Plan for an album

Theme: The Pursuit of Anything/Something
1. Prodigal
“I won’t stop to lay my head until I reach the sun”
The pursuit begins.
2. Rorschach Blots
“In every single circumstance we see things in a way that makes most sense, all this Rorschach Blots, bottles of scotch are driving me insane”
The pursuit drives the persona mad.
3. Aphrodite
“I see the galaxies when I look in your eyes”
The persona finally finds what he’s looking for and more. Not just a sun, but stars and galaxies. The persona finds it in someone else.
(4-7: the pursuit of Aphrodite. Aphrodite is not just a person, but a concept. The persona sees Aphrodite, whoever they may be, as the source of happiness and meaning.)
4. Take Our Time
“If you think youve lost your mind, hold my hand stay by my side”
Aphrodite proposes that she is the solution to the persona’s insanity.
5. DYWTBM
“Doyouwanttobeminedoyouwanttobeminedoyouwanttobemine” (lol)
Aphrodite seduces the persona. Eros becomes the foundation of their relationship.
6. Meaningful Silence
“I’m not asking for much, you have my word… and when you see that we were meant to be all along. When it’s all clear, I will be here singing our song”
The persona contradicts himself. Deep inside, he holds on to Aphrodite. Eros’ grip is strong. Lust and entitlement under the guise of phileo.
7. Raconteur
“I will stay from morning light until the break of dawn.”
The pact between the persona and Aphrodite. Pseudo-agape.
8. Raven Black
“Raven Black, we made a pact to stay till the bitter end. Now you want to leave and I dont want you to pretend to love me. No, you don’t love me.”
Aphrodite breaks the pact. His/her lust cannot be contained, wanting to move on to someone new, after draining all the love that the persona could offer. The persona addresses her as Raven Black, a reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s Nevermore. It connotes emptiness, meaninglessness(?), emptiness, and damnation. The persona’s pursuit was in vain.
Final notes:
These interpretations came about after careful reflection on the state of my heart as I wrote these songs. But these interpretations do not negate the authenticity of the songs, nor the real love I have for the real people who inspired them. Neither persona nor Aphrodite is representative of just one person. Instead, they both represent the human heart – mine specifically.
Songs 9-?? Will be about worship, and how the pursuit of anything/something can only be satisfied by God alone. I don’t know how to fit that seamlessly in a secular album. Is it really secular? I dont know.

Performing for Old Friends

I have a band called The Ridleys. Not the best name for the band. We don’t make the best music either. But we have fun.

Most of the time.

Recently, we performed for a group of old friends – friends from church whom we grew up with. I ended up feeling drained and tired. I realized that I hate performing for old friends from church. They don’t appreciate the music that we make because they see me as Benny the church boy and not the musician. Nawalan ako ng gana mag-perform.

The organizer, who was also a close friend of mine, decided to put us in the last slot. I was supposed to be first. I wanted to perform first so I could take the talent fee and then leave. I felt disrepected that the organizer approached me so casually. I had to stay through the whole set with all of my fake friends (and some genuine ones).

Fuck.

I don’t know why I’m so angry. I don’t know why being around them makes me so angry. I’m fine when I don’t see their faces.

At least I got to watch Over October and Ben&Ben. Lahat ng bagay may dahilan.

Lord, why is there so much hate in my heart? Please, help me. I know that I’m the one with the problem. I just can’t help feeling this way. I really can’t.

I don’t like the church. It’s a social club for the cool kids who care all about keeping an image and nothing for bejing real and authentic.

Or am I the one who’s not being authentic? I pretend to love music while, deep in my heart, I’m hoping to use success in the music scene as a form of revenge – as a big “fuck you” to everyone who didn’t believe in me. Am I now disappointed that I wasn’t able to convey the message?

Lord, change me. I am wretched.

I don’t feel like going out.

I wanna stay home and work on the EP.
But I have to learn to keep my word even if I don’t feel like it. I have to meet my friends because I told them I would meet them.
I can stay home and work on the EP, but I think keeping my word and being a person with integrity will be more fulfilling. Hay, okay. Let’s do this.

