Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Watching People Crash

I'm finished second year. Suddenly I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Job hunting thus far has been a total bust, there's no way I can go back to camp now, and I don't even know what program I'm doing next year. Everything is uncertain. I almost wish I still had school.

With all this spare time, I've got plenty of opportunities to procrastinate without really procrastinating against anything though. This means lots of random internet browsing. Today's random internet browsing led to me watching the first 3 minutes of "The Hills" before I realized why I don't watch anything on MTV and it's affiliates. It did get me on a page for another article about Heidi Montag's recent pile of plastic surgery.

Just as background (from what I know from skimming wikipedia and reading the article) Heidi Montag felt very insecure and so she decided to go in for cosmetic surgery which resulted in her getting I a whole bunch of stuff done all at once. She comes home and her mother basically tells her to her face that she was prettier before the surgery, that she thinks it was a bad decision, and then proceeds to make fun of her for not being able to eat properly on account of her jaw being very sore from the surgery.

The whole time I was watching these clips I was smiling to myself. I get a kick out of watching big time celebrities get told off by people in a position to tell them off. Watching Heidi's mom tell her that she needs to deal with her insecurities by dealing with the problem on the inside instead of getting cosmetic surgery to fix what she sees on the outside was immensely satisfying. It seemed to validate everything that I believe about insecurity, and made me feel like I was much smarter than Heidi.

I know that this attitude doesn't really line up with my faith (i.e. the whole being humble thing) but some part of me feels validated when I see people who are so engulfed in capitalism and North American living finding out that things are not what they thought they were.

(p.s. what insecurities? She's on one of the most popular TV shows, is on magazine covers, and could probably date any guy she wants. What is she insecure about? I'm not doubting that she has them but I would honestly like to know what these insecurities are because I can't think of what they might be)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moving

Note: I think I wrote about this last year when I moved, and the year before, but talking about the transience of modern life never seems to get old for me.

I'm moving in a couple of days. I'm packing my things and getting out of this apartment to go life in a trendy 7 bedroom upstairs apartment with 4 friends on the main street downtown. Every time I do this, I'm blown away by how easy it is to just pick up all of your things, plop them in boxes, dismantle your furniture, and relocate. It's like I have no real hard connection to any of the places I live or have lived. My parent's house isn't really "home" anymore, other places I've lived aren't the same after I've moved on, and the house I grew up in is full of someone else's life right now.

I'm a little frustrated about this. I wish I could just sit down and plant some roots and have it be "home" (whatever home means). I don't like having to be in this constant state of possible relocation. It's almost like I'm on edge all the time.

This feeling gets to you after a while. It's like you're living out of a suitcase no matter where you go, and you don't really know when it's going to end. It reminds me a lot of the movie "Up in the Air" where the main character says that he finds traveling to be the place where he calls home. For him, being on a plane is more home than being at "home" in his apartment. Sometimes I feel like that, but on a less extreme time scale. Home is wherever I am at that moment, and not some fixed location.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Strange

I'm a strange person. I don't mean this in a self-depricating way, I mean it in a factual, objective way. I happen to think that everyone is strange in their own ways, most of which no one ever hears about but I'd like to share with you some ways in which I am strange. Perhaps if you're feeling brave you might like to post a comment stating what makes you strange. You could even make it anonymous so that no one would have to identify this strange fact with you.

The bathroom is my favourite room in a house/apartment/hotel room. I don't really know when this started but my mother can attest to the fact that for the last 3 or 4 years I lived at home, if she couldn't find me I was probably in the bathrooom having a bath, or just sitting in there reading with the fan on (white noise is something that makes me feel really good), or occasionally napping. Yes it's true, sometimes I would grab a sleeping pad, a pillow, and a comforter, and take a nap in the bathroom. Some of my best sleeps ever happened in the bathroom, and I realize this is strange but it just seems to be the way I am.

Something else about me. I hate furniture. Maybe that's misleading. I don't hate furniture, but I like to have an extremely high floor space to furniture ratio. Like...I like having nine to ten times as much floor space as I do furniture. I like it so much so that when I first moved into my apartment, I just kept it empty, and sat on the floor when eating or watching TV or the like. It was pretty sweet. Now that I'm moving, there's no furniture in my apartment and I absolutely love it.

