Author Topic: Mystery night noises. A lesson in acoustics.  (Read 1452 times)

Offline Gyppo

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Mystery night noises. A lesson in acoustics.
« on: November 04, 2017, 05:45:44 AM »
   Mystery noises.  (A lesson in acoustics.)

   I was sat in my office the other night and heard odd noises outside.  I ignored them at first, thinking it was just street sounds.  There are a few tradesmen living in this street and loading and unloading vans can produce some strange sounds.  But these were puzzling and they went on for a bit too long.  In the end I opened the front door to see what was causing them.

   Nothing in sight.

   Then I heard them again, with no obvious cause.

   I stood there like a pillock for a while trying to make sense of it.   There was a bit of a fog around so I couldn't really see either end of the road, but the noises seemed to be coming from the terrace of houses directly opposite.

   It remained a mystery until I heard the familiar whoosh of a rocket soaring skywards from behind my home, beyond the motorway.  A big thump and then a series of off-beat pops and crackles, a bit like listening to a badly tuned radio.  Not like normal firework noises at all.

   Eventually it all began to make sense.

   Indoors I couldn't hear the initial whooshes.  So that was the first clue missing.  I couldn't see the fireworks either because my bungalow has a tall roof..

   But the echoes were rampaging around the street, crossing and re-crossing from the houses to the bungalows, all semi-muted by the mist and getting mixed up as well.  The higher frequency parts of the sound were missing entirely.

   It was never like this in the house because from there I could see the fireworks climbing and the noises from the air-bursts had a clear run straight at my office window.  But here, in this rather distorted crescent of dwellings, with many soft trees to further confuse the 'sound picture',  the previously clear sounds get stirred up and dash around, criss-crossing with ever-fading echoes.  Running around like a fart in a colander unable to decide which hole to use for an exit.

   From outside in the back garden the fireworks sounded much as one would expect.  Next time it will just be another background noise rather than a puzzlement.  The overall sound insulation on this bungalow is rather good.

   Gyppo
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Jo Bannister

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Re: Mystery night noises. A lesson in acoustics.
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 12:41:05 PM »
I just had to leave off because I thought the dog was having convulsions in the kitchen.  Turned out it was two men with a post-driver erecting a gate in my field.

This is both pleasing and slightly embarrassing.  It is pleasing because I want the gate to give access into a small plantation of trees, and they agreed to do it eight months ago.  It is slightly embarrassing because only yesterday I hauled one of them over the coals.  I pointed out to him that, if I promised to deliver a book in less than eight months, I would do it; that many people manage to deliver a baby in less than eight months.

I obviously left him shell-shocked and whimpering for his mother, because this morning I saw him barrelling off to the agricultural suppliers, and this afternoon he's post-driving away for all he's worth.

Maybe I should lose my temper more often...

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Mystery night noises. A lesson in acoustics.
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2017, 03:50:35 PM »
...that many people manage to deliver a baby in less than eight months.

Maybe I should lose my temper more often...

Love that baby line, Jo.

Here's a secret.  You don't have to truly lose your temper - which can backfire - just faking a credible melt-down usually gets the same results.  Without the risk of getting carried away and truly twisting someone's head off at the neck and shoving it up their arsehole.

After all, what's the point of a new gate if you're banged up in prison and can't use it?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 03:53:15 PM by Gyppo »
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Jo Bannister

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Re: Mystery night noises. A lesson in acoustics.
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2017, 09:24:26 AM »
Ah, but don't you find that life imitates art?  That you start off pretending to be angry, but then you hear all the really good reasons you're producing for why and think, Damn it, I should be ripping heads off!

Actually, I do something worse than that.  I try to be patient, and I try to be reasonable, and I try to give people a bit longer, and all the time I'm building up a head of steam inside; and then some other poor sod puts a foot out of line and gets beaten to a bloody pulp (verbally) for being nearest when the piston blew.

But then, I never claimed to be perfect...


Offline Gyppo

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Re: Mystery night noises. A lesson in acoustics.
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2017, 09:43:57 AM »
I think this may be where the difference between pretending and acting kicks in.  Maybe those years in the arena 'acting the aggression' whilst still being able to stop the punch, kick, sword cut, or spear thrust safely installed a safety barrier.  If I set out to act then it's fairly safe, despite appearances.

I can terrify people with voice alone if I work at it.  Add a touch of red-faced apoplexy if needed.  But cold menace, usually with a quieter voice so they have to listen, triggers a gut-level fear response in most people.  Consciously lower the pitch of your voice, because most people tend to get a bit shrill when they're nervous about the outcome.

Family and friends say that as long as I'm not white-faced they don't worry too much.  That's the real Berserker sign,  and I can't act that to save my life.

As they say, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye."

Gyppo
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 09:51:43 AM by Gyppo »
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline Spell Chick

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Re: Mystery night noises. A lesson in acoustics.
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2017, 04:54:27 PM »
When I'm at my most angry, I revert to whispering softly through clenched teeth. You have no idea how effective that is, but only in person. It really loses everything when done over the phone because the offending asshat just thinks it's a bad connection.
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