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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in David's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
12:21 am
The Dragon Has Three Heads
Spoilers for the first 266 pages of A Dance with Dragons. Don't respond with anything later than that!

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Sunday, November 7th, 2010
4:25 pm
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
11:05 pm
NaBloPoMo #4 - Victory
My overwhelming feeling when Ohio was called for Obama was one of relief - for once the voters didn't screw it up and the Republicans didn't steal the election. It wasn't until the west coast was called for Obama that happiness really set in, but watching the cheering crowds at Grant Park just made me feel so happy and so hopeful that we may be able to pull ourselves out of this mess just by virtue of having a leader who's not actively undermining us, much less actually doing good things.

The last 8 years have been so long, and so much worse than I could have imagined even after seeing the election stolen in 2000. Nothing can make up for the damage that's been done, but it just feels so good to me that we can finally start to put it behind us and move forward in some of the directions that we desperately need to - ending the executive branch's flagrant violations of the constitution, ending the war in Iraq, improving our economic and energy and environmental policies, and so many others. Nothing's actually been fixed yet, but at least now I can look in the future with a guarded sense of optimism rather than dread at what harm my own government is going to inflict on our country and on the world.
Monday, November 3rd, 2008
11:53 pm
NaBloPoMo #3 - My Endorsements
Since tomorrow's election day, I figured the most appropriate thing to write about would be my endorsements. I'm only covering the two national races I get to vote in, plus the state ballot initiatives (of which there are quite a few). And I even got this finished on time without too much trouble! (This took me close to three hours to write... is it any wonder I update this thing so infrequently?)

President of the United States of America - Barack Obama
This is a clear choice if ever there was one. Obama's certainly not perfect (he voted the wrong way on FISA and supported the crappy bailout), but he's light years ahead of the other option. He wants to end the war in Iraq. His tax proposals are far more sane than his opponents (edit: also than his opponent's, although I think the typo was very appropriate), and his health care proposal... well, at least it doesn't openly screw over millions of Americans like McCain's does ($5000 health insurance credit - bad proposal or worst proposal?). He's better on the environment, he's better on gay rights (although still not actually good on gay rights), he's better on reproductive rights and will appoint vastly better judges to the supreme court. None of this is a surprise, since I disagree with the modern Republican party on essentially EVERY issue that's part of the public debate, and some that aren't. What wasn't a given, however, was that the Democratic nominee is actually an inspiring person, who's demonstrated leadership skills and levelheadedness over the course of the campaign.

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Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
11:59 pm
NaBloPoMo #2 - Unfinished Business
Oh geez, day 2 and I almost missed the deadline, this time without any convenient excuse! Luckily I have some old stuff I never got around to posting. Let's see if I can knock this out in the next five minutes!

When last I wrote here (before yesterday), the third Board 8 Composition Contest was going on and I had just posted my week 3 song. After that there were two more weeks of the contest. Week 4 had a theme of Factory / Industrial Area. For this week I had a hard time motivating myself to work on a song, and once I started I had a hard time coming up with anything, especially since we had done the theme once a long time ago in a one hour compo, and I just kept thinking of that song when I was trying to think of music for a factory area. Instead I ended up recycling my really old song, but changing the instruments (it was previously a midi) and making some other changes. Unfortunately, I think I was the only one who liked the original, and that was mostly due to sentimentality (it was one of the very early songs I did, so it just seemed good compared to the other stuff I had been writing.) Here's the song in all its lack of glory.

The theme for week 5 was originally Duel (or maybe "Epic Duel"), but a bunch of people complained about the theme - and as is usual for these contests, interest level pretty much cratered (which is why these things only last 5 weeks... 4 might be better). After our original two-week final "week" had ended and we still only had 1 or 2 entries, I decided to change the them to "whatever the hell you want" and extend the deadline another few days. In overtime I got two more entries on the theme of "whatever the hell you want", including my own "song" made up of a bunch of piano chords and arpeggios. This one was voted last out of the four songs for the final week, but despite that and its simplicity, I still liked it pretty well. My one disappointment was the ending - I had other ideas on what to do with the song, but ran out of time and threw together the final slow part of the song in about 5 minutes. As an aside, this is the first song I've done that features significant amounts of me actually playing notes on my keyboard - heavily edited to correct for my weak rhythm. I basically used my playing to organically vary the velocity of the notes to make it not sound as artificial (listen to the beginning of my week 2 "Nightmare" song for a comparison).
Sunday, August 24th, 2008
8:56 pm
Here's my song from the third week of the music contest. As has become my mode, I didn't put as much time into it as I should have, so I ended up feeling like I had something with some potential that was underdeveloped. Week 4 is just about over (I'm behind on posting these things as always) and I did an even more half-assed job this time! But I'm now on vacation so maybe I'll find more time for the final week of the contest.
Wednesday, August 13th, 2008
9:05 pm
...Was the theme of the second week of the music contest, and may accurately describe the result as well (you be the judge)! I was actually a lot happier with my piece this time around than the previous week, and it was voted third (out of a disappointing turnout of 6). The main problem I have with it was that I thought I came up with some decent sounding backing elements but it doesn't really have much of a lead or real melody. I did think it did a decent job of matching the theme for once (the other entries did too).

