Wiki Vacation 2009: Saint Thomas

This article is part of my Wiki Vacation series of posts from my tour of the US Virgin Islands in 2009. The first leg of the trip was to Saint Thomas, where we joined a destination wedding. A short detour to Trunk Bay was documented here. And the second leg of the trip to Caneel Bay can be found on its own article.

A Green Iguana sunbathing at Marriott on St. Thomas

A green iguana sunbathing at Marriott on St. Thomas

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Wiki Vacation 2009: Trunk Bay

This is a mini-post, a part of the Wiki Vacation series of posts from my tour of the US Virgin Islands in 2009. The trip to Trunk Bay was our first visit to Saint John, and was limited to half a day, where we went with family, a newly-wed couple, and friends. Our second trip to Saint John followed a few day after, where we went alone, documented on the long post on Caneel Bay.

Trunk Bay on Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Trunk Bay on Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands

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Wiki Vacation 2009: Caneel Bay

I dug up more Wiki Vacation pictures from my 2009 to Caneel Bay, following the first in the series from the trip back to Taiwan. Caneel Bay is a resort on the northwest side of St. John, one of the US Virgin Islands, with seven private, picturesque beaches.

Guests of the [[:en:Caneel Bay|Caneel Bay]] resort disembark at the Caneel Beach from the resort's own boat, Mary II.

Guests of the resort disembark at the Caneel Beach

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My Favorite Wiki Vacation Pictures: Taiwan 2009

I’ve been uploading vacation pictures to WikiMedia since 2015. I call some of my vacations Wiki Vacations, because I go to places with an explicit intent of taking pictures, processing them afterwards, and then uploading them to WikiMedia, for use on Wikipedia articles. I don’t actually know how other Wikipedians refer to this mode of vacation. But I do know the official definition of WikiBreak, nicknamed Wikivacation, means almost the opposite.

Regardless of the terminology, I do find the experience rewarding. As reported earlier in Some of my Most Popular Pictures, time spent getting good, useful pictures for Wikipedia is more than made up by seeing some of these pictures widely distributed online, with or without credits. Here I posted a few of my favorite Wiki Vacation pictures. Not all of them are well appreciated though. But it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This is from my trip to Taiwan in 2009. Hey, it’s on the first result page of Google image search.

CiSingTan Bay with the Central Mountain Range in the background, in Hualien County in Taiwan 中文: 七星潭位於花蓮縣新城鄉,緊靠著中央山脈。

CiSingTan Bay with the Central Mountain Range in the background, in Hualien County in Taiwan

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Some of my Most Popular Pictures

I have been uploading my best photographs and images to Wikimedia since 2005. Some of these pictures have made it to major Wikipedia articles in many languages. A few have been voted as Quality Images. As a result, I sometimes come across my own pictures when browsing reddit and other online media.

For instance, this autostereogram (MagicEye picture) of a shark is often pirated by online media, even though it is of relatively low-resolution by today’s standard. This is because I made it the article picture of Autostereogram on Wikipedia when I wrote that article.

Autostereogram (MagicEye picture) of a shark

Autostereogram (MagicEye picture) of a shark

Check out the usage record of this picture on Wikimedia to see how prevalent it is. The Sun tabloid featured it as late as 2016. The DailyMail also used it in 2016. A variant of this shark in an animated GIF of the shark comes back once in a while to haunt reddit and imgur.

For the same reason, I often need not look past the first page of a Google image search to find some of my own pictures. For instance, this photo of a watermelon always shows up on the first result page on image search.

Watermelon at a Tainan City Organic Farm

Watermelon at a Tainan City Organic Farm

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Music sung by Vocaloid Miriam

In 2005 I was mesmerized by Vocaloid, a singing voice synthesizer from Yamaha. I composed a three-part acapella piece, with all three voices sung by Vocaloid Miriam (also see this).

Your Fish Tank was writen in 2005. It is the first piece of music I synthesized using Vocaloid Miriam. Bruce Yates graciously allowed me to use his underwater pictures in my YouTube video showcasing this music. See lyric at the end of this article.

Thingymajigtus, written in 2005, was my followed-up to Your Fish Tank, with four-part voice, and piano accompaniment. The lyric talks about one of  The Seven Sins of Memory, with non-prominent parts set to words from Mozart’s Requiem.

Thingymajigtus had been circulating online for quite a while, before I noticed. It’s probably because I uploaded it to Wikimedia, and linked from the Vocaloid article to these sound tracks (Thingymajigtus and Your Fish Tank).

