Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jazz Performance at Rock City

The Jazz performance at Rock City went wonderfully last night. Though there were a few technical problems, the performance seemed great. At times, jazz band has been a drag, as the first months are usually devoid of any performances. After performing the music for the audience however, the reason I enjoy playing jazz, and other types of music became clear again. Entertaining an audience is the reason I play music, and is a thing I get to do often, but for few people (besides in Marching Band) . During this performance, I did two improvisatory solos, both were much better live than in rehearsal, ( or on the jazz concert two days before, as I was preoccupied with microphone placement). The rush of performing for so many people pushed me to try to deliver a great musical experience. Though I knew the chordal structure that my solos were to follow, when the time to actually improvise began, I chose to follow my instincts and attempted to play what I felt the need to play, which led to improvisations that I am very happy to have played.
The band actually seemed to do a bit better on some of the pieces during this performance than it did during the previous concert. I believe, that we were less nervous, as we had performed the entire thing for many people two nights before. Having performed the entire set prior to the Rock City performance enabled us to relax more, and to have more fun. The final jazz performance of the semester was a great success, and I look forward to what the jazz band can accomplish next semester.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Semester's Apex Approaches/Japan

This Fall semester has gone by very quickly, it seems that just yesterday I was learning the "All Blues" drill in marching band, and learning about Tokugawa Era Japan and learning that unfortunately Music History involves music theory, and the writing of a theory driven paper. In reality the marching season is over (most likely my last) and I have written my Music History and Modern Japan papers, and will be working on my History of Tennessee papers and begin studying for finals. I will also be performing my Jazz concerts, and clarinet semester end jury and studio recital.
On less scholastic events: though I have been studying Japan intensively this semester in my History of Modern Japan class, my interest in the country and its culture has not waned. I have recently acquired Essential Kanji by P.G O'Neill. This book is very interesting, as it presents the kanji in an orderly way, giving masterfully drawn representations of the characters, ( I would consider the characters works of art), readings and more information on each kanji. I may attempt to learn some of the kanji, but even if I do not, the book is still a great reference. I also acquired an Anime Encyclopedia during the weekend so I can easily look up anime series and movies.
This may be one of the last posts of the semester, as I will have little time do anything but study for the next few weeks. Hopefully when I post again, it will be with an unburdened mind, knowing that I have done great in all of my finals.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Final Fantasy VII



I began playing Final Fantasy VII a few weeks ago. Though I had been hesitant to play this game because of the lack of flashy graphics, it was a foolish decision that I now regret. This game has great character interaction with the interaction of their personalities at times making you burst out in laughter, and other times clearly broadcasting to the player (audience), very convincing, and moving emotional scenes.

The characters' looks are less realistic than in the later FFVIII, as they have exaggerated character design, e.g. (spiky-haired Cloud, and muscular Barret), a design style which was returned to in FFIX. I think this is desirable however, as it makes the characters much more likeable, and gives them a certain charm.

The game contains a wonderful soundtrack. The music is great; from the enchanting FFVII Theme, to the festive Golden Saucer. Playing Final Fantasy VII has also allowed me to further appreciate the music from the game that I was already familiar with. I now know the origins and context of many memorable tunes like Rufus's Welcoming Ceremony, and Aeris's Theme.

I also now realize the awesome precedent this game set for later Final Fantasy titles. It surely must have pushed later Final Fantasy contributors to strive for the excellence achieved in this title. Though I can see the greatness of this game from such an early point in my playthrough, I still have a long journey ahead of me. I know, however, that playing through the rest of the game will be a great experience.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Final Fantasy Overview and FF VIII



The Final Fantasy series is comprised of, at present, 12 main titles with numerous sequels and spinoffs which can be seen here. The first Final Fantasy game I played was probably different from many people's first. I began with Final Fantasy VIII. This game opened my eyes to a new universe. The characters were interesting, yet peculiar, and projected great depth. This really allowed me to connect with them, and to want them to succeed in their journey, which is always a good aspiration for a novel, movie, play or game. The storyline was awesome, and truly swept me into the strange and surreal world that the game was based in.
The battle system of this game was interesting as you chose your attacks, used potions etc, and summoned monsters called "guardian forces" in this game. When you walked about the landscape while outside cities, battles would occur randomly, and if you defeated the creature, person, or whatever attacked you, you would gain experience, and sometimes collect gil or items that they dropped.

