Monthly Archives: June 2011

OHC142

http://compo.thasauce.net/rounds/view/OHC142

Today, China opened the world’s longest cross-sea bridge, which is 42 kilometers (26 miles) long and links China’s eastern port city of Qingdao to an offshore island, Huangdao. See picture.

My entry: http://compo.thasauce.net/files/DDRKirby_ISQ__-_Spirit_of_the_Bridge(OHC142).mp3

I’ve been listen to flashygoodness’s music a LOT recently and really, really, really loving his Tower of Heaven soundtrack (mentioned in an earlier post), so I really wanted to do some chiptune stuff this week.  I also recently went through and got a whole bunch of new chippy VSTs so I wanted to put some of those to good use too.  I actually just ended up using 3xOsc for a lot of the stuff but I did get some use out of a few of the new ones, most notably an NES noise vst and I also didn’t use tb_triforce because it has a weird “wobbly” sound that’s no good.

Anyways the theme came up and I was kind of like blehhhh because I didn’t want to do something “bridgy” or “chinesey” because I wanted to do awesome chiptunes!  But whatever, I rolled with it and started off with some pulse wave pads and used a pentatonic scale and things just developed from there.

I told myself I’d spend more time on things and therefore would make a shorter song this week, but…I still ended up going over 5 minutes, oops. xP  Partly because I repeated the chorus (yay!) and partly because i have really long drawn out phrases, which is okay!

Anyways, after the first pad solo (there’s actually sample reduction going on near the end there) we start off with a pair of arps (cute!), then we go full steam ahead with pulse basses and that classic TS404 lead that I use everywhere, along with percussion–the kick drum is made using a 3xOsc triangle wave and there’s some noise stuff for the hats and snare and open hihat.  It’s interesting to note that I still processed my drums like normal with overdrive and compression to make them punchy–I just took out the reverb.

Then there’s a nice laidback 4-on-the-floor section where we build up stuff and have some more arpage, followed by a really quiet thin section with only a single pulse wave pad, a triangle wave whistle, and some “ocean noise” in the background.

After repeating the chorus, I add a second voice to the lead for some harmony, and at this point, although I’m running low on time I want to see if I can make something that strays from the pentatonic scale because the penatonic scale isn’t really MOVING anywhere and we’ve been on F# for a loooong time.

So I was doing stuff and I ended up putting the bass note on D.  Okay, let’s see if that works.  Then I stumbled upon the whole tone scale and it CLICKED.  Holy crap, I was onto something -good-.  So I ran with that, going with the “witch” feeling that whole tone always evokes for me.  At this point I’m really scrambling to put this part together because I’m running out of time, but I still manage to pull it off and make it awesome–I add samplereduced drumloops, more arps (cloning the same instruments from before), there’s also a triangle bass below the two pulse basses, and there’s dblue going on with the drums…the only thing missing is a melody, which unfortunately I didn’t have time for, but the simple kickass groove works just as well.  I end up with more bitcrush which makes the arp really haunting. (side note: i maybe should have changed the C# to a D in the second half of that arp pattern?)

An awesome entry, to be sure.

Bad Day

Wow, today was a rough day, from start to finish.  I didn’t work myself as “hard” as yesterday, so I wasn’t as physically exhausted, but man, things were just rough thought the entire day.  Dancebreak was rough too.  I wasn’t feeling it.  I’m sure Sayuri would have had just as hard a time though.  It was just my mood.  It made me feel bad about my dancing despite the fact that I actually had a couple of neat things work.  Well, thanks at least to Gerentt for the only real good dance that I had tonight. =)  Can’t win em all. 

Rough times and I’m not quite sure how to get out of it.  The me from a few weeks ago keeps telling me “you’re upset, you need to stamp your foot down and do something about it”, but unfortunately, I don’t know what can be done in this case.  Furthermore, I don’t know whether the true problem is external (I need to fix something so I don’t feel upset) or internal (I should try not to feel upset about it).

Perhaps it would help if I had a daily ritual.  I read an article about someone who was giving out advice for being an indie developer, and he stressed the importance of separating work from the rest of his life, because when you’re indie it’s really, really, really easy to let your work bleed into the rest of your life because you’re working at home by yourself.  So besides stuff like not checking work email outside of “work time” and such, he had a daily sort of ritual he’d go through every day after he finished “work time”, like moving himself from the “work desk” onto the couch and playing a certain game or something.

