This Day In History: 05/01

Monday, May 01, 2006

Organization

Last Thursday night, I had nothing to do, because the Internet had gone out in my house, and if it's not on the Internet, it's not worth doing. I took the opportunity to organize my CD collection, a behemoth of a task that I'd been putting off since I graduated from college in '01. I'm the kind of guy that carries all of his CDs in those big black cases that are halfway between a Trapper Keeper and a scrapbook, but I also tend to forget some CDs in their jewel cases, or in the car, or maybe the shower. My old CD cases were reasonably well organized by genre, except that the last half of each case had random CDs thrown in, in the order that I'd bought them.

Two hours later, I discovered that I own four hundred and forty-nine CDs from all walks of music, including a small cache of CDs from the 1980's that probably belongs to my sister because I never listen to UB40, INXS, or the Bangles. To give you an idea of what types of music I have in my collection, here is a handy-dandy key. You can tell how into each genre or artist I am (or used to be in days of yore) by the length of the stack:

  1. Assorted recent pop/rock, including Paul Weller, Trashcan Sinatras, Dido, Jem, and the Scissor Sisters among others.
  2. Kansas
  3. The Monkees
  4. Muse
  5. Dave Matthews
  6. Assorted rock, including the Beatles, Blood Sweat and Tears, Coldplay, and Morrisey
  7. Assorted Jazz vocal groups, including the King's Singers, Bobby McFerrin, and Manhattan Transfer
  8. The Hi-Lo's
  9. Assorted Jazz/Combo, including Don Sebesky, Jeff Jarvis, the Dixie Power Trio, Lennie Niehaus and Chick Corea
  10. Glenn Miller
  11. Assorted Jazz, including Arturo Sandoval, Herbie Hancock, and Maynard Ferguson
  12. Count Basie and Duke Ellington
  13. Doc Servinsen and the Tonight Show Band
  1. Stan Kenton Orchestra
  2. Big Band Anthologies
  3. Assorted Novelty and Comedians, including Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, and a CD called Simpsons Sing the Blues featuring cartoon characters singing cover songs that you would probably have to be high to enjoy
  4. Weird Al and Mitch Hedberg
  5. Stan Freberg
  6. Dr. Demento Novelty CDs
  7. Ray Stevens
  8. Spike Jones
  9. Tom Lehrer
  10. Movie Scores, TV Shows, and New Age (I own 1 Yanni CD and 1 John Tesh CD, but I blame marching band).
  11. Henry Mancini
  12. Musicals, including five different renditions of Les Mis
  13. Rafael Mendez
  14. Trumpet Solos, Excerpts, and Sonatas
  15. Brass Ensembles and Quintets
  1. Canadian Brass
  2. Sergei Prokofiev
  3. College CDs, Recitals, and Concerts
  4. Steve Reich
  5. Composer CDs I never listen to, including Ellen Zwilich, and the Michigan State Composer's Forum
  6. Hector Berlioz
  7. Assorted Classical Works
  8. Promotional Free CDs I got by pretending to be a band director
  9. George Gershwin
  10. Marches
  11. Pedagogy, Arranging, and Orchestration
  12. Scriabin, and Gould on the Well-Tempered Clavier
  13. Spanish and German Marches
  14. Choral works like the Rutter Requiem and Mikado
  15. Assorted string quartets, including three renditions of the Ravel

Altogether, I have more jazz than anything else, followed by classical, then pop/rock, then musicals, then comedy. This is probably skewed a bit towards the past, since I buy a lot of music online nowadays. After I got my jollies off of organizing all my CDs, I ended the weekend by finishing up my basement storage room, which now sports a new paint job and a new carpet, laid with the help of my dad. I then organized the bottles of cleaning solution on the shelves, organized the scrap wood in order of length, and organized the crawlspace under the house to store all the remnants of the new carpet (since the Home Depot Carpet Guy somehow managed to give me an extra three feet for free).

Next, I tried organizing my cats from smallest to largest, but they kept effing up the rotation.

Happy May Day! A new month means a fresh start so do something fresh today.