Though I really loved the gameplay, and storyline of this game, the music is what kept me playing in all Final Fantasy titles. My favorite pieces from this game are "Fisherman's Horizon", and "Eyes On Me". These two pieces, though great in helping to advance the story, stand on there own as great works. Nobuo Uematsu, the composer of the music for this game, and most of the music for the other Final Fantasy titles, is able to project the emotions of the characters, and help the player to experience the journey that the characters endure. When the characters feel joy, the players feel it, and when there is great loss the player also understands. This kind of empathy would not be possible without Nobuo Uematsu's compositions.

Unlike most people who have played Final Fantasy, I have never actually completed the games. I get to the final bosses, and I am unable to beat them, or I am too lazy, and want to play the newest version when it is released. So I have begun: Final Fantasy: VIII, IX, X, XII in the main series, and Final Fantasy: Tactics, and Tactics Advanced, spinoffs.

One day I hope to go back and complete all of these games, as this "partial completion" of the games has always hovered over me, beckoning me to finish, and absorb the entire experience of these games.

The Final Fantasy series is one of the greatest series of stories I have ever experienced. From characters such as the loner, Squall of Final Fantasy VIII to the child-like,black mage, Vivi in FF IX, to the passionate Yuna of FF X, to the exile Fran of XII the characters are varied and very easy to connect with.

The locations in Final Fantasy usually have a touch of the exotic, yet most have a slight base in reality. Some of my favorite locations are: Balamb Garden in FF VIII, the city of Treno in FF IX, the blitzball court in FF X, and the Leviathan in FF XII (I have not gotten as far in this game as the others so this favorite location could easily change if I played the game more.)

Final Fantasy is a great series, and I am happy that Final Fantasy XIII is coming to Xbox 360, so that I do not have to purchase a PS3, as this is one series, that could actually warrant a system purchase, almost.

A large chunk of my game playing history is comprised of Final Fantasy games. The series has been one of the most memorable of my gaming experience, and each game has always lived up to my expectations. The series is a great one, that will never cease to amaze me with its excellence.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grooveshark




Grooveshark, a site I recently discovered, has quickly won me over, and I believe it to best legal music streaming site on the internet. The selection of music is astounding, with music ranging from Hey Jude to Rhythm Emotion from Gundam Wing. Anything I have currently searched for has been available on the site. The Millions of available songs are easily searched via a website with a user friendly format. The website of course also allows you to easily share the songs you listen to with Facebook, Twitter or Dig. You can also upload your own songs, if by a slight chance they are not already on the site. I would strongly suggest that any music lovers at least check out the site.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Miles Davis- Kind of Blue

Miles Davis is one of my favorite musicians. In his career he always progressed, from his work in the bebop era with the likes of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, to cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, electric and more detailed periods in between. Miles never looked back, but in each of these periods, he strived to make great music.

Personally my favorite period in Miles's musical life was his modal jazz period, and the album produced in this period, Kind Of Blue. (Below is a piece, All Blues from that album.)


video

Miles chose great players such as Julian "Cannonball Adderley on alto saxophone, Paul Chambers on double bass, Jimmy Cobb on drums, John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, and Bill Evans on piano for Kind of Blue. Miles Davis chose great players, with individual, developed sounds, put them together and made one of the greatest albums of all time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Big Bang Theory



This past weekend I revisited some episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" by viewing most of the Season One DVDs. This sitcom, currently ranked number 7 in the Nielson ratings, number 3 on CBS. (ranking from 8/3/09 to 8/9/09. http://tinyurl.com/kwgz2r). The series is perfect, and viewing the episodes from the first season has allowed me to see that the cast, writing, everything just clicked from the very beginning. The premise for the series, a group of very intelligent people engaging in both geeky situations quite easily, and social situations in a sometimes quite befuddling, yet hilarious manner, is what makes this series special. As the director says however, the episodes are always Big Bang Theory stories. In other words, the writers do not simply input into the Big Bang Theory sitcom formula into any common story, and use it. The story is always very much crafted to the characters in the series. This show is the best show I have seen on TV since Seinfeld, I recommend this series to everyone. If you want to know more about the series head here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Beginning of Classes



