Recovery

I don’t know what I’m doing here.

No matter how many times I resolve to get my act together regarding my writing, I still just end up writing one of two things: what I think people want to read or an emotional off-the-cuff rant that no solitary soul in the world could possibly care about.

It’s not a traffic / monetization / followers thing. I want to write material that I’m proud of and that builds my skill. Writing stream of consciousness tirades doesn’t involve any talent whatsoever. Furthering my laziness even more lately has been the Covid lockdown. I normally write at 7am at my office right before work starts. Since I only work one day a week now, I haven’t written anything in days and even then it was a pretty half-hearted attempt.

You just have to force yourself to do it, though. Right? Either I’ll find the spirit to push past my emotional roadblock that keeps me from doing earnest work or I’ll never be much of a writer. Every day the latter wins a bit more.

COVID and Alcoholism

As I was driving home from work, I noticed all of the liquor stores on my way home were absolutely packed. It raised a thought… alcoholics will probably be a huge vector for this virus because despite any shelter in place or quarantine orders, you know they need to get their fix. They’re also generally dirtier than the average person so you know they aren’t washing their hands or cleaning their home. Shit, if you know anyone who has a drinking problem get the hell away from them for the next year.

Shelter in place order came down today. I know that nobody is going to pay any attention to it. Not enough people have died. Once someone’s mother or grandparent dies then they’ll start to take it seriously. Eventually we’ll have to make going out for non-essentials a crime temporarily. Until then we’re really just farting into the wind.

I still have to work because I’m considered essential governmental personnel but honestly I prefer working over staying home all day. We’re closed to the public and there’s only about 10 of us in the whole building so it actually feels safer than being at home with my alcoholic brother who coughs so much you don’t know if he’s sick or if he’s just downed a 5th of vodka. Regardless, we’ve told him to stay in his room and to tell us before he needs to come up so we can leave the area. Fucking drunk loser. Man my life would improve so much if he’d… nevermind.

My schedule has been all over the place because I haven’t really worked since Friday and even then I was off that whole week because someone spread a rumor that I had COVID and they made me stay home til I got a doctor’s note. Whatever, I still get paid. I’m going to make sure to set an alarm from now on to get back on some kind of schedule.

Lost my 4.0 in school because this class uses software by Cengage which is a fucking piece of shit company. All of their apps are broken, the photographs they use are so dark and blurry you can’t tell what the hell you’re supposed to be looking at, and they ask questions that nobody can answer. I set up a Twitter again specifically so I could tell them to go fuck themselves. It did make me feel a little better even though I know the only person who will read it is some poor intern.

Still practicing piano daily. My personal lessons are cancelled for the foreseeable future but i”ve been using Skillshare which is amazing and I highly recommend it. I’ve also signed up for Andrew Huang’s Monthly audio production course which I’ve heard nothing but great things about. Other than that I’m going to volunteer for as much extra work as I can to see if I can be in the office more than one day a week. They have to pay me either way so I don’t see why they’d say no. Everybody else I work with is complaining about how unfair it is that they have to work so I’m sure they’ll be blown away to see someone actually wanting to work more.

Which is super idiotic, isn’t it? You chose to work for the government you stupid old bat. When shit hits the fan we’re the ones who absolutely need to continue working. God I’m so sick of the constant bitching I’m glad I’ll be working alone in my department. And when all this blows over, if I’m still alive and not laid off due to all of the money the government is certainly going to hemorrhage, I’m transferring to my old department.

Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. But honestly, if you’re gonna catch COVID now is the time to do it, while they still have hospital beds. If I knew someone who was infected I’d probably ask them to cough directly into my mouth.

Back from “Vacation”.

Monday afternoon I went home early with a cough that had been getting progressively worse throughout the day. I wasn’t concerned that it was anything serious as I didn’t have a fever or a sore throat, but I decided to be courteous. Well the old c**ts that I work with spread a rumor throughout the building that I definitely had COVID so I was forced to stay home Tuesday and get a doctors note. Seeing an opportunity, I had my cool-as-heck doctor write me a note that said I couldn’t return to work until Friday despite being perfectly well. Because of that, the clucking hens at work became even more paranoid that something was seriously wrong with me and they had my entire desk area sanitized by the facilities department. I love it.

I’m back today and am not going to tell anyone what happened. You might think me a bit sadistic for stoking people’s fears just to teach them a lesson about gossip, but my craving for humor trumps morality every time.

