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Archive for January, 2011

Phonemenal

Milton Babbitt, American composer and one of the pioneers of electroacoustic music, left this earth yesterday for the silver-lined clouds of afterlife*.

I found out about his passing this morning while simultaneously Youtubing videos of The Social Network trailer… bless the Information Superhighway.

The news of Milton stayed with me throughout my morning, and on my run I had a chance to gather some bloggable thoughts:

He died on a Saturday, which is appropriate because Saturn, according to mythology, is the bringer of old age. Milton was 94.

Stephen Sondheim was one of Milton’s most noteable students. Sweeney Todd‘s dissonance and atonality is a tribute to Babbitt, a man Sondheim greatly admired.

Milton’s music is totally wacky and something few people would want to have on their ipods, but the theory and experimentation behind his compositions is totally amazing, I think. He was one of the musicians we studied in electroacoustic composition, and as one of these, I was greatly enamoured/inspired.

During my radio days, TCC and I used to play Milton’s stuff on our show Peeling the Compass (yes, a pun involving John Peel’s name – and TCC & I played a bit of everything, accordingly).

I often think in some cases that analog>digital, especially when pertaining to the arts. This is one of those times. It doesn’t get any more raw than this, really.

*debateable

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O Nata Lux

A ray of light is born!
Lux Aeterna has given birth to her own dot com.

Specularity has been increased and the cast shadows have been disabled: Global Illumination.

I recall quite liking lighting and rendering back at Sheridan. Below is a screen capture from way back then of a fridge with a coloured ball in it to test some shadows. My teacher at the time was super keen to help me find the best scenario for this.
Fast forward 6 years later and I’m being payed to do this stuff… incroyable?

Computer graphics people are all about balls when it comes to lighting and rendering. The person who assembled the above Youtube vid obviously also has a passion for lit orbs …and sacred motets to boot. The combo is delicious.

Enjoy my dot com.

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310

South Central, I miss you.

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C’est l’hiver

Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver
Mon jardin ce n’est pas un jardin, c’est la plaine
Mon chemin ce n’est pas un chemin, c’est la neige
Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver

Gilles Vigneault was always on my radar growing up. As a kid, I thought this song was MAGICAL. It reminds me of so many winter activities: nordic skiiing in our backyard and onto the river, Winterlude, ice fishing, cardinal spotting along the Jack Pine Trail, walking down Grandview in minus 40 degree weather because it was after 6pm and the 166 OC Transpo doesn’t “do” Grandview after 6pm.

GV’s a sovereigntist which I reckon I was unaware of as a youth. Oh well. Everyone has their pluses and minuses.

Ma chanson, ce n’est pas une chanson, c’est ma vie. Amen!

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Two More Months

Dear Scamp,

Two more months and the streets will be ours.

