Howard's Blog

This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

where to sit on Southwest Airlines flights

I recently flew a quickie from Houston to San Antonio and back. We were in the air for under 30 minutes each way. I happened to sit next to an off-duty SWA flight attendant and her mother. She knew exactly which row to sit in.

Row 17.

Why Row 17? Row 1 was already taken, and Row 9 didn't have two seats open for her and her mother. All Southwest flights have the same # of rows. The flight attendants split the rows into three sections, starting at Row 1, then Row 9, then Row 17. These are the rows that get the drinks 1st.

If the flight is not full, they MIGHT start at row 8 or 16, and if you can't get 9 or 17, sitting in 10 or 18 isn't bad. But on a flight that lasts 27 minutes in the air, and you want to enjoy your drink, you don't want to be part of the last set of drinks served.

OK, so this is not a huge secret, but a handy tip that might bring an interesting element to your next SWA flight. She also told me that when the air bag falls down, most people don't do ANYTHING. They just look up at the bag and do NOTHING. Kids, on the other hand (possibly since they have no concept of mortality) reach up and try to put it on.
|| hcpark, 8:03 AM || link || (0) comments |

Saturday, August 19, 2006

the mp3 roulette

Here we go again!

1. Open your mp3 player application.
2. Select the "shuffle" feature. "Shuffle" your selection.
3. Log the 1st 10 songs (artist/album) in the response to this post.
4. Do NOT skip over that embarrassing song that came up. You MUST list the 1st 10 songs. Only exception is if you have an artist or album that is repeated.
5. Log your 10 songs in your own blog and encourage others to play this game.

My list:
1. Too Much / Dave Matthews Band / Crash
2. You Never Can Tell / Emmylou Harris / Best Of Emmylou Harris
3. You're The Storm / The Cardigans / Long Gone Before Daylight
4. Shape Of Things Things To Come / Melissa Morris / Shape Of Things To Come
5. The Sea / Morcheeba / Big Calm
6. Time / Fastball / The Harsh Light Of Day
7. It's Been Great Afternoon / Merle Haggard / More Of The Best
8. Tell Me How You Feel / Phil Keaggy / Phil Keaggy and Sunday's Child
9. Suzanne / Weezer / Weezer
10. Finest Hour / Duran Duran / Astronuat

If my playlist = my life right now, what does this mean?
|| hcpark, 11:31 PM || link || (1) comments |

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Secret of Jazz (part II)

I am continuing my search for the secret of jazz.

In order for me to learn about jazz, I have to listen to it. Ideally, I'd be playing it, but that's difficult for me now. There's no better way to learn about music, in my opinion, than to just play it. That forces you to break things down, then put it back together. Even if it's simply tapping along or whistling, music likes an active listener/player.

So where do I "find" jazz to listen to? I guess there are lots of resources. We have the Ken Burns series on Jazz, but Katheryn and I find it difficult to find enough time to pop in a dvd, let alone a new series. We are still working our way through Alias... current somewhere early in Season 3. No spoilers, please.

I've checked out a few net radio places. I've been generally disappointed with net radio, which is too bad. Perhaps it's the sound quality, perhaps it's the inclusion of DJs, but for whatever reason, I have, after years of several attempts, never caught on to any net radio. iTunes allows you to dial into a few stations, but for whatever reason, I don't like that either.

So it was to my pleasant surprise that I found pandora. You "create" your own radio station by starting out with a song or artist. Then it plays similar songs. And by telling it which songs you like and not like, it refines your station. Not bad. I am currently listening to my own jazz station. It's called "bebop monk", and I'd be happy to "send" it to you. Just leave comment or send me email.

Here's the "formula" for the radio station:
start with Thelonius Monk,

then add more songs like:
I'm An Old Cowhand, Sonny Rollins
Night And Day, Art Tatum
Congeniality, Ornette Coleman
Little Girl Blue, Benny Carter
Bright Mississippi, Thelonius Monk

then substract songs like:
The Face of The Bass, Ornette Coleman
Oblivion, Bud Powell

Pandora somehow takes these inputs and serves up songs. for each song, I can say "i like it", in which case it will play more songs like that, or that "i don't like it", in which case it will avoide songs like that.

AND, it doesn't require another app to be running. No stupid DJs, easily available info (album, artist info), and you can share your radio stations.
|| hcpark, 8:18 PM || link || (1) comments |

Thursday, August 03, 2006

do you speak American?

A great article in the New York Times Magazine this past Sunday titled "Learning American".

The writer describes an incident involving her sister some time ago. Her sister was the "Irish nanny" to a Denver family, receiving the a meager sum of $50 a week as the au pair. One Christmas, the grandmother and family matriarch handed her an envelope. It had 50 $20 bills. My math says it comes to $1,000. Not bad money in Colorado.

Her sister's polite reply was, "Oh, no, I can't accept this. No. No, really. It's far too generous." Grandma's response: "If you say so." Then she took back the envelope pulled out a single $20, handed it to her, and said, "Is this about right?".

This is where worlds collide. We both speak English, right? Well, one was speaking Irish English, where such words are expected as gratitude in acceptance of the gift. In American English, where we don't like no confusion, "I can't accept this" means "I can't accept this." Grandma may have though the Irish nanny was strange for not wanting the money, but we're a people that honors what people tell us!

Reminds me of a handy chart that appears in dave Barry's Dave Barry does Japan.

First statement is the English statement made by Japanese person, then we have the actual meaning in American

I see. = No.
Ah. = No.
Ah-hah. = No.
Yes. = No.
That is difficult. = That is completely impossible.
That is very interesting. = That is the stupidest things I ever heard.
We will study your proposal. = We will feed your proposal to a goat.
|| hcpark, 5:56 PM || link || (1) comments |
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