"4:28 p.m. Larceny-Theft - Mildred Lane Kemper Art - Item missing is artwork described as Tootsie Roll wrapper, and was possibly mistaken as trash. Item valued at several thousand dollars. Disposition: Under investigation."
Monday, 16th of October, 2006
One of the best ways to memorize music is to record yourself playing it, and then play along with it. Understanding that the 2nd violin and viola parts are hard to memorize when you can't hear the melody, I've decided to make available for download my recording of the 1st violin part of the Merry Widow Waltz (75-kbps MP4, 2.4MB) to any of the strollers who would like to use it for practicing.
But while I had the whole electric setup plugged in, I couldn't resist flipping over the effects box and having some loud and obnoxious fun (75-kbps MP4, 711kB).
Saturday, 14th of October, 2006
Overall, the cinematography is excellent. Interesting references to real historical trivia continued to contribute to the experience of being immersed into the beautiful setting. It brought back memories of what I knew about the troubled Habsburg monarchy during that period of history, and a real portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph does show up in the movie.
The movie leaves you with some thought-provoking life-sized ideas, especially the ending, which I always like a lot. The philosophical implications of the existence of illusions is definitely brought up here. The characters are well done, and I especially appreciate the moments where Eisenheim, the "illusionist", demonstrates great wit. This illusionist is successfully portrayed as a genius, rather than just a master of eye tricks.
I also like how extended the feeling of tragedy is in this movie - I did spend a good portion of this movie in sadness. However, illusions provide Eisenheim the will to continue living - the existence of the supernatural gives us all hope that things are better than the world as we see and know it.
By the way, the soundtrack is done by Philip Glass, and it suits the movie extremely well. Even though this is minimalist music, it does not interfere with the setting, but rather helps fuel the feelings of anxiety and mystery throughout the film.
I can't remember the last time I sat at the close of a movie and desired to see it again so much that I wouldn't have minded seeing it again right then and there. I ought to get ahold of and read the short story, "Eisenheim the Illusionist", by Steven Milhauser, that this movie is adapted from.
Thursday, 12th of October, 2006
It started out as quite a cold day to do this, but the outdoor tracks can't be missed - that SlideWayz track is still very entertaining. Gokarting with a bunch of adult males is pretty fun, because the driving skill level is pretty high - to the point where the slight speed differences between the cars matters. Well, it almost matters in the SlideWayz track - but braking late and taking the correct line around the turn can still hold off a fast car even if you're in a slow one. The "Family 500"'s fun factor does rest completely on the car you get, however. Some of those cars are pretty fast and you can actually feel some of the acceleration and turning forces involved around the track, while others are miserably slow. The electric cars in the indoor track have degraded a bit, probably from usage over time and wear and tear on the battery.
I did get to hop in the Nascar simulator for the first time. It's a good one - stick shifting with the proper gates and realistic wheel, pedal, and shifter feedback. The motion of the car you're sitting in is pretty unique too - though it would have been a bit more interesting in a more complicated track. But this is Nascar we're talking about here, so I guess I shouldn't expect anything else.
Saturday, 7th of October, 2006
Tuesday, 3rd of October, 2006
Coworker gave me some dry ice to play with today, so I ran a few experiments. Most were just interesting, though the visually interesting is dropping a big chunk in a nice body of water. Huge bubbles of CO2 form. When they get to the surface and pop, the puff of vapor can be pretty active. Adds new meaning to taking a "bubble bath" if you slip a chunk of dry ice into the bath tub.