Category Archives: Music, Film, Theater

Some awesome dual-piano music

I came across this awesome piano duo via Great White Snark:

Awesome Star Wars rendition:

 

I also loves this rendition of Rondo all Turca

 

You can see a ton more about Anderson and Roe at their website.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

Girl from Mars – Magneta Lane

I first saw this video at the Microsoft Company Meeting 2008, and looked for the song everywhere, but couldn’t find the Magneta Lane version. They recorded it just for Microsoft. Nevertheless, the original Ash version is great too, so get that in the meantime.

Magneta’ Lane’s MySpace page does mention the song, and maybe a release is on the way.

Update: Forgot the music video from Ash. I like it.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

Lots of Good Movies This Year

We might have to make a few exception this year to our decision not to go the theater anymore…hopefully won’t have experiences like the last time


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

I could get cable for this…

My wife and I only recently bought a TV, but we still don’t get cable or even have an antenna. If we ever did, the only things we’d watch are Discovery, History, and Food.

This is the closest I’ve come to signing up:


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

Rudeness is destroying the arts

or Why I Don’t Leave The House Anymore

“Am I disturbing you?”

The last movie I saw in the theater was the 3-D version of Beowulf. The theater was fairly empty–maybe 30-40 people total. Two teenage girls sat two seats to my left. A man was in front of me. The two girls talked loudly through before the movie and when it started, they didn’t stop. They continued to talk and laugh loudly until the man in front gave up first:

Man: Excuse me ladies, the time for talking is over.

Girl: I ain’t talking to you! You turn right around and shut up. I ain’t disturbin’ no one.

Main: if you don’t stop talking, I will go get a manager and have you thrown out.

Girl: You shut up. Turn around, turn around… turn around mister.

Girl: <to me> excuse me, sir, am I disturbing you?

I looked at her and said, “Yes, you are.”

She shut up after that.

That wasn’t all in this showing. A man/woman couple behind me had the following exchange:

Woman: shut off your phone!

Man: I ain’t shutting off my phone! I don’t shut off my phone for anyone–I don’t even shut it off in church!

Woman: shut it off!

Man: No way!

(this repeated a few times in a similar vein.)

This man got up and left half way through the movie when his phone went off. He came in 20 minutes later with a friend, and they stood in the doorway and talked VERY loudly to each other and on the phone. The man in front of me got up and asked them to leave, and they did..after a minute or two.

What goes through the heads of these imbeciles?

“Thanks for coming to our bachelorette party!”

My mother, grandmother, and family friend were in London. They got tickets to see Dirty Dancing (which they thought was good, but not as good as the movie of course). Apparently that show is popular as a destination for girls’ bachelorette parties. The entire performance was punctuated by screams and yells every time the lead male came out.

I’m not against a good time, but this is the theater not a private party. Most of the audience is there to see a show. The theater should advertise certain days as more appropriate for this thing–theater aficionados beware.

“It isn’t real Texas theater unless you get drunk off your rocker.”

When my wife was visiting family in San Antonio they got tickets to see the touring Phantom of the Opera. They had nosebleed seats, which made the experience even more unfortunate.

Apparently, the theater serves beer throughout the performance–not just intermission. The guys in front of them got up half a dozen times to refill their beer glass throughout the show, blocking their view for a significant period of time. Add to this, the glare from the beer glasses, the opening of cell phones during the performance, bathing everyone in bluish glow, talking, and basically acting as if they were at a rodeo.

What is wrong with people that this is accepted behavior? Why aren’t these people kicked out more often? we (I’m including myself)willing to tell them their behavior is unacceptable and get management to act  ? And I mean without a refund–maybe even a fine or a ban.

Edit: My wife was so upset at the experience that she wrote the theater a letter of complaint.

Yeah, I’m a snob. So what–it doesn’t make me wrong.

All of these stories come down to rudeness at a basic level. People just don’t care what effect their actions will have on others. Sooner or later, this will creep up into the higher arts–classical music and opera, if it hasn’t already. Nobody will enjoy anything because of the few who just don’t care and ruin the experience for everybody.

I actually don’t think I’ll ever attend the theater to see a film again. We finally bought our first TVand a sound system. It’s modest, but it’s better than having expensive experiences marred by idiots.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

Updated my favorite podcasts

I’ve updated my list of podcasts with some that I forgot and some new ones I discovered while finding the links to the first ones. I also slightly reorganized the list (Added a business section)


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

Podcasts I listen to

I got a 4 MB blue iPod Nano 2nd Genfor my birthday last June, and while I do have a few music playlists, I almost exclusively listen to podcasts. I can’t believe I went so long without one of these. Putting together the list below led me to some others that I might give a try, but for now here’s my list:

