Julie had surgery today to remove her left lung, a treatment for asbestos-caused lung cancer. But tonight her daughter posted:
Mom is doing really well tonight, alert and only in a little pain. Miraculously, she still has BOTH lungs! When the doctor got in there, he says it appears that she has had a 100% response to the chemotherapy, so there was no reason to remove the lung. In his career, mom is only the 3rd patient he has seen results like this from. We are very excited.
Gratitude. Can't say much else.

Radical Muzak

Not what I expected to hear when I stopped at Sheetz coming home from the SpiralHeart meeting:

Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
And when the band plays "Hail to the chief",
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,

It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no senator's son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me;
I ain't no fortunate one, no.

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don't they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no, no.
It ain't me, it ain't me;
I ain't no fortunate one, no.

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! yoh,

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son, no.
It ain't me, it ain't me;
I ain't no fortunate one, one.

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no,
It ain't me, it ain't me,
I ain't no fortunate son, no no no,

If that Creedence Clearwater song is coming back into style, maybe the country is getting a wee bit impatient with rich folks.

Handpan Dissonance

Here is a (very naive) attempt to estimate the potential dissonance for Pantheon Steel's Sound Models.

The idea is to calculate the dissonance you might get if you strike two tones at random, with tones 1 step apart on a 12-tone equal temperament scale counted as the most dissonant; tones 2, 11 and 13 thirteen steps apart counted as half as dissonant as tones 1 step apart; and tones 6, 8, and 10 steps apart counted as one third as dissonant as tones 1 step apart. (Those values come from eyeballing the blue chart labeled "12-tet scale steps" at this Stack Exchange discussion about dissonance.)

That's then compared to the worst score you might get if the tones in the tone circle went up one step at a time -- the most dissonant such model counting 1000.

Clearly this leaves out an enormous amount of information, some of it probably crucial.

635GenesisIwato 7
635GenesisGolden Dawn
632GenesisHijazkiar [retired]
618StratusHokkaido 9with D
618Genesis"Hijaz Prototype" aka Djinn
592StratusAke Bono
592GenesisKiavara in C [retired]
592GenesisKiavara in B [retired]
592GenesisHijaz in C
592GenesisHijaz in B [retired]
592GenesisAke Bono 8 in B [retired]
587GenesisWadi Rum
556CirrusNorth Sea
553GenesisHarmonic Minor
553CirrusShiraz in Eb
553CirrusShiraz in E
551CirrusHarmonic Niner
540GenesisBlues [retired]
540GenesisAke Bono 7 in C
540GenesisAke Bono 7 in B
539StratusRussian Major
539StratusAke Bono 9
528CirrusShiraz 9 in E
508GenesisUrsa Minor
508CirrusEquinox 7
506StratusHokkaido 9with F#
506CirrusRaja 9
487StratusRaga Desh
487StratusPygmy Stratus
487GenesisXiao Xiong Diao aka XXD
487GenesisPygmy 8 in B [retired]
487CirrusNorth Sea 8
487CirrusArcadian 8
472CirrusLa Sirena 9 with C#
460GenesisLittle Bear in B
460GenesisLittle Bear
460GenesisGolden Gate
447CirrusLa Sirena
429GenesisAegis aka Aegean 7
421GenesisDark Aegean
416CirrusEquinox 9
413GenesisPygmy 7 in C
413GenesisPygmy 7 in B
404CirrusLa Sirena 9 with E
382StratusAvebury aka Avalon 8
382GenesisDa Xiong Diao aka DXD
382CirrusRaga Desya Todi
381GenesisCeltic Minor
368GenesisPygmy in C + Bb [retired]
333GenesisMinor Pentatonic 9
333GenesisBig Bear in B
333GenesisBig Bear
316GenesisSilverado 8
303StratusYu Shan Diao
263GenesisSundown 8

Ride Six Dragons

I've always liked this poem by either Li Bai (Li Po) or Barry Hughart, depending on how you slice it.  In his novel Eight Skilled Gentlemen, Hughart's character Master Li says

  Do you know Li Po's 'Short Song'?

    'Earth too big
    Sky too far
    Ride six dragons
    Around North Star
    Crazy dragons stinking drunk
    Enjoy self!'

Searching for actual translations, I came across one by James R. Murphy and another by the blogger Akt.  Hughart's 18-word version is much shorter than the 70-character original, whose title is translated by both my sources as 'Song of Brevity' -- more a lament for the shortness of life than the giddy carousing of Hughart's version.  The six dragons pull the chariot of the Sun, much like Helio's chariot in Greek mythology.

