Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thoughts on fatherhood

This blog (and my other web pages) have been sadly neglected.

Stuff has been happening; life being busy and all that, blah blah blah....

Among the more recent developments, I am a father now and am nearly 4 weeks into it.

Consequently, I am in a higher amount of correspondence with friends and family.

I wrote this in  a reply, and I think this is a good summation of where I'm at:

Fatherhood? This is still early days, we're kind of in this place where every day's routine is nearly the same. I'm very fast at changing diapers now. The boy tends to mostly cry only when he's hungry...which is often. In a way, baby care feels a lot like troubleshooting; you are always running down a list of possible issues and trying different things out to see what works and what does not. 
The boy is putting on some weight now, though it's mostly in the form of a Buddha belly. Seems to stay awake a bit longer too. Doesn't do a ton of things while he's awake though...he's mostly into staring. 
I'm sure you've probably heard some people say what it's like to be a parent and how it changes your world...and now that I'm in that position, I agree. It's hard to imagine what it's like until you do it yourself.  
I suppose one can imagine sleep deprivation combined with being really busy due to this nagging thing that entirely relies on you - but the thing that is harder to imagine is the sense of joy that the kid provides to you. I'm not exactly sure WHY that's the case, but it's a nice feeling. :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

On Biggie, Tupac, and their likely holographic reunion years in the future

It's been over a month since the last Tupac hologram performance at the Cochella festival, and it seems to have been a watermark moment in the previously sci-fi only notion of having virtual-only performers and/or allowing estates to perpetually allow their stars to keep producing material long after they've died.

As far as dead performers releasing new material, this moment was preceded by the Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole 'Unforgettable' record.

While there were rumors of the holographic Tupac going on tour with Snoop, Dre, and other monsters of rap music, these were ultimately refuted.

I'm sure there'd be a market for it, at least for people in my age group (plus or minus 15 years or so).

However, I think that the Tupac estate and some dedicated fans may find it crass. Perhaps there was substance to the hologram tour rumors and the estate shot it down.

But what about 50 years from now, or 100 years from now? I assume that by this point, technology would exist that would allow one to make voice recordings using the vocal imprint/range of various singers in the past who had extensive catalogs available (and perhaps in the public domain, should that concept still exist). It would be like the numerous colors available in a large crayon box. Maybe a vocal part would be enhanced with a little John Lennon in the mix.

As a Beatles fan, something seems somewhat off-putting to me with that thought.

But what if that technology existed now, and I wanted to recreate a super-group of singers from the dawn of audio recording technology; maybe making some type of ultimate vaudeville barbershop quartet mashup? Would anyone really mind or care? (I suspect even the most sincere preservationists would welcome such a gesture for the awareness it would bring to the barbershop-vaudeville genre).

Someday, the stars of my youth (and, in my head anyway) recent memory will be lucky to be a curiosity footnote in a history book (or file archive, whatever). At that point, re-purposing whatever of their body of work is available and left to society is fair game.

So perhaps future generations of late 20th-century rap culture historians will take it upon themselves to make a digital reunion of Biggie and Tupac, perhaps assembling some sort of forgiveness-themed concert.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

great office decoration

Was happy to see this adorning the hallways in the office complex; even in work we are touched by His noodly appendage. Ramen.
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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sleep Dealer

I read about this movie, but it took me a while to actually see it.

Must totally recommend!

Very interesting sci-fi look (from a non-US perspective) at what what outsourcing could be like in 50 years.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Busy & thinking

Work has been busy; some long days last week but a good challenge - something new and different.

Anyway, things seem slightly slower this week and I have time to make a few comments on life.

