Computer Aided Composing

An account of my recent doings at Musical Keys with a photographic interlude.

INTRODUCTION

A few sessions back at Musical Keys, an event run for autistic people that I am a regular attender of, I switched from using Scratch to using a different package called Reaper. This Saturday just gone I reached a point at which I feel that my work on Reaper is now worth talking about. Also I have some good pictures that I can slip in as part of the back story.

SCRATCH AND REAPER

Scratch enables one to play notes on various musical instruments and also has some saved sound loops for variation. Effectively therefore Scratch enables one to play music and sounds but not really to create anything beyond the framework within which to do so. Reaper is both less and more – less in that it has no versions of musical instruments, more in that is really all about combining different recorded sounds into a larger whole, and therefore has much more of a creative element to it. 

BEFORE SATURDAY’S SESSION

I had spent one session assessing the available sound segments, working out which ones I liked and which of those combined well together, and a second session combining shorter segments into longer ones by putting together segments that would or could naturally flow together, but at the start of Saturday what I actually had was a set of useful components that I could start to think about assembling into proper length pieces…

INTERLUDE –  WALK TO THE SCOUT HUT

I had decided to lengthen my walk to the venue by taking in a stretch of the Great Ouse before rejoining the regular walking route to Gaywood by way of Seven Sisters and the Vancouver Garden, and a quick sampling of the air outside my flat convinced me of the need to don an extra jumper – it was cold, as some of the photos will make very plain. I had also allowed myself time for a visit to Gaywood library, since I would naturally pass very close to it. It may have been cold, but the birds were out in force, especially near the Great Ouse.

lapwings and a gulllapwings and gullsFlying lapwingswimming birdBlackbirdsBlackbird

Leaving the river by way of Hardings Pits I headed for the South Gate and thence Seven Sisters and the parkland areas…

framed magpieKL signSouthgatestarlingsthree birds

Among other things the walk through the parkland provided me with absolute proof of how cold it was – gulls walking on water. 

Gull walking on waterGull walking on water 2Gull walking on water 3rooksBlackbird II

DECEMBER 9TH AT MUSICAL KEYS

John, who usually supervises the sessions was not feeling well, so having driven the equipment over he spent the afternoon sat in his car, while his assistant Kirsten took charge of the sessions. 

Once I had opened up Reaper, checked and adjusted the speaker volume (at least 99% of the time it is set too loud for me and I have to reduce it, often considerably – on this occasion it had been set to 70% of full volume and I reduced that to 35%) it was time to put my plan of exploring options for combining various elements to make a larger whole into practice. Before moving on here is a photo I took at the end of the session.

Reaper

The piece that I called Organ and Strings was one of three background sounds that I used in the bigger pieces, the others being the drum and brass backgrounds. “Ensemble” and “Composite” as those names suggest were medium sized components, while “Horizontal” and “All in” were the two large scale components that I combined to make the final full size pieces. The two big pieces (12 and 16 minutes long respectively) were comprised of “Horizontal”-“All-in”‘-“Horizontal” and “Horizontal”-“All-in”-“Horizontal”-“All-in” respectively. By the time I had listened to the 16 minute piece at the end it was pretty much the end of the session. The next session is on January 6th and I shall work out some way to build on what I have already created. 

 

Answers

Answers to a query of mine and to a puzzle that I set, accompanied by some photos.

INTRODUCTION

This little post features answers to two problems and at the end a few photos.

BIG AVIAN FIND

A couple of hours ago I put up a post featuring some large water birds that were new to me. Since then two people in the comments section (Cindy and Vicki) have suggested Muscovy Ducks as a possibility, and my twitter friends @team4nature have made a similar though more detailed suggestion.

This level of consensus is sufficient for me – these are Muscovy ducks, possibly domesticated and possibly crossed with some other breed (possibilities raised by @team4nature). Here to conclude this section is the feature image from the previous post:

Swimming Bird II

SUPERPRIME RESOLVED

I offered up this problem from brilliant last night:

SP

This is my own solution, posted as such on brilliant, and reflecting mu frustration at the sheer number of people commenting based on failure to fully read the terms of the question:

SPS

PHOTOGRAPHS

To finish here are some more of my photos:

Gull on flagpoleaerial action!starlingsBlackbirdMIaowGull on logMoorhenMoorhen 2

Shouldn’t Every Day Be “Earth Day”?

A post for “Earth Day”, which argues that every day should be Earth Day. Read, enjoy and please share.

INTRODUCTION

Today is “Earth Day”, and it is all well and good to name it so, but the truth is that we should by now be capable of realising that every day should be considered to be Earth Day. This post is therefore dedicated to “Earth Day” but also to realising the inadequacy of “Earth Day”. There is a parallel here with the various “Autism Awareness” days, weeks and months (yes there is one of each) and their unfitness for purpose which I written about elsewhere. All of my own text in this post will be in green because it is about nature. Links where they appear will be in bold and underlined. 

