Musings @musicandmeaning.com

Take care, you throaty fare.
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

We’ll always have ‘The Jackal’

I’m still here. And for those who asked/wondered, yes, I watched the series finale of The West Wing. I actually watched most of the final episodes this season, and thought that one of the best scenes by far was the one between C.J. and Toby in the second-to-last show. (Everything about it crackled, except when C.J. said she wanted to make a chicken like that…I’d think she’d know already — after all, she offered to cook Christmas dinner for Leo once.)

Back to the final episode, though. It made me wistful — it made me remember just how much I loved the characters — the old band, to borrow a phrase. I won’t quibble about it or how the series changed (now, anyway), but I will say that it was interesting to see how everything got wrapped up.

My favorite moments:

President Bartlet walking through the west wing and thanking the staff. It was especially nice to see some of the past recurring characters, e.g. Ed and Larry, Ginger, and Nancy (with an amusing inside-joke greeting to her mother — Nancy was played by Renée Estevez, Martin Sheen’s daughter). One of the strengths of the earlier seasons of the show was how well the minor characters were written.

C.J. finding herself walking into the empty press briefing room, and then standing at the podium. I didn’t expect it — it was a nice touch.

Over winter, I got a chance to watch the season 1 DVDs — what a treat. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over six years already. They were engaging, but it was a more than a little bittersweet seeing John Spencer on screen — he will be missed (I watched the DVDs just a few weeks after he died). Such great writing, and the conflicts used to be countered with such fun. “Take This Sabbath Day” and “In Excelsis Deo” rank up there with some of the best television ever created. Thanks to DVDs and digital magic, they’ll live on. And of course, we’ll always have “The Jackal.”

Posted at 10:32 pm | Filed under Television | 2 replies »

Monday, 13 March 2006

The A Track

This is going to take some getting used to…Anne Litt‘s Weekend Becomes Eclectic music program on KCRW has a new title: The A Track. Apparently everything else will remain the same: same host, same eclectic music selections, same airtimes. I just heard the last hour of the show yesterday, and the reason for the new name has something to do with the program being (digitally?) distributed in a daily form, so the word “weekend” wouldn’t really make sense. I didn’t hear Saturday’s program, but the playlist for it still has the WBE title. I’ll have to listen to the streaming on-demand shows before they disappear later this week, and find out what exactly elicited the renaming.

During the hour I listened, Litt played two consecutive tracks from the same artist — David Gray‘s “My Oh My” from White Ladder and “Alibi” from Life in Slow Motion. That’s rather unusual, even on her program, so I enjoyed the double-header. Looking at the rest of the playlist for yesterday, I was very surprised to see Jean-Yves Thibaudet‘s name. He’s one of my favorite current classical pianists — he’s not afraid to branch out, though (I was happy to hear him play and see his name in the credits of the recent film Pride & Prejudice). I’m looking forward to hearing his “A track” later.

Tuesday, 31 January 2006

The year of the geek

Happy new year (lunar and Gregorian calendar)! I’ve been busy. I have a bunch of projects going on at once. For example, for the past couple of days, I’ve been working on the innards of my blog as well as of Fanatical Apathy — i.e. WordPress stuff. Although I have finally been playing a little with 2.0, I have decided not to upgrade this blog yet (main reason is that is seems a little sluggish). Mostly, I’ve been investigating more spam defenses, since FA has become increasingly susceptible to it again. Well, eight months of WP-Hashcash working pretty aggressively and effectively isn’t bad.

I have upgraded this (musings) blog to WP-Hashcash 3.0 beta but it does not seem to be working the way it should. Namely…do you see any “protected by…” messages at the bottom of the comments form? I don’t, either. And when I turn off javascript in my browser, I should see the <noscript> message, but I don’t see that, either. It’s strange…at least I know the Hashcash is actually working, but those text returns aren’t showing up. Leave some comments and let me know what you see!

