• Wednesday, November 2, 2016

    Farewell BigCountry

    I apologize for my lack of posting here. Well, not really. I guess I haven’t had much to say lately. However, on this day, the record breaking highest temperature ever in November for Kentucky, I was disheartened to learn of DJ BigCountry’s passing on November 1st, 2016.

    About two years after I began my radio show on Eve Radio, along came BigCountry, who we always called BC. He spent a lot of time in IRC during my radio shows and before long, he signed up to become a Eve Radio DJ himself. BC started off playing music during his shows. He would often take requests but then laugh at the requester on air for picking such bad tunes (kudos, I often did the same!).

    Eventually he found his niche and moved to a talk radio format. It was amazing how well he and his guests could fill the three (or six!) hour time slot with interesting banter about the Eve universe. Some of his best shows coincided with Eve’s patch notes. He would go through every line in the notes and discuss, at length, with his guests how he thought this would change the game. BC was often very opinionated and passionate about Eve and would argue at length with his guests over the smallest of details in those notes. The fact that his guests were long running members of the show despite those arguments attests to the jovial quality of his personality. Adversarial? Sure! Open-minded? Also true. And even though he could scream his nutty opinions, sounding furious, you knew deep down he wasn’t taking any of it personally. BC never held a grudge against anyone. He just loved the game that much.

    BC’s show was always one that drew in a lot of listeners. He was good at bringing the discussion to those Eve pilots and asking their opinions too, sometimes inviting them onto his show. Eve Radio has truly lost one of its best.

    I wish I knew more about the Eve lore to know what Eve capsuleers believe the afterlife is about. I think with the ability to clone oneself infinitely and transfer your consciousness the moment before death, capsuleers might consider a life “cheap” or “easy to replace”. Maybe they don’t believe in an afterlife at all, given that capsuleers are basically immortal. So, I can’t make an Eve appropriate eulogy here. Perhaps it’s better to say this. The universe is a little darker without you brother. Rest in peace.


  • Sunday, May 22, 2016

    Faith and Asexuality

    If you look up the definition of faith in the Merriam Webster dictionary, you’ll find the following:

    • strong belief or trust in someone or something
    • belief in the existence of God
    • strong religious feelings or beliefs
    • a system of religious beliefs

    Religion can certainly have an important effect on our sexual orientation. Most religions hold the view that any sexuality other than heterosexuality somewhat evil. Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam are just three such religions. Fortunately, many churches are becoming progressive in their views on homosexuality, but that is a topic for another post.

    These religions also tend to view premarital sex (fornication) as sinful. These teachings may cause someone who is not heterosexual, or who participates in fornication, to feel shamed. Worse yet, it may cause them not to understand their own sexual orientation, or act in ways to follow the norm of heterosexuality even though they may be distressed by that act.

    If we go back in time 2000 years, the world was a very different place. Contraception was nearly non-existent and largely ineffective. There was also the threat of sexually transmitted diseases. By preaching against pre-marital sex, religions were in effect protecting their people from unwanted pregnancies and STDs alike. For those who practice religion, it’s fair to say that perhaps the words written in their books were crafted by God himself, or spoken to prophets to be recorded. I have no way to prove or disprove this. But, you can’t ignore the fact that fornication could be harmful to a group of followers, and that calling it sinful would help prevent such problems. I think it’s likely that those instituting these religions had an ulterior motive for pushing their followers to wait for sex until marriage.

    Personally, I was raised as a Catholic. I participated in the faith throughout my childhood and into my adult years. It was beaten into my head that premarital sex was sinful and it should be avoided at all costs. For me, this never presented a problem. I never seemed all that tempted to have sex with anybody, but I attributed this to my desire to be a good Catholic. Or perhaps it was fear that sex would be a sin, but yet, it was never a temptation for me anyway. Nothing was out of place here until I got into high school.

    I went to a public high school, so there was a mixture of various faiths there, including some who weren’t religious at all. Many of the boys and girls in my class started pairing off as boyfriend and girlfriend. I never felt the drive to do this personally, but of course I got pressure from friends and family to get a girlfriend. Somehow, I managed to hold out. Around my third year in high school, I began to hear about fellow students starting to have sex. And not long after that, it was even about people I knew and was friends with. I was baffled, but I figured that since most of the students in my school weren’t Catholic like me, that they must have no reservations about having sex.

