Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
I woke up on the wrong side of history.
Sunday, October 30th, 2016
If Never Let Me Go and Infinite Jest had a baby, it would be episode 2 of Black Mirror: Fifteen Million Merits.
Friday, October 28th, 2016
Mirá / estas cenizas / que fueron en otro tiempo mi cuerpo / lo que has abrazado fuerte / en otro tiempo / sientelas caerse / estas cenizas / entre tus dedos. Escuchá / al bosque / silencioso.
Look, now/ at these ashes / that used to be my body / you held me tight / used to / Now feel them falling / these ashes / between your fingers. Listen / to the silent / forest.
Thursday, October 20th, 2016
A friend just now described a blister's shape as "a laconic Nike swoosh" -- and he was quite right, too, that's what it looked like. And I had indeed just had in mind that very image, without having been able to name it, and replied, "I had that exact thought except without the eloquence!" He: "I feel that way when I read books I like" and the scales fall from my eyes!
Sunday, October second, 2016
I would have written several enthusiastic posts raving about Josh Fruhlinger's new novel (his first), The Enthusiast. It is such a treat.
Saturday, September 24th, 2016
A meme going around Facebook asks us to describe our own identity using 3 fictional characters. Mine? K. (Amerika), Ka (Snow), Kate (The Enthusiast).
Friday, September 23rd, 2016
"If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, they will eventually produce all the world's great literary works in Braille. "
Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
The unfamiliar world instruments story continues... For my birthday last week, Ellen and Sylvia gave me a dilruba, northern Indian fiddle with a neck similar to a sitar's neck (although the sound is pretty different from a sitar's).
An unusual thing about this instrument: Its bowl body is carved from a block of wood, not separate ribs bent and glued together. It is pretty heavy, but easy to hold since it rests on the floor. The bow ("gaz") is horsehair strung on bamboo, much tighter than the hair on a violin bow and without the mechanics -- the frog is just a piece of wood attached to the bow with twine, and does not tighten/loosen. The gaz is light as a feather and balanced perfectly. Bowing technique is very key; it is easy to just produce a dissonant scratching/buzzing tone if you are not holding the gaz just right. (Holding it right so the note rings, there is still a scratch/buzz element to the sound, but it does not overwhelm.)
The dilruba ("दिलरुबा" in Hindi means "heart-stealer") has in common with the erhu, that there is no fingerboard; strings are stopped with just the finger rather than pressed between the finger and something solid. Although the frets are exactly like a sitar's frets, you don't press the string against the fret. I've found the clearest and truest tone comes from fingering the side of the string -- this way you can touch the fret to keep your finger accurately positioned, and can stop the string without bending it.
Here is a recording of "Country Honk":
Friday, April 8th, 2016
Thursday, March 31st, 2016
My latest unfamiliar instrument arrived in the mail this evening --
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Check out Ellen's writing at Patch.com.