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
10:36 pm
Music time!
After a long break, we've started up another music contest (the third one), so now I'm attempting to write some video game-style songs again. My week 1 effort was kinda weak (which seems to be the rule for me, I'm not sure if it's because I need to get warmed up or because all the week 1 themes have been difficult ones for me). The task this time around was to write a theme for one of the announced Mega Man 9 robot masters. My song ended up sounding almost nothing like a Mega Man song (no surprise), but part of it sounded kind of appropriate to an electricity stage, so I decided it was a theme for Plug Man. For your listening pleasure experience:

Mega Man 9 - Plug Man

There were a couple that did sound impressively Mega Man-like, like this one, the winner, but overall I thought it was not one of our better weeks. Signs indicate the current week will probably be better.
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008
9:03 pm
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
11:50 pm
Monday, March 17th, 2008
10:18 am
It's back, kinda
Where by "it" I mean the composition contest I posted about so much last year, and by "kinda" I mean that it made its return in January and has since ended. (Man do I suck at updating this journal). Anyway, I've been meaning to post about this for a while and was planning to do so as soon as I uploaded the songs to something better than Putfile - but since I still haven't gotten around to doing that, so here they are in all their putfile-y glory.

The contest lasted 5 weeks, so I wrote five songs. My last one was actually voted the best song of the week, surprisingly enough - personally I was happy when I wrote it, but now I think it's kinda wandery and not that great. #1 pretty much sucks, and was panned by the other contestants for not meeting the theme. Without further ado:

Week 1 - Countdown - So, each week we had a theme that was basically a description of a scene/area in a video game where the song would play. The theme of the first week was a countdown scene, such as when you have to escape an area in 5 minutes before it blows up. A friend in the contest told me this song sounded more like an "island jam" to him.

Week 2 - Mysterious Village - The theme of this one was, obviously, "Mysterious Village". I had something specific in mind when I picked this theme, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Week 3 - Dungeon - Despite an extremely generic theme, I still got numerous comments about being off theme. I dunno, I thought this sounded like a dungeon. The first three seconds are an obvious ripoff of Into the Darkness because I couldn't think of a way to start the song.

Week 4 - Requiem - Even simpler than my first three entries, which were already pretty simple. I don't hate it, though.

Week 5 - Ending Theme - the ending theme for the game. I decided to do a medley of songs I'd written previously. For once no one told me I was off theme! This one was pretty challenging and turned out far from perfect, but it was fun to do.

This contest was a lot of fun and I think it was even more successful than the first one. There were a lot of great songs written by other people, so I'll link to a few of them here.

Countdown #6 by Kleenex - a techno-y countdown song that reminds me a little of Crazy Motorcycle. This was the week 1 winner.
Countdown #10 by Choco - this was my personal favorite from week 1, I love the way this one builds up to the climax.
Mysterious Village #1 by Paratroopa - this guy was the winner of the first composition contest. A lot of his stuff sounds pretty similar, but this is a great example of the genre.
Mysterious Village #2 by Aeon - this one was a one-shot, the guy submitted a song for week 2 and then never returned. It was a great entry though, a futuristic/synthy sounding mysterious village.
Mysterious Village #10 by Kaonashi - this guy appeared out of the blue, submitting a song about 5 minutes before the deadline without ever posting in the topic once. This song blew a lot of people away just because no one had submitted something with these kind of production values before in our contest. He went on to win the contest.
Dungeon #2 (The Fruity Cave) by Paratroopa - More classic Para... I love it.
Requiem #2 by Brayze - Possibly my favorite song of the contest.
Ending Theme #1 (Ride of the Dragon Knights) by Liquid - This guy's definitely the most experimental of our composers. He was gone for most of the contest, but he returned in time to submit a totally insane 17 minute long song in week 4, and this awesome piece in week 5.
Thursday, September 13th, 2007
2:08 pm
Monday, August 13th, 2007
11:52 pm
I'm alive
Sorry I haven't posted anything before this; as we know, keeping my livejournal updated is not one of my strengths.

Everything seems to be going pretty well. The doctors have been mostly happy with my progress at pretty much every step of the way, but it wasn't until a few days ago that I started feeling more like myself. I think getting off the pain meds may have had something to do with that. I still can't do much (my legs seem to get sore every time I walk more than 4 blocks), but I'm no longer feeling the need to take naps (which is nice because they made me feel groggy and bad). I can actually sit at my computer now, although it's still uncomfortable, but for a while I couldn't manage it for more than a few minutes at a time. I'm still doing a fair amount of reading, but for a lot of the first two weeks it was pretty much all I could do, and that was getting boring. I'm going to try to write a more detailed post tomorrow, but we'll see if I get around to it.

