Tag Archives: pedestrian miscellanea

Warmer thoughts

This weekend I have a few extra days to get things done. The weather has warmed considerably so on Friday I made the trek out to the farm where I keep my car over the winter to remove it from cold storage. A couple of leaks had gotten worse, unfortunately, but for the most part she was in fairly good shape.

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Now that I’ve caught up on all my old blog entries and fixed the more egregious cases of code rot, I can focus on the future with a clear conscience.

Here is another little song I worked on during my recent month of music making, inspired by last June’s idyllic trip to Valencia, Spain.

Hibiki

Last night I was fortunate enough to be able to DJ publicly for the first time. A friend of mine in town was organizing a Christmas party and charity event in Daikanyama, and the two of us covered music responsibilities for the night. I purchased an audio controller and a copy of Traktor earlier this year, and to finally be able to use them beyond just playing around at home was rewarding. The event was mainly for socializing, so without the emphasis on music I was relaxed and able to experiment with both technique and dynamic song selection. I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to ease into the next phase of my musical evolution. I hope to have a chance to play again soon.

In the meantime I will refine my trance mix while practicing with Ableton Live and hope to get it up on MixCloud before the new year.

In a dream

After a month of travelling in the States, I have finally come back to Tokyo for the indefinite future.  For now, no more trips, no more adventure, I should just settle.  Yet I am uneasy.  My future remains unclear, and the uncertainty of what is to come makes me restless.  My being without a fixed address makes matters worse.  Come Friday I will move into a temporary dwelling, but for four weeks it will be all mine, albeit with a skeleton attachment of belongings.  No furniture, no warmth, just my notebook, a couple backpacks, and my camera.

I thought it would be relieving to be back in Tokyo, my home for the last ten years.  But it doesn’t feel like home.  Perhaps in my heart I know I won’t be here long, and everything I see and experience now is like a dream, a flashback to an old lover.  It feels hollow and muted.  The gingko leaves carpet the sidewalks, the plazas and alleyways are respectfully quiet, and the sun falls quickly behind the shellacked tile apartments that I love so much.

But there is a distance between me and the city, one I have never known.  For so long I relished the fantasy, that the exotic metropolis was mine to call home, but now all of the romance is gilded in loss.  The lights twinkle on and the media still smiles, but to me it might as well be on a movie screen.

Bookends

Unfortunately I have not been coming back to the site very much recently.  The forces that run in my mind have guided me to videos on DJ mixing techniques amd many cafe meetings discussing books.  Oversaturation from the constant deluge of push notifications and RSS streams erodes one’s abilty to concentrate, the microtransactions of my time must be parcelled out into more lump sums.  It is times like this where I schedule myself a private meeting room for the day and just hunker down into a series of long documents, devoid of the ubiquitous network.

I have some new art projects coming down the pike, will write here soon.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Thus sang Robert Lamm for The Chicago Transit Authority in 1969. True now as it was then, but recently I’ve been thinking, “does anybody really know where their time goes?” To not be acutely aware of how one uses his time is the way of wasting it, yet maintaining the awareness of where the time does go inherently squanders it in turn, as much for the minutes of actually managing it for those worrying about how well one is managing it in the first place.

It will be a glorious miracle if I can make it to the grave without first losing my grip to self-induced dementia.

2012 is the year of management, thus I have proclaimed, so 2012 will be the year of constantly asking myself per Drucker’s instruction, is this really an effective use of my time for my priorities as they stand? I crow desperately that I must find recognition in my photography, and that will not happen until I have attained the level of mastery capable of laying the cultured masses to waste with the sheer power that elusive power, ART. But ah, from so many ill-conceived plans is born the mortal misery of mankind. I can’t even sit down for ten minutes and concentrate on a single train of thought for what I want to accomplish.

Perhaps this is the cause of all my trouble, over-saturation of information has broken my frail mind and nothing of any substance remains. At the very least I know that I have been writing less and less over the past few years, partially because my philosophy of media creation has been eclipsed by media consumption in the panicked search for validation. The path to success lies through the accruing of endless knowledge, everything from processor cache sizes to the jabberings of a hundred housewives.

I need focus, but one thing that is quite clear is that as Autumn Tactics celebrates its 10th anniversary it may very well be its last.

Cold bocce

I am in the 20th arrondissement of Paris on the first blustery autumn day of my trip. A group of old men are playing bocche on a trangular strip of sand between the boulevards. The area around Port de vanves is much cleaner and reformed than much of the city center. The automatic bicycle rentals are an interesting idea. I hope programs like this succeed and flourish.

Doubt

There is so much that is beyond my control that bothers me. How do I find peace from the anxiety? How much of what I suffer through comes from a lack of vision?

What is it that I want from life? How do I want to spend my time? As a craftsman? A teacher? Or an artist?

Perhaps it is not coincidence that leader didn’t come up.

Changes

I think I have at least one other post with this name already, but it is not practical to go looking for it now since I am on the phone.  Changes was the name of the last Monkees album before the group broke up, at that point it was just Micky and Davy left to fulfill their contracts.

Anyway, this year, at least thw last seven months have been rocky.  From the great kanto earthquake the normal flow of my winter ended.  I went from thinking about where I would go skiing next weekend to which flight I may have to take out of Japan.

In a matter of weeks everything was different and I was on medication to just make it through the day.

