nyankoframe: (*gasp*)
It's been a year since I last posted... whoa. Lots of stuff has happened, which probably should go under a cut!

A year in a few paragraphs )

Work has been really quite busy, with the release of Windows 7 SP1 and other projects still in progress. I've sometimes gotten home around 12 midnight and fed Belle and Lillian, then collapsed in bed. Belle had a minor scare in March when she started losing weight rapidly and developed fatty liver. Fortunately, the vet and I - and other friends who sent their love, light and healing purrs/reiki - were able to reverse it, and she's made a full recovery (and gained a bit too!) She is a lot more agile now and likes climbing up on cat trees.

I recently saw The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which was a 2-hour monologue about Apple, Steve Jobs and conditions in the Chinese factories that produce the vast majority of consumer electronics. Some of the conditions described are literally unspeakable - 14-hour days, 7 days a week, rooms which have beds stacked to the ceiling with about 10 square feet of space, extremely low pay, lack of basic medical care, among others. I will make another post listing some of the things you can do if you believe that this situation should be changed; it's quite Apple-speciifc, but would likely work with other companies as well. [livejournal.com profile] summercomfort, have you seen this? (He started performing in the Bay Area/SF last year and came up to Seattle for a few weeks)
nyankoframe: (The rest is still unwritten)
The Seattle Symphony is having a concert with the Labèque sisters! And it's featuring two-piano music! *squees!!!*

Must... book... tickets...

Hmm, I wonder if I want to attend the season premiere (September 12th) as well - featuring Rach 3 and Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto no. 1. Of course, these concerts are only from the UBS Masterworks series and don't include any other concerts that I might find interesting - I'm sure there will be something else that I like! (The Four Seasons in March... Doc Severinsen at the end of February... Itzhak Perlman... Tasmin Little... in April, Joshua Bell and the Seattle Symphony!?!!!! As well as Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, Holst's The Planets and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue)

Slightly bummed that I'm missing out on Rach 1 and Ravel's La Valse this weekend (Valentine's Day), but oh well...

Details and other concerts under the cut )
nyankoframe: (*sigh*)
Woke up this morning to 48 degree weather outside and what must've been the thickest fog yet this year. Fortunately, I was able to get to work without any trouble.

Work continues to be really intense (and crazy hours), and I'm really looking forward to Phoenix this weekend.

Last Friday I went to Kennelly Keys in Bellevue Square on a whim, and ended up getting two contemporary/classic rock piano duet scores (The Beatles and another one which I can't remember right now, but might've been West Side Story). In addition, I also found...

Cesar Franck's Prelude, Fugue et Variation (op. 18) for two pianos, with both scores. This is a piece I first heard during Touch 2005, and its haunting melody has stayed with me since - it's not a joyful nor extremely morbid piece, but for some reason its melancholy appeals to me.

I almost literally squeeed and ran all around. :D What's even better is that since it had apparently been special-ordered and had been out for more than a week (so the person who ordered it hadn't come to pick it up), I got the score for free and the store will order another copy if requested by the other person.

Now I just need to find a partner and time to perform this with. :D
nyankoframe: (Accidentally in love)
A brief rundown of what I've been up to over the past few weeks, in no particular order:

- Saw Ahmed Jamal perform at Jazz Alley live, which was definitely worth the money (though maybe next time I should try and go with someone :P)
- Attended the CoX meet & greet at PAX, where I met [livejournal.com profile] naeko and [livejournal.com profile] wolfieboy, among other people
- Drove up and down between my apartment and the Seattle Convention Center several times over the PAX weekend
- Actually went to the second day of PAX and sat in on the NCSoft panel, as well as randomly wandering around the exhibit hall and getting a sneak peek at Gears of War 2 as well as Lode Runner for XBLA (!!!)
- Went for the opening night of the Seattle Symphony's 2008/2009 season at [livejournal.com profile] meerkat's suggestion. It was totally worth it! Also, I loved the impromptu rendition of "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" both singers performed as the last item, as well as Aaron Copland's "Simple Gifts" and "I Bought Me A Cat". It is too awesome to describe in a single post, so I'll just have to leave it at that. :D
- I helped [livejournal.com profile] itsacz move from one blob to another, and helped another friend pack up his belongings as he prepared to return to Singapore for good. While it was a lot of work and my arms are still a little sore, I feel good at being able to help, and got some things out of the bargain, too.

