So what’s new?

Well, I haven’t written absolutely anything at all in pretty much forever, so apologies to anybody who’s actually reading this. Life’s been pretty intense, but isn’t it always like that?

Anyway, I got bored today, so I decided to find a project to work on. I found something like this that I plan on building in the coming weeks. I think I’ll do a lapel mic, though. If it actually works halfway decent, it’d be sweet to use it for live shows.
Anyway, I’ll put up some photos and stuff as the work comes along.

A Lot to Catch Up On, Part 1: Android Apps and Music Production

So I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been incredibly lazy in writing. I have a lot of ideas to write about, and frankly, I don’t have them all organized super well.

First and foremost, I’d like to give a review of some totally awesome Android apps I’ve found in the market. I’m big on productivity and such, so you can bet how incredibly thrilled I was to discover when I got home that my phone was literally my new best friend, not because I would be talking to lots of people (I used to be really phone-phobic, but not so much after two years of calling people and talking to them in another language!), but because it would help me keep track of everything I wanted to!

Since I haven’t talked about music in forever and a day, I’m going to spend some time to introduce you to my favorite music apps in the market. There is an AWESOME potential here that is definitely untapped as of yet.

  • http://chordbot.com/ is the developer of the chordbot app. This thing is super handy, even in the free version! It basically is an automatic accompaniment that you can set to perform various chord progressions (and it’s got lots of options, mind you), and then pick a comping style to play them in, and then hear how they sound! This is great for songwriting, especially if you’re on the go and don’t have an instrument with you.
  • FingerPlayMIDI is another great app that can be found at <http://thesundancekid.net/blog/fingerplay-midi/>. This thing literally lets you turn your phone into a MIDI controller for use with various audio production workstations (DAWs) like ProTools, Ableton, Reaper, and a whole slew of others. I haven’t gotten much into using it, but the capability is there, and frankly, I’m excited to get it working well.
  • A similar app is called TouchDAW, can be found at  http://www.humatic.de/htools/touchdaw/. I know, I know, I’m throwing in tons of links and info, but this stuff is really cool! Honestly, who ever dreamed of the capabilities a phone would have ten years ago? I was stuck fascinated with my totally hardcore Gameboy Color and Pokemon. TouchDAW is similar to FingerPlay, but has a much more developed interface – which unfortunately, to get the best of it, you do have to pay. But it’s definitely worth it. In fact, it’s made me want to save up to get a tablet…just to use it as a dedicated MIDI controller and mixing board for my computer.
  • Also available is Wireless Mixer, which is exactly what it says it is: a handy app that lets you work on mixing projects wirelessly (apparently that isn’t a word…yet).
  • Heck, there’s even a free four track recorder you can download. You can literally write your music wherever you are! I haven’t got the pro version yet, but to be completely honest, the free version is all I’ve needed so far.
So there you have it: the results of my personal crusade for the best apps in the Android market for music production. Granted there are some bugs to work out in a few of them, and maybe advertisements and cripples in the software can be a pain, but stop and think about what this all implies: this is literally a revolution in the music production industry. Especially more so since the Android market is open for anyone to use, and most of the programming is done in Java, one of the easiest languages to learn.

Man’s Manifesto: Life, Love, and Michael Bolton

So I was totally convinced that I’d already written something on this incredibly important topic: love. Apparently I was either dreaming, daydreaming, or had recently taken some melatonin…not sure which.

In any event, I’ve given a lot of thought on this subject, and my thoughts on what it means to be a real man. I almost considered the approach of quantifying it – bringing it all down to a list of what you do…but fact of the matter is, you can fake it and still not be a man. You can be a total jerk and still come off as everything you’d imagine in the perfect man – charming, cute, funny, chivalrous, strong, with a dashing mustache, or whatever you may imagine.

But being a man isn’t about what you do. You can be an auto mechanic, businessman, factory worker, schoolteacher, entertainer, or anything else you can imagine, and still be a man. It’s about who you are. And what is it that really makes a man?

I always find it funny when experts come out with some sort of new idea as to why it is that people in our generation don’t marry as often or as young as previous generations. There was an article a couple of days ago in the Daily Universe that talked about technology being a possible reason.

I disagree.

The reason our generation doesn’t marry as young or as often is because we don’t understand what love is.

More than anything, it’s a real understanding of love. Not mushy, overly-emo, ridiculous Hollywood story ‘love’.


“When a man loves a woman…” (Thank you, years of listening to Michael Bolton…)

Hollywood and the rise of entertainment in general has led us to think that our lives have to be storybook perfect. That if there’s a snag, we have to abandon ship. That sparks have to fly, entire nations have to crumble, and the world has to completely turn around when we fall in love.

Wrong. When a man loves a woman, he doesn’t turn his back on his best friend. That’s not real love. Fact: your grandparents understand real love a whole lot better than you think.

Chemically, people ‘fall in love’ – that crazy rush that you probably confuse for love. That chemical rush can last, at longest, for about two years. But what happens when that’s over? Things fall apart. Period.

Think about every other kind of love now. Or what you think is every other kind of love, because what the world has gotten you to believe is that the crazy chemical rush is true love, and that other stuff is, well, other stuff.

Wrong.

All that other stuff is true love. That rush is a part of it, but it’s nowhere near everything. Here’s an example in my life: my mom. I know my mom truly loves me. How? Well, as a kid, I got sick…a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean that I remember once in fourth grade I had pretty nasty pneumonia and missed a month of school straight. I had ear infections at least three or four times a year. Strep throat was common. I don’t even know how many times I had tubes.

