This Day In History: 03/01

Friday, March 01, 2002

I need to work harder at keeping my reason for being here in perspective. Although I don't write any less than I did as an undergrad, I could be devoting so much more energy towards composition. The various tasks and procrastinations I take part in aren't bad or unproductive for the most part; I just need to make sure they don't overshadow the fact that I'm here to study composition. All the other activities should really be secondary, and could probably be done at any point in my life after school. An aspiring composer who doesn't devote one hundred percent to composing is like a theorist who doesn't theorize or a nutrition major who doesn't eat.

I suppose that part of the problem is just the open-ended nature of all music-related fields. Practicing and writing are essential for improvement, and need to be a daily regimen. Unlike more tangible fields, these activities can't be "saved for tomorrow" or crammed at the end of the week. A day missed can't just be made up the following day: every single day with a below average compositional effort is one less day available for writing in your lifetime. The fact that there is no rigid structure to this gives music majors the illusion of copious free time, which makes it easier to falsely justify extra pursuits.

I've always had a mindset capable of pursuing many different tangents at one time. Recognizing the danger of devoting too little time to composing will probably do little to change my current agendas, but I think it does help, at least mentally, to take notice of it.

To help me learn MIDI orchestration, I've been re-arranging classic game MIDIs for the SC-8850. Here's the "Ghosts" theme from Ultima VII as originally written, and re-orchestrated for only acoustical patches, with a touch of controller modifying. It still sounds a bit wooden, but I'm learning how to more accurately reproduce a variety of performance techniques.

    Original (MP3, 684KB)
    SC-8850 (MP3, 657KB)

This iteration of the URI! Domain has now been around for seven months and over two thousand four hundred visitors. It's even scarier to realize that the site has existed in some form for almost six full years now. The first three years had a visitor count in the thousands, but I was unable to keep statistics for two of the six years. Summing them up, that's a lot of people with nothing better to do...

tagged as deep thoughts | permalink | 0 comments

Saturday, March 01, 2003

While cleaning out my file drawer yesterday, I came across a Washington Post article I'd clipped out a couple years ago. It's just as interesting now as it was then, so I've posted it on the Potpourri page under "A Composer's Too-Familiar Refrain". It's about Atlanta-based composer, Tristan Foison, and his attempt to pass off a Requiem from the 60s as his own. I've looked for articles since then about his professional fate, but apparently he's still going strong out there somewhere. Anyone heard of him?

Composers must write truly unforgettable music for any new instrument before it will be accepted and made popular
Major Music Labels Use Artificial Intelligence To Help Determine "Hitability" Of Music

permalink | 3 comments

Monday, March 01, 2004

This year, I managed to correctly guess eight of the twenty-four Oscar categories. That's improvement, but not quite as good as my beginner's luck first year. Instead of watching a single minute of the ceremony, I watched the movie, Matchstick Men with Nicholas Cage. Good movie, and definitely recommended.

Some people have requested a list of movies to watch that I think are good, so off the top of my head:

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Con Men/Twists:

    Catch Me If You Can, Confidence, Conspiracy Theory, Das Experiment, LA Confidential, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Memento, Ocean's 11, Panic Room, Phone Booth, Reservoir Dogs, Runaway Jury, A Simple Plan, Sixth Sense, Score, 2 Days in the Valley, Usual Suspects

Not Mystery/Suspense/Thriller/Con Men/Twists:

    About Schmidt, American Beauty, A Beautiful Mind, Clerks, Moulin Rouge, Scent of a Woman, Shawshank Redemption

Not Worth Your Time:

    Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Matrix II, Eye of the Beholder, Thin Red Line, What Dreams May Come, Star Wars I, Hope Floats

Did I miss any? Let me know!

