6/24/2008

A YouTube kind of evening

At work, I don't watch video. It's one of the policies I have to so I can stay focused on work. Tonight, I find myself with free time late at night for the first time in a while. There is nothing else to watch, so I'll review various items on YouTube that I pinned during my daily search routine.

They are making a film version of Watchmen, one of the best comics of all time. A lot of people are a bit concerned about how they'll be able to make a movie out of the 12-part series. Yet, the producers created an interesting contest. They invited filmmakers to make commercials for the various products that you see being advertised in the fictional 1980's in which the story takes place - a world in which Richard Nixon is still president in 1985. Some of the winning entries include this one, which I thought was the best of the four shown on this post at i09:



I almost never watch anything on YouTube, but I ended up on the homepage for some reason the other night and watched this amazing little piece of entertainment. I want one of these things. This is the kind of thing that reminds me the world can be a good place if we let engineers apply their vision to things like this. Maybe our future Cylon overlords won't be so bad if they can get a groove on:



Finally, I just watched this odd thing from either Sesame Street or the Muppets. I don't care to look up which. The site where I got this, io9, has a whole bunch of them in this post. I don't know quite know what to make of it, but I think I'll stick to having just watched the one:

Free business idea of the day: Garden consultant

This is the first in an ongoing series of blog posts about businesses I would like to see in Charlottesville. If you are reading this and you live outside of the general Charlottesville area, I am sure the business would work for you as well. All I ask in return is that those who can make a profit off of these ideas make a contribution to whatever non-profit I'm working for at the time.

Also, one disclaimer. These ideas might already exist, and maybe I just need to be put in touch with the right people. Either way, I'm on the look-out for ways to make life interesting and personally sustainable, and I think this would fit the bill.

Anyway, so, we just bought this house. We have a fantastic plot of land that gets sun throughout the day. Next year, we would like to turn as much of it over to a garden as possible. However, we don't know the first thing about this, and would like to hire someone to set it up for us, and to tell us what to do. How does one learn these skills? I certainly did not from my dad, who doesn't have much of a green thumb. We didn't garden much when I was a kid, for whatever reason.

But now, I think we can really take advantage of our land to come up with something that can supplement our food intake. Is there anything we could plant now for the fall? How much space do we really have, and what is suitable? How can we safely keep the groundhogs and rabbits away?

The answer to that is the dog, of course. When we first moved in, there was a pair of groundhogs who came into the yard. Now, they don't, mostly because I think he's terriered them out of house and home. This is a shame, but hopefully they are not too far away. I am amazed at how much nature we do have here in this neighborhood. I found the loop trail when the dog got out of the yard by climbing underneath the fence and into a big vine-covered gully.

The park across the street also is fantastic, and there's also an amazing forest trail behind the middle school. We also have a bird's eye view of countless soccer matches. In all, it's a pretty good place where I feel so close to nature while still being in a real city, because we can see the City's tallest building from our back windows.

But a garden would make it better, especially in the coming year as we all get a first-hand experience with what it's like when the house payment and rising prices cost us something that's outside our comfort level. I'm willing to put in the work if someone teaches me how.

Who is offering this kind of service? If you're good at gardening, how much would you charge to set up a garden? Would it be worth it if a whole neighborhood could get involved somehow, share soils and backyard space?

Heck, let's make a video of it!

6/23/2008

Disconnected from cvilleblogs

For the past three years or so, I've read the many many posts on cvilleblogs on a daily basis. In the past two weeks or so, I've not been able to do so. Both of my bloglines accounts stopped taking the feed for some reason, and so I've not been a regular reader. Same with the Daily Progress, which also stopped working. Bit by bit, I've been losing touch with Charlottesville!

I've tried using Google Reader, but it doesn't have the same look and feel of Bloglines, which is what I use for the other 100 feeds I read. Any other suggestions for what I could try?

