Music is forever different
It was a curiosity that when I began playing with the guitar I found the guitars in recorded music came to the forefront, even in songs I've known for years; I found myself becoming less interested in those lacking guitar parts. This was both disorienting and exciting, as my principle interest has always strongly tended toward the lyrics. It was surprising because this hadn't happened with the keyboard, but then, in retrospect it's probably because I hadn't spent enough time with it.

As I explored the bass I found a similar effect, and again with vocals, and again with the drums. And now I listen to the music and the lyrics are sometimes the most distant component, hidden behind all the rhythm and melody. And if caught in the right turn of mind I can pick apart all the pieces at once and see roughly which instruments are playing when and where they coincide and contrast. The edges are fuzzy and the senses very approximate, but I can only assume this improves with practice and attention. The interplay of reading theory here and psychology of musicality there on listening is more subtle, but promises perpetual permeation.

I realized just the other day that the guitar can fill in for a verse or a chorus or both without much trouble. This is not only great fun but cuts down on necessary singing!

And to think, at first the interest in music was largely about neural plasticity and the appeal of embracing musical metaphors. (and, of course, about a girl, cause how could it not be?)

शब्दगति | Zabdagati
Now have drums. Next, learn to play everything sufficiently to produce music. At present I think my competence is roughly:

Guitar > Drums > Bass > Keyboard > Vocals

The music room now contains Roland TD4K digital drums, a Fender Strat w/ humbucker bridge, a Dean-made Gibson knock-off that I got used and that has a crack in the headstock, an Epiphone Les Paul Special bass, a Fender Mustang Special "Pawn Shop" with pick-up selectors, a Casio WK-200 keyboard, a ukelele, and a Sennheiser microphone Dad had in the basement. Amps are a Roland MicroCube, a Roland MicroCube Bass RX, an 8" Simmons DA50 drum amp, a Fender Mustang II modeling amp, and two Mackie MR8mk2 monitors. It includes also a Whammy Pedal, a Crybaby, and a TU-2 tuning pedal. And a Roland OCTA-CAPTURE USB2 audio interface.

Last night I played the drums w/ my brother, and he said I'd clearly gotten better.
I have the same essential problem I do with bass - I don't like playing in too long a repeating pattern, so I fail to provide an authentically rhythmic backdrop, despite basically keeping time.

Need to be able keep opposing beats in my head at the same time.
This will be good for music also.

So much to learn.

Løs is the world resolving the final triplet of the main story arc.
It is the last Realm.

The world exists on the interior surface of the great sphere, Kurnugi. It is said that beyond the sphere is only dead space, inert and lifeless detritus exhausted by the passing of prior Realms. Within the sphere is little better, being mostly expanses of barren badlands and desert, broken at intervals by towering mesas wreathed in dense jungles full of horrors. The world is illuminated by the glow of the Chaos Seal, conceived as a perfect bronze sphere covered in inscriptions and set at the center of the encompassing world-sphere.

The remaining Solarians - Kaige, Saigel, and Rehtika - are each imbrogliod within the confines of the Seal. Kaige is powerful enough to annihilate and subsume either Saigel or Rehtika individually, but together Their power is sufficient to nullify His. So the three are held in tense equilibrium, their combined power churning Patterns through Chaos, the tumultuous effects of which induce the containing sphere's glow, as if a star were burning in at the world's center.

But sometimes an imbalance emerges.

The main characters are

Book I - Zumru

The book of the physical hero. Zumru lives upon the plains, and the events of his being drive him to seek of Wise Elders in slumber deep within the horrific jungles that surround the world's mesas. There are 144 mesa's, and within each a Wise Elder dreams, though Zumru knows none of this as he is set upon the desolation. He is ultimately the son of Saigel.

Book II - Mudutu

The book of the intellectual hero. Mudutu lives in one of the cities that ride upon the backs of They. His task is in the understanding of the world and how it fits together and what's going on. The events of his being lead him to stir turmoil and seek to awaken They, though it would destroy most all of the world as the Cities fell from Their backs and Their feet left ancient paths to trample the nations of the plains. He is ultimately the son of Kaige.

