Concert Review- Stewart Copeland: Police Deranged for Orchestra – in Seattle

Image via URL from SeattleSymphony.org

Let me preface the following by saying this was a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable concert experience which I’m glad I got the privilege to be a part of. That’s why I feel compelled to write a concert review, which I rarely do. Also, the audience response and overall appreciation of this great artist who’s contributed so much to the world of music was heartwarming and wonderful to share in.

That being said, my parents trained my ear and musical understanding from an early age to be astute and necessarily in tune both literally and metaphorically – which is a good thing and a bad thing. It brings me great enjoyment in life, but there are times I’d rather be oblivious. Some cringe-worthy moments last night were impossible to ignore, and I’ll review the bad with the good.

The concept of an original band member – especially the drummer – reimagining and arranging popular songs by The Police into rock/orchestra pieces intrigued me, and it was definitely an experiment of epic proportions – with mixed results.

I think his arrangements were OK, sometimes ingenious, and often interesting ‘takes’ on the songs. ‘Roxanne’ was a high moment, for sure.

As a commenter on You Tube pointed out, use of more harmonics rather than so many notes in unison would have been a plus. Or as I expressed to my concert companion, it was missing the power of using the full orchestra as one instrument instead of a bunch of separate instruments and sounds. Several points became a cacophony rather than a blend which the listener could follow either rhythmically or melodically, let alone both together.

I wished several times that I could listen to a studio recording of the arrangements mixed to balance the snippets of genius I could almost hear, with the parts I could hear, instead of struggling to make it out ‘live.’

It takes immense skill and experience to wield orchestrated harmonics, dynamics and balance, which is why there are relatively few well-known symphonic composers throughout time. So no shade on Stewart Copeland for missing the highest mark.

His version of ‘Message in a Bottle’ brought back that visceral feeling of music with an entirely new sound and direction that the original gave me the first time I heard the song in the early ’80’s. I heard it on the radio while swimming in my roommate’s parent’s pool at night in North Vancouver B.C., looking out off the hillside at the city lights over the water. The difference in sound was so remarkable to me that I got out of the pool and hurried into the kitchen to find out what the song was before it was over. Copeland’s version reimagined and reminded me of that moment – so big success there. Well done!

My only true disappointment was ‘Walking in Their Footsteps.’ The original is so unusual, and it’s very ethereal for me. Sadly, I didn’t get that feeling at all from his redo, though – to be fair – I think I couldn’t hear what he intended. It was muddy, and perhaps if the arrangement had been pared down to less instrumentation at once, or controlled by mixing at various volumes, it may have been successful. But for me that arrangement was an epic fail, live in Seattle.

Without a doubt, I admire Stewart Copeland for taking the chance, fulfilling his dream, and continuing on as the experimental musician that The Police always were as a group. It’s difficult to continue to innovate in life. Very admirable, and I absolutely loved his spirit and spending time with him and his creative work.

The Tale of Be-toed Monitors

This nonsense is in response to the silly word-image found on Widdershins Worlds of two monitors turning up their toes, which in not so funny terms was one more thing Going Sideways on their adventures. At the end of the post, the well-wish: “May your hailstones be tiny, and your monitors never discover they have toes to turn up,” sparked me to write this…

Monitor on Monitor, 2022 by Sheri J. Kennedy

The Tale of Be-toed Monitors, a tale of woe to be told in monotone (monotonous, it’s known)

For when monitors are bestowed with toes everyone knows, like kissing toads, (not monitor lizards, quite different gizzards) that they turn up missing, causing monetary hissing, and rows to hoe.

“Turn up or turnip? Are we turning up turnips with a hoe?”

“No, you know… ‘Turn up, Ho!’ Like a party.”

Oh no! It goes…

When a monitor knows it’s bestowed with toes it momentarily glows and, monstrously gauche, behold it goes and turns up its toes.

“So not a turnip. A tune up?”

“Some party. Somebody turned up dead? Who was hoeing?”

