"Close enough for jazz"

Jul. 23rd, 2017 03:13 am
rosefox: Me snuggling a giant teddy bear, entirely contented. (sleeping)
[personal profile] rosefox
Vacation to-do list/wishlist summary: not too bad! Especially given that today was totally eaten by stressful unexpected circumstances. (Everyone is fine now.)

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender and do some knitting
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (I didn't do this but did go read in the park near our house)
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read (three books! in one week!)
* Cook
* Lunch with my mom
* Sleeeeeeeep

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Shower and dress in real clothes every day (mostly)
* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Unpack
* Vacuum (well, I swept, but it's pretty clean underfoot now)
* Catch up on laundry
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Finish setting up Tinybeans
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem
truepenny: photo of the keyboard and raised lid of a 1911 Bluethner grand piano; the inside of the lid has inlaid brass letters reading BLUETHNER LEIPZIG (bluethner 1911)
[personal profile] truepenny
So this year, after a gap of twenty-five years, I started taking piano lessons again, focusing--because I'm an adult and get to choose for myself--on ragtime. There's a bunch of stuff around this decision that does not need to be explored at this juncture, because what I want to talk about is one of the biggest fucking paradigm shifts I've ever experienced.

I learned piano very much in the traditional you-learn-pieces-and-perform-them-at-recitals-and-they-get-progressively-harder mode (also traditional is the nice Lutheran lady teaching piano in her living room), and one of the reasons I started again was that I could work with somebody who went to UW-Madison for music--somebody, in other words, who's been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings not just of music, but of teaching.

Dude rocks my fucking world, I tell you what.

Partly, this is because I'm an adult and I've been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings of teaching (I always know when a teacher is using a particular pedagogical technique on me--which interestingly doesn't always make it less effective). I learn differently now and with a different understanding of what "learning" is. This is the place where Csikszentmihalyi has been extremely helpful to me, because I can recognize how a successful learning engagement works. ("Learning experience" would be a better phrase, but it already has connotations that are really kind of the opposite of what I mean.) And the pressure to learn pieces for recitals is mercifully off, which helps, too. But partly it's because this guy approaches music completely differently, bottom up instead of top down.

But the thing that has changed my relationship with my piano is something my teacher said (and I can't for the life of me remember what it was) that made me understand--quite literally for the first time in my life--that fingerings aren't arbitrary and they aren't just put in music so that teachers can judge whether students are obeying them or not. Here's where playing the piano is exactly like rock climbing:

The notes in the score are like the hand, finger, foot, and toe holds used to set a route in a climbing gym. You work the fingerings out yourself, the same way that a climber works out her own solution to how to get to the top of the wall using the holds available. And he said, "This music is for playing." A weirdass chord progression or run is like a difficult sequence in a route; it's a game, a puzzle that a musician who's been dead for 100 years set for all the pianists who came after him to solve. You work out the fingerings (4-5-3-5 WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK) so that you don't hang yourself out to dry, the same way that a climber works out her holds so that when she has only her right hand free, the next hold isn't three feet to her left. When you make a mistake, you laugh and pick yourself back up and go up the wall again, because it isn't a pass/fail test. It's a game. You have a sense of glee that you share with the route setter about solving this incredibly intricate puzzle almost--in a weird way--together.

What that means is, (1) playing piano, which I have always loved, is now infused with a sense of fun that it truly has never had; (2) I know what I'm learning--not just "music" but the route up the wall, the game that underlies the performance; (3) when I'm fumbling through a new chunk of music, I know why I'm fumbling. It's not because I'm stupid or the music is stupid; it's because my brain is trying to process so much new information that it gets overwhelmed. That's why I miss easy chords and consistently play that damn C-sharp when the piece is written in G. Because THAT'S WHAT THE LEARNING PROCESS LOOKS LIKE.

But honest to god the idea of music as a game being played between composer and performer, and not a game like tennis, but a game like riddling--riddle set and riddle answered--is a seismic paradigm shift for me. Everything looks different now.

KWLP is On the Air! 7-19-2017

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:11 pm
redneckgaijin: (Default)
[personal profile] redneckgaijin
 KWLP is my little Internet radio show on DementiaRadio.org, 9 to 11 PM Wednesdays (Central time).

