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Happy 2021!

Happy 2021!

First post of last year here.

Last year pretty much started the same as this one. In a dark room - a soft backlight as to not take away focus from the occasional outside fireworks - and me by the computer. Writing up last-minute resolutions, hoping to have time to reflect on a New Year and a New Me but not quite taking and/or having the time.

I felt like I wrote little last year, but it seems it'll be even less now.

I talked about a storm then, but the fireworks were so much stronger this time around. Who would have thought? 2020 marked the start of a new decade - an at the time hopeful new phase for humankind, but this years all the more savage a showcase of fire and flame and sparkle seems to show that it's just a number after all. Even if it seemed awesome at the time we didn't really need the new as we do now.

I watched those decorative flares with a stupid grin on my face now. Growing wider and wider as more and more light struck the sky, soon lighting up a thick layer of smoke: the haze of aftermath.

I felt invigorated. All the more hopeful about how 2021 might turn out. All the more confident in my own abilities, and joyous that so many others seem to share the same sentiments. That so many of us really hope that this time it better be better. This time we start the decade that last New Year was supposed to.

I won't say 2020's been all bad - but it's been laden with uncertainty and unwanted tension, all too much stress, a couple breakdowns, the clarity of an ongoing midlife crisis I've been able to somewhat mask behind a veil of distractions during prior years, that this wave of isolation forced me to face. Thus my #1 resolution for the year. I know it'll sound vague to anyone who reads it, but it's vague to me too. I'm not sure how to transform; to get where I need to be. Not sure where to start. Maybe with a little more reflection time I could've drawn out some pointers.

Maybe I will! And it seems this post is growing longer than I expected it to already and possibly uncomfortably introspective considering the air of festivity we should currently be trying to breath in - never mind that fosfor haze!

I guess I started this journey last year, but it's probably safe to say that things got in the way of the change I crave and one day maybe (I mean this year) will hail and brave. Slay my dragon. Let the tail prevail.

It hasn't been all bad! I sure posted more during 2020 than 2019 - albeit still not as much as I hoped to. I made some music I'm proud of. I managed to travel a bit despite all the roadblocks this 'rona thing tried to throw in my way. I've interacted with a bunch of cool people - both new and old acquaintances - mostly online unfortunately/fortunately/would-be-more-fortunately-if-I-was-interacting-a-bit-more-IRL-too, and I've come to all kinds of self-realizations that I am absolutely positive (not corona positive - don't worry - took a drive-through test last week) that a normal year would never have given me as ideal circumstances to find. For good or bad.

Whatever change this year might bring I plan to keep blogging though, keep on writing, and most importantly keep making music.

You can find my subsequent yearly resolutions post here - from the other side of the yearly divide - for anyone who maybe stumbles upon this outside the main stream.

I hope you managed to get some good out of last year too; here's to the new! The one we've all been waiting for. So long. It's done.

So so long 2020! And Happy 2021.

And good night. I'll revise more tomorrow.

If you need some music to get into the mood of a new era I'd suggest listening to this tonight, and this tomorrow morning.

Resolutions 2020

Grand hopes and visions for a New Year drawing near yeah!

The minutes to midnight are really ticking down now, and I've barely started on my resolutions post... I've been wishing random NG-based accomplices a Happy New Year a while in advance and getting stuck in all kinds of random conversations in the process... plus just ordered a pair of pant pairs and two shipments of nutritious foods - one batch of which was on a New Year sale that ends at midnight, and one smaller batch of which I had a personal rebate for that was set to expire at midnight.

I haven't fully read up on or registered the ISRC codes I'd planned to finally get to this morning or revised the set of posts here that I'd planned to get through before the New Year came waltzing in - or a bundle of other things - but what does all of that matter now? The New Year is soon here, and my stress has momentarily faded. It's too late anyway. So I type away with the seldom seen speed of New Year exhilaration.

With the hopes that good things are just around the corner. Aware that I'll soon be cheering in the great 2021 with my parents and watching a festivity of fireworks set the gloomy skies outside ablaze, as we turn down all lights inside and toast with fancy sparkling apple cider with a hint of lemon and mint. Herrljunga.

I wish I always typed this fast. I wish I always felt this focused and ready; in the moment. I wish I had both the presence and the calm that this guy seems to have.

But maybe I do - if just for a moment - and it's wishes like these that this post is supposed to be all about after all.

But I wish to keep it simple. There's a segment from last year - and the year before - that I'd like to remind myself of once again. The mantra I wish to mold into myself. The essence - I feel - of the saying that excellence is a habit:

Don't wait, but don't haste. Don't hesitate. Don't stall, don't fall, don't all. Don't say "yes" if you stress. Don't do if you are not supposed to. But mostly, a 'can't do' won't do: think instead of what you could do. Be good too.

