Saturday, March 25, 2006

Movin' on up

I'll be blogging from now on over at my own server. Follow me on over.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Talk about busy

I leave Boston, and now they choose to trot out all the rarely-heard masterpieces. Great. Next year, the BSO will perform

  • Mahler's Symphony No. 6
  • Saint-Saëns's Symphony No. 3 ("Organ")
  • Dutilleux's Symphony No. 2 ("Le Double")
And here's next year's plan for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus:
  • late October: Tippett, A Child of Our Time
  • early December: Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms
  • mid January: Beethoven, Missa solemnis
  • late February: Schoenberg, Gurrelieder
  • early March: Beethoven, Symphony No. 9
  • mid April: Berlioz, Requiem
  • early May: Stravinsky, Oedipus Rex
That's just not fair. It really isn't. There should be a law against something like this.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Not that I'm greedy or anything. . . .

So, I've noticed that Google recently doubled the size of their Gmail boxes from 1000 MB to 2000+ MB. On the other hand, I've also noticed that they seem to be slowly creeping upward. At the beginning of the week, I had just under 2 real GB (2047 MB). This morning, I had 2068 MB, and now, as I write this, I have 2070 MB.

This makes me wonder: why is there a slow creep upwards in the size of my quota? Are they just adding new space in GB and TB quotients, and spreading the wealth around? You'd think they'd stop at 2000 MB and be done with it. But hey, like I said, if Gmail wants to give me more space, that's they're perogative.

[Also, if any acquaintances out there are interested in getting a Gmail account, let me know. I've got lots of invites.]

Thursday, March 31, 2005

What's your name?

While I hate spam with the impassioned flames of a thousand suns as much as the next guy, I must admit that lately I have been amused by the "names" of some of the people involved. It seems that the people creating these messages have just taken random dictionary words and strung them together with random middle initials to create their personas. How else can you explain people allegedly named: "Libation L. Disunited," "Ordeal F. Entertain," "Hairstylists H. Heinousness," and my personal favorite, "Bovines M. Transcendentalist?"

Saturday, March 26, 2005


Is it just me, or if you're GSN, and you're going to show a bunch of "classic" episodes of a game show such as Super Password, you'd like to show an episode where something actually happens--like someone actually winning the bonus round, rather than just a bunch of random rounds?

Friday, March 25, 2005

I'm back

I'm back.

I'll have a lot more to say in the near future. But for now, let me start with this observation: Mary Jane hanging around Peter Parker is kind of like hanging out with Jessica Fletcher when she comes to town: you're just asking for trouble (or worse), and you're delusional if you think otherwise.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Parodies I didn't write, but wish I did

A Very Dubya Xmas is an outstanding set of parodies on classic Christmas tunes.

Helpful writing hint

Do not try to shoe-horn your material into a Desperate Housewives parody when it really ought to be a Lost parody instead.

That is all.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Why I should not be allowed to compose

My idea of a brilliant composition: divide an orchestra into two groups: think of the "ripieno" and "tutti" of a Baroque-era orchestra. Then, have the ripieno be in 7/8 and the main orchestra in 4/4 (or, for extra fun, 5/4). Have the ripieno be an ostinato section (like a ground bass, but including melodic content as well), but such that whenever it returns, it picks up exactly where it would be as if it never stopped playing in the first place.

I have no idea how I would write such a piece--but the fact that I can even dream up such a ridiculous scheme means I probably have no business writing serious music in the first place.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Damn activist judges

Looks like the Supreme Court has once again refused to take part in the Massachusetts marriage melée. I expect the right-wing to be up in arms over this, and deriding the Court for having too many "libruls."

Now, of course, one shouldn't blame this just on the liberal wing. It takes four to tango in bringing a case before the Supreme Court. One would assume that the right wing is banking on three votes: Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist (albeit remotely). However, the fact that they can't get one of the remaining six votes suggests that the issue is not going to gain enough traction anytime soon to be worthwhile for the Christian right to harp on.

On the other hand, it does allow them to present a "meatier" argument to their base about the need for ideological conservatives, and makes the next Supreme Court appointment all the more entertaining.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


That sound of the rending of garments you're hearing from certain corners of Red Sox nation is the result of news that the Red Sox have finally lost a free agent: Kapler has signed on for a one-year deal with the Japan League's Yomiuri Giants. Apparently, they were able to offer the one thing no MLB team could guarantee: a starting role in the line-up.

While it's obvious that we wouldn't be able to keep many of our free agents for next season, it's always difficult to watch the first free agent of a championship team leave, and know that it's also not going to be the last. On the other hand, considering that last year, he took an 80 percent pay cut to stay with Boston, it's hard to accuse him of only being interested in the money. [In exchange, he gets to be part of a great trivia question: "Which three Boston players recorded the final three outs of the 2004 World Series?"]

