Playing Tull's Living in the Past

Living In The Past Strip

 

For me, playing Tull’s Living in the Past requires a lot of air. In fact, most Tull pieces require it. To be even modestly effective it trying to mimic the Tull flute characteristic sound, I have to push the brink of where the tone breaks to the harmonic and do so while purposely angling the air column so that it cuts across the outer edge of the blowhole just a certain way. I also have to adjust the delivery and shape of each note as well as my tonguing and how I depress the keys. Here are the details:

Overblowing the sound for this piece I accomplish by, both, pressurizing the air column and increasing the amount of air I’m pushing. This increases and intensifies the speed of the airstream as it cuts across the blowhole. Simultaneously, I also angle that airstream just so, getting the far edge of the blowhole to, quite literally, sharply slice that airstream. It’s what makes that ‘edgy’ sound — a subliminal whistling of wind that’s partly due to the speed with which the air is crossing the blowhole and rushing into and through the body of the flute, and partly due to the angle. This gives the resulting sound its intensity and razed effect. I’m using twice as much air as usual and the embouchure control has to be meticulous to control it. Of course, sometimes the sound does break, and that’s okay. That happens when I stop being so careful and drive the sound too hard. But I find I like the sound, even when it does break.

I also had to adjust my tonguing technique, going back to ‘the wrong way’ of doing it, using the harsher ‘t’ consonant taught by band teachers, instead of ‘du’ and ‘da’ flutists actually use for hard tonguing.

With that ground work employed, then the actual notes have to be formed with the breath using diaphragm control combined with the mouth shape and tongue so that the shape of each punctuated note, whether soft or hard, is shaped like a mushroom, not like the usual ‘O’ pinched at both ends, the soft, big pillow, or a wedge, these latter three being examples too classical in style to get the right effect for Tull rock.

I find myself shortening the duration of the notes, which I shouldn’t, but, with using the ‘mushroom’, I find I want to start ‘bouncing’ the notes — again, another classical technique — instead of what I’m supposed to be doing, namely, ‘punching’ them and then letting them (p)lay out.

Lastly, I have to use a lot of mouth effects in certain passages, but, in Living in the Past, the use is subtle, not overt, so I’ll talk about that when we release one of the pieces where the use of mouth effects is very distinct and noticeable.

It’s very typical of ‘rock’ flute to combine techniques not usually utilized together and do it in a way that produces a distinct and unique energy and grit to the sound. I’m not yet very proficient at it, but I’ve got a start, anyway.

Living In The Past, Video Size


What's Important? Not That, For Sure.

Animals and people, both, are starving, in pain, suffering needlessly. Wild places, native habitat, even whole countries (Syria, for instance) are being consumed by varied disruptive forces, be it climate change, greed-driven destruction, or war, leaving nowhere for those displaced–animals, plant, and human–to survive. And what do I come across this morning? An article decrying the ‘bra tax’. Really?! And I countered, what about pharmaceuticals? That’s more critical, for sure, isn’t it? What about food, clean water, clean air, health care, safety from warring factions?

I am constantly faced with just how ludicrous is the furor and foment over non-critical issues. Reminds me of the airhead decrying her broken acrylic nail and another whose favorite salon girl was sick and couldn’t lavish skilled hands on her tresses. Then there’s the upset over, of all things, Oscar night or who won the Stupid Bowl. Really?!

Oh, my. How very insulated and trite.

“Omigod. I don’t have any cell phone signal.” I know, I know–the sky is falling, the sky is falling, you can’t text your bff, is that it? Gee. Really tough, ain’t it! Meanwhile, your grandmother can’t afford the medications that keep her alive. But you don’t care. You’ve got to TEXT. You’ll just DIE if you can’t!

You know, there are certain times when I just want that Big Daddy in the Sky you all so fervently believe in to wipe the slate clean, and, no, I’d say to him, please don’t try again. It’s hopeless, a bad model, a worse idea. Intelligent design, my ass.


Now, There's More Hate, Less Tolerance!

