Monthly Archives: February 2012

Back in the Rut

Lots of random thoughts floating about in my head.  Maybe after reading C’s long entry my mind suddenly just feels like dumping a whole lot of stuff out too.

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So, I’ve actually started tapping people on the elbow now.  It’s just one step away from my real ideal way of getting someone’s attention, which is tugging on their sleeve.  Unfortunately it doesn’t really work as well if they’re not wearing long sleeves, but…

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The thing about the whole relationships/blahblah thing is that as much more complete of a person as I am now (compared to before, at least), I still don’t know what I’m looking for.  I’ve learned to be better at recognizing what I’m =not= looking for.  I could not be with someone who is too much “fire” or “buzz”, because that kind of person is either going to put a major strain on my happiness (unfortunately, there is at least one person who is a constant presence in my life who fits that criteria), or I’m just not going to be able to take them seriously.

Another thing that has only started to happen in recent years is that I’ve started to admire and care about people intensely–I mean, really intensely–without really being interested in them romantically.  I like to put it in really elegant sugary words, like “to be in a relationship with them just somehow seems like a step downwards”.  I don’t know if that’s actually -true-, but it’s a nice way of saying it anyways.  And there is at least some truth to it, in that for these people, I can’t really imagine any other kind of connection I would rather have with them.  They already make me very happy, so why would I want anything different?

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I have really high standards.  Like, really high.  That doesn’t mean that I’m always actually trying to shoot for those standards, but they’re still really high.  And of course, you all already knew that because it shows up in everything that I decide to take on…this is why I go above and beyond (hah!  Above & Beyond…great artists) when it comes to music, dance, letters, room decor, you name it.

Sometimes this causes me grief because I’m hard on myself.  That actually doesn’t happen quite as often as you might think.  What happens more often is that I’m disappointed in other people because their standards aren’t up to par.  Which is why I call myself a misandrist or a cynic or whatever–I lose a lot of faith in people when I learn first-hand that they don’t strive for things in the same way that I do.  And I’m talking about -lots- of things.  Not just concrete things like grades or dance skill or whatever.  But the other things too, like holding to promises, listening to others, being respectful.  And things like actively caring about others, being observant about other people’s feelings…being a good human being.  This is something that has always troubled me to some degree, and I think recently this has been more of an issue again.

The reason that dance has become associated with it isn’t because of the dancing per se–it’s just that dance is a lens through which to view things, and it just lets me see those perceived unpleasantries (even though some of them may not in actuality be so unpleasant) all that much more easily.

I can give a bunch of examples.  Perhaps the most obvious and glaring one is just that people’s personalities are magnified in their dancing, almost without fail.  “Noisy” people are “noisy” dancers, which is something that doesn’t mesh with me well.  And of course in my case, you may think it’s oxymoronic for softness to be “magnified”, but if you’ve ever danced with me you’d understand what that means immediately.  Interestingly enough, I think the only person whom I can think of that seems to dance the same way is Richard Powers…but even then it’s sort of a different aesthetic.

There’s other ways in which dance serves as a lens too.  The whole lead vs follow thing, for example (you know very well what I’m talking about here).  The thing about “listening” to your partner.  Even things like how I’m quietly on the sidelines.  “On the bleachers”, as Taylor Swift puts it, and I hate to laud that line but I have to because that’s something that’s a very real part of my life.

Anyways, one more thing I was going to say, is that even though my high standards cause me a lot of grief sometimes, the main effect is to make me awesome, which of course is wonderful.  But there’s also this other rare side effect that happens every once in a while, which is that I’ll be amazed that I can get away with such mediocrity because other people’s standards are so much lower.  Which is kind of depressing too, but kind of amusing as well.

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Everyone needs some sort of validation from others to be healthy (I hesitate to make such a blanket statement, but just roll with it).  One of the main differences between me and other people, though, is that I require that validation to be unsolicited.  Part of it might be because it’s so easy for me to see solicited validation as totally fake.  And part of =that=, in turn, is because people =are= totally fake when they give solicited validation.

