Thinking Like This

Nobody thinks like I do.

That’s a strong statement, and while not entirely true, it’s close enough to use as my premise. Everyone, at least for a while, wants to be different, special, or unique. Many of us succeed, and many of us slide into something like conformity anyway. That’s usually how it works – we all have our bits of “unique” attributes. Due to pressures from friends, family, or more probably the ‘real world’ in general, we slide these aspects into a sometimes strained relationship with the rest of ourselves – pieces of the whole of The Rest Of The World. To an extent, it has to work this way, at least for most of us. We’re not ready to give up our cell phones, canned soup or antibiotics to live in any of the few remaining wildernesses and be very ‘unique’ there. In many ways, we have more freedom to pursue these often esoteric branchings of personality and creativity when the basic needs of body are met. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to match filling those needs (Work) with doing what we love (Play).

That’s tangential, though. My ‘uniqueness’ is different.  I’m not talking about my creative endeavors, though those are related. I’m not talking about work either, though it certainly connects as well. What’s different is how I think, what that looks like from the outside, and what it means about how I relate to people. I’m sure most folks can relate, and I don’t mean to say that I’m somehow alien. I’m different in degrees, not fundamentally.

I’ve described my thoughts as “rapid fire” or “free association.” There is an substantial amount of noise in my head at any moment – three or four fragments of vectors of analysis of something, a few ‘verbal’ lines running at once. Sometimes I hear more than one song playing at once. None of this seems ‘external’ – it’s all clearly internal “monologue,” fortunately for me I’ve got a clear delineation between internal and external, at least usually. This is especially good, because the signal to noise ratio in here isn’t great.

Once I latch onto something, however, many of those vectors and lines of internal conversation will coalesce into one thing, one general direction or pattern. Many, but not all. If you’ve spent time with me in person, you’ll know what I mean when I mention getting “excited” about something. I can become hugely animated about something, and in that moment, I have intense and ultimate passion about it. I can stay on one subject or object like this for a fairly extended period, or I can branch out in rapid, ADD-like tangents., probably thanks to the not-tied-up vectors of thought. This is probably the most clearly visible aspect of what’s “different” about me, and it’s caused a lot of people to try to come up with labels to describe “what I am.” Thanks, but as I age I realize it’s not entirely that simple

My rapid-fire tangent-following is, I imagine, related to my intense desire to cross-reference everything to, well, everything else. It’s a pretty large project, and it’s not exactly, well, sane, nor is it entirely conscious, but more than one person has made the observation. It’s also in line with how my memory operates – if a fact is isolated (a date, a single chunk of information about something, or maybe a conversation) I’ll usually forget it – but if I can correlate it to something else, it’ll be locked in permanently. Certainly this is why people use mnemonic devices, but my ability to lose declarative memories and remember stuff that relates is pretty skewed.

This is a tough post to write – it’s hard to try to open up my skull and share it when this stuff is so internal and so ingrained, but there’s one thing that’s easy to explain: being like this is lonely. I haven’t met a lot of people who seem to be like this at all. In that, it’s actually difficult to find people I can converse with easily. Oh, it’s easy enough to find people to rant at, and some people seem to rather enjoy my company, so I can only imagine that such asymmetry isn’t inherently unpleasant for everyone – but I don’t know a lot of people who operate at this pace, or with this level of chaos – or intensity. I’ve met one, or maybe two – and both were fairly subdued compared to me, though in many ways far more brilliant. (Perhaps self control and meditation are worth looking into… )

I have hope, though. There are billions and billions of people out there. (Thanks, Carl Sagan. ) It’s impossible that there’s nobody like me. I just need to find a few of us. Then we can move out and start a commune in the forest, and not have to deal with that Real World thing. We can just rant and ramble at each other endlessly… or at least until we all die of some common bacterial infection due to the lack of running water and antibiotics.

Er, maybe being almost-unique isn’t such a bad thing.

Extreme Kitsch

Yesterday was pretty great – I went hiking with some friends, but the real highlight of the day was my discovery of a spectacular kitsch object.