So, this morning, the first thing that comes in on my feed is…a rant about hating Baby Boomers. And, along with that social media post, comes a blast of support from a whole bunch of other haters. I move on, but there’s more, a whole wave of rants about everyone from liberals to conservatives to Bernie supporters to ‘deplorables’ to….

And that’s just the US feeds. Next comes in the UKers and the AUers and the NZers and the…and it’s all hate, hate, hate.  The indigenous and other POC hate the whites, the nationalists despise the immigrants, the young hate anyone beyond their generation, the middle-aged blame the young adults, and so it goes.

I sit back, blink, think, send out a quickly scripted bot to mine, for just thirty minutes, the trends around the main interactive communication net spheres–Faceplant. G-, Mediocre, Twitchirp…. I go down for coffee, walk the dogs, again, then come back.

Sure enough, today’s Internet theme to the posts and comments, even to innocuous posts completely unrelated, generate streams of venomous remarks concerning anyone and everyone the contributor blames for:

  • the state of the world political situation;
  • the state of the environment;
  • lack of jobs;
  • taxes;
  • …you name it, and there are lots of ‘it’s.

Millennials and, what are they, Gen Zers?, hate anyone they classify as a Baby Boomer, within which they lump the very aged WWII Gen, the true BBers, the Gen-Y and the Gen-Xers, too, blaming anyone older than them for everything they find wrong with the world and life. For example: lack of protectionism and slowing globalization, simultaneously. (Ok-aaaaay. Hmmm. There’s consistency all rolled up in one pulpy, irrational burp.) Or the millennial raging on about having to support all the aging previous generations on her dime paying into social security. (They paid a lot more than you did into social security. Honest. You haven’t been working long enough to significantly contribute. And it is something they are entitled to, because they contributed every week, every month, every year, their entire working lives for that benefit. Same thing with Medicare.)

There’s the diehard Clinton supporters blaming everyone else for Hillary losing…except the DNC and the liberal elite, labeling everyone except themselves as bigots and calling for their eradication from the population. (Really!)

And the Blacks–excuse me, African-Americans–blame the whites, calling everyone not sharing both their skin color and their sentiments a bigot, even other Blacks.  Meanwhile, the white supremacists are busy raving against anyone not sharing their intolerances, and the same applies, just swap out pigmentation genes.

The rich blame the poor and the poor blame the rich, while rural points at city and city derides rural, never mind it’s where their food comes from.

The Christians blame anyone not of their faith, especially condemning the atheists, while the atheists blame religion for all the ills in the world.

And so it goes.

Wow. Just wow.

I grew to majority (look up the idiom, if you don’t understand it) prior to the rise of the Internet. By the time the Internet became available for public consumption and, yes, abuse, I had lived all over the world, all over the U.S., as well, and gone to schools located in both the  ghetto and in privileged communities. Do you know what? Never, and I mean never, have I experienced the kind of hate, bigotry, and intolerance I now find saturating our cultural landscape. Never.

You know what else? I tolerate bigots. I had to learn to growing up, because, honestly, they were nice people, except for their prejudices. And, once they got to know me, they got over those prejudices (most of them did, anyway).

And I embrace the tolerant, because they demonstrate the finest art of living in their open-minded, unbiased forbearance. They demonstrate charity. (Definition of charity in this use: kindness and tolerance in judging others, usually number 3 on the list of definitions in common dictionaries.)

I tolerate those who hate me because

  • they think I’m white, they think I’m Asian, they think I’m Native,
  • and those who think, because of how I dress and wear my hair, that I’m a lesbian, even lesbians, then hate me because I’m not,
  • those who hate me because I’m female,
  • because I’m older than twenty-something,
  • those who hate me just because they can….

And I embrace those who put aside their skepticism, their fear, their suspicions ingrained from bad experiences, their crowd-sourced brainwashing, and discover me for who I really am and love me for it, learning tolerance…because that’s how I love others.

In point of fact, I’ve never met anyone, one on one, I couldn’t love for who they are. I may not like how they act–their cruelties, their bigotry, their hate–but, still, when laying that aside, when getting to know them for what they cherish, there is gold there. Everything else is just a product of their negative experiences and conditioning.

