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Thursday, October 4th, 2018 12:43 pm
1) In the wake of a rather stressful tutorial today (long discussions about politics, both US and Australian, because we're doing cultural studies and THIS STUFF IS IMPORTANT, this is history happening right in front of us, and this is what took place) I'm basically declaring myself taking a Twitter break for at least another week. So if you follow me on Twitter, and see me on Twitter any time before October 14, you have my full permission to tell me to get the heck out of there, and go back to looking at Final Fantasy VII eye candy on Tumblr or similar.

I'll just point out, as one of the few people who was not only old enough to remember September 11 2001 in my tutorial group, but also to understand it when it was taking place in all the complexity it embodied (the next nearest in age to me is the tutor, the next after that was seven at the time... he saw it on TV in school), that as far as I'm concerned, the two testimonies - first that of Dr Blasey-Ford, and then that of Mr Kavanaugh - were the equivalents of the planes hitting the World Trade Centre. They sent shockwaves through the world, and we're still watching the shrapnel fly and the rubble fall. In terms of its visceral impact on people, even people like myself who are half a world away in a different country entirely, what is going on in US politics now is the equivalent of 11 September 2001 all over again. It is changing and will change paradigms, it will set the tone of discourse, it will call into question ideologies which have been unquestioned for ages, and we will never be the same again.

So yeah, I'm dealing with stress problems as a result of all of this, especially since I do have to try and keep a bit of an eye on it in order to be able to comment sensibly on it in classes. I'm trying not to immerse myself in it to the point of wanting to destroy things and people, though.

2) In my other class, we're studying Foucault (a quick introduction to Foucault, discourse, and so on), and one of our readings is bringing up examples of current events (current at the time of writing/publication for the reading ... which was published in 2000) in US politics. Things like the Anita Hill case, the Clinton impeachment and so on. I was reading this yesterday and thinking "damn it, Brett Kavanaugh can't stop getting into everything". I'm hoping the rest of my readings this week won't be so... inadvertently synchronisticly appropriate, damn it.

3) One of the things I was asked to listen to for a previous weeks readings for one of my classes was "Four Chord Song" by Axis of Awesome[1]. Which means I'm now hearing the chord structures and bass line of a lot of what I'm listening to these days, and thinking about the ways that various chord patterns are used and re-used to create music. There's the standard four chord song, the twelve-bar blues, the Romanesca (aka "that one in Pachelbel's Canon") and so on. So that gives me a bit of something to think about when I'm busy listening to music to block out the extraneous noise while I'm doing my uni readings.

4) As a side effect of stress, I am currently dealing with a complete lack of spoons for actual sensible cooking stuff. Which means I'm eating a lot of stuff which can be cooked by throwing it into the oven and reheating it. (Yes, I know this isn't healthy in the long term, but unless someone else is volunteering to come and cook for me for free, I suspect I'm going to be sticking with this for a while). One thing I have worked out is that it is cheaper for me to buy a $2.90 box of Coles plain brand frozen chicken nuggets, and re-heat them at home, than it is to get one of those "24 nuggets for $10" deals from KFC or Maccas - for $10 I can get three boxes of Coles nuggets, for a total of 66 of the little bastards, and all I have to supply is the oven to reheat them. Plus I can have my choice of dipping sauces (at present, the winner is Fountain Hot Chilli sauce) rather than being stuck with the options of watered down Sweet Chilli Sauce, or watered down Sweet and Sour Sauce or whatever. So, that can stand in for my reviews of recipes. I'll do more of them when I have the time and spoons to cook again.

5) Latest book up for the Farewell Re-read treatment is "The Ultimate Dracula" - a collection of short stories on a rather predictable theme, edited by Byron Preiss.

[1] In the words of Neil Innes: "I've suffered for my art; now it's your turn."

PS: I was serious about the Twitter thing. If you see me on Twitter any time before this whole thing has simmered down, remind me to get the fsck off there for the good of my blood pressure.
Thursday, October 4th, 2018 05:11 am (UTC)
Yes re: twitter break. I've found my general state of mind MUCH improved after a) getting off twitter b) using Social Fixer to remove all mentions of politics or the orange dumpster fire from Facebook and c) subscribing to Daily Kos' Good News Roundup. It's very US-politics-centric, but considering how much bad stuff comes from there it might help?

Also, I'm not sure how widely available/affordable they are in Australia, but I've found microwave rice and boil-in-a-bag curries very helpful on no-cooking-spoon days.
Thursday, October 4th, 2018 08:52 am (UTC)
Re #3, that song is kind of an Intro to Music Theory 101. I play guitar by ear, and I found that taking a music theory course helped me a lot in being able to analyze the chord structure of a song and figure out what chords I needed to be using to play it.

Another song you may find interesting is the Six-Song Country Music Mashup, which demonstrates graphically how much of country-western is now written to a specific formula. And do listen to the seventh song linked toward the end of the video as well -- it's this guy's original song written to the same formula, and head and shoulders above any of the ones he used for the mashup!