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READIN started out as a place for me
to keep track of what I am reading, and to learn (slowly, slowly)
how to design a web site.
There has been some mission drift
here and there, but in general that's still what it is. Some of
the main things I write about here are
listening to (and playing) music, and
watching the movies. Also I write about the
work I do with my hands and with my head; and of course about bringing up Sylvia.
The site is a bit of a work in progress. New features will come on-line now and then; and you will occasionally get error messages in place of the blog, for the forseeable future. Cut me some slack, I'm just doing it for fun! And if you see an error message you think I should know about, please drop me a line. READIN source code is PHP and CSS, and available on request, in case you want to see how it works.
The unfamiliar world instruments story continues... For my birthday last week, Ellen and Sylvia gave me a dilruba, northern Indian fiddle with a neck similar to a sitar's neck (although the sound is pretty different from a sitar's).
An unusual thing about this instrument: Its bowl body is carved from a block of wood, not separate ribs bent and glued together. It is pretty heavy, but easy to hold since it rests on the floor. The bow ("gaz") is horsehair strung on bamboo, much tighter than the hair on a violin bow and without the mechanics -- the frog is just a piece of wood attached to the bow with twine, and does not tighten/loosen. The gaz is light as a feather and balanced perfectly. Bowing technique is very key; it is easy to just produce a dissonant scratching/buzzing tone if you are not holding the gaz just right. (Holding it right so the note rings, there is still a scratch/buzz element to the sound, but it does not overwhelm.)
The dilruba ("दिलरुबा" in Hindi means "heart-stealer") has in common with the erhu, that there is no fingerboard; strings are stopped with just the finger rather than pressed between the finger and something solid. Although the frets are exactly like a sitar's frets, you don't press the string against the fret. I've found the clearest and truest tone comes from fingering the side of the string -- this way you can touch the fret to keep your finger accurately positioned, and can stop the string without bending it.
In the hallway he saw a poster: he was indeed approaching the exhibit. Paul Jackson Pollock, American Painter. He could see it at the end of the corridor, bursting riotously out of the doorway, lashing him with its lunacy — it looked to him like one of Van Gogh's stars had spun out of its orbit and smashed to pieces, cracked against the wall before him like an enormous egg. With a wary step he entered Pollock's kingdom.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
It is inherently liberating for a writer to retell the story of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The essential absurdity of opening your story "Tweedledum was squatting pensive by their camp fire..." can absolve the author of any further need for exposition or explication. The fictional world of his narrative will be heralded in all its richness and detail by the mere presence of the chubby, angry twins.