10 years of Scripting News, for download

Scripting News: A decade in a download. First, congrats to Dave—having recently hit a little brick wall in posting to my blog, my respect for anyone who can pull it off for ten years knows no bounds.

But I’ll confess: the quant analyst in me is slavering at the thought of a downloadable 10-year blog archive. Think of the stats that could be run:

  • Histogram of occurrences of cooooooool per year
  • Frequency counts of word blog
  • A calendar view of the entire ten year period, that only shows the images

Not to mention link frequency stats: who’s the all time outbound link champion of Scripting News? It could be Google or the New York Times, but my bet is that #1 on that list will be surprising.

Career mobility: someone asks Ed Ayers the question

It is a logical question, but it surprises me that the Cavalier Daily was the first place to print the question about longtime UVA professor and Dean Ed Ayers’s impending move to the presidency of University of Richmond: is it a destination for Ayers, or a stepping stone?

To his credit, Ayers said to the unnamed student that asked the question that he is “focused on his new job, not looking further down the road.” Still, it’s an interesting thought. Casteen has been at UVA since I was there as an undergrad, in the fall of 1990; seventeen years is a long time in any position.


Fidelio was pretty darned good today, and Friday was OK too. At least judging from the Globe’s review:

…prior to last night’s performance, it was announced from the stage that Brewer herself had been fighting a cold, though she would still be singing. In the end, Brewer proved more than up to the task. One could detect some tentativeness in her Act I singing but she gained strength and confidence as the evening wore on; she gave a brave and affecting performance.

Her character is the opera’s heroine, Leonore, who disguises herself as Fidelio in order to rescue her unjustly imprisoned husband Florestan, sung with fine ardency and vocal strength by Johan Botha.…

It was an exceptional evening for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, who distilled the collective yearning of prisoners for freedom into a sound of great force and even greater tonal beauty. The orchestra’s playing in Act I was less fastidious than usual, but with Levine’s sense of this score’s pacing and architecture, the music ultimately built to a deeply satisfying and duly triumphant finish.

Which is to say, the opera has a kick-ass finale. I will note, however, that devoting only one line to Botha’s performance is pretty criminal. The first phrase he utters in his solo aria, “O Gott,” is spectacular in its despair and vocal power, and it gets better from there. And that chicken soup that Christine was having? I, like just about every other member of the chorus, want some, if it has that effect on people.

And that line about the TFC having a “sound of great force”? Translation: if the men in this group ever decided to form a full-time men’s chorus, judging from the way the group sounded during the first half, no force of nature could stop us.

Cooking Korean

Lisa and I are trying to branch out a bit and eat healthier, and for me that means trying some more Asian recipes. Tonight we cheated, buying some pre-marinated boolkogi from Trader Joe’s and trying a recipe for generic Korean greens. The recipe wasn’t bad, but in retrospect I would have used a stronger vinegar and some hot sauce. The bookogi, on the other hand, was excellent.

Which brings me to my question: is there a good Korean cookbook out there for beginners? I haven’t found one I like. If you have a favorite, contact me with the link below this post.

Viva Sea-Tac

robyn hitchcock jewels for sophia

Artist: Robyn Hitchcock
Album: Jewels for Sophia

People flocked like cattle to Seattle
After Kurt Cobain
And before him the rain

Hendrix played guitar just like an animal
Who’s trapped inside a cage
And one day he escaped

Do you want to pay for this in cash?
Viva! Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac
Viva! Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac
Viva viva viva viva viva Sea-Tac
They’ve got the best computers and coffee and smack

Coming and going it has to be Boeing
The best form of defence is blow them up
In a regular cup

Have an espresso. You will? Oh I guess so
I feel my heart is gonna start to jump
’Cause it’s wired to a pump

And the Space Needle points to the sky
The Space Needle’s such a nice guy
But he never knows…
Viva Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac
Viva Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac

All the Norwegians, man, you should see them
Out in Ballard looking soulful at the pines;
And also the swedes

All of the groovers came from Vancouver
And some of them came up from Oregon
In case you don’t know

But the Space Needle points to the sky
The Space Needle’s such a nice guy
But you never know…
Viva Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac
Viva Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac
Viva viva viva viva viva Sea-Tac
They’ve got the best computers and coffee and smack

Viva Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac
Viva Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac
Viva Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac
Viva Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac

Long live everything in Washington state
Including everybody
May they live to a million years
May they reproduce until there’s no room to go anywhere
Clustered under the Space Needle
Like walking eggs with arms and legs

Alright, we can probably stop

Heading back

This was an amazingly quick trip; we landed at SeaTac (Viva SeaTac!) at 12 and were at our customer’s site in Tacoma at 1:30; headed to dinner at 5; watched Tennessee lose to Ohio State (sorry, Kelsey); and now I’m up, listening to the KEXP stream and sipping French press coffee in my room and getting ready to drive back to SeaTac (Viva SeaTac!).

We had dinner last night, at the recommendation of our prospect, at the Anthony’s Seafood at Federal Way. It’s closer in decor to the Anthony’s Homeport in Kirkland than the one at Pier 66, but the food was excellent. I steered the table in the direction of some fresh-caught Alaskan halibut, then had a moment of indecision and ended up getting salmon with a fresh Dungeness crab cake. The salmon was just OK—not really the right season for it’but the crab cake was nirvana. We also had some oysters, which I could have made a meal of by themselves given a free hand with the expenses.

