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3/22/2009, 10:14 PM EDT
More Honest Tea advice for procrastinators: "No shade tree? Blame not the sun, but yourself," says the Chinese proverb.

2/19/2009, 7:04 PM EST
Earlier today I managed to knock over my bottle of Honest Tea. Inside, the quotation was from Leonard Bernstein: "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time."

Yeah, sure thing, maestro.

8/19/2007, 6:14 AM EDT
It's morning in New York. I've been lounging at Chris's digs for several hours now, and the sun is just coming up, casting a reddish glow on the brick buildings here on Roosevelt Island. A while ago I was fighting a strong urge to fall asleep, fighting it with the full Suzumiya Haruhi repetoire. Now that I'm past the worst of it, I'm listening to Rie Fu. Stuff like "Tsuki no Ue". A quiet morning for contemplative yet driving music. Looking forward to sleeping on the plane.

6/9/2007, 7:48 PM
I took a long walk on Wednesday. Here's the mashup.

10/22/2006, 1:29 AM
It's always fun to make a new musical discovery. It started when the Times had an article on Sonny Rollins, which I sent to David, and he commented that we should try to make it to a concert of his. Somehow I recalled that Sonny was playing in the SF Jazz Festival, and sure enough ... the concert was last night. But anyway, I looked around at some other artists, and noticed that one in particular was sold out -- Marisa Monte. I'd never heard of her before, but it seems she's a major artist in Brazil.

Blue Note has a convenient flash music thingy with four songs. I was quite taken by "O Bonde do Dom", a sort of melancholy samba. (Perhaps the term saudade is applicable?) It's a terribly evocative blending of samba-ish instruments (for lack of a better term), with a cello providing a solid harmonic backbone. Marisa Monte's voice is an incredible combination of smoothness, presence, and passionate languor. My only complaint is the over-produced feel of the track; it blends together a bit too smoothly, and the reverb in the chorus is a bit much.

I looked up the lyrics a little while ago, and between Babelfish and my Spanish, I can guess at the meaning of the song. The first verse:

Novo dia
Sigo pensando em você
Fico tão leve que não levo padecer
Trabalho em samba e não posso reclamar
Vivo cantando só para te tocar

So far, pretty emo: new day, thinking of you. The middle lines are more ambiguous, but the last is almost Spanish. The next verse brings in thoughts of marriage, and the altar. Then the chorus. Babelfish says "bonde" means "tram", and I gather that Dom is an honorific akin to Don, so the title of the song is something like "the tram of the Dom".

É o bonde do dom que me leva
Os anjos que me carregam
Os automóveis que me cercam
Os santos que me projetam

I don't have a confident interpretation, due to my lack of Portuguese ability, but the chorus is pretty heavy in religious imagery: angels, saints protecting. So perhaps it's something like "the tram of God"? "It is the tram of God that takes me, the angels that carry me, the automobiles that surround me, the saints that protect me." Evocative, eh?

I'd go out and buy a copy of Universo ao Meu Redor right now, but Blue Note seems to DRM everything.

6/17/2006, 11:56 PM
Ah, summer. Already it passes at a far too rapid pace.

2/28/2006, 12:29 AM
I've been doing too much technical writing lately. Between Wikipedia and E190, all my writing has been objective. Well, not that I've spent much time writing for E190; I spend far more time on Wikipedia. Regardless, it's technical writing, so let me spend some time on subjective writing (not to mention procrastinating on E190).

Freddie Hubbard - Blue Spirits. The title track. Amazing stuff. First we have the fine flute work of James Spaulding, who I admit I'm not familiar with. While it's not perfect, the soul and effort are palpable in the sound; the intonation is impressively tight, gliding around the modal melody. Hank Mobley puts in some smooth tenor work as well, but the highlight, of course, is Freddie Hubbard himself: tone, technique, intonation, phrasing. He's just amazing. I don't know what else to say.

Over the past [long-ish unit of time] I've grown increasingly dissatisfied with my prose. Reading literature doesn't help me any; it just puts me in deeper despair. Ultimately, good writing is hard work, and requires substantial time investment. I tend to view "blagh"s as more spontaneous creations, in the vein of that Japanese art form where one paints in a single continuous stroke on very thin paper. Once it's down, there's no going back.

