Exactly 1600 words not including the title

I’ve neglected more than journaling lately. I haven’t written anything. At least nothing creative. I did write that presentation for Ted at The Sheet, but that wasn’t creative in the sense I’m thinking of.

I emailed Ryan O’Neal from Sleeping At Last tonight because I wanted to ask him where he gets his inspiration. (I really enjoy “Jupiter” off the Atlas project. Especially the line, “make my messes matter”.) Despite initially seeing him as a whiney artist, I’ve grown to love Sleeping At Last. As music should, it enables my imagination to run free and transport me to a different place and time. I love that.

I said in a journal entry before that I wanted to make music with meaning like Owl City’s has for me. I want to add to that: I also love Sleeping At Last, in all his whiney moments, because of where my mind wanders when I listen to his stuff. Everything he creates is artistic, from the album artwork to the songwriting.

It’s all so organic, too. When I compare it to a synthesizer, what FMLYBND is doing, and what I sort of like musically, I want to stop going in the direction I am right now and take the course that O’Neal did in his production. I want to create ambient, flowing sounds because that’s what makes me feel alive. There’s a place for Kygo, Empire of the Sun, and Tobu, but not for that glitch hop and Rahizel phase. At least not in this moment, and all my most valued emotions are present in this moment, so why care about the others?

I don’t want to leave any parts of myself out just because I feel a certain way at the moment, but I’m so tired of being in the same place the other college kids. I want to create a more organic sound: I don’t like the garage rock dynamic that Mac is using in worship on Sundays. Maybe it’s too New Age to play what Ian McIntosh does during worship, but I love starting with a nice pad and working my way up to the MGMT and M83 synths. Looking at it right now, I don’t see how those help to connect me with God at all. But that’s a different journal entry.

Anyway, I bought an M-Audio Venom, Kef C15 monitors, and a nice-looking Pioneer amplifier from 1986 yesterday because I want an organic sound. I was tempted to get a tube amp, and maybe I should have. But they are a lot more complicated and I don’t need to spend more time and money just for something that will consume my life all the more.

I want to create things that are the closest possible to purely organic, while incorporating newer sounds like synth pads and electric pianos. Organic in that sense would be ambient I suppose. The same goes for anything I do. I don’t really like the feeling of typing on a keyboard, except for the fact that it’s far easier for me to get my thoughts out that way and keep them organized in the digital world. I’d love to jot them down by hand, but I’d never be able to go this fast, nor would I be able to keep them at all organized. The same goes for voice journals. Video journals could be better, but I don’t wish to endeavor on such a thing right now.


On a different note, a few weeks ago I decided to stop worrying so much about the life part of college and think about the academics instead. I let my inspiration be Dead Poets Society and other works of the sort because I believe that education really is worth it and I really can dedicate myself to it. Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time remaining optimistic. I feel overwhelmed by the idea that there’s so much more out there and I will one day have to discover it all at once. In essence I’m overwhelmed by the possibility of overwhelmingness in the future.

I could think about the Bible verses that say not to worry about the future, and I do, but I also need to practically convince myself that reverting to a comfortable life with my parents just because I’m finding the negative aspects of my new home is not a good choice.

So, on that: I am tempted to just go back to life in the mountains, because it was really a pleasant thing when I look at it. But I was headed nowhere, which didn’t matter to me. I would rather live a simpler life than this rat race-like one in the city. My interior decorating can be as minimal as I like, but I can’t escape the fact that I’m constantly surrounded by thousands of other human beings, seven of which I live with and have to speak with every day.

I try to make things simpler in my life, but I can never do so for others’ lives. I wish I could because I’d stop stressing about it all. Maybe I should just learn how to stop stressing about it instead.

Just a month and a half in, I seem to have “normalized” this new location and lifestyle in my mind. Routines are developing and I’m already starting to get bored. I don’t want to get bored, though. Then I get restless because I’m not moving anywhere and because it seems like there’s nothing interesting left in the world. There are few distractions that actually help me when I’m have so much attention to dedicate to analyzing them before they can begin distracting me.

Saying all that makes me realize I’ll be a great student. I’m smart — everyone tells me that and I sort of know it myself. I’m also pretty impractical in some areas though. I rarely finish reading anything, often discard journal entries because I don’t want to sit down and write the whole thing, and so on. I’m just lazy. I get bored and when new things do present themselves, I’m already too stagnant to care. My life is a routine; why should this little thing matter? It won’t help at this point. Yada yada.

I love ranting about these things in my journal because this white space is limitless. Keep typing and another line is added magically. My cursor can continue to move about, characters with meaning appearing in its wake. It’s a good way for me to process I suppose. Some people say that writing things with their hands is better for them to remember those things, but I’ve never tried so I have no idea whether it would work or not.

