Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Creative Drive; Art and Music

I wonder what the drive to create things is.  It's a drive and you can have it even when you don't have the skills to do what you want to do and it can make you (me) crazy.

I'm a good writer, a good photographer, I'm great visualizing things.
I learned to paint decently.  I'm not the best drawer but I do ok.

But I struggle with audio and music.  I love music and learned guitar at an early age though stopped due to a hand injury though I might be able to do it some now.

But what I'd love to be able to do is composition.  Hearing Cirque du Soliel is an exercise in ecstasy and torture as I really would love to be able to create that kind of music, but even after studying composition in college some my mind just doesn't seem to work that way very well.  It's a struggle in a way that I have trouble describing, but I'm sure it's similar to people who struggle with visualizing things.

But I don't think I should ever accept "I can't" as by not accepting it I accomplish some very rewarding things.
I can paint, I can run, I am working on being able to climb to altitude, I'm competing in herding with a talented dog who has behavior issues and many people would have given up on him.  All these things I had to work at and overcome mental ":I can't" obstacles, and it means so much more when I succeed.

And I've have more training beyond college and guitar lessons.  While my hands were injured I couldn't play an instrument, so instead I learned to listen to music very carefully.  Someone told me that the brain of a musician listening to music is much more active than the average person and I can totally understand why.  When I'm listening to music carefully I can follow the components.  What is that violin doing?  How about the guitar or the drum, and that vocal is incredible, and is that 3/4 time, funny it's not a waltz but just feels like it...

But there's still a block.  I can analyze music up to a point (some things are too subtle for me to follow), but I am just amazed at the incredible complexity that Cirque or Mozart come up with.  Not to mention I find a lot of classical music kinda boring (save for Herr Mozart), so I was thrilled when Cirque appeared.

Now I'm realizing what I love is film, play, and even TV (yes, Survivor) music, but I really don't know how to move forward with my enjoyment of it.  One way is to get a lot better at the piano (and consider replacing my sorry old completely worthless family piano - though my mother would kill me if she found out.), but what I love is the full effect of all the instruments at once.  Real composers can hear the full effect in their head.  That's a skill I've yet to develop and I'm not sure how to do it.

There's a scene in a Juliette Binoche film (possibly Alice et Martin or maybe it's the oh so cheery Three Colors: Blue) that I just love.  She is composing a piece with her partner.  He is playing what they' have so far and she says "Wait Wait" in French "Attend attend..." and then makes a great suggestion of what should be added.  I would dearly love to create this way.  In DVD special features I love the ones where they talk about the music and the process just as much as I love how they talk about creating the animation and the art.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When Machines are Unsupervised - autogenerated web sites

You know it happens when you mistype your bank's internet address and you get this weird site where everything is just a strange web search. These sites are just generated by a machine using only keywords and it's maddening.

Well here's one that's gone even further.

This is a site in China that's apparently using purely machine translation:

Pretty much any link has an almost understandable title, but when you get to the content it's utterly strange.

I found this site as it was mysteriously the very first match to my Googling
windows virus hiding places

Which i can assure you is not comprehensible even to a trained professional.

The second match is only slightly better:  It's clearly also Chinese.  What's interesting is that it's probably well worth deciphering (this one is sort of understandable) because the Chinese have some of the best in the world hackers so they would likely know.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another Blogger's :"Stalker"

Another blogger was describing a really funny story of her having a puppy dog type [human] stalker for a period of time while she was at an out-of-town event. The "stalker" was harmless and it was just someone who always arranged to be where ever she was while she was there.

I turned to another blogger (the blogger density was a little high at that moment), and said "She has a stalker. How come we don't have stalkers?" The other blogger made some mention of boring (she was referring to herself which is funny because her blog is definitely not boring) and the one with the stalker does have quite a funny blog and a good size following.

I can't figure out if I'm jealous or not. On the surface, I felt relief that it's not me. I've had to deal with human male puppy dogs in college and it's pretty awkward. It helps that I'm older and married now. But deep down there's an entsy whitezy tintzy part that is envious.

I have to keep in mind that we have vastly different audiences. Her blog is entertaining tales of the adventures of her and her dogs. My main blog is an intensely geeky dog training diary dedicated to addressing the training issues that I face with my dogs. It's not high entertainment mostly - it's me training my dogs one of them who we've been working through serious behavior issues. I'm also so possessive of it intellectually that it's not hosted by blogger, it's on my own site. So there's no commenting and the only way I know people are listening is if they tell me in person or via email.