    This continued on through college. I was more interested in aceing my classes while most of my classmates were talking about sex. I guess I just figured that if I ever met the right woman and got married, that then suddenly I would have this insatiable desire to bang her, but not before the wedding day of course!

    After college, I got a job and got into a romantic relationship. Sometimes she would talk about sex, but I wasn’t even tempted by it. I just kept telling her I wasn’t ready. The relationship just never felt right to me though (due more to how razor close to aromantic I am). After just a few months, I broke it off with her.

    Then in 2007, I was nearly killed in an accident. This event really threw my life into a blender. I started to question everything I believed. About a year after the accident, I had this feeling that my Catholic faith wasn’t bringing me closer to God. It was actually a barrier in the way of my relationship with Him. I stopped going to Church, instead spending more time in meditation and contemplation. I’ve felt a lot freer in my ways of thinking, no longer bound by a packaged set of teachings. Shortly after, I started to break down my assumption that heterosexuality is required and fornication is sinful. My beliefs on sex are more inline with how Buddhists define one of their five precepts which is to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence. Meaning that if both parties consent, are of adult age, and use protection to avoid spreading disease or causing unwanted pregnancies, then it’s perfectly fine. (Animals can’t consent, in case you were wondering…)

    After opening this gate, I realize that without the fear of being sinful through sex, I still really had no desire for it. I continued dating off and on for several years, though none of those relationships really blossomed. Finally, I did some research on the internet about lack of desire for sex and found AVEN. I also discovered that I am grey-romantic.

    So, I think I’ve learned a few valuable lessons regarding faith and sexuality:

    • Religion may mask asexuality behind chastity, in other words you think you are being a good practitioner but it’s really a lack of desire in the first place
    • Religion does not cause somebody to be asexual
    • Chastity (the desire to avoid premarital sex) does not get rid of all temptation for sex, but asexuality does
    • Celibacy is the choice not to have sex, asexuality is the lack of desire and is not a choice

    Since discovering my own asexuality almost a year ago, my religious faith hasn’t changed much. Most of my religious transformation occurred before this discovery. However, I could imagine that if I was still Catholic, then discovering asexuality would not have changed my faith. Catholicism does place a high value on getting married and procreating, but this is more of a societal pressure than a religious one. In the Bible, Paul writes that celibacy (technically not marrying) is a higher calling than marriage because then one can devote all of their energy to God. If anything, my beliefs have moved more towards Buddhism. I still wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist though, nor do I feel this is connected with being asexual.

    My post so far has been focused on the religious aspect of faith. But another definition of faith is a strong trust in something. I want to write briefly about having faith for the future. Until recently, I didn’t understand my asexuality or my grey-romanticism. I let the people around me dictate that I wanted to get married some day, possibly have kids too. It took me a long time to deconstruct that external pressure and realize that none of those desires were actually there. Before all of this, my faith in the future was a bit clouded. I was anxious that I would end up alone. None of my dates were turning into something real and lasting.

    In contrast, now that I understand myself more clearly, I am very optimistic for the future. I have realized that I am perfectly happy being single and I will only die lonely if I stop trying to make friends. I feel even more connected with my family and friends because I know I won’t go chasing after a romantic relationship that I don’t really want to be in. In short, things are lookin’ good.

    Religion can really confuse an asexual. Their teachings often condemn actions that are supposed to be tempting. When our lack of desire lines up with those teachings, it can be hard to distinguish what was taught and what comes natural to us. I hope that my post can help you distinguish the two.


  • Sunday, January 31, 2016

    So… I’m Asexual

    I recently came out to my family and friends on my personal Facebook page about being asexual. Granted, this has little to do with my musical endeavors, and this is a site about a guy who produces music. My music is meant to be an inspiration, and to lift the moods of my listeners. But, I’m also dedicated to help by teaching others. My YouTube channel is filled with tutorials on how to make music, in case you’d like to get your feet wet with it. So, I’ll take a little time to help educate you about what asexuality is. There’s about a 1% chance that you are too, and maybe this post will help you realize something you never knew about yourself.

