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Month: December 2009

Goals for 2010

I don’t think I really like the idea of giving myself goals, at least not these kinds large goals that are so easily influenced by uncontrollable events in my life.  But I’m going to do it anyway just to see what happens.  It might give me a bit more focus throughout the year.  Or I might become too disinterested in them and try other things instead.  I guess they can be considered “Goals I currently think would be interesting to achieve in 2010” and not so much “Goals I will use to judge myself at the end of 2010.”  In other words, I’m not going to strictly hold myself to them; it will all depend on where my interests lie when I have the time to pursue them.

And so here they are, the Goals of 2010:

1)  Get a full time job. I kind of have to put this on.  Obviously.  The alternative is to go to grad school.  But, c’mon, can you see that happening?

2)  Continue keeping Hannifin World updated daily for the entire year. This shouldn’t be too hard as long as I can keep thinking of ideas and don’t run out of ink and paper and the scanner keeps working.

3)  Finish writing a novel. Or a novella.  Or a novelette.

4)  Continue practicing sketching. I hardly did any sketching at all this year, but I got some extra drawing supplies for Christmas, so I should try to spend some time practicing with them.

5)  Finish writing screenplay for The Melody Box. This was a screenplay I started this year that needs to be finished.  I don’t know what in the world one does with a finished screenplay, but it was fun to write; I really need to get back to it.

6)  Get started on animating a short film. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for the past few months.  It doesn’t need to be long, it doesn’t need to be drawn very well, but I should at least get started.

7)  Finish album! This is something I’ve been working on since the end of 2008, and I’m still not finished!  2010 should be the year for that.

8)  Listen to all of Mozart’s work. In other words, finish the Mozart Listening Project.

9)  Make some sort of progress on a machine creativity program. Either make progress on my music generator (which still doesn’t generate music), or try creating a story generator.  This [machine creativity] is the subject I’m most fascinated by at the moment, but it’s also the most frustrating and hardest area to make any progress in, as it floats near the invisible edges of the impossible.

10)  Become a millionaire. While I’m at it.

Well, there are only 2 goals I know I definitely won’t achieve!  A-heh heh heh…

2010… a nice decade-ish number…

Christmas aftermath

Hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas.  It was a very good Christmas here.  It was actually a white Christmas here, since we still had some leftover snow from a snow storm the previous Saturday.  The storm was so nice that it got me out of having to go to work for the entire week, thus it exceeded my expectations.  It’s melting away at a good pace now, unfortunately.  I love snow… mostly because it gets me out of work…

This picture represents my best Christmas gifts.  I was a bit surprised to get the book “The Creative Process” … it’s a somewhat expensive academic book.  It’s about machine creativity in the area of storytelling.  It’s a bit outdated, having been written in the early 1990s (I think), but it’s still full of ideas I find rather fascinating.  Maybe in the year 2010 I’ll try my hand at programming an automatic story generator, eh?  Yes, I think that would be fun.

And I know my whole family is jealous of me for getting the first 100 episodes of Spongebob.  Oh yeah…

Despite programming somewhat obsessively for the past week, I still haven’t made much progress on my Automatic Music Generator: Version 2, but I still have quite a few ideas left to try.

Anyway, I’m going to take a break from doing anything too intellectual for just a short while while I watch my new blu-rays and DVDs and read my new books and play my new computer games.  This is not because of laziness or anything, it’s simply because I need to make sure right away that everything is working properly to make sure I don’t need to return anything.  Of course.

I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day now.  4 days left!

Oh, and I’m quite proud of myself for so far having been able to keep Hannifin World updated everyday.  Not sure the comics are always very funny, but who cares about that, right?

Your business is dumb but I like you as a person

The Internet has created a very unique, fast, and easy way for businesses to connect with their customers. In many ways, this is very good. But in some ways, this is also annoying and bad. The blog post focuses on the bad.

I don’t want to be treated like a customer until I decide to be a customer. For example, when I order food from McDonald’s, I don’t want the cashier to make chit-chat with me, ask me about my day or anything. I want to be treated like a customer: ask me what I want, tell me how much it costs, then give me what I ordered. McDonald’s doesn’t have to try to advertise the burger when I’m in the restaurant; I didn’t go there to browse.

When I’m not in McDonald’s, it would be extremely annoying to have McDonald’s employees giving me their cards and asking me about my fast food preferences and what I think of McDonald’s. This might seem absurd because the fast food industry tends not to do that.

But with the Internet, some businesses and artists promote themselves very much in this way. They get on Twitter and auto-follow people who mention “social media”, they search for blog posts on certain topics, and they encourage people to become their fans on Facebook.

SHUT UP ALREADY!

If I’m looking for a business or an artist, I’ll go out myself and find what I need! I don’t need or want to be found! (At least not through “personal connecting” … if you find me through a Google ad or a banner ad, that’s OK.)

And if you connect with me as a person, by either commenting on my blog or messaging me on Twitter, of course I’ll probably be nice. Being nice to other humans is a good and decent thing to do. But that doesn’t mean I think all business ideas are wise or my business preferences can be changed or influenced with simply a personal connection. Are books on marketing telling people otherwise?

If I rant about not liking a company, being contacted by someone in the company isn’t going to help much (unless trying to contact the company was what I was ranting about). The business’s goal should be to not cause those rants, not deal with them when they find them. Of course I’ll be nice and polite to another person, but a business is not a person. I can loathe a business but be kind to its employees.

So, to anybody out there who’s in or interested in marketing and branding: stop putting so much interest in making pseudo-personal connections. They’re “pseudo” because if you’re not truly interested in me as a person and are just connecting with me as a form of advertising, then it’s not really a true personal connection. If you want to make a real personal connection, you better not be doing it for your business.

