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A Mess of Wood and Wire
|Just because... (NYR: Week 16)
|Just because I haven't been blogging it, doesn't mean I haven't been working. |
I didn't check the posts but I remember I set out for a couple goals this term:
1. Go to the gym
2. Do well in school
3. Write an EP
4. Quit Video Games.
I'll keep it simple and straight:
1. Go to the gym
Strangely, and faithfully, I have been going to the gym to lift and run 5 days a week for the last 16 weeks. Today, I celebrate 4 months of pure consistency of going to the gym! Woop Woop! I just ended my Beginner's lifting, ending with these totals at the end of the period:
-Start: 65 pounds
-Now: 145 pounds
-Start: 40 pounds
-Now: 70 pounds
Assisted Pull Up
-Start: 40 pounds negated
-Now: -20 pounds negated
Bent Over Rows
-Start: 25 pounds
-Now: 45 pounds
-Start: 65 pounds
-Now: 110 pounds
-Start: 95 pounds
-Now: 155 pounds
-Start: 40 pounds negated
-Now: 0 pounds negated!
To make this juicier, I am prepared to put up before/after pictures of me either at the beginning of summer, end of summer and at the end of the year. And to make it even sexier, I will be wearing my pink-stripped boxers for all of them for the ladies ;)
2. Do good in School
After my Winter term, I came out of the 2nd trimester with a 2.1 GPA. Figuring that I struggled with physics and was carrying 19 credits, I feel like I had slipped behind rather substantially. Luckily, I'm holding strong with what I believe is a 3.5 GPA this current term. I just need to hold it strong for another 6 weeks!
3. Write a Post-Rock EP
Currently, All my songs will be much like Frankenstein: I have several pieces, chord progressions, melodies, ideas that are just fragments that will end up becoming songs. I'm hoping to get it together and recorded soon (soon being before the end of the year).
4. Quit Video Games
Due to the sheer stress at school, there is no way I can avoid them. All my friends are gamers and I grew up on it. I have cut down on the amount of playing time substantially and I'm happy about that, but nothing makes me happier than playing a good game of Starcraft 2 with a friend from back home on a Saturday afternoon before I head out for the night.
In a strange act, a fellow floor member who is very good at a game called Bloodline Champions is trying to make a professional team and has asked if I wanted to join. It might be a good chance for me to make some cash while I'm at school. We'll see how that goes.
Welp, thats all I have to say. I'm prepared to buy a gym membership for the summer when I head home and I hope to continue on these goals I have set out for this year!
|Tags: New Years Resolutions
|One Year Later...
|Today I got a call in the middle of my lecture from my mother. Anxious to hear why she would call me then, I ducked out and answered the phone outside the classroom. She told me to think back to what happened one year ago. As soon as she said it, it hit me like a sack of bricks: Exactly one year ago today, I was on a mountaintop in New Hampshire, telling my sociology teacher how much better off I was on top of a mountain at that very moment than back at my room at home playing video games. I also said that I came on every ski trip since my freshman year because snowboarding gave me such a freedom that I could not get any other way. Of course, my words were skewed when, on that very run, I was cut off, ran off the trail only to have my leg broken by a fallen tree. Even now, I can remember the blood-curddling scream I let out.|
The next nine days afterwards were hell, 4 surgeries, compartment syndrome, and the chance I was going to lose my leg. The absolute stress was unbearable. Panic attacks, vomitting, and tons of Percoset detailed a full week and a half of my life. And to make it worse, 2 months later I had to go back in for another surgery due to a fuck-up that my surgeons didn't realize.
All of this one year ago.
11 of the last 12 months were centered around an injury, and its still hard to believe it ever happened. I keep thinking back to what I've accomplished over the last year and what I want to do with this one.
So cheers to walking.
|"Damnit Skyler, I'm not Mexican" (New Years Resolution Week 3)
|Well, Not a whole lot happened this week...until Saturday.|
Went out and explored South Street in Philly. Walked into Repo Records and walked out with 100 dollars worth of records.
Money well spent.
1. Getting in Shape
Squats: 95 lbs. (3x5 repetition) (Gain+30 lbs.)
Overhead Press: 50 lbs. (3x5 repetition) (No change)
Assisted Pull-Up: -35 lbs. (3x5 repetition) (Gain +5 lbs.)
Bend Over Rows: 35 lbs. (3x5 repetitions on each arm) (Gain +5 lbs.)
Squats: 95 lbs. (3x5 repetition) (Gain 30+ lbs.)
Dead-Lift: 105 lbs. (3x5 repetition) (Gain 10 lbs.)
Bench: 75 lbs. (3x5 repetition) (Gain 10 lbs.)