I still have about 6 months' worth of photos to post, but that'll have to wait until I'm at home.
nyankoframe: (Default)
One thing I didn't realize about last.fm before is that you can listen to your own radio station. ^^;;

Funnily enough, it only works when you're not logged in (when I log in I'm prompted to subscribe???). Some of the tracks are from rather obscure sources though, or live versions; I don't have anything in particular against live versions except that the announcers sometimes get a bit jarring. But it's a great way to listen to music when I run out of music to listen to at work. :)

(And yes, [livejournal.com profile] meiyo_chan, I got your message~ Thank you! :3 And I'll listen to your recording when I get home~ ^^)

Lately I've been thinking of applying to grad school. Some friends of mine (whose undergraduate degree was in EE) are planning on applying to law school (at UW, or elsewhere), while others are studying there right now.

Personally, I'm not quite sure where I stand on it. I guess it comes down to what one can achieve with just a bachelor's degree or what one wants to do... though I doubt I'd be able to get into grad school that easily with my results (considering I haven't taken the SAT or GRE before either), and I'm not sure what exactly I want to study. I don't see myself having the patience to deal with law, and IS tends to be rather dry with not much real-world experience. That leaves CS which I'm not really sure I want to do (finite-state automata? language design? HCI??) for the next few years.

There's also the issue of attending full-time or part-time while continuing to work. If I go full-time, I'll need to make sure that I can get a scholarship as well as save for it, but in that case I'd be able to study whatever I wanted to. If I do it part-time while ocntinuing to work, my options are somewhat more limited (the courses have to be something that will help me in my work), but Microsoft will pay for a majority of the tuition.

Anyway, it's not something I'm worrying my head off about right now. :P
nyankoframe: (Default)
I got an email last night that they were ready, and so I listened to them this morning.

I can't believe I played like that ^^;; But in any case, I have the recordings now. Leave a comment if you'd like to hear them~
nyankoframe: (Default)
I watched 타짜   (Tajja - War of Flowers) on Wednesday, and it was a really interesting movie. It centered around several gamblers and various card games, and ways that people would cheat at the card games and double-cross each other. There was quite a bit of violence, blood, nudity, sex and other things, but those didn't detract from the story line at all. ^^;;

It was really a good movie and I was really fortunate to be able to watch it with a (Korean) classmate of mine and his friend. :)

The Open Mic went off pretty well, although I had forgotten to take a stand and bench, so I had to put my keyboard on a table and sit in a chair. ^^;;; The keyboard vibrated quite a bit, but I was still able to give a pretty good performance. I'll see whether I can share out the recordings once I get them...

[Edit] I performed Souvenir de Porto Rico, Swipesy and Maple Leaf Rag, and I think a lot of people were really enchanted by Souvenir. ^^;
nyankoframe: (Default)
My item's from 5:50 pm to 6:10 pm, or thereabouts, and I'm pretty excited about the chance to perform in front of people again!

I'm also looking forward to listening to the rest of the concert. :)
nyankoframe: (Default)
I didn't mention this before, but I got an email yesterday asking me for a short 250-word synopsis.

I'm so happy! ^_^

And now I know (almost to the minute) what time my item will be, though I encourage everyone (or at least those who are eligible to ^^;;; ) to attend the whole concert.

