Wednesday, February 28, 2007

la circulation

La circulation is the French word for traffic. The French seem to think that traffic goes around in a circle whereas we all know it basically goes in a straight line, a long straight line. Austin traffic is pretty bad. I am sure it is worse in other places like DC or California. However, for such a tight knit little city, the traffic is horrendous. This is mostly because there is only one major highway through the city that moves north and south. There are two other highways on the east and west sides which move north and south but can turn into a regular road with stoplights at a moment's notice. It is exasperating. Enter Google Maps. They now have a traffic feature which in real time color codes by traffic speed major roads in select cities. Thankfully, Austin is one of them. Have you hugged a Google employee today?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Netflix Indulgence

I love Netflix. Best thing since dollar movie theaters. Netflix allows me to indulge in my many obsessions like anime or romantic comedies. It also, however, gives something back to me like helping with my French or in the case this week, renew my love for the piano. I received two movies this weekend having to do with the piano. Piano Grand: A Smithsonian Celebration was really mostly a collection of performances celebrating the grand piano but it was great to see Brubeck play his own work, Jerry Lee rock, and some fabulous pianos on display. But the highlight was Great Pianists of the 20th Century. A detailed look at some of the more famous performers from the past century including Rubenstein, Richter, Paderewski, and Horowitz the latter of whom I was not very familiar and now wish I had heard live. The footage is amazing and at times the film slows to a pace where we can watch the greats curve over the keys during the fast flittering of the pieces they played. It is utterly amazing to watch their genius and technique. But I have to say that the pinnacle of this film was Horowitz playing his own Variations on Bizet's Carmen on his return to Carnegie Hall. Oh that I could have been a fly on that wall. Now I must start saving for a piano of my own.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Can't get enough

I have this strange thing. I like to listen to songs over and over again. The song varies from week to week or month to month. Last month it was "Number One" by Hazel Fernandes which is an insert song to the anime, Bleach. Great work out song by the way, very inspiring. Before that it was "Curious" by the Innocence Mission, the Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein, "Never There" by Cake, "Rooftop" track from the Newsies soundtrack by Alan Menken, and the list goes on and on. Today it is the overture to Dancer in the Dark by Björk . This has a fantastic melody which builds very slowly by some even more fantastic horns. The climax is a symphony of brass that makes my heart melt every time. Oh and the song on which it is based, "New World", is also beautiful and it has been alternating time in my car of late.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The pros and cons of Supernatural

A WB now CW show, completely unbelievable storyline, and monster of the week premise? While it sounds like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show is actually Supernatural and I have to say, I think it has that sort of potential. Supernatural does not have Joss' touch, the always intriguing plot of an extraordinary girl trying to live a normal life or any of his directorial montages. It also lacks that je ne sais quoi to give it that extra special something that Buffy always eluded. However, the Winchester boys never fail to make me laugh or cry and are always, always there for each other. Dean and Sammy Winchester are supernatural hunters like their dad before them and others besides. They have their dad's journal to help them find the ailment of whatever small midwestern town is the center of the episode that week. The supernatural portion of Supernatural is nothing to laugh at either. There is, of course, a big bad, a devil creature complete with yellow eyes who killed the boys' mother, father, and plenty of others. He is masting an army of vision prone twenty somethings for some unknown purpose and has the rest of the hunters now hunting poor Sammy. They travel in Dean's Chevy Impala which along with the classic rock songs narrating the story, has become an integral part of the show. Dean is the strong emotionless type who likes to handle the big guns so he does not have to ask questions. Sammy, only called that by his brother, is the bigger sensitive researcher type who likes to ask the hard questions. Dean protects Sammy and Sammy internally combusts with angst. Meanwhile they are brothers and nag and pinch until one of them hits the other or they end up saving the day. In the most recent episode entitled "Tall Tales" a typical flashback episode where one remembers the story different from the other, I was on rolling on the floor laughing at the over exaggerated quips of these two men who have been together for far too long. Their situations are sometimes overly dramatic but there is a very consistent thread, family. It is this common thread with Buffy that gives the show the potential to be great. There is nothing like some horror demon to bring two different people even closer than their sibling blood will allow even if they are fighting it every minute. It is fun and funny. Give this show a try and you may end up feeling a little heartfelt all the while you are cheering their Rambo antics.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Score Tracks

Well, I finally got my score blog going. Basically it is a discussion of one track from a film score. I started with X-Men because I love that track and the death of Michael Kamen still floors me. He had some incredible scores. Enjoy!

Score Tracks

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Leaky Cauldron countdown

I saw this on The Leaky Cauldron and thought I could use it on my blog. I always need to know how long to wait! The countdown begins on the right sidebar.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I knew 2007 was going to be the year

The fact that 2007 ends in the most convenient of numbers (duh...the number seven) is just too much a coincidence for the last Harry Potter book not to be published. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set to be released July 21, 2007. This totally makes up for the really crappy two weeks I have been having.

JKR announcement