That mindset keeps me from spending time here writing, as I usually lose track of my thoughts or find myself unable to express them in writing. Then things just peter out ...

It's a rather dark and stormy night.

1/22/2006, 6:53 PM
I continually surprise myself. Just how have I gotten through classes without learning some integral concepts? I went through EE105 with a totally erroneous conception of "Vdsat". In the first weeks of EE140 I sat down and read the book, and realized how ignorant I had been. And just now I've been reading for EE120, and I understand what this blasted notation for signals actually means. Somehow I got through EE20 just fine.

1/4/2006, 2:29 PM
I got to the office today and pulled out a junk fax to use as a lunch-accident-preventer. "CHRISTMAS IS OVER - PAY OFF THAT DEBT - CASH OUT TO 125%". Money is big business in this country.

8/12/2005, 10:49 PM (EDT)
A storm decided to roll in this evening. First it thundered, and a rush of wind shook the trees. Then a light rain pattered down on the grass. A louder peal of thunder rang out. Lightning flashed. Rain thudded heavily on the roof, the ground, the trees.

At this point I feel like using phrases like "shuddering crescendo" or "percussive onslaught", but there's a point where writing becomes too pretentious. I've always thought it would be great to carefully craft a short story. (And then send it to the New Yorker, win a Pulitzer, etc.) Or a novel for that matter. Yeah, it won't happen.

Anyway, there's real thunderstorms out here that dump water down out of nowhere, and then quickly run away. Crazy.

8/1/2005, 7:05 AM (EDT)
There's something to be said about moments of brilliance. I'm not talking about sudden insights and realizations, but they're closely related. No, I'm talking about that transition in that song, the one that manages to sweep you away both emotionally and intellectually. That particular scene in that noir where the black and white are masterfully worked. That two-page spread in that manga that conveys such an incredible motion.

I don't really have much more to say, I realize. I just wanted to jot it down. There were a few things that brought me on to this line of thought. First off, earlier this evening, people were watching Family Guy. It's great stuff, but again, it's those certain moments. In particular, Mr. Sun's two scoops of raisins.

I've also been listening to the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. "Adieu" is particularly poignant. The whole topic of Bebop is for a later date, though.

Right now I'd like to plug Honey & Clover. It's one of the best anime I've seen, and one of the most different stylistically. It's about these students at an art college, so it's an age level I can relate to. The episode construction is remarkable -- cohesive and natural in flow. The art is soft and pastel-ly. It's based on a shojo manga, so some things are questionable (like the 18-year-old girl who looks 12), but they're easily overlooked. All in all, good stuff.

7/18/2005, 1:41 AM (EDT)
I made rice. In a regular pot, on a stove. Without burning the bottom. It still doesn't taste like Chinese rice.

7/18/2005, 12:36 AM (EDT)
100% humidity
Hah, it really is 100% humidity out here. I had noticed that water was forming on the kitchen floor, but thought it was just spilled water not evaporating. It only occurred to me a moment ago to check the humidity. Shoot, does that mean this water is dew?

5/27/2005, 11:32 PM
I just can't get over how quickly everything is going. College is halfway through, and the Real World is just that much closer. It definitely weighs on my mind, and more so as of late. I've never really stopped and asked myself, "wait, where am I going?" It's been more of a let's-wander-over-here oh-wow-look-at-this sort of thing.

Anyway, I got a job. It's with the High Energy Nuclear Astrophysics group up at LBL. I have the impression that I'll be analyzing particle physics information, doing simulations, and eventually testing pieces of leaded glass. The thing about this job is that it requires spending six weeks at Brookhaven, on Long Island, which is either a major draw or a significant drag depending on your point of view. Me, I've always read about these particle accelerators, and working on one is something of a dream come true, to use melodramatic sentimentalist language. For the technically inclined, I'll be working on the electromagnetic calorimeters for the STAR detector at RHIC, which is looking at the Quark-Gluon Plasma.

It's kinda funny, looking back at elementary school: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I think I usually said "scientist," which in retrospect is such a vague term. Not nearly as clear-cut as Nurse, Fireman, Teacher. (My sister said for a while that she wanted to be a swimming teacher. Dunno about now.) A career is definitely more amorphous than we were led to believe.

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last modified 02:35 UTC 28 Dec 2009