6/21/2008

Tom Morgan podcast reposted

In November of 2005, Dave Sagarin produced a podcast for the Charlottesville Podcasting Network, an interview with Tom Morgan. Morgan is a jazz radio host from New Orleans who spent time in Charlottesville before moving there. I believe at one point he hosted a show on WTJU. Anyway, after Katrina, Morgan spent time here and Dave Sagarin took the opportunity to talk to him.

I was so happy when I got this interview, totally out of the blue. It was great to be able to post it, as that is one of the ideas of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network. Give me something to podcast, and up it will go, pretty much.

However, the site has experience growing pains which led to some hasty decisions about posting various file storage strategies. A lot of things got misplaced, and a lot of things have disappeared a bit. Occasionally, they turn up, as this with this interview.

6/09/2008

Experiment live stream of audio while I produce it

So, I paid for this stream to work on and play around with, and I'm barely using it. How did it come to that? If I knew 10 years ago that I could spend $15 a month to create a mini-radio station to play all kinds of wackiness on, I would have been very much looking forward to now.

Ten years ago, I had dreams of being a big rock and roll superstar, if you can believe it. I was growing fascinated with how sound equipment hooked up, but I could never get the hang of analog recording. I could never really appreciate the physics of how magnetic tape worked, especially when you started messing around with four-tracks. All I knew was, when my friend Jeff played the drums, I could sing and make up things that sounded somewhat passable and even to this day my yelling can still make me glad I took my time doing some interesting things.

Eight a half years ago, I bought my first copy of Cool Edit, a program I had learned how to use while working at WVTF in 1999 as a former intern who couldn't figure out what to do with his life. I began messing around with odd recordings, learning digital audio production as a way of making something that sounded like me.

Flash forward now, because this ain't the time for a history lesson, and I've got this stream that I'm just not using. So, I've decided to turn it on to leave it on when I'm doing audio work on the computer. During the rest of the time, I'm going to put on a playlist that'll play some of the hours and hours and hours of instrumental recordings I've made, as well as the occasional podcast.

Self-serving? Possibly. Career suicide? Maybe. But, I'll only put up things I think are somewhat palatable. For instance, I have over 500 experimental instrumental pieces I did from 1999 on. I miss producing them, but it began to feel like work, given that I use computers to produce sound all the time.

Like right now, I'm working on something I recorded over the weekend at the University of Virginia, and that means I can't do too much to tinker with the way the sound works. My clients just want the audio in as straight-forward a manner as possible. Of course, this sometimes means clipping out audio mistakes, or slight audio hiccups the listener might get really irritated with.

So, as an experiment, for the next hour or so, I'll have it up. Then, it goes to the stream of increasing oddity. I've been too shy to post any of this stuff before, but if it's a stream, maybe it'll still seem somewhat anonymous.

How to listen:

Shoutcast DNAS Status: http://s4.viastreaming.net:7290
Listen Address: http://s4.viastreaming.net/cgi-bin/listen.pls?7290

6/08/2008

Euro 2008: Who else in Charlottesville is watching?

So, my interest in Euro 2008 is a little muted because England failed to qualify. I was in Dunstable the night that happened, watching with my family over there and could feel the incredible sense of frustration. This may have been compounded by the dwindling fortunes of Luton Football Club, the team they support. They were in the Coca-Cola Championship as few as two years ago, but now are two leagues down due to a catastrophic implosion.

So, I don't really have a dog in this fight, this Euro 2008. I'm going to watch the two matches today, which are thankfully on ESPN2, as opposed to some higher channel. I'm trying to read up on the various teams so I can pay better attention over the next month. I've never really followed this tournament before, but I figure it could be kind of fun and might finally be an excuse for me to go out to some of the bars that show these matches.

I'm searching for good blogs and podcasts on Euro 2008, and so far have started with the coverage at TimesOnline, which will hopefully allow me to have some frame of reference for the next few weeks.

Today is Austria v Croatia at 12 and Germany v Poland at 2:45. I have an incredible amount of work to do, but the temperature is going to be over 100. What better place to be than in the new house setting up a basement so I can hopefully invite folks over to watch some matches? If you've ever wanted to get into world-class football, this is a good place to start. Prepare now for World Cup 2010!