Archive | September, 2008

Working hard – hardly working?

26 Sep

So I’ve been working on my website… I’m not sure if I’ll stick with a full flash format or not. But what I am sure about is that I love flash games. Right now I have made two games for people: tetris and spaceship shooter. Tetris is a classic that I’m sure you’ll love and the spaceship shooter is a bit of a work in progress. In its defense, spaceship shooter features a cool laser beam sound effect!

Enjoy, and let me know what your top scores are!
Play tetris here 

Play spaceship shooters here

Play classic pong solo or with a friend here

Play snake here

Race against your friend or the computer here

Have fun working hard!

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Ari Erev’s “About Time”

23 Sep

Israeli-born pianist and composer Ari Erev, has been playing the piano since the age of four and the time he has spent perfecting his craft is both evident and extraordinary on this debut album About Time. With Yorai Oron on the bass and Gideon Pasahov on the drums, the trio plays a melodic and inviting mix of original jazz compositions and standards.

Erev’s opening track “Prelude: Anticipation” sets up the sonic landscape with a two note motive, resourcefully winding through a myriad of progressions and augmented harmonies. Midway through the album with “Interlude: Anticipation”, he’ll start and end at the same place, but will expand upon the harmonic structures he introduces in the prelude.

The album’s structural framework is completed with “Postlude: Turn Out the Stars”, a Bill Evans composition, that opens with the now familiar two note statement, however it is extended from the two notes to two measures. The interplay and function of these three defining pieces, the prelude, interlude, and postlude is as much aesthetically pleasing to the listener as it is a thoughtful and deliberate expression of the human experience of an isolated moment, a two note motif, repeated and extended as it is recalled over time.

Musical gems fill in the album’s framework. Erev’s “Fading Memories” suggests one’s own fading memory by making use of a motive switching between major and minor thirds, while every now and again, playing the two notes at the same time. Another Erev piece, “Past Desire” takes the motive from “Fading Memories” and develops it with a cool languor, creating a beautifully reflective and melodic piece.

Erev’s album is poetry to the ears; a metaphor of music as time itself by way of thoughtful and emotive musical interplay between musicians and the listener’s experience of the music. Comprised of musical ingenuity and talent that builds upon itself both musically and philosophically, the album will stimulate your mind. Set aside the time to listen to this album straight through.

visit Muzik Reviews here

$20 and For the Record 1.7

23 Sep

On Monday, September 22, I made my first $20 in New York City. Hold the applause. Really. I’m blushing from the attention. Or maybe it’s the blood rushing to my head after a weekend of pure insanity doused in Redbull and fueled by Powerbars. Maybe it’s both.

I feel the need for a recap of the weekend. On international “talk like a pirate day”, Stephanie and I went out to BLVD for Bootie Mash-up night. We got there at 11, and started the party totally sober. We walked to the middle of the empty dancefloor and let loose. Within minutes we had attracted a crowd.

The BLVD attracts a cool crowd. There were a number of international students who are here for a few weeks to learn English- I met a few from Japan and one from Brasil. They seemed to be a part of a program comparable to Syracuse University’s short term abroad programs. Any way, the people and the music were the definition of awesome- San Francisco DJs, Adrian and the Mysterious D were spinning. You can check out their site and mash-ups at http://www.aplusd.net/.

So Steph and I left BLVD around 2am, she was a trooper – she came to my apartment right after work and then went dancing. I went to bed and woke up on Saturday sometime in the afternoon. I planned for another night out dancing, this time at a nightclub called Love. It was a completely different vibe from BLVD and a really low key entrance. Had it not been for the bouncer and the postcard flyers taped haphazardly to the door, I would have had to walk around the block more than once…

Love is a pretty sweet club. Interesting decor – they have a waterfall and the walls are made up to look like bare rock. I started my own dance party underneath the disco ball in front of the DJs. The crowd picked up exponentially and I would have passed out from exhaustion/heat stroke had David not been coming around with water every now and again. I was on my feet dancing nonstop until 4am. When I finally stopped – any physical movement sent pain shooting through my body.

I walked back to my apartment, every step hurt like hell – but I just kept a vision of my bed in front of me. One more step. One. More. Step. When I finally got home around 4:30, I drank a bottle and a half of water before collapsing – although my sleep was anything but restful.

Around 6:30am I got up. My body was aching and I couldn’t relax. David later commented that it must have been the endorphins… 

Anywho, I took a power nap in the afternoon and then met up with David for Arepas at a Venezuelan restaurant called Caracaras on 7th. It was basically a much more expensive, fresher version of a quiznos sammie with a Venezuelan flair. I dug it.

