3.31.2009

Now that the iPod works, here's my emo-jazz-sitar playlist

I have no time for bold this, italics that.
Artist, followed by album.
Except for the first selection, which is a track unto itself.
You want it? You got it:

  • Dvorak Serenade for Wind Instruments in D Minor Movement II, Op. 44
  • Beirut, The Flying Club Cup*
  • Beirut, Gulag Orkerstar
  • Beirut, The Lon Gisland EP (I think)
  • Buena Vista Social Club*
  • Charles Mingus, Oh Yeah
  • Charles Mingus, Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus
  • Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach, Painted From Memory*
  • John Coltrane, Blue Train*
  • John Coltrane Quartet, Ballads
  • Matisyahu, Live At Stubbs
  • Miles Davis, Panthalassa/The Remixes
  • Ravi Shankar, LIVE: Ravi Shankar at the Monterey International Pop Festival*
  • RF & Lili De La Mora, Eleven Continents**
  • Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
  • Tabla Beat Science, Tala Matrix


920.8MB/1GB of ecstacy. 13.4 hours, 150 songs. I wish I had it in me to listen to all of it in one sitting.

* = If you don't know, do yourself a favor.
** = This album is literally Heaven on Earth. Ambrosia for the ears.

3.30.2009

Waterproof iPod?

My iPod Shuffle, dubbed "Ampersand," the one that Dawnie gave to me nigh on 18 months ago when we started dating, has gone through some turmoil. I lost it for about 4 months, when I stuffed it in the ol' xB glove compartment one day after school. I found it, and I've been using it at and for school. It's been a great help to learn the most recent piece for conducting class. I've been taking it to work, too, just to have some music for the final 45-90 minutes of closing paperwork, depending on how waylaid by actual management I get. I brought it home the other night, forgot to take it out of my pants, and washed said pants early the next day. I realized this morning what I had done, and fished it out of the pile of dry clothes still in the dryer. The low battery light came on, and my computer recognizes it, and the songs still on it. I have yet to actually listen to it, but I'm hopeful that it officially works.

45 minutes later...

That shit was boring. What lengths I have to go through to be a team member.

3.29.2009

Online Harassment Awareness Test

Are you fucking kidding me? I have to take this online harassment test for work (we all do, not just special ol' me) and it's not nearly as dumbed down as the last one. Apparently it took all the other managers 2 hours at work to get it done. Let's see how long to takes me...

3.27.2009

3.25.2009

The Devil's Interval

In basic music theory, you learn that the interval known as a tritone, or three whole steps from one note to the next, was once called "the devil's interval." Three whole steps would be going from B to F, or E to Bb, or D to Ab. D-E-F#-G#(or Ab)In medieval times, this interval was considered so dissonant, that it was avoided. These days, it's everywhere because that whole devil stuff is stupid. During tonight's in-class discussion, one of the more annoying vocalists said "you would never teach the devil's interval to kids because it's hard to sing." Now, it is hard to sing for untrained ears, but "devil's interval?" Really? This is why I hate people. And this is why there's such a huge dichotomy between instrumental & vocal music in schools. Vocalists are looney tunes.

3.24.2009

Beef Bacon: Delicious alternative or gateway drug?

I've known about this stuff for years now. It was recommended by a Muslim coworker from back in the day. I've been curious for a long time. I bought some this morning. Cooked three slices up & added them to a breakfast burrito. Everyone tried to tell me, but I refused to believe. This stuff was seriously good. It brought back memories of breakfast past. I think this stuff is going to become a mainstay in my fridge. Also, I think there may be a battle of willpower to stay away from the bacon from here on out.

On a side note, I rented Quantum of Solace from the RedBox when I was at the store this morning. It sucks.

3.23.2009

Monday Midterms

I had an essay style midterm today that I couldn't study for all weekend, because my dumb ass left my book & study guide in my school locker. I got to school early enough today, went to the library and jammed on my study guide. The test ended up being nearly verbatim to the study guide. I was stoked! I managed to knock it out in an hour or so, and got out of class 90 minutes early.

