Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Things 3-8

The remaining things about me that others may not have known.
3. I started meditating a couple weeks ago. I'm also reading a book about it by someone who shares my birthday (Pema Chödrön).
4. I don't think it particularly means anything when people have the same birthday.
5. When grocery shopping I often feel the need to choose between organic food and fair trade or local. I am happy when I can find something that's all of those. But I definitely choose non-corporate over corporate if it comes down to it. I figure the small worker-owned company will go organic when they can.
6. Movies that combine physical pain and suffering with humor make me very uncomfortable.
7. Sometimes I open up mp3s in Audacity, split the stereo tracks, move one of them so they are offset by an exact number of beats, and listen to it for a while. It becomes pretty clear which recordings used click tracks and which did not.
8. The first time I saw Star Wars I thought C-3PO was called "Creepio" and that it didn't really matter if Luke died in the trash compacter.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Eddie Vedder

I like the shirt, too.
I do not know much of Eddie Vedder's music. But twice I have had the experience of his face appearing before me during breathwork, as the epitome of what I can only describe as an expressive male. I am not a strongly expressive man, and I have lacked an expressive male role model for much of my life. In fact, part of how masculinity was modeled for me was distinctly to be inexpressive.

What I see when Vedder sings is the face of a man who is feeling, and who is aware of the complete depth and breadth of what he is feeling. And then what comes out in his voice is shaped and propelled by that entire feeling.

I needed an Eddie Vedder when I was growing up, to show me what it is like for a man to feel all of the emotions I was hearing about; to demonstrate that those are part of being human, our birthright regardless of gender.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Using diversity to choose my playlist

For a while I measured my music-listening diversity using three aspects: diversity of artists, albums, and tracks. For a few reasons, I stopped keeping track of album diversity. So for most of the last year I've been measuring artist and track diversity, both by amount of time (per artist, e.g.) and number of plays. Recently I decided that it makes the most sense to only consider artist diversity by amount of time, and track diversity by number of plays.

For example, if I hear 1 hour of Miles Davis, and to balance it out I want to hear some Bach, then it seems most balanced to hear 1 hour of Bach. That's true even if that means hearing 6 Miles Davis tracks and 15 Bach tracks.

But when it comes to specific tracks, what seems balanced is to hear all the tracks the same number of times.

So, I measure diversity these ways, over multiple periods of time, and then calculate two things: for each artist, how will it affect artist-diversity-by-time if I hear (say) 5 more minutes of this artist? and for each track, how will it affect track-diversity-by-number-of-plays to hear this track once? Whatever tracks result in the greatest improvement of both track diversity and artist diversity are what I listen to next.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Basics about music-listening diversity

I like to have a diverse experience listening to music. Thanks to last.fm (a.k.a. audioscrobbler) and some of my own database programming, I can measure both the actual diversity of what I've heard, and the impact on diversity each new piece of music would have. It's not really as simple as "measuring diversity". What is a diversity measure? Am I looking at the diversity of all the music I've heard, or only in the last week?

I track several different sets of "music I've listened to recently" and measure the diversity of each one. These are the diversity of artists and of tracks; by how many tracks I've heard and by how much time; and by time periods starting with the last week, the last two weeks, etc. up to the last year, and for all time. This gives 216 different snapshots of my recent music listening experience, which I add together to get one big measure of diversity.

For a diversity measure, I use the Shannon index. This takes into account both the richness (number of different artists or tracks) and the evenness (whether all the artists are represented evenly or with some more prevalent than others).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I might start using this to blog about my music listening diversity stuff.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Discipline for agility's sake

I recognized discipline as a value of mine some time ago. When I learned about Agile (the software development philosophy), I realized that it relies on discipline, and in turn gives discipline something of a home, or a context. Agile is in part about making and keeping commitments, which requires discipline. One of the reasons Agile is applicable in complex situations is that discipline by itself either leads to a death march or has no good footing -- it becomes an end in itself, or gets in the way.

But within agile, discipline has a purpose, which is to complete whatever goal has been set for the iteration, and to inspect and adapt what was done so that it can be improved the next time. Without this discipline, goals get ignored, impediments are not overcome, and nothing is learned.

For starters ...

I could have a blog that would remind myself what I really want to do, like play music, share with friends, be a dad, act with integrity, improve the world, etc.