Then there's this blog: The Non-Dog blog were I rant/whine about whatever the hell I feel like. While it is often entertaining, it has no focus as it's about 3 different blogs in one. And I'm thinking of starting another focused (ha - fat chance) on writing short fictional vinettes based on small bits of reality.

So no blog stalkers. As far as I know. This really is a good thing I must keep reminding myself. I also have to keep in mind that there are particular times when I've chosen not to blog about something as I really didn't want to deal with the truly dangerous types. I do this for fun - I don't need to get hurt or harassed about it. Funny how the Tea Partiers or Sarah Palin don't count as dangerous - yet.

The Follow Through Part of the Brain

So why is it sometimes the "follow through" portion of the brain doesn't seem to connect with anything else?

I was looking all through my parents house for some mail that an insurance company said that they'd sent (and I had no reason to doubt them) I had gone through all the stacked up mail on the living room, the dining room, beside the computer and all its stacks of printed email (there's an age distinction right there - I only print things if I need to take them with me or write on them.) No sign. I addressed the issue with the vendor as best I could anyway, but having mail disappear when i just went through piles and piles of it really seemed strange.

My sister gave me a clue. She thought she saw mom stash mail into the ginormous pile of coupons that Mom likes to go through. (She doesn't actually do anything with the coupons. I've just decided it's her way of shopping.) She couldn't have put mail in there. Right? Could she have? I finally asked. Mom is there any chance that there is mail in your coupon stack? "Oh yes. It looked important so I put it here."(Allegedly to give it to my brother but that never happened). In that stack, were over due notices, a cancellation letter, and a letter that I'd asked to be sent a year ago. "Mom these are really important pieces of mail." Talking to a wall. My dog listens to me better. This is someone who does not have dementia at all, just doesn't get it sometimes.

I grabbed their phone and quietly left the house and proceeded to rant about it to my sister, while I was standing on their driveway. My sister was sympathetic but amused. Mom had put it aside so that my father wouldn't bury it on the kitchen table, and that my brother should see it, but that part (the follow though) didn't happen. Never mind I can find things on the kitchen table. Never mind that burying something in a different pile usually doesn't help, and offers no protection.

Is this our fate? Do parts of our brain stop talking to each other?

I've set up a box titled "Mail" where my mom should put important looking mail into. I explained the idea a few times. I know it's not going to work, but I have to try.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Parental Issues Again

I haven't blogged about my parents for a while and it's been a nice break, but I really need to now.

My father is becoming more forgetful and I'm dreading that I need to convince him to see a Dr. about it. If there really is something wrong, there are medications that can help but I have to make a good case without scaring him too much. Being evaluated for cognitive skills is not a slow process and it will take more that getting him to his regular Dr. - he's likely going to also have to see a neurologist or a Dr who specializes in evaluating seniors. My Dad is renowned for arguing with doctors (he has a PhD in Electrical Engineering so he's started pulling this "I'm Dr. Clary" crap - never mind that I have more medical knowledge than he does.) and he's just getting worse about it.

Doing some Googling is just stressing me out. While there are 4 possible medications he has to be actually diagnosed with Alzheimer's (the A word that I've been avoiding) for him to be on them. If it's just Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) then there is no medication and the solutions are more along the lines of maintain a health lifestyle, don't drink a lot, and stay organized. (Sigh).

I'm dreading this conversation and I know he's very fearful about it. For his whole life he's been the Alpha Male smartest person in the room, and it's been hell on him. And therefore it's been hard on everyone else.

For whatever reason, I am the one he's the least argumentative with. Probably because I'm the youngest. Anyway convincing him of difficult things usually becomes my job out of necessity. I so do not like this role, but this is something I need to do and if I don't try I will regret it for the rest of my life.

Why is the government the enemy?

GOP has done such a good job of making the government the enemy.

Which is amazing as it was the lack of government limits that allowed the banks and Wall Street to create this most recent economic crash. How do they do that?

A friend is fascinated with how some politicians are so good at using fear that they can convince people to vote against their own interests, like tax cuts for the wealthy, which will hurt them financially because their will be less money for the government to support little things like schools, and streets.