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Odd to think there’s a whole country of them. Well, I mean, I’m sure there’s not a whole country full of them who can sing like Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, but still… the music is fascinating. It was when I went to see them perform at Grace Cathedral on May 28th.

I couldn’t tell you exactly where we sat (as Lynae decided to come at the last minute), it’d be the front row of the back section (apse?), carefully behind the singers… my architectural jargon isn’t up to spec. Nor could I try and easily explain how I became interested in this specific musical niche, the convoluted methods that I useta employ finding listening material. I can’t even tell you what I heard… not would I care to try and learn (then explain) what modal scales or dissonant harmonies are.

I found a recording that might possibly clarify. At right, the group sings one of our less sophisticated American folk songs. The harmonies are totally off, aren’t they? Not off, just… odd. They’re of a different logic. The mentality is different. Sitting there, listening to song after song and having a different internal experience each time, I envisioned mountain landscapes where women signal to each other over vast distances. The microtonalities made sense, because doesn’t a nuanced emotion deserve expression as much as a powerful one?

Dressed in their traditional outfits for the first half, they were a little too precious. I waved at one of the resting soloists and she waved back—just in time for me to bashfully turn my head. These were Bulgarians! How many times had I listened to them on my iPod on the subway? And here they were in their delightful little Bulgarian costumes! The second half was much better for me; dressed in formal blackwear, coven-esque, it became only about the music and less about the novelty of having an ethnic experience (for an ethnic group, I might add, that I’ve personally checked in to stay at a hostel where I worked).

It was surprisingly immersive; songs were in a different scale for hours afterward. It was a joyful way to break out of that subway. It made something which had become just “one more thing I’m into” and made it “something I’ve done.” It was a good thing to spend fifty bucks on.

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Goodbye, old roommate. Hello new roommate. Oh! Hello, second new roommate.

Jerome got his bed yesterday. He was sleeping on the couch before that. He was sleeping in our apartment because he’ll be staying with us the next three months. Three months! This is Jerome (and this is Jerome en English). He is Quebecois, from Quebec City. An international traveler extraordinaire, he planned a three-month internship as a Mac developer, not to mention found a place to stay (with me), completely through Gmail. That’s impressive.

Jerome, meet Rhiannon. She’s our roommate—as of two weeks ago. Yup. She had to move three times in the past two months to find a place as good as ours. She’s planning on settling down and having some action figures. We met her at Bad Movie Night and kept coming back, long enough to make friends with the girl taking our $5 every week. Now it’s free for us. You can come too, Jerome, and be subjected to the horror that is “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” It’s ok, though! It didn’t actually win any Razzies, so that means it must be a good movie.

Nice to finally introduce you two. This place isn’t the cleanest in the world, now that our former roommate is gone. She sure liked that cleaning. So there’s some Dr. Pepper boxes that are being saved for no reason. We’ve got extra couches, now (not sure what to do with those). I’ll be the first to admit that there’s too many open projects to count. Expect things to be in unlikely places, like my hats on the couch or network cable strung up in the hallway. It’s a creative disorder, a constantly brewing ferment of materials and activities and ideas all swirling around in too small a space for their own good. Welcome.

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Sorry, I'm a Tumblr

Yeah, it's true. Tumblr is easier, prettier, faster, simpler, and AWESOMER than Livejournal. Lord knows I've got more friends here, though. And I haven't updated here in awhile. I figured I'd make a post linking to my Tumblr blog.

If anyone knows a cross-poster like LoudTwitter for Tumblr, that would be quite excellent. While I'm at it, I might as well ask if anyone else happens to be using this stupendously addictive blogging service. Bueller?

Oompa, loompa, doom-pa-dee doo,
I've got a house clean puzzle 4-U,
Oompa, loompa, doom-pa-dee dee,
If you want stuff we've got some for cheap.

What do you do when your roommate's moved out?
Left all her stuff that she wouldn't throw out;
What would you think if it wasn't so bad?
Don't cry even though...


Oompa, loompa, doom-pa-dee day,
tell lots of people and buy it they may.
Oompa, whatsa, stuff-have-we here?
iron board, TV, and used toasters I fear.

Some art supplies, books, movies, shoes and some clothes;
Dishes, linens, tables and free junk I suppose,
We are 23rd near Harrison street,
come this afternoon if you want...


Oompa, loompa, doom-pa-dee dah,
If you want lots just come with a car.
Keep your house in newish-ness too,
Like the Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee DO.


"We ♥ Things"

Remember awhile back when I was whinging about getting an invite for ffffound? Well, I solved that problem by avoiding it. Along comes something better: WeHeartIt! And by better, I mean pretty much the same, but with an open invite system. I'm on there. I've already found many, many cool pictures and my Tumblr is filling out nicely with cross-posted pretties.

Sorry about so many links thrown out there... if you've got it, flaunt it, y'know?

Three Ideas

Idle in-brain conversations. Background noise that rambles on and sometimes if we’re lucky goes somewhere. I was sitting eating a burrito the other day. This noise went somewhere; what do yo think?

1st idea: Evolution. Selection. The world of man. A species’ environment determines which genes are favored. It determines what genes stick around. In humans, self-determined environment (society) is usually more important than the natural world. So there’s a feedback loop. People create their environment, which favors people who can better live in it, and have children who continue to live a life to which they are suited. A possible genetic tendency towards cultural aspects. Accelerated specialization. Patterns within a culture and the ensuing sexual selection might explain geographic racial features. How an individual deals with turmoil and struggle is tied with one’s spiritual beliefs. We can have a culture that shapes its gods a certain way, and people within it who adhere to those gods. Feedback. Some concept emerges somewhere, spreads through society, and favors those predisposed to it. Or it might find more fertile minds somewhere else, and the seeds will grow elsewhere. Memetics influencing genetics. For instance, Greece no longer is made of Greeks, but ethnic Turks. Yet in academia, a major in Classics might as well be called “European Studies.” Through the influence of ideas their values live on in a populace both inheriting them and built to inherit them.

