Jan 02

Past the shortest day of the year

For me, the shortest day of the year is depressing. This, in spite of the fact that Christmas is approaching. It seems that there is something wrong with daybreak coming at 7:30 AM and dusk at 5:15 PM. There is enough time for a full day’s work, but not enough daylight for anything else. No walks in the park or yard work.

I know that I need an attitude adjustment. I have been looking for a strategy the last number of years. If I could be happy and well-adjusted during the season of short days, it would make that period of the year more productive.

For now, I guess I will use the morning time from 6:00 AM to 7:30 AM to do things that are best done in a quiet and pensive environment. The evenings from 5:30 PM until 11:00 PM can be for working and learning without the distractions of going outside. Hey, maybe I DO have a strategy.

Dec 31

Have You Ever…?

When I was in about the sixth grade, there was this cool guy I knew. He told me he was selling those blow pops at school and making lots of money. I did think this was a good idea, and asked how much he was selling them for. He said 10 cents for one and 25 centers for two.

Of course I scratched my head. Why would you pay extra when you buy two? If anything, it should be ten cents each and 25 cents for three–getting the expected discount for a volume purchase.

Seeing my confused look, the cool buy surmised that I was not in agreement with his pricing structure. He was not used to anyone disagreeing with him. So he squints his eye and looks at me mean and says “Well they buy them!” Which says to me that the purchases are stupid. I would have bought a single, then turned around and bought another to avoid the five cent penalty for buying two.

I wonder what the public at large today accepts in the same way without questioning. Most Americans have zero skills of both math and reasoning. No wonder politicians get away with what they get away with.

Dec 03

Google During Disagreements Is A Game Changer

Have you ever been in an argument and wished that you had unlimited access to the facts? It would be almost unfair if all facts that were available to you and not the person on the other side.

I once witnessed a disagreement between two people. One was a scruffy dope smoking hippie type and the other a religion zealot.

As they argued, I googled everything that they said. It was great to instantly fact check their arguments. When the religious zealot brought up the land tides of 1754, the hippie could not say much since it was a new concept that he had never heard of, and could not refute it. But google came to my rescue. There is no such thing as a land tide.

This goes to show you two things. 1) in an argument you can make claims that are so outlandish that your opponent can’t say much, and 2) google is a great fact checker that one of your allies should use during the discussion.


Nov 02

NATS Song Cycle Competition

I am preparing a song cycle for the NATS song cycle competition. It is based on some poems/prose written by Rabindranath Tagore. It consists of five songs and is about 15 minutes. It is strongly tonal, but has a number of contemporary elements.

I am using computer-assisted musical composition for some parts of it. I think that in some cases, the computer can do some of the grunt work. Of course, the spark of inspiration and the rule set must be provided by a creative human,

I am spending a lot of time exploring computer-assisted music composition. My study includes neural networks and Markov chains. I am also looking at the SuperCollider software.

Oct 17

Why Write Music?

They say that everyone has a song. It may not be a song with music. It may be a story, a poem, a painting, or some other form of creative expression.There’s another saying that says you don’t want to die with your song still in you.

It’s all about creative expression. That take different forms for different people. I recently wrote an SATB choral piece based on a poem that Alec Wilder wrote. It puts it in really endearing terms. Here it is.

The person writing this is so far over
on the seesaw of life or death,
that he finds his life’s failure
worse than he believed possible…
yet better than the lives of most
successful–even eminent–people.

The loathing of Wagner–
and the profound love of Poulenc–
a moment as opposed to an hour–
one tear rather than a tantrum–
These are what life was–
a couple of hours out of 73 years.

The saddest of final breathing
is not that the person died,
but that no one could ever know
what his life had been.

That, my next reader, is why
art is profoundly godlike:
It’s the best of the lives of the dead,
who otherwise would have been silent
or wholly unknown.

