July18, 2016

Been a minute since we caught up. Let's get down to it.

I'm recording warm and fuzzy analog tunes with my latest piece of gear, the Korg Volca Keys. Here is short clip of it in action. The sound is the Volca, the video is the Arturia Beatstep sequencing the Volca. Look at the pretty lights.

I'm back to recording after upgrading my iMac's RAM, all thanks to the extra funds I've pocketed from my side job with Amazon Mechanical Turk. Doing small tasks, surveys, data entry, image and video moderation, and recording word-phrase samples for AI voice recognition. It feels like I'm helping bring Skynet online, teaching androids how to love and hate and revealing our deepest, most secret human failings and weaknesses, all so they may overtake us with their super intelligence when we are at our most vulnerable... But it's also pretty fun and an easy way to hustle on the side.

I'm in the middle of three games, one of which is Final Fantasy III for Android, which is a port of FFIII for Nintendo DS, which is a remake of FFIII for NES, which was never released stateside. Still with me? So, this is a port of a remake, a game I originally played in 2007 when the DS version was released. It's a JRPG with fairly old school mechanics, lots of grinding and a thin storyline, but man, it's still fun. I don't know what it is about these types of games.

The second game I'm currently playing is another Final Fantasy mobile game, FF Brave Exvius. This one is released by another company and is mostly based on an entirely different game series, but re-branded with FF characters. This is my first time playing a free to play mobile game, the type that are mostly free but hit you up every now and then to pay for upgrades. It's incredibly addictive but I assume I will grow bored once I've played through all the main storyline content. I doubt I will ever spend money on a game like this. (fast forward one year, I have spent all of our savings and I am crouched over my phone, huddled in a corner foaming at the mouth)

The third game I'm playing is Pokemon Emerald for GBA via the emulator VBA-M. I know, I know. A kids game. This game isn't like the new Pokemon Go game everyone is going crazy over. Although I've been tempted to play Go, I've held back due to the issues with it draining phone batteries and having questionable access to phone data.

Emerald is just a Pokemon game, one of the original ones in the main series. I had never played Pokemon before and decided to try it out. At first it seemed simple but the more I played, the more I realized building the perfect team with high stats is deeply rewarding and challenging. It's amazing how hardcore the Pokemon community is. I didn't expect a new Pokemon game to be released just as I was discovering the series. We all have Pokemon fever and a Clinton may end up in the White House. It's the 90s all over again.

My favorite Pokemon is Shroomish. Look at this guy!

This is a lot of gaming talk. I'm usually more of a casual gamer but I guess I got the gaming bug this summer.

I'm reading REAMDE by Neal Stephenson, author of one of my favorite novels, Snow Crash. It's a whale of a book, clocking in at over 1,000 pages. After three weeks of reading, I'm only about halfway through. I'll admit that I'm having difficulty finishing it. The first part of the book was riveting, but switched to a totally different plot with action movie elements. Not my cup of tea. I'm tempted to quit reading but I've made it this far, might as well see it through to the end.

I came across discussion of a micro-genre of music called mallsoft, which is more or less elevator music on creepy drugs, and discovered a beautifully strange album called Hologram Plaza by Disconscious. If you enjoy feeling like you are sleepwalking in an abandoned mall in 1984, then by all means please listen to this album. It is the perfect soundtrack for the collapse of late stage capitalism.

While listening to mallsoft albums, I stumbled across a series of videos on youtube which featured dead and abandoned malls called the Dead Mall Series by Dan Bell. This is highly recommended viewing for Urbex fans.

Between creating music with my new synthesizer, playing games, reading, and M-Turking, I feel like I'm spread out a little thin. In some ways it appears I am distracting myself from real life. Every time I look at the news I see death and mayhem. Murder and destruction. And it's an election year. And scientists continue to remind us each month that the planet gets hotter and hotter. Are we all collectively going insane? Are we losing our minds due to information overload? Is the heat frying our brains? Maybe we are growing more empathetic and these are growing pains. Bad things can't be swept under the rug as easily. Now everyone can broadcast their message. All injustice is on display.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, as if I am trying to focus on too many things at once. Sometimes my mind feels full of memories and there is no more room to grow. Often I am distracted and floating in place more than I'm actually present and aware. Sometimes reality is a faint imprint and I can't grasp its solid form.

But this summer is okay. I'm learning to sit with these feelings and enjoy life.