Monday, October 17, 2011

In the past month and two weeks...

I've lived in Malibu, confided to a "studio apartment" in the corner of a mansion, on acres of land that hosted horses and a rooster.  And it was more "in the middle of nowhere" than my hometown of Jamestown, NC, in which I at least didn't have to drive fifteen minutes before I hit something other than the homes of millionaires.

I've lived in Eagle Rock - well, more so unofficially housesat in Eagle Rock for a hipster couple that I never met, in a cute little one-story house with more records than I'd ever seen at once in my life, fruit trees in the backyard, quirky decor and stray kittens.  I ironically felt at home in that house of a stranger.

I've lived in Hawthorne, in a cozy little Marriott.  So close to the airport that the planes fly right above us on the freeway, almost like they're going to land right ahead of me.  There's free breakfast and daily maid service, and surprisingly non-claustrophobic.  I feel like I've been here much longer than I actually have.

And by the end of the week, if all goes well, I'll be living in Culver City.  And hopefully be settling in Culver City, at least until March, and finally, our living situation won't be week-to-week, but rather there's five months of at least some kind of stability ahead of us.  I wouldn't trade the adventure of it for anything, but it's nice to see an apartment of our own in the horizon.  It's been a journey - I anticipate it still will be.  But slowly but surely, we're getting somewhere, and it's making for one heck of a story.

Not many other people can say they've lived in four different cities over the course of a month, after all.  To state it simply, it's cool.  But I am ready now to settle into this new place, and see what other aspects of my life adventure will rile up.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The musical facade.

I like to pretend I’m Brian Wilson (Pet Sounds to Smile era)  when I compose music on Garageband and try these unique, different things that are kind of unconventional when it comes to what music commonly is to create something new, fresh, maybe a little strange, with these special little, unexpected touches.
But unlike him, my attempts probably suck.  Maybe not suck - but instead of sounding brilliantly unique, it just sounds a little off.  Alas, I’m not quite a composer, but I sure like doing it.
Except the last two non-rap songs I’ve composed have ended up sounding peculiarly like they could be a part of the soundtrack to a Legend of Zelda game or something (here's one, if you care to listen to my mediocrity:  My brother and I used to share “Link’s Awakening” on our Gameboy pockets when we were kids, and we legitimately loved the music.  I may or may not have two of the songs on my iTunes right now.
The stuff I created isn’t anywhere near as good.  But I like moments of them.  Certain moments really resonate with me, and I know that’s a start.  If I can create awesome moments in a song, then I’m on my way to creating great, complete masterpieces some day.  I’m still young, I’ve only been doing this for a few months - I’ll keep experimenting, and I get it.
Because those moments are important.  I realized that with songs I really love.  I can like a song as a whole, but what really gets me are those special touches that stick out and really make the song great. I know nothing of proper musical terminology, so bear with me, but sometimes at the end of a bar, an artist will do something different with the note progression there.  Like in “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, I absolutely love the part in the music every time after they sing “something” in the chorus.  I think it’s the bassline, maybe.  Whatever it is - I live for that part.
And in “Love You Like a Love Song” (yes, Selena Gomez - really take in the subtleties of that song before you judge), which is actually driven by a bassline (a synth bassline, but a bassline nonetheless - Billie Jean style, sort of) - the progression of the notes in that line at the end of each bar helps make the song for me.
Then you have that moment in one of the latter choruses of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” when he sings “I look at you all” but doesn’t complete the line, so it really draws your attention to the music at that part, and you can hear that piano shining over that guitar, and I just listen to that song in anticipation for that part.
So it’s important for me to have these little moments that I absolutely love in every song I created - whether it’s a certain chord change or how the drums go in one particular part.  Because that’s what makes a song for me.  That little special embellish that sets something apart.  The thing to look forward to, that clicks with you, that gets a little rise out of you every time you hear it, you know?
I’m such a poser.  I got my degree in film and act like I know what I’m talking about with music.  But it’s amazing what you can teach yourself just by paying attention.  Really listening to music - and I mean really listening to it has changed up my whole experience, and has really helped me to improve as I experiment with song writing.  I’m not expert by any means, but now I really understand a lot about music that I didn’t before.  Now I can actually talk about its composition and such (my lack of knowledge of the correct terminology aside), and the further I get, the more I enjoy it and really appreciate what goes into crafting a song. 
Adding onto the list: someone I can really talk about music with.  Not in a “yeah, I like this, I like that”, “oh, that’s good, but that sucks” sort of shallow, comparing tastes way, but really talking about the composition of songs, comparing songs in that sense, talking about what really makes a song great - picking it apart and truly appreciating it.  Someone I can really learn from.
This wasn’t the most eloquent or relevant of posts, but I wrote a song yesterday, so why not write about it in a sense?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I don't care too much for mansions. Mansions can't buy me love.