Book III - Shi

The book of the spiritual hero. Shi is among the very few that remain of the culture living upon the tops of the mesas. At one time, before the coming of They, the world was theirs. Even then, with their wisdom and cunning, they'd lasted for awhile. They had elaborate rituals dedicated to the Wise Elders in their slumber, and so controlled They. But no more. All ruins. The events of her being lead her to revive ancient lore, and to discover the truth of the Seouls and journey to Ezzeru, finally bringing to a climax the war of the Solarians. She is ultimately the daughter of Rehtika.

All three books run simultaneously, and various events are seen from the different vantages.

They are 144 horrific abominations upon Løs, each with a city upon its back. There was a time before they bore cities, and at least some cities do fall.

The Wise Elders are 144 ancients in slumber, each within its own ritualized tomb. There was a time when they fought as men surrounded in shining forms ranging from giant dragons to scorpions to whatever else, each unique to the bearer. At least some awaken.

Both are but forms of The Blessed and The Damned, the remnants of the unsealed Watchers, and so their dreams and nightmares comprise all of everything that's gone before.

Sumerian ::
Body - ZUMRU
Knowledge - MUDUTU
Life - SHI

Had a multi-hour "voice session" with my friend N today. The great part about knowing very little about a subject is how easy it is to radically expand your understanding of it.

We started with an overview of the physiology, then went through basic vocal concepts like chest-voice and head-voice. Then there was a whole bunch of holding notes and doing ascending/descending scales, and she determined my range to be approximately Ab2 - Bb4, but said I could extend the high-end a bit with practice.

I tried singing: TWS - Seven Nation Army; TWS - The Denial Twist; Speechwriters LLC - Acetate; Tom Petty - Yer So Bad; Tom Petty - Wildflowers; The Raconteurs - You Don't Understand Me; Jack Johnson - Breakdown; Modest Mouse - The World At Large; The Killers - Sam's Town; and Tool - Hooker With a Penis.

Her general feedback was that I was basically singing in the right key, with good timing and tone, and generally following the proper melody. She felt I most needed to work on maintaining even volume, avoiding unintentional scooping, and being able to purposely move in better controlled scales, but that generally I just had to practice more.

Ah, practice. So easy for so many hobbies, so difficult as soon as your want to do anything involving percussion waves.

Rodeo Riot Fish Manifesto
Again to stand before the all-loving hand and be sonically accosted, this time by Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto w/ lady c ('twas her birthday). That was an awesome concert. And not just cause it further confirmed that concerts are intrinsically funner when accompanied by dancey, punky girls. So much shiny brass and so many fast chords.

As we arrived, Rodeo Ruby Love was on stage. DBLR + synth, with male/female harmonizing vocals; very fun and bouncy. They lead into New Riot, an English punk-ska band. The lead singer had a mohawk, and there was a trombone. They were pretty good, but I liked RRL better.

Then came Streetlight with drums, bass, semi-hollow guitar, trombone, trumpet, and two (yes two!) large saxaphones. I was surprised to find I recognized fairly few of the songs they played, but that's okay cause just listening to them was splendid. And, importantly, the songs I did recognize were FANTASTIC - A Better Place, A Better Time and both SkyScraper (Bad Religion) and Such Great Heights (The Postal Service)! (there were a few more I knew, but I'm blanking on the names)

Reel Big Fish was, well, Reel Big Fish, and I did just see them last November and last July. Of note was that Aaron (lead singer/guitarist) was playing the Gibson that C==t is clearly a knock-off of, and was wearing exactly the same shirt and sungalssses as the previous shows. That said, wow is Reel Big Fish still fun stuff live. I don't even listen to their albums that much, but halfway into their shows lost in a chaos on the floor is probably the closest I ever come to dancing.

Wisdom Whimsically Wanders
Conveyed via G+ by a woman in my frat that I hardly know:

Funny how jobs that are mostly about thinking and making decisions are often much more richly compensated than jobs that are mostly about doing physical work, but when we think of what we've gotten done outside of work, we value physical accomplishments and overlook the thinking.

It's so true.

Learning a bit of musicy theory, it turns out for me, isn't quite as fulfilling as discovering a bit of strumming. And yet, I take to the theory much more readily.

