Thursday, September 28, 2006

Free music and chinese music coming of age

1) One of my all time favorite bands is putting their entire first album up for free, in mp3 format, on their website Normally I don't listen to music for the lyrics, however, this album has the highest density of songs with exceptional lyrics that I have heard. In addition, they are such fantastic musicians that you won't even notice them constantly flowing constantly between 11/8 and 6/8 (or any number of other funky signatures). Good musicians don't seem to draw attention to their musical quirks, but use them, I have concluded after listening. If you have limited bandwidth try the following tracks
3) Time
11) The Light
12) A thousand days
13) Return to Cair Paravel

2) Synth music has come a long way. When you compare the music written on the first moogs, or the crappy programmed sounds in early eighties casio keyboards to some of the stuff Radiohead and Sigur Ros have come out with, this becomes really apparent.

If you listen to a lot of chinese music, esspecially "traditional music" they will often try to spice it up with drum tracks and really... bad synth effects. Actually I have a very large pile of world CD's that I do not listen to, because this phenomenon is not limited to the Chinese. Yesteday, though, I stumbled on this guy Chun Lei, and I am beginning to wonder if they might be emerging from this stage. The first four tracks of his album Luck, are actually pretty good blends of organic and synth instruments and vocals. I was really surprised. The album seems to loose elevation after "Dongting: the home of fish and rice." But you can listen to 30clips on msn music (I got 2 free downloads, so I was looking for interesting stuff).

In other news...

My cousin Myron, currently teaching English in China, got filmed as a "lost tourist asking for directions" in a made-for-TV Chinese film. Cool huh?

I went to the post office and got stamps. Yay.

A team in a 50m relay next friday needed an extra person. So I signed up. This is real great, because I haven't really ran at all for the last 2 1/2 years, and I have about a week and a half to get in enough shape to about 10 miles. ACL city.

I will get to take the candidacy before going to Japan.

And, I am still keeping on keepin' on, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

bai xue huang shan

This is from back in the days of trying to figure out how to paint clouds. It's not that great, but I haven't posted any actual paint for a while

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

more strange things

1) Couple weeks ago I had a weird dream. This baby stared at me and spoke in the voice of a man, "[month], [day], you are going to die." The day is fast approaching! Should I wear extra padding, when I ride my bike to school?

2) Last night I was praying about something while driving, and when I finished, a huge (bigger than I have ever seen) meteorite fell through the sky right then. Think it means anything?

3) Does anyone find it a little ironic that after the pope quoted another pope who basically said that Islam is a religion spread by violence, thousands of muslims are burning him in effigy and rioting (again) ?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Wow. I can tell people really thought that was interesting.

Take the glass tube, and orient it vertically.
Dip the bottom end of the tube in the washtub with water.
pour some motor oil on the surface of the water.
Whack the tuning fork.
Hold to the top of the glass tube.
Lower the pipe into the water until the tunning fork and tube suddenly sound very loud.
Pull the tube out of the water
Measure the distance between the top, dry part of the tube and the mark left by the motor oil.
(This distance is one quarter of a wavelength at 440 Hz).
Multiply the length by four.
C = 440*(length measured * 4);
use C^2 = gamma*r*T and solve for tempurature.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

interesting problem (read!)

Working through a set of example candidacy problems. Most are mind numbingly boring, but this one was genuinely fun:

"You are alone in an acoustics laboratory with rather modest equipment. Your job is to measure the temperature of the air. The laboratory equipment you have access to includes: a sharpened pencil, paper, a stopwatch, a large washtub filled with water, several gallons of motor oil, several rubber balloons, a long 5 cm diameter glass tube with open ends, scissors, a 440 Hz tuning fork, a screwdriver, and a measuring tape. All of this may or may not be useful to you. Give a written experimental procedure for measuring the temperature of air, and do an example calculation"

Cool huh? Unlike normal problems, in this one you actually have to be creative and resourceful. Take a whack at it if you want, because I bet that there are tons of ways to do it. I'll post my sol'n later
- Tim

This is all the outside info you need to solve the problem:

c^2 = gamma*r*t
gamma = ratio of specific heats = 1.4 for air
r = 287 joules/kelvin for air
t = tempurature in kelvin
c = sound speed

highschool stuff:
soundspeed = wavelength*frequency

for tubes with open ends:
Resonances are at integer multiples of half-wavelengths

for a tube with an open end and a closed end
Resonances are at 1/4, 3/4, 5/4, etc... wavelengths

and, lastly, resonances are pitches at that the tube will like. I.e. if you hold the tuning fork to a tube that is open on both ends and half a wavelength long, it will sound really loud.

That's all you need to know!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Aaron is engaged!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Not like anyone reads this, but that last post was kind of lame. I think it is ridiculous to let fear of other people's opinions determine your taste, but at the same time, I do the same sort of thing in other areas of my life (occaisionally even music) and so the finger is pointed right back at me. It is one of these things that, if you step back and think about it, you realize "wow, that's dumb" but it is hard not to do in practice.

In other matters, I've decided blogging really isn't for me. Interacting with people in the real world is much more interesting, I've discovered. Not saying I'll stop all together, but the last week of silence is an indication of where things are heading.

Lastly, why no art? "Do not awaken the artistic impulse until it so desires." Major motivation issues.

- Tim