Nihilistic Mystics, Apistolic Alcoholics

Today’s post is brought to you by my rediscovery of the fact that you can format your posts to make them more legible. You’re welcome, internet.

Personal Life

I was a bit of a bad boy this weekend. I’ve really gotten into a game called Satisfactory in which you build supply and logistic chains while exploring an alien world and turning its natural resources into toilet paper. A strange mix of themes, to be sure, but it really strokes the perfectionist and organization junkie within me.

So I played. A lot. But that was the weekend, now it’s time to be a big boy again.

Work

I woke up early today despite not sleeping much but I feel pretty good and have been very productive. All of my schoolwork for the week is finished (my weeks end on Monday) and I’ve still been working from home… likely through most, if not all, of May. Sometimes I forget that I have a job. I feel unemployed but I know I’m one of the lucky ones in the US still getting a consistent paycheck.

Podcast

Still waiting for my damn microphone to arrive. As far as I know it hasn’t even shipped yet; the store is still waiting for it to come in. I emailed the sales rep last week to ask if I could exchange the USB mic I ordered with the XLR version since I have a swanky new audio interface now but he never responded. Maybe I should call… but a USB mic wouldn’t be so bad… it’d be more portable in case I ever needed to record on the road or started doing interviews.

Music (about which it turns out I have a lot to say today)

Music has still been a point of stress for me. Art is hard. That’s probably a fact that everyone who’s ever tried to make something they’re proud of has discovered. Part of me knows I just need to persevere and finish any song, just to get the practice in… but once I start I end up going down endless segues in which I try to make the most rhythmically and tonally complex music I can muster… even though I’m really not skilled enough to be trying that yet. I spent 2 hours on Friday editing the sound of a woman screaming to try to turn it into a keyboard melody. Haha! Stuff like that is why I never get anywhere.

I am learning and getting better, though. Hell, 2 months ago I didn’t really even know what a chord was. I thought I did. But now I have many major chords memorized and even a few minor ones. I know the formula you follow to make a major and minor chord so, in practice, I could actually play any major or minor chord. I know what inversions are when I didn’t even know they existed last year. I can play two full pop songs on the piano when a month ago I could barely play Jingle Bells.

These are the things I need to remember whenever I feel like I’m not good enough or have no talent. Talent isn’t real… it’s really just perseverance, and in no small part, luck. Think about how many musicians there have been in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (so far) and how many of them actually work full time as musicians and are known by the general public. It’s not even close to 1% of the total! That’s true of any art, though, not just music. The same could be said for writers, painters… even speakers are artists and some of the dumbest and un-gifted speakers who have ever lived are world famous right now.

Why do some people get famous and others don’t? Partly hard work, that is an important thing to note because so many audiophiles believe this self-aggrandizing lie that pop musicians are talentless hacks who just record corporate music. It’s BS and anyone who says that understands nothing about music. It’s also partly having the right people discover their work at the right time. Now, I’m not trying to be famous but I would like to make some money off of my art one day. If that happened I probably still wouldn’t be happy and would just set my sights on the next “unachievable” goal, lol. But that’s who I am.

Da Blog

I’ve been using Skillshare a lot during the lockdown (if I was a professional level-99 blogger this is where I’d put in an affiliate link) and right now I’m watching a course on blogging. It’s quite good… one of those situations where it’s nothing you don’t already know on some level but having it presented in a thoughtful way reveals a few new things to you. I have some ideas on how to start doing things a little bit better. A little at a time…

If you’ve been keeping up with the progression of my Ultra-Exciting Blog Progression(TM), you’ll know that I self-hosted another blog at snarebox.com. It’s only a blog due to the fact that it runs on WordPress (which I suppose is a content management system, not specifically a blog), in reality it’s just the web-home of my music project. There likely won’t be a lot of writing on it but I will be sure to post here whenever something is added. I haven’t even finished the design yet so there isn’t much reason to go there yet.

Have you noticed that every Theme out there is like 80% of exactly what you’re looking for but nothing ever hits that last 20%? Perhaps I need to learn how to edit Themes.

Anyway that’s me for Monday. I caught up on most of your blogs this morning, you likely noticed me liking 3 or 4 of your posts at once… haha. You guys write a lot, I could have sworn I only missed 2 days!

Some Things Don’t Change!

It’s my “in the office” day today and boy is it a doozy. It looks like nobody bothered to sort any of the mail yesterday and since Friday was a holiday, I have to do two days worth. I was hoping to leave by lunch today but that likely isn’t going to happen.

Still, have to be grateful for the chance to work. Talked to two more friends who are laid off yesterday. While much of the nation is desperately waiting for the stimulus check to come and trying to make ends meet, my stimulus check will basically just be extra money.

