived at the office.
    9:30 AM: Working on a new proposal.
    11:03 AM: A Metro station rises into the heavens.
    11:27 AM: Quick grocery run on the way home.
    11:30 AM: Fried chicken and Sydney for lunch.
    11:50 AM: Back to work, but hindered by hind parts.
    1:23 PM: Booty likes space heaters.
    3:31 PM: "Dialing in" to a standup meeting.
    4:02 PM: Running three miles while watching Run.
    7:31 PM: Post-proposal relaxation with Fallout 4.
    8:58 PM: Prepping for a late Taco Night with entertainment by Obama.

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    Friday, January 12, 2018

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

    7:01 AM: Early morning treadmilling while watching the second season of Humans.
    7:35 AM: Showered and ready for a (standard) three-day weekend.
    7:59 AM: Some post-breakfast, pre-baby-awakened Overwatch.
    8:31 AM: Good morning!
    8:49 AM: At the feeding battlestation while I pack for our road trip.
    11:37 AM: Finally on the road to Fredericksburg.
    2:03 PM: Holding court around 4-month-old Felicity.
    4:09 PM: Down with OPT (other peoples' toys).
    6:22 PM: Dinner with a baby on.
    6:31 PM: Maia allows her royal court to bring her meals and libations. Sydney mourns in the background.
    9:15 PM: Anna finally gets to hold the baby after the million kids go to bed.
    9:47 PM: Ending the night with a game of Smart Ass.

    tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

    Wednesday, January 12, 2022

    Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

    12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

    6:06 AM: Showered and ready for work.
    6:13 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
    7:45 AM: Working. Amber is not.
    8:35 AM: Maia is ready for school.
    10:28 AM: Quick Costco run for winter storm essentials. I also snagged the LAST cream cheese tub during this cream cheese shortage, which some Costco employee had buried under the sour cream to purchase later.
    10:57 AM: About to join a work video call titled "Summer of Fun".
    11:44 AM: Working lunch.
    1:43 PM: Seeing what the family is up to.
    3:06 PM: Amber is more chill when old and mostly deaf.
    4:32 PM: Grandpa stops by for a bit.
    5:00 PM: Having a beer while judging the Bunny Hop/Tumble Olympics.
    5:29 PM: This sausage pasta from Costco was delicious.

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