Thursday, December 30, 2004

Done.

I've finally completed the vast biography of Alexander Hamilton that I have read off and on for at least five months. I consider my time and money involved with it well spent. It was a fascinating read- engrossing most of the time (even when Chernow wrote about finances and The Federalist Papers, the material was unusually interesting). It really read like a narrative; I was never much into biographies, but I started last year with Humphrey Carter's take on Tolkien, and I went from there. I took a chance on Alexander Hamilton after I read a few pages of the introduction and realized it was going to be reeeaaally good. It was.

731 pages.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Ahh.


Which John Cusack Are You?


Props to Brandon on this one. This means I'll have to watch this movie again. Good thing I brought it with me...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sellout.

Since people have been writing articles about "indie going mainstream" this year, I decided to compile a few notes on selling out.

I thought Matt had a great idea for a band called The Sellouts. I guess someone else had the same idea.

You sunk your worth in being
different, just to be like your own
kind. You traded in objectiveness,
for the underground you follow
blind.


This comes from an older Five Iron Frenzy song... which reminds me of

So now my fans are crying sellout,
they say that I've lost my touch.
They say I should just get the hell out,
before I do too much.
Hear my songs in an ad for a bathroom cleanser -
they say it's greed,
And now I'm wondering where my friends are in this time of need.
But if you change your mind and buy it,
I hope you enjoy my new box.
I hope you enjoy my new box,
I hope you enjoy my new box set.


the song Box Set, from Barenaked Ladies' first album.

Then you have this cool interview with Isaac Brock:

O: Was licensing your songs to commercials a tough decision?

IB: Figuring out ways to pay the rent isn't really a tough decision. Around the time we did the beer commercial and the shoe commercial, I thought, "Am I compromising my music by doing this?" And I think not. I like keeping the lights on in my house. People who don't have to make their living playing music can bitch about my principles while they spend their parents' money or wash dishes for some asshole. Principles are something that people are a lot better at checking in other people than keeping their own. My rationale behind the beer commercial was, "I like drinking MGD! I like beer probably more than I should, probably more than is healthy." I was hoping I could get a lifetime supply out of the deal, but I guess I'll have to buy it with that big ol' check. [Laughs.]


And this article, which got this whole post rolling:

Has trying to make a living at music changed the way you look at the, sometimes, narrow definitions of selling out?

Tunde Adebimpe: "Daddy, why can't we eat?" "Because Daddy's punk as fuck. Don't be such a little sellout." I don't understand that so much. I think that "selling out" is more about being paid to forget who you are and do something in the service of something empty, something you don't really believe in, which honestly, depending on your situation, is sometimes necessary and happens at a lot of jobs. You should get paid somehow for your art, especially if it's what's occupying most of your time. It's not really a vital thing in the eyes of the world and people could just stop caring at any time, for whatever reason, so if you're working you should be compensated, so you can keep working if, or when, no-one cares.


Well, there you go.

72.

What is ... the number of Christmas songs I sat through tonight?

I didn't realize there were so many Christmas "standards". I realized tonight that I can't tolerate anymore holiday music. My body is rejecting it. It's hampering my songwriting. It's dulling my senses. I mean, the performance was laudatory (especially everyone remembering where to go and what to sing), but it was really just a Christmastime musical overdose. And SLC was good enough, back in the day. But still, no amount of jazzed-up arrangements makes up for hearing the same jolly/somber tune hundreds of times. And it's not like I fully endorse new Christmas songs- the whole effect is having the song established as an everlasting association with the winter holiday season, and any new songs would have to spend a few years working hard to gain my respect. But, I just need some time without Christmas songs... like 3-4 years. Then, maybe. And what day is it... the 18th? Crap, they even play Christmas songs after Christmas, so it'll be a good couple of weeks before it's over.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Are you serious?

A Cornell University survey of 715 Americans reveals that "44 percent favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans." Unsurprisingly, they found that those who were more exposed to the media and more religious tended to favor a restriction of civil liberties. I really don't understand.

This is most definitely a rehash of the McCarthy era.

The survey showed that 27 percent of respondents supported requiring all Muslim Americans to register where they lived with the federal government.

I don't know about the number of respondents (715), but I guess the university had a fairly randomized respondent pool. Unsettling.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Grades.

General Psychology test scores:

QUIZ 1 40/40
QUIZ 2 41/46
QUIZ 3 49/48
QUIZ 4 37/40
QUIZ 5 31/34
QUIZ 6 25/25
Final exam 2/60

Heh, heh. My graduate student instructor for Psychology thought he would give us a break on the cumulitive final exam, so that it couldn't hurt your grade at all- only help it (if it turned out to be a higher grade than your second lowest Quiz, it would replace the grade). Realizing I already had an A, I thought I didn't have to go to the exam. Then he said we must go to the exam. I was pretty sure I didn't want to study, and if I didn't study for the final, I probably wouldn't get a higher grade than my second lowest quiz grade, so I decided to bomb it. If he wanted to make the final exam completely useless, I was going to have fun with it. (I also considered marking all "c"s just to see how many points it would get me, but instead I counted the number of C's that I thought were correct=> 13/60, or 21.66%.) I am suspicious of the grade though, as I was pretty confident that I marked all of them wrong (perhaps he added in some extra credit, or a curve). Bummer.

