Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ice cream densities

Not all ice creams are alike. Ice cream containers are sold by volume, not by density. Because of this, many ice cream manufacturers "puff up" their ice creams with air, so although you may be thinking you're getting a bargain because 1.5 quarts of one ice cream is cheaper than an ice cream half its size, you may in fact be getting far less than you think!

For a long time I've wondered which brand of ice cream is actually the best price per amount of real ice cream you get- not including air. So, today I did something about it and weighed most of the ice creams at the grocery store on the produce scale and recorded, for each ice cream, the weight, size of the container, and price. Then I made a quick spreadsheet to calculate the densities as well as price per pound. The results!:

Note: Click the image to get to my picasa page where you can view the full size image.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Music, Mix - Mark's IDM Mixtape

I thought I'd just throw this mix up here since I've been listening to it a lot lately. It's a mix I made of my favorite IDM ("Intelligent Dance Music"... seriously) songs. I've never mixed IDM before and thought I'd give it a try (it's HARD!).

Genre: IDM, Ambient
  01 Wisp - Morning Myth
  02 Plaid - Diddymousedid
  03 The Flashbulb - Someone
  04 Thomas Dvorak - Mr Handagote
  05 Thomas Dvorak - Gameboy Tune
  06 Wisp - FoldBold (The Siege)
  07 Plaid - White's Dream
  08 Wisp - Uriollach
  09a Mrs Jynx - Martian
  09b Oxynucid - Mrs Jynx's Martian
  10 Wisp - Among The Pines
  11 Sybarite - Halfmoon Rockstruck
  12 The Flashbulb - Warm Hands in Cold Fog
  13 Wisp - Happy Sneakers
  14 Mrs Jynx - Jazzmutant
  15 Wisp - The Fire Above
  16 Wisp - Bradyork
(09a and 09b were mixed simultaneously)


Download: marks_idm_mix_2010.mp3 []

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Music, Piano - J.S.Bach Prelude in C

Here's a little something from Bach's The Well Tempered Clavier, Book 1. I'm not playing on a well-tempered clavichord, but instead on my wonderful Yamaha electronic keyboard, pictured. My piano is one of my favorite possessions. It feels very similar to a real piano, with great weighted keys, and the sound isn't bad either. The only downside is that it's heavy. It's meant to sit in a home, not be transported around.

After about 100 takes I finally got a recording where I didn't mess up too badly. On each take I would be playing well, but then hit a wrong note 3/4s of the way through (or, the very last chord... ARGH!), and on this song you REALLY notice the wrong notes. The good news is after 100 takes I have the song memorized :). The quality of this recording should be better than the last since I recorded directly to my Macbook rather than go through my mixer, which picks up all sorts of interference from the nearby radio towers. Hope you like it!


Download: mark_prelude_in_c.mp3 []

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Music, Piano - Chopin "Raindrop" Prelude

Playing piano is one of my absolute favorite things to do. Unfortunately, except for a brief period when I was very young, I've never been taught how to play. I was really excited when I found an absolutely fantastic piano teacher here in Seattle (coincidentally, she received her training at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester!). I was only able to take 4 or 5 lessons with her because I injured my hands which caused my carpal tunnel to really take a turn for the worst. Nowadays I can't play for more than at most 15 minutes without being in excruciating pain.

Anyway, I recorded myself [nervously] playing one of my favorite piano pieces ever, Chopin's "Raindrop" prelude (Op. 28 No. 15). Go easy on me!


Download: mark_begenisich_raindrop_prelude_3_11_201.mp3 []

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Music, Mix - First Recording

I've been a "bedroom DJ" since 2001 when I bought a crappy belt-drive turntable off ebay. Since I only had one turntable, I had it hooked up to my computer so I could mix along with my MP3s. It was fine for practicing beat matching, but nothing that sounded any good came out of it. In the next few years, I bought 2 "real" turntables, several vinyl records, and a few DJ mixers.

In the last several years there have been huge developments in digital DJing. I love vinyl, but the cost and size of records and turntables is a nuisance. For one year in college I had my own radio show where I mixed live for an hour. Lugging a crate of records plus headphones or anything else I needed all the way to the radio station and back once a week was a huge pain (quite literally!) especially in the snow. Anyway, I've always loved the idea of digital DJing: unlimited amount of music, software effects including looping and sequence chopping, costs less, can mix my own music compositions if I wanted to, etc. So in early 2008 I took the plunge and bought a MIDI controller and some software for digital DJing. What I've posted here is the first recording I made of myself mixing on my computer. It actually turned out pretty well!

Genre: Electro, Breaks, Progressive House
01- Ikon - Signs (Jody Wisternoff Remix)
02- Deepsky & Marc Mitchell - Lost In The Moment
03- Sean Quinn, Andy Page - SQAP (Broken Mix)
04- Elite Force - You (Hybrid Mix)
05- DJ Naga - Die Rhythmen Ein ( Remix)
06- - Dazzle (9b0 Remix)
07- Blake Jarrell - Okoboji


: markmix_2008_3_28.mp3 []

Monday, February 22, 2010

Music - "Omega"

Lately I've been going through all of the music I've written over the years. Some of it I can barely remember, and some of it is actually halfway decent. Unfortunately, I've lost a bunch of it, especially the really old stuff (high school), but the good news is I have backups of stuff dating back to around 2002. Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the less embarrassing music on this blog.

For now, I'm going to post a song I wrote a long time ago (not sure about exactly when, but probably around 2002). This is probably the closest I've ever gotten to actually finishing a song. It's pretty basic trance, which is what I was into back then, but I still like it. Hopefully someone else will, too.


Download: omega.mp3 []

Thursday, February 18, 2010


12 years ago I wrote a game in Pascal called "Webwars." The idea was simple: you control the player (webwarrior?) , shooting webs to immobilize every baddie walking around the level before the time runs out. The webs shoot in a straight line until they hit something. The catch is, you can't cross your own webs. So, the more you shoot, the more difficult it is to maneuver around and shoot the baddies that are left. Every time you complete a level, you start a new level with even more baddies. It created a very minor and short-lived craze in my 9th grade class (or was that in 8th grade?).

3 or 4 years later I rewrote Webwars in C++. Basically the same game; it still had Ascii-graphics and the same kinds of levels. It took me only a few hours to finish, and it was primarily to get myself programming for fun again.

Another year or so later I rewrote the game a third time, again in C++, this time using OpenGL for graphics which I was learning at the time. It was fun to create all the graphics and come up with interesting "worlds" (web worlds?). Anyway, I've uploaded it here for anyone to play if interested. Requires a Windows OS. Use the arrow keys to move, the W A S D keys shoot webs, push Spacebar to drop a bomb.

Download: []

(p.s. I've lost the source code for the first version otherwise I would have posted that as well. I still feel like the original was the best version (it even had a level editor!) but maybe that's just nostalgia)