Category Archives: Personal

What’s that colour?

Being colour blind (or colour challenged as some people prefer to call it) has its benefits.

It also has some drawbacks.

I have a little bag in my car that sucks up moisture, and the instructions say:

When the blue dot turns pink, put the bag in the microwave for 6 minutes.

Yes. Great. Blue. Pink. What?

Light blue and pink?

Apparently there is light blue and pink in the image up here. Ehm. Right. Beats me, and praise to you if you can see it. For me, it’s something blueish and something white/lightish.

So how do I tell if the blue dot turned pink? Tech to the rescue, because yes, there is an (Android) app for that! Meet Color Grab:

This is a screenshot from Color Grab. Point the camera at something, and the colour inside the little (green? yellow?) circle shows at the top of the screen. Outstanding. This is what I need.

I used the app on the dot that’s on the moisture sucker and it’s still ‘faint blue’, so I’m fine. No waving needed, not even micro waving.

Color Grab logo

Color Grab is available on the Google Play Store. And it’s free.

If you’re a dedicated Apple/Ios/iPhone user in need of such tech, you’ll probably be able to locate something similar to Color Grab for your device.

It’s all about the pitch

I’m still not a grandmaster on the theremin.

Okay, let’s face it: the chances of me becoming one are probably as large as anything coming from Mars, but I’ll keep trying.

Kip Rosser told me that it’s a good practice to try following random tones and play those on the theremin. I tried several ways but with only two arms and one theremin, that’s tricky. So I got creative:

tone generator

It doesn’t get more random than using a tone generator app and a happy finger. Try the video, it’s not long and might even be educational.

Using this nifty tool I had a powerful ally to go for random tones and pitches. Here’s how it looks. And sounds.

Word of warning: it’s hit and lots of miss.

If you dare, hit play and suffer this ‘performance’ of little over a minute. There’s no music, just beeping and my attempts to catch the tone generator beep on the theremin. It’s a lot harder than you might think.

Does that sound like progress to you?

No worries, I’ll beep the bad words out of any reply.

A brilliant Theremin-exercise

Yes, here I am again, with the theremin(i)

Moog Etherwave Theremin Plus

No, I didn’t buy that one. It’s out of my price range; I know my wallet’s limits. (Open to donations though! 😀 )

I just did an amazing exercise for the theremin.

Random pitches. That doesn’t mean “just wave your hands around and make some sound” (although it feels like it at times 😉 ).

The lesson consisted of a series of random pitches that you try to guess as well as possible without listening when you put your pitch hand where it should be. First you silence the theremin, then you place your hand, and then you bring up the volume and listen. And correct if you’re wrong (which you will be).

Awesome. Thank you, Kip Rosser, for this amazing set of videos.

May is Lupus Awareness Month. What is Lupus?

Understanding Lupus

Lupus is a cruel mystery.

It is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat. There is a range of symptoms, and strikes without warning.

Lupus is a chronic (long-term) disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system — the body system that usually fights infections — attacks healthy tissue instead.

Lupus most commonly affects your: 

  • Skin (rashes, itch)
  • Joints (pain, inflammation)
  • Internal organs, like your kidneys and heart

Because lupus affects many parts of the body, it can cause a lot of different symptoms.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Lupus can cause a lot of different symptoms that come and go over time. Common symptoms include a butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose, pain or swelling in the joints, and fatigue (feeling tired often).

How do doctors diagnose lupus?

There’s no single test for lupus. If your doctor thinks you might have lupus, they’ll ask  you questions about your symptoms and they may also do a few different lab tests to find a diagnosis .

What are the treatments for lupus?

Most people with lupus take several different medicines to manage their symptoms. If you have lupus, you and your doctors can work together to find the right treatment plan for you.

Where to find more information?

For America, you can find out more at https://www.lupus.org/

For the UK, visit https://www.lupusuk.org.uk/ or https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lupus/

Worldwide you can always visit https://worldlupusfederation.org/

You can also follow the #lupus hashtag on Twitter.

Lupus and COVID-19

COVID-19 virus

For people that suffer from (or simply know they have) lupus, the current time is dangerous. Autoimmune systems will not work well so be aware that you are extra vulnerable. Please take all the precautions you can!

imagine aliens and their lifestyle.

Note upfront: this could be considered an #NSFW post depending on your work, so be aware of that.

Aliens as often seen on TV

Right. We all know about aliens, be it from close encounters of the third kind, or from films like Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. (These are the up-close, personal ones, in case you don’t know.)

Imagine you have the opportunity to visit their planet (and you can actually live there. Air is important, as is food, and there are some more things like that).

What would you expect of their lifestyle? Would you expect it to be like ours? The same social norms? Like having a family, children, a house and the local equivalent of a car? Having dinner together –

STOP.

Let’s assume something’s different here. Let’s assume that eating on that planet is considered something you only do in private. Like we go to the toilet in private. I know, it’s perhaps a mental stretch, but stretch with me and think of that for a moment. Because it could be true. Something we on Earth consider to be normal and social could be totally unheard of, doing it in public on our alien planet.

I’m sure you can think of a few moments here. Keep that thought.

Maybe these aliens don’t have marriage but they live in large communes where kids are born and raised among everyone, not among just two of the species. Or three.

And maybe they are a bit different in appearance. That could be, right? Plenty of scifi films have projected possible alien creatures for us, and they might be even weirder than we can imagine. Up to the point of…

Image from paradox plaza.

… them not wearing clothes, or any other kind of body cover. Is that possible? I think it is. Humans on Earth started wearing clothes to protect themselves from the cold, not out of modesty. (The whole Adam and Eve story in which they covered themselves because of shame is nothing but that – a story).

How would you feel about going to such a planet, where aliens like the one in the previous image walk around uncovered? Unhindered? Free as a bird, or whatever flying animal cruises the skies there?

Would you call those aliens indecent, based on the cultural and religious dogmas you had implanted as a child? Or would you be open-minded enough to accept that way of life? And would you adopt that lifestyle if that is required to be there, walk around and interact with these aliens?

Would you feel… ashamed to be naked?

And how long, if so, do you think you would feel that shame?

I think you’d be surprised about how quickly that feeling would fade.