Print Story So, um...
By ana (Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 11:46:15 AM EST) (all tags)
It's been a while.

It's been a pretty good week. Monday was a US holiday, in honor of Martin Luther King, whose actual birthday would have fallen some time last week. Tuesday, as everybody who wasn't under a rock knows, was inauguration day here in the US, and we have a new President. Who's already reversing some of the ill-will earned by the last administration, both at home and abroad. May it continue.

I watched the proceedings on my computer at my desk. They had it on the big screen in the so-called auditorium here, but it felt more like a private moment to me.


Also on Tuesday, my writing group met for the first time. Last fall I took a novel writing workshop at the local adult education place. Seven or so of the twelve students stuck it out til the end, and kept coming back even after their own synopses-and-first-chapters were critiqued, and we thought it'd be a good thing to continue, perhaps working through each others' novels-in-progress.

Four of us made it to the first meeting. Two have grand ideas but only a few chapters on paper, so the group will perhaps help motivate progress. The other two of us have essentially complete (in second draft, even, in my case) or nearly complete (lacking perhaps 4 chapters) novels. So we can read and critique those whilst waiting for more stuff. Not sure about the status of the other three novels. The ideas are good, at least.

Should be fun. And whoever's not bringing work to be critiqued supplies the cookies or chips or whatever.

Called off a Boston husi get-together due to cold. Today, at least, it's warm, even above freezing. Cold front due tomorrow, though. Perhaps the snow's melted a bit today, though, so there'll be room to put the next batch. Which is not yet in the forecast (knock wood).

I guess we should try to have another Boston husi get-together sometime. We haven't done lunch in months; and I think it's been even longer since the last dinner. Perhaps when 256 and e were here.

Seems I never take time to read much any more. Part of that has to do with the writing-related activities in my life. But only part. The rest is laziness, or the fact that the internet seems shinier most evenings.

And speaking of laziness, I haven't really written anything much lately, beyond the half-hour on Sunday afternoons that's kind of institutionalized as a prompted writing chat. If you wanna come, tune your IRC client to, channel #writing at 1pm eastern time on a Sunday (these days that's 1800 GMT). I have a rather vivid character, who doesn't seem to be part of any novel I'm likely to write. Not sure what to do about that.

And, it's been about a year now. There was an opening in the flower funding calendar at church, so we're providing flowers for this Sunday. Fortunately, toxicfur can take Friday and Monday off and make a long weekend of it.

And I'm really wanting to see the Coraline movie that's coming out in Feb. Really Soon Now.

Speaking of movies, we saw Gran Torino last weekend. It's Clint Eastwood, pondering the nature and uses of violence. And it explicitly violates Chekov's (was it Chekov?) dictum that if there's a gun over the mantlepiece in Act I, it must be used by Act V.

Wendy Carlos came up randomly on my iPod, and I'm reminded that one thing I've wanted to do for a while is to electronicize some classical music.

And I've signed up to make coffee for the work folks all next week. So I should bake some cookies this weekend. We got some sourdough starter from one of toxicfur's cow-orkers, and it was ready this week, so there's a loaf of banana bread (and a bunch of little donuts for us). That's one day (or maybe two) worth of sweets.

Enough rambling. If you see the Muse, ask for an idea to be sent my way.
< Shuck that jive. Shuck all that jive. | Gah. >
So, um... | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)
i wasn't even looking for an idea today by 256 (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 01:11:06 PM EST
and i got bit.

i recommend abita turbodog and a PM from blixco.

I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
Reading by Vulch (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 02:18:57 PM EST
I'm finding the same thing. Must put the laptop down and pick the book up. I think over the 4 or 5 years I've been keeping track I've dropped from 180 to 130 a year. And once I've finished this comment I should make a feature request to myself for and add a "new/reread" flag because I have a feeling it's the rereads have dropped off more than the new books so I'm not even saving money by reading less...

mini by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 04:18:06 PM EST
diary in response to another diary ...

It would be cool to get together again, though I'm glad we bailed on last Friday -- that was crazy cold.

It's been a crummy week on this side: didn't get the holiday off, lots of frustrating meetings, not much done except for stuff for someone else's deadline, while my own deadline isn't getting any further away.

