End of Season
I've been meaning to write something nicer about the classical music scene in Pittsburgh for a couple of months to get my angry rant about how not to appeal to the youngs off the top of my front page. Sadly work and other obsessions have kept me from this ...
When the PSO Makes Me Sad
So as not to bury the lede under my normal wordy context-setting preface, let me start with the thesis: last night's production of The Creation at Heinz hall was bad. I'm not going to hide behind the normal set of mealy-mouthed relativistic claims that people tend to make ...
I have no chill. I have no words.
Maybe next week.
Five Things That are Still Good in 2016
Today the site goes “against brand” and covers a few things that were not completely terrible in 2016. Short and sweet. Note: since I already covered the PSO coming back that obvious item is not in this list.
Astute readers of this web site will realize that even though ...
First Show Back
One of the great pleasures of being able to see the PSO on a regular basis is that first concert after the long summer layoff. What happens to your brain when you have not heard the band live for a while is that it forgets what it is like when ...
So we've made it to the last day of another two year clusterfuck of an election cycle. I am in general not one to talk about, think about, or really have much interest in politics at all. But my friend Pete makes a good point in saying that when ...
I always felt guilty for bailing on physics in school. As an undergraduate I studied mathematics, but I had enough room left over in my electives to fit in a physics double major if I wanted to. I did this for about a year, and it was going well until ...
The Classical Style
As long time readers may or may not know, in my misguided youth I worked for and received a PhD in Computer Science. In retrospect I didn't really mean to do this. I had just neglected some aspects of my studies in this area as an undergraduate and felt ...
Ode to the Sony MDR-V6 (7506) Headphones
Headphones are a big deal these days. It would seem that after a decade of suffering with the shitty earbuds that come with their smart-phones people have finally decided that they want something decent and comfortable on which to listen to their MP3s, Spotify Streams, Apple Music Playlists, or, if ...
Star Wars VII: A New Hope
Ok here we go.
Back when I used to write about more video games than just Dark Souls I would joke that all my articles were about games that you had already played. Writing about the new Star Wars movie has the same sort of feel. Nothing I can possibly ...
Music not Words
Last year I went to a PSO concert that really irked me. I was irked because they wasted twenty minutes of my time in the first half of the concert explaining various aspects of the piece they were going to play after the intermission to the audience. I go to ...
The Surprising Classical Groove
Classical music tends to be perceived in the larger culture as a monolithic entity. In a world where some geek on Pitchfork will argue with you incessantly about the difference between Art Punk, Dance Punk, and Pop Punk you might have noticed that when you go to the online music ...
The Wrong Question
Today's story starts with this TED video about teaching math. The video is short, you should go watch it. I happened across the thing accidentally one night and, unsurprisingly, I found myself annoyed and slightly angry. The video concerns itself with answering the following question about mathematics: "What will ...
CGP Grey worries about a lot of things. Here is an incomplete list in no particular order:
- Riding in airplanes that will fall out of the sky.
- His checklists and GTD templates.
- Reviewing his quarterly progress towards life goals.
- Amazon Kindle text justification
- The size of his iPhone 6.
- Minute ...
I Lied: Super Bowl Thoughts
I said on twitter that I would have no more words about the football season that ended last night, but I lied. I have a few more things to say about the game specifically and the Pats in general. Then I'll really be done for the season.
There has ...
It's been a long time since the last time this happened. I am usually fairly level headed about the Pats. I grew up with the bad teams and feel like I have the right to enjoy and appreciate the good teams. The team's history since 2007 would make ...
Ups and Downs
Here are some ups and downs for this year. I'm purposely ignoring some big picture issues here, since then there would be no ups at all. It was that kind of year. You will also note that each of these might have fit into a well-considered twitter message, so ...
A Musical Offering
The Musical Offering is the sort of Bach that appeals to the mind of a stereotypical engineer. It lives in the wheelhouse of the sort of brain that enjoys abstract complexity and is more comfortable with a bit of emotional distance. So it's no surprise that it's my ...
The Airplay Turntable Kit
I've mentioned before that I bought a lot of LP records when I was in graduate school. At the time the LP->CD switch had just gotten into full swing and you could buy vinyl at a huge discount compared to new what new CDs cost. So, I bought ...
