01/2003

Thursday, January 02, 2003

CD\FLORIDA

What a geeky update.

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Friday, January 03, 2003

I left home yesterday around five in the morning and got on I-95 with the Yanni belting out open windows. The first leg of the trip into North Carolina was uneventful, and besides the odd catfish truck I was the only person on the road. It was around Rocky Mount that I nodded off at the wheel, since the road was straight and danger was nonexistant. The next thing I knew, there was a guttural screeching of gears and airhorns and a bright flash of sparks as I veered off the road and through an electrified fence. The last thing I remember was a herd of cows mooing like bovine cannibals around the car.

When I became conscious again, I found myself in a small barren room with a single incandescent light bulb swaying from the ceiling. I was handcuffed to a chair and an overbearing fellow with no neck who smelled like feet was glaring across the table at me. He fired a steady barrage of questions at me in a variety of Arabic dialects which I couldn't understand, although I did hear the words 'suitcase bomb' occasionally. The interview went much quicker when Islaac realized I could speak English and we quickly worked things out. I had breached the perimeter of a top secret army installation somewhere north of Florence and they suspected me of being a suicide bomber (albeit one who hadn't done a particularly good job).

Once they realized I was just a student, they fixed up my car and sent me on my way, anxious to avoid negative publicity, or any publicity at all for that matter. Luckily, there was minimal damage to the bumper of my car, and all my belongings were still inside (except for the computer, which I got back after they had scanned it thoroughly). I arrived in Tallahassee only a few hours late, after being tailed by a government SUV through South Carolina and most of Georgia. It was definitely a trip that I'll never forget.

Today's Maxim: It's okay to lie when the truth is boring.

Also, there's a few new pictures on the Photos page.

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Saturday, January 04, 2003

I'm back in Tallahassee, the land where people turn on red from middle lanes and where they advertise sales that ended the day before. The break was good for me -- I read some books and watched some movies, but most of my time was spent finishing up my thesis. I finally completed the music back on December 28, so this month will be occupied with editing and correcting the visual score. If you have an eye for detail and want to make a few bucks, give me a holler and you can help proofread later in the month.

    Labyrinth (15:45, 14.4MB MP3)

There's also a MIDI file on the Music Page (under Volume III) for people without a cable modem, but your sound card may convert the extramusical effects into something zany like a seashore. The piece is written for: 2 flutes (1 doubling piccolo), oboe, alto sax (doubling soprano), bassoon, trumpet, 2 horns, trombone, tuba, 2 violins, cello, bass, and 2 percussion. There are nine continuous movements:

    I. Ingress
    II. Determination (1:02 on MP3)
    III. Perplexity (2:38)
    IV. Adversary (5:14)
    V. Despondency (6:28)
    VI. Abeyance (10:20)
    VII. Flight (12:37)
    VIII. Determination Redux (13:13)
    IX. Egress (14:40)

A married couple in Beijing, China, ended up brawling after realizing they had unwittingly courted each other over the Internet. After a month of secret online flirting, the man arranged to meet up with his mystery girlfriend, only to discover it was his wife. They each agreed to carry a certain newspaper to identify themselves but were shocked when they came face to face and started fighting in the street. Passerby eventually alerted security guards, who had to separate the two. - ananova.com

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Sunday, January 05, 2003

From the Holiday Backlog:

12/17/02

Brian,

We are bored. Nous sommes bored. Please make your updates more interesting and leave out any mention of Les Mis. We tried to ignore the first five-day rant that contaminated your domain, but this is too much. Hence, a list of topics we would like to see covered:

  • Puppies.
  • Etymology of the word 'booyah'.
  • Description of funny college mascots (in the style of John Madden)
  • Strategies for the game Battleship (you sunk my battleship!)
  • More puppies (cute ones).

To be continued...

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Monday, January 06, 2003

From the Holiday Backlog (continued):

  • Recipe for World Peas (heh).
  • A collage of funny pictures of Santa and/or Elves.
  • Random curling statistics.
  • How to build a house of cards.
  • Even more puppies (really cute ones)

Good luck.
Kathy & Mike

Today is the first day of classes at FSU, and for the first time in years, I don't have a single class to go to. This must be what it's like to drop out of college and live in a basement. This month, my time will be spent editing my thesis score and teaching sightsinging I. Both sections that I teach are on Tuesday and Thursday -- one in the normal music building, and one in the snooty musicians-only self-contained dorm. It should be fun -- I'll be teaching all the students I had last semester, except in two manageable portions.

