Monday, November 23, 2020

Analog Things: The Mountain Dulcimer


by Laurie Allee

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Are you looking for an acoustic instrument that is highly portable, easy-to-learn, inexpensive and capable of creating absolutely beautiful music?  Look no further than the mountain dulcimer.  This unassuming little instrument has been known by a variety of names: lap dulcimer, Appalachian dulcimer, Kentucky dulcimer, "dulcymore," harmonium, harmony box and (my favorite) hog fiddle.  Traditional to the southern Appalachian mountains of the US, this stringed instrument is one of the easiest to play.  Essentially a fretted zither, it commonly has three or four strings and can be played by plucking or strumming with a pick.

And it sounds AMAZING.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Unplugging as a Political Act

by Laurie Allee

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As I write this, the president of the United States is probably adding another tweet to his ongoing, stream-of-consciousness tone poem in a frenzy that makes Kerouac's "spontaneous prose" look downright mellow by comparison.

For your sanity's sake, don't be like the president.

As the 2020 circus of chaos expands its rings, I can't seem to stop checking Twitter. A day's news seems like it will encompass an entire chapter of a future history book.  

And it happens every day.  

No, actually, it happens every hour.

The strange new normal of disorder and upheaval has left me in a perpetual state of shock. I'm overwhelmed by the statistics, the scandals, the outrage, the ever-increasing vitriol, the spin...and my own crushing disappointment, fear and incredulity at the antics of all the lunatics running our asylum. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

When Real Life is Virtual...

by Laurie Allee

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Together Apart
     Finding the analog in the digital

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  The last few years have made me feel like I'm living inside a dystopian technocracy, where people have been mindlessly sucked into screens, where tech billionaires determine what we see and how we see it, where real life is superseded by social media with everyone corralled into digital echo chambers, crouched behind their highly-filtered avatars.  

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Views From The New Normal

by Laurie Allee

In what has to be the biggest irony of 2020 for me, the very digital devices that were causing so much isolation, distraction and harmful addiction are now the ones bringing us closer together, helping us focus our goals and protecting us from illness.  The internet, in a way, has become humanity's central nervous system, and our devices are a lifeline to the in-person world now largely out of reach.  

I'm not even sure when the crisis is past that we will ever go back to eschewing real life for online simulation.  Something profound and life-changing is happening as a side effect of this global pandemic, revolutionary uprising and financial crisis.   We're finding out how much we really need each other.  We're realizing the scope of our structural failures, demanding not only justice but a complete system overhaul.  We're seeing how much more fragile, transient and brief this time on earth turns out to be.   

Instead of removing us from real life, our devices are now keeping us in touch with what's real.  

Digital technology is the new Analog.  

More thoughts on this coming soon.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Analog in the time of COVID19... Coming Soon

by Laurie Allee

The coronavirus crisis has changed the way we live our lives, making onscreen connection often our only connection with friends and family not huddled inside with us.

I've been thinking about this.

Stay tuned.  New post, videos and ideas coming late spring/early summer, 2020.  In the mean time, take care of your health -- physical and mental.  Safely seek natural surroundings, sunlight and simple things.  Reach out to loved ones in your home as well as those we can now see only through technology.  Make sure to avoid internet overload and despair. 

I'll be back.

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