Monday, January 30, 2012

Doing Music Biz Stuff via Smartphone

I've got an Android smartphone. It's greater than I had anticipated. I was looking forward to having more internet access via phone, to better apps and yes, to playing Angry Birds.

But what's really great is that everything I need to access in terms of Utenzil business communications is available on it. There's an IMAP client for my Utenzil email address, there is Twitter, Facebook and Linked In, and there is even a credit card swiper from

I can go to a gig, event, conference, whatever, bring along music media and sell it by credit card using my phone.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Actual Music Thoughts

As you may recall, as I dimly recall, this blog is about the hapless exploits of a musician exploring what he might do with electronic music. So he started this notion of "Utenzil", put together and played a few places and put out some CDs which got distributed via digital distribution and it was all very exciting even if not particularly lucrative.

Meanwhile, the world has been moving at a frenetic pace, the hardware and software improved and more and more electronic music riffs and effects first trickling, then flooding, into mainstream popular music, and Utenzil continues to belabor the obvious.

So, a new course into uncharted (well at least less charted... Not as clearly charted, maybe) music endeavors is needed.

There is a track on my soundcloud page that somehow has gotten a couple of hundred listens. A quasi-goal of the Utenzil endeavor was to avoid resorting to crass, expensive, exhausting and elaborate marketing efforts, in order to see if/how an audience might occur without being "pushed".

So I mentioned my site and tracks posted in various places in a few internet spaces (this is before social media, also) and then as social media grew, then there as well, but just mentions, not long running ads or bit campaigns or any of that crap.

That this weird orchestral track might find more popularity than the others posted along with it is interesting.
So I'm going to do more of that, because it's more unique, just as fun, it lets me experiment with my electric guitar, and it is almost entirely improvisational.


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Just a bit on prophecy, symbols and interpretation

It is very easy to write expertly on matters of opinion, when we are expert on our opinions and the reasons that we have them. Some opinions are valued, others not, depending on the subject matter and the depth of understanding the holder of the opinion has in that subject matter. To be really valuable, a demonstration of the depth of understanding of the opinion holder is required, through some manner of a record of accomplishments in the subject in question.

Incidentally, if you have an opinion and are not expert on the reasons you have it, then it is (in my opinion) a matter of some self-inquiry as to the basis for it, but that is tangential to my reason for posting...

My reason for posting does relate to opinions, though, and in particular the opinion as to whether or not various prophecy is valid at all.

The Revelations of John in the Bible are a very oft quoted and much interpreted set of prophecies. There is one section, that talks about kingdoms and kings in a symbolic way, where the symbols have been expertly "mapped" onto certain kingdoms of the day, both prior to the time of the prophecy and after, making it interesting.

Now, it is always the case that this mapping of symbols from abstract things to real ones is a matter of opinion.

An example, in the time of the Romans, a significant amount of emphasis was placed on this practice, which was as important to large scale planning as data analysis would be today, and the opinion of a skilled practioner was an absolute requirement before any undertaking. So, an augerer would observe the mechanism of the prophecy (e.g. movement of a flight of birds) in a certain situation (e.g. within an especially contrived viewing area) and would report on the indications, on the "auspices", derived from the observation.

So there were characteristics to this mechanism of prophecy that had been cataloged by the practitioners thereof, and the presence or absence of certain of these characteristics helped shape the determination. These things were extremely important, in many early civilizations. In "The Art of War", among the components of the first step is to gauge the auspices.

That the institutions that enshrined these prophecies flourished and endured for as long as they did is kind of amazing. But these are more kind of "practical" prophecies: prophecies with a purpose, and very likely often tainted by some knowledge of what the requestor of the "forecast" really wanted, like the modern fictional premise of the fortune teller being retained as long as the right fortunes were dispensed.

Lately, it seems like the more "abstract" prophecies, like the Revelations, or like the Hopi Prophecy of the Blue Star Kachina, that are made for purely for prophecy's sake are all the rage because of the Mayan calendar thing. Really, a prophecy about the end of the world is not particularly useful, because if it's true, there is not a lot one can do about it other than change personally, which of course these prophecies exhort.

But the reason I'm writing this is to state an opinion about these things, and the opinion is that people who try to interpret them seriously need to be more considerate. They need to be considerate of the people who they are affecting with these interpretations, and also more considerate of the content they are interpreting.

