Wednesday, November 12, 2008
this year has seen many things: another birthday, identity theft, a self-run business slowly rise and quickly fall, admin-level status at a web site, the loss of a family member, communication briefly re-established with other family members, and contemplation of career change accompanied with going back to school again. all this is on top of the daily and other incidental stuff with which i already deal. without a doubt, it's been quite the emotional roller-coaster ride, especially when i take into consideration my past and my future.
my birthday serves as a yearly milestone where i assess how far i've come, what i've accomplished, what i'm currently doing, and what my plans are. it's not so much of a comparison with other people as much as it is a comparison with what i feel i could be doing based on a potential happy medium that i generally try to strive for- nothing too great nor too poor.
as many of you know, last year saw considerable marks in success. i released 10 albums (with a cumulative 15,000+ download result) including a collaborative album which i later remastered as a solo work which i released this year. indeed i have plans for future works, both specifically and generally speaking. after pulling off to work independently, i was accepted to sell my work with apple itunes along with several other companies online. before i was able to send my work to each of these companies, my external hard drive died, which i have described in great detail in a previous post. this put my life at an abrupt standstill. i had no backup plan. if anything, returning to music was my backup plan. due to various medical situations, i've become limited in what i can do so working at home on music seemed like my best option considering my abilities and resources. even though it seems life has other intentions for me, i will not be giving up on this dream and it is my intention to slowly rebuild my way back to where i was before and surpass that milestone.
in the meantime, i'm still limited as to what i can and can't do. time has been slowly healing physical and emotional wounds. i have had time to reconsider life, options, and so forth. an option i've been giving strong consideration to is teaching english as a second and/or foreign language, specifically in japan. why japan? because before i was a live my family had been there while my grandfather was still in the navy and i have grown up seeing all sorts of things attesting to their love of being there and i have been captivated by these relics and on my own eperiences found myself gravitating to all things japanese over the course of my life, so it only seemed natural that my first thoughts were of japan. asia, in general, is seeking native-speaking english teachers for all levels of education and they are paying very well and if you get a private job, then the pay is pretty phenomenal. I could really use something that would provide a decent, reliable income. that is something i have never had- its always been decent or reliable, but never both.
so here i am trying my best to become fluent in japanese so that i can go out there and get a job teaching english, but wait- don't i need some sort of experience and educational background in that field before landing such a job? yes, indeed i do. this means completing my existing education so i don't lose all the work i've already done over the course of about 7 years in four colleges. then i need to get an additional degree and perhaps certification as well as work experience before i can even go over there and work. additionally, i will have to perform a massive overseas move as well as getting a home, which will be monumental tasks in of themselves. i've already done all the research into that as well, but i've determined this is something that i want to do and even if it takes me around 7 years to accomplish, i will get it done.
sounds great, but what about the music? that will be sitting on the back burner as little as possible while i am trying to get all these other things accomplished. another goal of the teaching would be to better afford my ability to work on music and probably the repair (if possible) of my external hard drive. if i can get that repaired, then i can get back on track where i was with music sales and continuing further album work, broadcasting, and more. everything i had previously entertained doing in the line of music i still would like to do and i think i can be successful doing that anywhere in the world.
ok, so you mentioned a ot of other stuff happening thats been messing with your abilities... yes, my grandmother passed away this year. her health has been deteriorating for several years now and this year seemed to bring some considerable problems- a broken leg, a heart attack, and then spending her final days in a hospital where she would eventually die. the last medicine the doctors gave her lead to her death. they knew it might do it and my family was informed and for some reason everyone thought it was ok to do. well, she went into a coma, stopped breathing on her own, and after two weeks they finally unplugged her life support and she died a painful, scary death. she was also buried this summer and that was also an ordeal in of itself. i saw relatives i had stopped talking to for quite some time. i saw my grandparents' latest poor choice in assistants there as well. it was not a good day. i chose to bring the dog because he is family and he has emotional problems with being left alone for various reasons. because i had him with me, i was not allowed to go inside for the memorial service which was performed by my great uncle, her brother, how ever i was allowed to attend the burial service as that was outdoors. i miss the person she sometimes was, but not the person she became. her death cemented that things would never be good between us again, much as i had already suspected. in a way i had already said my goodbyes long ago, so the day felt very awkward for me. i think everyone had slightly different feelings on that day and continue to have slightly different feelings. everyone is slightly different now and yet they're still quite the same. things have quieted up between me and my relative once again. everyone is doing what they had been before, the only difference being that my grandmother is no longer part of the picture. it's been hard dealing with things in a way i can't quite describe. i intentionally abandoned certain activities i knew i wouldn't be able to perfom during that time and i have resumed most of those activities, such as career and educational research, learning japanese, and a couple of recreational things online, but not everything is back to normal.
