They say a life unexamined is a life unlived. You do not realize that unless you get older. You plow through youth wanting to be noticed, you gain middle age excited to be heard, you enter your last third wondering what you just participated in and was it worth it. Was it you? Was it what you wanted? Was it deliberate or accidental? How would different decisions have affected your outcome?

Self doubt creeps in, who am I, why am I, what did I do, what was it worth.

The baseline of your good life is gone.

The feeling that you were right, justified, just, correct, meaningful, it’s gone.

You are open to the possibility that none of it was worth it.

That is the beginning of change, enlightenment and getting a bird to love and take care of before you die.

there I said it

Crime Pays

Happy + Thieves = Crime Pays

Happy, what does that mean, what should it mean? What if we defined happiness as the state of helping another person. 

The pastry chef is dumb because they are making food that does not benefit humanity. So they are supporting stupidity, and no one wants to do that, it cannot make you happy. 

Money is our current measure of your contribution to society, it is your reward.

How can we explain successful thievery that benefits no one but the perp?

We can’t because it’s outside of our experiential mental model. It’s like when the ships from the “Olde Worlde” arrive in North America, the natives were literally unable to see them because it was so outside their experience. Like how animals compete to specifically with each other, but are unable to see that other species will destroy their own entire species.

We continually want to see that goode triumphs, it’s in all the religions. But it doesn’t always triumph and that’s why criminals can win. Because they are stupid, and we are more stupid.

From here

Software + Taste – Tedium = Music

How to make music less tedious.

Music is sound (physics), theory (physics organize), rhythm (tempo, cadence), lyrics (communication) all combining to make emotion. You need this knowledge, you need to have a POV and you need to apply taste….or you can crowdsource opinions, I guess.

Everyone will tell you “it’s art” but those who know a little more will say it’s known patterns combined. 

When I make music, the tedium makes me want to automate. Automate the cadence, theory/sound but write the lyrics…maybe…maybe generate the lyrics too!

So then music becomes an exercise in taste and not one of construction.

For sure, playing a physical instrument gives you a sense of it’s capabilities and therefore gives you ideas on how to program it. Ie. avoid making a drum program that allows for 8 legged drummers. Maybe better to make a drum program that allows for 2 4 legged drummers. Unless you’re doing an Aphex Twin type of thing.

For sure playing an instrument provides ideas and inspiration.

Downside of making music by recording yourself:

  • Practicing an instrument is tedious. 
  • Your imagination can be limited by your playing skill. 
  • You become vested in recording your work, even if it’s not very good.

Upside of generated music:

  • Once you understand the theory, you can apply your learnings.
  • You are not wed to the output.
  • You will explore more styles.
  • You will create things you could never play, although someone could.
  • You can generate sheet music, hire musicians, make it live.

Downside of generated music:

  • “What is my creative contribution exactly?”
  • Software can guide you to styles, plus and minus.



Reaper = Emacs

I switched to Reaper from Logic Pro. The reasoning is pretty simple, Logic Pro has some serious limitations that put a ceiling on it.

Logic does not support VSTs. VST allows midi IO. AU does not. This is an absolute killer.

Logic does not perform well. Logic allocates a thread per channel, so if you have a channel with a seriously consumptive plugin Logic will give you the dreaded “overload” dialog, meanwhile, you may have many other threads that are idle. This is beyond ridiculous…but wait…there’s more…as in the buffer is only 1000 samples long, AYFKM?

Why would they do this? Because Apple sells hardware. Their goal is to get all you Pro users to upgrade to their desktop mac pro platform that starts at about 3K$. NFW.

Logic is great if all their plugins and tools are all you need. But their sounds and plugs are dated to me.

Reaper is solid (if not as good looking) and is the Emacs of DAWs. I rarely crashes, allocates resources well, reports a lot of internal details, has crazy interesting free plugins using JS language, you can write JS for DSP, Lua/Python/ELL for UI, etc. It is a creative chaotic environment that is not for beginners. I stayed on Logic for a long time. I tried Live but that is like a toy to me, great tools, but everything is looping…then the arrangement window is awful. I tried Bitwig/Usine good for certain styles.

I have settled on Reaper with Melda plugins since they’re all built off the same software platform all their plugs have the same features/interface. As ugly as it is they provide the most modulation and low level capabilities. They are very creative and well priced.

I miss Sculpture, but Melda has physical modeling (not as good, yet). I miss Ultrabeat (dated) but with some work, Melda will provide a more powerful drum machine.

I want to write some software for music. The way I see it Reaper is perfect for this, it’s a DAW platform, whereas other DAWs try to sell you an all in one, or “buy more hardware” platform. Reaper provides the midi interfaces and the audio interfaces to experiment in big ways and quickly. 

Reaper + Melda = goodness.

Reaper = a beautiful mess just like Emacs.