Part of the way I’m feeling is also physical factors, for sure–the sleep debt from sunday and monday night is still hitting me, despite the fact that I took a nap at work on tuesday.  Furthermore I don’t think my body is really happy at all about being shifted out of its more natural sleeping habits of constant afternoon naps.  Thank goodness a 3 day weekend is coming up.

During the shuttle ride today I had visions about the game I’m supposed to be working on.  I wonder if it’ll ever get to where I want it.  Maybe!

Why do I have less “me” time now?  Am I getting old?

At the very least, I’m very thankful I have Shia.  It actually makes me feel happy knowing that I’m going to be sleeping with him tonight; it’s something I’m looking forward to.  I love him very much.  I love Kiki’s penguin too, very much, but Shia is very much closer to my heart.

I don’t know if “stress” is the right way to describe it.  But if I were a turtle, I’m feeling a feeling that really makes me want to withdraw into my shell.  I guess on the plus side if it succeeds that means defense++ (1 brownie point if you caught that one).

Xanga has @tagging now haha.

I’m weird.

It’s kind of ridiculous that ever since the invention of laptops, adults all over the world have become worse than little children at paying attention in a lecture/talk/speaker setting.

Listening to chiptunes playing through my crappy iPod touch speakers while driving, instead of the radio.  Yeah, even though the speakers are that bad, it’s still THAT much better.

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I don’t mean to come off as arrogant, but it’s very easy to look at other people’s behavior and just kind of chuckle at them; it’s not really that they’re inferior or anything, it’s just kind of funny to watch them deal with things that seem so trivial and passe to me.  Just like watching people fret over things, and watching them spill out all the worries on their minds in that particular way.

I worry too, though, actually.  I stress out alot about certain things; you just might not be able to tell.  Or, I guess, if you -are- able to tell, then that might be a sign of improvement for me.

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Today was a pretty awesome day.  Woke up, drove to work, ate breakfast there, had a meeting, did work, had lunch, had the first tiny inklings of socialization at the workplace, listened to chiptunes, drove to stanford, picked up the GCC key, went to vaden appointment, went to fry’s to exchange stuff, visited my sister, saw andrea, got bangs trimmed, met isabelle, taiji practice, drove to castro, taiji dinner, drove back to stanford, connected with kiki, drove home.  Man, days that don’t involve parents are amazing.

Only bad things are I forgot to return the GCC key (d’oh!) and the 3rd set of RAM i’m trying still doesn’t work.  blargh.  whatever it’s okay.

Work is still a very large question mark.

Just had a chain of thought:

I know exactly why IM was such a dramatic, exciting, amazing new thing for me when I first started to really use it (wasn’t until high school, really): because it enabled me to escape from the bounds of vocal speech and instead communicate via typing, something that was much more familiar to me and that avoided the automatic mental block filter that was normally around me (i’m not sure whether or not that filter was quite as strong then as it is now).  But I know that IM was a huge hit among my other peers as well–most of whom were perfectly normal hyperactive bouncing-off-the-walls ridiculously unreserved kids, nothing like me.  So what was the draw for all of those people?  Was it just the fact that IM enabled them to chat with each other outside of school playtime hours, and provided them with a way to chat with their school friends even when they were at home and normally would only have the company of parents and siblings?

…yes, it probably was.

(…and that ended that chain of thought rather abruptly)

I’ve talked before about how pop music wants lyrics that are super-repetitive so that you can sing along to them even if you’ve never heard the song before.  Okay, but then there’s the other thing, that these lyrics and songs resonate with people and stick in their heads because people can relate to them.  Well…okay, I can understand that with all those “You Belong With Me” songs…right, all of this sappy stuff about unrequited love, “if only he would notice”, “i love her but she doesn’t love me”, “you dumped me and I’m sad about it”, okay okay I get it.  But what about all of this “im in da club” and “lets all take shots” and the “okay basically we’re having sex” lyrics?  People relate to -those- things too?  That brings my faith in humanity to an all-time low…how do you people like this stuff?  Yeah, yeah okay okay okay I get it let’s just agree to disagree…*breathes*…just realize that we’re probably disagreeing on more than just music here.

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Watching other people dance certain dance styles; most notably salsa, I realize that there are people who don’t always stick to the beat and rhythm.  It seemed really -wrong- to me, like “what!?”  It shouldn’t ever be a good thing to break from the rhythm patterns of the dance form, except in special cases.  Right?  Well, then I actually had an interesting thought that maybe I’m actually handicapping myself by forcing myself to stay within the “correct” constraints instead of just saying “oh whatever” to the music.