I’m sorry to live in a world, in a nation–the U.S.–where those younger than me want me dead and gone, every trace of who I am eradicated from memory, where those a different flavor want me enslaved or at least subjugated to their benefit, where those of different ideology want me silenced. And, when you get your wish, through your own actions, instigation, or through legislating my de-existence, maybe then you’ll find it in you to tolerate and even love those who come after you who condemn you for who they THINK you are and for all the ills they claim you have perpetuated by your existence, even when you were, like I was, fighting for the same causes for which, now, they claim as theirs.

 

 


Stirring the Hornet's Nest

On 9/11/2001, terrorists attacked the U.S. I was at work when it happened. I watched the men and women around me–rugged men and women–truckers, ranchers, farmers, mechanics, loggers, construction contractors–every one a patriot–walk around in stunned silence. And all of us were feeling the same exact thing. We were, all of us Westerners, thinking the same thing.

I knew it in my bones in that moment that the world had changed, because, I, too, mostly a liberal, felt it inside me. Those terrorists hadn’t struck a blow so much at the U.S., as they had struck a blow to themselves.  Their actions had awoken a terribly powerful nation of patriots who are, even me, unafraid of death and who will stand forever uncowed in the face of tyranny. Americans–the Americans I know and love (and we are multitude, if mostly silent)–are, in fact, rugged individualists and freedom-lovers. We are, by nature, forgiving and pacifists–we mind our own lives and our own business. But, stir us at your peril, because, once stirred, we are unyielding in our response.

Fast forward to 2016: A bunch of loud-mouthed, fuzzy-brained SJWs coupled with a government and two stupid political parties incapable of comprehending that Americans don’t like the direction globalization is taking us leads to a complete rout of the Democratic party from power, even though we know that Republicans are oligarchs. But, for Americans, better the oligarch, than the tyrant, because that’s what the left now stands for–social and economic tyranny, with preferential treatment their standard, not unpreferential equality, fairness, and justice. And Americans believe in equality, fairness, and justice–we do.

To this day, even this day, though, Democrats just don’t get it, even after losing the Senate, the House, and the White House, even after losing control of the greater majority of states in the union. So, here it is for you, Democrats, in a nutshell: Americans would rather battle it out with the oligarchs than suffer tyranny. We’d rather go it alone than suffer our nation become part of some global collective beehive, our liberties and voices denied for fear of giving offense.  Hell, it’s our RIGHT to be offensive if we so choose, so, in other words, fuck you if you think we’re going to tow your party line. We won’t. Get used to it, get over it, or go live in the EU while their collective beehive lasts, which probably won’t be for long.

But are the Republicans any better? Well, they mostly don’t get it, either–them with their hands in every cookie jar–but I think they have a real sense of self-preservation and at least are getting the idea that they probably ought to keep their ear to the ground and hear the thunder. I think they’re beginning to realize that missteps, now, will mean being pounded into bloody pulp under the feet of men and women who aren’t afraid to say, ‘HELL, NO!’

Don’t Tread on Me is no longer the assimilated property of the Tea Party. It’s the sentiment of the real American silent majority.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ruffled Feathers, the Dead Wood, Entitlement, & the Right of Choice

Whenever I open my mouth to say what I think…or, rather, type on my keyboard (because the Internet is where it happens most, now), feathers get ruffled. What I consider a common sense viewpoint is, more often than not, objected to by a specific mindset owned by those who claim entitlement to any and everything, and by those whom the entitlement claimers have brainwashed into believing their pap.That happened this morning when I posted a rather mild rant about attitudes about piracy, specifically piracy of eBooks and audiobooks–piracy of my books.

Enter the self-appointed publishing expert who, after chiding me on the use of the word ‘bullshit’, claiming it to be cursing (an antiquely Puritan viewpoint, IMO) ‘informs’ me that:

  • of course I’m wrong;
  • of course the statistics gathered from an eight-month study that I instigated last year in my private webmaster group of skilled and learned people is also erroneous;
  • of course it’s not costing anyone really–no, not at all.
  • And, he insists, after all, according to [reference] and [reference], it’s no big deal.

