Sunday, January 20, 2008

New songs! Ahh!

After a consistent two weeks of too much stress and not enough sleep, my body decided that it was going on strike.  I woke up Friday morning aching from head to toe and I've barely left my bedroom since.  Luckily, I've used what little strength I could muster up to post a new set of songs on my MySpace page!  Say hello to the new Tiger Stance EP, Bee Dances.  All of the songs can be downloaded using the links on the MySpace player.  There are a lot of stereo parts that will sound better with headphones on and since most computer speakers sound like cheap garbage I would encourage you to listen to the mp3s on your portable media player of choice.  All of the new songs were made in Ableton Live, and I have to say that Mike Una and Mike Doughty are right: Live is the fucking bomb.  My upgrade to Live 7 showed up on my doorstep last week and you can be damn sure I'll be taking it for a spin once I'm back at full strength.

The old songs have been moved to my account and will remain there available for download.  If anyone knows of a better service for posting music, I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Three cheers for the metric system!

Last night I was reading a book called Time and the Art of Living, which is a collection of meditations on time by an English professor named Robert Grudin.  I'm in the middle of a chapter in which Grudin is advocating metric time, which would be a system built upon our base-10 numbering system, and I have to admit that it's making a lot of sense.  24 hours in a day?  60 minutes in an hour?  Why make time that difficult to manage or calculate?  And what's up with this clumsy system of 7-day weeks, and months that not only don't line up evenly with those weeks but are also of different lengths?

It turns out that metric time (or decimal time) was actually adopted by the French during the Revolution at the same time as metric spatial measurement.  According to the website A Guide To Metric Time, there were:

  • 10 days in a metric week (called a dekade)
  • 10 metric hours in a day
  • 100 metric minutes in a metric hour
  • 100 metric seconds in a metric minute
Grudin suggests in his book that each year could be made up of 12 months of 30 days (3 weeks) each, with a vacation period of 5 days (6 in a leap year) to account for the remainder.  We could make up 3 new days of the week, and the days of the week would always fall on the same dates every month.

Unfortunately (in my opinion), the French ditched metric time in 1805 after a glorious 12-year run.

(This is a picture of an actual metric clock from around the time of the Revolution.)

As long as I'm complaining, what's up with this crazy language of ours?  The vowels are pronounced differently based on context, there are all sorts of conjugations specific to certain words, I can't end a sentence with a preposition for some reason... wouldn't it just be easier if we all learned Esperanto, the language created by L. L. Zamenhof in the 1880's?  Esperanto was designed to simplify pronunciation, spelling, and conjugation, in the hopes that it would become a universal auxiliary language.  The characters in the 28-letter alphabet (based on the Roman alphabet) are always pronounced the same way, and conjugations are universal - for example, singular nouns always end in -o, plural nouns always end in -oj, present tense verbs always end in -as, etc.  The global Esperanto community is estimated at as many as 2 million people, with somewhere between 200 and 2,000 native speakers.  There are movies, magazines, even college courses conducted entirely in Esperanto.

(Esperanto's flag, worn as a lapel pin to help speakers identify each other)

Esperanto is built well and is supposedly easy to learn, especially for those who already speak a major European language, but over a century after its inception Esperanto still suffers from a lack of exposure, and English is currently far more universal than it appears Esperanto will ever be.

Both metric time and Esperanto are great ideas that could never get a foothold.  I don't plan on learning Esperanto anytime soon, but I would love to own a metric timepiece.  How cool is that clock from the Revolution?!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Just a few quick updates from Johnny HQ.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are already multiple bands named Sub Rosa including one local to Chicago, so I've decided to change my band name. From now on I'll be putting up music under the name Tiger Stance, which appears to be a unique band name after a little bit of Googling and MySpace searching. I just changed the name of my Sub Rosa profile so there will be no re-friending involved.

Also, I'm trying to put the finishing touches on a new batch of songs to post on the MySpace page, which means I'll have to take the old songs down. The songs are all available for download from the page and I'd love it if you all grabbed copies. I just uploaded the mp3 files again with all of the ID3 tag information populated, meaning that when they are imported into iTunes or any other music program they will have the artist information, album info, and even album art all filled in.

I started a new project this week working with Microsoft at their office in downtown Chicago. There are some very smart dudes & ladies working there. It's intimidating.

Soon to come: a blog about good ideas that fail. In the meantime, please enjoy this video of a "real" air guitar that debuted at CES this week.