Soul of the Machine: Now Available

Sarah’s first professionally produced album, Soul of the Machine, was released last week! This was indeed one heck of a ride with professional orchestras and chamber groups all over the world recording some of her best compositions under the watchful gaze and mastering of Navona Records.

The album comes with full copies of the scores so you can follow along with the music, and can be purchased on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Classics Online. If you’re a fan of streaming music services, you can listen to the album on Spotify and Rdio too.

And, if you’re in the area on September 3rd at 6 PM, stop by Brave New World Comics for the official launch party!

Video

RIP, Robin Williams

Robin Williams, renowned actor, comedian, and so much more, passed away yesterday. I can’t think of a single actor that I have seen in more films throughout my life, from his hilarious and whimsical performance as the Genie in Aladdin to his brilliant and terrifying performance as Sy in One Hour Photo. To suggest that he did not have an impact on my life through this wealth of artistic output would be ridiculous, and for that, I will indeed miss him.

You can see two collections of some of Robin Williams’s best scenes rounded up at The Verge and Quartz. Below is his pivotal “What will your verse be?” scene from Dead Poets Society, and in honor of his life and legacy, I ask, what will your verse be?

Image

LEGO Ghostbusters

lego_ghostbusters

It has been a rather long time since I last assembled a LEGO set, but when I saw the latest Ghostbusters-inspired set, I knew I couldn’t resist. This Ecto-1 set is from LEGO Ideas, a place where anyone can submit an idea for review and possible production by LEGO, as long as it gets over 10,000 supporters, which this project did in a very short amount of time.

If you have some ideas for LEGO sets trapped in your mind over the years, submit them to LEGO Ideas, and you might see them on store shelves some day!

Team Rads in Cabo

Last week, Team Rads of Automattic got together in Cabo San Lucas to work on improvements to WordAds and a few additional surprises to be hopefully unveiled later this year. We are a globally distributed team with three in various California locations, one in Iceland, and our newest team member in Portugal, so it’s nice to get together in person a few times each year.

In general, I don’t recommend Cabo in July, it’s quite humid, but I do highly recommend the Buccaneer Queen Pirate Cruise. It’s hard to describe, but it was incredibly fun in a rather ridiculous way, and all of my photos from this trip are from that cruise.

If you plan to go to Cabo, don’t go in July, bring lots of cash, don’t rely on credit cards, and make a reservation on the Pirate Cruise. If you want to work at Automattic, we’re hiring!

IMG_1012

Hanging the Signed Comic Book Art

The last time we moved, we took the opportunity to frame and hang some great artwork from colleague Joen Asmussen. After our second move, we felt it was time to further decorate the office by framing our very small collection of signed comic book art.

First up is a promotional poster for The Transformers: Windblade, featuring Windblade herself, and signed by author Mairghread Scott.

Windblade

And last, but certainly not least (hey, I said it was a very small collection), the entire sixth issue of Star Wars: Crimson Empire, featuring Kir Kanos and Carnor Jax, and signed by author (and founder of Dark Horse Comics) Mike Richardson.

Crimson Empire

I’m glad to finally have these protected and hung as they should be. I’m not sure if they’re worth any money, but they’re worth plenty of nostalgia to me just hanging here on my walls.

Identifying with your Political Party

As of 2014, 42% of Americans claim to identify as something other than Democrat or Republican, yet the Untied States is still largely ruled by these two political parties since they still represent the vast majority of registered voters. Why do so many identify with political parties other than the big two, yet still remain registered with the big two? I don’t know, I’m not a political scientist, but common sense makes me want to see the 42% who identify as something else actually register as something else.

This Independence Day, take some time to consider if the ideals of your political party still match your own, and re-register if necessary. Stand with who you are supposed to, not who you were told to.

Don’t neglect the smaller political parties either. It is becoming clear that the United States needs a strong third party if any significant legislative progress is to be made these days. Without a third competing force, we’re left with two organizations who spend most days blocking each other’s progress since they are practically the antithesis of each other.

If you are either unsure or strongly unwavering in devotion to your current political party, take this quiz. You should know that I never advocate making decisions based solely on quizzes, but this one will give you a great start to your own research.

Postmodern Jukebox’s Great Arrangements

I’m a fan of music, of course, but I’m also a fan of great arrangements. Taking an existing piece of music and changing its style and instrumentation, while still maintaining the soul of the original, is quite fun. What makes an arrangement different from a cover tune? Great question! Listen to this arrangement of Pompeii by Postmodern Jukebox while you read the rest.

As you’re probably noticing by now, it’s still Pompeii, but the style and instrumentation is very different. When your local bar band performs a hit song almost exactly like the original, maybe with a different solo and in a different key, it’s a cover tune. But this, what you’re hearing right now with Pompeii, is an arrangement. I have enjoyed writing arrangements in the past, though the only ones that I have ever really put online so far are my instrumental and electronic Iris arrangements, but the folks in Postmodern Jukebox are masters, and I’m always amazed by their work.

If you’re looking to treat yourself to some great music this weekend, you can buy Postmodern Jukebox’s music on iTunes and Google Play, listen to new tracks weekly in their YouTube Channel, listen to everything on Spotify, and fund new arrangements on Patreon.