All those times when I was sick as a dog, with a fever, I remember my mom was there, every time, to help me. In big or small things, she was there. When I had my tympanoplasty, when I had the jaw surgery, my tonsils, a fever, a cold, a broken arm, a wasp sting on my ear, or even a black eye from flag football, my mom took care of me.

Real love isn’t about always agreeing. We disagree all the time, my mom and I. But I know she cares about me.

The key to real love, in the end, is the ability to inspire greatness in others. To bring out the best.

I think of teachers who have inspired me. My parents. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and even random people on the street who just make me want to be better. That right there is real love.

A while ago I found a short story that talks about how to recognize real love. In it, there’s three questions that rather easily sum up how to do so. I use it as a sort of litmus test for love. They are:

  • Does this person inspire me to do better in school/work and help me in my efforts to be better?
  • Does this person inspire me to be a better friend, father/mother, husband/wife, man/woman, son/daughter, etc?
  • Does this person inspire me to draw closer to God and be a better person overall?
If you can answer yes to all three of those questions, then that is true love. Period.
Once you understand that true love is what it talks about in 1 Corinthians 13, you start to understand why a guy who beats his girlfriend/wife doesn’t really love her, and the sheer absurdity of a woman saying, “It’s okay, because he loves me.” Physical and psychological violence have absolutely nothing to do with love.
Perfect love casteth out all fear.
You realize the absurdity of a couple who is pretty much nonfunctional when apart because they’re so obsessed with each other that they can’t do anything but think of the other.
You see how ridiculous it is to quantify what your ideal mate would be, or even start making a list of what they have to be like. Real love isn’t a checklist. It’s about what’s in your heart, and each and every one of us have unique and different ways of expressing that love.
A real man understands how to bring out the best in others. That’s what it means to love. So a real man knows how to love. A mechanic, drive-through worker, businessman, schoolteacher, or even a musician can do that. The end.

I know I said I’d write about music. But I lied. I’ll randomly post music reviews and updates when I find something interesting to update on. Today I feel like talking about physics. No, not the boring, dull, waste-of-time highly theoretical physics that makes you (and me, for that matter) fall asleep while the teacher lectures. Not the math either. Just some interesting things I’ve learned from it.

  1. Physics cannot solve all your problems.
  2. If a ball is falling from geosynchronous orbit, and air resistance is proportional to the square of its velocity, then why did you put the durn thing up there anyway? It’s just going to catch fire.

You all understand!

http://www.stephaniemabey.com/

If you haven’t heard of her before, you’re missing out. The absolutely awesome Zombie Song is currently a free download. Get it. Nine times.

One thing you’ll have to understand is that I’m going to make a lot of obscure references to things and then go out of my way to find links that help you understand why I say half the stupid things I do. now if only real life had something like that. That way I could just, you know, call up a youtube video above my head to explain what I’m talking about to someone. Instead of looking like a blithering idiot.

Today in my songwriting class, I performed for the first time since getting home from Chile in front of a group of people. Can I say I was incredibly nervous? Like I-stood-behind-the-piano-so-you-couldn’t-see-my-twitching-leg nervous? I nearly fell over. It was awesome.

The end.

Monday Music Map

Well, I promised music updates on Mondays…not sure how long this is going to hold out. I’m a bit too ADD to really stick to that kind of a commitment. But somehow I’ll try.

If you haven’t seen this site, and are looking for new music, check it out. It’s called the Music Map. Put in a band you like and it gives you a map of similar artists that other people listen to. I’m finding several new bands to listen to. Alternately, check out http://www.gnoosic.com/. That’s the main site. It lets you put in 3 of your favorite bands and then gives a series of recommendations based on feedback from other users to find new bands for you.

I decided to try breaking the AI used by inputting the same band 3 times, and found out something interesting: unfortunately, selections made are based off only one of the bands you list. Then I got even more bored and decided to find three bands that are entirely unrelated and plug them in. Gandalf (apparently a death metal band – found them on Wikipedia and have never listened to them. Probably never will), Leona Lewis, and The Moldy Peaches. Turns out I didn’t recognize a single band…which wasn’t very useful, especially since I couldn’t tell which of the three they were similar to.

Interestingly enough, turns out that this website also allows you to look for books and movies.

You’ll probably be hearing even less from me now.

I’m not kidding. I may just hole up in the library and find all the new authors is recommends.

See, I was that one kid in middle school who read way too much. To illustrate the point, apparently, my little sister ran into the middle school librarian the other day, and ten years later she still remembers me by name. I don’t think I ever once did anything more than check out books.

So…see you never.

Ciao!

Manic Monday

It’s mad music Monday! Why? Because I just decided it is. Mondays I’m going to post about music. Just for the alliteration.
For me, music isn’t about money. If it was, the band would actually be going somewhere. Music is about two things, really
  1. Having fun and destressing.
  2. Uplifting and inspiring.

For me, if it doesn’t do both of those, it really isn’t music. I’ll let you guess what that means about my musical preferences.

So since I came back, I’ve kind of been blown away by the huge changes in technology since I came out to college again. I remember around the time I left that the robot guitar had just come out a few months earlier. Now we’re dealing with this jazz – acoustic electric cymbals. Holy. Guacamole (which, by the way, is totally delicious).
It’s secretly my dream to retire from the world, live on a private island, and spend my time making acoustic guitars and playing private concerts. My love of music is half of the reason I decided to declare electrical engineering for my major – I love making things, and making musical things combines the best of both worlds. Pretty much, I just love working with my hands, if you can’t tell.
The only problem I have now is how to get power to said remote island. That, and the whole private concert idea kind of defeats the purpose of having the private island.
So I’ll just stick to being obsessed with new music and my life-long dream of performing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.