Sunday, March 30, 2008

revolutionary thoughts

So I have, within the past few days, gone from being quite content playing music in my spare time to thinking of the possibility of writing music to actively sitting down for that purpose and brainstorming about a possibility of starting a band. Who'd have thought? As much strangeness as this has brought into my life, one of the strangest aspects of this whole shift is how those around me seem to be taking it (quite easily and happily) in stride. I thought the "I'm forming a band" line would meet with more than the "Oh, what kind of music will you play?" response especially when it came to my close kin and friends. I am surprised that they are not surprised because the idea had never entered my mind before and seems like such a revolution of my whole way of thinking (and this is from one who avoids revolutions like the plague) that I cannot imagine how they do not see how the whole world has changed with this change in my thoughts.

Perhaps they do not realize how seriously I have been thinking about it. Perhaps they consider it to be on par with an "I'm going to my friend's house this afternoon to play duets" level statement. In a way perhaps they are right and it will never get past that point but I suppose to my way of thinking it has more to do with the attitude with which I am entering this scheme. This whole mental process is showing me that I have a whole (albeit fairly-underdeveloped) side of me waiting for the spotlight. Who'd have guessed. Perhaps this is more like those situations where everyone around you can tell you are in love while you're still oblivious to the fact. I do love music and would love to have it as a greater part of my life but I had never thought that it actually would be. Perhaps again they are more comfortable with the idea since I am actually still working towards that day-job which I shall inevitably be told not to quit once I get any of this music out...
And then there is that great perhaps that they figure by indulging my whim that it shall soon sputter out.
Well, I guess only time will tell that one whether it's right.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

thoughts on genius

I have, in the past, thought to myself (and I believe expressed to others) that as much as I love and could not live without my various favorite forms of artistic expression, I lack that certain something that signifies the spark of genius. I have always tended to copy rather than create: sticking to the notes on the page, only drawing things from life or pictures, merely finding fun angles for photography of normal objects (although I'm not sure how this last could be any more creative), writing essays on assigned topics. But I begin to wonder if perhaps I merely copy because I have not been brave enough to put out the effort to be more creative. How much genius is merely blood, sweat and tears in disguise? Perhaps what is holding me back is that there is more hard work involved in the creative process than that in which I would wish to be involved; perhaps I am settling for second best because I have not the will-power and self-discipline to reach for the best.
I believe that I have been given a decently working brain, been placed in situations that have given me the opportunity to advance and exercise this gift, and am fairly creative in a basic way (otherwise I would not be drawn to creative hobbies in the first place). Why can I not take these gifts and advantages and do something with them?
Recently I have been daydreaming of how nice it would be if I could write songs. It is not a coincidence that I am teaching myself the basics of guitar and am finding that many good songs have fairly simple chord progressions behind them. What is stopping more people from writing great, catchy tunes? Does it come back to the presence or absence of that little thing called genius? Could I be a genius in heavy disguise?
Perhaps my problem is that I didn't actually get those star-studded daydreams of being famous out of my head right and properly while I was younger and am now feeling the effects. Of course one aspect that is more sobering to consider is what I would like to get out of this genius (were it to visit me in the first place). Am I looking to become famous (who needs that?) or do I want to bless other people?
Contentment is a character-trait that I have never had to strive after. What I have to guard against more is staying out of ruts. So how do I differentiate between an honest assessment of my lack of skill and merely passive resignation? Where is that nice balance where I know that I am reaching as far as I should?
Speaking of discipline, this is a great discussion but one that I should probably have saved for a time after my final papers have been written. Procrastination is an old friend and this time around I have even considered doing my Latin homework early to put off settling down to write papers... How am I ever to be a genius and reach for things above if I can't even get down to the simple, uncomplicated work of the boring, non-inspired duties of life?

I am ready

for this:

Anytime now...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

inspirationless quote

my gmail account occasionally gives me a quote to ponder while reading my emails. The one that most recently popped up was something along the lines of: "Shoot for the moon because even if you miss you'll land among the stars." Cute. But what kind of astronomical system does this genius believe himself to be a part of? There's a long way to go past the moon before one reaches any stars. Even the ancients knew this simple truth. They placed the moon's sphere inside of and separate from the sphere of the stars. In our present-day understanding of the system, there's an even greater gulf believed to separate these two destinations in question. In a move to make the quote meet more rigorously with standards of truth I would propose that it be changed to something more like: "Shoot for the moon because if you miss it you'll end up in empty space which is where all those over-achievers belong."

Just being green

Since it is the first day of spring, I have switched the colours of my blog to correspond, as I have in the past, to the changing season. Fairly predictable change such as this is a good summary of my life, I think. So green it is. In the past I have always enjoyed green but not so much for myself. I have never really worn any green. I know this because I often found it hard to follow the green theme on St Paddy's day (and even harder to go for the orange instead). However, within the past little while, my hunts in second hand stores have come up with more and more green clothes and I find that I really like them too. In celebration of the new green look both for me and my blog, here's a picture of my favourite guy surrounded by green.



I know it isn't the greatest picture of him but it falls nicely into the green theme

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

in a cottage-cheese cottage...

making rude easy

So I have officially joined the ranks of be-headphoned humanity. I bought an mp3player and bring it just about everywhere. I am in love and for me there's no looking back. Before the inevitable hue and cry drowns out everything I should assure all that I do understand that often headphones, whether intentionally or not, are often a means of cutting off communication and the potential for common courtesy in public and this is a bad thing. I, myself, in my observations while on my frequent tours on our public transportation system have observed numerous cases in point that illustrate both of those unfortunate outcomes from the practice of wearing the phones. This was a consideration while I debated for some months (perhaps even years could be used as a legitimate measurement of the time of deliberation) with myself over whether I should get one.

