Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Taste the Music

My apologies to Skittles lovers, as this does not relate to tasting the rainbow in anyway.

I realized early on that I listened to music on many levels. What I have found is that over the years the number of levels has increased. Not to say that all of these levels are achieved with every song I listen to— but I can listen to music and have more than one way of perceiving what I listen to simultaneously:

I, like nearly everybody who listens to music, enjoys the music I listen to. It may seem like this is obvious— but sometimes the other ways of listening to music tend to drown out the good feeling I get when I hear a great song.
There are several different kinds of analysis, but I typically focus on music theory and practice. I listen for the different chordal structures used; the phrases and how they are executed; melodies and counter melodies
I am not a choreographer, but I do like a song that makes you want to get up and dance. I also enjoy trying to interpret the way the song rises and falls and how that moves me both physically and emotionally. There is so much here that it probably deserves a separate post entirely.
Usually this goes hand in hand with music analysis. I try to figure out how the song is structured and how I would write the music so others can perform it.
Since I have a degree as a sound engineer, I tend to listen to music using a technically acoustical approach. I ask myself how that particular sound is reproduced— or even how the engineers who recorded the song may have set up the microphones in order to capture that sound. I listen for the balance and the layering involved. I listen to see if they used compression and determine how best to make the sound translate to mono. etc. etc.…
Being an educator means that you are looking for ways of teaching something. Since I have a degree in Music Education, I look for ways of teaching the song. This ranges from how do I pick apart the melody to teach it to somebody, to even how do I teach the diction to the singer so that they pronounce it appropriately.
I tend to gravitate towards songs that have interesting lyrics. I enjoy interpreting the lyrics and what they mean to me. I also enjoy good wordplay and creative diction which makes singing it quite a challenge.

I'm sure that there are others, but these are the ones that seem most prominent. What about you… in what ways do you listen to music?

Second Blooming

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Easy commute my foot

I have always said that every trip is an adventure no matter how short/long simple/complex it is. I sometimes find that the shorter the trip is supposed to take— the greater of an adventure it becomes when that trip is somehow delayed. This week, Prodigal Magazine is featuring travel stories, and I thought I would contribute a story about my commute home that occurred four weeks ago:

One of the nice things that I discovered about my new office is its location. It is about two blocks from the Metra station and a half block from the Green line station for the CTA El. I take the Metra since the station is about 4 blocks closer to my house than the CTA, and I can more easily predict when the next train departs the station.

A few weeks back I got into Ogilvie station downtown only to find that all of the northbound trains indicated that they were delayed. Thinking that this was probably just a switching problem at the station, I decided to wait it out.

After about 30 minutes of waiting I overheard someone say that the trains were delayed because a train struck a passenger around the Ravesnswood stop. I decided that I wouldn't wait any longer and take the CTA instead.

I called my wife telling her that I was planning on taking the Green line east to the Red line, then take the Red line north and would call her when I got to the Morris stop. I then hung up and proceeded over to the Green line station. Right at the time I was on the platform digging in my coat pockets to get change for the CTA fare, my phone rang again. My wife told me that there was a fire near the tracks and that all northbound trains were stopped.

I proceeded to get off of the platform to get away from the noise of the train so I could offer some other possibilities. I suggested that I get on the Northwest line since that train was not effected by the delay and get off at Dee Road, but she didn't want to drive all the way out there just to pick me up. I then said that I would take the Green line west to Western Avenue and would call her before I took the Western bus north.

I put as much change on the transit card as I could, then proceeded up the handicap ramp towards the westbound platform— but halfway up the ramp realized that the Green line does not stop at Western Avenue. I turned around and headed towards the eastbound platform. I knew that the Blue line did connect with Western Avenue, so I would take the Green line east to the Blue line, then take the Blue line west and get off at Western Avenue.

The Green line was not very crowded and I was hopeful that the Blue line would be the same— but I was wrong. I don't know if you ever see the pictures of Japanese commuters getting packed into the trains— this was very similar. Thankfully everybody was in the same boat (so to speak) and was very polite about being packed like sardines the whole time.

I decided to call my wife to let her know that the 49B bus route that normally stops near our house probably does not go this far south and that I would have to take the 49 bus first, then transfer over to a 49B bus. I did see a bus arrive about 5 minutes later, but this bus was packed full. The driver opened the door and yelled that there was a bus right behind, shut the door and pulled away. True to his word, there was another bus about 5 minutes behind that one.

