A link to this blog

I was going through my website’s stats (my site isn’t that popular so there aren’t many to go through), and I found a couple links coming to my site from this site… if you can find why, I thought it was pretty funny (and quite nice to know that someone out there linked to this site): http://www.squidoo.com/strange-loop.

A Blogger who finds the book boring…it takes all types.

Gee, thanks!

The station of international space

I saw the International Space Station tonight… (it was in the weather report). At least, I thought I did. I had never seen anything like it before. It looked like a star, small and bright, but moved faster than a plane, though not quite as fast as a shooting star. Unlike a plane, it did not seem to move in a straight line, it sort of curved across the sky, which looked very srange because my mind kept seeing it as off path. It was a pretty cool site, but nothing to blog about… oops!

In other news, wow… did you notice the new features in embedded YouTube videos? (If not, check one out from this blog here.) Pretty cool stuff!

ClickCaster free again!

I got an email the other day from ClickCaster:

Due to user outcry, we will continue to offer FREE accounts on ClickCaster!

Starting June 30th (and June 15th for new signups), sign in and get 125MB of Storage and 10GB of transfer a month with some features limited.

Woohoo! Many thanks ClickCaster! 🙂

I’ll have to see if the new limitations are reasonable or not. For my purposes, I’m guessing they will be, but if my podcast ever becomes too popular for some unknown reason, I can just host them on this website.

The Black Swan in music

It’s good to finally be reading a good book… The Black Swan, that is. Go buy it.

I was thinking you could easily apply (and I already have, somewhat, after reading Fooled by Randomness) the Black Swan idea to the “modern music” discussion I blogged about weeks ago. Some music scholars, theorists, and historians probably like to think that they can be certain of why certain composers and certain pieces became and/or remain popular. They then predict what music will be like in the future, and try to compose such music, while most of them will probably remain utterly obscure, while the real composers who stay famous from our time will be film composers and pop artists, who those scholars loathe for their simplicity and success.

What really makes a composer or a piece of music remembered for a long time? Like what makes a bestselling novel, the ingredients are not definite and easy to reproduce. They’re Black Swans. They emerge from a system far too complex for anyone to understand or predict. What makes something matter in a single human brain is far too complex to predict accurately; what makes people think they can know what makes fame emerge from the interaction of all these human minds? Yet that doesn’t stop people from buying a book on how to write a bestseller, or studying with a snobby music historian hoping to collect secrets on how to become the next Beethoven by being “innovative”, as if that was the prime ingredient.

What can I be certain of? That (insert a Black Swan here) will change music forever.

Pirate music

I was listening to the Pirates 3 soundtrack today, and the first track, “Hoist the Colours”, is corny. They could’ve at least gotten a lad who could sing. The track “The Breaking of the Fellowship” on the The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack is just beautiful, aided by the fact that the choir and soloist could actually sing.

That said, I’d say this is easily the best Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack of them all. (Strange that the soundtracks should get better and better while the movies get worse!) Many thanks to Hans Zimmer and all those others who work with him but aren’t famous! The orchestrations are wonderful, they define “cinematic drums” don’t they?

Also, part of one of the themes reminds me of the Titanic love theme… the theme that the track “I See Dead People in Boats” begins with… hmmm, dead people in boats music reminding me of Titanic, what a coincidence!

Also, the soundtrack’s use of accordion reminds of Monkey Island. Oh, Monkey Island! How I long to return to your piratey world! Please, LucasArts, give Ron Gilbert all the rights to Monkey Island so he can properly make a 3rd game! (By the way, Ron Gilbert blogs here. Check it out.) Actually, they should remake the first two games as well… keep the storyline, but make the puzzles and the interaction different (with no silly 3D circular inventories). There’s so much new technology now, they could really make a best seller out of remake. They do it with movies, I haven’t seen it a lot in games.

I Am A Boring Loop

I’m on page 78 of I Am A Strange Loop and it’s a boring book. Hofstadter’s fascination with loopyness gets him nowhere fast. The ideas themselves are rather fascinating, but I’ve heard it all before (so far). And Hofstadter’s become another person since GEB… his style of writing is just much more stale, I don’t get the same sense of passion and interest I got with GEB, I get the sense of quite an intelligent professor who’s forced to give a lecture he doesn’t really want to give but gives anyway. And he seems much more defensive. I’ve got a few quotes from the book I want to add to the quotes blog eventually, but I’m really gonna have to take a break from this book and move on to The Black Swan. Surely I can devour Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s sharp, witty, and thought-provoking writing as I did with Fooled By Randomness, right? I guess we’ll see. Goodbye, I Am A Strange Loop; I shall come back for you someday to finish you, but for now I want to start seeing other books.

Lady in the Water review

Well, Lady in the Water wasn’t completely stupid… I’d give it a 5 out of 10 stars. I think the reason a lot of people don’t like it is that it’s not like the director’s other films, such as Signs or The Sixth Sense, in which there is some twisted ending. I guess you could still say there are “twists” in Lady in the Water, but it’s certainly not the same as his prior films. I think the story itself had a good message, but the film has some problems…

First of all, film critics might see the film as a reflection of their own arrogance, which I don’t think they like. One of the characters in the movie just happens to be an arrogant film critic, and real film critics probably aren’t fond of the way he is portrayed. Meanwhile, the director’s character (he plays in his own movie) is a struggling writer who is told that his book will end up changing the world after he dies. Uh… corny. Film critics probably have a tough time buying that, especially when they see their own arrogance being portrayed. In other words, they probably get the feeling that the movie is against them.

The audience might get that feeling too from the opening, when a narrator tells us something like “perhaps man has forgotten how to listen.” What? You can’t seemingly insult the audience about how wrong mankind is nowadays and then think they’ll still follow you. Mankind in and of itself is perfect. It is a character’s decisions and desires that can be flawed.

Finally, the film was just corny. It’s too hard to suspend disbelief when you have a bunch of adults from our world doing all these fantastical childish things. But who’s fault is this, that it becomes too hard to suspend disbelief? Film critics might blame the director, while the director might blame the audience. Well, technically it’s both our faults, ours as the audience and the director’s, but the need to even blame an entity is silly, because we don’t have to presume that not being able to suspend disbelief is somehow wrong. It just didn’t work, and no one should try to make an audience afraid to admit that. Do you get what I’m saying or am I being too wordy? It’s an issue that comes up time and time again in art, and my point is that a person should not be afraid to dislike something for fear he might be seen as stupid. And trying to blame someone for a difference in artistic taste can seem like a justification for something that is neither right or wrong anyway. Does that make any sense?

I think the story’s message would have been much better portrayed in a film targeted towards and starring children in some sort of fantasy world. It would then be much easier to suspend disbelief and much harder for film critics and/or audiences in general to get the sense that the film is against them.