The theme of the weekend seemed to be abusing my body (in a good way)- as we decided to walk up to see Avenue Q. So now I’ve got to go see Spamalot in London. Nice.

So after Avenue Q, I didn’t sleep. Instead, I worked on my website locally. Haven’t uploaded anything as of yet. I also worked on my intellectual autobiography. I took a shower around 7am to snap myself into the waking world and then hopped on my bike for my follow up interview/work session at Underworld Productions in Inwood.

I decided to save money  and rode my bike. 11.5 miles. 23 miles total – I was paid $20 from UP today. So that amounts to about +87 cents per mile. Nice. My hot pink and I are going places. Oh yeah. Speaking of going places on bikes… it is an absolute thrill to ride around the city. I’ve had a dozen or so near life experiences on the road, snaking in and out of traffic, dodging cars, avoiding pedestrians, swerving out of the way of stray chiuauas… incredible.

Today’s lecture was the best ever. Most likely because I mentally checked out a few days ago. I spent the majority of the time drawing my intellectual autobiography and soaking in words subconsciously.

For the Record Part 1.7

For the Record Part 1.7

Moving UP

19 Sep

Thursday was a great day. I was up before the sun and met my cousin Jimmy first thing for breakfast at Ess-a-Bagel. I haven’t seen him in a while and it was just nice to catch up with him and spend some quality time with family.

After breakfast I went back to the apartment. I spent my time listening to the two CDs I’ll be reviewing soon. But since I had only gotten a couple hours of sleep, after my first listen through, I decided to take a nap so as to be lively for my interview with Underground Productions.

UP is a 4 year old opera production company funded by a Fractured Arts, a local non-profit. Under the artistic and executive direction of Gina Crusco and the hard work and commitment of the artists involved, UP has grown into quite a reputable operation. Gina’s vision is to incorporate in hopes of applying for state and federal grants. 

There is something about smaller, independent companies that I find intriguing. Their social make-up and the communites that their visions foster. I love being a part of it. I suppose its the transparency- the ability to trace an idea as it becomes an action as it becomes a result. The fact that UP has yet to build its infrastructure also interests me. It will be quite an experience to see and be a part of Gina’s vision realized.

I have a meeting on Monday to formalize my role for my next few months at UP. There are so many things that can be done. that must be done, that will be done within the next year. I will move UP.

For the Record: Part 1.5

17 Sep

On September 5, 2005 I submitted this deviation.

It was an attempt to graphically describe my state of being. Looking back it’s quite crude, but to some degree it is still relevant; although, now there would be more layers, colors- John Locke theorized that our minds are blank slates- well if that’s the case, then I’ve decided to color over the lines and figures of the past rather than seperating and differentiating the now and then.

One of my media studies projects is to create an intellectual autobiography. I’ve been musing over this little assignment, tossing it over in my mind, thinking of different methods of approaching the matter. That’s when I remembered this piece.

I think I’ll approach this intellectual autobiography graphically at first – set everything down on a piece of paper, non-linear, but still within the frame of an 8″x11″ white box. That will give me a starting point and hopefully then I’ll be able to write this autobiography as a cohesive whole.

Life Surfing

16 Sep

Surfing is like life. You start on the beach and survey the horizon. You scope out the crowd, make mental notes of who is where and what their habits are, how people ride and when they are likely to go for a wave. You find the break and set your route to get there. All you have is your surfboard, your wits, and your will.

The better the day, the harder the struggle. Giants will swallow you and spit you out back towards shore. The coral will catch your board and cut your skin. You would drown if it weren’t for the thin leash connecting you to your surfboard; a lifeline that tugs you towards the surface, to air.

Something compels you to continue; an inner spirit, the challenge, the adrenaline, the hope. The hope that you will find your destination. The image of calm beyond the break soothes and comforts as you toss and tumble in the jaws of another wave.

You will struggle to make it past the break, but when you do. It’s calm. It’s quiet. Now you wait. You watch the sets coming in, asses their potential. Your hopes fall and rise like the swells beneath you. Waiting.

And all at once, a set will come in from the horizon. Slowly, purposefully, building in size and intensity. It takes all your will to let the first wave go. But from it, you learn the manner of this set of waves. You determine the break from the spray, you find your entry mark, a mental ‘x’ on the surface of the ocean just before the foam and start paddling.

I’m paddling.

