Music

The sounds that make harmony in our minds

Music can be an inspiration for many people. It has been part of human history since before we kept history. It is something almost everyone can relate to at least in some part. People have even tried to quantify the most pleasing sounds scientifically, and as a person with a degree in chemistry, I applaud the endeavor to better understand the human brain and how it functions.

When I am writing, I almost always have some music playing in the background. Sometimes it is the same song on an endless loop, other times it is a playlist on the loop. I admit that as I am working, I pretty much tune out a conscious awareness of the music, but it does allow me to set my mood for what I am working on.

But that got me thinking about what my brain really is doing with that sensory input and how I am treating it very much like a machine. I push in a specific input (the chosen music) to achieve a specific output (a particular mood).

Switching gears slightly. Something that you may not have heard of is Hatsune Miku, which according to the Wikipedia article and Crypton Future Media translates into “the first sound of the future.” She is a hologram with a computer-generated voice developed by Crypton Future Media.

Below is a YouTube video from an Expo in 2016 where people watched the hologram performance.

While I know some people will scoff at the idea of people paying money to listen to a computer, I actually find it fascinating to see just how far computer technology has come since I got my first computer. Plus, I will remind you that we joke about pet rocks while wishing we had come up with that ourselves.

The idea of machine learning, and the eventual rise of our new masters (I fully support you), is not new to writers and storytellers. We’ve had tales of our eventual downfall to the machines (or other advanced/magical constructs like golems) for thousands of years. Some of my favorite modern examples are things like Terminator and Terminator 2 (okay, not exactly modern as they are getting older, but still great).

There are other subtle hints of more sophisticated and cunning examples of computer technology impacting our lives and fooling our eyes and ears. This again is not new in writing or movie; however, the CGI ending with Princess Leia at the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a great example of being able to make a very real representation of a person outside of their time and place. Compare that with Max Headroom, an AI from 1984 (and worth a watch).

A possible implication of all this is framing someone in the court of public opinion when so many people are easily swayed by first impressions and skeptical of evidence. In the future, I imagine a period of time were digital forensics might have a hard time telling truth from fiction if one technology outpaces another.

And getting us back to music, this weekend CBS’ Sunday Morning talked about the fact that several stars that are no longer with us today will once again be making an appearance on stage, which relate in part back to Hatsune Miku. Here is a CBS news article about bringing back Maria Callas as discussed on Sunday Morning.

I find the technology fascinating, and as a reader and writer, I see the fantasies of yesterday becoming today’s reality, and from that, my mind jumps to the next great world ending scenario (because dystopian stories have always had an audience). I just hope that in the future, when I come back as a hologram, they give me Dwayne Johnson’s abs.

Campaign Log: 1.26 – And for one, it ends in fire

Campaign Log

FireLast Wednesday at Pawn & Pint several members of the party threw caution to the wind and tempted fate. One of them has learned, perhaps a bit late, that witches and warlocks find the white-hot flames of a purifying fire. For those that want to go to the beginning, here is the post that started this campaign.

We resume the session with the party heading south. Already several days out of Vantar, they continue to pull Tyr’s stolen cart and the heavy steel cage. Unfortunately for Tyr, the people in the smaller towns lack the funds to purchase expensive plate armor and weapons. However, this does not stop Tyr from trying to sell her wares. Nor does it induce her or Quai to conceal their identities.

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Campaign Log: 1.25 – A Midnight Party

Campaign Log

Map of CothelLast Wednesday at Pawn & Pint the party fled Vantar because of the destruction they had left behind. Though, perhaps their quick and quiet getaway was neither quick nor particularly quiet. For those that want to go to the beginning, here is the post that started this campaign.

We resume the session with several members of the party wanting to head south toward the mountains and the border with Comir, since they already know that Comir is itching to send over invaders. However, Tyr wants to get the steel from the cage, and so while the rest of the party leaves the city and waits for her, she goes to the guardhouse and tries to negotiate the release of the stolen goods into her custody. In the end, she does manage to sway one guard to help her steal the evidence. The trouble is, it takes about half the day to get the cage and cart out of the city, which puts them behind schedule a bit. Since they have only angered a major crime lord in the city, that shouldn’t represent a problem…right?

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