Gambian wakes up to find his car transformed

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Tuesday, January 07, 2003

I took a trip through Cawthon, the musicians' country club, yesterday and it's amazing how much money they put into the place. The building is a combination of dorm rooms, classrooms, and practice rooms, so incoming music majors can focus on music with fewer distractions. Beyond card-locked doors, across hardwood floors, and through a piano lounge nearly the size of Monaco, is a classroom with every technology known to man. With video and audio solutions and both a PC and a Mac, this classroom could probably teach by itself. There's even a document scanner that you can use to display your hand and other useful body parts on the overheard projector in real-time.

Of course, my other section is in a giant rehearsal room that can easily hold one hundred people. It has no permanent sound system and a single chalkboard with no permanent staves. It'll be a challenge to teach both sections effectively without shortchanging the latter class.

I've always been a little doubtful of the all-in-one experiments that schools try to keep students on track. The most meaningful parts of college are the outside interactions, and if students have no impetus to get out and about, they just miss out. It's as if the slogan is "Come to college for life experience; just stay in this room until it's done though."

P.S. The chalkboard eraser in 102 is friggin' huge. You could erase me with it.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Our ad-hoc basketball team lost to "Maxx Attack" last night, 46-22. Our lack of organization was pretty apparent and at the beginning of the second half our coach left for the hospital bleeding profusely above the right eye. Still, it was fun, and we're bound to improve after a few more games and some weekend practice. We're in League 6, which is the entry-level league in Tallahassee Rec Sports, so it looks like we'll be playing "fun" teams and good teams that just happen to be new to the league.

I have two sections of sight singing, with 13 and 14 people in each. All but 5 had me last semester for Fundamentals so they're already used to my chalky ways. I've lost 10 of my old students to bad grades, major changes, and alligators, so thankfully the classes won't be too crowded.

Jesus 'healed using cannabis'
Michael Vick still on top

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Thursday, January 09, 2003

The basketballers lost to the coyly-named "Craven Moorehead & Associates" 47-15 last night. I didn't play this game as I had hospital duty with our local wounded, who turned out to have a fractured orbit.

Walking to Cawthon doubles my daily commute. If I don't watch out, I might become physically fit or something.

Porn stars help prevent suicide

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Friday, January 10, 2003

One week down, sixteen weeks to go. I finally got all the administrative details of my classes under control and did another ten pages of score editing today. It's kind of nice having three solid days without academic responsibilities. Once I've finished defending my thesis, re-editing my string quartet, and creating the persistent online database for Music Fundamentals, I'll undoubtably have plenty of time for worthy pursuits. My first goals will including becoming a Master at chess, go, and Chutes and Ladders, followed by a complete self-study course to get a mail-order degree in biochemistry.

There's also basketball practice tomorrow morning, so hopefully we can iron out the flaws in our wrinkled abilities.

FREE: Beautiful 6-month old kitten, playful, friendly, very affectionate OR... Handsome 32-year-old husband -- personable, funny, good job, but hates cats. Says he goes or cat goes. Come see both and decide which you'd like.

Free! 1 can of pork & beans with purchase of 3-bed 2-bath home.

German Shepherd 85 lbs, Neutered. Speaks German.

For Sale: 1-man, 7-woman hot tub, $850.

Cows, Calves never bred... also 1 gay bull for sale.

Tickle Me Elmo, still in box, comes with its own 1988 Mustang, 51, Auto, Excellent Condition $6800

Fully cooked boneless smoked man - $2.09/lb

Exercise equipment: Queen-sized mattress & box springs -- $175

Used tombstone, perfect for someone named Homer Hendelbergenheinzel. One only.

Turkey for sale: Partially eaten, eight days old, drumsticks still intact. $23 obo

Have Viagra. Need woman, any woman between 18 & 80.

Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.

