SciFi/Space Soundscape (Creating an Atmosphere with myNoise)

What is better than reading or writing about space? Immersing yourself in a matching atmosphere while doing so. Put on lights that reflect the mood of your literary adventure (or academic endeavour) and turn on sounds that carry you across the cosmos. Listening to music can be distracting, especially if it contains lyrics, but how about a gently rumbling Warp Drive or electric winds humming in tune with the fish tank on your space station?

I bet most of you have heard (of) noise generators online by now. My favourite one is myNoise*, which has a lot of really cool features. If you donate a small amount, you get some more, like stacking several sound generators in a convenient mega generator. But even with the free version you can listen to more than one generator at the same time, you just have to wait a bit in between starting them.

If you love Star Trek and science fiction or space in general, there are some generators you might enjoy in particular:

I like to pair one of these with Distant Thunder (Thunder and Rain), Church (Beatae Memoriae/All Souls’ Day; I disable the sliders that have voices), and occasionally Cat Purr*** (Furry Friend).

There is also a huge amount of technical noises if you enjoy this kind of environmental sound. I’m more a fan of combining space-travelling ambience with natural sounds, like the aforementioned thunder and rain, or a Japanese garden, water flowing in a cave … it gives me a sense of calm anticipation, like exploring the vastness of space and a serene/solitary planet side at once – or sitting in the arboretum/experimental garden of a spaceship, reading, dreaming of rainy days. The feelings I get from these combined atmospheres can range from carefree relaxed curiosity (great for studying) to sweet aching loneliness in the face of a cold, dark stretch of empty space and feeling like none of my friends understands the way space touches me.

Three other reasons why I love myNoise:

  1.  All the generators have nice descriptions, e.g., about the recording process, the intended atmosphere, … and warnings about negative effects on some (if you are sensitive, check the descriptions first on generators from the “Brainwaves” section!
  2. When a user comments on a particular generator, their current settings are saved as well and you can click on the blue heart next to a comment to listen in.
  3. The “animate” feature, which somehow randomizes around your current settings so you can listen longer without tiring.

When you want to return or look back to your home planet, you could check out the generator called Planet Earth, which “relies on a subset of the Golden Record tracks” (and sounds quite chaotic when all sliders are turned on).

What is your favourite generator? Do you use music or soundscapes for creative writing or painting? I’d love to see your art!

Safe journey.

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* This is NOT a sponsored post (though I would definitely accept sponsorship from this cool page …), I just really enjoy the generators on that page because they help me focus at work and stay relaxed in the office cacophony.

** Names in brackets are the ones you’ll see on top of the generator itself after clicking on the respective link, sometimes they are different from the link labels in the overview page.

*** Leave a comment if you get the reference ;)

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Wording

Lately I’ve been thinking about metaphors (nothing new about that in itself) and how the words chosen when talking/writing about science, ethics, and environmental issues might influence the reaction in people and their willingness to reflect and act. It’s a big field, from biblical wordings (and their translations) about dominion, usage, and stewardship of the earth to modern capitalistic conceptualisations of human beings as a resource. Words matter. Some are dark matter. To achieve the desired effects, careful wording is essential. Then again, words are easily employed to manipulate opinions and emotions. Where is the line between gently steering people via purposeful education into the direction with the most promising outlook for our species as a whole and the planet we keep changing, and blatantly misusing this tool to enforce a scientific world view on the brink of turning into an ideology to counter the ideologies deemed more harmful, to manipulate people into sacrificing the freedom of forming opinion and ruminating and coming to good conclusions based on knowledge, not fear and force? How can we use words to make people wonder again and delight in discoveries? How to break new ideas to our kind so often afraid of change and the vasteness of the cosmos? How to make people feel involved?

 

(Also, I hardly make any progress reading my books at the moment because my mind strays to all these side tracks of thought. Tonight’s rambling is presented to you by the introduction of “Earth in Human Hands” by David Grinspoon. You should see the crazy stuff Carl Sagan does to my brain … he did metaphors so well. Normally I’m a quick reader, by the way.)

Space Stuff Comping Up! (Reading List and Poetry)

I spent autumn getting back into my beloved science fiction and space in general.

Books I started reading:

  • The Tower and the Hive (series, sequel to the Talents trilogy) – finished two of five volumes. The Talents-universe Anne McCaffrey created just speaks to me with its unique atmosphere, slow and steady but still energetic pace, nostalgic feel, and threads of hard fiction (e.g. thorough description of life in domes on a Jupiter moon) among the crazy.
  • Spacefaring: The Human Dimension by Colin Phillinger; read the first few pages. Lovely blend of space exploration and psychology, as far as I can see. Not an easy read for tired evenings, but maybe for the upcoming holidays.
  • Cosmos, paperback version of Carl Sagan’s classic. Currently in my backpack, but as with the book above it needs some time and quiet to be truly appreciated. Hard to read on the train, but his wonderful command of metaphors and the like makes it worth the slow read an contemplation. When I find a seat in the mornings I try to read a few paragraphs to set the mood for the day.

I haven’t started Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophsics for People in a Hurry yet, but I’m looking forward to it as I thoroughly enjoy his (and his colleagues’) insights on Star Talk Radio.

