This Day In History: 04/02

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Steve Reich: WORKS 1965 - 1995, Part II of V

Disc two of the set is the hour-long work, Drumming (1971), which seems to be an extended elaboration on a single rhythmic cell in four continuous movements. This was another piece that I found interesting, but not particularly enjoyable. One of the problems I have with works like this is just the sheer magnitude of length involved in going from beginning to end. This grand extension is really necessary for the intricacies of rhythm and pitch to reveal themselves to the listeners, but they have to be willing maintain their concentration for that long of a period. Most of my own work tends to be extremely concise (and usually too concise). As I write, I try to judge where my own mind begins to wander, despite my best listening efforts, and usually err on the side of brevity to keep my imaginary audience captivated. However, seeing how these longer forms (which are no more "complex" than any normal work) are constructed should help me in developing my own sense of extension.

Disc three has three works, Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ, Clapping Music, and Six Marimbas. Clapping Music (1972) is another phase-based piece for four clapping hands. For me, it suffers from another lack of differences, since the only thing varying is the rhythm. Luckily the piece ends after five minutes. I don't recall much about Six Marimbas (I had just scratched "uneventful" on a sheet of notebook paper), and unfortunately someone checked out the boxed set before I could get it again to re-hear this piece.

I did find Music... (1983) to be an enjoyable work. The phasing technique is not used at all here, and while the variety of actual materials is still very constrained, I don't think this one could definitely be pigeonholed as Miminalist. I think the proportions are well-balanced, and the shifts in musical material are just frequent enough to sustain interest. I think part of the reason that this piece succeeds over Four Organs is the greatly reduced prominence of the organ. By dropping the harsh organ edge and mellowing it even more with the marimba timbre, it's far easier to immerse yourself in the wash of sound. Compare the two pieces on your own, and see what you think!

To be continued...

Yesterday, I read John Grisham's A Painted House (465 pages, Dell 2001), which is strikingly different from his typical courtroom drama/hack books. The story is of a farming family in the fifties in the South, and there's no mention of the law or lawyers in the entire book. It was engrossing and read quickly, but didn't end in a very satisfying manner. I tend to like stories and works that end definitively, or end at all, rather than stop. Like Gosford Park, this book just petered out, with no great revelations or changes. Pick it up if you're in the mood for a minor diversion of light reading.

Finale 2002b has been released, but the 7MB download probably isn't worth your time. None of the important bugs from 2002a have been corrected.

The Easter Bunny fights back
Harry Connick Jr. patents a computer sheet music system

tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

The above excerpt was the April Fools' dictation example for yesterday's classes. My first class caught wind of the joke before I could get very far, but my second class panicked, especially since they had only learned compound meter some ten minutes beforehand.

The Verne Troyer guest appearance on Monday's Boston Public was easily the most gratuitous guest spot in the history of guest spots. Verne Troyer played Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies, and his role here involved being a miniature genius who helped students cheat on their tests by hiding in a locker.

More fun news from the Geraldo Rivera front :

    "It sounds like some rats from my former network, NBC, are trying to stab me in the back."

    Rivera said he had heard nothing about being expelled until he called network headquarters for a scheduled live report.

    "MSNBC is so pathetic a cable news network that they have to do anything they can to attract attention," Rivera said. "You can rest assured that whatever they're saying is a pack of lies."

    A U.S. Central Command official said, "He is being pulled. He just doesn't know it yet. He has not gotten the word."

New Booty pics.

tagged as teaching | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, April 02, 2004

I got promoted from SD-2 to SD-3 yesterday, to go along with my transition to a new development-heavy project in the next couple weeks. I spent the morning today down in the labs at Bailey's Crossroads doing some deployment work and acting shifty around the military as a psychology experiment.

Tonight is poker night.

Yesterday's notable search terms:

    owls "can see blue", sousa marches dogfight, "yellow rooms" behaviour, ben seggerson, "i'm still alive" "famous last words"

How to take a Chem exam
Fat hamster triggers police rescue
Woman buys car with breast milk money
Bored boy gets national attention

permalink | 2 comments

Monday, April 02, 2007

Cost of Living Day

A little over a year ago, I did the math on how much it costs per day to be BU. Since most of my readers lack the perspicacity to realize that this is a cue to go back and read the old entry, I'll simply catch you up: In March 2006, a single day in my life was worth $68.01 and a full year required $24,825 in bills and Popeyes, and car insurance is the biggest scam since they decided to make AP classes worth more than a 4.0 in high school.

Here, then, is the "Cost of Being BU" for the new year. The first column in each table row is the cost from last year, and the second is my current cost, at the ripely tender age of twenty-seven.