The quirkiest problem I have encountered is the result of installing the Auto-Close Comments plugin. It successfully closed older posts, but somehow added an extra <div> tag to the resulting older individual post pages (i.e. permalink pages) (not here, strangely enough, but at FA). So I’m going to figure out if it’s not playing well with some other plugin, or what else it could be…the posts that were not affected by Auto-Close validate just peachy (peachily?).

Anyway, those are just some of the blog side of things. I’ll stop for now with the geeky and mundane.

Make this year a good one, geeky or not. Make it a productive one and a purposeful one.

Posted at 6:15 am | Filed under WordPress |  

Saturday, 24 December 2005

Felix dies nativitatis

Happy Christmas and happy Hanukkah.

I’m enjoying Anne Litt‘s (live) Weekend Becomes Eclectic on this Christmas Eve — there are about 10 minutes to go. I haven’t been able to listen to the show in weeks, and so it’s a bonus treat that it’s live today. I tuned in at 3 o’clock and so far it’s been — as always — rewarding (btw, the playlist appears to be missing Debussy’s "Clair de lune").

As I’ve said before, her choices around this time of the year are especially engaging, since she chooses songs that don’t usually get played that much throughout the rest of the year (including, today, tunes by Chet Baker, the Byrds, Gram Parsons, the Kinks, Dusty Springfield, Bob Dylan, Julie London, and R.E.M.). One set that I found particularly interesting:

  • Bob Marley – "High Tide or Low Tide"
  • Beck – "Lonesome Tears"
  • Billie Holiday – "Strange Fruit"
  • Emmylou Harris – "One of these Days"
  • U2 – "Walk On"

Simply put, that set has Litt’s name all over it…not because she’s ever played it before (that I know of), but because longtime WBE listeners will recognize her brand of taste. I’ve never heard that set but it was so familiar and welcome, yet unfamiliar and intriguing at the same time.

I hope there is good music where you are.

Friday, 23 December 2005

In the wings: WordPress 2.0

WordPress 2.0 Release Candidate 3 has been out for a few days. From what I’ve read so far, it certainly sounds more robust (one of the improvements I’m really anticipating: the more accurate post preview that incorporates theme CSS).

Here’s a link to Asymptomatic’s rundown of new features. (Link source: bradsucks.net.)

I haven’t had a chance to play with the RC — I’m going to wait until the official unveiling of the final release, which should be just around the corner (actually, I’ll probably wait a week or two after the final release).

Posted at 5:36 pm | Filed under WordPress |  

Friday, 16 December 2005

Contact form blues

It’s come to my attention that the contact form I linked to in my last post isn’t working, so I’m going to see what’s wrong and fix it now. I’ll update this post when the form is operational again.

Thanks to Peggy for pointing it out!

Update, 6:07 p.m.: It works now!

BTW, I just noticed that this and the last post still have times reflecting Daylight Saving, so I fixed that, too.

Posted at 5:42 pm | Filed under Tech/geek |  

Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year

As I was telling a few people earlier: it is really amazing how it’s the middle of December. And, to answer a few folks who have asked: yes, I’m still here and well. I’m simply aghast by how quickly the year’s gone. They say it goes faster every year, but if it’s this fast already…

That said, I’ve been thinking of some major changes to the site. I’ve had the urge sometimes to start over completely — as in, wipe the slate clean, as it were. I’d keep some posts from the past and transition some of the static portions of the site into WordPress pages. This has nothing to do with the so-called "Web 2.0" buzzword that’s been flying around lately. Simply put, I’ve often wanted to simplify the navigation and have wondered if having pages of my favorite music artists and movies, etc., is really something I want to showcase here. It’s not as if I dislike talking about "my favorite things," but I feel a need for an approach that’s different from the current presentation.

In any case, I’ll try to post more often again and not leave the dozen or so of you RSS subscribers (and unknown number of bookmark visitors) wondering where I’ve gone. (I can account for about five subscribers who are friends, but who are the rest of you? KCRW nuts? Musicians? Buckner fans? WordPressers? I’m curious who my readership is. I’m absolutely okay with lurkdom, but if you could send me a short note or leave a comment, that would be very lovely. You don’t even have to tell me your name if you don’t want to — I’m basically interested in what made you decide to subscribe.)

