Sunday, November 21, 2010

Graduation Approaches

I am almost through with my college experience.  I have attended UTC for 4.5 years and will soon embrace my post-college life and the world of work.

Though many people question the value of a degree in History in this endeavor, I know the value.
My degree shows the world that I have the critical thinking skills to address a problem, the persistence to see the solution through to the end, and an open mind that only comes with a balanced education that includes knowledge and a deeper understanding of people and cultures from around the world.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To Kill A Mockingbird

Bernstein's music coupled with the touching and deep story of To Kill A Mockingbird, deeply affected me.  The theme, according to Bernstein, was composed as though a child were humming it, or playing it on a piano.  The music, which opens the movie, puts the audience into a wondrous state of mind, that of a child.  The story is told through the perspective of Scout (Mary Badham), child of Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) a lawyer in the town of Macon, Alabama.  Finch is entrusted with defending Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a black man charged with raping a white woman.  During the story we also meet Jem (Philip Alford), Scout's brother, and Dill ( John Megna).  The movie has a very stirring courtroom scene, which must have played a large role in Gregory Peck's later winning of an Oscar for the movie.  The ending of the movie is very well done, with a great message that all that watch the movie should heed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Scale of the Universe

The universe is sometimes hard to understand.  One aspect that is especially perplexing at times is the vast scale of the whole thing.  Humans perceive only a small chunk of the universe, and the website linked to below has helped me, and I am sure it will help you, to better understand the universe in which we reside.

Here is the link: The Scale of the Universe

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Foundation Series

   I have just finished a large part of Asimov's Foundation series

 ( Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation), as well as Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth.  These books, especially the original trilogy are outstanding.  The best thing about Asimov's stories is that they are character driven.  Though the series is set in a highly advanced future, with wondrous technologies, the characters are always well grounded and relatable.  Another aspect of Asimov's books that makes them stand out is the way his books, as all good science-fiction seems to, turn an eye towards our society.  Though all of the books I have read so far in the series were written before I was born, they are very much relevant today, as can bee easily observed by the sheer numbers of Asimov fans.

  I will in time read the prequels ( Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation.  I have long hesitated to begin the Foundation series due to the number of books involved if you count the expanded Foundation series books, this number is 29 according to Wikipedia.  In the past I read I, Robot, which was an outstanding book, but at that time I did not even know of the Foundation series.  When I encountered it later I was pretty sure I would love it, but I knew I would simply have to read every single book of the 29, though I will start with the books listed on this page.  I will undoubtedly read every single one of these books now, as I have been drawn into the Foundation universe, and I will not leave it without thoroughly exploring every nook and cranny.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Apple's iOS 4

Last night I upgraded my iPhone 3G to iOS 4 (formerly know as iPhone OS 4). Though the OS will be best on the new iPhone 4, it is a great improvement from the 3.0 OS I had before.
The best feature in the new OS would to me be hands down the folders. I am now able to better organize my apps, and know where all of my favorite apps are. An added bonus to the folders is that I am able to fit many more apps on my phone, as I have had my phone full from a few weeks after I got it until last night. I now actually have empty spaces on my home screen.
Another great feature is the new inbox setup. I am now able to check all inboxes at once, as well as independently, saving a lot of time.
There are many other minor tweaks, such as the option of choosing different search providers in Safari, and minor graphical redesign among them.
iBooks does not come preloaded with iOS 4, but it is available for download from the App Store for those who have upgraded to iOS 4. The app is a great eBook reader, with plenty of free books available among the paid books.
The biggest surprise I encountered from iOS 4, is that it does not slow down my device. I expected my device to perform slower, as it is a few generations back, but it performs nicely on the new iOS.

I would recommend that all iPhone users (3G and up), at least try the new iOS, I don't believe you will be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

E3 Nintendo Presentation

I am highly looking forward to a lot of the offerings that E3 has shown today. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, looked very cool.

The game uses the Wii MotionPlus attachment to enable the player to experience a near 1:1 interface with the sword, shield in the game. The advanced control allows you to feel as if you are truly integrated into the game, and the game makers have taken advantage of this, as some puzzles and enemies require you to slash your sword in certain direction. Shield use becomes much more prominent in this game as well, as the nunchuk becomes your shield, enabling you to block instinctively while also slashing your enemy. The game also uses this enhanced control for other items. The bow uses a similar control scheme to that of Wii Sports Resort Archery. The game has some familiar items such as the slingshot and bombs and some added functionality to such items as the bomb, as you can now toss it much as you would grenades in many shooters, and you can even roll the bomb like a bowling ball. There is a cool beetle item which you control remotely, and allows you to collect items from afar.

Nintendo also showcased many other games such as Donkey Kong, Mario Sports Mix, Kirby Epic Yarn and others. A huge announcement for Nintendo was the 3DS.

This is a successor the the DS handeld, that actually allows you to play games in 3D sans 3D glasses. This is a very interesting development in the world of gaming, and 3D entertainment in general, and though I often loath 3D movies, and the impending headache that often follows, I am excited about this development, and hope it works much better than Nintendo's "portable" 3D system, the VirtualBoy. I am sure they have gotten it right this time.

My Wii Console Number and Friend Codes

I have enjoyed playing the Wii since Christmas, and now want to play online a bit more. Feel free to add me, and I will in turn add you back as a friend to any of these games. Though I play them all, I have listed them from most frequently played by me, to least frequently played.

