18 November 2007

Random things for Today

Random sound link for Today: http://www.sound101.org/index.php.

Random inquiry for Today (No. 1): Remember when Southwest had seats that faced backwards? Do they still have those?

Random thought for Today: If I were to create a
Second Life, my propensity for all things Geek would most likely lead to it becoming my First Life.

Random musical suggestion for Today:
Mary J. Blige - Growing Pains (in stores in December).

Random inquiry for Today (No. 2): Of all the possible catchy-songs-I-don't-want-stuck-in-my-head-all-weekend, why oh why oh why did Jeep have to pick Andy Kim's Rock Me Gently? It's bonehead moves like that that make me swear off a product...

Random acoustics-article-you-should-read Today

Finally, Random advice for Today: In your life, strive to get at least one person to call you a sesquipedalian.

11 November 2007

decialexanders re 20 microblaises

Been catching up on some periodical reading lately. To that end:

  • If you're a Syn-Aud-Con member, check out Jim Sorensen's column ("Sorensen Sez...") in the Fall 2007 newsletter. It was right in line with all the bloviating I've been doing about the names of things. (The title of this blog was developed using Jim's concepts.)
  • If you subscribe to Sound & Vibration Magazine, you should check out the, IMHO, excellent S&V Observer piece from the September 2007 issue. If you don't get it, you can still read it online (PDF), albeit with a few typos.
  • Finally, I noticed some nice pictures of the post-production facility at Lakewood Church in (and on the cover of) the September 2007 issue of Church Production magazine. I happen to know that the live room acoustical treatments (visible through the control room window in the cover photo - which, sadly, I could not find a good view of on their site*) were installed back in 2005 by a really cool dude and a few of his equally really cool colleagues at Auralex and RBDG, Inc. A nice article - "Pillar to Post" by Dan Daley - about post-production in houses of worship accompanies the photos. Looks like you'll have to find/buy a back issue to appreciate it, though.

*See also a 2006 press release for a reasonably similar photo.

05 November 2007

Tags of Steel...or nickel-plated zinc alloy, at least...

In case I never said, I'm a complete Superman freak.*
To that end, I can hardly contain my excitement; I received my shipment of Superman dog tags today. Oh yes. I haven't been this excited since I bought my wife a Napoleon Dynamite pen that says "Sweet" or "Lucky" or "Whatever I feel like I wanna do; GOSH!" (et al) when you click it. Now, I can be a complete Kryptonian-übergeek and feel good about it, too. Superman dog tags are available at the WB store, they look like this:
and 100% of the profits go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which I've also added to my list of links to the right.
If you know any Superman fans, these would make a GREAT stocking-stuffer.
Go Forward.
*Home of Clark Kent (and Savant) is No. 5 on the list of reasons why Kansas is the coolest place to live. Sandwiched right between No. 4, Tsunami-Free for at Least 6 Million Years, and No. 6, I Have Fossils in My Backyard, Do You?

04 November 2007


Well, it's that time of year again. And since I have a blog this year, I get to share with you, the innocent reader, my loathing of the biannual tradition that is Daylight Savings Time (DST). There are so many things to despise here, I hardly know where to begin my rant.

Should I start by pointing out that a great number of people in the U.S. believe that we are actually "saving" daylight, thus magically increasing or decreasing the amount of daylight simply by adjusting our clocks? Ah, the power of the clock dial. If we truly had this much power with our clocks, none of us would ever be late to work again: "What? I'm not late; I set my clock back 10 minutes, so I'm actually early. Didn't you get my e-mail? I sent it to you later this afternoon."

Or perhaps I should start by pointing out that hardly a soul knows the exact origin of DST. Everyone from Ben Franklin (wrong) to farmers (wrong) to retailers (wrong) and so on has been attributed with giving us the "gift" of DST. (For the truth, see the Wiki entry on DST, or Michael Downing's book.)

There is no evidence that suggests DST is good for anything. It certainly has been proven to be bad for certain things, like international travel. It is unnatural. It has been blamed for an increase in traffic accidents. Computers, or, more likely, the humans programming them, are notoriously bad at keeping track of it. Case in point: Watching game 4 of World Series last weekend, I noticed that the scoreboard clock at Coors Field had already "fallen back."

Of course, studying its benefits is even more ridiculous than the concept itself. We're like a bunch of lab rats. Make the humans go from 24 to 23 hours every Spring and measure the effects. Gosh, it could lead to more traffic deaths. Let's do it anyway.

For a good portion of my life, I studied and worked in Indiana. Indiana used to be one of three states that did not observe DST, which suited me just fine, as you might imagine. I used to get a chuckle from out-of-state people who made a big deal about not understanding what time it was in Indiana. Like we were the backwards ones because we didn't observe the protocols for clock-changing that had been mandated by the government for reasons no one truly understands. But, alas, Indiana managed to take a big step backwards a couple years ago when, instead of leading the charge to abolish the practice of DST in the other 47 states, they conformed, jumped on the bandwagon, and joined the eastern time zone for good. Makes me sad, but I can't complain because I don't live there anymore.

I could go on about this for quite some time as I have given it entirely too much thought. (But, what the heck? I've got an "extra" hour today, right?) What it all comes down to for me is the measuring stick I often use when trying to ascertain the relative idiocy of a certain action. I call it, "What Would a Visiting Interstellar Traveler Say?"

Interstellar Traveler: What are you doing?
Savant: Setting the clocks in my house back one hour.
IST: Why?
Savant: Because it's Daylight Savings Time.
IST: That is silly. You cannot save daylight.
Savant: We do it twice a year.
IST: That is ridiculous.
Savant: So's electing anyone named Bush or Clinton to the White House, but we
keep doing that, too.
IST: That explains a little, but not enough. Humans are not intelligent. We will now annihilate the Earth.
Savant: Cool. Hey, nice tentacles, by the way. Would you mind getting that clock
in the den for me?

We don't need DST. If we want "more" daylight, we need to get out of bed earlier. Newsflash: Time is arbitrary. If the perceived amount of daylight (i.e., how much we see because we're awake) is really that important to us, I propose we split the difference between winter and summer, adjust the clocks ahead a half hour come next spring, abolish DST once and for all, and never have to deal with this clock-changing business ever again. (If I just lost you, then there should be a new law that takes away your legal right to own a clock.)

Of course, we do need something to remind us to change the batteries in our smoke detectors. After all, what better way to remind someone to change the battery in something that could save their life than to have them fiddle with all the clocks before they go to bed?

Resistance is futile.