Assisted Dips: -35 lbs. (3x5 repetition) (Gain 5 lbs.)
2. School Work Stuff
Didn't read at all this week, but I did watch a lot of documentaries. (Thank you National Geographic on Netflix)
Catcher in the Rye: 19/214
3. Record a Post-Rock EP
Still searching for an Ebow :(
4. Selling My WoW Account
Played a lot this week but starting to just wain off of it.
|Tags: Mexican, Records, New Years Resolution
|Did you do drugs? Yes, back in the 70s. (New Years Resolution Week 2)
|Ahh Drexel, I missed you. The city, the people, the armed robbery text message updates. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. |
Of course, I'm disappointed that I left my friends at home to go back to school, but I had no choice. Reunited with many friends back here and began my 19 credits of classes. Fun.
Looking back on last week, I find my physics class to be horribly boring and I got my math teacher again (which is a major plus! (pun intended)).
As for the weekend, two nights of bumming out with friends and one night of partying with these friends.
I can't seem to turn off La Dispute's discography. Its absolutely fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone who has any type of interest in smart music and post-hardcore. As well as La Dispute, I grabbed a copy of In/Casino/Out by At the Drive-In, which is stellar nonetheless.
Anyways, back to my New Years Resolutions:
1. Getting in Shape
Alright, somehow I have to learn to write this in an easy, cohesive way. I have two work-outs when I go to the gym, properly called Workout A and Workout B. I go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each week, I do 2 of one of the workouts and 1 of the other in alternating order (First week was A, B, A. This week will be B, A, B.)
Workout A consists of: Squats, Overhead Press, Bend-Over Rows, and Assisted Pull-Ups.
Workout B consists of: Squats, Bench, Dead-Lift, and Assisted Dips.
For my future satisfaction and my current embarrassment at my weakness, here are my current waits for my first week of lifting ever:
Squats: 65 lbs. (3x5 repetition)
Overhead Press: 50 lbs. (3x5 repetition)
Assisted Pull-Up: -40 lbs. (3x5 repetition)
Squats: 65 lbs. (3x5 repetition)
Dead-Lift: 95 lbs. (3x5 repetition)
Bench: 65 lbs. (3x5 repetition)
Assisted Dips: -40 lbs. (3x5 repetition)
2. School Work Stuff
So far, I mentioned that my classes are overall relatively boring. As far as positives, my engineering class is playing with robots. I got a 5 out of 5 on my math quiz. Thats a good start. I just have to work harder on my weekends because I'm a terrible procrastinator.
As far as reading, I started Catcher in the Rye briefly, I intend to read more this week.
Catcher in the Rye: 19/214
3. Record a Post-Rock EP
So far, my dorm is tricked out with a keyboard (that has a drum kit and other effects), my electric guitar, my bass guitar and my acoustic guitar. I have the first song all mapped out but I need to figure out what I am adding to it. It looks like piano will be in but I am contemplating string instruments as well. Also, I started working on a second song this weekend. So far, so good.
4. Selling My WoW Account
Last week, I was sick with one of the worst head colds I've ever had. This prompted me to sleep all the time and basically bum out due to the fact that I was, well, sick. During this time, I played WoW. I got my priest to level 85 (woot!) and got him some gear. Next, I'll be working on my level 64 mage, which should level real fast because they are completely overpowered.
|Tags: New Years Resolution, La Dispute, Workout
|Goodbye Jersey (Week 1)
|Week one of taking care of my New Year's resolutions begins tonight and tomorrow. I just moved back into Drexel, and to say the least: Its an exciting, yet bittersweet feeling. I'm excited to be back with some good friends and I have my absolute freedom back (along with some Christmas cash!). Its bittersweet because I wish I got to see my friends more back home. I saw enough of my family while getting snowed in for 4 days, but I lost a lot of time with some other people. Sadly, I probably won't even be able to see them come Spring Break due to Drexel's wacky schedule. Either way, it'll add to the shock value of completing these Resolutions.|
Lets get to keeping in track:
1. Getting In Shape
So back home, at least I weighed myself. I ran up the stairs to the scale, if that counts.
Current Weight: 141.6
2. School Work Stuff
Classes start tomorrow, Physics book on back order. No problem though, I got an A in physics in high school!
Starting to Read Catcher in the Rye again because I didn't understand it in 8th grade.
1. Catcher in the Rye 0/214 pages.
3. Record a Post-Rock EP
I got lucky and found a keyboard in my attic that has a drum kit and effects on it. That was a gold mine to me. Also, purchasing an Ebow sometime this week!