Love,
The Crotch

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the ‘Sak

( i h o p e y o u c a n r e a d t h i s - t r i e d s e n d i n g i t t o d a d a n d c h r i s t i n a b u t i t w a s n : t w o r k i n g . c a n y o u p l e a s e? a r i g a t o ! ) i f i k n e w w h e r e t h e c a p s l o c k i s i w o u l d b e u s i n g i t .i l o v e t h i s p l a c e! i l e f t o a k v i l l e a t 5 a m i n a t a x i t o t h e a i r p o r t w i t h a f r i e n d . w e w e r e o n a p l a n e t o v a n c o u v e r a t 9 a n d f r o m t h e r e ,o n a p l a n e t o o s a k a . t o t a l t r a v e l t i m e : 1 5 .5 h o u r s! i t h i n k i g o t m y f i r s t m i g r a i n e o n t h e o s a k a p l a n e . . . m y e y e s w e r e w a t e r i n g i t w a s s o b a d . w e l a n d e d
i n o s a k a a t 3 p m y e s t e r d a y ,s u n d a y ,w h i c h w o u l d h a v e b e e n 2 a m s u n d a y m o r n i n g f o r y o u . t h e t i m e d i f f e r e n c e i s s o m e t h i n g l i k e 1 4 h o u r s . l e t m e t e l l y o u a b o ut j a p a n . i t i s a m a z i n g . c a r t o g o o g l e : t h e t o y o t a n o a h . a l l c a r s l o o k l i k e i t . s m a l l , c o m p a c t , t i n y . e v e n t h e  t r u c k s . t o y s . a n d  t h e y a r e a l l o n t h e  o p p o s i t e s i d e  o f t h e  r o a d ! o f c o u r s e i h a v e k n o w n t h a t f o r a l o n g t i m e , b u t i t i s r e a l l y s o m e t h i n g a m a z i n g t o s e e . a n y w a y t h e s t r e e t s a r e a l l n a r r o w  a n d w i n d i n g a n d l o t s o f s m a l l e r s t r e e t s j u t o u t f r o m t h e m a i n o n e s a n d t h e y w i n d a r o u n d h o u s e s a n d s h o p s . t h e h o t e l w e s t a y e d i n l a s t n i g h t w a s t h e r o y a l p i n e s h o t e l , w h e r e s a r a h ( b i l l e t f r i e n d f r o m s h e r i d a n ) a n d i d i s c o v e r e d t h e j a p a n e s e  t o i l e t . h e a t e d s e a t s ! a n d i t m a k e s n o i s e w i ¥ h e n y o u s i t  o n i t t o l e s s e n t h e n o i s e s y o u w o u l d b e m a k i n g i f y o u w e r e p e e i n g e t c . i a l s o  s a w t h e t o i l e t s w h e r e y o u s q u a t , t h e y l o o k l i k e u r i n a l s b u t  t h e y a r e  o n t h e   f l o o r . i  h a v e b e e n e a t i n g n o n - s t o p . s o m u c h  f i s h  a n d m a n y u n i d e n t i f i a b l e t h i n g s . i  l o v e i t a l l . w e v i s i t e d t h e s c h o o l t o d a y - o s a k a e l e c t r o -c o m m u n i c a t i o n s u n i v e r s i t y . t h e y  h a d t h i s a m a z i n g w e l c o m e p a r t y f o r u s w i t h t h e  m a y or o f t h e t o w n  a n d c h a n c e l l o r o f t h e u n i v e r s i t y  a n d e v e r y t h i n g . h e i s 8 5 y e a r s o l d !  s a r a h a n d i t h e n  m e t o u r h o m e s t a y p a r e n t s - m r a n d m r s y a m a g u c h i . t h e y   a r e   a n  e l d e r l y  c o u p l e w h o d o n : t s p e a k m u c h e n g l i s h b u t h a v e t o l d u s t h a t w e a r e l i k e t h e i r d a u g h t e r s ( n o w m o v e d o u t a n d m a r r i e d . s a r a h a n d i a r e s t a y i n g i n t h e i r o l d b e d r o o m s ) . y a m a g u c h i-s a n i s n o w a b o n a-f i d e g a r d e n e r . a f t e r h i s r e t i r e m e n t  f r o m  p r o f e s s o r s h i p f r o m t h e u n i v e r s i t y h e b e c a m e a b o n s a i m a s t e r . h e  j u s t   t o o k m e  o n  a t o u r  o f  h i s  g a r d e n .i t s p a n s  a l l a r o u n d h i s h o u s e a n d i n t o t h e g a r d e n o f  t h e n e i g h b o u r : s h o u s e . h e i s e x c i t e d a b o u t d a d a n d t h e r o s e s . y e s i a m t a k i n g p i c t u r e s . t h e f l o w e r w e s e e e v e r y w h e r e i s a z a l e a  ( s p e l l i n g ? ) t h e y a r e e v e r y w h e r e l i n i n g s t r e e t s , a l l p e r f e c t l y m a n i c u r e d . w e l l , a l l  t r e e s a r e p e r f e c t l y m a n i c u r e d . a n d e v e r y t h i n g i s c o l o u r f u l . t h e u n i v e r s i t y i s o n  t o p o f a h u g e m o u n t a i n w h i c h  s a r a h  a n d i w a n t t o c l i m b  t o m o r r o w . t h e v i e w f r o m  t h e h i l l t o p i s s p e c t a c u l a r .  i s a t i n o n m y f i r s t c l a s s t o d a y , a b u n c h o f u s w e n t t o a n e n g l i s h c l a s s  a t t h e u n i v e r s i t y a n d l e a r n e d  a b o u t h o w g e o g r a p h y a f f e c t s l a n g u a g e .  w e  a l l h a d  t o  d r a w i s l a n d s i n o u r n o t e b o o k s . t o m o r r o w c l a s s s t a r t s  a t 9 3 0 a n d  g o e s a l l d a y u n t i l 6 . i a m s i t t i n g i n m r s y a m a g u c h i : s k i t c h e n , s h e i s c o o k i n g u d o n . i t  i s m y f a v e n o o d l e . i h e a r m r . y a m a g u c h i i n t h e g a r d e n w a t e r i n g  h i s p l a n t s . t h e y a m a g u c h i : s a r e b u d d h i s t a n d  h a v e a t a t a m i r o o m w i t h a  t e m p l e i n i t w i t h  l i t t l e s h r i n e t h i n g s a n d t h e y  p r a y e v e r y d a y . t h e o t h e r r e l i g i o n h e r e  i s s h i n t o b u t i  t h i n k m o s t a r e b u d d h i s t . a l l t r e e s h a v e f u l l l e a v e s g r o w i n g k i n d o f  l i k e m i d-j u n e i n c a n a d a . t h e   w e a t h e r i s p e r f e c t : b a l m y  a n d  t h e a i r s m e l l s s w e e t l i k e f l o w e r s . e v e r y o n e o w n s  a b i c y c l e a n d t h e y l e a v e  t h e m  u n l o c k e d o u t s i d e  t h e i r w o r k p l a c e s h o w e v e r i t  i s v e r y n o r m a l t o l o c k u m b r e l l a s i n u m b r e l l a s t a t i o n s o u t s i d e b u i l d i n g s . a p p a r e n t l y a p o l i c e o f f i c e r d r o p p e d  a g u n i n  o s a k a l a s t m o n t h a n d i t t u r n e d u p i n a p o s t  b o x , a s i f s o m e o n e f o u n d i t  a n d w a n t e d t o r e t u r n i t t o i t s o w n e r . t h a t  i s a p e r f e c t  e x a m p l e  o f  t h e k i n d n e s s  o f p e o p l e h e r e . i t : s  s o c l e a n  t o o . o r g a n i z e d  a n d c o m p a c t . i w i l l   w r i t e  m o r e l a t e r , s a r a h  j u s t  w o k e u p a n d i s g o i n g  t o e m a i l h e r
f a m i l y f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e  t o o ! l o v e  y o u l o t s . c h r i s t i n a  - w e a r e g o i n g t o h a v e a n a m a z i n g t i m e ! x o k a t h r y n

