123 years ago, Thomas Edison produced the very first commercially-available recording - a woman reciting “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
And today, thanks to the work of a few scientists at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, we can hear the recording again. Using a confocal microscope, the researchers were able to map the topology of a badly damaged cylinder on which the recording was made. They then converted the grooves into sound, and - voila! - a century-old woman’s voice came back to life. The recording was sold with a doll, which could be cranked to recite the nursery rhyme.
You can listen to the rather haunting recording here.
Prior to watching the first show of the production’s run, I had never seen a production, sparse high school skits being the exception. Being someone who far more than regularly watches films in theaters and I was familiar with the initial environment. The limits that a live production has when compared to hulking studio produced and even a personal indie film are obvious and it was largely because of them that I expected so little from the performance, I assumed it could grab my attention but only to an extent and that it would be reach the level that even a bad film does. But when the lights went down and Mark spoke his first words, I was intrigued and caught off guard. When the singing began I was surprised by the raw musical talent and after ten minutes the characters were real.
The very concept that people, so real as I am that my sensory perceptions have the time to double and triple check their existence, to confim that they are flesh blood and completely unknown beings to me and yet, they were able to stir up an emotional response that is often gone unmade by those who would be said to have a friendship with me is still on a level of unfamiliar comprehension. My mind continually side-by-side compared the live experiences I was witness to with all of my previous first hand experience, increasing the emotional reaction.
Watching as a third party entity unable to interact with the situation made it all very dreamlike. Knowing you could be of assistance, knowing if you stepped in and helped, if you better explained the motives of the players that you could better them and not being able to do so is so very much like the dream realm.
A couple of weeks ago, I broke down and bought a guitar with my babysitting money. It had been one of my stupid “New Year’s Resolutions.” You know, one of those that you always think about, but never do. You always plan on it, but keep making up excuses, holding you from achieving that goal. No time, no money, not able to, blah blah blah. How about… No more excuses?
So, I did it. I bought it. It sat in my room for a week. Hadn’t laid a scrawny finger on that thing. But that was all I could think about, was picking up that guitar. Bringing myself to practice, learn, mess up, love.
I started by learning how to tune it. It wasn’t hard at all. It was an old, nice feeling to return to, having known how to play the cello since sixth grade. I always hear musicians saying how they hate tuning, but I spent a good twenty minutes doing it, trying to get it perfect, just messing around and enjoying that old feeling that I honestly, in a weird way, missed.
Now, I have just been back and forth between learning chords, and finding great tutorials on youtube (Never have I realized how wonderfully useful youtube could be until now. You could learn ANYTHING on there, my goodness.). I am now in the process of learning “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel and I am really excited. I am struggling getting back into the swing of playing an instrument, though, getting a feel for the fingerings (Two more strings, AHH) and strumming, which I am not used to. But, I have a strange excitement of how much I will mess up, get frustrated, and want to quit. Because I have had those feelings all too many times before, and I know that after all of those feelings, will come a feeling of accomplishment, once I finally learn something I have been working on.
All the frustration will pay off. “Practice makes perfect” or as perfect as you would like to become. Your own perfect, as cliché as that may be.
*Que the cheesiness*
So, if you are currently wanting to start something new or are working on it, don’t give up. Only by failure will you know success.
Now, time to go practice some more!