The Last Three Days

The last three days have been kind of chaotic. I never recognize how much I need my weekly routine in order to get things done. I’m behind on schoolwork and have been eating like an American for the whole week. I did practice a lot of piano and rhythm… I actually know an entire song start to finish on piano now (and not one of those childish ones that people learn first). My private lessons are cancelled for the foreseeable future but I’ve found a great lesson plan on Skillshare which, somewhat sadly, is actually better than my in-person teacher is. It’s still nice to be able to get real-time feedback from an experienced player.

I’m also signed up for Andrew Huang’s production masterclass in April. It was $275 and I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. A lot of people in the ad comments complain that they don’t have that kind of money and it’s so expensive but if you’re not willing to spend $275 and want to be a producer… you’re probably not going to get very far. My speakers alone were that much.

Anyway. Just checking in. Today is going to be annoying, I already know it. We fired the phone girl last week because she called in sick every other week for the entire week. They generally don’t fire people here but she was still in her probationary period so it was pretty easy to just say “Bye, Felicia”. But… that means yours truly now has to cover a block of phone calls every day, the topics in which range from such delightful questions as “why I ain’t got no child support this month” and “how do I get a DNA test this kid ain’t mine!”

I look forward to it.

It’s Going to be a Rough Day

I was up all night with a massive headache and only got about an hour and a half of sleep, collectively. I don’t feel tired for some reason and I’m hoping Adderall gets me through most of the day. I was in such an insomniac delirium that I found myself hoping that I had Covid so I could get it out of the way early and take the day off from work, haha. Now that I’m in more of a rational state of mind, I’m glad that I don’t have a fever.

I watched Joe Rogan’s interview with Dr. Michael Osterholm yesterday and it swayed me toward not dismissing this pandemic as “just a bad flu season” finally. I can admit when I was wrong, and I was definitely wrong. I’m sure that I and my loved ones will be fine as will likely you and yours but a lot of people still have yet to die and we’re looking at an outbreak that will last months, not weeks. It’s too late to do anything now… so I understand why people say to not panic and all that. We’re already in the middle of it and it’s too late to prepare at this point so there’s no point in making people worry. The interview was pretty frustrating because the Dr. mentions several plans they brought up to various administration officials over the years to curtail horrible things that were obviously going to happen in the future if we did nothing, and nobody listened. Nobody ever listens to professionals. Dozens of civilizations have risen and fallen over just the last few thousand years and ours will likely be no different.

Not trying to be all doom and gloom… I’m sure I won’t live to see that day, and I’m more interested in how robotic and stupid the human race is rather than depressed or angry at the futility of society. I was just mentioning to a rather stupid coworker yesterday that gasping in awe of people who “predict” future catastrophes really just demonstrates that you never paid attention in history class. It’s remarkably easy to predict what will happen in the future because it happens over and over again.

This Coronavirus outbreak could be a good thing. It’s hurt the wallets of so many of the rich and powerful that they might be motivated to do something for once. It’ll be a half-measure and eventually they’ll assume the worst is over and we are once again safe for the rest of eternity, but it’ll be interesting to see something happen.

FEEEEELINGS

That’s right, I’m writing two posts today but I’m scheduling this one to post later because I hate it when WP clumps two posts together as if they are one thing. I am sure they do that to prevent people from spamming their readers’ feeds (had to unfollow a few people who did that) but it looks ugly.

I struggle with feeling normal. “Normal“, as if that’s a legitimate thing. I lie awake at night thinking about it, though. I don’t know any other men who do what I do every day… nor do I know any women. I practice piano, finger drumming on a sampler, read ancient books from Greek philosophers and historians, obsess over minutiae in people’s statements to the point that I spend an hour Googling facts before responding to them… etc.

Most guys my age just go to work, play golf on the weekends, and have dinner with their wife and kids. I feel very out of touch with the rest of my generation. I don’t regret the things that I do, I’m rather proud of them actually. I’ve managed to continue pursuing my passions long after most men have thrown in the towel and accepted a life of mediocrity. But it makes it very difficult to connect with people.

When I tell friends and coworkers what I do in my free time I can feel visceral judgment coming from them. I don’t know if it’s jealousy that I have the time to do these things or if they think I’m childish for continuing to play electronic music into my 40’s despite never having achieved any measure of success at it. I’m not trying to, though, I just like doing it (don’t get me wrong it’d be great to play live at festivals worldwide but I am a realist, lol). I would like to write one great song some day… just one is all I ask for. That’s why I picked up piano and will likely learn more instruments after this. You can’t be a great musician without understanding theory, I stand by that belief in the face of all the bedroom hip hop producers out there who scream otherwise (their music is instantly forgettable).