I'm watching the X-Factor in my hotel room, and in this episode, the contestants go to the judges' houses to perform for them.

Wait, did I say houses?  Because I meant ridiculously obscene mansions.  Epic estates in the most cliche of places (The Hamptons, Malibu, Paris), and I don't think I could ever build something like that using cheat codes on The Sims.

And as I sit in this hotel room I got at a huge discount that honestly not that much bigger than my bedroom back home, I realized something:  I wouldn't be any more content than I am now, sitting on an overpriced couch in one of those mansions as opposed to being in this hotel room.  I absolutely wouldn't.

Money, when it boils down to it, is meaningless.  And no one is going to believe that.  No one is going to believe that I believe that.  But I've spent the past five weeks living minimally in humble places that don't belong to me (and okay, I was technically in a mansion in Malibu for a month, but I was confined to just a singular, unfurnished room, so it was nothing like Nicole Scherzinger's pad that they're showing off on this episode), and it's just reiterate what I've kind of always know - true experience, true joy, true life is not found in what you have, as far as material possessions go.  It's Who you believe in, and what you do with that.

And it's such an interesting experience, to see these mansion on television and rather be in this hotel.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hodgepodging it up.

Today marked the first time I have ever done well in an interview.  So maybe the tides are changing.

Found out that Demi Lovato also has some social anxiety issues.  Obviously we're meant to be best friends.

Heading towards a path of permanence, of settling.  And I know it's for the best, but I will honestly miss this nomadic lifestyle.  Part of me feels like I could hop from place to place every month or so forever.  It speaks to a part of me that I've never got to indulge in, being stuck in Southern suburbia for way too long when I was in those antsy and angsty teenage years

One day I'll travel all around with my wit, creativity, and camera.  Most importantly, with my faith.  And it'll be awesome.  I can wait.  If God has taught me anything in this past year specifically, it's patience.  I can sit here, knowing that not everything isn't quite how I'd like it at the moment, but certain that great things are coming.  There are certain things I am so sure of in my gut (I won't divulge - eventually you'll know when they happen), and I'm content (mostly - I'm not perfect) to wait on the Lord for them.

I'm not without my lofty dreams still.  There's something in particular I would so love do, that speaks to so many of my desires, and it's such a long shot that I definitely won't be distraught if it doesn't happen, but it doesn't stop me from praying for it daily.  Because I can at least ask - puts me in a better position than not asking.  I know God can make it happen if it's in His will for me.  And if it's not in His will for me, then I'm totally fine with that, because He knows best.  I trust that.  That's something else He's been teaching me this past year - what it truly means to trust in Him.

So this hotel room - I'll miss it.  There's nothing like a hotel bed or watching sitcoms on couch.  And the loud hum (so loud that it actually can't really be considered a hum) of the flighty air conditioning.  I really do love it.  Like I said in a previous post, I will hotel hop someday.  After I travel with my camera, but before I take a year living on the beach in a tent amongst a surf community (that's for a different post).

Yep, it's the good life.  It's the suite life.  I've used that terrible pun twice on this blog now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Home is where...?

The heart is?  The heart's in my chest, so I guess I'm home wherever I'm at.

Not exactly true, but this hotel room - feels a little bit like a home.

I sit on this couch, watch MTV documentary shows about people losing weight, pull out an old teleplay to rework, cook myself some dinner in the kitchen, believe in God's timing, and have spontaneous, celebratory dance parties to Demi Lovato's "Who's That Boy?" with Nina, and I've found my content place.

