Categories Uncategorized Cat Amongst the Stringed Instruments Post author By John Scalzi Post date November 19, 2017 30 Comments on Cat Amongst the Stringed Instruments Don’t worry, Sugar. They no longer make strings out of catgut. I mean, probably. How’s the weekend going, folks? Share: By John Scalzi I enjoy pie. View Archive → ← New Books and ARCs, 11/17/17 → The Big Idea: Tracy Townsend 30 replies on “Cat Amongst the Stringed Instruments” I had a wonderful yesterday with son and husband; Thor, World Market for a selection of unAmerican holiday treats, Peruvian supper out with husband. A+ would do again. I went for a walk both mornings and got lovely photos of frost-tipped leaves. My Thanksgiving plans got abruptly less complicated when some guests uninvited themselves. (It wasn’t anything I did! Honest!) And that photo is basically a writing prompt. That expression! And catgut was never made from cats, anyway, but from larger farm animals’ guts. The name is a mystery. Went for a walk because we are having an unseasonably warm day. I have also been doing some reading. Right now I’m reading Democracy In Chains and then I will move on to Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson and Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. Busy. Chip Delaney is in Glasgow and I got to meet him a couple of times and chat, what a lovely guy. Also Trans Day of Remembrance is on Monday so I have a lot of speaking and performing gigs in the run-up; sometimes a difficult thing to do, but the warm reception from people has made it worth while, and that ‘trans tipping point’ seems to be a real thing; people are starting to listen and ask questions. This is not always a good thing; I’ve spent the weekend also dealing with hostile Twitter, but the block button is also a thing. Several years ago when our miniature schnauzer was about a year old, I noticed him scratching on the end of the sofa one afternoon, and mentioning it to my wife she said it probably meant one of his toy balls had rolled beneath it. She also offhandedly said he did that all the time whenever one of his balls found its way behind my $3K Taylor guitar where it stood on a guitar stand in the corner of the “music room.” You can imagine my horror, and the haste in which I ran to look at my beloved guitar. Sure enough, it had several scratches all the way down the front (fortunately none that fully penetrate the finish). Strangely, I never was mad at the dog because he didn’t know any better, plus I finally had a good story about the Taylor. Heck, in another 20-30 years it may even add to the value. I can say this though, had it been one of my kids who defaced my guitar, they’d have been dead I tell you, DEAD! :-) We had an early T-day dinner at cousins because – timing. Anyway, speaking of timing, everything was perfectly cooked all at the same time which, as we all know, is really tough to do! There was extra roasted garlic in the stuffing. Like, two extra heads worth. We have encouraged the chef to do that again. Today is clean-up and pack before we travel over the rivers and into the deep, wet woods for T-day with my family. Yeah. Cleaning. But at the end of the day, there is Outlander and The Walking Dead. Not bad! Lovely weather happening in Dallas. The cats are loving it, including Big Boy, the fighter. Relaxing here before the holiday grind begins. https://i.imgur.com/6lsoKqI.jpg Don’t relax too soon, Sugar–at least various bowed-stringed instruments still use catgut! Still, unless someone in the household takes up the violin, you should be safe. (Besides, as johntshea comments above, actual cats were never the source of catgut strings, and no one knows for sure where the term came from. It is A Linguistic Mystery entirely typical of the English language, in my opinion.) Found a good home for my 27-year-old beloved Big Green Egg™. We’re moving to a retirement apartment in Falls Church and it’s going to Arlington, where I can visit it from time to time. I took up the trumpet two months ago after a mere thirty seven year gap so this weekend is practicing C and G notes. All Saturday I was picturing, “if my earlier self could see me now” for I had a nice futuristic car where the dashboard is all digital, even the speed, not analogue, no round speedometer, set off to the middle so my steering wheel won’t hide the speedometer… and I had the money to go to cafes and read (my old favourite hobby) and know someone at the big flea market and have my own little ship’s cabin painted white with a fold-into-the-wall (Murphy) bed