Eileen’s retirement, practice procedures and rewiring one’s self to be a better xenophile



So Eileen’s retirement has begun.


 We celebrated last night by going to CitiVu and then to the Great Performance Series concert of the Chicago group The Eighth Blackbird.

Eileen saw friends from work at CitiVu. One of them even bought her first espresso martini for her. We also saw people we knew at the concert.


Eileen had ordered cones of wool to begin messing with her loom.


They arrived (as she had hoped) yesterday, the first day of her retirement. This is working out well.



I have been noticing that I am being drawn to deeper and deeper learning of the music I am performing and am interested in. I have added a warm-up procedure to my organ practice. If I have time, I will play through an Orgelbüchlein piece. Usually four times. Careful repetition like this invariably teaches me something about the music I wasn’t noticing. Often this is structural things that I find I am enjoying more.

I have extended this four fold repetition to many of the pieces I am learning emphasizing those I am planning to perform the soonest. This makes rehearsal a bit longer, but I am finding that I am learning the pieces very solidly. That is gratifying.

Ethan Zuckerman has some interesting ideas about how to cultivate  one’s personal rewiring (presumably as a xenophile).

1 Monitor your own consumption of media… think about your own biases…

2. Escape your orbit slowly  … use your present interests to expand your sources is probably better than attempting a big change in behavior all at once.

3. Find and follow bridge figures

4. Seek serendipity through curators

The first one makes me think of basic behavior mod in general. If you want to change your pattern, first you need to accurately know what it is.

Number 2 is wise because we have all seen or participated in the short lived exuberance of a new behavior we have promised ourselves to cultivate only to watch it flounder over time.

A “bridge figure” in Zuckerman’s usage is someone who understands more than one culture from a personal point of view. A bit earlier he mentions that “xenophiles often get interested in other countries through a cultural product that crosses borders: sports, music, film, or food.”

These areas often have potential bridge figures that you can find out more about and follow.

People like Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist.

Finally a curator is some lesser known figure that points out stuff. I think I’m a bit of a curator. But I often find new stuff from pretty random tweets or facebooger posts of the people and organizations I follow.

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