For example: the Comet Lovejoy is clearly a prominently visible (in the Southern Hemisphere) blue "star". The Blue Star Kachina "dances in the plaza and removes his mask" is readily extrapolated from "flies through the center of the Solar System and loses it's outer mantle". Wow, ok. So if this Comet is the Blue Star, then what should happen next? Well, next two brothers appear, the nephews of the Blue Star.

And here is the other aspect of consideration: how soon is next?

When you read Revelations, things happen rapidly, one after the other: angels pouring vials and trumpets sounding. But there is no specific indication of how quickly, only that there is a sequence.

So even if one absolutely nails any of the indicators in any of these prophecies to a certain thing in a certain time, Even if the Comet Lovejoy is the Blue Star Kachina, these two brothers, who appear in the Northwest, may not come for some time. Or, they may come very soon. Then, after these, the Red Star, which is really the horrible part, analogous to the star that falls to Earth in Revelations.

Again, when each "next" is in relation to the before, there is no indication.

But here is the final thing, the thing that is sure: both the prophecy of the Revelations and the Blue Star Kachina indicate that the primary reason for these awful tribulations is a spiritual transformation. This transformation, one can undertake at any time.

So, logically: rather than worrying about when the end happens, cut to the chase and (if you have not already) begin your transformation, and you'll be ok. Or, as ok as one can be given these things.

And there is maybe some irony that the ones most likely to be destroyed by the foretold calamaties are the ones least likely to pay attention to prophecies.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Great video and the end of the world riff

Here are some quick thoughts about the whole EOTW notion, celestial mechanics and a really cool video.
When the night sky was free of urban light pollution, the Milky Way was clearly visible. A time lapse video of the night sky taken in Chile, in a place outside of Santiago where the Milky Way is still clear, as the Earth rotates, the orientation of the Milky Way changes:  where at an early nighttime point in time it is diagonally across the sky, pointing at maybe 10 o'clock, by the time the sun comes up, it is nearly perpendicular to the horizon, at twelve o'clock.
Here is the video- it is really great, intended to capture comet Lovejoy, which is spectacular, but you can see the Milky Way clearly as well:
The orientation of the Milky Way is strongly noted by the "dark road" down the middle. This is actually dust that obscures the stars towards the center of the galaxy, which make the "river" of the distant galactic glow of stars seem like it has two lanes.
At any rate, throughout most of human history before city lights, this view of the sky was everyone's view, including the Mayans.
And, just like the moving orientation of the galaxy through the sky can be expressed in terms of a clock's hand, so can longer periods of time be told by changes that occur in that orientation.
The galaxy is a large wheel, with a thickness, and it seems to spin mightily. That dark band, The Great Rift, lies between us and the wheel's hub, where we are about a third of the way in from the edge of the galaxy. Now, the solar system rides around that hub, in a peculiar way. There is the revolution around the galactic center, but also an up and down, in and out movement. It's like the solar system is on the back of a merry go round horse that spins on an axis from its nose to its tail. Relatively, the distances are very large, so our star and its planets are tiny grains on the horse's saddle, moving in tight little orbits around the big grain that is the sun.
Our planet travels in an ellipse on a plane around the sun, which travels along that slinky-shaped path around the galactic center, in a way where our solar orbit's planar orientation to the plane of the galaxy is not coincident or parallel with the predominant plane of the galaxy. Our planet rotates on a slightly tilted axis relative to our orbit, but not so tilted as to account for the side view of the galaxy to go like a windshield wiper halfway across the sky.
But the sum of the earth's tilt plus the skew of the plane of the solar system relative to the galactic plane AND angle from our position along the "slinky path" is why we see the Sun coming up basically straight up "inside" the Dark Rift, as the comet tail fades in the dawn.
Now, look carefully at that part of the video. What did the ancients see?
The sun rising into the blackest part of the sky, into the "jaws" of the giant dragon/beast, about to be devoured at the very moment the sun's own brilliance obliterates the awful scene!
What can we imagine what they'd be see now, given some idea of how they imagined?
The sun, armed with the spear-like comet, slaying the dragon? Or climbing up into the rift, where it appears like a large high-backed chair, a throne (!) almost climbing up like a small child, and taking his place? Wielding a sword, or sceptre (the comet) to it's right, with which to banish the darkness!
And we see the comet, it's tail is nearly parallel with the galactic plane, so this gives us some information locally about the orientation of the entire galaxy, all without advanced optics.
Amazing sight, I can't help feeling thankful.

[edit, added links]
A description of the solar system's path around the galaxy from a physics blog:

Additional information, noting the spiral "slinkk" path:

"Local" motion of solar system, and nature of the heliosphere