Notes from the Road

Thoughts about the world as I travel through it

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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I wrote a play some years ago, exploring the relationships and perspectives of three very different people, caught in wartime Afghanistan. At an early stage, my friend Michael Sanie expressed interest in writing an opera based on the play, and after several years of delays and struggles, here it is.

The opera is in three acts, each providing a platform for one of the characters. There is also a fourth character: an Afghan boy. It seems to me that we rarely hear the perspective of the people over whose lands we fight.

You can get your copy here.

How anyone can benefit from religion

This is a great talk from Alain de Botton. It reflects an idea I’ve struggled with for many years: how to make use of and participate in the great religious ideas without subscribing to all the doctrinal mumbo-jumbo.

He insightfully shows the many virtues of religious practice, and suggests that rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater, we should be learning from the best practices of religion: ritual, symbolism, organization, mutual support and more.

Music is more than…

I came across this (thanks, Stephanie!) this afternoon: it’s a group of people who get together to explore home-made musical instruments, many of them combinations of mechanical and electrical or electronic components. Some of them are played in conventional ways, some make music under computer control, and some combine multiple techniques. 


What’s nice about this is that it describes a group of people who get together to share their ideas, and to have a good time together. It’s a long way from a conventional concert, but just as rewarding, and perhaps more so.

There’s a lot going on in electronic music—a couple of days ago the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (that’s right) played a concert, and we went to the first half (had to get my kids fed and into bed). The music was fun, but more interesting than inspiring in my humble view. I guess I’d hope for more emotional connection with the music, rather than a response that is mostly about fascination with the technology.

There’s also a group in the Bay Area that get together regularly to learn about electronics, computing and music. A week ago I went to a talk at UC Santa Cruz that presented some algorithmic music—I’ll try to post separately about that.

Another “Notes from the Road”

At www.notesfromtheroad.com (he got the URL before me!) you will find a great site that’s described thus:

Notes from the Road is a project in experimental travel writing – it is about subjective travel; the kind of real world of random things and real people.

The author is Erik Gauger, and I’m impressed with his photos and descriptions of some very interesting journeys. This is the kind of thing the web is great for – a fascinating personal story told with artistry and good observation. His pictures are wonderful and contribute immeasurably to the overall package.

 Have a look!

A blog about digital photography


I’ve started a second blog – this is about my experience of digital photography with Nikon DSLR cameras. As I learn more I’ll publish my discoveries. You can read it here.It’s a complex field – from camera to lens to backup of photos to developing and printing – lots to learn and share.

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