Ep.2 D&D, Music, and Voodoo

20 January 2019

RR: If I get enough interviews I can make it into a podcast…k! Sitting here with Meg Schindler, who is going to describe something that she wants to do with her profession. Which is voodoo.

Nick: How did you get voodoo as a profession?

Megan: According to Rock Rat, it’s all voodoo and it’s really not.

Nick: What’s wrong with it?

RR: Nothing’s wrong with voodoo, but that’s what she does professionally. They have trained her in the art of poking my brain and it works. OK-

Shawn: It’s only voodoo if she pokes your brain and somebody else gets hurt.

Nick: Or if she pokes inanimate objects and it pokes your brain.

Katie: Mmhmm.

RR: This is the crowd I’m sitting with, for the record. We’ve got Meg, right here, we’ve got Shawn Tolley, we have Nick Pike, he’s a swing dancer. Shawn Tolley is a teacher. We’ve got Katie…Meraso? I swear to god..Mersaros?

Katie: Mersaros.

Shawn: Call her Katie The Butcher.

RR: That’s good too, Katie The Butcher, who is my friend and roommate and, uh..

Nick: And I’m just “the swing dancer” I’m not sure how I feel about that.

RR: He’s an engineer too! We’re here to talk about Dungeons & Dragons, this is Rock Rat-

Shawn: Oh, you’re an engineer too?

RR: -live…screw you guys. I love ‘em all very much. Meg, you’ve got an idea about Dungeons & Dragons.

Megan: So like, my background is in psychology and counseling. I have also studied subcultures, and Dungeons & Dragons like, it’s such an ornate activity and world and there’s like this really rich culture to it. That I don’t understand and have very little exposure to. And so as an outsider, it’s fascinating to me and I want like to see brains under FMRI. To see, like, what parts are stimulated during this activity. And also, like, where is the gratification and what does that do for people?

RR: What’s an FMRI?

Megan: FMRI is a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery. It shows in really great detail the blood flow in the brain, and so you can tell like which areas are active during activities. Um, and so I’m imagining Dudgeons & Dragons- Rock Rat is really intrigued in a D&D figurine right now…

RR: …that was 3D printed by Shawn.

Megan: Wow!

RR: Super cool! I’m literally drooling a little bit. Maybe that’s the pizza.

Megan: Yea, her jaw is like dropping.

RR: Oh my gawd, it’s so cool. Like where did you get this? This is incredible, Dudgeons and Dragons is dope. And so is brain flow and the….the blood in the brain…yea. Like holy shit.

Nick: So you buy the plans and print them yourself?

RR: Ugh! This one’s all cleaned up!

Shawn: This one’s Dana’s, be very careful with that.

RR: Right.

Megan: Anyway, so from my perspective, you have social interaction, you have decision making, which happens in like the frontal lobes of the brain, and you have imagination and creativity which is also, ya know, frontal lobes. But I’m also imagining, like, the mirror neurons, your expiator(sp?) lobes might be activated. I just wanna know what that experience is like for people…that’s quantifiable through brain imaging.

RR: Which would be super cool. I think.

Megan: I don’t know what else to say, like talking about, Rock Rat, your dad, like, 30 years on one character- that’s so much development, so much creativity, and you can also get into the psychology of the characters themselves.

RR: Yea, he has a stack…we’ll talk about it. Ok, Shawn, what do you want to do with this?

Shawn: Well I mean there’s a- I’m a music teacher. I have a history in composition and particularly use of technology and use of …I particularly have a background in, um, use of electronics for creation and performance. And so, um, there’s a piece that was written, I don’t even remember the guy who did it, but he attached electrodes to people’s heads and then read brain electrical activity during thought processes. And then transformed those into frequency ranges and then used those to perform an electrical instrument. And so if we took her magnetic resonance imaging, um, and then we used that incoming data as a way of making discrete changes to sound, then used electrical activity for, um, notes, we could produce music that way. Also combine that with a D20 system of dice music, that I’ve already generated, and we could have some really interesting stuff.

RR: I’m very invested in this idea. Wonderful things are happening around this pizza and mead. By the way, we are drinking mead. That’s also dope and very Dudgeons & Dragons-eques. Ok- Nick Pike is an engineer, who works for the government. Tell us what you want to do-

Shawn: Wait, do you currently work for the government?

Nick: I do.

Shawn: Wow. Do you get paid?

Nick: Yes.

Shawn: Right now?

Nick: Yes.

RR: He’s important.

Shawn: This is impressive. It must be military?

Nick: No. My contribution to this was going to be, uh, some additional ways of representing that music. And there’s a couple different ways you can do that. One of the cool ones at the moment is, uh, a tube with that you drill out holes every inch and then you use propane through. And then you light them and so you get this even wave. And then as you pump…as you push music through that, what it will do is create pressure changes within there. And you’ll get a visual representation of a wave of the music in the flame that’s produced.

Shawn: It would be interesting to take the-

RR: It’s freaking intense!

Shawn: -blood flow and run those through a color generator.