20062007
Car Tax$0.24 per day, $90 per year$0.30 per day, $109 per year
I still have the same old pimpmobile I've had more the past six years, and it hasn't been upgraded with spinning rims or rapid-fire cannons, so why should the car tax go up? That extra bump probably went towards the new Claude Moore Recreation Center which boasts a water park and a rock-climbing wall and was obviously only made for the continuing pissing match with Fairfax County (note the phallic silo out front).
HOA Fees$0.40 per day, $147 per year$0.41 per day, $150 per year
Still the cheapest and least interfering HOA on the market. Now if only they could learn how to deposit checks within ninety days.
Popeyes$0.65 per day, $240 per year$0.62 per day, $226 per year
On rare occasions in this past year, I've actually worked until an ungodly hour like 2 PM on Fridays, which means I sometimes skip the Popeyes. I'm still a crowd regular though -- in the time it takes me to walk from the front door to the counter, one of servers has already prepared my bag of food, and the cashier will ring it up before I even open my mouth. That's service!
Water$0.71 per day, $260 per year$0.61 per day, $222 per year
I'm not sure why my water bill went down, but the quarter-inch layer of sediment covering 80% of my body suggests that I shower less. Or maybe it's because the cats are now only allowed to drink twice a week.
House Insurance$0.91 per day, $333 per year$1.13 per day, $414 per year
It's true that there's far more cool stuff in the BU-house this year, but the insurance company shouldn't know about any of that. Unless, of course, one of you scabs is a secret auditor and reporting everything I do in exchange for bribes in petty cash.
Phone Service$1.41 per day, $514 per year$1.40 per day, $512 per year
I'm paying roughly the same amount for the ability to screen all the unwanted calls from the Fraternal Order of the Moose Policeman, Mark Foley's Reelection Campaign, and Kelley and Shac wanting to hang out.
Cable$1.47 per day, $537 per year$0 per day, $0 per year
I cancelled this monetary black hole in January and haven't looked back. Thank goodness for free over-the-air HD!
Internet$1.57 per day, $576 per year$1.30 per day, $475 per year
Comcast purchased Adelphia right before I cancelled cable. Of course, they screwed up my cancellation order the first two times I called. After the second harassment, they erased one too many charges from my bill, so I am now paying less than I'm supposed to be paying for the luxury of Internet. I'm figuring that I can keep this going for about a decade as long as I have no service requests.
Trash Pickup$0.88 per day, $324 per year$0.98 per day, $357 per year
This bill is utter garbage. Hopefully with that extra thirty bucks, they'll train the workers to not block the driveway with the bins.
Car Insurance$2.53 per day, $924 per year$2.35 per day, $858 per year
This is a surprising plot twist in the tale of my insurance. Allstate finally realized that I am a safe driver (and not just because I took a moonlighting job transporting safes for the bank). The only accident I was ever involved in was when that girl in the brand new Ford Focus rear-ended the Dodge Spirit in 2000. I lost my bumper and she lost most of her car.
Electricity$2.63 per day, $960 per year$2.83 per day, $1036 per year
A reasonable amplification in charge for my revolting lifestyle.
House Tax$8.54 per day, $3120 per year$11.06 per day, $4040 per year
Real estate assessments skyrocketed last year and my bill rose accordingly. I blame Gonzales (both Alberto and Elian).
Mortgage$46.02 per day, $16,800 per year$46.02 per day, $16,800 per year
Despite all the other increases, my fixed-rate mortgage happily chugs along.

Grand Total: $69.03 per day, $25,199 per year

My cost of living has held surprisingly steady over the course of a year. This probably means that it is now safe to invest in a high-cost hobby like building model train sets, or becoming an independent reviewer of strip clubs. Alternately, I could write a book describing the secrets of my success, and sell it over the Internet!

Bono wants you to call him 'His Demigodness'
NY gallery cancels naked chocolate Jesus exhibit
Unfortunate saw-mill penis incident -- have a rabbit

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 5 comments

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Review Day: Pandora.com

Pandora.com is a free Internet radio station that learns what sorts of music you like over time, and tailors future songs to those guidelines. Starting up with Pandora is simple: you give it the name of a band or a song that you enjoy and, through the Music Genome Project's research, it will play other songs that are similar in some way. You can choose to "like" or "dislike" a song at any time, and this choice is remembered for the future. The reasons for its musical selections are as varied as "songs by the same band" to "songs with fast string accompaniments and triple meters".

