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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Melina's Adventures at Wesleyan

I had a lovely weekend with Zed in Middletown. We went to a national security talk, an astronomy/God lecture, and a gamelan concert.

Zed lives in the Jewish house on campus, which is a kosher establishment with some modern accommodations. In the house's common areas, you're only allowed to eat kosher (no pork, no shellfish, etc).

However.... if you live in the house, maybe you don't observe those dietary laws, they have a solution for you - a gigantic room next to the kitchen known informally as the "Traif-Haven" (traif is the opposite of kosher), where you can eat wherever you want. Residents of the house have plastered stickers of pigs across the door of the room.

I think this is a charming and agreeable compromise. In a lot of Jewish communities there might be a long tiresome battle about who gets to eat what where when and who gets to be the boss of that. But in this situation - everyone wins.

On another note, a gamelan is a very cool thing.

Wikipedia Sayeth:

A gamelan is a kind of musical ensemble of Indonesian origin typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, and vocalists may also be included. The term refers more to the set of instruments than the players of those instruments. A gamelan as a set of instruments is a distinct entity, built and tuned to stay together — instruments from different gamelan are not interchangeable.

"Gong" is a word that we have from the Indonesian languages, in fact. In Indonesia "Gong" is the word only for the biggest kind of gong, and there are several other names for gongs depending on their size: "Nong"(sp?) is a smaller gong than a "Gong," and "Pyang"(sp?) is smaller still. If you pronounce them with the correct Indonesian inflection, you can hear the onomatopoeia in the words: "Gong" is a deep low sound, "Nang" is pronounced mid range, and "Pyang" is pronounced still higher in your register...


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