I've been meaning to announce this for some time: I'm a student again! I've been taking a few classes at Popperton University since February and so far, it's pretty good. Some courses I'm taking include: Listening seminar, Music Technique, Music Composition/Deconstruction, and Farsi. It feels pretty weird to be back in school, but it has been a positive experience overall.
Here's what my acceptance letter said:
January 10, 2008
Dear Farsheed Hamidi-Toosi,
Congratulations! You have been accepted for the spring semester here at Popperton University. We are proud to welcome you to our campus and encourage you to browse through our course catalog. You’ll find that we offer almost any class you could imagine, in any field, for any subject. Because of our unconventional no-campus, non-teacher, no-grades approach, you can basically do whatever interests you in any time frame you’d like. Nobody will correct you or watch over you, or even know you are doing it. The goal is to break the boring structure of everyday life by challenging yourself and by pushing yourself to the limits (whatever limits you set upon yourself). There is no imposed structure whatsoever - you are free to make mistakes, experiment, create, succeed, or fail. Rather than saying what is right or wrong or defining levels of success through external validation, use your internal compass to guide you on the path of your own choosing.
Chancellor Popcorn Popperson, Leading autodidact
Pretty cool so far. I think it will be really successful with a few more tweaks. Not just because it's a music channel that actually aims to play music (!!!), but also because it introduces the concept of a-website-as-a-tv-channel idea(which I think we'll start to see more of soon). Sort of a natural progression/combination of podcasting, video blogging, and flash video sites.
I use google calendar for keeping track of things, and today when I opened up my email I got a million reminder emails for things coming up this weekend:
In Champaign, IL:
UC Hiphop is throwin' their annual Hip-Hop Awareness week. Friday night is the DJ night with Bozak, Spinnerty, Limbs and more! Saturday night is IL Breaks!
Check out uchiphop.com for more details. Really wish I could make it, but I got some fam coming into town this weekend. Haven't seen UCHH kids in forever...
*EDIT* I took a last minute greyhound bus and to champaign and was able to check out the DJ night!
In Charlottesville, VA:
My good friends Kaveh and Aaron (Clarence Thomas Action-Adventure Unit) are throwing a benefit show in C-ville. Originally Drew and I were supposed to go down and actually perform at this, but things didn't work out. Again, wish I could make this one! Check out audiozine.org for more details.
"BENEFIT SHOW FOR THE CHARLOTTESVILLE FREE CLINIC
@ The Bridge (209 Monticello Rd)
3 Bands + 1 DJ
Adam Smith + The Invisible Hand (Tunefulness + Zigging where others Zag = Cville-by-way-of-Philly Indie Rock Mainstay)
Clarence Thomas Action-Adventure Unit (me + Aaron playing guitar, vox, drums, megaphone, toy laser gun, iPod, sampler, handheld tape cassette recorders)
Quiet My Dear (Cville Melodic Indie Pop)
DJ Hummingbird Feeder (the mighty James Ford kicks out the interludes and the post-show jams. Dance party?!?!)"
In Chicago, IL:
Drew will be rockin' a dance set @ Mutiny on 4/5/08 (saturday)
In anywhere, usa:
It's also my roomate Charlie's birthday. Shoutouts. And finally I leave you with this amazing video by Brooklyn pranksters Dave Segal and Jesse Novak! Hey! Even Sashe Frere-Jones likes it...
Please visit the NIN store and download Ghosts I-IV immediately. The music is all instrumental, abstract, thick, rich, open and uncontrolled - a contrast to previous nin releases which have felt hyper planned, tight, and almost claustrophobic.
I'm blown away by this album so far. The artwork and concept (improvisation, instrumental, session style recording) is great and unexpected. The online delivery is great, and the Creative Commons license is more proof of Trent's forward thinking.
I see this as a pretty cool direction for NIN and as I listen to it on repeat I can already tell it is growing on me. It's short and succinct, moving quickly, never dwelling on one idea too long. This kind of music is all about texture, mood, sounds, and details - and will only get better with repeat listens.
Nine Inch Nails presents Ghosts I - IV, a brand new 36 track instrumental collection available right now. Almost two hours of new music composed and recorded over an intense ten week period last fall, Ghosts I - IV sprawls Nine Inch Nails across a variety of new terrain.
Trent Reznor explains, "I've been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn't have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective - dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I'm very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference. I hope you enjoy the first four volumes of Ghosts."
"Of course, everyone is constrained in one way or another, and you work within your constraints. It doesn't mean that suddenly the world is open, and we're going to do much better music, because we're not constrained in certain ways. We're going to do different music because we're not constrained in certain ways we operate under a different set of constraints."
- Brian Eno, Studio as a Compositional Tool, 1979
They got this picsound-esque project going on over at www.dloandspinnerty.com. A day in the life of d-lo and spinnerty, with chapters for each part of the day. Each chapter has some pictures and a mix to listen to...check it out!
New York was good. Felt different than previous visits, though. I wanted to visit some other cities on the way back but didn't really find any good bus deals in time. How is there no chinatown bus between D.C. and Va Beach? So strange.
So I did try to make a pizza the other day. It actually came out decent but I definitely made some mistakes:
a) The dough should always lean towards being a bit too wet before letting it rise. It's strange when dough dries from air - just feels crusty like old playdoh and makes it hard to shape later.
b) Gotta work on pie tossing skill. Let the dough warm up a bit without touching, then start working it really fast into a natural circle without folding anything. I think I overworked one and it started to dry out.
c) Put down a LOT of flour on your working surface...basic stuff I know. Nothing creates a panic like trying to slide your pizza into the oven with the heat blaring at you and the damn pie sticking while you frantically try to pick up and re-adjust the fragile limp dough. AHHHH!
d) Need a pizza stone/ceramic thing. I thought heating up a metal pan would work, but it was hard to get the pizza onto it because it would slide around. Also the metal warps when heated. Ceramic all the way.
e) Just because you get fancy looking canned tomatoes doesn't mean they'll taste good (I'm looking at you overpriced-minimally-labeled-pseudo-authentic-san-marzano can). I think the sauce was the weakest link in the whole equation.
On the last one the dough was messed up so I thought I'd "improvise" and make a calzone. I tossed a bunch of stuff and folded it like a taco...what I ended up with was a saggy u-shaped bread thing with sauce and melted cheese inside. Probably not the right way to do it.