-- classified ads from an article in UJBR

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Saturday, January 11, 2003

Tallahassee has the wackiest commercial selections I've ever seen, and not in a good way. First, we get the trial runs of those obnoxiously offensive "truth." commercials, like last year's floating eyeball cartoons which apparently never made it to a wider venue up north. Then come the horribly low-budget efforts from local merchants like Bill Well's Chevrolet and REX, and last month's welder school ad. There was also a notable, if tasteless, plug where Santa gets stuck in a chimney with the silent caption, "Not sure when your diarrhea will hit?", before a fade-out. As a final sign of intelligent programming, there was primetime on January 4th when someone forgot to play the proper tapes. Ads for the Rose Bowl and New Year's Day sales (ending January 2nd) played for a solid hour before someone noticed that all was not right.

I'm on page 33 of 69 in score editing.

    Adland: Gotcha. Anyone else on your naughty list?

    Santa: One more. Imodium AD.

    Adland: Imodium AD!? On Christmas!?

    Santa: Santa's really mad at those sons of bitches.

    Santa: First off, they use the old stuck-in-the-chimney bit, which Santa's growing accustomed to, but then they go and make it so that somehow the reason that Santa's stuck in the chimney is because Santa's got diarrhea. Diarrhea!!

    Adland: Oooooooh.

    Santa: First off, Santa doesn't understand why diarrhea would get Santa stuck in the chimney, but the big thing is diarrhea. Diarrhea! Santa doesn't get diarrhea! Santa is on a special high-calorie, high-fiber diet. Diarrhea is out of the question! Santa would like to state, unequivocally and for the record, that Santa is no hosenscheisser.

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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 13, 2003

There was a great payoff to an ongoing plot on Alias last night. All of the actors are strong, but Ron Rifkin especially did a good job in this storyline. It's too bad that more people don't tune in; it's an excellent show that's not just a spy thriller. It manages to create complex character studies against a backdrop that just happens to be the spy world. Of course it doesn't help that ABC does a horrible job of promoting it. Besides leading in with an old Disney cartoon classic every week, they also put together the most ridiculous screen teasers that make the show look juvenile and shallow. I wouldn't blame anyone who's ever seen an episoder trailer from dismissing the show as crap.

I subbed in two sections of written theory I this morning, and even though I like teaching it, I'm glad that I don't have to do it three days a week anymore. It is nice to be respected by the students though; all the students I taught today are also in my sightsinging classes, and most were in Fundamentals last semester.

I saw a flyer up advertising the FSU Korean Ensemble today. I don't think I've ever seen anyone play a Korean in an ensemble setting. I bet you have to be pretty good to solo.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Googlism.com is a site that I've been meaning to feature here for a few months now . If you enter a person's name or some entity, it will return a list of everything the Google search engine knows about that entity. It doesn't always know people, but every so often you get a perfect description, or an inherently funny one. Among its highlights:

    Evan Jones is the proud owner of a big hupmobile.
    Evan Jones is a superb source for older American foods
    Evan Jones is arrested on a warrant for having abandoned his wife and children in England.
    Evan Jones is on a roll.
    Evan Jones is on to something.

    Peter Spencer is no chardonnay.
    Dr. Spencer is involved in an important race to make something that has never been made before

    Basketball is a contact sport and injuries are a possibility

    Mark Connor is lucky to be alive.
    Mark Connor is a highly skilled and versitile guitar player who provides a rich soul and blues feel to his playing.

    Alan Scott is kind of lean and angular.

    Jim Barry is the bloke in charge.

    James Mathes is right.

    Alex is a sexy bitch
    Alex is talking from his arse
    Alex is not macho what do you think

    Robert Kelley is a smart person and I don't think he would be doing anything now with the current charges pending

    Beth Smith is so far ahead of the pack in the 300 hurdles that she'd practically have to fall flat

    Dr. Shaftel is always very helpful in explaining my problems to me

    Chompy is really mad now
    Chompy is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute
    Chompy is helping me stay somewhat sane
    Chompy is a pirhana

    Brian is great brian is great brian is great brian is great brian is great brian is great brian is great brian is great brian is great brian is
    Brian is north central Florida's only honky tonk country showcase
    Brian is a survivor of an airplane crash leaving him alone and desolate in the canadian wilderness

    Music Theory is okay and there's nothing wrong with that
    Music Theory is not music
    Music Theory is often seen as an arcane and somewhat forbidding discipline which stands at a distance from the sweet pleasure and sensuous thrill that is music
    Music Theory is a pain in the backside

    Composing is sh*t
    Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house

    Life is good online
    Life is utterly miserable because of you personally

    Sightsinging is the bane of my existence

Great commercials of our time:
Announcer: "What makes Hardee's 'Made from Scratch' biscuits so special?"
Baker: "The fact that they're made from scratch."

