090: Antisagging

Adjective: antisagging (not comparable) – (manufacturing) Combatting the tendency of paints and other coatings to sag. “Bentonite clay is often used as an antisagging agent.”

TODAY on flaglock: Julian describes how weird it is to play his own music, and describes a few scenarios of wishful thinking.

I was up ’till some ungodly hour of Monday morning working on a composition, a student composition for Music 25A. It’s our midterm exam: compose a short (sub-sixty-seconds) piece using our knowledge of harmony and perform on Friday. I scheduled the compulsory review office hours for today, and so I had to finish it all on Monday morning.

Unbelievably, I churned out twenty-eight measures of vaguely ordered music. And I did it all in C major! It’s written in simple ternary form in 6/8 time. I’m inwardly satisfied with the “development” and “variations” (quoted because I know how awful they must be) in there. The GSI pronounced my piece as a “harder” one more for “professional” pianists, though I think I’m supposed to take that as a backhand rather than a compliment. She seemed okay with my harmony, too, which I take to heart.

In preparation for the Friday performance, I went to the rec room to practice the piece I’d written. I’ve always imagined that playing your own music must be easy, because you surely must unconsciously tailor it to your own technique and style.

The triple meter suited me, yes, but nothing else really did – the nine-tuplets in the trio show that I really bit off more than I could chew while composing. And to make the whole thing fit together (an overall soft mood stands at odds with my brilliant ending) cohesively is something of a challenge. Interlocking octaves finish off the piece (because I couldn’t resist). I won’t do that again.

I like to think this piece kind of sets off my “Opus 1.” Everything before shall be Opus Zero. I will dub this a Prelude and write twenty-three siblings for it, moving through the circle of fifths. And they will be for my own use.

And now, wishful thinking follows.

All the great magicians and illusionists of our world are part of an enormous secret society of wizards and witches (for real!) who leave room in their tricks for people to think they can divine a solution. It is in fact magic, but they have to pretend to be fallible. Houdini was assassinated by an ungodly curse, which he fought bravely. David Copperfield is actually a lower-tier wizard who compensates with charisma.

Fermi’s Paradox has a simple resolution: playfully sadistic alien generals. They have blockaded our solar system to prevent any intelligent life from making contact with us. And when we finally discover for ourselves evidence of extraterrestrial life, they will teleport into our asteroid belt and commence their invasion, leading us into the final struggle for our lives.

There really is some higher power in the universe, and it’s just holding out to make sure it’s got all the stupid and annoying people all accounted for, to be more efficient about wiping them out in one fell swoop.

Japanese forests abound with friendly, furry forest spirits that are enormous and huggable and adorable and take your Dad’s umbrella but give you lots of seeds and aaaaaaaahhhhhh. What I wouldn’t give to actually meet a Totoro.

There’s a bright future for humans, and heat death will never happen. Everyone can frolic in the meadows with butterflies and ponies (and nobody will have allergies – that’s very important) without a care in the world. People may grow old and die, but they do so on their own volition, after settling all their affairs in this life before passing on to the next.

While I’m dreaming, I may as well wish for a meaningful life after death.

Imagine a world where everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

Instead of ending with Vonnegut, I would like to conclude with a poetic and tragic line of Conan Doyle:

“A few words may suffice to tell the little that remains … and there, deep down in that dreadful caldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation … him whom I shall ever regard as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known.”

J39M

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