    In short, asexuality is a lack of innate desire for partnered sex. You’d think it would be easy to determine this about yourself, but there can be so many confounding factors. Let’s look at a few of those. I’ve also provided a separate page called Asexual Q&A, or you can start reading here.

    Society tells us that we want sex

    It’s everywhere. Sex sells, so they say. Sexy advertising, sex themed television shows and movies, and sexy clothing. You can’t avoid it. In high school, your classmates starting doing it. Everyone tells you how great it is. You may have gotten into discussions about who you had a crush on or who was hot. Maybe you were able to fake your way through those conversations, but it certainly always left you curious. With all the buzz about sex, it’s hard to believe we’re the only one who doesn’t want it. Surely we must want it deep down, we’re just repressing it… or something.

    People look attractive to you

    Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction, but if you’ve never really experienced it, how would you know you were missing it? Without it, it’s easy to confuse aesthetic attraction as sexual attraction. Aesthetic attraction is just a draw to look at someone (or something) because it’s beautiful. This might be some of the features that are generally considered as “sexy”. It may just be someone’s face, or their muscular build. However, if this draw to look at someone does not create a desire to have sex with them, then it’s not sexual attraction. Trust me on this one. At the age of 37 when I started learning about asexuality, I suddenly understood this. It would have been nice to know about 20 years ago!

    Sexual Arousal

    This is probably the biggest one. (That’s what she said?) Sexual arousal is an automatic response that can be caused by several things not related to sexual attraction. But, it’s so easy to confuse with sexual attraction. If the arousal does not lead to a desire to have sex, then it doesn’t mean you aren’t asexual. Again, I wish I had known this about 20 years ago.

    Thanks all if you’ve read my summary here. If you have any questions, be sure to look me up on Facebook! Also, here’s the asexual flag. Black is for asexuality, grey is for greysexuality, white is for sexuals, and purple is for community (hence the new purple theme of my site).

    AceFlag


  • Thursday, September 10, 2015

    My Eighth Birthday

    It’s time for my (semi)annual sappy post! Eight years ago on this day, I was nearly killed by a van as I was riding my bicycle. You can read all the gritty details from my previous post about this.

    I will say that a brush with death tends to alter your perception on living. For one thing, I think I’ve been a bit more laid back. The little annoyances that come by every day and nag us all don’t seem to bother me so much anymore. We complain about silly things like our trash cans being in the middle of the driveway when the trash service gets our garbage. In many countries in the world, they would be thrilled to have a magical place to put their junk and have it disappear the next day. I see it as a fun chance to do some car slalom and see how close I can get to the cans without hitting them. We should see these little annoyances as small challenges to overcome, ones that we can even have a little fun with if we try. Speaking of dumb stuff to complain about, why does Taco Bell give me 15 hot sauce packets for my 3 tacos? It gave me a stomach ache!

    One thing I said while in the hospital was that my life was now in extra innings. As little as I care about the sport of baseball, I think this still holds true. I’m not sure what inning I am on now, maybe 562? Every day I get beyond this point is a bonus I really shouldn’t have had. So, I do my best to enjoy it and try to spread the joy to others as well. I think we should all try to do this as much as we can. I know circumstances are different for everyone, and some of us face greater challenges than others. We can’t always be a source of joy for others, especially if we are down ourselves. When this happens, be accepting of the charity and joy of others.

    I’m very thankful for the EMS crew and the doctors that were able to put me back together so I could have all these extra innings. I am thankful for all the visitors I had at the hospital, there are far too many to name. Several of you came by when I was sleeping that I didn’t even know about. I still have a huge pile of get well cards from those days. I am also thankful for all the friends and family that I have the privilege of sharing my life with. I hope to be around a lot longer so we can form new memories together.

    I’m also happy that I’ve been able to write two albums under my Blue Phoenix alias. My first album has over 9000 downloads so far and my second album is at around 6500. I never imagined that so many people would enjoy my music. It brings me joy to know that my music has been a positive influence in your lives. Thanks to all my fans for your feedback. I will be working on a third album soon, probably starting here soon in the fall.

    I think that’s about all I have to say about that for now. Peace!


  • Monday, September 7, 2015

    Basketball and Babies

    Hello and welcome to a long overdue post, nearly one year after my last one. This is probably going to get a bit lengthy as I draw a couple of analogies between basketball and babies. Why don’t we just get started with basketball?

