Back in School

Tomorrow ends my fourth week back in school (3rd week of classes). Things are a lot different from last year, which is good because I don’t like it when things get boring. There’s certainly always something going on, some new exciting activity to partake in.

Already I’m extremely busy. RPI TV is quickly ratcheting up its productions, soon we’ll be hitting 3 a week with hockey and football. Last night was the first Wednesday Night Live of the season. The band sounded great (from what I’ve heard), but the camera work may not be so great. I delegated an entirely rookie crew to man the cameras. I sat in the studio with them and supervised, helping them move around tripods, get some cool shots, and change tapes. I believe this was the first WNL where I wasn’t behind a camera. I’m looking forward to editing the production, but I’m not sure when I’m going to have the time.

Saturday marks the second football game of the season for us. Hopefully it will commence a bit more smoothly than last week’s production. I still have a lot of titles to finish up before then, but that’s what classes are for tomorrow. Our freshman crew is rapidly gaining experience and becoming more confident behind the cameras, which is definitely a key to a successful production. I’d really like to arrange some sort of NFL broadcast viewing, but I’m unsure how to best implement it. Maybe I’ll DVR something on my desktop and show it to the camerafolk before the game.

Classes seem to be mostly “hits” for me. Robotics entails far more Math than I’d like, but it’ll help me keep my brain sharp while learning some practical knowledge. Models of Computation is extremely abstract, yet bearable. Dr. Moorthy certainly helps make it interesting. Economics remains full of action and excitement. The professor is quite conservative, and he makes sure that his viewpoints are known. I feel like he’s spewing propoganda, but at least it makes the class interesting, especially considering I already know all the concepts from IB Econ three years ago. Operating Systems should be the most valuable class this semester in terms of my major. As long as we move at a decent enough pace, I expect to enjoy it the most. Computer Organization is quite different from last semester; it feels like an entirely different class. The professor isn’t as much of an asshole, but he’s quite… thorough.

I finally got my Desktop up and running (with the help of Fernie’s keyboard). It’s not really serving me much use, though, as almost everything it can do my Laptop can do better. It has helped bring some much needed variety into my music collection; the tracks on my Zune were starting to get a bit repetitive. It’s main purpose should be to act as a DVR, however its efforts were hamstrung tonight when campus cable randomly decided not to broadcast NBC HD. The niggling bugs it’s had for a while now, including some sort of storage device driver bug causing a variety of annoying symptoms, are starting to creep up on me. Windows seems to be rotting away. I’m planning on installing 7 as soon as I can acquire a keyboard for it.

Fathers finally had Vitamin Water 10 Energys in stock today, so I cleaned out all the ones they had on the shelf. I’m not sure when I plan on drinking them, as I’ve been heading to bed at a reasonable time lately to allow ample time to prepare for my 8:00 classes in the morning. I’ve managed to already spend $100 at Fathers, 1/4 of my semesterly allotment.

Haris wrote an awesome article for the Poly.

Muse’s new album, The Resistance, came out on Tuesday, prompting me to make an adventure to Walmart armed with some temporary checks from HSBC. The drop went well; apparently Walmart didn’t care at all that the checks lacked my name and address. I also ended up with The Beatles: Rock Band and Need for Speed: Shift (I have a thing for games with colons in their names) as part of the same purchase. A stop at Price Chopper yielded more salsa, corn chips, sourcream, applesauce, lemonade, Smart Balance, and Wheat Thins. Since then, I’ve ran out of soft cheddar cheese and waffles, a problem I need to correct soon.

