But What I Really Want To Do Is Act

Ξ June 12th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized, music-nerd |

Well, no. Not really. Short of avoiding the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look when presenting to executives, acting is well beyond my capabilities. The only time I’ve ever been on stage and not part of a musical ensemble of some sort, I was on stage acting like part of a musical ensemble of some sort. And even then, I don’t think that counts, since we were actually a musical ensemble of some sort. The point is, even that I managed to screw up1… so no, the acting thing is right out.

But I do want to be able to sing.

I understand music. I understand instruments. I love the order. I love how much sense it makes. I love that you can take these highly structured building blocks and create something that is genuinely beautiful out of them, something that is well and truly more than the sum of its parts and in a way that is evocative, compelling, individual. I love that you can reverse engineer a piece and actually start quantifying beauty2… start looking at not only the distribution of the blocks themselves but also at the interfaces between them, how they’re built, whether they’re between or within voices… even start looking at those choices in a greater psychological or anthropological context and begin seeing order spiraling outwards. And instruments are just a means for managing these blocks, whether you’re creating a block or an interface between blocks. You can pick up an instrument and it makes sense; you might have to work a little harder to get the embouchure right, to get the tone you need, to get the expressiveness you want… but you understand it. At least as a tool, you understand it.

So anyway, I’ve got this instrument called a voice. It’s a great deal: I don’t have to worry about transporting it around; I don’t have to buy new reeds for it or worry about its pads. It is also one of the rare instruments I cannot use as a means of self-expression and it is the first and only instrument I’ve ever encountered that I cannot use even as a tool.

We can start off by saying that I’m not tone deaf. In a choral setting, I can blend fairly well3. But as the only voice, with or without instrumental accompaniment, I simply cannot sing. It sounds good enough to my own ears while I’m doing it – and rest assured, I do it exuberantly and, dare I admit, boisterously when alone4 – but it’s only after I record it and listen back that I can hear just how terrible it is. I am consistently sharp: distractingly, terribly, offensively sharp. I can’t hit a note spot-on and have to slide around to find it… if, as mentioned in the preceding point, I ever do at all. I actively try to add emotion to what I’m singing… and while I can hear it, feel it, with perfect clarity coming from the piano I’m playing… the vocal parts sounds flat, insipid. At best – at best – they sound contrived… and that’s being generous because it still doesn’t fix that whole not-singing-the-right-pitch-in-the-first-place issue.

I don’t really have stage fright. I used to be utterly crippled by it but unlike the body dysmorphia, the Trekphilia, the MMORPG addiction, and the constant craving for a roller rink, I actually grew out of it. I can play a piano in front of a hall full of people and be rock steady.5 I can step into a board room, face half a dozen dour faces belonging to people who make more in a month than I do in a year, and come out on the other side with millions of dollars worth of funding for my company. I’m not sure when that happened or why, incidentally, but whatever the reason, getting up in front of people is no longer an issue. Hasn’t been for a while.

Except when I’m singing. I can’t even bring myself to sing in front of my husband. Hell, I can’t even bring myself to sing when I’m alone in the house and I know a window is open, lest someone outside hear me. I’m that terrified of it.

I suspect that this irrational fear, whatever its cause, is actually at the root of my problems. Don’t get me wrong; I think I could become a reasonable singer. I’ll never be able to use my voice to make art; I think it’s probably destined to be one of the instruments through which I just can’t really express myself. But I think it’s definitely reasonable for me to become a decent singer… maybe not one who can reach into your chest and pull on a heartstring but at least one who won’t inadvertently reach in and a hate stick through your eardrums. I’m a musician, after all. I know all about practice. I know about drills. I know all about the building blocks.

But the fact is, I’m so terrified of singing that I’m not giving myself the opportunity to get better. I can’t sing in front of people. I can’t even sing in front of people who might (or might not!) be within earshot. I’ll never get better if I can’t get over that.