Oct 14

The Walking Dead Season 4

I haven’t had cable TV for several years. I haven’t missed it since most of what is on is really bad. But I do have NetFlix and YouTube, and can watch selective entertainment on Amazon.

I eagerly awaited season 4 of The Walking Dead. I waited up late until it was available on Amazon. I was really disappointed. It seemed that there was an attempt to develop some of the characters. Rick met someone who made him examine himself. Beth realized that she could no longer cry. Glenn and Maggie are thinking about whether getting pregnant is a good idea. And Darryl and Carol seem to be a couple.

But things moved slowly, and there was no brilliance in the writing. It was pretty bland and predictable. There were two interesting twists, however, that were well done because of their subtlety. Michone looked at Macon on the map, and a guy from Woodbury turned.

I hope that the remaining episodes are better. But maybe seasons 1-3 were the same quality and my expectations are just a lot higher.

Oct 12

Card Hero

I am getting ready to release a Windows 8 app named Card Hero. It is a collection of 18 card games including Hearts, Spades, Rummy, Canasta, Pinochle, Solitaire, Blackjack, Poker, Mahjong, Old Main, Tonk, Crazy 8s, Whist, Euchre, War, and Go Fish.

The app will be the most complete collection of card games for the Windows 8 platform. My hope is that people will download and play it. I hope that everyone finds it a fun app that they use over and over again. It should provide hours and hours of enjoyment and entertainment.

I will post the link and give more details once the app has been made public in the store.

Sep 20

In The Nation’s Capital

Washington DC is awesome. The history alone gives you distinct pause. But that I like to immerse in is the culture and art. The Smithsonian’s provide hours of the demonstration of human creation, and I can visit for Kandinsky and never tire. A trip to the Kennedy center gives me another experience of human creation and performance. It is great that the Smithsonian’s are free and the Kennedy Center has many free events.

I also enjoy some of the events in the National Mall. Very often there are artists and performers there. One of the most incredible things I experienced in the mall is a group of Laotian break dancers. Yes, say what you will about them not being native break dancers. But they were awesome, ad their artistry was second to none.

All of this comes two days after I visited the Black Mountain College museum in Asheville, North Carolina This was a college that specialized in whole thinking without boundaries. It included instructors such as Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham.

All of this has me in the exact spot to complete the song cycle that I have working on. It is based on love poems of Rumi. I should have it recorded sometime in November. I will post it on m web site after the contest is over.

Sep 15

Stomping Grounds

Last night I decided to take a drive after I did an hour of cardio at Chinqua Penn trail. I happened to drive the route I used to run every morning. For about a year I ran two miles: one mile from the gym and one mile back. But then I realized that might not be enough, so I went 1 1/2 miles out and 1 1/2 miles back. Before long, I decided to take bonus runs an Saturday: 3 miles out and 3 miles back. It felt good! I was in fantastic shape and fell awesome.

Now, five years later I am not in nearly the shape I was in then. Last night brought a flood of memories, all good. I am determined to get back in at least as good shape as I was then.

My goal is that when January 1, 2014 comes that I will not need any resolutions since I will have already achieved what would have been my resolutions. I want to be back in shape because I remember how good I felt and looked.

I will post pictures in this blog on January 15, 2014. Keep me accountable!

Sep 08

Music and more music

Today I posted an arrangement of a spiritual-type song that I arranged and performed about 10 years ago. It is for two voices and guitar. Check out the music page http://rickleinecker.com/Rick-Leinecker-Music-and-Creative-Endeavers.html and listen to I Will Arise and Go To Jesus. Use the arrangement if you like it.

I am also contemplating computer-assisted melody creation. For my first attempts I will provide the rhythm since that will be from the text I will also provide the meter. In addition, I am planning to provide the points of tension, low range sections, and high range sections. Then I will see what my melody creator can come up with.

Once it is relatively complete, I will post it on my experimental music page. I am currently studying Joseph Schillinger’s tomes, and the Hindemith craft of musical composition.

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