Band camp ended last Thursday, leaving me pain in my feet, but a great sense of accomplishment for the week, as we were able to get a good chunk of the show onto the field.
This week begins a new task as I begin my Fall classes for the year. My first class on Monday is thankfully not until 10:00am, as Mondays are bad for waking up early. On Tuesdays and Thursdays however, I have a 9:25am class. This is really not so bad, considering I had an 8:00am class my Freshman year, a time at which I will never again take a class.
I will be using the Mocs Express, a shuttle bus serviece around campus, after my 1:00pm class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as I must quickly get to the marching field for band at 2:00pm. Hopefully I will be able to get there on time each day.
The academic year has begun.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Band Camp Halfway Mark

Band camp has reached its halfway mark, and things are developing nicely. The band is progressing in not only its sound, but also in visual display. The improvement in the band's sound from the beginning of camp to now is vast. Although there is still much work to do, at no other band camp have I heard the band sound this good so early on. The Freshman class, which is a large percentage of the band, is comprised of very mature musicians. The atmosphere of the band seems a lot better at this point than in previous years also. There is more of a festive, yet get the job done mentality, instead of putting the job last and the fun first.
With the addition of visuals provided by an alto sax player, and one drum major, the entertainment value of the band will increase exponentially. Not only will the band sound good, but the visuals will compliment the great sound that comes from the band.

Friday, August 7, 2009

First Day of Band Camp

The first day of band camp was fairly productive and promising. I visited the new field and watched the Freshman learn the UTC marching style. The new field is very nice, and is a great improvement, as it is for the band, meaning others have to work around our schedule, instead of vice-versa as it has been for the last couple of years, (ever since our original band field was replaced with a building). The year looks promising, with music by Miles Davis, Michael Jackson and others in the show. I am looking forward to a great year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Marching Band Season

Tomorrow starts a new, and my last, marching band season at UTC. I begin band camp tomorrow after signing in for the camp today, and moving into my dorm early. The music this year seems like it will be good ( Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, most notably), and we have a new, and better field on which to march. This will be my eighth straight year of marching band, and I will miss it, but I will try to soak in the experience it provides. Though being in marching band is sometimes stressful, and time-consuming, the reward comes when you walk onto a field and the applause is deafening. It comes when the audience catapults to its feet when you have finished performing, and expresses the joy you have brought to them with seemingly endless applause. It comes when you are waiting on a parade to start, and one person begins playing a piece from the marching season, and the whole band joins in, and so many other things. I will forever remember the great experiences I have gained from marching band.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mobile Suit Gundam



I recently watched the first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam. This is the first and best in a long line of Gundam series. Re-watching the episode made me remember why I became enamored with anime. The series seemed to awaken me to the possibilities of this medium of entertainment. It showed me the great depths of emotion and story that can be portrayed in an animated show.

Mobile Suit Gundam though about entertainment was much more than that, the series showed the terrible way in which human beings can treat each other, and the utter turmoil, and deep sadness that human conflict can create.

Mobile suit gundam will forever in my opinion be one of the greatest anime series.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blog Updates



Throughout the last month I have constantly been evolving my blog to be more appealing, and to have material worth viewing. I have added a navigation bar, a games link, a more detailed 'about me' section, and I have added another link to the navigation bar called 'ustream'. This page allows visitors to my blog to view any live streams I may have. I have had few of these but when I have them viewers of my blog will be able to easily see the stream, and to chat with each other or to me.

I hope to continually improve upon the blog, if anyone has any suggestions do not hesitate to contact me via my 'contact me' link in the navigation bar.

Thanks for you viewership, and have a great day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

eRepublik

Join eRepublik: http://www.erepublik.com/en/referrer/Zartonis

eRepublik is an online experience with companies you can found and work for, countries, wars, political offices, and all sorts of other things. Follow the link above, and when you reach level 6, you will get 5 gold, which is a lot of money in country currency. If you join via my link I will be sure to interact with you and help you as much as possible ( as I have just started playing myself). I hope you follow the link and try out this great game.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Text Google

Have you ever wanted directions to a location or the weather when you were away from a computer, and google access? For those who have a cell-phone, text google with your inquiries. You can, for example, find definitions, weather for a specific zip code, sports scores, and even snippets of a web site, all through texting google. The best part, is that there is no charge, except for standard text messaging rates. Even for those of us with the ability to go on the internet, texting google is a lot faster, and easier than opening a web browser on your phone, and navigating to google. To text google, you simply store Google in your contacts, the number is (466453). You then simply text google as you would any other contact with your inquiry.