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    scratch built dropships, stubborn trees are torn up, roots and all, baby llama pictures, lycomaniac, it's america what can they want with us ringo

List of Oscar Winners
How Much is Inside?
Hooker steals police van
Kerasotes' management is in the process of creating new guidelines for preventing people dressed as "evil beings" from gaining entrance to the theatre

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Anna and I put a deposit down on a pair of 4-month-old kittens yesterday, and we're going back tonight to pick them up. They're sisters, though they might not look it in the picture. We drove out last night in the snow to see them, and in the few minutes we played with them, we noticed that their personalities are very similar to Booty and Kitty.

Now there will be enough cats for Doubles and/or Four-Square.

None of the winners - Bush, Rumsfeld, Spears or the goat - were on hand to accept their awards.
Criminal mastermind to go whale-hunting in Utah
Those crazy but lovable monks
Bono up for Nobel Peace Prize

tagged as cats | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Oscars Week, Part III of IV

Original Score
    The Nominees:
    Brokeback Mountain
    The Constant Gardener
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    Munich
    Pride & Prejudice


    What will happen?
    John Williams is nominated for two scores this year, Munich and Geisha. I think it's about time he retired, allowing three to four young budding film composers to live on his massive salary. No one will have listened to the soundtrack for Pride and Prejudice because they were all waiting for Kiera Knightley to doff the dress, and I will automatically assume that the Brokeback score sounds stereotypically Western (because I have a degree in music which gives me the right to make such sweeping declarations), so Alberto Iglesias's score for Constant Gardener will win.
Original Song
    The Nominees:
  • "In the Deep" from Crash
    "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow
    "Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica


  • What will happen?
    It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp, just because I would like them to sing a song about pimps and ho's at the Academy Awards. There is precedent, since Eminem's Lose Yourself won a few years back. In fact, I hope they make a medley performance of "It's Hard So A Pimp's Travelin' Thru Into the Deep". Where's Randy Newman this year? He should have written a song for Corpse Bridge called "It's Not Easy Being Dead But You're My Friend and I Heart You".
Sound Editing
    The Nominees:
    King Kong
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    War of the Worlds


    What will happen?
    There are quite a few categories with only three nominees this year. In my opinion, they should have padded out the categories simply so the voters have more choices. Not enough sound editing choices? Let's add The Polar Express or Leon Markeson's Instructional Sign Language for the Deaf. King Kong will win, because I'm pretty sure they did not simply go to the eighty-ton ape zoo and record a real eighty-ton ape for sounds -- they had to get an actor who just plays the ape on TV.
Sound Mixing
    The Nominees:
    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    King Kong
    Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Walk the Line
    War of the Worlds


  • What will happen?
    I'd say the mixing in Walk the Line was sound. The rest of the movies had subpar mixing, or didn't even include any mixing scenes in the plot. Give us a cake-baking scene at a bare minimum!
Adapted Screenplay
    The Nominees:
    Brokeback Mountain
    Capote
    The Constant Gardener
    A History of Violence
    Munich


    What will happen?
    Why didn't Proof get a nod here? It was pretty damn good despite its lack of solid resolution. I'm going to take a stab at what the original source materials for each of these movies was before Hollywood distorted them into their current forms:
    Donnie Darko II: Donnie reappears out of a shift in time and realizes that only sheep-herding will save the population of Wyoming.
    Truman: Traces the coincidences and intersections of various people named Truman throughout history, until a biblical rain of frogs erases any reason to take the movie seriously.
    The Occasional Gardener: When his wife dies in a major pharmaceutical scandal, the gardener goes on strike and refuses to fertilize the peonies.
    A History of Love: Small-town man is very happy and lives a quiet existence, owning a restaurant and occasionally going bowling.
    Turin: The world was not watching in 2006 as 11 American athletes failed to get gold medals at the Turin Winter Olympics. This is the story of what happened next.

    Based on this, History of Violence will get the nod.
Original Screenplay
    The Nominees:
  • Crash
    Good Night, and Good Luck.
    Match Point
  • The Squid and the Whale
    Syriana


  • What will happen?
    Squid and the Whale was NOT very good. Crash was good because of its acting and interconnections, not necessarily its screenplay. Good Night loses because of its period, and Match Point loses because a Point is like a Period. Syriana will win, because it's from the same family tree as the previously-winning Traffic.

