Miskatonic University Press

Theatre Science

alc john.cage libraries theatre

Theatre Science is constructed and contextual.
Theatre Science is constructed and contextual.

Theatre Science.

In C

music

Joe Seggiola recently made a wonderful version of Terry Riley’s minimalist masterwork In C: “Made in February 2020 with Eurorack modular synthesizer and Minibrute 2. The system implements five separate synth voices (shortly described further down), plus the eighth note pulse. CV/gate for every voice is provided by a custom-made module powered by Arduino (link below), which is controlled using manual buttons to advance through the 53 melodic patterns of ‘In C’.”

The code is up on GitHub and you can download an MP3 of the performance from the YouTube page.

Archives and tripods

archives

At the City of Toronto Archives, you cannot use a tripod when photographing material.

At the Archives of Ontario, you cannot use a tripod when photographing material.

At Library and Archives Canada, you must use a tripod when photographing material. They will lend you one to put on a table over the record so you can photograph straight down.

Theatre Science

alc john.cage libraries theatre

Theatre Science poster
Theatre Science poster

Currently inked

stationery

Five pens, with a list of inks
Five pens, with a list of inks

Switched up all my pens from last time except for the broad Lamy I use as my default for sketching. The Diamine Pumpkin looks much darker than when I first did a test of it, but I’m not sure why. I cleaned the pen well so I don’t think it’s mixed with any old ink, but who can tell.

ALC Dentograph 1

alc art

I’m very happy that I have something else hanging at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto. There’s a show of abstract work hanging this month, and my ALC Dentograph 1 is up.

ALC Dentograph 1
ALC Dentograph 1

It’s 36” square, acrylic on canvas. It’s a dentograph of the Arts and Letters Club library (nonfiction) collection. For some background, see On Dentographs, A New Method of Visualizing Library Collections (Code4Lib Journal 16, February 2012).

It’s up through next week, so if anyone is interested in seeing it in person, send me an email. There is a lot of excellent work on the walls—it’s a very good show.

Harry Stephen Keeler on looking at art

art literature

Harry Stephen Keeler is a forgotten American mystery writer. I can’t remember how I discovered him, but I began to read his stuff in the 1990s, and I joined the Harry Stephen Keeler Society, which because the web has changed is now much more quiet than it used to be, but Richard Polt has done marvellous work on raising Keeler’s profile. Getting the newsletter in the mail was a treat.

A couple of weeks ago I got a copy of The Portrait of Jirjohn Cobb (1940) at the library. I’d heard about it, but never read it. Here’s how Polt summarizes it:

The direct action of The Portrait of Jirjohn Cobb (1940), which has to be one of the most astoundingly unreadable novels ever written, consists of four characters, two of whom sport outrageous accents, sitting on an island in the middle of a river, talking and listening to a radio, again for hundreds of pages. And these novels were only the first volumes of two multi-novel sequences! What do these people talk about? Well, it would really take hundreds of pages to explain. These works are the Waiting for Godot of the Keeler canon, drawn out to the length of Finnegans Wake.

The Portrait of Jirjohn Cobb is, I agree, essentially unreadable. Anyone who has never read a Keeler novel before would become more amazed and appalled page by page but soon throw it away and ask whoever gave it to them what the heck they were thinking. But someone who has read a Keeler novel … well, it’s perfect Keeler, with outrageous accents, no action, and endless detailed explanations about trivial plot points. And for that, it’s remarkably enjoyable. I liked it.

Shelf of HSK books
Shelf of HSK books

I especially liked it because the solution of the “mystery” (such as it is) ends up depending on how long someone looks at a particular work of art. Somewhere around page 250 we learn who Jirjohn Cobb is—the father of the grandfather of one of the men on the island—and some details of the grandfather’s will.

“And to each of my living nieces and nephews—10 in number—I bequeath a full hour of silent contemplation of, and in the company of, that remarkable man, Jirjohn Cobb, who created me, and through my brothers and sisters in turn, them. For was it not Velasquez who said that a still-life should be studied for never less than 20 minutes?—a landscape for never less than 40?—but a portrait for never less than 60?”

I’ve looked at a couple of books about Diego Velázquez but haven’t found any such advice.

In the novel, the man relating this part of the story—Abner Hick—spends six pages looking at his grandfather’s portrait of his (the grandfather’s) father. Then the candle that provides the only light in the room—the reasons for which have been explained in great detail—starts flickering and sputtering, and it turns out that it’s burned long enough that the wax has melted away to reveal a small metal cylinder hidden inside. And inside that is a document written in “minitype” that gives directions to a treasure worth $25,000. The painter wanted the money to go to one of his relatives who would spend a long time looking at his painting of his father, and this was how he arranged it.

Rdio four years ago is still better than Tidal now

music

It’s over four years since Rdio died. I moved to Tidal, as I wrote about in There Wasn’t No Party Like the Rdio Party, Then the Rdio Party Stopped.

Here’s what I hoped Tidal would do:

  • Goes social.
  • Lets me follow labels.
  • Remembers my listening history.
  • Integrates the app and the web client; being able to control what’s playing on the web version from the app is great when you have a cat on your lap.
  • Improves the tool tips on links so that when I hover over a song or album it gives full information.
  • Adds recommendations based on my listening.
  • Lets me personalize what it thinks I might like, by letting me plus and minus tracks it suggests.
  • Lets me add albums and playlists to queues.

It does suggestions and personalization now, but it’s not very good. The rest of it, bupkes. The queue is very poor. If an album has a long title you may be unable to see the whole thing. Navigating classical music is a pain, but that’s true on all streaming music sources.

I can’t get over how Spotify took off and Rdio died. Spotify’s interface is awful!

Ah well. I buy a few things on Bandcamp every month and enjoy that very much.

Children of Men

reviews

Tonight I saw Children of Men down at the TIFF Lightbox. I saw it in 2006 when it came out and thought it was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I still think so. It’s in my top 10.

Sixteen years of Filofax

stationery

At the start of every new year I archive the previous year’s Filofax pages.

11 cm of Filofax pages
11 cm of Filofax pages

I use the cream paper week on two pages (where Saturday and Sunday have the same space as weekdays). I know some people like to change planners from year to year, but I’ve been with Filofax since 2004 and I don’t expect I’ll ever change.

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