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Wednesday, January 15, 2003

The theory department basketball team played "Solid-Waste-Express" last night and lost 16-66. Still we're starting to click as a team and did pretty well considering we only had six players total for substitutions. The score at the half was 4-48, so the points from just the second half were 12-18. Not bad for a bunch of partwriters. Plus, we broke our streak of losing one player to injuries every game.

I was a little reticent about playing at first, since joining a basketball team is obviously not something I'd normally do. Still I guess it's healthy to do something that's completely outside of your normal comfort zone on occasion. Plus the benefits are great -- I've already got a TV endorsement deal for a local Oriental cuisine restaurant lined up, although it may affect my amateur status.

I will have the second draft of my thesis completed this evening (7 pages to go). Next comes the proofreading and nitpicking, which will probably last through the 25th. If you've got an eye for musical details and want to earn a little extra cash feel free to sign on as a proofreader.

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Thursday, January 16, 2003

After I finished printing the next draft of my thesis yesterday afternoon, I was at a loss for what to do next. I couldn't start proofreading immediately, because I would be bound to miss details since I stared at that score for two weeks straight. So, looking through my backlog of projects, I pulled out one that could help me refresh my Java skills (which I'll be needing for that Music Fundamentals project in a month or so).

With the requisite fanfare, I present "the Monopulator" , an online Java applet that can be used to calculate mortgage payback rates and income taxes for the board game, Monopoly. You just check off the properties you own, how many houses you have, and your cash supply, and get a quick calculation of 1) how much you would have to pay to unmortgage a group of properties and 2) what your net worth is, in case you land on the 10% or $200 income tax square.

This version is really just a hack that I threw together last night, but it's fully functional if you have the Java 1.4.0 plug-in . I'll post the source code on the Coding page when I get around to cleaning it up some.

Supreme Court upholds copyright law
Mayor Bloomberg unclear on the concept of 'homelessness'
Five hours nonstop now qualifies as hardcore gaming

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Friday, January 17, 2003

The basketball team lost to PBS&J last night, 36-58. However, we were winning at the half and actually put on a pretty good show. I originally thought the opposing team would be composed of pledge drivers from PBS, using a witty play on "PB & J", but it turned out to be a local office of an engineering firm. Nothing in Tallahassee is so clever.

I've posted my latest Warcraft report (from November) on the Writings page. It ended up getting rated a 9.5.

Man makes computer his bitch
People leaving the church see: 'No need to mail order. Gay videos in stock. Clergy discount. Have good sex. Hallelujah!'

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Saturday, January 18, 2003

My membership to the National Eagle Scout Association expires today, which means it's been exactly ten years since I was sitting in the basement of the First Baptist church for my Board of Review. Looking back and looking ahead, I will probably never become actively involved in Scouting again. While the whole process of camping and earning merit badges has a lot to offer to kids, it's counterbalanced by the extreme closemindedness of the organization when it comes to issues like religion and sexual orientation. All of the benefits of Scouting can also be acheived outside of its umbrella with a little extra work.

NESA revokes membership of openly gay man
Get money from class action suit if you bought CDs in the past
Be proud to have Allstate insurance

"However, a caution is appropriate: the nonprofessional trumpet player will have great difficulty controlling the soft dynamics almost anywhere in the entire range." - Samuel Adler, The Study of Orchestration

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Sunday, January 19, 2003

I only saw three new movies over the Christmas holiday but all of them were reasonably good. First, I ended up going to The Two Towers on opening night. While the movie was pretty good, it wasn't worth the hassle of going on the first day. The story was probably harder to follow for new viewers, but had a lot more accessible jokes and slapstick moments (it's far too easy to make dwarves the butt of jokes). Contrary to the first movie, a lot of modified from the book for this one, with several major events being saved for the final chapter of the trilogy. Still, it worked just fine for me since I didn't like the books anyhow. Finally, the movie was just too damn long, but if you're going to go all out, you may as well go all out. I would have enjoyed it more in smaller sections with a comfortable couch and a pause button. The computer-generated Gollum was easily the most intriguing part of the movie, and managed to convey lots of emotion effortlessly.

