1/4/18

I'm being listened to night & day

A bird made a nest in the air intake of my broken force air heater situated on a small platform on my roof.
I'm certain this is the case, since I heard a bird chirp in my ceiling just after Thanksgiving, here in California.  I imagined a young chick was laying
on top of my sheet rock ceiling, perhaps fallen from it's nest and slipped through a grate.  It's loud tweets seemed to be right above my head and
I was doomed to listen to it slowly die.  Happily, I was wrong.  The nest must be in the air intake because I hear the tweet of the little chick through 
the duct register in each of my rooms.  The chick listens to me, and has been doing so it's entire life....which is about 5 weeks.

A baby chick, I've concluded, listens to it's environment very intently with hearing far better than a human can hear.   This chick listens to me like 
someone listening to radio. It sits in it's nest waiting for mama to bring a juicy worm, and it listens to me from room to room.   Each room has unique 
acoustics.  My bedroom has a soft sound due to the carpet on the floor.   The rest of the rooms have a crispier sound due to ceramic tile floors,
but are distinct due to size of the room and length of ducting from the nest.

When I leave my den, the bird tracks me.   I can expect a tweet of recognition after entering my bedroom.   The same with the kitchen and bathroom.   
The chick tweets when I tinkle.   Not immediately.   It listens for while as I pee and then it chirps.  It's a tweet of recognition.  I get a chirp when I leave the bathroom, too, and it sounds like a congratulations for a successful bathroom trip, but that's not it.  The chick recognizes that I'm going to another room.  Recognition probably gives the bird a sense of satisfaction and security.  I get a recognition tweet when I use my keyboard and also tweets for zippers, crinkly food wrappers and passing gas.  Retiring for the evening and struggling out of bed in the morning both get tweets.  The chick's tweet is a single blast of a single note, and it takes time to "reload" for the next tweet.  Never 2 successive tweets. 

Door closings are an important event with this chick.   I'm sure it signals the chick that I'm walking to another location.   It may be associated with me leaving the house, and that is not to it's liking.  I'm no biologist, but I detect emotions in it's tweets, and one is fear.     I hear a tone of fear or concern in it's tweet when I close a door in the kitchen or entry way.  On the other hand, I don't hear fear when there's door action nearer to the bird.  It tweets when I close the refrigerator or when I run water in the sink.  Banging noises are sometimes met with a tweet that says,  "What the heck was that?".   The kitchen has the longest duct, and the chick apprehends that I'm farther away in the kitchen.    It seems to tweet louder for the kitchen compared to when I'm in my bedroom or den, which are closer to the chick.

Sometimes when I enter the house, the chick tweets and I answer with a "tweet" (a short whistle note) just to let the bird know it's me.  Since the bird expresses "concern" at some noises, I respond to the bird's chirp with comforting words.  It doesn't understand words, of course, but I think it hears calmness in my voice.   Sometimes I talk to the bird when I go from room to room to help the bird better understand my location.  Sometimes I respond to a tweet with a "um-hm" to let the bird know I'm listening to it.  I try not to drop things, or bang pots & pans in the kitchen because that generates a tweet.   When that happens, I feel that I should respond to the tweet to reassure the bird that all is good.  I say, "It's just me, little Buddy." When I watch sports on TV, I do so with the sound muted most of the time because of the crowd noise and emotion.  So the bird has changed my behavior.  It may be that all this extra tweeting puts pressure on the mama bird to bring more worms.