So given this… do I really desire to fit in? Part of me does. I’ve kind of given up on dating… not in a bad way but more in the way that I haven’t met a woman I am genuinely attracted to in so long that it feels a bit like a waste of time, but when I do try to date my hobbies are definitely something that makes a woman raise her eyebrow.

“Sooo… you live with your mother and you play music all day… okay man-baby” someone once said to me on an online forum. In fairness I don’t know what sex that person was but they claimed to be a woman, lol. What else do people do though?

If you’ve read this far… please… tell me… what do you do when you’re not at work? I’m not asking for you to make me feel better, I just would like to know what other people do in their free time, maybe for some perspective.

Desktop Computers are Officially Obsolete

Graph courtesy Statista 2020

Desktop computers were never the best tool for the job; they were the only tool for the job. PC aficionados such as myself lament the end of the desktop era, as the more the market moves away from desktop support, the more niche and expensive high-end PC components will become.

The obsolescence of the desktop computer doesn’t necessarily mean it will vanish completely. There will likely be a market for RTX Geforce 2080 ti rigs with i9 processors and 128gb of RAM for many years to come, however increasingly these computers will be owned solely by gamers and video artists.

People never needed a 10lb black monolith (the opening credits to 2001 come to mind) sitting on their desk. What most people need is a way to access the internet, write essays for school, and play Candy Crush in their downtime. We can see from the graph above that while their decline is slower, laptops are on their way out as well because they, too, poorly address the needs I just listed.

Right now, most desktop and laptop sales are probably due to an older generation of consumers not understanding that the gap between tablet and desktop has been significantly bridged in the last few years. The latest generation of iPad sports a processor that is strikingly similar in performance to close-to-current-gen i5 and i7 chips.

The continued refinement of tablet technologies mean that, barring ignorant baby-boomers, most people will likely be buying tablets as their primary computers in the future. There will still be some holdouts who cling to laptops out of nostalgia but, barring cost (a mid-tier laptop is still more powerful than a tablet but as the tablet market expands this will likely change rather quickly and significantly), there is realistically no reason to buy a laptop in 2020.

We might not be playing Cyberpunk 2077 on a Surface Pro any time soon, but gamers can now officially lament that the console wars have ended and PCs did not win. As market share continues to move toward tablets and laptops, consoles will become the gaming equipment of choice. The argument can still be made that even current-gen consoles can’t touch the performance of a souped up gaming rig… most gamers aren’t willing or able to shell out $3000 on a desktop PC.

Personally, I’ll continue building and tinkering with desktops for the forseeable future, but it’s definitely a niche hobby these days. I encounter fewer and fewer people who have ever looked inside of their computer or understand how it works. It’s sad in a way, but that’s progress for you. I imagine it’s the same way hot rodders felt when car manufacturers made their automobiles less and less customizable.

How to Not Live Like a F***ing Savage

Yesterday I was hit with the grim realization that I’d let my home slip into disarray again. Home life for me is a constant battle against a woman who sees every flat surface as a place to pile trash and dirty dishes and a man who comes home drunk and eats us out of stock while leaving his dirty dishes and scraps of food in various rooms. Sure, some day I’ll be able to live on my own again and they can cultivate their hoarder house how they see fit, but not while I’m around.

Eating in Your Bedroom

I was surprised to learn that this was fairly common among adults. There’s really no reason to eat in your bedroom, ever. We might be tempted to forgive teenagers for this because their bedroom is their only sanctuary against the codependent “advice” of their mothers, but that’s a poor excuse. Enabling isolation is a completely different topic. I know, I know. I’m “not a parent” but by default that makes me a better parent than most people. 0 is more than -5 and all that.

So if you eat in your bedroom, for the love of all that is holy please stop. It’s childish and disgusting and it’s an absolute guarantee that people who eat in their bedrooms also leave dirty dishes and empty bottles all over their fucking floor. This drives me insane when I see it because you know that when you’re invited over for company you’re seeing what it looks like after they’ve cleaned up. What kind of person finishes drinking something and then throws the bottle on the floor? Alcoholics do that. I should know.

If You See It, Fix It

This is the simplest of concepts but virtually nobody does it and nobody at all does it consistently, not even I, your most perfect host! Imagine how clean the world would be if we all cleaned something up when we saw a mess? You’d be able to eat off of the pavement in the middle of Times Square. I’m not suggesting we pick up trash in the streets or clean up after the homeless (although it’s not a horrible idea) but rather that you use this mentality in your home.