Unlike at the beginning of the semester, I have priorities now, so when I have big break, I can find something productive to do. Conducting class has been a pain in the ass lately, because we're working on Dvořák's Serenade for Winds in D Minor, Op. 44., Mvmt. II I'm having way more trouble with conducting than I did last semester. It turns out everyone's having trouble. It's just that everyone's trouble is completely different. Mine is I can't hear the melody when it moves through the ensemble. I thought I did well on the first exam but I got a B. My first grade below an A in that class this entire year. Anyway, my professor recommended to me that I listen to a recording of this until I can follow the melody from instrument to instrument.

With all my free time today, I got myself a practice room, loaded up my iPod with Serenade for Winds, and went to work. I think I listened to it something like 20 times in succession. I've got what I perceive to be a better handle on it, but I went into the Movement I exam overconfident and didn't get an A. We'll see.

Now it's blog time. I've got a nice little break before percussion class. And my afternoon soundtrack is The Low End Theory. I'm in a pretty good place right now. If only I could get the ceiling to change color...

3.22.2009

What Lucid Dreams May Come

Two years ago at Comic Con, I briefly met a Suicide Girl by the name of Bee Jellyfish. She signed the book I bought at their booth, and couldn't've been nicer to me and the guys. When I got home from San Diego, I signed up for SuicideGirls.com. Through some crazy twist of fate, she began to IM me. When we IM'd, we talked about a lot of things, like relationships, religion, work, death of close pets, and something Bee believed in called lucid dreaming. From Wikipedia:

A lucid dream is a dream in which the person is aware that they are dreaming while the dream is in progress, also known as a conscious dream.

This took Bee from status as a neat friend to someone who, in my opinion, was in tune to something seriously profound. If I were to talk to her today, I don't know if she'd remember me, but it would be cool if she did.

Lately I've been going through episodes where I feel like the life I'm living is a dream. Not a dream in the euphemistic sense, like where eating a #13 at Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles is a 'dream,' but a dream in the sense that my perception, just for a second, thinks the things happening to me aren't real. At school, I don't usually have this feeling. At home with Dawn & Willy, I have this feeling in the most positive sense; I love the idea that I have a budding family, and I love spending time with Dawn when the two of us have nothing to do. It's the other times of my life that feel like they couldn't possibly be real. Particularly during professional endeavors (work), and driving.

I've begun the process of attempting to elicit lucid dreaming. Bee prescribed me to attempt effect change in reality while I'm awake. Like asking the walls to melt or turn purple every hour (or maybe more often than that). The idea is that if you're dreaming, the walls will melt when you ask them to, because you control your dreams. That means in reality, they won't, because you don't control reality. You ask yourself regularly, so you develop the capacity to ask the walls to melt while you're sleeping. When they do, you're in control, and you can then effect change in the dreamscape. I'm hoping to develop this process of lucid dreaming at some point. I just asked my computer to change colors, to no avail. We'll see how it goes.

3.16.2009

Billiards, anyone?

After class, I'm getting the guys out for some billiards & beer. It's Eric's birthday today & Chris' last Friday. Plus the guy has been through hell the last couple of weeks. I think we're gonna head to Danny K's in Orange if anyone cares to join.

Dork Status.

I'm early to class, blogging in the hallway outside my conducting classroom. I just paid a shitload of bills from the school's free connection. I have truly attained dork status. I gotta put this thing away.

3.13.2009

Guess who's homework is done

My Fridays have been entirely lazy days where I don't do laundry and I don't go to Aikido and I don't do homework. Today, I did my homework, I'm about to do some chores, and I'm about to get some laundry in gear. My suit is ready for Kathy's wedding tomorrow. I have to call on lessons, but I can do that later. I discovered that Frosty Heidi & Frank have a brand f*¢king new uncensored podcast that's hilarious. It's the first one, but hopefully not the last.

