Closed-Form Solutions

Day 334 Week 49 Q4  Wednesday, November 30, 2022

When a problem can be analytically solved through a finite number of well-known functions, it can be said to have a closed-form solution.  This does happen in mathematics and some of the time in engineering but not as much in real-life situations involving people, who tend toward the nonlinear, infinite and not-so-well-known. Still, the rational among us habitually strive for closed-form solutions while at some level know not to expect them to come about. 

The good news is most of the world does not even know they exist so they do not mind when we do not achieve them, unless of course we talk about them and try to gain converts to our approaches before they fall short, which is embarrassing.

The lesson here is if you are expecting rational linear clear finite solutions, you may not want to talk about it too much, for what will come out is likely to be something different. Another similar concept I call artificial accuracy or exaggerated precision; this is what happens when you divide ten by three and say the answer is 3.333333333, depending upon how many significant digits you think you really have or are required.  This sort of thing shows up in business 0pans written by MBA students while they are still in school or shortly after they graduate. Just because you know how to use a spreadsheet does not mean most of these numbers after the decimal point mean anything.

If you are a mathematician, engineer or physicist, you get to use a lot of significant digits, but if you are in the business world, and you hardly ever get more than one. Most of us live in a base ten world, meaning we deal with 0 to 9 and then roll over to the next column.  As early computer users we sometimes used binary and hexadecimal systems, but that is mostly hidden these days. Getting back to how many significant digits do you get in business, I would say most of the time, only one, especially in a startup. You are doing well if your projections are within ten percent of reality. For example, we will break even in 19 months. Yeah, right, sure you will. Nineteen months plus or minus 10% would still be pretty good. But when your business plan says 19.35 months, it is laughable. And in psychology, I am not sure there are any significant digits at all. No therapist would ever say you will be transformed in 67 days, and it may not even be 6 or 7 months.

I am not saying this to slam business people, psychologists or psychotherapists but to point out that the ability to wrangle spreadsheets does not make life more predictable or accurate except in the rearview mirror. You can certainly examine what-ifs, but just do not count on them being exactly right. Closed-form solutions are less for the living than for the mechanical. And when people are that predictable, you do not want to hang out with them. At least creative outliers do not have this problem. They are not very governed by linear artificial precision. If they were, they would never go for it, Whatever they are going for because the odds are too poor to get excited about.

Spatial Organizing

Day 333 Week 49 Q4  Tuesday, November 29, 2022

As we all have entered this new hybrid world which is in part streaming and in part in person, how does this change our space requirements at home and at work, or are they now the same space?  Has your office sprung up with new microphones, lights, monitors and backdrops? Have the unsightly parts of your office been calling for an overhaul? Have the pile of printers you used to have out, including laser and inkjet and color laser, been sitting there unused? Do you have a lot more chargers and charring surfaces and power supplies and adaptors everywhere? Do you have a calendar on the wall from a few years ago?

Has the sum of all these smaller changes may have made your office dysfunctional or less functional or at a minimum suboptimal? Do you a pile of computers and of monitors that you are no longer using because the new ones are so much faster? And what about all those hard drives for backups? Have tiny SSDs and cloud accounts dramatically changed your backup world?

How about the table you may have had for meetings? Is it piled high with things because you have not had a meeting there in three years? In fact does your office reflect your current reality?

Perhaps our job has changed, or you have retired, or you have some new interests. Or you are working more from home, in which case your hobbies and professional life may be colliding or may have merged. Has your office become a studio or has your studio become an office or maybe a lab? Or is the same space an office, studio and lab? 

Does this space support provide moments of creativity? 

Basically, if you have had the same workspace for more than a few years, it is probably not working as well for you as it could be because the world has changed. And not just outside. Your inside world has also likely changed.

If you were entering this room for the first time, ought now, today, and it was completely empty, would you look around and say yes, this really is perfect for what I am doing and what I intend to be doing? If so, congratulations, you have been modifying and updating and adapting the space to the new you. Seriously that is terrific. 

