April 17, 2008

In a bit of a Jazz mood today

One of the songs I most enjoyed playing during my short time in the junior high jazz band was Birdland (named after the jazz club Birdland, which was itself named after a jazz musician nicknamed "Bird"). It was one of the first songs we played that gave us a chance to improv solos, and when we finally had it down, it was probably one of the fastest tunes I've ever played.

(Somewhere just north of 180 bpm when we were really pushing it. We never performed at that tempo. We just did it to see if we could. It was ridiculous amounts of fun at that speed. The director would have to break in to cut-time so he didn't look like he was trying to take off.)

It's a song I haven't heard in a while, and being jazz, there are about N+1 arrangements and variations out there. This is the cleanest recording I found so far.


The other song that was always a lot of fun was Malaguena. It's also another song with N+1 arrangements and variations (because in addition to being a jazz band favorite, it's also really big with marching bands)

Here's an indoor performance of the song from Blast! (a show everyone owes it to themselves to see)

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April 01, 2008

Life, the Universe, etc. ~ Part Deux ~ Now with More FAIL

Boy, almost a month without anything new here. I didn't have a resolution to keep or anything, but I had planned on every few days getting at least something up.

Settling in is settling in.

The box containing a number of my anime DVDs (including my still-wrapped Shingu boxset) appears to be lost/missing/stolen. The first run of bills are rolling in with all the pain of various "setup" fees attached. As much as I would love to run out and spend the money on the various big-ticket items that would really get me up to speed living in the place, small nickel-and-dime items are what has me running to Wal-mart every other day it seems.

The softball team had a mediocre regular season. We finished 8-4, with those 4 losses came in a row during the middle of the season. We're seeded 4th in the Tournament that starts this week.

In a couple weeks comes what amounts to a "softball team" camping trip. I've been looking forward to a little "cold weather" camping, but it's always been difficult getting more than a couple people interested. I'm curious to see how it goes. I need to get a good 0ยบ bag because nothing I've got right now is going to cut it at 7000'.

Shortly therafter comes a wedding to attend. I've got to figure out where my nicer clothes are in this mess. A polo and jeans is not appropriate wedding attire.

Lemme see... lemme see...

Oh, got notice of my ten-year high school reunion in the mail, only to discover they're charging $89 for a ticket. Thanks, but maybe I'll organize a counter-reunion for people not of a mind to waste perfectly good money just to meet people who are rapidly becoming strangers all over again.

Wow. That was bitter. I'm going to blame stress and lack of fresh anime. The winter season has tapered off. I won't even bother with any spring shows until a couple weeks in and some of the chaff has been shaken out.

And to leave off on a disturbing note...

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March 10, 2008

Life, the Universe, etc...

Well, the big move is finally over. Almost. There's still a bit if stuff in the storage room and garage unit at the apartment to haul over, but otherwise, the transfer is complete.

7 hours after work on Friday, 19 hours straight on Saturday, and another 13 hours on Sunday mean I'm dead tired.

In those three days I feel like I've fallen way behind on a lot of things, anime being one of them.

Things don't look likely to let up in the near-term either. I need to get a washer and dryer pronto, and I need to start cleaning up the apartment for moveout inspection. I've heard so many horror stories about renters trying to screw people over on the tiniest things. It's making me a bit neurotic. The vertical blinds on the backdoor of the house need replaced (and I hear tell that the size I need is going to be hard to find). I don't have much in the way of respectable furniture. The more I look at the situation, the more it looks like I'm going to need to do a lot of side-jobs to get this place up and running properly.

Because of the way the schedules fell, I'm actually getting dinged for a full month of overlap between the apartment and the first mortgage payment. It will be interesting to see how bad things really get at the end of this month.

Oh yeah... taxes... gotta get those filed sometime soon. Suddenly that $230 million Powerball drawing on Wednesday is looking real nice.

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February 20, 2008

God... who knew buying a house and moving would be such a chore?

Well... it's been a long month. Signing is coming up some time next week. I need to get my taxes filed.

But at least I have shows like Minami-ke to keep me sane(?).

