Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
this is fitting
she and i were playing with a little kitten. her face is blurry, and that is symbolic! this photo was taken in central florida. central florida is the collision point between south florida (which has zero southern aesthetic) and north florida (which is drenched to the bone with southern aesthetic and full of rebel flags). I would bet $10 dollars that when this photo was taken, my heart was more at ease then than it is now. back then i had more comfort with my mind's wanderings about my soul, now i have no control and very little comfort . back then i was knee deep, and now the water is up to my neck.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
there's a problem with ideology
"'Let me tell you something, Paul', the Bear said in a slow voice, as if he were lifting his heavy paw for a shattering blow. 'If high culture is coming to an end, it is also the end of you and your paradoxical ideas, because paradox as such belongs to high culture and not to childish prattle. You remind me of the young men who supported the Nazis or communists not out of cowardice, or out of opportunism, but out of an excess of intelligence. For nothing requires more thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. I experienced it with my own eyes and ears after the war, when intellectuals and artists rushed like a herd of cattle into the Communistic Party, which soon proceeded to liquidate them systematically and with great pleasure. You are doing the same. You are the brilliant ally of of your own gravediggers.'"
I don't know where to start with this one. Not because I'm without anything to say, but because I'm wondering where to start. A passage like this makes me immediately look at myself in the mirror. I don't really identify myself as a liberal, but my friends would say that I am. Rob used to call me a "commie pinko bastard" with great affection :-). Although, I don't eagerly jump into the ACLU parades, and I'm not referring to political thought, or legislation. For me, liberal and conservative thought, if we are to pit the two against each other, represents a different approach to how you see the world. Although, does it represent a different approach to living your life? There are those who will vehemently proclaim that they live out their ideal to the fullest, and I will immediately wonder if that eagerness comes from intellectual pride or hope (based on books read, associations, surrounding culture) or the belief that their way of thinking ultimately leads to a better life for us all, and does that ideal always represent the best way to solve a problem. I've always thought that when people repeat that old saying, "There's no such thing as atheist in a fox hole", in a way that sums up the whole question. I wonder if ideologies ever remain unaltered after being stained by practice and blood. Do they remain perfect when not faced with the wrench of humanity? There is a Pedro the Lion song that asks, "have you ever seen an idealist with grey hair on his head." Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nadar, Dennis Kucinich...are these men idealist? Or are they merely men with hope? Dick Cheney, or Rumsfeld, ...are these men merely realists? Does ideology (conservative or liberal), after launching movements with benign and honest intentions, hinder those causes from moving forward due to the impassioned obstinate nature of those involved? Is pragmatism a surrender or an amended approach? There are those who protest wars who will be the first to have their family and their ideas destroyed. There are those who launch attacks will open doors for the void to be filled by opportunists with bad ideas. There are those who will protest capital punishment on the steps of a courthouse in Texas, and then pull the trigger by rote reaction when a madman kills his firstborn. When the free market swallows it's champions, they will be the first in the soup line. Exposure to the unpleasant reality will throw any idealist in a tailspin. How can one support Ayn Rand and socialism all at once? I suppose one who explores the past and confronts problems with an open mind will always be an impressionable example a sober common sense approach, but that person may not be the best leader. There is room in this world for everyone, the madmen and the priests. This topic deserves more of a discussion (and more research on my part), and ultimately leads to morality and human nature. Do the fence sitters have the right idea?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
why do you like certain songs
"Nevertheless, I ask this question: was it Beethoven's music that captivated her, its notes, or was it rather what the music represented, in other words, its vague affinity to the ideas and attitudes that Bettina shared with her generation? Does love for art really exist and has it ever existed? Is it not a delusion? When Lenin proclaimed that he loved Beethoven's 'Appasionata' above all else, what was it that he really loved? What did he hear? Music? Or a majestic noise that reminded him of the solemn stirrings in his soul, a longing for blood, brotherhood, executions, justice, and the absolute? Did he derive joy from the tones, or from the musings stimulated by those tones, which had nothing to do with art or beauty?"
Sometimes I have wondered why I like the music I like, and as it turns out, I don't really know. There are things that I can identify in music that seem pretty cohesive regardless of the style or genre or whatever, but it's not too convincing. I couldn't really argue some secret ingredient that exists in these songs. How can I listen and enjoy a song like, "Crazy" by Patsy Cline, "A New Level" by Pantera, and also "Veronica" by Elvis Costello. I don't think it really matters, I'm just searching for something common in all of that. I don't think it's something that depends on what I hear sonically, or melodically. There are countless songs with great melodies which I loathe, and there are many songs without much melody at all which I love. I suppose that if my ears sense something honest in the song, I gravitate towards it...but that doesn't explain my enjoyment of a song by Poison. I do think that the subjective nature of one's experiences and nostalgia in life reflects greatly in what one identifies with in art. The art takes the form of ones memories. Maybe art is merely a conduit, maybe it just connects people more closely to those personally abstract memories, it brings pleasant histories closer, or purges the unpleasant ones. The more I think about this, the more I think that music is the one thing that can amplify emotions which you are not even wanting to deal with, it's dangerously unpredictable and controlling. The task of identifying the source of music's affect and impact is as pointless as it is unending. When I was younger, the music I listened to mirrored my social surroundings, very genre specific, there is was pride that was rooted in the small "sub genre" communities. Punk, grunge, emo, hardcore blah blah blah. Looking back it was silly, but at the time, it seemed important and it provided identity. I guess that could be said for many things that you reflect back on after you've grown a little older. For me today, music is much less defined by genre and more defined by orgin, culture, history, and it's relation to the human experience.