Minority Report was interesting, but lost some focus towards the end. The plot twist was incredibly easy to discover early on, but the effects and camera work were well-done. Something about Tom Cruise always gets on my nerves though. It's as if he's never <character>, he's always "Tom Cruise as <character>".

Last was the movie Good Girl with Jennifer Aniston. The movie itself is low-key and low-budget, but isn't bad for an hour and a half of entertainment. The most interesting part of the movie is discovering that Aniston can actually act outside of a sitcom, and though her Southern accent is jarring for the first five minutes, her character becomes believable very quickly. There's rumours that she might be up for a Globe for her performance.

Tomorrow is a holiday and I won't have any classes. Not that those two statements are related at all.

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Monday, January 20, 2003

As I continue to clear out my holiday backlog, I thought I'd post about two DVDs I got for Christmas. The first, The Back to the Future Trilogy, is pretty self-explanatory. If you were a normal kid growing up in the 80s, chances are good that you enjoyed this trilogy. Besides the three movies with remastered effects and sound, the DVDs contain lots of extras including interviews, behind-the-scenes effects work, and deleted scenes. I loved the movies when I was a kid and forgot how well all three films tied together as a cohesive trilogy. Definitely worth the purchase if you were ever a fan.

I also received the first season of Malcolm in the Middle, one of the new generation of sitcoms that's remained consistently funny. The episodes are all solid although the special features aren't anything out of the ordinary. In the second season of this show, there was a bowling alley episode that messed with parallel universes and timelines that was easily one of the most unique sitcom episodes ever written.

I'm thinking about purchasing a Nintendo GameCube. Any opinions?

Old people have no talent
An interesting story on why radio is crap

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Tuesday, January 21, 2003

If you use Listen and Sing in your sightsinging class, you should know that the Beethoven's monopoly ran out of books again, and don't plan on making another immediate order this semester. This is after they decided not to order any at all at the beginning of the term, and after I contacted them and specifically told them how many students would be in need of it. I'm all for helping the local businessmen, but if you're going to exercise a monopoly on textbooks and use unfair trade practices against other bookstores in town, you've got to be prepared to actually serve the customer and offer some incentive for repeat business. I finally told all my students who got screwed a second time to cancel their orders and order online (saving twenty dollars and a car ride in the process). Stuff like that just pisses me off.

I finished printing and binding the preliminary draft of my thesis today, and I'll be giving copies to my committee tomorrow. Nothing drastic should change now, and I'm still looking for a defense date before Spring Break. Next up on my agenda of stuff to do is a revision of my string quartet score for the string quartet competition, and then Dr. Spencer's music fundamentals project.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I lost my Chapstick somewhere yesterday. As crazy as it might sound, trumpet players develop a case of sympathetic chapped lips whenever Chapstick is unavailable. I always keep one in my front left pocket between my keyring and my illegal handgun.

Our valiant basketball team lost to "The Churchill Gang" last night, 21 - 71. However, we achieved a striking ratio with time of ball possession versus time it takes to substitute players in and out, which was probably 1 to 5.

    Kath is allowed into his kitchen
    Kathy is one hot babe
    Kath is the bitch from the bush
    Kathy is a fun instructor and I look forward to taking more classes from her
    Kathy is a graduate of yo
    Kathy is the resident mother amongst all my friends
    Kathy is a female caribou

    - Googlism

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Thursday, January 23, 2003

I finally got a key to the audio closet in KMU 340, so my deprived ghetto class of sightsingers no longer have to pretend to hear the music. I don't see what the big security fuss was about -- the closet locks itself when you close the door and there's no way to forget to lock it. I especially like the part where I originally couldn't get a key because "we've had several things stolen from the closet because the door wasn't properly locked after non-music education classes". Theory/comp is definitely living the thug life. We steal records from other departments and sell them for profit at the local music store monopoly.

