Wednesday, December 21, 2005

R2-D2 again? Bleek, splort, whizzle

I'm not the only one to make a connection between Ligeti's Artikulation and R2-D2.

Check out this site. Drew Daniel, its author, offers up a top-ten fave of cool musique concrete. His opening paragraphs give a good layman's idea of the form and some cool examples of it in pop music.

From: http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/watw/03-05/soft-pink-truth.shtml

5. György Ligeti "Artikulation"[Wergo]
Clocking in at a pop-single-svelte three minutes and forty-five seconds, this piece makes the most out of the dramatic jumpcuts and juxtapositions which tape editing makes possible-- the sudden upswoops, dropouts and hard-panned bursts of sound call to mind Lee Perry, Wassily Kandinsky and R2D2 with equal aplomb. Ligeti's compositional nous means that even when he's chopping up purely electronic source material (sine waves and snerts and blips and blops), he comes up with something strong and at times almost melodic, like an extended run of backwards reverbed birdsong. The bright and twinkly quasi-riff at the two minute, twenty-three second mark just lights me up every time I hear it. A small jewel.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The true origin of R2-D2's voice?





















I recently checked out 10 records from the music library at NIU, conveniently located a stone's throw from home. The selection is a strange mix of mountain music (Ozark and Virginia Blue Ridge), Bob Dylan (Self-portrait), Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chinese music and a Mercury records compilation: "Electronic Music. Musique Concrete: A Panorama of Experimental Music, Volume One."

The second track on side three, Artikulation (3:49), by Gyorgy Ligeti, has many sounds that remind me of the pops, whirs and crackles of R2-D2 of Star Wars fame. Here's what the liner notes say about that piece:

"The composer's aim in Artikulation (1958) was to explore the ground which separates music and speech: to create a sort of language without meaning by purely musical means. For this reason, "articulation" -- prominent rhythmic divisions -- plays an essential part in the piece. The musical structures are composed of simple elements -- sinusoidal sounds, and filtered sounds and impulses, but the composition is extremely complex, especially in the microstructures where the succession of briefly polarized elements gradually lose importance, and the rhythmic factors tend to take on the nature of sound color.

Ligeti biography at Answer.com: http://www.answers.com/topic/gy-rgy-ligeti

Of note: Ligeti's music appears in two Stanley Kubrick films, 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut. "Atmosphères... was used, along with excerpts from Lux Aeterna and Requiem, in the soundtrack to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey; in fact, the music was used without Ligeti's permission." None of those Ligeti pieces are electronic music/ musique concrete. Ligeti only composed three electronic music works.

From: http://www.hycyber.com/SF/Cinema_sa.html

2001: A Space Odyssey *** Hugo Director: Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke
Producer: Stanley Kubrick
Music: Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss, Gyorgy Ligeti, Aram Khachaturyan
Visual Effects: Wally Veevers, Douglas Trumbull, Con Pederson, Tom Howard
Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, Douglas Rain
Released by: MGM/Polaris/United Artists
Date: 1968, 160 minutes. Color.
Based on: The Sentinel, by Arthur C. Clarke (1951).

From: http://www.starwars.com/episode-i/bts/profile/f19990414/

"Ben Burtt created R2-D2's distinctive voice, and has long considered R2-D2 to be "the toughest challenge" of all his sound design work on the classic Star Wars Trilogy. "The trick was in finding a voice that sounded truly electronic, yet which had character and personality. The breakthrough came when I realized that Artoo should communicate with recognizable but inarticulate emotional sounds, kind of like a baby. When I added modified human-generated squeaks and sounds into the electronic mix, Artoo's voice came to life. I always thought that all the extensive design worked well and created a distinct vocal identity, but you know I still get people asking me if I just used telephone touch tones.""

Two questions: Did Burtt sample tones from Artikulation to create the voice of R2-D2? If not, was Burtt influenced by Ligeti's music when creating R2-D2's voice sounds?

My Internet search came up with nothing. Ligeti's work in 2001 had to have been noticed by Burtt. To my ear, some of the sounds in Artikulation are (or were) unique to R2-D2. This composition came out almost 20 years before the release of Star Wars.

For more about musique concrete: http://www.answers.com/musique%20concrete

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Zappa and Sir Walter Raleigh?!

My mom didn't like the Robert Service poem I recently posted. She said it was too dreary. I agree, what with all that spitting out teeth and scurvy and robbing graves. So here's a travel poem I hope will be more to her liking. It's got, to use a Frank Zappa inspired spelling, "re-lij-urmus" overtones to it, so should please my holy rollin' kith and kin.