Speaking of never trying, I’ve been working on that. Lately I’ve been getting into such a comfortable routine that I’m going to bed early and slowly stripping the adventure from my life. Seriously, it’s just been a month and a half and I’m already getting cynical and less adventurous. What is marriage like?

Anyway, never trying. I feel like the adventurous day is really good for me, but I never want to start it. Yesterday was like that, with the hunt for a virtual analog synth and all that stuff, but it’s rare. That’s why I always admired Daniel for being the adventurous type who refuses to sit around and do nothing every night. At the same time, I have an obsession, thanks to Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann, with going to sleep very soon after the sun sets and waking up when it rises. AN OBSESSION I TELL YOU.

At the same time, I have literally nothing on my calendar for tomorrow. Well, aside from the house’s water being switched off for half the day, but that doesn’t matter. If that’s the case, why was I so eager to not journal, to hastily make my bed, and to get that movie over with just so I can get to sleep? I know the benefits of sleep — I’ve researched them many many times. Still, I don’t need it that badly right now. I mean, I’ll end up sleeping about eight hours if I stop writing this now, which isn’t bad since I only went on a four-mile bike ride today. I’ve had days with far worse.

Why is it I constantly find myself doing nothing productive, thinking about productivity instead? (That reminds me: Back to Work is at 9 tomorrow morning.) I spent a lot of time daydreaming. You’d think it’s a good thing, sort of like Walter Mitty, but it’s not. If he was a real person, it wasn’t for him either. It’s cool on a big screen with effects, but when you do it every day, it’s normal and it’s a mess. My life is a daydreaming mess most of the time. I wish I was here doing this, I wish I was in this industry, I wish my career started already, I wish I was a musician, I wish I was old so I don’t have to worry about a 401k, I wish I knew how to use tenses properly in this paragraph, blah blah.

I’m sure other people go through that, but I don’t feel like they do. They never talk about it. The Internet is good for that sort of topic, but I wish more people in my life talked about daydreaming. Maybe my friends don’t think about things like that.

Okay I’m feeling tired and this entry is already far too long to publish on Tumblr. But who cares? Very few people read them anyway.

Boyhood

Just got back from watching Boyhood. While it was good in some aspects — like the fact that they spent 12 years on a single project — I felt empty by the end. The problem was, it never really gave me a chance to feel for the boy. From the very beginning, it doesn’t really focus on him, but rather his sister and his family. Only in the last 45 minutes — of a 165-minute film — did it seem to tackle that.

I understand that it was supposed to be about life, and it didn’t really have a general plot. He didn’t get the girl you thought he would, he didn’t really resolve a lot of conflict, his mom is without him in the end, etc. All of it was unsatisfying. I guess I’m just one of those suckers for redemptive qualities. There was the bit with the Mexican guy who fixed Mason’s mother’s sewer, and the unexpectedly great father.

Speaking of the father, he was kind of strange. The whole film wanted to be as real as possible, yet the father seems fake. They never really show his weak side — what was so wrong with him that led them to fight and get divorced? Then he marries what seems to be a Texas Baptist?

There’s obviously a lot of the story left out. They tried to imply as much as they could, and that’s what bugged me. A lot of it felt very drawn-out, whereas other areas should have been more developed. The beginning, for example, is so ordinary it’s boring. It almost seems like you’re watching the neighbors raise their children in a broken home. There’s that little bit of conflict, but it isn’t anything that keeps my attention.

The main issue was that I got bored after about an hour. I was wondering when the point, so to speak, would make its way into the script. It never really did. I guess that was the point (?).

Going in, I was excited to see how the actors embraced their role as time went on. Only they didn’t. Well, the lead didn’t at least. Samantha was a bit more interesting as the years went by, but Mason was the same basic person. That could be his feat.

Unfortunately, I never really connected with the main character. The film’s outlook of “an ordinary life is okay” is an admirable one, but it’s not nearly as interesting as in the setting of About Time. Maybe it was the hint of magic — time travel — that caused me to enjoy that more. I don’t know. What I do know is Boyhood was far less enjoyable than I had hoped.

Being cool and knowing everything

So, I really need to stop journaling as if I’m writing a blog post. Donald Miller’s books make me realize that, because it does sound like he’s just talking to himself the whole time.

Anyway, the main subject of this entry is a major issue I’ve noticed in my life: I really love to appear privileged. After all that time people have things, know people, understand stuff, or whatever else I don’t, I’m adopted the same thing when I’m around people I used to know. I spend a moderate amount of energy trying to appear “cool”, I suppose, and it’s a horrible thing to do.