So, in the end, I got an A overall, while managing a 3.33% on the cumulitive final exam for General Psychology.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Look at all the pretty colors.

I usually shy away from online quizzes, but I was feeling particularly adventurous tonight (although I did not mark the "Aventurous" box on the quiz).

you are paleturquoise
#AFEEEE

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is low - You stay out of stressful situations and advise others to do the same. You may not be the go-to person when something really needs done, but you know never to blow things out of proportion.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the spacefem.com html color quiz


I considered posting the results only if they matched what I really thought I was like, but where's the fun in that? In Psychology, we call these self-reported assessments, and it's generally acknowledged that people usually don't know what they're feeling or what they're like anyway... but colors are cool! Thanks to Jessica for this quiz!

Monday, December 13, 2004

I keep everything.

Go ahead- ask me for some notes from 9th grade Biology on animal versus plant cell structures. I got 'em. Want some EG band charts from the 2001 Movie Music show? Got those too. Every time I look through my closet I'm reminded of that spring cleaning episode of the Simpsons, where Homer digs through a basement full of old calendars and TV guides that he doesn't want to throw away, because "You never know when an old calendar might come in handy. Sure, it's not 1985 now, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? And these TV Guides- so many memories."

This leads me to my second point: whenever I travel, I bring at least 10 useless things with me. "What if I want to catch up on my reading... but, no, I'm gonna need a wide selection, what if I'm not in the mood for that particular book? Better bring four more, just in case." I give myself so many options for doing things, when I usually don't even getting around to doing one or two things completely. On my first plane ride, I carried on took two books, a newspaper, a CD player, CDs, my old school gameboy, games, and a notebook and pens, and I just ended up listening to the music provided on the plane and falling alseep or something. But at least if someone wants to come over and listen to some of my better CDs, play several video games, read a few of my favorite books, rock out on two of my guitars, and watch a few DVDs over the winter break, they'll be able to.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Open Road.

Whenever I go back to the hometown it seems very surreal. I suppose in my egocentrism I except everything to be the same, almost as if time doesn't pass there when I'm up here. But when I see new establishments, and old ones gone, they conflict with my stored image of the area. While I was there, I saw changes in gradual increments, but now when I go back, some things are very different while some things are still very similar to my memories. This causes slight discomfort, but also serves to remind me that 1) sometimes things weren't like I remembered them originally, and 2) the only constant in life is change.

Usually, when I notice these changes in my hometown, I go through a thinking pattern of "How have I changed in the time since I've last been here?" "What have I really accomplished?" "What would I like to accomplish?" and "What really matters in life?". Sometimes I realize I've become really introspective just because that convenience store on the corner isn't called "Cumberland Farms" anymore, and I think "Should I get bogged down in all of these soul-searching questions or just make the best of what I have right now?". So then, that question leads me back to the sort of emotional/intellectual/philosophical equilibrium that I had before I got back into town and, when I leave and come back again, the cycle continues.

I always enjoy the drive too; I get to sit still in one place while rapidly heading toward another place for hours on end and it affords me some time to just think.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Letters to the Editor.

Lay Down Your Weapons

I came, you saw, and you conquered
All alone.
Your poignant words, they punctured
My walls of stone.

Lay down your weapons.
Leave them at the door.
I don't need your canons
Scuffin' up my floor.

Defenses fell apart;
You were at the helm.
You said it was a good start
To get me out of my shell.

Lay down your weapons.
Leave them at the door.
I don't need your canons
To reignite the war.

You laid your siege upon me.
And it was crafty and obscene.
You never return my calls...

Lay down your weapons.
Leave them at the door.
I don't need your canons
To reignite the war.

Leave me alone.

More songs and downloadability coming eventually. Thanks to Drew for recordin' and Matt for mixin'.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

C.S. Lewis, A life by Michael White

C.S. Lewis, whose advice to avoid discarding any of your writings no matter how trivial they seem I've taken to heart for years, apparently had his older brother Warren burn a substantial bundle of his own papers after his death. Among the papers were believed to be unfinished manuscripts of novels, personal letters, and essays. Biographer Michael White states that among the letters were correspondence between Lewis and Janie Moore, the mother of one of Lewis's wartime buddies. In a strange relationship, Lewis and Moore fell for each other after Paddy (Lewis's friend and son of Janie) died in the Great War. Lewis was 19 and Janie 45 when they first met.