Tonight: S-E-X Pt. 1 - Down and Dirty

Tune your streaming-audio app to listen.dementiaradio.org:8027 to listen!

FULL PLAYLIST WILL APPEAR ON THIS POST 
AT THE END OF THE SHOW.

Comment to vote for as many songs as you'd like to hear replayed next week; the top five total votes here, on IRC chat during the show, and on the Dementia Radio Facebook group will be replayed next week as REQUEST ROW. The top vote-getters for the whole year get played the last two shows of the year in our top-100 countdown.

LEAD-IN TRACK
Pervert - Ed Golden

AAAAAAAALL THE SEX
Monty Python - Sit on My Face
Spinal Tap - (Funky) Sex Farm
Hayseed Dixie - Feel Like Making Love
The Four Postmen - Let Me Make You Smile In Bed
The Consortium of Genius - All I Wanna Do Is You
Possible Oscar - Get Our Geek On
Ookla the Mok - Tantric Yoda
Tim Cavanagh - Really Safe Sex
Garfunkel and Oates - Handjob, Blandjob, I Don't Understand Job [Explicit]
Monty Python - The Naval Medley

SHAFTED
Lorne Elliot - The Smallest Thing Known To Man-
Devo Spice - Enhanced
Da Vinci's Notebook - Enormous Penis
Bowling for Soup - My Wena

PADDING
Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls
Danny Birt - Lady Hath Bustle
Dave Elder & The Elderados - but but but
Spinal Tap - Big Bottom

A WORD FROM SOMEBODY ELSE'S SPONSOR
Radio Free Vestibule - Joe's Sex Shop

A SHOP WHERE YOU CAN'T TAKE THE MERCHANDISE HOME WITH YOU
Mike Toomey - What It Was, Was A Strip Club
Patton Oswalt - The Stripper
Paul and Storm - Strip Club Daddy (Studio Version)
Robert Lund & Spaff.com - Hey, Old Stripper
Cirque du So What - At the Strip Club on Carson Ave

THIS SET IS NOT HET
Corky & The Juice Pigs - Eskimo- Corky & The Juice Pigs
Raymond and Scum - Does This Make Me Gay?
Avenue Q Original Cast - If You Were Gay
Tom Smith - Two Guys Kissing Ruined My Life

REQUEST ROW
Mikey Mason - Mad
Modern Entertainment - Thorazine Shuffle
Sudden Death; Worm Quartet - Inner Voice
Consortium of Genius - Brain Wrap (feat. Dr. 'A')
Consortium of Genius - They Said I Was Mad

SPECIAL BONUS TRACK
Garfunkel and Oates - I Would Never (Have Sex with You) [Explicit]


"You can't always get what you want"

Jul. 19th, 2017 01:31 am
rosefox: A Victorian woman glares and says "Fuck's sake, what a cock"; someone out of the frame says "mm". (disapproval)
[personal profile] rosefox
Archiving some Twitter threads here regarding cons and congoing.

Thread 1: You are not entitled to be a panelist at a convention.  )

=====

Thread 2: Cis People Please Don't Do This. )

Comments are off because I'm on vacation and don't feel like moderating them. Feel free to share the link to this post.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Dear Senator Johnson:

Thank you for speaking out against Senator McConnell's methodology, which looks suspiciously more like tyranny than democracy. I hope that you will publicly refuse to vote to repeal the ACA with nothing lined up to take its place. McConnell's plan is catastrophic and could only be put forward by someone who neither knows nor cares anything about the healthcare needs of his constituents. I am strongly in favor of bipartisan reform for the ACA, and I hope that you will reach out to your Democratic colleagues to make that happen.

I know I will never persuade you that you are wrong about the effect of the free market, but, because I choose to believe that you are acting in good faith, I have to--in good faith--try again:

The problem with the free market is that it erodes ethics. Free-market capitalism says that ethics are irrelevant--if they're not actually a liability, making you less able to compete. This is why it is crucial that the government regulate corporations. The government doesn't need to worry about corporations making money. They'll take care of that part themselves. The government needs to ensure that they don't run roughshod over employees and consumers in the process. Deregulating everything and trusting to the free market to solve the problem is like opening all the cages and trusting the tigers to solve the food supply problem. Corporations, like tigers, will solve the problem for themselves. We need the government to make sure the problem is solved for everyone.