2nd idea: Predation. Digestion. Nature’s law. Organisms get better nutrition from sources closest to themselves. Carnivores spend less time eating than herbivores do, because it’s more work digesting plant fibers than animal protein. Go back far enough and all organisms are theoretically related. Life was just self-replicating bacteria. A few billion years later some became Eukaryotes, which are distinguished by their ability to eat other things (like bacteria). Everything that grew from them—animals, plants, fungi—inherited the capacity to derive sustenance from other life. The more alike, the easier that is.

3rd idea: I find those two ideas I just had quite interesting. I wonder if I can link them together. Let’s see.. they’re both centered around evolution and assimilation. Things diverge over countless years and then re-absorb quickly, converging like long-lost puddles. If they were puddles of oil and water they wouldn’t come together so easily. It’s about how easy it is. How easy it is to assimilate something is directly correlated to how similar it is. There’s my topic sentence.

Hm. That was interesting. Those idle thoughts led somewhere. Even if it turns out there’s an existing scientific theory that says about as much, it’s fun to derive these concepts myself. I do recommend trying it sometime.

photos by cwiener08 and rusty shackelfurt

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Rejected... But Why?

Just to recap, for the Craigslist ad, we said:

We're clean people but not neat freaks. Our room is often messy but we keep the public areas tidy. Cleaning responsibilities will be shared. If a bit of (reasonable) disorder now and then bothers you, we might not be a great match. If you're the artistic type who makes messes sometimes but cleans up after yourself, then we'll likely be fine.

In response, you wrote:

I would like a clean home.  There is "tidy" and there is "clean".  Mildew and mold still grow in kitchens and bathrooms even if you pick up after yourself, so everyone should contribute their efforts to a clean household, on a fairly regular basis, without being freaks about it.  I'm not that concerned with what kind of system you have as long as it works and certain individuals don't end up feeling like the maid.  Please don't be above scrubbing a toilet or tub and please don't wait for toilet paper to appear as if my magic.

Thanks! We'll be in touch (or not? who can say).

photo credit: 3P-3 (Giselle + Pablo) on Flickr

Laptop Challenge ‘08!

Quite unexpectedly, there is a laptop in lap. First, a short story; after that, a short mission.

Unintentional DecorationMy girlfriend’s laptop sucks. For many months, a sticker that reads UR STUPID has presided just above the little embossed HP logo on the front. It has performed to expectations admirably. It’s noisy, it runs too hot and then freezes up, and it’s got some unidentified white material melded in places (no, not the Nik’l Nips you see pictured to the right, a different odd white material). All this until a few weeks ago, when I disassembled the dern thing and managed to clean out the hairball of dust-clog lodged in the gills of the heatsink. If that made no sense to you, don’t worry—suffice to say that I fixed the noise and overheating. Of course, I hadn’t counted on somehow creating a worrisome problem whereby the computer runs normally for minutes or hours or days, but then without warning shuts off entirely. No warning. Entirely. Needless to say this was distressing for the female involved and she decided that she’d spent enough years trying to get it to run properly. That’s why she’s got a brand-new Lenovo. Yup, brand-new. That’s why that particular “girlfriend’s laptop” I was just talking about—it no longer exists.

Instead, it is now boyfriend’s laptop. Yes, after a thorough disassembly, and soldering some suspicious components, including an motherboard battery knocked loose from its moorings, the computing P.O.S. seems to be much less “S.” So yeah. Laptop. I have it. Wow, what an interesting story. Mainly I just wanted to tell it so that everyone understands that this was totally not my plan, I take no responsibility for my good fortune, and I am an oft-resourceful compu-person.

Part two, fun part: the challenge for you. The laptop has doodles all over it, girly colored sharpie squares that have worn away and make it look like the laptop of an indulgent Lisa Frank fan. This is unacceptable. I’ve decided to use my my own means to cover the thing in words. I’ve always liked words. I would like some things to say. Inspired by #2, “crowdsource the name of your new unicycle” on this list of 5ives


  • the stickers will be ALLCAPS, hand-typed on an ancient “hobbyist” Dymo labelmaker
  • keep phrases short; there’s only room on one “line” for 56 characters (including spaces)
  • speaking of characters, I got 0-9, A-Z, period (.) and slash (/) and that is it
  • don’ try an’ make me put anything that I wouldn’t want my mother to see, yokay?
  • they’ll be printed in any color you want, as long as it’s black (mayyybe blue)
  • Twitter responses ok, GLOT comments ok
  • 56 * 29 lines = 1624 characters, average English word length is 5.1, +1 space per word, that’s only 266 words, people! Not a lot!

Orin’s new computer: now accepting submissions.

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Trrrrr! Tehtehteh Burr-kah!

Baby bunnies! Damn you Flickr contacts, and your penchant for cuteness!

Now, to celebrate the holiday, I will watch "The Terminator," a fine holiday film set in the warm subtle spring 1984.


Color Wars

As Arch-Prism of the Ministry of Diffraction (1st Optiglot) for RainbowTeam, I feel it my duty to let everyone know that you don't actually have to understand the color wars in order to participate in color wars. It's just for fun. As far as everyone can tell, Ze Frank started it, and in his capable and creative hands we rest. Don't think too much about it.


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February 2010



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