To be concluded tomorrow...

A diver suffered severe lacerations to his buttocks when a boat was steered over him
Cleveland Police badge looks like a pig
Story about gum stain leads to interesting Sponsored Links

permalink | 5 comments

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Stuff in My Drawers Day

or "why it's a good thing I never became a cartoonist"

Junior High School in the early 90s. With a single cartooning class under my belt from the Torpedo Factory Art Gallery, I was obviously inches away from an exclusive New Yorker deal, but somehow my life took a turn towards Music. Though those cartooning days are long gone, these sketches still survive. Remember, everything is funnier when you're in Junior High.


Almost every single cartoon I drew is on the back of a school handout or homework assignment. Pen and Ink was my preferred medium.


"I wonder what he meant by 'One small step for Aagh'?"


Signs We Rarely See


In some classes, pens were not allowed because they could not be erased (and heaven forbid that kids stick with their first answer). Pencil cartoons were a last resort since I was a messy kid and usually ended up smudging everything. I have no idea how the screwdriver in the left cartoon is staying up.


This one actually came out surprisingly well. I spent at least a week diligently working on it in Mr. Wargowski's ninth grade chemistry class, while Mr. Wargowski tried to teach element suffixes to the class by showing that an electron derivative of the imaginary element, Masturbium, would be called Masturbate. This is called "public school" in the education biz.


Rare colour sketches. Remember the Free Willy craze? That was so obnoxious.


Labs were the biggest wastes of time in any scientific field. I always tried to make sure that my responsibility for physics labs ended with the cover page, and would spend the entire period drawing a comic on the front. The left one is from "Using Archimedes' Principle to Determine Density" and the right one is from "The Specific Heat of a Metal".


"Determining the Melting Temperature of a Solid"

The Wii is a Portal to Porno
VT engraved in UVA's floor
Have some Scooby Sex

tagged as memories, media | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, March 01, 2010

Goodbye Day

I will be attending concerts and bumming around Puerto Rico this week, so regular updates will resume next Tuesday the 9th. I'll try to post the occasional picture while on the island, but if you get too bored, feel free to check out some of my favourite posts from the past five years.

Anna will be housesitting for us throughout the week to prevent you from stealing things, but if you would like to join her for a New Super Mario Brothers / Soul Caliber championship of the world, give her a call.

Have a good week!

Australia gets all the best cruises
Ohio officers get drunk on purpose
Tribes show best camels at beauty pageant

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cost of Living Day

It's been almost four years since I last calculated how much it costs to be me. Many things have changed since then, most notably the fact that female roommates take longer showers, driving up the water bill. Here is a look at my 2010 expenses (at least, the ones based upon regular bills).

