Music stuff + new songs

August 12, 2009

I was talking to a customer the other day about music, since he works in the industry as a sound technician and he was saying how he is needed less and less as time passes by, attributing the lack of business as as result of the move to digital distribution and the decline of live performances. I found it kind of sad that someone who was so passionate about their work would be finding themselves out of a job after so long in the industry. He seemed somewhat reminiscent about the past, how the only affordable way of listening to music when he was young was to go out to live local performances.

I feel a little sad about how people these days take music for granted. Music permeates all environments, walk into a shopping mall and you will hear the soothing (irritating) background music, go to work and somebody will have a radio on, get on the train and somebody is listening to their mp3 player. Do they ever wonder how much time and effort it takes to produce music like that? Or will they go home and just listen to anything which will fill the silence?

I have always found that there is something special in the creation of music; especially how you can arrange instruments together and it will typically net an improved result over the individual items. The insight required to compose music and to make the most out of individual instruments to create a finished piece is something that I can only dream to grasp. From that, of all 5 senses, hearing is something which I feel is the most unique.

People usually associate senses together: taste and smell are physically linked, you touch what you see; but you don’t usually associate taste, smell, touch or see what you actually hear (unless you are synesthetic). This is why I like music so much, because I feel that it is so unique. I regret a little that I didn’t learn any instrument when I was younger because now I have limited time and don’t have the same learning ability as before…

Moving on, I have been listening to 1 song for the past 24 hours playing on repeat and I cannot stop. “Supercell – kimi no shiranai monogatari” is composed by ryo and sung by nagi aka gazelle from niconico fame, her voice is so damn sweet I just love it, and the composition is fabulous, simple with only 4 instruments: drums, electric guitar, bass and piano. The playing of the instruments isn’t fantastic or outstanding but it is just the composition and gazelle’s voice which makes the whole song. Also because it is the theme to Bakemonogatari. I also have “Nico touches the walls – Hologram” which is awesomely rocktastic.

That’s about it for me today, poetry Friday will have a music inspired poem I think, we shall see what my muse brings.

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Smoke and mirrors

June 29, 2009

You know I really really love magic tricks. I even practice card tricks from time to time, although I am pretty horrible at it. I love how they make simple things so amazing, how such basic psychological tricks or sleight of hand can produce an incredible reaction from the audience. Because I have looked up how to do a few magic tricks and the art behind it I know the basics of how tricks can be performed but even though I know how to perform a trick it still amazes me whenever I watch it being done.

I don’t know what it is that intrigues me so much about this, and how even when I know that there is a trick to it that I am still so amused. Perhaps it is because I know how difficult it is to pull off sleight of hand without anybody noticing. Perhaps it is the sense of mystery that surrounds the trick. Or maybe because I am so focused on catching the act that I am taken away from my surroundings. Nonetheless, it is much more entertaining to be a member of the audience and believe that it is truly magic and unexplainable than to debunk the possibilities.

Magic fascinates everybody, children especially are so amazed when you pull a magic trick and they cannot explain what they just saw. It gives them a different view on the world, one which detracts them from a world full of rules and limitations. Even some adults prefer to believe than to question the trick for its secret.

Sometimes there are tricks which cannot seem to be explained. If any of you have seen David Blaine levitating then you know what I am talking about. That is not something that I could explain short of video editing. Or Cyril Takayama heating cup noodles with nothing but his hands. Sceptics will keep saying that it was an elaborate trick where everybody was in on it or there was a trick to it that have yet to be discovered. I’d like to think that there are some things that are better off not explained or believing that it is true magic instead.

Life is just so much more interesting when you believe in the impossible.

“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

I am a firm believer in that and I tend to do leave important things for myself to do as opposed to commissioning someone else to do it for me. Pretty much everything I have done with my car I have done myself; changing headlights, installing the sound system, changing my seatbelts etc. I will only shy away from tasks which are out of my depth or are much easier/safer for someone else to do. For example I will never do anything myself for the suspension of the car because that shit will cause irreparable damage if not done properly. Or I will never deconstruct something which I don’t have confidence in putting back together. Another reason is liability. If I paid someone else to do something for me, they are liable for any faults and I can expect compensation for damages that eventuate from poor workmanship. Whereas if I completed a task myself and something breaks then I only have myself to blame. On a very related note, DIY is a lot cheaper than paying somebody else to do it because the labour is provided by yourself.

In my eyes I don’t see the point of paying someone to do something that you cannot do yourself with a little bit of effort. If you have the time and aren’t lazy then taking tasks upon yourself is a real learning experience. You don’t always want to rely on other people to do things for you especially when you are able to achieve something with your own two hands and get that sense of satisfaction. Although it may be difficult to do certain things by yourself (like taking apart the front bumper) you feel so much better once you have the experience and have completed the job! I swore like a sailor while I was taking the bumper off but after everything was put back together (with the help of a friend) I couldn’t be happier!

My next DIY project is to resolder my climate control in the car so that all the LEDs work and replace the LCD screen. I have never soldered before in my life but now is as good a time to start than any other!

