- The air is full of gnats. I attribute this to the rather large quantities of stagnant water that have been lying around lately—old snow and new rain. I've been trying not to breathe when I venture outside, but that works only for the briefest of excursions.
- I got a phone message from the library today telling me that a book I had checked out had been recalled... twenty days ago. I explained that I would quite happily have returned it earlier if I had had actually received a recall notice. They say they sent it by e-mail. I didn't get it. If their technical people can't verify this, though, I may be on the hook for a thirty-dollar fine (one sesquibuck per diem).
Apparently I'm sharp. A couple of experiments with an electronic tuner reveal that if I attempt to hum an A, it quite consistently comes out around 20 to 30 cents high. And if I try to correct it, my brain has absolutely no idea what signals to send to my larynx: if I tell myself "Hum lower," then the pitch goes down by exactly a semitone and I find myself humming something 20 to 30 cents above A-flat. So it seems that I have both categorical perception/production/proprioception, with the universe of frequencies neatly organized according to the chromatic scale, and systematically imperfect pitch. I find this kind of weird. Not that I thought I had anything like perfect pitch; rather, I always assumed that on any given occasion my attempted A would be off by a random amount in either direction. How the hell did I internalize the idea that A = 446 Hz?
A couple of parastenographic mondegreens
Pat Gardiner, the president of the Chartered Shorthand Reporters' Association of Ontario, recently wrote to the Toronto Star to protest the replacement of court reporters with digital recording devices. Now, even if the court proceedings are initially recorded by a machine rather than by a stenographer, they still have to be turned into transcripts at some point, and Gardiner argues that this process is much less accurate when it is done from a recording (and perhaps also by a less qualified transcriber? Gardiner doesn't actually say who it is that makes the transcripts from the recordings) than when it is done in real time in the courtroom. The evidence:
|the Supreme Court of Canada||the Sprinkler of Canada|
|sine die||sayonara (左様なら)|
And, from Guardians of the Record:
[A] recent transcript read that a term of an accused's recognizance was "not to have in her possession any firearms, ambition or explosive substances."