(Remember The Emperor’s New Clothes? Remember Stone Soup? Obviously, he has deluded himself into seeing the emperor’s clothes and thinks hucksters are heroes for tricking people into sharing their hard-earned assets with clever vagabonds.  …Remember The Ant and the Grasshopper?)

…Then there’s the gamer who somehow added 1 and 1 and got 31, claiming that I must be against friends loaning to friends.

Ah, duh, that feature is enabled on my eBooks, and you can, with a click, share your eBook purchase through Amazon with a friend or several, albeit one at a time…and Amazon is the only place I publish, right now.

Then he added that I must have a problem with libraries, too.

No, not, and never. It’s stealing I have a problem with, dufus. Jumping to erroneous conclusions that have nothing at all to do with the topic demonstrates, at least, your level of desperation to support your stance, never mind your lack of foundation.

There’s a whole generation of you–comprised mostly of youth and Gen-Y-ers, who believe you’re entitled to access anything on the Internet for free. You claim It should be free, and, one way or another, you’re trying to force it to be free. Well, it’s not free…just like the clothes on your back, the shoes on your feet, the food that you eat, and drinks that you swallow aren’t free, much as you’d like them to be. My book sales are my income.  It’s the work I do.  I should be paid for that work, and, in fact, I insist on being paid for that work. If you don’t want to pay, then go entertain yourself with one of those ubiquitous free books out there. (Psst! There’s a ton of them, with slack-skilled authors just begging you to download them, all for free. In fact, they’ll even pay you to read their books! Have at it.)

In point of fact, I’ve loaned or even given my eBooks and print books away. Yep. But that’s MY choice to do it…when and if I choose to do it, which, admittedly, isn’t often. But it’s MY choice of when to do it and upon whom to bestow my gifts–my right as the intellectual property owner. It’s also MY choice to set a price that I think is fair and reasonable…just like it is YOUR choice to choose whether to pay for the privilege of reading my novels and books. (“Oh, gads,” they mutter. “She has the audacity to say ‘privilege’!” …Yep, I do.  Because it is.

You don’t want to pay the price?

Don’t.

I’m not begging you to read my work. Not at all. The key word there is CHOICEMY choice not to let you read my work for free, and YOUR choice not to pay my price for the privilege of reading it.  But a lot of you want to take that right away from me. You object to the very fact that it is my right, a right you don’t think that I, as the creator, should hold. You actually promote and sanction a policy that I, the creator, should be denied that right, not just nationally, but globally!

You think you are somehow owed the right to consume whatever content you want to and not be required to pay for it. And when somebody says, “No!”, you throw a hissy fit. (You should see the private messages…or should I say the private scolds and castigations I received. Too bad they weren’t posted publicly. I would have loved to share them, especially the ones decrying me as a “capitalist [c-word]”, “a selfish control freak”, and…well, we won’t go farther than that, thanks.)

I knew when I posted that editorial, I was going to get the rats, termites, and maggots crawling out of the walls.

And crawl you did.

I was prepared for that, and was, actually, quite surprised I didn’t receive more text-lashings. The few I did receive just prove my point. You’ve proven to me just how stupid and unabashedly hypocritical you are–you who demand fair wages for your work, but would deny me mine. And you’ve convinced a lot of gullible authors of that, too, demonstrating just how well the very people getting ripped off by your ‘content-should-be-free’ meme–authors who accept and even sanction it–can convince themselves that they’re so very lucky to be getting hung with a new rope, rather than a used one.

Of course, on the up side, I got nice support, too. Not so many in private messages, but in the sharing, plussing, and the few brave souls who commented.  Thanks, all.

Meanwhile, of course, the response I got allows me to separate more chaff from wheat. I love pruning out the dead wood and keeping those who hold a vital mind.


How I See It, the Super Short Version

DiagrammingReality_6-2-2016Stripweb

A friend of mine, with no intended malice, labeled my perspective in a particular thread on G+ as providing “a yummy dystopian outlook.” At first, I was taken aback, surprised that he would consider me thus, and a bit hurt, too. Then, he went on to explain when I challenged the charge. He said:

I find that many of your outlooks on society verge on the dystopian.