So now that you have had a glimpse of the people that have made me the way I am today, I shall continue with several more types of people who have impacted my life. Though part one seemed to focus on the negative, I will argue and say that they have all left a positive mark to my personality (though close friends may disagree).

People older than you
These people are your role models, or overbearing wanna-be guardians; they are all around you teaching you useful tidbits of information, demonstrating the effects of their life choices, or tormenting you with their superior everything. Most of the time, older people are good to observe because you can learn from their mistakes as opposed to learning from your own mistakes which is somewhat more costly. What better way is there to know the effects of smoking than to observe your senior who is now suffering from lung cancer? Or learning what happens when you skip one too many loan payments? Although some things are better learned through your own experience, the majority of the time it is better to learn through somebody else’s unfortunate circumstances. Also they can be a tremendous source of inspiration and assistance, so my recommendation is to treat them well and in return they will do the same.

Incompetent people who you are forced to work with
Sometimes you are forced to draw the short straw in team projects and are stuck with that guy or girl who does nothing. These people really suck. They will be delegated a task and ignore it until the last minute when they churn out a piece of work that looks like it was completed by their baby brother… using crayon… presented on a paper napkin from their morning coffee. You will want to blind yourself with said crayons upon viewing their work and deleting their very existence with the coffee ring napkin containing your prospective future. The most frustrating type of people in my opinion are those who seem more an office decoration than a work mate. These people will frustrate the hell out of you because they will do just enough to keep the job or just enough to stay out of trouble. They will not help unless they are no longer the person who cares least about a project or job, upon which they will act like they are doing you a favour. But you learn from these people, and eventually can even benefit from them so they aren’t too bad.

People who you can unexpectedly rely on
People are fallible, you will fall and make mistakes but it is because people are fallible you cannot always rely on those around you. I have found that you can sometimes rely on people who you are not close with for any type of support. These people are angels in your time of darkness and offer comfort, advice and even financial aid at times. It is because they see that you are at your wit’s end that they understand your desperation and choose to help, but even so it takes a special person to reach out their hand and lift you up. These people tend to become your best friends once you realize what they are willing to put up with (emotional breakdowns, breakups, financial crisis) and it is because they are so tolerant of you that you cannot live without them once they are discovered.

This concludes my two part written diatribe on people who have moulded my existence, stay tuned to hear the backlash I shall shortly be receiving!

Throughout my life I have been rather blessed(cursed in some ways) to meet a wide variety of people; interesting people, hilarious people, people I love, people who are strange but you still tolerate etcetera etcetera. There are a few who I would like to thank and hate on for being a part of my life and also those who I feel have been a major part of my life in one form or another. So allow be to begin…

The mortal enemy
In everybody’s life, there exists one person who you have hated; it doesn’t matter how that came to be, all that matters is that if you had the chance you would piss in their morning pot of coffee without a second thought. These people teach you that not all people are agreeable and that you will have to be very patient or devious to deal with them. Fortunately I am a pretty easygoing guy so I have not met too many people that I completely disagree with. Most of the time I try to avoid these people as much as possible or just pretend they don’t exist. Denial is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

People you think you can’t live without (but can)
Sometimes you get attached to friends around you and you learn to depend on them, sometimes a bit too much. This could be school friends, work buddies or even crushes. You rely on them for emotional support, to kill time and everything short of feeding yourself. But one day they suddenly disappear on you or you fall out and you are left hanging onto nothing but their chat logs on your favourite chat program. Wait a minute… what do I do with all this free time now when I am not interacting with this person? There are two things you can possibly learn when something disappears from your life; how much you miss it, and how big of an effect they had on your life. What I have found is that after a certain point, you realize that there is nothing good to be had from dwelling on the past and that you have to fill your time with something or someone else now. Otherwise nothing you do in the future will measure up to what you went through in the past.

People younger than you
When you are growing up, everybody seems to be older than you, all smart and big and rich. Next thing you know, you are just like those people looking down at smaller versions of yourself and people you know… almost. Being an active youth in my parish, I have been involved in leading many young(er) people throughout their spiritual journeys and have also undertaken my own spiritual journey as I have grown less young (or older if you prefer). But those freaking kids are so frustrating sometimes! The older youth such as myself have been “apprenticing” the younger ones to take up our roles when we quit, and they are very capable of leading… unfortunately they are horrible at being led! They demand attention from their peers when they don’t give attention to the more senior leaders and this is why the respect has gone from the role and it has become harder and harder to lead them recently. It is not because of the content of the sessions either, because we allow the youth to pick what topics they want the leaders to present. They are also aware that they are difficult to lead but do nothing to help us out! If you know something you should act on that knowledge, it doesn’t do anybody any good if they ignore genuine feedback which they admit to being useful. Doesn’t everybody go through that stage of their lives? Probably. But I’ll be damned if I ever remember being such a pain in the ass when I was younger.

