First Frost at Djurgårdsbrunnsviken

The previous evening was cold, and the night colder. Winter is here!



In the preceding two reviews I mention that Hack Music Theory Book 1. Hack Music Theory Songwriting and Producing, and the Hack Music Theory YouTube channel taught me enough to create my very first tune and thus completing my New Year's resolution to learn to compose music.


Hack Music Theory Songwriting and Producing by Ray Harmony

Once you have read and understood Hack Music Theory Part 1, you should get this PDF. If the aforementioned book is the best ten dollars a beginning musician can spend, this PDF is easily the next best ten dollars. It basically answered exactly the questions I had about how to compose music.


Hack Music Theory Part 1 by Ray Harmony

There are an infinite number of musical compositions, and that's a problem for anyone trying to write one. Specifically, most of them sound really bad. The infinity of choices doesn't just make it hard to evaluate the best path from concept to finished result, it also makes it hard to refine the initial concept into a solid starting position. As Ansel Adams said, there is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.


Maqam Machine

When I started my attempts at making music around new year's I had a question on my mind: what makes certain music sound like that kind of music? Or, to be more specific, what makes Middle-eastern music sound Middle-eastern? Is it the instruments? Is it something else?

I googled, and googled, and found that there was something called a maqam. It's an Arabic extension to the older Persian dastgah system, which, in turn, is best described as a set of musical scales and connections between them. (Similar to the Indian ragas.) Could I make music sound Arabic or Persian by restricting the melody to these scales? I tried a little, but then got sidetracked into making a little application where I could explore these scales.


Programmable Keyboard for Less and Windows UI Automation

I made a a sliding drawer for my keyboard, and while at first I thought that I would not further derail myself from actually practicing, you know, making music, a brief experience with LMMS sent me right away doing things other than actually doing music. See, the keyboard is not just a bit in front of my "typing" keyboard and my mouse - it's also offset a bit to the left. This makes it quite a reach to get at the mouse when I needed to do something in LMMS, and of course that's a job for the hobby engineer to solve.


The UN Monument at the United Nations Day

In the service of peace.


Tomb of Seuthes III

A subterranean tomb of the ancient Thracian king Seuthes III.


Roses and Candles

Two of the graves at St Clara Church have received flowers and candles.


Buzludzha Monument

Having grown up with V and Independence Day, The Monument House of the Bulgarian Communist Party, or Buzludzha Monument as it is commonly known, looks like the ruins of a concrete spaceship. Due to the bad shape the building is in, it's not permitted to go inside. But it is imposing enough from the outside.


The House of Humor and Satire

The World Lasts Because It Laughs

Radoy Ralin

This article would not have been possible without the help of Bogdan Fortunov, who provided a detailed and comprehensive account of the museum's history.

Bulgaria is split along the east-west axis by the Balkan mountains, an imposing range whose Botev Peak sits near the geographical center of Bulgaria. To the east of the peak, at the north end of the Shipka Pass, which connects northern Bulgaria with southern Bulgaria through these mountains, in the valley of the Yantra river, lies the city of Gabrovo. The area has been inhabited since the stone age, but it wasn't until the 14th century that population grew from a small village of 100 houses to a small town. Being situated on a river that provided ample water power for workshops, and on an important north-south trade route, the small town grew into a large, prosperous industrial town by the 19th century.

2021-10-12, updated: 2021-11-04More

Autumn Colors at Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen

The weather has been mostly overcast, overcast, and some more overcast - so when the sun did peek out from behind the clouds I went to see some autumn foilage.


Sliding Drawer for Musical Keyboard

My new year's resolution for 2021 was to learn how to compose music. To that end I dug out my old keyboard from 1988, which, surprisingly, worked very well. I kitted it out with an ESI MIDIMATE eX MIDI-to-USB, downloaded LMMS, and was on my way.


Vazova Trail

Ivan Vazov, also called "the Patriarch of Bulgarian literature", best known for his role in the Bulgarian national awakening and author of the book Under the Yoke (Под игото, 1894), used to come here and hike. In particular he'd go to the Skaklya waterfall, where he wrote From Mala Stara Planina and Grandfather Yotso is Watching (Дядо Йоцо гледа, published 1901 in the collection Seen and Heard / Видено и чуто)


Hagia Sophia Church

A church from the 5th-6th century, abandoned in the 18th century.



The cave is about 300 meters long and contains ten halls. Its name "ledenika" means "icy" or "glacial", and the cave is quite a lot more chilly than the outside.


Christmas in Florida

Christmas tree. It is part of the latino holiday celebrations I joined in on, and just about the only part of the celebrations that were familiar.

2009-12-25, updated: 2012-01-24More