Saturday, November 26, 2011

Garageband Tricks: 3/4 Drum loops and low volume exporting!

For those who are looking for some answers about garageband, I have found two:

(1) For those who have low volume output when exporting, here is what I learned:
  • The problem is with Garageband '09.
  • Go to preferences -> Advance -> uncheck the box that says "Export songs at full loudness" or something like that. I know, it seems contradictory, but it works. You may want to increase the master volume as well. 

(2) For those who  want drum loops in 3/4 time (waltz) and can't find any, here is what I did.
  • I made my song, in 3/4. I set my tempo where I wanted it.
  • I then went to the bottom center display and cycled through until I got to the tempo and time signature. I moved the 3/4 to 4/4.
    • I then picked a drum loop that I liked, that fit my style.
    • I then switched the song back to 3/4 with the drum loop in the song. 
    • I then cropped the drum loop to make it a 3/4 beat.
      • I did this by chopping a beat off. 
      • This is the place to explore. Chop ends or beginnings off. Copy and paste the remainder back to back. See how it feels. Mine turned out great. I used a smooth drum loop like Lounge jazz or something like that. Worked like a charm.
      • If the loop is 8 beats, you may be able to squeeze out two 3/4 measures and put them back to back.
Ok... comment if you have questions! Trial and error and what not.


Friday, November 18, 2011

What does Facebook even mean to me? Is "Unfriend" even a word?

To be honest and upfront, I am a people-pleaser by nature. I am working on it. Christ will restore me through it. But, for the meantime, it means that I can sometimes over-react, over symbolize and take things the wrong way. You be the judge!

Lately I can't get this out of my head. Someone I greatly admire, someone I hold with the utmost respect, someone who embodies all that I thought was maturity, someone who is wise UNFRIENDED me on facebook! Really! Straight up, without warning, unfriended me.

Now, I didn't have the closest relationship with this person but we have certainly had some strong bonds. Also, this person added me to begin with. Either way, my feelings are kind of hurt. This person never talked to me about any issue. Never told me that they were having issues with me.

I am wrestling with some reasons why this could have happened:
  • Honest to goodness technical glitch
    • Maybe, but what are the chances?
  • I moved away to Seattle for school and this person only keeps facebook friends with whom they closely interact.
    • I know this isn't true, there are other long-distant friends
  • because of a spat on facebook that we had...
    • Now, as a people pleaser I am thinking about what I did wrong. The last negative interaction I remember having was over a joke that I told. The joke wasn't dirty or inappropriate. It may have seemed personally pointed but after I apologized profusely and over many times and reassured my innocent intentions, not inferring anything about anyone, just joking, I thought the matter had been resolved. I ate my words, apologized, deleted the post and moved on. This was some time ago. 
Now maybe you're thinking that I just offended this person and they're mad. Maybe... I would just hope that someone would talk it out with me. I desire relationship over everything else. I can be crass. I can be controversial. I can seem pretentious and arrogant (I am working on this too), but certainly I would hope that I am approachable. I have never turned down a good conversation. I value constructive criticism very highly, regarding it dear to my moral character building.

What irks me more is that it is stupid facebook. I mean, really? Why am I going to get offended over facebook? It is so small and insignificant. I have had people completely disassociate themselves with me. And yet this seems more offensive. At least the other people made a stand, said their peace and walked away. They don't like me. I get it. They're absolutely wrong, but I understand. We have an understanding: I understand that they have the right to be wrong. Carry on! BUT THIS just seems ludicrous. Facebook?!?! Is this a passive aggressive way to let someone know someone is upset without actually doing the right thing of sitting down and talking it out?

Maybe facebook friendship isn't as insignificant as I thought. Maybe it points to a bigger reality. No more drifting apart, now I can just unfriend you. Clean break. Can't see my wall, posts, or general life happenings. Where is the dignity in digitally terminating a friendship? What ever happened to the falling away from each other and running into each other at the grocery store acting all "oh-hey-how-are-you?-yeah-sorry-I-forgot-to-email-you-back-about-that-thing-2-years-ago.-Yeah,-things-have-just-been-so-busy" excuse? The "I've just been so busy" excuse is perfect. We're all let down gently. No one has to feel bad. No one has to feel like it is their fault. We can blame it on life circumstances. It is so much easier to blame it on life circumstances.

I mean, where is the facebook etiquette? Even my enemies don't unfriend me. Have the decency to just hide me and all my posts. It is easy... on my next post, click the arrow in the upper right hand corner of my post. On the drop down you can limit the number of my posts to "only important" or even "unsubscribe from status updates from Jaymes" altogether. It is that simple. We will still be "friends" but you won't be annoyed by me anymore. This is far more passive aggressive without hurting people's feelings.

I MEAN have you ever unfriended someone? It is like playing "Where's Waldo?" in a candy-cane lovers and blue jeans convention (c'mon, give it to me, I am making it up as I go - that is original material). Facebook is like a gang, we are friends4life according to them. You can't just go to someone's page and find an unfriend button. You can't even go to your own homepage and unfriend them. You have to go all the way to your own page (not very intuitive) to get to your own "friends" on the left hand column then search their name or scroll all the way down (because facebook alphabetizes by first letter of first name... I know, ridiculous) and then click the icon next to their name that says "friends" and then click "unfriend" at the bottom of the pop-down menu. I know, that issssssss a lot of work. It would be easier to be room-mates at this point then do all those steps. But one thing it does mean is that when you unfriend someone, you are mad enough to perform a facebook triatholon just to do it. It is not a simple flip of the wrist. It is not by accident. For people who are older, I wouldn't be surprised if it took a call to the children or grandchildren to figure it out. This is a multi- sticky note instruction kind of a thing.

