Tuesday, 29th of January, 2008
Well enough quibbling about the present numbers - the big question now is are they going to hit 10 million by the end of this year? Well most people that really want one have one, so it's going to be hart to sustain the momentum - though they can try big price cuts. A more likely theory is that Apple will launch a new iPhone, so that everyone who has one now has to go out and buy the latest and greatest again. Maybe they'll actually have features in it this time that make it a more functional phone than the competition...
Friday, 25th of January, 2008
The Shadows of Time, by Dutilleux, is a logical piece to follow the Ligeti. The time/clock theme continues, as well as the utilization of harmonics in the string bass section for a some unique sounds. We also bring on the traditional full orchestra, but adding some exotic textures from the percussion section - at one point Mr. Kasica pulls out a string bass bow and pulls it over a vibraphone note! There's quite an impressive timpani solo in there too, where Mr. Holmes is pedaling like 4 or 5 notes on the high timpani drum in succession.
To give those with more traditional music tastes something to go home with, the concert did end with Beethoven's 4th piano concerto, which was very well played of course.
Incidentally, if you haven't noticed, I am attending every St. Louis Symphony concert these next two months because of the excellent Winter Pass deal they have going on - $99 to attend as many concerts as you want for two months. Even if you get on board now it's still a good deal considering the regular price of tickets. I feel spoiled rotten though - now I want to do this all year! Perhaps that was their idea...
Thursday, 24th of January, 2008
2008 Subaru WRX STi - It's now a hatchback, which I like, but the price went up. I've always liked the STi based on its mechanical superiority. It will have to stay that way because they've ditched all the leather options for the Impreza for the 2008 launch of the new platform. I'm still not sure what to think of the STi's leather-trimmed Alcantara. I've been tracking Subarus long enough to know that the options for 2008 are not the best they can do, because they wait until subsequent years to give us all the goodies.
2008 Lancer Evolution - There is still no solid information on the Mitsubishi website pricing, which is important since it's competing directly with the STi. However, there was one on the window sticker - and it indicated $32k for the 5-speed manual. Significant advantage for the EVO. Also, unlike the STi, they kept the good seats on this car. Too bad it's a sedan, but that can be overlooked for over $2k less.
2009 Subaru Forester - Subaru is pulling the "release the 2009 car 9 months early" trick again. This car looks a lot better in person than in pictures - the change from the current generation is not so drastic that it would turn away customers. We can only wait to see if they are going to dumb down the specs on the Forester XT like they did the Impreza. The regular 2009 Forester was there to sit and play around in, and the subtle improvements should go well with consumers. The rear seats are very clever, with good integration with the body of the car, learning from the Lexus designers in their new Toyota relationship. They also brought back reclining rear seats!
Jeep Patriot - I had never gotten into a Patriot, because I didn't start tracking the car until I realized how much of a good deal this little 4x4 can be towards the middle of last year. Interestingly enough it shares a platform with the Mitsubishi Lancer, though it doesn't seem anything like it. The driving position seems a bit strange, and it seems like you have to reach into the next zip code to grab the door handle, but it's just an observation, not a complaint. They had a stripped down 5-speed version there, and I still like the column-mounted shifter that you find on a handful of smaller cars. I could even go without the power windows for a bargain price, and this car needs to be kept a bargain. As you add features to it the quality of the very utilitarian interior doesn't improve, and at some point you start to feel bad spending over $20k for something so cheap looking on the inside.
Friday, 19th of January, 2008
The pre-concert show was pretty memorable too - Nicholas McGegan, who is here for his second week with the SLSO, came out with Professor MacDonald and did a talk-show type commentary on all the pieces. I have never thought of the 3rd movement of the 6th concerto as coming straight out of a German drinking song, but I do concur - those big beats do contribute to a unique and fun movement of Bach.
Last week McGegan was quite fun for the Classical Detours concert too. That whole series is quite an excellent idea - a short 6:30 Thursday night concert for those seeking a classy happy hour experience.
Monday, 14th of January, 2008
Sunday, 13th of January, 2008
We also go to some extra commercial experiences today, visiting Canal Street and Fifth Avenue. By the way - the City Bakery has what must be the best hot chocolate in the world, complete with handmade marshmallows. For the next few months I'm sure every single other cup of hot chocolate is going to bring sadness that I'm not sitting at the City Bakery drinking the best chocolate drink I've ever had.
Saturday, 12th of January, 2008
Since I was with a bunch of art school graduates we had to hit the Metropolitan Art Museum, but we managed to pick the three galleries that interested us the most. The Musical Instruments were a winner - I raved about the instrument gallery in the Smithsonian and other museums, but I believe this one is most impressive. Violin-wise they had 2 Amatis and 3 Strads, and a huge collection of old string instruments - lutes, mandolins, and such.
Other than the art museum, we did a lot of walking and absorbing the sights of New York. It was amazing how familiar, and even at home, most of the city was because of how much of New York I have seen on TV and movies, even though I have not visited the city before. We saw Grand Central Station, Times Square, Central Park, Chinatown, etc.
Friday, 11th of January, 2008
The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are: