The Big Think

February 29, 2004

Return from the Sing

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:42 pm

I’ll write more tomorrow, but I’ve just returned from Sing. I can’t believe how much my typing has deteriorated in just 15 days. Amazing. I’m making mistakes on just about every word. Funny, that.
I’ve got a pile of laundry to be read and mail to be washed. Tonight I’m just going to park and do nothing. *whew*. 7 months of work is over.

February 14, 2004

Off to Sing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:31 am

It’s here! I’ll be offline for the next two weeks while I direct and perform in Baylor’s All University Sing. Don’t know if I’ll be able to swipe bandwidth anywhere (not even taking my computer). I won’t be available via email (Erin will be periodically checking in case of emergency).
Wish us luck!

February 13, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:48 am

via Macworld: “IBM’s PowerPC 970FX ‘the processor used in new Xserves from Apple’ has been declared ‘the best desktop processor of 2003’ by the industry’s leading microprocessor title.”

And the PC crowd was noticeably quiet. The thing is, many PC users (mainly those in the militant “Macs suck because they’re so slow” camp) were justifiably bashing the Mac for its slow speed a year ago. “Too slow to compete”, “Why would I want to buy a 1.25Ghz chip when I can get a 2.5Ghz chip?”, and “everybody knows Macs are more expensive” were the most common reasons given for not switching. Dangerous reasoning if the day ever arrives when your arguments are no longer valid. I mean, come on, if you want to say you prefer Windows or like the expandability of the PC, or like working on your computer instead of with it, go right ahead. Those are valid reasons and I respect them. I guess I even understand the “I don’t want to relearn the OS” argument. Valid and intellectually honest. I disagree with the difficulty of learning a new OS (I have no problems working in Mac AND Windows), but I respect your opinion. But I’ve never understood someone who can’t recognize and appreciate a good product or value simply because he has so much of his self-value wrapped up in his team being THE best ALL of the time at EVERYTHING. Times change, and all three of the arguments listed above are no longer valid.

Now that the G5 has been named best chip of 2003, and the new (and not-yet announced) 970FX is getting rave reviews, I anticipate a horde of PC users are going to switch to the obviously superior product.

February 12, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:45 am

It’s almost 2am and I am finally finished putting the show together! All the arranging and charting and recording and fixing and rerecording and changing and organizing is finally finished and I stand proudly on the summit of another years’ worth of work. I’ll take tomorrow and Friday “off” (laundry and pack for the show), then on Saturday Scott and I go to Waco for 2 weeks to perform this beast. I look forward to this day waaaay back when I start arranging in the early Fall (or, in the case of this show, last May). Always a pleasure to relax for a while and enjoy the view.

February 11, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:16 am

In some respects, science has far surpasssed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnifieence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, p. 50

New Science

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:51 am

“In modern times it has been almost unheard of for genuinely new science to be presented for the first time in a book that can be read by non-scientists.”

Stephen Wolfram, the inventor of Mathematica, has put the entire text of his groundbreaking book “A New Kind of Science” online. Mr. Wolfram has been working on this book in silence for the past 15 years. Much anticipation, much conjecture, much wonder at what he is attempting. Nothing less that a revisioning of how we think of the world and how we do science. I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

February 10, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:32 pm

Finally, an ISP that doesn’t mind bandwidth sharing with neighbors!


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:07 pm

I’ve spent the last two days assembling all the charts for Sing together into folders for the band. Had some time tonight so I went and attended a meeting for South by Southwest volunteers. Looks like it’s going to be fun. Sorry I haven’t written more. It’s not like I’m not in front of the computer every waking hour. It’s just that I don’t have time to blog. After Sing.

February 9, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 3:12 pm

The APC UPS went south a few days ago. The batteries finally went dead after 4 years. Not too bad considering the thing is on 24×7 and handles the load to more equipment than I want to think about. Glad I got a good one to start with. Yes, UPS’s are expensive (this one ran about $350), but so is an electrical surge to all of your equipment. Again, don’t buy junk.
APC wanted $170 for the replacement batteries- ouch I went to Altex and got the same ones for $34. Thanks to Giles for the tip.

February 7, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:59 pm

I will not blog about this. I refuse to contribute to the madness.
(Watch out for the snake)

WoodWorking Show

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:53 pm

I’m taking a day tomorrow (Sunday) to go to Houston for the WoodWorking Show. Gonna buy a Dado blade!

Say Cheese

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 4:55 pm

This is a seriously cool website by the BBC. Requires Flash. The test takes you through 20 3 second videos of individual people smiling. You have to judge if the smile is fake or real. Very interesting look into our cultural cues. Also has an interesting section on what to look for in a genuine smile. By the way, I got 16 out of 20 correct!

February 6, 2004

Lileks’ Screed

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:03 pm

The Screed. Don’t miss it.