There's just so much right in that Nico-Nico... Kana's just loving life and living large... Haruka's a little embarrassed, but otherwise enjoying herself... and Chiaki is completely lost and wondering how she got talked into this little performance.

(This is part of a whole sub-genre of nico-nico videos dedicated to the Swedish caramelldansen.)

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January 25, 2008

Parenting Tips for Dealing with your New Baby

The do's and don'ts.

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January 15, 2008

Raunchy ringtones

I just got this little video through email at work. The ultra-tall gaijin to the right is a nice touch.

[Update: why did I bother uploading it when I knew damned well I should just check youtube, saves meenu bandwidth]

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January 14, 2008

Band meme

Because I had to put the image up somewhere.

I tried to use a Gothic font, but the crossbars on the t's in "lettered" disappear. Balls.

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January 09, 2008

Giving up cold-turkey

About the time I went through two cases in a little less than a week, I knew I had a problem. I couldn't function without it. I felt myself craving it at odd hours of the day, and the effects it normally induced had decreased because of my abuse.

I speak of course about caffeine. Four cans of Pepsi a day might not seem like a lot to some people (I know I'm not anywhere near the addict that some are), but to me it seemed a very unhealthy level of chemical stimulation.

Lunch on Saturday was the last time I had any caffeine. It was no big deal until about 5:30 Sunday afternoon. Usually if I haven't had at least some caffeine by 3:00 pm, I start getting a splitting headache that won't go away until after I go to bed (once the headache sets in, no amount of caffeine or pain-killers will make it go away). But this last weekend something was off. Instead of the normal headache, I just felt really really sluggish. My eyelids weighed a metric ton and my thinking was very foggy.

I decided to take a quick nap, and the next thing I know, it's 9:00 pm and I don't feel one bit better. Nothing felt normal. Quick change into something better for actual sleeping and it's back into bed to shake off whatever's kicking my ass.

2:00 am I'm wide awake and wondering just what the hell is wrong with me. My skull felt like there was an extra 20 psi inside it (but no real pain, just the sensation of pressure)  and at the same time I had the sensation that my eyes were trying to suck back into my head (a sensation I get whenever I get a sever fever and a bit of dehydration).

I check my temp, and it's all normal. So I get a glass of water and wait to fall asleep again. Five minutes later whatever woke me up has passed and I crash again until 7:00 am. My head's still packed with wool and it feels disconnected from the rest of my body. I spend all day Monday at work in this state, but I've already figured out I'm suffering withdrawls (though I can't discount that the strange Sunday afternoon may have been brought on by something else already long gone).

The withdrawl symptoms subsided Monday night, and I've been making a point to avoid anything with caffeine. The bizarre part is that it hasn't really affected my sleep pattern at all. I still wake up and go to bed at the same time. I thought I would at least feel tired earlier, but that hasn't panned out.

I guess I'll keep going with this for now, if only as an experiment.

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December 18, 2007

It's been a Jet Engine Day Around Here

Redneck Jet Engine

(Though, I don't think it's techincally a proper turbojet without having the compressor linked to a turbine. In this case it looks like compressed air and oil are injected into an automotive turbo. The turbo then feeds compressed air into a burner.)

Here's a micro turbojet for hobby use.

And this one makes me think of those "Wanna get away?" Southwest Airlines ads.

Oh, and at some point I'll have to get myself one of these.

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December 12, 2007

An Interesting Visual Effect

Don't worry. It's not one of those stupid "stare at this until a creepy picture and loud noise pop up to scare you" tricks.

 I'm really curious what makes it work. I think it maybe be etching color info into the cones of the retina while somehow not affecting the rods. Then when they switch to a black and white image, your eye continues to over-compensate for a split second, filling in the colors of the image.

I'm reminded of this other optical illusion brought on by color fatigue in the cones of the retina. Stare at the black cross, and watch what happens to the purple dots over time.

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November 29, 2007

Getting an Early Start on Christmas

The kitten seems mesmerized by the new tree.

You're getting sleepy.

Will she leave it alone?


Guess not.

She's done worse.

She's a small cat. That's a small tree.

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November 26, 2007

Do you have The Knack?

