Saturday, January 12, 2013

Let it be known...

…that I can hit 10 miles on the exercise bike and knit squares at the same time.

Just… just so you know.

 

We got our unofficial notice for fitness deadline. It will be weigh ins only again, so no run or pushups to worry about. I’m still at a 29” waist and 43” hips, according to my measurements, so I should be fine. I can pull a few more inches off of that by the time April rolls around.

 

One of my best buds at home sent me not only cookies, BUT also a homemade blanket that is absolutely amazing and fluffy and cuddly and I LOVE it! I also started working on the Mermaid Scarf, pics to come later, whenever I hit land. And my dad also sent me a bitchin care package as well from SWA.

 

Damn, I thought I had more to say, but now I’ve forgotten most of it.

 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thoughts on Feelings.

A friend of mine had reposted this a while back, and while it seemed apt and inspirational at the time, I am in an argumentative mood and reviewing it has caused me some grief. So I suppose, instead of taking it out on the wrong people, I’ll just write instead… always a good choice, I’m told.

 

From: Buddhist Boot Camp
I was taught that feelings naturally come and go (like clouds in the sky), whereas emotions are feelings with a story attached to them. Those emotions can last for as long as we keep feeding the story, and this can go on for years. So when people FEEL sad, I understand, but when they EMOTE sad, I get very confused.

 

Buddhism teaches us that if we get attached to impermanent things (and feelings are a perfect example of things that are impermanent), then our lives will be full of anguish. But if we live each moment without getting attached to it, then we can eliminate the very cause of suffering right there and then, and joyfully live our lives.

We all feel sad sometimes, or hurt, angry, excited, anxious, even blissful, but it never lasts for very long, and that's okay. When one feeling passes, another feeling will replace it.

 

 

So. What… if the emotion… doesn’t pass like a cloud in the sky, but instead settles over you like smog in LA? An immovable, suffocating aura that doesn’t move? What then? What if the feeling doesn’t pass, therefore you have no opening for something to replace it? There’s not enough room to cram two conflicting ‘feelings’ in there [where? Heart? Head? I dunno]. Overlapping them doesn’t work.

 

On a semi-related note, my mother always told me, “Fake it ‘til you make it, sunshine.” A colleague recently reposted a similar thesis. I advised him that yes, that could get you through some tight spots, but you shouldn’t let it become your life long-term, or you will end up an empty, spiteful shell. With 20/20 hindsight and all, I think now is about the time I should be putting my foot my mouth and chowing down on toejam sandwiches. No one here has any clue. They think I’m okay. They don’t know that it’s all a fa├žade. And even when I do crack and snap at someone, or stew for a day or two, they only are catching a percentage of the truth. Every day I turn my brain off feels like an accomplishment. Every day I am too busy to think, too occupied to ponder, those are the good days. But it’s getting harder and harder to keep my mind caged up doing parlor tricks.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Conversations on Applied Music Theory between a Physics Major and an English Major

Apologies that this is long-winded, but I think it’s awesome.

I love my friends and I love being able to have conversations like this with at least a handful of people who don’t think I’m crazy. Usually Hubs is also on that list, although we do tend to argue theory and semantics more than we perhaps should, which is why I skipped him this time and asked another friend instead. We have a group out here that is supposed to be about music theory, but we’re starting from scratch so we’re still on reading line and space notes… I won’t be particularly thrilled with the class until we actually get into time signatures at the very least.

For those of you who could care less, I suggest you skim down to the last paragraph or so of his response. Except he also uses algebraic theories to explain music, which made me giggle, a lot, out loud. I was an English major, and he is currently studying Physics; we are both musicians, but I would put is into the category labeled ‘serious’ instead of ‘professional.’ So, without further ado, Advanced Music Theory for Not-So-Dummies. Pardon incoming geek-squeal. PS, I like pretentious sounding strings of words. [emphasis added after the fact]

 

-----Original Message-----

On Mon, Dec 31, 2012 Karate Jones wrote:

 

      Heyyyyyyy, so sometimes it’s easier to talk to anyone besides Hubs about music, because, well, you know how he gets. I think you can give me a much simpler answer without dissecting it to bits. Chevelle writes most of their music in drop C. While it sounds amazing on the record, it’s annoying as piss when I try to learn their songs myself. We play “The Red” in standard E tuning. What is your best recommendation for transcribing their stuff to a playable level? And by that I really mean Drop D or Standard E. So and also, I guess, what are the open strings in C-standard versus Drop C?

