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May 30, 2007

Situations

Do you ever associate music with a particular time in your life? Perhaps you associate it with a specific event?

Sometimes, when I listen to music, I associate a song with an imaginary situation because it seems so very fitting.

Right now, I'm listening to the song Going, Going, Gone by Stars. It's on their album called Nightsongs.

Picture a quiet winter night in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Cars are parked along the street, and the sidewalks are covered with freshly fallen snow. The air is soft and quiet, clean houses line the view, and a single living room is lit by an antique lamp. Inside that living room is a woman in her mid-twenties, looking through a photo album of her mother's. Her mother passed away last week, and she has been spending every night since then mourning, imagining the life her mother lived and wishing for things that never had the chance to happen. She regrets the times she put her mother off for an engagement with friends or a late night at the office. But, what is there to do now but think about what could have been?

Watching her through the window, this song should be playing. "You're twenty-three, but how can that be? You're still hooked on cellophane, killing time with gin and lime. Each second numbs the pain," the song says, aptly channeling the poor girl's feelings. "I'm scared, but I'm OK," it continues.

Going, Going, Gone seems like such a perfect song for this situation.

Do you ever imagine situations for which a song would be appropriate?

And, then, the song quips, "All I see again is me everywhere."

May 28, 2007

Second Bloggiversary

Two years ago today, I wrote my first blog entry here. It was pretty terrible, but it was a rant about terrible service at a restaurant, so I guess the shoe fits.

Since then, this blog has matured. It has attracted many visitors and has been host to a number of intellectually stimulating conversations spanning the realms of food, travel, education, computers, and myriad other topics.

There have even been 746 hits to a useful tip I wrote that allows people to install iTunes, among other things, on Windows Vista. In fact, if you search for vbscript vista on the Microsoft Live Search utility, that particular blog entry comes first in the list.

Recently, I haven't been writing much because I don't have much to write. In the past week, I considered mentioning a ban on high-altitude football, Venezuela's latest slide toward communism, daredevil skiing, and soft drinks that damage DNA, but that would just be meta-news, and I don't really have strong opinions on any of those things. The daredevil skiing, though, sounds like a really fun way to break one's neck.

Thank you for your continuing visits and comments. I hope to have something with more depth to write soon.

May 23, 2007

Commencement Photos

Yesterday, I wrote an entry about my master's degree commencement ceremony and the extended weekend I spent with my family.

Last night, my sister did me the favor of uploading most of them to her personal web gallery. You can find them all in a special album there.

I don't normally post photos of myself here because that's a little weird, but I'm very proud to be able to call Carnegie Mellon University my alma mater, and the following eight images, probably the very best of the whole lot, show that pride precisely. Oh, and the second one shows Bill Cosby giving his keynote address!

May 22, 2007

Commencement

Because Carnegie Mellon University only has one commencement per year, in May, I was not able to traditionally graduate when I finished my master's degree last December. I received the diploma in March, and that was all well and good, but this past Sunday's official commencement really made me proud to be a graduate of Carnegie Mellon.

My parents, sister, and aunt and uncle from Massachusetts turned up last Thursday to spend a long weekend here, graze through some of Pittsburgh's best restaurants, chat and drink wine, visit The Andy Warhol Museum, and attend my rainy-then-warm-and-sunny commencement. Yesterday, their flights all departed within about 20 minutes of each other.

The commencement was incredible, with bagpipes, formalities, and even Bill Cosby walking a Scottish Terrier up to the stage, where he would later receive an honorary doctorate and give a humorous but inspiring keynote address. We took a number of pictures after the ceremony, many of which are quite good. I'll post them here after my mom downloads them from her camera and sends them to me.

Excepting a problem my mom experienced with Continental Airlines food on her flight to Pittsburgh, we all enjoyed the diverse food we ate over the weekend. Following is a list of the restaurants where we dined, hopefully in roughly chronological order.

If you're ever in Pittsburgh, I advise eating at as many of those restaurants as possible. Well, maybe not Quaker Steak & Lube, since it's generally overrun by high school kids with nothing better to do.

Oh, and in not-at-all-related news, Carnegie Mellon recently inducted Data, of Star Trek notoriety, into the Robot Hall of Fame. How very cool!

Update (May 23): An entry containing commencement photos has been posted.

May 11, 2007

The Organic Revolution

Prince Charles, the stodgy and conservative heir to the throne, as it turns out, is a key figure in the organic food revolution and an outspoken proponent of sustainable agriculture. He has a 15-acre garden at his estate, raises rare breeds of cattle and pigs, and even makes a hobby of hedge laying.

Check out the International Herald Tribune article about him and his views on agriculture and the environment.

May 04, 2007

Web Radio Royalties

Web radio may be entirely gone very soon.

Why, you ask? Because the United States Copyright Royalty Board, in March, decided on new royalty rates for web radio stations. Not only are these rates ridiculous, they are also retroactive through 2006.

Newsweek says over 50 million Americans listen to Internet radio each month, and every single one of them will be affected by these new fees.

Digitally Imported, one of my favorite web radio stations, estimates they will owe an incredible $2 million by July 15th, if the Internet Radio Equality Act (H.R. 2060) is not allowed to pass. Other stations, like SomaFM, expect similar fees, which nominally range between 100% and 500% of revenue, according to Digitally Imported.

If you enjoy listening to web radio, check out SaveNetRadio.org. You can also read more about this situation at Digitally Imported's blog.

May 01, 2007

May Day, 2007


President Bush speaking aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003
Here we are, friends, in the long-awaited May of 2007.

It was a scant four years ago, on May 1, 2003, that our august leader declared our Iraq mission to be accomplished, after landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln, half-way around the world from the Middle East, in a flashy display of Navy air superiority.

But, let's not be critical of our wonderful president. It's a new year, after all! It's 2007.

Some would call today a beautiful day in Pittsburgh. The temperatures are in the low 70s in the shade, it's sunny, and the weather is not unlike that in Buenos Aires right now. Ah, to be back in Buenos Aires.

In completely unrelated news of which many of you are probably aware, the most attractive presidential candidate in France's history, Ségolène Royal, is vying with certainly one of the most pompous presidential candidates France has ever seen, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the second round of elections, to take place May 6. From a global economic perspective, I'm rooting for center-right Messr. Sarkozy, but when it comes to the people of France, I think they would generally be better served by socialist Mme. Royal. Do any of you have any thoughts on the upcoming French run-off election?

Secretly, I had hoped far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen would have won or, at least, come out of the first round of elections still standing. I don't like his policies; I just think it would have been hilarious to watch.

Enjoy your May!