Saffron

(short story around the word saffron)

After walking around and marveling at the Alhambra for the entire morning they had moved on. He really wanted to stay and just sit and experience the building, but his friends had seen all they wanted to see and urged him to leave. He decided he would come back by himself the next morning, very early, before they had to move on, because he knew that a building like this required time to be truly experienced and wouldn’t show itself right away… a special building that contains intention needs the sun to arc in the sky, which allows the light to reveal the details, and lets the shadows move around to give it life. And this building had a lot of depth and intention. He would come back and see, tomorrow.

From the Alhambra they had aimlessly walked through backstreets of Granada until he noticed a small guitar shop at the end of a cobblestone road. His friends were hungry and didn’t want to stop, so he urged them to find a restaurant nearby and to wait for him there.

After they had left and gone around a corner he opened the door, which triggered a little bell that rang. After entering the little shop he looked around and saw a few guitars hanging against the wall. Nobody came out to greet him, so after a while he gently took a guitar from the wall, sat down on a wooden chair and tuned it. He began to play, enjoying the strings in his hands, the scent of wood, the familiarity of holding a guitar. He hadn’t played in a couple of weeks, since starting this journey, but the music seemed to come out of his hands anyway… as if it had been waiting patiently for this moment.

He took a look at the label inside the guitar. It wasn’t a great guitar by any means, but it was a guitar and he was glad he had the chance to play a little.

A man came through the door that probably lead to the workshop. The man looked a little unkempt, in a distracted professor manner, and wore a grey lab coat. He said something in rapid Spanish. When it became obvious that he wasn’t understood, he nodded, then said: “Those guitars are for tourists, not for someone like you. Let me show you one of my real guitars.”

The man turned around and was gone for a couple of minutes. When he returned he brought a guitar he held with obvious pride. The top was a saffron color, with simple black inlays around the sound hole.

He nodded and smiled and gently took the instrument from the hands of its maker. Then he sat down with it.

Breaking News


If that doesn’t scare you, perhaps nothing ever will. :-)
This should have been released on Halloween…

I was surprised by how unaware some of the interviewed scientists were, apparently not concerned by what their technology might lead to and what might be accomplished with it. It’s not just the use for political purpose that is frightening, it could also be used to ruin people’s lives, say a high school rival or a former friend, a competitor etc…

It’s a wrap

Yesterday’s performance at the House of Blues in Dallas was the last concert for 2019. Today we all go home. My sincere thanks to all who came to see us this year!

Chris, Jon, and I drove to Austin together, while our engineer went ahead by himself in order to go to a BBQ joint. I asked the question what each of us would do if we started out now. Given what it’s like in 2019, would you become a musician?

None of us have regrets being a musician and we love what we do but, at the same time, nobody would start a career in music now. Biotechnology, engineering, DNA research and linguistics were offered as professions that would be pursued in 2019.

I am going to use the break between Thanksgiving and the Florida tour in mid January to work on some of the ideas I have for two new albums.

San Antonio

This third photo was the view from my dressing room, at the Aztec Theater, this afternoon. As usual the San Antonio audience was fantastic and inspired us.

Code

(something I wrote – see this post – for the word “Code”)

She looked up from the floor momentarily as an idea took hold of her. She acknowledged the thought, put it away for easy retrieval at a later time, and looked down again, her tongue pressed against the roof of her mouth, her eyes soft and looking inward.

For another 35 minutes she sat quietly, breathing steadily, her mouth set in a neutral smile. Then she got up and walked over to the stove, where she lit the burner underneath the water kettle.

If the world was a computer simulation, then there had to be a code that lay behind everything, like a translucent shadow. If there was code, then there had to be a bug in the code somewhere. And if there was a bug, she would find it. Every code had a bug, a mistake, an extra command, an errand line… and she was very good at finding bugs.

She put two fingers into the wooden tea jar and pulled out strands of green tea that she dropped into a small pot. The water was hot enough by now, just showing the first steam of a low boil.

The code would not be visible on a screen, she realized, and there would be no terminal she could access. She sipped her tea, using her teeth to strain the tea leaves, the way Chinese peasants drink tea – like her grandparents, she thought with a smile.

She had to access the code some other way. She was the code, the bowl of tea was the code, the hot liquid in her mouth was code, the green and fresh flavor detected by her tongue and translated by her brain, was code. Meditation would be the only way to find the code.

(inspired by a Guardian article from 2016, which states that Oxford University’s Nick Bostrom published a paper, in 2003, titled “Are You Living In a Simulation?”. In this paper Bostrom suggested that members of an advanced civilization with vast computing power might choose to run simulations of their ancestors in the universe. According to a profile in the New Yorker two tech billionaires are secretly engaging scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation…)

The Scent of Disease

For the last several years, scientists have taken an acute interest in her nose. Milne, after all, is also able to smell diseases. People with Alzheimer’s smell to her like rye bread, diabetes like nail polish, cancer like mushrooms and tuberculosis like damp cardboard.

Link to article

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