    In case you didn’t already know this, I’m 7’0″ (213 cm) tall. That puts me well over the third sigma in height, which is fairly freakish. Everywhere I go, I get a lot of stupid questions. The most common is “how tall are you”, but also frequent are “are your parents tall”, “do you have trouble finding clothes”, and “when did you get to be that tall”. I live in a state with two colleges that frequently win the national NCAA title for basketball, so after the obliged “how tall are you”, I almost always get “do you play basketball”.

    Before I talk about my usual answer, I am going to go off on a bit of a tangent. At my former place of employment, one day there were flyers in the conference rooms with little questions to spark interesting discussion during meetings. I don’t think anybody paid them much attention, but I did catch one line saying “what is the main ingredient for success?”. My immediate gut reaction was passion. I’d never really formed the thought that passion is necessary for success until this point but it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Instinctively, I knew this to be true. Passion gives that extra push to keep on trying even when common sense says otherwise. It’s like having ten Shia LeBouves screaming in your ear to “JUST DO IT”. Lack of passion is what causes you to give up early and just try something else. In other words, you have to want to do something before you’ll ever be good at it.

    So, going back to basketball, just why is it that I don’t play basketball? I have no passion for it. When people ask if I play basketball and I say no, the followup question I get is “why not”. I respond with “I don’t want to”. “Oh, but you’d be good at it!”. Well, no I wouldn’t be. I’m not passionate about it. I’ve played some and it’s not very fun for me. I usually get injured, either jamming a finger or twisting an ankle. The fitness benefit of playing basketball is nullified since I can stay fit with activities I actually enjoy. Now, I can see why other people find it fun and interesting, but that doesn’t mean the sport is fun and interesting for everybody.

    What’s this got to do with babies? I’ll just lay it out on the table. I don’t want to raise any children. I simply don’t have a passion for fatherhood. I’m not going to enter into it knowingly if I don’t really want to do it. It’s not fair to me or the child. I like (most) children, and the children I have frequent contact with, I would even say I love like my own family. I have a nephew, a whole pile of cousins-once-removed, two godchildren, and many friends’ children that I enjoy spending time with. I don’t feel the need to create my own to get that kind of connection.

    A lot of people have told me that I would be a great father. While it’s true, I could probably pull it off if I really had to, I can’t be certain that I’d be all in. But, if I was a in a situation where I was a child’s last hope, I would certainly do my best.

    This is not just a short phase in my life. I really thought hard about this about seven years ago (I’m 37 now) and I was absolutely sure this was how I felt. We kind of grow up thinking that some day we’ll get a job, buy a house, get married, and have children. It’s the default template of our lives. If you don’t think about it long and hard, you might actually believe the default template will work for you too. That’s not to say it won’t, but wouldn’t it be better to follow that path with purpose? I can see why other people have the desire to raise children, but that doesn’t mean raising children is desirable for everybody.

    Now let’s bring this thing home! What does basketball have to do with making babies?

    • Most people assume that I play basketball because I am tall. Most people assume everyone should have children because that’s part of the default template of life or because their reproductive systems work. Just because an idea or an activity is desirable to you doesn’t mean it’s desirable to everybody.
    • I don’t desire to play basketball because I have no passion for it. I don’t desire to raise children for the same reason.

    I guess that’s about it. If this post shocked you for some reason, ask yourself why that is. Are you trapped in the thinking of the default template of life?


  • Tuesday, September 9, 2014

    Source of Hope Album

    I’ve been using this title a lot, I hope WordPress doesn’t complain too much about it! Recently I gave a good final listen to all the tracks of my forthcoming album “Source of Hope”. The last track, well let’s face it, it was awful. I decided that instead of trying to resuscitate a track that was beyond hope, I would just write a new one instead. I’m not sure if “The Light Never Fades” will ever see the light of day or if I will conveniently forget to ever release it. That being said, the new eighth track for the album “Fly Forever” sounds very nice and smooth. Definitely up to the Blue Phoenix standard. Furhtermore, using my favorite fractal program Ultra Fractal 5, I ended up with some fantastic art for the album cover. If the hope isn’t sourcing from just looking at that, you should be feeling good after listening to the album.
    SourceOfHopeFrontCover

     

    I’ve sent all the tracks off to be mastered by Adam Goodlet at Re:Creation studios. He promised to get them back to me within the next couple of weeks. Then I’ll be looking for a very popular distribution channel (most likely Ektoplazm if Basilisk will have me back again). So, look for “Source of Hope” to hit the shelves in late September or early October.