Personal opinion of mine, but I’m not ready for my robot overlords to take over or a Basic Living Wage. That’s very nightmarish to me although incredibly realistic in regards to how fast society is buzzing along.

And, yes, thinking on it, I tend to agree with his evaluation. I, too, am not ready for robot overlords or robot servants, for that matter, and, while the basic income model may make some sense, it’s neither practically functional nor possible, not in our present economy, neither the national one nor the global one. It’s beside the point, though. Yet, I will provide you my response, which was:

What I aim to do with my ‘dystopian’ posts is to bring an awareness of potential consequences, consequences that we are already seeing. I’m not and have never been ready for some of the horrible, absolutely horrible, consequences that have come to pass since I was a kid. I’m watching the worst and the best unfold, and it’s a compelling experience.

But Ken Beghtal’s words stirred some thinking, always a dangerous thing, yes. So, here, in a nutshell, is my outlook encapsulated in two, short bullet lists:

The Awesome

  • Advances in technology and science across every field have opened up the greatest potentials for us to truly move ourselves from primitive savages to a responsible, enlightened, benevolent species, capable of achieving wondrous things.
  • Multitudes of us care, share, and work hard to tame our species’ destructive nature, promoting good for all, promoting tolerance and caring, preserving what’s best and what is wonderful and native to our planet, from nature and the biosphere, from cultures, our own and not our own, from intellect, reason, and, yes, even ideology, utilizing every tool possible, including artificial intelligence.

The Terrible

  • Simultaneously, advances in technology bring us ever closer to enslavement, loss of freedom, loss of our own free will and thought, along with hellish war machines and weaponry so destructive that we face planetary annihilation every moment of ever breath.
  • Multitudes of us fear and hate, craving violence and wishing death upon those, human and other, with whom we share the planet, but of whom we have no tolerance. From microbes to plants and every type of animal on up to other humans, we eradicate, destroying, in ignorance, greed, arrogance, intolerance, and callousness, life around us, life that sustains our very own existence.

We live in a wondrous age of extraordinary potential. We live on the brink of self-imposed and self-perpetuated annihilation.

DiagrammingReality_6-2-2016web

 


Resolve to be Kind

Earth-2-23-2016B2strip

I have an aversion to cruelty. I especially have an aversion to cruelty perpetuated by humans. I think it, not just unnecessary, but the true evil, the only real evil–sentient-made and sentient-perpetuated.

We humans don’t need to perpetuate cruelty/evil. We don’t need to embrace and accept it, much less applaud it.  Yet, we do. And, while I very much understand the underlying factors which contribute to the behavior, I refuse to give credence to any permissive-minded excusing of it.

No.

As sentient beings, we humans have choice–a choice to refuse to act out our fear-based hatreds and craving-based greeds. We have a choice to be kind or cruel in any circumstance. And we have an obligation to be kind, not cruel. To ourselves and to all other entities, sentient and insentient. To do otherwise, to choose cruelty over kindness, condemns us in our own self, by our own memories–etched in our brains, our cells, even our DNA, to self-condemnation.

You can scoff. You can cry out that your personal savior, be that Jesus or some other, will wash away your every sin and you are forgiven. But the fact of your deeds is indelibly scribed, and while your personal savior might forgive you, you remember and, by your every cruelty, will self-condemn.

Now, psychologists will argue that self-condemnation requires conscience, and conscience is determined by cultural conditioning and neurology. They will point out that cultural norms define what is and what is not identified as cruel, as bad or good. They will point out that the sociopath has no conscience.

Right and wrong, according to psychology, is relative, yet science identifies a moral generator that develops in primates and in human children, the latter beginning at the age of four, despite culture and upbringing–a sense of fairness, scientists call it. It’s genetically ingrained, probably rooted in evolution of the species. Regardless, it exists and can be measured. It’s very much past time that we employ it for our own peace of mind and for the betterment of ours and every other living thing’s existence. To do less, even if conscience must be learned, as in the case of the sociopath, is to condemn yourself and the human species as truly, remorselessly evil.

Earth-2-23-2016B2



 


Scroll Up