i was an active trivia official on a website dedicated to my birth year where i posted on a weekly basis, but now i merely hold the title as i havent done anything there for months except excuse myself from activity due to family matters. i have resumed recreationally surfing the web and talking to friends online, but i still find myself testier about many things that i used to be more patient about and i've noticed with every major life-affecting event, that i get more and more like this and i don't really care for it. it's something that i try to keep in check, but i can't quite control it 100% of the time, either.
my grandmother's passing hasn't brought much change. my grandfather has seemed to grow more bitter of her, and he continues to tire of life. many of her things have vanished and it seems the help was involved, but he rehired them instead of hiring new help. this places quite a bit of unnecessary tension around the place because my mother will not go while any of them are there and if they are, she insists they leave. my uncle lives out of state so he isn't much help in many matters unless my mother pesters him to do something by phone or during one of his rare visits.
it's hard to keep focused when you have so much swimming around in your head, even more so when you're predisposed to having problems with maintaining focus. things have been breaking down right and left this year as well. my tv died so i have to use a small old one which means i can't really read anything on it or appreciate any rental in any great detail. i can't really affor a replacement at for the time being, either. my home has flooded some more this year and it got pretty bad. i am still fighting mildew problems and telecommunications problems as a result. i've been repairing computers in hopes i can get them all completely functional so that mine will work as they used to (if not better) and i can sell some others online so that i can get a little money. finding ways to make money has been a pain because it almost always costs money to make money. i was hoping to find ways to get ahead and it seems like i am barely staying afloat, all the while i am still receiving minimal financial assistance from my mother when she is able to afford it. i am lucky as most mothers wouldn't do this. i am trying to make the best use of her financial assistance, which does not always come as the easiest of choices. there are so many distractions and oh so many things to do, and there is always more to do than before. all i can do is keep trying and keep planning and someday i might manage to make things work ok...
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Because of this hardware failure, I have been unable to mix, produce, or host weekly broadcasts as I normally would. Because my external hard drive is 2tb (read 2000gb), the cheapest repair quote I can possibly get is $6,000.00. I will also have to replace the unit that died and buy and additional back up unit so this doesn't happen again.
Needless to say, I don't have this kind of money to spend all at once. It will take me time to save up for this repair. If I am lucky, maybe I can afford the repair in a year, but I anticipate it taking about ten years instead.
Either way, it will be quite some time before release any new work or mixes. I am currently working on a way to get broadcasts done using different equipment and a different medium.
If anyone knows of a cheaper way to get my repair done, I would appreciate some feedback. If anyone would like to help out financially I could set up a donations link via Paypal, however I would rather be hired to spin or have my albums be bought online.
I would be thrilled to get my life back on track again. I'm sorry this has happened. Thank you for your support.
That was a post I made early in April, over a month after my drive had failed. By that point, I already felt obliged to say something in regards as to why I had ceased to broadcast on a weekly basis, why I was not creating new mixes and remixes, why I was not releasing new albums, and why my work had not been distributed to more online stores for sale as I had promised. I didn't have a lot of information to offer as most of the people I had been in contact with had given me very little information to go on. I like to know as much as I can and compare services before I settle on one. After all, $6000 is a lot of money to cough up and I am not about to give it to the first person I find. I need to know if I can find cheaper, the processes involved, if it's possible for me to cut costs based on options and preferences... I want to feel comfortable and confident knowing the services to be performed will be successfully done by a reliable source.
Because of the paths my life has taken, I do not have $6000 to surrender in one fell swoop. In order to pay such a price all at once, I will need to make and save that money. Unfortunately, the drive died before I could get my music distributed to more online sources. I have only a couple places selling my work now, but they are in obscure locations which do not receive as much internet traffic as where they were going to be located. Most of the work available for sale was available for free for nearly a year so it has not been selling since its availability status changed. I trust at some point the music will start selling. When it was free, it had been down loaded over 15,000 times in less than a year. So I trust it will sell again upon finding a larger audience.
Not only do I not have $6000 to afford to repair my hard drive, my original intent was to make money from my music to afford car repairs so I could have transportation for a job. Most jobs require many things, such as a degree, experience, and reliable transportation. Having tried to work without reliable transportation previously, I know it isn't a viable option when public transportation causes frequent lateness thus threatening job security. I also lack a degree despite my years of college training. Additionally, my work history is patchy, having had to take time off to help my handicapped grandparents and even live with them for a few years. My options are reduced to nothing more than minimum wage jobs or possibly an entry level company position- still requiring reliable transportation at the very least. So i can't get a job without transportation and I can't afford to repair my transportation without a job! Vicious, isn't it? So that brought me to mixing making music and selling it. I figured I would work at home on something I love which I am also capable of doing and make at least enough to afford repairs. I also had dreams of taking my goals to higher levels. I had not planned on hard drive failure thwarting my momentum. I had no backup plan to fall back on.
