Friday, 30 March 2007

Why am I so screwed this year? Grades are disgusting..
I am disgusting.. Urgh
I don't want to move but I want to move out of this place.
Getting plenty of ideas but no idea how to use them.
In essence, life is at best at a standstill, otherwise it's rolling downhill.

Let's have some pretty stuff.

Pretty flowers at Regents parking lot

Birds at La Jolla cove

Shadowy models

Thought the colours of the tree was beautiful. Outside Peterson Hall.

The Eucalyptus forest

Spot the fake tree.

Listening to Philip Glass. It's amazing how he can create music with 2 types of rhythms, quavers and triplets. 1 voice plays quavers, other voice triplets. He doesn't even have many different chord progressions. But it sounds good.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

So.. finals are finally over. Most intensive finals week I've been through.. All the stuff that I have to know, and i didn't do that thorough a job of cramming, cos things came out on the exam that I didn't pay attention to. Like the molecular structure of cadherins and how they work molecularly, or what is the multi-hit model of cancer, or why did Prussia rise in the 18th century.. couldn't thnk of anything except that Prussia encouraged people to plant potatoes..

Oh well, they're over. 3h exams are too long. I don't have the stamina to stay through them. How on earth did I manage to go through A levels where exams are 3h of continuous thinking and writing with no break? At least now I can afford to use the 3h leisurely, think questions over carefully, for the bio finals at least, no time to think for hum. Not very confident of any of my grades, depending largely on the rest of the class to do badly.. Only confirmed A I got is that music class that I took for P/NP. Grr..

For that music class, we were supposed to come up with a program that do something cool related to computer music. And there were some really good projects. The one that I found to be the most impressive was this algorithmic composer that had 4 voices (SATB) in beautiful strings sounds. The user pick the key and type of scale (major, minor, pentatonic, blues..), and then the voices will randomly pick pitches from the scale (which is probably weighted, meaning some notes of the scale is more likely to be played), randomly pick length of note and randomly pick articulation of the note. The wonderful thing about this composer is that it counts in phrases, I don't know how he did it, but this composer only responds to key changes, tempo changes after a complete phrase, and the voices somehow all know where in the phrase they are, and when you press stop, they only stop after a complete phrase. The result is something that is very tonal, very "follow-the-rules-of-music-theory" type of tune. Sounds beautiful.

Other interesting ideas, but prob not so successful results include this girl who somehow converted the firing of 5 rat neurons into binary and made it into sound, so a sound comes out every time a neuron fired. The plan was to map location of the neurons into the speakers, so it would be like the listener is standing in the middle of the neurons and the neurons firing around him. Didn't turn out to be that impressive, just hear a bunch of ticks. Could be interesting though if the different firings get different pitches or something like that..

Another guy made this thing that record surrounding sounds from 3 microphones and then fade them in and out and add effects and so on, basically mixing a 3min piece from a 20s recording. Again, very interesting idea, but didn't sound so good.

I think I like pd. It's not very advance, some functions that need a lot of programming is probably present as a button in some other program, but there's a lot of things that I can do with it. Considering turning into a keyboardist with a laptop. In the meantime, I'll try, note try, to improve my melody generator and get a composition out of it.

Some pictures taken in school

Forgot if I posted this picture. Found some golden mushroom sprouting out after the rain. They are really gold in colour.

Giant Cat in the Hat to celebrate the don't know how old birthday of the cat in the hat created by Dr Seuss outside the library named after him

Flowers blooming. It's spring!

A bunny I saw hanging out next to the tree I was taking pictures of in the med school, so took picture of it too

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Went for bass ensemble concert. 1st time me going for one cos it's always on the sunday before finals week and I always needed to study. Today, sian of studying, so went for that. Mark Dresser's fantastic. He looks like he's in a trance when plays. And it's quite a sight seeing a group of strange-looking guys bent over their basses making strange sounds. Trust me, most of them don't look all that normal, long hair, strange sideburns, moustaches.. Mark was the most normal looking one, and my Indian friend and the fantastic chinese girl.

Long long concert. Some interesting pieces. First piece is called Invocate, written by Mark. The group of bassists stand in a circle and Mark starts playing, then the guy next to him imitates his style, then the next guy join in and so on.. The exact notes you play and when you like to cresc and dim and attack is all up to you, just follow the style. It's like one of those follow the leader games where the first person do something, then the next person follows while the first person changes his action, then the 3rd person follows the 2nd person and so on. Fun. Just that Mark makes some highly technical moves that are rather hard to copy. He ended on some note that is so high that it's off the fingerboard, but everyone managed to copy that. They're good.