There are times and places for giving the knee-jerk “you’re fine don’t worry everything is going to be alright blahblahblah don’t doubt yourself it’s all okay” responses, perhaps.  But my close friends know that I never say anything like that because I’m always sincere and honest, and I don’t say anything unless I actually really mean it.  (Which is why, by the way, I didn’t say those kinds of things to you during your whole mess, C, because I didn’t know anything for sure!)  And there are definitely people like Kiki who value that part of me a lot, because they don’t want canned feel-good responses; they want actual substantial, thoughtful feelings and input.

That I require my validation to be unsolicited ties into my entire soft nature.  I want people to love me for =me=, truly.  I don’t want people to just give me attention when I cry out for it.

Perhaps that is something that I am looking for?  Someone who is actually interested in me enough to seek me out themselves?  I mean hell, regardless of whether I want to be in a relationship with that somebody, that is definitely somebody I would like to find (well, maybe a lot of us would).  In this world, even crying out for attention doesn’t really often get you any, is the problem.  I really, terribly hate to admit it, but I was honestly kind of let down when I wrote “Together” in one sitting as a way of “crying through music” when I couldn’t express myself in any other way, and basically didn’t hear anything back from anyone whom I shared it to.  I know.  I know, and I hate to say something like that for so many reasons, but sorry–I’m saying it.  And maybe I don’t even feel quite that bad for saying it because the people who don’t respond to things like that are the same people who won’t bother to read this post, or at least won’t bother reading this far down, so what does it matter anyways?

I don’t know whether it’s -reasonable- to expect someone to be interested in me on their own time, because I know that is asking a lot.  But it would be -nice-, to have someone who I feel is watching and caring over me and being a part of my life, =actively=, by themselves.  Not because of an excuse like some weekly thing that happens to bring us together.  But just because they are thinking about me.  Not necessarily thinking about me all day and night, but just thinking about me, you know?  Enough to say hey, how are you, wanted to say hi, what are you up to? how has xyz been doing?

Which…is kind of really discouraging when I think about it.  Because the 1% rule tells us that only 1% people are the ones who actually create content.  And in this case, that’s essentially what I want.  I could @#%^ing care less about the 89% who just passively consume content.  And I don’t know if I’d be satisfied with the 10% that just reacts to content.

No, I’d want the 1%.  Someone like me.  Because we all know that -I- am good enough to do all of these things.  And I take a perverse, perverse, perverse sort of pride in stamping my foot down and declaring, “look.  LOOK at me.  Look at the things I do on a regular basis.  Look at me, IMing my friends, calling them on the phone, writing letters to them, remembering their birthdays, knowing how they’re feeling without them having to say it (I’ve sensed some of Kiki’s troubles from across the entire Atlantic Ocean).  Yeah?  Go ahead, tell me.  TELL ME it isn’t possible.”

Talk about high standards.  sigh.

There is only one person who has ever put anywhere close to that amount of interest in my life, and unfortunately that doesn’t help me at all because that person is my anti-thesis.  Out of all the rest of the world, I don’t think anyone has ever truly made me feel that way.  Though, I swear, some of you have come very very close!  I know I’m not being fair because a lot of this is me A) refusing to be realistic and B) refusing to see the goodness in what I already have, but still.

Whenever I get to feeling this way, there are always two possibilities for me to consider.  Either the problem is with the world, or with myself.  The world is wrong in that they just are too incompetent, noisy, etc. to be capable of the kind of care that I want.  Or maybe they are totally capable, but they just aren’t willing or able to lavish that kind of care onto someone like me who is somehow invisible, unheard, despite my crying out.

You could say part of the “message” of “Together” is that I have just as much, if not more (probably more) emotion to express, even though I don’t speak much.

