Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Unplugged and unwigged

A little blast from the past:

The 'Tap hits the road and is going on tour again. Well, it's limited to only one show in London, but as Derek Small says "One night is not enough, and it's way too much!". Featuring classic songs from The Folksmen and Spinal Tap, the members will perform as themselves, unplugged and unwigged:

And on bass...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Geir Hovig

It's with great sadness I read in todays newspaper that Geir Hovig passed away yesterday. I remember listening to his shows form the early 90's, even taping all of them for a while and made "best of" complications. He sure did open my eyes for some great blues artists (Lightning Hopkins, Jimmy Dawkins, and Professor Longhair, just to name a few) and his contribution to making blues known in Norway is undeniable.
Worst part, he spent the weekend in Bergen, contributing to a concert with BB Lyngs Blues Band (a band I've been wanting to check out for a while), and I missed it.
Rest in peace.

Bomb Threat Fail

Approximately 1100 students at a high school in Gjøvik were evacuated today following a bomb threat. The bomb threat was issued via email to the principal as well as the local newspaper - the threat itself was formulated with a Byron-esque eloquence:

"Det kåmer til å gå av en bombe i kantina i dag åp gjøvik videregående skolle

den vill dreppe alle syndere og de stygge

den er allerede lagt ut på plassen sin

gled dere!! hahahaha"

No translation would do this text justice.....the sheer number of grievous spelling mistakes alone makes this legendary. The criminal mastermind behind the bomb threat was caught on school grounds, and yes; it was a student at the high school in question.

We REALLY have to improve the quality of education.

Bin Laden Jr.'s explanation for the bomb threat - probably sent from his personal email addy for added Darwin Award points - was that it simply was a prank. Excellent legal strategy.

The fact that 50% of this guy's genes beat all the other sperm cells simply boggles the mind...or speaks volumes about the available genetic material.

If I ever stumble across a time machine, one of the trips I'll take will be to hand out free contraceptives to his parents.

Pop Metal demo

Spent about two hours this weekend coming up with and recording the various bits and pieces in this tune.

This tune is me ripping off Trond Holter (nowadays better known as "Teeny" from Wig Wam) who is "being influenced by" Whitesnake-era Steve Vai playing a John Sykes-penned song. With a little bit of "Trash" era Alice Cooper thrown in for good measure. In short, this is so commercial late 80's metal that it could've been on Eurovision. As usual the solo is missing - both because I don't like to add that until the songs is actually done, and because this type of song requires a more Vai approach than I usually go for.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kamelot finally gets some recognition mainstream media, that is. Checketh out this piece (Norwegian only) on Roy Khan and the mighty Kamelot. Props to Anders for the heads up.

Like I said in an earlier post; anyone who has the opportunity to see them live should (provided that they enjoy melodic metal).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Groundhog day

It wouldn't be spring if the headlines about the dangers of the high school students' graduating ceremonies (russens knuteregler) didn't start to pop up. Like here, here and here. A list of the requirements for the various "trophies" (russeknuteregler) can be found here (Norwegian only).

So; Mr. Medical Expert Guy: Is it really true that guzzling large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time while also being in a state of sleep-deprivation could be bad fo' yo' health? Say it ain't so......

On a side note, I notice upon reading the requirements that an exorbitant number of trophies/knuter can be had by having sex with the members of the organizing committee (Russens Hovedstyre). It's like the list was specifically designed to get the committee members laid. Nothing new in that, but strictly from a Darwinian point of view, this enduring trend strongly points to the committee members having no game whatsoever, but rather are forced to seek alternative means of increasing odds of reproducing. Beta individuals who tricked the system - like hyenas with Uzis.

Monday, April 20, 2009

This supports a theory I have

...'cause let's face it; who in their right mind would buy a Hummer or even worse, an H2? It looks like crap, it doesn't exactly haul ass, the suspension system isn't built for urban environments, and it uses more fuel than a fighter jet.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Learing to play guitar again

I decided to pick up the guitar again, and this instructional video looks to be appropriate for my level of playing...

Any bass players out there? :-D

One more video, the classic powerballade More Then Words, with some interesting behind the scene shots.

Have a nice weekend, y'all!

Time capsule "journalism"

Today's Dagbladet (paper version) featured the cover story about how young girls use drugs to slim down ("Unge jenter doper seg slank"). Specifically, they were referring to the use of ephedrine as a thermogenic aid. Whichever journalism school flunkie was in charge of this "story" also detailed possible side effects, including dizzyness and nausea.

Somehow, the "journalists" in Dagbladet made the judgment call that this was recent news, despite - for example - ephedrine and ephedra-based supplements have been used as over-the-counter weight-loss aids Stateside until about five years ago. In other words; ephedrine-based supplements have been used for this exact purpose for a LONG time, and seeing as how young girls are among the population segments most likely to use such supplements, this has been going on for a long, long time. The reason ephedrine-based supplements like Xenadrine and the mother of them all - Hydroxycut - were banned was that a number of people dropped dead. So neither the use nor the possible detrimental effects are news.

