Jul. 25th, 2017 02:04 pm

(no subject)

drazzi: Miles Edgeworth - Phoenix Wright ([Edgey] /omg)
[personal profile] drazzi
Me: I miss the werewolf filter on Snapchat.
Neko: You're a werewolf without the filter anyway.
Me: ... *seduced* <3
truepenny: photo of the keyboard and raised lid of a 1911 Bluethner grand piano; the inside of the lid has inlaid brass letters reading BLUETHNER LEIPZIG (bluethner 1911)
[personal profile] truepenny
So this year, after a gap of twenty-five years, I started taking piano lessons again, focusing--because I'm an adult and get to choose for myself--on ragtime. There's a bunch of stuff around this decision that does not need to be explored at this juncture, because what I want to talk about is one of the biggest fucking paradigm shifts I've ever experienced.

I learned piano very much in the traditional you-learn-pieces-and-perform-them-at-recitals-and-they-get-progressively-harder mode (also traditional is the nice Lutheran lady teaching piano in her living room), and one of the reasons I started again was that I could work with somebody who went to UW-Madison for music--somebody, in other words, who's been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings not just of music, but of teaching.

Dude rocks my fucking world, I tell you what.

Partly, this is because I'm an adult and I've been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings of teaching (I always know when a teacher is using a particular pedagogical technique on me--which interestingly doesn't always make it less effective). I learn differently now and with a different understanding of what "learning" is. This is the place where Csikszentmihalyi has been extremely helpful to me, because I can recognize how a successful learning engagement works. ("Learning experience" would be a better phrase, but it already has connotations that are really kind of the opposite of what I mean.) And the pressure to learn pieces for recitals is mercifully off, which helps, too. But partly it's because this guy approaches music completely differently, bottom up instead of top down.

But the thing that has changed my relationship with my piano is something my teacher said (and I can't for the life of me remember what it was) that made me understand--quite literally for the first time in my life--that fingerings aren't arbitrary and they aren't just put in music so that teachers can judge whether students are obeying them or not. Here's where playing the piano is exactly like rock climbing:

The notes in the score are like the hand, finger, foot, and toe holds used to set a route in a climbing gym. You work the fingerings out yourself, the same way that a climber works out her own solution to how to get to the top of the wall using the holds available. And he said, "This music is for playing." A weirdass chord progression or run is like a difficult sequence in a route; it's a game, a puzzle that a musician who's been dead for 100 years set for all the pianists who came after him to solve. You work out the fingerings (4-5-3-5 WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK) so that you don't hang yourself out to dry, the same way that a climber works out her holds so that when she has only her right hand free, the next hold isn't three feet to her left. When you make a mistake, you laugh and pick yourself back up and go up the wall again, because it isn't a pass/fail test. It's a game. You have a sense of glee that you share with the route setter about solving this incredibly intricate puzzle almost--in a weird way--together.

What that means is, (1) playing piano, which I have always loved, is now infused with a sense of fun that it truly has never had; (2) I know what I'm learning--not just "music" but the route up the wall, the game that underlies the performance; (3) when I'm fumbling through a new chunk of music, I know why I'm fumbling. It's not because I'm stupid or the music is stupid; it's because my brain is trying to process so much new information that it gets overwhelmed. That's why I miss easy chords and consistently play that damn C-sharp when the piece is written in G. Because THAT'S WHAT THE LEARNING PROCESS LOOKS LIKE.

But honest to god the idea of music as a game being played between composer and performer, and not a game like tennis, but a game like riddling--riddle set and riddle answered--is a seismic paradigm shift for me. Everything looks different now.
Jul. 20th, 2017 07:02 pm

The Caligula Effect - I Gave Up.

batman: (Aurica trying to be sensible)
[personal profile] batman
I finally gave up on The Caligula Effect.