The chick recognizes music.   It tweets within the 1st few bars of a tune.   It seems to like music, but that might be projecting on my part.   The music that gets the least tweets are pieces that are the "wall of sound" type.  I try to find pieces of music "with air" in them, where individual instruments can be discerned.  I've tried different types of music, and the reaction from the bird is to tweet maybe 7 or 8 times during some songs.   That's more frequent than it usually tweets for mama.   The chick might consider the music to be in competition for mama's attention, and so the birdie tweets to make sure mama give it the worm.   Still, I get the sense that the chick digs music.   Does a bird's brain comprehend a musical phrase....or does it listen strictly in the present, where the music immediately impacts the birds mind one beat or chord at a time?  It often tweets during crescendos, and so I think music pumps up this little birdie.  Using YouTube, I sometimes play simple solo tunes with different instruments ranging from contrabassoon to bongos.   The little bird has sensitive hearing.   I was surprised when it tweeted to identify music when a piece I was playing began whisper quiet.  It has listened to (and seemed to like) Bach, Beethoven, Sibelius, The Who, The Stones, Roberta Flack, Linda Ronstadt, Patty Loveless, Miriam Makeba, Mississippi John Hurt, The Righteous Bros., as well as old Civil War tunes and cartoon themes.  I don't know the exact effect of the music on the little birdie, so I play music sparingly.  It might even scare mama away.

I drove to the big city and was gone for 3 hours. On my return, I was not greeted with the usually "hello" tweet.    There was just silence, and I had a feeling of losing a friend.  Perhaps the bird had learned to fly and was gone forever.   But it tweeted when I entered my den and I knew my little buddy was still there.   Someday soon, it'll be mature enough to fly away and I'll have to get over it.

Update:  The birdie particularly liked the piano in "Rhapsody in Blue" by G. Gershwin.   It also liked Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk".    It really liked Tchaikovsky's  "1812 Overture"  and Wagner's "Tannhauser Overture", also The Who's "Overture" from "Tommy".  I never before considered that birds were set up to be such good listeners.  It seems to enjoy big band tunes, too, but I don't,  so there won't be much of that big band music flowing up through the heater duct.

The bird is now 6 weeks old...and addicted to music.   A regular junkie.    While it's fun to listen to music with a friend who listens so well, I worry that this might override the birds instinct to fly away from the nest.   Will it, instead, come towards the music which would be into the ducting trying to reach inside of the house?   I'm hoping it's instinct is strong and reliable and the bird flies away into the open air.   His reflexes are lightening quick.  "Little buddy" as I refer to him, has developed a "quick draw" tweet.   It seems to be briefer than a normal tweet.  Sometimes "little buddy" let's loose with one of these tweets when I shoot pool.   His tweet seems to happen exactly when the cue strikes the cue ball.   This bird has more sensitive hearing than I do, which is impressive since the bird gets all it's sound through grates in the ceiling, and then ducting to the heater on the roof.  It can hear my stomach growl.  The slightest movement in bed gets a tweet.  So, "little buddy" probably hears my arm move at the beginning of my stroke at the pool table, and there is a fraction of a second to react with a tweet.   But listening to music, and sometimes the bird tweets on the first note of the music.  There's not always a discernable lag time.  The clicking sound of my keyboard is now associated with music, since I get most of my music from the internet.  The first key I strike as I type gets a tweet, and that tweet means it wants music.  
Week 7 -   The bird's getting mighty pushy, I gotta say.  It tweets impatiently when I listen to my book on tape.  It'll give me an impatient tweet if I hit a key on the keyboard, meaning it is in need of music.   If I make the slightest sound while sitting in my chair, I get the impatient tweet, ( like I'm getting right now ).   It needs it's musical fix:  Music from Beethoven to the Beatles;  from Zappa to Albinoni;  from jazz to oriental wooden flute music.  It listens to me in my bed, and when I start to stir around dawn, "little buddy" tweets at every movement I make while I'm in bed because...music.   5am it's time to party.

11/28/14

Diet - tame the wolf to maximize energy

  1. Fat people avoid exercise
  2. Fat people eat sugar
  3. Fat people wolf their food.
 

I fasted for 3 days, once, when I was in junior college.   On that 3rd day, I stopped being tired and hungry, and I felt full of energy.

What happened was my digestive system stopped drawing energy to digest because there was nothing left to digest.  It was a eye-opening lesson in how much energy it takes to digest food.  Eating slower means the food is chewed more thoroughly.  It's the opposite of wolfing down your food.  Unchewed food takes more energy, and stomach acid, to digest.    I think it's the usual cause of sluggishness. 

