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Thu, Apr. 27th, 2006, 09:43 am

Well, the big dilemma was whether to see Ladytron or Massive Attack. Two big shows, same night. With everything on my plate, I couldn't go the Chris/Alexia route and see Massive Attack here and then drive down to Portland the next day for Ladytron. I'm sure Massive Attack were great and I missed a rare show, but Witching Hour was one of my favorite albums from last year, so Ladytron won out.

And I made the right choice. Amazing show. They looked great (of course) and sounded great. A couple things I could nitpick, but overall the best show I've seen in a long time. And the intro was appropriately a song from The Wicker Man (creepy 70s children singing and dancing around a maypole).

I also dug the opener, The Presets. Had some songs that reminded me musically of early PiL. Two guys (one drummer, one singer/synths) with a lot of energy. The singer reminded me a little of Damon Albarn for some reason.

I wish Bethany would have been able to go with me (she would have loved it), but she's been gone all week to Port Townsend for her commercial photography program. The second year students are out there shooting for their portfolios and the first years are there to assist. From what I understand, Mamiya and several other companies supply equipment for them to use. Sounds like she's having a good time overall, but is pretty busy both assisting and modeling with not much time to relax.

Tue, Apr. 18th, 2006, 09:27 am

Bethany and I sat down last night to watch Andrew Goldberg's "The Armenian Genocide" documentary on PBS. Overall, I thought is was very well done considering it was only an hour long, plus I think it should help educate the American public on a topic that these days is fairly unknown here. For some reason, seeing the old footage of Raphael Lempkin (who coined the term 'genocide') directly citing what happened to the Armenians when explaining the word was particularly powerful. And hearing Natalie Portman's voice narrating the words of a young Armenian girl was an odd thing to experience.

Even the panel discussion that followed (which many Armenians protested) was not bad. I'm glad Peter Balakian decided to go ahead and participate even though he was against the concept, and it was great seeing Professor Taner Akcam (a Turkish scholar) along side him defending the facts of the genocide so well. I can't say it particularly added any new information, especially since the documentary already covered the Turkish perspective (showing Turks actually discussing the Genocide as well as several denying it), but it clearly showed the denialists' side as being nothing more than state-sponsored denialist rhetoric. Man, that McCarthy is one fat, greasy, weaselly bastard.

Thu, Nov. 3rd, 2005, 01:42 pm

Okay, first off let me say that I'm no grammar nazi (I'll leave that to Anna). In general, I could care less how people speak or write (given some exceptions) and expect some loose grammar in casual speaking & writing. I do it myself and am by no means a master of the grammar. But there's one thing that really bothers me for some reason: the incorrect use of "(so and so) and I". Even saying "me and (so and so)" is fine with me. In fact, that's often what I say when I'm speaking casually. Sure it's wrong, but it just sounds like casual speak to me. And no one is trying to sound "fancy" when they say something like that.

What bothers me is when people say (for example), "They sent my brother and I to the store." It sounds like someone trying to sound proper but it sounds so wrong. You wouldn't say "They sent I to the store", you would say "They sent me to the store." So it should be "They sent my brother and me to the store." Or you wouldn't say "Here's a picture of I." You would say "Here's a picture of me" and therefore, "Here's a picture of my brother and me."

Anyway, I think the only reason this bothers me is that I've heard more and more normally well-spoken people do this while trying to be correct and I've seen it in movies and tv where an editor should have caught it. Plus, it sounds like people are trying to sound proper and sophisticated when they do it which makes it sound even worse to me than just about any other grammar violation. But, then, that might just be me.

Wed, Nov. 2nd, 2005, 04:17 pm

Ugh. My right knee has been acting up again. Some sort of injury from childhood. It's done it from time to time over the years, but not often--always months apart--and always caused by me jarring it in some way. Never painful, it would just sort of "give out" and by the next day it would feel 100% again. Well, in the last few months it's acted up a couple times and both times it's been much worse. Now there's pain. The debilitating kind. And it lasts for a couple days gradually fading to a dull ache. The last time it happened was a couple days ago and I still feel it. In fact, I had a dream at the height of the pain where I was having knee surgery and they removed the kneecap and vacuumed out these little shards of glass and metal filings. One of these days I'll have to get it looked at.