Porn stars tested on acting skills
MI:3 looks eeriely like Alias
World of Warcraft promotes family togetherness

tagged as music | permalink | 8 comments

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day

Today is the first day of the month of May. Today is also the first day of the rest of your life, but since your life doesn't really matter much, we'll talk about May instead.

May is easily one of the Top Twelve months of the year, and definitely makes the Top Three in my book. It's the time when the weather finally decides to stop dicking around and the days are consistently warm -- when you can leave the windows open by night and watch all the sun dresses go past by day. The heater turns off but the A/C doesn't turn on, and my electric bill drops by a good $40 per month, which is just enough to buy three Tatu CDs to explode in your microwave for the good of humanity.

During college and grad school, May was always the month I would return to the familiar environs of northern Virginia for the summer. At Virginia Tech, the semester always ended during the first week of May, signaling the start of useless PEPCO internships and endless barbeques. (People in Florida were lazy, so school tended to end in April, presumably so all the European students could start their jobs at Disney World).

In high school, the year didn't end until the middle of June, but May was the month that teachers unofficially stopped caring about teaching. May was especially fun for the Crew set, because every single weekend was booked up with a regatta ("boat race" if your annual income is less that $100,000) at some exotic locale like New Jersey or Canada. Because the races spanned multiple days, anyone who did Crew was immediately exempt from Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday classes of every week. A rower on a good boat could end up attending just ten days worth of classes -- I did something similar in college but it wasn't exactly "school-sponsored".

I mentioned Crew month last year at this time, but I didn't mention the "coxswain loophole". You see, coxswain is Latin for "tiny person for making drives boat", and these are in very short supply in our nation of fatties. Because coxswains occasionally met with mishap on the road (kidnapping by rival teams or laryngitis), the team was always careful to bring one or two backup coxswains along. By being a good coxswain, you could end up going on every single road trip, even if your own particular boat was so slow that it could only win the race after the one it was in. As a backup coxswain, my trip generally consisted of sleeping on the bus with my headphones on and eating at McDonald's three meals a day while the anorexic rowers spit in cups before weigh-ins. This was a far better existence than going to school and learning stuff.

Which is your favourite month?

Dumb people can be rich too
Cook said he was to receive a 1994 Chrysler New Yorker for his role in the scheme.
Iowa scared of safe sex terrorists

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Euro-tic Adventure, Part IX of X

Budgeting

When we first planned this trip out back in January, we'd decided that $3000 per person was the maximum amount we wanted to spend. In the end, despite all the heart palpitations over the expensive pounds, we actually spent just under $2500 per person. We alternated lavish meals with local foods from the market and hit the freebie museums (especially in London), but never sacrificed the things we WANTED to see because they were expensive. Of the $2500, about $1200 went towards major transportation (planes and trains), $600 went towards lodging, and the remaining $700 was our slush fund for the Metro, food, drinks, and daily attractions. If you plan ahead, going to Europe is suprisingly feasible -- particularly if you travel with another person, and especially if you're under the age of 26 (those little snots get discounts on EVERYTHING).

We did not use any of the all-inclusive tourist passes, partly because we didn't want to visit many of the included places, and partly because going off-season meant there were no lines to begin with!

Going Off-Season

The warm travel season for Europe officially starts in May. Even towards the end of the trip, we could feel the increase in tourists acutely. To me, going right at the end of the off-season was a worthwhile trade-off -- we got to experience the cities and most attractions without any crowds or lines. The downsides: sometimes our toes froze, and some places had greatly reduced hours or were closed for renovation. If you don't mind a "cold, but getting warmer" Marco Polo approach to tourism, April is a great month to go. Any earlier would be way too cold to be worth it.

