Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Debate

Don't worry, I'm not starting one, I just wanted to talk about the people who do all the time. More recently I've been using twitter and following the random arguments about literally everything in the world. Most argument start with a generalized, left-leaning statement (content wise. I'm not making any judgments on politics here) from one of any number of folks. If interesting enough, they may be repeated by a few other people in the Queen's twitter circle. Eventually, one guy will respond with a controversial statement from the other end of the spectrum (right leaning). This will launch us all into a debate in which both sides argue but no one ever agrees on anything. It's pretty awesome (note the heavy sarcasm I used to deliver that last sentence).

I've jumped in on one or two of these "debates" and every time I do it, it just makes me exhausted. It's like an hour of trying to follow whatever kind of argument these people are making up one tweet at a time, and then when that one's over we launch straight into another one. Where do they come up with the energy and the enthusiasm to defend and debate these things so vigorously?

I feel like it's a byproduct of being students. Students seem to have so much energy, and for those four brief years of their undergraduate career, they can afford to run after every single debate and argument.

This train of thought just reminds me of how strange university is. It's all of these different groups, and even though there's a total turnover of the student population every four years, the dynamic and the groups never seem to change.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grinding it Out: First Tracks

So I've decided that the best way for me to write better songs is to just write lots of songs and then don't spend ages and ages trying to make them perfect. So I'm going to stop waiting to finish songs until they're perfect. I will now begin posting around 1 song per week here (assuming I can keep up that kind of creative flow). They may be absolute garbage, they may be a rip off of another song, or they may be amazing, but I'll post whatever I come up with.

This week there's two songs up to start with (mostly because I was extra motivated).

White Room: A song that was supposed to be a part of a score for a film that my friend was going to write the screenplay of. This song was supposed to play during an interrogation sequence. The score got derailed, and the song got left on my hard drive until yesterday when I added a bass track.

Out Here: I wrote half of this guitar riff during RPM 08, the other half coming around Christmas time. I recorded all the instrumental tracks (minus the bass) over Christmas, then made up some lyrics one night. I don't like how there's a weird key change in the vocals and I feel like the lyrics wreck the song, but I also feel like the song needed lyrics so I'm conflicted. I'm leaving it alone now though.

More songs are coming. One is in the pipe for sure and more will come as I make them up.

All songs are available for listen and download at http://priorpeter.bandcamp.com

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grinding it Out

I have this two hour break that occurs right now so I came to the library to try and catch up a little on all of the work I'm behind on as a result of going to Halifax for four days. Unfortunately, I had my iPod on when I got into the library and was in the middle of listening to "Fantasies" by Metric and since I have this weird album listening complex I didn't want to put my iPod away immediately so I figured I'd spill some thoughts here.

I recently acquired a bass and a keyboard. Normally I would consider this a good thing but it's led to me just doing a lot of tinkering and hasn't resulted in any real meaningful songwriting. As a side benefit, I'm becoming a better piano player very quickly and I'm getting some wicked calices on my right hand from bass but I feel really restless lately and it's starting to drive me a little bit crazy.

Part of the problem is that I have this weird attraction to pretty things. For example, when I first got my new drum set like..3 or 4 years ago now (it still feels new oddly enough) every time I walked by it, I'd have to pick up the sticks and play it for a little while. That took about a month to wear off. Now I have this problem with my bass and keyboard where any time that I see them, I want to play them, even though I have very little to do play on them that is productive. I suppose that's better than nothing.

This brings me around in a circle to where I am now with my songwriting though. It's a continual struggle for me to write, even though I know that if I just force it out of myself, it'll come. I know that I should just grind through writing a lot of early crappy songs and put them out on a tape a few years from now and say "hey, look what I used to write", but some part of me just wants the things I'm writing to be good right now.

As I'm writing this, I'm getting the urge to get over myself and just grind through a bunch of really crappy songs. I think I might. I may post them here as I complete them if I can get some web space or something. Or I may continue to do nothing with my song writing. I don't really know anymore. I know that I want to write though. Halifax has burned that into my mind more than ever. I'm just not sure how to go about it. Maybe grinding will solve my problem.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

School...

Recently, I’ve found myself engaged in a bit of a crisis. I find myself being frightened at the prospect of being in school for a long time. Based on my current career track, I’ll be in school for at least another 6 years, and that prospect scares me.