And I have no idea why it’s different than anything else. I have no problems going in to work and telling the guy who asks me to build some kind of app that I’ve never worked with reporting services before and that it’ll take me a bit to learn. I have no problems picking up a guitar and failing spectacularly on barring an F for half an hour, well within earshot of the entire apartment complex. I just have no idea why singing is different.

BLAR!


  1. We were doing a run of 1940’s Radio Hour, you see, and I was the piano player in the Zoot Doubleman Orchestra. (Big stretch, right? Me playing a piano player. Them’s some serious character acting, people. I subscribe to the Lindsay Lohan School of Method Acting.) So anyway, we had these fake cigarettes that we were supposed to be smoking all smooth and cool-like. In the smoothest and most cool-like way possible, I dropped mine in the piano. No really. Right past the harp. Couldn’t get it out. I checked the piano at my ten-year reunion and it was still rolling around in there. Anyway, the good news was that it was a fake cigarette and we didn’t actually light the school’s piano on fire. The bad news was that the director apparently did NOT want the band to be drawing attention from her leads by hysterically acting like we were putting out a fire in said piano. I have no idea why not. The guy playing Zoot Doubleman even made a big show of giving me a pink post-it note and pointing angrily to the fake door we were sitting by. That’s character development, man.
  2. Sweeping statement with no qualifications that is only tangentially related to the topic of this post? Check. We’ll come back to it later.
  3. By the way, I always wanted to grow up to be a backup singer. A straight up, beehived, little-skirted, elbow-gloved “Girl Behind Her” of “Fancypants McGee and the Girls Behind Her” fame. Shoobie doobie doo!
  4. And yes, just to be clear, my car counts as alone when the windows are up. If we’re stopped on the 405 next to each other and you can hear me belting out “Hey, Soul Sister” at the top of my lungs while drumming enthusiastically on the steering wheel, well, that’s your fault. I am a motherf*cking ar-teest and this is my private performance hall. I’ve done my due diligence to protect you. The windows are up. You wouldn’t have even noticed, save for the parking lot that we have been fated to share as our evening commute. I have done everything in my power to keep my trainwreck singing from negatively impacting your life. Now stop staring at me and so help me god, if that’s a camera phone you have pointing at me, I will roll these motherf*cking windows down and expose you to the unadulterated, Lovecraftian horror first hand. I won’t even get to “the rockets red glare” before your face explodes. Don’t you try me. DON’T PUSH ME.
  5. Unless I’ve been drinking, but I think that might be another issue entirely.

    Original post by blah

     

A Day In The Life.

Ξ June 4th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Moo |

So I woke up this morning 2 hours early. That was the start of a bad morning. To make amends I decided to fill myself with carbs and ate two bagels. That should do me for another 6 hours until it is lunchtime (

I’m getting an overwhelming sense of wanting to move away. Be it possibly Austin, TX or somewhere like it. Just not in the northwest. I’m tired of this life I’m in right now and if I moved north to Seattle to live with friends / work there I don’t think it would help all that much.

Just in a permanent funk right now and not entirely sure how to get past it. If I were to find a good job in the town of portland then sure, that’d be a good step up. But I highly doubt that is possible due to the shitty economy we have now in the northwest.

Perhaps I just need to take some time to plan out what I need to do in order to be happy. Now my current wishes are: Job, lose weight, and find the one girl that makes me happy. Notice how none of those are material things? Probably because I’m not a material person. I just like to have my specific necessary things in my life. Working computer, TV, place to sleep, clothes, etc.

I know I’m rambling on so I’ll stop now. Just wanted to let the world know I am considering my options.

Original post by mooch

 

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

Ξ June 4th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Moo |

So once again I get in the funk where I think about others and their relationships. The stories I hear of others’ problems and setbacks, of life’s little journey’s and how others seem to get to the point where they are at.

Honestly people fascinate me, but on the other hand I’m a bit disappointed. It is some bit of phenomenon that I can’t quite explain. I get not necessarily, but certainly annoyed at stupidity and at some times feel some sort of superiority towards others for it. But at the same time I feel this act makes me feel left out and somehow I am envious at others for being happy. Happy because they have someone to go home with and really open up and share their heart with. Me? I have myself. I often catch myself running off on some long conversation because I am trying to troubleshoot something and find the next answer in my long saga in life.