3.10.2009

Triumph!

I should be aspleep. I managed to get on an opening shift tomorrow. My first sanctioned opening in almost 18 months. I'm stoked. I've gotta bring the kitchen guys some donuts to celebrate when I go in at 830. Also, I figured out the lesson I'll present for my Music & Child Development class Wednesday night. And now that my favorite thing on TV is the Travel Channel, I've got the Monday night Tony Bourdain's No Reservations marathon on. I love this show. More so than Man v. Food, because this Bourdain guy gets into some serious adventures. Ninety-five percent of the things he does/eats on that show, I want to partake of, too. That other five percent involves pork. Even then, If no one was looking, I'd eat things I'd never share with anybody... But my biggest triumph of the night is that I freed an ingrown hair that's been plaguing me for too long. I'll spare the details, but I feel a strong sense of accomplishment. So, it's Miller time Negra Modelo time.

3.08.2009

19 principles of efffective instruction

(my easy-access study guide for Monday's mid-term exam)

from the University of North Texas:


The Nature of Expertise: 19 Principles of Effective Instruction
  • Goals and Expectations

    • 1. The repertoire assigned students is well within their technical capabilities; no student is struggling with the notes of the piece.

    • 2. Teachers have a clear auditory image of the piece that guides their judgments about the music.

    • 3. The teachers demand a consistent standard of sound quality from their students.

    • 4. The teachers select lesson targets (i.e., proximal performance goals) that are technically or musically important.

    • 5. Lesson targets are positioned at a level of difficulty that is close enough to the student’s current skill level that the targets are achievable in the short term and change is audible to the student in the moment. When errors in performance require attention, teachers guide error correction successfully.

    • 6. The teachers clearly remember students’ work in past lessons and frequently draw comparisons between present and past, pointing out both positive and negative differences.

  • Effecting Change

    • 7. Pieces are performed from beginning to end; in this sense, the lessons are like performances, with instantaneous transitions into performance character; nearly all playing is judged by a high standard, "as if we are performing."

    • 8. In general, the course of the music directs the lesson; errors in student performance elicit stops.

    • 9. The teachers are tenacious in working to accomplish lesson targets, having students repeat target passages until performance is accurate (i.e., consistent with the target goal).

    • 10. Any flaws in fundamental technique are immediately addressed; no performance trials with incorrect technique are allowed to continue.

    • 11. Lessons proceed at an intense, rapid pace. Because teachers identify targets quickly and concisely, teacher-student interactions occur frequently.

    • 12. The pace of the lessons is interrupted from time to time with what seem to be "intuitively timed" breaks, during which the teachers give an extended demonstration or tell a story.

    • 13. The teachers permit students to make interpretive choices in the performance of repertoire, but only among a limited range of options that are circumscribed by the teacher. Students are permitted no choices regarding technique.

  • Conveying Information

    • 14. Teachers make very fine discriminations about student performances; these are consistently articulated to the student, so that the student learns to make the same discriminations independently.

    • 15. Performance technique is described in terms of the effect that physical motion creates in the sound produced.

    • 16. Technical feedback is given in terms of creating an interpretive effect.

    • 17. Negative feedback is clear, pointed, frequent, and directed at very specific aspects of students’ performances, especially the musical effects created.

    • 18. There are infrequent, intermittent, unexpected instances of positive feedback, but these are most often of high magnitude and extended duration.

    • 19. The teachers play examples from the students’ repertoire to demonstrate important points. The teachers’ modeling is exquisite in every respect.

3.06.2009

Friday To-Do List (w/ update!)