And it's one of those days that you review in your head and realize on paper, you didn't really do much (went to two post offices and a UPS store in search of elusive P.O. boxes and sat in 405-S traffic), but in all actuality, feel like you accomplished a good deal today.  Ideas flowing and progress inching forward, and it feels good - knowing that something was done today.

And knowing that God's got it all under control feels the best.  There's not a worry I have in the world.  Just enjoying life - with its ups, downs, challenges, and everything else in between, because I know that if I do my part, then He is definitely going to do His.

So it's good.  Even with my bum car and my period, it's good.  Joy comes from the inside, and I'm basking in all the joy I've got.  And I'm at home, because my heart's in me and Jesus is in my heart, and hey, this is life right here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Suite Life (Sorry for stealing your pun, Disney)

If I had minimal possessions and the money for it, I think I would consider just living in (nice) hotel suites.  Staying awhile in each, then when I wanted a change, going on to the next one.  Hotel hopping, if you will.

Here's why:

It's nice set-up.   I love hotel rooms - the feel of it, the coziness, the odd familiarity (maybe because I spent my fair share in them growing up).  It exemplifies a getaway, something different.  It's a nice room to yourself - a nice little living space.

Free, unlimited toiletries.  Soaps, shampoos, toilet paper, and in this hotel, paper towels - all at my disposable and refilled when depleted.

Cable television - mainly times with HBO.  This hotel has a pretty sizable HD flat screen.  The quality is pristine, and television is the ideal background noise.

Fitness center.  No gym membership, and not as many people take advantage of it as you'd think.  Here I have treadmills so nice that there's a TV attached to it (I prefer my iPod, though - I can listen to Demi Lovato's new album whilst burning calories, which is the best of both worlds).  Plus towels and a water dispenser, right there.

A/C.  This is the first time I've been with an air conditioning unit in over a month - it's very nice.

Free continental breakfast.  This probably should be first on the list.  Yes, it's small, but it's free!  Yes, it ends really early, but it's free!

It comes furnished.  This one even comes with every kitchen appliance I could need (except a blender, but then again, I never really used the blender when I did have one at my disposable, so I don't probably need that).

Maid service.  Another one that should be higher on the list.  I come back each afternoon to my bed made, dishes cleaned, new towels, and everything straightened up.

I like collecting hotel keycards.

It would cater to my sense of adventure.  If I get tired of it, I could check out and move on to the next one.  I could live wherever I wanted.  Obviously, I need to just start my own film-related business that can be done anywhere I have a camera and Final Cut Pro, so I can just hop around the country and different hotel rooms...

I think I legit might do that for a few months sometime in the future.  Hotel hop.  Explore the new surroundings I settle in.  I could probably turn it into some sort indie documentary while I'm at it.  "180 Days of Hotels."  Don't steal that - I'm in the process of getting the rights already.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Important Conclusions.

I've come to some important conclusions tonight.

I effing hate my car.  So much that I dropped a faux f-bomb.  Well, I don't really hate it, because I just don't have it in me to hate (that's a really dark place to get to, if you've ever experienced true hatred), but as I drove it tonight, I realized that because of my relatively positive demeanor, there was only thing in my life that I absolutely detested - and it was that car.

Funny to think that for a very brief period, I loved the thing.  It's sort of like that relationship you jump into, because the guy (or girl, to make this relatable to everyone) seems so perfect, and you just love him (her, it, whatever) so much because he (tired of making this universal) seems to be so amazing.  And then as time goes on, you find out that he is not at all amazing, but just actually really sucks.  If it was earlier in the day, I'd make that metaphor a lot more poignant.  Point is - thought this car was sweet, turned out to be a dud, and as much as I love this adventure I'm on, this car is just getting on my nerves.  I paid $40 to get my turn signal fixed today, only for it to stop working again not even two hours later.  It smokes like a "thinks she's cool but she's not" indie college student at liberal arts college (like, you know, NYU) and oh, a headlight and a taillight is out.  But hey, I go to court over it in less than a week, so hopefully it's off my hands, and I can start a new.  Literally, I am never purchasing an used car again unless it's over $10,000 and from a legitimate dealer.  Not from sketchy, four months' "pregnant" (yet I see no bump...) women named Eda.  Yep, just called you out on my Eda - whatchu gonna do?

