Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Budapest: Bought a flute

This time they had an English-speaking salesman. A flute fits my life situation well. I don't have time nor energy for real instruments like keyboards or guitar. I can carry the flute anywhere in my backpack, since it's small and durable. As a solid piece of wood it won't break down.

Thanks to portability, I can practise anywhere. If I practise it for 15 minutes a day for a year, that should give enough speed and songs to have some fun with it (that level or practise with keyboards or guitar would only get me frustrated at not getting the tunes I want).

I didn't just trust my own judgement when buying it since I can't play flute. A couple bypassed the vendor stand and the man picked this model of flute and played it for a while, obviously pleased with the sound although he didn't need it. Also this chart was necessary for proving that it could play enough notes to be useful. They actually gave a phone number and email address for asking any questions about the flute, which highlights the importance of trust when selling musical instruments.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Budapest: Good place to get some pussy

A review says "smoky, loud, small, crowded - and unapologetically so."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Clothes shopping

There was a free music festival at Chain Bridge. Lots of people, some musicians and some street vendors. One vendor was selling flutes. I ask how many notes a flute can play, but the seller didn't understand the question. He turned to another person on the vendor stand who at least got the question, but her English accent was so thick that I gave up.

I know only 2 truly profound mottos, and saw a T-shirt today with one of them. All other mottos are "ironic" humorous shit, or simple rules of thumb that require immense situational judgement before application. Here are the two mottos. A blog post could be written about either of them.

Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

God give me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to always tell the difference.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Budapest: Drum'n'bass

Just came from Corvinterö, a nightclub. They had a drum'n'bass event named "Breakbeat Massive vs. Deaf Company".

In Finland, people go to drum'n'bass parties to dance, and dance they will unless the police stops them. In Hungary, good drum'n'bass DJs are such a commodity that it's more like normal disco.

Corvinterö had two floors, a disco floor where drum'n'bass was played and a roof floor. Dancing started only after it came dark and people on the roof floor went down. Dance floor percentage was about 1% before the last 3 hours of the evening, during which it went up to 33%.

Expecting dance, I was there from the very beginning. Unfortnately, I couldn't make speech contact with the natives even if they were extroverted enough to make dance contact with me in the beginning when there was just one group of people on the dance floor. Even young people here don't speak English, so speech contact ended up in confusion despite 2 attempts with 2 different groups. Fortunately I could order drinks in English instead of pointing the menu with finger.

It was so much like Finnish events it's almost depressing. I'm getting bored here in Budapest as I'm alone in the middle of non-English-speaking people. It's too hot to be comfortable and the air is somehow bad, I've had flu symptoms the whole time I've been here.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Fever & zen buddhism

Small flu makes it feel immensly relevant to walk on kitchen floor's tiles without touching the tile borders. My sister's boyfriend recommended a book about zen buddhism before leaving, and it fits this mood exactly.

It started with an attack on language and conscious thought. Standard language-philosophical stuff in "the map is not the terrain" style about how all abstractions leak. What happens to a fist when you open your hand? It emphasized that conscious sentences are just small part of everything that goes on in our heads, and zen buddhism aims to work in intuition and thought without subjecting it to concepts.

The second part is about the history of buddhism. They tell that in Indian society there is a tradition for men who have served their role in society (raised kids out of the nest, etc.) to withdraw from life and caste and concentrate on meditation and elightenment. Sounds appealing, there are just a few practical tasks to complete before I'm ready to go, namely, learning to seduce women, marry one, pop out some kids, and raise them.

If some sane person recommends me some specific meditation course, I'm ready to try it out of curiosity with an open mind and without expecting anything, since I have a time gap to fill after stopping one hobby. Sane doesn't include Hare Krishna monks selling religious literature.

The book reads like a pale shadow of true Zen, so I'm not linking to its Amazon page.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Heaps of old crap

Now that Bunker'44 set new standards for a truly good exhibition, today's museums felt lacking. Piles of objects, only glass cages setting them apart from high-class handicrafts.

Rath György museum was the wierdest. I'm interested in China and went to the museum to see their Chinese and Indian collection. I was the only guest surrounded by 5 members of staff. Only one of the staff spoke English, the others pointed things while speaking Hungarian. Luckily there were English guide papers (in the zoo there were no English explanations whatsoever).