Does it mean that said journalist just learned of this, or because nothing else of consequence happened in the world since yesterday? I hardly think the latter is true, and so we're stuck with what's behind door number one. Hey Jimmy Olsen; I've got some possible scoops for you:
  • Teenagers often drink alcohol even though they're too young to legally do so. Sometimes they even go into alcoholic shock and need to get their stomachs pumped. Side effects include headache, nausea, memory loss and impaired motor and cognitive function.
  • Kids down to junior high school level smoke cigarettes and use other nicotine products - even before the legal age. Nicotine has a number of detrimental side effects, including but not limited to reduced blood circulation and all manner of respiratory problems.
  • In some cities and rural areas, kids as well as adults indulge in home-made alcohol known as moonshine, "heimert" or "hjæmmbrænnt". In addition to the possible side effects of alcohol mentioned above, moonshine carries the additional risk of potential toxic biproducts of the destillation, which can lead to a number of serious problems such as shutting down kidney function.
  • A new drug called exctacy has caused a number of deaths at underground dance parties known as "rave parties" - a new phenomenon that just reached Norwegian shores.
  • 18-25 year old males have more frequently occurring traffic accidents than other population segments.
  • Kids down to early teens of both genders use anabolic steroids in order to build muscle and shed fat.
  • Pro wrestling matches have predetermined winners.
  • Martin Luther King just got shot in Memphis, Tennessee.
More and more I'm losing faith in news "journalism". Of course; Dagbladet is also the newspaper who came up with the brilliant idea of featuring large photos of political editor Marie Simonsen in various poses on the back cover. I don't really see that this strategy is going to sell more copies or improve Simonsen's credibility, but whatever floats their boat.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Power Metal by the numbers

Yet another rough demo of the skeleton of an incomplete song (incomplete as in "no solo").

After coming up with the different parts and recording them, it's obvious to me that I've been heavily "influenced" by for example "I Want Out", "Power" and various other songs by Helloween, "Send Me A Sign", "Dethrone Tyranny" and "Follow Me" by Gamma Ray, and "Hunting High And Low" by Stratovarius. This would look really bad if not for the fact that many, many songs by rather famous power metal bands appear more related than what one would assume from random statistical occurrence of overlapping chord progressions etc.

Alternatively, I employed Scott Adams' originality formula:

Originality = Theft + Lack of talent + Time

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Trondheim Rock Festival 2009

On May 22nd, the one and only Kamelot will play at Trondheim Rock Festival. If you're anywhere near the Trondheim area and you've got any appreciation for melodic metal, you should TOTALLY go. We've saw Kamelot live last Spring, and despite Roy Khan having severe throat problems, it was a fantastic show.

The first two videos are taken from Kamelot's live DVD "One Cold Winter's Night" - hands down the best music DVD not featuring Yngwie Malmsteen I've seen. Khan is by far the best hard rock singer Norway has fostered.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The FAIL was strong at IKEA today we had to roll into IKEA to pick up some schtuff for the kid's room today. It just so happened that we needed some intel from the information desk, and it also just happened that we ended up standing in line between two defective representatives of the male gender.

Now; when you voluntarily seek out the information desk, you hopefully do so because you're in need of some information you don't yourself possess at the time of inquiry. Either that, or you're a sad and creepy individual who might also be susceptible to driving around in an unmarked , windowless white van for no good reason. Also, it's self-evident that no one person can be an expert at everything, and so there's no shame in asking for help or information within an area you don't yourself master or have intimate knowledge of, such as where items are located within IKEA. In following that line of logic, the gender of the person at the information desk should not matter at all - presuming of course that it's not gum-chewing human cardboard cutout but someone with actual skills and info.

So why do some "males" - like the dickless wonder standing in front of us - get all kinds of 'tude when they are forced to ask a female for help and/or information? All of a sudden they start acting not as if they're customers in need of help, but as if they're higher-ups on a surprise inspection to check up on the performance of staffers. When (reluctantly) asking a question and they get an answer, they reply with "That's correct" and then proceed with some rambling anecdote about how that's somehow the same as something else they used back in the 80's, or expand on the technical terms something along the lines of "Oh yeah - a wall-mounted bracket is what I need. That's exactly the same as a somewhat-up-from-the-floor-but-not-levitating clamping-doohickey, only y'all calls it sumthin' different is all".

If your male ego is so fragile that your self-image is in jeopardy from having to ask a female staffer, then my guess is that you're also coming up short in other avenues of life.

Speaking of beta males; the douchemeister standing behind us was whining to his girlfriend/fiancee/wife about how he refused to go to another store after this. After all, while "girls can window-shop for clothes for three days in a row, guys just can't do that". Plus, the fact that they'd found something she liked at all was nothing short of a miracle. This "discussion" was proceeding very loudly, and he was quite the condescending dweeb. "He" also exuded the attitude that any item purchased for their household was an item purchased for her, further cementing "his" Leave-it-to-Beaver, 1950's gender stereotype flashback attitude.

I absolutely hate it when "men" like this skinny-fat motherf*cker invoke their supposed gender, because I feel they're trying to pull me down with them. Whenever some ponytailed gamma male explains how "guys" or even worse, "us guys" anything, I cringe.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Old exciting

Despite my familiarity with the subject and researchers, I didn't know this made it to the Discovery Channel...good stuff.

