if it ain’t one thing…

New album has been ready to release, I’m just waiting for Bandcamp Friday.

I got some La Bella white nylon tapewound strings for the #1 bass. These are supposed to be super smooth yet relatively bright, and are very well liked. I know I previously said I’d just stick with the roundwound strings it came with because of how well they worked with a specific resonator effect… but sometimes those bug me in normal playing. So I’ll see how these work out.

I kinda feel like my basses should have names. “#1 bass” may not be accurate in the future — in terms of how much I’ve used it in recordings it’s already not — and “the Mikro” is kind of boring. Since it’s purple and relatively small, I thought about “the little Prince,” but I’m not that big a Prince fan. The name of its exact color according to how it displays on the Ibanez website is apparently MediumOrchid4, though the closest named CSS color is simply “purple.” I’m not sure Orchid is a good name for it though. I’ll figure something out, or I’ll just stop worrying about it 🙂

We’re going on a road trip soon: to visit my parents, a morning visit to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, and then my in-laws. Thanks to the pandemic I’ve never met my lil’ nephew Luke in person (and it’ll be his birthday!), and I’ve never seen my in-laws’ new house. My spouse is thinking about bringing her dulcimer and I’m considering the U-bass.

With a little more than a week before that, our kitchen lights died. No problem, I thought, I’ll just order new bulbs. We have ballast bypass LED tubes replacing the old fluorescents, which used to be an online order from a specialty store and is now common and cheap. But new bulbs didn’t do it — it’s the ballast itself. Probably the old bulbs are still fine…

My options are:

  • Replace the ballast and continue using the same type of LED bulbs. This seems kind of silly, but it doesn’t cost too much.
  • Cut out the ballast and rewire direct. In our case this unfortunately also means replacing the sockets with non-shunted ones, and also probably replacing the bulbs… which in total would cost more and be more difficult than just replacing the ballast.
  • Replace the fixture with an integrated LED light and not have to be think about it for the next 40-50 years. The light itself barely costs more than the ballast would. Since I’d want professional installation, labor would cost something. But it’s not too big a deal.

Really this was just sort of a hassle right before a trip, so we’re waiting until after. We also had some plumbing stuff happen that was looking pretty dicey but managed to resolve ourselves. We also need to have a roof leak repaired (we had to wait for the ice to thaw first).

I haven’t said anything yet about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine…. and I think that’s the correct way to say it: it’s not Russia, it’s Putin. The Russian people seem mostly not to want this. It’s inexcusable. Other than that, there’s not much for me to say.

I do feel a bit weird about calls to donate to the Ukrainian military. I’m trying to imagine that in the US, where the budget already exceeds basically everything ever and it doesn’t need crowdfunding. I am mostly a pacifist, but I think this is exactly what an army is for — stopping other armies from doing what they should not. Actual defense, not offense with a euphemistic name. Still, I am more comfortable giving to a cause that will help refugees and other civilian victims. I’m certainly planning to support a few Ukrainian musicians on Bandcamp Friday.

Recently read: Ra by qntm. If it’s not the weirdest book I have ever read, it’s on the top five. Magic is a branch of physics, discovered in 1972… and anything else I might say about it other than “it’s not about Egyptian mythology in any way” would be a spoiler. Each new chapter makes the story exponentially stranger than the last.

Between this and There is no Antimemetics Division I’ve decided to just go ahead and buy their other two ebooks, Fine Structure and Ed. But right now I’m re-reading Gideon the Ninth, which is certainly weird, but mostly funny + over-the-top-goth + mystery.

That makes me think, though: what would be on the “weirdest fiction I’ve ever read” list? In no particular order, and with the caveats that (A) weird is not necessarily always fun and (B) I have vague memories of some other weird stories and no recollection of the title or author or even any search terms:

  • qntm, Ra
  • Tamsyn Muir, Harrow the Ninth (Goes off in a completely different direction than Gideon, time is extremely nonlinear and the perspective character changes. Still pretty enjoyable though.)
  • China Miéville, Perdido Street Station (Weird city, weird citizens, weird magic/science, just weird everywhere.)
  • Greer Gilman, Moonwise. (Entirely written in impenetrable dialect, as I recall. I don’t particularly remember enjoying it and I may have given up on it in frustration.)
  • Samuel Delaney, Dhalgren (I did not like it. All I really recall is it was post-apocalyptic, the protagonist wasn’t necessarily sane, and there was a lot of sex of every kind but all of it came off as grunting and sweaty and completely unsexy.)
  • Rudy Rucker, Spaceland (Like the classic Flatland, but with higher-dimensional creatures visiting us in our 3-dimensional space. Disturbing and gross at times, but also funny and brain-bending.)
  • Gene Wolfe, pretty much anything (Can be hard to follow, sometimes brilliant, often baffling, usually disturbing.)
  • Elizabeth Hand, Winterlong. (I kind of want to reread this to see if I can make more sense of it. A weird journey in a weird society after some kind of weird magical/chemical apocalypse? But quite poetic in its imagery.)

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