M a t t . T r e d e r

Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Re: new toy

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2008 at 11:54 pm

I’ve only just ordered my aforementioned new toy, the Kurzweil SP2X, when I learn that it’s been superseded by…wait for it…the SP2XSP.

Do they hire outside consultants (presumably from a large home appliance manufacturer) to devise such horrible product names, or do they accomplish it in-house?!


It’s torture

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2008 at 11:13 pm

Christopher Hitchens:

Until recently, “waterboarding” was something that Americans did to other Americans. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). In these harsh exercises, brave men and women were introduced to the sorts of barbarism that they might expect to meet at the hands of a lawless foe who disregarded the Geneva Conventions. But it was something that Americans were being trained to resist, not to inflict.

Tired of listening to armchair pundits argue over whether “simulated drowning” constitutes “torture,” Hitchens underwent waterboarding himself.

You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning—or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure. The “board” is the instrument, not the method. You are not being boarded. You are being watered.

He lasted 15 seconds.

The Batman movie that almost was

In Writing on July 8, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Turns out Michael Bay’s script for the new Batman flick was, sadly, rejected. It’s our loss…

New toy

In Music, Tech on July 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm

My new Kurzweil SP2X is on its way! I never had the opportunity to try this 88-weighted-key stage piano out in the store, so I relied on published evaluations and the opinion of my advisor at Sweetwater, Michael Faz.

It’s been nearly a decade since I went shopping for a full-size keyboard. My first was also a Kurzweil, the venerable PC88, in 1995. It was a brilliant ‘board for its time. It’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve come in the intervening years, and whether my impressions parallel those of its reviewers:

Whether coming out of the Tannoy monitors in my studio, my older Toa PA speakers, or going through my Gallien-Krueger or Barbetta keyboard amps, all the piano sounds stayed true to their best nature. I also noticed that unlike on many other stage pianos, I didn’t have to change sounds when I changed styles: The default piano let me play pop ballads, jazz solos, rock rhythms, salsa montunos, and a Bach prelude. To me, this has always been the selling point of the Kurzweil piano: It stays musical in any context.

Responsive, fluid and energetic. … (The action was) willing me on, encouraging me to push my playing just that little bit further than I normally might, and rewarding me for my efforts.  In essence, the action on the SP2x makes trickier phrases just that little bit less risky, which, in a live situation can be very reassuring.”

The SP2X’s action is fully weighted and feels great to play. There’s sufficient resistance to allow your fingers something to push against, yet enough give and springiness to allow for machine-gun-fast repeated notes on a single key.

FedEx predicts arrival this week. I can’t wait to play it!

Zemanta Pixie

Reading label triggers Excedrin headache

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 at 9:42 pm

As a rule I don’t buy brand-name analgesics, which are chemically identical to competing house-brand or generics costing 4 to 15 times less.

But I did a double-take when I saw Excedrin Migraine on the shelf and, intrigued, tried to figure out what makes it different from the standard Excedrin formula, which is a combination of equal amounts acetaminophen (Tylenol) and aspirin, laced with caffeine.

That’s three minutes of my life I’ll never have back.

That’s right, there’s no difference. None.

Extra credit: Which will be first to market, Excedrin Crazy Bone or Excedrin Brain Freeze?

Zemanta Pixie

P.T. Barnum was right

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Ooh, goody. You mean I get to watch D-list celebrities performing circus tricks badly?

They don’t call them Trials for nothing

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 at 2:42 am

I was at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday, playing with a local blues band, when American sprinter Tyson Gay sprinted the fastest 100m ever run in human history, 9.68 seconds. (With a tailwind of 4.1m/sec, it was not a world record.) During the trials also ran a legitimate 9.77, a PR and Olympic record, as well as a more leisurely 9.85 that nearly knocked him out of the running when he pulled up early several yards before the finish line.

So I was amused to see the American Family Association’s take on his accomplishments.

What the American Family Association really thinks of fastest American

Who knew?

Less of what you buy it for!

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 at 2:05 am

Just For Men Touch of Gray

The first and only men’s hair treatment that lets you keep some gray.*

* Half the active ingredient, exactly the same price!

It’s for the generation that swore it would never get old. And didn’t.*

* We don’t think you’re a drooling, gullible boob! We swear!

You’ve said a mouthful

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 at 1:59 am

When the time came to replace the brush head of my Sonicare toothbrush, my search ran aground on a bewildering array of options, including this one. (Bonus points if you can spit it out five times fast.)

Philips Sonicare Advance SH-2 Ultra Compact Replacement a-Series Compact Brush Head

Nice to know Cinemark cares

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 at 1:57 am

Seen on Cinemark’s website:

Note: No Children Under Age 6 Will Be Admitted To Any R-Rated Feature After 6:00 PM.

Translation: Children in kindergarten or preschool, please arrive before dinnertime. We want your money. Children age 6 and up, you are welcome to watch our R-rated movies anytime. We want your money too.