Long Time Passing

Long-time-passing by jedypod

This is a piece of music written by family friend David Lamb in memorial of the death of my mother’s father. It is played by my grandmother (violin) and her brother Greg (piano), who is now also passed away.

Hearing it again reminds me that life is short. I have not been making the best use of my time. I moved to the Bay Area nearly 7 months ago. Since I’ve been living here, I have done a little timid exploring, very little extremely timid socializing, and a whole lot of keeping my cognitive tendrils embedded in the extended reality of my computer, with its vast, tempting, and marginalizing wealth of information and connectivity. While enabling great feats of externalized memory storage and access, and augmenting capabilities of information processing, storage, and organization, it seems at times that living life so absorbed in this abstracted processing tool results in an overwhelming reduction of critical thinking ability and other aspects of intelligent behavior.
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Efterklang Fueled Exposition on the State of Electronic Music

Efterklang is an inspiring and amazing band who I first started listening to in 2005. They are from Denmark, and play a fascinating breed of music which blends folk, indie rock, electronic, and their own unique musical sauce into a compelling style of brilliantly dynamic, emotive, and beautiful compositions. I was fortunate enough to see them perform in San Francisco on March 10th.

I had the interesting experience of going to a club and seeing Tipper perform two nights before. For quite a while now, I have been excited by electronic music, and the potentialities for interesting new sonic and musical territories to be explored. All too often (as in many disciplines), I find the majority of electronic music to be uninteresting or even repulsive, because it strongly adheres to established patterns of style and form, is often rhythmically unsophisticated, does not experiment nor innovate, but instead self-congratulates and regurgitates itself endlessly.

As a relatively Anti-Sphexish human, I am predisposed to be repulsed by things that self-regurgitate endlessly. I tend to be interested and excited by things that push accepted boundaries and experiment, and that offer compelling, internally consistent, emotionally powerful, tantalizingly complex, and genuine (in the sense of sincere, profound, and non-cynical) “art”.
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Roto Tutorial #2

Up until this point in time, I have only created one “screencast” video tutorial on this blog. I have really been meaning to create some more of these type of tutorial videos, because they not only help me in my ability to communicate effectively and teach effectively, but they might actually be interesting to some of the few people who read this little weblog.

This post then, we will consider a step in the right direction, but not by any means achievement of this goal. Namely, I mean that this 2nd Rotoscoping Video Tutorial that follows is exceedingly rough, rambly, random, unrehearsed, raw, borderline-reprehensible, and reeking of underflowed thought-speech-buffer. If you have 30 spare minutes of your time, however, you can get a 1st person experience of not only one of the many things that I have been up to of late, but some information about what rotoscoping is, and how a novice student performs one of the things essential to feature film visual effects.
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Elsiane Live at the Showbox SODO in Seattle on 2008-09-13

I first heard Elsiane after discovering them on the Secret Music Box blog back in February 2008. I was immediately surprised and intrigued, and was soon infatuated with their unique sound, reminiscent of Trip-hop, with the organic addition of real drums, and beautiful, emotional, and complex vocal melodies that weaves through the arrangement of the music and gives it a life of its own.

I had the good fortune to see them live in Seattle on September 13th. They were opening for Delerium, and sadly played without video projections, and for only the short period of 28 minutes, however their show was amazing. Here is the 3rd song they played, “Mend”.

Elsiane – Seattle, 2008 – 03 Mend from Jed Smith on Vimeo.

You can download the full show in 720p MP4-AVC, or see the other songs from this show on vimeo.

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2008 Tacoma Fireworks

I had the good fortune to have the best 4th of July evar. I always wondered what was missing from my 4th of July celebration experience, and it turned out the answer was . . . very large explosives. By a stroke of luck I was able to help set up the 2008 fireworks finale portion of the Freedom Fair show in Tacoma, mentioned here.

The hardest part of the job was the setup, which took two days. We were working on a barge just near Glacier Northwest Concrete in Tacoma. Pyrotechnics work is not as glamorous as it might seem, it consisting mostly of shoveling sand, stringing squib wire, and loading mortars in tubes in the right order. I had altogether too much fun doing even this, however.And, some photographic evidence of the fireworks show itself. Officially, I got to wear a fireman’s suite and be on “fire duty,” which was supposed to consist of running around with a fire extinguisher and putting out flames that might threaten fuses that might launch the wrong shells at the wrong time, however, because 3 other people were already doing that, I ran around with cameras instead.Also, if you are into pictures of me, and captions, check out Dave Cramton’s pictures.

Doing work with fellow film geeks, of course we ended up making a video glorifying the 10″ fireworks shell, creating a somewhat silly loading tube ceremony. This ended up being an intro to the other footage of the fireworks show, and the aftermath, that I shot.

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