Send your friend codes to:

My Wii console Number: 7525-6936-8547-8104

Wii Friend codes:

Mario Kart Wii: 0861-4152-9563

Super Smash Bros. Brawl: 1162-3029-2637

Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom Ultimate All Stars: 1634-7481-1650

Animal Crossing City Folks: 2236-1015-7185

The Conduit: 1892-5213-9931

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Summer Nears

The last few weeks have went by very quickly. I have helped move my brother into his new house, had my very last jazz concert (sadly), written two papers and have organized (with the help of my teacher) a group to assist me in performing the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto, which I will perform for my jury, and to close the Clarinet Studio Recital. So, as you see, the end of the semester has been hectic, and I still have a listening exam this week, and Concert Band Concert followed by Finals Week.

Luckily however, I will have an adequate amount of time to study, and no back-to-back exams like I had last Spring semester (those are definitely not fun).

I hope to update my blog more regularly in the future. Unfortunately it always seems to be one of the first things I cut, when other things arise.

Oh, by the way, I would recommend Opera Mini (just recently released) to anyone who owns an iPhone/iPod Touch, as it is very fast and effecient. I would not however recommend it as a complete replacement, but only as a compliment to the Safari browser.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Lately 3D movies have regained popularity. Greatly propelled by the massive popularity of Avatar, the movie industry has a slew of movies set to be released in the format, and will even be re-releasing older movies in 3D. Though I enjoy 3D, I have yet to find a movie that does not cause great nausea and a throbbing headache. This may be because I wear glasses and must wear the 3D glasses over them, but because of my problems watching 3D, I am wary about watching movies in 3D. To be fair, I have yet to see Avatar in either 2D or 3D, and Cameron may have found a way of using 3D that does not cause me nausea.
Another reason, according to many, that 3D movies cause nausea etc. is that the movies force the audience to focus on a particular portion of the screen. Objects other than the focus of the shot often seem blurry. It seems as if everything in a shot cannot be in focus at once, as is possible in 2D. Although these two issues may have been corrected in newer 3D movies such as Avatar, I am not sure, and am hesitant to waste money to attend a movie and find out. I would not possibly be able to stay through more than forty-five minutes of a 3D movie if I experienced the same problems I experienced in prior short IMAX 3D movies.

I know the movie industry needs 3D in order to insure that people continue to attend movies, as without some element that people with cannot experience at home, movie theatre attendance will falter, as people continue to have better and better home theatre systems. Soon, however even 3D will be available in high quality in the home with the release of 3D televisions. I believe that 3D could be to the first half of the 21st century, what color TV was to the mid 20th century. This could happen if the 3D is unobtrusive and allows users to do other things while watching 3D TV, and of course, if the technology is improved to be less painful on the eyes.

I would love to be able to experience 3D without pain, and in high quality in movie theatres, but I am not sure if even then I would want to watch it each day on TV. The future is hard to predict, and I am sure some detractors bashed sound and color when they were introduced. The 3D format's future will ultimately be in the hands of the consumer.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snow Day

Today is yet another snow day as earlier this morning the snow began piling up on the ground. The local weathermen predicted that the snow would quickly turn to rain, but that did not happen, as the temperature stayed at around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As usual, however, UTC was late to predict that the snow would prove troublesome to many until most students were already in their classes. I ended up going to one class, and even patiently stayed to finish the class after school had officially closed for the day, as I was already there, and the professor was adamant about delivering all the information he had prepared for the day. The snow has mostly vanished, leaving only a few remnants behind, but I will gladly take the snow day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spring Semester Begins

Since my last post pertaining to the jazz concert at Rock City Gardens many things have occurred among them: Christmas, New Years, and the beginning of Spring semester in college. During Christmas break I obtained a Wii and an iPhone 3G, so future posts will most likely include these two great devices which by now I have explored thoroughly.
Though the Wii does not have the same graphical power of the XBox 360 or Playstation 3, it makes up for this in its intuitive control of games via its motion sensing controller: the wii remote. The ease of using the controller also has an added benifit, people who would usually avoid video games, such as older people or those who lament the many buttons on most system controllers, find the wii great fun. I have seen this first-hand as my grandmother loves to bowl, and even play Mario Kart, though she would never play most XBox 360 games.
The iPhone 3G has been a great phone so far. I have never had a phone that provided such eas of navigation. The app store has hundreds of thousands of apps, many free, that enhance the phone ten fold in my opinion.
With both the iPhone and Wii I have been tempted to use homebrew and jailbreak each respectively, but have not. Though the added functionality would greatly expand the value of both devices to me, the risk is something I am unwilling to take.
In the field of music, I have now begun working on Artie Shaw's Clarinet Concerto. This piece is a great work, and I have wanteed to perform it since I was in High School. I have now reached a point where I am confident, that with enough practice I will be able to give this piece justice.
This semester I have continued my study of Japan, by taking a class dealing with Premodern Japan. I will be finishing up the duo of History of Music classes this semester, thankfully, but not before delving into many, many scores. To attempt to partially fill my gap in knowledge of the Latin American world, I am taking a class pertaining to the post-colonial era of these states. Another interesting class I am taking this semester is Musics of the World. In this class we learn of many different music cultures, and even get to play their instruments at times, in workshops.
The semester is getting off to a decent start.