2008 August at John Mackey's Blog



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  • How I Spent My Teen Years
  • New stuff for Fall 2014!
  • UTWE Tour : Shenzhen
  • Wine-Dark Sea – the video
  • Wine-Dark Sea – recording and score
  • “Wine-Dark Sea” – the program note
  • We’re buying a house!
  • Symphony for Band – an update, with audio
  • Xerxes — for metal rock band
  • (Redacted)
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  • Cats: LA Cat Show
  • Design: Cambridge Studio
  • Design: Dining Room
  • Design: Family Room
  • Design: Front Door
  • Design: Kitchen, pt.1
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  • Design: Kitchen, pt.3
  • Design: Kitchen, pt.4
  • Design: Kitchen, pt.5
  • Design: Living Room
  • Design: The Austin House, part 1
  • Design: The Austin House, pro shots
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  • Food: Joel Robuchon
  • Food: Next: Childhood
  • Food: Samar
  • Food: Scarpetta
  • Food: WD-50
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  • August 29, 2008

    Eight is Enough

    I thought it was a great convention this week.  Obama’s speech was strong, but to me, it wasn’t quite the emotional rocking that he delivered at the 2004 convention. The one moment that made me kind of chuckle and think, “really? He went there? Do the majority of his supporters even get that reference?” was the line about eight years being enough of a Republican administration — by saying “Eight is Enough.” One of the funniest blogs I know, Tremble, summed it up perfectly.

    Our new sofa was delivered this morning, and it’s pretty sweet. The upholstery is made of recycled plastic soda bottles! It’s the second biggest sofa I’ve ever seen. (We didn’t quite have the space to match the 15′ monster in Elvis’s house, but this one is close.) I’ll post pictures soon…


    August 27, 2008

    Shiny food

    These pictures are several weeks old, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted any food pictures, so…

    Shortly before we moved from LA, AEJ and I did a little restaurant tour, eating at several of our favorite places in town before we left. One place we had to hit one last time was Pizzeria Mozza, Mario Batali’s pizza place in West Hollywood. They have, among other things, this incredible chopped salad. When we took my mom there last year, she said it was the best salad she’d ever had.

    Mmmmm. Let’s get one more look at that — maybe a shot of just a single serving.

    Then, of course, there were the pizzas. We may have gone a little overboard here, like we usually do. We ordered three pizzas. There were only two of us. I like them odds. Front to back, this is Pizza alla benno: speck, pineapple, jalapeno, mozzarella & tomato (basically a very spicy Hawaiian-style pizza); Margherita with mozzarella, tomato & basil (so that at least one of them would be simple); and Salumi Salami, mozzarella, tomato & fresno chiles.

    Here’s a close-up of the incredible “Pizza alla benno.” Lordy McYum, this was just about the tastiest pizza ever.

    Seriously. I’ve had pizza with pineapple before, but I guess it was never fresh-sliced pineapple. The super-sweet pineapple with the spicy chiles was… Wow.

    We’ve found some tasty pizza here in Austin (I’m a fan of Mangia‘s), but nothing quite as over-the-top as Pizzeria Mozza. If anybody knows a place we should try, let me know!


    What's Your Tempo?

    I bought a whole bunch of iPhone apps as soon as they went live a while back, and they were each fun for a few minutes, but I’m finding most of them going unused.

    There’s “TapTheBeat,” a tiny app with an OS 6-looking interface that tells you the tempo that you’re tapping into the iPhone. This will be useful at some point (say, the next time I get into a tempo disagreement with somebody — “No, I’m telling you, a-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’ is mm. 84, not 96, you tempo-ignorant fool”), but I haven’t had any reason to use it yet.

    There’s WeatherBug, a very slick weather app, but I rarely look at it, because how many times do I need to be reminded that it’s over 90 degrees every day?

    There’s Enigmo, which I love on the Mac, but find it to be a little lacking some slickness on the iPhone.

    There’s Karajan Beginner, an entry-level ear training app that I downloaded for fun, but whenever I run it, I’m reminded that my ear is retarded.

    There’s Midomi and Shazam, two absolutely incredible apps that will listen to any song and tell you within seconds the name of the song, the performing artist, and the album the song is from. I can’t imagine how this technology works as well as it does. I’ve played with it — it seems to recognize every crappy song I can throw at it (and believe me, there’s a lot of crap in those 15000+ tracks in my iTunes library) — but I haven’t actually needed to use it yet.

    The one app that I use almost daily, though, is a free one from Apple: Remote. This brilliant little app lets me control iTunes with the iPhone, using the iPhone as a WiFi remote. Combined with an Airport Express, I can set iTunes to stream my iTunes audio from my main computer in the studio to the Airport Express in the family room (where the main stereo lives), and control the music from the sofa that sits 30 feet from the library. It’s great.

    Anybody else running any good apps on iPhones or iPod Touches? Anything else you’re looking forward to? (I know I’m pretty psyched about the upcoming 1978 LED Football Game — and I suspect that Steve Bryant is, too.)


    August 26, 2008

    Wires are fun

    An electrician came a few days ago to install wiring for some hanging lights. I love wires. I think it goes back to my childhood days hooking up and disconnecting stereo components. Oh, and playing with my old Radio Shack 200-in-1 Electronics Project Kit. (I could never get the “build your own AM radio” to work right.) Anyway, some of our old outlets were crooked in the wall, so Mr. Electrician pulled out the old outlets…

    … and installed new outlets and breaker boxes. Here, Mr. Flashlight says hello to the new outlet.  Hello, Outlet.

    In other goings-on, I gave a lesson on Friday to a high school student named Jason Mulligan who was visiting from the Dallas area. Very nice, talented guy. It was fun teaching a lesson again. I miss teaching. Anybody in the Austin area want composition lessons?


    August 20, 2008

    We Take Plastic

    This is probably not too exciting to anybody else, but I am pretty psyched to report that I now accept credit cards for payment of materials. I’ve used PayPal for credit card transactions for years, but a lot of schools won’t go through PayPal for whatever reason. Most schools, though, have department credit cards. Taking a credit card for payment usually means a whole lot less paperwork to deal with than payment with a check, as a check payment typically requires becoming a “vendor” for the school.

    So — no more PayPal. Now, people can just call or email me credit card info, I type in the info, and the payment goes through. It shows up on the buyer’s credit card bill as a transaction with “OstiMusic.” Cool. It’s fast, easy, and it makes the whole thing feel a lot more professional.

    So if you want to order something — or you just feel like giving me money with your credit card — have at it!