INTRODUCTION TO “EARTH DAY” COURTESY OF LIVESCIENCE.COM

Four days ago I came across this excellent post about the development of “Earth Day” on livescience.com. It is simply titled “Earth Day: Facts & History“, and it is an excellent read. The screenshot below will serve as an aperitif:

EDLS.jpg

A MESSAGE FROM SWEDEN

Five days ago Anna put a post sharing a poster created by one of her friends under the title “Power listen to the voice of nature“. Anna’s message in that post is simple and compelling. Below is her friend’s poster which inspired it:

Poster by Margareta Arnedotter Jansson

A THUNDERCLAP

This one is for those of you who are on any of facebook, twitter and/ or tumblr. I have shared it before, and on its final day I do so once again. It is titled “Birds Join Bees this Earth Day“, and focuses on the damage pesticides are doing to pollinators. 

EDT.jpg

A GCSE IN NATURAL HISTORY

I consider this to be an excellent idea. Once again this is something that I have shared previously, and with eleven days to go until the deadline on this petition I do so again, considering it perfect subject matter for “Earth Day”. Please sign and share if you are UK citizens and have not already done so – let’s use today to get this past 10,000 signatures!

NHGCSE.jpg

THE NETHERLANDS STEAM AHEAD WITH TRAINS POWERED BY GREEN ENERGY

ALL trains in The Netherlands are now powered by wind generated (i.e renewable) electricity. For more and a video (also embedded below) please click here

http://mashable.com/videos/embed?video=fVb3VZiI&player=offsite&player=offsiteNote also that in strong contrast to every British public transport project I can remember this was completed not just in time but a whole year ahead of schedule.

CYCLISTS NOW HAVE THEIR OWN VERSION OF THE ‘BECK MAP’

Since he gained permission from his employers to unveil it to a wider public in 1931 Henry C Beck’s schematic diagram of the London Underground network, known colloquially as the “Beck Map” has taken the world by storm and become the template for public transport maps across the globe. Now, in it’s home city a Beck style map has been produced for the benefits of cyclists. There is a detailed article about this on indy100.com featuring this map, which is reproduced below for your benefit:

londoncyclemap-revised2017v1.4-011-0.jpg

EVERY DAY SHOULD BE EARTH DAY

We need to appreciate nature and the Earth every day of our lives. One day per year is most emphatically not enough. We also need to remember to very important things:

1. There is no “Planet B” at this moment – if we turn this planet into somewhere completely inhospitable to Homo sapiens we have nowhere else to go.

2. Following on from that first point we need to always bear in mind that we need Earth more than Earth needs us.

To finish this post, save for a few of my own photographs I turn again to Anna, and a piece of artwork I have shared before which she created based on comment that I made on one of her blog posts:

Nature Meme

starlings.jpg

967
These pictures of items that will be going under the hammer on the 22nd,, 23rd and 24th of May at James and Sons.

970

941
I travelled on this railway in my childhood, too many years ago to mention.

941-a941-b941-c941-d972972-a972-b972-c986986-a986-b986-c978

978-a
This picture, reminding us of where we and everything else on earth comes from seems an appropriate one to end the post.

A Couple of Important Nature Links

Links an important petition and an important thunderclap. A couple of other nature related links, a classic nature related meme and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A couple of big things to do with nature came to my attention today and I have decided to share them with you. In addition to the two major links there will be some of my own thoughts, a nod in the direction of New Zealand and some appropriate photographs of my own. As you will have noticed by now, the text in this post is green, and that is because it is a post entirely dedicated to nature. Links in the text will in bold and underlined, while images relating to other posts will also be formatted as links.

THOUGHTS ON NATURE

My own interest in the natural world and concern for nature are both lifelong. I literally cannot remember a time when these attributes were not part of me. Although I grew up in London I had a common practically on my doorstep, lots of natural history books, and of course being in London meant I was within easy travelling distance of the museums at South Kensington. In my childhood the Geological and Natural History museums were two separate entities, though they have long since been amalgamated into one museum, the Natural History Museum. Therefore you can imagine my reaction when I saw something on twitter about…

A GCSE IN NATURAL HISTORY

A petition on the official site created for petitions addressed to the UK parliament to create a Natural History GCSE has been launched. This means that it is only open to those among my readers who are UK citizens to sign, which I regret, but you can still view this petition (there is a screenshot below to whet the appetite) even if you are not a UK citizens. UK citizens please sign and share.
NH GCSE

My next major link is to a…

THUNDERCLAP

To be part of a thunderclap you have to be on some form of social media (facebook, twitter or tumblr to be precise). This particular thunderclap is about the importance of pollinators and the fact that scientists have established that birds as well as bees are pesticide victims. If you are able to add your voice to this thunderclap please do so. Below is a screenshot for further clarification.