    On a more personal note, it’s almost the anniversary of my near death experience. I’m definitely glad to still be around. I believe there is an afterlife waiting for us, but we shouldn’t be in any hurry to get there. If I really had passed on back then, I’d be just fine today. That sounds like an odd thing to say, but death really is nothing to fear. Either I’m right and we get to move on to something wonderful beyond our imagination, or I’m wrong and we go into an eternal sleep we aren’t even aware of. Neither option would cause any regrets.

    So while dying would have left me personally feeling just fine, it would have left a gap for those of you still alive (you are alive right, dead people don’t read blogs do they?). I want my time here on Earth to mean something for everybody else. This album is a part of that goal and it is my sincere desire that it helps you feel something. Whether that be joy, relaxation, or even sadness, I hope that in the end you can take that energy and pay it forward.


  • Thursday, August 28, 2014

    Five Day Positive Challenge

    I logged into Facebook today to see that I have been challenged to something called the Five Day Positive Challenge:

    Untitled

    OK, I’ll bite on this one but I’m going to alter the deal a little bit. Instead of posting three little things a day for the next five days, I’m going to blog about it at length today and be done with it. The purpose behind a challenge like this should be to cause some behavioral change. Take a look at the better things that happen throughout the day and then challenge your friends to do the same. With any luck, you’ll get into the habit of doing this every day!

    In general, I am a pretty positive guy. After nearly dying about seven years ago, I consider every day I have to be overtime, or extra innings, or perhaps sudden death! Oh that has a nice ring to it, and it’s kinda punny. Anyway, I’m not perfect, I often falter and focus on the negative things, but I try my hardest not to. This isn’t to say that one should remain ignorant of the bad and evil in life because there’s plenty of that to go around. But I believe that what you choose to focus on gains more power. By focusing your energy on the good in your life, you are more likely to show kindness to others and try to spread that goodness to others. By moping about the news, traffic, price of gas, etc. you are focusing too much on things you have little to no control over. Such moping can lead to more stress which in the long run will cause detrimental health and make you one sad panda. In summary, don’t be ignorant or blatantly ignore the bad parts of life. Acknowledge it’s existence, do what you can to help change it for the better, and then move on to what’s good.

    Many of you reading this will be able to agree with a long list of things to be extra thankful about. Such as:

    • Living in the late 20th/early 21st century with all of it’s conveniences
    • Running Water
    • Sewers
    • Sturdy Shelter
    • Electricity
    • Motorized Transport
    • Computers
    • The Internet
    • Cell Phones
    • Refrigeration
    • Speaking of which, when I open my fridge and it’s empty I can drive right down the street and buy food at a restaurant or grocery store, and both always have food in stock
    • Gas Stations (for those of us who have cars) or Public Transportation (for those of us that don’t)
    • Being born in a first world country (cause there’s plenty of places that don’t have the above)

    For those of you missing some of these conveniences (well you have a computer and internet I presume), I truly feel sorry for you. We should all be able to live with such abundance (but not wasteful excess, that’s a topic for another day). Those are just the conveniences. What about the more intangibles such as our family and friends, our health (I hope yours is well), the beauty of nature, music, and art and so on. We are very fortunate to live in the time and place that we do. So, let’s focus on what we do have and stop worrying about the minor inconveniences we often run into. If you can make a habit out of it, you’ll start feeling better in general, I guarantee it!

    That’s my Five Day Positive Challenge response in a nutshell. If you’re reading this, I challenge you!

    Also, Source of Hope is nearing completion. I hope to have it released out to the public in September or October. And, sorry for the gap between posts here. I’ll try to do better next time.


  • Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Source of Hope 0.5

    I hope everyone is having a wonderful Spring thus far. We got a late start on it here in Kentucky, reminiscent of the weather I experienced in Ireland just two weeks ago. Ireland is an absolutely gorgeous country with amazing landscape. The Cliffs of Moher were stunning and the history of Dublin was very cool to learn about. If you ever get a chance to visit, definitely go check it out. And if you live there, then lucky you!