On the trip up, I noticed something on the side of the road – it looked like a horn. My friend suggested it might be a bell. Being the mad musician I am, I decided to get off at an exit, loop back, and try to grab this Mystery Musical Thingy.

This necessitated a walk along the highway, which was somewhat unnerving, and not helped by the Freshly-Roadkill’d wild turkey I had to walk past. At least I’m a more visible target… right?
Fortunately, my worries quickly disappeared as I approached the Horn/Bell/Whatever. When I first saw it from a distance, I thought it was a horn half spilled out of its case. As I neared, I realized it was actually next to a book. Great, I thought, a book and a horn, what a find! As I drew even closer, I saw there was a cord, and a lamp. Even better, a horn, a lamp, and a book!

Book Horn Lamp

Imagine my surprise when I discovered this wasn’t a pile of three discreed items at all, but instead, this was some sort of unlikely Horn/Book/Lamp amalgamation. Those of you unable to view the attached image will just have to imagine, because this is a pretty amazing piece of… er… something. I almost want to get a brandy snifter, a leather recliner, and a small library for my “den,” and smoke a pipe while watching the stock ticker under the pale glow of this… thing. You get the idea. It’s an amazing mix of “refinement” and “horrifying trashiness.” But the photo speaks for itself.

Oddly enough, the horn does work, in that if I make farting noises with my lips in one end, they come out amplified at the other. Given my horning skills, that’s about the most I could ask for from a highway roadkill Horn/Book/Lamp.

Now I just need to find a suitably awful shade… and maybe a smoking jacket.

Where there’s smoke, there’s oven.

I’m in my lovely new apartment, and I do mean new. Nobody’s lived here before – the previous residents were pigeons, and before that, decades ago, this was a commercial building. So, everything I do here is a first – including filling the place with acrid smoke.

Since I’ve moved in, I’ve been doing that whole unpacking thing. One of the things I discovered was a bag of tortilla chips, so I decided a great “christening” activity would be to make nachos! I fired up the oven – preheat to 375, as per my own tastes when it comes to melted cheese. In a few minutes, the oven started smoking.

2 hours, 4 stingy eyes, two fans, one concerned passerby, one Google search, and one smoke-filled living room later, I’ve discovered that many new ovens have a “breaking in” period, during which they’ll burn off the nasty things used to construct them – oils, solvents, paints, etc.  Occasionally this also includes things like “tape the contractors forgot to remove” and things like that – but I’m firmly planted in the ‘this is normal’ mindset right now.  If I thought there was something wrong with the oven, I’d have to contact someone ‘responsible’ for that sort of thing, and then I’d probably end up oven-less, or looking stupid.  Neither of those two are appealing, so I’ve got this thing on a self-cleaning cycle, and while the fans aren’t doing a good job of getting the smoke out of the apartment, at least it appears the oven has stopped producing the nasty stuff.  (That does assume that the mix of strange chemicals in the air hasn’t so impaired my judgment that I’m no longer capable of noticing smoke pouring out of an oven.  And if I were an alien invader, in the form of smoke, that’s exactly how I’d handle taking over the earth.)

You might be wondering why I have all these fans and still have a ton of smoke here – it’s actually very easy to explain.  I can’t open the windows, because the hinges and handles haven’t been installed yet.  I didn’t know you could get windows without those sorts of things, but apparently all that stuff gets thrown out the window (pun unintended, I swear) when you’re dealing with a “historic building.”  Hinges and handles be damned – what’s important is that the outside of the building remain largely unchanged.  This would be more understandable if this were an attractive brownstone, or a late 1700s whatever… but this is more of an early 1900s industrial nightmare.  But, it’s historic, so the ugliness is sacred.

I’d keep writing about this, but I can’t really see the screen so well anymore, so I’m going to be stepping out of this place for a bit.  Don’t blame me if the smoke aliens set up their Earth outpost in my apartment – I just wanted to make nachos.

Moved. Moving? Maybe “Moveding…”

It’s happened, finally.  I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. In this case, “the tunnel” is the layout of my apartment, and “the light” is the solitary permanently-sealed window at one end.  Fortunately, I live in the 21st century, so I can use my choice of Kerosene, Incandescent, or Fluorescent illumination – though I think people might complain were I to use an arc lamp. Pity, that; I’ve had a great deal of fun with those over the years.