photo of a photo

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Summer

I had kept an apartment on William Street in Kingston, where I had been living for just over five years; at first as a student and then, following my graduation, while working several uncertain and part-time jobs. Days were lazy and vague in the cloudy year that followed my convocation. Things had begun cheerfully enough in the summer with a contract at the university. I had been given a small office where there was a little square window out of which I could see children playing on a nearby hill. I used to smile to myself when I would see these children chasing after a soccer ball tipped over the edge of the hill, and gather such momentum that they would end by rolling down in the tall grass. I thought that I would be okay, there, with my bookshelves, the radio, and views out the window.

The friend I remember most from my time on William Street is Ida. Ida and I had not known one another well while we were students, even though we were in the same course. When we lived in residence, friends of Ida’s would sometimes ask me if I wanted to walk with them through the snow to get something to eat. It was in that way that we originally came to know one another. At dinner, Ida used to look at her food with great intensity, and one night Leila, a friend of hers, said ‘Ida: oh-my-god if you keep on playing with your food I’m going to think you’re, like, totally gross.’

The summer I graduated, I met Ida on the street and she said to me, ‘Sean! Eva told me where you’re living now and – guess what – we’re neighbours! We totally have to be best friends!’ Her eyes widened in a way that suggested she was half being ironic. Matching her tone, I said:

‘Oh my God! I know!’

‘Great!’ She said, ‘I love it! I’m going to call you!’

One evening that summer we made dinner together and ate it on the roof of her apartment. I climbed through the window above her kitchen counter and she passed food and cutlery to me. For a table cloth, we unfolded a blue and white striped bed sheet upon the black shingles of the roof and pinned it down at the corners with condiments and a salt shaker. We sat barefoot on the cotton eating roasted chicken and sipping cheap wine. At one point, I crawled down to the edge of the roof and looked at what was below: you could see the alleyway that snuck around the back of the old four-storey limestone building she lived in, and into the ground floor window of a building behind hers. There was nothing that you could see through the window, however: covering it were a pair of cheap, plastic blinds that had begun to crack and bend from having been pulled up and down too many times.

‘What can you see?’ Ida said, licking her fingers as she delicately handled a leg of the chicken.

‘Well, nothing, really. Nothing that you wouldn’t expect to see.’

‘It’s so beautiful here. Sean, let’s do this everyday,’ Ida said, and then she let out a short laugh.

* * *

Summer

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