By the way, the "re-lijurmus (and prestigimus) referencerino is from "Brown Moses" on Zappa's Thingfish album. Not for the faint of heart or sensitive souls.

But ol' dead and gone Sir Walter Raleigh's no blasphemin' foo.

So wid' out furdah ado.

Sir Walter Raleigh. 1552–1618

"His Pilgrimage"

GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,

My staff of faith to walk upon,

My scrip of joy, immortal diet,

My bottle of salvation,

My gown of glory, hope's true gage; 5

And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

Blood must be my body's balmer;

No other balm will there be given:

Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,

Travelleth towards the land of heaven; 10

Over the silver mountains,

Where spring the nectar fountains;

There will I kiss

The bowl of bliss;

And drink mine everlasting fill 15

Upon every milken hill.

My soul will be a-dry before;

But, after, it will thirst no more.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Good grades!! Whoo hoo ha ha ha (and a further explanation of academic goals)

I got my grades yesterday and my best case scenario came true. Read 'em and whoop!

ENGL 407 Shakespeare - A
ENGL 504 Teaching Literature to Middle and Secondary students - A
ENGL 522 Teaching English as a Second Language - B
ENGL 562 19th Century British Prose - A

These grades mean I'm practically a shoo-in for admission into graduate school. This whole year I've attended as a "student-at-large," which allows me to take graduate level courses even though I'm not formally admitted into any program.

I wrote an e-mail to my parents explaining my short and long-term academic goals and what was needed to achieve them. I include it here so if anybody asks me what I'm doing in school I can refer them to this blog.

My immediate goals are to get a full-time job for 2006, get a good enough score on the GRE (graduate requisite exam) to gain admission into graduate school, pass the Basic Skills Test (another exam) to gain admission into the teacher certification program, submit a portfolio of writing samples to the English department (another requirement to gain admission to the teacher certification program).

Academically, I have two completely separate objectives. One is to gain admission into GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is important only because admission into grad school allows me to qualify for an assistantship, which means a tuition waiver, monthly stipend, and the chance to actually teach college courses. THIS IS SEPARATE FROM TEACHER CERTIFICATION. IT IS A DIFFERENT DEPARTMENT ON CAMPUS.

The second objective is TEACHER CERTIFICATION. This is a program track that gives me the training and credentials to teach as a middle or high school English teacher. Pending admission to this program, I am on track to earn my master's degree AND teacher certification in December 2007.

Pending a passing score on the GRE, I should be admitted into grad school by the end of January 2006. Pending a passing score on the Basic Skills Test (which everyone tells me is easy), portfolio submission and my three courses this spring, I will be admitted to the teacher certification program in May 2006.

Welcome to my academic life. There are a lot of hoops to jump through. The biggest was overcoming my stupidity as an undergraduate. I really messed up my last three semesters as an undergrad, flunked a bunch of courses, and dropped my grade point average below a 3.0. Admission into graduate school is dependent on having an undergrad GPA of 3.0 or higher OR a GPA of 3.25 or higher in at least 12 hours of graduate course work. I currently have a 3.5 GPA in 18 hours of grad work.

Summary:

I need to get into graduate school AND teacher certification. Both will be achieved by May. I am on schedule to graduate in December 2007 with a master's degree in English education.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Lone Trail

Ahh, Good ol' Robert Service, master of the obvious couplet and all-around bad populist poet. I found this poem on the PCT-L. At first I read this wrong and I thought, "Gee, the Long Trail (in Vermont) isn't that bad..."

The Lone Trail

Robert Service

Ye who know the Lone Trail fain would follow it,
Though it lead to glory or the darkness of the pit.
Ye who take the Lone Trail, bid your love good-by;
The Lone Trail, the Lone Trail follow till you die.

The trails of the world be countless, and most of the trails be tried;
You tread on the heels of the many, till you come where the ways divide;
And one lies safe in the sunlight, and the other is dreary and wan,
Yet you look aslant at the Lone Trail, and the Lone Trail lures you on.
And somehow you're sick of the highway, with its noise and its easy needs,
And you seek the risk of the by-way, and you reck not where it leads.
And sometimes it leads to the desert, and the togue swells out of the mouth,
And you stagger blind to the mirage, to die in the mocking drouth.
And sometimes it leads to the mountain, to the light of the lone camp-fire,
And you gnaw your belt in the anguish of hunger-goded desire.
And sometimes it leads to the Southland, to the swamp where the orchid glows,
And you rave to your grave with the fever, and they rob the corpse for its clothes.
And sometimes it leads to the Northland, and the scurvy softens your bones,
And your flesh dints in like putty, and you spit out your teeth like stones.
And sometimes it leads to a coral reef in the wash of a weedy sea,
And you sit and stare at the empty glare where the gulls wait greedily.
And sometimes it leads to an Arctic trail, and the snows where your torn feet freeze,
And you whittle away the useless clay, and crawl on your hands and knees.
Often it leads to the dead-pit; always it leads to pain;
By the bones of your brothers ye know it, but oh, to follow you're fain.
By your bones they will follow behind you, till the ways of the world are made plain.

