Thursday, June 13, 2013

Voltage Drop

Hi All,

Heading off to the beach in a few hours (Orange Beach, Flori-Bama area)!

To many folks, going to the beach means sun and sand.  To me it means relaxing in the air conditioning inside and reading.  I am such a party pooper.

Finished up my Jazz Improvisation course.  I'm posting some links to two of my assignments if you want to hear me destroying some guitar solos. (that's "destroying" as in bad, not in good!)

First solo,  This one was part of my final exam.  Right when I began, my speakers in my laptop blew out.  I grabbed some headphones to hear the backing track, but that meant I couldn't hear my guitar!  So, I did the solo "blind" as it were.  You'll hear a couple of bum notes because of this! (That's my story and I'm sticking to it)

Second solo was from a couple of weeks ago --  I still hadn't figured out the recording balance level, so the sound quality's not the greatest,  but I think the playing was decent.

Got a surprisingly low score on this one (we're graded by fellow students) -- one guy gave me near perfect marks, the other gave me a zero so it averaged out low.  He said he gave me a zero because it sounded like I had practiced it!  Well, duh .. of course I did!  That's how you get better at anything -- practice!  Did he think we weren't supposed to practice the material???

Anyway, passed the class okay and am now taking another class in audio electronics.  While the subject matter is interesting, the class reminds me of everything I detest in some college level courses.

The instructor's purpose seems to be to demonstrate how smart they are rather than teaching students the subject matter.  You see, there are a handful of mathematical functions you need to know to accomplish the goals of this class -- they're very simple functions and require nothing more than simple multiplication or division.

Rather than teaching these, the instructors are spending 90% of the time showing how these functions were derived.   Much more advanced math (calculus, linear algebra, differential equations) and much more confusing.  For this class, all we need to know are the functions and how to use them -- not how they're derived.

Fortunately, I found a website that teaches all this.  After less than an hour on the website, I now understand everything the other course mucked up in two weeks!

Okay, rant mode off -- since I'm beaching it tomorrow, let's get the weekend reading going!

First card -- the Page of Swords.
I've mentioned before that I call this the "Who let the kids play with the power tools?" card (oops -- did I plagiarize myself again!)

It suggests those times when you become completely absorbed by a new idea, cause, or project.  You're excited, you're enthralled, you expect everyone else to be equally excited (and of course, they're not -- and they're tired of you talking about it all the time!)

This sort of excitement and energy is wonderful -- it can carry you quite a far ways towards implementing your project.  But -- you might need to temper the excitement and become a little more realistic in order to be successful (and in order not to drive everyone around you completely batty!)  Basically, you can do harm to those around you (like swinging around a power tool) if you're not careful.

Our second card helps us here -- Justice.
Justice suggests fairness, patience, and handling things with reason.  Becoming a little more mature and realistic, in other words!

If our Page of Swords asks himself questions like these -- Am I carrying things a little too far?  Why should other people share my level of interest? Am I bothering or boring people? -- and can answer them fairly and honestly, he'll become much more even-mannered, easier to live with, and can still retain his interest and energy in a particular project.

Kind of like using series resistors to drop down the voltage in part of a circuit for an audio electronics project.  (Sorry, couldn't resist that!)

Y'all have a great weekend -- see you next week (I'm still out on Monday, so will probably be on Tuesday)


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