Nouvelle Old Music
When people talk about "movements" they usually refer to something that has come into being as a reaction to, or in opposition of, something else that has existed for a long time. If you were a foodie in the 1960s (through the 70s and 80s) you would know that the ...
How to Ring
As a cultural force, the European classical music tradition arguably reached its peak sometime in the mid to late 19th century. This period produced the last group of towering musical geniuses, from Brahms to Bruckner to Wagner, and later Strauss and Mahler. Of this group I think you can say ...
The Consumer Rule
Note: This is a rewind of a tleaves post from 2005. It's still all basically true. Probably even more so.
Buying shoes used to be easy. You’d go to the store, try on two or three pair in your size and pick the one with the closest fit ...
Paris Things: 2014 Update
A long time ago my friend Eric asked me what to do in Paris. Since I live to serve I wrote a web page for him that contained some humble suggestions. Over the years whenever anyone asks me what to do in Paris I trot out that page, because we ...
I probably picked up the record collecting bug from my dad. When I was growing up the sight of his cabinet of LPs was a constant in our house. All of the music was Classical. I'm pretty sure what my dad would say about this would be something like ...
Perfect Sound Forever
Mosaic Records is everything you want from a record company. For the last thirty years or so they have been doing lovingly crafted, meticulously complete and methodically documented boxed sets that collect together the works of famous and not so famous jazz artists. There is only one problem with this ...
The Sound of Music
Classical music angst filled the Intertubes again last week. Well, it filled as much of the Intertubes as classical music ever does, which is to say probably a small amount. But, I ran across a "defense" of the industry against an army of worn out straw-man arguments trotted out as ...
I Have Opinions
As might be traditional if I actually did it every year here is a short list of things I think that are at best barely justifiable in any quantitative way. But they are true anyway. A good way to end the year.
Very few people know how to cook eggs ...
Hello. Mutable States is my new web site about my general state of mind. It's also a way to troll certain people who are enamored of programming models that have no mutable state, but that's for another time.
There is nothing particularly exciting or novel about this site ...
Math is Hard, Let's Just Quit
Andrew Hacker has pissed me off before. A few years back he wrote a book where he claimed that the standard humanities-oriented "Liberal Arts" curriculum was the only one worthy of actually being taught at the university level. Now, he might have just been making an oblique argument that our ...
The Digital Desert Island
The other day I accidentally reset the music that I sync into my iPhone. As I result, I had to wait for a long while for iTunes to copy all the music back into the phone where I had inadvertently deleted it. As it copied track after track it occured ...
Same as it Ever Was
I have always really liked the Best American Essays series. For those of you who are not familiar with these books, every year they rope some editor into reading thousands of pieces of non-fiction from various periodicals that specialize in publishing such material. Then they put 20 or 25 of ...
People have been telling me to watch The Wire for years. I have resisted because in general I am suspicious of what television enthusiasts tell me. I finally relented because I never heard or read a single negative review of the show. I still had lingering doubts that I would ...
Vancouver BC: Cooler Than Seattle
I promised my friend and co-worker from Vancouver that I’d lead with that statement so I did it even though I love Seattle dearly. Don’t be mad. The truth is that Vancouver is cooler than most of your favorite cities. There are several reasons why, and some of ...
Lose The Disk
Long time readers of this site will remember (or not) that I’ve been slowly working my way through my CD collection and adding it all to iTunes. Over about the last three years, I’ve gone from having 140 albums filed to the current figure of around 375. The ...
The middle of March means that March Madness is upon us. Therefore I’m going to talk to you about a film that is about the NBA. This might seem strange to you. But it makes sense to me. With the exception of a few years following Duke after I ...
While peterb wallows in his extended winter-induced MMO haze, I’ve been stuck on the console. I have the following four thoughts on my recent experiences.
I caved and bought a slim PS3 a few months earlier than I wanted to. But it’s OK because I had ...
Why Football is Better Than Your Favorite Sport
Of course by “football” I mean American football and by “sport” I mostly mean “American Sport”. I certainly do not mean “rest of the world” football, which Americans call soccer. If your favorite sport is soccer than we can just agree now that you will hate me and I will ...
Jumped the Shark
I like bookstores. Actually, it’s more general than that. I like libraries too. I like sitting next to bookshelves and just peering at them, memorizing everything that’s there. I like spending hours just browsing the stacks, running my finger down the spines of the books, pausing every once ...