And now I am living with someone, not just physically but emotionally.  I yearn to go home just to be with someone I can no longer stand to be without.

At the same time we wore through one of the most difficult parts of our company’s history, and my sense of responsibilty took consumption of my life to ne w levels.  Only this time my heart was stronger and I held fast, almost too well.  At the expense of my art and my personal life, I am in the process of another lost year.

It is tough for those below as it is for those above.  It is tough on everybody.

Point Break

There is a point where summer snaps and the drudgery of constant heat recedes overnight.  That is the most exciting day of the year becauee it means fall has come, my most productive season.  It seems cooler this week, just the lingering humidity makes it bothersome.  If I wasn’t working so much I would be all around the house putting things in order.

Google Music is still a welcome service, this weekend I will get my gargantuan home rock collection integrated.  I just wish server side it was a little smarter about using id3 tags and filenames for content management.

A Summer Wasting

So, the year moves on and another project at work swallows all traces of time.  While 2010 was an artistic rennaissance for me, 2011 is a wash.  For reasons I cannot fully grok, I have been pouring mind, body, and soul into work in and our of the office for practically the whole year.  I am not quite sure what I have to show for it but advanced knowledge and skills in my profession, which oddly is supposed to be fifth on my list of priorities, but has been running close to second or first.  Such is the nature of my ennui.

The project I am on now will mercifully be over in a month or so, but in the past where a small break was the only interlude before another big project’s start, this time I have four or five to look after.  To be honest I am not really that concerned about it now, because regardless I have many plans for the fall.  Raves, camping at Fuji Lakes, and a trip to Europe to say the least.  As well as scrambling to get something artistic put together by December.

I will not go quietly into the third quarter, I’ve sacrificed enough already.

Natsubate

I have talked before about natsubate, which fortunately I seem to be immune to.  The fact that I have beeb eating extremely well the last month does not hurt much either.  I do however, get overloaded with thongs to do and kind of just get into a languid lull, from time to time.  When you only have one day a week off outside of work it becomes even more difficult.  My mentor Randy Pausch spoke well of time management, I have kept to the slides of his talk and try to keep priorities sorted, but it doesn’t help me plow through the doldrums of mental burnout.  I am always looking for an antidote to that, and all I can ever come up with is to live healthier, and that will giveme the energy and drive to escape the sinkhole of guilt-filled inaction.

Maybe I can run tonight.

プリズム

Regardless of how many times it’s explained, some things in life just never make sense until they happen to you.

It’s called “lovesick” because your every thought, your every action is irregular. Like fever bringing a wave of delusion, you are not yourself but more, guided by unseen forces. You just can’t realize how ridiculous you’re acting, and even if you have a shred of composure left to, you don’t give a damn anyway.

Retreat

I haven’t written in a while, since January I’ve been working on a side project for the company that has me exceptionally enthused, so I was coding at nights and weekends, at home or going into the office. At the beginning of March we had a number of important presentations to prepare for, etc. etc. Now as few things that greatly alter the course of one’s life are planned, Japan is in the wake of one of the most devastating earthquakes in recorded history.

The last week has been a series of ups and downs, with drama on all fronts. Physically I am in no immediate danger, and my greatest personal challenges are those shared with many of my countrymen, fear, distrust and apprehension. Conspiracy theorists on both sides of the ocean are dubious as the quality of the information disclosed by the government and the power company, but I’m not in a position to play pundit. My goal is to keep a level head, do my job, and support the country as best I can. If I were to start doubting the veracity of the news provided to be by the authorities, then I might as well leave the country outright, which is the course chosen by an increasingly large number of expatriates. I am an American citizen but for all intents and purposes otherwise Japanese. My livelihood, my friends, and my passion all thrive in this country and I will not toss them all away on mere conjecture. I would be lying if I said that I don’t think about the threat of another earthquake or radioactive contamination on a daily basis, but I am fortunate to be able to say it is a fear that weakens by the day, and roughly as much a factor in my decisions as cholesterol level.

I do not consider myself noble or strong, perhaps stubborn more than anything. I have lost sleep this week like millions of others, but when considering my position as compared to most others in the this disaster-stricken country, I have no right at all to complain. I have no wife, no children, no family’s future to think of other than those I have yet to produce. My house was only slightly tousled from the earthquake, and the central location of it precludes me from the current rolling blackouts. I do not need to commute on the trains and line up for hours hoping I can get home, my bicycle works as well as it ever has. In a time of so much chaos, from a topical perspective I am total control of most of the everyday factors of my life.

I’ve starting carrying my passport with me at all times, and though the implications of such an action are unsettling, it provides me a small sense of comfort. I also enrolled in the STEP program, and for the first time in a long time I found a deep, moving sense of value in my American citizenship.

I want to be stronger and less affected by the words of those around me, but I overdosed on information in the first 72 hours of this crisis, and found my composure leeching away through the tide of so many panicked voices.

I’ve come to Kyoto this weekend to clear my mind. I was just here two months ago so in terms of a vacation spot it’s not the top of my choices, but it’s familiar and farther removed from the gashed wounds in Japan’s heartland. The next three days I hope to find quiet and busy myself again once in expression, through code, and words, and music. Three days of walking, three days of contemplation, of strengthening, three days of prayer and rebirth.