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Showing posts from February, 2017

when you want a great pair

i have finally come to the realisation that i might be trying to learn too many languages at once. that's not to say that i don't want to learn all the languages that exist in written form, but spreading myself across a dozen at one time doesn't allow for a lot of progress in any of them. therefore, while i'm still "checking in" with all of them, i'm trying to focus on a couple at a time. lately, that's been swedish and norwegian, because they are both grammatically similar to english [even if the swedish accent is very tough for me], which makes things progress faster. in general, i've been trying to pair similar languages because, while it can get a bit confusing, building the skill sets of both at once strengthens each of them. if you want more bang for your linguistic buck, 'pairing' like this can be quite helpful. here's a few suggestions for ones that i'd recommend:

swedish and norwegian :: they are so similar, it's easy …

alpha female

i have a friend who does a variety of therapies for others. i'm always slightly skeptical of the efficacy of these things [which is probably just bottled up resentment over the fact that i can't meditate], but one thing we discussed the last time i saw her was work she was doing with soundwaves to affect the brain. i'm a little more at ease with this concept, because there is a body of science behind it. different frequencies do trigger certain things in our brains.

she uses these techniques most often to help people with insomnia, or to help people who suffer from anxiety [and who often have sleep disorders as a result]. obviously, those purposes are of interest to me, because i don't often sleep well. but another aspect of it that was of interest to me was the use of alpha waves to heighten creativity.

so my friend sent me a set of recordings that she uses for these sessions, and this morning, i tried out the alpha waves. i set myself up to write and continued to do…

i don't feel well

although i've put "mental health mondays" on temporary hiatus, this post does sort of fit the bill, except that it hasn't taken any of the effort that those posts usually do. because i'm not capable of making that effort today, because i either skipped my medicine yesterday, or i took it twice, or i slept too little or too much, or i ate too much sugar, or the wrong amount of it at the wrong time. i don't know. i can't remember, because, as much as the medications i'm on help me cope with day to day stuff, they are terrible for my short term memory. i can't go out to the store without a shopping list and even then, i'm at the point of needing an alarm to remind me to look at the shopping list. the sleep thing is unpredictable, because there seems to be a very narrow mountain ridge between the chasms of crazy on either side. the food thing is more of a theory, but there's no doubt that my reaction to sweets and carbohydrates is extreme comp…

making faces :: inspired by some mighty girls

some of you may already have heard this, but the journal of medical ethics recently had what can only be described as an epic brain fart when it published an article by white, male american doctor allan jacobs advocating for a "compromise solution" on the issue of female genital mutilation [fgm]. i'm not sure what the temperature was in his office when he was writing this missive, but i can only assume it was pretty fucking warm and that he was in the preliminary stages of a drop in blood pressure associated with extreme temperatures, which diminishes the brain's ability to make complex decisions and think clearly.

his case was that little progress had been made in eliminating fgm in thirty years [although, as this riposte points out, the issue really hasn't been addressed until the last decade in any meaningful way]. therefore, he says, western doctors should feel comfortable with "milder forms" of mutilation, so as not to appear to judge a cultural tr…

uncle alex and the sands of time

when i was growing up, there was a photograph that hung in the landing of our staircase. i saw it every time i went downstairs to play in our [mostly] finished basement, which was pretty much every day, usually more than once. the picture was a black and white of a dark-haired, bearded man in full highland regalia. i knew early on that this was "uncle alex", although it took me a while to realise that he was my father's uncle and not mine. i knew that uncle alex had died in the first world war, supposedly at gallipoli with many, many, many other soldiers. i was probably the only seven year old to know what a "gallipoli" was.

as an adult, when i developed an interest in genealogy, one of the first things that i did was look for information about uncle alex. i quickly found out that he was buried with his parents in the cape breton town where the clan had lived since they were driven out of scotland in the 19th century. his epitaph was not elaborate, but it did …

in the beginning

among other projects that i'm struggling to get to various levels off the ground right now, i've had this idea that sits in my head, that i can't ever seem to do anything with. i want to do something with it, because i feel like it would power me out of other areas where i've become creatively stuck. but instead it just feels like a ball of uranium in my creative pocket, weighing me down as i'm trying to swim through the waters of my own brain.

the concept that i'm trying to work out has to do with a thing, not really a character or a setting, although it has elements of both, that appears in several things i've written/ am writing. my idea is that i'd like to give it a sort of origin story, something that mixes facts with [modern] myths- the tale it tells about itself. but i'll be damned if i can think of a good point from which to start.

perhaps it's my personal view of history that gets in the way; everything is the result of what has preced…

making faces :: the sixth annual shrunken head awards for achievement in beauty

yes, my lovelies, it is once again for the official more like space shrunken head awards! after thinking that i was horribly late in getting to these last year, i find myself running even farther behind this year... honestly, i picked up certain products so late in the year that i felt i didn't have enough time to test them until recently, and to reflect on what had come my way throughout the year.

in case you're wondering why i should associate a shrunken head with beauty, i refer you to the explanation i gave a couple of years back:

if you're not familiar with the shrunken heads, it's a tradition that i inaugurated in honour of the fact that beauty is fleeting [all the more reason to remember it] and reflecting on the year in beauty is also a way to preserve it. [get it? preserve? why are you backing away from me like that?]
2016 was a bit of an odd year for me, and for my makeup collection. as time goes on, and i am unsuccessful in my attempts to clone myself, i am …

music to my ears 2016

edit!!! the original version of this post stated that the bandcamp donation event was on february 2nd. it is on february 3rd! on your marks, get set, stuff your shopping carts!!

i am well late doing my "best of 2016" lists, but that doesn't mean that i haven't been thinking about them. music-wise, i feel like the world of uneasy listening is in a transition. i also feel like it's overdue for one, with many subgenres of sound having circled for quite a while without showing significant progression. that's not to say that the same can't be beautiful- it absolutely can- but there always have to be artists pushing sound forward, or else things become stale and imitative.

a few things that i noticed this year:


more beats :: even the noisiest artists are showing more of a tendency to incorporate rhythms, at least as punctuation points. whether or not you like this trend is subjective. i do, because i find that it lends a sense of structure and propulsion to musi…