Regardless, I’m working on it. I’ve stated my plan before, but my solid goal is to find a new life entirely. I almost want to start over. Do a solid do-over so I can obtain what I want out of life. But at the same time I know things and have lessons learned that I don’t feel I could do without. For instance I graduated from college three years ago in Computer Engineering. It was a tough field and a tough degree. There were times where I was about to give up and not see it through to the end. Sure it took me an extra year, but I finished it outright and was on my merry way in life. Then the economy took a turn for the worst and decided to fuck my plans up. There lies my problems entirely in adapting to new challenges.

I’ve been overweight for the latter part of my life and I despise the fact that I am this way. Regardless I need to take a look at it and move on and make the best of it / change for the better. I’m making a conscious effort at changing – No joke. I find myself slipping every once and a while, but to be honest I just need to take the plunge and MOVE ON.

To quote Bruce Lee: “If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

My life has included several things that I thoroughly enjoy. The fact is, I enjoy filming – I enjoy narrating a story. Even if I wouldn’t get the chance for that, I enjoy the filming part and the editing part of the process. Video production is definitely a career I could be a part of, but I don’t have the slightest idea of how to get there. I have a knack for technology and if given a black box with a number of connections and specifics that the device should do, most likely I can come up with a way to connect it. Call it a gift, but I call it an inherent trait of mine.

With filming and photography comes the fact that I appreciate works of art through film. Movies are more of an obsession and I can honestly say I’m a bit of a fanatic. The epitome of the couch potato is what I would describe myself. I’m a fan of anywhere of the silent Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin talkies to the modern day epics that we see today. I’ve seen plenty of films from the 40s/50s and 60s/70s on my own curiosity and enjoyed them thoroughly. I’d say that films from those periods are a greater part of my movie collection in general. “Touch of Evil” would probably be my favorite film noir film. I can’t say I’ve only stuck to US films either. Antonioni, Fellini, Fritz Lang, or Goddard made amazing movies for their time. Movies that leave you with the sense that you’d just blown your mind. L’Avventura is one of these movies. You watch it and are amazed at how well composed the shots are. Sure it is a movie with a lack of narrative, but the simple fact that you are watching an amazing work of art just leaves me speechless every time I see it. Move on from this period to the 60s/70s and you open an entire genre that I can never get enough of. Honestly I should stop talking about movies in this part of my post because I could go on forever. Let me just end saying that for sentimental reasons, “Princess Bride” is my favorite movie of all time.

Then there is the part of my life of what I graduated with. I thought that engineering would be a good fit for me. I enjoyed math growing up and loved science and the fact of explaining the word around me and the fact that I have the ability to create I found absolutely fascinating. Move ten years later and I wound up getting an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering. I’d like to thank my lego sets growing up for making me always want to create new things and find different configurations.

Another love of my life is music. I love the fact that the arrangement of tones can move my spirit in so many ways. I listen to all different genres – be it old classics of the 40s/50s/60s, to the classic rock of the 60s/70s growing up listening to what my parents listened to. Also growing up I rode in the car singing to tunes of the 80s, of the rock tunes to the likes of styx, foreigner, and journey. As I became older I discovered grunge and the 90s pop tunes that were popular of the age. Lately I stick to new music mainly in the alternative rock genre, but I’m known to pick up the top 20 and sing to it since they seem to be so bloody catchy some times. Let me leave you with a bit of what I mean about how a tune can move you…

This has pretty much been a long rant letting the world know what I feel about life, what life has to offer, and how I plan on improving said life. Taking a day at a time I need to appreciate the small things that the world has to offer and make the best of each and every day.

Original post by mooch

 

6.2.10 – Blergh

Ξ June 3rd, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Moo |

I hit the lowest I’ve seen me so far. Basically it meant that I’m 1/10th the way to my goal. I know it might have been some water weight that had to do with some of it, but hell I guess I’ll take it as an accomplishment.

1/10th High Five!

Original post by mooch

 

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