Work has been keeping me busy. Redesign is underway.

A couple weeks ago, Bethany insisted that I watch a film that she had seen at school (she's going through a commercial photography program). She knew that I would find it interesting and inspiring. It's a documentary called The Five Obstructions. In it, director Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville) asks his "hero", Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth, to make five new versions of his 1967 12-minute artsy feature film, The Perfect Human. The catch is, von Trier creates a set of "obstructions" for each one. For the first one, he dictates that 1) no single edit can be longer than 12 frames, 2) the questions Leth asks in the original be answered, 3) it be filmed in Cuba (which he decides after Leth admits to never having been there), and 4) no sets are allowed (after Leth discloses that he'll want to have a set built if he's shooting it in Cuba). Pretty much anything that Leth wants to do he can't. He finds the 12-frame rule to be particularly evil of von Trier and they both seem to agree that it will probably make the film unwatchable (which seems to be the point--pushing Leth to the point where he can't possibly succeed, and challenging him to do so anyway). Leth goes to Cuba, has some sleepless nights trying to figure out how to deal with these obstructions, finally gets underway, and returns to von Trier with the finished film. Von Trier is skeptical because Leth looks happy and healthy and not "battered" as he feels he should be. They (and we) watch the film and it's brilliant. Von Trier admits that the 12-frame rule ended up being a "gift" rather than an obstruction. He ups the ante on the next film with a new set of obstructions (5 this time) and so on. An interesting look at how limitations factor into the creative process (be it film, music, art, whatever) and how sometimes they force you to break formula and create new and interesting things--or, at very least, avoid the easier, less-interesting path (especially with today's technology...I'm looking at you George Lucas). Anyway, it fits in with some of the exercises Chris and I have been doing for the new Doll Factory album. Whether we're as successful as Leth remains to be seen, but it definitely makes the process interesting.

Sat, Aug. 20th, 2005, 03:01 pm

Spent most of last week offline. Finally had some downtime with work so I took it. No work, no computer. Music on Monday and Friday, but other than that, I barely set foot in my office/studio. Didn't really go anywhere since it was so last-minute, but it was the most relaxing vacation. Watched an interesting documentary called In the Realms of the Unreal about this guy who was a total recluse and, when he died in the '70s, his landlady found all of this crazy artwork he had done and a 15,000 page novel that he had written over the years. Bethany got me a book on The Cuisine of Armenia by Sonia Uvezian and Jacques Brel's L'Homme de la Mancha. Had a first evening of good wine, food and conversation, and spent the next day walking around Edmonds (visiting the Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door Travel Center) and the evening at the George and Dragon Pub. We went to Eli's birthday party on Thursday and had a great time talking to Kim and Geoff and Will and Griselle. Next week it's back to work and another magazine.

And for anyone who might have missed it (and since I was offline when it went up), the SMP video is available for download here: http://www.smphq.com/smp_thisperfectday.mp4
Might need Quicktime to view it.

Sun, Jul. 31st, 2005, 09:56 pm

It's kind of eerie how well the Oblique Strategy Cards lined up with the themes that they were randomly paired with. At least a few of them. I really like these, though:
Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list.
Who should be doing this job? How would they do it?
Slow preparation...fast execution.

I've been wanting to find a really good Armenian Duduk sample library for some time now. A couple weeks ago I mentioned this to Chris and we looked around on-line for one. The (hands down) best one out there is the East West Quantum Leap RA sample library. Of course, it's $1,000. But it includes many different rare-and-ethnic instruments (some, very drool-worthy), and the demos with the duduk are just about the closest thing to having Gasparyan himself in the studio—while a lot of the other ones just lacked the realism and detail to pull it of wellf. Of course, Chris tried to convince me that we should just buy one and learn how to play it. Yeah, right. As tempting as it would be to own one (we looked at several on-line and it's damn tempting), I doubt either of us would be able to pick one up and master it enough to pull it off. At least not without a couple years of practice. Those things are insane. There are half-step notes that are played by hovering your fingers over the holes at just the right spot without fully closing or opening them...not to mention the whole drone note/circular breathing issue. Maybe Chris could pull it off—he's better at those things and would probably enjoy the challenge—but I just don't think I'd have the time or the patience. That's what samples are for. $1,000 might just be worth it. Hmmm...

