Playing the Pennywhistle

July 7, 2007

In a previous article I described why I personally chose to learn the pennywhistle, and listed a number of resources that I used to select my whistle and that I am currently using to guide my initial study of the instrument. At the end of that article, I mentioned that the process of learning to play had revealed a number of surprises both about Pennywhistles themselves, and about the experience of learning to play an instrument.

This time around, I’ll cover the surprising technical aspects of the pennywhistle, and in an upcoming article, I’ll explain those experiential aspects of learning to play that have been (mostly pleasant) surprises.

If you’re an experienced whistler this will all be “old hat”, but if — like me — you’re just starting out, or you’re contemplating picking up the pennywhistle (a choice I’d highly recommend – it’s a whole lot of fun), perhaps you can avoid some of the problems described below, or find a better understanding as to why your whistle does what it does.

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Why Tattoos?

June 30, 2007

A quick disclaimer for family who are reading this: I haven’t gone out and gotten a tattoo — yet. But I have been giving tattoos a lot of thought recently, mulling over their appeal, and why the designs that appeal to me do so.

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Picking up the Pennywhistle

June 24, 2007

I really regretted not playing an instrument. Now I suspect my neighbors regret that I do 😀
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Appropriate technology

December 17, 2006

It’s the Christmas season, with shopping centers crammed with consumers, and corporations touting the latest releases just in time for the holidays: new books, new fashions, and new gadgets. While I love new gizmos and doohickeys, and I’m always happy to see what the latest technological developments can do (and to devise all sorts of diabolical new uses for things), I’m not always sure that the latest technological “wrinkles” in consumer goods are good. Sometimes designers take perfectly good solutions, and just “muck them up”. Perhaps it is time to examine our quest for the “latest thing” and really think about what makes a new technology, or technological approach, a good one.

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Transforming our senses

December 15, 2006

Did you read comic books as a kid, or do you read comic books now? Do you remember those ads in the back which advertised all sorts of amazing sounding junk: sea monkeys, Charles Atlas body building books, pepper gum, and x-ray specs? I do, and although I never did send in my hard-earned money even for sea monkeys (I was in my mid 30s before I ever owned sea monkeys, but that’s another story…), I was fascinated by those ads.

I think what drew me in about the infamous “X-Ray Specs” was the idea of seeing the world differently. At the age of 8, I had little interest of the more prurient uses of x-ray specs, but seeing the world in a way that I could not normally was a fascinating concept. Of course, (I’m sorry to tell you) “X-Ray Specs” don’t really do what they claim, but modern technology does allow us to alter our senses, in ways that are both commonplace, and in ways that no one seems to be doing – yet.

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What’s in a name?

December 7, 2006

When I explained why I blog, I said I’d also explain the “weird name” and why it changed from Memetic Selection to Memetic Syns — although blog names tend to be quirky and often admit no explanation other than writer whim.

I explained that that this blog is a forum for me to structure and articulate thought through explanation to a — possibly fictional — audience. The name reflects that, being a blend of two ideas.

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