All of my friends will be okay, they’re just temporarily laid off until the lock down is over and will be going back to work. I’ve run across a few people on the good old internet who are using their unemployment as an excuse for their racism and ignorance which is to be expected. Can’t really feel sorry for those people. One guy was complaining that he’s 59, lost his job due to COVID, and has $100 to try to live off of. That is just a gross lack of foresight.

Anyone truly struggling during this time should take it as a lesson moving forward. Save some money. Get an education. Find a job that matters.

2nd Sound Design Project

The second project for Andrew Huang’s production masterclass is sound design which I am super excited about because this is the one part of electronic music that is imperative that you’re good at and also coincidentally what I am terrible at. Already learned a lot! Only the first step is done… we recorded some sounds around the house with whatever we had. I just have my phone right now until my microphone arrives but it actually did a pretty good job at recording sounds without having too much background room noise to clean up.

This is basically what I did on Saturday.

So, here’s my attempt! Like I said this is just the very first part of the project and it’ll get developed a lot more over the next couple of weeks. We weren’t even really supposed to add melodies or a bassline yet but I couldn’t help myself, I was feeling the beat too much. I’m not happy with the snare but that’s the best one I could get out of the sounds I recorded. Might do another session and just clap my hands or something. Lol.

The audio was recorded on a free voice recording app from the Android Play store. All of the samples were edited, cleaned up, and sexified in Ableton Live 10 and the arrangement and synths were done in Reason 11 (which I impulse bought last night for $600).

Hope you like it! If you do listen, please leave a comment below and let me know what you thought.

As an aside, I did end up making a seperate page for my music. I will still be posting everything on this blog, but my music site will strictly be for my music and things I write about music, just so potential fans don’t have to read about my depression and laziness. Haha! It’s not done yet, but here’s the URL, feel free to check out what I have so far. I’m obviously customizing it a lot more than I ever have this page so it’s going to take longer.

Blog Specialization?

How do you feel about specializing your blog toward one or just a few related subjects? I’ve posted about everything from audio engineering to alcohol addiction and my line of thought is that if someone follows me because of a music-related post they probably won’t be interested in the majority of what I write.

Creating more blogs for my other topics has been something I’ve mulled over a few times but I’m worried about how much work that would be! Certainly I don’t have to write a post on every single one every day, but I also can’t go for a month without posting something.

I know I’ll at the very least be creating a music blog. Posting my own music here is fine as this is my personal blog but I’m talking about for more audio-engineering and production discussions. The vast majority of my followers and people whom I follow are in the mental health community and obviously couldn’t give a toss about the new features in Ableton Live 10.1! I’m also quite passionate about music production so I don’t think it’d be difficult for me to come up with content whereas the well has run relatively dry on mental health for me (and I’ve been hemorrhaging followers, actually).

So I think that’s the conclusion I’ve come up with after talking about wanting to change up my blog a few weeks ago. This one will stay personal and will likely consist of my daily musings so if you enjoy reading that, good news. I’ll have the other blog set up today, I’ve learned putting something on a list to do “tomorrow” never happens, haha.

Also I’m on a bit of a streak right now, that’s refreshing!

Thanks to All of You Bloggers for Being Here

I never realized until now how much simply coming to WordPress and reading your blogs anchors my morning routine. I hit some low lows over the last couple of weeks and stopped checking in or reading anything my friends here have written and it just spun my life even further into chaos! Now that I’m back and reading your stories and noticing how well I can relate to all of you, I don’t feel nearly as lonely.

I said in the past that I try to comment on every post that I’ve read to just let you all know that I’ve read it but I have to admit I don’t follow this principle anymore… I just read too many posts every day and don’t always have something constructive to say. I still leave a little “kudos” like though!

That’s it, just wanted to thank you all. No big news today which sometimes is a good thing. 🙂

New Project

So I’ve come up with a “project” that I’d like to try. It’s a podcast which first off terrifies me because I am not proud of my voice to put it mildly. I definitely don’t have a powerful presence by any means! I’ve always had a passion for underground music and the history behind it so I decided to give my own show a shot. I’m still in the process of constructing the first episode… choosing songs and researching them to make sure I have my information correct as for some of them it’s been many years since I’ve thought about them.

I want it to be more than just a radio show though. I want it to be an education on the history of multiple genres, showing how even the most diametrically opposed sounds are actually quite related. I’ve always believed that all music is worth listening to and the whole idea behind “good music” is ridiculous and just an excuse for not wanting to leave your comfort zone.

So here’s just the intro I’ve written up so far, it’ll likely change especially once I start recording it as, believe it or not, I don’t talk at all the way that I write. I’m happy to finally have something productive to work on and I’m actually quite committed to seeing this through for once.

