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I am the shameless dude in his mid-twenties who doesn't hold back when his parents, with whom he lives, decide to shower him with gifts as though he had only just started high school.

They decided to get me, among other awesome things, a new computer.

It's a PC. I've been accustomed to a Mac for years. So far, though, with the exception of the fact that no music recording software is quite as intuitive for me as Logic (hence the name) it is superior in every way. I'm going to be using Ableton for the time being and I hope it's as solid as Logic was at least in most regards. I know it lacks the instrument library that Logic has but I think I can get plugins for that.

I hope?

I'll figure it out.

It's a desktop where before I had a laptop. I will shamelessly admit that this 21" monitor is epic for watching porn. I just couldn't resist. If you're one of the sort that CAN resist that temptation, I salute you. You are built of stronger starstuff than I. The difficult decision was mostly what sort of porn to watch first.

My only complaint is that the internet connection in my house doesn't seem to be super reliable tonight. It keeps bugging out

It's a typical Pittsburgh winter here. Gray and full of freezing rain. It's misty and spectral to my eyes and depressing to the eyes of most people I know. The solstice happened. I took advantage of the long night's potent energy but not as well as I intended. Oh well, next year. It's an important night but one that only happens once in a solar cycle, as everybody knows. I'll have to make up for it by doing something important on New Year's eve.

I got to witness people making asses out of themselves around the time the world was supposed to end. That entertained me powerfully. I saw people max out their credit cards, steal things, get into fights, declare love for one another and

Reach

Oct. 17th, 2012 07:18 am
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Starting a band that lasts more than a few practices is difficult.

Hell, starting a band that makes it to a single practice after long sessions of "oh shit, we're so gonna do XYZ" at Denny's at 3am is difficult. All that said, getting a band together that actually pulls off regular gigs and, dare I say, touring, is a fucking miracle.

Guess who is forever trying to work miracles? It's lucky for me I'm a magician, right?

What kind of band do I want? A goth-rock band, I guess. That's the easiest way to put it. Psychedelic influences? Sure. Industrial drumming sometimes? Sure. Lots of guitar playing? Totally. Haunting female vocals? Yup. Synths? You bet.

I'm considering just biting the bullet and trying to put up a Craigslist add for this purpose. I've had mixed luck with such things in the past and, since I have no car, I am kind of a hassle to lug around. I like to think I make up for it in competence, ideas, willingness to go the extra mile in playing and frequent gigging. I like to think that others will think that, too.

The problem I have is often getting people to see past my inability to afford a car. I know it's a hassle but, believe me, I'd own one if I could. As it stands, I make so little money that it's just not in the cards and won't be for some time.

Someone called me a "wizard-punk genius" the other day. I approve of this and take it as a high compliment. I wonder if I could somehow work that into a lifestyle. It calls to mind images of an eccentric in a leather jacket with a patch of "The Magician" on its back. The hands of the wizard-punk are wreathed in iridescent smoke and a knowing smile plays on the lips. Something like that. I could do that, right? Here's to hoping!

At work I am the youngest person on night shift. Everyone else is at least twice my age. As such, I often hear them bitching about my generation and the one that will eventually follow mine. While I grant and fully admit that my generation has our share of problems, I can't stand when an older person waxes poetic about living in some blameless, utopian age where nothing bad happened and everyone was the hardest worker ever. Everyone, according to them, had the proper amount of respect for the right people, had wisdom beyond their years and was outright better at everything than me and my age group.

Fuck that. Euphoric recall isn't a good thing all the time. Hindsight is only 20/20 for a short time, I think. I don't mind my coworkers most times but the things they say are just asinine. It's what every person says to their kids. It might be what I say to kids when I am their age. That doesn't make it any less irritating to hear. This is made especially true by the fact that my quality of life may well not exceed that of my own parents. This is true of many in my generation. The world changed. Too few people will admit this.

To hear it said, everyone my age is a disrespectful punk who is de-sensitized to the world, doesn't have enough moral fiber, has strange and unhealthy ideas and... is young, more or less. That rhetoric is old. It needs to stop.
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Autumn has begun in my city.

I can feel the familiar chill in the air, the change in seasonal energy bringing Summer's blazing green to fade into Autumn's complexities of Reds and Oranges. People have spoken on the glory of this seasonal change and, indeed, the wonders of Autumn so often that I won't bore you with the details just yet. What I will describe a bit is how it is for a person who works third shift.

