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Instant Gratification   

Fri, 20 Oct 2006

Imagine, if you will, two roommates at Thesaurus U.:

“I aspire to obtain a beverage. The vending machine is where my path leads.”

“I wish to accompany you, since I have assembled a myriad of coins.”

“I possess coins, as well. Let’s embark.”


10:51 CST | category / entries / links
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Sun, 08 Oct 2006

Software for learning the guitar?

So, I’m learning to play the guitar. The prior extent of my musical ability was playing “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder in 4th grade. Needless to say I have a lot to learn. I am also a computer-dork, which makes me wonder why there isn’t the Dance-Dance Revolution of Music. Oh wait, there is, and it’s called “Guitar Hero”. The problem with Guitar Hero is that it’s about 0% related to actually playing music. Here follows my wish-list for a program that would help me learn to play the guitar or another instrument. If I were going to write it, I’d call it “Sheet Music Hero” (hereafter referred to as SMH).

The two most important things is that the program work with your real-live instrument (for me that’d be a non-electric, classical guitar) and also be interactive / corrective - that it can detect a mistake and give you some sort of percent-marker or crowd-feedback noise a-la Dance-Dance revolution when you lay down some smokin’ notes. :^)

It’d be wonderful if this was all free / open source (are the pieces all out there?), and if it worked on Mac / Linux at least. Even if I had to pay for it has anyone seen software out there that meets a significant portion of these requirements? Something like “Mavis Beacon Teaches Classical Acoustic Guitar”? Let me know.

22:56 CST | category / entries
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Thu, 05 Oct 2006

Mexico Part 1

We arrived in Tlapujahua around noon and went to work, asking where the different government offices were. One for the birth certificate of Bety’s grandmother, and two to file paperwork for registering vehicles. The birth certificates were finished in an hour, but registering the vehicle would take longer. Before leaving the town we visited a beautiful church of the Virgen del Carmen and spent a final few minutes checking out the local markets. At 5pm we entered another cobble-stoned village off the main road and sought out more of Bety’s relatives (the Rodriguez side).

We crested a final hill deep in the pueblo where we saw a man and two boys playing outside their home. Introducing ourselves to the various relatives we made our way inside and I listened in while family members caught up with one another. The smell of firewood (leña) was in the air as Sandra was pressing and cooking tortillas over the comal in the outdoor woodshed. We sat down to eat with the family and were treated to a kind of spicy beef stew and filetes de res which we ate with the aforementioned tortillas. The beef was the best I have ever tasted- local cattle that graze in the grass, no pesticides, few cars, and a simple, tranquil life.

I slept early after spending more time meeting, greeting, and talking with the family. Next morning we bathed with heated water and headed to a nearby home to visit the aunt of Bety’s grandmother. Ninety-eight years old. That night I drank my first glass of pulque, made from the juices of a maguey plant in their back yard. The next day I got a chance to see the maguey where the agua miel (a sweet liquid, like honey, that pulque is made from) was taken from it’s opened heart. Magueys live roughly thirty years, but once they are cut open for agua miel, they live about three months. We had planned to leave that night, but it threatened rain and the food was good so we stayed the night.

In Tlapujahua the vehicle paperwork would have taken two weeks but according to several sources doing things in Morelia would be faster and easier (plus it was on our way). We left Tlapujahua, again very early, headed towards Morelia. After a slight detour to Guanajuato (the signs in Maravatio were not very clear) we were again heading west to Morelia, the capitol of Michoacan. We arrived there just before noon and again sought the local government offices. After gathering all the necessary paperwork, eating lunch, and passing several times past the city’s aqueduct (built in the 1780s) we finally had the license plates for Raymundo’s truck and we left almost immediately for Paracho via Uruapan.

to be continued…

00:11 CST | category / entries
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