2006 2007 2010
Car Tax $0.24/day, $90/year $0.30/day, $109/year $0.29/day, $107/year
My trusty 2001 Honda Accord just flipped over the 91,000 mile mark, thanks to a combined diet of "working in Reston" and "permanently parking in Tallahassee for two years except for trips to Walmart and Applebees". As such, my car taxes have gone down slightly each year, even as the tax rate goes up.
HOA Fees $0.40/day, $147/year $0.41/day, $150/year $0.48/day, $177/year
The street lights are still on, and the board of concerned citizens still has more gaps than the smiles of the privileged kids raised on fluoride-less bottled water. A worthy expense.
Popeyes $0.65/day, $240/year $0.62/day, $226/year $0.16/day, $60/year
The career-driven cashiers who have served me for nearly six years now still have my order ready when I walk to the counter ($3.72 for a two piece meal, dark meat, mild, with fries), but I only make it to Popeyes about once or twice a month now. I'm going to live past 50 in spite of my best efforts.
Water $0.71/day, $260/year $0.61/day, $222/year $0.88/day, $322/year
At least one resident in this house actually showers now, and I think Loudoun Water recently blew a bunch of money on renaming themselves from "Loudoun County Sanitation Authority".
House Insurance $0.91/day, $333/year $1.13/day, $414/year $1.51/day, $550/year
For every five years that go by without any claims, you should get all the money back.
Phone Service $1.41/day, $514/year $1.40/day, $512/year $1.53/day, $560/year
Last year marked the beginning of the great social experiment known as "owning a cell phone". Although it looks higher than 2007, my costs for staying on a land line would have been $600/year.
Cable $1.47/day, $537/year $0/day, $0/year $0/day, $0/year
Cable is lame.
Internet $1.57/day, $576/year $1.30/day, $475/year $1.97/day, $719/year
Comcast finally realized that they were underbilling me by $20 a month when they rebranded my crap Internet service as XFinity.
Trash Pickup $0.88/day, $324/year $0.98/day, $357/year $1.37/day, $503/year
I think AAA Trash has put their "because of environmental costs, we are adding gas fees to your bill" mailer on an automatic schedule. This is a huge, huge waste of money, especially since little people result in little waste, but it's still the cheapest provider in the neighbourhood.
Car Insurance $2.53/day, $924/year $2.35/day, $858/year $1.84/day, $670/year
Married guys cause fewer accidents.
Electricity $2.63/day, $960/year $2.83/day, $1036/year $3.12/day, $1139/year
My electric bill went up a very modest amount, probably because I painted the entire house green.
House Tax $8.54/day, $3120/year $11.06/day, $4040/year $7.71/day, $2814/year
An oft-overlooked positive from the housing explosion is the reduction in property taxes.
Mortgage $46.02/day, $16,800/year $46.02/day, $16,800/year $46.02/day, $16,800/year
My monthly mortgage is actually $1395.40, and I overpay because I'm lazy. It's faster to write "Fourteen hundred" on a check than "Thirteen hundred ninety-five".

Summary:

2006 2007 2010
$68.01/day, $24,825/year $69.03/day, $25,199/year $66.91/day, $24,421/year

At $2.78 per hour (even when I'm sleeping), my fixed cost of living has actually declined in three years, but this is no doubt offset by the exorbitant number of trips to Red Robin and Amazon.com purchases not reflected in these numbers.

Voodoo sex candles blamed for fatal fire
Man pays $200,000 to save fake girlfriend in online scam
Penis graffiti points skyward when bridge is raised

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Review Day

There are no spoilers in these reviews.

Breville EW30XL Electric Gourmet Wok:
This was a parental Christmas gift, and it lives up to the level of quality shown by my favorite Breville toaster oven. The wok heats up quickly and evenly, and there are all sorts of easy meals you can make with it. We've gone about half and half on slavishly following recipes versus just throwing a bunch of junk in, and it usually turns out pretty well. There was an initial investment curve in getting all the goofy oils and spices that you'd never otherwise use, but they last forever once you have them. Cleaning after oil-based cooking is usually the worst, but this wok comes apart along various seams, and the entire assembly is dishwasher-safe, even the electrical jack. Overall, it's very easy to deal with and a good way to promote eating a little fresher every now and then.

Final Grade: A

Malcolm in the Middle, Season Six:
Comfortably good.

Final Grade: B

Mamma Mia!:
I'm not averse to musicals and I'm not averse to camp, which is probably how Rebecca convinced me to watch this. Unfortunately this movie is so bombastically campy that it should have KOA signs sprinkled in the background of every scene. Among other impressive performances, Pierce Brosnan should be singled out for channeling a singing lawnmower. Perhaps you need to be familiar with more than one ABBA song to enjoy this, or perhaps you should just skip it.

Final Grade: D

Drive:
As payback for watching Mamma Mia!, I got to pick a heist movie to watch. Although this seemed like a heist movie from the trailer, it's really more of a mishmash of genres with an art house vibe: not as weird as Freeway, but not the movie I was expecting to watch. It is gripping, and with good performances, so you might like it if you go in without expecting anything. Seriously, doesn't that look like Jason Segel on the cover? He should star in the parody, REVERSE.