So suddenly I find myself in the ugly position of wondering what I am going to do. I figure music sales and dj gigs might allow my to make enough money to afford various repairs, but it will take anywhere up to ten years or longer, depending on the strength of the income. I'm not sure I can happily sit around and wait for that kind of money to roll in bit by bit. I like to be productive. I like to feel useful. I tend to measure and assess my progress regularly, so I'm fairly confident I wouldn't like to sit around and wait to have enough money. So what can I do to expedite things?
I have looked into this before; in fact, every time I consider a new job I go through the same train of thought. Most work at home options do not appeal to me. Either I have to put some money into a kit or a phony certification process which turns out to be a scam or the work is for data entry/processing or for collections services. Years ago I was on the other end of the collections services and I can tell you I hate being felt like despicable prey. I would never do that to another person. One might say I should take any job to make money just because it pays. I have never been able to accomplish anything I couldn't put my heart into. I have done data entry/processing and I won't do it again. I have a lousy attention span and when it comes to things I have no interest in, I might as well not be doing it. I also have other limitations. I had back surgery twice. My physical endurance and general comfort level just aren't very good anymore. I find it difficult to sit, stand, lift, kneel and more. I also have developed a sensitivity to light after a scratched cornea; I can assure you migraines don't go as easily as your average headache.
So what the hell can I do??? Well, endurance can be built, but sometimes it takes years to do. It has been three years since my last back surgery. I can do more things now, but I still spend the majority of my time in my bed. I has also been about as long since I scratched my cornea. some days are worse than others, but I can usually manage to be outside in bright sunlight for about an hour before my eyes are exhausted and I start to feel a migraine coming on, both of which are painful experiences. I can withstand normal indoor lighting for even longer, but it's something I generally try to avoid; I even keep my bedroom dimly lit. I figure at the very least I can try to complete a degree or two online while I am still stuck at home. Perhaps I can get into another field that interests me which would afford my repairs. Perhaps there is other work at home, or maybe temporary work (perhaps even abroad) that I can do which will allow me to afford repairs or even more. I have always felt challenged for extra money in the past. Perhaps this is an opportunity to make to make my life even better. To be honest, I have recently been looking into teaching again. The idea of teaching English as a second/foreign language appeals to me. The idea of living abroad also has some appeal and maybe one I might make it a permanent situation, but right now it's merely a consideration as I review my possibilities for completing a degree at home.
I hope this offers some clarity as to whats going on with things in my life right now. When I have more concrete information to offer I will keep you posted. Thank you for your support.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
I can't help but wonder if all these little time shifts are truly necessary. I don't recall any primitive culture resorting to any of this tom foolery in any of my studies. They didn't need to do all these adjustments to make it possible to effectively count time, plan their growing seasons, astronomical figuring, etc. so why do we? Can our culture not leave well enough alone? Does it truly make a difference to our lives to straddle the fence of time as if it were a high wire act? Does it really make sense when we have to make incremental adjustments by 30 seconds or ten minutes to our clocks to effectively count time? Most people don't even keep time that accurately in the first place so give me a break!
People have been programmed to have a need for time. Time is conceptual, not to be harnessed by faulty gadgets which incorrectly measure its units. Schedules are an invention of man which is supposed to adhere to time, but rather they adhere to these devices which measure time incorrectly. Do I need a flawed measure of time? Do I need an extra day scheduled for me? Do I need a schedule? Do I need any of this? I don't think I need a single adjustment for time in order for my life to benefit. I think I can grasp living in this world well enough without adhering to any of these flawed designs made by man. I dare say I have a better concept of time and its perpetual existence than any contemporary calendrical system.
Perhaps instead of us changing in accordance to the system, we ought to change the system. I know, how 1960s of me. Yet these are the changes that make people think. These are the changes that can truly affect our lives which may benefit us for the better. Imagine businesses operating beyond the hours of 9-5. Imagine round the clock shifts. Imagine working any time of day you wanted instead of morning or graveyard shifts. Imagine having meals at any time based on your own personal needs. Imagine you can go out to eat any meal at any time. imagine shopping, driving, conducting business, settling personal matters, receiving parcels, and more at any hour of the day because businesses were open long enough to accommodate your personal needs rather than how financially effective it was to do so.
Some cities operate all day and night. They have to have all shifts covered. I imagine eventually most of the world will operate in this way, but why wait? Why not adapt now rather than later? Why not do something that's beneficial rather than adhere to the mundane? Isn't it time we make our lives better for ourselves?
Friday, February 1, 2008
I have parted ways with Amduscias Records in search of greener pastures and broader horizons.
This means my music will no longer be available for free download at The Internet Archive.
During this time, I will be keeping my Soundclick store current.
You will be able to purchase my work there as usual.