Next conclusion.  Decided that I want to direct Anna Kendrick in a movie.  Nina and I saw 50/50 tonight, which is a very good movie, and she is just so charmingly awkward and funny that I have to write a role especially catered to her and then direct her to Oscar winning glory.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt can certainly be in it as well.  In fact, they can play love interests.   But both are fantastic actors, so they've been added on to the list of "must-directs", which include but certainly is not limited to Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez (do not ask, just embrace), and Emile Hirsch (quite possibly solely because I find him totally charming and if you close your eyes, he sounds just like Leo).

Those are today's conclusions.  Well, tonight's, rather. This early morning's?  Yep.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Adventurer's Life - That's What's For Me

The adventure of my time in Los Angeles has spoiled me and now I don't know I can really ever be truly satisfied with a "stable" life ever again.  Of course, this has been a little extreme and far from planned, but once getting into the swing (or rather, lack of swing) of things, I have come to enjoy it, and I just can't imagine a life without a certain degree of spontaneity.

Which is why if all does fail in thirteen days and my time in Los Angeles is unfortunately forced to come back to an end, I really just can't go back to North Carolina.  Not that it's anything against North Carolina.  I love North Carolina.  I want to be in North Carolina.  But I can't stay there, because what it represents to me is stagnancy and monotony.  The wrong kind of stability - I don't want to be rooted in my mother's house in the same town I lived most of my life in.  I need some sort of on the edge living.  Something different.

So my overly active and very imaginative mind that often works on its own whims has come up with a list of Plan B's that I will pursue in thirteen days if things just don't come together in the way I really hope and pray they would.  Please note that these are absolutely secondary plans, and my utmost priority is finding anyway possible to stay in Los Angeles.  I post these a little bit in jest, except I do feel like I will consider at least one of these options seriously if it comes down to it.

1. Become a groupie for Demi Lovato.  She's going on a brief tour in November, so armed with my DSLR, I will follow her throughout the midwest and Northeast, documenting my experience, and trying to finagle my way into her shows.  At the very least meeting her or people she's associated with, living on the road, being super adventurous, and of course turning the whole thing into a Sundance hit.

2. Pitching a tent on my dad's plot of land on the island of Nevis where he was born.  Once again with my camera, documenting the whole thing.  Living off the fruit of the land.  Buying a fishing pole.  I have family there, so that's helpful.  Getting back to my roots.  Robinson Crusoe stuff.  I actually have never read that novel, so I have no idea if it actually is Robinson Crusoe stuff.  Probably actually more like that terrible 80's movie with a young Brooke Shields, minus the blonde boy and awkward sexual tension.  Blue Lagoon.  That's what it's called.

3. Find a friend somewhere, anywhere who will let me visit and crash indefinitely in a place I've never been or at least never lived before (so High Point and New York City are out, but if I can get back to LA, then bet your dogs I'll be back) and just explore and discover life in somewhere new.  Fall deeper in friendships and even if there is no goal in mind, just do it for the experience, see what comes of it.  Find something to film while I'm there.  I have a few friends in various places, so maybe I can at least swing it somehow.

Those are three I have right now.  In a sense, they kind of boil down to "make a documentary", but it's much more than that, of course.  I absolutely want to stay here.  I am going to do everything in my power to stay here.  I will not resign to the absolute last possible second, but if God has other plans (and let's face it, His plans and my plans often don't line up, and His always turn out to be infinitely better), then I'll at least see what I can do to avoid returning to High Point living - at least not under these circumstances.  I honestly can see myself living in North Carolina again, but I'm far from that right now in my heart.

I just have come to love this little adventure I'm living.  I can't remember the last time I've felt so simply happy in life.  Not that I'm not generally a constantly happy person, but this feels a little bit different.  It feels so great, and I've realized that this is kind of what I've always wanted.  So I always want to stay on the tip of my toes, pushing forward into the unknown, taking risks, and all that good stuff.  Because this right here, what I'm living in right now, feels so right to me.  As honestly frustrating as it has been in some moments, I wouldn't change the way things have been going out here for the world (minus the piece of crap car I purchased.  I don't like that).