Maybe it's something to them nanoparticles after all......I'm told they're like, really, really, really, ridiculously small robots that can, like roam our bodies and cure us and stock our fridges and make our clothes change colors and stuff.

Making Hasselhoff look like Ed Norton a hard thing to pull off, but the dumpster-divers who resuscitated Knight Rider and brought the show "into the 21st century" managed somehow. I watched the first ten or so minutes of the pilot, and I just couldn't take it anymore. Funny thing is; I wasn't such a big fan of Knight Rider back in the day, and seeing as how I caught the odd re-run back in Raleigh a couple of years back, I'm fully aware of the quality of the original series. In no way, however, did it suck half as much as the reincarnated version.

Not acoustic slide...

...but as close as I'm likely to get within the confines of my taste in music.

At the very least it's played with a clean(ish) sound and at a relaxed tempo. This is one of my favorite chord progressions: Bm - Bm/A - Bm/G - F#, which also just happens to be one of the progressions often used in the music of Yngwie Malmsteen.

Imagine that.

The melody is in the key of *shock* B harmonic minor, in the unlikely event that any readers of this blog would be interested in laying down their own tracks to this fantastic progression

Friday, April 3, 2009

Motivational posters

Just as a supplement to Anders' meltdown unrequested fission surplus below, here are some motivational posters in a semi-organized sequence. T to da G to da I to da ....ahh; you know the rest

Two more short(ish) demos

.....just to spam the blog some more with my recordings

..the second tune isn't an original, regrettably....rather, it's Satch's tapping extravaganza named "Midnight"

Friday frustrations...

Warning: Friday blow-out below

Some days I really get reminded why I hate my job, and (surprise, surprise) it often includes the IT-deparment or some other function that's not a part of my department.

I really started yesterday when I was typing out a validation report in our laboratory information management system (LIMS). Tried to save the document, and the freaking disk was full. Since this is a protected system, I can't save the document offline, so I really got it in my shorts. The great thing is that I had the same experience just a month ago (which is basically the last time I used the system). The IT department then claimed they've allocated waste storage space for us and had calculations the showed that this would last for years. Apparently those calculations were less solid then Wilhelm's feeble attempts on the guitar quiz scores. So now I'm stuck with a document I've invested time and effort in, which can't be saved and will disapear if the computer shuts down. And any further work in the LIMS system is out of the question. Great. I have four documents in there to update, and the deadline is Easter.

Well, being the ideal employee and diligent worker I am, I made myself busy and checked if everything was OK in the routine lab. I've asked the same IT department for back-up space for instrument data two months ago, starting with 35 GB and then 20 GB more per year. The IT-department made space available on the network, but I had forgot to transfer the data. Checking the disk, I found it had 28 GB free space on it. For storing 35 GB of data. Epic math skills fail again!

In addition, I'm mowing my instrumentation to a new lab after Easter. But there is yet no gas, the power supply capacity not up to instrument spec.'s, there is no cooling and the ventilation doesn't work, all which is needed to run my instruments. I've been asked to focus on the positive sides of the new facilities, and I figured that at least it got walls and a door. For now, I'm doing my best to focus on that part.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Congrats, Dr. Joe!

You made it brother - just a ~week's worth of rewriting sections of your dissertation and the Ph.D. is yours. It's been a long time coming and there's been problems issues, challenges and learning opportunities by the barrel - even to the point where the actual defense was delayed due to some calendar snafu - but the moment has finally arrived.

Congratulations bro - I'm proud of ya'! would you hook a brother up with some bass and keyboards? :-)

Yet another outline of a song

Another very rough sketch including main riff, song structure and a fill. Guitar and bass only, and the bass line is beyond rudimentary. Moreover, as this is a more touchy-feely song with a blues type progression, it's slow (75 bpm), and so the bass line is rushed a couple of places. I'm not used to playing this slowly, dammit.

The main riff is approximately exactly the way I want it (with the possible exception of what if any harmonics should be present), and so are the chords in the "main" section. I'm very undecided about the rhythm guitar sound and style, and I'm not sure if drums are needed. Again, keyboards and a proper bass line would be excellent - right Joe? No full-on solo is going to be added until I figure out whether to make this into a regular song (I've got a suitable vocal line worked out) or if it's gonna be a Satch-esque instrumental - I think I could go either way. To the extent you can pinpoint any influences from such a rough demo, I'd say this is very akin to some of the slower Dionysus songs, and I definitely had Olaf Hayer in mind for the vocal line (which conveniently is not included). There's also some Satriani in the lead parts - at least to my ears.

New NTNU ad spot

The new NTNU ad spot - to be featured in cinemas throughout the land the next two weeks - can be seen here. I wonder how effective this type of advertising is. Or more specifically, I am really curious as to how this campaign affects recruitment of students on two levels (the sheer number of applicants and the GPA among the "additional" applicants), as well as how this would be quantifiable outside of natural variations and overall financial climate.

Now that I think about it, I'd also be fiercely interested in knowing whether the impact varies between faculties, considering that this ad spot is meant to cover all of NTNU.