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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Great things to do on the weekend

In breif, this is how I've been spending my time this weekend: read Slaughterhouse Five, played guitar for about ten hours, heard Prokofiev's violin Concerto number one in D at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, spent eight hours on a project for my Optimization Modeling class, read a few chapters of The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

Got a neat app for my phone makes it into an Ocarina, and connects to all the other people around the world playing it. I love both the visualization of music (though this isn't very complex) and the networked, global-sharing idea. Very cool to see and hear music being played by people all over the world... seems like an awesome next step would be to enable people to play together.

I spent a few hours writing some sci-fi as well. I think I'll start a separate blog and start posting bits of story line there.

I stopped by Lindsay's showing of a film at her art gallery, but it was too packed to get in.

I'm seriously considering offering my ideas on market ai mechanisms to the "call for papers" that was posted in Kurzweil AI.

So, what did all that guitar playing over the weekend accomplish? I should note that I got the two books I mentioned as audiobooks, so I was playing guitar while “reading.” Well,
I got an increased degree of mastery over the scales I’ve been learning, and I’m starting to have intuitive understanding of the note-structure of music. And I’m also gaining an appreciation for just how much there is to learn. In terms of things recognizable as songs, I learned ‘Hotel Yorba’ and ‘Little Ghost’, and relearned ‘Blue in the Face’ and ‘One More Cup of Coffee.’ I can even sing (poorly) over all of them! That’s something I’ve never been able to do before, and again I’ve got a lot of development ahead of me.

Office comedy: I’m sitting up in IS doing testing on our software, and a little while ago I overheard some IS folks talking condescendingly about non-IS people and how they “can’t read a data layer.” Just now I overheard the same person perplexed over how to expand a pivot table’s data in Excel. I would help, but it might upset the balance of geekery between IS and PC. Oh… man. Its terrible that that’s funny to me, in several ways.

The dark musing below on “Blood Money and Money-Blood” was written while listening to really good Jazz at the Blue Wisp. I was feeling broody, and it occurred to me that musicians and artists are probably some of the only people who are outside of that paradigm. People who’s actions are fully internally motivated… but then the culture of music and art could be said to be a similar sort of organism, and they probably use their component people in ways that are similar to how business people are used by markets.

So it goes.

The Prokofiev concerto was a wonderful thing, and I feel really lucky to have been there for it. I only just discovered it at DRH’s recommendation earlier this spring (I think he talked about it in I Am A Strange Loop), and I’ve come to know it well over the summer. My iTunes count shows twenty two playings since spring, and my iPod probably has triple that. The serendipity is that I randomly flipped my radio on to the classical station on Thursday, and here was this ad for a piece being played just two days hence. It was moving and awe inspiring, the violinist was marvelously talented, and the music is achingly beautiful.

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