The Caligula Effect: 2017's first DNF! )

Right now I am playing Final Fantasy XII, Higurashi Chapter 3 and will move onto The Longest Journey once one of those is done. Then that will be it for July! No idea what August will bring...
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Dear Senator Johnson:

Thank you for speaking out against Senator McConnell's methodology, which looks suspiciously more like tyranny than democracy. I hope that you will publicly refuse to vote to repeal the ACA with nothing lined up to take its place. McConnell's plan is catastrophic and could only be put forward by someone who neither knows nor cares anything about the healthcare needs of his constituents. I am strongly in favor of bipartisan reform for the ACA, and I hope that you will reach out to your Democratic colleagues to make that happen.

I know I will never persuade you that you are wrong about the effect of the free market, but, because I choose to believe that you are acting in good faith, I have to--in good faith--try again:

The problem with the free market is that it erodes ethics. Free-market capitalism says that ethics are irrelevant--if they're not actually a liability, making you less able to compete. This is why it is crucial that the government regulate corporations. The government doesn't need to worry about corporations making money. They'll take care of that part themselves. The government needs to ensure that they don't run roughshod over employees and consumers in the process. Deregulating everything and trusting to the free market to solve the problem is like opening all the cages and trusting the tigers to solve the food supply problem. Corporations, like tigers, will solve the problem for themselves. We need the government to make sure the problem is solved for everyone.

This is why we need government. This is why government should never be run on the corporate model. It is not a corporation, and if it is to succeed in providing justice for all citizens, it cannot be a corporation. It has to be the balance to the corporations, to keep their untrammeled free market competition from literally poisoning everything they touch. In the past fifty years, America has proved repeatedly that deregulation is not the answer. Deregulation only and always makes things worse, because--hey, wait for it--our country is not a corporation. Treating it like one merely destroys it.

This is why ethics are not something that can be discarded. Because without ethics, you get the Trump administration, and I have to tell you that, no matter how it looks from where you are, from where I am, all I see are tigers.



There's also email to Governor Walker about why isn't he one of the governors speaking out against ACA repeal?
Jul. 16th, 2017 06:25 pm

Ys Seven - thoughts etc

batman: Adol Christin from the Ys series (towards the dawn)
[personal profile] batman
So this morning I finished Ys Seven! This time around Adol is in AU northern Africa, making friends, influencing people, and surprisingly not getting shipwrecked despite securing passage on four boats. I know, I was surprised too. This is the last game in the Ys series focusing on Adol released in English, and I think the last Ys game I will play until Lacrymosa of Dana comes out in September. (Sorry, Ys Origin - I have too many games in my backlog!)

Adol secures passage on a boat and doesn't get shipwrecked? HOW CAN THIS BE. )

All right! Next up, I'm playing Higurashi Chapter 3 and Final Fantasy XII in part because [personal profile] larissa will likely beat down my door if I don't do FFXII. The Caligula Effect ... continues to be a work in progress sob.
Jul. 16th, 2017 09:05 am

Tokyo Xanadu - thoughts etc.

batman: Tokisaka Kou from Tokyo Xanadu (hanging with friends)
[personal profile] batman
I finished playing Tokyo Xanadu earlier this week but because work was brutal I have only now had the opportunity to write this up. Basically Tokyo Xanadu is what happens when the gameplay for Ys and the storywriting for Kiseki had a lovechild, and that lovechild went to school and hung out with the Persona kid for a bit and stuff rubbed off.

'Let me see ... Sweet, I have reception.' - Shinomiya Yuuki, doing what we all do when we arrive at a new place. )

Next up: a post for Ys Seven, and playing either Higurashi chapter 3, The Longest Journey, or the Final Fantasy XII remake!
Jul. 15th, 2017 08:09 pm

(no subject)

drazzi: Miles Edgeworth - Phoenix Wright (Default)
[personal profile] drazzi
Me: Eggs and chips, nothing better.
Ku: Ooh, maybe I'll have ham with it too.
Me: Hell yeah boy! Who doesn't love ham with egg?
Ku: You want some?
Me: No thanks, I don't like ham with egg.