Off the Top: Entertainment Entries
For your Friday pleasure, there is a special treat for you pixel people lovers at Iconfactory. It is time to take out the tables, well maybe past time, but at least they are doing it. [hat tip to Brian]
I am in Seattle next week for a few days and while there I will be heading to the TechCrunch Party on May 31st. It looks like a good event, as most TechCrunch events go. If you are around you will need to sign-up on the wiki to attend.
I have spent this evening in utter joy. I finally got my hands on some Top Gear episodes. This is a car show from the Beeb. It is bright, entertaining, funny, and informative and may be the best hour I have spent watching television (er, on my computer) in the longest time.
While watching it I kept thinking two things, a how wonderful this show is on a humor and well crafted video car reviews that are extremely entertaining. The other thing I kept thinking was, there is no way that American television could reproduce this.
My normal fodder, should I be let alone with the remote and 200 or so satellite stations, is Fine Living, some BBC America, and some sports (American Football, baseball, and International Football, basketball, and rugby (when the international sporting gods shine their light down upon me)). I have found the I am quite a fan of the Daily Show, but I do not have access to the remote when it is on, so I have to use other means (um, we do have more than one television, but the second one is in a room where it can not be watched and we have not caught up with 4 years ago and picked up a Tivo because, well "because" is the reason).
Needless to say, I am now a huge fan of Top Gear and can not understand why it is not on BBC America. Get your hands on it if you get a chance.
Last night I watch the first of two parts of Empire Falls on HBO. The cast is wonderful, but the story and it depiction on the screen is even better. The tensions of the plot are set up very well. The screenplay keeps chapter breaks and author narration. The flashbacks in time are done wonderfully on the screen and the literary narrative seems like it is playing out well.
I watch very little television any more (too many other things have my attention for the same time). But, Empire Falls has made a wonderful change of pace. I put it up with Band of Brothers as one of my favorite cable movie series.
Ismail Merchant has died. He and James Ivory's creations on films were magic. I clearly remember seeing A Room With A View at the Elmwood Theater in Berkeley, California when it came out. I later saw the film in Oxford, England at the Penultimate Picture Palace as well as on video tape there. The experience watching the film in two different cultures drew me to the film even more. In the U.S. the film was a period piece, but in Britain it was more of a romantic comedy. The film holds up to many watchings revealing details that may have been missed prior (opposed to the book, which has one good reading in it at best). It was this film that not only made me a fan of the Merchant Ivory productions, but made me a better fan or critic of the medium itself.
I have always enjoyed the interviews with Ismail as he adds depth and care to his creations. I believe that it is this care that should be poured into all of our creations and craft of our hands, mind, and soul.
This morning on the way into work I was listening to some music from the jazz pianist Benny Green. There was something that seemed quite odd. It took me a few minutes to put my finger on it, but I finally got it. The audio image was backwards, that is to say left was right and vice versa. Having played the piano for years the sound was mapped completely wrong for me. I expect to have the bass notes in the left ear and the treble in the right, just as it would be were I sitting at the piano.
Since I have had my Sure E2C (the best mobile headphones I have ever owned) I have had to re-rip many CDs to get a better sound quality as the music sounded clipped. I am a huge fan of jazz music and particularly big band and trios each for vastly different reasons. I love big band jazz because of the breadth and depth of the sound. A large horn section can really move me with volume and richness, but a really tight big band (one that move swiftly as one) has me in awe. A trio is the opposite for me, the individuals stand out in the purity of each of the player's talents working together to blend as one. In the trio individual textures are readily apparent like grains of wood showing through in a polished piece of fine furniture.
So why did the "incorrect" sound mapping bother me? When listening to jazz on headphones the only place a spatial separation can be heard in the manner represented is sitting at the keyboard. With a grand piano or at an upright the sound emitting from the piano is greatly diffused, even by the short distance, and the sound can only be heard as one voice from coming out of the piano, not the individual strings nor the left and right.
The problem is most likely attributed to the mike placement during recording. Most often piano is recorded from within the body, with the mike(s) facing the player, hence reversing the spatial relationship. The only way to replicate this sound in person is to sit in the body of a grand piano, which is not usual, nor recommended seating.
Is there a program that will reverse the left and right channels? This is going to bug me to no end. I can not put my headphones in the wrong ears as they do not fit and really do not work that way.
Hunter S. Thompson is dead. The man was truly not like any other and he caused many people to consider thoughts beyond the norm. He was like Zorba the Greek, but with an insanely hard edge as he lived for the moment, but in his own way.
The third Animatrix has been posted, The Detective and it is my favorite so far. The first release is a very close second.