Search
 
     
Sunday
Jan302011

Calligrams

While working through one of my art books yesterday morning I stumbled upon the word: “Calligram.” Turns out a Calligram “is a poem, phrase, or word in which the typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged in a way that creates a visual image” (Definition courtesy of Wikipedia).

Here's a classic example of the Calligram form from Calligrammes by the French author Guillaume Apollinaire. Similar to "Concrete Poetry", Calligrams utilize more typographic elements in their presentation than visual structure to present their meaning to the reader.



Saturday
Jan292011

Tron Legacy Blu-ray - DVD Release Date

Photo By Robin Parker

Yesterday I found out that Tron and Tron Legacy will be coming to Blu-ray and DVD on April 5th, 2011 and that with it will be the teaser trailer for the third part in the series. The source of information came from Blu-Ray.com's forums found here.


And here's the link to more info on the Tron 3 trailer to be included with the DVD/Blu-ray release:

'Tron: Legacy' DVD To Include A Teaser For 'Tron 3'

Friday
Jan282011

What Contributes to the Upright Bass’s Sound?

In chatting with a friend who plays bass he brought up the dilemma that many bass players face. How can I get an upright bass sound out of my electric bass?

Before I get into my findings the blunt answer is that the only way to get a true upright bass sound is by playing an upright bass. I know that sounds stupid to state, but some people believe that you can get a real Les Paul tone from a Variax, or a real tube sounding amp from an effects pedal, and it’s not true.

So why the pursuit? Because often when doing a gig it’s not necessary for that pure sound and instead can be replaced with an improvised version.

My friend said that he had heard from one of his friends that the way to get an upright bass sound on an electric bass was by adding a little distortion on the amp side, which would increase the string noise that can be heard on an upright bass. I thought that was interesting approach to the dilemma and suggested that maybe putting the electric bass through a guitar overdrive pedal might be another step in that direction with pedal beefing up that tonal range on a bass and getting a little closer to that sound.

But the question still lingered in my mind: What makes an upright bass sound like an upright bass? I’m guitar player/luthier by trade so even though I can play bass, as well as build and repair them; it’s not my main instrument. Then it dawned on me that scale length probably played a larger role in the equation than amps or effects did. When you consider that one of the contributing factors between Gibson guitars and Fender guitars is three quarters of an inch, it makes since that scale length would be contributing factor to the question.

So what’s scale length difference between an electric bass and an upright bass?

About four to six inches, which is quite a lot.

The next question: Does anybody make a 40” scale length electric bass?

The answer: Yes, Knuckle Guitar Works does. It’s called the Quake. It’s not quite 40”, it comes in at 39.55” to be exact, but that’s pretty close. And while it still doesn’t sound exactly like an upright bass, it’s a hellava lot closer to it than the 36” standard.

 

Thursday
Jan272011

“Kentucky Woman” – Neil Diamond

Until this morning I had always thought that “Kentucky Woman” was written and performed by Deep Purple. It always seemed like a rather odd song in Deep Purple’s repertoire and knowing that Neil Diamond wrote it makes much more sense.

Here are the two versions for your listening pleasure:

 

Wednesday
Jan262011

Dharna - Starve for a Cause

Original Photo By Thomas in’t VeldI subscribe to Dictionary.com’s “Word of the Day” newsletter, because it’s the laziest way I know to increase my vocabulary. To be honest, many days I just throw’em in the trash and figure I’ll work on my vocab the next day, but every now and then, a word catches my eye and with a click, my curiosity is satisfied. Yesterday’s word was “Dharna”, not to be confused with “Dharma”, an “essential quality or character, as of the cosmos or one's own nature,” or the “Dharma Initiative”, the Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications from the television show “Lost.”

Per Dictionary.com “Dharna” refers to “the practice of exacting justice or compliance with a just demand by sitting and fasting at the doorstep of an offender until death or until the demand is granted.”

 

Can you imagine this practice being taken out of its context and utilized for relatively trivial pursuits?

  • Girl dumps boy. Boy sits outside of house starving until girl agrees to get back together. Restraining order issued. Boy starves 300 yards from house where neighbors have no idea what he’s protesting.
  • Clubber denied access to Studio 54. Freezes to death the following day.
  • Man laid off from work, squats in front of previous workplace. Arrested for loitering. Starves or dies due to paperwork not being filed with HR fast enough resume his previous position.