One beef I have with this biography is that it seems White quotes or refers to Lewis's autobiography on nearly every other page. Makes White's account seem rather extraneous- like I should just go and read Surprised by Joy. Oh, well.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Journal

I suggest that everyone out there keep a personal journal/diary of your daily, mundane experiences. Sure, sometimes it'll become repetitive and stale, but just stick with it, and someday you can go back and read such gems as...

So the wisdom teeth operation went well monday... they just took an X-ray, stuck me with the IV, which was scary... and went at it. All i can remember is Dr. Burns saying “I need a haircut” before he started, and maybe an episode, where there was something in my lap, and i dropped it or something, and the nurse was like “oh that’s okay’ cuz i said i was sorry. Anyway. I got done, and there was crap in my mouth, and i couldn’t talk and whatsuch. And when i got home, i went to sleep, and then like mom was so out of it. I was coughing on my own blood, and trying to say, “can i change the cotton things myself?” and she just didn’t get it, she was ordering me around like a child. So i got mad at her... eh. It wasn’t that bad. Then i went driving tuesday... not a good idea...

This is from that one time where I had my six wisdom teeth removed.

I have also become interested in reading biographies, so ... if you ever get famous you'll have quite a lot of material that your biographer will feel obligated to read, but won't use because it's mostly useless.

Tell me

how that last post showed up three times when it didn't even process the first time...? Nevermind, I don't care (I deleted two of them).
List of good songs I listened to today:

Morrissey "The more you ignore me, the closer I get". 3 guitar parts throughout, up to 5-6 during the choruses. Very impressive.

Foo Fighters "Big Me". Main vocals doubled- gives it a spooky ambience, harmonized vocals work well with the tune. Simple.

Pearl Jam "Animal". Wicked awesome guitar solo that extends into the chorus. Tight!

The Mountain Goats "Baboon". "Your powers stripped of meaning, sky burning, spring cleaning".

and

That new song I'm working on that has a pretty good melody and keeps it simple. Might be a while before all of you hear that one though- still have to arrange it a bit, and such.

I never thought it'd come to this...

Dear STA2122,

We’ve been seeing each other for about three months now, but I’ve been harboring these feelings that, well, it’s just not going to work out between us. In short, you’re too simple-minded and predictable for my tastes.

When we first met, my friends told me you were boring and not worth my time. At first I didn’t believe them- you introduced a few concepts to me that I had never encountered before. But after a while it became rather stale- down to the same old thing over, and over, and over again. You never really challenged me; you never even tried. You were content with meeting three times a week, but as time went on I wanted to see you less and less often.

So, this Thursday night will be the last time I see you. I don’t need you anymore. After that I will throw away all of my notes from you. I will sell the book I bought for you. I will forget about you. If people bring up your name in conversations with me, I will openly mock you and everything you stand for. I’ll let everyone know that you’ve done nothing but waste my time. Badbye.

Sincerely,
JPD

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Simpsons: A Linguistic Analysis

I wasn't too happy with my first academic paper on The Simpsons- most likely because I didn't put enough time into it. But it got the job done (and I'm not too worried about it since my average in my linguistics class is over 100%). Here are the highlights:

The Simpsons television series provides a fine example of the comedic effect of cleverly prepared language. In particular, the episode “Marge vs. the Monorail” includes representative processes of phonetics, interesting creations from morphology, and lively aspects of sociolinguistics that aid in the conveyance of humor through manipulations of language.
...
Another cunning moniker arises from the traveling salesman, “Lyle Lanley,” whose persona reflects that of Harold Hill from The Music Man. Lyle Lanley, a name filled with soft lateral consonants, nearly literally “rolls off the tongue” and complements his rapid, smooth-talking nature rather well.
...
“Truckasaurus,” a large, metallic, truck-eating machine, provides an example of a compound word and blend. Taking the ferocity of “tyrannosaurus” and the action of destroying “trucks,” “truckasaurus” elicits a humorous response through its blatant combination of words. Another blend comes when Homer is discussing Bart’s future: “Do you wanna change your name to Homer Junior? The kids can call you ‘Hoju’”.


Ahh, college.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Heh.

My Very Own Digital Wishlist.

Update #1 reflects the outright rockness of the Presidents of the United States of America.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Notice:

ACNS will begin charging $0.05 per printed page starting Spring '05.

"The Dude minds. This will not stand, you know, this agression will not stand, man."

This is pretty shocking- going from 35 free printed pages per day in the computer labs to charging $0.05 per page. Why don't they just enforce the limit, or lower the limit, or both? I'm sure this new policy will deter an abuse of the system, but it's pretty upsetting to me.

Next thing you know they'll be making us pay for our parking permits, football tickets, rock concerts, top-notch movies... Hey, I guess it's not that bad afterall. Oh well, maybe I'll just get a printer.