During 20013-14 when I lost weight,  I experimented with chewing food until there was nothing left to chew.   It takes quite a long time.   Surprisingly, there is flavor in the tiniest of morsels left in the mouth during chewing.   After a while I get bored with chewing and become easily distracted from what was on my plate.   My food craving is satisfied with less food.  Skinny people observe fat people as they wolf their food quickly down their gullets.  It's a display of an instinctual urge.  Skinny folk wonder why you wolf your food.   

Another key to digestion is roughage.  It takes less energy to push a stool through the intestine when it contains roughage.  We eat food for energy, but if the digestive process requires too much energy, then we feel tired, and want to snack to overcome the tiredness.  Eat slow instead of dieting.  Just knock off the sugar (eat some roughage at every meal, too), and take a brisk 40 minute walk to start the day.

When they tell you that dieting is a matter of energy in - energy out, they are wrong.   Predigestion is essential to avoid weakness during dieting.   People who wolf their food eat too much, and their bodies allocate energy to digest the inadequately chewed food and unnecessary mass of food in ther stomachs and intestines.  Losing weight is a 3 legged stool, and making digestion easier (using less calories to get the job done) is one leg.  The other legs are regular exercize, and cutting out sugar and alcohol.

7/7/12

Cosmic Question

I'm just a regular guy from somewhere on the fat part of the bell curve asking a question to the YouTube geeks about Cosmic Microwave Background. And here is what I posted in the comments:
"Why is it that this earliest of light, or microwave background, still in our neighborhood? What's it been doing all this time? Shouldn't it have sped off into uncharted space long ago, leaving matter, like galaxies, suns and planets, such as Earth, in it's wake? Surely microwaves travel faster than galaxies."

4/16/11

10 days on Easter Island



I'd taken photographs before, but always at the thoroughly ignorant beginner level, and only with film cameras. My decision to go digital, I thought, was subject to pitfalls and hard lessons.
After hours of research of the reviews of cameras on the net, I chose the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W150.
I bought it just before leaving on a trip to Easter Island. I made certain to take the instruction booklet with me, in order to learn how to use it. Well, I was able to read some of the instructions, but I was very busy, and reading on a South Sea island is not easy. Anyways, almost all of my pics turned out clear, and certainly beyond my expectations. Here's five examples. Click on the pics to enlarge, and then click on the pic to enlarge even more. They lose some clarity transferred from my computer via this blog program, which resizes them. I'll be sure next time to make the pics not so big.









5/16/09

Reading Aloud and Listening to Audio Books


In the following article, the author discusses the lost art of reading aloud.
Well, not 'lost' but 'diminishing'. I decided to read  the Lord of the Rings
trilogy aloud in order to increase my reading aloud skill. It worked.  Not only is it easier now to read aloud, comprehension seems to be equal to that of reading silently. However, listening to books on tape or CD is a different thing altogether. Much more difficult. One has to be ready to
rewind to re-listen because the mind sometimes wonders. It seems the very act of reading the words off a page helps the mind to focus, while pure listening sparks other avenues of thought. For an extra special treat, try listening to "The Code of the Woosters" as read by Jonathon Cecil.  Cecil is the only reader of P.G. Wodehouse that I would recommend.
The above link is this: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/16/opinion/16sat4.html?hpw

April 16, 2011 - As a change of pace to reading aloud, here is an audiobook to buy:  "True Grit" by Charles Portis, as read by Donna Tartt. It is nothing less than excellent.  In fact, I've listened to it now 3 times, and realize that I should pace myself, and put off another listening for at least half a year. Great book. Great reading by Donna Tartt.

7/7/08

From Fahrenheit to Centigrade and back Again

My memory is so bad. It sputters, coughs & wheezes up surprising stuff, appearing
out of a fog, or washed up on the beach like they were messages in a bottle.
It occured to me that my ol' dad told me, probably 40 years ago, an easy formula for
converting between Fahrenheit and Centigrade.

I got depressed because I knew wouldn't ever remember it, but then it came to me
within a minute or two, after I stopped straining my brain.

