Saturday, December 31, 2005

Vacation Retrospective

A couple of things I've discovered in the last 10 days or so:
  • I like to run. Ever since I saw the reduced gut on the other woman, I've been all inspired and stuff. Even better, I'm starting to lose all the weight I gained from the damned eye-medications.
  • Used-book stores rock. A few days ago I found a nice little hardcover copy of Reading Jazz.
  • I can't ever really stop working. Even when I'm taking a break. I seem to be most productive on my days off.
  • The little Venezuelan coffee shop in Palo Alto has awesome spiced hot chocolate.
  • No other game (FPS) comes close to being as playable as Half Life 2.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mike Stern@Yoshi's

Peter and I caught these guys at Yoshi's yesterday. Here's my take on the performance:
  1. Mike Stern's music is really quite uninteresting.
  2. Dennis Chambers can bang a drum alright, but doesn't know the meaning of subtlety. He should take a lesson or two from Brian Blade.
  3. Victor Wooten is probably the most accomplished electric bassist I've ever seen. His solo was the highlight of the evening.
Overall, both Peter and I came away with the impression that the performance wasn't as interesting musically as it was technically. Still, after good sushi, and much hot sake, one can have fun listening to just about anything.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Save the carols!!

A week or so ago, Jayita and I were in some department store like Macy's or J.C. Penny or something (they all look/sound the same to me), and they'd already started doing the Christmas carol thing, and I heard one of these "experimental" renditions of "Silent Night" clatter out of the speakers.

Now, friends and enemies who know me well enough will testify without a flicker of hesitance that I'm a jazz fan. Hell, I've even tortured a few friends into attending an Ornette Coleman concert. But where I draw the line, is when you turn a mood-piece like Silent Night, into some allegro-1930's-it's-prohibition-so-all-I-can-do-is-swing number. I mean "Siiilent Niiiiight, ba boo be dee DAP pa DOO!" is just not kosher.

But maybe that's just me.

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This weekend I was toying around with Maxima, a pretty nice symbolic math package (like Mathematica, but open-source), and I discovered a really slick little feature that Emacs users can latch on to. By adding on this package called IMaxima (where the "I" stands for "image"), one can get the results of symbolic computation automatically rendered in LaTeX, and displayed inline in the Emacs session. It kinda looks like this:
That's just so cool, it makes me want to do more symbolic math :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Where I work is a pretty strange place... I just took a pee next to Al Gore.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Makoto Ozone

This guy is one good pianist. I've been listening to his work as a sideman for Gary Burton's ":rarum" collection recordings on the ECM label (btw, this label has one hell of a catalog for jazz -- I want to own everything). I'm going to look out for his music more. Unfortunately he tends to stay in New York a lot.

I've been so awful with making time to practice the piano. I haven't touched it in 2 weeks. I've been so buried in work over the last month that I haven't even been listening to that much jazz. Still, Peter and I should be going to see Mike Stern perform with Victor Wooten in 2 weeks :))

Just gotta make it through the end of the quarter...