July 27th, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] starandrea at 09:18pm on 27/07/2017 under ,
Important PSA: The actress who played Kelsey will be at Rangerstop this year ♥
July 23rd, 2017
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1) legs up a tree
2) wind chimes
3) jumping rope
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posted by [personal profile] starandrea at 12:24am on 23/07/2017 under
I was very surprised to level up in Habitica today and see my own image flashed at me... as a sea star. I thought... that doesn't seem right? I remembered one of the frequently asked questions on the Habitica wiki is "Why is my character suddenly a starfish?" but since I wasn't at the time I saw it, I didn't read it.

Before I went back to read it today, I checked party chat, and lo! [personal profile] wispfox claims responsibility for this delight!



So I have prepared what I believe to be an appropriate response:

July 22nd, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] starandrea at 01:13pm on 22/07/2017 under , ,
Rich: "I'm disappointed in all of you. It's Halloween, and Osric is the only one wearing a costume."
Osric: "I'm not wearing a costume."
Rich: "You're wearing a dress and you have a piece of fruit on your head."
Osric: "You're so old."
July 21st, 2017
starandrea: (Default)
1) signing up for fall races
2) scrapbooking
3) Mimi riding in her stroller
July 20th, 2017
starandrea: (Default)
1) sleeping in a hammock
2) watching kings of con
3) clif kid z bars
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)
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.
July 19th, 2017
starandrea: (Default)
1) community wading pools
2) high spf long sleeve shirts
3) fresh fruit and almond butter biscuits
starandrea: (Default)
1) camp nanowrimo
2) blueberries
3) national park quarters from the denver mint
July 18th, 2017
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
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?
starandrea: (Default)
1) writing lots of words
2) finishing chores
3) "light therapy"
July 17th, 2017
estirose: A blank book (Default)
posted by [personal profile] estirose at 07:44am on 17/07/2017
I signed up for [community profile] remixrevival! I ended up with a selection of fandoms that I think would be good, and included Power Rangers, Kamen Rider, and the Fatal Frame series in general. Hopefully people will sign up in those fandoms so I can have something to remix (I did offer some big fandoms so I have someone I can remix, but I'm hoping I get someone in one of my regular fandoms.) You only have to have one fandom that's considered remixable (5 fics of 100 or more or 3 fics of 500 or more) to join.

Remixes are fun and interesting - you take someone else's fic and put your own spin on it - it's almost like picking up a prompt from, say, Yuletide and writing it. I've written remixes of drabbles before - "Noble Boxes (The Doomed Italian remix)" for Doctor Who (classic) and "Coldish Hell (The Frozen Face Remix)" (Plants vs Zombies).
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posted by [personal profile] starandrea at 12:06am on 17/07/2017 under ,
1) cool nights
2) cheerios
3) kittens on tumblr
July 15th, 2017
starandrea: (Default)
1) partially melted ice cream
2) talking about stories
3) bare feet
July 14th, 2017
starandrea: (boldly go newsweek photo by gus powell)
posted by [personal profile] starandrea at 10:06pm on 14/07/2017 under ,
I saw a headline in the AARP newsletter that said, "How Do You Feel?" And I thought, "That's why baby Spock in school looked (sounded) so familiar!"

The scene in the first new Trek movie where young Spock is in his learning bubble must be inspired by the scene from "The Voyage Home" where he's re-learning things after being dead. The question that brings the session to a halt is, "How do you feel?"
starandrea: (Default)
1) being able to take a vacation!
2) friends noticing you are going on vacation!
3) actually being on vacation!

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