Lamy

Civilization

“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fish hooks or clay pots or grinding stones. But no, Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken then healed. Mead explained, that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. A broken femur that has healed is proof that someone has taken time to stay with the person who has fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. ‘Helping someone through difficulty is where civilization starts’ said Mead. We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.”

from the Upaya newsletter

Snow in September

I think that’s the first time I experienced snow on the ground in September in over thirty years of living in Santa Fe. The light this morning is grey and directionless, as if a snow globe had been placed on top of the landscape.

Since 1981 the earliest snow fall was October 17, in the year 1999.

Paella

A couple of months ago I started making paella. I read a person describe risotto as comfort and paella as a party. That sounded intriguing.

I learned how to make sofrito. Then I made my first paella and it was good enough to be encouraging.

Yesterday I made a “Korean” paella, with kimchi, edamame, and tofu. It was a party.

Think Error

I was working on the last song I wanted to record for this new album and didn’t notice that the clock was set to 96kHz instead of 88.2kHz.

Let me back up… I record my music at 88.2kHz instead of 96kHz because there is no distinguishable difference between 88,200 and 96,000, certainly nothing I can hear, and because I have to convert the music files to 44,100, which is the format for CDs and mp3s etc.

Converting the files from 88,200 to 44,100 is a simple division by 2. However, converting from 96,000 to 44,100 is a division by 2.17687074829932…. Sure a computer can handle that easily, but it has to decide to round up or down and I don’t like that. It just looks mathematically messy to me. Like enough of an error that flying to the moon you’d miss it entirely. (right Jane?!)

So I always work with 24 bits at 88.2k. Except one time a few weeks ago! I had discovered some music from 2007 – a collaboration I did with Andrew Gaskins. And one of us had started the collaboration in the 24/96kHz format. I switched my clock to 96k and made a mix of the old track and afterwards forgot to switch the clock back to 88.2k. As a result this new track ran at the wrong speed. I was a little suspicious of the song tempo but for some reason didn’t follow that up. I had already recorded all of the guitars when I realized my error. Changing the clock back to 88.2k meant that the guitars were slower and therefore lower than they were recorded. What a mess! 96,000 : 88,200 = 1.08843537414966 – therefore the tempo of 120 beats per minute became 130.6122448979593. That’s quite a difference.

I started over and recorded all of the guitars at the correct speed/clock. I liked the piece at both tempos and thought that some of the melody I had played for the version that was too fast was nice. I decided to send both versions to Jon with the instruction to change his clock to work on the faster version.

As you would expect Jon came up with different sounds and bass lines for the two versions. So now these two versions bookend the album. The slower version (still 120BPM!) is track number one and is called Bittersweet, one of my favorite pieces on the album.

The faster version is called Think Error.

Now say that with a German accent!!

Hint: did you ever see that Language school commercial where the English captain says “Mayday mayday we are sinking!” and the German Coast guard officer replies “Okay. What are you sinking about?”

:-)

Water

My favorite water container is a repurposed pickle jar. It can hold 16 ounces of water. Recipe: buy pickles and eat them. Put container in water until label peels off easily. Put the glass and top in dishwasher. The glass was usable after one wash, but it took six washes for the lid to lose its pickle sent. The top basically took up residence in the back of the dishwasher for a couple of weeks. And the water tastes better than out of any metal water bottle!

Santa Fe

Friday evening on the plaza. Strange that such a simple gesture as wearing a mask to protect other people from one’s own potentially dangerous fluids has become politicized. We expect doctors and nurses to wear masks for many hours each day. We also expect cooks to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom… but wearing a mask when we are in public or inside a store is too much?

A friend of mine designed this clear face mask, currently on Kickstarter: Clearly Human Reveal Mask

TBT… a day late

Red1
Red2
Sometime around 1982-83 somewhere in Boston.

Monday Morning

I wonder how many posts I titled Monday Morning since 1994…
Click here for the answer.

The sky was spectacular as I set out on my four mile walk this morning. I listened to the new album in the sequence of tracks I had settled on and loved everything I heard. Well, except for one little thing that I will investigate today. Today I will pick imagery for the album cover. Because this version of vision 2020 will be called the Lockdown Version I searched my catalog of about 25,000 photographs for images that looked through windows at the outside. I also came across a photo of a birdcage that I felt was very poignant.

Regardless of the title and the time this music was created in, I find that it is upbeat and hopeful. How did Roshi Joan put it?

I am not an optimist nor a pessimist. I am hopeful.

And now I will have breakfast:

Last Night’s Twitch…

Sometimes simple is better. Last night’s performance had no technical difficulties. Perhaps I was taxing my aging laptop too much by trying to use two additional USB cameras. It did work once and then never again.

For the slideshow that has come to bookend my streaming performances I picked images from a tour in Japan in 2009. Travel has become difficult, if not impossible, and I thought some virtual travel was in order. Traveling without moving. Armchair travel. The slideshow progressed towards photos that were very impressionistic and all about the color and the light. Here are a couple of samples:


I have always enjoyed the color photography of Ernst Haas and Arthur Meyerson and in these photos I think I was able to express a little bit of what moves me about their vision.

Since the photos of the slideshow were taken in Japan I drank tea instead of wine. The cup was designed by the Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi. The tea itself, however, was Chinese Pouchong tea. I love that tea and have been drinking it since I discovered it at Ten Tea in San Francisco’s Chinatown around 1992, or so.

I hope you enjoyed the evening. There will be another performance on Tuesday morning at 11:30am, Santa Fe time, and then I will take a break from live-streaming. I will be back, but I don’t want to set a date for it. Maybe it’ll become more of a surprise thing… just some morning or afternoon or evening that I feel like playing on Twitch. If you follow me on Twitch they will inform you when I start streaming.

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