Monthly Archives: March 2006

The Common Toad

My friend Ron sent this wonderful bit of George Orwell, in celebration of the Spring:

…I have always suspected that if our economic and political problems are ever really solved, life will become simpler instead of more complex, and that the sort of pleasure one gets from finding the first primrose will loom larger than the sort of pleasure one gets from eating an ice to the tune of a Wurlitzer. I think that by retaining one’s childhood love of such things as trees, fishes, butterflies and-to return to my first instance-toads, one makes a peaceful and decent future a little more probable, and that by preaching the doctrine that nothing is to be admired except steel and concrete, one merely makes it a little surer that human beings will have no outlet for their surplus energy except in hatred and leader worship.

At any rate, spring is here, even in London N.1, and they can’t stop you enjoying it. This is a satisfying reflection. How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can’t. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, spring is still spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.

— “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad,” 1946

Mandocello improv

I’ve been messing with the means to record from various sources, working out efficent ways to move stuff from vinyl and cassette tapes to digital form. It occurred to me that I could run pretty much anything from my Mackie mixer into the iRiver iFP-700, so I recorded about 4 minutes of a nameless something played on my Dell’Arte mandocello. It might have something to do with the crocus shoots that are beginning to peek through the dirt.

a few minutes later: there’s a problem with the integral player (that blue triangle), such that it plays back at double speed… not what I intended. Click on the hyperlink instead, to play the clip at the right speed. I’ll try to figure out what’s going on…

still later: I think I see what went wrong. The default rate for the iRiver mode I was using is 32 kHz, but the playback thinks it should be 44 kHz. Elementary mistake by ignorant user…