Tech amplifies…echoes

We seek amplification. Men in particular, seek amplification. We seek extension to our miniscule physical powers. Weak in the face of almost every other animal; in mass, strength, speed, endurance, smell, sight, sound…save one thing…we can invent things that extend our power. That is our strength, and our lives are filled with attempts to grow that strength and fulfill that destiny.

Everything in human history is a struggle to be more powerful. To overcome the environment, the fear, the obstacles, the tribe between us and the green fields with streams overlooked by protective caves. It started with rocks, spears, steel, guns, bombs, now it is germs, genes, memes.The battle ground is now ideas.

This is so unfathomable, it is so abstract, but it is exactly what is happening. Everyone would like it to be simple, like “old times”, one white man one white vote. But it was never simple, news paper barons controlled the information, backroom deals sent your children to war, history was written by those who still had hands, the vanquished had no voice.

Now is different, the enemy can never be defeated, they will always have a voice that cannot be silenced. They can always tweet their ideas, and someone in the Valley will make money off of the echoes of that dropped pebble. It is the cavalcade of noise, the broken voices of the defeated, chasing you down the hall.

Life will now forever be an echo of mirrors.

Who voted for whom? Who protested for what? Who raised money for whom? Who supports what? Who is what for why? This new eternity lacks walls.


An idea is still the worlds most powerful force

When I was a kid in the 70s I could not believe that the North Vietnamese did not launch an attack on US soil. Whether it would be hopeless like Japanese balloon attacks in WWII did not matter. It would make a mark on everyone’s psyche. Those attacks did not happen, but that idea remained in my mind since then and it remained in two forms.

ISIS has given license to the first form of those attacks, missions on foreign soil with no military front. War without borders. They provide the ideology, the meme, the encouragement, money, support, guidance and there is an endless range of nut cases ready to carry out these missions. We are fucked…we will need a different police force. We will need an emergency strike force that can chopper in and deal with this shit.  Prepare for all sorts of solutions to come up..and this is global…this is a real problem. Prepare for killer drones within the US borders.

The second form, pressaged by the Japanese balloon attacks, is what the US military has pursued…drone attacks. This is our terror that we rain down upon our enemies. Strikes are called in, apparently, sometimes automatically based on mobile call records. If anyone has done any data mining, and knows anything about the current “state of the art” (hadoop, logistic regression on a 100 features, non linear parameter relationships…) you will know this is rife with errors. So we’re killing people on a weak “probability” of involvement. Another form of terror that is inches away from being used within our own borders in the name of self defense.

There is a third very old terror and it is simply an enhanced form of argument to achieve political and social change. Nothing new here, a terrorized populace is easier to control. In the US this was brought to the fore by the KKK which became the NRA. They leveraged the second amendment in order to reify their ideology. They have been reigning terror ever since. Little did they appreciate that the second amendment applies to all, and now the African Americans the KKK sought to terrorize have armed themselves and are striking back a slow civil war is unfolding. LGBTQ are taking up arms as well, why not, they have been terrorized as well. Everyone will be armed. Any issue is going to have the possibility of becoming a house to house Fallujah style guerrilla battle. BTW, I just had to imagine that scenario, search Google, and voila, it’s happening/

Be careful what you do to your enemies, they will return the favor in kind.

Inclusion without illusion

As the world integrates and the great unwinding continues one must stay vigilant to unspoken requirements that groups put upon others who want to participate.

Let’s look at some examples of some of those unwritten rules. How it affects people and how it affects you, because, everyone wants mobility. You may be restricted in an invisible way, you most certainly were excluded at some point in your family history. Because we were all peasants at one time.

To start, let’s look at racist language by white politicians. Using the specter of “reverse racism” (does that even make sense?) white politicians launch some pretty amazing vitriol. This is the classic republican dog whistle. Conversely, minorities, in particular African Americans, can’t a say thing. This is an amazing article, with thought experiments along these lines…take a little time to ponder…

…what if a Mexican American said “White judges should recuse themselves from cases involving migrant farm workers in California because they will be biased.” How about African American’s “White judges should not be judging trials with African defendants and the police.” Hmmm…come to think of it…considering the history of white racism…they’d have a point…but clearly we are unable to have that discussion.

There is a nasty undertone to power sharing with minorities that white people don’t talk about, that is that they must be whiter than white to be welcomed into the inner circle of the male white power club.

Do you think President Obama was able to be as honest about race as he could? Not a chance, he had to dance around this all the time to comfort white America who were more than willing to call him out as a Muslim separatist anyway. We all know he had extra pressures, that he couldn’t be direct, but did we talk about it? Nope, we just needed him to be whiter than white.

Think about women getting into leadership and power positions, how they must be the better man. This is being questioned and is changing as work life balance comes center stage with the contradictions being challenged…this conversation is recent so we’ll see how long it takes to develop.

Every race, class and nationality has been a poor minority at some time. After all, not long ago only Kings and their families had wealth, we were all enslaved indentured servants.

The ladder stays in place, everyone gets and gives a hand up, that’s the deal.