For many of us, I suspect we have been too busy doing what we were doing to stop and modify and adapt, never mind to stop and design from scratch a space to perform to the current set of requirements. Now I know most of us are saying, sure, this is obvious, but I do not have enough time, and maybe money, to make these changes, and it will be so disruptive that it will destroy my workflow.

Perhaps your workflow needs to be destroyed because you are not likely the same person doing the same things using the same tools. And if you lost a week making the space you are spending half of your life in more supportive of your current goals, using current tools, you might turn out to be twice as productive and four times as happy.

Think about it. And if this does not apply to you as everything that I or anyone else says, ignore it. But if part of you is saying, hey I could design a much better environment to support the behaviors that are consistent with my current goals, then give it some thought. Nothing too drastic. Spend an hour or two imagining a different space organized around a different workflow.

Give yourself permission to change consciously, for most certainly you have been changing, and probably some of it was unconscious. And where has this brought you? Now you may not have changed, and your space may be perfect for you, so of course, disregard every word, and you have probably stopped reading this five minutes ago. 

But, on the other hand, if you already knew all of this and just needed a poke?

Concepts vs. Manifestations 

Day 327 Week 48 Q4  Wednesday November 23, 2022

Hey you would not think there should be a vs. here but an & right? I mean it is concepts that are manifested most of the time or maybe all of the time. Well how about facts versus concepts? Facts are simply manifestations of underlying concepts. Some fields quire a strong memory like law and biology, others like physics and philosophy, require strong ability in conceptual abstraction and then the ability to derive results (facts or manifestations?) from them. If you want to understand how the universe operates memory alone is not going to do it. Memory and understanding are not the same thing and carrying around a large pile of manifestations for me at least is infinitely harder than a handful of concepts, like for example Newton Laws form which you can derive an infinite number of manifestations.

Now I realize that as creative outliers we are a diverse bunch and some may have at their finger tips and enormous number of fact manifestations, and other may have a few buckets of abstract concepts, and there are even some who have both. For me at least concepts are more portable because they are easier to carry and since many creative outliers are supremely curious they often get driven toward concepts more so than other types of people who may be more obsessively organized like successful administrators.

This is why very few improvisational artists make good administrators, leaders yes, administrators not so much.On the other hand real time creators like improvisers can make excellent leaders who project their reality distortion fields over the more sane folks, thereby giving rise to new opportunities, path and directions all of which tend to be messier than compulsively organized people are happy about.

And of course most of us need more than one mode of operating and try to integrate them. A doctor has to know a lot but in attending to a medical crisis may have often to do some improvising because the precise optimal response may be hidden and have to be teased out through action.

Having a solid grasp of underlying concepts can increase your personal power at dealing with the unknown which can be difficult and time consuming to accumulate facts (manifestations) about. Since creative curious imaginative people spent a lot of time in the unknown and tend to be for more comfortable there than those who are less creative, it is my hypothesis that there people (us) tend to be more concept based than facts based or perhaps just have both. Maybe that is why creative outliers are also called gifted, because they seem to have MORE. More ideas, more energy, more disruption, and can be more of a pain to deal with.

The common phrase in the entrepreneurial world, is you can recognize the real entrepreneurs by the arrows in their backs. 

Caught Between Analog & Digital

Day 322 Week 47 Q4  Friday, November 18, 2022

The dream of a digital life without paper continues to elude me. I have so many different digital notebooks, folders, files, hard drives, cloud accounts and communications that it is not even possible to catalog all of them. I remember when my offices, laboratories and studios all eventually became such a massive pile of information, tools, gear and instruments to become unwieldy and impossible to work within. Then you could begin to toss things out and organize and store and prioritize, but you could actually see most of these things and although they may have seemed to be infinite, they were very finite in comparison to my digital world. 