These are all worst case scenarios, but I can’t help but think how different the world would be if people were actually able to sacrifice their body to the full extent for what they believed in, or wanted, or desired. Obviously I think after a few hours of Dharna outside a girl’s house the boy would come to the realization that there are other fish in the sea. And the clubber who then waits through the day while the club is closed and no one is around will realize that there are other clubs to enjoy himself. Despite the fact that when he got in he would probably just collapse anyway from malnutrition.

Out of my three silly scenarios, I imagine that the unemployed worker has probably the best reason for committing Dharna; although, I think it would be more productive to have a laptop and cell phone handy to search for jobs while the man starves outside his previous place of work. While the reason for being laid off may call for Dharna, the whole company could go under as well and then you’d be exacting revenge on nothing. And even though jobs are tough to find and even more difficult to obtain now in America, there are still jobs available, and many don’t require starvation for candidacy.

Take Care,

 

Kris Madden



Tuesday
Jan252011

I ALMOST DIED YESTERDAY

Photo By Antony PranataAll my life I have wondered how normal people end up in head-collisions. With double-yellow lines, reflectors, and various other road markings I found it hard to believe that two people experienced drivers would ram right into one another. Up until yesterday, I fervently believed that drivers under the influence were the only people of committing this act due to their lack of perception.

It was foggy, but you could still see fifty to a hundred yards front of you (Similar to the picture on the right). On the street where my near-death took place, it’s a long stretch of straight pavement with each way having two lanes. It’s a relatively busy street with businesses and residentials on either side, and when I was driving around 7:00 AM yesterday, traffic was pretty light.

 

Out of the fog I see two headlights in my lane. I have momentary amnesia and wonder, ‘Does the road curve there? I don’t think there’s a turning lane there.’ I realize there isn’t when I see the beige Ford sedan carelessly driving toward me in my lane. I look over to see I’ve been boxed in on the right by two cars and small pickup truck. I lay on the horn of my Honda Civic which reaches decibel levels just slightly higher than a bicycle horn. Meeeeeheeheheehee!

The car begins to swerve from side to side and I think, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to die in a head on collision at seven in the morning on the way to work on a Monday.’ The car flips on it’s left blinker, which means it’s going to plough into the three cars beside me, and then I’m going to crash into the back of her car. ‘Okay, I’m not going to die, I’m just going to be in a car accident. Probably go to the hospital, but at least I’ll have the day off from work.’ Then the car screeches back onto its side of the street, into the lane that it should have been in the entire time. My neck swivels to peer into the window to discover the identity of the person who almost killed me.

No, it was not an intoxicated teenager, or a beer-bellied drunk wearing sunglasses. It was a little old lady. Literally, a little, old, lady. She was peering over the steering wheel, which explained why she could see the divide. She was cracked and wrinkled with obviously poor eyesight. And I thought, ‘Wow, I was almost killed by a little old lady in a head on collision. I never thought that would be the way I’d go.’

What I learned yesterday was that people who choose to drive in the fog that have poor eyesight, and struggle to see over their steering wheel, are just as dangerous as drunk drivers.

Still alive,

 

Kris Madden



Monday
Jan242011

Bibliomania, Hoarding and the Collyer Brothers

Photo By Michael SummerYesterday in my pursuit to find out more information on compulsive hoarding, I stumbled upon the term: “Bibliomania.”

My wife jokingly asked if I suffered from Bibliomania since I have several bookcases overstuffed with books. I clarified that I would be a Bibliomaniac if those books had no value to me and I collected them to the point where they lost any value to me as well. In contrast, I’m always rearranging and shifting my books around to different places in the house depending on my current project. So I have a shelf by the couch, which has, let me count… 25 books that I’m currently reading. I’ve found it extremely difficult to read one book at a time so I read several simultaneously. This becomes an issue when I travel because I take several books with me and usually finish them along the way.

My wife informed me about the term “hoarding” coming from a pair of New York brothers that died in their collection of stuff. She said they’re known as the Collyer Brothers. After going on a research-binge to find out all the details on the Brothers Collyer I came across this humorous and informative video, which I share below.