Here it is: Whatever temp you have, in either Centigrade
or Fahrenheit, add 40 to the number. (I recalled the number 32 at first, incorrectly,
and found that value generated had an error of a few degrees.)

After adding 40, multiply by either 5/9 or 9/5. If you want to convert Fahrenheit
into Centigrade, multiply by 5/9. Then subtract that same 40.
That will be your converted temperature.

[(F + 40) 5/9] - 40 = C is the formula for converting F into C.

[(C + 40) 9/5] - 40 = F is the formula for converting C into F.

For easy remembering, just add 40 and multiply by either 5/9 or 9/5,
then subtract 40.

5/8/08

Switching from Nylon Strings to Steel

What if you're a classical guitarist wanting steel strings with a wide neck? 
The best way to go with that is the Takamine F-312s (see pic), which is out of 
production. It's not cheap either, but well worth the price. Actually, once 
a person owns this guitar, it's unlikely that they would ever sell it. You can't 
go wrong with that guitar and well worth the effort to shop around for it, 
including using eBay.   The old Martin 0-16, which the F312s copies, cost 
a minimum upwards of 2 grand.  It's essentially a classical guitar made for 
steel strings.   If you have 2 grand to spend, consider the Takamine EF740FS.

But what if you want a big bodied guitar or even an electric guitar with a 
wide neck for less than $2,000?
I experimented by stringing just 6 strings on an old, cheap Guild 12 string guitar. It panned out to be a successful procedure yielding a wide neck guitar with steel strings, which gives me 14 frets above the body, 2 more frets than a classical guitar. The Guild tuning keys were rather cheap, so I removed them and installed 6 Martin tuning keys.  I've strung 12-string guitars from the cheapies (Guild) to the more expensive Takamine and Larrivee.  The Guild did not need to be tuned by a luthier.  I think the thick neck of the Guild that was stout enough not to warp.  The Takamine and Larrivee required tuning because the thin neck warped after the string change.  It will cost around 200 bucks for the tune-up.

5/4/07

Calibrate your finger


Do you know how long your index finger is?

When you don't have a ruler or measuring tape, you can measure lengths, widths, diameters, and thicknesses by using your index finger as a ruler. It's amazingly quick and surprisingly accurate.

Look at your index finger with the palm of your hand open and facing towards you. It turns out that from your index fingertip to the first joint is about one inch.

Measure between the first and second joint, from one crease in the skin, or line, to the next. Again, it's almost exactly one inch. It turns out that the finger is about  3 inches long.  But you'll have to measure your
own fingers to find out the precise measurement between
each line on your finger. Discover where the lines on your
 finger are exactly at inch intervals.

Why do this? It's extremley 'handy' to know these dimensions
to be able to measure objects when you're in a hurry and you
don't have a tape measure or ruler, for example, while shopping.

You'll find that it's quite easy to estimate to an 1/8th of an inch.
How long would it take for you to find a measuring tape right now?
Before you start looking, using your finger, measure the width of
the ALT key on your keyboard.
I'm looking at it right now and it seems like it would be 3/4".
(Greater than half the distance between the lines, plus half again
as much.) Checking with a tape measure, I was off by a 1/16".
Accuracy to within an 1/16th" is pretty good in most instances,
and more reliable than 'guess'-timating.

It measures 3 1/4" from the tip of my finger to the line at my
knuckle. But since that line isn't perpendicular to the centerline
of the finger, the measurement on the opposite side of the finger
will be shorter. In my case, 2 7/8" long.

Another measurement is from the tip of your index finger to the
next line on your hand between the knuckle and the thumb. I
think palm readers call that your life line.

Now, stretch your pinky and thumb as far apart as possible and
measure that. Mine is 9" give or take an 1/8" depending on how
hard I stretch them. You can put both hands stretched out
like this, thumb tip to thumb tip, and get a measurement
close to 18", hands vary of course. You can hold your index
finger end-to-end with your other hand stretched out and get
something close to 1 foot.