You can find more information on Google SMS here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Karaoke



Though I have found little use for MySpace lately, with Facebook proving what MySpace used to for me (social networking), I have found a new use for MySpace, Karaoke. Above is a karaoke attempt by myself. The selection of Karaoke songs is plentiful with many Jazz/Standards,Pop, Rock, R&B, Wacky, etc. If you have a MySpace account and were planning on deleting it, hold off until you've tried MySpace Karaoke.
To use Myspace Karaoke, sign in to your account, on the Myspace navigation bar, click More, (next to video), and click karaoke. You will have to download a karaoke upload manager. After this you will be able to record your karaoke attempts and allow others to view them.
Although Myspace Karaoke is free there is also a paid version with extra features, such as the ability to change the key of the song you are singing, add effects and save an unlimited amount of recordings (with the free version you can only save 10 recordings).
MySpace Karaoke provides great fun, and is worth checking out though, with the free version you are limited to I believe 100 plays (or recordings) per month. Another free karaoke site I would recommend is here.
Although this site is harder to navigate, and is a lower quality option, you are able to change keys of songs for free, as opposed to the requirement of having a paid account on Myspace Karaoke in order to be able to change keys. The lower quality of redkaraoke.com lies in its use of midi quality .kar files which users are able to upload to their favorite songs, as opposed to Myspace Karaoke's use of the original tracks with the solo track removed. Both of these sites will provide enjoyment, and I hope my review has been unbiased.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson Memorial

I just finished watching the Michael Jackson memorial. The memorial brought to light the amazing talent that in recent years has been overshadowed by controversy. The music of Michael Jackson is ageless, and will live on forever. Such hits as Billie Jean (1983),



and of course Thriller (1982),

and in such hits as I Want You Back (1969), and The Love You Save (1970), with the Jackson 5 and one of my favorites Ben (1972).
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Jackson's influence on the world goes much further than in his ability to entertain, however. He has also influenced the world through his charity, while having set numerous world records, including first black artist to record a video on MTV, Biggest selling video and more he also has a record for the most charities supported by a pop star.
Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie's We Are The World (1985),
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is an example of one of Jackson's charitable efforts. This song, which included the voices of 45 popular musicians of the time helped famine relief efforts in Ethiopia at the time.
Michael Jackson was a great entertainer and generous man who wished to have a positive influence on his world. His efforts were not in vain as his music is a unifying element all over the world. Michael Jackson will be sorely missed by many people, and will live on forever in the hearts of his countless fans.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fanboys



I have recently watched the movie Fanboys on DVD. This movie is set in 1998, and is about the meeting of a group of Star Wars fans who's lives have diverged slightly as they have grown up. In the movie the group plans a raid on Skywalker ranch to steal a copy of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace(1999). The movie contains a plethora of Star Wars references and many big-name guest stars. This movie is wonderful, and I would highly encourage anyone who enjoys Star Trek, or just a great movie to watch this film.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Anime

Anime has been a favorite form of entertainment of mine since I was a child. At first, I did not know what I was watching was anime, with such shows as Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. After awhile though I learned of anime, and branched out to such shows as Mobile Suit Gundam, Ghost In The Shell Gundam Wing, and of course Cowboy Bebop my favorite anime series.


















I also began watching anime movies such as Vampire Hunter D and others. My favorite anime
movies of late however, are the movies of Miyazaki. Miyazaki masterfully crafts interesting stories, with fantastic journeys made believable by his incredibly grounded and realistic characters.





The artwork in Miyazaki's films is also beautifully crafted, showing the dedication of him and his studio, Studio Ghibli.
Many people believe anime is solely for children, this is not true. Anime originated in Japan, and the best anime is still produced there. Japanese movie makers do not have the resources of Hollywood, so many turn to the anime format to better display their vision to the audience.


