An Application For Rubber Grommets

If, like me, you’ve got cupboards full of small rubber grommets, I’m sure some days you sit around and try to think of a use for them. Maybe make an evening of it, open a bottle of wine, draw flow charts and diagrams in a vain attempt to just find some use for the things.

Well, I have it, the holy grail of surplus rubber grommet applications.

To stop sympathetic overtones on my mandolin.

Sorry, what’s that?  What the *** are you on about, Andrew?

Oh, I’d better explain a bit, then. With photos.

Sometimes the strings behind the bridge – the bits you don’t strum/pick – resonate in sympathy with what you are playing. unfortunately, since these bits aren’t tuned (or even tunable) the resulting tones are discordant and unpleasant. They are sympathetic overtones, or something like that.

Some players thread leather laces through the strings to damped the unwanted sounds, and some use small rubber grommets to stop the vibrations. So that’s what I’ve done. The grommets are slightly wider than the gap, so they get squashed slightly, but i don’t care.

 

There’s a Lion on the roof

There’s often lots of interesting things going on at the back of buildings. I visited my friend at her new reflexology job, and her window gave a unique perspective on the lion on the top of the Lion Hotel’s ballroom from 3 floors up.

Lion in Profile

Lion in Profile

If you go down the back of the hotel with a zoom lens, you can get this view. It’s slightly mad that a stone lion is up there on the roof where hardly anyone is going to see him.

The Lion

The Lion

Probability-based Ambient Space Music

I record a lot of music using Ableton Live, I like the fast workflow and the ability to play loops and build up a track without having to commit to a structure first. The other thing I like doing is using the probability functions of the loops.

Normally when a loop plays to the end, it will start playing again from the beginning. If there are more than one loop on a track, you can set the probability that it plays a different loop, plays this loop again, plays the first loop in the set, etc. This is a good way to introduce variation into more programmed music styles.

I tend to use it for ambient music, having some loops shorter than others (to build up unusual meters) or empty loops (to add patches of silence on the track). The effects aren’t always obvious, but they make the track less repetitive. Sometimes it sounds horrible, and needs tweaking.

This is one I did over the weekend, I’m not sure if this is the best example of the probability thing, but it’s all I’ve got right now.

 

Going Booze-Free

It seems all the rage now, giving up alcohol for January. This is my second year of doing it. Only one of my friends tried doing it, but failed due to peer pressure and a couple of birthdays.

There are a number of reasons I put myself through this:

  • Save money (I’m usually pretty overspent after Xmas, every little helps, etc)
  • Health (I usually feed like crap after Xmas, after eating all that fat instead of my usual chickpea-rich diet)
  • A challenge (It’s a habit , dropping a beer or 3 in my shopping basket)
  • Sleep (I wanted to eliminate booze as a cause for my insomnia)

Results? I saved some money, I lost some of the weight I’d put on in the past couple of months, I’m getting better at not making impulse purchases (except for vintage film cameras, obviously!) and I can’t decide whether booze affects my sleep or not (yeah, crap conclusion I know).

No Booze

No Booze!