Sunday, January 22, 2012

on the road again

Taking to the sky once again and then to the van. We are riding around Boston, New York and Philadelphia this week and next in a white unmarked van, do not be alarmed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


This is the perfect music to brood to on a rainy day or reflect over when the world seems a grisly place. Some people say "listen to happy music to cheer yourself up," but I think it's more cathartic to listen to something somber.

I'm not feeling particularly somber today, just working and enjoying the simple strum of the guitar and Lhasa's soulful voice. (Well, this live performance has an upright bass -  yes!, and a harp!)

Sadly she died last January of breast cancer at only 37.

She embodied the kind of female spirit that I think we all admire: free, loving, creative. Her father was a photographer from Mexico and her mother was an artist. She grew up in gypsy fashion, traveling the US in the back of a converted school bus. She started singing from a young age, moved to Canada to be with her sister, released an album, quit music to join a theater company in France, then returned to recording. A short life, but a life well lived. Viva Lhasa!.

She has the sweetest smile. Doesn't she? Still inspiring from the other side. Viva Lhasa.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"an absolute legend.."

I have never seen an epic battle like this.
Two Chinese women’s volleyball teams duke it out like you won't believe.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More on Synesthesia

I read Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet last week. The reviews for it were outstanding so I was expecting something phenomenal that would blow my socks off with insight, but there weren't many. Most of his memoir was a play by play of his life up to the age of twenty-six. It was interesting, but not ground breaking. Many of his experiences, which he described as if they were unique to someone suffering from autism, could apply to any child who had a terrible time in school and didn't make friends easily. Not to take away from his experience, because there were parts that really grabbed my attention, but overall I wanted to learn more about his experience internally.

In 2004, he set a record by recounting the infinite number sequence of pi up to its 22,514 digit. The feat took five hours and nine minutes. Imagine reciting numbers from memory for five hours. Insanity. As I learned earlier from the documentary (and book), he actually doesn't recite from memory, he sees the familiar landscape of the numbers in his mind and recounts them by their visual properties. This is the reason I am so fascinated by his synesthesia. It all comes down to one questions: Are his visuals of the numbers simply his personal experience or is there a larger connection between what he is seeing and the true nature of numbers?

He began sensing these numbers before he had any preconceived notions about superstitions, mathematics, or religion. So when his descriptions align with commonly held beliefs about certain numbers, I have to wonder if this is more than coincidence. For example, he describes 3 as rounded just like pi, 6 as a hole or void as in the Bible, unlucky 13 as ugly, and the divine 333 as beautiful. Coincidence?

Drawings by Daniel Tammet

Here is a more complete list of his numeral descriptions:

  • 1 is a blast of light.
  • 2 is a movement from left to right.
  • 3 is round and green
  • 4 is shy and quiet and blue
  • 5 is a loud sound like thunder clapping, yellow like lightening
  • 6 is so small it seems like a void, a hard number to experience, like tiny black dots, without distinctive shapes or textures, like gaps or holes
  • 9 is tall and imposing like a skyscraper, immense, blue
  • 11 is friendly
  • 25 is energetic and the "kind of number you would invite to a party"
  • 37 is lumpy like porridge
  • 23, 667, 1179 are big
  • 6, 13, 581 are small
  • 89 is like falling snow
  • 117 is tall and lanky
  • 289 is ugly
  • 333 is beautiful
  • Prime numbers are round like pebbles (2 , 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19,  23,  29, 31...)
Painting by Daniel Tammet of what two numbers look like multiplied. He sees the shape in between and recognizes it by its characteristics. That shape is a number. That number is the answer.