My latest project is a music application application called “Bop”. Currently, it’s a Unity app that connects to Logic Pro X via MIDI. Bop can be used by songwriters to discover new musical ideas and/or enhance existing ones. Basically, it can help you think outside the box.
The functionality is very limited now. You can currently manually create note sequences, place them on a timeline and fill them with random notes from the current musical key. Even with these limited features, it’s still possible to create some very interesting musical parts.
Eventually, I plan to expand the app to be able to produce complete musical works with multiple coherent parts. I’ll post updates as a progress.
Here’s an example of a track I composed with Bop:
The death of David Bowie is almost too much to process. He was a larger-than-life presence for kids like me growing up in the 70s. His music has impacted my life in so many ways: I named my company after one of his songs (“The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud”), we named our dog “Bowie” and my daughter went to school today wearing all black in honor of him.
My David Bowie journey began in college in the late 80s. I remember my sister, Heather, was getting into Bowie and I went to Horizon Records in Greenville, SC to find a gift for her. I picked up a used copy of Diamond Dogs and took it back to my dorm room. The cover was so curious and I couldn’t resist giving it a listen. It blew me away…
Listening to Diamond Dogs obliterated whatever stereotype I had developed for David Bowie. I realized it wasn’t just aesthetics, costumes and make-up that was driving the phenomenon. Bowie was the real-deal musically. I listened to this album over and over again and still consider Diamond Dogs as my “ground zero” David Bowie album.
Luckily I worked at the radio station at Clemson and had access to their huge library of records. I started an intense exploration of his back catalog. I felt like I had discovered a treasure chest full of riches. I digested every album I could get my hands on: Hunky Dory, Low, Heroes, Aladin Sane, and on and on… I was lucky enough to see him play live four times during the 80s.
David Bowie taught me that you can be whatever you want to be and that you can do more than you thought you could do. The way he managed to reinvent himself is inspiring. Always reaching for the next challenge and never settling on his laurels. David Bowie didn’t just “dabble” in different musical genres… he owned them. Young Americans is a truly great soul album. Man of Words, Man of Music is a truly great acoustic folk album. The Man Who Sold The World is a truly great hard-rock (almost heavy metal) album. You get my point…
When I think about what it means to have a successful life, I can’t help but think of David Bowie as a shining example of success. Even after his death, he lives on through the impact he’s had on the world and the wealth of beautiful art he has left behind.
“I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do… So I’ll just write some love to you..”
Psychic Babble is the side project of Circa Survive’s Colin Frangicetto. Here are a few pictures from his 4th show ever last night in Atlanta. Colin is an amazing person and I’m very lucky to be able to call him my friend.
We drove 8 hours to see Big Country’s final US stop of The Journey tour and it was totally worth it. They were having the best time that night and I think many of these pictures capture fun and camaraderie they had on stage. At the end of the show, they announced they would be coming back next year. It can’t come soon enough.
As an added incentive, I’m also giving away a free copy of any of my apps (your choice) if you donate $5 or more through my Invisible Children fundraising site.
I’m currently raising money for the organization Invisible Children to help stop the war in northern Uganda and to end the use of child soldiers in this conflict. Please follow the link below to visit my fundraising page and donate what you are able to.
To increase the incentive, I will be matching the next $500 of donations made through my fundraising page until Wednesday the 14th at 11pm. If you exchange donations as holiday gifts or are otherwise moved to donate, now is your chance to DOUBLE your donation! Please help me reach my goal of $1000.
Dan Russell-Pinson’s Invisible Children fundraising page:
Thanks so much!
On June 21st, 2010, Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics, a group I’ve been a part of for many years, put up our first billboard. After considering a couple of options, the group decided on a simple message that would coincide with July 4th.
The billboard simply reads “One Nation Indivisible” and is intended to spotlight the contradiction of placing “under God” in the pledge of allegiance. To quote Joseph Stewart, the person who came up with the concept: “When the words ‘under God’ were inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance between ‘one nation’ and ‘indivisible,’ they made a lie out of both those ideals because you can’t have an indivisible nation if you draw a line between the godly and godless. We all belong here.”.
Over the following weekend, one or more persons defaced the billboard by spray painting the words “under god” and an arrow pointing between “One Nation” and “Indivisible”. However, this stunt has seemed to have backfired as word of the vandalism spread, the story of the billboard grew even bigger than before and is now being covered by many more news outlets both National and International. This news coverage has also brought in a flood of new members to CAA. The crime has been reported to the police and a new billboard is expected to be installed before the 4th of July holiday.
Many people responding to the story (and even some news anchors) were not aware that the words “under God” did not actually appear in the original pledge of allegiance written in 1892. (They were added in 1954 in the midst of the McCarthy era and under the fear of Communism.)
I believe that our country can never truly achieve the pledge’s goal of “liberty and justice for all” until the separation of church and state that our founding Fathers conceived of is fully realized. Hopefully this small consciousness raising effort will help to plant a seed in those who see the billboard or read about it in the news.
Had a great unicycle ride today! I took my usual route to Freedom Park and did a few laps around the water. I got a lot of the usual comments and one man sitting on a bench even took my picture. After unicycling by the soccer fields and baseball fields, I found myself at the East Blvd. entrance to the park. I realized I was just a couple minutes away from the famous “Booty Loop” (where the “24 Hours of Booty” charity event is run), so I thought I’d give it a try.
I couldn’t believe it… I was actually able to ride my first lap around the 3 mile Booty Loop without stopping. I decided to try for a second lap and completed it with only one UPD (UnPlanned Dismount). It was great to be out on the course with so many cyclists. (They were all passing me of course.) I received a lot of positive comments from many of the people on the loop and a few puzzled looks as well. One cyclist actually pulled ahead of me, stopped at an intersection and took my picture as I rode by. She said she had never seen a unicyclist on the Booty Loop before.
This was my first ride with a Speedometer/Odometer, so I was able to track my distance more accurately.
Total Miles: 11
Avg. Speed: 7.2 mph
Ride Time: 1:31
Since I’ve been spending so much of my time unicycling lately, I decided it’s about time to add a “unicycling” category to my blog.
Just to catch up: I’ve been unicycling since July, 2008 on a 24″ Torker CX unicycle. I’ve just recently upgraded my ride to a 36″ Nightrider Pro unicycle. I’ve been on about 5 rides with the Nightrider and it’s unbelievable.
The Nightrider tire rides so smooth and the extra speed is amazing. I love being able to feel the wind in my face as I ride!
It took me about 10-15 minutes of getting the feel for it and getting my confidence up. I learned quickly that I had to lean forward more than with the 24″. Pretty soon I was zipping around the neighborhood with no problem.
I went with the Qu-ax 145mm ISIS crank arms which are a little shorter than the standard 152mm that I’m used to. This together with the size and weight of the 36″ wheel makes it a little more challenging to accelerate or to slow down on a sleep hill, etc. Hopefully a little more leg strength will compensate for this.
Freemounting a unicycle is always a challenge for me. After watching a few videos online, I’ve settled into a rolling mount technique that works for me. I can now land a freemount within about 1 to 3 tries pretty consistently.
The standard gel saddle is a ten-fold improvement over my Toker CX seat. I feel like my weight is more evenly spread over it. I’ll see how it does for longer rides and decide if I want to upgrade it later to a KH fusion or something.
Overall, I love my new Nightrider Pro and I can’t wait to put many, many miles on it!
Getting the feel for my new Nightrider Pro Unicycle
One of my first rides on my new Nightrider Pro Unicycle