So, yes, the lighting situation is less than ideal, and there’s work still left to be done, but I’m in the apartment!

Overall, I’m happy with the place. It’s a step down in size, but a step up in various features – I turned on the AC for a test run when I left to bring stuff, and when I came back I walked into – I kid you not – a solid wall of cool. Hell – if it had been any cooler, I’d have guessed I was in a paradoxical time-travel situation. (See, that’s a joke about how cool I am, since I travelled back in time, and met myself, and it’s not just the arrival in the DeLorean that makes me cool – I swear!)

The big thing, though, is that little detail of, you know, actually having my own place again. I can spread out my stuff, work on my things, and do all that stuff I do with things. And stuff. And you know what else? I can shower whenever I damned well please. Sure, I’ll probably occasionally “forget” to shower for a week, but that’s not the point. The point is I can shower. Hell, I can shower with the door open, with a transparent shower curtain and sing “Stayin’ Alive” if I want. Falsetto, baby.

Oh, and there’s that matter of the 90 second commute – that’s a good thing too – because until I have 1,200,00 daily viewers and sponsorships from Jolt Cola and Adidas, well, that whole Work Thing is kind of a Big Deal.

Some stuff is in, some stuff isn’t – and regardless of the in/out state, it’s boxed. It’s funny – I don’t remember what’s in those boxes. I have this feeling that I’m dealing with Shroedinger’s Clutter. Until I open the boxes, the probability won’t resolve itself, and there’s no real answer to what’s in those things.

This moving process means there will likely be a pretty high percentage of “this is my life and how it is going” posts, but I assure you – it’s worth it. When I don’t have a space of my own (even if it’s a space that redefines itself daily, like during a distance hike), things start to get… scattered. You don’t want to be sharing my headspace when it’s too scattered, because otherwise the frog train into flashing makes finger’s seven forks spinning. Obviously.

Unappealing IP Addresses

Warning: Completely inane post follows.

I’m still waiting for my realtor to tell me I can move in.  The realtor is waiting for the landlord, the landlord is waiting for the builders, who are in turn waiting for their supplier to deliver the last few things that need to go into the apartment before I move in.  So, given my uncomfortable situation, I’ll share some unrelated discomfort.

I’m looking through server logs, and I’m seeing a lot of different IP addresses.  That’s not surprising.  Actually, if you’re surprised to see IP addresses in your logs, something is clearly horribly wrong – but I digress.  What surprised me is the difference in aesthetic appeal of various IP addresses.  I don’t like IP addresses that start with 3 digit numbers – 173.42.8.113 would be an ugly IP address, where was 64.171.83.203 would be nice.

I know there’s more at play here than just lengths of sections – I have a feeling that even vs. odd is in play, etc.  And that’s it for tonight’s inane screen/brain bandwidth usage.  Things will be so much better I can get back to typing on my Model M and not on a 12″ laptop, during the brief non-work, non-move, non-too-tired-to-do-anything moments.

Moving.

I’m moving, and I’m working. These two things have cut into my blog/personal time seriously, so this has taken a back page. Once I’m settled at my new place (which will hopefully be in a few days) I’ll be on a roll again – and the change in commute from 1 hour to 2 minutes should help matters a great deal as well.

I’m sure you’ve read this sort of thing before, but it’s important for me to keep you up to date… right?

Oh.. and a minor detail – once I’m moved in, I’ll be able to write music again!

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Art, Concerts, and Shared Experience

I call this blog “Shared Headspace” because that’s something important to me – trying to occupy space in each other’s minds, sharing each other’s context. I think that’s one of the best effects of art – not just the “wow” or “that’s beautiful” moment, but the newfound insight into the mind and world of the artist.