I realized this yesterday while driving to Santa Barbara with John and Leyla, yet I still did it this morning at Caje. John and I were grabbing coffee and Jason walked in and poked me. I immediately said, “Of course you’re here.” It’d be one thing if I genuinely meant that, but I didn’t. I actually wanted to act like I knew what I was talking about and demonstrate that I knew him.

There are an infinite examples of this. I did it when I was talking to Leyla about Downtown yesterday, acting like I knew where De La Guerra turned into a circle. I hadn’t the slightest idea. I’m so used to faking it, but I’m also bad at faking it because I don’t like to be dishonest. It’s funny: I’ll do it to support my social position and pride, but not get a job or something practical. I’m weird like that I suppose.

Speaking of appearances, I love leaving my door open in the house just so I can seem cool with my music. I also type as loud as I can when I’m around others because I think it’ll attract attention. (It doesn’t actually work; more people pay attention to me when I’m not trying to get it than when I am.)

I really need to journal more. Oh yeah, I do have one more thing to jot down.

I watched Blue Like Jazz for the second time in two weeks last night. I really love that movie. (Side note: I almost did it again! I tried to write erase movie and write film just to be different. I do it with Autumn and celsius too! I’m not a terrible person, I’m just selfish in that aspect.) Despite the “sea of individuality” that Donald has to face, it makes me happy to see how daringly individual people really are.

John and I were just talking about individuality in Caje. It seems that a lot of people in Crowley and Mammoth are like super-individualistic. Despite that, there is some community, but it seems to be centered — tehe, “centred” — around bars and superficial things rather than outdoors. Here very few people are individuals — many of the people from church live in community, which is what I believe makes the church so much better than others I’ve been to.

It’s really weird how the struggle to be unique can be an obsession that drives you to be selfish. In some ways it’s just as bad as conforming to a group or succumbing to peer pressure. It’s a strange comparison, but it kind of works. Both extremes are bad, obviously, but I wonder which is more damaging to a person.

Electricity

I was just reading about the history of electricity in Wikipedia. Wow, humanity has progressed quickly in the past one hundred years.

I’m just amazed at how little scientists in 600 AD knew about electricity and were fascinated by it. Yet it’s something nearly every person on the planet uses every day without thinking about it. We’re burning fossil fuels to make sure our lights are on, our TVs keep telling us about the world’s problems and latest bachelor, and our computers inform us of who’s in a relationship on Facebook.

It makes me sad to see how far humanity has come in the past 50 years — heck, in the past decade. I feel like I was born in the wrong time. I missed out on the days of sailing — I know they weren’t as whimsical as I imagine, but still — and Musketeers and even the Romans. So many things happened before I was born that it’s hard for me to feel like I mean anything. When I think about it all, I’m so insignificant. I actually like that feeling, too. We’re all part of something bigger I suppose.

And to say that God didn’t create the Earth when reading about anything scientific is preposterous. Maybe people reach a certain level of knowledge and end up feeling like they’ve surpassed God or something, as ridiculous as that sounds. But when I go back and think of it all, when I think about how I’m typing this on a beautiful machine from Apple and it’s being backed up on Dropbox’s servers and then eventually published on Day One’s so people can read my silly thoughts, I wonder why I don’t think about these things more often.

I’ve read a lot about enlightenment. In school, I had to read Siddhartha, which I liked despite my (Christian) parents judging me for reading a book about Buddha. Then I read A Razor’s Edge, which I also enjoyed. Both spoke of spiritual enlightenment in some sort of way. Each person believes what he will, but I think there’s so much more to it than we assume from looking at their “outer heart”. We’ll never see what they’re thinking, because you can’t see that sort of thing. Instead we’ll be angry when we see them do something we don’t like or we wouldn’t do. Instead we judge.

Okay back to enlightenment. I feel like this is one of those moments they talk about. It feels enlightening in some strange way. I’m not meditating or anything, just musing the essence of electricity at 11:30 pm. Once in a while I’d hear people say, “Hey, why don’t you think about how you’re doing what you are right now.” I always thought it was a waste of time to consider the origins of everything from my shoes to shampoo and time zone server that keeps my computer going.

It’s very easy to get distracted by things in the daily life, to get caught up in the mess. After all, there’s so much to worry about. I need to reduce my carbon footprint, stop using so much water, get a standing desk, straighten my glasses, use a toothpick after eating broccoli, press Done when I finish an entry in Day One, switch my phone to airplane mode at night so it doesn’t give me cancer (because that’s what people say will happen), yell at the noisy neighbors of Isla Vista, itch my itchy finger, think about why my veins are so large, eat the right meals, tap my toes to the beat of my favorite new song, distract myself with everything that comes my way, and of course look perfect while doing all this. I wouldn’t want to let people know how broken part of my life is — THEY MIGHT UNFRIEND ME.