Back the the new Muse album. I initially raged on Facebook and on the Rock Band forums that I was displeased with the album. The more I play it, the more its growing on me. There are still some huge disappointments on the album, namely tracks 9-11, which contain a 3 part “symphony”. Muse is an altrock band, not a classical orchestra; this stuff has no place on the album. Excerpts from my pseudo-review I wrote for the Rock Band forums:

Let me preface this by saying I had HUGE expectations for this album and for Exogenesis. Let me also explain that I’m an extremely hard person to please (I’ve gotten into some arguments already earlier in this thread over BH&R). And now I begin:

Exogenesis is the biggest waste of 12 minutes and 51 seconds I’ve heard in a while. It takes up almost a quarter of the album. For no good reason. If it wasn’t Muse, I’d have switched to another track. I’ve listened to it half a dozen times since yesterday, still trying to find some redeeming qualities. And I can’t find anything. It comes off to me as overwhelmingly pretentious. It goes, and goes, and goes, nowhere. Exogenesis… I can’t find the Muse in it. It has Matt’s vocals… and… one short anti-climax in Cross Pollination? The more I think about it, the more I seem to discover my problem with this song, and certain elements of this album. It seems to push Chris and Dom into the background to allow more room for Matt to play with his ego (which has apparently escaped from a pink box). Exogenesis seems like a solo project gone wrong. It’s not “Muse”, it’s “Matt Bellamy”. I won’t argue that it’s bad music, I will argue that it’s not the Muse I love.

I guess I was expecting Exogenesis to be an epic, progressive voyage through piano and rock supplemented by symphonic climaxes and powerful vocals. Butterflies and Hurricanes + Citizen Erased + Knights of Cydonia + Space Dementia, or something. Instead, I find it to be a slow, plodding, ride through ambient strings with sleepy vocals punctuated by some sounds from an electric guitar and some toms, sprinkled with slow piano. Ruled by Secrecy + Megalomania + Hoodoo, all terrible songs in my opinion.

Unnatural Selection
MK Ultra

I Belong To You

Guiding Light
Undisclosed Desires

I don’t understand how Muse is going to perform half of these live. Actually, I wouldn’t pay to see half of these live. I’ve previously raged in this thread about BH&R being too “raw” for me. Well I want raw Muse back. Stop the drum samples and electronic basslines. Bring some character back into the music. More distortion, more power.

If Muse/Matt came out with an entirely symphonic album and labeled it a concept album or a side project, I’d accept it for what it was. But I feel extremely disappointed that only 3 of these tracks are half-decent. Another 2 years or so of waiting for something.

Maybe the B-sides will be good. Maybe the next live album will cut out the crap and deliver the classics. I can only hope. I’m debating with myself, thinking about demoting Muse to my #2 favorite band behind SSPU. I’m really that disappointed.

My album ranking:

1. Origin of Symmetry
2. Showbiz
3. Absolution
4. (tie) The Resistance
4. (tie) BH&R

I’ve made a couple edits to the post; namely, I decided I now like MK Ultra, and that the album is now tied with BH&R rather than being much lower (as it was previously). I’ve been thinking about wrapping up my thoughts into an article for the Poly (perhaps inspired by Haris’ escapade), however I feel that as an avid Muse fan my view on the album is distorted compared to the average listener.

As noted earlier, I also purchased NFS: Shift for PS3. I’ve played it for around 4 hours now, and I absolutely love it. It’s a wonderful racing sim. The physics feel miles better than Gran Turismo 4, yet the game is just as fun as GRID. It’s got a good mix of real and fantasy of tracks, plenty of cars with multiple tiers of upgrades, and just enough extra modes and gimmicks to keep me entertained for some time. The physics model delivers a similar feel to GTR/GTR2/GTR:E in that its extremely loose and unforgiving. Stamp on the throttle and you will spin out. Slam on the brakes and they will lock. Yank on the steering and you’ll feel its effects immediately.

TB:RB remains unopened pending a new set of Rock Band drums to serve as replacement parts for my ailing RB2 set. I purchased new MetalWorkz heads for the set, however I broke several of the rubber pegs that hold the pads in place, and at $25 a whole new RB1 set proved to be the best solution. Once my drums are up and running, I look forward to jamming to classic Beatles tunes.

Well, that about encompasses my current status. Good thing too, because I’ve written an essay and a half!

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