I know.  I know I know I know I’m being both unrealistic and unreasonable.  I know that if something is bothering me, I should speak out and let myself be heard.  I know that if I want attention I should ask for it.  I know that if I want company I should seek it, not wait for it.

But can you really blame me for wanting that “magical” caretaker and savior who will do that without me provoking them?  Can you really, really blame me?????

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I too, suffer from that mysterious male “disease” of often not being able to cry when I want to.  But sometimes, I transcend that stupid godawful barrier and manage to break down and wail out emotion anyways.  Part of it is probably just because, yes, I’m more in tune with my emotions than your average thick-headed male specimen.  But part of me also likes to think that it’s also because I just have =more= emotions in here.

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I guess you could say I’m just having another one of these “rut” episodes, and this time it’s just more notable because it’s showing through dance too.  Like, when I get in this rut phase, I often think about completely withdrawing, and proving to myself (and to the world) how little everybody else cares.  So this time, instead of that, it’s like I’m thinking about not going to any dance events for a little bit.  I don’t think I’d actually do that, but the =thought= is still there.

rrrgggghhh

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OHC176

http://compo.thasauce.net/rounds/view/OHC176

The end can happen at any time. Is it better to regret something you’ve done, or to regret never doing it at all? Tonight’s theme is “live like it’s your last day.”

My entry: http://compo.thasauce.net/files/DDRKirby_ISQ__-_Dance_the_World_Away(OHC176).mp3

Before compo I had recently discovered this amazing track and practiced replicating the bassline, so I was thinking to emulate something similar for OHC.  The theme came up and I was like “yeah this can be generic party theme” so I went with that.

I wanted to filter in (using a filter as your intro is always a good way to go), so I did that.

The interesting thing this entry is that it has a whooole lot of melodic stuff in it; much more than my usual entries.  So there’s all of these arps and chirps -everywhere-, even in the chorus.  This is one of the reasons I felt pressed for time–I feel like I was still only at 2-3 minutes when time was starting to run a little short, so I kind of panicked a little.  Luckily I managed to squeeze in another repetition of the chorus and some other stuff, so it all worked out.

In the end I think this turned out really well, but I definitely had a lot of stumbling blocks along the way.  Even the very first melody and arp I stumbled on somehow, as I didn’t really know where I wanted to take the song melodically.  Eventually I got the bassline and chord progression and so it was okay, but there was still that awkwardness as I was making it.

The melody and chords at 1:14 are =still= not entirely on; maybe I got the chords different from what I was envisioning in my head or something.  Sometimes what happens is that I’ll lay down a chord progression, but then as I’m making the melody I’ll envision a different progression, so it doesn’t work out.  That might have been what happened this time.  I ended up having to do some really last-minute changes on this section, and it’s still not quite as good as it should be melodically, unfortunately.

Some good parts though: at 1:41 I use a samplereducer to bitcrush the chip sounds, which I think is a great effect.  And then from 2:50 until 3:44 is a really long buildup that was actually really easy and quick to do (it’s just like loop the same thing 8 times, and then add another element and repeat), but still works really well because I have all of the melodic stuff from before.  So that was my easy way of adding a bunch of length to the song while still making it good.

Overall I felt like it was all a little bit…off, since I had trouble making it and it wasn’t coming out as quickly as a normal compo entry does.  But as I listen to it again and again it’s definitely grown on me, and I think I did a really good job!

Ccrma people are not engineers. Engineers look at the tools and knowledge that they have, and from there think about what cool/beneficial things they can do. They dont say “lets do xyz!” without reasoning about what kinds of things are necessary to get there. Last quarter everybody’s project ideas were more fantastic than mine but mine ended up being better despite being done in like 2 days…well, i should also mention that im the only person who made enjoyable music. So much eye rolling!!!

