Thursday, February 07, 2019

Cats And Their Body Language

Don't you  wish you could understand what your cat is saying to you?  They are quite intelligent and they really know what they want. How can we eavesdrop into their thoughts and conversation, even if sometimes your cat seems to be talking to themselves?

Well, a true cat lover has posted some clues and based on my 30 year exposure to cats (of multiple breeds) he seems to have hit the nail on the head.

"The Body Language of Cats" is worth reading for entertainment and more importantly educational reasons. You will come to love and enjoy your four legged feline companion more when you are aware of how they are thinking both about the world around them and how they think about you!

Monday, January 14, 2019

SoundCloud post of On A Far Shore

Well this is another experiment in cross media sharing.  I'm going to try to share a SOUNDCLOUD link to a playlist that I created.  In fact all of the cuts on the playlist I created.  Some are ok, one or two might be better than that and several are average or below.  I've got to start somewhere though and here is where it is.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Ten Years After

Approximately ten years ago I commenced my first climate research. This has been spoken of earlier. My experience as an amateur weather enthusiast/observer/forecaster in no way prepared me for the complexities of trying to understand the climate.  That the climate was changing seemed to be intuitive, yet where were the measuring sticks?  What metrics were important to measure changes.

In July of 2008 Stefan Rahmstorf gave a presentation on some relevant datasets. He called it "The 5 Most Important Data Sets of Climate Science".  This past fall, a blog post on Open Mind, revisited those datasets and gave us an update.  You can see the post, graphs and all, here.

The most obvious conclusion to be drawn, whether or not you agree with the choice of these particular 5 datasets is that climate change has continued unabated, and that for the last 10 years the climate scientists nailed in in these 5 datasets. 

Monday, December 24, 2018


As a child, Christmas was a “magical” time, a time of mystery and dark, a time of expectation and celebration, a time of giving and receiving.

My parents really enjoyed Christmas and enjoyed the part they played for their children. As kids we were always excited with what we were going to receive, especially the surprises along the way. Yet, we were also taught, and learned to enjoy giving as well. The balance was always there. That balance is a gift I treasure to this day.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

To Sequence or Not to Sequence, That is the Question

Last night I took the simplified sheet music for Silent Night over to the synthesizer and powered up the electronics.

First I sat at the midi controller and slowly keyed the notes on the keyboard. I’m not good at reading music and picking out notes,  but before long I’d memorized the first eight notes: G, A, G, E, repeated twice. 

By the way,  this is the C major version.  Then I played those measures a couple more times and darn if I hadn’t memorized it.  That is mind blowing, because I’m “not supposed” to be able to do that.  

Then I sat down with the ER-101 Quad Sequencer and started entering notes.  Two weeks ago I had created a “cheat sheet” for that sequencer showing all of the notes that it could produce (99 of them) and correlated that with an 88 key piano keyboard. Then I added the peculiar notation used by the sequencer and created a matrix with the addition of midi notes.  This “cheat sheet” gave me the confidence to add the first 14 notes of  Silent Night into the sequencer. So I pressed “run”, and I sort of recognized the melody.  There were a few mistakes,  notably (pardon the pun) notes entered in the wrong octave.  Then I played it again and realized I had not entered anything resembling duration.  You see, this song has dotted quarter notes, half notes, eighth notes and other expressions of musical time. 

Adding duration to the notes took twice as long as entering the notes themselves. I understood the relationships between the lengths of the different notes, but had to come up with a quantification of the ratios. This time when I pressed “run” it sounded much more like the hymn. 

I’m still not completely satisfied because I’m not sure my tempo is matching up with the 3/4 time signature. So, I’ll practice my best SWAG (sophisticated wild ass guess) on it and see where it takes me. 

Then, I need to add the remaining 33 notes to complete the song, and set up the correct duration, and perform SWAG  for some of the calculations. 

I am excited about pushing the envelope (pardon the synth pun) on the ER-101. This has come about by a decision made about six weeks ago to dig deep into the basics of what I have.  It involved patching the ultimate basic patch and putting out a YouTube video explaining the patch. Then I pulled aside one module and did an in-depth exploration of the module and put out a YouTube video explaining it.  These explorations are primarily for my sake. I’ve learned over the years that if I study something well enough to explain it then this crosses over into the realm of deeper learning. Preparing to teach something helps me learn it. 

Today I walked past the band stands of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.  They come to the cafeteria at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama one day a year to play two Christmas concerts.   In between the concerts I dropped by the cafeteria to get a sandwich. As I casually strolled past the double bass lying on the floor I glanced up at the music sheet on the stand. Hah! All of his music is in the bass clef, I never would have even known that two years ago. This journey has been so much fun.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Who knew about this visual illusion, the Shepard's Tables?

I recently came across the Shepard's Tables illusion and was completely flummoxed.  Those tables just "cannot" be the same size.  But they are :)

Check out this link:

Shepard's Parallelogram illusion

not my art..... it was borrowed from:

Or how about The Dress?  This optical illusion is even more stunning because it is about Color!

It is still quite surprising that our perceptions can be “tricked” by reality!