But if I pay the ticket, then the lack of other visitors is their problem, not mine.

The image below shows Weituo, the defender of Buddhist monasteries, wood, lacquered, gilded. This is all they told about the statue. Simply copy-pasting the wikipedia page about Weituo would have added so much depth.

In the age of abundant information, organizing it is the key. Go to China and buy handicrafts of all Eight Immortals you don't yet have, put them to the same shelf and stick Wikipedia page about them next to it. Who cares if they are cheap copies, as long as you get right their meaning and use in daily life. A little can-do attitude please.

In Hyderabad they sell off-the-shelf religious idols in handicraft shops, and they look magnificient compared to Rath György collection.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Megan, Vera and disco music

In the previous post I claimed that disco music is all about dancing, and that most people listen it to get a better dancing experience despite not really liking the music (but not really disliking it either). I'll count the evidence I see including Vera.

People listen disco to get more out of dancing: 6 points - Me, Miss Marketcrash, Parapara dancers, DJ Ozma, Megan, gym group exercise songs where disco is considered a neutral genre which is not strongly liked or disliked.

Some people like disco music just like some people like any other genre: 2 points - Vera, Megan

Megan describes her listening habits here. Her roommate described it as "simplistic pop", and she describe it as:

I love me some mass-produced Top Forty and Hip-Hop. The older and genre stuff I listen to was probably for mass consumption in its day.

It probably includes some/plenty of disco. Megan fits to both categories since she also likes hard dancing.

To me it seems that people who like disco music listen a lot of music but don't process what they hear that much. Megan says she listens a lot of music all the time:

But here’s the thing. I listen to it. All the time. I walk in the house and turn on music. I sing along while I cook. I put it on in the background when guests come over. I pick songs to match my mood; I turn it loud when I need energy. I know all the lyrics and look them up if I can’t catch them. I laugh at jokes in songs. I listen to music. Chris has all this complicated stuff in his library, but I have never walked in on him listening to it. I believe he likes it, but I know that he wasn’t cranking tunes the summer he painted his house. I have to prompt him to DJ. You people who claim sophisticated challenging musical tastes, I secretly do not believe you actually listen to music much.

Vera also listens a lot of music. Vera also said that she considers music equal to food in the sense that she doesn't get fed up with it despite listening many times over - this is probably also the case with Megan, as she has memorized the words and still is not fed up with music.

If the music went through a solid analysis & memorization module in Megan's and Vera's head, then they would at some point end up in a situation where they have listened all the good songs so many times that they are fed up with them, simply because of repetition, and their playlist would be filled with uninteresting songs and they would not bother to turn it on so often.

Budapest: Gellert Hill

I'm spending summer holiday at my sister's place in Budapest, while my sis is working on an exhibition at Tampere and using my place.

All who have played civilization remember that rivers give food and trade bonus and hills give 100% defense multiplier. Budapest is at river Danube (Tonava in Finnish). Gellert hill was one of the first settled positions. The Celtic Erave settled the northern slope before the Roman empire!

The hill was named after the bishop Gellert who was converting the locals. He became a martyr after the locals pushed him down from the hill to Tonava in a barrel.

Nowadays, the small fortress on the top of the hill has been converted into a museum surrounded by lush parks.

Here are great views, no wonder they chose this as a defending position.

The best museum at the hill is named Bunker'44. During the second world war, a bunker was built for air defence and command center inside the hill's small fortress. The museum is located at this wet and rough concrete bunker.

Instead of artifacts, the museum contains photographs, wax dolls and long descriptions about Budapest's fate in WW2. In the end of the WW2, Soviet forces put Budapest through one of the longest, most destructive and bloodiest sieges during the second world war. It lasted 100 days, civilians were not evacuated, and destruction was comparable to that of Stalingrad. To add to the messiness of the situation, droves of Hungarian POWs converted to Soviet side to avoid the fate of a POW. The Germans did mass executions of Jews (scale: x * 10000) while the Soviet did smaller mass executions after the war (scale: x * 100).