Speaking of subscribers, I want to thank the LiveJournal blogger who added this blog to a syndication account on LiveJournal at the end of October. I actually found out about it while looking through my logs recently. (Do we know each other personally? Anyway, if you want, send me a note and I’ll be happy to thank you again here with a link.)

Take care, folks, and happy holidays!

(Note: the date should be 15-Dec-2005, 11:25 p.m., but I’ll leave it so the feed links don’t result in 404)

Posted at 12:25 am | Filed under Musings & everything else, Tech/geek |  

Friday, 7 October 2005

wordpress dot com

Much to my delight, I unexpectedly received an invitation a few weeks ago to start a blog on WordPress.com. I’m still debating what to set up there. Yes, I do have my own domain/space and could easily set up another WordPress blog here if I needed, but I’m interested in being a part of a WP-only blogging service and seeing what WordPress.com provides its denizens.

Posted at 9:57 pm | Filed under WordPress | 2 replies »

Thursday, 1 September 2005

Chuck Taggart’s New Orleans

I just mentioned Mr. Taggart in my last post. He currently hosts Down Home, a New Orleans-focused music program every Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m. Pacific time on KCSN 88.5 FM (public radio station at Cal State Northridge). I hope he won’t mind me quoting one his blog entries from earlier today:

I have to go into KCSN tonight and do a radio show that consists primarily of New Orleans music. It’s what I do every week, but for the last few days I wondered if I was going to be able to do it. I was particularly worried about having to something overly strenuous, such as actually talking on the air without breaking down.

But I think I really need to do this. I’ll have some New Orleans friends with me, and that’ll be a comfort. And it’ll be additionally comforting to know that some of my friends out there are listening too.

We’ll let Kermit do the talking, all about “what is New Orleans”; we’ll listen to Jack Fine and his Palmetto Bug Stompers; we’ll listen to Louis singing about knowing what it means to miss New Orleans. Let’s do it together.

As I write this, tonight’s show will start in one minute.

For those folks who aren’t in the L.A. area to tune in via the radio (or get a weak signal like I do at home), tune in to a live online audio stream. KCSN offers MP3, Windows Media and RealMedia streams in broadband and dial-up flavors.

Posted at 6:59 pm | Filed under Music, News commentary, Radio, NPR, etc. |  

Stay safe

I’ve been avoiding TV news. Instead I’ve been listening to updates on NPR and keeping tabs on what’s going on via the Web, especially reading the Survival of New Orleans blog, a Live Journal written by Michael Barnett, the crisis manager at DirectNIC.com. He’s holed up in the skyscraper that houses the DirectNIC offices, and he’s making these updates describing what he’s experiencing, observing and dealing with in terms of survival, damage and lawlessness. Some of the news he posts is just frightening or otherwise stomach-knot-inducing.

When I first learned of how bad Hurricane Katrina would be, I tried to think of anyone I knew in the area. AFAIK, I don’t know anyone there directly, but you never know. We’re all connected somehow.

I ended up visiting Chuck Taggart’s blog…he used to host a great music show on KCRW a long time ago, and I remembered that he had roots in New Orleans. I also checked DirectNIC.com because I’ve been one of its customers for a number of years now, and knew the company was based in New Orleans.

I don’t have much to say here right now, other than that it’s hard to process just how devastating the aftermath of the hurricane is and will be. Donate what you can: time, money, both. As always, research charities (charitywatch.org, Charity Navigator) and beware of the middlemen scum that will scam you out of your money.

If I keep writing, I know I’ll end up on some sort of rant, so I’ll stop now.

Posted at 6:00 pm | Filed under News commentary |  

Tuesday, 16 August 2005

WordPress 1.5.2

The weekend saw the release of WordPress 1.5.2. It’s a recommended upgrade with a number of modifications and fixes. Check podz’ upgrade support thread for a list of changed files.

Posted at 1:14 am | Filed under WordPress |