This is why we need government. This is why government should never be run on the corporate model. It is not a corporation, and if it is to succeed in providing justice for all citizens, it cannot be a corporation. It has to be the balance to the corporations, to keep their untrammeled free market competition from literally poisoning everything they touch. In the past fifty years, America has proved repeatedly that deregulation is not the answer. Deregulation only and always makes things worse, because--hey, wait for it--our country is not a corporation. Treating it like one merely destroys it.

This is why ethics are not something that can be discarded. Because without ethics, you get the Trump administration, and I have to tell you that, no matter how it looks from where you are, from where I am, all I see are tigers.



There's also email to Governor Walker about why isn't he one of the governors speaking out against ACA repeal?

"R&R"

Jul. 18th, 2017 04:26 am
rosefox: Me looking out a window, pensive. (relaxed)
[personal profile] rosefox
Once more unto the vacation to-do list/wishlist. A whole week of vacation when I'm not ill! Such luxury!

Things with deadlines:

* NONE AT ALL

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender and do some knitting
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (needs to happen today if it's going to happen, because the weather's going to be too hot and unpleasant the rest of the week)
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read
* Cook
* Lunch with my mom
* Sleeeeeeeep

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Shower and dress in real clothes every day
* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Unpack
* Vacuum (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Catch up on laundry
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Finish setting up Tinybeans
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem

"The travel-model baby"

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:29 am
rosefox: A zombie from a Nintendo game. (zombie)
[personal profile] rosefox
We are HOME. I have rarely in my life been so tired, and I have spent much of my life being tired. This is non-Euclidean tired that collapses in upon itself. I'm sort of impressed by it.

As usual, Sam was thrilled to see me, Sophie was thrilled to see X, and Alex pretended to have entirely forgotten our names until we ordered pizza and he decided he wanted some. Tili took very good care of them. She also pointed out that our inexplicably huge basil plants grew enormous flower spikes during the three days we were gone. The leaves are yellowing a bit; might be time for more fertilizer.

I cannot overstate how tremendously lucky we are to have such a good travel-bean. They were really clearly Done With Everything around 2 p.m. yesterday, and very polite about our inexplicable failure to take them home right then. They didn't nap much on the train today, though they did sleep on me for about half an hour—it's such a pleasure to be slept on by a baby, and we were all jockeying a bit to be the one that Kit napped on; I only won because J needed to get up to get something and I snagged the sleepy baby and the blanket—but they were generally cheerful and amenable to distraction nonetheless, and as soon as we got home they chugged a bottle and sacked out. They even signed "train" while we were waiting for the train, and they made friends with another toddler who was riding in our car, trading many high-fives and handshakes. They really liked the train trips; we should do more train travel with them.

Next year, more and better planning. Definitely. But on the whole it was a very good con.

"Gonna fall down any day now"

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:11 am
rosefox: The Readercon logo flipped to read R F. (readercon)
[personal profile] rosefox
We are at Readercon! We are having a very good time.

We took the train up instead of driving. There was a mess leaving Penn Station—we had to get off our broken train and get onto another one at the last minute—and a friend couriered much of our luggage, so that was all a bit of a logistical headache, and it's stressful being bound to an external schedule. But I actually haven't missed having a car (or even thought much about leaving the hotel) and I definitely haven't missed being the only licensed driver for a long trip. Maybe the train again next year; maybe not.

Me being sick for the crucial two weeks (two full weeks! June 26 to July 10! let's never do that again!) when we would usually do all our planning led to many hilarious planning failures, including not packing enough underwear, packing the wrong bra, not bringing enough warm clothing for a freezing cold hotel, never getting around to going swimming (after much fuss about making sure we all had swim gear—though of course we forgot Kit's swim diaper!), not bringing toothpaste, not bringing enough cash for housekeeping tips, forgetting that my new eyeglass prescription means my hoarded last pair of contact lenses was useless, and not scheduling enough babysitter time. Rarely has my behavior.planning.agley tag been so apt. X and J did their very best to make up for my incapacity, but we're all used to me being the primary planner, and at this age Kit is very distracting and makes it hard to focus on planning. I suspect that we're going to go home, sleep for a week, and then plan out our entire schedule for next year in advance.

