Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Now that the exam is over

Over on one of my other blogs, Webitz.net, I've been celebrating the fact that geocities.com, the huge conglomerate of websites put together by enthusiastic amateurs like me, and then dumped from the Internet without much warning by Yahoo, has not only been rescued by reocites.com, but also ASCII and OoCities. Great job, guys!

Now that my exam is over, and the course finished, I can relax a bit and start reading books that aren't related to NZ history again. I've been reading one called Bottled and Sold - the story behind our obsession with bottled water, by Peter Gleick. It's interesting but a bit repetitious, so I may...not...finish...it...yet. On the other hand I finally started reading Half the Sky today, which I bought a month or more ago and couldn't allow myself to get into because of the study. It's an in-your-face look at the way women are treated around the world, not just in terms of forced prostitution, but slavery in general, and abuse of every kinds (and I mean abuse: beatings, eyes gouged out, having acid thrown at them and much more).

I did read some other non-study books over the last few months (impossible for me not to do so). One was a biography of Georgette Heyer, the historical romance novelist. My mother had practically every book she wrote, I think, and I've read some of them in the past myself. She was an excellent writer, a great humorist, and a somewhat indomitable human being. I also started reading the biography of jazz pianist Mike Nock called Serious Fun. It started off very interestingly but has become a bit of a list of who played with whom and who was taking drugs at the time and which album they recorded while they were together for a few months and so on. I'm supposed to review it, so I'll have to give it some more house room yet.

I haven't consciously heard a lot of Nock's music, as it happens. I know his name well, and I've no doubt heard tracks on which he's been playing in passing (usually on one of those jazz programmes on the Concert FM, or whatever it's currently called), but I've never really sat down and listened. Hmm. I got a CD out of the library the other day and was surprised at how dull it was. Nock's left hand went on and on playing the same thing, while his right hand wandered around with no apparent idea where it was going. That was the first two tracks. After that my mind had switched off and I didn't hear what came next. I gave the CD another go a day or so later, and the same thing happened.

I'll have to try a different album. It's unlikely that his reputation stands or falls on that particular CD.

And the other thing I'm doing, of course, is getting on with writing the music for the musical. The stuff I'd already written has been buzzing around in my brain every time I stopped thinking about anything else, so I need to get on and write some more (or go mad). I've been orchestrating some of the music I wrote a while back and it's been good to hear it - particularly now that I'm actually hearing what it's like rather than what my two dud speakers on the computer claimed it sounded like. A bit of adjustment on the Sibelius program itself, and the use of earphones, made a huge difference.

I've just noticed that there's some way to record music via a microphone using Sibelius. Once it's recorded and Sibelius has transcribed it, you can edit it - make it look like it should! I hope it's better than the scanning program Sibelius uses: I've given up on that because it's more work trying to edit than just transcribing the stuff straight into the computer in the first place. It doesn't seem to work any better with this latest version of Sibelius than it did with the old one. Of course, it possibly doesn't help that most music people want me to transcribe is elderly, often torn, scribbled over and various other things. But even clean copies don't seem to go too well.

It doesn't look as though I installed the microphone (audio score lite) program. Maybe I'll get onto that some time - although the way I write music doesn't really lend itself to that much. Still it may prove more of a bonus than I think!

By the way, the exam went far more smoothly than I expected, I felt pretty good about it, and hopefully the examiner will too. But three hours of typing took a fair amount of concentration (I can't even begin to imagine writing for three hours) and my bum also got tired of sitting in the same spot for so long. There were only two of us disabled people in the room - I don't know what was wrong with the young woman who was also doing an exam (probably a different one to me) - and there were two supervisors! All very friendly. Because there were so few of us we started a quarter of an hour early. Better than sitting around nervously.
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