4. Sell my WoW Account
Due to the snow storm, I managed to get some good WoW time in. Got one of the characters to 85
|Tags: new years resolution, week 1
|New Years Resolution (Preparation Week)
|Since I'm very tired of sitting around, pissing away all my time on video games, being depressed, and writing shit that I will look back and one day regret, I'm finally willing to take control of my life as a New Year's Resolution. |
I've had to give a lot of thought to what exactly I want to do, but I'll need a way of keeping track and keeping up with it. Thus, weekly blog entries will do the trick.
Here are my goals:
1. Time to get this lazy ass moving (Get in Shape, Start Lifting, Start Losing Fat)
I'm fortunate enough to have floor mates at school who enjoy going to the gym to lift and run. After coming off a snowboarding injury that required 11 full months of recovery time and physical therapy, I'm finally good to go as far as health is concern. And being a skinny-fat 5'5" 140 lb. guy, I want to change this.
2. Work Hard, Study Hard (Pass my winter and spring terms)
Being an engineering student ain't easy. It requires a high level of math and science that usually makes the business students cringe. Luckily, I've been blessed with a love and an ability for math. This term, I tackle 19 credits worth of classes. I intend on finishing with 19 credits.
3. Fuck it, why not? (Record a Post-Rock EP)
Like everyone on this site, I have a die-hard, burning, passionate drive for music. I love driving around in my car for hours. Why? So I can listen to music. I love hanging out with my friends. Why? We debate music and where the industry is. Over the last 2 years, I've amassed instruments, pedals, and accessories in order to play music. I've never been able to find my calling in music until, for my 17th birthday, my parents bought me The Earth is Not a Cold, Dead Place by Explosions in the Sky. I hate to use the word life-changing, but its the only one I could use. I remember being completely and utterly mesmerized by the song Your Hand in Mine. So much that I began to write like that, and diving head-first into all the post-rock I could. With the proper tools necessary, and a floormate that wants to go into audio recording and engineering, this is my opportunity to accomplish that.
4. Damn You to Hell, Blizzard! (Less time playing video games/more time doing better things)
For fuck's sake, I live in Philadelphia now. Computer games should be a thing of the past. I gotta get my life in order. Instead of sitting around, I'll start reading more. Instead of partying on my weekends, I'll go into the city and do new things.
My goal is to go on my World of Warcraft during the night and level many of my characters to 85 and then sell the account in order to make cash and never go back to the game again.
Currently I got:
82 Undead Priest
80 Orc Rogue
76 Tauren Warrior
64 Draenei Mage
62 Goblin Warlock
If I get 5 85s on this account and try to sell it, hopefully I can make over 1,000 dollars for it. Plus, its something to do when I'm tired of reading.
Basically, this one is about trying new things, go to more concerts, meet new people.
But yeah, this blog will be how I keep track. Check back, if you actually give a shit.
Okay, I got my goals. So How am I preparing?
Got me a shitload of Kurt Vonnegut and other reading, health guides and nutrition information books, selling my World of Warcraft account and getting a Loop Pedal and Delay Pedal for Christmas (thanks mom and dad)!
|Tags: New Years Resolution, working out, improving life
|Music Piracy Essay
|Ok, I doubt anyone is going to take all the time to read all of this, but I figured I would put this up because it pertains to the Music Industry I figured I would put it up. |
NOTE: This was my freshman year Exploratory Research Essay. I had to keep it to a page limit, so I had to leave out some of the facts. Hopefully over time I can make the potential edits to it that are necessary.
tl;dr: Peer-to-Peer file sharing is affecting the music industry, but with the right kind of pirates, it would be incredibly beneficial. Also, there are potential solutions to copyright infringements and other shit.
Music Piracy, Internet Anarchy, and Record Labels Walking the Plank: How Peer-To-Peer File Sharing Is Affecting The Music Industry
Open. Search. Click. Download. Four, easy, steps. They can be for anything, from downloading programs like Microsoft Word or programs that people play for fun. However, they are also the same steps needed to download music illegally. Over the past 10 years, illegal downloading has swept through the music industry like the bubonic plague. Ever since I found the program Kazaa, I began to download music illegally. I always thought that what I was doing was harmless. Years later, in a library at Drexel University orientation, I listened to the computer department talk about how powerful the network was. Eager to play various games and talk with friends from back home, I listened carefully. He then went on to talk about Drexel’s Acceptable Use Policy, which basically outlawed all students from downloading music illegally. I was floored by the severity of the punishments. My biggest outlet for discovering new music had just been completely severed. But this had me thinking, if Drexel has such a strict rule against illegally downloading music, how serious of a crime is it to download it illegally? How far down does the rabbit hole go?