Bid good-by to sweetheart, bid good-by to friend;
The Lone Trail, the Lone Trail follow to the end.
Tarry not, and fear not, chosen of the true;
Lover of the Lone Trail, the Lone Trail waits for you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

cool Latin quotes, etc.

"Solvitur Ambulando" (walking solves all things) -- St. Augustine.

I read this today on a Pacific Crest Trail Internet mailing list.


"Supere aude! Dare to use your own understanding! is thus the motto of the Enlightenment."

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)

I've written "Supere Aude" many times in Sharpie marker on bathroom stalls and in hiker registries (though not with a Sharpie, too heavy!) on the Appalachian Trail. When I first read it I thought it had something to do with hearing (aude). It is my life motto.

My friend Todd's favorite Latin quote, one that he smudged on the garage door window of my Sycamore (IL) home back in undergrad daze: "Sic Semper Tyrannus" (Long live the tyrant). I wonder if that's his life motto, or our esteemed President Bush's.

Friday, December 09, 2005

something fishy?


I heard on an NPR piece earlier this week that over 70 percent of the protein consumed by Cambodians comes from fish.

Here is a link to that story:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5039980

I heard this after finishing T.C. Boyle's book, A Friend of the Earth, (follow the link for a review of the book and discussion guide) a futuristic novel in which America has so depleted its environmental resources that the meat of choice most readily available in restaurants is catfish. There's even a funny scene during a never-ceasing monsoon rain where a walking catfish crawls up the leg of Ty Tierwater, the main character in the novel.

Also, a few months ago I heard about this Modadugu Gupta, who won a prize for establishing fish farms in roadside ditches and flood ponds in developing countries like Bangladesh. The people dump their organic waste into the ditches. The fish eat. The people eat the fish. Simple, efficient and effective.

Here's a quote from a USA Today article:

"Modadugu Gupta has spent 30 years creating a cheap and ecologically sustainable system of small-scale fish-farming using abandoned ditches and seasonally flooded fields and water holes smaller than the average swimming pool."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Locascio connection?

I did a little Internet research, a Google search of "Piana Degli Albanese Locascio." The village name is where my great-grandparents immigrated to the United States in the first decade of the 20th century. I read a great deal about the various Albanian migrations in the 15th and 16th centuries, popularly called the Albanian diaspora. I also learned that many of the Albanians who migrated hailed from the Pindus Mountains in Albania. The ones who migrated to Italy are collectively called the Arbëreshë. Here is a link to a great Answers.com article about them, including a picture of their flag.

Here is a description of the village at: http://www.masseria-rossella.com/en/html/map.htm

Piana degli Albanesi is a town founded by Albanians in the 15th century where Albanian culture lives together with the Italian one. It is very famous because of the production of the "cannolo", a Sicilian sweet made of ricotta (a sheep cheese). In Piana degli Albanesi (12 km from Rossella) definitely you'll find the best "cannolo" of the world!

I found my last name at www.albanian.com. Here is the text from that site where Locascio appears.

Village of: Mezzojuso "Munxifsi" (in T'Arbëresh) (Arabic: "Mensel Jusuph" = English: "Houses or 'hamlet' of Joseph")

Location: Physical Features: History: A small Saracen settlement from about A.D. 10th Century. Passed into Norman hands in 1091 and then granted, by the Norman king Roger II, to Monastery of Saint John the Hermit, of Palermo in 1132. The village was nearly depopulated in the early 15th century. The Monastery of Saint John granted settlement to 48 families of Albanian soldiers under command of the Reres family in 1490.

