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Normally, my taste in the mass of music collectively referred to as "classical" is decidedly toward the earlier end of the spectrum. I generally like my music like I like my women: precise, cold, mathmatical, and complex. :) I make special exceptions for some artists and some individual pieces. For example, Mozart gets a special dispensation as does Beethoven. Schubert's "March Militaire" and "Unfinished Symphony" likewise survive in my music collection. Another of these pieces is Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" AKA The New World Symphony. If you think you haven't heard it, you're probably mistaken. It's been in more film and television soundtracks than Carl Orff and Danny Elfman combined. It's also in the background music for the later stages of Civ 4.

Writen during Dvorak's trip to The U.S. in the 1890s, it was composed to evoke the music of both black folk music of the time and native american music, two sounds the composer thought to be strikingly similar. It has a bold and exciting sound to with themes that are striking, evocative, and terrifically catchy. My favorite portion has to be the first movement (Adagia - Allegro molto).which has been in everything from classic westerns to sci-fi to Ren and Stimpy to video games. If you haven't listened to it, I recommend that you spend the ten minutes. You'll likely enjoy it. The only risk is that you might end up with it stuck in your head at 2 in the morning like I've got it now.
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This evening I went to see "Renaissance," a French science fiction film. It was an animated feature that used motion capture to give a very interesting look and feel. It's been referred to as "The French 'The Matrix.'"

My thoughts:
The good: This film was visually striking. It looks like the Parisian bastard child of "Blade Runner," and "Minority Report" which was then ground up and shoved through a "Sin City" filter and then done in black and white. I mean Black and White. Not grey, not shades of anything. BLACK and WHITE. It had a stark, clean look almost like a moving india ink drawing by a somewhat grittier Nagel. While some of the motion was a bit odd, overall it was beautiful to look at. Gritty and yet sparkling with clarity. Admittedly, it got a bit hard to look at that much BLACK and WHITE after the first hour, but still it gets full marks for artistry.

The bad: On the other hand, the plot was a bit weak. I'd say that it had about 20% of the story content one might find in plot heavy favorites such as "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," another gorgeous film that left me wishing wholeheartedly that it had been about something. The script, I felt, had every bit of the artistry, style, and quality one might find in the 1970s classic "The 36 Deadly Chambers of Shaolin Kung Fu (English dubbed version.)"

To sum up, I felt that this film would have made a great long music video if there had been music, or perhaps a wonderful film short. Unfortunately, once I got used to the visual style I started to become painfully aware of its weaknesses. I spent the last hour resisting the urge to check the time and when the end came, I could not wait to leave the theater.

2 stars for T3h Pr3tty.
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Today my new car arrives. The problem is that it all went to quickly that I've not managed to sell my old one yet. I'm hoping to have it sold inside of a week, but given Arlington's on-street parking rules, I've got nowhere to put it in the mean time. Does anyone have a spare parking spot I could use for about a week while I try to sell it? I will be more than happy to pay someone a reasonable fee for the use of their space if they'll let me use it.

Anyone?
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Since it seems to be the topic of the moment, I might as well put in my two cents. Before I launch into my little diatribe, I'd like to state that I am uncategorically against any amendment prohibiting the burning of our flag, the flag of any other country, or any other piece of cloth. That being said, I consider myself a patriot (rather than a nationalist which seems to be the recent trend) and have no wish to burn a United States flag, but would do so if I felt it were necessary. "Under what conditions might it be necessary for a patriot to burn a flag?" you ask. I'll tell you. It would be necessary if I felt that by doing so I would risk imprisonment. Yes, burning a flag is offensive. It is offensive to the citizenry and offensive to the government. That is the point. It is my essential right under the constitution to say (and by extension, do) things that are offensive without risk of legal reprisals. It would be necessary to burn a flag to show those around me that their essential rights under the constitution have been legislated out of existence.