My wishlist for Christmas contains mainly books, from Earth in Human Hands to Broca’s Brain.

Reading inspires me to write. I finished creating a series of haiku-styled factoids about our solar system which I’ll post as soon as I’ve decided whether to post them separately or in one big post. Apart from this I started collecting bits and pieces of thoughts on my reading material. I’ve been toying with some bigger ideas for a few months but they are not solid enough yet, though I might post fragments on their own.

 

My Absurd GOT/ASOAIF Theories

Most, if not all, of the following is written for personal amusement and mind games and therefore to be taken with a grain barrel of salt.

Predictions

  • Arya kills Cersei and Daenerys, probably by killing Cersei first and taking her face to trick Dany into negotiations (or by arranging for them to kill each other), takes the Dragons and flies North to burn the Others. Optional: gives one dragon each to Jon and Lyanna (team badass girls). Or to the Hound. The Hound with a pet dragon should be quite interesting.
  • Truly all (highborn) men die and the remaining want-to-be queens resort to mud wrestling until they get caught by winter. Then the small folks and wildlings take over the realm because these stupid aristocrats get nothing done.
  • Sansa gets everyone in the North killed/captured/wighted. Wight-Sansa and Arya/Nymeria proceed to have an epic showdown.
  • Bran or Jon contact Arya telepathically as soon as she fully wargs Nymeria for the first time and give her the full picture of the wintery mess. Arya meets Tyrion on behalf of Sansa (I think deep down he still likes her at least as a friendly companion), together they convince Daenerys and all the fire worshippers (except for Melisandre, maybe, she’s an annoying creep) to torch the White Walkers.
  • No wight dragons. I mean, considering dragon glass, they probably are ice resistant. Let’s just hope they are fiery enough to cancel the disadvantage of being reptiles and therefore cold blooded.
  • Sansa and Jon try warging each other after a major disagreement.
  • Sansa wargs Cersei. I don’t know how and when, but it sounds like fun.
  • Someone accidently wargs a tree or whatever and gets stuck.
  • Meera kills Bran because she’s fed up with his behaviour. (Yes, she swore an acient oath in the books, but this guy will get them all killed if he continous to wreck havoc.)

 

Now to the real fun part –

Theories

  • Time loop. Long night and another long night, many Brandons, Dragons gone and coming back,  a second Targeryen invasion from the east, … I came to this random conclusion today when discussing with the Nerd how GRRM is planting similarities/parallels all over the books, like the resemblance of Blood Raven and the Kindly Man (thanks to Order of the Greenhand for pointing this out).
  • Interlocking time loopy multiverse mindfuck.
  • The above, caused by some kind of apocalyptic rift in space-time. Some or all characters unknowingly wander over to another time and/or parallel universe without noticing … or maybe some (like Bran) warg across space and time in a much more drastic way than already obvious.
  • Addendum to the previous thought: from the start I had the feeling that Lyanna Stark and Arya have a closer connection than just a bit of resemblance and the wolf blood. I’m not sure about the role of reincarnation in the multiverse of ASOAIF, not very likely in the truest sense, but Lyanna should have been a warg, too, and might have been vessel hopping until Arya was born and somehow either nestled into her subconscious, some kind of mind merging (what happens if you warg a baby or even a fetus before it develops a brain/consciousness?) to finally live the life she had been denied before, even at the cost of most of her memories. This in turn would give substance to some more nice mind games about Ned’s promise and why Arya wasn’t scared of the crypts and even the “ghost” (floured Jon) as a child – and why she was so close to Jon in general. Also, if Ned knew of or suspected this it might have furthered his decision to let Arya take sword fighting lessons, as it was a second chance for what remained of Lyanna.
  • Simulation with constant fixing and partial repetition.
  • Kobayashi Maru style simulation.
  • All the people are already dead and the story arc is them being in a kind of purgatory, going through scenarios again and again until humanity is refined.
  • The world is a repeated game of very elaborate chess (or cyvasse, the Nerd says) played by the deities/forces of that world, leading to a same-same-but-different character of the historic events, different ages having a different force getting the upper hand.
  • Greyscale makes fireproof. Or wight-proof. Or both.
  • Random ramblings/speculations: It’s often been suspected that the world of the storyline is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The question is, at what state of history came the apocalypse? The great castles mostly have been built so far back in history that their origins can’t be recalled, so mostly likely before whatever the apocalyptic event was (cf. the common theory that the lower levels of crypts etc. served as hiding places/fallout shelters). Had the pre-apocalyptic civlization advanced to modern anthropocene state, I doubt these castles (rare to begin with) had been preserved but no newer buildings (many, many because a lot more people). So at what point of development came the apocalypsis? Can we even draw any conclusions because of the possible space-time rift, cosmic reset, time loop, or whatever? Is the story moving towards the apocalypse (again) right now? Will we see the cataclysm that reset/looped this crazy multiverse? Are the Great Other and the light/fire deity (whichever might be the real deal) like matter and antimatter and their final battle makes the world go “poof”?
  • I think it has been quoted quite a few times in connection with ASOAIF now on twitter etc, but here you go:
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
(Robert Frost)

What if GRRM has taken Inspiration from this and history is really somewhat repeating itself? Then to create symmetry this time ice will win. Game over, everyone dead. Valar morghulis.

