Saturday, January 28, 2006

Christmas a Couple of Weeks Late

We finally sort of had Christmas last weekend with my family - long time coming, short time lasting but a lot of fun.

Photo 1: Dad was the recipient of the smoking monkeys - the dreaded family gag gift that had been lost in my sister's house for a couple of years before returning into circulation.

Photo 2: My nephew the Pastafarian. We're not sure why he was later photographed wearing his gray bankie like a burka.

Photo 3: My best-bestowed present of the seasion - Dad's Carolina dreads. I'm not sure he's taken them off this week - I know he was wearing them at Foxfire for lunch when the Red Hat Society ladies showed up. I understand he was chosen as having the best hat. Yay me!

Note to PC Since He Won't Allow Comments in his Journal Thingy

Dude, Numb3rs is not "some damn cop show or other". Get with the program here -





It would be the Best. Show. On. Television. if My Name is Earl wasn't so fucking outrageously funny.

Crosseyed and Painless

Instead of starting the Talking Heads DuoDisk collection with 77 as I suggested earlier, I picked up Remain in Light last night with the B&N gift card I got for Christmas. It seemed to be the best choice to really see how much difference both the remastering and the 5.1 surround made to the mix. After getting it home and opening it up, I read the liner notes and Jerry Harrison was pretty much on the same wavelength:
Remain in Light was the first album we remixed for 5.1. It seemed to be the perfect place to start. The overlapping, contrapuntal parts can now be heard in all their glory. From the three-dimensional swirl of "Once in a Lifetime" to the staggered choruses of "The Great Curve" to the hypnotic drone of "The Overload," Remain in Light is as dense an album as we ever produced...
Yes, indeedy. It's good - boy howdy it's good! We popped the DVD side into the player in the family room with the home theater system as soon as we got home and cranked up "Crosseyed and Painless" in 5.1 Surround and it knocked my socks off. There are also a couple of videos from a German television show that are pretty fun, but if you've got the DVD for Stop Making Sense they're not crucial (except for the addition of Adrian Belew in the TV bits). I'm listening to the remastered CD side now on the audio computer in my office (with the Klipsch speakers and the Soundblaster Audigy card) and "Born Under Punches" sounds unbelievably good.

My biggest fear after reading reviews on Amazon was whether it would play on my equipment. Both the DVD and CD side played flawlessly on my 3 or 4 year old Pioneer DVD player. The CD side plays fine on the audio computer and I was able to rip it to the hard drive with no problem at all (I'm actually listening to the CD I just burned from it since I don't want to risk the DualDisk in the car). The only thing that hasn't worked is the DVD side in the drive in my audio computer, but that's no big deal for me (and it worked fine in the DVD drive on my general purpose PC).

Given that I'm using older hardware and still have had relatively few problems with the format, I'm guessing you won't either. I would just suggest burning a user copy of the CD side, since the DualDisk format is horribly prone to scratches, and using the original just for the DVD player. The sound is flawless, so even if you replaced your old vinyl versions of these albums with CDs, I would highly recommend these remastered versions from Rhino. I intend to get them all.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tyler Hansbrough

Unlike a lot of people I know, I did not grow up a Carolina basketball fan. I remember hanging out in the bedroom listening to the Tennessee Vols on the radio (Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld!) while my folks watched Vanderbilt lose another one on TV. It wasn't until we moved to North Carolina when I was starting high school that I found out about the Heels. It was actually watching a State-Carolina game while we were still living in Georgia and seeing a freshman Phil Ford drive against the acknowledged best player in the game (David Thompson), do a 360 in the lane around him and lay in a fingertip roll. From that point I was hooked on the Heels.

In that time, there have been a number of guys that have had their jerseys honored in the rafters, but few of them have been centers. Of the ones that were, a number of them were really power forwards playing out of position, like Sam Perkins and Rasheed Wallace. We have had some damn fine centers, though, from Perkins and Brad Daugherty through Scott Williams and Eric Montross and on to Brendan Haywood and Sean May. But Tyler Hansbrough may very well be the best of them all. Even as a freshman he seems to have May's hands, Perkins' ability to put the ball on the floor and Montross' absolute will to win. Just starting into conference play and he's already been named ACC Freshman of the Week 6 times (and he's got well over 20 points already tonight against BC). I know he hasn't been tested against Eric or Sheldon Williams yet, but he's played against some pretty fine centers and has impressed against all of them. Even though it's too late to save the game, he even just hit a freakin' three pointer! I don't usually gush about freshmen, but this guy is something special.

Yeah, we lost to BC, dropping to 3-3 in the conference, but we knew it would be an "eventful" season. We've got some great kids on the team but they really are kids and it's going to take some time. But they're fun to watch, even when they lose, and they're only going to get better.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

That Alumni-Student Thing

Went to the Alumni Association networking thing tonight and my only contact with students was pointing three of them over to the guy from Glaxo. ;-)

It was okay, though - had a chance to talk to some interesting folks, including the founder of a small company in RTP that designs video gaming tech for the military (Ender's Game, anyone?) and an older guy that had been at Texas Instruments and involved in some of the development around DSP technology. Interesting conversations as you might imagine!

But the best part was catching Greg Hohn as he was about to run out the door. I don't know Greg well - only as a friend of friends - but we had a fascinating conversation about improvisation and business. Greg's been teaching a course on improv at the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at UNC for the last few years (he's the director of Transactors Improv for those that don't know) and doing improv seminars for businesses, all of which I think is a terrific way to loosen people up and get them to think more creatively (I've found that walking up to someone and saying "Now, think outside the box" really doesn't work very well). I let him know that if the business grows enough that he needs minions, I'll sign up!

Anyway, no real opportunity to warp young minds this time, but I'll keep looking for every chance!

Thank You For Sending Me An Angel (Remastered)

Manomanoman! Just saw today that Rhino has released the first four Talking Heads albums as individual "DualDiscs" with the digitally remastered CD on one side of the disc and a DVD version on the other containing 5.1 Surround remixes (supervised by Jerry Harrison I believe) and some bonus goodies. Pretty much the entire catalog came out last fall in this format but was only available as a very expensive box set. Currently Talking Heads: 77, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music and Remain in Light are out as individual (and reasonably priced) DualDiscs with the final four studio discs to follow next month.

Now after reading the reviews in Amazon, my enthusiasm is tempered somewhat as it appears that a number of people have had trouble getting one side or the other to play properly and I don't have the newest DVD player by any means. But it's worth trying one first and then picking up the others if I don't have any trouble. I'm embarassed to say that I do not own a copy (in any format) of 77, excused only in that I have some of the cuts on other TH comps and live albums like The Name of This Band is Talking Heads or Sand in the Vaseline - but really there's no good excuse. So I'll probably pick that one up first and make sure I can play it.

Hurray for Christmas money!! :-D