One thousand five hundred thirty five

That’s the number of days included in the Maggie-a-day project, to date.

In reality, Maggie is nearly 1,900 days old and photos aren’t taken every day.

More days than not, the project is updated with ‘filler’ material – photos from days out and holidays, where I come back with dozens or hundreds of photos. These make up for the days that my camera gathers dust.

In some senses, the project is a failure.

There are not pictures of Maggie, day in and day out, chronicling her growth. It is not even updated daily. Five years in, and I have managed not to update it over 300 times.

On the other hand, it is also the most successful artistic project I’ve ever undertaken. Friends and family all over the world get to see my daughter grow up, and be a part of her life, despite the distance. There is a chronicle of her growing up, even if it is one that is a bit more disjointed than the one I intended at the outset of the project.

Maggie is still happy to pose for photos on a near-daily basis. The show must go on.

One thousand five hundred thirty five

A song challenge – part one of thirty

Around this time last year — I think it was last year — I decided to do something called the “30 Day Song Challenge” on Facebook. Basically it’s a thirty-part quiz about the taker’s musical taste. And it’s a little bit juvenile. And I’ve decided to do it again — only on the blog this year.

Day One: Your favourite song.

The word “favourite” is going to feature quite a lot over this series. And I never know how to apply it. For instance, Sick Again by Led Zeppelin is playing as I type this. And I’m fully engaged in the song. I’m not thinking of other music, or wishing it was another song. But realistically, there’s no way I would — at any point in my life — name it as “my favourite song”. But in the moment I’m listening to it, I don’t want to listen to anything else.

So is it my favourite song?

Well, no. It’s over now. I’ve moved on.

Enjoyment of music is, of course, part emotional and part intellectual. I can look down my nose at a song because of simple lyrics, a lack of complexity or difficulty required to perform it, or both — this is an intellectual judgement of the song in question. But most of my — and most people’s, I would think — reaction to music, or any art, is based in emotion. Art is meant to make us feel. And so my favourite song of any fleeting moment rests upon how that particular piece interacts with my current emotional state.

So my favourite song varies greatly depending on my mood, and the reasons for that mood. It can depend on the day of the week (The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love isn’t nearly as fun on Monday morning). It can depend on the weather.

So how do I, in my current neutral, introspective, intellectual state choose a favourite?

Statistics, that’s how. I figure that I tend to listen to songs I like more often than those I don’t. And that I tend to skip songs I dislike more often than those I do.

And given that it’s been a year since I last answered these questions, I’ll refine my statistical set to the past year — otherwise my all-time most played songs would overwhelm any recent changes. And what have I listened to the most in the past year?

This, apparently:

One going nowhere just for show

When I was a kid, we had to learn all sorts of songs in school. Music “class” was a daily occurrence during which we would learn and sing songs. (I put class in quotes because we didn’t learn anything other than the words to songs, and their tunes. No reading or writing of music, instruments, et cetera.)

For whatever reason, one of the songs we learned was If I were a rich man, from Fiddler on the Roof. And for some reason, the lyrics to this particular song can still echo around my brain twenty-five years later:

There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

Well, if I were a lottery winner, I’m thinking that I might do Tevye one better, and include a roller coaster staircase in my fantasy home:

For those interested in having one built for their own overly-fancy abode, the above staircase was built by Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth, and can be viewed (and apparently climbed upon) in Duisburg, Germany.

The above photograph is by Thomas Mayer, additional photos can be found at Arch Daily.

The morning coffee and the strange bans

Here at the Big Bad Blog, we are probably the very last website in the world to mention that Missouri is banning Student-Teacher friendships on Facebook. What we do not think has been pointed out is exactly how silly the law actually is. From PC Magazine:

Buried within the law, however, is a provision that effectively eliminates private social relationships between students and teachers on any of the Web’s many social networks. Missouri school districts are required to develop written policies to address the “appropriate use of electronic media” by the start of 2012, which must include guidelines for social network use.

“Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child’s legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian,” reads the law. “Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student.”

Here are a few examples of things that will happen:

  • A teacher will have his or her child as a student in their class. It will become illegal for them to have them as a “friend” on Facebook.
  • A former student will grow up and marry into the family. It will be illegal for them to have them as a “friend” on Facebook.
  • Teachers will no longer be allowed to communicate via email to students.
  • Schools will not be able to set up websites to which students could anonymously report criminal activity (or abuse), as that site must be accessible to individuals who are potentially the abusers in question.

Well done, Missouri. Here at the Big Bad Blog, we are convinced that you will prevent children who need help from accessing good teachers who care. Somehow we do not think that any of this will keep predators from the vulnerable ones, though.

Photo via je suis perdu.
Webcomic is The Underfold.