Brain Bite #12

Posted by Rob on 7th June 2015 in Brain Bites |

As is always done, let it begin with some music!

Flying High, by Samael
Samael in full swing are a heavy metal band from Switzerland, one that experiments with adding a lot of more unusual and varied elements into their music — and some of their broader experimentation was showcased when the band’s founding members (Xy and Vorph, actually brothers) produced a side-project album called Era One, which completely abandoned the metal aspects, and instead married Vorph’s croaking vocals with Xy’s keyboard electronica.

I may return to that album in the future — most likely, with Sound Of Galaxies — but in addition to the main album disc, Xy contributed an all-instrumental bonus disc, called A Lesson In Magic #1. I really loved both discs, but the Lesson in Magic most of all — and of the included pieces, Flying High is my favourite.

But there’s more than just music, of course!
Really, it’s been this way for a while now in practice, but it’s now my official role, as the company I worked with slowly dissolves into dust. I still work with the people who formed the company on bits and pieces, though, so it’s a kind of dissolution that leaves a sticky web residue behind.

Planting Cats
Technically, we’ve planted hibiscus and hummingbird vine, but if you were to look outside, you wouldn’t know it — many times, our planters have produced a beautiful cat instead…

Are those in season?I’m fairly sure it’s an annual.

Brain Health
All those brain games around the web, and it turns out none of them does a damn thing — instead, you’re better off learning a language. So says a BBC article on polyglots — according to cited studies, mental decline is delayed five years for knowing a second language, six years if you know a third, and nine whole years if you know a fourth. Who’d have guest that an actual useful skill would trump a bunch of daft puzzles for mental health?

Story Switches
So, what do you do when you’re three weeks before a submission deadline, and you realise the ending for your new story is junk? You switch it out! I’m now preparing to sub in an older story to the Writers of the Future, one where I like the ending, and where I’m happy with what it’s done and what it is. So even if it doesn’t win, I’ll at least know that it was still the story I wanted it to be.

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  • The Ould Git says:

    Hmm … that’s a really full sound they’ve got there … electronic melded with a full pipe organ bank … very nice.
    I take it that the transition is now nearly complete, eh? As long as you’ve kept the changeover as amicable as possible, which what it sounds like to me, I’d guess you’ll manage whatever else comes your way! Best of luck.
    Perhaps Hibispuss and Pussy-Willow might have met with more respect from her mogginess … keep trying, though … I’m sure you’ll get something shooting through eventually!
    It’s a small world, kinda – I was just reminiscing on an old BBC schools program (‘Singing Together’) we used to have at junior school in the late 50s, and one of the songs (in Welsh, ‘Plannu Coed’) was about planting trees … OK, not cats, but people weren’t that daft in those days.
    Does that ‘brain health’ thing rely on you keeping in practice with the extra languages, I wonder, or does the benefit decline with lack of stimulation? I’m not absolutely convinced by the apparent link only to language … I also suspect the people doing the analysis have little or no experience of the effects of using logic, maths, or scientific reasoning. Also, it seems a little simplistic to say the least to reduce the clear increase in premature dementia / Alzheimers to some lack of brain activity in one specific area … it didn’t seem to apply to Terry Pratchett or Iris Murdoch … both well-read in many areas, including languages.
    Nice attitude to the story switch thing – to thine own self be true – if it’s not what you wanted it to be, you could never really own it. Hope it’s a success, but as you say, it’s what you wanted that matters.

    • Rob says:

      Yep, and I’m glad it’ll be that!

      For brain health, I think you’re right — the languages thing is an observational study only, so the correlation suggests a hypothesis, not a conclusion. And there are a lot of other things that they’re figuring out, too. Fats seem to be very important for brain health, and cholesterol may be too, or so I remember reading recently.

      And there’s definitely a lot to be said for just using the ol’ grey matter — Tracey’s uncle is pretty sharp, and he’s always curious and looking into new things, while he knows others younger than him who just watch TV, and they’re all going a bit daft in the head (in the bad way, not the fun one). My guess is that, regardless, you can be struck down by some evil condition or other — but all the same, stretching the brain cells can’t hurt!

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