December 27th, 2004

red panda eating bamboo

firecat's music memory

By request of a couple of people, I'm writing about how my memory stores musical information.

I'm very good at picking up and following a rhythm or tune after only one or two repetitions. And once I've heard a piece of music a few times I never forget it - that is, if I hear part of it again, I'll recognize that I've heard it before and often if it's simple enough for me to reproduce by singing or tapping the rhythm, I'll be able to reproduce some or all of the rest of it.

Part of the weirdness is in retrieval of music that I've heard enough times to store permanently but not enough times to know extremely well. This music gets stored as a linear stream of information, as if it were on a tape. It's not random access. So if someone asks me to sing them the chorus of a song that's stored this way, my brain has to start at the beginning and play through to the chorus. I can't go directly to the chorus.

The other weirdness is that words associated with the music often don't get stored with the music itself.. So if I'm playing "name that tune," I will recognize that I heard a piece of music much more often than I'll be able to give the song title or recite any of the lyrics. I have a chance of remembering some of the lyrics if I play the song in my head until I get to a part that has words, but in "name that tune," that tends to take too long...
red panda eating bamboo

Tsunami relief effort

Here is the organization I donated to. I've heard good things about their work in the past.

Médecins Sans Frontieres
http://www.msf.org/

Also, if anyone hears of any rescue dog organizations that are participating, let me know because I'd like to support them too. (Rescue dogs find buried victims, either alive or dead. They were instrumental in the aftermath of the 9/11/01 disaster.)
red panda eating bamboo

More about knitting backwards

vixter commented on my "dysspatialrotatia" post in the knitting community. She said that the way I was knitting was called "Eastern." I googled "eastern knitting" and found these:

http://www.modeknit.com/combined.html
http://www.modeknit.com/purl.html

They claim to show knit and purl stitches that are a combination of Eastern and Western. In the knit stitch, the needle goes in the back of the stitch from right to left (what I was doing), but the yarn goes around from left to right (I was doing right to left).

So I still don't know how the actual "eastern" knit or purl stitch work, but it's instructive to learn that other people do in fact knit in ways other than the standard method taught in the knitting books I looked at.
red panda eating bamboo

Literature survey

via serenejournal

1. Give a quote from literature that you return to over and over.
There are hundreds. Here is the first literature-related one that came up in my quote file random selector:
"Cheshire-Puss," she began, "would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't care much where --" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. -- Lewis Carroll

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