I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

March 31, 2014 - 12:22 p.m.

Of Kat and Caitlin and Math and Magic

This might end up being like an old-style Wise Madness with my daily events just being an introduction into the meat of the entry. We'll see.

I took most of yesterday as a recovery day I stayed home and in bed till quite late. I felt fine I had the bacon and eggs I promised for breakfast and blackened chicken breasts and mashed potatoes for dinner. How can I put this gently? I'll just say I had the aftermath of a Crohn's attack. I am still in that stage.

Last night I wanted to see the The Yanks an amazing Irish band. Isaac Alderson formerly the piper for RUNA is in them. I saw them at NERFA and loved them. The problem was they were playing at Jalopy which is not easy to get to and it was raining and I have to take a bus. That left the second half of my planned doubleheader seeing Kat Quinn at Rockwood Music Hall. You can tell that's a home game as both the artist and the venue have their own macros to link to their websites. It was not just physically easy but emotionally easy to go to that show.

I see Kat a ton so I'm going to write less than I usually do. I have come to call Kat and The Lords of Liechtenstein my special projects. They are young and not as well known to my musical set as most artists I see and I want to change that. They have not just craft and stage presence but IT, the creative spark.

I've said this before but Kat's stage presence consists of not having any stage pretense. She's up there having a good time and that invites the audience to too. She was joined as she often is by Caitlin Mahoney on harmonies and guitar and OK I don't know their names, the producer of her CD on piano and a percussionist. Hey there were two really cute women on stage you expect me to remember men?


That's Kat in the middle

I was up in my usual perch in the Statler and Waldorf Seats. I think I might have to not sit there next time I see Kat as I only see the side of her face from there. This is my actual view.

They were joined on one song by a friend whose name I didn't catch because, well you know, I'm an idiot.

Rockwood is a challenge to photograph but that's not an excuse to use a flash. With just my phone I take decent pics. You just have to get creative.

If I had a decent camera I could do fine. When I see people with SLRs using a flash it drives me nuts. They spent all that money on a camera and didn't learn how to use it.
One purpose of the big lens is to allow you to take pictures in low light.

I of course through my paper airplane when Kat sang Kind of Brave. I need to get somebody else to video me throwing it. This one was special. It was huge, I used an old On Your Radar poster. I'm getting good at piloting these things. From the mezzanine I was able to get it fly right past Kat without hitting her.

After the show I met Kat and Caitlin in the back room. Part of what made this a home game and good for when I'm weak and recovering is that I got to spend time with two of my favorite people and get hugs. I know I'm not the only one that feels that the social aspect is a bit part of the pleasure of seeing shows. Sometimes it's just nice to spend time with your people.

I told you that I lost the book I'm reading The Wiseman's Fear. I left it in Sara's car on Saturday and Carter has it. He'll give it to me next week at On You Radar. Before I lost it I found a great Tolkien reference in it. I wonder if any of My Gentle Readers is enough of a Tolkien scholar to get it. A character in the book tells a story of Taborlin the Great, the greatest hero of the mythology. Taborlin is has great magic powers. When he was held prisoner his captor held Taborlin's sword and cloak locked n a box. Taborlin said "Edro" and the box opened. Do you know why that's a Tolkien reference? When the Fellowship comes to Moria Gandalf tries to figure out how to open in the door. He was stymied and frustrated and tried shouting "Edro!" It's Noldorian, High Elvish, for open.

I thought that was too long to wait so I was going to buy another copy but that's so wasteful. I have another book to read so I just started reading that. It's Raising Steam: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett. You know how much I love Pratchett. It makes special connections with me all over the place. I forgot to highlight the passages that I wanted to quote here. There are so many and I'm only 27 pages into the book. The story is about Dick Simnel inventing the steam locomotive in Discworld. The first time he drives it out of his barn this is what happens.

The bystanders, most of whome were now byrunners, and in certain instances bystampeders fled and complained, except of course, for every little boy of any age who followed it with eyes open-wide, vowing ther and then that one day he would be the captain of the terrible noxious engine, oh yes indeed. A prince of the steam? A moster of the sparks. A conchman of the Thunderbolts!
Isn't that marvelous? That's what drives progress it frightened the old but set the young's hearts aflame. Joe is that how you feel? Joe is a locomotive operator.

Then there's an earlier passage that relates more personally to me. This is from when Dick was only 10.

Dick walked into a building that looked interesting and which turned out to be a library. At first he thought it was full of poncy sstuff, all kings and poets and lovers and battles, but in one crucial book he found something called mathematics and the the world of numbers.
When I was a kid and head learned out to read my parents got me a set of three books, They were slim hard covers about science. One was Rocks and Minerals, I am not sure what the second was, I think Fossils but I had so many dinosaur books it was lost in the shuffle, but the third was Mathematics and I loved it. It's where I learned the Pythagorean Theorem. You know how kids read and reread story books? I read and reread Mathematics. Now this was exciting.

Later on Dick tells his mother why he won't blow up the way his father, a blacksmith did experimenting with a steam engine.

Dick pulled out of his jacket something that looked like a small wand, which might hve een made for a miniature wizard, and said, 'This'll keep me safe Mother! I hae the knowing of the sliding rule! I can tell the sine what to do, and the cosine likewise and work out the tangent of t'quadratics!
Math is POWER! There's magic to it. and I thought to a lecture I saw by Alan Guth. He's the physicist that came up with Cosmic Inflation the theory that was just verified by observing the polarization of the three degree background radiation, the distant glow of the big bang. He said something along the lines of "It looks like the entire universe is nothing but a random fluctuation of a Hilbert Space." The thing is that a Hilbert Space is not a physical thing. It's a purely mathematical entity. In the beginning was not the word but the number. And Pratchett hints at that right from the start of the book
It is hard to understand nothing, but the multiverse is full of it. Nothing travels everywhere, always ahead of something, and in the great cloud of unknowing nothing yearns to become something, to break out, to move, to feel, to change, to dance and to experience -- In short, to be something.
People think of Pratchett as being funny and silly and that's true but he is also profound. he thinks deep thoughts and gets the reader to think deep thoughts. That makes it literature.

Now to post this then eat breakfast. It's poached egg and scrapple today.





Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile March 31, 2014
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