Education

  • In Our Time – A weekly BBC production discussing various events, people, or ideas in history (recent or ancient). Always interesting. About 45 minutes long.
  • Philosophy Bites –  A weekly interview with someone about a specific philosophical topic. About 15 minutes long.
  • Talk of the Nation: Science Friday – Weekly show about all sorts of issues relating to science. It’s in a very easy-to-listen-to format. Broken into segments. About 1hr per week.
  • Science Talk from Scientific American – I don’t think I like it as much as Science Friday, but it’s still very interesting. It’s usually focused on one or two topics per episode, sometimes recording of lectures by prominent scientists. Weekly, about 30 minutes.
  • Grammar Girl – Nice and short, answers to tricky grammar questions. Often plays off current events. Weekly. 5 minutes.
  • Get-It-Done Guy – I’m a fan of Getting Things Done, as I kind of discussed in my entry on Outlook. This is a nice, short podcast with simple ideas for efficiency in your life. Weekly. 5 minutes.
  • Legal Lad – Answers to interesting legal questions. Weekly. 5 minutes.
  • Fundamentals of Piano Practice – really just somebody reading out loud the online book of the same name. I play piano, and I’m learning a ton of fundamental principles from this book that help. The hands-separate method? I’ve played for 8 years and never had it explained to me so clearly. It’s obvious in retrospect, but that’s the kind of good thing you learn in this book. Unfortunately, new readings haven’t been added since October. Varying length and frequency.
  • Learn Jazz Piano – I haven’t listened to any of these yet, but I’ve always wanted to play jazz. Infrequent (but still being updated!). 30m.
  • WordNerds – Interesting discussion of words and language. I always learn something interesting. Every three weeks. 30-60 minutes.

Business

  • MarketPlace – I like to follow the business news, and their format is really good. Entertaining, informative. Daily. 30 minutes.
  • MarketPlace Money – Their weekly show that goes into more depth on topics, discusses more “timeless” issues, answers questions. I really like this one. Weekly. 1hr.
  • Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders – Forums at Stanford with lecture and questions by famous entrepreneurs. These are frequently interesting, especially if you want to start a business someday. Weekly. 1hr.

Fun

  • Car Talk – how can you not have this on the list? They’re hilarious. And I do learn something about cars. Mostly, just fun, though. Weekly. 60 minutes.
  • LAMLradio: LEGO Talk Podcast – Interviews with LEGO builders, and others in the online LEGO community. I like it, but you probably have to be familiar with the community to follow it. Weekly 15 minutes.
  • MunchCast – A weekly show about junk food! I’ve only listened to the first episode, but I’m hooked. It’s more interesting than it sounds. Weekly. 30m.

Technology

  • .Net Rocks – Very well put-together show about .Net development, upcoming technology, interviews with industry pros. Twice weekly. 1hr+
  • This Week in Tech – Casual discussion of the week’s computing news with Leo Laporte. Highly entertaining. Has the cranky John C. Dvorak on often, but the panel rotates. Weekly. 60-90m.
  • Windows Weekly – Covers Windows-specific news (mostly) with Paul Thurrott and Leo Laporte. Also interesting stuff. Weekly. 1hr
  • Security Now – With Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte. They talk about all sorts of security-related topics. Very interesting, very well done. They have a knack for explaining difficult concepts in a way that’s easy to grasp. One of my favorites. I am not a security guru, but this is fascinating stuff. Weekly. 1hr.
  • HanselMinutes – with Scott Hanselman who now works at Microsoft. Discusses various technical topics, usually related to programming. To be honest I don’t like this one as much very often, but I still listen to it occasionally. Don’t know why…a little dry?
  • NPR Technology News – stories culled from various NPR programs into a 20-30 minute collage. Weekly.
  • The Tech Guy – another Leo Laporte show, in a longer format, with interviews, callers, and more.

Honorable Mentions

  • The Restaurant Guys – Discusses “food, wine, and the finer things in life.” If you like food, you’ll probably enjoy this podcast. I was probably interested in about half of their shows but something about them bugged me so I’ve dropped them for now in favor of other things. I may add them back soon. Daily. 1hr.

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Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

Will someone please stop these people! (RIAA)

Washington Post story. You can no longer put the CDs you BOUGHT onto your iPod.

 Update: ok, apparently the story is wrong. Still, the RIAA is evil…

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Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

The Fountain

We just got Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain in the NetFlix mail today, and we loved it. Definitely worth watching, a thinking movie, a feast for the eyes. The use of lights was spectacular. It was in the same realm as What Dreams May Come (though I liked that one better), but it also made me think of Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead. I’m afraid if I say why it will give too much of the movie away. It just needs to be seen and experienced.

See it–a wonderful movie.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at:

Copying Beethoven

I was lucky enough to score some tickets to an advance promotion of Copying Beethoven from Washington’s Classical Station, WGMS. It opens this Friday. I was pretty excited. It was in the very nice E-street Landmark theater in downtown DC. Apparently, they had given away hundreds of tickets, but no more than 30 people show up. It’s a week night, but that seemed pretty low.

The movie tells a fictional account of the last few years of his life through the eyes of a young, female music copyist. The plot is fiction, but the insights into his mind and passion for music are the heart and soul of the movie; and these, I believe, are not that far off the mark. I am not an expert on his biography, but I have read a volume of his letters and the man in those was certainly portrayed in this movie: prone to a fiery temper and bouts of rashness, but then kinder, sadder, yet always passionate. This constant fluctuation of moods was appropriate and definitely inspired a sympathetic understanding.

I very much enjoyed the discussions of music, inspiration, God, and his family (in the form of his nephew): they also confirmed the sentiments I gleaned from his letters. The fact that Beethoven was a bridge between classical and romantic music is not-so-subtly represented, especially in one amusing scene.

The highlight of the movie, however, is the premier of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Obviously, the entire Symphony could not be represented in the movie, but significant portions of each movement are played with great dramatic effect. The camera movements brought you directly into the orchestra with him, the musicians, and the choir. After this, the movie slowly winds to a close, somewhat anti-climactically, but this was probably accurate in real life as well.

Ed Harris does a wonderful job–I wasn’t sure I would get used to him, but after a while I forgot about the actor and just saw Beethoven. Diane Kruger also does a wonderful job in her fictional role.

7/10. If you truly appreciate Beethoven, you will love this movie.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now in print and as an eBook at: