Monday, September 22, 2008

Recording

I will be recording a few songs next week. It's about time. Music is my life and I will not forsake it no matter what else I've got going on. It has kept me sane when I have thought of giving up and inspired me to do things I wouldn't have bothered about otherwise.

I have about a dozen songs and ideas. Some are instrumentals while others follow the standard pop-rock song format. It is just mainly me this time. I am stripping it down. The acoustic guitar will have to carry the songs by itself. No more band for me. I have changed the tuning of my guitar to incorporate playing rhythm and lead at the same time. It is liberating. I am no guitar great like Robert Johnson but I think I can play my own brand or music well enough.

I will put the songs up for streaming once I'm done. Will have to set up a new myspace page because some asshole hacked into my Tragicomedy myspace account last year and I haven't been able to log in since. That's ok. I like the idea of starting over. This time I am going to change the password as often as I can.

I have a song called "Theatre of Life" that is one of the catchiest things I have written. There are a couple more that are catchy in a quirky way because I am going a little off-kilter on these. Have to keep things interesting for myself too instead of just doing the obvious.

Hope it goes well. I only have a short time to record. Family life and work are still the priority at the moment.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Maintenance

I have had to lose a few kilos in the last few weeks because in addition to having trouble buttoning my pants, I was also feeling a little out of sorts and lethargic. When I checked the scale last month I was shocked to to find out I was about 90kgs. That is almost 200lbs. If I was a boxer I could fight in the heavyweight division.

I don't know why I was shocked because my clothes were all getting tighter by the day. The last straw was when I tried to wear my old wedding suit to a friend's reception and the pants wouldn't fit. My wife and mother-in-law took the opportunity to call me fat and I can't blame them.

Last year I weighed myself regularly to make sure I didn't go over 85kg. That is a decent manageable weight that doesn't require major sacrifice on my part. However a person of my height,5"10, should really be only 78kgs or less. I was around that weight when i got married four years ago. Every year since then my weight has been creeping up.

This year I completely neglected the weighing scale until recently. Maybe it's the baby factor. I see a lot of my friends also balloon up when they have a baby. I guess I am no different. It makes sense for the wife to put on weight. But what excuse do fathers have for packing on the pounds. I guess contentment and happiness could be used as an excuse for letting yourself go but that seems like a cop-out.

Anyway, I have lost about 4kgs in the last few weeks. I am now 86kgs. All I did was cut out the rice and eat less during the day. Since dinner is home cooked there is no way I could avoid that. But rice was kept to a minimum.

I don't have time to exercise so all I do is some push-ups and sit-ups every now and then. It helps. My pants fit slightly better now. My energy level is coming back. It would be good to start swimming and playing football again but I would rather spend my free time playing with my little boy than out kicking a ball or at the gym.

Maintenance is the key. If I let myself go I could easily be over 200lbs and have to buy new pants every so often. Once you start buying bigger pants there is no end to how much bigger you will grow. I am just glad I can still fit into my old pants. My goal is to try to be able to wear the same size pants when I'm 50. My wife might call me vain but I am sure she would prefer me being lean and healthy looking rather than a fat old uncle.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tabula Rasa

I first read about John Locke, the 17th Century English philosopher more than a decade ago while taking some philosophy classes as a student at Buffalo State College. Back in the late 17th and early 18th Century Locke had an enormous influence on the development of epistemology, political philosophy and social contract theory. I've forgotten most of his stuff already but his theory of mind still stays with me.

According to Locke, the mind is a "blank slate" or "tabula rasa". People are born without innate ideas. He suggested that “the little and almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies have very important and lasting consequences." He argued that the “associations of ideas” that one makes when young are more important than those made later because they are the foundation of the self. They are what first mark the tabula rasa.

Locke warns against, for example, letting “a foolish maid” convince a child that “goblins and sprites” are associated with the night because the child will forever associate night with frightful things. "Associationism," as this theory would come to be called, exerted a very powerful influence over eighteenth-century thought, particularly educational theory. Educational writers even till today warn parents not to allow their children to develop negative associations because it will cause unnecessary obstacles later in life.

As a parent I can only hope I don't give my child any negative associations while he is in his formative years. There is nothing like giving your son a fearless approach to life so that he feels that there is nothing he can't do if he really wants to. That would be one less obstacle he has to deal with.

My parents were great but if I can avoid their tendency, like a lot of parents from the last generation, to only point out what is wrong rather than to inspire in a positive way, then I will be happy. There are enough obstacles in life without having a child deal with negative associations that will linger on long after you have forgotten about it.

I believe genes play a part. Some people have horrible tempers and others are calm no matter what they are faced with. I attribute some of that to genes. My temper can be horrible at times but I have siblings who are calmer than I am even though we grew up in the same household and with the same parents. I may have inherited my mum's temper while my brother probably got my father's easygoing nature. However I do agree with Locke that the negative or positive associations we have from our childhood play a large part in how we turn out as adults. Most of the obstacles we have in life are in our head. If we can get around that, then half the battle is already won.