Life is so complicated, yet so simple at times. I’m ashamed to have not known the origins of electricity. I feel like that’s something the public school system should teach. Yet world history is not really present in California’s high schools. America only seems to care about what happened after it became a country, not before Christopher Columbus sailed with his mates across the mistaken Indian Ocean. We don’t look at anything archaic as a society anymore, because anything older than ten minutes doesn’t matter. Anything longer than a thousand words should be rendered unreadable (the mighty TL;DR). ADD seems more of a social standard than anything.

I sit here writing this at what is now 11:38 pm. My last housemate has gone to her room. I’m all alone to be myself. You know, the person I would have been if she wasn’t here the whole time. Why I waste time on keeping up appearances I do not know. Time is such a great thing and I’ve been sitting here day after day making VLC my most used app, not reading more classic literature or talking to astute people — not that I actually enjoy classic literature. You know what I do enjoy? The whimsical idea of being in a different time. I’m sure there would be a lot of the same problems as today, because people are people, but I also think I could be Leo Tolstoy or Henry David Thoreau.

I’ve begun to realize why learning about all these great people from history is important. I only wish this revelation came along sooner. Then I immediately withdraw that wish. The thing is, revelations happen when they do and we can’t change that. Why should we? I’ve been given the knowledge to have a revelation far before I actually ended up figuring things out and it did nothing for me. I don’t even remember hearing some of that stuff. It’s not because I don’t want to listen to those people, but because I’m simply not ready to. I love them and am thankful for their advice nonetheless.

The thing is, looking back at my life I’ve realized that all the changes only took place because time allowed them to. That seems strange to say, but ultimately time is what healed relationships and explained things in my life. I often ask God for help with something and don’t hear anything. It seems hopeless, but it’s not. He knows what will encourage me and when I will figure things out on my own. That doesn’t mean He abandons me — far from it. He’s still there, helping me along the way. I often ignore it, though, or label it as a failed prayer or a lack of the ability to communicate with God. Pfft.

And with that, the sea of emotion and I will be taking the rest of the morning to sleep. Yes, it’s that early, not late.

Career not of C.S. Lewis

Listening to the previews of Owl City’s new EP, Ultraviolet, inspires me to do something special with my life. It’s easy to just go make money, write about stuff that doesn’t interest me, become a recording artist just because it’s cool, or do practically anything for the wrong reason. All because it’s easy.

I really want to learn how to connect to people with my writing. All these journal entries seem to be for nothing most of the time. I share them once in a while, yes, but the “good ones” and the “deep thought” is hidden because I consider it too undeveloped to share. Funny, because I still share undeveloped ones all the time. I can’t be a perfectionist with my feelings — I tried and it doesn’t work.

I suppose I could ask Adam Young how he does it. I’ve read multiple interviews with him and they all have the same overtone: he wants to continue doing what he loves no matter how much money he makes with it. Thankfully, he’s reached a place where he doesn’t need to work night shifts at Coca-Cola just to support himself through his insomnia-inspired music creation. How does that apply to me? I have no idea.

As much as I enjoy looking to others for guidance in matters of life, whether it be relationships, my career, or maintaining happiness, their advice only works when I’m willing to accept it. Most of the time even the best objective advice can only motivate me to find my own way. That’s great, but it’s the opposite of what I expect. I guess everyone wishes they could just be good at it all right away, but that wouldn’t be interesting, and I’d definitely get tired of it quick.

What’s the end goal? I write about tentative ones all the time in here, but I still don’t have an end product. I want to write and let that inspire others to tackle the many issues that they are ailed with each day. I don’t want to write a self-help blog though, nor another C.S. Lewis novel. All I really want is to find my own voice and the path that goes along with it. I can sit here all day and muse about that, but in my experience the most effective thing is to get outside and talk to people about these problems. Their answers may not help, but the act of processing through oral communication always seems to have some effect.

College should be good for me. It’ll force me to think in different ways, and a creative writing class may help me use different tactics to reach the same goal — which keeps it interesting! — but its main asset for me will be time. I’ll have more time to figure all this out, to improve my state of being, and to meet influential, and maybe just interesting, people along the way. I’m most excited to learn more about love and maybe write about it one day behind a wall of symbolism like every other author featured in curricula. Only I will shred mine when it’s finished, or bury it in the backyard for God to find when He renovates this planet.