Sand, Pebbles, And Fill – RR/LL, RRR/LLL, and RRRR/LLLL Sticking Combinations From The Original “Stone Boulder” Series

You could spend your life on the first six pages of “Stick Control” and still not cover all the possibilities. Dynamics, accents, foot-hand, foot-foot, fast/slow, hands on top of foot patterns, feet on top of hand patterns, regroupings and accenting in 5-7-4 (regrouping of the 16 strokes per pattern), 7-5-4 (re-regrouping of the 16 strokes), yadda yadda. If you see the first six pages of Stick Control as just exercises, you miss the fantastic complexity YOU can introduce to constantly humble yourself while hovering over a practice pad.

George L. Stone's Stick Control

You should have a copy regardless ( direct link).

The original post related to the PDFs below (link) provided two downloads. The first was all 65,536 R/L combinations for 16th note groupings (so full measures of 16th notes in 4/4 time). The second contained all 4,096 8th note triplet groupings (so full measures of 8th notes in 12/8 time, or 4/4 “jazz” triplets).

This first set is academically complete, but any sticking combination with more than 4 R’s or L’s in a row is just endurance overkill (and even 3 becomes a problem until you figure out your fingers or controlled rebounds). In the interest of having something a bit easier on the warm-up and coordination routine, six new PDFs are below that divide up the 16- and 12-note grouping PDFs into 16- and 12-note sets that contain no more than 2, 3, or 4 R’s or L’s in succession (including the repeat of the pattern as you hammer through X many times). In sticking with the Terry Bozzio theme of the ostinato description of the first post, one could call these “The Easy Teenage New York Versions” of the original series.

Some Practice Ideas

The usage styles are the same as before. I have discovered a few things in working through the 2 R/L triplet combination page that I’ll point out.

1. Work through the whole list once without a click to get comfortable with the patterns. Going in cold will only frustrate when you reach a pattern your hands just aren’t interested in playing correctly yet.

2. The best way to build independence is to overwork your brain. If you can do “the pattern” with your feet playing a pattern, great. Your voice makes for a great 5th limb, more so when you speak the time out loud (in-head counting doesn’t quite cut it).

3. Put your hands on different instruments (maybe obvious). R on bell, L on snare, etc.

4. Escher-ize the patterns (see the sticking pattern as two independent patterns, then try to merge them). There were more than a few patterns where my hands did not work for the first passes, specifically a few patterns where the RR or LL occurs at the end of one beat of three and the beginning of the next beat of three (RRL LRR, for instance)).

My solution was to stop trying to play the sticking pattern and instead focus on playing “one hand” of the pattern, then filling in the missing beats with the other hand. For instance…


Gets reduced to only the right hand, so only play the pattern as…

RR_ _RR _R_ RR_

When that’s comfortable, fill in the empty spaces with the left hand, perhaps playing the L at half-volume (say “l”) so the R pattern still stands out…

RRl lRR lRl RRl

Two things may happen. The first is that trying to stop thinking in terms of clave and instead in terms of sticking combination will make you butcher the pattern again. That just means you need to practice the pattern longer. The second is that you’ll play this thing with your right hand, think to yourself “that’s kinda funky if I play that on the bell,” and you’ll discover a groove that is magically easier to play than you thought based on your previous mangling of the pattern.

The Files

For notes on their generation, see







Ideas of pattern use abound. If something hits you as particularly profound, please send me a note ( and I’ll gladly added it to the list.

Gumming Up Appetite to Treat Obesity – Vitamin B12 Bioconjugate Project (& Graphic) Mention In Scientific American

From the “free press” division of the blog, a recent post by Ferris Jabr on the site highlights yet another evolutionarily fascinating application of cyanocobalamin (herein referred to as B12) out of the Rob Doyle Lab for the non-invasive delivery of small molecules into the human-person. Here, a mechanism for the delivery of human peptide YY (hPYY) into the bloodstream via a food-free mechanism (unless you count the gum flavorings as a fruit). From the thorough and accessible article (with a decent balance of sciam and non-sciam redirecting)…

CHEMICAL COUPLE: The appetite-suppressing hormone hPYY hitches a ride with vitamin B-12 from the stomach to the bloodstream (caption credit: sciam).

Losing weight is not always about anticipating swimsuit season or squeezing into skinny jeans—for the clinically obese, losing weight is about fighting serious illness and reclaiming health. But the primal part of the brain that regulates appetite will not place a moratorium on hunger just because someone and their doctor acknowledge the need to lose weight. Researchers at Syracuse University are working toward a unique solution: a stick of chewing gum that suppresses appetite.