Male Pattern Dorkness
If I have any hobby that does not involve the gratuitous exchange of money for material goods, it is the observation of the dork in his natural habitat. It’s not just that I was educated by dorks at a school that was mostly dorky. Or that I work with ...
I am a fan of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. I know that at times I can sound ambivalent about this, but that’s more a reflection of the generally declining state of Classical Music as a cultural compass. In reality, I have no ambivalence about the PSO. I think they ...
Why I Don't Write
I sat down a few times this week to try and crank out my weekly or twice weekly little rantlet about nothing in particular, but I have not been able to summon the interest and the energy necessary to type the letters in the computer. In contrast, I just listened ...
Internet Forum People: A Taxonomy
Spend any time on the Interwebs these days and you will inevitably end up reading one kind of forum or another. These days there seems to be one of these for every normal human interest and probably the interests that aren’t all that normal. I have two observations to ...
The 80 and the 20
The 80/20 heuristic states that in most computer systems, you spend 80 percent of your time in 20 percent of the code. Another way to say this is that 80 percent of your users will spend most of their time using about 20 percent of the application that you ...
God is in the House
To my way of thinking, every major genre of music has its quintessential forms. There is the three minute pop song sung by a group of three or four young freaks with long hair. There is the large scale Classical/Romantic Symphony. And in Jazz, there is the piano trio ...
iTunes told me today that it has 440 albums in its database. That number seemed high to me, but I have been ripping the occasional disk once in a while ever since I got my iMac two years ago. And, every new disk I buy generally goes into the machine ...
When I was in high school, I was a bit of a dork. No really, it’s true. Back then even a passing interest in the emerging digital technologies was looked upon with suspicion and would get you beat up during study hall. We geeks were antisocial outcasts relegated to ...
The One True Index
There is a great scene in the film High Fidelity where one of Jon Cusack's buddies comes over to see if the wants to go clubbing, and finds Cusack on the floor of his apartment surrounded by piles of records. He asks how he is filing the albums, and ...
Classical Music - Not Dead Yet
We went to a PSO concert last weekend. This is the first show we have been to in about a year. In the past, I used my PSO experiences to show why the cultural position of Classical Music in our modern world is somewhat shaky. However, this is not the ...
WWDDOCD (World Wide Distributed Dork OCD)
Regular readers will recall that I have recently forked over a large amount of cash on a piece of A/V equipment. I gave up a small piece of my soul for a Sony television larger than my entire living room. Well, it’s really only as large as one ...
Deal with the Devil
My friend Dave used to say that the exponential increase in hard disk capacity over time was sure proof that not only was the storage industry in league with the darker forces, but also that every disk platter was clearly populated with the souls of the poor industry employees who ...
What The Internet is For
In the distant past, around ten years ago, there was a hallowed time when the Internet both defined and demonstrated its true purpose. Back then, there were vendors on the net, like Amazon.com, from whom you could order almost anything and have it delivered to your house just a ...
Tools of the Trade
If there is one inescapable fact of life in our dynamic technological society, it is that if enough people are interested in a given activity, the tools that enable that activity will change. I was thinking about this recently as I was presented with two press items about the film ...
Legendary Ease of Use
This month the Official Xbox Magazine included a demo of Jade Empire, the upcoming RPG that Bioware has been developing since they passed the KOTOR franchise to others. I mention this because for the last year or so I've had the following conversation with Pete a few times:
Digital Generational Stupidity
Your recent series of radio stories entitled "Digital Generations" is some of the most ignorant, juvenile, cliched and simply lazy reporting that you have done all year, and that includes the coverage of the election. Where to start.
Let's start with the profile of the "digital child ...
The Latent Object
There was a discussion on our local chat system a while back about the genesis of the frenzy over Halo 2. Pete suggested that the pre-release hype for a game such as Halo has its origins in the hard-wired obsessive addiction that hard-core gamers have for the next big hit ...
Classical Music is Dead (or at least Terminal)
Events have conspired this week to bring up a topic that I find sort of near and dear to my heart and yet simultaneously deeply depressing. That topic is the state of "classical" music in our modern times. Growing up, my father listened to nothing but classical music in the ...