Rain Music

one good thing about music
when it hits
you feel no rain


This is a warning. Please read carefully.

By now you’ve probably seen a Predictor; millions of them have been sold by the time you’re reading this. For those who haven’t seen one, it’s a small device, like a remote for opening your car door. Its only features are a button and a big green LED. The light flashes if you press the button. Specifically, the light flashes one second before you press the button.

What’s expected of us | Nature

Short story by Ted Chiang, published by Nature.com in 2005, nearly twenty years ago. 

Thinking about free will is like thinking about afterlife or whether we have a soul. Could be an interesting debate but how useful is it? 

I imagine, if given enough information, AI could figure out my answer to most questions, most of the time. It would seem like magic.

I like the name Chiang would prefer to use instead of AI, which he terms a poor choice of words from the 1950’s: Applied Statistics. John Gruber suggested, and then retracted, adding the term System, for a better acronym.

Lost in Ear Space

Yesterday I recorded rhythm guitars for a piece that I had been thinking about for a long time. It took me a while to figure out how to play the rhythm for the first bar of the chorus melody, which has an extra beat in it. The piece is in 4/4, except for the beginning of that melody, which is 5/4. Turned out well, I thought. Today I started recording a guitar melody for the piece. Didn’t love the tone of the guitar and began moving the mic into different positions to find a natural solution to the problem. Always better when one can create the desired sound with the mic itself instead of using lots of EQ settings. Took a while but found a great sound. (I have the Negra here in Lisbon and I had not yet found the right sound for a melody with the that guitar.)

There was a notification on my phone and I pulled the IEMs out of my ears, to take a break and read the message. Perhaps I wasn’t paying enough attention, or maybe I didn’t grab them at the best angle, or maybe the tips weren’t held tight enough on the earphones, but one silicone ear tip stayed in my ear. Bummer. What to do? I could go to the emergency room and wait for a medical person to pull it out. Safe option but time consuming. I could try to pull it out myself. My fingers were too big to get a grip on the little thing. I didn’t want to try for too long because I worried the tip could slide deeper into the ear canal. I could ask someone to look at my ear but here I don’t know anyone well enough to do that.

So I went to a pharmacy in the neighborhood and bought a pair of tweezers. Didn’t bring my own this time because I didn’t fly with a suitcase.

Sat on the sofa and stabilized my hands by putting the elbows on my thighs. Started gingerly moving the tweezers into my ear. There that’s it. No, ouch, that was a hair. A few tries later I got the damn thing out. I guess I’ll try the foam tips next time.


A fridge backstage at the House of Blues, in Houston, yesterday. Group effort.

Bird Site

People are having fun with the new Bird Site “verification” process. Verification for everyone, he said. The result is pretty hilarious.