Continuing the saga with numbers 4 and 5.

4. I do not “follow my passion.” I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.

I’ve been thinking about this one and it is another one where I agree with the overall sentiment, but have a small issue with the phrase.  Maybe I have been brainwashed too much over the years but I think you should still work to understand yourself and move toward what you want to do.
Of course not everything you do will be your ultimate goal, maybe not even most of it.  So in that sense I wholeheartedly agree that even if it is not what you were looking for or if you are looking toward the future, give it your all.  You never know who is watching and more than that you set up the habit, and it is a habit, of bringing your effort to the job.  Does it guarantee “rags to riches” of course not but you will be happier in the long run and learn what it takes to work hard so when your chance comes you can grab it.  Brings to mind a phrase my sixth grade teacher always said; luck is preparedness meeting opportunity.  To me this another way of expressing that.

5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.

Yep, I have to admit that even though I knew I should not use consumer debt for “stuff”, I still did.  There are various reasons and justifications but in the end I did.  It is bad because it ends up preventing you from doing what you want since eventually the bill comes due.  Then I am working to pay someone else for things that long ago ceased to be useful.  At this point I would even make the argument that education could be put in that category.  It needs careful consideration and I would be taking a really hard look at the jobs you can get after getting your desired degree.  It is just so hard to start your life so far in the hole.  Just like consumer debt, I am not working for me.  I am working for a corporate entity that cares nothing for me and will wring every last penny it can.  All of that distracts me from achieving my own goals.
Continuing through the SWEAT pledge, today I will be touching on numbers two and three (If you missed it, you should check out the first one).

Funny enough I actually have already written about number two in a previous post before I even knew about this pledge so you could say I am on board with this next one.

2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that “happiness” and the “pursuit of happiness” are not the same thing.

Since I have touched on it I won’t belabor the point, but I will say that I am in full agreement that there is a definite difference.  Freedom to pursue my happiness implies that I have given thought as to what makes me happy.  It also means that I have given time to understand at least the next step to move toward turning that vision into reality.  It does not mean that vision doesn’t change with time, but it also doesn’t mean there are no obstacles.  When you work toward something it has deeper meaning.  I remember when I was a kid I wanted a good bike.  So I scraped together money from birthdays, a small allowance, and odd jobs and bought the pieces to the bike I wanted.  I started with the frame and then the wheels and so on.  It took a year or so and was painful watching other kids on their bikes, but when it was finished and I got on it the first time it was amazing.  Not only did I learn a ton in putting it together (including spray painting), it was completely my bike.  So much so it still hangs in the garage some 30 years later.  Didn’t I deserve the bike I wanted immediately?  Shouldn’t my parents have just given it to me?  I cannot look back at that and say they should have.  It would not have meant the same.  Because of that and other experiences like that, when I look around at what people say is a “right” it saddens me.
3. I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.” I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it’s up to me to make the best of them.
This next one is interesting because while I do think you can have a bad job, I understand the sentiment.  What I take from this is that even if you hate what you are doing there will always be something you can take away from it.  Whether it is getting your body in shape or getting time to reflect while you do repetitive type work, it is possible to either think about the next step in your life or learn a new skill that will help you get that next job.  For myself I worked in retail and fast food while I was going through community college.  I enjoyed the people (at least in one of those) and it helped keep me focused on (nearly) finishing my degree.  It has certainly provided incentive for me to not go back.  I also learned how to take pride in making a flawless burger and getting that last box into the rack.
I have enjoyed Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs for a number of years.  After the show I lost track of him, but two things brought him back to my attention.  First a friend of my daughter got a scholarship through his foundation and second an interview of his was on the Reason YouTube channel.
During the interview he mentioned the sweat pledge so I had to look it up.  I was very surprised at how it closely fit with my world view and really is helping to bring in focus the mission statement I have been puzzling over myself while going through the 7 Habits from Steven Covey.
There are twelve tenets so to speak, so I was going through them one at at a time to make them personal and I figured I would post them as well.  At the end I might throw out my finished “mission statement” as an accountability thing as well as a way to easily periodically review.  Surprisingly, I will start with the first one.
1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.
I love this because it starts with the baseline for everyone, you are alive.  Regardless of anything else it recognizes that you are here and attempting to understand this thing we call life.  This is great because it reinforces that “hey you are here”, so what are you going to do with that opportunity.
Geography aside, that last sentence is harder to digest.  Like anything in my life, I get used to things as they are and even the most amazing things become mundane when they are there every day.  Being grateful is difficult and is normally brought back into focus only when something unusual happens, usually a tragedy of some sort.  I want to recognize that I have so much to be grateful for and give a voice to that even if something doesn’t kick down the blinders. It does not mean I have not worked for what I have but that I show appreciation for what and who are around me.

Quote  —  Posted: August 18, 2014 in Personal-Development

Acoustic Treatment Hanging

Posted: July 7, 2014 in music
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A week or so back I got some acoustic foam from a friend cleaning out their storage space.  There were two reasons that as I put this up I wanted to make sure it could come down easily without damaging the walls; I’m basically borrowing the foam and second I’m not sure of location since I’ve not done this before.  So I did the usual “OK Google” and while there were many suggestions of where to locate the pieces and discussion of what was the best to use for a home studio, it really kept coming up glue to do the attachment.