When I moved back home, the shower head in our main bathroom was so caked in mold that water wasn’t coming out of several of the … whatever they’re called. Water-massage-holes. Instead of being massaged by lightly pressurized water, my mother was being massaged by colonies of fungus and bacteria pelting her face. For it to get like this it would have had to have been ignored for years. It took me 5 minutes to clean and sanitize it. Jesus Christ give me strength.

If I just threw my hands up and said “oh well, my family is disgusting and obviously mentally deranged”, my house would be featured on an episode of Extreme Hoarders by now. But NAY I refuse to live surrounded by rotten food, feces (yes my brother leaves feces smeared on the wall and floor of the bathroom), and clutter (my mother hasn’t thrown away a magazine since 1972).

Don’t Complain or Give In

You would rightly assume that this blog post is a thinly disguised complaint but when I say don’t complain, I mean “don’t complain and then use it as an excuse to not do anything”. The modus operandi of the majority of mankind is to complain about people, places, things, and situations, and then just throw our hands up and wait for somebody else to deal with it.

If you think about it, literally every problem we face is caused by this syndrome. It’s far easier to complain about our president, the climate, a pandemic, and the stupidity of millennials (of whom I belong and I am clearly smarter than you) than to actually organize and do something about any of these problems (of course statistically for half of you our president isn’t a problem, just wait a few more years).

So stop complaining. My levels of happiness and self-esteem increased dramatically once I stopped allowing myself to be involved in gossip and workplace drama. I stopped watching the news as there is never anything newsworthy in it. I had to be told by someone on WordPress that there was a tornado that decimated a city just a couple hours away. Is that newsworthy to me? No! I don’t know anybody who lives there. Why would I want to have the stress and anxiety of knowing that a bunch of strangers either died or had their livelihoods destroyed? It’s not relevant. It surely sucks for the people it happened to but we can’t worry about the entire planet’s problems… that’s why nobody does anything! When you constantly take in all of the bullshit that happens around the world, it seems like you’re completely powerless.

But I Digress

I’m not suggesting we start taking on problems outside of ourselves or try to change the world. Maybe you could try, you know, if you felt up to it.

Just clean your damn room.

New Audio Toys

Heeeeeey, everybody. It’s been a few days! Crazy weekend and beginning of the week for me. First order of business: my car is repaired and back in my possession. I’ve never spent $2000 all at once on one purchase before, so I guess that is a life milestone..? Positivity? Lol.

I had a training workshop for my job on Tuesday which was all about “having difficult conversations” which was actually pretty valuable for me. It was taught by the same person who presented our diversity and inclusion course last year, she’s very charismatic and even in this course she paid a lot of attention to treating everyone equally and not being afraid to embrace other people’s cultures. We always get that negative signal from social media that if you express interest in the life of a black woman or a man from Thailand, they’re going to get offended and you’ll be publicly executed for racism. Real people don’t give a shit. I could write a whole post on what I learned, and maybe I will, but for now just know that I am very motivated to be proactive in life when people are doing shit that just ain’t cool.

ON TO THE MUSIC

My 3.5″ Presonus Eris monitors came yesterday. I was very excited to get everything all hooked up and finally be able to play all of my instruments at once. Unfortunately they didn’t come with 1/4″ instrument cables so I had to overnight some on Amazon. I’ll be able to plug those in tonight. I ordered a midi cable while I was at it so I can network my synth in to the whole mess.

Sample Packs

I’ve been picking up a lot of sample packs recently, too. I really like the vocal stuff from Ghosthack… very professionally recorded and they have a wide variety of styles to experiment with. Now, I’m obviously not going to be releasing tracks using lyrics and vocals that everyone on Earth is able to use for $40, it wouldn’t be very unique, but it’s good mixing practice.

Next Build Ideas

I’m thinking about getting a smaller keyboard to use as a controller next. My full 88-key Yamaha is lovely and very responsive but it basically takes up my entire desk and as my library of equipment grows, it just won’t work! It’s definitely the way to go for my piano practice but for actually writing songs… probably not. I’ve been looking at the Novation Launchkey and the Arturia Keylab. The Keylab has built-in midi which could delay me having to buy a midi interface for a little while longer.

So that’s my week so far! It’s exciting how quickly this studio is building up. I’m almost able to completely write a song without using my computer at this point (well, without using the mouse, keyboard, and monitor… I still have to run everything in to the computer for processing). Once I get an analog drum machine (perhaps the Drumbrute?) I’ll be able to compose entire songs without using the computer at all. They won’t be great songs because the Volca Keys sounds like a Nintendo, but it’ll be a milestone.