Owning fifty domain names and a dozen websites, and half a zone cloud accounts do become very hard to keep track of. And over time, we all accumulate multiple email identities from all of our various associations, to mention other ways to communicate too numerous to even list. This digital jungle, full of invisible paths and structures, although providing infinite flexibility, also requires a fair amount of maintenance and protection. I. Like most of you, never wanted to become an IT guy, but we have all become forced into it through owning dozens of devices and digital identities, all rearing protection against being hacked and weeding to prevent overgrown morasses. I am sure I have over ten terabytes of cloud accounts and over ten hard drives in my desk drawers, in addition to multiple desktops and laptops and tablets and phones.

I wonder if I could get rid of everything and just have one phone number, computer, and digital identity without forwarding all of those other messy universes into my new clean simpler orderly one. I have been carrying around a simple definition of being organized for several years, which I still am trying to get to.

How about this one for you, creative outliers?

Be able to find anything you own within five minutes. That goes for both your digital and physical worlds. Have you ever bought something again that you already own but could not find? Have you had the disciple to weed your digital gardens along with your file cabinets (if you still have any)?

I am going to try to make the push toward being organized by this very simple definition. If I can not find it in five minutes, then I am not sure how much use it is to me. This is especially true for digital information, but I suspect should be possible for my basement and my garage, and my file cabinets.

You see, the problem is we are analog devices increasingly living in digital worlds, yes, multiple worlds. Originally I was an acoustician who designed sound systems and was frequently reminded of this because our ears are analog. We hear sound waves, not digital waveforms. A slab of electronics producing a time-varying voltage can not be heard by anyone until that digital signal becomes an analog electrical one, and then that analog signal must still take the final step of becoming a sound wave which retries a transducer to change electricity into pressure. These are also called speakers or headphones or earbuds. All of these devices have to be analog, and the kind of analog a human can directly experience. 

An increasing portion of humanity’s 8 billion souls is digital natives, with the rest of us being digital immigrants. This is even true for those of us who have designed large hunks of the digital universe the natives are now occupying. We all still have to bane the Digital, and the analog and can not get out of it for we humans are actually analog.   

So back to this concept of being organized. Do you think you can reduce your entropy to the degree that you can locate anything in your life in five minutes?  I for one, do think it is possible, but it might require getting rid of 95% of what I have. And this is a hard sell.

But think of how much time you would save. And this searching for stuff time is not generally enjoyable positive time. It may be time to evaluate the return on investment for deep cleaning. I guess it depends on how much time is lost every day searching.

It might even be time to reconcile our digital and analog worlds full of information.  Just as over 90% of our emails are garbage I suspect that over 90% of our stored information is also garbage. In fact, it might even be 99%! What is the impact on the entropy of that? To be organized, we might have to get rid of 99% of our stuff.  And to do these periodically.  I have gotten rid of a third to a half of my stuff in the physical world half a dozen times throughout the years, but still, I have managed to go from hundreds of square feet of stuff to thousands of square feet of stuff.

Maybe this is why nature has to have forest fires. I wonder what a digital forest fire would look like. Could you dump 99% of your data? I bet you could, or perhaps you are so disciplined that you are already doing this all of the time, like taking out the garbage – of so congratulations are in order. But if you are carrying around hundreds of thousands of old emails, pictures, project documents, etc., hmmm, do you really need that stuff? And then there is the issue of rev management. Which versions are the ones you still need?

It makes my head hurt thinking about it, which is why I have millions of files distributed across an unknown number of accounts and devices but I suspect I may need a digital forest fire to do a giant reset.

How about you? Can you find anything in your life in five minutes? 

Strong Routines, Strong Identities

Day 321 Week 47 Q4  Thursday, November 17, 2022

Creative Outliers, have you taken the time to develop a strong routine to support your strong identity? I am assuming since you are creative and therefore have a lot of imagination, that you can be many different people and play many different roles. And that with a nearly infinite set of options greeting you every day, you have to choose exactly what you want to do and how to do it.

I am wondering if it has occurred to you that without converging upon a fairly strong identity concept or target identity, then it can be difficult to determine exactly what behaviors you need to perform at any given moment.  Are you the one in the room who tends to generate so many options that others melt down? I was once told by a close associate after a thoroughly enjoyable expensive articulation of my latest “insights” at a staff meeting I was running, “so are these ideas to act upon or just to consider? As I was reveling in the expression of ideas and possibilities, I was confusing everyone in the room about whether they should be changing course or not.  My Bad!