What do you think? Is there a consistency in your taste when it comes to music? Is there any traceable pattern at all? It's fun to think about, for me anyway :-)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I started reading another Milan Kundera book a few weeks ago. It's called "Immortality". I've read 3 other books of his and they have all been interesting. He has a very good way of expounding on small events or subtle gestures, and through these events and gestures something meaningful or timeless is revealed. I love it. At first, "Immortality" seemed to be shaping up as my least favorite of his books, but I'm wrong. While it's not my favorite, it's definitely become throught provoking. More specifically, pages 81-111 have been great. I've always enjoyed when an author or song takes a discomforting approach, or perverse approach to expressing a fairly common concept. For example, in this book, Kundera, through the characters in the book, expresses a negative side of Hitler's death, because, as he says, "In a certain sense he regretted Hitler's disappearance in the ruins of his bunker, because ever since then good and evil have become unbearably relative." It is a timely coincidence because a few months ago I ended up writing in my journal about the relative nature of morality. I'll probably post it soon. It is exciting to let a thought run on its own for a bit, banging against every pre-conditioned wall in your head. Any thought; offensive, desperate, perverse, wrong, evil...any thought should be expounded on. Everything is permitted if it can appeal to someones sense of humanity, in any capacity, even if it's merely theoretical or poetic. Sometimes the most wonderful art is the most offensive and perverse at first glance. I imagine that once these ideas enter your head, they can be quickly reigned in, perhaps even dispelled, but I think it's wonderful when these initial musings lead to a creative work that opens up someones mind for even one minute.
In other parts of this book, he does the same thing to explore illustrate love, self image, and the desire to establish yourself as an individual. I'm going to put excerpts in the next few posts. Also, in a relatively short paragraph, he questions the reasons in which people love music in such an enlightening way. I'm not even done with the book, but it has made think enough today, so much so to motivate this post.
"Suddenly frightened by her hatred, she said to herself: the world is at some sort of border; if it is crossed, everything will turn to maddness; people will walk the streets holding forget-me-nots or kill one another on sight. And it will take very little for the glass to overflow, perhaps just one drop; perhaps just one car too many, or one person, or one decibel. There is a certain quantitative border that must no be crossed, yet no one stands guard over it, and perhaps no one even realizes that it exists."
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Recording: Pros and Cons
PROS: Building a loop out of the sound of a rim shot, and then attempting to manipulate that sound by hooking up a super shifter pedal, envelope filter, and wah pedal. After spending hours trying to find the sound we want, we abandon that approach and instead put the sound through a bit crusher and a melodyne plug in so that we can give tonal quality to this percussive layer. The next day, in that same spirit, our friend Ben stopped by. He informed us that if you run the contacts that are housed in tape adapters (you know, the kind you put in your car tape deck in order to play an I-pod or CD player) over any magnetic strip that they put on the back of credit cards, gift cards etc, the contacts will read the magnetic strip and that can be heard if plugged in through an amp. So plugged in two amps so we could make it stereo. What fun! We ended up not using that sound either.....yet. But at least we did it!
We taped down about 5 or 6 different cards to maximize the ease of doing something that was pretty odd.
CONS: Recording guitar for 3 hours and realizing that the part isn't quite working, and then trying to move forward to record another part, but the guitar decides to not stay in tune, and therefore, we need to move on to something else altogether. ARRGH.
PS. Things are going well, aside from our temperamental guitars, who seem to be punishing us for something we did to them unknowingly. Later this week we will hopefully get some Fender Rhodes recorded, maybe some piano as well. Good deal. It's nice to be in the studio all day, insulated from the constant bombardment of bad news coming from the news networks concerning the financial situation.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I'm sick of myself when I think of You.
I was recently asked about the last time I felt the presence of God. I couldn't really recall. Although, there have been moments where I was under the influence of something, but can I be so bold as to attribute those passing fits to Him? Over the past year, while my mind and heart have been in constant, unmerciful flux, vulnerable to inconsistent tides, there are, not too often, rare moments of clarity that could be the influence of divinity. I believe that clarity could be a sign of God glowing brighter than usual. I've always thought that the truth of God lies patiently (too patiently) beneath all of histories victories and mankind's growing achievements. I'm bothered by these years of teachings that taught me to only distrust myself, to distrust my inclinations. Tools of the devil. So much so that any excitement I may experience is quickly assuaged, and second guessed. Concerning this wretched and sinful earth, which God has made in seven days, what are we supposed to revolt against, and what are we to embrace? Which leaders are we to follow, and what philosophers are we to dismiss? Are we to be eager to leave this miracle of earth in a quick ascent to heaven, or should we surround ourselves with its glory and the love of our families? I've read that nothing of this life matters. Find your opinion and find your verse, and then get back to me. I feel as though the blog could be a sin as well, I'm sure some would call it so. I am constantly failing.
"The machinery of the kingdom is very simple, and very silent"