  1. I have crossed over to the dark side and got cable. I did not really set out to do this, but there was a Comcast guy making the rounds going door to door pushing some upgrades, and I thought it would be easier to get a question answered about my cable modem just by talking to him rather than calling up their 800 number. He answered my question, then pointed out that I could have cable TV + internet for the same price that I was paying for my internet right now (at least for the first 6 months). We’re not going too crazy with it right now, but it’s convenient so far. Annoyed that much of the “on demand” content is not in HD...In a way, I have better selection (and better pictures) with Netflix streaming than with Comcast’s stuff. So I’m not particularly inclined to keep this beyond the promotional period...(we’ll see how that goes).
    • Drawback in that HGTV seems to be the thing we agree on (sorta) and I’m being programmed to know property
  2. Music! Got to jam a bit at a party last weekend, which was nice (and something that I was long overdue for). Was shy at first, but could not resist opportunity to try playing an electric ukulele.
  3. Music to listen to - lots of good releases; some really new, a lot just new to me:
    • Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip (new to me)
    • Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
    • The Roots - How I Got Over
    • Mr. Bungle - California (this came out in 1999)
    • The Streets - Everything is Borrowed (this came out in 2008, but was news to me two weeks ago)
    • The Orb - The Orb’s Adventures beyond the underworld (this is from 1991 or 1994...but I didn’t listen to it at all at the time)
    • Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (I had one of their other records but not this one)
    • M.I.A. - Maya

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day weekend recap

It’s been a weird Memorial day weekend in that the weather was decidedly not summer-like for most of the time. It was grey and rainy and 53 degrees (F, that’s 11.6 degrees C for the rest of the world).

Only as the weekend was drawing to a close, mid-monday afternoon, unexpectedly, the clouds parted and suddenly it was very pleasant to be outside; though my mole-like eyes were initially shocked and fearful of the glowing-bright object burning in the sky.

Saturday - We wanted to get away from the afore-mentioned rain & (relative) cold; but short of a 16 hour drive to southern California, there weren’t many options and we were not prepared to be overnighting it at random places on short notice. We ended up driving to the Olympic peninsula, since we had never been there before. I’ve seen the impressive mountains there on clear days from Seattle. While I believe we were in proximity to those mountains during the drive, we never saw them.

Stopped in the town of Bremerton, which seemed okay (pleasant small-town feel + Navy shipyard; if one worked in downtown Seattle a ferry commute would be possible), then continued to Port Angeles where we saw a bit of blue sky and caught a lot of strong ocean wind. Went to a restaurant that gave us a really solid appetizer (grilled shrimp stuffed with cheese and jalapeƱos then wrapped in bacon), but really disappointing main course. Drove past some stores that had clearly come into existence to cash-in on the whole Twilight fad. I think I liked Bremerton better than Port Angeles based on my food experiences alone.

The drive home was much faster than the drive there; I guess that’s how it usually goes.

Sunday - Some nice time to try and do things at home that I always have meant to do but was distracted from. Tried making music as a project with the wife; it really came down to assembling loops in garage band. It was fun re-acquainting myself with what one could do given enough focus on music-making software; I’m suddenly interested in completing the Ableton demos that are available and seeing what kind of dope-ass beats that I can make.

Monday - Went to the mega-korean grocery store, H-Mart, in Federal Way. More diverse clientele (25% Korean, the rest = “other”) than I had seen before. Checked out some special (rare) import cell phones, but at $200 + 2-year contract for a potentially crippled dumbphone we were not moved to get anything.

Was freaked out by the rough/sorry condition of I-5 south; our car was shaking pretty violently and I was convinced that we had blown a tire - turns out that the car is fine, the road was just that bad.

I do appreciate that there is no state income tax here in Washington, but I expect that there will be more nickel & diming in the future here in terms of more tolls or other “creative” methods to cover the costs of the aging transportation infrastructure.

Came home in the sun. Had a beer, let the cats out, did some writing. Maybe I’ll publish something someday. Or, perhaps I’ll just produce a body of work and horde it until my death, Emily Dickinson style.

Mapo Tofu for dinner.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Good month in music

Lots of good albums out recently, and I’ve been listening fairly thoroughly.

(Though apparently I’m in the minority when it comes to actually getting full albums) - I like trying to see the larger themes/ideas that the artists are pushing through, and I often disagree with whatever songs are being pushed as singles are truly the strongest tracks that the artist has to offer.

Upon reflection, I guess I’m getting old in that these are mostly follow-up efforts from artists I already know. But I can work on that if I get out to see some new bands once in a while.

Here’s the mini-reviews in reverse chronological order:

Mike Patton - Mondo Cane

While I have respected Mike Patton’s vocal talents for a while, I haven’t actually picked up a full album from him.

He has done great work as a singer with Faith No More, as well as doing some voice work in the gaming industry (including Portal). His work with the band Mr. Bungle is also fairly well-recieved, but I really struggle to listen through any of the songs on that record.