 

-----Reply-----
From: Zaranil

 

Okay, I'll give you a really long explanation.... but at the end I'll sum it up so you can skip all this if you want.

 

      Standard tuning is when you have your guitar tuned normally like it always is, EADGBE.  Any standard tuning has this tuning pattern.  A drop tuning takes the "low E" string and detunes it a whole step, which allows you to play "power chords" by barring your finger across one fret.  So in drop tuning, the E changes and everything else stays the same.  I'm sure you knew all that, but just making sure we are on the same page. 

      I'll write this out like algebra for you because that will be fun.  You can have "x" standard tuning, where x is the note your "low E" string is tuned to, and the rest of the guitar follows the tuning pattern of a standard guitar based off whatever the "low E" string is.  For instance if you want to play C standard.  Well C is 2 whole steps lower than E.  So you will need to take a guitar in standard tuning and detune every string 2 whole steps.  In this instance your "low E" string is now a "low C" string, and pretending you could not tell the difference between 2 whole steps of tone, you could play your guitar and you would not notice the difference because all the strings are still relative to each other in a standard tuning.

      Drop tunings follow a similar idea, but you need to think a bit more to calculate how to tune.  So, you can have drop "x" tuning where x is the note your "low E" string is tuned to, but that note is one whole step lower than the rest of the guitar.  This is easy for drop D because the rest of the guitar doesn't change.  For anything below drop D, you need to detune the guitar.  So consider drop C.  We know then that the low E string is now a low C string, but we also know the C is detuned, so now we ask the question of, "detuned from what?"  Well a whole step above C is D.  So if the guitar was in D standard, (that is to say that every string is tuned a full step down from E) and we dropped the low string, then we would be at C.  So a drop C tuning is actually a D standard tuning, except the low string is a C instead of a D. 

      Why do this?  2 reasons.  1.) When you alter a standard tuning it means that the "open chords" for the guitar become different notes and 2.) The guitar can now play lower notes.  You may wonder, why not have "up tunings"?  For chords, this is what a capo does and the second reason is not really applicable because nobody needs a guitar that has a higher note, they already sound horrible as is at the top end.  If you wanted to play your guitar like normal, but you wanted everything to be lower, you would use a standard tuning that is lower, based on your needs.  A drop tuning is a bit different because it provides several advantages.  1.) A drop tuning, in a sense for rock, extends the range of the instrument.  The guitar can go plenty high already, no need to go higher, but a drop tuning can give all the comforts of a standard tuning on higher strings, and at the same time play a whole note lower if needed.  2.) A drop tuning allows for those 1 finger power chords which sound nifty in rock and possibly most importantly for rock, it allows you to play that lowest note (the whole reason you detuned in the first place) as a chord without using any fingers at all.... that is to say, strumming the lowest 3 strings open will make the lowest power chord, which is what rock is all about it seems.  This lets you play one finger power chords on frets 9-14 and then pepper in low open chords without moving your hands, which is how Chevelle plays like half their songs.

  Okay, very long explanation.  So can you play this shit in other tunings?  Sure, you can... but it just won't sound the same. You can totally play "The Red" in E standard instead of C# standard like Chevelle does.  Will it sound as good?  Nope.  When you change the tuning, you lose the whole advantage of detuning in the first place, which is that beefy low note.  Chevelle has several favorite tunings that all range from variations of C + or - a half tone that is dropped or not.  When you watch them play live you will notice their set list is built around tuning changes.  Since you know how the tuning is done, changing the notes back to a different tuning like drop D or E standard is easy, just adjust everything back by whatever the tuning change was.  It just won't sound the same.  For instance, E. always plays heart shaped box in drop D and it just doesn't sound as good as Nirvana playing it in drop Db.

 

  ***Long story short, tl;dr ***

  There is no easy way to transcribe the songs to drop D or E.  You just need to "undo" the tuning change, whatever it may be, note by note.  But also, you see now that is dumb.  You're basically doing a lot of extra work to make a song sound worse.  I keep my guitars in multiple tunings for this reason.

 

-----Reply-----
From: Karate Jones

 

It's good that music is based in math, because honestly I can't tab by ear worth SHIT.

 

So, double check my work here:

[on bass, also there are no notes listed above the bottom 3 strings anyways]

 

Standard E = EADG

Standard D = DGCF

Drop C     = CGCF

 

So wait, ok, this next one is supposedly Drop B. But that is only a half step below C, and I guess while it's fine and dandy to drop only a half step, that would put the strings at B F Bb D# which at first look makes NO SENSE and contradicts the principle of simplicity inherent in drop tunings. Soooooooo..... WTF.