Friday, December 21, 2007

Red Pen

I've made a home for Red Pen, which I've been uploading to Facebook, that allows for easier browsing, on my web site. I'll continue to upload them to Facebook, at least for the time being. Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Grading Madness

I'm going to keep this post updated with my latest grading status, for my students who are anxiously awaiting their results on finals.

MUS 104 (8:00): Done! Come get your tests and grade reports.
MUS 104 (11:15): Done! Come get your tests and grade reports.
MUS 113: Done! Come get your tests and grade reports.
MUS 114: Done! Come get your tests and grade reports.
MUS 216: Done! Come get your tests and grade reports.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Picture Update

New pictures on the Flickr account. Sofie is doing well, and we're adjusting to four kids... slowly.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sofie (and more) on Flickr

I've broken down and joined the Flickr generation, since it's a heck of a lot easier than making photo pages from the ground up. So you can go see more Sofie pics on our new Flickr site.

Of course, I'll be adding photos to Flickr now instead of uploading them to my photo pages, and I suppose eventually I'll get all the old stuff there as well. And maybe, someday, I'll even label and annotate all the photos I have up there... okay, well, that may not happen for a long time.

Friday, November 16, 2007

She's Here!

Sofia Dawn Rush, born 14 November 2007 at 6:29 pm via Caesarean section — 8 lbs, 12 oz., and 21 1/4 inches long.

I'm home for just a minute to pick up a thing or two and load up these pictures... we'll be back home from the hospital tomorrow sometime, and I can post more pictures and information. Mother and baby are doing very well!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dummies Guide to Darwin Calendar Server

I just realized a long-time dream of synchronizing iCal across multiple computers without a .Mac account, and so I thought I'd share the joy with anyone else who is interested.

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard includes a new version of iCal that can connect to a CalDAV server, and so it's simply a matter of setting up a CalDAV server. Leopard Server includes iCal Server, which I'm sure works just fine, but we haven't upgraded our servers, and I don't know when (or if) we're planning to do so. However, iCal Server is available in an open source version, Darwin Calendar Server, which doesn't include the Graphic Interface that I'm sure iCal Server includes.

Turns out that Darwin Calendar Server can be installed onto a Mac running Leopard (not necessarily Leopard Server) by a somewhat ordinary Joe like me without too much fuss. Here's the skinny:

1. The first step is downloading the Calendar Server source, which is actually accomplished using Subversion, which is installed with the Leopard Developer Tools. (You can also get Subversion elsewhere, as mentioned on Mac OS Forge.) Once you have Subversion installed, open the Terminal, and type the following:

svn checkout /Library/CalendarServer

This can apparently be done using XCode (also part of Leopard's Developer Tools) but it wasn't immediately obvious to me, since I'm not familiar with XCode.

2. Building the application from the source code is mercifully easy: move to the CalendarServer directory (cd /Library/CalendarServer) and run the following:
./run -s
The -s flag causes it to download the necessary supporting software and set up the service; this takes a little while, but it is verbose in its description, so it will be obvious when the process is complete.

3. Next, you'll need to create a configuration file, which involves making a copy of the included configuration template:
cp ./conf/caldavd-test.plist ./conf/caldavd-dev.plist

4. This is the part that I was stuck on for a while: in order to access the server from another computer (which is the whole point of doing this), you need to edit this configuration file you just created (/Library/CalendarServer/conf/caldavd-dev.plist). In that file, find the BindAddresses entry and change the to the IP address or DNS name of the machine you're on. You can do this with Leopard's Property List Editor, as shown below.

5. Next, read through the QuickStart page on Mac OS Forge regarding directory services... I just used the XMLDirectoryService, which is on by default; you might want to edit /Library/CalendarServer/conf/accounts-test.xml to add a login for yourself.

6. You can then test things out by running the server:


Open iCal and go to the Accounts pane of the Preferences window. Add a new account and fill out the login information you added to the accounts-test.xml file. Click the disclosure arrow, and enter your server address followed by ":8008" (i.e., and leave the Kerberos checkbox unchecked. It should connect to the server and supply you with a default calendar (more can be added using the File > New Calendar submenu).

7. If things are working, you can quit the server by pressing Control-C in the terminal and run it as a background process by entering the following:

./run -d

This will run fine, but you'd have to remember to run it each time you restart the machine, so it's better to make a startup item. There is a bit of a trick to this, because it requires fixing a little bug in the "run" script, but here's how to do it:

8. To simplify the process of creating a launchd script (which is what will launch the server at system startup for you), download the latest OS X build of Lingon. Once you have downloaded it, open it up.