Big City Awards

LondonParisBarcelona
MetroEasiest To UseMost TediousMost Efficient
AttractionsCheapestMost ArtsyLeast Interesting
CleanlinessCleanestUnmemorableMost Likely to Smell Like Raw Sewage
GraffitiNearly PristineGraffiti EverywhereGRAFFITI EVERYWHERE!
SmokingMore than the StatesMore than LondonEveryone Smokes
PricesPlum CrazySlightly PriceyNormal
ToiletsIn the BasementFree self-washing street toiletsFilthy, even in Burger King
HistoryFeels ModernHistory Is OmnipresentBest Blend of Old and New
FoodTasty and FillingToo Much Cheese and BreadI Hope You Like Seafood
DrinksGreat BeersEven the Cheap Wines are GoodWine and Beer -- Your Choice
LocalsVery FriendlyFriendly When ApproachedWhat Locals? It's All Tourists
NavigationEnglish is FunStraightforwardOnly Sucks When You Leave Downtown
PetsWhat Pets?CatsReally Wimpy Dogs
CharacterBusy and ModernAncient and CharmingBusy and Modern

Favourites

I preferred the little cities over the big cities in general. Carcassonne was wonderful, but I could see it getting boring after more than a couple days. Collioure was a perfect idyllic setting, and someplace I might want to retire to someday. Out of the big cities, London was my favourite for its charm. If I spoke all three languages fluently and could move to any of these cities today, my pick would be London -- I could see myself living a daily life there without to much effort.

To Be Concluded tomorrow...

GTA 4 did not release with stunt stabbings
Free Tibet, but not on Mount Everest
London blogger exposes life on the Tube

tagged as travel | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, May 01, 2009

Just Plain Friday

Road Rule of the Day: Don't go to all that trouble to cut me off and merge in front of me, only to slow down and drive like a pansy.

FEMA pulls 9/11 coloring book
Girl beats off muggers with marching baton
Shadow Hare saves Cincinatti

permalink | 2 comments

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Museday Tuesday

As part of this feature, which I started in 2007, I compose a very brief work (under 30 seconds) inspired by a randomly generated title from an online word generator or suggested by a reader. The composition can be for any instrumentation, and could even be a purely synthesized realization that might not be possible to perform in the real world.

I work on the excerpt continuously for an hour and then post whatever I've managed to complete, even if its a prime candidate for a William Hung Greatest Hits album.

Viscid: (adj.) sticky; adhesive; viscous

My Composition (0:30 MP3)

This excerpt is for viola and flutes over a mishmash of synths.

tagged as museday | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Memory Day: This Day in High School

10th Grade

May 1, 1994 Sunday

I finished the assignments for chapters 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23 today. Theoretically speaking, I won't have any biology homework until around May 27.

11th Grade

May 1, 1995 Monday

Today was just a normal day. I don't really listen in Physics anymore because the new sub isn't the greatest explainer in the world. American Civ was normal. I tried to stay awake but I couldn't. Stage band went well. I played a good Samba solo. During that period, I started seeing spots, a sure sign that I would eventually have a headache. I had had small pains every so often earlier but not big problems. The spots got worse through precal and the headache came during french. We worked on our stories. I sat out in band and it got a little better. The band voted for drum major today. Hilda and I were the only ones but I'm not sure whether there'll be one or two majors. I'd like to work with Hilda, but at the same time, I don't really want to share the leadership with someone. As Jay said, he thinks that another major would just get in my way. At crew, we did a 30 minute piece up towards the Anacostia River. We got to the Naval Yard in DC. We got back at around 5. I got a ride home with Jay. We talked about a lot of different things. I've got scouts tonight.

12th Grade

May 1, 1996 Wednesday

Today was pretty long. I got up at 4:30 and drove to crew. We did pieces against the junior guys and senior girls and did well. Theory and physics were normal. English was a movie. The rest of the school day was boring. After band, I went back to crew for afternoon practice, and then went to Pit rehearsal. We didn't actually start until 7 so we had to sit around for 1.5 hours. Mr. Randall got angry and yelled at Mrs. Masters (the drama teacher), who doesn't know what she's doing. We got done at 10:30 and I came home. I have crew again tomorrow morning and then tomorrow night is the opening night for the play. Some parts will be really good and some, really disjunct.

tagged as games | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Oral-B Professional Healthy Clean Precision 1000:
My dentist recommended an electric toothbrush a year and a half ago, and because I like to incorporate the pace of bureaucracy in all of my health decisions, I didn't buy one until January. Apparently, I brush my teeth too hard, and if I continue, my gums will vanish and my teeth will go all the way up to my brain. I have mixed feelings on this toothbrush. The thirty-second timer is very effective at ensuring that I brush each mouth quadrant consistently over two minutes, and it's clear that it does a much better job than manual brushing. However, it's so bulky that you must be holding it -- no more puttering around the bathroom with a toothbrush in your cheek. The base is unstable and takes up precious counter / socket space. Also, you will still need to brush your tongue with a normal toothbrush. Generally, I'll use the electric toothbrush a few times a week only -- it's too exciting and I don't always need a techno party in my mouth.

