There Is No Cat

Groovy '60s Sounds from the Land of Smile!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Chocolate Tuba

A couple of years ago, I registered a domain name and put up a placeholder that consisted of the site name and a photograph that illustrated it. Now that I’m not working, I took some time and actually built the site.

Chocolate Tuba is about music that crosses cultures, combines disparate genres. Two things that are great individually, but you would not expect to see them put together. And yet, they can be surprisingly delightful!

The idea here is that music that combines genres unexpectedly is like a chocolate tuba.

I built the site using Eleventy, a static site generator. My first attempt a couple of years ago was with Gatsby, but once I saw the code it generated, I discarded it. There was a lot of crud that I didn't write that was necessary for the site to operate. I didn't like that. Eleventy doesn't insist on using a particular Javascript framework like React; in fact, you don't have to use Javascript at all. I have a bit of Javascript in the build process, but the output doesn't include any all, because it simply isn't necessary. All I'm doing here is writing a little text and including an embedded YouTube video (using the no-cookies approach to embedding) of music that fits the criteria established, that the music combine two approaches or genres or cultures in a way that is unexpected and that works.

Yesterday I saw a post shared a few times on social media about how the web used to be "fun and punk and ~weird~"". Now that I have some free time on my hands, maybe I can help bring a little more fun, punk, ~weirdness~ back to the web.

Posted at 6:35 PM
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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Social Media Holiday

I took the last month off from my Twitter subsitute social media networks, Mastodon and BlueSky.

It was wonderful.

These firehose-of-posts networks serve as distraction engines, sucking up my attention and making it hard for me to focus on anything else.

Social media has been part of my life for basically my entire adult life, going back to my early 20s when I spent all my time on Usenet.

It was useful to get away from it. I found myself being more present in my daily life. I took an improv class, and I didn't tell the entire world about it as it was happening.

I'm dipping my toes back in now. I don't feel like I can let myself dive in head first and go back to how I used to use these networks, though. BlueSky, in particular, annoys the fuck out of me with how its clients work, taking me to the most recent post and then forcing me to remember where I was before. That's a basic violation of the user experience need to minimize cognitive load, and it makes me want to use it less. For Mastodon, using Ivory as my client means that I can catch up at my leisure. I intend to take it up on that, only checking in a few times a day instead of switching to the program every few minutes to read the most recent three or four posts.

Social media is made up of people, and if I follow you, there's a reason I follow you. So I don't want to lose track of that. But I can't deal with the constant theft of attention. It's like having a hyperactive hyena baying in your ear every few minutes. I can't deal with that right now. Either I make social media work on my own terms moving forward, or I have to walk away.

Posted at 12:04 PM
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This site is copyright © 2002-2024, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio

There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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