Take care,

 

Kris Madden



Sunday
Jan232011

Headaches and Prevention

I suffer from the occasional headache and migraine and yesterday happened to be one of those occasions. I learned that what I had yesterday is considered a TTH, or Tension Type Headache, which is different from a migraine because it occurs bilaterally (both sides of the face).

  • I tried shielding my eyes from bright light and resting—no good.
  • I tried meditating and relaxation techniques—no good.
  • I tried two pills of ibuprofen—no good.
  • I tried not wearing my glasses and staying away from digital screens—no good.
  • I also tried standing on my head for several minutes at a time, thinking that a rush of blood to the head and then back out again might flush out whatever it was that was causing the pain. But again—no good.

Then while looking up information on headaches I found that the most common cause of TTH, other than stress, is dehydration. So I filled up my water bottle and chugged 32oz of high quality H2O, and within minutes I could the pain begin to dissipate and a few minutes later and it was completely gone. While I might have given credit to the ibuprofen for the relief, the relief didn’t come until several hours after I had taken the ibuprofen, in contrast to few minutes that relief followed after gulping down a bottle of water.

Consider this a lesson learned that I will be drinking much more water in the future.

On a side-note I also found out that getting too much sleep can cause headaches as well as getting too little sleep. This may account for reason why I tend to have my headaches on Saturday and Monday, because those are the days that I sleep in more, and conversely sleep less when the week starts.

Take care,

 

Kris Madden



Saturday
Jan222011

What I Learned Yesterday-

When my brother and sister and I were all in our teens, the family dinner table became a very quiet time with one another. It wasn't an overnight switch from jovial joking to dead silence but every night we spoke a little less and finished our meals a little quicker. Our main objective: to return to our other semi-social lives outside of the family unit as soon as possible. At one point, my dad, out of desperation more than design, instructed us to go around the table and say one thing we had learned that day.

We each tried, "Nothing, I didn't learn anything" to no avail, and once one us answered then we made sure that everyone had to provide an answer. If one of us had to endure the torture of racking our brains to find some family-friendly life-lesson then everyone was going to have to suffer through it as well. Eventually though, our dissent and aggression passed and when silence set in at the table someone would interject "Okay, I learned today..." and then carry on.

Yesterday by happenstance I came upon a website called "Today, I Learned..." and the author's posts were short, sweet little tidbits of info in reference to programming, web design, and other miscellanea. The coding portions were way over my head but I loved the concept.

And as it has been plain to see I have been struggling for some time now on what I could offer on a daily basis to my readers that would have consistency and some educational merit. So I've decided to invite all my readers to pull up a chair at my family's virtual dinner table, so to speak, and partake in the discussion of daily learning. It has become my very late “New Year’s Resolution” of sorts; to consistently post every day this year, or rather for the rest of this year, "what I learned yesterday..." because more than likely I will be writing the post in the evening and then posting it the following morning. I know that some micro-bloggers have the ability to update their readers on a consistent minute-to-minute basis; unfortunately I am not one of those people.

So to conclude this is what I learned yesterday:

After having problems with my Mac and its spotlight indexing in 10.6.6, I learned how to force it to re-index through the terminal app from the above mentioned website, using the following commands:

sudo mdutil -i off /

sudo mdutil -E /

sudo mdutil -i on /

But that didn’t work. What I had to do was make all my main folders under the hard drive private, which prevents Spotlight from even working at all. Then restart my Macbook and remove one folder at a time from the privacy section and let Spotlight index just that folder. Rinse and Repeat. The order I went in was “Applications”, “Developer”, “System”, “Library”, and lastly “Users”. At the end Spotlight was fixed and that MDS process stopped skyrocketing to 99.9 % CPU usage. Problem solved.



Tuesday
Sep072010

My Presentation at the Arnold Bennett Society Conference in England

Last June, I was invited to speak at the Arnold Bennett Society Conference in Stoke-on-Trent, England. I gave a 20 min. presentation on the state of Arnold Bennett's work in America and what can be done to improve its current condition. I also spoke about public domain works that are published digitally and the business side of ebooks for major publishers like Barnes and Noble.