Hearing the Beatles

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

At the end of May I was supposed to have traveled to New York University to give a talk on my Beatles research, in particular, the film A Hard Day's Night which recently celebrated its 50th release anniversary as well as a Criterion release. I have plans to publish part of that research here on my blog at some point in the future, but for now, you can see the abstract here:

A Hard Day’s Night and the Mythology of the Beatles 
In 1963, The Beatles were approached to appear in a new movie to promote themselves and their music. The result was A Hard Day’s Night, a film that takes on many characteristics typical of what is often referred to as the “backstage musical.” While the narrative arc is slightly different, the film holds to the paradigm of rehearsal sequences culminating in a final show. Yet rather than letting that final show be the ideal performance, the film undermines the group’s big performance by making the more intimate, spontaneous moments of music making earlier in the film more enjoyable and aurally pleasing. 
On the fiftieth anniversary of the film’s release, this presentation will look back at how A Hard Day’s Night is interested in perpetuating the mythology of The Beatles as performers and music-makers. What makes the film an interesting study in the band’s mythology, however, is how their most unified, complete, and satisfactory moments of music making are away from the live audience, making music for a few intimate listeners or just for themselves. While the film itself draws upon the “backstage musical” for its narrative form, the film itself is more interested in exposing the relationship between the listener and the recording, and representation versus reproduction. Dick Lester’s film alters the backstage musical formula to create a new Beatles mythology, one that would be amplified when they stopped touring and used their albums as the ultimate, most satisfactory, musical experience.

One of the more intriguing moments in the film for me has been the final performance in the theater, where the Beatles play in front of a screaming crowd of young fans reminiscent of a jet engine. During this performance the songs are noticeable slowed down and are nearly a semi-tone lower in pitch from the recordings.

This plays into my argument of the live performance being inferior to the private performance of an LP record at home. The smaller, more intimate performances of the Beatles throughout the film, with just a handful of on-lookers (or just themselves) participating in the performance sounds so much better than the "live" performance in the theater. Why not just buy more of their records to get a more enjoyable experience than seeing the group live and barely being able to hear them? Or being able to hear them, but hearing an altered version to compensate for the restraints put in their performance by the conditions?

I learned an interesting tidbit when I picked up a copy of the recent Criterion release.

It is worth noting that, as well as having different  mixes than the original album tracks do, the songs are slower in the film than on the albums. This difference is quite noticeable during the scenes where the Beatles are rehearsing and performing in the television studio. Our understanding is that these scenes were filmed at 25 frames per second, rather than the usual 24 frames per second, so the TV monitors could be shown without any aliasing effect (flickering).

That makes so much sense. There are quite a few moments where we see the Beatles performing, but through the monitors in the mixing booth. The slower frame rate allowed the film cameras to capture the monitor screens without that noticeable flickering, the equivalent being seeing computer screens in a movie or TV show.

Because there wasn't the digital editing techniques and software suites we have today back when this film was in production, there wasn't a way to slow down the songs and keep the pitch the same. The result? The songs sound lower. And interesting, I see this as still justifying my claim. Not even a movie is good enough for the Beatles; to get the "real music," you need the LP.

Dear Internet, Weird Al Wrote You a Song

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

He even made it super catchy so you'd pay attention.

So pay attention.

He just called the internet a mouth-breather. It's just…so good. So very, very good.

Get the album Mandatory Fun by clicking and buying!

Vegan Good Eats: Sweet Ritual

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I had an epically Monday Monday this week. You know, one of those Monday's that is just so very… Monday. I was grumpy and in a bad mood, and the only remedy for that is ice cream. Maybe even ice cream with a brownie and some fancy syrup on top.

Sweet Ritual is probably the best thing to happen to Austin. Handmade vegan ice cream with gluten-free options, fancy toppings, fresh-made waffle cones and waffle bowls, and brownies from Capital City Bakery.

I have a thing for peanut butter, so I couldn't resist the Peanut Butter & Oreo ice cream. Or the Rocky Road, since it has marshmallows in it. I mean, just look at this.

That is a tasty brownie with two scoops of ice cream and magic shell peanut butter sauce on top. Yes, magic shell peanut butter syrup. Bliss in ice cream form.

Charlie got something similar; brownie with two scoops, though he got Tin Roof, which is "Chocolate covered peanuts in vanilla ice cream striped with a rich, gooey fudge ripple." And of course, magic shell peanut butter topping.

I'd eat their ice cream every day if I could. I'd get really fat, but it'd be worth it. I need to pick up some peanut butter cup ice cream in a pint so I can eat it at home and feel magical any time.

Saturday Succulents

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I'm finally really feeling settled into my life at my job and my home with Charlie. The long weekend for the Fourth of July has given me some time to focus on the projects around our place that I've wanted to dig into, like getting more greenery into our daily life, and planning some herbs out on the patio.

I got some cute 3" succulents from Home Depot this morning and planted them in pint mason jars to put on the coffee table.

I also used mason jars to make myself a tiny herb garden out on the back porch.

I picked up a pack of Ball Dissolvable Labels to use to label the jars. I think they turned out really cute! Once some green starts popping up I'll share more photos. I'm hoping the glass jars make up for the shady sunlight my porch gets most of the day and helps these little guys grown strong and tasty.

I've been having a lot of fun with the Aviary iPhone app lately, too! I love the filters on the succulent pictures.

Today's main project, though, was to make a hanging basket for my craft room/office out of some Fettuccini t-shirt yarn. It's been quite a workout.

I don't do a ton of giant crochet so I feel like my arms are flapping around like a chicken's wings when I use that 11.5mm hook. But it's been fun and I think the hanging basket will turn out really cool when it's finished. More on that soon!

Have a great weekend!

Better Serial Number Reporting for Omnigraffle and VMware

Monday, June 16, 2014

So two of our biggest software money pits are Omnigraffle and VMware Fusion. There are currently Extension Attributes on JAMF Nation that report serial numbers, but if the software isn't installed they just report back blank. I'm not a big fan of wasted space, so I updated the coding to report back "Not installed" if they don't have the software.

Basically, it makes the inventory report more accurate. And prettier.

Omnigraffle Serial Number
 # by emily k @ volusion 2014-06-10  
 # checks for omnigraffle sn  
 if [ -d "/Library/Application Support/Omni Group/Software Licenses/" ]; then  
  result=`cat /Library/Application\ Support/Omni\ Group/Software\ Licenses/OmniGraffle*.omnilicense | grep -A 1 Key | grep string | sed 's/<string>//g' | sed 's/<\/string>//g' | awk '{print $1}'`  
  result="Not Installed."  
 echo "<result>$result</result>"  

VMWare Fusion Serial Number
 # by emily k @ volusion 2014-06-10  
 # checks for vmware fusion sn  
 if [ -d "/Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion/" ] ; then  
  result=`cat /Library/Preferences/VMware\ Fusion/license* | grep Serial | awk '{print $3}' | sed 's/"//g'`  
  result="Not installed."  
 echo "<result>$result</result>"  

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