Kittens & Pidgeons

14 Sep

I thought the title of this post would spark some creative interest in writing. Just something Katie was saying over the phone that caught my ear…

I’ve been catching up on sleep the past few days. After not sleeping Fri-Sat, because of work, I was just a little tired, but Katie’s family came to visit on Saturday morning so I stayed awake. Once the family went out to explore the city I decided it would be a good idea to take a little nap. But, just as I was about to close my eyes… my cell phone rings.

It was Hans wanting to know if I would like to meet up for lunch. See, I had skipped out on watching a movie with the Brooklyn bunch to work all night long… so I put my nap on hold (more or less… I may have caught a wink).

We went to the Egyptian restaurant and hookah bar down the street. I tried my best, in the delusional state of mind that I was, to describe my courses over a delicious chicken wrap and salad. The food did help to keep me focused, but I was so exhausted I’m not sure if I made any sense at all.

By 4 pm on Saturday I was asleep. Dreaming of kittens & pidgeons. It was a riveting dream – so gripping in fact, that I did not wake until today…

At 7:10 cell phone time, Katie’s mom woke me up when she stuck her head in our room to see if we were awake… I think. At least that seems to be the only reason why anyone would do that. Anyway, it’s a good thing I am a relatively light sleeper because I needed to be at Race for the Cure!

I shuffled into my clothes and grabbed the necessary items: cell phone, keys, and oyster card wallet (fits cards and money – the NYC metro should consider doing something similar). On my way out I emptied our mouse trap (I’ve caught two now) and figured I’d walk to Union Square where I could catch a train up to the park.

It was a nice warm up to the station, a few blocks and no one out on the street. But once I arrived, I opened up my wallet… and could find no metro card! A bit miffed, I decided to walk the rest of the way to the race – and just checking google maps I’ve realized that on top of the 5k run, I walked a total of 8 miles. So yes…. a quality warm up and cool down to boot!

Right, so among the 25,000 other attendees, I ran the 5k, picked up a goodie bag and finally got myself a water bottle – all before noon! Kittens & pidgeons no more.

By running, I jump started my day. While I didn’t accomplish much of anything on the booking/promotion/web design end of my life, I feel like this has been my most productive day since… since booking the Temple Bar that night at the Mammoth Lodge. Which was almost a month ago. To tap into this positive energy, I’m going to go for a run in the mornings – even if its just around the block.

That is what is missing in my lazy days. Something physically dynamic. I’ve been so focused on work that I’ve let my own needs slip. My goal for the week is to better balance my time between work and just being me (even though so much of me is work…). Maybe I’ll invest in a basketball… I’ve been eyeing those courts for the past few days. Buddha knows I can’t afford to join a gym…

Shower Revelations

9 Sep

You know, I think I can attribute these lazy days to my night classes. The days just seem to meld one into the other- working 24/7 promoting and booking Still Time. Oh sure I take naps every now and again, but if I had a morning class to spur me into action, where I couldn’t just walk in wearing my PJs… I’d be able to punctuate my days rather than perpetuating this… my current state…

So yes, another lazy day. Granted, for being such a lazy day, I accomplished a good many things: sending off a few follow up emails, getting in touch with some radio stations and their music directors, researching possible opening acts, updating and creating wikipedia entries (I do despise unlinked material)… you know… carrying on with yesterday’s unfinished business.

After hunting a few scouting roaches, I decided it was a good time to take a shower. After battling roaches, it’s hard to stop yourself from cleaning everything you own inside and out. So after my successful campaign I took a shower – and it was during this shower that I finally let myself mull over the thoughts that had been brewing in my mind for the past few days.

I thought about the concept of power and control in the media, namely in reference to Walter Ong’s “Orality, Literacy, and Modern Media” (read for Media Concepts). I was musing over my class’s online discussions and realized how we skirted about the readings and their relation to our class. I was trying to deflate our postings into more concrete, everyday examples.

I thought of my post about instant messaging and realized that, while it was a good start, still didn’t get to the core of what we read. As I was washing my hair, it hit me. No, not the shampoo bottle. The TV! The readings all suddenly clicked in my mind. Protoliterate societies, Literate specialists, Secondary Orality, Power, Control.

In an unmediated, oral environment a message is sent to a receiver, who receives said message, and can respond. The exchange is made upon relatively neutral grounds and each individual has comprable power, each message has the potential to be just as effective. (This is overly simplified… but… work with me here)

However once you introduce literacy, the sender/receiver relationship alters drastically. Interaction between the two is not necessarily external, but internal and there is hardly an immediate response time between sender/receiver (unless it’s instant messaging… but then the context of the conversation is different, and indeed the content is altered as well… but focusing here!)