Economic Ravings
This is really just one discussion in a long line of them, full of hyperbole and oversimplifications (on both sides). This one in particular started from this article: 6 Steps by the IMF for a One-World Currency (if you're going to read it, do so with with loads of pinches of salt)

Feeling whimsically defiant, I responded,

Regarding the debt ceiling - I think the article you sent the other day had it closer to the mark : if the Repubs keep demanding No New Taxes in place of accepting massive legitimate reductions, I expect what'll next happen is THAT is when the FED is most likely to suddenly print prodigious amounts of money for sake of being defaulted upon and thus exploding inflation. Otoh, QE3, besides still being a mere possibility, is not at all the same thing. Trying to jump-start the economy is no easy task, especially when it's probably impossible. It seems that under all likely scenarios we either see meager growth (Keynesian-ish model), or else dramatic collapse followed by depression followed by sharp recovery (Austrian-ish model). Under either model the long-term prospects are not as rosy as people would have like to think - even the sharp growth in the Austrian world is mostly an error in math, as it's easy to post high gains when you're starting from a lower floor with a massively unemployed population but it takes a long time to get back to the level you were at and as you get higher the gains taper off again.

The biggest real problem we face is that in either scenario it takes a long time for unemployment to come back to something America is used to, and that's going to be relatively bad and last a long time unless we really create new industries or such. That is combined with a future in which more and more of the work force retires and saps the wealth of the workers, but what to do? We, as a country, made promises that were made poor assumptions, and then slashed revenues to the point that we're working with cents on the dollar of what was expected. What to do? Tell the elder generation to fuck off? These are structural problems in our economy and are not avoidable, as far as I can tell, though we can affect the degree.

The debt ceiling was just an arbitrary number anyways - one might note that for the past decade it has been raised annually almost procedurally. Capping at this specific value doesn't gain anything particular except cause us to crash into a wall. Much better to brake and swerve so as to minimize the losses due to the crash and throw momentum in the right direction.

All that aside; are you against a global currency? Why? It seems removing the dollar as the global reserve currency would constrain our economy in all sorts of ways and severely limit the government's ability to get away with inflationary practices. I just wasn't sure what aspect of global currency counters the domestic economy concerns?

"This sounds like a brilliant strategy to offset sudden currency collapse. However, it is actually a very subversive way to slowly elevate the SDR as a world reserve currency itself, and to replace the dollar entirely, while the IMF plays the hero. It also allows the IMF to slowly “harmonize” all the world’s currencies until there is no distinction in their value. The SDR becomes a de facto reserve unit without officially overthrowing the dollar."

But that's genius? Isn't it? By my understanding, modulo a bunch of details and theories,

1. We roughly agree that our current standard of living is unsustainable.
2. We roughly agree that the rest of the world is treated deplorably.
3. We roughly agree that the US government is too reliant on inflation and too loose in monetary policy.

By creating a basket of currencies and slowly introducing that into the system, there is a way to wean the US from its usual ability to just print money (yay on 3!) and a way to transfer wealth from the US to the rest of the world in an organized and controlled manner. On one level, this seems like theft, and at that level, it is. But this is necessary if we agree on 1 above, and doubly so if we agree on 1 and 2. To reach a sustainable level of living, the US has to decrease its relative wealth; but to do this, the wealth has to go somewhere. Either financial instruments flow, or there is a massive default somewhere and value flows; the former is easier to direct in positive directions, while the latter is a craps shot (good be fairly good, but could be terribly bad). In the "world currency" scenario, the US economy is forced to clamp down and get its financial house in order while the developing world is helped to develop in sustainable directions so we don't have endless wars between knots of cloistered people trying to horde against the very real threat of diminished resources that our current global gluttony is careening toward...

Nevermind. Just a thought. I'm sure everything is fine.

(Cause if you can't post stream of consciousness scenarios based on loose metaphors to a pseudo-anonymous blog on the Internet, what's freedom anyways?)

Optimism seems to have won again.

2 projects I've worked on have recently launched and at least one is getting tons of attention.

I got a Certificate of Excellence today for meaningful contribution to a non-core project while still keeping pace on the core work. And even though the bulk of the core work then got cancelled at the last moment, I just rolled onto the next task whilst snagging a peer bonus and some massage credits (not that I'll be getting a massage). It's just signed paper, and token monies, but still, the appreciation is appreciated.