That’s all, thanks for reading this post! I just want to mention one more thing, because I can tell you’re a reader with good taste: I’m a music composer, and I’m available for hire for all your music needs…

Ugh… Internet connection

Our stupid Internet connection keeps dropping out. Luckily I have the web on my phone, but typing on this little keypad isn’t quite as easy as using a real keyboard.

Anyway, aside from going to work, I’ve continued work on my music project, trying to come up with some new algorithms to use that can process a lot of data more quickly. The programming can become a bit obsessive as I lose complete track of time trying to solve little problem by little problem. I’m still not at the point that my newer music generator (which I hope will be able to generate entire pieces of music) can give any output that I can experiment with (and of course it working even a little well is, I guess, a farfetched daydream, but the impossible is still worth pursuing, yes?). So I’ve still got much more work to do.

We’re supposed to get a lot of snow tonight… I’m hoping it will be enough to get me out of work on Saturday, though I guess that will just make Sunday all the busier.

7 days left until that happy day arrives… but the end of tomorrow seems far away enough for me…

Java programming blather

I spent the day doing some more Java programming on my melody project. I’m attempting to add some new features (with different algorithms) to the program so that it will work with music of any length, and with multiple melodic lines, thus different instruments and the emerging harmonies. But of course to say it is difficult is an understatement. The algorithms work; that is, they run. But they go far too slowly and take up a lot of memory. I think I can fix the memory problem by greatly reducing redundancy with some algorithmic improvements, but I’m still not sure how I can get it to go any faster; the algorithms simply have to do too much calculating. So I’ll probably have to abandon the algorithms altogether and try coming up with new ones. Since the program is going so slow now, I can’t get it to output anything but gibberish, and thus can’t really tweak the current algorithms to improve them. Anyway, if I can ever get it to work and create musical output that actually sounds musical, the musical mixing possibilities would be pretty cool. It’s just too bad computers aren’t faster and don’t have more memory; I could sure use it.

If I do get my musical-mixer-generator thing to work as well as I do in my daydreams, I can’t quite decide what I’ll do with it. Part of me would like to sell it and make $$$ off of it, but another part of me is quite tempted to keep the software a secret and use it to create hundreds of thousands of musical pieces under a pseudonym and not tell anybody my secret power. Both possibilities are still distant daydreams, of course, but I guess I’d probably sell it, since that seems more honest, and would probably result in a lot more $$$. But the other choice remains a temptation, and if I choose that road, I won’t blog about it, bwahahahaha!!

Maillardet’s Automaton

I was hoping to finish reading the book Lamentation today (I’ve got about 60 pages to go) when certain family members insisted that I read a book called The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  It’s a pretty simple read since much of the book is pictures, and I finished it in a few hours.  It was pretty captivating, full of mysteriousness that makes you want to keep reading.  By the end of it, though, I didn’t think there were any grand-revealing truths or surprising twists as I was hoping for in the back of my mind, but it was still a fun read.

What I found just as interesting (or even more interesting) than the book was a real mechanical automaton the book was somewhat inspired by: Maillardet’s Automaton.  It’s basically just a mechanical wind-up robot thing that draws pictures.  Can you imagine how complex that thing must be?  Pretty cool stuff.  Here’s a video of it drawing:

Ooooo . . . aaaahhh . . .

Anyway, my podcast The Compose Pile should now be appearing in the iTunes store. We’ll see if that helps it get anymore listeners, or if the amount of competition already on iTunes, and the general lack of public interest in composing orchestral music, and my own lack of musical skills and fame, all help it get no more listeners…

12 days left until Christmas!

Pure of heart

Didn’t do much today since I had to go to work all day. Still haven’t heard anything from iTunes regarding my podcast The Compose Pile being added to their podcast directory, but I guess that’s to be expected, what with today being Saturday and all.

I have nothing else to say, but I’m keeping this a daily blog and updating it even when a day is uneventful and unworthy of blog-posting.

Right now I’m tired, but I’m watching the new Race to Witch Mountain with some family members… it’s an awful film, with some of the most dreadful film music I’ve ever heard, but I care little, for the fire by the chair I sit in is warm and the rest I am experiencing is much needed and wholesome, and I am pure of heart.

New Compose Pile is up

I sat in front of my computer all day (well, after waking up at noon) and edited the sixth episode of my podcast The Compose Pile. It took forever to edit; I say “um…” way too much, take long pauses, flub my words, and I hate listening to my own voice in general, it just doesn’t sound how I’m used to it sounding.  I also spent some time formatting the orchestral score (which there’s a link to on the podcast post) so that listeners can follow along the score while listening, if they so desire. I also tried submitting the podcast to iTunes, but I guess they have to review it first, so who knows whether or not they’ll accept it, or when.

Other than that, I spent some time last night buying a bunch of Christmas presents on online.  I only have one or two more things I want to buy, and then my Christmas shopping will be done.  14 days left until the big sleep-in and play-all-day day!  I wish we’d get more snow, but the outlook isn’t so good.

Eh blither blather

Still haven’t edited that The Compose Pile podcast episode yet, mostly because of having to go to work all day. But I have off on Fridays, so hopefully it will be up by tomorrow night at the latest.

Oh, someone I know won this celebrity-autographed PSP from an online Disney giveaway. Can you read the autograph there? No, you can’t, because it’s sloppy sloppy sloppy. But that’s a Miley Cyrus autograph. *gasp* I know, like OMG! I wouldn’t mind getting a free PSP, even if it was pink and had someone’s sloppy handwriting all over it. But now the PSP is doomed to play poorly designed girly games… too bad… (and, actually, I would mind)

I’m on page 308 of Lamentation … it’s really getting exciting; I can’t wait to find out how it ends (even though it’s only the first book in a series). Only about 100 pages to go.

That’s all for now.