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Fancy an eight foot long Lego Rebel Attack Cruiser, as pointed out by murries? You might need to enjoy a few ramen meals to make up for it, though. ^_^;

What do you think - are artistic talents absolutely innate, or learned? Can anyone, with diligent practice, become a genuinely decent musician or artist?

By way of kaputotter, an absolutely unmissable tale of one man and his six-month long date over the net. [Edit: verified false, though; but a wonderful yarn all the same]

Elton John and David Furnish prepare for their wedding. Ah, they do look so happy..

The Rude Pundit's take on Bush's recent press conference is amusing. (Not at all work-safe, if your proxy scans for naughty words. Should give quite an impressive ranking, though)

Well, that flight went easily.. flew by, even. As is required of United, the movie selection was fairly turgid - X2 was a reasonable enough slice of eye candy. Toss in some snoozing, and a stimulating conversation with a Portuguese mathematics professor, sparked by the various bits of anime I'd been watching, including Yakitate Japan, evolving through other subjects, including life and politics in the US and EU.

Why am I fascinated by the incidental detail that the can of Pepsi Light came with a ringpull that detaches from the can? It's been something like 140 years since those were around in mass circulation. (It was apparently from Hong Kong, fwiw. Yes, I made sure I found out)

Now that was a weird bug.. I'd found Hyzenthlay wasn't playing audio for any flash files. Some googling turned up this thread on Macromedia's site, noting similar problems across multiple OSs, including one suggested OS X fix: open the Audio MIDI Setup application, and set the output sample frequency to 48kHz or less. (Hyzenthlay's hardware apparently defaults to 96kHz) Did that, and it's perfect.

When I first read of PowerBooks gaining underlit keyboards, I knew that was a tweak I'd find really handy. I now know this to be true. ^_^ (And it looks really cool, too :)

And new icons, yay!
What do you think - are artistic talents absolutely innate, or learned? Can anyone, with diligent practice, become a genuinely decent musician or artist?

Not anyone, but most people. If one is able to appreciate art or music (and there are some people who simply can't see perspective in a drawing, or tell one tune from another) then one knows what one wants to produce. From that point on it's simply a matter of training and practice. It's a skillset, just like making furniture or cooking.
Not everyone can physically do things, however. My fingers aren't the rige type to play piano, for example. I could practice all I want, however when it comes to playing the harder pieces, forget it.

On the other hand, if you look at music as a skill, then it should be no different than any other skill. I should be able to practice with a guitar for weeks, and be a skilled guitarist. Just as I should be able to drive for weeks, and be a skilled driver. Or I should study for weeks to become a skilled veterenarian.

The problem is that not everoyne is "wired" the same way. Some can put words together into sentences and write works of immense power that moves people. Others simply can't put things as elegantly. Some people can pour their soul out of 6 strings and create music, others just repeat the same three power chords (Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water", for example) and call it "rawking out!" In the end, it's expessing emotion through a medium that is generally emotionless, and that's where the true art comes from.

So to get to the Wah's ultimate question, there is an ammount of talent that comes from the person. Skill and practice can refine that talent, and make it better, but there comes a point that you hit the "Peter Principle".

Wow, that was deeper than I thought it'd be. I should probably write again.

(Edited to fix a link, and kinda proving my point I think...)
I wonder, though - consider that some folks' early work is clearly much better than others'. Is that merely a head start, and something which others can catch up to, or is it a permanent advantage? (Or even both, perhaps)

Certainly, practice can make a very great difference.. I recall Zjonni (any idea if he's still around?) noting he'd improved greatly simply through persistence.

Of course, there's still that special spark of creativity, of passion for the art, which can't be synthesised, howsoever technically skilled one may become.
What do you think - are artistic talents absolutely innate, or learned? Can anyone, with diligent practice, become a genuinely decent musician or artist?

Decent, yes, but great, probably not. There's a point at which practice just stops helping, and it takes talent to get further.
I think I'm inclined that way, yes.. certainly, there's that degree of inspiration and passion that can't be synthesised. I wonder still, though, whether someone that can barely draw a circle can learn to draw well - unquestionably, the first pieces some folks turn out are magnitudes better than some others'. Hmm.
Does one have to re-assemble that "attack cruiser"? Or does it come pre-built? If so, how can it fit through letter boxes?
Well, I suppose they could drop each piece through the letterbox in turn.. ^_^
http://www.snopes.com/risque/mistaken/netmother.asp, alas.
Ah well. It's a wonderful yarn all the same, ne? ^_^
Anything that takes the mickey out of those crazy overamorous French is fine by me!
Soddin' Elton DIDN'T invite me..WTF !
Sounds like it was all suits & ties, though. Erf. Definitely not my style.
In my head I considered my musical education and thought, "Sure, anyone can learn the skills one needs to be a decent artist". Then I considered my incompetence at drawing, and changed my mind.
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Oh, indeed! That's from a rather cute piece by Fel. ^_^

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
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