Well...what can I say? I've made progress. Small amounts of progress here and there. I'm mostly still in the getting-to-know-my-gear stage. I know enough now to regret choosing such a cool name for my first project--because it's gonna suck. I can just tell it's going to be an embarrassment in 10 years. But you know what? I'm cool with that.
I've always, even as a toddler, had the mindset that if I'm unable to do a thing perfectly the first time it's not worth even trying. Having children has taught me how totally twisted this mindset is (my son mirrors this same behavior almost to the extreme). Another source of insight on this subject came to me in the book The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey. Observing the development of my children and some of the material in this book taught me that my failures are more important than my successes. Nothing is learned through success. No growth occurs with success. Failure provides the insight.
We need to experience shit running down our leg, food on our face, the bad haircut in our freshman photo. We need to see what we've built come tumbling down. Because only then can we learn and adapt.
The cycle now becomes:
1 Observe or visualize, in as much detail as possible, the desired outcome
3 Analyze failures nonjudgmentally and pinpoint small areas where improvement may be achieved
4 Visualize the modified execution (this step is where the most energy and focus should take place)
5 GOTO 2
Ah...now here's something I can work with. Simple and profound, this method of practice takes the focus off and the frustration out of failure. It's written into the script. It's coded into the program. You are going to have failures. The twist here is in how the failures are dealt with. Detached observation is necessary because for this to work it will require a great deal of trust in oneself and judgment does not harbor trust. You didn't play a wrong note. You just played a different note than the one intended.
The real key, though, is in the visualization. One of the first things human babies do after learning to breathe oxygen, suck tit, and cry is to imitate what they see. It's how we learn to walk, talk, act, and react. After time the brain develops the capacity for visualization which enhances and sometimes compensates for physical observation. Observation and visualization are our trusty ol' time-tested tools for growth and adaptation. The more time spent here the faster the progress.
Another barrier to my progress as a musician is time. But I think I may have thought of a way to make more time for Morningwood Cemetery. The idea's pretty radical, though. I'm thinking of utilizing the corporate-supplied benefit of a free bus pass. Instead of (mostly) wasting 2 hours commuting every day, I could ride the bus. How does this free up time for making music? Well, I've already got a pretty decent sequencer application on my Palm and I've already got a portable MIDI controller. If I could somehow get a portable tone-generator I'd have a pretty robust composition environment that would fit in a bag on my lap.
The original idea was to get a new laptop DAW but this route would introduce a few snags. I already have to carry a laptop for work and I can't see myself hauling two of them at once. I could use my personal laptop for work but for the fact that the company discourages and rarely cooperates with doing so. The cost is also a big factor. For the speed and capacity I'd want I could easily spend $2000 on a laptop. Or I could opt to not buy the laptop and, instead, use the $2000 to buy two amps, a keyboard stand, a rack stand, another microphone, and an effects processor.
All I really need for this idea to work is a portable and useful synth. And it looks like this little guy could be just the thing. In my current financial forecast (mostly cloudy, 30% chance precip.) I should be able to buy this thing by 2006. I exaggerate but not by much. I'll probably get impatient and do something stupid like "put it on the card" but I'm really trying hard to change my ways.
I want to get back to using a budget. I want to anticipate and save for purchases rather than constantly trying to play catch-up with the credit card accounts.
The thought had also crossed my mind that maybe I should expend some energy trying to figure out how to make more money. I haven't come up with anything realistic. The problem is that making more money would almost certainly require a sacrifice and I have little left I'm willing to sacrifice. So that idea isn't really going anywhere.
On the horizon I'm kicking around the idea of starting a neighborhood wireless network. This idea was born out of pity for my neighbor who still uses 56k dial-up and my personal desire for more upstream bandwidth. I was trying to figure out a way to increase my bandwidth and be able to share. The obvious solution is a wireless network. I mentioned my idea to my friend, Dr. Scott, and he said Speakeasy provides some kind of service along those lines. The Net Share service doesn't just resemble what I'm looking for. It's exactly what I'm looking for. Again, here, time and money are obstacles.