| Subscribe via RSS

New to classical? Want to get started? Visit my beginners guide to classical music! Or start browsing the different composers.

Plane Talk

June 24th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in non music

Here I am back around again, without a weekend to seperate me on holiday from me at work. Bugger. The current jetlag status is: PASSABLE. In this direction it’s just like staying up a bit later than usual. Particularly if one manages to grab a bit of on-plane, in-flight, in-seat, shut-eye. As I did, repeatedly, in morsels medianed by that head-snapping-up maneuver. The one that’s obligatory when falling asleep upright.

Usually I find it really hard to fall asleep on planes. Hell, it’s hard enough to fall asleep in bed. I think it helped that the aisle I was plonked at the end of — aisle seats are the way forward for flights longer than an hour, due to toiletery priveleges — had only one other person in it all the way across the breadth of the plane. Initially there was another guy sitting next to me (who began the trip by deftly consuming a bag full of breadcrumbs and mayonnaise) but he resat himself after our frontward neighbours were still (loudly) talking about UK/USA culture clashes after two hours.

But not before making some under his (mayonnaisey) breath comments to me about how he’d never experienced anything like this in all his years of flying.

It didn’t bother me. Actually it was fascinating. Neither of the two knew each other until they became seating partners, and they had a chair between them. After about three seconds of conversation it was clear that the XYish one wanted more than just a bit of chatter, despite wives and boyfriends being brought up. There were some awkward almost hand contacts, and possibly a comment about, errr, how beautiful she looked when asleep, when he had to wake her up to go to the toilet an hour before we landed.

And she was having none of it.

I know, I’m a dirty little eavesdropper. But it was so conveniently right in front of my face.

Tags: , ,


June 15th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in classical music

Here I am all atravel. I’m sitting in a hotel bar in Manchester airport, after negotiating the frustration of a one hour, no change train ride turning into two hours with a transfer at Manchester Piccadilly. Lightning got into the signalling system.

Despite the sitting still parts of the trip, it was poetry, partly. The storm set a bit before the sun, and the latter burned the former into mist and rainbows over all the little peak district villages we passed. That is when I miss this country, that view.

But now it is dark, and I am surrounded by Mancunian couples with fake blonde hair, and hoping the two overpriced beers I just had will help me fall asleep so I’m not too shattered for the 6:50am flight to AMS tomorrow morning.


June 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in non music

AAAAAH. Why is there always so much damn stuff to do before leaving? Last week I was SO SURE that I could undergo regular working hours right up until about 3 hours before my spoke flight, at which point I’d get casually whisked off in a car and dumped pleasantly at the airport terminal. As the days of this week have progressed, so has my panic been ramping up. And it’s not purely unreasonable panic — the list of crap to do before leaving has grown exponentially. Yes, exponentially. First there was one thing, then two things and now there are totally about FOUR things on it.

I’m not even away for very much more than one week. And that week is chopped up into little packages of visits, so the entire thing is like a handful of candy, and will have passed before I’ve even really started to appreciate the jetlag. And yet that has just about zero correlation with my level of stress.

I could bitch about specific things (e.g., my supervisor coming back from holiday right after I leave, making it look like I have taken a disproportionately large amount of time off; the weather forecast predicting T storms for Thursday…) but that would be probably be really boring. So I’ll hide them in those parantheses, instead, and try and put on a happy face for another 48 hours.

And if that fails there’s always the airport bar…

Tags: ,

Getting Dicey

June 5th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in music, portable audio

Stuck for compositional inspiration? Is the I Ching not quite up your alley? Want to do some serious Bard roleplaying in D&D? Take a gander at these bad boys:

Music Dice

Available for a bit less than twenty bucks at musiciansdice.com. (via Wired)

Tags: ,


June 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted in instruments, youtube

This is a 3D printer:

YouTube Preview Image

It’s frickin’ awesome. It builds up layers of polymer into an honest-to-god pokable structure. And I want to use it to make a musical instrument.

I thought of this after yesterday’s daydreaming-about-metalworking post, realizing that I probably am not likely to a) get a metalworking shop into our rental apartment without some serious landlord hassles; or b) acquire the necessary expertise to squish a tuba into a cube (A CUBA! Hell yes!) without squishing its tubes totally shut. I’d probably just kinda whack a bit of copper pipe with a hammer and then get all mopey when it doesn’t even let any air through, let alone make noise.

However, G. already has mad autocad and 3d printing skillz (architects have ALL the fun) which combined with my slightly less useful — but more geeky — experimental physics, could totally result in the realization of all my Platonic-solid instrument dreams. Or at least a really, really weird looking kazoo.

Now there is just the tiny problem of, errr, getting our hands on a 3D printer.

Tags: , ,