OHC175

http://compo.thasauce.net/rounds/view/OHC175

You walk out of your single family house, wave goodbye to your wife, two kids and dog. You get into your family sedan and drive out of your fenced yard and head to work. Tonights theme is “Suburbia.”

My entry: http://compo.thasauce.net/files/DDRKirby_ISQ__-_Progress(OHC175).mp3

Yea the theme came up and I was like uhhh WAT.

Then after a few seconds of thinking I was like okay let’s just do…dark evil demented alien suburbia.  =Then= sci on IRC was like “oh I forgot I have a request, you should do your whole song using GM.DLS instruments” and I was like agghhh it’s too late for me to do that.

So I did the next best thing: just used crappy FL studio default instruments with minimal processing.  So we’ve got FL keys, a choir ahh sample, and even the drums sound pretty cheesy.

Later I start just having fun goofing around with mallet percussion samples and whatnot…and then I decide it’s time to transition into UNTS.

So instead of my idea being “start with peaceful suburbia and then suddenly go into evil dark destroyed alien suburbia” my idea is now “start with really crappy instruments and then gradually bring in more advanced sounds”.  So here I bring in some really old-school classic trance sounds that sound like they could have come from my compositions from like 5 years ago.

And then after the big buildup I use a huge sidechained megabass that sounds like something I could have done like 3 years ago or something.  And then I start going into more generic evil weird stuff that sounds like something I could have done like 2 years ago.  And then finally at the end I make it into chiptune “heaven”, which is like something I’m doing nowadays.

So yeah, that was pretty fun.  Not too remarkable in any way, but it’s always just kind of fun to do something different.

Makoto Sawatari (2)

Perhaps one of the reasons Makoto’s story in Kanon resonates with me so much is that her “auu~…” state of being is similar to the state that I get to when I withdraw into myself and start to become “paralyzed”.  In Makoto’s case, it’s like a long-term physical ailment, but in my case it’s…well, actually sometimes it’s not too far off from being paralyzed, and usually the ability to speak out is one of the first things to go…which is why I simply get a downcast look and my eyes start to communicate all of my emotion.

I direct you to this post of mine.

And, I guess, just like her, I like to be petted and comforted; especially in that state.  (Thanks C~)  I guess I like bells and charms too.

OHC174

http://compo.thasauce.net/rounds/view/OHC174

Tonight’s theme is friendship and magic.

Dedicated to Triforce Mike.

My entry: http://compo.thasauce.net/files/DDRKirby_ISQ__-_Pastorale(OHC174).mp3

Didn’t really know what I felt like this week, but after the theme came up I thought maybe I’d do something orchestral, since I never do.  All the stuff you hear in the intro is from the free edition of EWQL silver (the one that’s hard to find a dl for nowadays).  After coming up with those chords and stuff, it was just…really natural to have the descending chip arpeggio.

And from there everything was pretty standard style after that.  I add in the bass, drum loops, and already at this point I’m envisioning the chorus when we drop in the bass drum and pads.  Before that though, I add some arp-type stuff (can’t ever have enough arps), with some nice delayed reverb.  We smash into the chorus after a filter and crotale hit plus sine blips.

This song feels kind of different from my other ones even though it has the same sort of instrumentation, probably because it uses that major 7th chord feel, which really fits the theme and title of the piece.

Then we get a really nice soft section, with sine blips and a triangle whistle that just creeps in from the back.

After that I want to get things grooving again, so I put the drum loop back in and add the 16th-note bass for a sense of motion.  After a snare roll and crotale “ding!”, we have an 8bit noise sweep and then go into our groove section–very very reminiscent of Shooting Star.  I even used the same two lead instruments that I always use–the KirbySquare and then a TS404 pulse lead!

I didn’t have time to flesh out the groove section quite as much as I would have liked–I would have extended it some more, and given it its own chord progression just like the (unreleased) album version of Shooting Star, but oh well.  Instead we close things out with one last repetition of the chorus.

Yeah, definitely a good one this time around. :)