This is Zach's personal blog. If you're looking for his movies, please click here. Otherwise, have fun!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

This has been taking up my time lately. Check it out.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Paging Chevy Chase.

Hello, I'm in Norfolk, Virginia, and you're not.

Virginia Beach on a Friday is just like Ocean City used to be when I was a kid, before it got really really REALLY popular. And Manteo, North Carolina, where we were yesterday, is just beautiful.

And of course, there's nothing quite like taking a vacation on the government's tab.

(Note to the GAO: No, we didn't really make the Feds pay for our vacation. K had a meeting in Manteo, yes, and we all turned it into a mini-vacation, but we paid for all the recreational stuff ourselves. And really, why are you investigating a mid-level civil servant, when you should be going after the war crimes of the Bush administration?)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh my god.

"BLITZER: One of the other explosive charges you have in the book is that the U.S. deliberately bombed the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul to make a point. You write this: 'On November 13, a hectic day when Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance and there were celebrations in the streets of the city, a U.S. missile obliterated Al Jazeera's office. Inside the CIA and White House there was satisfaction that a message had been sent to Al Jazeera.'

"Are you suggesting that someone in the U.S. government made a deliberate decision to take out the Al Jazeera office in Kabul?

"SUSKIND: My sources are clear that that was done on purpose, precisely to send a message to Al Jazeera, and essentially a message was sent."

(via White House Briefing.)

Pearls Before Swine.

Say it with me now... "It's funny because it's true."

I'm off to North Carolina with the fam for a couple days. Be good.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Let us now praise the iTunes Music Store.

How else could I have given 99 cents to ELO because of a Doctor Who episode?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Truism #453.

Trimming one's toenails while watching the first episode of "Lost" on DVD is what Father's Day is all about.

Dangling participle department.

LITTLETON, Colo., June 16 -- Recalling "one of the darkest days" of his presidency, Bill Clinton wielded a shovel along with bereaved family members Friday for the groundbreaking of a memorial to the 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School who were killed seven years ago.
How does one wield bereaved family members, anyway?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The little feet of tadpoles...

Been trying GNU Lilypond again for the hell of it. Barnes and Noble was selling a Dover score of the complete Brandenburg concertos for four bucks; that's, oh, 75% off, one of those deals that grabs you by the collar and drags you to the checkout page. Especially when you have a B&N gift card left over from Christmas. So, since Mutopia had to remove their copy of the Brandenburgs for legal reasons, and the Dover edition is a simple reprint of Bach-Gesellschaft's out-of-copyright edition, I thought I'd check out Lilypond again and see if it was any easier to deal with now than when I last fooled with it two or three years ago.

It's certainly easier to install. No more fiddling with individual packages on the command-line, no more awful, out-of-date Fink, just a simple Mac OS X app that you drag-and-drop. Of course, you're still entering music via a text-editor and a somewhat obscure markup language (well, one you get used to it it's not so obscure). Still, when you come right down to it, it's probably faster than point-and-click entry in a notation program; and not too much slower than playing everything in with a MIDI keyboard. (At least for me, given what a horrid keyboardist I am, and how annoying it is to set up my Keystation. Oh, for a dedicated music studio!)

Yesterday I typeset most of the first movement to Eine kleine Nachtmusik, which was a lot of fun. Of course, the beautiful score is just a side effect; mostly, I want the MIDI output to shove into Pro Tools and finesse with GPO, to create the all-important public domain recordings that are my passion. That's the main reason I didn't start with the 3rd Brandenburg (which you may recall I've been working on in GPO); I already have the public domain MIDI from before the scores were removed, so what's the point?

Lilypond as MIDI sequencer? Boy, I'm weird.

(I recall someone once wanted lute tablature. It's a lot closer now.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Oh my gosh, this is a real find: Rhapsody in Blue (part 1 and part 2), as performed by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, with Gershwin himself at the piano.

This was recorded acoustically, before the microphone was invented. Sonically it's about as good as one could expect from 1924, but my gosh! what history!



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cat Bites Bear.

Oh, this is too damn funny.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Back to Basics.

Well, our family has gone back to that rarefied group of people who don't get cable news channels. Which is not to say we've abandoned cable entirely, oh no. Unfortunately, we're too addicted to the Comcast internet speed to go back to DSL or--horrors!--dial-up. (In truth, my line of work makes it essential to have broadband--how can one do Internet video without it?) But the simple fact is that we just don't watch enough television to merit having the billions and billions of channels we had under a limited-time discount which wasn't a discount anymore. So, down to basic cable--local channels and C-SPAN. We did elect to keep the high-definition converter box for an additional five bucks a month, so we can see every pore on Ty Pennington's face when we watch Extreme Makeover: Ikea Edition.*

K was in Florida all week, leaving me to be a bachelor with kids. Surprisingly there were (as of this writing) no major crises, although E did come down with a slight fever. I kept my temper, the kids didn't misbehave; all was good. Last night I ran my first memebership meeting as the Board President of E's nursery school. Oh, did I mention that I was tapped to be President? Let this be a lesson to you all: DON'T VOLUNTEER. (I kid, I kid. It should be a good year, and to be honest, the Presidency is more in line with my temperament than being Treasurer, which I was this past year. After all, now I can lower tuition and raise spending, not to mention order the invasion of other nursery schools to destroy their Play-Doh of mass destruction liberate the oppressed children.)

Finally, here's my latest version of the Brandenburg Concerto, now with all three movements and cheesy reverb! I gotta get me a proper impulse response plug-in someday. The third movement is just straight from the MIDI, no work done on phrasing, volume, etc., so it's not what it should sound like, yet. This will be the last update until it's done, I think. Enjoy.

*We don't actually watch this show. At least, not anymore. It was better when they weren't famous enough to invite B-list celebrities to slum with 'em.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

If a harpsichord falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

I get the feeling I'm talking to myself again.

Third try, with more keyswitching and slurring on the violins. Also, everything was bumped up to the "brightest" mod wheel setting in GPO, which had the side effect of pushing the harpsichord way back in the mix. On the whole, needs a LOT more work...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Brandenburg again.

Second attempt, with some keyswitch work on the violins, and what will make the most difference: no double bass, only harpsichord for the continuo.

GPO returns.

Here's a little something for you to listen to.

First attempt at Bach's third Brandenburg Concerto, first and second movements. The second movement in particular needs more tweaking (ha!). This version has no dynamics and the continuo part is as of yet unrealized, but I'm quite impressed with how good the solo instruments sound even without any fancy keyswitching or pedal-work. Well, except the violas...

I included a double bass to join the basso continuo. I'm torn as to whether it will remain or not. Mostly I just don't know whether it's appropriate to the period. Anyone know?