If you can do it to others, you can do it to yourself just as well. You may think that you love having lots of ideas and potential directions and projects, and I am sure we all do. But there can be a lot of wasted time shifting gears.

Here is where the notion of strong routines comes in; if you habituate some behaviors, then the overhead associated with performing them dramatically shrinks. Habits are nothing but automated behaviors. If you knew what you had to do, then turning these into habits saves a to of time and a lot of heartaches.   

But if you do not have a very solid and strong identity, then how do yo know which behaviors to habituate? Some would argue that is what project management is for, identify goals and break them down into milestones and then further into tasks and “badda-boom-badda-bing,” you are all set. You have a plan and a set of tasks and execute them. 

But what if these behaviors are not consistent with your identity? It will be very difficult to perform them, which is why I think a strong identity has to come before strong behaviors, routines or habits. Until you have a firm and realistic target identity, you can not articulate meaningful goals, for they will not necessarily be consistent with who you think you are.

Yes, I know the world tends to be goal-oriented and then attempt to manage projects to achieve these goals but I am unimpressed for the vast majority of goals are not achieved especially when talking out creative outliers which simply have too many options or at least many more options the those who are not creative outliers. 

If you are a creative outlier, it is imperative to understand who you are and who you want to be, for until that strong identity is identified, how can you possibly know what strong routines to create? You might even create goals and behaviors that are inconsistent with who you are and who you want to be, and then you will be wasting your time (and everyone else’s).

So yes, we do need strong routines to archive clear goals, but without a strong, clear identity, these goals will remain, like the majority of goals declared by most people, unattained. Remember, in a race, everyone has the same goal – to win. But only one person wins. And the person is the one whose behaviors have been turned into routines or habits that support the desired outcome, but these have to be consistent with your identity.

This is BIG – Behaviors are informed by Identity before Goals can be meaningful.  Think about it.

Full Agenda Kickstart

Day 320 Week 47 Q4  Wednesday, November 16, 2022

There is nothing like a full set of commitments to force the creation of a schedule and a budget. This is why it is said if you want tog get something done, give it to a busy person. And sometimes, there can be a shortcut. If you are not already, make yourself that busy person and then you will have to fit the net task into a larger pile, making it easier to address. This works well unless you are in straw and camel territory about to break, which is always a possibility. But assuming you are somewhere between fairly open and totally committed, there does come a time that, without a schedule, a mess is likely to ensue. 

And as creative outliers, this is not an infrequent occurrence, for creative outliers are not known for strict, orderly workflows. Emotions are a different sort of taskmaster than logic. Just as artists are different than administrators, well, the bad news is when your plate is full, you may have to bring back out your inner administrator. What if you do not have one?  Sure you do; it has just been sidelined while you were engaged by more emotionally relevant stuff.

But there comes a time when your emotions commit you to a large pile of things that just really have to happen and unless you are willing to let go of them, you are ogling to have to reduce entropy and create some more order unless you have the perfect order of the monkey with his hand in the jar not willing to let go of any marbles. 

Apart from attempting to manage using old animal analogies, there really is the issue that when you become fully engaged by a pile of tasks that you get to do, after all they were your ideas right, the some sort of increase in structure is called for. Wow, you may even need to set an alarm clock or two. 

But the good news is there was not much of a need to create a tight schedule until you were fully engaged by a pile of commitments and if you find yourself now needing to reduce the entropy of winging it, this is very good news.  As creative outliers, you have probably created a pile of commitments that you wanted to create because they mattered to you, and now you get to organize them into some sort of structure that roughly resembles a schedule.

Guess it is time to apply some of the excess creativity to creating containers for the creativity and then ordering them into a reasonably stable structure.

I call this the Full Agenda Kickstart.

And no, it is not a drag; it is a thing that you get to do because you have finally come up with a large pile of commitments which hopefully has something to do with your large pile of dreams. Therefore it is time to love the mess you created, for now, you get to do what you always wanted to do, right?

