Skip to main content

How a Youtube maths educator showed me my blog needed a new focus

This past Saturday, I was sitting in our basement TV room watching Youtube while my wife was enjoying the latest show she found on Netflix in another room.  I decided to browse the video feed of Vi Hart, who usually makes videos about maths, music, and virtual reality.

In this one video, which I had seen years ago but not watched since, Vi Hart describes twelve tone music, also called atonal music.  She refers to the importance of shared context, and how context (for example, imagining a background piano accompaniment) helps interpret and understand the music.  She also compares it to strangers singing their favourite pop hit on the bus -- they head the background, but you don't and it sounds meaningless -- or coworkers telling you about TV or sports you don't watch.  Without the context of background music (or an understanding of the TV show or sport) being presented, it is literally meaningless.  

It's a long video, but the music and lessons in it are both quite beautiful.  I encourage you to watch the whole thing, but the specific point I'm making comes from 3:25 to 4:18.

"Twelve Tones" by Vi Hart.  A fantastic video.  Watch to at least 4:18 for the specific point I'm making here.  But then watch the whole thing.

All that to say is I've come to realize that my blog and its readership (such as it is) generally lack shared context.  I'm writing about the books I'm reading, but nobody in my circle of friends is reading the same thing, or are they likely to.

So that requires a change of focus.

By far the most viewed post I wrote was my letter to my daughter on her six-month birthday.  A number of people even shared kind words with me after they read it.  I'm told close friends and family read my other posts, noting that they often don't know what I'm talking about but read anyways.  This is a very sweet gesture, and I deeply appreciate it.  But the lack of shared context means most people who read my blog aren't getting much out of it.

A few things are staying the same:
  • My Star Wars Read-Through is important to me.  I will continue writing about these, and sharing my views with the various Star Wars fan communities I'm in.
  • I will continue to read other comics and novels and write about them, but unless the novel has wide appeal, or unless I have some specific thoughts to share, I won't make specific posts about them.
As a new way forward, I'll blog a bit more about personal experiences.  I took my daughter to the Canadian Museum of Agriculture and Food this weekend; I will write something soon about that.  I recently traveled for work, and I'm about to again.  

I'm thinking I will conclude my posts with a short segment on what I've recently finished reading.  That way, I can still write about what I'm reading (the original premise of the blog) but also share some more meaningful stories of my own life.

It is my hope that, by introducing shared context, the people who read my blog will get a bit more out of the experience.


Popular Posts

A Letter To My Daughter On Her Six-Month Birthday

Dear Marilla,

I can't believe it's already been six months since that wonderful day, 8 March 2017, when you first graced us with your presence.

Your mother and I had been awaiting your arrival for literally years.  When the doctors first told us you existed, we were absolutely ecstatic.  We didn't know much about you then; not your gender, or what you'd look like.  You just had a heartbeat and a yolk sac.  Nevertheless, we nicknamed you Thor, a strong name for a strong baby of either gender.

As we got closer to the delivery date, you decided to be a bit difficult and give mommy a bit of trouble.  But after a day and a half in the hospital, at 12:30pm six months ago today, the nurse handed you to me, and we gave you your name.

You've learned so much in your first six months of life.  After perfecting the basics like breathing and eating (not an easy start, to be sure), you started figuring out how your body works.  Your dexterity keeps increasing.  You can hold y…

Star Wars New Canon: Princess Leia books: Read Claudia Gray books!

The next items on my Star Wars read-through list were a pair of New Canon novels about the life and times of one character in particular: Princess Leia Organa.  Her history was largely over-written for the New Canon, and two novels help rebuild her story.

For this post, I read the following:

Bloodline (novel by Claudia Gray, 2016)Leia, Princess of Alderaan (novel by Claudia Gray, 2017)
I read both novels in the hardcover format.

Another appropriate story to have read would be the Princess Leia comic miniseries by Mark Waid, but I covered that in a previous post.  At any rate, its plot does not connect with either of these novels.

Story:Bloodline is set 24 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, 23 years after the Aftermath trilogy, but still six years before The Force Awakens.  The New Republic is well established.  The Empire is gone, and so the New Republic has no strong enemies to fight.  The Senate is deeply divided, and cannot resolve a new crisis but for the help of Senator…

Star Wars New Canon: Aftermath - Tying Loose Ends, Laying New Foundations

I'm taking a break from the chronological read-through of my Star Wars Legends books to further explore the new canon novels (the ones that are fully consistent with the new movies.)  This post will be about the stories taking place in the immediate aftermath of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi:
Aftermath (novel by Chuck Wendig, 2015)Aftermath: Life Debt (novel by Chuck Wendig, 2016)Aftermath: Empire's End (novel by Chuck Wendig, 2017)Battlefront: Battle of Jakku (downloadable video game mission by EA Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment (DICE), 2015)Shattered Empire 1-4 (comic by Greg Rucka, 2015) These stories are meant to conclude the story of the original Star Wars trilogy by tying up any loose ends that might exist.  At the end of Return of the Jedi, while the Emperor and Darth Vader were both dead, the bulk of the Empire and its mighty fleets and armies remained largely intact, albeit leaderless.  Countless planets remain in their grip, including Chewbacca's homewor…