I do believe that objects in this world are not evil in themselves but that mankind is able to use them to evil or good purposes. Just as money is not the root of evil (rather it being the love of money) so mp3 players are not the root of discourtesy. Rather it is the discourteous people who have the mp3 players that then use them as another extension of themselves and spread the ill-effects for all to participate in.

This is not to go against the fact that some accessories make being rude that much easier. I have watched several people get out of conversations by pretending that they are receiving a call or text on their phone where, without such a useful device, they might otherwise have had to resort to more basic subterfuge such as feigning deafness or inattention. Perhaps through these new technologies it is easier to give ourselves comfortable excuses that may not look quite so much like blatant rudeness.

An unfortunate aspect is that not only can this accessory make it easier to be rude when one wishes it but it also tends in that direction for even those who may have no intention to act in that manner but do not understand the potential susceptibility to such social patterns inherent in the device. When one is cut off from the world around by means of a sweet pair of headphones, one cannot but miss it when a friend calls one's name from outside of one's peripheral vision.

So how to surf these social shoals safely was the problem on my mind that I determined to attempt to, if not solve, make myself sensitive to before I would allow myself dwell too long on the benefits and enjoyments that I knew I would derive from the ownership of such a device. One obvious help, if not a complete solution, is to leave the volume low enough to hear most of the noises in one's immediate environment at least partially. This does, obviously, detract from the full enjoyment of the music but I take the point of view that I am happy even to have music along and that I can save my times of full stereo enjoyment of these songs to when it doesn't have an adverse effect on my relations with other people. I have also thought how this policy is rather safer than not for the owner of such a device because by being more aware of the surrounding environment one not only is able to contribute more to it but also to avoid potential safety hazards to one's own person. Along with being more in tune with the events around my person while in public and listening to music, I also try to continue to engage in the types of communication that are not solely based on the aural sense. Not being afraid of eye-contact and always being ready with a smile are small ways that I try to maintain communication with my fellow-passengers of life and brighten everyone's day.

I also hope that I shall be just as ready to give up whatever may be preoccupying my attention if someone attempts to talk to me (okay, as long as they are not the creeper type), reserving my moments of musical enjoyment for when I am not engaged with another person. And that leads me back to the fact that I love my mp3 player. The one aspect that I am slightly disappointed over is that not all my favourite songs will fit on it but, on the bright side, I get to switch them up every once in a while so I am reconciled to its limitations because now my dream of having a soundtrack to my life is slowly being realized. Now if only this public to which I am attempting to maintain such courtesy as I am able would (competently and regularly) break into the chorus of a beautifully choreographed dance in the middle of the street to the duet that I and my true love will sing while dallying amongst the flowers, my fantasy would be complete.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

a touch of sky

Spring seems so far away but with it officially beginning about a week from now I am given a shard of hope that it may once again rise from the death of this winter and bring fresh hope.

advantages in authorship

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome, in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place. Thrice blessed be this last consideration, since it enables us to follow the disdainful Miggs even into the sanctity of her chamber, and to hold her sweet companionship through the dreary watches of the night!
(opening of chapter 9 in Barnaby Rudge by Dickens)

Ah bliss.

Monday, March 10, 2008

the cherubic chaffinch

I have waited to post some of my favourite quotes from Aurora Leigh in hopes that I would have time to connect some of my thoughts around them and perhaps glean quotes from elsewhere that support and further illuminate the topic but I have come to the conclusion that it is perhpas better to write out the quotes within the amount of time I have now then not at all. If I have more time later I may come back and deal with them more thoroughly but this shall have to suffice for now.
The bird's not moved, that pecks at a spring-shoot;
Nor yet the horse, before a quarry a-graze:
But man, the two-fold creature, apprehends
The two-fold manner, in and outwardly,
And nothing in the world comes single to him,
A mere itself, - cup, column, or candlestick,
All patterns of what shall be in the Mount;
The whole temporal show related royally,
And built up to eternal significance
Through the open arms of God. 'There's nothing great
Nor small,' has said a poet of our day,
Whose voice will ring beyond the curfew of eve
And not be thrown out by the matin's bell:
And truly, I reiterate, nothing's small!
No lilly-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim;
And, (glancing on my own thin, veined wrist,)
In such a little tremor of the blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more from the first similitude.

Truth, so far, in my book! a truth which draws
From all things upward.

-E.B.B.'s Aurora Leigh Book 7, lines 800-828

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sunshine

Since the Mr Pitiful video had no embedding, I wanted to put another of my favourites on here for those who wish merely to watch it from here rather than go through all that trouble of going to youtube. So here's Sunshine (also by MC):

I think I'm going to make a mixed CD with a sunshine theme. There are lots of good songs out there along that line.

flower

it's about time for another picture.

Matt Costa


This video was my first introduction to Matt Costa. I've been hooked ever since.

Monday, March 03, 2008

consolation

In the exhaustless catalogue of Heaven's mercies to mankind, the power we have of finding some germs of comfort in the hardest trials must ever occupy the foremost place; not only because it supports and upholds us when most require to be sustained, but because in this source of consolation there is something, we have reason to believe, of the divine spirit; something of the goodness which detects amidst our own evil doings, a redeeming quality; something which, even in our fallen nature, we possess in common with the angels; which had its being in the old time when they trod the earth, and lingers on yet, in pity.
Charles Dickens' Barnaby Rudge Ch 47
Don't quite agree with his whole theology here but like the central idea. I also appreciate this fine example of a paragraph-long sentence. Perhaps I should show something like this to my profs when they accuse me of being too wordy.