A slightly-larger version of the image on the site is reproduced above (with the image credit most welcome on the site). For a bit more information about the general properties of B12 and its potential applications for other diet-related issues, a few articles described here @swv link to more complete discussions…

* Vitamin B12 In Drug Delivery: Breaking Through The Barriers To A B12 Bioconjugate Pharmaceutical

* The Binding Of Vitamin B12 To Transcobalamin(II); Structural Considerations For Bioconjugate Design – A Molecular Dynamics Study

* B12-Insulin Bioconjugate/Transcobalamin(II)/Insulin Receptor Cover Image For The April Issue Of Clinical Chemistry

* New B12-Insulin-TCII-Insulin Receptor Cover Image For This Month’s ChemMedChem (March 2009)

* Exploring the Implications of Vitamin B12 Conjugation to Insulin on Insulin Receptor Binding and Cellular Uptake

Some Light Science Reading. The Constellations: Cetus

As first appeared in the October 2010 edition of the Syracuse Astronomical Society newsletter The Astronomical Chronicle (PDF).

Constellation Map generated with Starry Night Pro 6.

There is a region of the Night Sky that is dominated by aquatic creatures. Alternately, if we consider empty space as its own kind of ocean, there are regions where the stars of the Aquatic Constellations appear to undulate at geologic time scales, making the current arrangement of stars effectively motionless to our eyes and those of many generations to come.

Within this Water Region are the Constellations (as listed at wikipedia) Aquarius, Capricornus, Cetus, Delphinus, Eridanus, Hydra, Pisces, and Piscis Austrinus. If we think in terms of seasonal change, this does seem like an oddity of planning. Who would place the Aquatic Constellations in the Night Sky during the late fall and winter, when the temperature in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere (such as at Darling Hill Observatory) might as well be that of interstellar space? Where are the polar bear and penguin Constellations?

Constellation Map generated with Starry Night Pro 6.

The answer to this has less to do with the apparent location of these Constellations in our Night Sky and more to do with the position of the Sun during our daytime sky roughly six months later (the Sun IN Pisces, for instance). When the Sun is in this region of the sky from our terrestrial perspective, the Northern Hemisphere is well into Spring, the time of the rainy season in our and ancient cultures. The image above shows the position of the Sun at noon on April 1, 2011. No joke. If our blue sky were to disappear, we’d have a few seconds to enjoy the daytime Constellations (before we passed out, were cooked by radiation, or froze to death, depending on where the atmosphere went. Fun factoid – Mercury, with no atmosphere to speak of, provides 24-hour Constellation observing!).

This brings us to Cetus, formerly known as a sea monster (indirect evidence for the lack of submarines in ancient Greece?), now increasingly considered to be a whale (perhaps equally terrifying to a small boat far from land in antiquity). Like some misidentified sea monster seen from a dry beach by a hydrophobic observer, Cetus provides a small amount of clear identification and several subtle treats for Earth-locked amateur astronomers that leave quite a bit to the imagination.

Constellation Map generated with Starry Night Pro 6.

One of the patient treats in Cetus is the variable multiple star Mira (Omicron Ceti). As our Observatory Director Ray Dague pointed out at our last Public Viewing session, this star takes its own 331.65 day journey from a 10.1 magnitude star to a 2.0 magnitude star. That is a phenomenal change! It is current at 6.5 magnitude and found in the neck of the beast (above).

M77 image by Hunter Wilson.

As for Messier Objects, those objects one can definitely say they saw on first pass with even moderately-sized binoculars, Cetus is accompanied by only M77, a distant (47 million light years away) barred spiral galaxy (at left, photo by Hunter Wilson). While one distant galaxy is anchored in this part of the sky, this small region is host to tens-of-thousands of invisible objects swimming around our Sun. Cetus is a border Constellation to the Zodiac, those 12 Constellations that mark the path of the Sun and planets from our observing post on Earth. By the way the borders are drawn, Cetus does play host very occasionally to planets and, notably, the objects of the Asteroid Belt. Cetus had the distinction of being the host to 4 Vesta (shown below, photo from the Hubble Space Telescope), the 2nd largest object identified in the Asteroid Belt, during its discovery on 29 March 1807 by Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers.

4 Vesta (Images taken 2007 May 14 and 16). From

And then there’s stuff we can only imagine seeing without the most powerful scopes in the known universe. Cetus is the host to JKCS 041 (shown below, also in the neck as marked in the opening image. Must be a hungry monster), the current holder of the title as most distant galaxy cluster yet discovered, residing at a boggling distance of 10.2 billion light years from us. Wikipedia hosts a short little movie about this distant cluster HERE.

JKCS 041 (22 Oct 2009) from NASA/CXC/INAF/S.Andreon et al Optical: DSS; ESO/VLT.

Clear skies, Damian

P.S. It has taken all my concentration to not refer to Cetus as a Whale of a Constellation.