Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blogging

Instead of driving around dodging drunks (or partying it up doing the same), I stayed home tonight. Please tolerate the result:





Believe it or not, there's not a drop of alcohol in my system. It's true. I need no assistance butchering a lovely song, as you can clearly see :p

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Instrument -- Of Torture

Behold the confession-o-matic. In the right hands, this nifty device will extract a confession of murder from the pope himself.



Let me tell you, I am terrible. I've never played a fiddle before (or any bowed instrument, for that matter), and it's proving to be more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. This evening, my family shut the door on me and the dog hid under a chair. I'm determined, though, and I'm already at an advantage, already understanding written music and plenty of theory. All I have to do now is make it not sound like a goose in mortal pain.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Google Suggest

Google's "Suggest" feature is a fascinating insight into the currents of thought flowing through our society.



I believe there is little left to say.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

City Slicker



The giant wraps itself in its favorite blanket, huddling down, hugging itself. To see it from outside, one would think it was miserable, its breath steaming from vents in the street and its buildings, like limbs, shuddering with cold. This, though, is not so, for inside its blanket of fog and snow, it is quite warm, quite comfortable, and absolutely full of life.

In a well-worn chair in a dark corner of the tea house, Aryn sits, sipping at a snifter of scotch only every few minutes, apparently in no hurry at all. Here, there’s no need to rush. Aryn can sink into his customary chair in the corner, sip his customary whiskey, and stare blankly ahead, his eyes sometimes closing slowly for a couple minutes, just as he does nearly every other night of the year. The familiar voices around him are soft enough, and the light is low enough, that Aryn comes here to wander in the vivid universe between consciousness and sleep. It’s from this stuffed chair in the corner that Aryn departs on his most satisfying adventures. He has only to let his mind drift away while his eyes close.

As he mulls over the atmosphere this afternoon, inviting his mind to drift, the door at the entrance to the tea house swings open, letting in a piercing white light, followed by a puff of snow, a blast of cold air, and, finally, a heavily bundled person, clutching his hood under his chin. As the door closes, the warmth inside readily dissolves the cold it let in. The newcomer shakes off the snow and the cold, lowering his hood and making his way to be absorbed, himself, by the warm atmosphere inside.

After the man disappears into the low hubbub, Aryn drifts again, a picture in his mind of the warmth of the surrounding air absorbing the cold many times again. It begins to absorb him in gentle comfort, too.

It’s so cold out there. People outdoors come in for warmth, and as they do, they relax, opening up, their very molecules expanding ever so slightly as their bodies absorb the readily-provided comfort of the tea house. They’ve been running; they’ve flushed cheeks and heavy breath. Once inside, they stop running. They sit, comfortable, warming, smiling to themselves before they even notice the people they came to see. Something about the surrounding warmth takes precedence even over the purpose people seem to have, despite them not appearing to take notice or even care to notice what that mysterious something is. As the people warm inside, they exude a sort of energy. Their contentedness is tangible.

Aryn’s eyes open again, and he looks around himself, smiling drowsily at nothing more than the comfort of the snug chair he’s in and the soothing sound of low conversation around him. The mild fuzziness from the alcohol – also warm, he muses – makes it easy to slip in and out of full consciousness, thinning the veil between the two worlds. The warmth in the room clearly goes beyond temperature. Aryn takes in the dark paneled walls, the soft human voices, and the sweet smell of a tobacco pipe, relaxing himself against the collective mass of his surroundings. Supreme comfort holds him steady, pulling him back down from the waking world.

It’s not just here. Aryn sees, now, a building from outside, people gathered therein, warming themselves inside it. The building, Aryn notices, isn’t a passive structure at all. It nurtures the precious life within with gentle arms as it keeps at bay the elements outside, powerful, without conscience, and deadly. The building has a distinct interest in its occupants, for without them, it would not exist. Indeed, without being nurtured itself, this protective behemoth would crumble.

Aryn pulls himself out of his vision, and his eyes barely open as he reaches to the table beside him for whiskey. He smiles again as he feels its warmth in his throat and his mind. Upon finishing his drink, he replaces it on the table and moves outward in thought to the walls behind him and around him and the ceiling above. He knows without looking they stand, steadfast, between him and the bitter cold. These walls harbor the coziness in which Aryn now basks.

Aryn’s mind sees grey again, then mahogany or redwood…he sees dark paneling on the walls that surround him, then low lights hanging from the sturdy ceiling above. The wider city materializes into view. There aren’t any more people – they’re there, to be sure – but they’re too deep within it to notice now, like individual cells. The city itself focuses inward. The buildings together appear to be staying as close between themselves as possible, as though taking great care to a minute task at the city’s base. The city has an air of a giant plant, its petals shut tight around itself, asleep on the outside but feasting on the vital nutrients underfoot, waiting for the call of a bright, warm sun…As the vision of the great city-flower’s feast moves more clearly into view, just about to resolve itself, the scene becomes grey again. Dark reds…heaviness. Comfort. Warmth. Aryn has fallen through to the other side of the border lands, and he sees before him an inviting expanse of deep, comfortable sleep. It’s so soft. As it pulls him closer, he gains momentum…

Aryn doesn't stir. This city, while giving of itself security and warmth, takes enough energy in return to put Aryn right to sleep.


It's unrelated to the story, but I took this one today, too. I wonder if I'll ever get over the beauty of the city.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Smell a Rat

No, really. She smells a little like berries and spice. It's not anything she's gotten into -- she just smells.

Most fuzzy critters smell, and many don't smell very good at all. A rat, though, has a completely inoffensive (albeit a bit weird) odor.

Random tidbit. I've got nothing else interesting to say.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fresh Sounds

It's not my music today, but one I've just stumbled upon. I say, Last.fm is a gold mine. In browsing artists similar to Medeski, Martin and Wood, I stumbled upon a strange group called Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Odd name, right? Odd music:





If you're not into fusion, bear in mind there's nothing to "get". It's more about form than anything.

Beyond that, his banjo has wings, and the guy on the left (er, stage left) is playing the drums. Whether you like the music or not, you've got to admit it doesn't get much cooler than this visual.