Here's a version about the length of Li Bai's, and shorter than my sources' versions.  Except for the Sun-dragons I've used Greek instead of Chinese myth: the Lady of Hemp becomes Helen of Troy and the God of Heaven joking with the Jade Lady becomes Baubo joking with Demeter.

  Daylight flees.
  A century fills up fast.
  Infinite blue sky, eons
  And eons come to -- just this.

  Fair Helen's locks
  are long since gray.
  It's been a billion laughs
  Since Baubo lifted skirts for Demeter.

  O let me grab the Sun-carriage reins,
  Tie six dragons to the dawn,
  Grab the Big Dipper
  And serve them each ten gallons of wine!

  You can keep the money and fame:
  I just want to stop the Sun.

Dragon poem

When the dragon leaves the sky,
When the well is running dry,
When the earth is parched and sere:
Who is that, who whispers here?

Whose the bones beneath the ground?
Whose the shackles, now unbound?
Whose the dying, whose the birth,
Who brings harvest from the earth?

When the dragon leaves the sky,
When the well is running dry,
When the earth is parched and sere,
Remember who has whispered here.

-25 July 1999


Last night I talked about how my first-week struggles were partially compensated for by the joy my inner geek took in the shiny tech,  SleepyHead graphs, and so forth, then wrote "would gladly forgo the techno-euphoria in return for a nice boring reliable solution".

This morning I woke up after eight hours' fairly solid sleep, and the S9 said I had an AHI of 5.5 -- not the best I've done, but the best I've done on a night where I slept for more than five hours.  So I eagerly went to get the SD card and look at the details in SleepyHead, and found that I hadn't actually clicked it all the way in to the machine!  So no detailed data, and no graphs.

Be careful what you wish for!

(To all those mysterious one inside and outside my head who may be listening, I haven't reached the boring reliable part yet.  I'm still way more tired than I want to be, and I need those graphs to get all the way there.  Thank you.)

My first week as a hosehead

Since February I've had two health goals: to lose weight, and to improve my sleep. The weight had been coming off slowly and steadily, but the sleep just didn't want to follow -- and even when I'd get 9 or 10 hours, I didn't feel much more rested. Sometime around the last week of April the sleep situation got abruptly worse -- I felt incredibly tired, all day every day. I'd just doubled my meds for high blood pressure, but cutting back on them didn't seem to help. I went back to my primary care physician, who ordered a lot of blood tests, but told me the most likely explanation was sleep apnea: the airways of my throat would relax and close, stopping my breath for 10 seconds or longer, until I aroused enough to tense them again and breath. This is something that can happen many times an hour -- it doesn't actually wake you up, but it does make sleep unrefreshing.

As it happens, my doctor was right, and I was on my way to becoming a hosehead.
Collapse )

NYC; UC Davis

I happened to be awake and watching the live stream when Occupy Wall Street was evicted from Freedom Plaza, so I went up to New York for the Thursday actions. I was a late getting to Wall St. Thursday morning, so didn't actually participate in the shut-down. But I found an intersection with people telling their stories via people's mic -- how they came to be at Occupy Wall St. Some had foreclosed mortgages, some had massive student debt, some were unemployment and some under-employed. Some were none of those things but came anyway. Then we marched back to Freedom Plaza, where I ran into some other Richmond folks. They'd had no sleep the night before, starting up to New York at 2am. We hung out for a while, then went to Foley Square for a solidarity rally and march.

The square was jam-packed, an entire city block full of people elbow to elbow. My entirely unscientific reaction was that it looked like about 100,000 people. I heard later of estimates around 30,000 from police. At any rate, an enormous number of people. There were unions like the United Auto Workers, Service Employees International, PSC-CUNY (for workers at the City University of New York), and the musician's union. All seemed to be enthusiastically joining the Occupy/99% narrative and in the story-telling (this time with amplification). Eventually we started slowly toward the Brooklyn Bridge -- so slowly we suspected that the police had set up barricades. But while they were out in force, it seemed mostly that we were so many that we just couldn't go any faster. It seemed to me that almost everyone in the square decided to march with us. (We happened to be on the end nearest the march, though -- I don't know what people on the other end did).

On the way, we cheered as projectors flashed "99%", "We are unstoppable/Another world is possible" and other slogans on the buildings we passed. On the bridge, we saw a much higher-powered projector painting the Verizon tower with slogans -- here's an interview with one of the people behind that. On the bridge we found people from other occupations who had also come in solidarity, from Long Island to Tennessee. We heard about Occupy Denver, whose mayor insisted they appoint a leader to deal with officials. They elected a dog. We finally reached the end of the bridge. My friends (with no sleep since Wednesday morning, remember!) elected to march back over the bridge. I took a subway back to Daphne and Rose's apartment.

