Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Vapor of a Runner’s Breath

Spread a little thin tonight. Finally did laundry, which I’ve been meaning to do for days but put off because 1) I hate doing laundry and 2) I’ve been feeling a little ill (just a little) all week (not sure if it’s the cedar, the weather, or just my time of the year for a cold). My problem with laundry night is that I have to change into older (read: tighter) clothing, and then devote several hours of my night to the boring, unsettling task of going to the laundromat. Chores suck. During that time, I get way too many inspirations and desires to do something else, desires that never manifest any other night. Pity, that.

While packing up my clothes and supplies, I had an inspiration, a melody, a phrase of song. Ran to my keyboard and pecked it out. Luckily, I remember a little of where I put my fingers, but the sound of the inspiration is gone. Disappeared like a vapor, like a cloud of breath on a cold day. You breathe it out, watch the cloud shift, and then it’s gone forever. Best you can hope for is to remember what it looked like.

Since I was feeling a little inspired musically, I took my drum machine with me to the laundromat. Had high intentions. The problem with hammering out a rhythm on this machine is one of mechanics: in order to record a drum track, I need to find an empty slot for the pattern and select from a dizzying range of drum kits before I can even lay down a loop that sounds something like my idea. With practice, this dance would become easier, but until then, it’s an obstacle of frustration. Most musicians develop habits and methods to move through these problems, but not me. Not yet.

It’s as though I need a studio engineer on retainer, ready whenever I am inspired to record something. In this regard, I’m jealous of the artist known as Prince, who is rumored to have his entire mansion wired for recording, and has a staff on-hand to press “record”. If only we could all have the help we need when we need it. Or our own laundry appliances.

After pecking on the drum machine, I got tired, fatigued really, and my will to thump beats dissappeared like a vapor. Eyes glazed over. Just too ill, I guess, to create my own stuff. I hate that feeling. So I pulled out “Cryptonomicon” and picked up my reading. I should’ve done that from the outset; would’ve gotten farther just focusing on one thing than timesharing between urges.

My battle in life is one of focus and attention, the fact that to actually get anywhere in my life, I need to cultivate the dogged determination to see a task through to its goal. To win by crossing the finish line in due time. A marathon is not run in chunks, with breaks for distraction; it is run by one foot in front of the other for 26.2KM, no matter how much acid builds up in your veins. It is run by determined rhythm. It is run by measured breathing. It is run until you cross the line.

Nudge

Been busy with a few projects. A few too many. I want to finish something before I start the next thing, but apparently that’s not in my cards. Would someone like to volunteer to be my goad? The pay is crap and I’ll eventually resent you, but you can take solace in being the irritant-as-muse to push me into completion.

Work on the Glass Door music site is going slowly, as expected. WordPress makes some things a breeze, but at the cost of making the system complex enough that I have to be in a particular mindset to have all the parts in my head so I can focus on making things work right and not get sidetracked.

An inspiration hit me Friday night and I had to follow through. Every now and then, I do some image work, and it’s usually inspired by something I saw somewhere. It’s like a challenge to myself to emulate the style of a poster, or simulate a visual observation with either pixels or vectors. Friday, I was inspired by looking at a movie poster and had to see if I could simulate lights on the horizon. After a few attempts, and with feedback from my friend Bart, I have a result I’m happy with. I think I’ll use this as the masthead for my music site, and build out the visual style of the site from this.

I’m getting an itch to lay my hands on my music gear again. I need to finish a track tentatively called “Less Than Three” (horrible working title, I know…I’ll figure something else out before I post it). I’d also like to flesh out a song called “Habeloff”, a syrupy, sappy little waltzy thing that I made as a 30-second snippet of a song. There’s more to the story, and I really need to flesh it out.

Last week, I finished building up a new desktop computer. Picked up a board, case, disk, and some miscellaneous hardware, assembled it, and gave it a good shakedown. The first motherboard I got didn’t cut the mustard (Asus makes flaky boards…just sayin’), but the second board, from Gigabyte, is rock-solid so far. Using a 6-core Phenom II 1055T, 8GB of ram, and 1TB disk. The fans are quiet, and I really like that. I haven’t migrated my files over to put it into use yet…I’m a slow mover when it comes to trusting new hardware. Soon, though. Soon.

As if I don’t have enough to do with my freetime, I went to the library for a book. I’ve been on a reading kick the past month and a half; so far, I’ve read Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles”, H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine”, and Isaac Asimov’s short story “Youth”. Not a bad haul, really. When the weather’s cold, I tend to read fiction. Anything to get me away from staring at screens. But, cocksure in my newfound ability to read quickly (these are short novels, after all), I went to the library to satisfy the reading appetite. What I found (the selection is slim at my nearby library branch) was Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon”, weighing in at 900 pages. Yeah, that’s gonna take me a long while to consume. Two nights of reading, and I’m only 60 pages in. Ugh. Gluttony.

As a challenge with my friend David, I made up a TODO list and posted it here. More like a “bucket list”, which is some things I can do now, others I’d like to do, and some things I should do some time before I kick the bucket. I think it’ll be a living document, subject to change, reordering, alteration. Once I finish something, I move it to the bottom with the completed tasks. Seems to be a convenient way to remind myself that I’m not as young as I used to be, and that time moves on whether I do or not.

January continues at the steady drum beat of 7/4 time.