Hey everyone, welcome to The Infinite Playlist. My name is Brian and I’ll be your guide through the winding genres and basement clubs of the underground music community whilst providing some background and commentary on the songs I’ve selected.

First, I apologize for the quality of my recording right now. I have a professional microphone on order but it won’t arrive for a while due to the strain that COVID has placed on the shipping industry but bear with me for hopefully just this one episode and everything should be set up shortly hereafter.

So I’m sure a question on your might is “what is The Infinite Playlist and how is it different from a simple streaming radio show?” Well I certainly could have just edited a string of songs together on my computer and been done there, but part of what I love about music is learning the history of the artists, how they connect to one another, and the nuances in their music. One thing I’m asked quite often by friends who have seen my shall we say “indiscriminate” taste in music is “how do you find all of these artists?” Well therein lies the actual hobby for me. Learning the artists and technical staff behind an album and then connecting them with other projects is what’s fun for me. If I was a bit more organized you could picture me having a room with album covers pinned to the wall and red string forming a web between them the way obsessed detectives do in crime dramas.

It is my greatest joy to introduce people to new artists that they come to love, from bands who were overlooked in decades past to modern performers who don’t get the credit they deserve. I suppose, in a way, my hobby was always leading me to this show. So without further ado, let’s begin!

Any feedback is appreciated. Is it too robotic? Is more information needed? Etc. Thanks as always for reading.

Also WordPresses new editor is quite obtuse it took me quite some time to figure out how to rearrange my paragraphs as I originally typed this out of order!

Hi.

Been a little while, huh? I haven’t even logged in to WordPress to read blogs let alone write something on my own. My schedule has been totally bonkers: disorganized and chaotic with a big helping of procrastination.

I let anxiety get the better of me over the last week or so and failed to follow through on a lot of the projects I’ve been working on such as my music lessons. I’m trying to get my act together but there’s nothing anchoring my days together without work.

I’m so tired all the time, too. I’m starting to think that there is actually something wrong with me because I’ve been like this for almost six months now. Some days I sleep for 12 hours and then lay in bed for another hour or two feeling like I’m unable to even move my body. Once I’m up, I’m fine. Well… still tired, but able to function at least.

Can’t go to the doctor right now, though. They’re far too busy for non life-threatening illnesses. I’ll hang in there.

Selfish People Ruin Everything

Posting two days in a row, oh my what’s going on?! So I’m going to just paste something I wrote on a forum of friends I frequent about something that happened today. I was potentially infected yesterday because of one of my mother’s shitty self-centered sisters (her side of the family is just like the worst version of humanity you can imagine) but time will tell. I’ve already thought I might have COVID two or three times already just because of allergies and a sinus infection I’d had but I knew I was just being paranoid. This is closer to a real concern.

Kinda pissed off right now. We’ve been quarantined in our home for about 3 weeks… I go out to do the shopping and all that because I’m at less risk but despite all of that, my extremely mentally ill aunt came over yesterday and I left right away because I just can’t deal with her on a mental level. She’s the kind of person who always has to be right about everything even though she’s an extreme hoarder and chain smoker who has never been in a romantic relationship once in her life. So by the time I got back she had left and I went about my day. Well today, 24 full hours later, my mother tells me my aunt was coughing the whole time she was over and refusing to cover her mouth because “it’s just allergies”. She texted my mother earlier today saying she now has a fever of 103.

So despite doing everything right, being as careful as possible and washing my hands like a maniac, I probably will get sick. Even though I wasn’t around when she was here hacking her lungs up, she probably got spit and shit all over everything in the house and coated it with virus. I’m not a hygiene freak or paranoid about microbes but it’s likely. Even though I’m low risk I did have lung surgery when I was in my early 20’s so I am a little worried about getting the disease. My mother is definitely high risk and my aunt, if she actually does have COVID, is in all honesty probably going to die. She’s smoked for 40 years, has high blood pressure, and like I said is a hoarder so she just breathes cat feces and dust all day. She had me feed her cat while she was out of town once and I couldn’t spend more than 5 minutes in her apartment it smelled so bad and the air was so thick with god knows what. I wish I could say I was upset about her potential demise but that is the level at which I don’t like her. Lol.

So we’ll see what happens. It could take up to 5 days for me to start feeling really sick and that’s exactly the day I’m supposed to do my one day this week at work. I should know by then if she has COVID and if she does I’ll just quarantine myself regardless of how I feel. That’s the ethical thing to do, I think.

I feel like most of the bad things that have happened to me in my life are direct results of who I’m related to, lol. If this were to kill me (I know it won’t) it’d really just be fitting.

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.