So adventure it is for me.  That's what it's gonna have to be.  I really can't wait to see what adventures God leads me in the future.  And I pray that I don't have to end up settled back in High Point come thirteen days from now.

The Greatest.

I think part of the reason why I got into The Beatles was the intrigue.  It's incredibly fascinating to me to think of how they're widely considered the greatest band ever - at least the most influential.  And there's a sort of mystique there.  For ten years, they created music that would outlive the life of the band by a long run.  Something that started out so small that exploded into a long-lasting phenomenon.  And can you imagine - being the greatest at something?  That mystique, as I listened through Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time, captivated more so by the reputation of the music than the music itself.  To think I was listening to what many say is the greatest album ever released - some part of me grabs onto that.

Probably the lingering vestiges of pride.  The last remnant of a desire within me to be the best.  Something that has been melted away, courtesy of the Lord's work on my life, but lingers in the sense of that I know a part of me still wants to create something so indisputably and widely great.  I don't care to be better than anyone else, but to be the best of myself - it's so alluring.  Not enough to drive me to obsession - I realize the importance of life lies not in the opinions of others about you.  I won't strive for it - not for approval, no.  But I do believe there is merit in creating something great.  Why create at all, I almost wonder, if you're not aiming for it to be some kind of great (whether or not it actually ends up as such)?  And I cannot lie to you or myself or God - I want to create something great.

And the small part of my flesh that will probably never die wants to create the greatest.  I won't indulge such pride, though.

But I think that want helps solidify my fascination and love for Paul McCartney.  He had such ambition - to the point that it annoyed his bandmates.  His desire for perfection in his works, how he kept trying to innovate and push forward - I see so much of myself in that, and I'm not sure how good or bad that is.  I don't stop at snippets at idea - everything because grand visions for me.  I always want to push forward with my work, but am hindered by how I feel no one else around me feels that same passion quite to the level I live in it.

And then I'm especially intrigued by Brian Wilson - creative genius behind The Beach Boys.  And how that same ambition and drive that McCartney had ended up failing Wilson in - driving him crazy.  I was reading yesterday in Barnes and Noble about his unfinished album - Smile.  It was slated to be an absolute masterpiece - something that would've thrown a wrench into The Beatles ascension into most influential and widely praised rock band ever.  Wilson slaved over it, and I have the feeling that no one around him quite understood his obsession - how nothing was good enough, how he had to keep on pushing boundaries to create his perfection.  And it's so interesting how his quest for greatness ended up tearing him apart - because he set standards for himself that he couldn't quite reach.  It's as tragic as it is absolutely intriguing.

So I see the flaws behind such a pursuit - how easily the creative process can destroy a person.  But yet I can't help but feel inspired.  Driven to create a masterpiece, and I'm not sure why.  It's not for acclaim.  It's not for meaning.  I can't even say it's to give something to the world, which is what is at the heart of my usual creative endeavors (minus the few times I create purely to create - a self-indulgence because I just need to since it's such an integral part of me).  Maybe it's simply just to do it.  Or it's the most appropriate outlet for all this passion and energy residing inside me.  I want to pour my all into something - not obsessively, but thoroughly and create something that had never been seen.  That rocks the world.

I can't say if it's terrible or alright.  The intent of isn't bad.  I think it's quite innocent, but seeing how the world approaches such a desire - I know it can be a dangerous pursuit.  If it happens, then it happens.  I think it's alright to want to create greatness.  But I know it can lead straight into the meaningless, superficial path of everything the world glorifies and nothing that God does.  And that is the last thing I want.

I think where it lies is that if I create something great, I create it for God.  To use the talents He's given me - to enjoy His gifts and to glorify Him in the process.  And if that forever resides at the heart of it, I think it's fine.

I'm slowly easing into a creative oasis, it feels like.  Maybe it's this hotel room or this nomadic life or just a new season, as happens so often.  But I'm gonna ride it, because I love creating.  And I will strive to create greatness.  I will explore, experiment, learn, and have fun.  I will push the bounds to grow and better my work, because I think regardless, stagnancy isn't optimal.  And maybe I'll even try for a masterpiece.  But if I fail, I won't be upset, because I know there is so much more to life than just that.  I'll do it because I enjoy it thoroughly, not to earn some intangible praise from people who don't even know me.