Final Grade: B

News from Nowhere by The Hoosiers:
This is the third album by the The Hoosiers. Free from the shackles of the Sony label and the pressure to be pop platinum, the album is more mature, feels a bit low-fi, and shifts the needle back from pop towards indie style. I enjoy the album a lot although I would be lying if I said that I didn't miss the bombastic pop insanity of the original two albums. (My full review can be read on Amazon).

Final Grade: A-

Archer, Season One & Two:
This is a profane cartoon about a dysfunctional spy organization with plenty of talented, memorable voice actors (a surprising number of the Arrested Development cast appear). With a minimalist animation style and jokes that are actually funny, it's better than one might expect. However, the novelty wore off pretty quickly for me, and I stopped watching after two seasons. Available on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Orphan Black, Season One:
This BBC America show is a wild ride, and its initial 10 episode run is more like a long movie than a serialized show. A mystery-thriller with understated sci-fi elements, it's best started with minimal advance knowledge (and plenty of leave to call in sick the next day for binge watching). The fortspinnung of the plot puts shows like LOST to shame, with plots colliding and boiling over as quickly as they should, and a minimum of "fortuitous near-misses keeping characters in the dark" plot devices. More plot progression happened in the 45 minutes of episode six than in the whole hatch season of LOST. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: A+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, May 01, 2015

Random Chart Day: 3 Years of Finances

does not include Rebecca's billions

tagged as data | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, May 01, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

Welcome to May!

On Friday night, we went to Michelle's to optimize the packing of her Prius for a cross-country move to Berkeley, a city that clearly has more hippies than Reston by an exponential factor. On Saturday, I stayed in while Rebecca went to the Reston Farmer's Market (returning home with asparagus and cucumbers but no cow flanks). Rebecca has been on a bird kick recently, so she and her friend, Sara, put up a 2nd-floor bird feeder in the afternoon where it can be viewed by humans and cats alike in the kitchen. No birds have arrived yet.

On Sunday, we went to a work picnic / send-off for one of Rebecca's coworkers who is going back to Physical Therapy school. The heat was oddly comfortable and we played badminton on an unused basketball court for awhile while they talked about PT things. In the evening, we had leftovers and watched Captain Fantastic.

How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Time-lapsed Blogography Day: 19 Years Ago Today

Nineteen years ago today, on May 1, 2000, I performed my final project in Conducting class: a live performance of a piece of my choosing. My orchestra consisted of the other students in the class, a horrible permutation of 1 flute, 1 clarinet, 1 violin, 2 alto saxophones, 4 trumpets, 1 horn, 1 trombone, 1 tuba, 1 piano, and 2 percussionists. Because I couldn't possibly do anything the easy way, I chose to treat my final project as both a conducting and a composing assignment. I arranged one of my 1997 concert band pieces, The King's Entourage, for this cancerous orchestration.

Unlike some conductors who scribble all over their scores as if to fix the composition's intrinsic flaws, my conducting scores were always very sparse. All notes were relegated to the top line of the score and consisted mostly of cue reminders so I knew who to look at. As I practiced and became more comfortable, I would erase notes and rely more on memory.

I got an A on the final project. Afterwards, Professor Glazebrook pulled me aside and said it was the best project he'd ever seen done, exactly the way he wanted. Of my unique pairing of alto saxophone and violin for the melody, he said "it was not as awful a sound as I would have expected". (Based on this high praise, I would go on to compose my Master's thesis using alto saxophone and violin more than allowed by Geneva Conventions).

I still have my conducting textbook, notated examples, and conducting baton on my shelf, although I have not conducted an ensemble since undergrad. I had to confiscate the baton once Maia started chewing on it.

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, May 01, 2020

Data Day: A Representative Day in Self-Quarantine

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

 

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