Three Steps Forward

My grandfather also called it the crab-walk: three steps forward, two steps back.

In Hermann Hesse’s book Siddhartha the ferryman says the river has taught him everything he knows. This is true for many things we study intensely and I could say the same about the guitar – it taught me everything. When I began to meditate, it didn’t feel very different from playing guitar. When I went on my first Sesshin I was asked how I was holding up to the many hours of meditation. My answer was, I am a musician and I am used to this.

It’s not a straight line up the mountain. As anyone knows who has driven in the mountains, whether in Austria or France or Colorado, the road rises and and then plateaus. It may even go down for a while before it rises again.

I think the mountain road mirrors how the aquisition and development of a skill works excatly.

If you watch Jon closely you will notice that the fingers on his right hand do much more than strike the string to produce a sound. Playing the correct note at the right time is important but it is only one step in becoming a truly great bass player. The great bass player will use a finger to produce the correct note, then this finger, or another one, gets ready to strike the next note. But if that next note is part of a different key the excellent bassist will use a finger to dampen the previous note so that it doesn’t deter from the new key.

I think this is a great example of how an ability plateaus. At first we are happy to simply play the right note at the right time. Eventually we realize that we can improve and that a note needs to not only be played in time but also should be stopped in time.

Morning Light, again

Bread didn’t turn out well. Baking at 7,500 feet of altitude is a temperamental craft. I could tell something was off as I was turning the dough yesterday, but I don’t have enough experience to know what I could do to save it. Three steps forward and two steps back is how progress is made, my grandfather used to tell me. It’s true for so many things, and it’s certainly for playing a musical instrument, too. One makes progress in one area and that throws up a new problem.

Brazilian Rainforest Plots Are Being Sold Illegally

Facebook is an evil company.

Daring Fireball: Brazilian Rainforest Plots Are Being Sold Illegally via Facebook Marketplace Ads:

Parts of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are being illegally sold on Facebook, the BBC has discovered. The protected areas include national forests and land reserved for indigenous peoples. Some of the plots listed via Facebook’s classified ads service are as large as 1,000 football pitches.

Facebook said it was “ready to work with local authorities”, but indicated it would not take independent action of its own to halt the trade.

Message

My phone provider transcribed a message left for me using these words…

Aunt Marley Burt

I love it. For a second I was tempted to change my name to that…

MailTrackerBlocker

This post on Daring Fireball led me to this email tracker, read receipt and spy pixel blocker plugin for macOS Apple Mail. I know nothing about programming software and was able to install the plugin for my laptop using the Terminal. It’s working. If you want to check it out click on the next link.

GitHub – apparition47/MailTrackerBlocker: An email tracker, read receipt and spy pixel blocker plugin for macOS Apple Mail.:

MailTrackerBlocker is a plugin (mailbundle) for the default Mail app built-in to macOS. Email marketers and other interests often embed these trackers in HTML emails so they can track how often, when and where you open your emails. This plugin works by stripping out a good majority of these spy pixels out of the HTML before display, rendering the typical advice of disabling “load remote content in messages” unnecessary.

Browse your inbox privately with images displayed once again.

Website

Every day I am getting email about this website and specifically about this little blog. Here are a couple of examples:

One of our clients has shown interest in being featured on an article on your website.
Is that something you are able to accommodate?
We have a great in-house team of writers and we can provide the content, or if you prefer, you can also write it and feature our client.
Can you please send me a price quote for an article? Please keep in mind we are an agency and require competitive pricing as we resell them to our clients.

here is another one:

We’re interested in purchasing a link insert on ottmarliebert.com.
We’re happy to discuss terms that include:
Inserting a link onto your existing page of yours (as long as it’s relevant piece of content, of course). We’d love to discuss a home page link too, if possible!
Our link needs to be permanent & do-follow
Our link can’t be labelled ‘sponsored’ or ‘guest-post’ (or anything similar)
Please let us know your price. Serious buyer.

Our link can’t be labelled ‘sponsored’ or ‘guest-post’ – in other words we want it to be an ad that doesn’t appear to be an ad. I have received hundreds of emails like these. That’s all kinds of wrong. Sometimes I think everyone does it and perhaps I should do it too and who knows maybe I can make some coin this way… but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have never even shown ads on this blog, so I am certainly not going to insert links into my posts, or allow guestposts that do.

ASMR

I have watched a whole bunch of videos. My first reaction is that I can’t believe people are willing to sit through so many ads! I suppose this reaction is similar to my disbelief that humanity is happy to use free email even if it means giving up loads of data.

I watched a Korean woman’s YouTube videos. She has almost 600,000 subscribers and gets away with multiple ads in each video. I am convinced that most of the appeal lies in the well-recorded ASMR-type sounds.

I started wondering about the importance of the human interaction. Could the imagery be more abstract without losing the appeal? Here is an example: what if a video combined the sound of brushing hair with moving images of a field of wheat or tall grass moving with the wind. Or, perhaps, the sound of soft footsteps and imagery of water – a still lake perhaps.

Does abstraction not work, or would it be more interesting?

Three Sounds

I am experimenting with different methods and microphones to record soft sounds and how play with them, arranging them in some way. Here is this morning’s experiment. The file starts with the sound of boiling plantains on the left side. Second, the sound of my footsteps on wooden stairs, in the center. I was wearing wide pants and one can hear the fabric against my leg as well as the foot steps. Third, the sound of typing on a laptop keyboard, on the right side.

three-sounds.mp3

Morning Light

Sounds

I am experimenting with different methods and microphones to record little sounds, like soda bubbles, boiling of water, drumming of finger on hand, and such. It feels like using a microscope and looking at tiny things.

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