Final Grade: C

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, March 01, 2013

Vocabulary Friday

Images from our most recent bouts of Scrabble.

tagged as random | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Updateless Day

I'm wrapping up the first release of a new project, which I hope to release either tonight or tomorrow morning, so there will be no substantive blog post today.

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

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Memory Day: 1990

In 1990, I was 10 going on 11 and finishing off my final year at James K. Polk Elementary School. The curriculum this year was pretty nondescript, ranging from boring World History focused mostly on Mesopotamia, to science terrariums full of aphids that always died because there was too much mold on the basement level of the school. Besides playing cornet in the band, my claim to fame was being the special safety patrol in charge of the school entrance next to the kindergarten classes. I got to stay out for five extra minutes after the first bell and left class five minutes early to make sure that anxious parents could pick up their tots. This was before the days of total school lockdown, so honestly, I pretty much just let anyone at all in.

My best friend this year was named Daniel but unfortunately he moved away just after the school year ended. He remains one of the few people I've written actual letters to, complete with stamps and handwritten envelopes. Just before he left, he had a birthday / going away party at the local Go Kart track. The staff was skeptical about letting someone as small as I was drive alone, and after getting stuck on the tire walls twice, they drove me back and told me to wait in the arcade.

Also at the end of this school year, the game Ultima VI came out and I spent most of the summer designing tile-based RPG maps of the worlds in my imagination, with names like Replocian and New Storia. I even brought the game with my on our multi-week trip to visit the Uri clan in Henderson, Nevada, but no one there had a computer with an EGA graphics card. Spending time with our Uri cousins was fun, but we didn't really fit very well. I was a very arrogant know-it-all that got on everyone's nerves. I also took the opportunity to earn all of the farm-related Boy Scout merit badges, merely by virtue of the fact that my Uncle agreed to be considered a "merit badge counselor". I didn't actually do much Rabbit Raising, but I gathered a ton of goose eggs.

Other posts in this series: 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1990 - 1991 | 1991 - 1992 | 1992 - 1993

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, March 01, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Great Expanse by Hilltop Hoods:
The newest album from this Australian hip hop band is solid, full of distinctive songs and catchy beats. They've pulled away from the overly repetitive backing tracks that made some of the previous albums annoying. The single, Leave Me Lonely is pretty infectious.

Final Grade: B+

Good Girls, Season One:
This show about three suburban moms who rob a grocery store is good, but suffers from genre overload. While it does manage to carve out its own voice and style, it's hard for it to stand on its own without comparing it to Breaking Bad (it's way less serious) or Weeds (it's way less absurd). Even though the story struggles to be unique, the performances by the 3 lead actresses are great -- Retta especially, has surprising range that she never had a chance to show on Parks and Recreation. If you can get past the unoriginal premise and are okay with the fact that the plot is propelled by characters getting into trouble that should have been avoidable, you'll find an enjoyable throwaway show to entertain you. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

You Complete Me, Ho:
Ken Jeong's standup special starts strong but ends up more nostalgic than funny. Too much of his set is tacked around his appearance in The Hangover and other movies, and most of the jokes don't stand on their own unless you're already a fan of his. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C-

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (PG-13):
This movie about a nerdy guy that must defeat the "Seven Evil Exes" to date a girl is presented as a surreal, live-action graphic novel. While that might be an immediate turn off for some (even me on most days -- I watched it because it was made by Edgar Wright, the creator of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead), I found the movie much funnier than expected. The jokes originate from the characters and dialogue in spite of the weird format, where a lesser production might have made the format the whole point of the movie. There are plenty of great cameos as well. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, March 01, 2021

BD Cartoon Day, Part II

a selection of original cartoons from the business development Slack channel I maintain at work

Other posts in this series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

 

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