It's very easy to say that you support the concept of freedom of speech as long as no one is saying anything offensive. The hard part is sticking to your ideals when someone has something to say or do that is entirely offensive to you. That's when your strength of character is tested and the durability of your ethical fiber shows through. If you believe in freedom of speech but don't think that people should be able to say what they want or do what they want with whatever symbolic thing that they want, then you don't really believe in free speech. The instant a person is not allowed to say what they wish, their speech is no longer free, just mostly unregulated. The first amendment to the constitution does not call for "mostly unregulated speech."

When a law is passed that limits the people's civil rights, it is not obvious until someone crosses the line made by the new law. If we passed a bill outlawing the use of the word "hafftenshlofenlingentotendonberriculous" (which I just made up, by the way) no one would really notice that it had been outlawed because people don't have occasion to say that word. If such a law were passed, I believe that it would be my duty as a member of this society and as a citizen of this nation to say that word as often and as loudly as I could until I was arrested for it. Burning flags is the same sort of thing. It needs to be done if only to make certain that our right to do so is intact. We are not a society that was founded on bowing its head to oppressive laws nor buckling under tyanny. I believe that we have a duty to ensure that our rights are maintained. If a law outlawing the burning of flags passed, I would make the sacrifice that needed to be made to ensure the ideals for which this country stands were maintained. I would be out there burning a flag. Anything less would be unamerican.
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The fund is now up to a little over $50. It's not much but it's a start.

On another note, it has been suggested that the initial amount to give away for this project should be smaller to build credibility. I've had suggestions ranging from $500 down to $50. Does anyone have any opinions on this? How much is enouhg to make a sufficient impact?
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I've just created an LJ community for uncommon courtesy. At the moment, it seems pretty silly to call it a "community," being that I'm the only one in it.

So far I've had two donations and very limited commentary. Anyone with an opinion, feel free to express it. I can use the feedback.
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It's not pretty, but it's decidedly low-bandwidth. Comments are welcome.
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Questions asked of the writers of the account in my previous post.

http://www.livejournal.com/community/poor_planning/80639.html?#cutid1

Link courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] siderea
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true anger at the treatment of the New Orleans disaster.

http://www.livejournal.com/users/uproar/449837.html

This seems to have been independently corraborated by a couple of different news sources.

Heads should roll.
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I had forgotten that an evening at Man Ray could be fun. The music was good. The people were great. It was a lovely thing.
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Last night I was on OKCupid, taking quizes as I do. I found one called "Dice!" that measures your knowledge of pen-and-paper RPGs. One of the questions asked to what game the World of Glorantha belonged. The correct answer is, of course, Runequest. One of the options, however, was "The Lost City of Eldarad." This was the first product that had my name on it from Avalon Hill when I was put in charge of their RPG line in 1989. I was tickled that something so obscure came up.

Not that Eldarad was a good supplement. It was absolutely wretched. When I walked in for my first day of work, they handed me a set of typeset gallies and told me it had to be out the door in under 30 days. They forbade me from editing it. They forbade me from making any meaningful changes at all. It was printed pretty much as it came from the author. It wasn't set in the popular world that went along with the game due to licensing issues, something which I argued was a mistake. The art was a last minute rush job with a total art budget of $500 (peanuts, but who listens to me?) It was truly horrendous. There's still hate mail about me over the treatment of Runequest during my tenure at AH. You can find it all over usenet among the hard core RQ fans. They refer to them as "the bad ...wsmith... years." I do wish I'd had some degree of creative control. In retrospect, I suppose I should have explained to the fan base why things were happening the way they were, but I was 19, inexperienced, and really didn't know any better.

Ah, sweet nostalgia. Being paid less than a MacDonalds fry cook to work 80 hours a week doing the job of a full department, only to have my hands tied and my work trashed. Yes, those were the days. :)
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http://ezaurus.com/

The Zaurus sl-c3000 is a Linux-based PDA with a 4GB hard drive and all the other features one could want. The Japanese get all the cool toys.
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http://gorillamask.net/extremebugs.shtml

Please note that this animation contains loud sound, graphic and totally non-work-safe dialogue, and some printed words that are unacceptable for radio or television broadcast. If you watch it at work, use headphones and close your office door.
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Once again, I'm off to North Carolina for a week. I so love road trips.
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