Some productions which would clearly have been produced as live action movies in the U.S are Akira and Metropolis. Both of these are clearly not for small children and the characters in both display realistic emotions and desires.
Anime is an important and wonderful art form with many great stories to tell.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Dusk of Summer Break



My summer vacation is about two-thirds of the way over, and I am unfortunately beginning to feel the coming pressure of the beginning of a new academic semester. I will have to move in early, on August 6th, in order to begin band camp the next day, which will last until August 14th. This is a relatively short time compared to other colleges, who must rehearse much longer during the summer and during the school year. This band camp will undoubtedly be my last one, as even if I go an extra semester or year, my scholarship will no longer be in effect, and I will be focusing on my major, History.
I have practiced very little throughout the summer, as it is very hard to do so with my brother always playing the guitar, and dogs that seemingly squeal in pain from my playing, though I have discovered that it is not because my playing is bad, because they squeal equally at Coltrane, Getz, and Charlie Parker. I will soon begin to practice once more in order to assure that I have adequate skill to get through next semester's music classes, because at this point, ironically, a good bit of the classes I must take are for my music minor. I also have a piece on the clarinet, Wilson Osborne's Rhapsody for Bb Clarinet that I must have ready by the time school starts.
As my summer break time diminishes however, I will attempt to savor every last minute of it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Star Wars




Last weekend I watched the original Star Wars Trilogy, (episodes IV through VI). This set of movies brought to mind how I originally became entwined in the Star Wars galaxy.

Long ago, when I was a child, I began my fascination with Star Wars. I watched the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS tape, and then the special edition in theaters when they were released. The original trilogy opened a vast new universe to me. The universe allowed me to dream and enjoy the movies along with the later expanded universe including various books and games. Although I love the characters of the movies, the universe created by George Lucas is to me much more important.

Lucas's creation allows talented authors such as Kevin J. Anderson, Alan Dean Foster, Timothy Zahn, Roger Macbride Allen and many others to express themselves in the universe of Star Wars, and to share their vision with the audience. For instance, Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy was to me riveting and peaked my interest for months and endeared me that much more to Star Wars. Anderson edited many Star Wars novels including Tales From Jabba's Palace and Tales of the Bounty Hunters, he also authored many other Star Wars novels. There are many other wonderful authors in the Star Wars universe as well as these.

Along with the books video games have also been made set in the Star Wars universe. Some of my favorite of these are: for the Nintendo 64: Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron, and Episode I Racer. Some of my favorite Star Wars games for the Xbox (and PC) are Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel.




Thursday, June 11, 2009

1 vs. 100



Recently I have been playing the 1 vs 100 beta extended play on xbox live, a multiple choice trivia based game. This game is a fun game, and a great way to exercise your knowledge of trivia. In the extended play beta version of the game there is no 1, which the 100 would be competing against in the original version and I assume the beta live version. In the extended version, again, you can have up to four people in your party whom you can talk to and see their score as you play. You are also however playing with thousands of people at the same time, and when they get an answer wrong and you get it right it increases your score, so the greater number of people who get a question wrong, the higher the score of those who got the question right. I would highly recommend this as a great game for anyone.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ko Ko (orignally written by me on August 19, 2006 with edits)

video


Ko Ko.

A scaldingly fast work derived from the chords of Cherokee, this piece is entrancing. The head begins with a complex phrase played by Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet and Parker on Alto Sax, that is later understood when Cherokee's chord changes come in. When Cherokee's chords are reached Dizzy switches to playing the chord changes on the piano behind Parker. Bird then begins his astounding 128 bar solo. It is astonishing in its phrasing and perfection. During his solo Parker manages to throw in the clarinet solo from "High Society". Ko Ko ends with Dizzy and Parker finally converging after a Max Roach drum solo.

Stan Getz- It Never Entered My Mind

Stan Getz was a saxophonist with a beautiful sound, and a great musical imagination. His sound was silky smooth, and the perfect compliment to such genres as Bossa Nova. Below is a video I made, and was unable to publish on Youtube. The video contains various clips of Getz coupled with the piece It Never Entered My Mind, with Getz playing the tenor saxophone. This piece is one of my favorites by Getz, and really captures his wonderful style very nicely. I have also recently uploaded this video to my Revver account here.


video

Music (written by me on March 2nd 2007 with some new edits)

-The invisible hand that shapes our thoughts and emotions, that leads us to acts of pure romance and aids our hands in unmired violence. It pushes our soldiers to the front with courage, and lays them to rest with honor. It celebrates the joining of two people and leads them to create new life. Music inspires new thought, pushing the greatest of minds to new heights. Music encourages exploration to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, and human soul. Music is the fabric that interweaves our lives, and provides the audible expression of emotions too deep for a human to communicate through words. Music is the translation of the experience of life into sound.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Barbershop