Tallahassee is not supposed to be this cold. This city can't do anything right.

Football kills
Michael Vick back in Blacksburg
Copycat not a cat copy

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Friday, January 24, 2003

I ended up buying a Nintendo GameCube and a few games this week. It's played pretty well so far, but I'll post a more in-depth review once I've wasted more time with it. I waited for so long to let the console market even out and to have more games to choose from. Computer gaming is in a slump this year and I've got to have something to waste time with.

The basketball team lost to Lucy Ho's Chinese restaurant last night, 21-51, but it was easily one of the best games we've played. Though we only had six players, I think we worked together pretty well. I got to put 2 points up on the board as well. My leg is a little sore where I took a knee to the shin but it should go away in a few days.

This transcript is almost seven years old, but I rediscovered it yesterday.

What not to do in cybersex

What do you think of the new look?

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Saturday, January 25, 2003

My thesis defense has been set now -- it will be March 3, 2003 at 3:30 PM. I went for a four person committee (Clendinning, Kubik, Spencer, Wingate) since I didn't realize at the time that a three-person committee was viable. Now that my preliminary draft is bound (courtesy of Mike's Binding) and submitted, the committee has two weeks to review it and offer suggestions. Then I make a final copy and wade through paperwork to announce the defense to the university.

There's an article about the post-Super-Bowl episode of Alias up at salon.com. You can read the entire thing by opting to watch a 15-second ad for Mercedes-Benz:

    Nobody really understands why "Alias" is not a ratings smash. Critics love it, fans are obsessed with it, ABC is behind it and star Jennifer Garner has had more magazine covers than she's had hot meals. So what, exactly, is the problem?

    The only explanation -- and the brain trust's current thinking -- is that the plot is too confusing. And it is. It is staunchly, proudly and maddeningly impossible to follow. You can't just drop in and out of "Alias." You have to account for your whereabouts. "Alias" demands loyalty, devotion and the ability to keep even the most Byzantine convolutions straight. And once you get into it, you really want to.

    [...] 9.3 million viewers aren't enough, so as of Sunday, after the Super Bowl, a new, revamped "Alias" hits the airwaves. Weekly cliffhangers will disappear and new episodes will be more self-contained, requiring less knowledge of the previous week's episode. - Salon.com

I have Chapstick again. Medicated.

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Sunday, January 26, 2003

Sunday's update is a little early because I spent Saturday evening cleaning up the Domain and wanted to get everything uploaded. The biggest improvement, besides the graphical overhaul, is the implementation of collapsible menus in every area of the Domain. If you've ever complained about having to scroll waistdeep through crap to get to your favourite Photo section, you're now in luck! Each major subsection of each area is now initially collapsed for everyone who gets stressed by the clutter (like me). This is something of a transitory step since the changes I'd really like to make can't be done until I've bought my own webspace. In the meantime, I've done a quick once-over, but if you find any errors or broken images, please let me know by using the mail icon in the upper left corner of this box. Thanks!

For my next project, I plan on rerouting the Swanee River using only HTML and geek-speak. Alternately, I could work on my lesson plans some more.

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Monday, January 27, 2003

Alias was an incredible episode last night, despite having to follow a dreadfully dull post-game special. After a painfully gratuitous lingerie scene (designed to keep Super Bowlers from changing the channel), and some stilted dialogue written for new viewers (This is the bad guy. Over here is the CIA headquarters), the episode kicked off into high gear and culminated with the apparent destruction of the evil organization, SD-6, which pretended to be a branch of the CIA. This had been the goal since the pilot of season one, but it turns out to be the first step in some long range plan by one of the villains who used the real CIA to destroy everything after he'd safely vanished with millions of dollars.

With this plot twist, the big baddie can continue to be bad without having to pretend to be good, and it's pretty much created a blank slate for the rest of the season. It takes balls to essentially eliminate your show's original focus mid-season, but judging from the way it was foreshadowed and last season's twists, I bet J.J. Abrams can do it.

