tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

5Aug/131

The Joys of Noise Cancelling Headphones

I've spent most of this slightly eventful flight trying to tune out two people behind me.

As people were getting settled a guy asked if he could switch with another man behind me to sit next to his coworker. The gentleman readily agreed, and since then the two have been talking all. Flight. Long.

Of course they're entitled to, but I found myself wishing for quiet. I didn't bring a physical book today so during take off and landing (and a flight from Toronto to Chicago spends a decent chunk of time doing those things) I don't really have anything to do. My urge is to try and slip into a meditative state. Let my mind quiet and enjoy the background roar of the airplane.

This is hard to do with two folks talking behind you, mind you.

But it made me think about not really solving my own problems. I could've dug out my noise cancelling headphones and slipped them on. Even without something playing they would help. But I worry. I worry about someone saying once how you're not allowed to have headphones on? Or something? I worry about being told no, you're wrong, that you are BAD. 

YOU'RE DISOBEYING THE RULES TOM!

Increasingly in life, however, I'm learning it's okay to disobey the rules every now and then. To do something the way you want until someone tells you no. See, I like to be considerate. To watch for others trying to get by me. To make room for people. To pause in a parking lot and let someone in. This is how I was raised.

But every now and then, I think it's good to do what you want until someone tells you not to.

Also, can I say how futuristic this feels? I'm writing on my gorgeous laptop screen. I have lovely music playing through my headphones (Boyce Avenue - Shadow of the Day, if you must know; oh, wait, now I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons) and outside my window I can see the skyline of…somewhere in the States, over the Lake.

Devices off. Will send this later, folks.

(Later is now.)

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30Jan/130

Music, Energy and Life

I go through phases with music.

I don't so much mean that sometimes I listen to one thing, sometimes another. I mean that I will occasionally go days, even months, without purposefully listening to a piece of music. I might throw on the radio occasionally, but that's the long and short of it. This usually happens when I go through one of my phases where I feel I must listen to all the podcasts, or do something else that I can't listen to music through. I have trouble concentrating sometimes with music on, so this makes sense. I also usually have listened to the same 50 songs over and over, cause I can be kinda picky about music, so when I've heard those ones over and over, it gets old fast.

But then I hear a song I like. Something that captures me or pushes me a bit. And I realize it's been a while since I've listened to music. And I realize there's been a tiny, imperceptible shift in me. Nothing huge, but this slow, quiet, shift towards a kind of practicality. I tend to stop dreaming of things. Stop daydreaming about being a super hero, or mentally writing my Star Trek fan fiction, or making up stories for my characters in WoW. I stop dreaming about my dream job, about my dream life, and just kind of settle in to reality. In ways, this isn't bad. It's practical. It's realistic.

It's not me, though.

It's not really who I am. It's this good, responsible, boring version of me. This version that doesn't dance or sing, that tends toward the practical and the possible, that just accepts life as it is and never rages against things he doesn't like, things he feels are wrong. I don't like that guy. That fire is an integral part of who I am, and I hate when I lose that.

I do have to make an effort for this, though. I'm picky about songs I like, so finding new ones can be tough. I got some help this time around, which is lovely though, but I'll gladly take any other suggestions in the comments.

This scene kind of inspired me a bit to look into this. The joy in it is lovely, IMO.

1Jun/121

What I’m Consuming: End of May

As I've mentioned before, I've been thinking a lot about the content I consume, and been wanting to consume more. I fell out of that habit the last few weeks, but wanted to get back to it. So I thought, what better way than being accountable to others for what I'm consuming?

So every week I'll be posting a list of the things I'm reading, watching, hearing and...touching? Tasting? Maybe? Likely the first 3, mostly. The idea here is to make sure I have things to share here, knowing I'll be making this post once a week and maybe share some cool things I've discovered.

I'm also doing #BEDJ, or Blog Every Day in June, with many awesome people, and this is sufficing as my first post for that, cause I want to start doing this regularly on Fridays! I may write the Food post, which is our theme for the day, later.

Without further adieu:

What I'm Reading:

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

I've been enjoying this so far, just over halfway through now. It's the sequel to his previous book, The Name of the Wind,  and part of a trilogy. Fairly accessible fantasy, with a fascinating world and a compelling, if somewhat Mary Sue-esque, character. I suspect I'll be done this by next week!

What I'm Hearing:

Radiant Land by Leeroy Stagger

In ways this should be "CBC Music App," as that's how I discovered this album. Randomly loaded the app up, turned on their indie music station, and the song Dirty Windshields came on. The app had a "download on iTunes button" so I clicked that about halfway through the song, and bought the album. A bit country-esque, with a hint of classic rock. The album is the kind of thing I put on in the background (while healing LFR on Wednesday, actually) and it's a nice accompaniment.

What I'm Watching:

Life

Technically, this should be Game of Thrones, as I finished Life last week, but I wanted to highlight this little gem of a show. It ran for two seasons, starring Damian Lewis (Homeland, Band of Brothers) and Sarah Shahi (Fairly Legal) as partners in LAPD Homicide. Lewis' character had just been released from jail after 12 years, after finding Zen Buddhism and clearing his name and getting reinstated as an LAPD officer. Similar to Castle, and not quite as snappy, but fun, with a dose of Zen Buddhism weaved through some of the themes. Should've gone on for longer, if you ask me, but sadly no one did. Watched this on Netflix, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice distraction with most shows heading towards their finales.

 

What are you consuming this week?

14Mar/120

The Importance of Music

Thanks to the lovely GFM I've been thinking more about music lately. Music is a huge part of her life and, a while back, it was a huge part of mine. Strictly in a consumptive sense, mind you. I have no talent for music creation. I can't sing for the life of me and can barely distinguish the difference between notes. Nevertheless, there was a time where I was never, ever without music in my life. I would even try to walk alone most of the time, so I could listen to music, instead of chatting to people.

Somehow, though, that's faded in recent years. I don't listen to the radio anymore, and for the most part don't hear new songs. I'd listen to my top 50 most played, occasionally pick up something new and, over time, started listening to podcasts instead, music just quietly fading away.

At the same time, I've noticed in myself a certain hardening (obligatory "that's what she said"). I keep thinking of the Sunscreen Song, and the line "Live in New York, but leave before it makes you hard."  I think working in Toronto is making me hard. I really need to find a better phrase for that.

What I mean is that I don't feel like I've had the same joy in life, in the last year or two. Not no joy. I certainly have my moments. But just that day to day, simple happiness. A smile as you walk down the hall, for no particular reason. I find I get irritated easier, that I need more time alone, that I have little energy to do anything but work and sit at my computer at home. And I have trouble sleeping and waking up, almost every day.

There has been some incredible joy in my life in the last year, and particularly in the last 6 months or so. But all I've felt is malaise.

Then yesterday, I put on some music. Something GFM had recommended. And I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it. Then I swapped through playlists, and played something else on the way home.

This morning, I put on some Florence and the Machine on the walk to work, and I looked up, and watched everything go by. The whip at my back felt less strong. The music lifted me. In this world I was a brave new person, with exciting new theme music, ready to take on the world and to get what's mine.

I need more music in my life. I need to make that effort. But I do also think I need to leave Toronto before it leaves me hard.

 

There's gotta be a better way to say that.

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