I have been interested in barbershop harmony for quite awhile. I have long enjoyed the harmonies produced by the Buffalo Bills in "The Music Man", and the music of the Dapper Dans of Disneyland, (as seen from YouTube videos. When I found murry537s multitrack barbershop tag tutorials (here is a link to his page, you can type "classic tags into google and find a pdf file of all tags with music, or visit a nice website which has many tags including classic tags, and downloads of individual sound files for each part, e.g. "lead, baritone, tenor, bass" here is the link.), I found them very interesting.
Today I made my first multitrack barbershop tag, Happy Trails, and put it on Youtube here, as well as posting it to my blog.


video


I know it is not of very great quality, but it was fun to make, and a good musical exercise. I may do more multitrack barbershop tags in the future, but I will try to make them with betterquality.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Brother's Wedding and dogsitting




For the last couple of days I have been involved in activities involving my brother's wedding. The first of the activities involved readying my gift to my brother and his bride, music to them from me.
I performed on my clarinet and saxophone. Originally I was going to perform three pieces, but I trimmed it down to two pieces which worked out wonderfully. The pieces I performed solo, with backing tracks were, Endless Love on the clarinet, and Misty on Alto Saxophone. Gathering the backing tracks for these pieces was an interesting and strung out process, but I finally accomplished it, and ended up purchasing the backing track for Misty to find one that was just right, and it proved to be the right decision, as out of the two it was most liked.
For the actual wedding, I was an usher. Being an usher involved going the day before, and practicing with others in the wedding party, learning how to carry out my part, after many changes we came to a final plan and were ready for the next day.
On the wedding day everything went very smoothly, and proved that the great amount of practice, and planning were essential, and paid off. The groom and bride looked great, and the wedding was great, and the reception was good, with very nice food, especially the vanilla and chocolate-covered, fresh strawberries. During the reception, I was even coaxed into dancing with the bride, and dancing is something I rarely if ever partake in.
After the wedding I promised to dog/cat sit for my brother and his bride. From Saturday (the wedding day), until Monday afternoon I watched their two dogs, and one kitten. The dogs behaved pretty well and the kitty also, except for one instance, the first night when it woke me at 3 a.m. In that instance I gave it a late night (morning) snack, and it went back to sleep. The Wedding week is now over, after the flurry of activity during that week, most weeks will now seem dull.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Star Trek


Since I have been a small child I have always enjoyed Science Fiction, which of course includes the Star Trek franchise. I was born around the time that Star Trek: The Next Generation began, which became my favoire Star Trek tv series.
I have seen every Star Trek movie, though not exactly in order, as I saw most of the movies with the TNG crew before I saw all of the movies with the TOS crew. This weekend I went to see Star Trek in theaters, which I believe is the first time I have gone to see a Star Trek movie in theaters.
I was frightened that the movie would be ruined by Abrams, and that he would suck the spirit from the franchise, this did not occur however. [spoilers ahead] Abrams effectively used alternate realities and time travel to make sure he had suffiecient artistic license to tell a story that was bothh interesting and loyal to the franchise. You should not attend this movie expecting a typical Star Trek movie, it is very different. If you see the movie with an open mind, however, y0u will greatly enjoy it, as I did.

My First Road Trip of the Summer

Last week from Sunday to Friday afternoon I went with my stepfather on semi truck. I have done this during previous summers, but did not journey last summer. We started off going to Memphis.
Memphis brings back memories of my school's jazz band, and our trip to the city to perform at the area schools. During that trip I had a great time, and got a small taste (a very very small taste) of what it was like to travel and perform in a jazz ensemble). Since then I have not traveled anywhere but the Roland Hayes Conert Hall in any ensemble except Marching Band, which is a completely different experience. (That was a lengthy tangent, and now I wll return to my summer road trip)
After Memphis, and marveling at the effeciency of the Fedex hub, which is where all Fedex packages are sent and sorted, and effeciently shipped out, We journeyed on. After this we had various stops in Tennessee, followed by stops in Ohio.
Before going to Ohio though, in my home state of Tennessee I suprisingly saw one of the highlights of the trip. The highlight was a monument at a rest area. The monument was in the shape of an arc, and shaped like a leaning sun dial. on the "dial" were individual stones with the names of all the counties of Tennessee on them.


