Archive for March, 2009


Art Can Change Your World

March 27, 2009

Over the last two days I had a chance to draw and listen to some of the most remarkable music ever written. The event was part of the University of Vermont’s Music and Humanities series. Two extraordinary pieces were performed back to back: Shostakovich, Piano Trio No. 2 and Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time.

Lucky me: I got to go to not just the main performance, but also the rehearsal the evening before!

sketch from first evening:          (click on images for more clear version)


and second evening:





I have a few more from each evening, but they are even less finished than these. It was great drawing to live performance. So much feeling. And without any intent, my drawing speed varied with the tempo.  Pretty cool really.

The music was just plain remarkable– each piece written in response to WW ll.The Messiaen hit me the hardest. I had never heard of it, but parts did sound vaguely familiar. you can go to youtube and listen to at least some of the movements, but no guarantee of quality. The quartet here at UVM was world class.

So how is art changing the world? In this case, two different composers, through their quite different responses to the world as they knew it, have produced very beautiful artworks. They were taking very difficult and intimate themes of personal and profound sadness and turning the feelings into works of beauty. As the effects transcend their own senses of things– the music emerges and gestures to a reality beyond the limitations of their present– we have sublimation… The Sublime, I would argue, at least in the case of the Messiaen. The Shostakovich was also very moving… maybe too short to have the same effect.


Burlington Water

March 16, 2009

Britta filters ran out, and I am not so flush that I don’t mind their cost. It’s enough that I am paying for Burlington water once, but to have to pay again for added filtering seems, well, excessive. So, with all good intention, I made the decision to go off the Britta and just do pure Burlington water for all my water needs. Running it for a minute or more should have been enough to clear the water standing in household plumbing and get the freshest water from the street. This I did. However, being ever the frugal one, that water was captured in bucket to use for other household purposes.

Within a day or so, I started to notice a metallic taste in my mouth. Hmmm, what could this be… . A  little research brought quite a few possibilities to light, including infections — mouth, teeth, or skin conditions that affect the mucous membranes in the mouth, such as lichen planus. A metallic taste also may be caused by medications, food allergies or other gastrointestinal disorders, Crohn’s disease, chemotherapy, even certain cancers.

None of these seemed right, or easily testable. Under the Ockham’s Razor principle, I chose to test the hypothesis that the water was the cause of the metalic taste. Since I am a member of the City Market in downtown Burlington, I have as benefit  free filtered water from their shmantzy water filter mahine. (double filtered, reverse osmosis, and an infrared treatment, or something like that).   I switched over to that as my exclusive source of drinking/coffee/tea/cooking water. Within 24 hours, the metallic taste almost completely disappeared. and now, a week later, it still seems to be gone. What’s the moral of the story?

I don’t want to give Burlington Water Department a black eye, so maybe this post will be my good citizen effort for the moment.