Thu, Apr. 22nd, 2004, 12:32 am

Whew! Another magazine out the door. Got to take off early today to make up for working late Tuesday. Now I start my two weeks of downtime between issues. The next two days are going to be spent moving into my new office on the fourth floor. It's about the same size as my current office and it's actually got a view. Woohoo! Then next week I have to set up a photoshoot for an upcoming cover and work on the redesign of the magazine and the website. Yikes! I'm not used to having so much to do on my downtime. Ah, well...it's fun stuff.

Now that practices are over and I've (nearly) concluded the work on the freelance web design I've been working on, it's going to be nice to be able to focus on the new DF album.

So far I'm three episodes into The Office Series 2. Definitely not a disappointment.

April 24th - Armenian Genocide Rememberance Day

Mon, Mar. 1st, 2004, 11:17 am
Back from Mexico

Got back in around Midnight on Saturday. That was one crazy week. Had a kick-ass time.

Survived the plane experience....and have a much better feeling about flying now thanks to Doc (and no thanks to Joe and Carlie)....which is good, since it sounds like I'll be spending a lot more time on a plane.

I really don't know where to begin. There's 17 of us in the company. Eight of us live and work here in Seattle. The others are scattered throughout the States (mostly California), 1 is in Eastern Canada, and 3 are in Costa Rica. Because of this, I haven't met several of the people I work with. I know them from their phone voices and/or their emails but that's it. So it was really cool to finally meet them and to see some of the others that I see only from time to time when they fly up here to Seattle.

I could go on and on about the whole trip in detail, but to simplify, the fun part of the trip was, well, FUN. And I mean, really fun. We had a blast. Drank too much...but, hey, it was in Mexico and the company was buying. The work part of the trip was sometimes boring, sometimes exciting and ultimately inspiring and...well....there's stuff. Stuff that's going to be happening. All of it good (for me anyway). Some of it intoxicatingly great. Jill, Heather and I spent the last night we were there together in a state of giddy excitement and utter shock. But...I'll save that for a private post. Needless to say, Carlie did a great job of making sure that this retreat was as much about fun and bonding with each other as it was about any specific company work thing. We had lots of time to hang out with whomever we wanted (or alone if we preferred), go into the town, go snorkelling or body surfing or whatever. Even a lot of the work part was "break-away" brainstorming sessions where a few of us would hit one of the bars in the resort and sit around and talk about stuff like redesigning the magazine or the websites or whatever.

Anyway...it's good to be back. But it's going down as one of those amazing memories. And today at work has been spent getting emails with links to everyone's pictures that they took down there. Jill and I just spent all morning looking through them together. She and I are going to combine ours and put them up on the web somewhere.

Apparently the next company retreat is in September. The location possiblities were discussed and narrowed down to a few: Montreal/Quebec City, Spain, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Belize. I think that was it. I'll go to any of them. I'm easy like that. Oh...and did I mention that I get paid for this? I don't know...I did something right when I took this job.

Fri, Jan. 30th, 2004, 10:53 am

Michael Hanscom, a temp worker at Microsoft's in-house print shop, is fired after posting to his blog a photo that showed workers at the facility taking delivery of several Apple G5 computers. His supervisor insists that Hanscom was fired not for showing the company relying on the product of its chief rival, but for revealing the location of one of its shipping and receiving departments.

Wed, Jan. 14th, 2004, 11:00 am

Apparently the first of 2 "Company Retreats" for 2004 is going to be in Ixtapa, Mexico. It will be for approximately a week toward the end of February. My fear of flying aside, I'm really looking forward to this. It's a mandatory thing, and it's considered actual work since we're booking the conference room at the resort and will be brainstorming and planning out 2004 projects...but they're promising to give us time to get out and enjoy ourselves, and I'm sure there'll be plenty of hitting the bars, going to nice restaurants, etc. I hear there's snorkelling, too.

I just wish I had a laptop (though in reality, I doubt I'll actually have much of a chance to work on music or anything while I'm there). I'll probably pick myself up an iPod, though.

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