Original Founders/Early Family Surnames: Surnames listed in Byzantine Rite Tax Record of 1618: ALESSI(DI)-BARBACCIA, BARBATO, BARCIA, BARCHIA-CANDILA, BARCIA-COLANTONI, BARCHIA-SOLDARO, BASTA, BELLOXI, BIDERA, BISCULCA, BORAXIESO, BOREXI, BUA, BUCULA, BUCULA-IMPAGLINA, CALANGA, CALANGA-CARROCCHIO, CALANGA-RUSSO, CALÌ, CANDIA(DI), CARNESI, CARNESI-FUMOSO, CARNESI-MOXIRA, CATANIA(DI), CAVADI, CEFALIA, CHETTA, CHISESI, CHIULLA, COLANTONI, COMO, COSTANTINO, CRITOPOLI, CUCHIA, CUCHIA-CURCIO, CUCIA, CUCIA-MARE, DIMARCO, DIMICELI-MOSACIA, DONATO, DRAGOTTA, ELIA(DI), ELMI, FERRARO, FIGLIA, FRANCO, GLAVIANO, GOLEMI, GULEMI, LALA, LANZA, LOATA, LOOTA, LOPES, MACALUSO, MAMMOLA, MANALI, MANOLI, MASARACIA, MASI, MASI-ALEXI, MAZA, MIANO, MOSACHIA, NAUDICO, PARRINO, PINOLA, PLEXA, PLAXIA, PLAXA-TUSILLO, PRIVATA, -RE, RERES, RERISI, RESI-MARCHETTA, REZA, REZZA, RIBECCA, SALAMONE, SANTACRUCI, SCHILLIZZI, SCHIRÒ, SOFRINA, SOFFRINA, SUFFRINA, SPATA, (LA)SPATA, STIPANI, SULLI, SULLA, TAVOLACI, VIRGA, ZASSE, ZUCCARO.

Surnames listed in Latin Rite Tax Record of 1667: ARNONE, ARICÒ, BAIAMONTE, BARONE, BATTAGLIA, BAUSANO, BELLONE, BONADONNA, BORGIA, BORRITTA, BRANCATAO, CINNIRELLA, BRANCATO-IANNELLO, CALÌ, CANINO, CANNIZZARO, CARBONE, CARUSO, CASCINO, COSSENTINO, COSTA-CUCORO, COSTANTINO, COSTANZA, COTTITTO, CUTTITTO, COZZO, CRISCIONE, CUCCIA, D'AFFRONTE, D'ALLESSI, D'AMATO, D'ANSELMO, D'AMICO, D'ARRIGO, DELL'ARTE, DIABERNARDO, DICHIARA, DIFATTA, DIGERACI, DICERATI, DIGRIGOLI, DILORENZO, D'INDIA, DIMADDI, DIMARCHISI, DIMATTEO, DIPAULA, DIPIAZZA, DIPISA, DITERMINE, DONATO, DRAGO, DRAGOTTA, D'URSO, ELMI, FUCARINO, GAETA, GARGIOLA, GATTUSO, GEBBIA, GERBASI, GOLEMI, GRATIANO, GUAGENTI, GUARISCO, INGRASSIA, LABARBERA, LAGATTUTA, LALIOTTA, LAMANNA, LAMANNINA, LANZA, LAROCCA, LAUDICA, LOCASCIO, LOFASO, LOMELI, LOMANTO, LOMONTE, LORE, LORESTIVO, MANICA, MANISCALCO, MARTINELLI, MAURICI, MIANO, MINARDI, MORALES, MUSCARELLO, MUSCARELLO-VIPERA, NICOLETTA, NICOLOSI, NOCILLA, OROBELLO, PARISI, PASSANTINO, CECORARO, PELLINO, PERNICIARO, PINNACCHIO, PIRRI, POLITO, PRAVATÀ, RASPANTI, RIZZO, RUSSO, SAFFINO, SOFFINO, SAMBORCATO, SAMPERI, SANFILIPPO, SANICOLA, SCHIFANO, SCIBONA, SGROPPO, SGUARDO, SPALLITTA, SPITALERI, SPITALERI-SFERRAZZO, TAVOLACCI, TERRANO, TORRISI, VACCARO, VALENTI, VISCARDO

Most Frequent Surnames Today: BURRIESCI, CUCCIA, LABARBERA, LAGATTUTA, LALA, LOMONTE, PERNICIARO, TAVOLACCI, VALENTI, BARCIA, BRANCATO, COMO, DIMICELI, FIGLIA, LOPES, MORALES,

More interesting links and tidbits to come as I do more Net research. I'm not surprised, considering my affinity, nay, addiction to mountains, that my ancestors come from mountainous terrain.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sunday morning musings

Sunny Sunday cold and white.

Know what I hate about long hair? Getting salsa in it when its down. Know what else? Putting conditioner in it and coming out with a clump of hair that could choke a horse. Guess I should be thankful at 33 to have such thick hair and lovable locks. I'd have cut it long ago, but for all the compliments. Come April I'll shave my beard and cut my hair. When I finally cut it, I'll donate it to Locks of Love. This is the longest my hair's ever been. My last haircut was early August 2003.