I gave a talk on habit reversal training for writers that was extremely well received. That was very gratifying and enjoyable, and set a good tone for the rest of the weekend. I attended a few panels, was on a couple more, read none of my book and knit none of my knitting, had a really lovely time hanging out with friends, stayed up very late—the usual.

Some of it has been a bit strange. I'm now at the age where my friends tell me about their divorces; I was not quite aware I had reached that age, but it's happened twice in two days, so here we are. (To be clear, I am very glad I could be there for those friends. I just wasn't expecting it.) No one's slept much except Kit, who remains an absolute champion traveler and has taken a solid two-hour nap every day we've been here, including on the train on the way up (and will ideally do so on the train home). But we're coping.

I was nearly falling asleep during my own room party, and then after it was done I went out to the patio because 1 a.m. Readercon patio conversations are a superb vintage I only get to taste once a year. We talked about consciousness upload and replication, which led to digressions on neuroscience, parenting, and karma. Good times.

I must go sleep a lot now. A whole lot. Tomorrow: home.

KWLP is On the Air! 7-12-2017

Jul. 12th, 2017 08:45 pm
redneckgaijin: (Default)
[personal profile] redneckgaijin
KWLP is my little Internet radio show on DementiaRadio.org, 9 to 11 PM Wednesdays (Central time).

Tonight: INSIDE MY MIND

Tune your streaming-audio app to listen.dementiaradio.org:8027 to listen!

FULL PLAYLIST WILL APPEAR ON THIS POST 
AT THE END OF THE SHOW.

Comment to vote for as many songs as you'd like to hear replayed next week; the top five total votes here, on IRC chat during the show, and on the Dementia Radio Facebook group will be replayed next week as REQUEST ROW. The top vote-getters for the whole year get played the last two shows of the year in our top-100 countdown.

LEAD-IN TRACK
Consortium of Genius - Brain Wrap (feat. Dr. 'A')

MATTER FOR THOUGHT
The Consortium of Genius - i think therefore i rock
They Might Be Giants - I Should Be Allowed to Think
Tom Smith - Hamster Brain
The Frantics - You Were Speeding
They Might Be Giants - A Self Called Nowhere

THE VOICES TELL ME TO DO THINGS
Lemon Demon - There's a Robot In My Head
Denis Leary - Voices in My Head
Sudden Death; Worm Quartet - Inner Voice
Donna Freberg; Donovan Freberg; Stan Freberg - Theater of the Mind
They Might Be Giants - Where Your Eyes Don't Go

CHANGE THE RECORD DAMMIT
The Arrogant Worms - Song Inside My Head [#][*]
Devo Spice - Earworm
Cartoon Planet - The Song That Doesn't End

CRACKING UP, NO REALLY
The Bonzo Dog Band - You Done My Brain In
They Might Be Giants - Lost My Mind
Leroy Pullins - I'm a Nut
Johnny Cash - Everybody Loves a Nut
Naploeon XIV - Split Level Head
Parry Gripp - I'm a Crazy Wierdo and I'm Calling You
Patton Oswalt - Great Food Is Cooked by Psychos
They Might Be Giants - Absolutely Bill's Mood

INSANITY FOR FUN AND PROFIT
The Zanies - The Mad Scientist
C.O.G. - They Said I Was Mad
Mikey Mason - Mad

THE KILLER CURES
Billy May; Daws Butler; Stan Freberg - The Lone Psychiatrist
Modern Entertainment - Thorazine Shuffle
Consortium of Genius - Lobotomy
Randy Hanzlick, M.D. - I'd Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me (Than a Frontal Lobotomy)
Ray Stevens - I Used to Be Crazy [*]
Napoleon XIV - They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

REQUEST ROW
TJ & The Revo - Too Late to Apologize
The Great Luke Ski - Aliens Just Don't Understand
Ookla the Mok - Super Powers
1776 Original Cast - But, Mr. Adams
Ookla the Mok (feat. Shoebox, the great Luke Ski, and Devo Spice) - Welcome to the Con


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