# Posts Tagged ‘music’

## Samson (Regina Spektor)

Posted by Patrick on June 2, 2009

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed
And history books forgot about us and the bible didn’t mention us
And the bible didn’t mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came fallin’ on our heads
But they’re just old light, they’re just old light
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed
Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light
And he told me that I’d done alright
And kissed me ’til the mornin’ light, the mornin’ light
And he kissed me ’til the mornin’ light

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
Oh, we couldn’t bring the columns down
Yeah we couldn’t destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the bible didn’t mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first

At first I thought this was the sad story of Delilah who, after falling in love with Samson, betrayed him with a hair cut. Now, I’m starting to think that it’s the very opposite: a beautiful story where, in an alternate universe, love prevailed over power, and Samson was more than willing to relinquish strength and glory for the love of a woman and a normal life.

Of course, I could just look it up online to find out about more the few lines that still puzzle me, but I think I’ll just continue to listen to it on repeat and see where my imagination takes me…

Thanks to Ricardo for pointing me towards this amazing singer!

## Psychological Momentum

Posted by Patrick on April 12, 2009

Tryo said it well: “plus on en fait, plus on en fait [...] moins on en fait, moins on en fait” (the more we do, the more we do [...], the less we do, the less we do). Momentum is great when it’s in the direction you want to go, but when it’s not, it’s a pain to fight!

Back in November, I had to get surgery on my toe. Not a big deal except that I had to stop cycling, and climbing. My toe is doing alright now (I still have very sensitive scar tissue), but I’ve been finding it difficult to get back in my routine. I didn’t realize how much I had missed climbing and biking, and how much stopping these activities made me less motivated to do a lot of other, unrelated things (like study Chinese). I also didn’t expect how difficult it would be to start again…

Finally, this week, I decided it was time. For the past two evenings, I’ve been going to the climbing wall at the university (I’m so out of shape!) And I started studying Chinese again. It really helps that my roommate showed me this really cool coffee house (literally a house with tables in the living room and the bed rooms). So today, I decided to bike there to study some Chinese. I think I’ll make this place my new work place: it’s really cool, and they’ve got free wireless…

I don’t want to speak too soon, but it sure feels good to be rolling again!

The Caf’e Ant & Cat’s Livingroom at 西門街135號 is a little tricky to find…

Beautiful Kitchen in plain view.

## Re: Your Brains

Posted by Patrick on March 5, 2009

Jonathan Coulton [1]

To those of you who would like to hear the brain song… The writer is Jonathan Coulton [2]. All of his songs are licensed Creative Commons by-nc [3], which means that we are allowed to copy his music, give it to others, and remix it as long as we say where it comes from and that we don’t make money off it.

So here’s “Re: Your Brains” [4] that I copied from YouTube and put on our server so that listening to it wouldn’t slow our internet.

1. Jonathan Coulton Picture, <http://www.jonathancoulton.com/primer>
2. Jonathan Coulton Homepage, <http://www.jonathancoulton.com>
4. Jonathan Coulton, Re: Your Brains, <http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3896319/MiscFiles/JonathanCoulton_ReYourBrains.mp4>

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

## Mandelbrot Set (the song)…

Posted by Patrick on February 26, 2009

This started with a song by Jonathan Coulton [1] that I didn’t really understand. After exploring a few wikipedia and youtube pages, I thought I’d share my results so that you too can appreciate the talent of this geeky musician…The idea is simple: What is the shape below, where does it come from, and how is it drawn?

Picture of the Mandelbrot Set from Wikimedia Commons [2]

First, here are a few things to notice about this picture: it’s a fractal, which means that if you zoom in on the edge of the shape, you’ll always see some kind of spiky “structure”, no matter how close you get. The animation that follows illustrates this very well. From Wikipedia:

Regardless of the extent to which one zooms in on a Mandelbrot set, there is always additional detail to see. During the twelve-second zoom in the animation [below], the set becomes magnified eleven-million fold. Thus, assuming the first frame is life-size at 45 mm across, a carbon atom would comprise 36 pixels in the final frame. [3]

11 million fold zoom in. From Wikipedia [3]

Also, you’ll notice that the axes are not the typical x-axis and y-axis we are used to seeing in a Cartesian coordinate plane. While the horizontal axis holds the good ol’ real numbers we all know, the vertical axis holds weird imaginary numbers. These numbers are called imaginary because they are no-where to be found on the real number line, but they are still useful (somehow). Indeed, these numbers arise from trying to find what number multiplied by itself gives -1 ? The same question could be framed algebraically as: What is x so that:

$x^2 = -1$

Clearly, x = 1 doesn’t work, but neither does x = -1 since two negative numbers multiplied together give a positive number. So, since no real numbers answer that question, mathematicians invented (or discovered?) an imaginary number that would do it, and they called it “i”. So now we have:

$i^2 = -1$

meaning that:

$i = \sqrt{-1}$

To understand how the Mandelbrot fractal is painted, we have to understand how to multiply and add imaginary and real numbers together. By adding real and imaginary numbers (as if they were different terms) we can make complex numbers that can be plotted in the complex plane. For example, the number 3 + 2i would be plotted as the point (3, 2).﻿To multiply two complex numbers together, we use the same algebraic rules, but we keep in mind that i squared is -1. For example:

$i (a+ib)^2 = (a+ib)(a+ib)$

$i (a+ib)^2 =a^2 + 2iab + i^2b^2$

$i (a+ib)^2 = a^2 - b^2 - 2iab$

Now we are ready to describe the rule that governs the drawing of the Mandelbrot Fractal. The

idea is to ask if individual points should be painted black, or left white (ie, ask if the point is in the Mandelbrot set or not). To find out, take the point you want to test (let’s call it “c”) and square it. Then you add c to the result, and square it again. Then add c and square again. And so on. If you can do this forever without the answer going to infinity, then that point is in the Mandelbrot set and should be painted black.

Mathematically, I think this could be said like:let:

$z_1 = c$

$z_n = z_{n-1}^2 + c$

If $\left| z_\infty \right| < \infty$ , then c is in the Mandelbrot set.

After you’ve “tested” all points in the plane, you get the Mandelbrot Fractal… An easy example of this would be to start with a real number. Imagine c = 0.2

$z_1 = 0.2$

$z_2 = z_1^2 + 0.2 =0.24$

$z_3 = z_2^2 + 0.2 = 0.2576$

$z_4 = z_3^2 + 0.2 = 0.2664...$

$z_5 = z_4^2 + 0.2 = 0.271...$

$z_6 = 0.273...$

$z_7 = 0.275...$

$z_8 = 0.276...$

$z_9 = 0.276...$

and so on… Since the sequence doesn’t blow up to infinity, the point 0.2 is in the Mandelbrot set.

The point i is also in the Mandelbrot set:

$z_0 = 0$

$z_1 = i$

$z_2 = i^2 + i = -1 + i$

$z_3 = (-1 + i)^2 + i = \left( (-1)^2 - 2i - 1 \right) + i = -i$

$z_4 = (-i)^2 + i = -1 + i = z_2 ...$

But the point 1 isn’t:

$z_1 = 1$

$z_2 = 1^2 + 1 = 2$

$z_3 = 2^2 + 1 = 5$

$z_4 = 5^2 + 1 = 26$

$z_5 = 26^2 + 1 =$ BIG

Finally, it’s time to appreciate the song. To further help visualize the lyrics, a Cornell University student made a really cool “black board animation” . Enjoy!

*Discretion Advise: The following song contains some coarse language.*
“Mandelbrot Set” by Jonathan Coulton [1], is licensed Creative Commons [4]

1. Jonathan Coulton, <http://www.jonathancoulton.com>
2. Wikimedia: Mandelset hires, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mandelset_hires.png>
3. Wikipedia: Manelbrot set, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrot_set#Zoom_animation>
4. Creative Commons, <http://creativecommons.org>

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

## My Next Project…

Posted by Patrick on January 30, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

## Flight of the Conchords

Posted by Patrick on January 28, 2009

One of my students introduced me to this hilarious band. They have a TV show, which I don’t like too much, but their live shows are pretty funny! Here are a couple of my favorite songs:

Jenny

Albi

## A little FOSS fun…

Posted by Patrick on January 28, 2009

Asleep on A Sunbeam with Audacity. Click on picture to enlarge.

Yesterday I spent a few hours messing around with my guitar and recorded this:

I used Audacity [1], a Free and Open Source Software, to record; and although it’s pretty easy to use, it’s very powerful. What’s also really cool about Audacity is that it runs on Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, and GNU/Linux. So projects created with Audacity can be edited on any computers… Unfortunately, I didn’t have an external microphone so I recorded all five tracks with my laptop internal mic, which makes for pretty crappy sound. If you look at the Audacity screenshot while listening to the recording, you can kind of see where the tracks start and end.

After adjusting the volumes a little this morning, I exported the whole thing to an ogg file [2]: a Free and Open Source media file format. You’ll need to download a special codec to play the song, but it’s pretty easy to do [3].

In case you’re curious to hear what the original sounds like:

Let me know what you think…

Cheers!

1. Audacity, <http://audacity.sourceforge.net>
2. Wikipedia: Ogg, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogg>
3. Documentation: Ogg <http://secondary.hisdomain.hdis.hc.edu.tw/wiki/doku.php?id=documentation:ogg>

## All you can eat music…

Posted by Patrick on October 31, 2008

Finally a company who is trying a different business model for selling digital music. At DATZ.com [1], you can buy a Secure USB key for 99£ (~160USD) which allows you to download as much music as you want for a year.

All the music is yours to keep forever and downloads can take place at any time during a whole year after the product is registered – and best of all the music is downloaded in MP3 format and DRM free to your PC which means you can sync them with any digital music player

In order to run Datz Music Lounge software you must have the secure USB dongle that is supplied in the retail pack.

Unfortunately the Mac version is not currently available. Please check back here after December 1st.