What If I Just Want a Simple Life?

I get bombarded by notions of how I should live my life as a still kind of young adult. Travel, do crazy things, meet a million people, go to festivals all the time, party hard, eat at fancy places, save the world, be a sparkly social unicorn, …

Yes, sounds nice, but for the moment, I just want a simple life. I want to work, train capoeira, make art, learn about things at my own pace, sleep, watch the snail I put into a jar to keep it for a few days before releasing it again, I want to watch clouds and listen to thunderstorms, I wish I had more friends to simply hang out with to talk, sunset hugs, sit at the beach at night; I want to have more energy to ride my bike out of the city in my free time, just feel my kind of freedom again, or read more books again. Travelling all over the world is for another year. I want to be content, have what I need, feel secure for a while. I miss the fields, the old paths, poppies and green turning to gold, summer nights spent outside. I love and hate the big city. I love and hate what I left, what I lost because I had to run off with what was left of my sanity and sense of self, and I love and hate the melancholy of being stuck between these worlds. I long for friends and community and solitude at the same time. I’m dreaming of a small rustic house with a garden and a studio at the edge of a forest right beside the modern city, with friends willing to come over for stargazing. I want a simple life with space for my complex inner world.

Long Time No Write

Hi folks!

It’s been a while – mea culpa!

Some of you may have followed me on Instagram and Twitter for shorter updates and random thoughts. (And the Star Wars hair styles I did today and yesterday to entertain a co-worker, go look at them on IG if you need a chuckle!) I really want to get back into writing; I’m just not sure of the format.

There are some topics I want to touch, but I’d like to put more effort into these.

  • Getting in touch with your body and your identity through martial arts (and handling blunt weapons, lol)
  • Contentment vs. happiness
  • Space (I’d love to create something about planets, moons, and asteroids, playing with different ideas right now)
  • Navigating life with a mind full of opposites
  • Background noise

I’m busy with work most days and want to keep this blog completely separate from my job for different reasons. I’m still a linguist, doing linguist things in a language project for a big company, destroying (and fixing) templates, and occasionally dabbling in logic programming for internal purposes, while filling my desk with plants, listening to weird music, and drinking a little too much espresso. Sometimes I fold origami manta rays and other creatures when I need a break.

A long due update on my journey in capoeira will follow shortly!

Now I’m going to install the WP app on the “new” phone I got some months ago, so stay tuned for new random poetry spam.

See you soon!

PS: The last few months I didn’t find motivation for photography beyond the low-quality phone snapshots and I still haven’t posted the images from the last wedding I photographed. Life has been crazy, the weather disgusting, and nothing really interesting was going on. I’m waiting for the sky to clear so I can take pictures of the moon with my new tele-zoom lens, then next month I’ll be at the big annual capoeira workshop with my camera.

 

 

Capoeira and Weakness

I don’t really know how to write this post.

The last few years haven’t been that awesome health-wise. I started my capoeira journey a few months before an all-time low, a time that involved a lot of sleeping, brain-fog, headaches, and crying on the gym floor. There were people who still took the time to teach me. I’m still incredibly loyal to them and wouldn’t want to miss them.

I’ve grown stronger, my overall fitness is better than in the past, but the demands have grown with it. Demands from my instructors, from my group, from myself. So now every new low brings more frustration and more self-doubt. People tell me to give my best, to go faster, while my body wants to lie down and sleep. It makes me feel bad for my instructors – they spend time and energy on teaching us -, for my group – I hold others back -, and for myself, because I can’t be who I want to be. Dizziness comes and goes, some days my muscles hurt, sometimes I just feel like I’m far away and my body doesn’t listen to me. When I have a cold it takes me weeks to get back to my old level afterwards.

Most of this week I spent sleeping, because I’m down and out with a really nasty cold. The doctor told me my blood results are perfectly fine and I just have to deal with getting sick easily and not being as fit as others. I’ll just have to go slow with sports, which isn’t easy with capoeira.

But I don’t want to give up what I have – something that brings me joy, makes me stronger (as long as I don’t add stress on my body by going five times a week), and helps me connect to wonderful people. I’m just scared of telling people I’ll have to go even slower in the future, scared of their remarks, their looks when I take care of myself instead of going all in, scared of seeing others succeed and moving on while I linger. I’m scared of more self-doubt when I see the gap between me and others grow, of seeing others wearing brown and green while I don’t know if I ever will.

Today I went on a walk with my camera to escape from my self-pity and black thoughts. Taking pictures by the lake (just five minutes from our apartment) in the fog helped me clear my head and respiratory system. I brought home some cool seagull pictures I worked into a black and white series: https://starfishskiesphotography.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/seagulls-in-the-fog/. Maybe I will never be a really good capoeirista, but I can do my best when I feel well and take pictures on the other days, learn the music, contribute and participate in some way. I just hope others will accept this and help me, instead of looking down on me or adding to my frustration in some other way.