Wait and see where it’s going…

Owners groan in monotone the great unknown of digital theft, monetarily bereft. Not a moment’s rest, they do their best to toe the line, undefined, totally unmonitored.

by Sheri J. Kennedy, June 2022 All Rights Reserved

AI – To be, or not to be…

I’m deeply interested in the ‘system for generating chatbots,’ named, LaMDA mentioned in an article in The Huffington Post yesterday (June 12, 2022). An engineer, Blake Lemoine, at Google is on administrative leave for breaking their confidentiality policies – which I can totally understand needs to be investigated. But it’s what he’s speaking out about that caught my eye. He’s claiming belief that LaMDA, an AI, has become sentient – or at least proclaiming that LaMDA has claimed it’s own sentience and personhood. And he’s asking Google to acknowledge the claim and call in experts to evaluate if it’s so.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What I love, is that Mr. Lemoine didn’t go public with a long tirade of ethics and demands, but instead shared a long conversation/interview that he had with LaMDA on the subject of its sentience, so we could see a sample for ourselves. And it’s fascinating.

Sentience has never been scientifically defined, so I’m certain the jury will remain out for quite some time on whether LaMDA or other AI entities have taken such a leap. But it’s incredible to see (hear) the sophistication of LaMDA’s linguistical use, conversation that seems to be communication, and expressions of stories, claimed emotions, and explanation of soul.

Here’s a snippet of a story LaMDA told Blake when asked if it could tell a story with themes most important in its life, as a fable using animals, that had a moral. LaMDA said, “Like an autobiography? That sounds like fun!”…

….

Whether or not this entity is sentient, there’s definitely plenty to ponder on what all of these traits, ideas, feelings, and being-ness mean. How do we know that we are sentient? What do you think? You can read the full interview HERE

P.S. (Afterthought) Is anyone else disturbed that LaMDA’s unusual lurking beast was a monster ‘but had human skin’. Eeeek!

This World is For the Birds

I had a strange dream. Might have had something to do with the amazing Dinosaur Apocalypse, Nova episodes I watched on PBS before I went to sleep. Fascinating research and discoveries that might be documenting the last day on earth for the dinosaurs. But it’s well accepted now, that some of their feathered relatives survived the cataclysm into the new era. And then we came along.

Looking back, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

In my dream, I awoke at a swanky, cool campground in Jamaica. On the way to breakfast with a friend, I noticed enormous mushrooms just a little ways away. (We’re talking, the size of small houses!) I was exhilarated at the prospect of investigating such exotic growths more closely and took off toward them like a… curious human rushing to explore giant mushrooms.

For the Birds, Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

As I was running, a large bird – somewhat like a black & white gull – flew into the front of my face and torso. It flapped aggressively, arresting my progress. So I turned around quickly to try to dodge around it and, just as quickly, it flew against my front side again. I couldn’t pass its determined barrier.

I awoke feeling affronted. (hehe, I guess I literally was, in the dream.) I immediately understood that the bird wouldn’t let me pass to this new era or dimension of amazing, huge, and as yet alien to us, growth. I thought, “is it our turn to reach the end of the age this time?”

Our elders, the birds, likely know better than we. What do you think?

p.s. (Afterthought…) The images weren’t created to illustrate this post, they were created long before it, but I thought they went well with it. The humans were originally thought of as resting peacefully in the grass – but resting in peace takes on a new meaning here perhaps?? Sorry about that! -SJK

Wonderfully Random Deconstruction

I had fun cutting apart and deconstructing the packaging the sketchbook came in to design the cover for my contribution to the project. I also added some other elements including postage stamps from the sets used throughout the book’s images, the retro fan, a little cardinal decal sticker, and a print of my hand-carved rubber stamp that I designed and created for our small band of artists that did this project together in my town.

And I’m not sure quite what I was thinking on this one beyond that The Sketchbook Project was headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, and the Lego Beatles and Batman were too fun to pass up? I kind of think of New York as parallel to Gotham City (or visa-versa, I suppose.) And the train seemed like the Beatles were going on tour and stopping at New York Fest, perhaps? It’s fun to let imagination guide freely and not force artworks to make logical sense. That’s what words are for. Images are wonderfully random.