Since I returned I've been a bit obsessed with what happened at UC Davis, with one video in particular that shows both what we're up against and our power. From 0:08 to 0:24 Lieutenant John Pike pepper-sprays the seated students, calmly and methodically walking the line from right to left, then making a second pass from left to right. People are booing and screaming, settling at about 2:15 into a chant of "Shame on you! Shame on you!" Police continue kneeling on people and hauling them off for some minutes, but at about 3:20 we see them start to form a circle facing out toward the crowd. About a third of the officers are carrying what look like rifles, presumably loaded not with bullets but with less-lethal weaponry -- tear gas or pepper spray. At 6:13 nervous officers are raising and lowering their weapons. We hear "Mic check! MIC CHECK!", and then "We are willing WE ARE WILLING to give you a brief moment TO GIVE YOU A BRIEF MOMENT of peace OF PEACE that you may take your weapons THAT YOU MAY TAKE YOUR WEAPONS and your friends AND YOUR FRIENDS and go! AND GO! Please do not return! PLEASE DO NOT RETURN! We're giving you a moment of peace. WE'RE GIVING YOU A MOMENT OF PEACE. You can go! YOU CAN GO! We will not follow you. WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU." As the crowd speaks, Lieutenant Pike starts shaking his pepper spray canister, and grabs a second from another officer. Then he seems to change his mind, and give the order to leave. They are followed out by chants of "YOU CAN GO!"


A video of the students, the next day, sitting silently, arms locked, as the chancellor walks from her office to her car:
A picture of Lieutenant Pike in action:
Other videos of the pepper-spraying: and

Occupy Wall St raided; #N17 call to action for Thursday

Early this morning the New York police invaded Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park), ripping up tents, destroying the 5000-book People's Library, and beating city council member Ydanis Rodriguez (and many others), and using pepper spray and tear gas. The livestream just went dark, and restarted on someone talking on a cell to a person in the park -- they're dragging people off one by one. They had previously shut down nearby subway stops, cordoned off the park, and closed the airspace above the park to prevent news helicopters from filming them.

There is call to action for Thursday, November 17: .

I'll be there.

P.S. Call City Hall (212.788.3058) and NYPD 1st Precinct (212.334.0611). I got through to the City Hall number after about 25 minutes; the 1st Precinct number has been busy every time I've tried; so lots of folks are calling. Let's keep it that way.

P.P.S. Livestream from outside Liberty Square also went off air, but resumed briefly. We're being told that people who were holding space in the OWS kitchen were teargassed, wrestled to the ground, and arrested; and that all protesters remained peaceful.

Last week in Occupy Richmond

Wednesday, Nov 2: Sur, Greg, and Josh H. have a bail hearing. (They'd been held without bail since Sunday's arrests). They are released on $500 bond.

Thursday, Nov 3: Josh K also released on $500 bond. The March (pre-OWS) Monroe Park occupiers have a trial in circuit court, defending themselves on first amendment grounds without a lawyer. Ruling to be done Nov. 21.

Saturday, Nov 5: General Assembly reaches consensus to occupy Monroe Park on Wednesday Nov 11.

Sunday, Nov 6: General Assembly empowers the bugout working group to pick a backup site in case of massive police presence in Monroe Park. About 30 people attend a post-GA direct action working group meeting.

Tuesday, Nov 8: About 300 people attend a faculty-organized Why Occupy? forum at Virginia Commonwealth University. That's about as many as at the largest General Assemby I've seen, before the occupation proper started.

Wednesday, Nov 9: 300 people can't fit in Gallery 5 to view All Night, All Day (about Richmond) and other videos of the occupation movement. But they're in the streets afterward. Bicycle scouts report 50-odd police cars and buses at Monroe Park. We split into three groups -- mine marches to Festival Park, where we meet a second group, then march to Kanawha Plaza and finally back to Festival. After a few minutes, the third group arrives, easily as large as the first two combined. They've been to Monroe, where we had either two or four arrests. The count for General Assembly is 290. Festival Park is open until 3am, and we discuss things for a while, eventually using a sort of sotto voce People's Mic so the cops in the distance can't hear our decision. Eventually we decide to move to a new location. I need sleep, so I walk back toward Gallery 5 and my car to go home, type this up and go to sleep.