Paul McCartney, though.  He's definitely an inspiration.  I'd only be so blessed if I could accomplish in my field what he accomplished in his.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My two weeks.

After a month stay in the isolated guest room of a beautiful house in Malibu, CA and almost a week foray at a humble, but enjoyable home in Eagle Rock, CA,  tonight marks the beginning of my stay in a Los Angeles hotel for up to, but no longer than, two weeks.

So I've decided to meticulously chronicle these two weeks.  Maybe because I should've done the same with my five California weeks before.  Maybe because these are to be a pivotal fourteen days that will determine so much about my near future.  October 21st could be so many different things; only these two weeks will be able to tell.

Mainly, I want to see closely what God will do in this time.  He has already done so much with the time that has passed - I am certain that there is only but more to come.  This is an exploration of faith.  What it means to abandon all worry and embrace uncertainty in the confidence that God will come through in the end.

This is adventure.  Living out of a hotel in yet another new city after playing nomad the best I could.  This is all I see, learn and experience.  And creating the best I can along the way.

Today I applied to two things.  Then took another step forward in a video I've been editing.  Sound editing is crucial - unfortunately in my current limited existence, I don't have all the means to make it perfect, but I'm making do with what I have.  It's amazing how much music can color something, change something.  The entire feel of a piece, transformed entirely just because of song choice.  I've experimented a bit - too tired to attempt to compose my own soundtrack, plus honestly too impatient, I've taken to the stock instrumentals my Mac has provided me.  They're decent - some painfully mediocre, but in their midst, I've found suitable matches for my piece that create the kind of mood I'm aiming for.  I'm close to done now.  Just some minor tweaking - mostly with other sound issues - and perhaps by the end of the weekend, it'll be online for all to see.

As I did that, I had Martin Scorsese's documentary about George Harrison on in the background, which of course riled up that creative sense in me, which is now rearing to go with a camera and take on the world, explore the world, reveal the world in all sorts of ways.  But if there's one thing I've learned these past few months, it's patience.  The merit of waiting.  God knows the desires of my heart.  He blessed me with these talents.  He'll make use of them when the time's right.  I truly believe that, and trust me, I'm much more at ease all the time because of that.

Lastly, I listened to the best composition I've created to least it's my favorite.  I'm not entirely sure what to do with it - I know it'll remain instrumental, but I want to put images to it.  There are snippets, but it's not quite gelling yet.  Once again, I'll wait.  I'll wait for it to come together in my mind and wait for the right means to come along to put it into action.

Here's that composition:

I feel quite almost poetic and serene in this moment, and it's probably from watching that documentary.  George Harrison - quite intriguing, wasn't he?  Still is, even in death.  It's interesting to see how much his spiritual faith touched and influenced his life, though it's a spiritual faith much different of my own.  It's interesting to be able to relate to him on that facet in a way, despite inherent differences in our theologies.  I understand - just in an entirely different way.

I'm about to go downstairs to the lobby because there's a 24 hour mart with food.  Frozen dinners, in fact, and because Nina has my car, I'm confined to this building for now (there's a Trader Joe's a block away, but I'm in an unfamiliar area and don't really like getting shot, so we won't risk it since the sun's gone down).  I'm not picky with my food, so I'll glad throw something in the microwave and enjoy.

This will be less journalistic, more creative minded, but still a little of both - the nature of these posts that are to follow.  Whether I feel like it or not, I'll update at least once a day.  Probably more on most days.  I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of things I want to create, and there is so much to explore.  Plus, I'm living an adventure.  Heck, the dream - not the one I came out here to pursue (not yet) but the one of my youth that craved spontaneity and adventure and taking risks and being free.  It's funny how that turned out without me even trying, with me completely forgetting that I ever had those urges at one time.  So it's more fun than anything.  But that's probably because it's physically impossible for me to get stressed, so I'm not worried about the fact that I have to resort to living in a hotel for right now if I wanna stay West (and even that wasn't certain until a few days ago - before then, I had no idea where I'd be come today.  But I'm here, because God always comes through).  I'm just living life and loving it.

I feel very content in these moments.  I'm glad for this happiness, peace, and knowledge that even though many things aren't certain in my life, I at least am certainly living it.

Good night.