…it was an interesting thought, as I watched those other couples dance “imperfectly”.  But, you know, I don’t think I’ll ever dance that way if I can help it–it wouldn’t feel right.

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Speaking of dance, it’s interesting to look at my dancing across time and realize that, as I’ve grown more skilled, I’ve struggled more with confidence.  …but that’s something I’ve already looked at a lot.  So we look again, and we can see that, even after dealing with the confidence issues, and growing more skilled, I find myself hardly ever dancing with anyone that I don’t know nowadays.  Now, of course, that makes sense on a basic logical level–when you first start out, after all, you basically know next to -nobody- (aside from those friends who you happen to know in other ways).  But it’s interesting how you create this sort of comfort network around you even in the dance arena, and once that circle has expanded large enough for your purposes, it’s surprisingly difficult to get the motivation to dance with anyone outside of it.  And by “your purposes” I mean that some people opt to sit out more dances than others, some people like me play both lead and follow so we need to account for that and the ratio of times that i’d want to do either role, and things like that.

But of course the other reason is just because it’s more fun to dance with someone whom you already know.  Someone else said to me once that even if a great lead dances with a great follow, if the two don’t know each other it won’t ever be on par with a pair who’s familiar with each other.  And it’s not even just the dance part of it either–there’s the friendly human interaction part of it too.  The doing ridiculous stupid stuff, the laughing at mistakes, the understanding when you meet each other’s eyes…it’s really like having a conversation with your partner, as someone else has (probably?) said before.  And isn’t it more fun to talk to someone who actually knows you?

Then again, from time to time you encounter people who, for some reason or another, seem like they might have the potential to strike up something.  It could be the way that their dressed (pretty skirt!).  It could be the way that they look (pretty hair!).  It could be the way that they act, or talk, or walk.  But that interesting dynamic of “would I rather dance with -this- person or -that- person, based on a first impression”–it’s the same outside of dance as well, isn’t it?

And you can feel it when you’re on the other side too–you can tell when someone already has that sort of network set up.  When you look around and you notice that guy who’s always going up to particular people–no, not just going up to them, but -looking- for them–you know that he already has that network around him.  Just as when you sit down at a dining table to have a meal, you can tell that there are some people who are already engaged in their own tight little clusters.

Then again, it probably all weighs much more on someone as reserved as me than it does for other people, who might just decide to jump in anyways, say hello, and introduce themselves, instead of feeling those invisible barriers.  That’s the way I live my life…

OHC141

http://compo.thasauce.net/rounds/view/OHC141

What if the world were empty, but for you? What if you were so deep in trouble, with no one to turn to? Abandoned and unable to overcome a problem? Tonights theme is “Stranded.”

My entry: http://compo.thasauce.net/files/DDRKirby_ISQ__-_Madness(OHC141).mp3

Stranded, eh?  Perfect for starting off with slow ambient meandering pad textures, so that’s exactly what I did!  Much use of Alchemy soundscapes, Motion, and Texture, and there’s even a sine wave pitch slide that’s very reminiscent of Earthbound.  I even used a texture from Crystal!

Then comes in a beat with a bit of swingtime to make it groovy, and i made it all lofi and slightly distorted.  Yay for chunkiness.

After that the next section is basically just me having fun chopping up a bunch of stuff–the piecemeal bassline is a chopped up bassline loop, and the percussion loop that comes in is sliced up too.

Then there’s this deep, deep bass from Triangle II that I looked at and said “hey, what happens if I turn the filter cutoff up on this bass” and voila there was an epic lead…so that’s exactly what I did, after a pretty long buildup.  And at that point we’re into UNTSland.

I get the feeling I could have mastered this a little bit louder, but oh well whatever.

A neat entry, but not that kickass.  I’ll try again next time, maybe with a song that has a repeated chorus and maybe even a catchy melody.  Maybe I should also try and do more detailed work on things instead of doing really long songs.  I’ve also really been wanting to do chiptune stuff, so maybe i’ll do that…

I think I have three main goals this summer.  One (not necessarily the most important one) is to have a successful internship.  But it’s not yet clear what “successful” entails.  Another is to be less of a coward, and to ensure that I can cry for help (and be answered) when I need it.  And then I also want to keep up with what is coming in, catch up on what is backlogged, and make some (even a little) progress on what i want to do.

Simple, yet still hefty.