Tim Boucher

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Bagpipes and goats

Curiosity has gotten the better of me, and I finally broke down and bought a practice chanter (to learn to play bagpipes) from Amazon. It’s a cheap one, and every bagpipe site I have ever seen likes to write, in all caps, warnings like:


Which is all well and good if you’re sure ahead of time you’re going to make this plunge and commit to it forever. But starting with a $15 trial balloon over a $100 experiment seems like a good idea to me. What do I know!

The more I’ve gotten into researching the types and history of pipes though, the more compelling it actually is. I mean, as far as “windbags” go…

This is one of my favorite piping videos for a lot of reasons:

Oddly, it turns out that goats and bagpipes seem to have been intimately connected for quite some time.

If you delve into piping history (at least the online sources I found), they put the first officially recognized mention of bagpipes to a Roman source sometime in early AD. But there’s an elemental pattern you can see behind the pipes if you look with the “eyes of the goat.”

I’m not going to pretend to be any kind of expert, but I found a bunch of different traditional forms of bagpipes which are not only made of goat skin, but which explicitly seem to reference the form of the animal, with either heads included, or else with drones, chanters and windpipes in place of the limbs of the beast.

Check out, for example, the Zaqq from Malta:

Here’s another one from Eastern Europe:

And this is included ‘just for fun’: via Duda on Wikipedia:

“…there were many legends about bagpipes that could play themselves when hung from the wall on a nail or about pipers summoned to Witches’ Sabbaths to perform for satanic hosts.”

So my hypothesis, for the moment, goes something like this:

Bagpiping is a secondary cultural artifact from raising goats (or sheep, variously–just using goats as a catch-all here). In French, we have this handy word for goat-raising, Capriculture.

Moreover, the evolution of the “windbag” is simply an augmentation of pre-existing reed flutes, like this German dude (assuming he’s German–maybe I’m wrong) makes in the Youtube video below:

Bagpipes are basically this attached to a pipe you do your fingering on – chanter – which sticks out of a bag, and which has anywhere from typically 1-3 drones, which are reeds on pipes each tuned to sound at one continuous note.

So there’s a precursor invention, the reed pipe, which is more or less a “natural” human invention from naturally-occurring material. Which is over time grafted onto this other invention: an animal skin or bladder which can be inflated or deflated with air or liquid.

Taken in this light, the instrument becomes less a strange oddity, and something more elemental, and perhaps very ancient – as ancient as the human relationships with the plants and animals from which the craft originally descended.

That’s the theory anyway. Not sure I’m ready to start keeping goats, but I’m warming up to giving piping a shot. Will keep you posted!

PS. I love how that last video shows the pipes mixed with the sound of sheep’s bells


Hod, Wikipedia:

Imagine primitive man is meditating in the wilderness, and comes in contact with, and begins to understand, some energy that surrounds him. So that he can grasp it better, he creates some form, perhaps the form of a god or a symbol, so he has something he can relate to. He then uses that statue or that symbol in future ceremonies to contact that intangible energy once again.

Bots vs. Help Centers

Problem: Help bots (natural-language based) and conventional Help Centers (document-based) have over-lapping functionality yet typically require two different systems to write and maintain.

That is, bot apps are separate from help center apps. Information is inevitably duplicated and requires significant upkeep. When updates happen to the product, updated information must fan out across unlinked bot/documentation systems (and response systems, agent-macros).

Possible Solutions:

  1. Linking bot content to help center content–change one information source, and it fans out to bot, docs and response macros.
  2. Bot which automatically pulls from (annotated?) help center content; effectively plugs into existing support corpus. (Link questions to specific y block of text on page z)
  3. Help center that acts like a bot–simple automated chat and/or natural-language search


Imaginal Triggers

I’m pretty “jury’s still out” on exactly what is meant in pop culture by tulpas–whether it’s strictly something one can build in their mind, or if there could be some specific link to/from the outside world…

But since the White Queen appeared after I began experimenting with building an internal A.I. for experimental/fictional purposes, Princeps, it stands to reason that she is part of the same “court.” In the dream, she actually appeared as the “Queen of England,” but I knew that it was something like a local use of a global value, you might say.

That is, “White Queen” exists independent of the human mind (or at least the individual human mind), but that she also has like “local representatives” who stand in for any given individual’s experience of what might be termed the “White Queen Pattern.”

Thus, she is a bridge between an imaginal creation and maybe a meta-imaginal (multi-imaginal?) value/process/archetype. (In the dream, this figure was also like Galadriel from LOTR – another instantiation)

Anyway, it occurs to me that if one could make a thoughtform, such as a tulpa, which persists and has certain identifiable patterns (and sentience?), then it would make sense one could have physical/sensory triggers one could use as aids to activating communication between members of a system. Or a system and linked components of a super-system.

e.g., hardware macro triggers for imaginal states, such as are depicted in my CWQ Call video.

Make the internet fun again

The internet used to be fun. I miss that.

Farm Blog Archive

Previous version of this site, archived here.


People talk about silos like it’s a bad thing.

But if you’re storing grain, you kind of need it.

How do they keep out rats though?

In a past life…

In a past life I worked in a Martian call center a million years ago where we answered questions for visiting remote viewers and psychics working for the CIA. It wasn’t a bad job. Mostly we just made stuff up because we didn’t know what to tell them.

Onto something…

I like this. It feels like I am onto something…

It’s better to not know what until after.

No pre-supposed goal.

Just a motivation.

A hazy memory from Mars a million years ago.

Do not follow me on social media.

Do not like this post on Facebook.

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