Annnnnd, at this moment, a feature is launching that's relatively minor but still pretty spiffy.

Oh, and there's the house. Sorta.

I suppose it'd be mean to tell my old manager that everything has gotten better since we parted ways. But he did once teach me some important initial guitar bits, so nevermind, all is fine.

Creative Destruction
The contractors have been unleashed...

Now we wait to see what we've wrought.

Living In $paces
The first apartment I got myself remains one of my favorite places to have lived. The hunt ran only a few hours end-to-end; I did a search, called the owner, was standing in it within an hour, had made a deposit on the spot, and was renting by the afternoon. It was in a 1900s-era house that had been divided into four units. The division between my main room and that of the next apartment over was a pair of sliding double-doors permanently fixed shut. It had hardwood floors, interior columns, a fireplace facade, and half a porch. It was $500/mnth when I moved out.

The most expensive apartment I've lived in was $1,900/mnth + $50/mnth "pet rent", but hey, I'd just started at The Employer and that was a reasonable rate for the area. Besides all the closets being giant sliding mirrors, that apartment was pretty meh. It was carpeted in beige except the kitchen and bath, though it had a loud red "accent wall" and did get points for having sliding glass doors out to an enclosed concrete slab, and for having a small gym and large pool. And I experienced what may possibly be my only in-person earthquake there, minor though it was. Also, I was able to bike to work.

Summing to present, I have spent ~$175,000 on rent over 12 years.

By contrast, even if I take the agreed 15 years to repay the mortgage, the cost of financing is only ~$100,000 (loan is 3.66% fixed). Purchasing the house incurred ~$8,000 in closing costs, there may reasonably be something like $7,500/yr maintenance, and there is property tax to consider, which presently runs ~$5,000/yr. This sums to ~$300,000 over 15 years, or the equivalent of, say, $1,700/mnth rent*/**. If the property is sold to move elsewhere during that time, as is fairly likely, then it is reasonable to expect ~$15,000 in transaction costs per home hop, and adjustments to above commensurate with new loan terms, should a loan be involved.

And for this sum, my wife and I get a fairly large house in rather descent condition with a treed yard and lots of privacy; a brick fireplace; a kitchen with a weird double-oven; an office room, space for oh-so-many books, a guest room, a music room, and an art room; a basement big and open enough for roller-skating, and a sun-room with sliding glass doors for walls looking out over an acre of woods with trees much older than I am and a small stream. I want to get flagstones delivered and wend old-fashioned stone walls through the forest. Owning trees is strange.

I'm now much further from some friends and much closer to others. I sure won't be able to bike to work, being also now much further from The Employer, but there's a straight-shot paved bike trail to the station, and commuting via train seems splendid for working having left the office early, playing games and reading++.

We're going to add a slide from the sun-room to the back yard.
And a zip-line to a fort amidst the trees.

* This fails to account for savings being tied up in a large frozen asset during upcoming economic recovery/turmoil, though it is believed that inflation will be up for awhile, at the same time that real growth is respectable-but-meager. In this context inflation will eat some portion of outstanding loan's value and the frozen nature will protect real value vis-a-vis sitting in savings (though probably not as well as being more diversely invested). Otoh, with the end of QE2 and the staggering recovery, it is plausible that the value of properties will slide a further 10-20%:

...but this has to be counter-weighed by the influence of established interests in seeing housing rise, for which it's hard to do better than handy-wavy speculation. I am also unsure how to factor in value of Maslow-esque stability vs. diminishment of housing flexibility, fluctuations in government policies & tax rates, possibility of job loss/transition, actuarials for myself and family, growth/decline of town/region, insurrection, comets, war, floods, zombies, or other chance events in any meaningful way.

** This figure is likely rather inflated in practice because US tax code allows for a substantial deduction based on mortgage interest paid. Though I find it a little odd we have such a market nudge towards owning property (England has no such deduction and has nearly the same rate of property ownership), it dates to the inception of the US Income Tax in 1913 (though most non-home interest deductions were nixed in 1986), so it's not going away without a fight.


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