A lot of things have been going on, but I don’t have a lot to say about any one of them.
On Saturday I played at the Dixon highland games. Dixon is about two hours away from Boulder Creek, so rather than driving out the night before and getting a hotel room, I figured I’d just get up at my normal time and drive out on Saturday morning. I didn’t know when I was supposed to compete but I saw that the games were supposed to open at 9. I got there at 8:30, only to discover that I was up at 8:45. Quick, warm up, tune up, then bang bang bang, slow air, 2/4 march, and piobaireachd. None were my best performances, (the less said about the 2/4 the better) but I was disappointed not even to have placed with the piob. or the slow air.
On Sunday Junglemonkey and I spent a lot of the day shopping and then watching movies. “Fargo,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” — these are movies that we can’t watch without remembering the early days of our relationship. Feeling nostalgic, I started thinking about the music we shared with each other. Junglemonkey gave me Cake and Pepe and the Bottle Blondes. I gave her Deep Forest and Afro Celt Sound System. We shared a lot of music, with occasional duplications but mostly different albums by the same artists. Now, many years later, she’s still discovering cool music that’s fun to listen to. I’m discovering cool music, too, but I feel ambivalent about sharing it. Take, for instance, this piobaireachd performance. These pipers are amazing and they make the music beautiful. I find Barnaby Brown’s performances particularly amazing. There’s this modern tradition of playing this music and the competition scene has really sidelined other piping traditions. And yet, as Brown demonstrates, these other traditions have some amazing and beautiful art to them. My neighbors say they love hearing me practice my pipes, and I love hearing these performances, but I still have a hard time believing that non-pipers want to hear this. Why? Probably because there’s not a single radio station within a hundred miles that will put bagpipe music into the rotation. That should totally change. Another album I recently found out about is “Drokk” — I also feel self-conscious sharing that, since ambient dystopia is really not the mood I want to evoke when I’m hanging out with the people I love.
With the Badb’s return to school, we’re once again doing arithmetic homework. She’s actually good at math even though she doesn’t like it. This year she’s going to be tackling some of the interesting bits of pre-algebra and dimensional analysis. This year may be the last time for a decade that my daughter will admit that I know anything, so I sure want to be available to help her out. She’s been reviewing exponents and roots, fractions, division, and factorization. The past couple of weeks have been full of her asking, “Daddy, can you help me with this…?” and me saying, “Sure, now here’s the process you can follow to get the right answer for this and any other problem like this, and you don’t need to worry about getting confused…” For my own sanity, I rewrote my BASIC prime factorization program in Java. I started doing that back in May but only did a command line version; now I stuck a GUI on it with validation and looping and so on. At the time, I set it up with a Mercurial repository. Last week I was looking once more at revision control systems and found this blog entry comparing git with Mercurial. Together with the work I did on dumbster this got me thinking about what I really want in a “how to use git” reference. I think I’m going to have to write it myself, so maybe that will be my winter software project this year.
2 thoughts on “Miscellany”
After I first posted this, Junglemonkey took me to task for being so arrogant as to assume other people wouldn’t or couldn’t enjoy the music I’m enjoying. The criticism was spot-on. I’m listening to the pipe music and trying to learn how to be a better piper. But there’s beautiful music going on, there, and it is actually accessible to anyone who listens. There’s this cultural joke about bagpipes being horrible to hear, but it’s sort of the same kind of snobbery as accordion jokes. There’s a lot of really great accordion music, and there’s a lot of really great bagpipe music. I promise to get right over myself.
I think that at the heart of all arrogance, there’s a kernel of insecurity. “If you find out I like something you don’t like, will you still like me?” It’s easier to reject people before they can reject you. But there’s no reward without risk, and having a community of people who love your music is a huge reward. Thanks for taking the risk!