For us to understand why downloading music for free is illegal, we must understand what copyrights cover. Jared S. Welsh, author of the journal article “Pay What You Like- No, Really: Why Copyright Law Should Make Digital Music Free for Noncommercial Use,” states in his article that "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Basically, whatever the artist copyrights becomes his or her property. Welsh goes on to list that the "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression. It provides for six exclusive rights of copyright owners: reproduction, preparation of derivative works, distribution, public performance, and public display.” With these rights reserved by copyright holders, were does downloading music for free fall?
Out of these six exclusive rights, the one most violated by people who illegally download music is distribution. The first case against programs that distributed music illegally was Napster. Napster was created by a Northeastern University student named Shawn Fanning. He wanted to make it easier for college students to find and send each other music. The new program spread across the country like wildfire. His new program, which was given the name “peer-to-peer file sharing,” was not only sharing college programs, but everything and anything that made its way onto the Internet. The rise of peer-to-peer file sharing led to massive legal cases dealing with illegal mp3 distribution.
Then the record labels stepped in. They believed that their copyrights were being infringed upon. Napster didn’t stand a chance. Because they used basic tools such as search engines, it meant that they had some way of regulating materials that had copyrights, but did not take action for them. What this means is that Napster was knowingly facilitating the illegal distribution of mp3 files and other intellectual property. By this time, however, Napster had a network of a couple million people, and the program was out of control.
Although Napster had been stopped, the rise of other peer-to-peer file sharing programs began to pop up everywhere. The record companies were unable to fight all the cases in a timely manner. The internet’s speed and capability outmatched the entire music industry. So, one may ask, “What is the damage?”
To understand how much peer-to-peer file sharing affected the music industry, let us take American boy band NSYNC’s release: “No Strings Attached.” This album, debuting in March 2000, came out of the gates in Australia at number one, selling well over 70,000 copies of the CD. This does not include the 2.42 million copies sold in the U.S. in the first week alone. These numbers are almost unheard of these days.
Lets continue during today’s market. As mentioned, NSYNC sold 70,000+ copies of “No Strings Attached” in 2000. Last month, England’s Metalcore band Bring Me the Horizon released “There is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There is a Heaven, Lets Keep it a Secret.” Like NSYNC, their album debuted at No. 1 as well on the Australia countdown. But the scariest part for artists is the number of copies sold for BMTH. They only sold 3,600 copies of their album. This information shows that album sales from 2000 to last month are down more than 1900%. Needless to say, peer-to-peer file sharing is crushing the music industry.
With consumers sharing music illegally, who is affected by it all? One of the largest legal distributors of music is iTunes. This small branch of Apple Computers has proven to be a titan in the music industry, selling over ten billion songs alone. iTunes allows the purchase of single songs or whole albums at set prices, much like standard record stores. According to the compiled information on informationisbeautiful.net, if someone buys an album on iTunes, 54% of the profit goes to the record label, 9% goes to the artist, and 37% goes to iTunes. If record sales are down 1900%, peer-to-peer files sharing is still taking a very large cut of the music industry’s potential profit.
Now, we have identified how the music industry has been affected by illegally downloading music, but what about the consumer, or the pirate? Do they both have anything in common? Are they as evil as the record labels make them out to be? First, we need to understand why someone would deliberately steal music from artists. As someone who has pirated music, one of my biggest concerns is risking the money on something I may or may not like. Back during the time when CDs were 12 dollars, I barely had any money to my name. By pirating music, I was able to listen to CDs before buying them, therefore letting me make a purchase based on previous observations. Another reasons I have downloaded music illegally was for discovery. New music is easy to come by these days, but finding new music you like is much harder. As this goes back to taking the risk out of buying CDs, it makes it easier for others like me to find new bands to listen to. These are the perks that are shared by music pirates.
With all this stealing, is there a good side to any of this? The surprising answer is yes. According to studies done by torrentfreak.com, people who pirate music are 33% more likely to buy music from other means than a digital store. It proves that people are still willing to buy music, but not all of it. Why would someone cut corners on buying music? The obvious answer is that the amount of music we would have to buy to receive all the music we want would exceed a normal music’s fan budget. According to James Lewin’s article, his title says it all: “The average teen’s iPod has $800 of pirated music.” On one end, one can argue that the music stolen is a travesty, but for music fans, the travesty is the price. For teenagers, $800 is hard to come by without working for months. Illegally downloading music provides a mean for kids to continue to listen to their favorite bands.