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November 20, 2007

Well, I'd Call That A Moment In Time

I don't think of the Grand Canyon Airport as being particularly busy, which makes this image all the more rare.

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November 09, 2007

How have I not heard about Band of Bloggers yet?

Right now, I'm watching the tail-end of a show on History Channel called Band of Bloggers. How is it I haven't heard about this show yet? I follow enough blogs that I should have seen something... Was I just asleep at the wheel?

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November 07, 2007

Now that looks a little more like it.

Google maps finally updated that bizarre photography over the Vegas strip.

I should have kept a screenshot.

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October 24, 2007

Temporal Insults

Having finally got around to seeing the Transformers movie, I found myself getting aggravated by the implications of one small bit of dialogue.

It made me think of that old saying, "Those that can, do." I wonder what percentage of sci-fi writer in Hollywood were, at one time or another, aspiring scientist or engineers. 

Millions of man-hours, oceans of sweat and tears, and trillions of dollars have gone into the development of the technologies we enjoy today. The fact that I can sit here avoiding work while plugging away at a piece of software developed in Australia, hosted in the US, and that eventually broadcasts my meager rantings to the rest of the world (am I banned in China yet?) over an interconnected system of integrated circuits, fiber-optics, and maybe even across some man-made chunks of metal orbiting in space, is a testament to the work done by millions of incredibly smart and diligent people before me.



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October 19, 2007

Damned Avian Showoffs


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October 04, 2007

Soliciting Comments on the Custom Color Scheme

Foul language welcome.

I'm trying to stick to the natural colors you see in the banner images.

And while I'm on the subject, I haven't been able to get the custom color pop-ups working right. I'd really rather the posting area were more tan/brown than it currently is. It's dangerously close to pink for my taste.


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September 16, 2007

Tomorrow I put in my two weeks

I've been in my current job for 5 1/2 years. Well, I can't exactly say that.

I started at this place in Jan. 2002 while I was still in school. At that time, I was only the part-time "intern." They liked to sound big by calling me that, but really I was just a part-timer. I held that position for three years while I chipped away at my engineering degree.

A little over a month before graduation in Dec. 05, in the middle of trying to finish up my senior design project, both of my bosses left the company. ( I was passed back and forth between two departments as need arose.) One was fired just a week after the other put in his two weeks. I was very quickly thrust into doing the work of three people at the worst possible time.

The replacement for the fired boss had been lined up and arrived the day after the firing, but it took a couple months before he was anything like up to speed. I was still checking his work 4 months later.

The other boss that quit caught the company completely off guard, and they had to scramble to find a replacement. Their first attempt at replacing him was a complete failure. The new guy would nip out for "smoke breaks" to the van he basically lived in after moving from Oklahoma, and he would come back smelling quite strongly of alcohol. It doesn't help that he royally screwed up a big project, and I had to step in and do it all over again from scratch. He didn't last a month.

That position was technically empty for the next 5 months while I held it provisionally. In about April of 06, the head-guy at our plant asked me if I wanted the job. I didn't really. I had applied for JET before graduating, and I was pretty confident I would be accepted. But the news came back negative in late February, and I had made the horrible mistake of not having a backup plan in place. Also, in all the chaos after the first two guys left, there was a months-long process of all the other experienced people I'd grown up working with leaving as well. I was basically drifting at the time I was asked, so I accepted the job.

Ever since then, it's been one miserable day after another. I spent most of 2006 helping new people get trained rather than doing my job, and the turnover has been abysmal.

Things seemed to calm down in early 2007, but in the last month, three more people were let go. Two I can't say I'm sad to see go, but they at least seemed to be able to do their jobs. The third was just ridiculous.

I'm done being ignored when I point out problems. I'm done being ignored when the answers I give aren't what they want to hear. And I'm done dealing with ownership dedicated to un-fettered growth by squeezing blood from stones.

I've been recruited by a better outfit, and I'm gone.

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August 30, 2007

I wonder when that happened...

When I comment in Minx from work, the ip hash always comes back as "sox9v", and from home it was always "ols40". Now my home ip is generating a different hash. I can't think of anything that would cause/require my home ip to change. From what I understood, the ip on a cable connection should be static.

It's not any big deal, just unexpected.

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