I had put them up temporarily with push pins and that got some ideas flowing. I still needed something more permanent than that but much less destructive than glue.  So I went to the office supply store and discovered T-Pins.   These are about an inch and a half long thin nail sized pins, folded into a T at the top (non-affiliated Wal-Mart link if you want an example).  I got 100 for something like $4 dollars.  They were long enough to go through the foam, but thin enough to not damage the wall (and foam) too much, and the T shape gripped into the foam to keep it on the wall.  Here is a close up:


Since I had used a push pin to get the rough idea to hear how it affected the sound it was a pretty straight forward process after that. I used a level and T-pin in a top corner then went to the other top corner.  After that I would do the bottom corners and I ended up putting one it the top center so it wouldn’t sag.  After the first couple it became obvious I would need a thimble or thimble like device.  I went with a pair of pliers, but my thumb did end up being sore.  Just take it slowly and push as straight as possible.  Otherwise you end up bending the pin.

I focused on left and right of the listening position, followed by behind monitors.  I also put a couple of panels on the ceiling above the listening position.  I’m not sure if that is right but I need to focus on listening to my mixes and other music to see how that works.  There was an immediate difference to me in terms of a lot less reflections but my ears are going to have to adjust.  Here is a shot of the corner:


I put them in a pattern and the wife was happier with that look.  If form is an issue (and it can be) I’m thinking that covering the foam with fabric could be an option.  Since mine is in a separate room (home office/studio) it isn’t as much an issue, but I’d like to put something like this in the family room where the entertainment center is and there is little chance those would be allowed as is.  I would wrap them around so there was a flap on the back and just pin through the fabric as well onto the wall.  Instant color and everything sounds better too!

The last pieces I have to put up are on doors so the t-pins will not work there.  I have some smaller Command hooks and am thinking I can add some thread to the foam and hang those from the hooks.  I’ll post an update as I finish that since I am not quite sure of the best way to add the thread yet.  I’m a bit worried about getting it level.

Hopefully that sparks your own ideas.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Posted: July 6, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Here in the US we are celebrating our independence from England. I thought I would through out my thoughts on one of the most quoted passages. I’m no historian but hopefully it can still spark thought.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This is probably most quoted portion of the declaration of independence. It makes sense that life and liberty are at the center of unalienable rights. It is the last one that people get hung up on. But notice it says “the pursuit of Happiness”. Webster says to pursue is “to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time”. Somehow that has morphed into “I have the right to be happy”.

If look at the founder’s words and put them in action, we have to take it upon ourselves to first understand what will make us happy, individually. They didn’t say what that should mean, because it is a personal to each person. We individually have to work to understand the steps necessary to make that discovery and more importantly take those steps to try to catch that idea. That is why life and liberty are important – we can’t go after what we want without it. Unfortunately, when we think we have a right to be happy (especially without understanding what we desire) we allow for life and liberty to be compromised.

This is something I’m working through myself it terms of dreaming and more importantly setting goals so I can take concrete steps to turn that into reality. The government has to remember that and we need to hold them accountable. Because ultimately “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”. That is the responsibility given to us so may years ago.

Happy 4th!

How I Work

Posted: June 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Lifehacker does a series on famous people and how they work. I’m not even close to semi-famous but it got me thinking about how do I work. It feels scattered but I’m starting to focus on a couple of apps and I wanted to jot down how I use those for myself. Maybe I’ll learn something or find a gap. So here goes:

Location: Lake Stevens and Woodinville
Current Gig: B2B Lead at BDA, amateur musician
One word that best describes how you work: Iteratively
Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy S4
Current Computer: Spare part “frankenstein” at home, Dell laptop at work (with docking station)

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Why?
Evernote, Todoist, Chrome, TFS, and email. My work comes from two basic places; email and our bug/request system. From there I try to break it down into tasks that I track in Todoist to try to keep me focused. Evernote is used for notes while researching issues and working through solutions. Those along with Chrome help me keep in sync going between work and home, making it very seamless. At home I follow a similar process but tasks are focused on my music and home projects. The part that is challenging still to me is turning longer running items into workable chunks.

What’s your workspace setup like?
I try to keep it simple and I have it very similar at both work and home. It starts with 2 monitors and an ergonomic keyboard. From there I like a minimalist approach; as close to nothing on the desk as possible.



Right now my home desk also has a control surface for mixing audio.


What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
Google Now. That has been getting better all the time to notify me of what I need to know when I need to know it.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
I was trying to use Evernote, but I was introduced to Todoist and I have been steadily bringing it into my workflow.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
My Kindle. Between books and Instapaper I’m on it almost every day. I just can’t read enough.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I would say fearlessness for trying new technology or processes. The secret is that while it can be daunting, I try to tackle it anyway as I always learn something new I can use in my life. There is usually some correlation to what I’ve done in the past but often it involves trying something, looking at the results, making changes, and then doing that process over again.

What do you listen to while you work?
Typically progressive metal/hard rock like Dream Theater and Pagan’s Mind. Throw in guitar goodness like Joe Satriani and Marco Sfogli and you can fly through work.

What are you currently reading?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and the Federalist Papers.

4th song in demo form

Posted: May 24, 2014 in music
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It is going much slower than I would like, but I’m still making progress so that is good.  I have the 4th song in demo form and I like it quite a lot, especially the solo section.  It came together rather intuitively and even though it is a little cliche heavy it does have a good feel to it.  I’m now onto the 5th and final song for the EP.  This last one I’m going more for a prog feel than the more pop rock the other songs have.  In my mind it is a shift toward what I would like to head toward on my next project.  I’ve also started brainstorming the overall name and toying with ideas for the cover art.  Over at my Soundcloud account I’ve also created a playlist for the songs so far from the EP so check it out if you’re curious.  I’m hoping to get the last song structure sorted out this weekend and maybe into the different melodies.