Here are a few videos that feature this music. There even a woman lip-synching it.

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Music Inspired by Richard Dawkins

river_out_of_eden_coverRichard Dawkins is a great man. From the first book of his I picked up, River Out of Eden, to the last one I read, The Greatest Shown on Earth, I’ve never ceased to be amazed by how his passion of biology and his talent at articulating the grandeur of nature ooze out of every single page.

Dawkins is the person who helped me find my atheistic voices in he vocabulary of evolutionary biology. And for that I’ve dedicated many work of art to the great man. For instance, The Lost Cause was wholly inspired by the dozen of books on evolution penned by the man that I’ve read. Similarly, I have written Wikipedia articles on some of his books, such as River Out of Eden and The Ancestor’s Tale, to help guide those who are still searching for their voices.

Here, however, I collect music I have written that are inspired by Dawkins’ work.

We are Made of Stars, subtitled “The Story of RNA”, was one of the first, written in 2006. Not only was it a tribute to Carl Sagan, but more importantly it tells the hypothesis of the RNA World which posits that RNA was the precursor to all current life on Earth. The lyric for this vocal music can be found on Vocal Music from 2006 and 2007.

Climbing Mount Improbable was a short piece written in 2007 to celebrate Dawkins’ book, Climbing Mount Improbable, of the same name. This is an often overlooked book, shadowed by his more-often-cited ones such as The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype. The winding melody ascends and descends slowly and gracefully, following the contour of the Mount Improbable. Originally written for violin and piano, this piece was rearranged for clarinet and piano for my brother’s wedding.

Eternal Bliss was originally written in 2007 for violin and piano, named Noodly Appendages of the FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster). The violin/piano duet score can be found here. Reading by Yonah Zur and Blair McMillen was recorded. I soon added a cello part to it, and rearranged it for clarinet trio, for my brother’s wedding. The clarinet trio was performed by Gilad Harel, Alistair MacRae & Wei-En Hsu.

Edit War in Wikidom was written in 2007, for violin, viola and cello. This short piece is reminiscent of my experiences editing Wikipedia articles, and comprises 3 mini battles. See for instance my contribution to the demise of most ancient common ancestor, and to the deletion of species integration.

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Vocal Music from 2006 and 2007

These are some vocal music I wrote between 2006 and 2007, while attending Conrad Cummings’ evening music composition class at Juilliard. Some of these were sight-readings in class. One was performed at a bar.

Onward, Uncle Sam’s Soldiers was written in 2006 to commemorate a disaster.

We are Made of Stars, subtitled “The Story of RNA”, was written in 2006 as a tribute to Carl Sagan and as an illustration of the RNA World.  Lyric is included at the end of the article.

A House for the Feeble Minded was written in 2007, as a duet for tenor and baritone with piano accompaniment. Adapted from the short story ‘Profession’ by Isaac Asimov. Lyric is included at the end of the article.

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Rearrangements as Gifts 2007-2010

Here are a few examples of music I rearranged as gifts for special occasions in the past. None of these are complex nor recorded. Sorry about the MIDI-quality mp3 files. I know they hurt your ears. They do mine, too.

Turn Your Eyes is a piano prelude music I extended slightly for Elisha in 2007.

You’ve got an Imaginary Friend in Jesus was rearranged in 2009 as a piano solo from James Taylor’s rendition of Carole King’s music, for Elisha. This one is a bit more elaborate, but probably needs some more tweaking.

I Wish You a Jingle Belly Christmas was rearranged in 2010 for my niece Sheryl Huang on her 7th birthday. It was a fun piece we could play together (cello and piano), mixing Jingle Bells with We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

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Wedding Suite 2007 for Clarinet Trio and Brass Quintet

Ten years flew by. I can’t believe I wrote these so long ago. As I slowly migrate content from my defunct website to xinhaidude.com, I decided to start with the Wedding Suite.

The Wedding Suite 2007 includes clarinet trio pieces I wrote in the past, and brass quintet I wrote specifically for the wedding. The suite was performed at Krystina and Mike’s wedding on April 28th, 2007.  Clarinet trio recording was done a week before, performed by Gilad Harel, Alistair MacRae & Wei-En Hsu on April 20th, 2007.  The brass quintet rehearsal was recorded on April 26th, 2007, sight-read by Mike Blutman/Chris Venditti (trumpets), Kelly Csillam (horn), Nick Hagen (trombone) and Edward Vinson (tuba).

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