So there you go. I'm a little strange. If you take a moment to think about it though, I think you'll find that you too are a little bit strange. I think one of the people who understands this fact very well is Douglas Coupland. He's an author who writes lots of different kinds of books about lots of different things, but something notable about his writing is that his characters are all a little bit strange. They all have something about them that makes them unique, and distinct from the landscape of people that surrounds them.

This is something that I think people need to embrace. We spend so much of our time trying to fit in or trying to be distinct from other people, but if we all just embraced the parts of us that are a little bit strange, I think we could stress out about these kinds of things a lot less.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Priorities

Sometimes I experience this phenomenon where I'm talking to somebody, and I start saying something, and I realize a day later that it was a good idea. This idea is once of those ideas. I came to this realization while talking to a friend about priorities and it dawned on me that it's a fairly good model for predicting people's behaviour because a) it's simple and b) it seems to be reasonably accurate.

This friend and I were discussing how another person that we both knew, seemed to have little time to hang out with us. This was ok because we like this person and want to hang out with them, but they just could not make time for hanging out. This led to a discussion about why this is, and I came to a stunning realization. Everyone has priorities.

In and of itself, this isn't a particularily stunning revelation but imagine that everyone has a hierarchy in their brain of how important things are. It's a kind of ordered list where often things like school, or career go up at the top. Take my list for example. Though this is not how I'd ideally like it ordered, it looks something like this.

1) Relationship with significant other
Tie 2) People
Tie 2) Family
4) Church
5) School
...
84) Shopping

So this means that given the choice between spending time with people and studying for something, I will usually pick spending time with people. This has to do with a number of things, but the important thing is that knowing this about me, you could make some reasonably accurate assumptions about how I would make decisions.

I've been attempting to apply this to other situations with some success and it seems accurate. This all makes sense though because people tend to act in accordance with how they feel, and if they feel something is a priority then they feel it's best to act in accordance with that.

Thus I leave you with another hidden bit of obvious truth.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Music

I was hoping to have a new song up this week but then I had this thing called school and that all kind of went out the window. Then I tried to record a video and that also failed completely. So I'm posting some old material that hasn't been released and isn't actually entirely by me.

Sometimes I play in a side project with a friend named Tyler. It's called VanGrzesik. This song is one of my favourites. It's called "Captain Rocketeer". Something to know about Tyler's writing style that he's a master of arrangements. He knows what the song needs and where it needs to go and this song is a perfect example of it. I added some of the little guitar fills in between and the drum part but pretty much everything else is Tyler. I hope you enjoy it. It's over at bandcamp for download and listening.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Holy......Free Music

You totally thought the title was going to be "Holy Week" didn't you? Well I fooled you. This post actually has nothing to do with Easter whatsoever, and everything to do with the not-so-new trend of bands releasing free singles.

See, once upon a time when records were the dominant format, people often just wanted to listen to one song, not a whole album (which LP's were more conducive to, what with having to track selecting by aiming a dodgy needle onto a groove on a record). To solve this problem, record companies came up with the idea of releasing a record small enough to hold a single song. This created a whole other problem of what to do with the other side of that record but we'll get to that another time. This led to the creation of 45's and what we would now call "The single". Back then it meant a physical medium, but now is simply refers to the catchiest song off an artist's album that they release before the album comes out to build hype and make a ton of money off of.

Then in the late 90's this thing called Napster came out that allowed people to download songs for free, so people did. They downloaded what they wanted and made mix CD's and did things that were unheard of before the internet. This started what we call the digital music revolution.

The problem with digital music though is that it removes the whole reason for having a single in the first place. With no budget for downloaded songs, and with no physical medium, the benefit to the smaller single sized releases was eliminated. Couple that with the music industries declining revenues and complete lack of any kind of business strategy and you've got yourselves a giant meltdown.

Recently though, artists have discovered a way to bring back the single in a modern format. What happens nowadays is that artists will release a song off their upcoming album as a free download from their website. You just give them your email address and they email you a link. This totally re-purposes the single as an extended advertisement for your album that people can "try out" for free and if they like it then they just might purchase the full album if they like it and if they don't at least your music gets some exposure.

I've been thoroughly enjoying this trend recently as Broken Social Scene, Tokyo Police Club, The National, and Wintersleep have all released singles from their websites for their upcoming albums. If you run you could probably still catch them.

Viva la digital revolution.