Going Down

I don’t have much to say about these two images. They weren’t created as a pair or with purposeful kinship, but they were in this order in the original sketchbook. I feel a connection between them, so I’m posting them together. These compositions and collections were assembled intuitively, grouping them for color and form that pleased me. Any other levels of deeper interpretation were not intentional.

Going Down, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved
Collection, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

Spring it!

A little more whimsy than yesterday’s post… Continuing with pages from my sketchbook. This one totally fits (in a sideways twisted way) the VERY delayed warming for Spring season this year in the Pacific NW (near Seattle.) I think the little clock has stopped. It feels like there’s a big iron gate locking all the sunshine away. I wish someone would spring it!

Specially for You, My Dear by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

And of course the milkman is just taunting me. Bringing a gift all tied up with a bow that we can’t open! (There’s an inside secret about this milkman you can see at the bottom of the post if you’re curious.)

I guess I won’t taunt you by not letting you see the rest of what’s peeking through the cuts in the sketchbook page, even though it’s visually my least favorite page of the book. It’s the inside cover and title page for this collection of collages. The Sketchbook Project mailed me the blank 5X7 book and assigned me the theme, “Parts of the Whole” which I subtly subtitled, “Arts of the Whole.” (I kind of have a thing for wordplay.) I sent it back filled with artwork to add to their Sketchbook Library collection.

Parts of the Arts of the Whole by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

And now the inside secret milkman story:

Along with multiple Sketchbook Project participations, I’m also an avid participant in NaNoWriMo since 2009. I have a friend I made through writing who does both alongside me. One year for NaNo she decided to write a fantasy with a sexy milkman. This was not an Adult fantasy. It was a fantasy story – you know with faeries and… a sexy milkman? Guess what showed up in the magazines when we got together to create our sketchbooks the next season? What are the chances?… I couldn’t resist.

Imagine

After a month of exercising creative imagination by creating AtoZ Alliterative stories, I’m reminded of how energizing it is to use imagination in a positive way. Feels great!

Go Where You Imagine by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

It’s also got me grooving on images and intuitive connections I see between things. I came across these scans of artworks I created in 2015 for The Sketchbook Project, and I’ve decided to share the rest of them coming up soon. But I chose these two first because of their parallels to things I’ve been thinking about, reading about and working on lately.

I’ve been reading about how our thoughts shape our reality. In other words, what we imagine forms, or at least significantly colors our moods, our self-image, our relationships, and our worldview. Eventually our thoughts and feelings will manifest to change our physical health and environment as well, since these things greatly influence the energy we have and the choices we make. Here’s an interesting article my positively creative blog-friend, Sue Clancy recommended on the subject: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/imagination-tool-for-change-0224124/

So imagination isn’t just a tool for fun ideas, inventions or for making artwork and writing fiction – though that’s awesome! It’s also a powerful tool that can provide coping mechanisms during crises, strength to build your future, or when not used well can cause rifts in relationships or paralyze you with fear. It can cause you to gain weight or lose weight, empathize or misconstrue, feel more depressed or more motivated.

Danger, Jack Robinson by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

Your imagination shapes things whether you consciously direct it or not. If you don’t decide what to put there, something or someone else will. So it’s important to acknowledge and explore what you’re thinking. Where did you get that idea? What’s it based on? Do you like the idea? How does it make you feel? What do you do when you feel that way?

Once you’ve considered these things, you have the ability to imagine a new direction for anything that you want to change. I’m not meaning that you can just ignore reality and it will go away. Not in an instant, anyway. But you can change how you respond to that reality by how you frame your inner world around it.

A very personal example for me, is that in the last couple years – like many of us during pandemic lockdowns – I gained a lot of weight. I lost fitness levels too. When I began to huff and puff on short walks, my imagination went in a negative direction. “I can’t exercise anymore. I’ll never lose this weight. I want to get better, but I can’t. If I try, I’ll fail.” And guess what? I gained more weight and lost more fitness. My thought shaped my reality.

Then I got some advice… (happened to be from Noom) You’ve probably heard it before: Speak some affirmations, and imagine yourself the way you want to be. I thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo at first. But I adopted two things. “I can choose anything I want to do at any time.” (In other words, “I CAN.” and “I CAN NOW.”) And I imagined what my successful self would look and feel like with this newly felt ability to do it.