With all prospects considered, the record labels think of “pirates” as no-good, lazy thieves who do not want to put up the cash to buy albums. But, according to studies, it seems like they have it all wrong. Music fans and pirates alike are still willing to put the money out there to support the artists they approve of. It seems that pirates are misunderstood by the music industry. However, the copyright laws still remain and legal action can still occur. What tactics are the record labels taking to fight this piracy?
The answer, as of right now, is scare tactics. Record labels are suing music pirates for their wrongdoings. Instead of trying to come to a conclusion, they are trying to fight the pirates. For example, a woman named Jammie Thomas-Rasset has been successful sued for $1.5 million dollars for downloaded 24 songs illegally. This comes down to her paying $54,000 dollars a song. These kinds of numbers would make anyone squirm at the thought of paying this much money. The reality is that people are still downloading music illegally, even if it means hefty fines. What kind of conclusion can everyone come to?
There are many different ideas to fix the music industry. One idea consists of heavy taxes on items that can facilitate illegal downloads. Such items would include blank discs, iPods and other mp3 players. The flaw of this is that the taxes could be seriously distorted. They could range from being so outrageous that it would be unaffordable, or too low as to continue to hurt the music industry. Another solution could be to promote monthly subscription uses for music. What this would do is charge people for a monthly service fee while letting the masses have hold at all the music that they can get their hands on. This is viewed as one of the leading cases because it could be affordable for any household member while allowing the amount of music downloaded to be unlimited and the record labels can continue to make a profit. The downside of this is that illegally downloading music is still an issue. It would still exist at the same rate that it does today. My personal, favorite solution is to do away with it altogether: rewrite the copyright laws in order to make music that is used for noncommercial uses free for everyone. If pirating is so out of control, would it just be smart to do away with the copyright laws? This way, there would be no lawsuits, no ridiculous fines and no problems with the music fans. People can safely afford to download music at their leisure. This would also be fortunate for artists too. With the music free for giveaway, it would allow music to reach the masses and otherwise unnoticed bands can create more notoriety. The only downside is that, like mentioned before, the record labels take in 63% of CD and songs downloaded off of iTunes. With that much income gone, how much does it affect record labels? Even more so, the exposure may not be worth the price to some bands, as they would want their cut of the money. If a law for noncommercial uses passes, unsigned bands would struggle harder since they would have to continue to pay for things like recording, engineering, mixing and music equipment with no reparation for what they had paid before.
So now I find myself reviewing my iTunes Library. I see many bands of which I had pirated music from. Starting from the very first 4 albums on my library and ending with the last 2, I realized I spent no money on any of those 6 records. In the end, I feel somewhat guilty. Groups of men and women worked very hard over the course of years in order to create such a fan base as they do now, and their work is up for grabs on the Internet for free. But then I think about how I have compensated for this. The album On Letting Go by Circa Survive was one of the first I ever downloaded illegally. Since then, I have bought all of their CDs, posters, vinyl records and 3 tickets to see them live. I have to think to myself: Would I be condemned for stealing a ten dollar album or commended for spending over $200 supporting their music? So again, I ask myself: Could music pirating be a necessary evil for the music industry? My belief is yes, even though music pirating affects the music industry negatively, but, with the right people downloading the music, it could possibly make the music industry more money than it ever has before.
Welsh, Jared. "PAY WHAT YOU LIKE - NO, REALLY: WHY COPYRIGHT LAW SHOULD MAKE DIGITAL MUSIC FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL USES." (2009) <http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/lnacademic/?shr=t&csi=7383&sr=TITLE%28PAY+WHAT +YOU+LIKE-NO%2C+REALLY%29+and+date+is+April,% 202009>
Ziemann, George. "The Transformation of the Music industry in the 21st Century." (2002): n. pag. Web. 23 Nov 2010. http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/2010/century.htm.
Adams, Cameron. "You only need to sell 3600 albums to be No. 1." (2010): n. pag. Web. 23 Nov 2010. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/entert...-1225940575868
Agency, QMI. "Woman ordered to pay $1.5M for downloading songs." (2010): n. pag. Web. 23 Nov 2010. <http://www.torontosun.com/tech/news/2010/11/04/15967161.html>
Sonic Boom: Napster, MP3, and the New Pioneers of Music; John Alderman, pg. 103
Lewin, James. "Average Teen's iPod Has $800 Of Pirated Music." (2010): n. pag. Web. 23 Nov 2010. http://www.podcastingnews.com/conten...pirated-music/
Elmer-DeWitt, Philip. "Apple iTunes: 10 Billion Songs Later." (2010): n. pag. Web. 3 Dec 2010. <http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/02/24/apple-itunes-10-billion-songs-later/>.
|Tags: Music Industry, Music Piracy, Music, Essay