Unfortunately for RSN's hopes to keep him in town, there were already too many contracted outfielders. The only way that Kapler could be a starter next year is the same way it happened this year--if there were some major injuries to the regular players. It's not fair to ask a player to sacrifice being a starter for so many years when they have other options; given the tenor of Theo's comments, I think the Red Sox realized that, too.

This move has also set off some gnashing of teeth in the media district of Red Sox Nation. Kapler's departure means they'll have to find someone else to fill the extra paragraphs in their columns. Given his somewhat limited playing role on the team, I'm not entirely convinced that he wasn't also being paid by the media relations department as well. After Damon, Millar, and Schilling, he was probably the most frequently quoted player on the team--and the only player other than Schilling who appeared to be able to offer more than single-sentence answers to any serious question.

So, best of luck to all the players coming to, leaving, and staying in Boston next year. Somehow, I don't think we've seen the last of any of these guys yet. . . .

Monday, November 22, 2004

Where can I get some of those drugs?

Once again, William Safire is smoking some quality dope. His latest flight of fancy suggests that we'll be able to pass an amendment allowing foreign-born American citizens to run for President within three years. But it doesn't end there.

Following that, he goes on to suggest (plausibly) that this would set up a Republican ticket containing Arnold Schwarzenegger. Implausibly, though, he suggests a Democratic ticket with Peter Jennings as the vice-Presidential candidate. That, my friends, is called diving off the deep end.

Unintentional irony department

You have to hand it to Naxos for chutzpah: the discs of their new "American Classics" series are proudly stamped "Made in Canada."

Enough said.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Dying happy

Apparently the world's oldest man has passed away, twelve days before his 114th birthday. As a Red Sox fan, he apparently was able to go after watching their World Series victory.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

It's not about elitism

If pundits like Ted Rall are to be believed, the difference between "Red" and "Blue" America is a question of cultural elitism. I tend to disagree--in my view,I think it's all about the scope of your view of the world.

I think that people who tend to vote liberal tend to view themselves as voting what's better not just for themselves or for their families, but what's better for their community and the world as a whole. On the other hand, conservatives tend to possess a "me-first" mentality, making sure that they're looking out for their own interests above all others. I also believe there's a certain realization among (at least most) liberals that their position in life is more an accident of birth than a matter of privilege. Instead of living a life free of having to worry about daily subsistence needs, people in my generation could be living in sub-Saharan Africa, where we'd rapidly be approaching the average life expectancy (even though we're only in our late-20's!).

Similarly, I know in my own case, that there's about half a dozen or so moments in my life where, if things had gone differently, instead of coming to MIT and earning a Ph.D., I'd probably be trying to scrape by in a blue-collar job right know. I know that the reason I'm where I am today is because I have parents who love me and a network of contacts and colleagues who have helped to pull me through the tougher situations I've found myself mired in. A less fortunate version of myself--one who didn't have the same support system I had--would have probably done something unwittingly that would have screwed up my entire future. [Let's just say that my past experiences lead me to be deeply suspicious of "high-stakes testing."]

As a consequence of my experiences, I believe that it's wrong for the government not to enable as many people as possible to succeed just because rich people want a few extra tens of thousands to buy a gas-guzzling SUV. It's not at all a matter of elitism--it's recognizing that I could be the other guy, and who am I to deny him help just so I can spend a few extra bucks--especially when that "other guy" really could have been me?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Spam, not-so-glorious spam

Oy. It's really getting out of control. Today I received 184 messages, according to Eudora. However, looking at my filter in WebMail (which removes spammy messages), I've only had about 48 useful messages today.

Last year, I had about 30% spam. Now it's 70% and climbing.

I will be glad to be able to dump my address when I move in a few months. . . .

Update: It turns out I actually received 221 messages on Tuesday, with a whopping 68 non-spam messages in the set. So, the 70% is actually pretty accurate. The more disturbing fact, however, is that in the first 10 days of November, I received more messages than I received in any single month last year. . . .

Well, that's one way to get around injuries

The Patriots were up to their usual tricks against the Rams yesterday. Once again they had Mike Vrabel catch a touchdown pass (his third career reception, and his third catch for a TD). They had Troy Brown, a wide receiver, tally three tackles and nearly had two interceptions. Finally, in perhaps the strangest play of all--because it worked--Adam Vinatieri now has a perfect QB rating.

This is perhaps the craziest play I've seen in a while: while the Rams were trying to figure out what formation the Pats were going to use, Troy Brown (who played special teams to complete the trifecta) moved to the edge of the field unnoticed by the Rams. Then following a quick snap by the setter, Vinatieri tosses the ball to Brown, who's right at the 1-yard line. Brown then promptly steps into the end zone, scoring a touchdown off of what everybody thought was going to be a gimme 21-yard field goal attempt.

This kind of play says something about the Rams--I'm just not quite sure what!