“I’m a bit of a wet blanket when it comes to the whole business of space travel” Patrick Stewart

Fox Guards the Henhouse

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:58 am

Via Salon: Stung by earlier court rulings, Microsoft Corp. has positioned one of its top lawyers to run a legal committee to influence how much oversight U.S. courts exercise in antitrust settlements like the one the company negotiated with the Bush administration.

Belly Up to the Double Bar

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:38 am

In music, a double bar denotes either a significant musical change (key, time, style, etc), or a visual reminder that there is some kind of transition upon you. It’s appropriate because…
I’ve finished my music charts for Sing 2004!
The final tally: 143 pages of charts and 64 score pages for a total of 207 pages. Somewhere around 11,000 individual, discrete measures of music. *WHEW*.
Charts are by far the most grueling part of the show for me. Almost a month slogging it out in front of my computer doing the scutwork. The last 2 weeks I’ve put in 12 hour days. I always feel like I’ve topped out on the mountain whenever I get the last set of charts done. Now I just have to assemble the musician’s folders (a full day). And do a final mix on the DAT tape (2 days). And mix a special rehearsal CD for the musicians (about half a day). And put together the score folders for the technical crew. Oh, and make up a cue sheet for the sound guys. (The audio cue sheet shows what instruments play in which songs and where the instrumental solos are so the guys on the soundboard know which mics to turn up/down and when).
Once all of that is done I get a few days to practice my part. I need to have the piano part for all the acts solid so that I can pay attention to the other musicians, who have not had the benefit of living with the music for 7 months. I’ll be going up to Waco next week to conduct some choral workshops with a few groups. They will already have their notes learned by that point (oh, please, please have your notes learned by that point) and I go in and help them polish the sound. I’ll also drop in on some of the choreography rehearsals and offer input. Usually I just stand in front of the groups and say what the Sing Chairs have been saying for 3 weeks. The groups listen to me not because I offer much new, but because I’m a new voice, an unknown “professional”.
Then on February 14th we start technical rehearsals with the full band. Total rehearsal time with the band and the groups together during the 2 weeks of Sing is 50 or so hours – about 3 hours per group onstage and then lots of time in individual rehearsals without the band. The shows will be about 4 hours each. 5 shows plus 2 dress rehearsals for 28 hours of performance.
Like I said, it’s a mountain.
And this is just the music side. There are untold hours being put in right now by the choreographers, dancers, costume makers, backdrop painters, prop builders, lighting designers, and all the other technical crew. The 50 or so Sing Chairs absolutely sweat blood over their acts, sometimes calling me at 2am to discuss changes or ideas, and the pace increases up until the final judging night (February 28th). It’s crazy the man-hours that go into this thing.

People often tell me that they’re jealous of my free time in the summers. This is when I earn it. I don’t mind though- I’m lucky to do what I love.

Come see the show!

February 5, 2004

OS X Crashes

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:03 pm

Had another kernel panic just now. I had selected a .aiff file in the finder (column view) and clicked on “play” in the far right column. Crash. Seems to be something relating to some other program. The commonality in all my crashes has been that Mail and Safari are both open when the panic happens. Of course, as I pretty much just use OS X for Mail and web-browsing, that’s 100% of the time. Giles also had the idea that it might be related to the Western Digital drive that I installed shortly after I got the G4. WD drives are notoriously bad. I’ve had one fail and G. has had several. Broke my cardinal rule: don’t buy cheap stuff.


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 2:40 pm

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion,
butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet,
balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take
orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze
a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal,
fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

Spirit Rover Status: Spirit’s Surgery Successful!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 2:38 pm

NASA’s Spirit rover has had a successful brain surgery (CF-memory card reformat). It is now

February 4, 2004

Sing, Sing a Song

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:50 pm

I’ve been working away on the charts for this year’s “All University Sing“. Almost done. For those of you who may not know it, I’m one of the primary arrangers for the show. This year I’ve written approximately 77 minutes of music, accounting for well over half of the show itself. I’m in the final stages of writing the sheet music for the band, and this year it’s about 200 pages of music (including all rhythm section parts and all brass parts). This does not include the vocal sheet music for each of the acts (probably another 200 pages), or the scores (about 60 pages). As you can see, it’s a titanic annual job, but one that I love. This is my 14th year involved in the show, and I think it’s going to be a good one. The show typically runs about 3.5 to 5 hours, depending on the number of 7-minute acts (this year there are 17… about average). It runs during the last two weekends in February, with the winners this year announced on February 28th. More than 15,000 people see it and it’s sold out every night. There are approximately 1000 people involved in the production behind the scenes and I’m really proud to be one of them. If you’d like to see the show, tickets are going fast. So if you can’t get tickets, drop me a note. After all, you have connections….


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:34 am

Kinda creepy, but kinda cool, too. Photographer Bobby Neel Adams splices pictures of the same people together from different ends of their lives. I always thought it would be cool to take a picture of someone every year on their birthday throughout their lives. At the end of it, morph them together to show the progression of age. You’d have to shoot them in the same clothing (say, a white t-shirt), and against the same background (white wall) to get the best effect. Too bad I’ve already missed 34 years!

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