    Before leaving, I did some experimentation with different scales and modes. I’m almost finished with the track that came out of that experimentation which means I’ve finished four of the eight tracks for the forthcoming album. I hope to focus more of my time in the next couple of months and get the album finished for mastering by the end of July. That means it will hit your earholes in August or September, and I plan on releasing it absolutely free once again.

    Until then, I hope you enjoy the sounds!

    Also, be sure to check out some of my tutorial videos on YouTube. Just recently, I uploaded a tutorial on making a nice Trance bass sound using Zebra2. Next up will be a tutorial on creating a nice pad sound. Don’t miss it!


  • Sunday, April 6, 2014

    Source of Hope

    I’ve been hard at work this week on another track for my upcoming Blue Phoenix album. I felt it was time to go ahead and write the title track for the album and the name “Source of Hope” seemed to be very fitting. I’ve been experimenting with the vocals and forming chords in a new ethereal way. When I get just one more track done after this, I’ll put together a “halfway done” album sampler for your enjoyment. Sorry I haven’t got much more to say than that for now. Peace!


  • Saturday, March 15, 2014

    Hope, Courage, and Fear

    After a bike ride in perfect weather today, I sat on my back porch and took in the fresh (Erken-fresh) air and listened to the birdsong. A stunning revelation came to me. This might not be stunning to you, maybe it’s old news, maybe not. Let’s get to it.

    The way I see it, there’s a sliding scale between Fear, Courage and Hope. I felt like using GIMP some, so I made this amazing chart to help visualize it:

    Hopemeter

    What is fear? Fear is a feeling that something is about to go wrong. Some action you are about to take is going to get either you or someone else hurt either emotionally or physically. Fear can be useful in some situations. If a bull is chasing you, fear gets the adrenaline pumping so you might have a chance of getting away before he sticks his horns into your gut. That’s a good thing obviously as having horn holes in your gut is probably not beneficial (let me know if I’m wrong here). Unfortunately, fear goes well beyond it’s usefulness in most people’s lives. We become afraid of poverty, loss of a loved one, hunger, and of course death itself. This type of fear is detrimental to our lives as it can make us miss out on many opportunities. The safe path is often the most boring.

    Let’s move on. Courage on the other hand is a complete lack of fear. Courage let’s you make the choices that a fearful person might avoid. You can handle the situations that come your way without that dreadful feeling. Here’s where my revelation of the day comes in (partially). I consider courage to be a neutral position on the above sliding scale. I’m not saying courage is a bad quality. We need courageous people that can risk their lives to save and protect others. (Thank goodness some ambulance drivers were courageous enough to drive top speed through traffic to come save me once upon a time). If you’re a courageous person, you’re doing better than most of us by far.

    Finally, this brings us to Hope. And here’s why I was even thinking of this. Last year my Goddaughter gave me a house warming gift that I’ve cherished ever since:

    20140315_165756

    If you manage to shed your fears one by one, you get to a state of courage. But, you can go beyond that. Hope is the desire for a better future. Not only does it show a lack of fear, but a complete trust in the events unfolding around you. Hope is envisioning something greater than yourself but a wish to take part as it becomes reality. While courage handles the tasks put before it wonderfully, hope is a complete lack of fear for all possibility. As Neo once said, “Whoa!” To put it shortly, the opposite of fear isn’t courage. The opposite of fear is Hope. I imagine that a world where every one of us was hopeful would be a much different place than the fear-based world we have today.

    Can you discard not only your current fears but all future fears as well? Can you turn back the debilitation of fear for what could be and turn it into a positive force called hope? Give it a try, you might surprise even yourself.

    What’s that got to do with Erkenfresh and Blue Phoenix? Well, I’ve decided to write my sophomore album as Blue Phoenix and center it around the idea of Hope. I had been debating other central themes here lately but hope wins this round! Tomorrow begins another feverish writing session. I really wish I could share these tracks with you before dropping an entire album, but that would spoil the goodness. Perhaps when I am halfway there, I will make a spoiler with some short clips of what I’ve done so far. There’s also a chance I’ll put out some singles before finishing the album so be sure to keep up with me either on Facebook or Soundcloud. Peace!