Triggering

Day 316 Week 46 Q4  Saturday November 12, 2022

Triggering – causing a particular action, process, or situation to happen:

Musicians can have very deep relationships with the instruments they play. For some composers, the instrument they are playing at a given moment can cause a new piece of music to come into being. This complex dance is in part to do with the way an instrument sounds and in part with the way it feels to play it. These sonic and tactile contexts can have a tremendous impact on the emotional engagement of playing. Now some musicians may play a single instrument for their entire career, and others may have dozens or even hundreds of instruments. In part, this is impacted by cost, size, history and many other variables, and there is so much that can be said about this phenomenon, that it could fill volumes, which perhaps I will do some time, but here I want to describe a single instrument and how it seems to be unleashing a multitude of paths forward some previously considered or imagined and others unanticipated. 

The triggering instrument under observation happens to be a guitar. As their size and cost are in general, not prohibitive, many times guitarists end up owning more than one. Some famous and or wealthy guitarists may own hundreds, and a fair number of middle-aged and older guitarists end up owning more than a handful, causing them to often consider thinning the herd or changing its composition at various times for various reasons, some logistical like moving or economic status and some stylistic as they move between different genres of music. All of this is quite normal and a conversation that those who have played for decades easily fall into as it is a shared affliction sometimes called GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) which can become expensive, time-consuming and relationship damaging if left unchecked.

But none of this is what I want to elaborate upon today. Today I want to describe the impact of a single instrument, which I have owned it for a couple of years, desired from a distance for the decade prior, and been intending to press into service with increasing impetus. And yes, this is also a metaphor for triggering in general, as there are many projects and intentions we all imagine will be causal in one way or another, for whatever reasons our mind or circumstances erect obstacles to prevent manifesting. But sometimes the potential pot boils over, and you can find yourself engaged in something which has unintended consequences, and this was just such a time.

Back to the instrument, which is a guitar that uniquely combines many capabilities that not only most lay people are unaware exist or would even have any reason for existing, but even lifelong guitarists are also mostly unaware of as well. Have I piqued your interest yet? If you are not a musician, perhaps not, but stick around for the metaphor.

First of all, this is an electric, not an acoustic, guitar. However, it purports to be able to sound not only like an acoustic or an electric guitar but also a dozen different types of guitars that have different characteristics. It can sound like a twelve-string or a banjo or a baritone or a Fender or a Gibson or a Rickenbacker, and more. The instrument family is called the Variax, as guitarists sometimes call their guitars axes. It is quite variable to use integrated signal processing to alter the sound in many ways. And having a herd of various guitars myself, this is not the larger trigger I am referring to.

It was the act of acquiring something that I knew I would have to modify to archive my goals, even if I was reluctant to do so for it was going to be more difficult than simply picking it up and playing it. And only a nerd would take a brand new, extremely multidimensional instrument and deliberately alter it, but yes, I am that nerd.

Apart from what I did and why I did it, which could be an entire chapter of a book itself, even though it only took three hours (so far), the immediate impact rippled through my going to sleep and waking dreams where I surprisingly found myself unstuck from other projects, desired activities and new directions.

How can you spend three hours using roughly $100 worth of tools and parts to modify an instrument that, when first introduced, was $4000 but which I ultimately acquired two years ago for $1000 matters very much if you already have a pile of instruments and have been playing for decades? Well, this is why I am naming this instrument trigger, even though I know Willie Nelson has a completely zero overlap guitar, he named trigger long ago, and I am barely aware of him and his music which has no intersection with mine that I know of.

