On whisk(e)y in Austria, part one of one, or possibly two.

It’s sunny out, the first sunny day after many rainy ones – unpredictable days of strong rain. And it’s a holiday. So I’m inside blogging and Gamma is upstairs trying to get Sims to install on her laptop. We did have lunch outside with my wife and her father. And Gamma and I did drive into town for ice cream. So we have not been like locked up all day or anything.

And I did go hiking with a friend this weekend. Actually we visited a couple distilleries, and hiked a little to kill some time. Although it was a rainy weekend in most parts of the country, we were very fortunate that the little spot we visited had some very nice weather. Saturday evening we sat around in a small distillery and tasted the products, while our friendly and generous host, the distiller, explained the technolgy behind it, and his philosophy of distilling and life in general.

We purchased several of his products when we left. He makes a good rye whisky and some nice single malt (I bought a bottle of his vat-strength) and several different fruit schnapps, including huckleberry (very subtle), raspberry, and pear. I would like to write a more detailed account of our trip, and still may, if I find the time. But probably not. We’ll see.

And my friend even gave me a ukulele lesson. It was a very nice way to spend a weekend.

Not only that, but the flowers I ordered for my wife came on time for our anniversary on Sunday, so she was in a good mood when I got home.

And yesterday we saw a big rainbow.

Careers in Science: Musicology

The musicologist is having more fun learning the Gabrielli ricercar (#1) than he has had learning any music, ever, except maybe the bass line to Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ back in college.

Most things were more fun back in college, come to think of it, the musicologist thinks. With the Gabrielli piece, you have the music, which he likes, and the fact that it is one of the first compositions for solo cello, and the history of the instrument at the time – the invention of metal-wound strings and the effect of this change on the construction of the instrument and playing styles. Back in college, all you needed was a bottle of Blue Nun, a joint and a record player. And you only really needed one of those if it was good enough.

The musicologist wishes he knew more about music, but he doesn’t.

Here, this is interesting, synchronically speaking: the musicologist has been thinking about the Shadow. Maybe because he talks about Jung with a friend sometimes. Maybe because of something he read.

Then another friend tells his wife about a seminar she went on where you something something Shadow something a lot of money something over three weekends eight weeks apart, and it was her best experience with psychotherapy ever and she should know.

So he looks up the person who wrote the book and, ehn, Inner Child is there, and the musicologist immediately has a problem because, Inner Child? But the author gets good reviews on Amazon and the friend liked the therapist, so maybe he’ll give it a try. Although, that’s a lot of money.

The musicologist is waiting for some of her books to arrive from Amazon. They were shipped yesterday, he got an email.

While he waits, he talks to the friend who took the seminar. Not his wife’s friend who took the seminar, the friend he talks to Jung about sometimes, she took the same seminar somewhere else, or something. She wasn’t too crazy about it, because, Inner Child? But she liked a meditation they did, to find a Place.

At night, the musicologist tries the meditation. Even if it doesn’t work, it might help him sleep, not that he needs help lately.

Except he can’t remember the meditation exactly. Something with steps and counting backwards. Steps up or down? He can’t remember, and he’s not going to get up and check. He decides on steps down. Count backwards, steps downward, into the dark. Then something with a door, and you open the door, or go through it, or both. Then something.

The musicologist decides on ‘downward’ because he has been looking for his Shadow, and so even if he doesn’t find this Place, maybe he’ll encounter the Shadow, is the thing. The thought behind this. The idea.

He goes down and down. Then his wife says something to him. They talk for a while. Then a cat climbs up on his hip, the highest point in the bed, and goes all Lion King. Then he – the musicologist – gets comfortable and starts counting down again.

Next thing he knows, it’s 4.45 in the morning and the cat wants something so it’s meowing and knocking stuff around on the musicologist’s night stand. Not the lava lamp or the book, the little stuff in the basket, and the musicologist remembers a nightmare about a scary guy, somewhat younger than him, who was very angry and wanted to do him harm.

The musicologist says, Thanks, because he’s always thankful for nightmares, usually.

Bran has a self-portrait project

I will be contributing a self-portrait to Bran’s project, as soon as I decide what to do, and do it, and you may want to consider doing so as well. Or you may want to go find out more about it, which you can do here and you can sign up here. If you are not familiar with Bran, who is one of my oldest if not oldest internet friends, ‘she’ is a gifted ifrit living in the desert of Utah or something. Those of you who have seen the book “Little-Known Facts about Various etc etc”  are familiar with her artwork. One sort of it, at least.

Unicorns, unicorns, unicorns. Lamas.


Salesclerk: You give these away as gifts, don’t you? I saw you in here last week buying some.

Man: Er. Actually I seem to collect them. I just love Moleskines. I can’t write fast enough to fill them up and they accumulate.

Salesclerk: Okay.


Girl: What’s that?

Man: [Sees group of 2-3 cars parked off the road, beside a large van. The rear doors of the van are open, revealing several tanks, one of which is open and emitting fog. Several men in their forties populate the scene.] Looks like a bovine sperm transaction to me.

Girl: Uh.

Man: They keep it in those tanks in liquid nitrogen. That’s what’s making the fog. What else would middle-aged guys be standing around doing this early in the morning, but buying bovine sperm?

Girl: Okay.

Man: Can you imagine? It’s someone’s job to extract bull semen?

Girl: [Leans back, looks at man, settles in] Okay.

Man: I wonder what it’s called. Bovine sperm extraction technician? And how is it done, exactly? Do they like have to wear a cow mask? Or… ew.

Girl: Heh.

Man: Hey, I have an idea for the mystery you have to write for your English test. They’re at Smith Mansion, right? Dinner party. Dessert is tapioca pudding? All their rich friends, right? Only the cook was a bovine sperm thief. Prize-winning bull, worth millions. And the police raid his kitchen, but all they find is tapioca pudding because he switched it. And the Smiths’ rich friends destroyed the evidence.

Girl: Okay.

Man: And somebody kills someone for some rea… ew. Now I have to think of something nice. Unicorns. Rainbows. Unicorns, unicorns, unicorns.

Girl: Lamas.

Girl: I forgot the word ‘suddenly’ yesterday.

Man: When I forget a word, I just use a different word with the same meaning. Or with a different meaning.

Man: I’m trying to think of a story for kids about a summer vacation.

Girl: They come to a town, but it’s abandoned. Everyone has locked themselves in their houses because a serial killer is on the loose. And they get attacked by the killer.

Man: Er. That might be too exciting for this market.


Man: You can use that on your English test today. You have my permission.

Girl: Unicorns.

Man: Lamas.