I'm really looking forward to getting back more to normal - being able to walk, drive, wear normal clothes, and not stay home all day. But things do seem to be noticeably improving, which is good.
Saturday, July 21st, 2007
12:03 am
The Bookstore (no spoilers)
I just got back from the bookstore, despite the fact that I ordered the book on Amazon instead of reserving one. I went just to see the people, and it was soooo worth it.

By the time I got there at 11, there was already a line well out the door, and the inside of the store was packed. There were plenty of costumes: an assortment of hats, robes, Gryffindor scarves, SPEW and DA and "Potter Stinks" pins, along with some more elaborate and unique outfits - plus two confused guys dressed up as storm troopers. What made it worth being there though was the palpable excitement, the buzz of all those people who were there for the same reason. It made me sad that I hadn't reserved a copy there so I could line up with those people and be part of it. It also made me sad that this is the last book, and not because the story's coming to an end - cultural phenomenons like this don't come along all that often, and much less so ones that I'm actually into myself. For as solitary a person as I am, I guess it's strange that I actually really like crowds sometimes.

Now, off to do some more actual reading!
Friday, July 20th, 2007
12:08 am
Music Contest, week 3
The theme for week 3 was to do Super Smash Bros. Brawl stage music for one of the confirmed characters. That meant remixes from those characters' games, with the exception of entry #3, which was written before the guy knew what the theme would be (because he was on vacation that week). My song was #4. In order of rankings:


No one was eliminated in week 3 except for the two people who didn't submit anything. I'm a week behind at this point, so I'll post the week 4 links sometime soon.
Friday, July 6th, 2007
9:15 pm
Music Contest, week 2
This time I'm putting the links in order of the standings from the voting (best at the top), so you can listen to the good ones if you like. I was really impressed with entry #4. My song was entry #3, which I was pretty happy with, although that probably had a lot to do with the fact that it was an arrangement of a good song. (2 and 6 were also arrangements of existing songs).

Friday, June 22nd, 2007
11:31 pm
Music Contest, week 1
Yup, we're having an actual contest now. Instead of having an hour to come up with out songs we have a week, and at the end we get rated by whoever feels like doing so. I was impressed by the overall quality of this week's entries:


(They were anonymized for the purposes of voting). I especially liked #9, although I would have liked to have seen it developed a little more. 2 and 3 were my other favorites. Mine was #11 - my least favorite thing about it was that it didn't sound like much of a boss battle at all. I ranked 9th out of 11, which is about where I expected to be. The lowest scorer each week gets eliminated, so I'm going to be fighting for my life from now on!
Saturday, June 9th, 2007
11:48 am
Compos 22-25
I've been pretty bad about keeping up with these, which isn't great since they're just about the only thing I post here these days. On the other hand, I'm not sure if anyone other than Maggie listens to them anyway. (If you're only patient enough to play one, do the last one, since it's vastly better than the others). Here are my last several weeks of one hour compositions.

22a. Spooky Fog - I'd already totally forgotten about this one, it's that forgettable. I think the theme was "Serial Killers in the Fog" or something like that. I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't going anywhere and started working on the following instead...

22b. Phantasy Star II Intro - This is a pretty basic piano arrangement of the intro from Phantasy Star II. I was pretty happy with how it came out, but again, not original.

23. Windy Peak - As the name says, the theme was "Windy Peak". This is probably one of my more on-theme compositions, but that's about the best I can say. It doesn't suck as much as some of my other songs, I guess. (Rockin' Sky Fortress, I'm looking at you!). Unfortunately, I apparently had a bunch of off key notes in here... I tried to fix them, but I'm not sure if I succeeded.

24. Future Race - We were supposed to do a futurist racing theme, but I didn't have any ideas, so I just arranged some Metroid Themes and played them faster than normal. This one's kinda a joke entry.

25. Ancient Times - Last week's theme was the Ancient World. I started out trying to do stuff with percussion and a flute, and it sounded terrible. I tried some stuff with a guitar and that sounded terrible too. So I decided to throw the theme out the window and just try to do a piano composition. I also was tired of hearing I was off key, and figured a piano composition in C major was something I couldn't screw up. I was pretty happy with how it turned out... it's certainly not perfect, but I think it sounds a hell of a lot better than most of the crap I produce.

[edited 2007-06-10 12:04]
Sunday, April 29th, 2007
1:08 am
One hour compo #21
Today our theme was remixing rock songs as battle themes. Mine ended up sounding pretty ridiculous, but it was still a lot of fun to do it. (midi)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2007
1:36 am
One hour compo #20
This time only two of us showed up, and we decided on Mitsuda songs as the theme. I attempted To Far Away Times, which was much more difficult than I originally estimated, so I only got about 45 seconds into it in over 2 hours. I think it sounds decent, though.

[edit: after time was over I worked on it a little more and got a little farther: slightly improved version]
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