Art goes beyond this one-on-one interaction between artist and observer, though, and I think this is one of the things that might be easy to miss out on. Obviously no two people will experience an individual piece of art in the same way – but when watching a crowd of people at a concert, it’s obvious they’re sharing something. That group of people becomes linked not only to the performers, but through the performance they become linked to each other. For the length of the concert, they’ll all be focused on the same thing, and to varying degrees (depending on the insight of the listener and the talent of the musicians, I would imagine) experience the same internal landscape. The individual bits of reflection they might have will be different, but everyone listening will walk out of the concert a slightly different individual than they were upon entry – and they’ll all be a tiny bit closer together.

I think that some kinds of music encourage this sort of interlinking, certain mental states, and certain conclusions more than others, but I think all good art can do this for us. Even seeing things differently, we’re still seeing aspects of some single truth – the very essence of what the artist created, something almost impossible to define.

Writing is an art as well, and as such can also bring our minds into similar places. Unsurprisingly, one of my goals for this blog is to help us establish one of these shared headspaces. I’m out of practice, but as I grow and stretch, I hope our common context does as well.

Quest for a musical scratchpad, love of the Casio SK-5

Something I’ve wanted for a long time is a sort of ‘scratchpad’ for music. As a writer, it’s easy to jot down ideas in a notebook, or on a laptop. As a musician, I find this to be a lot tougher. (This is, of course, for ‘normal’ music – the noise thing is completely different, and very little of this post will apply).

I’ve always loved the Casio SK-5 for its insane immediacy – it’s very portable, runs on batteries, and of course has that lovely sampling feature with the built-in mic. I’ve used my SK-5 on a number of songs, true, but it’s gotten far more use as something I can bounce ideas off, practically anywhere. Tonight I put together a 15 second bit of music, a few notes, a chord progression – and realized the major shortcoming of the SK-5.

After I’d been playing for a few minutes, I decided my idea was worth keeping. Unfortunately, I’m hopelessly poor at remembering bits of music that I come up with. So, I did what made the most sense – I grabbed my laptop, opened it up, fired up Audacity (not my favorite, but it was there), and recorded using the built-in mic. Sounds like crap, of course, but it was just a scratchpad.

There has to be a better way than this! Laptops are great, and so are little Casio keyboards, but this SK-5 was built in the 80s. With the technology available now, someone could replicate each feature of this SK-5,  have enough room left over for audio and midi recording, and still be able to make a profit selling them around $200 USD.  Of course, in the grand tradition of ‘lots of stuff packed into a small space’ there’s the serious likelihood of Bad User Interface – and that would render the whole thing pointless.

Am I hoping for something crazy, here? Part of the charm of the SK-5 is how little it does- and how easy it is to get access to that limited feature set. The more features you add to something, the more difficult it is to use- just look at someone struggling with their PocketPC phone some time to get an idea of what I’m talking about. Things need not go so poorly, of course, and some smart minds like Alan Cooper have said more, more eloquently on this subject than I could ever hope to.

I still want a better way to ‘think’ music into a form that I can replay and edit later, though.

Introduction and Summary

Hi. My name is Overand and I write “Noise Music.”

I like to imagine that introductions are simple, that there’s some way we can convey, in just a few words or sentences, something about who we actually are. I’ve written a lot of profiles for a lot of internet sites – professional, personal, and “personal ad.” It doesn’t get easier- part of that is, I’m sure, because I’m not the writer I want to be. Every few years I start again, saying to myself “This time, I’m going to write – this time, I’m going to make it good.”

Hi. My name is Overand, and I wish I were a writer – not just a musician.

That’s better, isn’t it? I’ve started to say something about what I do, and what I *wish* I could do – so now we have an introduction that’s 4th dimensional. A past, present, and future.

Hi. My name is Overand, and I want to think in more dimensions than I’m allowed to. I want to mathematically represent the ‘spiritual,’ and viscerally experience the hyperdimensional. I want to use ‘noise’ to help you see this way, because shared context is ultra-happy important to me.

Oh – and I don’t edit, yet. So… I’m Overand, and I’m a blogger.

Hello, metaverse.

So this is my ‘hello world’ post, on my ‘actual blog,’ finally -but tentatively- configured. Here’s to hoping I’ll actually put some effort into this…