This one looked just as crowded as the one that pulled away, but I got on anyway. I don't know wat was worse, having the lady with a stroller who wouldn't move, or the handicap man with his oxygen tanks in the middle of the aisle that made this more unpleasant than the Blue line fiasco. As we went further and further north, the passengers shifted so that I could get out of the roadblock at the front of the bus and could actually hold on in order not to fall on those seated.

Just as we are approaching Lawrence Avenue and the Brown line station to where I would be departing the 49 bus… but what should my tired eyes should appear— but flashing lights and fire engines near the tracks. Could it get any worse… would I ever get home???? Thankfully it was just a fire that wasn't effecting the northbound busses.

I waited a good 20 minutes for the 49B bus to come from the north and turn around at the Brown line station. I got on and made my way to the rear door and stood there so I could easily get off— only to be told by the driver that everybody has to pack it up better, and wound up sitting at the very rear of the bus. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to depart the train and would have to push my way past a dozen or so passengers just to get to the rear door— but the further north we went the lighter the number of passengers in my way became. I slipped out at Peterson and walked the rest of the way home.

By the time I got home I looked at the clock which said 8:30. Three hours late isn't too bad considering…

Monday, June 25, 2012

Standing still while the world moves around you

I got my business cards today. One would think "It's about time", but I figured I would wait until the new office was settled. I wouldn't want what happened the last time when I got new business cards:

At a previous job I was told that I would be getting new business cards after we moved so that I could have the new address and phone number on the card. Interestingly, about a month later the mailing address of the building I was in was changed to accommodate an access road which was promoted to a street.

About two months after that, the building I was in had an addition added to it. Rather than using the same room numbering that existed for the addition, it was decided that the entire building would be renumbered. Mind you, I have not moved in anyway, but now my business cards are grossly outdated.

Fortunately/unfortunately we moved from that building and we got new business cards to match. I guess you could say I got my revenge because a month after we moved, I changed departments and had to get a whole new batch of cards.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spining Tags

This weeks Spin Cycle is on Wordle. I wanted to have a spinning tag bundle, but found that implementing it into a post is a bit more challenging than I thought. So… without further adieu, here is my Wordle based on my Personal Philosophy tag:

Second Blooming

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Spin on Friends

This week's Spin Cycle is on Friends. I thought I would wax philosophical and re-post a theory of mine on Friendship Types:

I have found that there are three basic types of friendships that you can have— Acquaintances, Buddy-Buddy, and Close. At first I thought that these were levels of friendships that an individual achieves in a relationship with somebody, but I have changed the definition to be more role based instead. One thing that I know about these types is that you will always have more of one type than another. I have listed these in the order of popularity (which type you have more of)— and will give a brief description of each.

These are the type of friends that know you and you know them. You typically have a lot of these types because there does not need to be any real commitment outside of recognition. These can range from the commuter you sit next to on the train— to the person you used to sit next to in English class.
These are the type of friends that you go out with. They are your "buds" and there are typically less of these than acquaintances. These range from the workers you go out to drinks with— to the couple you have over for dinner.
These are the type of friends that know you very intimately. You typically do not have very many of these types of friends (if at all). Some labels for this type of friend include soul mate, partner, confidant, best friend.

I believe that there are times that all of us participate in these roles with others and that they are not necessarily reserved to happen all the time. I have known acquaintances that have acted (even if briefly) as close friends— even though I hardly knew them. It is good to know what kinds of friends you have, and appreciate the fact that you can have them.

What about you… Do you find that you have more of one type of friend than another? Do you have other labels that you use to describe the types of friends you have? Do you feel that you need to achieve each of the friendship types in order to progress in a relationship with someone?

Second Blooming

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Intersting Interest

If you know me well enough you should know that I tend to take on challenges for Lent, or as New Year's resolutions. Not only that, but I also phrase the challenge in such a way as to make it easy to explain to others. To give you an understanding of one of my challenges, see Inclusive Resolutions.

For a few years now, there is a resolution that I've been wanting to make: "In order to be interesting, be interested". I have found that in conversation if you ask more questions than explanations, you tend to have a more fruitful conversation. I find those people who pose an interest in me interesting— so I figured if I am interested in others, then I too will be interesting. The challenge is to not come off as fake— to not just go through the motions to fulfill the requirement. I know if I am to be successful, I need to truly be interested in them— not just sound like I am. People are fascinating— and discovering who they are is a thrill in itself.

One particular person who I think is a good example of an interesting interested person is David Letterman. The thing I admire about him is that he has an interviewing style that makes the person he is interviewing feel at ease. He shows an interest in the person he is interviewing and makes them feel important. I hope that I can be able to incorporate some of his techniques as my own.

What about you— do you feel that in order to be interesting, you need to be interested in others? Do you think that being interested in others is important?

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