So I was taking a shower… and I realized that TV has one of the largest, if not largest, disparities between sender and receiver. Indeed what can you do to alter the message as a viewer? Change the channel? Call the hotline? Still these options are regulated, mediated by TV corporations who set the standard. Send the message. Our only option is to turn it off – or watch community TV which is just silly.

The traditional music industry is dead, a chicken with its head cut off. Running around on muscle memory. Independent channels and entrepreneurs are redifining the way in which we listen to and consume music. Until the indepent and community TV channels can replicate this ingenuity, we’re stuck with bad TV controlled by some corporation with dollars on their mind…

And that was one of the best showers ever.

Soap Suds

9 Sep

It was another lazy day today. I followed up on some leads for Still Time- I’m waiting on a few album reviews to come back to me and I’ve booked them a solid row of gigs in Northern California for mid October. Now we’re trying to settle and find openers for the shows.

I had a setback the other day though. Dan said he wanted to play at the Boardwalk in Sacramento. It’s one of the two all ages venues in town (and the other isn’t really “in town”). I got Still Time a gig there. It was a free day. October 16. So I call up Paul and tell him the good news, except that Paul tells me that Still Time is opening for Jackie Greene at the Downtown Brew in San Luis Obispo on October 16. Really!? What!? Man, pick up the phone and call me. They should know that when I say I’m going to do something… I’m going to do it! 

Keep me informed. That’s all I ask. It’s not too hard. In fact technology is making it way too easy. A simple call from a cell phone, better yet a text message: got gig oct 16. That’s all it had to be. Or an email, or an instant message… facebook post, myspace comment, hi5… the list goes on. 

Now I could continue this rant… but I’ll save it for another night when I don’t have soap suds to address.

So it was a lazy day… and I decided to be the good roommate and run the dishwasher. I stacked the dishes up, set the dial, turned on the clean cycle, and walked away. Time passed by as I worked in my room, and soon Katie came home from classes. Her arrival jolted me back to reality and I remembered that there were dishes to be put away. 

I went to the kitchen. It was like a scene out of a movie.

The entire floor was covered in soap suds and they were foaming out of the bottom of the dishwasher. I hopped  into the fray and grabbed a bowl to catch the suds, but the damage was already done. I was wading in an ocean. 

I let Katie call the maintenance crew, while I raced to the drug store to get a mop. When I got back, Katie let me know that the maintenance crew couldn’t help us, that they don’t work with appliances. So I was on my own. Armed with a mop, I went for a swim.

It took me a while to finally get rid of all the rogue soap suds that had drifted underneath the stove and refrigerator, but afterwards our kitchen was sparkling clean. The floor was imaculate. It was awesome.

The Katies wonder whether or not we should keep using the dishwasher. I tell them why not. I don’t mind a clean kitchen floor.

I can (almost) see clearly now

7 Sep

The rain let up sooner than expected, some time last night while everyone slept – everyone except for me. I had it all planned out, I would take a nap, wake up, go to my cousin’s show, sleep. It was a brilliant plan. Of course every brilliant plan is an ingenius set up for disaster. Turns out the venue cancelled Rory’s show due to the rain (it was pouring pretty hard around 8PM or so)… and I woke up from my nap around midnight, slightly later than planned.

So instead of going out, I meandered about my apartment musing at the picturesque world I live in without my glasses: there are no fine lines or hard edges. It was like living in an oil painting. I read a few chapters “Theories of Two Dimensional Design” and made the best ginger salmon I’ve ever had. Finally when the sun began to cast shadows across my oil painting, I decided it would probably be a good idea to go to bed.

This afternoon when I woke the sun was shining brilliantly and families were in the park enjoying the sudden change in weather and shopping at the Farmer’s Market. I decided to brave the world without my contacts and was instantly reminded why I preferred to sing my recitals without them. 

Walking around without my glasses or contacts in and trying to interact with people I can’t see was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had in a while now that I have become accustomed to seeing. It wasn’t always this way though. I can recall grade school basketball and identifying my “man” by how the light cast shadows on the player’s face, or how her jersey was tucked, etc. I also remember shooting… at a box. It was usually easier for me to play at old gyms which still had painted white wooden backgrounds with a red backboard box. The glass backboards were okay, but my aim was always a little off at first.

But that was back when I only wore my glasses in class and let the world blur for everything else. I enjoy seeing the individual leaves on trees and the expressions on people’s faces as they speak and react – but I’ve just got to get into the routine of sticking plastic lenses into my eyes before I’ve really woken up.