Han Han's Tarantella was a beautiful beautiful piece. I really liked it. It's fast, difficult, very energetic and has a very nice tune. A true tarantella. I think she has a very nice sound, and her high notes are in tune. I really don't think bass should go play such high notes actually. Anything above the G above the staff on a treble clef is way too high for a bass I think, people go way out of tune.. And that G is already an octave higher than what I can do comfortably.. I must go look for all the harmonics on the string, saw some harmonics that I nv knew existed today.

I'll never be as pro as any of them and guess what? I have no wish to be there.. I'll be an educated listener instead..

1 thing about modern music. It has evolved into, well, sequencing. A bassline which repeats, many lines of variations above it, adding up to a whole which sounds coherent. The mood moves and changes with time, so maybe progressively louder/ more notes and then dies down and so on.. But that's what it's been reduced to.. What happened to melodies? Non-repeating stuff? We need less sequencers and more melody generators..

Question of the Year - Nature Genetics

Thought they'll do something with more immediate effects.. well, scientists are scientists and they work for science more than for people

Monday, 12 March 2007

Woke up really early today cos of a strange dream. I wonder how many people made that big an impact in my life. Strange dream, something that will never happen. Do I wish that it might come true some day? I don't know. but it's strange enough to wake me up early and I decided not to go back to sleep and wonder in the dream any more.

So woke up abt 2h before my alarm's supposed to ring, decided to do some pd. Ended up chatting with many many band people. Haha, me waking up early + DST= before midnight in Singapore. Great time chatting. Everyone asked the same question. When am I going back? I really have no idea. Ended with a buddies chat (haha, remember the failed buddy attempt at bonding in band?), and a discussion of that buddy breakfast which never did materialise. We should buddy bridge.

Weather was beautiful today. Bet it's about 29C again. Hope it stays warm.

Concerts. Chamber orchestra. The concert that I ended up playing in even though I had no wish of joining. As usual, almost broke down but somehow managed to pull through. If this was SYF, we'll get COP. If only people watch the conductor more.
Chamber ensemble. Why do flutists always look so good? sy has a beautiful voice. They chose a beautiful song. A great showoff piece. Very nice indeed.

Gosh I'm writing in the romantics style. In fragments. Symbolism. But I'm much more pro-enlightenment than romanticism. Prefer the systematic Kant to the flowery Schiller.

Let's get even more romantic, talk about dreams. In a studio, individual, with ms lee, 1st day of return, she was nice, amiable, was rusty, clumsy. This'll nv happen, unless my personality change so much that I can be gregarious to everyone. But i'm not a very good member of humanity, i'm asocial. That psc psychologist was sure that sth traumatic happened to me when I was a kid.. cos I refuse to tell her abt anything when I was a kid cos i simply don't remember. the education process seems to have progressed from a "you're going to fail" to a "don't give up". Coleridge is certain that the kid knows more about infinity than the adult. Was that form of education better?

Friday, 9 March 2007

What am I looking forward to? Starting in the new lab. Cabaret. More short term thing, sign lang tmr..
So boring.

Studies have shown that people ignore the top and right most part of the internet browser cos that's where all the ads are found. So if you're designing any kind of webpage, make sure you don't put anything important there.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

I need to learn to say no. No. No. No. There's a pd help file with the patch name, "just say", and when you play it, it's a recording of a guy saying "no", looping, with all sorts of effects the user can do. I need the effect "sound pleasant and doesn't make me feel guilty".

Life is boring. I'm not usually in this position with this view, and I don't know why I'm here. At the beginning of the year I was telling someone how the boringness of life is how you look at it, and today that person was telling me the same thing when I said life is boring. Something about this quarter is driving me crazy and I don't even know what. I'm not too keen to find out anyway. Just let it be.. I have an urge to scream, and that's terribly rare.
When I'm abnormal like this, I shall retreat to my usual mood-calming activities.. if I can get to doing them..
If the weather's good tmr, I'll go watch sunset, before daylight saving starts and it'll never get dark.
I need something to look forward to. Where's the hope? Where's the optimism? Why don't I believe in Leibniz's ridiculous philosophy?

I thought with so many times on stage, stage fright will not be a prob for me. Apparently not. Let's hope that I know my language well enough to not say gibberish on Sat.

Ridiculous Japanese. Can't you take responsibility for what you've done? Do you seriously think that all Asian women can't stand your charm and throw themselves at you?
Japanese Prime Minister angers victims of wartime sex slavery

Friday, 2 March 2007

Scientists in love

Life is hard.
If you want to marry a scientist, read this article.

And the most important point I think this woman made is

"Publish. Then publish again. The more brilliant the candidates, the easier
it is to place them." (and for them to get anything they want)

Yup. And to attract scientists, keep a physics blog.. or using my cell bio prof's method, tell your target that you need a partner to act out phosphorylation..