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February 13th, 2006

liberty bell march

Today I return to my office after four days away for a business trip. I know why it is that I prefer my vacations in three and four day weekend snippets.

My latest discovery is the Mutopia Project. This service takes public domain songs, hymns and classical pieces and posts them for free up on the internet. The best part is that volunteers create MIDI files of the pieces, which are often also donated to the public domain. Because I can download MIDI and set it up in my music notation program, this lets me take great tunes, alter them a bit (or, actually, a lot), and use them in new pieces of music.

Today I downloaded a well-known piece, John Phillip Sousa's "Liberty Bell March", which is more familiar to folks as the theme song for Monty Python's Flying Circus. I'll have some fun with this bit of MIDI--I've confirmed already it sounds great when played with robot ocarinas.

I'm waiting to receive in the mail the 19th Century Methodist Episcopal hymn book I purchased on eBay. I have in mind to take a dozen Charles Wesley hymns, input the sheet music into my music notation program, and then slow them, morph them, and alter them into ambient soundscapes. The resulting album I'll named "Strangely Warmed", which is a quote from the hymnist's brother John Wesley about a conversion experience--although I may alter the name if I find a similar quote from Charles Wesley.

I'm still frusrated with my efforts at a hip-hop remix for a contest at the CC Mixter. I got a
great artist from Dmusic.com to collaborate with me, who provided me with a rhythm track and with vocals in English and French of my lyrics. I spent yesterday failing repeatedly to get the vox and the beats to sync, and then failing repeatedly to get a good sound from an "interspersed" version which alternates vox and beats. Someday I will learn how to do beats matching--although I think that in part the problem is that I need software better designed for this activity.

I'm glad to be nearly over the jet lag. It was amusing to nod off while bathing Saturday, although the splash from the book descending did awaken me in good order--or at least good order for me, perhaps rather less good order for the book.

The Mata Hari Project

I salute, applaud and linger over the latest LiveJournal exercise, the Johari, along with its not-quite-polar not-quite-opposite Nohari.

I have filled out several in the past few days, and it's amazing how many nice things I could say about each of you, if only they had boxes for the things I want to say and not boxes for the things they want to say. I am amazed at how no matter how many I fill out, I find I neglected to do 10 more.

I lost my snob factor about polls, quizes and commonplaces about the same time I realized that it's okay to think about what went on at in the land of Oz after the books came to an end, and even okay to remember the good old days when sitcoms were funny and the networks ran the news as journalism.

Still, I propose that if any of you are interested, you might participate in a meme variant called the Mata Hari
Project. I've always found the historical Mata Hari rather a drab study in drab studiousness. She's rather a sad story, I think, and a bit overdone. I constantly note that the one out of 25 LiveJournal posts contains more intrigue, smoldering smolderousness and rampant slithy tovishness than any dozen wine-stained lives of debauchery drawn from the pages of history--and that's true even though I find that I tend to read the tamer journals.

But I like the idea of mystery--of spy stuff, of personal ads which make no sense to anyone but the sender, and perhaps a recipient. I like the idea of coded messages which are in fact grocery lists, and grocery lists which are in fact hieroglyphics from ancient Abysinnia.

Would you like to join the Mata Hari Project? Here's how.

Type in five words or phrases with reference to me in the comment space. But here are the Secret Spy Rules:

1. No adjectives.
2. No simple praise or denigration
3. Be cryptic
4. speak in a code only you and I might understand--if you must choose between me and a third party understanding and nobody understanding, then choose nobody
5. Make your words and phrases seem entirely like non-sequiturs, but if I did understand them--which I probably won't--then they'd be really cool.

Like all Great Science, the Mata Hari Project has a grand design. Unlike the Ohari and the Nohari, which test how well the subject perceives himself/herself as compared to the opinions of others, the Mata Hari Project seeks to
create a new identity for the subject (who would, by the way, be me) comprised entirely of the inscrutable, the
odd, and the oddly delightful. The idea is that the subject (again, me) is entirely clueless, and you are leaving impossible to decipher clues. It's not really an exercise in Dada. It's more like Elmer's Glue for the soul.

Try not to read others' answers as you compose your own. Thank you for playing.

Do you have the secret code?