Monthly Archives: September 2013

Singing and playing guitar again

Because a lot of other things came up — including summer, this conference and this paper that I wrote in its aftermath — it feels like it’s been ages since I played and sang songs at a folk club or similar. Checking my notes, I see that the last time was in fact right back in May, which is much too long.

Happily, I fixed that on Friday night, where I had a chance to play four songs at the Cross Keys Inn in Goodrich. One of them I’ve done before: Crosby, Stills and Nash’s cheerful travelogue Marrakesh Express. But the other three were all new additions to the repertoire: Paul Simon’s downbeat three-act short story Slip-Slidin’ Away, the Beatles psychedelic epic A Day in the Life, and Joni Mitchell’s heartbreaking but emotionally cold A Case of You. (I know you need a band, a symphony orchestra and three grand pianos to do A Day in the Life properly, but we make do and mend.)

That brings my repertoire to 45 songs. When I hit fifty, I’ll have to start looking around and seeing if I can find some actual gigs, or at least support slots.

Also on the agenda: it’s to my enduring shame that I’ve never written a song of my own. I like interpreting others’ work, but it does feel like that’s only half of the job.

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What is the opposite of “man”

Here is a linguistic oddity that I’ve been aware of for some time. What is the opposite of “man”?

  • Boy (because he’s immature)
  • Woman (because she’s female)
  • Machine (because it’s artificial)
  • Beast (because it’s not rational)
  • God (because he’s not mortal)

All equally valid answers, because a man is an adult male natural rational mortal.

generic-man

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Turn up the volume!

Back in 2005, I won a first-generation iPod Shuffle at a conference for being the most engaged participant or something (i.e. for being a loud-mouth).

IPod_shuffle_1G

The Shuffle is a horrible piece of kit, of course. It has no display, no way to navigate between albums (only track-at-a-time), no EQ, only the crudest battery-state indicator (OK vs. not-OK), and Apple’s appallingly clunky proprietary disk format which means you have to wrestle it to the ground before you can add songs.

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Misunderstanding natural monopoly

Seth Godin’s blog is a great source of pithy, wise, generous insights. I read pretty much every entry, and often find myself going “Huh! I’d never thought of it that way”. But as usual. I’m only going to blog about him when I disagree.

seth-godin

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What should I be using for email?

Since June 2009 I’ve been using Gmail for my email, and I have to admit it’s been great. Really convenient, excellent searching facilities, available from anywhere. In terms of ease of use it’s a huge step forward from my old approach, using GNU Emacs’s “vm” package and manually syncing mailboxes between my desktop and laptop as necessary.

bootface_7608

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