Now to work on getting my "set" ready. :P

Edit: The concert is on May 3rd, and my item is around 5:21, in case anyone was wondering.
nyankoframe: (Default)
So today I went to the first Microsoft Open Mic, which was basically a two-hour concert where various people/bands could perform their music to an audience. There were about 30 people, which is a lot more than I was expecting. ^^;;

There were a lot of different genres of music on offer, ranging from rock to jazz, soulful melodies to energetic beats, and there were a whole lot of instruments, too. ^_^ There were lots of guitars, keyboards, drums, saxophones and so on.

And a bagpipe.

Yes, a bagpipe.

It was so jaw-droppingly awesome that I just had to tap my feet to the beat as I listened, and I really thought that I was in Scotland. ^_^

I hope that the next Open Mic will be at least as successful! Even if I might not be performing in it
nyankoframe: (Default)
So, I'm on a mailing list at work, and I posted a question about performance opportunities, and someone replied saying that he was going to organize an Open Mic event. In case you don't know what that is, it's basically like a free concert which doesn't have a fixed genre. So far, I think there are about 6 or 7 items, including several bands, and possibly even a jazz sextet (I think).

And... I'm thinking of performing some (maybe two or three) ragtime pieces. ^^;;;; I need to buy a keyboard first and practice like crazy, after my first paycheck I haven't decided exactly which ones yet, but I have some in mind, including possibly a certain ghostly rag. :P

I'm somewhat nervous about it, of course, but... We'll see how it goes?

In other news, mee goreng is coming up soon, and [livejournal.com profile] itsacz will finally get the chance to try my cooking and provide an unbiased review. Hopefully that will be enough to silence the critics such as [livejournal.com profile] wao... ^^;;;
nyankoframe: (Default)
It turns out one of the windows in my bedroom can be raised a little bit. That helped. ^^;;

Yesterday was a pretty exciting, although somewhat eventful and busy, day at work. Two of my colleagues were leaving, so we went out for lunch, and had a nice informal gathering. It's great and I really hope there will be more of these on a more regular basis, not just when people come and go. I also finally managed to apply for my Social Security number in the morning, and there were no problems with my documentation, so everything is just peachy and I should be able to get my number next week (the card will, of course, take somewhat longer).

I also had a meeting in the afternoon with my team manager, at which I was basically assigned two items to work on (in stages, of course!) They're huge, but I think if I can execute them successfully, my work will really get noticed. The converse is, of course, also true.. ^^;;;

I went for a CNY dinner with [livejournal.com profile] itsacz and it was pretty good to see people there, even if we didn't really have chances to interact with them much apart from at the buffet table. There was some dinner, which was tasty enough that I didn't mind that the satay finished very quickly... And some musical items that we listened to before we left (I was feeling tired and had to cycle back from work) were really nice. :)

Two Chinese pieces (if only I could remember their names) - guzheng (古箏), a 16-26 stringed zither with movable bridges (so hence somewhat similar to a harp)

Spanish Dance by Sarasate (not from it, as per [livejournal.com profile] meganemagic's comment, though I don't know which one was performed) - solo violin (not sure who the composer is). I'm very sure that the girl who performed this couldn't have been older than 8, and she was so good, too, especially performing it like it was a solo recital (from memory) and with so much emotion and musical richness... ^^;;;

Mozart's "Eine Klein Nachtmusik", 1st movement (allegro) - string quartet (unfortunately, I forgot their names)

All the performers are already very talented and not nervous on stage. ^^;;; They also have very American accents, but that's not surprising

I've got some plans lined up for Saturday evening and Sunday (hopefully the whole day), so I probably won't be around during those times. If you celebrate Chinese New Year, have a happy and prosperous one! If you don't, then you can either enjoy Monday off (if you're in the US and don't have to work on that day, which doesn't include me or [livejournal.com profile] itsacz), or have a great weekend!