Been kinda stuck writing myself. It's funny, I've been writing toward this point for a while now, but now I'm here it doesn't look like I thought it would. I haven't been doing much reading lately either. I think in my case the two things might be related. I'm gonna beat this, though, one way or another.

We have a bring-in-wine (or other booze) rotation in my department at work. Was my turn today (Riesling and camembert). Another department does pie on Fridays. Been thinking a breakfast rotation might be a good thing to start with the dev teams.

"Late to the party" is the new "ahead of the curve" -- CRwM

Crummy... by ana (4.00 / 1) #4 Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 04:34:31 PM EST
is a good word for it.

This coffee hour has been running for something crazy like 40 years or so. And something like half the papers on my CV since I moved here are from collaborations started over morning coffee. The last year or two I've been baking cookies and stuff to take along when it's my turn. Speaking of which, I prolly should have been doing that tonight.

Oh, yeah, and I'm totally into the "been writing toward this point for a while now, but now I'm here, it doesn't look like I thought it would" thing. Characters do what they want, not what you want them to.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Wendy Carlos. by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 03:41:24 AM EST
She is not only a music innovator, she is also into Solar Eclipses, which makes her uber cool.

IMO by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Feb 02, 2009 at 03:46:29 AM EST
Not so much a musical innovator as a musical instrument and recording technique innovator. Today any retard with Reason (or any other software synth) and a handful of midi-files from somewhere like the mutopia project (or other source) can recreate the same music way to easily.

That is not to knock the music of Carlos, but the improvement in computer music has kinda killed off that kind of music... by making it easy.

-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
Speaking of which... by ana (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Feb 02, 2009 at 06:04:02 AM EST
I'd like to try my hand at some of that.

She's also done considerable work using orchestration techniques to make monophonic synthesizers sound like something wonderful. I guess it's harder than it looks, but, with modern computers and software, no longer singularly difficult.

She's also done some interesting stuff that exploits the dissonance you get from Just Intonation (see album Beauty from the Beast).

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
indeed by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 05:43:45 AM EST
Just trying to reproduce something of her work (that is to say, no real creativity required) is hard enough using all the power of today's tools. Trying to do it with analogue synths and non-digital recording equipment.... sounds like torture to me.

I do however take immense joy from "building" analogue synthesizers, I guess it is comparable to people building other instruments. There is some magic in hearing your own contraption spring to life...

-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
If you innovate about the sounds you use .... by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:12:47 AM EST
 ... you are a music innovator, even if you play Bach.

Debussy for example used ancient Greece's modal scales.

Nowadays everybody uses the tempered scale, that does not mean it wasn't a stroke of genius by a certain JS Bach ...

[ Parent ]
not sure I agree by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 05:47:32 AM EST
completely, playing Bach on a "new instrument" (being a synthesizer contraption or a kazoo) doesn't necessary make you innovative. Doing it well (or even a few percent as extremely as Carlos) makes you interesting, and possible innovative.

What amazes me the most about this certain JS Bach, is how he can be extremely innovative within the strict settings provided by the styles he composed in...  it is of course dangerous to compare (and pretty futile), but today a composer faces a completely different problem, how to set yourself apart from the rest when nothing is provocative anymore... whilst Bach could be provocative by changing to the "wrong" key at the "wrong" time...

-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
If you play using a new instrument... by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 06:11:09 AM EST
... and you are the first that tries, you are an innovator.

You may not be a great innovator, an inventive innovator or a clever innovator, but I think you are still innovating when threading were nobody has threaded before, or even if  you thread better than others that have already tried.

I agree that today's composers have got a huge problem in their hands, but there are always people that overcome the heavy weight of history and deliver us great music.

[ Parent ]
I guess, technically you are correct by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 03:33:43 AM EST
but I believe that there is some similarity to people trying to reaching the south pole... if you just define your criteria strong enough you can always be the first. You can be the first 1/16th Indian with one arm born in Idaho. If somebody beat you to it, tighten the criteria even more. You can be the first 1/16th Indian with one arm (amputated below the elbow) born in Bumsville, Idaho.

-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
So, um... | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)