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Saturday, January 31, 2004  
Haunted with the best of them.

On Christmas eve, I pulled over to listen to an NPR piece about Admirers of the Allegretto from Beethoven's 7th. There were several recordings of variations on that music and interviews with musicians about their reactions and responses to the music. The NPR commentator also had a long history with the piece. It's one of those pieces of music that is instantly familiar and yes, haunting is a good word. I did some rummaging and found a recording of the Seventh. I had spent a lot of time in the past two years with the Ninth and it was so different feeling. And each movement of the Seventh is different also. Related but different.

Pushed by this new Beethoven focus, I bought a complete set of symphonies plus some piano concerti and overtures. Whoa. My iPod is brimming with Beethoven. But no shuffle or play through in order for me. Oh no. I'm now stuck on the Seventh like I was on the Ninth. And since i have two versions now, I can even switch off and compare performances.

I'm not at all sure what this means, but I can recommend the practice, even if your music is different. Listening to something repeatedly gives you a lot of time to think about how it was written, the different parts, what makes it sound that way.

I confess I spend quite a bit of time thinking about what it must be like to be able to create music like this. I wonder what it was like for Beethoven to have these ideas, what his creative process was like, what it was like for him to begin rehearsals and hear the first performance. What was it like to be a musician for those first performances - or to be in the audience?

Written at: 1/31/2004 01:04:00 AM

Thursday, January 29, 2004  
Feel good story of the week.

Be sure to read all the way to the end and check out the photos. I felt a little teary-eyed at the end - what a nice thing to be doing what you're passionate about!

Written at: 1/29/2004 02:46:00 PM

Tuesday, January 27, 2004  
And in other news:
Desler said Microsoft would cover Mike's costs of changing to a new Web site and redirecting traffic from the old site. Microsoft also had agreed to help the teen get Microsoft certification training and other gifts, including an Xbox game console, he said, and has invited Mike to a technology festival in March at the corporation's headquarters in suburban Redmond.
I sure hope those "other gifts" includes the sizeable CASH that the domain name is apparently worth to MS! What do you think? I think the kid needed a better lawyer.

And a big round of applause to the fine folks at Blogger for a) responding to my email after b) tweaking around with my blog and c) making the whole thing work again. You're the best, guys. And it's good to know that fame and glory and life with Google hasn't changed the Blogger I knew back when. And while I'm at it - I still wear my Blogger tshirt proudly!

Written at: 1/27/2004 12:02:00 AM

Monday, January 26, 2004  
I thought this radio "article" about the similarities between how the brains of very creative/genius people and those with some mental illnesses work very interesting. There was much discussion about "latent inhibition" a process which allows us to filter all the stimuli that we're all surrounded with every day. Having a low level of latent inhibition is a common pattern in both very creative and intelligent people and also people with schizophrenia.

I thought it was very interesting especially the description of when a person is "in the zone" or "in the flow moment" -- they are extremely focused WHILE being very aware of everything around them and able to take it all in and allow it to feed their creative process. This ability of being focused while keeping everything at your fingertips is a sort of sweet spot for the creative person. You can focus on one thing while keeping awareness of the whole picture.

Written at: 1/26/2004 11:53:00 PM

January haiku
fingers curled in palm
empty glove flaps above them
winter morning drive

Written at: 1/26/2004 12:07:00 AM

Saturday, January 24, 2004  

Thanks Knowspam, for making email fun again - $20 got me 10,000 less emails since mid-August! What's in your mailbox?

(Due to little Blogger glitch this was late in posting - originally 1/22/04)

Written at: 1/24/2004 08:21:00 PM

Sunday, January 18, 2004  
Plan to improve the entire world

Give everyone on Earth some stirred custard on a regular basis.

Yup, that's all it would take. A bowl of stirred custard, say once a week, with the possibility of seconds and the occasional poached meringue as a bonus, and you have a world full of happy happy people.

I detect a note of skepticism on the other side of the monitor but I would suggest that you just try a bowlful yourself and see if you don't agree. Oh, you need a good recipe? That we can help you with right here. From my family cooking album - Floating Islands:

  • 4 eggs or 3 eggs and 2 yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp flour (I would consider this optional myself - there's no way you need the flour)
  • 2 1/2 cup scalded milk
  • dash salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Combine eggs, sugar and flour together until well mixed. Add milk gradually (note - it must NOT be hot - you'll scramble the eggs) Cook in double boiler over hot but not boiling water, stirring constantly until custard coats a spoon. Serve warm.
For the islands:
  • 2 egg whites (use the ones from the custard)
  • 4 TB sugar
  • dash salt
  • Beat egg whites until soft peak stage. Add the sugar very gradually beating after each addition. Add salt Beat until stiff.
  • Form the islands by dropping a large spoonful of egg white into large frying pan with scalded milk in it. Poach for several minutes until dry and firm. Place on top of bowl of custard.
Enjoy! PS It's ok to double this recipe. Seconds for everybody!

