Friday, December 26, 2008

Atheistmas Pictures

Somehow these fish make it through the winter intact.

Annie literally ripped her toy out of the paper and swung it around violently, much like she did the nest of baby rabbits a couple of years ago. 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Atheistmas!

My Dog. My house in Vermont. My big, huge snowstorm.

My daughters opening their presents under the Atheistmas Tree.

My bridge. I made it. Crosses the brook 10 Feet behind my back door. You can't see the brook. It's under snow.

May your holidays be godless and filled with good cheer!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pics of the Day

Blizzard. I got caught many miles away in a sudden snow storm yesterday. Barely made it back, lost control of my car a couple of times. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Math Trick

This worked on me. Did it work on you? Any ideas why?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Li Jie is Godlike

I have never seen such mastery of an instrument of any kind. And at such a young age, it is breathtaking. It is almost embarrassing to watch acclaimed masters of classical guitar who have been playing and studying all their lives get soundly outdone by a 14 year old girl. What is truly staggering is that Li Jie did not even start playing the guitar until she was 11 years old! That gives her about 3 years of practice to become a literally peerless performer. Her guitar looks huge compared to her tiny body. When I was transcribing from her video I kept thinking that the 4th fret was the 5th because of how her tiny hands have to stretch so far to reach it, yet she pulls it off perfectly. 

She is currently 27 years old. I have searched and found no information about what she is doing now. The thought came to mind that maybe she decided that after 3 years of practice she had already become the best classical guitarist that has ever lived, and maybe she took up another hobby. Seriously, what else is there to be done? She could compose her own music, but I've seen no evidence that she has. One of the sad things about some of my favorite virtuoso guitar heros is that they don't compose. I don't know if it is because they have no imagination or because they don't feel like they have anything to offer. I guess this separates the greats like Paco de Lucia from the crowd. 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bach prelude in D Cello Suite 1 BWV 1007 Tablature as played by Li Jie

For years I have been playing this piece on my guitar thinking that I had almost mastered it. Then about a year or so ago I stumbled on some youtube clips of Andres Segovia playing it in a very different arrangement. His version is full of haunting baselines not found in the transcription I was using. Then I witnessed a 14 year old Chinese girl named Li Jie play basically the same arrangement, only better than Segovia. 

I felt cheated of the "real" version of this guitar masterpiece. Of course there is no "real" guitar version, as it was originally written for the cello. But from there on I could get no joy playing my gutted out version of this piece. I proceeded to search all over the net for a transcription to no avail. There are hordes of websites with hundreds of guitar transcriptions but only the version I already played was available. So I put it off for the longest time.

Until this week, when I had a very bad cold and had to stay home from work. 

Not wanting to have to transcribe it myself, I wandered around from one music store to another searching for the paper. I must have found 5 or 6 more versions in books that were just like the skeletal version I knew. 

When I got home, sneezing and miserable, my desire to learn that thing, along with the aid of free time and some Starbucks grande Christmas drip (no room), resulted in the only known internet transcription of this piece available. So Merry Christmas. This is golden (despite my horrible penmanship and inexperience with my new scanner), and was not an easy task from a sketchy youtube recording that can only rewind in 10 second chunks (infuriating!!!). 

I purposely typed the name of it in the header so it would hit a search. I know there are countless people looking for that transcription who settle for the popular version, and maybe don't even realize what they are missing (like me). And since there is almost assuredly at least one note transcribed incorrectly or omitted - it is my own *unique* interpretation :-)

Please just leave a message in the comment section if you want me to email you the music. I cannot figure out a way to enlarge it to size on this blog (any suggestions?). I would be curious to find out how many people are searching like mad the way I did. And if there is another place to get it free on the net, I'd like to know. But at least transcribing it myself I know it is quite accurate (let me know where you disagree). The rhythm notation is, admittedly, totally botched. But as it concerns this piece, it is so uniform (except for 1 or 2 syncopations) that it doesn't matter. Most internet guitar transcriptions are so inaccurate as to be worse than useless, so it always pays to put in the sweat yourself, plus you learn it better while you're doing it. 

Here is what I transcribed:

Below is the Colonal Sanders version- slightly different. I like the Li Jie arrangement better, it is slightly more complex I think.

Note on the fingering: 

Segovia avoids using his ring finger on the top E string and goes from the E to the G string using middle and index. Li Jie uses her ring finger constantly for the top string. I played it like Segovia for years, but now find the Li Jie fingering to be more efficient and easier to control once you get used to it. I have no official training so I don't know which way is "right", if one is right. 

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Gift Book Ideas

While browsing for women in a crowded bookstore yesterday, I noticed this book which made me laugh out loud. It is all about the coming financial opportunities we will have after the rapture.

According to the book, up to 1.5 billion people will instantly disappear. That leaves around 5 billion of us left to seize investment opportunities from the ensuing societal breakdown. 

Question for the day- With 1.5 billion professed Christians suddenly leaving us, would that leave the earth more or less moral overall? Whatever you believe the answer is, notice how you had to stop and think about it a second? Truth is, a great percentage of Christians are people with all sorts of substance abuse and domestic problems who turn to Christ out of desperation. Would suddenly evacuating all these people really leave the planet in squalor? 

The next popular book on everyone's shopping list this year, considered the "feel good read" of the winter and endorsed as a choice on Oprah's book club, by Dr. Phil, Betty Eadie, and Ken Wilber:

"The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God". 

Currently, Linden is teaming up on book signings with Dannion Brinkley who is touring his new book entitled:

 "I Was Kind of Wrong: Updated Prophecies From My NDE the Beings of Light Didn't Allow Me to Remember Until Now". The duo can be found at Barnes and Noble bookstores offering free book signings together and bundle pack discounts if you buy both. 

Dannion has readily admitted that by sheer chance alone, at least one of the prophetic visions he offered in his 1990's book "Saved by the Light"  should have at least become partly true, and since none did, that should be considered miraculous.