Hotel 1000 turned out to be fairly amazing. My sales director came down blinking after dropping his things off in his room last night, saying that it was just like some of the boutique hotels he had stayed in in New York. For my part, the shower was amazing; the wired Ethernet was great (and included in the room price, as it should be); the aforementioned French press coffee a small bit of nirvana. My only complaint is that the wireless was too slow… and that we had to leave so soon. Ah well.

Old stomping grounds

I’m back in the air today. On the agenda: a meeting in Tacoma. It will be the first time I’ve been back in the Puget Sound area since I left on my cross country trip in 2004.

I’m looking forward to our overnight stay at Hotel 1000 in Seattle. I never spent much time near Pioneer Square, but I know the area around the hotel and it should be entertaining to introduce my coworkers to the sight of the Lusty Lady sitting cheek by jowl with all the other more family-friendly attractions in that part of town.

You know it’s going to be an exciting concert…

…when Maestro Levine breaks his baton during a rehearsal. Not even dress, yet!

I’m back with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, after a few months off, for a series of performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio. The BSO is going all out on this one, with downloadable previews (also available on their podcast, to which, I confess, I do not subscribe)—even an animated Flash ad that cycles through the soloists.

And quite a roster of soloists it is, too: I recognized half of them from the concerts I’ve done with the group over the last few years, including Johan Botha (Valdemar in Gurreleider); Mathew Polenzani (Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni), and Albert Dohmen (the Peasant, also from Gurreleider). Dohmen deserves special mention because his normal speaking voice can rattle window glass, it’s that low and rumbly. Also deserving mention is Christine Brewer, another Gurreleider alum, who is making a habit of last minute subsitutions with the BSO. Here she fills in for Karita Mattila (YAGA, yet another Gurreleider alum), who withdrew this week due to illness.

All of this wouldn’t matter if the music weren’t so sublime. I am, despite the catholicity of my tastes, not normally an opera fan. But the music in Fidelio is spectacular—er, at least the part we’ve heard so far, which is limited to the two finales. I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the work at tomorrow night’s dress rehearsal.

Hooked on Ikea

I am starting to think I may need an intervention.

I have three lengths of trim waiting installation for the kitchen; two new Akurum cabinets to mount to add storage to an underutilized 30″ wall in the dining room; and a bunch of spare shelves to mount in the garage. But I see this post on Ikea Hacker about turning extra Pax Wardrobe shelves into storage for odd-shaped nooks, and all I can think about is how this would make the space under the basement stairs so much more manageable. And how I need to pick up some missing parts for one of those Akurum cabinets, so I could just check out the as-is section while I’m there…

This is how madness happens.

Southwest: institutionalizing apologies

Interesting article in the New York Times today about how airlines handle communications with customers when something goes wrong. Perhaps because JetBlue is too busy figuring out what the hell happened over the last six weeks to talk to the press, the paper talks to the “chief apology officer” of Southwest Airlines. And the article shows why Southwest, which has been the low-cost airline of choice for over 35 years, is still a customer favorite.

If, as Doc Searls writes, companies have souls, then Southwest’s soul is funny, irreverent, but deeply concerned that you get there on time and enjoy yourself while doing so—in other words, the perfect cruise director. And really, that’s not such a bad way to think about the job of the overworked, underpaid flight attendants and gate staff who have to deal with arrogant type A business travelers like myself and clueless vacation travelers like the folks who are generally in the security line before me. The surprise is not that Southwest is so good at what it does, it’s that the other airlines haven’t figured out how important it is.

That’s why a nightmare like Southwest’s experience in Las Vegas last month (while I was there, the rumors were coming back to the Venetian about two hour waits to get into the terminal and eight hour waits at the ticket counters) is only a blip for the airline, while the completely understandable weather delays that hit JetBlue have totally paralyzed it. JetBlue doesn’t have a soul yet. Its early spirit—a smart, modern, can-do pioneer—lasted only as long as its long-term future strategy on jet fuel prices did. I still remember having conversations with a quiet, rueful attendant the week that they took their first bad quarter. They haven’t regained that spirit yet. Perhaps by taking a lesson from Southwest, they might start to regain some of that spirit.

Random 10: Mighty Thor edition

As in, boy I’m mighty thor after blowing all the thnow off my driveway. Ouch. You know, though, if I’m complaining after a mere six inches of frozen precipitation, it really has been a mild winter.

To celebrate, then, ten semi-random songs about snow, winter, and spring:

  1. Red Garland, “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year” (All Kinds of Weather)
  2. Tom Waits, “You Can Never Hold Back Spring” (Orphans)
  3. The Bangles, “Hazy Shade of Winter” (Bangles: Greatest Hits)
  4. Galaxie 500, “Snowstorm” (On Fire)
  5. London Symphony Orchestra, Aaron Copland, dir., “Appalachian Spring: 1. Very slowly” (Copland Conducts Copland)
  6. Bill Evans, “Spring is Here” (The Last Waltz)
  7. Arab Strap, “Chat in Amsterdam, Winter 2003” (The Last Romance)
  8. Yo La Tengo, “Winter A-Go-Go” (Summer Sun)
  9. Mediæval Bæbes, “So Trieben Wir Den Winter Aus” (Salva Nos)
  10. David Byrne, “Winter” (Music from the Knee Plays)

And for the record: 35 songs with winter, 8 with spring, and a surprisingly small 9 with snow. This is probably just because I deliberately excluded Christmas songs from the count.