I'm trying to get my head together about what I need to do today. Here's the rundown:


  • Study for MUS 353 Midterm
  • Memorize National Standards for Music for above
  • Memorize 19 Principles of Effective Instruction for above
  • Pull the forest of weeds in the backyard
  • Take Willy for a real walk
  • Clean second bedroom, including all the laundry
  • Buy guitar strap (and apparently, a bunch of other crap)
  • If sax reeds don't work, buy two more (they're fine)
  • Begin movement lesson assignment
  • Possible trip to the library to help with the above
  • Begin to get ready for work at 2-230


UPDATE:

So I got most of this stuff done. All except the most important, time-consuming things on it. All-in-all it was a good day yesterday. The backyard looks completely different with all the weeds pulled. I should've taken pictures.

Flight of the Conchords

You gotta love On Demand. We've got the ol' HBO, so we watch everything. Lately, I can't stop watching Flight of the Conchords. These two comedians from New Zealand have a sit-com type show that takes place in New York. It's full of hilarious original songs. It's funny. Watch it. Download it. Whatever.



Also, this one.

3.05.2009

$927.25 later...

I knew I needed brakes, I knew I needed an oil change. I'm driving home yesterday and three idiot (gauge) lights come on (I should've taken a picture). The manual says "Take your Scion to your dealer" for all three lights. God. I get there, and they tell me I'm due for air filter, spark plugs, oil, and major service. I bring up the gauge lights, she says "we have to run a diagnostic. That's $94." The service guy calls me and says "Your cam sensor A has failed. We have the part. It's $690." Brakes are $210. That's $900 so far. All the little things in addition to those two take the total to well over $1000. I pleaded with the service guy to help me with the price, and he lowered it to what ended up being $927.25. Just enough to max out my credit card. But my car is well. I can stop and I can drive. That's all I need. They even washed it. How nice for me.

3.02.2009

Catchy, but damn annoying

I keep hearing this one song everywhere. This morning, I heard it on stupid Kevin & Bean. It's part of the playlist that drones on and on at work. This song is called Human by The Killers. The hook goes:

Are we human?
Or are we dancers?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I'm on my knees
Looking for the answer
Are we human?
Or are we dancers?

I like my share of repetitive, hear-it-everywhere songs (lest we forget 2003's Hey Ya, STILL one of my favorites), but I can't get over the permeation of the gay dance club into our every day culture. Now, I love the gays. Love 'em. I support equal rights, equal marriage, everything. It's these annoying songs I equate to hearing when I end up at the Tin Lizzy (yes, really) that I'm tired of. I think it stems to my general hatred of popular music. And lately, Human is as popular as it comes. When describing disdain, I tend to stay away from the word "fucking" unless I really dislike something, although "fucking" is part of my everyday lexicon, it's not often hate-associated. And I fucking hate this song. I can't get it out of my head. Good one on The Killers for coming up with a song like that, but I'm tired of it. And America, you don't have to stand by and listen to these songs, either. Stop buying, stop listening. 88.1 FM is listenable now that their membership drive is over. This song is seriously putting me at "blow-my-brains-out" status.

The Wall

This semester has been a constant battle with hitting the wall. Last week, I nearly fell asleep in class. Today, I had a conducting exam that I didn't think I was prepared for. Conducting exams involve acting as the conductor for the class ensemble, +/- 20 people. When the first person went up, I saw he didn't have his score. For those who don't know, the score is the music the only conductor uses, that has the part for everybody in the ensemble, where individuals read individual parts. It's like... I dunno. I'd have to show you. Anyway, I didn't know our exam was from memory, so I was freakin' out. I volunteered after the first 7 people or so. I flew by the seat of my pants. I think I made a few little mistakes, but no egregious errors. I feel like I got an 'A.' When I was done, I was jittery, shaking, flush, all of it. I was more tense than when I was actually in front of the class. I had an epiphany as to why smokers "need" to smoke after something stressful. I felt like I needed one. I get this way at work, after a couple hours on the line when it's busy. Today, I got that worked up in about five minutes of conducting. I gotta start bringing my pipe to school... not that I have that much free time.