April 2007 Archives

So, my music tastes in the electronica genre began with Orbital’s Halcyon & On & On. This feels like a very long time ago, but although I loved the song from the start (back in ‘95), I still hadn’t started to listen to electronica until much later. Around 1999, I started looking specifically for electronica and other similar styles of music. Having never really been around any other people that cared for this music, I was pretty much on my own in my search. So, where do you look when you don’t know what you are looking for? P2P was the answer in the form of Napster, Gnutella, Bear Share, Audiogalaxy, IRC, and the like. I found that searching for “trance”, “rave”, “electronica”, and “house” did the job.

Through this searching I came across some great artists, such as Robert Miles (whom I had heard about before due to “Children”), Mike Oldfield, Paul Oakenfold, Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Taucher, and of course, Orbital. Songs that stood-out outside of these artists included Sandstorm (Darude), Better Off Alone (Alice DeeJay), Offshore (Chicane), and Castles in the Sky (Ian Van Dahl - this song came a little later than 1999. I believe around 2001).

Now, I am a geek by nature. I have always been fascinated with technology, the new electronics that come out, computers, video games, big sound systems, big video systems, etc, etc. If an electric current runs through it, I am interested in it. At this initial trance point in my life, there were many people that related the two, thinking I liked this style of music because it fit with my interest in all things technological. Initially, I had to agree with them. This made sense to me, but I later discovered it was more that this. There was something about the electronica sound that kept me hanging on to it.


thump thump

last night i heard my heart beat.

to answer the obvious, yes, most people have heard their heart beat at some point, but this was something different. this instance seemed a little surreal and almost out-of-body. it weirded me out at first, but then i put a little more focus into it, and thought it was kind of cool in the end.

i was simply sitting on my couch, listening to music. i believe i was listening to Vide Cor Meum from the Hannibal soundtrack. the version was a version i did where i overlapped the song at a certain point with another copy of the same song. at that certain point, they sync. this actually has a name, but it is not coming to me at the moment. anyway, i am getting side-tracked.

i was listening to music, sitting on my couch, leaning back and thinking. thinking about what, i am not sure, but then all of the sudden i felt/heard a small beat/thump/pumping. it was very faint, but it was there. closing my eyes and putting my focus on the sound/feeling, i started to understand it was the beats of my heart. at this point in time, i was sitting with one leg crossed on top of the other and i realized that i could actually feel the beat of my heart through my legs. i was feeling the pumping of blood through my legs. with more focus, i began to feel the same beating/pumping through other areas of my body that i would put focus on.

now, in my simple mind, i found this fascinating. i really don’t know why, but the thought of being able to feel the pumping of my own blood through various areas of my body felt a little out of the ordinary.

oh, the little things!

just an observation.

i have gone on rants about myspace on both the internet, and in person, with people that will listen to my jabbering, but i have noticed a trend over the past few years concerning people and what they deem popular, useful, or “the new thing.” this trend tends to lean towards items and sites that are either ugly or not well designed. this doesn’t mean the content of such sites are not worthwhile, but my question is, how did the attraction start, and why is it that the average person will concern themselves about such things in their everyday life, but not when it comes to the hours spent on these social networking, blogging, etc sites?

allow me to start with the obvious, myspace. myspace was originally designed as a location for bands (primarily indie bands) to set up a site to show off their music and who they are. it later became the place to go on the net for social networking. what gets me about this is that myspace in its default form is ugly, and making changes to it to make it “your own style” is also ugly. sure, most people go to a “hack myspace” site, do some form of design, and ultimately copy and paste code that they don’t know what is into the about me section of their profiles. having to “hack” myspace in this fashion is proof that myspace was not meant to be customizable from the start, but regardless, people have now learned how to do it (that is, they have learned how to copy and paste). my confusion lies with, how did this start? how did myspace, with its ugly interface and ugly customization techniques become what it is? it truly baffles me, but apparently the average human doesn’t care.

another plain, and ugly site that tends to be the hip place to stop and look is craigslist. how did this happen? the name craigslist pops up frequently on tv and among various groups, but how many people have actually looked at craigslist? it’s plain and ugly. that is not to say that plain is ugly, but in this instance, it is. craigslist is the place to go for personals and classified ads of all kinds. every major city is set up with their own craigslist off of craigslist.org, and it is looked at daily by millions. actually, it serves out over 5 billion page views a month. i can certainly understand how attractive a free classified and personals site could be, but this is another example about how the look and feel of a site doesn’t matter.

the last item on my list is boing boing. this blog is a great blog for various bits of information, but the design of the site, like craigslist, is plain. this one, however, is not ugly because it is plain, it is ugly because it is plain and has the flashing ads, etc that appear at the top and sides of the blog entries. without these, this plain site would simply be a blog with a nice minimalistic design, ala daring fireball. despite the overall look of the site, this is the blog that inspired many bloggers to try and blog full time. in my opinion, boing boing is the one that made blogging what it is.

these are just a few observations i have made among many others that exist in the popularity realms of the internet, but there is a comparison to everyones’ everyday life that i would like to show.

the same people who don’t care about the ugliness of the sites that they use daily, for hours at a time, are the same people that care about appearances in every other aspect of their lives. the average person would be hesitant to enter a car or house that had the same appearance that some of these sites have. the average person would certainly put the appearance of an individual high on their list when considering dating them, and possibly being associated with them. the average person would make sure they look appropriate and nice before leaving the house. however, despite all these everyday ways of living, the average person tends to attract themselves to the ugly, the plain, and the far less than perfect areas of the net.

i am truly baffled.


yeah right!

ok, now that the site redesign is finished and i have proper spam control (crossing fingers), i might now actually take pride in writing a few words from time to time. we’ll see how it goes, but for me the hurdle was getting a site that i could maintain without having to do much maintaining.

as for how everything is running now, i moved my site from my powermac g4 running os 10.4 to a p4 running debian etch. this server is now running movable type for blogging under apache2, my kdx server, and for mail it is running postfix, cyrus-imap, spamassassin, clamav, and squirrelmail, using sieve for server side filtering. for now, i am set. next up will be providing safe backups for all of this.

we’ll see how everything flows and adjust from that.

the other night, i was sitting at home, listening to music, when i started to think about why i liked the kind of music that i like. now, my tastes in music vary drastically from rock, punk, and alternative to classical, contemporary, and operatic, but the one that tends to stand out the most in my car, home, and work falls on the genre of electronica.

when i speak of electronica, this breaks down into many more sub categories, including: trance, rave, house, trip-hop, down tempo, etc, etc. i will go further to say that i am purposely excluding techno and dance from my thought process here as they don’t fit into where i was thinking the origin of my tastes came from, but will provide a brief background as to why.

techno and dance came into my life when i lived over seas. this type of music was at every party and get together you could find. it was frequently on the local radio stations, and it didn’t take long for me to start liking techno, but at that time, i primarily saw it as dance music, not something to listen to on a regular basis. regardless, i loved techno and similar music i heard, but it wasn’t until later that i discovered a new genre that i could just sit and listen to for hours.

hackers. yes, the 1995 movie hackers was the starting point of my fascination with this style of music, but not because of the movie nor all of the music in the movie, but instead a single song from the movie just caught my interest from the first note.

the song: halcyon & on & on the artist: orbital