When I first started out, I tried to put all the bands I liked into a single station, which confused Pandora into thinking that the Cardigans and Muse had something in common, but I soon learned that I could get better results by creating a separate station for each particular genre. With too much variety, the number of songs played on a station is minimal, so you start to hear the same tunes over and over. Now, I have a harder rock station, a station for chicks that sing (which, amusingly enough, plays lots of Jack Johnson), one for movie tunes, and a couple for different branches of jazz. I have not tried searching for classical music yet.

Here are a few samples of songs that Pandora recommended from my "chicks that sing" station (which I created by selecting Wallis Bird, KT Tunstall, and Ingrid Michaelson), that I would never have discovered any other way:

    A Fine Frenzy - You Picked Me
    Eisley - Plenty of Paper
    Courtney Jaye - Can't Behave

Pandora also makes it easy to purchase new music -- if you stumble upon an unfamiliar tune, you can view information about the song and its artist, and bookmark it for later. At any time, you can view a list of all your bookmarked songs and download them in one fell swoop from iTunes or Amazon MP3. This is quite possibly the smartest feature ever.

Pandora is not perfect -- my biggest complaint is that it's too easy to accidentally close Firefox and have to restart the radio station. Ads have slowly become more intrusive to the point where you now get at least one uninterruptible audio ad per session, and the music stops playing if you don't touch your computer for an hour (making it annoying if you want to use it as background music). However, these are small prices to pay for a free service, and you can completely eliminate both issues by subscribing for $36 a year. If XM Radio continues to go into the pooper, or goes bankrupt, I might just end up doing that.

Final Grade: A-

Man survives 6-inch spear
Toilet row lowers space morale
Attack of the two-nosed bunnies

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Fragments

he's my newt

♠ The weather is finally nice in the evening, as shown by our 7:45 PM run through Sterling Park, which counts as my weekly effort for ACR (arterial clog reduction), also known as "carbon credits for eating bacon". Rebecca has gotten me in the habit of doing something at least once a week, since I'd otherwise have no incentive for working out ever. After our Puerto Rico trip, full of frijoles and grease, I came home two pounds lighter.

♠ I was never a big fan of running -- the farthest distance I used to go was the seven mile trip from the Crew boat house to the airport and back, and now I'm happy with a loping gait for a half hour or so. This is also why I did sprints in high school track: you run for about a minute and then go home (see also, Howard Dean).

♠ Perhaps I just had mediocre track coaches, but the only advice I ever got on improving my sprinting was to "DIG" more. Off the marks, they would just shout "DIG DIG DIG!", and if I was dropping into fifth second place, I would have to "DIG IT OUT!". Maybe this early conditioning led me to enjoy digging big holes on the beach, although not as a competitive sport.

♠ If digging a hole in the sand WERE a competitive sport, I would take the gold. Sand digging is different from earth digging, because you have to worry about the angle at which a wall will collapse, and the constant threat of hitting the water line. Plus, sometimes you dig a hole too deeply and can't climb out. This has never happened to me.

♠ Don't you have the urge to go to the beach now?

♠ The weekend begins, unfortunately with a funeral for Rebecca's grandfather, and then continues with all sorts of outdoorsy stuff to take full advantage of the eighty degree temperatures before the snow storm hits next Thursday. I'm hoping to do a little Spring cleaning inside the house as well, although my current system of cleaning (taking everything unnecessary from the top floor and dumping in the basement) is definitely not a sustainable practice.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Woman's phone annoying but not contemptible
Man climbs through McDonald's drive-thru for fish
Stolen snack truck triggers feeding frenzy

tagged as fragments | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, April 02, 2012

Booty Day

I spent the entire weekend working, and have no updates for today. Perhaps you should visit Booty's homepage instead.

tagged as green (recycled) content | permalink | 2 comments

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

New Chair Day

I've been meaning to get a new office chair for months, although the old one does have kind of a "scratching post charm" to it. The new chair is from Staples, and is one of the few chairs I've tried that a short person can sit all of the way back in and still have their knees bent properly over the front edge.

Most chairs tend to be too deep, and I end up sitting Indian-style, which is not beneficial to my posture after a long day of coding. This one also has a weird head thing that will prevent me from getting whiplash if I ever write a line of code that is just too awesome for my senses.

At $229, it's no Aeron chair, but I still cannot fathom spending $900 for a chair. I will have to engage in my favourite pastime of "sitting" for a few weeks and then get back to you with a review.

UPDATE: A quickie review.

permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Time-lapsed Blogography Day

Fifteen years ago today, on April 2, 1999, I was a junior in college. It was the first "shorts weather" day of the year, which I enjoyed as I walked from the room in East AJ I shared with Nathan Egge to McBryde Hall for my Operating Systems project demo. Though I had only made a 78% on the midterm exam, my practical skills surpassed my conceptual skills and I walked out of this demo with a 110%, leading to an A for the semester (foreshadowing my future reputation for excellence).

