Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Boom Goes the Dynamite

Watch this.

It's the most nervous sportscaster ever! I presume it's a first-time performance on a small local or even college network. Still, it's a riot. Already a big hit on YouTube, the kid barely makes it through 4 long minutes of near-silence. It's hard to watch yet so easy to laugh at.

When I watch this, I take notice that the absence of the standard broadcast techniques (voice over, rapid fire list of information, confience, vocal excitement, etc.) highlight how important those techniques are. A cliche is a cliche for a reason, cause it works. This is even more apparent when trying to get a newborn to stop crying. All the old chesy stuff works.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving on Sesame St.

My Baby Girl

Lilah Abrevaya Heller
born at 3:03pm on 11/17/2006
6 lbs. 13oz., 20.5" long

She's the best thing ever. EVER!!! Nine days old and she's getting so big. No dating for at least 6 months.

My favorite story to date: the worst timed diaper change ever. I was changing her around 3am and she decided to go again, all over my hands. First the pee, then the poop. I was watching the little poop come out of her butt, literally catching it on muy finger so it wouldn't get on her. I was grossed out, but she's my girl and she needed me. I kept saytiong "Daddy loves you! Daddy loves you!" Ever since that, I pray for wet diapers each and every time I change her.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Quick Music Lesson

Here is an overview of the chords to the solo section of "Foam" by Phish. They are listed below. Please note that each letter is a different chord and represents a distinct sound. Each letter lasts about a measure.

The “x/x” means that the primary chord is to the left, while the letter to the right is played in the bass note (meaning that note becomes a dominant part of that chord's sound). Unless otherwise noted, the bass note for the other letters is the same as the chord (i.e. the C chord starts with a C).

C - A/C# - G/D - Eb#5 - C/E -

F - D/F# - G - E/G# - Am -
Bbmaj7 - Am - Ab - C - D/F# - F - G (repeat)

Notice the bass notes.
(You may need to get used to reading the letters as chords (and that the bass notes are on the right of the "/".) They go step by step up and then down (C-C#-D-Eb-and so on). So even though the chords differ greatly they are unified by the clear movement of the bass notes.

Take the first 2 chords as an example. The C chord sounds totally different than an A chord. They use different notes and have a different feel. But the song minimizes the disruption caused by this stark juxtaposition by linking the bass notes between 2 chords (
C to C#).

So rather than focus on the change, we hear the chromatic lift from C to C#. This gives our ear an easy line to follow while provinding a rich sonic field of complex harmonies. It sounds simpler than it is, making the 2nd, 3rd, or 12th listening even more enjoyable.

The band uses these connections and complex harmonies to create melodic lines that work within (or work against) these links between chords. In jazz, these are called “passing notes” and are the key elements of soloing. Very simple in theory, but hard to master in practice.

Quote of the Week

after hearing Harley passed the bar and will have the baby this week, Michelle Solomon said:

"Somebody call VH1. Harley Abrevaya is having the Best Week Ever!!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Good Day

So many good things happened today!

- Harley Abrevaya, my beautiful wife, was notified that she passed the NY Bar Exam. She did it pregnant and stressed and I couldn't be prouder!
- I got the test results on my first Graduate School mid-term and did very well (29/30).
- I got a free lunch from work.
- The 1 class I wanted to take next semester was filled this morning, which was very depressing, but I just checked the availability and was able to register for it. Awesome!
- I finished listening to the Phish Colorado '88 album and loved every second of it.
- I'm still stressed as hell, but I now see that the end is in sight. Thursday night, my baby comes (and I should be home in time for the Sunday Eagles game).

My Spring Class

I'm enrolled in this NYU Graduate class for the Spring: Interpreting Popular Culture

This course examines popular culture as both a producer and reflector of cultural meaning, and a means of communication. It provides an introduction to the fundamental theories and methods for understanding the construction of meaning in film, television, popular music, and advertising, tracing the study of popular culture through film theory and mass media analysis to cultural studies. Recent theoretical analysis of popular culture has examined the notion of the popular, spectatorship, methods of reading audiences, global popular culture, and the concept of cultural practices. This course surveys methods of analysis such as structuralism, semiotics, genre analysis, psychoanalysis, socio-historical analysis, ideological analysis, discourse analysis,
political economy, reception theory, feminist method, and ethnography as tools through which to understanding popular culture in depth. It will include screenings of excerpts of film and
television in class.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quote of the Day

at work, on the phone to Harley, 3:23pm

A: Shit! I spilled water right into the keyboard of my computer!

H: Again?

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Brian loves this site about the famed artist. Apparently, he had a very bad temper. I never got around to looking at it in detail. Here it is, for the limited posterity this blog allows. Remember my blog about Newport, Rhode Island?? Didn't think so.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chello, Me Borat

Interesting article on the new Borat movie coming out.

Apparently, everybody calls Sacha Baron Cohen "nice." This is surprising to a lot of people considering the significant amount of flak around Borat's anti-semitism. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League, in a momment of pure coolnes, insisted that it "got" the joke but warned about others not getting it. Yes, Cohen "is himself proudly Jewish."

But more interestingly, Tina Fey is apparently writing a movie for him to star in at Paramount. Could this be why Borat himself made an appearance on the last SNL, Tina's old stomping ground?!? I think so.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Behind The Sopranos

This past Monday, I attended a seminar with David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, Northern Exposure, and other amazing TV programs, where he discussed his career and The Sopranos from his unique perspective. Here are the most interesting parts of this discussion:

- The Sopranos is like the Mir Space Station: it was only meant to work for 1 year. The original premise of the show was not meant to go on for more than a few episodes. There was never a plan for where the show would go.

- They make it up as they go along (hear that, Lost fans?). Because writing each season is difficult, there is no real plan for where the characters' lives will go in the next years. This can lead to huge consequences. For example, they started out having Tony and Carmella bickering to give the show a Honeymooner's feel. Several seasons later, this built up to a separation. They don't always know what will happen next.

- When he started the show, he was just trying to get footage together for his reel so he could start directing movies. Considering that most TV pilots are not picked up, this was not an immoral or uncommon thing to do. When the show became a hit, he was surprised and disappointed - he was sick of TV.

- Adrianna's body is in a Pennsylvania coal mine under a pile of garbage. This was never on the show, but it is how the writers saw her story end.

- The new thing on TV are shows with complex plots, multiple characters and long story arcs (The Nine, Heroes, The Class, etc). Everyone says this is the "Lost" effect, but The Sopranos was doing this years before that. I'm guessing being on cable had something to do with that.

- David Chase hates the networks. The networks want to sell you commercials. Because of this, they don't want you upset or agitated between shows. This ruins the content they show. He actually didn't want to do the show until he started working with HBO, which was a completely different mentality. I thought this was an amazing indictment of the media system, especially coming from a successful veteran. After all his success, he can't wait to get out of TV.