Usually, I grow my hair long and keep a beard through the winter, but in the next couple weeks I'm looking for full-time work and must put my best foot forward and all that. And while I look professional with the long hair, it would improve my prospects to mold myself into the cookie cutter corporate flunky image. I'm very good at that. It's been a while since my hair parted on the side. Hmmm... Also, I tend to mark important passages/changes in my life by shaving/clipping my nails/ getting a haircut. But... but... I love my hair too!

Yes. This past week I turned 33. Mom called. My siblings e-mailed. I got a cake. But I spent the entire day in a computer lab preparing a 20-minute speech and powerpoint presentation for my Teaching English as a Second Language practicum. The report, along with attached lessons, clocked in at over 9 pages, single-spaced, 12 point Tahoma font type. Yeowtch! Better get an A, dagnabbit. The presentation went well. I even found an ethnographic map of the language groups for Wendy's home, the Fujian Province in China. I discovered from that map that she comes from the most linguistically diverse area of the Chinese mainland. You've got Hong Kong to the south and Taiwan across the water.

After class was over I walked home in the cold and crashed hard. My salad days are indeed over. I suffered from a cold and fever all week and was in no mood or shape to partay.

33 is my favorite number. Mom was 33 when she had me. I'll become a father at 33. Wasn't Christ 33 during his Sermon on the Mount, Billboard Top 40 heyday? But that's not the reason it's my favorite number. When I was a little kid my Dad got me a huge poster of Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, number 33. He was my favorite player and the Cowboys my favorite team until age 9 when I read about Vince Lombardi and the Packers supplanted Dorsett and "America's Team." But the favorite number remained. So, here's to the year of my favorite number.

Can't wait for finals to end and I can, for a month at least, go back to reading what I want to read. I've got a few young adult books, like "Speak," "Habibi" and "Monster" to tear through and contemplate for future inclusion in a teaching curriculum. I'd also like to tackle a long classic novel, maybe something by Dostoevsky, either "Brothers Karamazov" or "Anna Karenina," or George Eliot's "Silas Marner" since I liked "Middlemarch" so much. Hmmm.. maybe not Eliot. I've had my share of Victorianism for a while. Not that restraint and repression are necessarily bad. I just need a big, bad ass long book to get lost in a for a few days. Right now I'm on my way to finishing T.C. Boyle's "A Friend of the Earth," a futuristic eco-dystopia novel. Hey, I saw a mention of the Appalachian Trail, and much of the action takes place in California's High Sierras. If I can't see the mountains, at least I can read about them.

I haven't been running lately as school/work/illness pervade, but want to get back into that routine. New Year's resolution: Never let more than a day go between runs.

Well, hey now. Packers-Bears coming up. Pack's season is over. This one's for bragging rights, baby.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Tangled Up in Blue

Talked to Arbo on the phone last night, and he begged off getting together because he said he was "tangled up." That reminded me of that Bob Dylan song. So here's the lyrics to it:

"Tangled up in Blue"
Early one mornin'
the sun was shinin',
I was layin' in bed
Wond'rin' if she'd changed at all
If her hair was still red.
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama's homemade dress
Papa's bankbook wasn't big enough.
And I was standin' on the side of the road
Rain fallin' on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I've paid some dues gettin' through,
Tangled up in blue.

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam, I guess,
But I used a little too much force.
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out West
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best.
She turned around to look at me
As I was walkin' away
I heard her say over my shoulder,
"We'll meet again someday on the avenue,"
Tangled up in blue.

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell.
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Workin' for a while on a fishin' boat
Right outside of Delacroix.
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind,
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew
Tangled up in blue.

She was workin' in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer,
I just kept lookin' at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear.
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I's just about to do the same,
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, "Don't I know your name?"
I muttered somethin' underneath my breath,
She studied the lines on my face.
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe,
Tangled up in blue.

She lit a burner on the stove
and offered me a pipe
"I thought you'd never say hello,"
she said"You look like the silent type."
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century.
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin' coal
Pourin' off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you,
Tangled up in blue.

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs,
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air.
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died.
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside.
And when finally the bottom fell outI became withdrawn,
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew,
Tangled up in blue.

So now I'm goin' back again,
I got to get to her somehow.
All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter's wives.
Don't know how it all got started,
I don't know what they're doin' with their lives.
But me, I'm still on the road
Headin' for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue.