Defenestration To Be Demolished?

Defenestration HouseI’ve always loved the word defenestration. My fourth grade teacher Ms. Hallacker used to say it when kids in the class didn’t behave the way she wanted them to but since we were fourth graders we didn’t know that defenestration meant being thrown out of a window. Since it was only boys she would yell, I’m going to defenestrate you! and the word rhymed with castration we all assumed the worst. Every boy understands castration for some reason.

This memory leads me to a building at 6th and Howard that has been an art project since 1997. This date surprised me since I felt like it had been there much longer than that. Brian Goggin created the work and now the city is having talks about demolishing the abandon building with furniture and appliances stuck all over the outside. It’s a sparse minimalistic work that unfortunately [in my mind] doesn’t live up to it’s potential. The best way to see it is from the street which means that you have to drive by it or get hit by cars and that only gives you a few seconds to take in the bizarreness of the place.

Your other option is to stand across the street or right underneath some of hangings, but then you can’t really take it all in at it’s best. The objects stuck onto the side of the large building are rather small and appear at times to get lost in the wash of despair of the emptiness of the abandon building. Geez, I’m beginning to sound like an art critic now. I suppose college did pay off for me.

The city is debating whether or not to demolish the building possibly to replace it with mid-market condos. No one’s saying what might go there yet, but the sad story is that to many destroying public artwork will bring the area up. Not so much for the artwork, but the fact that it’s art on a decaying building that could get more use than being an empty shell. If you think about it, it’s probably one of the most expensive artwork installations in the world given what San Francisco real estate goes for even in the bad parts of town.

I tried to do some digging to get more information on the piece, but other than a sparse website, like the artwork itself it’s tough to find anything. I was hoping that Herb Caen had something to say about it, but he died just before the piece was finished, though I won’t make any correlations between the two events. Overall I think it is a piece of art that has outlived its time in San Francisco and if it were to reappear then I think they should find a smaller place where you could add more stuff falling out of windows and better viewing angles to encourage people to be able to appreciate it more.

Yoga for the Ears…

I’ve been one to play around with binaural beats in the past. These are tones that you listen to through headphones that are supposed to retune your brain for a number of things. They are supposed to make you more focused, wake up and be alert or even help you fall asleep. Some people list this as pseudo-science and while being skeptical I like to keep an open mind.

Well, while my own results have been mixed on doing it myself, I found an app a friend recommended to me that made a world of difference. It’s called Brain Wave by Banzai Labs and is available for the iPhone and iPad. They aren’t making these for the Android, but I can tell you that this is a fun app. Many of their apps seem to be in the brain tweaking realm.

I had to hop on the bus the other morning for an interview and because it was early in the morning I had to leave the house I decided to use it to run the focused and alert program. It has ambient sounds to go along with it so you aren’t just hearing the binaural beats in and of themselves. This is pretty good because when you listen to binaural beats through headphones you sort of hear a tone that sounds like it’s panning back and forth between your ears rather quickly. Let me say that about 10 minutes into the trip I felt myself perk up quite quickly and I definitely was very focused and alert.

The way you create a binaural beat is to combine two mono tracks to form a stereo track. Here’s an example, if you want to stimulate the 4hz frequency of your brain [that’s the area that gives you spiritual bliss-like feelings] you create a tone of say 400hz on one side and on the other you use a tone of 404hz. The 4hz difference when you listen through headphones are supposed to tune your brain to accentuate those frequencies and bring you into that state of mind.

This program gives you a choice of 25 different settings from Morning Coffee, Esperesso Shot, Morning Meditation, Focused and Alert, Critical Thinking, Concentration, Memory Boost, Problem Solving, Confidence Boost, Pre-Excercise Energy, Creativity Boost, Positive Mood Boost, Euphoria, Stress Reduction, Anger Relief, Calm Reflection, Reduce Anxiety, Deep Relaxation, Mediation, Lucid Dreaming, Sleep, Vivid Dreams, Power Nap and Deep Sleep.

While I haven’t tried all of these yet, I’ve tried several and I’m pretty pleased with the results. As I am typing this article up I’m running the Euphoria program and I have to say I’m getting the giggles something fierce. Each of the programs has a minimum setting length so that you can get the full effect in the least amount of time. Most of the programs run for 30 minutes minimum, but some will do the job in 20 minutes. For $1.99 it’s definitely a program that can help you get your head in the right space with very little effort. The ambient sounds are ocean, thunder and rain [my favorite for use during the power nap setting], light and medium rain, flowing creek and pink noise [not recommended unless you’re a total geek.]

One thing to keep in mind is that if you are an epileptic or prone to seizures you might want to consult your doctor first. 10hz tends to trigger seizures in people. I say give it a shot and tell me what you think. If nothing else you’ll get to listen to some interesting experimental music that might have you thinking in a different way. It’s kind of like yoga for the ears.