9. Click the "New" button to create a new service, and select "User Daemon" in the dialog that appears. Then enter the following information:
What: /Library/CalendarServer/run -d
When: Select "Run it when it is loaded by the system (at startup or login)"

10. Click "Save." Now for the nitty-gritty part:

11. Navigate to /Library/CalendarServer/ and make a backup copy of the "run" script. Open the original in a text editor (I used TextEdit) and search for these lines (they're toward the bottom of the script):

case "${USER}" in
svn_get "Twisted" "${twisted}" "${svn_uri}" 19773;

Remove the necessary lines so that only these remain:

svn_get "Twisted" "${twisted}" "${svn_uri}" 19773;

Then find these:

case "${USER}" in
svn_get "vObject" "${vobject}" "${svn_uri}" 178;
put_setuptools "${vobject}";

And replace them with these:

svn_get "vObject" "${vobject}" "${svn_uri}" 178;
put_setuptools "${vobject}";

12. Save your modified script and restart. iCal should now see the server running in the background.

This setup seems to have worked for me, and I've moved all my events from my regular iCal calendars into calendars that reside on my server (which can be done by dragging them to the new calendar in the Calendar list on the left). To do items are also managed this way, and the CalDAV server even synchronizes colors of calendars from machine to machine.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tricks and Treats

Okay, so it's too late to buy it for this halloween, but just think how scary you'll be wearing this number next year:

This is my first ever death metal t-shirt, except instead of "metal" you substitute "orchestration" and instead of "death" you say "pointillistic." But other than that...

And if you are scared just by looking at the above shirt, and need something soothing, or you just really want to buy a t-shirt today but you're not the type to have fraktur lettering on your apparel, here's something that's opposite in nearly every way (happy instead of scary, tonal instead of atonal, white instead of black, modern sans-serif instead of old style fraktur):

Order one or the other — or, better yet, both — on the T-shirts page. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Midterms! Midterms! Midterms!

I am going to keep this post updated to show the status of my midterms grading, not because I think the world at large cares about my up-to-the-moment grading progress, but because those who have taken midterms with me do care about it...

All classes: DONE!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Aaugh! Serialism! Run!

New shirts and stuff for you today:

The perspective of the text and the placement on the shirt looks weird on the screen, but I'm hoping it will work in real life. If anyone gets sick looking at the shirt, will it be this odd perspective issue, or just the fact that it's serialism?

Order these and all the others from the t-shirt page. Right now!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Homeward Bound

I'm heading back to Greeley today after spending the weekend with my parents in sunny Los Alamos, New Mexico... the premise for my visit was actually to attend a rehearsal of the Los Alamos High School "Encore" Choir, who will be performing a piece I wrote in 1992 on their October 30th concert.

They sound fantastic, of course, and the concert should be wonderful; I won't be attending, though, since that's the week my wife is due. They have promised me a recording and I will post it here when I get it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No Web Design for You

Alas, the Tuesday night web design class didn't meet the required enrollment, so maybe next time...

Monday, October 1, 2007

Bach and the Minor Scales

A bit of theory nerdiness to start off the month. Download a purdied-up version if you'd like...

“So, then,” said old Bach, though he wasn’t old yet;
in fact, he was young, and his young heart was set
on a woman, Maria, he’d long ago met
and his wife he did want her to be.

Surmising that — though his shirt hid a six-pack —
The way to her heart was to show off his knack
For music, he chose as his plan of attack
To woo her with music theory.

“So, then,” he repeated, “That piece I just played —
The key was not major, you may be dismayed
to learn, but instead all the notes were arrayed
in a minor mode centered ‘round C.

“To write in C major, and work up a song,
Just stay on the white notes the whole way along;
The half-steps, you’ll find, are right where they belong:
From C to B, and F to E.

“To write in C minor, though, we need to lose
The B, E, and A in our scale, and use
Notes Bb and Eb — and Ab debuts —
But we still start and end it on C.

“Now, this scale is nice. It’s got a dark sound
And I’m sure that some future composer profound
Will write beautiful music that leaves ‘em spellbound
But it’s just not the scale for me.

“The reason for this, I have come to conclude,
Is not that the scale is nasty or lewd,
But an interval causes it to come unscrewed:
A whole-step from B flat to C.

“So what, you may think, we’ve had whole steps before.
But this one is in a place hard to ignore:
The final two notes of the scale. Therefore
There’s no tension before the release!

“Not only does this cause the scale to fail,
But the chords that we build from it also derail.
Our strong major V chord turns weakly and pale
Because it’s spelled G–Bb–D.