So, in all honesty, (1) my feelings are genuinely hurt if the action was performed on purpose, (2) I think there should have been some dialogue about this if I offended you that much, and (3) I probably made matters worse by joking around in this post... oh well, can't please everyone.

What do you think? Should I be offended? Should I let it go? Should I bring it up with that person? You decide, ABCD.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aaron Roche - Etude

Aaron Roche is one of my favorite artists in the music biz. He kills it all the time. Everything he touches is gold. And he is so smart, so intuitive. The songs sound poppy but the lyrics will blow you away if you peel back the the layers...

One of my favorite songs of his on his latest EP is called "Etude." The music is epic with a trio of trumpets, some gong, and steady folksy drums.

The lyrics center around a Galatians passage where Paul is concerned for his children. The lyrics are word for word Galatians 4:19-20 (NIV), " My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!"

The music builds and swells like a woman in labor. It starts and stops alternating lyrics. When the word "childbirth" rings out, the music interlude is longer and has much more dissonance. Heavy distortion from electric guitars and trumpets. Very classical, very modern.

After the dissonance of child-birth, the vocal line is brighter and more melodic. There is a resolve in the synth/strings even though the language is not necessarily positive.

On "you" a contemporary chord progression takes over on a clean electric guitar. The lyrics are still religious in theme but now turn to a poem by Emily Dickenson called, "The Sun and Moon Make their Haste." The line that Roche sings is "But for the zones of Pradise the Lord alone is burned." He repeats this a few times. It is only slightly off from Dickenson's, "For in the Zones..."

One commentator says that this poem is about the marriage of Heaven and Earth on the final day. The Sun and Moon must leave because in this eschaton the Lord is the only light we will need (1). Whether or not this is the meaning that Roche is ascribing to is debatable. It is not entirely implausible. The connection between Christ finally formed in us and being together could gel very well with the notion of consummation in the end where all things are new and restored and right. Where we are all together in the City of God where God alone is burned as our light and we could all be together. When God births new creation.

Roche ends with a middle eastern sounding riff, with a faint eight note driving drum beat and a single tone drone. The lyrics seem to be riffing the Galatians verse above. The drums build for a measure to explosion and the completely cutting out which the end of the song follows shortly.

Great song... buy the rest of the EP "!BlurMyEyes"!

(1) Dorothy Huff Oberhaus, "Emily Dickinson's Fascicles: Method & Meaning" (82).

Bernard of Clairvaux on Basic Love and the Poor!

Bernard is describing 4 loves that humans can experience.

What was most interesting to me was that when Bernard was describing the four loves possible by humans, the very basic one that he thought all people should be characterized by was a love that involved Justice. He describes it as loving ourselves for our own sake but he says, "Should a man feel overburdened at satisfying not only his brethren's just needs but also their pleasures... He can be indulgent as he likes for himself providing he remembers his neighbor has the same rights... Then your love will be sober and just if you do not refuse your brother that which he needs of what you have denied yourself in pleasure. Thus carnal love becomes social when it is extended to others" (On Loving God 8.23) (This is quoted from Tamburello, 95)

This is the basic of all love. It is the first stage. It is the most selfish. It is most marred by a life of sin and yet Bernard still believes that it is characterized by denying ourselves so that our neighbors can have their needs met. He doesn't specify whether or not this neighbor is believer or non-believer. I would venture to guess that it is all people as scripture usually interpret neighbor as anyone. He did warn that it could lead to self-indulgent sin, but mostly thought that it was the first step towards a greater love, even more unselfish love.

If only the church loved like this!

Notes: Bernard is writing this as a monk writing in the years 1120 - 1130.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Question and thought of the day - 11/8/2011

Do you ever feel like you just understand the world better than everyone else and if everyone else just thought the same way you did, the world would be such a better place in general?

Sometimes I do that. I think that the world is so screwed up and if people just did, thought, loved the way I think we all should, it would be so much better.

Partly I am right. The world is screwed up in deep ways.

But otherwise I am wrong. I am wrong in untold and profound ways. I am at the height of pride, hubris and arrogance to think that my feeble way is the best. That my way should be every one's way. That everyone should think my way.

I think when we get to the point where everyone else is just stupid/ dumb/ incomprehensibly ignorant/ so completely backwards, really it is 'we' that needs the adjustment.

I think the problem is that everyone thinks they are right. I mean, if someone thought they were wrong, they would change their mind, right?

But ideas and concepts and truth all have real consequences. Thoughts are very real things providing us lenses to view our very real world. They are important.

How do we get to the point where just assume the other side, the other person, the other faction, the other party is just blind?

What do you think? Do you ever feel like everyone else is just a blind idiot? How does it benefit you to feel that way? How does it hurt you?

Should we just go on thinking they're wrong? Can we at least try to understand that their side has its own logic and reasoning, probably not much better than our own? Maybe even it is a both/and situation.

It seems like we are conditioned/ socialized to value different things. It is the valuing of certain things that really determines our ideas, right? Stances are really determined for us by those we respect, right? That is why peer pressure is so coercive, we value our peers and therefore adopt seemingly unhealthy actions to conform with those we respect. We may have a grandpa or a mom or a teacher. They may say something that makes alot of sense, but is it because we have respected them first. They can not speak into our lives unless we let them, right? Nothing can... nothing can speak into our lives unless we like them. Is it to be determined, then, with our ideals? Are our ideals shaped by those we respect?

Can we really be so harsh with people who have different ideals when most of ours, most of everyone's, are just shaped by a community that we trust?

Am I wrong? Am I right? Am I neither? Am I both? Does it matter?