just like the beggar boy in Citizen of the Galaxy. Speaking of such beds, I remember Chip Delaney speaking at an empty hotel room with chairs set up and “cupboard doors” on the side that were in fact such beds. That was at a con is Missoula Montana. I hadn’t known hotels used Murphy beds. Sugar is not worrying, she is pondering the possible uses of Scalzigut. Leaves are bronze; dog is sleepy and cuddlesome. A good weekend. Catgut, from the caterwauling sound made by violins. If you strung violins with mangut, they’d sound like Frank Sinatra, or maybe Ethel Merman. Of course, cowgut is used for the big bass viols to get that big bass moo sound. (If you find this convincing, allow me to explain how the name Mendelssohn was derived from Moses.) (nerd alert) Almost nobody uses catgut for strings nowadays; they’re nylon, silk, and wire in various combinations. The exception is historic-performance people (lute, viol, Baroque violin, …) who buy gut strings from specialists. Gut is insanely responsive to moisture and will go flat if you so much as look at it sideways, but I’m glad early musicians put up with it. Jordi Savall forever. What a gorgeous picture. My part of Colorado had an also gorgeous gold-and-rose sunset tonight. I didn’t have a camera so you’ll have to imagine it :) We’re heading out to see Justice League in half an hour or so, assuming I’m awake then. The dog is snoring on the couch next to me, and it’s pulling me under. I wonder if catgut could be related to kit violins. Also, are you familiar with the expression “to play the cat and banjo with [something]”? You’d be surprised (possibly) how many instruments I repair due to being knocked over by cats. Or spouses. Neither are keen on living in the garden to prevent guitar damage. I saw Thor Ragnarok and winterized some stuff around the house. Ragnarok was fun. I mean the movie, not the actual Ragnarok. Last time around, the actual ragarok sucked pretty badly. Feeling kind of sickly this weekend but I did wind up a grind in one of the games I play, did brunch with a friend and finished Madeline Ashby’s “Company Town;” of the last it felt a little too high concept for me to really like. Maybe I’ve just read too much dystopian/cyberpunk fiction to relate to such a book in a fresh manner. Saturday I met a cousin at a local nature center’s month-long artisan market to admire lovely stuff we never actually buy, which was fun. But we bought and ate artisan chocolate to show support of the event, and that was delicious. But then I talked cousin into walking over and looking at the nature center’s beehive, which turned out to be an obvious deadout, so that was very sad. And I happened to mention that, because we have Thanksgiving at my vegetarian sister’s place, we were cooking turkey for ourselves Sunday and would she like to come over NOT for a complicated lunch with fixings, but I could probably rustle up some potatoes and gravy or something. Cousin brought sweet potatoes, so that was lovely, plus we nuked marshmallows in the microwave, which is entertainment and dessert all in one. And I talked her into walking out to see MY beehives, which turned out to be “not dead yet”, so that was wonderful. All in all a reasonably pleasant weekend. Sigh… I keep telling you, the ONLY stringed instrument you should be playing with is this: https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=38D25F4C1B871AFE&id=38D25F4C1B871AFE%21662096&parId=38D25F4C1B871AFE%21578&o=OneUp Grrr… damn my pc. Was supposed to be a banjo pic. Delete previous post if you can John, and imagine BLUEGRASS! LOL Not cat related, but great thing you did for Worldbuilders!!! That was quite a lot of books! Falling all over myself with enthusiasm for two recent PBS videos: http://www.pbs.org/video/nova-school-future/ and: http://www.pbs.org/video/in-the-beginning-was-water-and-sky-mul3z1/ (stunning piece of work…in several senses.) Half asleep over a restless night worrying about paying the bills. Otherwise, had a great time at a Thanksgiving dinner potluck and at catching up on “Supergirl.” P.S. I don’t think Sugar looks as if you’re a believable human. Be ethical and go electric, as electric guitars must use metal strings for the pick ups to work! Tidied up the garden, did some woodwork, tried a new pie recipe (not doing that one again, but at least I’m getting better at flaky pastry). Overall a good day. Bought way too much produce at Saturday’s Farmers’ Market; Sunday made 2 gallons of borsht. So, I’m making huge pots of soup, it must be Fall. Comments are closed.