Q: Joe Zaffarano - What is the proper length for the snare-quad solo in Conga?

A: The proper length of the Conga solo depends on a number of factors, such as the tiredness of the drum section, how many minutes are left in intermission, and the enthusiasm of the crowd. Removing those variables, my opinion is that the proper length of the snare/quad call and answer is 4 exchanges. This gives both parties enough time to show off a bit, but doesn't drag the drum solo section of the song out for too long. If time is short, then the solo should be cut down to as few as one exchanges. If the crowd is really into it, then I can see extending it to as many as 8, but anything more than that is really pushing it.

Q: Sarah LaBombard - Did Sarah find Oscar?

A: First, the backstory: While moving my drums into Monty's Krown for a gig last Saturday, Allison asked me what Sarah L's cat is named. I was highly confused by the random nature of the question, and I said that I couldn't remember, and asked her why she was asking. She pointed to a poster taped to a lightpost, which had a picture of a lost cat belonging to a "Sarah". Under the picture was the name "Oscar", and a phone number to call with information about the cat. Unfortunately I didn't write down Sarah's number from the poster asking for information about her lost cat, so I can't get any information about this. Sorry!

Q (repeat): Bill Jeffers - So how many dimensions are there REALLY?

A: After studying the issue some more, I'm sorry to report that I'm more confused about it now than I was when I began. I spent about half an hour reading the Wikipedia article about string theory, and then watched the "Imagining the Tenth Dimension" flash animation that was posted on Jolinko last week (that I imagine sparked the question). What I learned from my research is that there are 5, 10, 11, or 26 dimensions. I can wrap my mind around the concept of a fifth dimension, which ties into quantum mechanics, specifically the "many worlds" theory. The basic idea behind this theory is that there are infinite universes that exist based upon the events that took place in the past. For example, there is a universe in which Ron Ayers wants to destroy the Random Thread, and one where he wants to keep it. This "many worlds" theory has (apparently) been proven, and so I submit that the minimum number of dimensions is 5.

Once we get beyond the fifth dimension, I start to get somewhat fuzzy. Are there higher dimensions? I don't know, and more to the point it's impossible to prove at the moment. I think a more important question is does it matter if there are higher dimensions or not? By this I mean, even if there are higher dimensions, what does that get us? Are we able to make use of this knowledge in a productive way? I don't have the answers here.

On a slightly related tangent, I have some more thoughts. As I grow older I find myself looking at these "big" issues more philosophically than physically. If I look at an object, I don't think about what makes it up at a subatomic level. It's enough for me to just know that the object exists. By this I mean that when I look at an object, I am satisfied with the FACT that it exists. HOW it exists (the physics behind it) doesn't interest me as much as it used to. I loved physics in high school, and continue to find the subject of astronomy fascinating, but when I started to read about string theory and quantum mechanics, I realized that it's less about physics and more about metaphysics. These things can't be proven, only speculated about. I know that much of science is just theory, and I also know that there is good reason to believe in higher dimensions. But I view it as just that: "belief". I think that this matter can be settled someday, but that day isn't today.

I realize I've gotten away from the question you asked, Bill, and for that I'm sorry. But this is what's on my mind. Thanks for your time, guys.