It looks like the lingerie ads worked though, as Alias had a 13.3/23 Nielsen rating, when it normally hits a high of 9 or 10. Season One comes out on DVD in September. If you've never seen the show, go buy it, or borrow mine.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Interval Mnemonics Day went well in my sightsinging classes today, although surprisingly better in KMU than in Cawthon. I had multiple real-world examples prepared for each interval, ascending and descending, within an octave. Things got off to a rocky start in Cawthon when Jaws crashed the computer (being, of course, the example for an ascending minor second). That damn shark.

When I finally got to the end of the examples in the "low-tech CD" version of the show, I went back to repeat a few to find that Doogie Howser had possessed the CD player (descending octave) and wouldn't let any other tracks play. I was actually surprised at how many of the jazz/pop examples were recognized by students since I'd expected that many would be before their time. However, none of the students knew the Schubert, Dvorak, or Mussorgsky examples, which was telling.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2003

From last night's State of the Union address, I learned that the representatives of our country are excellent clappers, although there was no occasion for them to demonstrate their "two and four" clap. There was one guy about three rows back who cheated -- he stood up with the crowd at every standing ovation, but kept his hands in his coat pockets. The clapping even came in a variety of styles, ranging from a broad low rumble to a more raucous pub-style, punctuated by jolly 'attaboys whenever the Pee Wee Herman word of the day was heard up front. It's a shame that none of the billions of dollars was directed towards congressional skin-care, as such voracious clapping is bound to chafe and be detrimental to the epidermis.

In another surprise twist, President Bush did not elect to bring in a green screen to set up behind the podium. It must have been terrifying for him to stand up there and realize that people would actually be listening to the words coming out of his mouth, without cute slogans highlighted in the background.

Of course he gave an excellent motivational speech, hitting all the high points at the proper time and appealing to the souls of the common man despite his insistence on repeating the old claptrap numbers supporting his tax changes. Among the high points of the pomp was the point when he discussed giving aid to Africa for HIV and the cameras instantly panned to the distinguished black gentleman in the front row for reaction shots, because of course, all black people in America commute from Zimbabwe.

Later in the evening, he decided to nonchalantly toss Iran back into the axis of evil, evidently banking on the fact that the American majority would fail miserably if there were an alllooksame.com for the Middle East. I almost expected him to get cocky from all his overt support and throw France and Germany in too. They're not real countries, you know.

If the United States goes to war with Iraq without the support of the UN (or against its wishes), it will just confirm the views of hostile entities that the US is an arrogant and ignorant country that's still trying to play by superpower rules, and next time, it might not just be a single terrorist cell on the offensive. Is it really worth that risk for some oil? Probably not.

Especially if Bush expects us to believe that he's going to sink 1.2 billion dollars into clean-air cars.

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Thursday, January 30, 2003

The School of Music here is ramping up to its annual Festival of New Music, and it's going to be a doozy. Following daily two-hour master classes with guest composer, Shulamit Ran, every day this week, there'll be a new music concert tonight. Friday will feature four back-to-back concerts and Saturday will be host to three consecutive concerts and a moderated panel discussion.

I feel that as a contemporary composer, I should be salivating over all this new music goodness in one place, but in reality I'm seeing it as more of a chore than a gift -- maybe it's good that I'll be getting out of the profession when I am. It's not the content of the concerts that bothers me, it's the sheer amount. It's kind of like starting the Roots series but realizing in advance that Chicken George won't be around for another twelve hours or so. I'd rather have non-live versions of the music in the comfort of my home and take the pieces in slowly and at my own convenience.

By the way, our basketball cadre lost to "Happy Hour" on Tuesday night, 60-11. This might seriously affect our endorsement contracts.

Where they get frozen franks from
Arr! Thank goodness for my Daily Multiple Vitamins
Be proud of FSU music graduates

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Friday, January 31, 2003

FGM, the company I'll be working for come May, is ramping up on hiring with jobs ranging from part-time receptionist to project leads . There's even a spot open at their Colorado Springs branch, although Honolulu has no openings right now. If you don't like your current place of employment, it's not too late to jump ship and join a great company. Steal some secrets while you're at it.

The basketball team lost to "Capitol Coin and Diamond" last night, 49-37. That's quite an improvement from our past appearances. We held our own despite the ad-hoc feints and plays that tried to incorporate themselves at the last minute.

Bushspeak
Rumsfield will have the CIA assassinate Schwarzkopf within a week

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