Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2600 Big Ones


You may of heard of the sound barrier but have you heard of the calorie barrier? This gravy-colored lining can be a high bar to hurdle for some or a little people limbo for others. I call upon you: Friends, Romans, Country-fried steaks; lend me your chops!

According to the food pyramid people, to gradually increase in weight, my daily caloric intake must be at a minimum 2600 calories. Dividing that by 5 meals a day leaves me starring down a 520 calorie juggernaut every three hours. To date, my best meal attempt was the forging of a nuclear soy smoothie (~450 calories) which nearly sunk me.

Having learned from sad experiences that substituting overly fatty food for lean meats, grains and vegetables will only result in pain-and-no-gain, I hereby petition you - who doth read my words with much forlorn - to supply any stomach-able and fruitful meal ideas in meeting my cataclysmic calorie challenge. My many thanks :) Calories, ye be warned!

P.S. - whoever can suggest the highest calorie/best-tasting meal wins a big hug! Note: the portion should not exceed 6 ounces as my stomach generally revolts if any more is stuffed in there.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What Key Are You?

What dark matter is to astrophysicists, is what musical key characteristics are to musicians. It's a bit of black magic wrapped up inside a gooey delicious cookie just out of the oven. So who's to say what tastes good when it comes to sharps and flats? Answer: you!

Certain musical keys are thought to induce certain emotions. For example (get ready for a really long reference), from Christian Schubart's Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst (1806) translated by Rita Steblin in A History of Key Characteristics in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries (no kidding?), the Key of C denotes a feeling "Completely pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naïvety, children's talk." Of course not everyone hears it the same way. According to Charpentier's Regles de Composition ca. 1682, the Key of C is "gay and warlike."

F# Major indicates "a gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language." Ask any violinist to play you a tune in such a key and you are asking for trouble. Simply put, it is an evil key; a key which-must-not-be-named (or played).

Eb Major is "the key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God."

Ab minor (and miner) is a "grumbler, heart squeezed until it suffocates; wailing lament, difficult struggle; in a word, the color of this key is everything struggling with difficulty."

Some of my favorite keys are: E major/minor and A Major, ranging from grief to magnificence and splendor. Schubert likened E minor "unto a maiden robed in white with a rose-red bow on her breast." Whoa Schubert, TMI!

In addition to emotion, some have even gone so far as to label keys with colors. No, this is not a drawback to the sixties or shunning those who are color-blind, it's about our sixth sense: food. I bet a lot of early composers got hungry and probably did some of their best work against the petition of a growling tummy. So logically, their eyes would begin to play tricks on them after a while and without warning the Chiquita banana girl with her cornucopia of mouth-watering fruits would leap onto the page and influence the key. A sly green apple? A Major. A humongous juicy watermelon? C Major, etc etc. And thus proves the super commutative property of music: food = color = emotion = music.