firebus's blog

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The Motivational Power of Big Pants

I've been watching The Biggest Loser, and enjoying its strange combination of inspiration, disgust (stop crying already), exploitation, abuse, and crass commercialism.

I really love how whenever we see a retrospective of a contestant (every time someone is kicked off boot camp island, and once for each contestant on the finale) they have a big pants moment, where they stand behind their giant old pants and then drop them to the floor to show how awesome they are now.

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Axes of Salad Complexity

After a furious session of blackboarding, we are pleased to present an incomplete* collection of the axes of salad complexity:

Complexity of construction
To what extent is this salad a metaphor?
Number of cuisines included and effort made to fuse them
Expense of ingredients
Number of flavors sensed, and effort made to meld them

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The Liquid Seder

Our second triennial, not-very-kosher observance of the Liquid Seder happened on April 11.

In this seder, each traditional food item is replaced by a cocktail involving the same ingredients. The resulting drunkenness (5 cocktails + 4 glasses of wine with only matzo to buffer the alcohol) results in a spectacular drunkeness that can only be appreciated by a people that were once held in bondage by a capricious Egyptian monarch.

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Otello, Act I

On March 20, the Oakland Symphony Chorus joined the Oakland East Bay Symphony's concert performance of Act I of Verdi's Otello.

The concert was reviewed by the Contra Costa Times

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OSC 50th Anniversary Concert

On January 31, the Oakland Symphony Chorus held a 50th anniversary gala.

We performed Haydn's Mass in Time of War and Sanford Dole's The Fabric of Peace, which was commissioned for the occasion.

The concert was reviewed by the SF Classical Voice

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Subtle Nuance

It is reasonable for someone to claim that two different items are identical.

It is crazy for someone to claim that two identical items are different.

(from the big mouth of J)

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v => ph Transformation Rule

Steven can be spelled Stephen. The ph is voiced in the latter case.

Why can't we do this with any word that has a v internally?

David -> Daphid
Avarice -> Apharice
Evening -> Ephening
Love -> Lophe
Liver -> Lipher
Loaves -> Loaphes
Woven -> Wophen


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Fretboard Harmony

Another foray into a topic about which I'm mostly ignorant, sorry.

I was practicing major scales, on guitar, in first position. I noticed that, moving from scale to scale around the circle of fifths, there seemed to be a pattern to the geography of each scale and between each adjacent scale, but it was too complicated for me to figure out just by playing.

So I finally wrote everything out, and the pattern is straightforward, and kind of useful.


First, note that when playing diatonic scales in first position, there are 6 possible fingerings on any given string:

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Letter Words

Which words for letters of the alphabet are homophones or homonyms of other words, using scrabble rules and excluding self-referential words that are really just the letter (e.g. "f you!")

I've got 10 I can't find homophones for, and a few that might be bogus...input welcome.

eh? (canadian style - lame!)

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