Perception and Taking Action

Here’s a scenario: Pretend you’re a contestant of the popular TV show American Ninja Warrior. (If you haven’t seen the show, you can check out a four-minute episode here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFPyZSPVVuA .)  Imagine yourself running through the course and seeing the different obstacles that come your way.  You see a bar that you could grab onto to reach the other side of the obstacle, so you estimate the distance that you have to jump in order to grab it.  Using your sight and good judgement, you get to the other side successfully.

Suddenly, you hear a swish on your right.  You don’t see what it is, but you duck instinctively and find out that you just avoided a spinning rubber bar that could have pushed you into the water and out of the game.

You continue on to another obstacle and feel something brush up against your skin. You stop to look around and see what hit you: the edge of a swinging rubber object that resembles a wrecking ball. You time your jumps to reach the end of the course.

Finally, after a number of close calls and crucial decisions, you reach the end.  After all the blood, sweat, and tears, you made it. You raise your hands as the crowd cheers you on, and a smile forms on your face. The smile disappears, however, when you smell your stench – the stench of a true American Ninja Warrior. Seeing that you have completed the course, you jump into the water in hopes of getting rid of the odor.

End scene.

Sight, sound, touch, smell – these senses cause our bodies to respond in certain ways. Beyond this hypothetical example and into the real world, we see that this is true.  We run to safety when we perceive something that could harm us – a speeding car, a venomous snake, terror professors, etc. We respond when we smell rotting material or harmful gases. The truth is, perception and taking action are inseparable.

J.J. Gibson’s Ecological Theory  (1950) points out that we perceive in a dynamic environment. We are moving observers who gather information in the environment.  These are some of the information that we can gather from the environment.  Optic array is information in the environment; structure created by the surfaces, textures, and contours of the environment.  When we stand still and look at a painting such as the Mona Lisa, we see the details – the sfumato style of painting used, the subtle smile on Mona Lisa’s face, how small it is, etc.  In simple terms, optic array is information that we see when we stand still, observing stationary objects.  Optic array can cause us to take action, for example, when we throw out a piece of bread because we see that it has molds, or when we back away from an alley when we see a clown standing still and waiting insidiously for us to approach.

But being moving observers in a dynamic environment, we do not only rely on optic array to give us information about the environment. Optic array changes as the observer moves.  This is called optic flow, the information for perception that occurs as the observer moves. Optic flow has two important characteristics: (1) the flow, or movement of surroundings, is more rapid near the moving observer, and (2) there is no flow at the destination toward which the observer is moving.  Think about this illustration to explain optic flow.  When George of the Jungle swings, he sees that the flow of the trees around him is more rapid than that of the trees farther from him. He notices, however, that there is a tree in front of him that has no flow at all.  He tries to react, but is too late. He slams his face into the tree.

Another important characteristic of optic flow is that it produces self-produced information. When an observer perceives, he moves and acts. As he moves and acts, he produces more information to perceive, guiding further movement. As he moves, he produces more information to perceive, guiding further movement. As he moves, he produces more information to perceive, guiding further movement. You get the point. As observers move, they perceive. As they perceive, they move.

Lastly, senses do not work in isolation. Each sense – sight, sound, smell, taste, touch – can provide information for the same behaviors.  For example, Psychologists have studied the idea of the synergy between sight and equilibrioception, the sense of balance. In one experiment by Lee and Aronson (1974), toddlers were placed in a “swinging room” with moving walls.  When the wall moved towards the observer, the observer moved backwards.  When the wall moved away from the observer, the observer moved forward. Interestingly, 33% of the toddlers fell down.

We can see the link between perception and action for ourselves! Get off your chair/bed right now and stand on one leg. Now, close your eyes for ten seconds. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Now open them again. If you had a harder time keeping in balance, then I have proved my point. There is a strong link between sight and equilibrioception.

Gibson’s Ecological Theory gives us an idea of the information that we can use in a dynamic environment. For a person with all the sensory organs intact and functional, moving within this dynamic environment is doable. He has senses to perceive dangers around him and act accordingly. He can sense changes in the environment, adapting in any way necessary. He can sense the beauty around him and respond with his body in praise of nature or God.  The synergy between perception and action is a beautiful thing that should not be taken for granted.