BJBthunderclap

Yes, this thunderclap is well ahead of target, as it should be, but just as the importance of pollinators cannot be overstated, so this thunderclap cannot ever be said to be over-supported. 

A COUPLE OF FURTHER LINKS

Miles King over at anewnatureblog has today produced a splendid piece titled “Time to rename Defra the Ministry of Agriculture and Fieldsports” in which he reveals the extent to which our government is failing in its duties as regards the environment. Below is a screenshot of the section of the post dealing with the downright dishonourable Andrea Leadsom by way of introduction.

ALfail

Now it is time for…

A NOD TO NEW ZEALAND

Jerry Coyne, author of the books “Why Evolution Is True” and “Faith Versus Fact”, and who also runs a blog named after the first of those books is currently in New Zealand, and it is from there that this wonderful picture (click on it to view it in its original econiche) comes:

It is nearly time for some of my own photos, taken yesterday and today, but for the penultimate section of the post I share once again…

ANNA’S NATURE MEME

This wonderful creation was formed around words that were originally submitted by me as a comment on one of her blog posts.
Nature Meme

PHOTOGRAPHS

birdmootcorvidscysbbirdmootDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5763DSCN5771Goose1ducklngs x 5Goose2gull on jettyHGSquirrelStarling in grassbirdmootcorvidscysbDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5762DSCN5763DSCN5771DSCN5772ducklngs x 5Goose1Goose2gull on jettySquirrelHGStarling in grass

Autism and Ableism

Some thoughts on autism and ableism, and some links relating to the same, topped off with some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have a few links to share, and of course some photos will be included, but this post starts with some of my own thoughts before I start sharing links. I have decided that all of my own text in this post will be #RedInstead as it is themed so much around Autism. Links will be underlined and in bold, and any images from other blogs will also serve as links to the posts from which they were taken (these blogs will also have a text link). 

THE LINK BETWEEN AUTISM & ABLEISM

I am #ActuallyAutistic and have experienced mental health issues over the years. Do I consider myself disabled? The short answer to that question is no. However I do consider that the way in which neurotypical society views my condition (please note condition, not disorder) does disable me. To give just one example of this, 74% of all autistic adults in the UK, my country, are unemployed, and that percentage rises to 85% when underemployment is factored in. I am in the 26% who are actually in paid employment but not the 15%. These statistics are shameful ones (if they differ significantly in your part of the world feel free to comment further). They are based on the pathologizing of autism and indeed a more general societal pathologizing of difference. Anyone who has seen at work can confirm that I am more than capable of being a useful employee (indeed I cannot be considered as other than essential to my current employer).

Therefore, although I do not identify myself as disabled as I do identify myself as sharing some of the problems experienced by people with disabilities. 

ABLEISM

I start the sharing sections of this post with the latest in Erin Human’s series of posts about ableism. The piece is titledWhat causes ableism?”, and I offer you the infographic/ meme which heads it as an aperitif:

Next, courtesy of disabledgo comes what can only be described as a ‘good news with a massive asterisk’ story. West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that they are willing to launch criminal investigations into bus drivers who refuse to allow wheelchair bound passengers on to their vehicles without good cause. The massive asterisk of course is twofold: the fact that this has to be rated a good news story at all rather than being standard, and following on from that the fact that other police forces do not as yet appear to have made the same commitment. The full piece appears under the title “Police force pledges to investigate bus drivers who ignore access laws” and I urge you to read it in full.

AUTISM

There are a total of four links in this section, with the opener and closer both courtesy of thesilentwaveblog. The opening link is titled “Yeah I’m walking for autism“, and it is her response to yet another campaign to raise funds for purposes that are quite clearly at variance with the actual needs of autistic people. She also her explains how she uses walking. I urge to you to read the full piece, and present the picture that heads it for your further edification.

Some of you may recall that I recently reblogged two posts titled respectively Autism Speaks No Longer Seeking Cure; This Autistic Person Couldn’t Care Less and Autistics Against Autism Speaks | A Civil Rights Movement – Share & Reblog Version. Well the story being told in different ways in those two posts has moved forward with a new post from boycottautismspeaks titled “Autism Speaks Hurts. Real People Speaking.” I offer you this header graphic by way of further inducement…

My penultimate link is to a post on No Stereotypes Here titled “Words are Words“, and taking the form of an open letter to the organisation targetted in the graphic above. I present this site’s header image below.

No Stereotypes Here - Neurodiversity activist blog

My final link is to thesilentwaveblog’s most recent offering, which tackles the subject of eye contact, under the title ‘“Look me in the eye.” (No.)‘, and below is the image which heads it.

Now it is time to conclude this post with some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

ASCormorants and gullsCormorants x 3CormorantsouseDSCN5733ducklingsducklings1merulapurfleetstarlingstortoiseshell