Energy, mobility, strength

There is nothing like extremes to find your strengths.

If you run 20 miles, you will know that everything needs to be just right to make it…and not get injured. If you lift heavy weights, you know your technique must be just right. If you fast, your energy has to be even for your to make it.

Extremes force you to improve technique and fundamentals.

Take long distance running. When I started running I had barely run more than 2 miles at once. To think of running 20 miles just seemed insurmountable. I started in sand, on the beach (lucky me) and found that at mile 2 (about 40 minutes!) I would get the shakes and have an energy drop. I would stop, wait and stand around. My energy would come back and I would go on. Later I learned this was my body switching from sugar burning, to fat burning, that my friends is how people run 50 and 100 mile races, they’re burning fat, and you have to train your body to do it efficiently. It’s also how I lost 30 lbs over those following years, running.

Running was great, and I still love it, and did it for years, but then one day, I pulled my hamstring…and now I focused on mobility to find out why.

Mobility is my current phase. Everything I’m doing is to increase my mobility. I’m stretching and then inducing physical resistance at the peak of the stretch. Either through isometrics or just muscle tension. This is a combo of Pavel Tsatsouline and Gymnastic Strength Training plus (I think) mobility/cross fit techniques. I don’t have a set routine, but I’m going 4 things I’m trying to improve:

  • Pike
  • Hollow body front
  • Hollow body back
  • Holding curl

and 1 thing I want to achieve in ’16:

  • Hand stand for 30 seconds, great form, toes pointed, no kipping.

I have realized that my strength was within limited range of motion. You need strength in all range of motion, and overall strength is increased dramatically by increasing strength in all ranges of motion. Bruce Lee is the prime example of strength in all range and the total strength that can be achieved. Look at his 1″ punch.

Energy management. Running taught about my inner fat burning strength, but how could I tap that for my day to day life? Easy, a small thing called the ketogenic diet…sorta small, actually a big deal. I did a ton of reading and settled on a 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carb diet…translated to grams…162, 97, 24 respectively. Now, respectfully, 24 gms of carb is not a lot. 1 medium strawberry has 1 gm of carbs. You hit your budget in no time. So my entire diet has changed and boy, am I happy about it! For sure I was heading for “age onset type 2 diabetes”.

Easy right? Here’s my diet tracker:

Untitled 3

Not easy.

I’ve taken a thousand steps and each one is something I will share, in a way that is not obvious, that is tremendously helpful, and will help everyone on their journey.

The great unwinding™

I’ve been having this conversation with myself, and with others and it is my current world view. It’s very hard to see macro trends because they are emerging everywhere, concurrently, and it’s impossible to tell which one will “stick”. So I’m going to boldly identify one that I see right now, and proclaim that it will stick. Mark my words!

I don’t think it’s controversial, or hard to understand, but it will bring up emotions in everyone. Here are some bullets that I am using as inputs, then I’ll connect the dots:

  • Obama
  • DNA
  • Trump
  • Georgetown University
  • Japan

Obama was a movement because we elected an African American president (check the birth certificate Trump). It was amazing to be here during that period. It was a point at which a lot of American history was unwound, reevaluated, and we came to terms with a big chunk of it. It was not a final step (Michael Brown…) but it provoked key steps (try to ignore the dehumanizing title of the article).

DNA is history in our bodies, as more and more people submit their DNA to genealogy mining, the history of our origins, migrations and commonality will be revealed. This will help people realize that all people’s are in their background, racism will slowly disappear…slowly…and some will fight to keep their place at the top of the hierarchy…

Which gets us to Trump, taken in context he is a leaf on an tsunami of history. A history that DNA will rewrite and bring us back together (despite some Neanderthal and Denisovan detours). Trump is one of the last gasps of colonial, racist, oppressive,  white privilege. When people see the world as zero sum they panic and want to “make America white again”. Sorry buddy, that ship has sailed (see Obama) and we’re not going back there, we liberals will fight. Outcome certain, timing uncertain.

Georgetown University, wow, who saw this coming? History is now transparent and accessible. I predict some DNA evidence will be added to this story. This conversation could not even be entertained here 8 years ago, after all Obama was just ascending then, it was too early. But now, it will happen, there will be reparations, not in a general payout, but on a case by case economic basis. Supported by evidence, DNA and a global movement towards a unified humanity. Thank god, actually, no thanks to God :-).

Let’s throw Japan’s admissions in for good measure. 10 years ago there were conservative movements in Japan that thought they could have won WWII, but now Japan can unwind. The zero sum people still argue that ones admission of guilt admonishes another’s guilt but it is quite the opposite. Rather, honesty begets honesty and it is snowballing.

World history is unwinding and I for one can’t wait because I do not believe that the world is a zero sum game. I believe that we can all be better off.

Greek legend has it that whomever unties the Gordian Knot would rule Asia, poetically, we will unwind the Gordian Knot together, and instead of Asia we will rule the world, our world.

PS The great unwinding will include the recognition of animals.