This is taking too long so let me skip to a few triggered paths. Most electric guitars come with skinny steel-based strings as they are intended for rock and other popular music forms. Skinny strings meaning sets beginning with .010” or less, do not exert much tension upon the neck of a guitar as the fatter strings used in jazz. I can assure you that putting fat strings on a guitar not designed for them can wreak havoc, having done this myself a long time ago, which was a painful but thorough lesson. Also, there are many types of materials and constructions of strings that impact the tone and feel. Suffice it to say ft string strings also sometimes require filing or altering the supporting structures of the instrument to accommodate them by permitting them to fit on the instrument, and there is a pile of adjustments that are used to “set up” an instrument. Yes, most of these are performed by professionals or courageous nerds who sometimes, but do not always, become competent at these tasks.

The simple act of changing strings is not always a simple act unless you replace the old ones with new ones that are either similar or identical to the old ones but these do not fall under the category of modification. The larger the difference, the more things ripple through. To leap ahead to the benefits of being willing to violate my comfort zone by finding the parts, and the tools, doing some de-risking analysis, and then performing the minor surgery yields me an on-ramp with the same instrument to multiple sounds, styles and tunings and a guitar laboratory which is part in hardware and part in software to design not only an infinite set of different instruments but to have them instantly available while playing by pressing a button or turning a knob. And then there are the imagined benefits of performing other surgeries on other guitars in the future.

As a composer, this single three-hour operation provides me with an infinite library of inspirational possibilities to write and play an awful lot of music. It also significantly frees me from avoiding many other alterations that may be time-consuming, expensive, or hard to make happen externally. This is why I am calling today’s thoughts triggering. The number of procrastinated bottlenecks that now have cracks in the obstacles is huge and together institute a new life trajectory literally just from wanting to make a solid body electric rock guitar sound and feel like a larger hollow-body jazz guitar plus another hundred types of guitars, which by the way I did accomplish.

Are there things in your life you can do today, right now, which have been holding you back for years? I bet there are. Trigger yourself into emancipation. It may be relatively easy, inexpensive, and quick, and it may unleash huge amounts of energy and possibility. 

Wishes, Dreams, Desires, Plans and Goals

Day 270 Week 40 Q3  Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Pirates by Howard

Yesterday a friend asked several New Yorkers on Rosh Hashanah, “What do you desire in this new year?” 

Dan R. followed this with “How are desires different from wishes, dreams, goals, or plans?”

These seemed like excellent questions to ask, especially to creative outliers, so here we go. To my mind, desires seem more immediate, as in real-time right now. Plans and goals seem longer-term. And wishes and dreams feel more ephemeral. Maybe these just strike me this way, so let me explain. 

Wishes seem a little lightweight to me, as though if they do not come true, that’s okay because there are a lot of other things going on. Dreams feel a bit more persistent and, therefore, a little harder to let go of. Plans seem to have something to do with scheduling, commitment, and resource allocation. And goals, well, they are definitely long-term and require serious commitment. Then there is the impact of identity or self-image. When goals are not consistent with who you think you are, they will probably not happen. For example, you have been out of shape for years and have the goal of completing a marathon in a little over two hours. This is not going to happen. Or say you are a broke eighty-year-old creating a plan to accumulate ten million dollars in the next three years. Well, good luck. Wishes and dreams do not raise the alarms to me that crazy plans and improbable goals do. 

Here we come to desires, and they do seem to be more serious because they seem to be more emotionally loaded. If you desire something, I think you are going to try harder to get it or accomplish it sooner than your dreams and wishes. At least I would. For me, desires seem to be more emotionally relevant than plans and goals, which feel more rational and well-considered. Wishes and dreams also seem a little more emotional but with a lot less attachment. Desires seem to require care and feeding if they are to play a role in your life. You probably have to touch bases with your desires to keep them alive. It feels like they require some continuity and, more than that, some momentum. Desires do not seem as intermittent to me as the other words.

Also, there is probably a continuum where dreams become more explicit wishes and turn into plans which are attempting to reach goals, but if there is no desire in the undermining, I think the likelihood of passing through these stages is less. Let me describe a recent and slightly crazy desire which has come to me recently. And try not to laugh; remember it is neither as pragmatic as a goal or a plan, nor is it as ephemeral as a dream or a wish, and yes, a little bit of back story is required to understand this desire.