The days get shorter. For me, someone who sees more night-time than day-time, this is more obvious than I thought it would be. This is my first Autumn season working nights. It's already turned out to be stranger than I thought. Being as the nights are longer and I wake up at somewhere around four pm each day, I am seeing far less daylight than I otherwise would have. It's more jarring on me than I thought it would be. It also makes me remember that, come winter when it gets dark here around five in the afternoon, I might feel as though I am A BEING OF PERPETUAL DARKNESS.

Possibly I'll get depressed. I'm really not sure. I'm kind of anxious about that possibility. I've never tried such a thing before. It'd be damned unfortunate because I've never in my life suffered from the kind of winter depression so many of my friends get. I've always watched them and felt bad but secretly a bit lucky that I love the two colder months so much.

I'll freely admit that part of it came from the fact that I am short, stocky (for a time in my early teens overweight) and until recently the possessor of VERY long hair. It was like I'd grown my own hat. I viewed the seasonal change as a blessing because it meant I could wear more layers and feel more comfortable about myself. I always felt like it was a better time of year for me. In the warmer months I'd sweat a lot, being as I've always been too stubborn to not wear all black in the summer, and I'd mostly shun the outdoors.

Tonight I spent time with some of my musician friends. I gave my friend Quentin an old guitar I had owned but hadn't played in over six months. It was one of my earlier guitars, a mexican-made Fender Stratocaster for you guitar enthusiasts out there, and I have since moved on to guitars I like better. The thing of it is, I hate to see an instrument go unplayed. The things are built to be loved, played, beaten up, taken on tour, hauled to gigs and the like. d

The thing about Quentin that I respect in terms of his musicality is that he makes a lot of good stuff with honestly shit equipment. He's self-taught but not in the way I'm self taught. I taught myself more theory and technique than he did. It seems to me sometimes like he just taught himself to punch a guitar and music eventually came out that matched that which was playing in his head. He's no lead guitarist, rather a rhythm guy who writes hooks and sings (or belts if you like) out lyrics he also writes. He's a frontman and a damn good one.

My guitar was unsellable because it has some dings and scratches that nobody wants to pay for. I figured Quentin could use it. His normal guitar is pretty much a piece of driftwood on a good day and, when it's not working (which is often) he borrows his bassist's les paul. It is now the most high quality instrument he owns. It felt good to help him out. He'll give the guitar a good home. I'm sure of it.

I am often jealous of people like him because they never fell into a musical trap I did. When I began playing seriously a few years ago I got gear-happy. I spent way too much money on things I didn't need or only used once or twice. People like him never had the money to just throw around. They had to make due with what little they had and, normally, that makes you better and more creative. I still feel like an idiot for getting stuck for longer than I'm comfortable admitting worrying over having the right bit of gear before just rushing headlong into music. I am doing it now and I occasionally worry that it's me coming to the game a bit late.

I say this knowing that 24, my current age, is by no means "old" in the current musical climate. It's changed so much that people in their thirties, forties and even fifties are suddenly making careers out of it. Hell, some of Abney park's members are in their thirties and have been since I first discovered them in the debut issue of Steampunk Magazine some... six years ago now.

I probably worry too much at that sort of thing. It's easy to tell yourself to get off your ass and start seriously beating your head against the goal and another thing to drag yourself to doing it day-in, day-out. I sat in Quentin's living room talking with him and his band He's five years my senior and has been at this band stuff for maybe two or three years. I'm leaning more towards two but I'm not sure. I've been trying to get a band to stick together for about two years with no luck. It's all a matter of timing and finding the right people.

I've always viewed the creative process, with writing and music composition, as something akin to fighting. I picture that there's some ogre of a man, seven feet tall, muscular and veiny, mouth-breathing in some psychotic rage looking down at me. I have to kill him to get to what's behind him which is anything from 1,000 words of good fiction, two minutes of decent music or a lifetime of success and joy. Each time I manage this, he will regenerate. Sometimes he's bigger, sometimes he's smarter and knows what to tell me to deflate me, sometimes he's got weapons and sometimes he's just plain meaner than he was before.

I'll be fighting him my whole life, I think. He'll kill me one day. As long as I don't give up, though, he can't win.

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ghosthound

January 2013

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