Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

  • Music:

If you won't come to the Mikvah

Title: relates to a sketch I've been working on - person standing in rain - 「If you won't come to the mikvah, the mikvah will come to you」.

Trip to mum's: went pretty well, joy of new portable music player, plus something in me has been awakened; the whole way I was seeing the beauty of the land, and wanted to head out to play along the side of the road. Family: Oh goodness there are seven ladies cooking at once, one of which is my mum, all talking and joking and laughing. my uncle looks very slightly more like my grandpa, and the grandparents seem somehow younger. The reunion went smoothly, including my using branches as makeshift oars on the now ant-filled rowboat, in order to shove a dead fish to the side of the lake so cousin John could scoop it out and dispose of it. My cousin Jeremiah is also much bigger than he was last I saw, and there was the usual mix of irritation and joking with my sister Lindsay. I was expecting to see the twins and maybe meet Andrea's new fiancé, but apparently I was mistaken - neither Katie nor Andrea showed up. Oh well. Also, my mom showed me some drawing tricks (she has a rather nice art setup in the basement). The trip back was also pretty decent, although driving at night gets kind of dull.

I was thinking about music for much of the trip - on the way back I noticed that most of the time I hear a song, anytime an instrument is included, it's used at least a fair bit (apart from a small class of instruments that's different on this front) - very few songs will use a violin for just a short effect. In pre-digital times, this makes sense - no band is going to make so little use of an instrument they've hired (it's probably more formulaic than this in orchestral music - I would have been offended when I played StringBass to have had a song where I was only used for a few measures. Certainly in midi and other compression schemes (maybe even sheet music), a slot for a voice can be precious. I wonder if this is limiting. I think the core of my recent thoughts have been - what lies just outside our musical traditions - is there anything out there that we should hear that we might reach by discarding/weakening some of our traditions? Convention of western tonality (experiments without tonal center and beyond), of our beat system, voices.. I imagine between the PCM format and traditional western sheet music, there's all sorts of good stuff. Notion: standard deviation for music. Notion: wading into chaos. Amusement: Idea of composer twiddling bits in a PCM file as composing - theoretical absolute composer.

SCS network has again been having problems, preventing me from getting work done. Very frustrating, especially as every time another network hiccup happens I need to give TLC to a few systems. Upside: I now am pretty sure I've figured out what I had conceptually wrong with the 802.1Q project, and hopefully with just a bit more coding I can finish that project and start on the other one.

Personal life remains interesting.

Phone irritation:

  • Swung by T-Mobile store to fix my NexusOne's network data access, which cut me off from the occasional voice calls(!). Today: Called verizon using my office phone, whereupon they eventually told me that the store actually switched me out of the data plan I had (which did not work with Android) into a truly no-voice-whatsoever plan for android phones (rather than the 45¢/minute a la carte plan) - the android plans are not listed on the site and offer different things. Grr.
  • Only plan I could get that has data and voice capability was a much more expensive plan with minutes. I guess that's ok until I figure something better out. This is ridiculous though - not happy to suddenly be paying every month roughly what I was paying every year before with the prepaid minutes, even if I do get this spiffy internet everywhere (and tethering, I guess? Need to look into that).

I've been thinking about what blog software would look like were it to take folding (like lj-cut or what code editors do) very seriously, and add types to folds. Issue: are we less likely to write content when we suspect people will have to dig way down to read them? Would transclusions be a reasonable source of content? Is this just an uninteresting variant of a WikiLink then?

Primitives of thought:

  • legos and truth tables - generic thought, of which people are likely entirely skilled at some low level. Given lights and a box, people eventually would become trained at providing right answers through conditioning, even if they did not yet understand the rules and it would take considerable effort to internalise them enough to do so. Human as DSP. Legos - can construct any shape.
  • age of optimisation - we build useful primitives instead of using generics, these primitives are things we train ourselves on. A late primitive in life - foundation of standard calculus as integ/deriv. Learning enough powerful primitives and learning to systematically apply them, deeply understand them, and getting a feel for what they do in a problem domain - key to intelligence. Long beams, tilted rooves, etc - let us build houses. We could do this with appropriate generics, but not nearly as quickly and with less ability to reason about the final structure.

Strange: Looking back at old textfiles with summaries of dreams typed in, using familiarity to help remind self of which dreams are part of long-term identity and which are from the events of the day. Wondering: how does this relate to blogs? Journals?

Here's a wonderful Dar Williams cover of 「Midnight Radio」, a song that's recently been competing with Vienna Tengの「The Tower」 for main earworm in my head.

I sometimes wonder how often people talk about the narratives the use to give meaning to their lives - I suspect that this is a nearly universal tendency, but maybe it's too personal/emotionally dangerous to lay that kind of thing on the table. Or maybe I'm wrong about how common it is.


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