This concludes part one of my look back on the types of people I have met. I do apologize for my late post because I bought a x360 during my lunch break today and have been playing it ever since I got home lol.
Stay tuned for part 2 to be continued on Friday!

I have a new pet peeve. I have never been an environmentalist or one to particularly go out of his way to save the environment but I have recently been annoyed whenever I see things being that are recyclable being thrown away. It started at the shopping center when I see people buy something really small and the person at the checkout bags it when the customer could easily have shoved it in their pockets. True it may be more convenient, but is it really necessary? At work I get a little annoyed when anything unnecessary is printed out because the next reaction is to typically throw that in the bin even when the back of it is unused. Although one thing I do like is the fact that the majority of wasted printouts are cut up to make little notepads for everybody to jot notes on which I am quite pleased about.

Projected consumption of natural resources

Projected consumption of natural resources

Which brings me the point of this post. According to the above image from New Scientist magazine, at the rate that we are consuming the earth, we will run out of raw materials for basic goods within our lifetime. Now that is a scary thought. It’s not a new idea, it is one which has been emphasized many times before but trivialized and ignored by the masses as sensationalist and scaremongering. But imagine that one day you are sitting at home and realize that your toothbrush has worn out. Well thats too bad because there is no more raw materials on earth to make another. Or you will be driving from petrol station to petrol station and run out of petrol before you realize that oil reserves have run dry! Or you have run out of copper to rewire your house and now you cannot receive electricity. Realistically we would probably have moved onto a better form of transmitting information and power (wireless power transmission anyone?) but the reality of it is that we will run out of some raw materials for everyday items and the majority of us will LIVE TO SEE IT HAPPEN.

I have thought before that it is up to the corporations to get the ball rolling with this recycling business, but right now they have no motivation to. For businesses it is all about where the money’s at, and the short of it is that it costs them money to implement environmentally sustainable production methodologies. Consumer demand is the only thing that we at the bottom of the ladder can shift. If we demand corporations to produce goods which are made from recycled materials then we can maybe push back this decline far enough so that we can find alternative ways to more efficiently recycle our waste. As the adage goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

People say that you have to balance work and life so you get the most out of it. Too much work and you won’t live enough, too much life and you will not feel fulfilled and odds are you will also go broke! But I suppose that this simplistic look at career satisfaction vs life balance is on a either or basis; you EITHER work too hard, OR you live too much. This view assumes that people are happy with where they are in their career and life, and seeks to understand ways to achieve equilibrium.

But what if you are looking at the wrong scale? What if this work life balance does not measure anything that is relevant to you? I feel that if you have to balance your life and your work that you are probably living between a rock and a hard place. I prefer to look at this scale as measuring thing you WANT to achieve vs the things that get in your way. Life is not exclusive to work and vice versa; you are living life when you are going to work if I still haven’t convinced you. Everything that you want to achieve has an equivalent barrier to it, if you want anything at all in life you have to work for it, that is the general rule.

You may say that sometimes little things require so much effort to accomplish, but it is the effort that defines how valuable something is to you. This new scale I am talking about is always balanced regardless of what you believe otherwise! Sometimes the barriers in the way of your goals seem too high but the barrier is the measuring stick of your desire. I reckon if you cannot overcome that barrier then you just don’t want it enough or haven’t found the right way of approaching it. To get past a wall you might not always have to climb over it, sometimes you can get around it or break through.

It all depends on you.

For those of you who may have done my facebook quiz, if you don’t believe that I like writing poetry more than working on my car, let me explain a few things. Getting work done yourself on the car is a long and painful process which involves much blood sweat tears and handy friends to help you out. I quite physically bleed every time I do any major work on the car, for example wiring, installing headlights or speakers. To say that anybody actually enjoys that sort of thing is just silly, what I DO enjoy however is the reward of saving several hundred dollars worth of installation costs and the final product working well.

Writing poetry however is a more cathartic task which lets me say what I want to say in a creative manner. I say cathartic because it relieves a lot of tension because I can focus my energies on things I find beautiful and that relaxes me. I don’t write often but when I do it feels good and I want to perfect it as opposed to just having it work. I don’t want people to only READ what I write but also to UNDERSTAND and empathise or emote with what I try to say. As proof, here is something I wrote a while back and I hope you believe me now!

Mountain Flower

you are the mountain flower that
i couldn’t reach,
the persistent growth that flourished
upon that sheer cliff face-
you grew so beautifully in adversity
whilst i failed to be anything
but an admirer.

your surroundings are barren,
yet even so you would still stand out
amongst the flowers of the hanging garden-
as i am, i am only worthy of imagining
the gardens of kings, let alone claim
its most prized flower.

your life is a mystery to me,
shallow roots seem so fragile
yet they tether you to the precipice
of infinity;
your existence defies gravity,
reaching to the horizon like
a soul to heaven.

i am afraid to do more than observe
and take in your scent;
your strength frightens me and
seems to grow in the face of my jealousy-
oh i am so afraid,
because i am, if not much more
fragile than you.