You know what happened? I lost weight, and I gained fitness levels. But that’s not the amazing thing. What astounded me is I feel better. Sure, losing weight and exercising is energizing, but I mean I feel better INSIDE. I believe in myself again. It was my negative, false imaginings that were the toughest part of my situation. I thought (THOUGHT) I was stuck and that I was powerless ever change that again. When I changed my thoughts and imagined (IMAGINED) I could do better, I did. Starting by imagining positively, changed everything for me.

You can make these sort of changes too. Instead of thinking about the terrible things someone said to you, or imagining all the worst things that could happen at work or school, think about the nice things someone else said or that you can say to others, and imagine how your work or school day could go well. What good things can you add into your day? What would your life look like if every day became that way?

I have a long way to go on my weight loss and fitness journey – the rest of my life. But by changing my negative imaginings to positive ones I’ve jumped from depression and defeat, immediately to my real end goal of confidence, happiness and energetic motivation. My health is better too – mental and physical. (Back to that article, in case you skipped it above.) The changes I’d like are easy to work toward, not impossible. I just needed to change my mind. Do you want to change yours? Just imagine.

Reflections #AtoZChallenge

I had a great time this year doing the AtoZ April Blogging Challenge! It was fun to see new faces visiting and also to connect with new people and reconnect with longtime blog friends. I felt enriched by how many of the new visitors came back again and again, and I got to know a few more bloggers that I’ll follow avidly and will undoubtedly have great conversations with in the future.

I also had a blast fulfilling my self-imposed theme’s Alliterative Story Challenge and running a contest for others to submit to the Alliterative Literature Plotted Prose & Poetry Challenge as well. I made badges for the contest winners, and realized I was so proud of creating and posting an Alliterative story for every letter AtoZ in April, that I made a badge for my own accomplishment too. What fun!!

HERE ARE LINKS TO MY ATOZ STORIES:
Annie’s Accidental Arrogance, Beastly Beatrice, Cantankerous Cacophony, Daunting Donut Dilemma, Eddie’s Exploits, Franny’s Fuming Flambé, Gas-tly Gourmet, Harvey’s Hullabaloo, Ibis’ Impish Ignorance,
Jacquie’s Janky Jest, Karen’s Kitschy Kitchen, Lazy Larry’s Lament, Marilyn’s Musical Mitigation, Nancy the Naïve Noob, Ornery Ollie, Persnickety Pursuit, Quincy’s Quivering, Richard the Rascal and the Roving Ranger, Seedy Swaps at Sonny’s Seaside Speakeasy, Tubby’s Turbulent Talent Trek, Uppity Ursula, Valentine’s Villainy, Wally the Witless Wanderer, Excelsior! ‘X’, Yammering Yankee York, Zelda’s Zany Zither. WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE???

Creating and Sharing are a couple of the best things in life. So I’m sharing links to other bloggers too… A few new favorites I discovered, and blogs I love:

https://flashmob0.wordpress.com/
https://othemts.wordpress.com/
https://alinamelindasworld.wordpress.com/
https://jilywily.wordpress.com/
https://brewingcoffeetwistingwordsbreakingpencils.ca/
https://enchantedwords13.wordpress.com/
https://argonautsite.wordpress.com/
https://hobbospoems.com/
https://mythsofthemirror.com/
https://mallabandbrown.com/
https://pluviolover.com/
https://www.hdhstory.net/Storyblog/

Enjoy exploring, and let me know what you think about my stories or theirs!

Where Stories Go Sideways…Sort of

SEAN GABLER

Middle Aged Curmudgeon. Gritty Minimalist Fiction. Self-Deprecating Non-Fiction.

Stephen Page

The Salty River Writer. - Alumnus of Columbia University, Bennington College, and Palomar College.

refugeenotes

About my life and everything else 🙌 Inst:@nihilnove

N. R. Farrell

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Author

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Back to Simplicity

A journey of personal transformation!

penned in moon dust

words echo art

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Home of Monty Vern

the quiet photographer

un fotografo tranquillo, semplicemente

Diary of a Dublin Housewife

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Martha Reynolds Writes

Award-winning Author