I do respect that Mike and Faith No More do random covers fairly frequently.

This album is a collection of covers of Italian-pop crooner music from the 1960s and 1970s, backed with a full band and orchestra as needed. No real references to Mike’s days in the hard-rock / metal / avant-garde scene (unless you count that an American putting a lot of effort into covering Italian pop from the 60s and 70s is a bit unusual for the musical landscape in the US in 2010).

I really like it; it’s refreshing compared to a lot of the other music I have in my collection. The production is good as well, there are distorted guitars added in occasionally, along with some effects, but it’s not overly gimmicky - the songs themselves with Mike’s singing are really what carry the album.

In short - I’m liking this one a lot, and I can find something that I like in most of the songs regardless of my mood.

The New Pornographers - Together

This band has grown on me; I really liked some the work on their earlier efforts but never quite fully enjoyed their full albums; some songs ended up just annoying me (I think it was something with the singers).

This album is not annoying me; I think that their mix of guitars, strings, vocals is working really well.

Maybe not a stand-out masterpiece single like “Sing Me Spanish Techno”, but there’s 4 - 5 really good songs and 4-5 decent ones.

There’s something timeless about their music, so I think that this will have some staying power in my attention-span.

Hole - Nobody’s Daughter

Wasn’t sure if I really wanted this one, but after listening through all the previews, I went for it.

Pretty good, though if you were never really into Hole to begin with, this probably will not change your mind.

Courtney’s voice sounds as if her hard living is catching up with her, but for the most part it’s used to good effect.

There’s a couple acoustic and whiny songs that I probably won’t listen to by choice again, but the rocking songs (where the distortion and drums are noticeable) are pretty good.

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim - Here Lies Love

Kind of like a disco Evita. I haven’t given this one as much attention as the rest. It’s not terrible or anything, but I prefer it as something to vary up my playlists on shuffle rather than just listening all the way through.

(For some reason, I usually don’t get into listening to showtunes recordings unless I’ve actually seen the show...I have that feeling with this one).

Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle

Rick Rubin is producing this one. Not sure that I’d have noticed if it wasn’t in the description of the album. However, after having seen that bit of info, I keep drawing parallels between this record and System of a Down’s Toxicity....there’s the first song that sets the tone, there’s a slower song that builds in intensity, there’s a screamer, there’s a soft ballad, there’s a few other songs that fit with the general sound, and that’s the album.

Not that much else to say - the album sounds like Gogol Bordello. If you liked their earlier work, you’ll probably like this. If you didn’t, this is probably not going to change your mind.

I would love to see them in concert again sooner than later - I saw them back in October 2008 and it was a very fun show.

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

I liked some of Gorillaz’ previous efforts, but they were mostly single-driven - I quickly got tired of much of the other material on that album.

I was pleasantly surprised with this one, in that the first 8-9 songs are fairly varied and decent.

After that point, I usually have to stop listening and/or end up changing to a different album.

Not sure if I’d really want to see these guys live though; even if they have Mick Jones and other luminaries playing along, I can’t imagine that this would be a super fun show (based on the clip of their performance on the Colbert Report).

But hey, if someone has free tickets and would like to share in order to prove me wrong, please do.

The Apples in Stereo - Travellers in Space and Time

Fun pop music, Apples-style, with a bit more of a dance/disco feel than their previous efforts. Pretty easy to take, pretty upbeat - they’re really good at what they do.

Lyrics are not mind-blowing, but I was not expecting them to be.

I’m not really a fan of the 20 - 40 second random sample or song throwaway tracks that seem to occur as filler, but that is pretty easily resolved with a few smacks of the delete key (deleting from playlist, not my master copies). Aside from those, this holds up well as an album that can be enjoyed all the way through.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - I Learned the Hard Way

As I said in an a Tweet / Facebook status update, this record reminds me that I will never have the sultry voice of a middle-aged woman singing (mostly) about lovers who have done her wrong.

Regardless of not being able to sing along (well), it’s a satisfying listen. The Dap-Kings do a fantastic job of sounding like a superstar session band from the 60s, and that really adds to the character of this album.

While I do like this, I do not often listen through all the way; I like the songs to provide contrast to what I have on shuffle.

Again, would love to see this band live; I think that they would put on one hell of a show.