In the evening, I drove out to Lynchburg College with Jen Graves to see yet another concert featuring Arturo Sandoval backed by the VT jazz band. I'm not sure why we were so pressed to see Arturo that we all drove two hours into the wilderness, especially since Arturo had played on our own campus not four months earlier.

After the concert, I had a late night dinner at Shoney's with Jen, Rosie, Kelley, Shac, Andrew Simmons, Jason Chrisley, and Jason Mirick before driving all of the way back to Blacksburg and turning in around 2 AM. 2 AM was (and still is) a super late night for me.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Lie to Me, Season Three:
This final, abbreviated season (cancelled by FOX, of course) has a different, more serious edge to its tone, but remains watchable as a treadmill show. The characterizations don't always work, and it sometimes feels like the writers were trying to channel House a little too closely. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B-

Chef (R):
This movie about a chef who starts a food truck is a meandering plot thread containing cameos of everyone Jon Favreau has ever worked with. It takes a long time to get moving (the food truck pictured in the cover art doesn't even make an appearance for the first half of the movie), has a pleasant end-game, and then quietly peters out. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C+

House of Cards, Season Three:
This season was just as over-the-top and soap-opera-ridiculous as the second season, but I found myself enjoying it much more. The season explores the idea that Frank Underwood actually loses power, the higher he climbs, and maintains its brooding, cynical energy. The only jarring misplay is the abrupt throwaway of Benito Martinez's steadily developing storyline, probably done so he could go work on another show. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

State of the Art by Hilltop Hoods:
This album has a full plate of uniquely interesting songs, although it's a bit less polished around the edges and more full of swearing. The final track, Nosebleed Section, is one of several worth listening to.

Final Grade: B

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, April 02, 2018

Violet Day

Maia has a stuffed animal that sings different songs when you press its paw. The repertoire is a mix of nursery rhymes as well as some brilliantly composed original music that was clearly not written by any guilded composer:

Apparently the creator of this song couldn't think of a final line to the song and allowed it to sway gently to completion with MIDI flutes. As if that weren't bad enough, the Morning Song is part I of a three part opus:

Why are the birds singing to the afternoon? Why is the MIDI accompaniment devolving into Ives-meets-Skrillex-like drum machine chaos? Don't think about it too hard because EVENING IS COMING:

Though Violet is thankfully not cloud-enabled, you can initialize her to know the baby's name and a few facts about her. This song about Maia makes me glad we didn't name her Josephine:

MAIA?

tagged as offspring, media | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, April 02, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

sincerely, e by Elizabeth and the Catapult:
The latest album from Elizabeth and the Catapult is pleasant pandemic-inspired fare (Rebecca backed the Kickstarter and we watched "living room concerts" every week up to the album's release). The first half is catchy but the last couple songs fade into an aural sameness that makes me tune out whenever I put the album on.

Final Grade: B-

Detectorists, Season Three:
The final season of Detectorists is a fitting ending for the story but it feels more like a regular British sitcom in its plotting and style -- it's not as whimsical and magical as the originals. We also got a little tired of the "magpie" mysticism that felt like a plot crutch.

Final Grade: B

Six: The Musical (Studio Cast Recording):
This musical that places Henry VIII's six wives in a Spice Girls singing competition is completely unnecessary but lots of fun. The lyrics are witty and the performances are great, although a few songs linger too long. The show was supposed to debut on Broadway the night that Broadway closed, March 12, 2020. Six kind of fills the same tonal neighborhood as the Broadway version of Moulin Rouge but feels a little more successful to my ears.

Final Grade: B+

Tenet:
The latest Christopher Nolan movie is Interstellar without any charisma. The general conceit is "reverse entropy" where some things in the world move backwards through time. The movie's full of interesting ideas, horrible sound mixing where the dialogue is impossible to hear, and an electronic soundtrack that overstays its welcome immediately. The last half of this 2.5 hour behemoth is where everything comes together and features some impressive action sequences and forward/reverse cinematography. I can tell that I would definitely catch some cool details on a rewatch (or 7) but I didn't care enough about the movie to want to do so. (Conversely, I've seen Memento at least 20 times over the years).

Final Grade: C+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

 

You are currently viewing every post from a specific month and day across history. Posts are in chronological order with the oldest at the top. On the front page, the newest post is at the top. The entire URI! Zone is © 1996 - 2022 by Brian Uri!. Please see the About page for further information.

Jump to Top
Jump to the Front Page

OLD POSTS
Old News Years J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
visitors since November 2003