“So here’s my solution: tell me what you think.
This ‘Natural scale’ can be rid of this kink
If we change the B flat back to just B — (wink, wink!)
And bring back our half-step to C.

“We do this, and suddenly things start to gel.
That half-step between B and C just sounds swell
And our V chord is once again major as well
So the tension beefs up the release.”

Here, Bach paused for a moment, and turned to the lass,
And said with a sigh, “This is good, but alas
There’s a problem with it that one cannot bypass.
When you hear it, I think you’ll agree.”

Then he went to the keyboard and started to play
And he said, “Now, remember, we don’t have an A
In this scale, but A flat, and of course, that’s okay
But the problem is going to B.

“It’s an augmented second! The sound hurts your ear!
The interval’s large, and it makes it sound queer
As if written by some old Ummayad Emir
On the shores of the Caspian Sea.

“So for harmonies, chords, well, this scale works just fine
The tension in dominant chords is divine
But for melody-making, it doesn’t quite shine
With that augmented second, you see.

“Well, let’s fix it!” smiled Bach. “Hey, we’ve changed it before.
We altered one interval, why not alter more?
This time, we’ll take that old A flat we abhor
And we’ll raise it a half-step toward B.

“And so if we step back, and see what we’ve done
We’ll notice the augmented second is gone
It’s just whole-steps and half-steps, from C and hereon:
D, Eb, F, G, A, B, C.

“So now if you write music where melodies rise
In a scalewise passage where minor applies
You can use this new scale where strong tension pries
But where augmented seconds won’t be.

“There is one more thing, though, before I do close
You do recall, I hope, the reason we chose
To so quickly and gladly and deftly dispose
Of that flat to the left of that B?

“Because doing so gave us the tension we sought
From the leading-tone up to the tonic. But what
About going the other way round? I think not—
We don’t need tension from C to B!

“And so if we return to our minor lament
And imagine a scalewise melodic descent
We can use the same scale that we did just invent
And add flats back to A and to B.”

Fatigued, he turned ‘round. “Do you feel it’s enough?
I mean, Claude Monteverdi can’t think up this stuff.”
Then she stood, and replied, as she straightened his cuff,
“Oh, Johann... you had me at ‘key.’”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Site Designed by [Your Name Here]

I will be offering a 5-session course on building a web site on Tuesday evenings in October in room Frasier 161. It is part of the College of Performing and Visual Arts' "Hands-On Arts" program and you can register by calling (970) 351-2200.

I've taught web design many times before and I take a little different approach than most other web design courses. Over the course of the class, everyone will create their own multi-page web site, but instead of just learning a web design application, we will be focusing a lot on core, "under-the-hood" elements of web design... stuff that a lot of professional web designers out there don't know. That doesn't mean it's going to be an super-advanced class, though; I have had great success teaching this to students who have no computer experience beyond using a web browser or a word processor.

If you're interested, sign up soon... the registration deadline is October 1. The classes start October 2 and run every Tuesday night from 7:00 to 8:30 through October 30.

Where's the Accidental Love?

I realized — after one of my MUS 104 students said that he had purchased a shirt — that I don't have any shirts that cater to the Foundations of Music Theory crowd. So in an effort to solve that, I present:

As usual, I don't make any money off the sale; I just get to bask in the warm glow of knowing I'm helping people work out their music theory frustrations in a healthy, non-destructive manner.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Presentation Video Posted

I've posted a video recording of the Star Wars Music seminar right here... enjoy!

Friday, September 14, 2007

John Williams is Your Master Now

I am going to be giving my presentation on the Music of Star Wars on Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 3:30 pm in Frasier 90 ("Studio B") on the UNC Campus. Admission is free!

If you haven't already seen it, the presentation includes music and video and shows a bunch of cool stuff you may not have noticed before... in fact, the most common response to the presentation is "Oh, man! I need to go watch those movies again!" So keep Thursday evening open just in case.

If you have already seen it, then hopefully it will bring back happy memories for you. You'll never know if you don't come!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Warn Children About the Dangers of Parallel Fifths!

At the request of my MUS 216 class, here's the latest T-shirt design, available here.

In case you're interested, I'm not making any money off of these; I'm selling them at cost from so every penny of the sale price goes toward the manufacture of the t-shirt. Hey, if they become the next J. Crew or something, I might raise the prices a little and take a profit, but until then, it's just for fun.

If you like these and you've ever been in one of my theory classes, you might also like another line of theory-related fashionwear I did a while back.

More are in the works...

Blogs Away!

The first of a long number of insightful, witty, informative and poetic blog entries, or one of a few posts that will sit here, alone and forgotten, as my distracted mind wanders away, never to return?

Place your bets!