If I could only become that then I feel like I'd be where I want to be. That I wouldn't look back. That I'd appreciate the moment. That everything would make sense. That I'd be confident in myself and greet each new day as a challenge and opportunity; strive not just to become better but to always be good and to feel fulfilled.

But maybe that wouldn't even be a challenge then. Maybe I'm confusing things. Maybe I oughta just sit down and reflect on my past resolutions. See what I've accomplished so far and what I've yet to do...

Last year I wanted to:

1. Get in shape.

I kept this simple. No specific walk amounts of exercises. Variation goes a long way I said - I just needed to get better at taking care of myself. No overindulgence, no laziness, and no sacrificing exercise time for other dues when I know I need it. Manifest some proper exercise regimes and routines and stick with them, and stay mobile even when I'm at a standstill.

So how did that go? Not really!

Especially during these bleak winter months that motivation comes and goes. Mostly goes. Proper exercise regimes and routines don't manifest themselves, though I have been taking two daily walks every day for at least the last few months now. I can't remember a day when I didn't.

I also started with a six pack training app, that had I really followed through with the exercises would have maybe actually given me a semblance of some av visibility in a month or two. Three-four months later I've yet to finish that first month set. But I'm almost there, and the exercises I've done have been heavy, so they must've done something.

Of course summer provided plenty of physical labor too, and lately I'm playing frisbee golf a day each week or so, and almost dislocated my right shoulder when I tried that with a weight vest on recently. It's taking some time to feel normal again. Oh: weight vests. Going heavy with those.

I wouldn't say I'm in shape - especially not after this very overindulgent Christmas week - but I do feel like I'm getting somewhere. I definitely haven't been lazy either, just occasionally very tired and stressed, and unfortunately my exercise routines don't carry through when it matters the most. Still room to improve on this.

2. Stop stalling.

I'd gotten better at this the past few years, but planned to improve further on this commitment, first and foremost in regard to writing. When I start writing something - I wrote - I shall aspire to finish it, and if it's in regard to a blog post or similar time-relevant item then I shall get it done right away whenever possible. And revise it before I post it. No leftover dues unless they really are necessary.

So... no. Didn't manage this at all. I've managed to write. I wrote and recorded daily verses for two months straight a while ago, and have been keeping up with a hundred words per day for longer, but I do also currently have a backlog of circa a hundred movie reviews left unposted. and then some. I don't feel I've written neither consistently nor ambitiously for most of this year, and I haven't managed as much as I would've liked to.

Still room to improve on that. But with the stalling thing overall...?

Yeah... I mean yeah as in: no. Still room to improve there too. Maybe I've stalled more this year than i did the last one. Maybe involuntarily, with the pandemic getting in the way of all too many a good plan, on concerts, and trips, and virtually all other outside/real-world activities I'd normally engage in. It's wrecked havoc on my mind too. It's lowered my confidence levels and made me somewhat hesitant and weary.

I wouldn't say I'm but a shell of my former self but: a little too much stalling. Need to re-envision this one for the New Year.

3. Leftover 2016 goals.

I said I'd reveal these when I accomplished them but I am not done yet! I have this year accomplished one of three remaining; somewhat large and ongoing items. Maybe next year this particular set will finally be completed and revealed to all. :)

That's it for those resolutions!

Unlike last year my PM box is empty, and my email too. At least the Inbox. I do have a queue. But I'm not stalling. I do what I do. As the minutes really start counting down now and the fireworks start popping off at an increasing rate outside I feel like I'm out of time in regard to in-depth resolutions, so I'll leave it at this: I shall keep up with the previous three, I shall try to be both consistent and spontaneous with my creative crafts, and over the coarse of the year I hope to do mainly two things:

1. Sort my life out! Meet new people, get to a place I feel happy to be at and spend my time in a way that feels fruitious to me.

and

2. Keep making music. :) No elaborations necessary here. I have some things planned - and hopefully a lot of things there's no need to plan - I just want to write, record, and vent away whenever I have the opportunity. And steadily get better at this one particular
skillset while I'm at it.

Among so many other things! But those are the main two.

Happy New!

Mirror Theory

You never truly see yourself.

Only your reflection.

Mirrored.

Opposing you.

Never by your side.

Do you ever truly see yourself the way other people see you?

And do they see you the same way you assume they would? Considering everyone perceives things with certain ocular difference?

If you take a photo and look at the photo: That's you as the machine sees you.

As best the camera can capture you in current lighting; at whatever resolution's currently available; with whatever technological capacity it currently has to perceive and document the world. No matter how high the resolution; how clear and crisp and colorful the image: it will not be you as you would see you.

There is no way to see yourself the same way you see the world around you.

In a way, as you perceive the world, your own self-image is but a reflection to the world.

That's my mirror theory.

Don't Demand That Things Happen...

Don’t demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well.

