Tuesday, August 29, 2006

In which I make fun of people

I would now like to make fun of people's tendencies to let the desire for respect determine their musical tastes.

If you are a 12 - 17 year old white male, or live in a fraternity, nobody will take you seriously unless you listen to your rap loud and act like a tough guy. Actually, maybe that’s not so hilarious as pitiable.

If you are one of the few Logos-graduates that doesn't feel bad about calling yourself "hip" (even if you would never say so publicly), the tide of musical opinion in your group of associates is undoubtedly against Coldplay these days. So how ‘bout you all deny that you like them. Better yet, that you ever really did like them once upon a time. If you got any sort of enjoyment from listening to this “mediocre-at-best” band, it was only because it reminded you of something else. Like red autumn leaves or hot chocolate, or a girl or something.

Then there's the "manly men only listen to Metallica" group. I only know one verbal proponent of this musical aesthetic, but it's not because more don't exist. It’s because the average member of this group doesn't have the technical prowess to set up a blog and shout opinions to the world. Perhaps it’s for the best. But the major flaw I see with this idea is that it denies manliness existed before the advent of the Marshall stack (or that men before Metallica didn’t listen to music). If your aesthetic hinges on this point, you’d best find a new aesthetic.

There’s the musical elite that only listen to classical music. Of all the sects, this is the most ridiculous. I knew a man once who desperately wanted to fit in with this highly intellectual group of elitists. Catch was, he was a die-hard classic rock addict. It was obviously a struggle for him to reconcile his instinctual love of rock with his desire to be respected by the members of this group. So I asked him why he liked rock. His answer was "there are elements of classic rock which are reminiscent of the masterpieces."


I won't even analyze that one for you. The point is, denying yourself a good dose of musical pleasure because you are afraid someone else is going to look down on you for it is the dumbest reason ever. If you have a conviction against the lyrics, that is reasonable. If your music is too loud or bothering grandma, then turn it off. If your music might cause your brother to stumble, then put something else on. But denying you like a particular band or type of music because you are afraid of the opinion of the next guy? Inexcusable. If you listen to Metallica or rap to save face, you are a coward. Does this make you more or less of a man?

Friday, August 18, 2006

it works

Well, it's not my normal type of "art" but those are some pretty gorgeous curves. This is the first set of low frequency condenser microphone calibration curves I've measured for an actual purpose. Except for some roughness around 0.05 Hz, the measured spectra are very smooth. This was for some research involving the study of sounds emitted from volcanoes, specifically, Mt. Tungurahua in Ecuador.

The most disturbing part was finding out how different microphone responses can be. These microphones were made by a certain "professional" measurement condenser microphone manufacturer. I'm underwhelmed. The responses vary a huge amount, with -3dB cutoffs varying by a factor of 4 in some cases. I normalized the plots so you can't see it, but the actual sensitivities are quite a bit different from eachother. These are 1 inch microphones, which are the easiest to make, and thus should have the tightest tolerances.

.... hmm.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


When I hear the word "mage" I think of withered old men with long white beards and oak staffs with special stones on the tops of the staffs. And magic and stuff.

So it was weird to find out that the plural of mage is "magi." This is cool to me, because it means that a bunch of old sorcerers came and worshipped Jesus.

Another wierd thought: a lot of people seem to be going around saying "baptism is absolutely essential for salvation" these days. And I am trying to figure how the thief on the cross fits into this picture. Not saying people shouldn't get baptised... but "today you shall see me in paradise" seems to throw a wrench in the cogs of the type of systematic theology that says "you must be baptised" or even the type that says "if you were baptised into the name of the triune God, you are saved." I might be drastically misinterpretting what others are saying, so if someone could clarify, I would appreciate.

Got all the hiragana characters memorized (woop dee doo). Only like 47 katekana, and 5 billion Kanji to go.

Maybe I'll have some art up soon.
- Tim

Monday, August 07, 2006

At last...

Grocery stores in State College now carry the crunchy, creamy goodness that can only be found in Adam's 100% natural peanut butter.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


A startling re-revelation
The way we perceive a thing is directly influenced by whatever we have mentally associated with it. This is especially true with names. Hearing Matt & Joanna discuss how they came up with a name for their son reminded me of this.

M: “What about Leif, you know, like Leif Ericsson? That’s a great Scandinavian name.”
J: “No no, no, I knew a Leif once in High school and he was a real creep. I was thinking something more like Charles.”
M: “Charles??? For some reason that name reminds me of 50’s music and a strange shade of brown. What about Joshua?”

If you have ever met a person with the same name as someone you really disliked, and didn’t even momentarily suspect them of having less than noble character, you are unusual.

So it was unfortunate for me to re-realize that I often associate the word “God” and the name “Jesus” with all the wrong things. When I hear the word God, experiences of the following should be the first to come to mind: love, grace, mercy, beauty, truth. Like when you did something really crappy and someone shows you un-believable goodness (parents). Or, like when you were an ass to your little sister and she cleaned up your room. Or, when one of the worst things in your life happened, and your friend drops what he’s doing, drives over, and watches Firefly with you all evening. Or you’re barfing at the finish-line and a stranger hands you a water-bottle. Or, like when you suddenly realized the truth about something. And it was good. Or, when you ask for help moving and 5 million people show up. Or, like when the most gorgeous girl in the world smiled at you. And she meant it. Or like, when Matt and Joanna’s faces were just glowing with love for their 6 month old son, even though he was screaming and they were in a dense, pagan, child-despising crowd. Or when you listen to a song that paralyzes you, because it is so gorgeous you can’t move. Or like when you see a painting of a beautiful woman and it reminds you of someone.

I was trying to figure out what would make men sell all they have and live in a cave for months, with the sole purpose of memorizing the New Testament to take it to people in a nation where the Bible is rare or outlawed. Or what would make children in the same nation tell their parents they are going to Jewelry school, when in reality the “jewelry store” is, part of the day, an underground seminary where they study the scriptures. They shower and eat meat only once a week because their "tuition" is payed by an underground church and don’t have much. Why the heck would someone do that.

But if I had a deep understanding of God, really, really, deep, I think I would know why. I think it would be obvious.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Music at Ed & Ellen's wedding

It was a great wedding. I'd post some photos of it, but I didn't bring my camera. A friend just sent me this one, its Matt and I playing music at the reception.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Sometimes the whole club and cave thing sounds appealing. Until I look in the mirror and see a 6'2 165 guy staring back at me.

So I have a question for the couple people who look at my blog every day:

When should a guy quit, when he is interested in getting to know a certain girl but she doesn't want to? If he is determined that a particular girl is wonderful, and if he finds that he has a capacity to extend love and grace to this girl more than any other girl that he has ever met, but it doesn't look like she's interested, when should he give up?

My mom didn't like my dad at first. Infact, she told him "Philip, I WILL NEVER MARRY YOU." And, uh, look at them now. If my dad quit, he wouldn't have ended up with the supremely amazing woman that is my mother, and my sister's and I wouldn't be here.

Also, thinking about Paula and Josh here. Josh had to jump over 2 1/2 million hurdles (a minor one being me, but that's besides the point) to end up with the love of his life, Paula. If he had been a quitter (and that guy's not) then both of their lives would be a lot lamer right now.

But then again, something about both of these situations is that, even if the woman did not initially feel attracted or inclined to the man, they still had significant amounts of confrontation and personal interaction between the two. Whereas in my case, I seem to be getting more and more friggin... ignored... durn it. But heck... tenaciousness pays off, sometimes, right?

Jam Session

Tuesday, August 01, 2006