See you all soon. :)
nyankoframe: (Default)
Besides the # entries/comments received/posted meme which I did a few entries back, here are some others that I thought of:

- How prolific are you at commenting? (# comments posted/received) If this number is greater than one, then you give more than you get. If not, then the reverse is true. :P

In my case (as of today), I've posted 1,978 comments and received 1,722, so that works out to a ratio of 1.149 comments posted for each comment received. I guess this means I give a lot? ^^;;;

How many tags do you have and how often do you use them? )

And cats has only been used as a tag 17 times. That needs to change and I hope it will. ^^;;

Sorry for all the spam today~
nyankoframe: (Default)
So, yeah, I'm back. I needed some time off, but not that much.

Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] el_espada for the CD yesterday, and to redacted as well for the wonderful time I spent with them and for even escorting me to the interchange :)

I'll be sad to miss both of you when I go whenever that is... but... let's keep in touch! ^^

So, following in [livejournal.com profile] haplo3k's footsteps...

Journal entries: 913 914
Comments posted: 1,952
Comments received: 1,698

I wonder whether I'll hit 2,000 comments posted or received before I hit 1,000 journal entries. :P
nyankoframe: (myu~)
I just thought it was one or the other. :P

Lyrics )

So yeah... I'm a bored and depressed pianist! XD
nyankoframe: (Default)
But first, a random link:

Me, 'Person of the Year'? No thanks

This is an interesting counterpoint to the "Person of the Year: You" issue of Time magazine and the subsequent coverage focusing on the power of social networking sites and their users. (Sites like MySpace, YouTube, Google, FaceBook, LinkedIn and so on.) The author of this article argues that it is true that users do have a lot of power, but that they are also being profiled, data-mined, and marketed to; so they are not necessarily the ones who have the most power:

Selected quotes from the article )

This fits in with my own observations and is the reason why I won't (at least for the foreseeable future) join any more social networking sites (LJ can be considered as one in some sense). The other reason is that I'm also lazy in terms of making the investment needed.

On another note, my eyesight has deteriorated by 50 degrees in the left eye and 75 degrees in the right to -1175/-1200 degrees respectively. Part of this might be because my lenses have become scratched and thus more blurred, so my eyes have to work much harder to maintain the same distance. I've noticed lately that I tend to get more headaches and eye strain after working at the computer a lot or reading a lot of scores. Right now I'm deciding whether to get a new pair of lenses before leaving or do that once I'm in the US; a new pair of lenses will cost more than $200 here.

I've been going through and rearranging my CDs, and inspired by [livejournal.com profile] kamenreader and his manga collection, I decided to sort them out. Here are the results behind several cuts. This is, as far as I know, my complete CD collection, though in the process of rearranging my room and packing I may discover more CDs, and it's possible I may buy even more before going. :P

My CD collection, sorted by name )

Sorted by genre )

Sorted by year (of pressing/manufacture, not of purchase) )
nyankoframe: (Default)
I bought a lot of CDs last Saturday and on Thursday. Here's a listing (including CDs that I have given/will give as presents):

List of CDs bought )

In other news...

There's a new season of Victorian Romance Emma airing next Spring (if you want to download the first season, torrents are available here)! And MAX FACTORY is also offering this Victorian Emma figurine for sale in January 2007. At 6,800 yen (US$57.16 / S$88.07), it's not cheap, though...

*dies of excitement*
nyankoframe: (Default)
This is the second piece which I originally wanted to do earlier this morning together with the first one, but I ran out of time. :P

My analysis is based on the piano version, but the vocal version is similar in its underlying harmonies and melodies. As always, this analysis may contain mistakes, and it's not meant to be definitive in any way or form. It's just my attempt to understand why I like this song. :)

Title: Modokashii Sekai no Ue de (Sasakura Yuugo arr. Shimada Masanori / Makino Yui)
Key: G major

I can't take any credit for transliterating the lyrics into romaji, which must instead go to a very good friend of mine who offered her services.