My desire is to become a singer-songwriter jazz artist accompanying myself on five-string bass cello. Yes, I know; when you hear the phrase singer-songwriter, it does not bring to mind jazz artists, and who ever heard of a five-string bass cello? Not me.

Yet I have such an intense desire to do this that I have a five-string cello arriving tomorrow with a built-in pickup so it can be plugged into an amplifier for performance, and no, I do not know how to play the cello or any other instrument tuned in fifths. Although I do have a ton of performance experience on keyboards and guitars, with plenty of improvising going on, and in recent years have begun to sing fifty years after believing this was impossible for me, even I admit being a singing bass cello player is a bit of a stretch. But I am a creative outlier with plenty of life experience doing improbable things. And by the way, what do I even mean by a bass cello, after all, there are cellos, viola da gambas, double basses, bass guitars, and electric basses, and some of these have frets, and some do not, like the cello.

Okay, here is the line of reasoning, not that you asked, but you might find it interesting or at least potentially illustrative of what fuels desire. First of all, if you are a composer, as I am these days, your chief concern is getting your pieces performed. If you are capable of performing them yourself and have even a moderate amount of charisma, the likelihood is astronomically higher that you will hear them performed. In these only slightly post-pandemic days being a solo act or, as I call myself, a monsemble makes it so much easier by eliminating the latencies ( time delays) musicians attempting to sync up on the internet experience and also by eliminating a lot of competition. Now there are what seems like millions of singing guitar players and keyboard players but very few singing bass players, although of course Paul McCartney, Sting, Jack Bruce, Chris Squire, John Lodge, Geddy Lee, Esperanza Spalding, Timothy B Schmit, Bootsy Collins, John Paul Jones a couple of dozen come to mind. But have you ever heard of a singing cello player? Even a single one? Well, I found a few on google but never heard of any of them.

Most jazz improvisers can not sing or do not want to, and most cellists can not play jazz or jazz bass lines, but what if one were to put a fifth string on a cello and it was lower to get into the bass range? Yes, there are issues that will come up.  Cellos are tuned in fifths and guitars are tuned in fourths, and cello notes that deep will not sound loud enough to be part of an acoustic jam. So, yes, you need to mess with different fingering, different strings, amplification, and equalization in addition to the other musical obstacles. Ok, I said I was a creative outlier which is the reason I like to hang with other creative outliers.

In any case, this is not just a wish or dream, and I will not dignify it by calling it a goal with a plan. However, it is a well-formed desire which will be great fun, highly differentiated, and, I hope, musically explosive. And therefore, I am going for it. 

Ok, you creative outliers, have you ever found yourself fully engaged in some activity that did not make sense to most of the world? Of course, you did – that is the definition of being a creative outlier, so you get it.

See you on the other side of the bass cello. 

Which End is Which 

What do you mean by that? Are we talking about which end of the house is the front or the back, or which end of a project is the beginning or the ending? Or which end of the story is the starting point or the ending point? And why even ask such a question?

Because the answer may seem obvious to all of them, and I contest it is obvious to none of them because reality is not linear. There really is no beginning or end, and everything is really the middle until perhaps when you die and then perhaps not even then.

Sure, you can say when you were born and when you died, or maybe you can’t, but someone else can, but is this really true, for we are reborn many times and die many times in our lives?  How about graduations and weddings and first projects completed? Are these not also beginnings and endings? And how about life-changing understandings that come on you sometimes slowly and sometimes below the threshold of perception, but when examined later on (or even by others), they are obvious.

If you have a house surrounded by woods as I do, it is still hard for me to determine which is the front and which is the back, for the front door is on the side of the house and there seem to be three different backs, and since there is a circular drive that splits going to more than one part of the house I am still confused and when people come to visit so are they.

Linearity is convenient and even sometimes accurate, but do not confuse this for reality which is of greater dimension than can be accommodated by linearity. We just like to tell stories to cope. The stories often have beginnings, middles and ends but only until someone asks a question and the interactivity changes the relative aspects based upon context.

A straight line approximation to describe a situation is certainly convenient but equally certainly not the whole story.