I’m in Halifax right now though so you’re probably wondering “Why is he thinking about school when he’s 16 hours from home?” Well, I’m staying at a friend’s dorm room at King’s College which backs onto the Dalhousie campus and it’s making me think about school a lot. Being here is making me feel like I should be doing school work, and is making me semi-excited to go back to school. However, whenever I’m on Queen’s campus I’m completely not excited to work and actually spend a lot of time procrastinating and doing other things. I’m wondering if what I’m scared about is being at Queen’s for another 6 years. I recently realized that when I made my university decsion, I was at a point in my life where I didn’t really care about where I went, I just wanted to go somewhere. Now that I’m here, I wonder if I should have gone elsewhere, or if I’m just having “grass is greener” problems.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Straight (Road) Trippin

Today I'm getting in a car and driving to Halifax. Actually, that's technically wrong. Today I am getting in a car and tomorrow I'm going to Halifax, since the drive to Halifax is 16 hours long, and we're leaving at 5 PM (you do the math), so I'm pretty excited. I'm just thinking about road trips right now and all of their associated feelings and memories and such.

When I was a kid my family used to road trip to our cottage. It was three hours from our house in Kingston, but when you're a kid, three hours in a car feels like an eternity. Now I'm thinking 16 hours will be long but not so bad. We'll survive. Amanda made me a care package for the road, and we've all made mix CD's for the trip so we should survive quite nicely.

Speaking of mix CD's I've posted my road trip mix below, so you can listen along with me. The [] are for categories that Matt (one of the guys I'm road tripping with) said had to be on my CD.

Spoon-Mystery Zone [something new I'm into]
Phoenix-Too Young
Metronomy-A Thing For Me (Breakbot Remix) [Guilty Pleasure]
The Go! Team-We Just Won't Be Defeated [pump up song]
Los Campesinos!-Death to Los Campesinos
Amon Tobin-The Kitchen Sink [something weird]
The Frames-Falling Slowly [a ballad]
Boxcar Racer-Cat-Like Thief [a song I listened to as a kid]
The National-Slow Show [a love song]
My Bloody Valentine-Sometimes [a 90's song]
Cat Power-I Don't Blame You [a female singer songwriter I could fall asleep to]
Metric-Twilight Galaxy [Canadian Artist]

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"moderate"

Revelation 3:16 "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

So I know I should probably post when someone in the real world (i.e. face to face) tells me that I haven't blogged in forever and they are bringing this point to my attention. Since this happened today, and since I have some time to kill, here I am writing a blog post. I also have a thought to explore so, sha-bam here we go.

Sometimes I feel like I'm somewhat alone in Christian circles. I believe in this whole Jesus person, and all of the crazy things he said, and how he is who he said he was. I try and do good, and strive to be a part of God's plan, whatever it is that means (and just to be straight with you, I don't know for sure what those things really mean right now). However, at the same time I tend to dispense with a lot of commonly shared Christian wisdom. I am not adverse to having a pint, sometimes I swear (although I try to avoid it here out of respect for you the readers), and I'm sure I could have a heated debate if I talked with another Christian about my views on a great number of issues (Evangelism being one of them).

This puts me in a spot that is not shared by a lot of people I know. I am aware that there are people in this spot, because I know that the world is not such a small place and I know that I am not as unique as I think I am, but I don't know many people who are in the spot I'm in.

I'm talking about walking the fine lines of my religion. I think that if a good number of my Christian friends knew where I was at, they'd try to sit down and have some kind of intervention with me (as though I had never thought about the things I was doing and whether or not they were right). At the same time, I know that some of my friends from school would find some of my beliefs and behaviours to be a little bit strange, simply because the come out of a tradition that they don't really understand.

This makes me think a lot about this verse from Revelation "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" which I posted above. It's basically about this congregation in the early church (Laodicea) and how there was all this bad stuff going on around them and they didn't ever really take a stand and define themselves as seperate from these things, instead they just kind of melded into their surroundings. I'm probably getting my interpretation a bit wrong but I think you can kind of get the gist of it (please comment with any corrections, and I can add them in).

I know that I can clearly define myself as somewhere in the middle of the spectrum which has, at one end, the bible-belt random evangelizers, and at the other end, your average curious university student. But does that still make me lukewarm? I'm not really sure what to think.

This reminds me of that trick that you can do where lukewarm water feels cold or hot depending on what temperature your hands were just in....