Lyrics for Modokashii Sekai no Ue de )

All chord notations are based upon Roman numerals corresponding to the notes of the scale. Thus for G major, I (the tonic) is G, II (the supertonic) is A, III (submediant) is B, IV (subdominant) is C, V (dominant) is D, VI (mediant) is E and VII ("leading note", which leads to the tonic) is F♯.

The song starts with an introductory section in G major, in the following chord progression:

a) I - VI [embellished] - IV - V

There are three repeating chord progressions for the main melody:

b) [I - VI - IV - III♮ - IV] x2
c) V - IV - III♮ - VI♯ - VII (C♯)
d) II - V

The refrain follows the pattern of:

e) [I - VI - IV - V] x2
f) VI - V - IV - I - V - I (with a chromatically descending progression from VI to IV)

And the ending is as follows:

g) I - [IV - V]x3 - V - I

In tonal classical music, the "perfect cadence" (V - I) is one of the most common ways to end a piece or a section of music, because it represents a finality of the musical flow as the piece returns to its "home" in the tonic chord I (with the tonic and the dominant) from a chord (V) that contains both the leading note and dominant.

Apart from the use of G major as this piece's key -- a key which conveys a feeling of optimism and upbeat outlook -- the use of perfect cadences in f) and g) helps convey a feeling of closure to their respective sections. In the case of the refrain f), it marks the end of the refrain and allows the next section to start without sounding like a continuation of the refrain. At g), the perfect cadence ends the piece as a whole.

The interrupted cadences (chord progressions ending in V) in a), d) and e) are not as "powerful" as a perfect cadence would be, but they also serve a similar purpose in concluding their respective sections. Arguably, replacing these cadences with a perfect cadence in each case destroys the character of the music, because the melody no longer flows from each section to its subsequent refrain at d), and placing a perfect cadence at a) doesn't serve much purpose.

Progressions b) and c) are interesting in their musical development. Although b) contains an altered chord (the III♮, which is B - D - F♮), and c) adds two more altered chords (VI♯, E - G♯ - B and VII(C♯), F♯ - A - C♯), they still sound like perfectly natural progressions in the context of the key. There's also a sense of buildup from the I at the beginning of b) through to the VII at the end of c), with the last IV chord in b) and the first V chord of c) acting as a form of bridge between the two progressions, and this buildup manifests itself in the powerful II (minor) chord followed by a V (major). The vocals also correspondingly build up from the beginning of each verse to the end, before breaking out into the refrain.

So, in short, the reason (or at least, one of the reasons) why I like this piece is because it employs a lot of tonal concepts - concepts that seem to be somewhat "outdated" now with the rise of pop- or rock-themed songs that don't generally subscribe to concepts of tonality, and especially in a genre such as anime.

This song is most definitely a keeper. :)
nyankoframe: (Default)
My aim in this post isn't to provide any sort of comprehensive analysis of why I like these songs. :P Rather, it's just to share my thoughts about why I like them, without much justification.

Promise me (Kasia Rodowicz):
Keys: C minor / A flat major (with various chords borrowed from other keys as well)

Lyrics for Promise Me )

Transcribing this song's lyrics involved searching for the lyrics online and cross-referencing, because some words were just hard to get right on a first listen. It helps that this song is quite famous, though. ^_^;; I like this song because of its use of a lot of borrowed chords, especially for the first two verses, which are in C minor and convey a bittersweet, melancholy feeling, of separation even as two people are close together. It modulates into A-flat major during the chorus, but even then there's still an undercurrent of longing and hope from the use of many 7th chords and accidentals.

I'll finish this post when I'm more alert. There's another song I wanted to talk about, but I can't really listen to it right now. ^^;; To make it easier to follow these posts, I decided to separate each song into its own entry and use the tags. ^^;
nyankoframe: (myu~)
Especially a basket of kittens (consider, for example, my Gmail display name) ^_^ Though I can't claim to be as cute as a basket of kittens. ^^;;

Totally yanked from [livejournal.com profile] chibi_nasu:

Meme-thingy )

Lyrics )

Profile

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