Archive for February, 2011
Is it just me or does this really happen?
I’m sitting here at the lake looking out the window at the fresh snow, nearly two feet of it – and the Yankee game is on the tv. It’s the dying days of winter, the time when the snow cold and ice can no longer hold their grip. The time when warm days wrestle with cold for control of the climate. Cold cannot win, winter is too long in the tooth, its numbered days are down to a precious few.
I always dread this part of the year, when spring has yet to rise and the winter is fading fast. Something about the cold always held an allure for me. We’re headed quickly into the time of heat and humidity. Not my favorite time of year.
But before it goes one last sunny winter picture.
Last night I attended a family dinner with three different parts of the family (parents and two different aunts + assorted cousins). It was definitely a lot of fun, I don’t have a huge family and don’t get too many evenings like this. I enjoyed it. During the evening music was playing, what music played and when it played formed the idea for this blog post.
My cousin was on a mission to play her father’s ipod, and to play the songs that her father liked. I sensed some of that was not as much a music thing and more a father daughter thing. That’s totally cool, but I still found it interesting the songs they chose. They went on and on about songs from the 60’s and 70’s that they loved. Now our tastes in music are a bit different to say the least. I think 60s and 70s = Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. But to them it was other bands that I’d heard of but not really “heard” a lot. Most of the songs were classic “oldies” quick and easy to listen to songs about sock-hops and other friendly concepts. Easy to listen to.. Easy Listening. I guess that’s one reason our music tastes differ.
Its not that they have bad taste, well bad taste per-se I guess is more accurate, its probably that we just listen very differently. I’ve been playing guitar now for about four years, and a lot of what I listen to has to do with my guitar playing. I like songs that have a big emphasis on guitars, and ideally a solo or two. So bands like Zeppelin and Black Sabbath are perfect for me, I especially love the part in the live version of Stairway where Jimmy Page just gets lost in his solo. He’s in his own world, the listeners just happen to be there witnessing the tonal magic as it’s weaved.
This post is about discovery and opinions. I’m saying that to me, for my ears Zeppelin and Sabbath are better than the music my Uncle and cousin were listening to. However I’m also listening as a guitar player. Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same that was recorded in NYC in the 70’s is magic for me because I can relate to the sensation of playing like that – read that as I can dream of playing like that, you won’t see me in MSG anytime soon. Just watch the dvd or blu ray of this show and you’ll see what I mean. Zeppelin is on the money on this night, playing like its just the band. I’m coming from a different place when listening, the music is speaking to me differently.
I think for many music means memories. You hear a song for the first time and whatever is going on in your life at that time is encoded in the memory of the song. So in the future when you hear that song again you relive that memory – whether painful or joyus. And while true for me as well, I often find that if I turn up the volume in the car just a few notches past socially acceptable levels: I can get totally lost in the music, I can get lost in the story that the guitar players are trying to tell with their six strings.
There’s an amazing amount of incredible music to listen to this way. Many Heavy Metal bands that have a melodic component are incredibly musical. Their songs are rich with music theory and the application their of. These songs are not easy to listen to, far from it. They require participation. Thats what I love about them. But not everyone agrees.
My uncle also said that he refuses to listen to any music recorded after 1978. Gasp.. Horror.. Shock… No music after ’78? Do you realize that you’ve just eliminated all of Metallica’s music? As a huge metallica fan that’s unfathomable, but there’s so many other incredible songs in that time period too.. How many of us have danced and partied to 80s songs while in college? For him for my uncle songs and music is about memories. Its not about the musical theory, the chord progressions, passing tones or modes & scales at play. And that’s ok, its interesting and its fascinating the different reasons and ways that music speaks to us.
I write to understand. Not to inform. Writing is a way that I process my thoughts. So If you’re now wondering what was my point, what did I want you know? Well I’m excited that you’re reading; thank you. I think if anything for this post my message is this. Pick a song, any song and listen to it with the volume turned up. Preferably a song that you’d normally not listen to. If you’re not a metal fan, try a metallica song. Try my favorite: Fade To Black.
This morning I woke up to a fresh snowfall here at the Lake. You can just barely make out the mountains in the distance. The specs on the ice in the distance are ice fishermen, the open water is where people have bubblers up to protect their docks from the ice. I thought it looked pretty cool – and in this case literally.
First Day with a new blog and already I have a dilemma. I want to post some of what I have written. Really I do. But what I write is not what a friend would call “rainbows and ponies” Often the themes, or the characters themselves are very dark. Is it not a good idea to post this? Perhaps. But this blog is about being open. And so I post.
Disclaimer: The character introduced here is not a nice person. This is a work of fiction that I created while working through the example exercises from the book 3AM Epiphany. My main goal, aside from the challenge of the exercise itself was to introduce a believable evil character. Previous works of mine would get up to the plate but ultimately do a lousy job at driving home, driving home the concept of evil because in many of my stories evil is needed. Its the evil character that makes the good character shine, or perhaps there are no good characters and its the evil that brings about the sense of ambiguity that although disturbing is alluring at the same time.
So without further blabbing, here’s Nix. Once again, this is all fiction. If you are easily offended you should stop reading right now.
3AM Epiphany – Challenge 1 – Write a first person story in which you use the first person pronoun (I, me or my) only two times. Keep the ‘I’ somehow important to the narrative you are constructing. The point is to imagine a narrator who is less interested in himself than in what he is observing.