The stones seemed to be of proportional size to the area of the counties, a very interesting monument indeed.
In Ohio we had an extended stop in a repair shop, as the truck had trouble supplying compressed air. Compressed air is used for many things, most important though is to supply air to the pulled trailers, this is why a semi driver must connect and disconnect airlines to a each trailer his connects and disconnects from his tractor.
The stay in the repair shop was about five hours, which when looking back was not so terrible, but at the time seemed like an eternity. There was a Driver's lounge, which had a television and magazines, but the TV had only about three channels, one of which had The Ellen Show and Soaps and the others what seemed like enless news broadcasts. The magazines were of course all trucker magazines, and were not very interesting to me, although I still looked through them pretty thoroughly. This time would seem to be the best time to read my book 'Ringworld', which I did some, but being in a Driver's Lounge, next to a worker's mess area and the workshop distracted me, especially at their intermiitent break times, of which they had two while I was there.







I was only able to read about a chapter of 'Ringworld while at the shop.
After getting out of the shop and what seemed like an eternity we left, and traveled through Cincinatti that night. The truck functioned pretty good for the rest of the trip, filling trailer's with air in record time. In my trip through Cincinnatti, I was able to see multiple buildings and the bridge from the old TV show 'WKRP In Cincinnatti'. Seeing the landmarks from that show proved to be a pretty interesting experience, and it was also pretty cool seeing the Cincinnatti Red's baseball stadium.




The rest of the trip involved going to North Carolina, and then to South Carolina and then back to Tennessee. We listened to an audiobook during this leg of the trip. The audiobook was very intersting, and almost as good as reading a book. On the final leg of the journey, we encountered a monstrous flash flood near Knoxville, which meant very slow moving traffic.
As this has been a long entry, and the last section of the trip was not particularly exciting, I have abridged this section. The trip was interesting, and for the most part it was enjoyable.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beginning of Summer Break

I have long since moved out of my dorm, and have been adjusting to
life away from school again.
Last week I stayed with dad and helped him go through his VHS tapes. We took these tapes to McKay's, a book store.
At McKay's I found some interesting books including Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time', and Larry Niven's 'Ringworld among others.
Ringworld, which helped inspire the Halos in the Halo series seems to be an interesting book so far. I believe I will surely enjoy this book.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Finals 2009 Week Two

Today I took my final in my Spanish class, which is a huge relief, as it was the last Spanish test I will ever have to endure. I have now taken all of the Spanish classes that I must take in order to graduate. Tomorrow I will take my last Final and finally be free of college for a few months..., for the most part, for I still have a few things to do concerning my academic and professional futures.

The main things I will have to do during the summer that are school related are:

1) Work on improving my clarinet skills. Though in my mind I seem to have reached a plateau on the clarinet, there is much room for improvement especially in the tenseness of my left hand.

2) Decide what I would like to do after college, which is a chore. This will probably consume my thoughts for many days and nights during the long summer days, and like most of my problems, will not be resolved until after summer is long gone and I have used much of my time worrying instead of enjoying the time.

I hope that after Finals, when my summer break begins that I am able to enjoy the summer, and hopefully make the summer enjoyable. Though I must think about the future, the present is very important as well

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Youtube's new commercial content ( Movies and TV shows)


Yesterday I discovered Youtube's new idea of having TV shows and movies as well as its standard content. Though I did not have time to examine it then, I did today. I have found the selection pretty good, especially since the content is free. The only price you must pay is the time it takes to watch a small commercial. I watched "Supersize Me", and it played flawlessly, with no problems throughout its hour twenty something minute runtime.



Many people believe that Youtube's introduction of this commercial content is a bad thing, and that it will ruin Youtube. I believe it makes the website much better and more fulfilling.

When I first discovered Youtube a long time ago, I was searching for content such as movies and TV shows. I instead discovered the very interesting user content that was greatly above my expectations, and I will never stop watching this content, but I want the commercial content as well.

I believe Youtube has taken a step in guaranteeing its continued existence with its implementation of commercial content, and I am glad I will not have to visit Hulu as much now to get the commercial content. I can instead get all of this content in one location.