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Archive for April, 2006

Well…

I’m playing music again. A lot.

It all comes down to specificity. B.B. King plays two or three notes and it sounds like Jesus wept. Plenty of musicians play very simple melodies and progressions. It’s all about the heart. Think of James Brown. The guy’s got nothing to prove, he’s just there declaring, “I’m James Brown and James Brown is funky.” It’s a well known fact that any guitar player who has played for a half a year or so can play most rock and roll. It’s just a matter of where is it coming from. Shitty college rock and rollers are generally just talking nonsense with every note. It’s the musical equivalent of saying, “oh my, lovely whether we’re having here,” –and that’s why they suck. Elton John never sandbags. He does it right every time he gets on stage. He’s never just chattering about how nice the weather is.

Top forty songs suck because they have a discontinuity between the lyrical content and the process involved in the music making. I find a song like Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” inspiring on one level, and insipid on another, and it is because of the lack of heart in the process where the music was made. That song could be almost as good as a Krishna Das chant or Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World,” but it would require that it be made differently. Mick Jaggar is a good example, he’s all about being sassy, and it’s genuine, apparently flowing through him and there is a lot of openness there. He isn’t fronting when he’s strutting. At his best he isn’t inspiring, but he is powerfully sassy. So when coming from the heart the music has to actually be about what you’re about.

Bedingfield would need to have a true warrior’s heart to do that song right, and her backing musician’s should also. What I notice is that they pulled out all the stops in that song. There’s like a forty voice choir in there for fuck’s sake. Pulling out all the stops is a nice trick. But it’s just a trick. Watch the end scene in Team America:World Police, where the lead puppet (sic) is talking about assholes and pussies and stuff. Synchronized with his oh-so-unmoving speech is some really nice soundtrack. Despite the deliberately inane content, the soundtrack makes the scene ‘feel’ sweet and moving. The genius here is obviously in the sitire of using soundtracks to cover lousy scripts.

If Bedingfield was singing something that was coming from her heart, whether it’s sassy, moving, beautiful, or whatever, the song would be way more powerful.

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So now I’m spending my time playing with coming from internal-ness, nothing I can justify or prove. And nothing I need to.

I needed to spend some time developing my intuition. Done and doing.

I also needed to spend time developing my mindfulness. Done and doing.

Now it’s time to develope the right heart.

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Plans.

Something not many people know about me is that I dream of hunting dangerous animals in Africa. I’ve wished, for at least the last decade of my life, that I could go and hunt cape buffalo, elephants, lions, and tigers. So Instead of just thinking about it, I’m finally doing something about it. I cannot afford to hunt in Africa now (actually I could, but I would rather NOT spend that money for that purpose). So I decided to go to South Georgia to hunt our wild pigs. Recently, Russian boar have been imported for hunters to kill, and some of them have interbred with our wild pigs so there is a variety of gnarly beasts out there right now. Yes, they are dangerous. They can kill you. I convinced one of my cousins to take me. He has guns and know-how, having killed half a dozen or so of them, so we’ll go in the next couple of months. I will post here about the hunt.

I also signed up for a Live Action Role Playing Game (aka, a LARP). Basically, it’s D&D but you run around and DO the game stuff instead of throw dice and describe it. So people dress all renne-fest-y and run and jump around in Hard Labour Creek State park. It should be fun. You use foam padded weapons so as not to hurt people, and it’s apparently, vaguely like Society of Creative Anachronism combat… more or less. I qualify this because I know someone will read this and jump down my throat about how different they are. To most people, SCA sword fighting is just a variation of fencing also. Puh-lease!

Anyhow, I think people wonder about me doing the things I do. My motivations are usually pretty simple. I want to hunt boar as an excercise in mindfulness. I want to do LARPing as an excercise in mindfulness. Hopefully both of them will be fun. If I can be mindful as a boar closes twenty yards out of fifty between us in six seconds and take a shot on him and bring him down, then I’m doing well. If I can be mindful enough of the wee little things that make up my conciousness in order to explore completely different strategies of personality and conciousness in order to play a LARP uber-well, then I’m accomplishing my goal.

Without specificity, our meditation becomes detached. We can be mindful and we can swollow ourselves in the blissfulness of “being” and fail to integrate this conciousness into driving, and doing the dishes, and going to a job interview.

With a focus on the littler bits, and the ever more spcific bits, I am noticing a deeper and more profound level of meditative conciousness. Lately (as in the last three days), I am experiencing timelessness as an accessable everyday occurance.

Timelessness.

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brains on the rack

The wrong way to write a book:

I’m writing a choose-your-own-adventure style book. It started about a year ago as my effort to corrupt American youths. I got the idea because I was reading Harry Potter novels at the time and I surfed the web to Christian critiques of Harry Potter. The Christians were accusing J.K. Rowlings of brainwashing innocent children into being witches. I thought to myself, “what a good idea.” I started out writing a story where the reader gets invited to a secret society clubhouse to join a fraternal order. I had intended to secretly install all kinds of occult knowledge into their innocent subconcious minds. It turns out that the fraternal order is a bunch of evil people, with wizards and hot vampires sisters trying to seduce you to the dark side. Thankfully I fucked that one up pretty much right at the start. The pulpy subject matter wasn’t bad, though. Maybe someday I’ll come back to it, but it was coming off too contrived.

Later on I came up with another story idea. Soon thereafter, the project evolved into a real nice book and my intentions evolved into real nice intentions.

So today I’ve been writing, as I often do, at work. There’s nothing better to do, so I peck away at my story. I’ve spent hours and hours coming up with a good way to make a choose-your-own-adventure style novel into a real work of art. There are several problems with this. First, it’s hard to write in second person all the time. For goodness sake, this is an insane thing to attempt, in and of itself. Secondly, if you want to make more than ONE PAGE before presenting the reader with a choice, then things get hairy — fast. I finally settled on choosing your own adventure within chapters, and then sending the player to a different chapter when a major story plot part happened. This keeps everything sane for me, for now.

So after surmounting all these technical challenges, I’ve been writing and writing. It occurred to me awhile back that the best thing for me to do would be to start writing and follow each story branch to the end of the story, then go back and do other branches, etc. Then I started writing a branch that doesn’t show up until much later in the book. So as well as writing the first part of the book, I’m also working on one of the possible endings (actually, it’s one of the bad endings, where everything goes horribly wrong because you made a critical mistake).

Suffice it to say that I now have tons and tons of pages, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to link them together somehow. I have this nagging feeling that editing this is going to be like wrestling a Lich.

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I am informed that at 1:02 and 3 seconds tonight (Wednesday morning) it will be 01:02:03 04/05/06….

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As a side note, one of the wickedest charactors in my story has the name “Durren.” Incidentally, I just noticed today that this is the same as one of my ex’s last names. Strange.

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