Sucked If You Only Used Mastercard

GOG VISA Giveaway Congrats

Just got that thing! :) So there. Just gotta post this.

The Fruits (why fruits though why don't we ever say vegetables or nuts or berries or something?) of Inktober

Hold up! Before I delve into a long-winded and long overdue recollection and ramble on the potential crops of labor this my second year of audial Inktober may have produced, let me first give you this.

INK19

It may not be all instrumental, it may not be all metal (maybe not at all metal?), but for me at least it is somewhat monumental! And maybe momentarily a little mental - but I meant all that I sent y'all.

INK 19 is all of last year's daily material in mixtape form, with thorough additional mixing and mastering by the one and only @Jabun! Starring @S3C, @HOTSTUFFDX, @Father-of-Death, @JamesHeart, @Jabun here too, @littlbox and WyteNoiz on occasional instrumentals/beats/boxes, and a few exclusive leftover bits from way back when. Everything's fully revisited; balanced; hopefully as good as recording quality allows it to be.

You can listen to the full thing here on NG, on my site, or download the full pack with individual tracks right here.

Share if you like! Enjoy, and go check out @Jabun's solo material too if you haven't already - or his showreel if you need a master master!

Now over to that long overdue; by now old and fruity Inktober rant:

Inktober turned out awesome this year. Wasn't sure it'd match up to last, but how wrong was I? It all comes back to you, and then some.

I started with a lot of resistance, but as Steven Pressfield says you just gotta learn to overcome that systemically to stay creative; keep pushing yourself and make new things. The War of Art. Thanks @BenTibbetts for that great random (to me at the time - very thought-out otherwise) reading recommendation a few years back!

I ended up collabing with NG peeps on more than half of the daily recordings this year, of which at least 3-4 were pretty elaborate. @ninjamuffin99 and @KillerRATband handled the mixes on theirs for appreciatively different flavors, but everything else is yours truly. For now. Potential reinterpretations and improvements on a few of the better ones may be on route, like this just recently. And this a while earlier - that one's been a looong time coming now!

Hope to do even more next year. Collabs I mean. Collabs every day? Is that possible? Without planning ahead too much and thus entirely bypassing the very essence of what Inktober is meant to be?

I felt like I burnt myself out enough with what I did this year, but then again I felt the same way last year and that amounted to just half as much, and nothing after, with shorter acapellas too on most days with no collabs. It feels like you realize when you push yourself that you're capable of so much more than you think.

It's an inspiring feeling; something only this particular challenge has truly brought forth in me for the past two years now. So maybe I need to push myself even further to truly greet that greatness I desire to aspire?

You learn to handle stress better too. You grow efficient by necessity. You effectivize your workflow in ways you never knew you needed to until you just don't have the time to do things the hard way, like how I just recently learned how much more efficient the envelope tool in Audacity might be at consistently adjusting the flow of the sound instead of manually amplifying individual bits up and down (thanks for that one @Jabun). And compression. I need to use that. Probably. And panning. Production game be stepping. Up!

So I'm definitely getting back to this 2021! No matter how much resistance I might feel for it at that particular point in time. And hopefully I won't have that familiar phase before then where I drop these creative pursuits entirely; need to warm up to the idea of it all over again. It's all too easy to get into a rut. To get comfortable. To let that spark diminish. Don't let it!

Lemme know if y'all want to collab again next year! Or whenever. I'm down now. Life's looking up. Days are busy but awesome. And here you go again, don't miss that mixtape! Revised somewhat by me with additional mixing and mastering by the one and only y'allreadyknow @Jabun!

We've been going back and forth on this the past month now, and though the original recordings are far from best source quality (I'll blame those daily deadlines and frequent lack of time overall but should probably be blaming my recording/production ethics) I'm really happy with how this turned out! Going to be playing it on every drive to work for a while now; rap along with myself. Good practice; efficient jam sessions; suitable methods of keeping you awake and stimulated whilst on those dark and wet wintery roads that just started getting brighter again! This time's the time it all turns.

This really turned into a rant, or maybe more so a causerie of observations and experiences regarding this particular yearly event. Also read up on the controversy surrounding the Inktober name back when I wrote the above. It's trademarked. Though with non-profit things it should be no problem, so I guess I'll keep using it anyway since I've done so thus far! Until a better name comes along.

TLDR (but do read anyway cause you do get better at longer reading the longer you read long writing): I had a blast this year and I think I might've improved a little since last! I'll let this play in conclusion:


Was going to list some favorites but I can't just choose a few now. Here's a playlist for this year and last and again last year all properly mixed and mastered and possibly with a little more material than the original and this link's local but go check out the NG version above too.

Thanks again @Jabun on that mastering magic on the mix! :) Happy this came to fruition, and happy with this year too! All in time to have a listen as we unwind and greet the new.

Toodles.

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