Written at: 1/18/2004 11:33:00 PM

And in the "wouldn't it be nice if this was here" category: Cleveland pushes to go wireless. All wireless, broadband for everyone. Yes, you read right, wireless internet access for anyone with a computer and a 802.11x card or for anyone who can get to any number of places in the city. Thanks to Brewed Fresh Daily for the pure inspiration.

Written at: 1/18/2004 11:00:00 AM

Saturday, January 17, 2004  
I have a few daily must-reads:What makes a good comic? Obviously something that makes you laugh or smile but it's often that something that's close to reality that gives you the most pleasure. Like this or this. Some of these cartoons deal with the ins and outs of everyday life, and in the case of Funky Winkerbean, sometimes they get serious too, but you know a smile is coming somewhere down the road.

I recently heard Berkeley Breathed interviewed on WAMC and not only did I learn how to pronounce his name but I gained a lot of insight in the difficulties and pressures of doing daily comics. He solved this by coming back with a Sunday only, large format only cartoon. He said that, mainly, he just needed to work with Opus some more.

The folks that do this for years not only have a lot of stuff happening between their ears but they make it come out on paper day in and day out. That alone is worthy of respect - none of this "I'm just not feeling it today so no cartoon today, ok?" stuff!

Written at: 1/17/2004 07:47:00 PM

Thursday, January 15, 2004  
The fine staff at the Crazy Apple Rumors Site came back just in time to provide helpful information and assistance post-MacWorld San Fran. And you can't say they're not helpful when they even provide stencils to those in need of a good public rant. Good to have ya back guys! (I knew 'em back when they were on blogspot with ads!)

Written at: 1/15/2004 09:40:00 PM

Tuesday, January 13, 2004  
This in from the National Weather Service:


As a very wise man said, just a few years ago (Dad!) "Man, is it cold!" As I recall it was something like minus 23F then.

The coldest temp I've ever experienced was -35F and that was no windchill. That was the actual temperature! I had a job interview and we started the car a couple times during the night. I remember getting there a little extra early so I would have time to take off all the extra layers of clothes!

yup, winter is here in all its January glory. I'm on the program committee this year for my local guild so I had a meeting at another committee member's house Saturday. Her cat came past us and stood at the patio door wanting OUT. I timed him - 15 seconds. He was back and wanting IN. Silly cats.

I've spent the past few days tinkering around in Illustrator, doing some stuff in Word and trying to get some hands-on time with fabric. Geesh. This work stuff really gets in the way.

Written at: 1/13/2004 11:53:00 PM

Tuesday, January 06, 2004  
Bill the catI almost forgot I took these. Bill the cat was particularly photogenic one day in late December. And he was helpful too. (162K photo)

If anyone was wondering, I did manage to do some quilting the last couple nights. Sometimes you just have to make it happen.

Written at: 1/06/2004 10:23:00 PM

Sometimes traditions are a good thing. In this case, it means that once a year I have an admirable spice cupboard. And for those who needed another reason to use it - the Better than Bouillon jars make great spice storage. While I was organizing, I made notes so I can put an order in to Penzey's

Written at: 1/06/2004 10:16:00 PM

Monday, January 05, 2004  
Care to fulfill your every Bradburian fantasy?

(Which leads me to a general question. Are those who didn't grow up in the 60's as excited by all this as those of us that did? I hope so. I can remember being able to recall a total outline of the Apollo missions to the moon in chronological order. That would have been in Mrs. Sheehy's 7th or 8th grade science class.)

Written at: 1/05/2004 12:44:00 PM

Sunday, January 04, 2004  
What's not to like about this:
Knowspam has blocked 9,000 spams for you!
Knowspam has blocked a total of 11,207,696 spams!

Written at: 1/04/2004 03:28:00 PM

Thursday, January 01, 2004  
Happy New Year! Welcome 2004!

Written at: 1/01/2004 12:44:00 AM

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