Sharing new music after a long hiatus

A few years back, I wrote an article in which I presented my music on SoundCloud. In that article, I said:
Over the years, I've written several pieces of music, some mentioned here, some to be released in the future, and some that I keep happily tucked away in my mind or in their first drafts.
I've decided that many of those new pieces have spent far too long sitting quietly in stacks of sheet music or "tucked away in my mind". So, I determined that, this year, I would try to finish out my works in progress and start getting myself into a more comfortable process of composition and release.

With that determination, I sat down at my keys and started hammering away at the pieces closest to completion. Along the way, my fingers stumbled upon a new melody. I quickly made note of it and tried to get back to the task in front of me, but the melody kept echoing in my mind.

I wrote my best friend and musician Blendrix and vented a bit of my frustration: "Damn my ears.... I've been trying to finish some of my WIP pieces, but instead I accidentally create a new melody/theme tonight." I didn't want more things sitting unreleased, I wanted fewer!

It didn't take much convincing, but after a few more conversations Jimmy gave me the push I needed to see that I should take advantage of the momentum I had with that new melody. So, after a few more nights of composition, "lacrimis gelida hyemis" was born.

I intend to start publishing more of my music as I'm able. I'm in no hurry, but it's about time that I nudge myself out of this hiatus in publishing my music. I hope this piece is the first of many that I will release this year, but I intend to allow inspiration to take the reigns of which pieces I publish and when. Maybe if I stop trying to force inspiration, it will happen naturally.


Review: God, No!

God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical TalesGod, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales was an entertaining read, to say the least. It was easy to see that Penn Jillette had written this book with the same bluntness of intention and voice as he has with most things he does.

I could almost hear his vocal inflections in my mind as I read his words insisting on the importance of being honest by saying "I don't know" when one just doesn't know. I imagined the strain in his voice as he emphasized the anguish of an incident with a hairdryer.

That was the thing about this book, like its author Penn, it was direct, abrupt, utterly honest, and without any sugar-coating added at all. Some of the stories were a bit off topic (sometimes even tangential), but -- like any good performer -- Penn ropes you back in to the discussion and keeps pushing ahead. You don't have to agree with Penn's politics or his decisive desire for evidence-based fact to appreciate his open-minded and socratic approach.

In fact, I can see more than a few parallels between Socrates and Penn. Socrates had ideas that many people disagreed with. Socrates was unforgiving in his search for fact and truth. Not all of Socrates ideas were correct, not all were well-delivered.

I may not agree with everything Penn has to say, but I'd like to think that giving his ideas a voice invites discussion and critical thinking. I'm sure there are quite a few people in the world that would like to have Penn drink hemlock; I'm not one of those people.

In my blog on "Silly Superstition", I said,
Finding humor is a good way to positively influence society to see the silliness of superstition, but critical thinking (asking "Why?") is the best way to stop superstitions before they start.
Through this book, Penn brings comedy to a heavy discussion and critical thinking to taboo discussion. In the end, I think it's worthwhile because the book invites the reader to ask "Why?" and sometimes simply answer "I don't know".

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Review: Your Brain at Work

Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day LongYour Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long was somewhat interesting. The author, David Rock, touches on a variety of topics about the interactions at work throughout this book.

David uses different methods to present his ideas -- effective, when you have a broad audience -- such as analogy, neurology, and demonstration. At times, this thoroughness felt too redundant for me, but I understood its necessity and was able to simply skim over those parts once "I got it!".

This book did at least one thing which I haven't seen before in others that are similar: short bulleted overviews. I read this book as part of a reading group, so these overviews made it very easy for me to refresh the ideas that the group would be discussing, even if I was already ahead by a few chapters.

Overall, I liked Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. However, it's easy to simplify the ideas within it in a couple phrases: "Think before you speak and treat others with kindness and respect". Therefore, I'm content with having read it, but it wasn't enlightening enough to make me think I'd have missed anything if I hadn't.

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Indy's YouTube Channel

I've previously mentioned my enjoyment of certain YouTube channels; especially in how I think that many things can be both fun and educational, "edutainment", as I said in that article. Every now and then, I've captured something entertaining or educational on video. Sometimes, those videos have prompted people to say that I should "put that on YouTube". Up until recently, I've hesitated to do so; I've always thought that YouTube, like many things, has so much content that it would be a silly misuse of time to try and add something that might already exist. However, I guess we are all unique individuals with many unique life experiences and, sometimes, an uncommon idea happens in an uncommon situation.

In recent months, I've had the opportunity to offer my help and skills for the benefit of a local wolf sanctuary. WOLF (Wolves Offered Life & Friendship) has been helping "to improve the quality of life for all wolves and wolf dogs" for nearly 10 years. WOLF is not open to the general public, but I encourage you to lend your voice in the support of proper care and education about wolves and wolf-dogs. Visit the WOLF website, follow WOLF on Facebook, and/or subscribe to WOLF on YouTube. It's important that we share our understanding and love for these animals and encourage others to do the same. For most of my life, I have loved, studied, respected, and admired wolves. So, I am more than happy to be a supporting member and an able volunteer of WOLF.

During one of my recent trips to work at the sanctuary, after all of the days tasks had been completed, we took a few of the animals for a walk. Now, a "walk" for a wolf is a little different than what you might imagine; these animals are amazingly strong and energetic. So, after doing my best to take photos while enjoying a walk (translation: run) with one pair, another volunteer had the idea to use my GoPro chest harness on one of the wolves. Thus, an uncommon idea (GoPro on a wolf) occurred in an uncommon situation (a wolf sanctuary). The result was a dizzying video of a wolf running with us in the mountains of Colorado. And that result, I think, is a unique idea with which to open my YouTube channel.
I intend my channel to be largely for infrequent "that was cool" moments. I've been asked to turn some of my survival guides into videos as well, but that has already been done by others on YouTube and, therefore, I may not pursue that request. I don't intend my YouTube videos to be well-produced or well-presented. My only hope is that they will be something fun, fascinating, or informative and give a smile to anyone that decides to watch.