I may also be reviving a record label I started a few years ago, Groove Rhythm.
I have several options and I will keep everyone posted with my progress as usual.
Thank you all for your continued support.
PS - While aspects of my production takes a new shape, I still broadcast weekly on lowercasesounds.com. Continue to count on great sounds from djsquelch & Phase Shifts!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
have you ever thought about the concept of coming of age? most people have and many have gone through some sort of ceremony that recognizes them as an adult, or at least having reached a certain level of maturity. many cultures and religions practice this rite. debutantes, bar/bat mitzvahs, seijin no hi... these are just a few ways young adults are recognized to have come of age.
what about the rest of us who dont undergo some ceremony? does it really matter? would everyone be better off psychologically speaking if they could be recognized ceremonially to have come of age? well, it certainly wouldnt hurt and the chances are that it might improve the results of how many might lead their lives (versus their lives leading them).
i never had any such ceremony other than birthdays, which i never felt were particularly critical to assessing where i was in life- that is, until i reached my mid-twenties and then i started to pay a little more attention to how things were going and what i was accomplishing. when i was 18, i had to sign up for selective service, which means i became old enough to die for my country if that was what my government decided. however, i was still not yet old enough to legally drink alcohol (in a non-religious setting). in my state, virginia, i was also old enough to legally have consensual sex and vote. so i was a man and yet i still had limitations as to what i could and couldnt do. at 16 i became legally allowed to have a license to operate a motor vehicle, personally i didnt get mine until i was in my mid to late twenties. at 21 i finally could drink alcohol legally and yet it was anticlimactic as i felt like it was long since overdue. all these things together seem to sum up adulthood, as with them comes greater responsibilities, and yet they are broken down into three critical stages that are separated by a great deal of time.
this made me realize that the world had very little regard for my coming of age. as a classmate in high school said, " if i am going to be old enough to die for my country, i would like to have a drink first." it may seem silly to some, but considering that alcohol is undeniably an adult beverage which most children dont even like the flavor, most feel special when they are finally allowed to have their first beer (or other alcoholic beverage).
while growing up, i had jewish friends who went through their rite of passage. in high school, i knew a girl who became a debutante. some families decide to give their kids a small celebration in honor of graduating high school, others give it when they have completed college. some families dont do anything, ever. i never really went through a process that officially declared me as a man religiously or socially. my family celebrated my birthday, but it just felt like any other day, even though i was allowed to have an alcoholic beverage. personally, alcohol never made me feel like an adult and i had tried it on several occasions before. i recognize alcohol to be more ceremonial and social, not a major milestone in my life.
no thing or person ever declared a defining point where i was suddenly a man, or even an adult. i picked up responsibilities, jobs, dealt with difficult issues on my own, but never felt a defining point where i had suddenly come of age. yet somewhere along the line it happened, or did it? sure, legally i meet all of the qualifications, but does that really mean i have come of age? nothing spectacular happened to signify it.
because of various personal issues, a lot of things did not transpire in my life as even i would have anticipated. i never completed college yet i have spent 6-7 years in 4 colleges. i never lived away from home yet i have travelled on my own on several occasions. i do not own or rent my own home as i have spent all my time living with my mother or my grandparents. i am not married as a 5+ year long relationship failed and completely shook my world. i have no children. i am no longer employed due to several problems including depression, scratched cornea with complications, and 2 back surgeries also with complications. not to mention 2 years ago, i moved again and i am still with my mother even though i live on a separate floor in what is still considered my grandparents' house even though they no longer live here. it feels a little like an apartment, but i have no bathroom nor kitchen on my floor, nor can i access the outside from my floor although i have a pretty sweet fireplace next to my bed which ive never had before.
i have no way of affording things on my own financially and have to rely on the sometimes financially available kindness of my mother. i owe her a great deal. in some ways i feel like i am less of an adult now than i was in my twenties since i was more self-sufficient then and fairly dependent now.
i work hard on a dream of becoming a dj and producer. most of my work has never seen any monetary compensation. i have done these things for years and even more earnestly in recent years. i dj on the radio, though usually it is online only. i have a modest discography that has seen substantial popularity via online downloads, yet not a soul has purchased any of them. i had a created a record label which folded after about a year when the hosting company folded and i lacked finances to rebuild something that had no fiscal motion. i would like to resurrect that label again.
so have i come of age? yes, somewhere in time i suppose i did and yet i never realized it. like love, it is hard to define as it is more conceptual than material. imaginably if i had gone through some traditional ceremony to announce my coming of age, i might have felt different psychologically, but that didnt happen and anything past that act is simply speculation, even if signs indicated that does make a difference in a person's life.
in the mean time, i live at home, with family, single, broke, and without regular income from an employer. regardless, i continue to try to make things work on my own in the best way i know how. this year, i turn 34 on march 28th.