My daughter’s best friend, Analisa came into the bar only a half an hour ago. She was crying that her asshole boyfriend had dumped her when she told him that she was pregnant. Some people really can be cruel, Analisa deserved better than that.
“Care for something from the bar?” I asked her
“Can I have a diet coke please”
The trouble started when a stranger came in and sat down next to Analisa. No one seemed to recognize her and most people it appeared, just assumed she was either new in town or passing through. Most people were good, and you could tell that was the case just by smiling at them and looking into their eyes. You’d see a glimmer of something about them and receive a smile in return. Smiling at this new stranger returned a far different response.
She returned the smile, but there was no glimmer of who she was; there was nothing at all – just an indescribable darkness. She widened her smile, acknowledging that she was aware that someone knew of her dark secret.
“Hi, I noticed you were upset” the Stranger asked to Analisa “My name is Nicole, but people call me Nix”
“Oh, Hi Nix” Analisa responded “Yeah, I’m pretty upset about my boyfriend. I shouldn’t say anything though, you don’t want to be bothered with my problems”
“No don’t be silly, I want to hear about what is making you so sad” Nix said as she ran her fingers through Analisa’s hair. “Let’s have a drink, then we can talk” she said as she ordered a bottle of Jack Daniels and a couple glasses.
“Thank You Barman” she said as she took the bottle off the bar.
Analisa should not be drinking, she was pregnant. One beer might be ok, but jack daniels didn’t seem to be like a good idea. Nix poured two shots.
“Here you go, bottoms up, like a good girl. Then we’ll talk” Nix said as she watched Analisa drink the first shot. “That’s right, very good”
Coughing, “I don’t drink hard stuff much, usually just a glass of wine or an occasional beer.” Analisa said.
“Well sweetheart, if you’re having man troubles there’s nothing better than a good stiff drink or two” Nix said as she looked down at Analisa’s belly and smiled. Clearly she was somehow aware of the unborn child which she carried. “Let me get you another one”
Analisa took the shot that Nix poured in her hand. “I don’t know if I should, I just found out that I’m pregnant.”
“Analisa, you have nothing to worry about I’m a doctor, and judging by the fact you’re not showing its completely safe.” Nix lied to her. She placed a finger over her mouth mimicking the “Shh” sign.
I stood there screaming, “Get away from her, run as fast as you can out of this place!” But no words came out, there was no sound made.
“You don’t have to worry, alcohol can’t affect the baby at this stage” Nix lied again.
“Well if you’re sure its ok, I guess I will then” Analisa said drinking another shot.
It was hard to watch, but Nix fed Analisa shot after shot, they each had six of them. Analisa was now slurring her words badly but Nix looked as if she had been drinking water.
“You should go talk to him, your boyfriend. Don’t let him do that to you, give him a piece of your mind.”
“I I Ssh-should?” Analisa slurred. “You ssure that’s a good idea?”
“Oh absolutely you should” Nix encouraged her. “Be aggressive, you have to be assertive with guys like that”
“You’re right, I have to be aggressive” Analisa shouted.
“Yes! You do!” Nix encouraged
“I’ll kick his Ass!” Analisa announced aggressively
“Go do that, go now, seize the night!” Nix told her
Analisa got up off of her seat and headed toward the door. She was clearly intoxicated and with car keys in hand.
“Why did you do that? She could get hurt or worse. She’s in no condition to drive”
Nix glared at me with fire in her eyes “Because I can and I was bored. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Any other questions?” Nix sneered at me as she walked out toward the door “I’m going to go watch my latest handy work, but I’ll be back. I think I like this town.”
This is the first post of my new blog! Woo Hoo! I definitely hope that there will be more blogging than I’ve done in the past. I mean what would be the point of getting a shiny new domain name if there would be no blogging? Well the questions for philosophy majors aside we are here now, and its time to blog.
Much of this will eventually find its way to the about me page. Maybe. Actually no it likely will not so its probably best to pay attention here. Where else can you get this particular brand of nonsense?
There’s More than Code however
What I love about the code extends beyond the code itself. I love the creativity. My creativity flows into other interests like Cooking, Music and Video Games. Games are code but they’re art too. Games are just as important to our society as a great painting or story is.
That brings me to the most recent of my passions, writing. I love writing and why I’ve not been a good blogger before now is perhaps something of a mystery. Although this is quite a bit more public, open and without-a-net than most of my writing has been. That’s probably a good thing though. At least thats what I’m telling myself. Writing for me is more of an activity than it is an art form. I believe strongly in what Stephen King said in his book On Writing that good fiction writing must be done from the seat of your pants. Many people will disagree and I even know some that write a more planned out story and that’s awesome that it works for them, this is what works for me. That’s part of my secret I think, what works for me. I don’t write to sell the next best seller, or to amaze my friends and family. I write to find out what will happen next.
Put a character in place, give them a challenge, set the atmosphere and you’ve created a whole world. How can you not see what happens by continuing to write.
MythicalCode – my New Blog – Will likely stay with me for a very long time. The format or incarnation of this blog however will change dramatically. I decided to get started with wordpress.com, Many thanks for the very reasonable rates! But the blog itself and its content are likely to move around a bit and eventually to a server of my own perhaps!
As if they’d let me have a server on the intertubes all to myself.