Still Flying My Phantom

I’m still flying my 2014 DJI Phantom drone these days, but I’m having even more fun doing it because I fly it without the camera. I get about 3 minutes longer in the air without having to power the camera gimbal, and of course the aerodynamics are dramatically improved since the craft is more streamlined in every direction. Where I fly, I’m surrounded by 40-60 foot ponderosa pine trees, and I’m generally flying the Phantom like a complete maniac. Have hit or flown through tree branches many times. Can’t quite do flips with the thing, but I’ll race through a small opening between trees, low to the ground and whiz by my head at 45mph, or I’ll fly it like a maniac way up 100 feet over the tops of trees. I’ll make big swooping dives into the open area of my yard, or rapid descents in tight spirals. Still having fun with it and have had this bird in the air for close to 50 hours now since purchase in March 2014.

What fascinates me the most is how flying the heck out of this drone can be both so relaxing and exhilarating at the same time!
Phantom Drone without Camera

Reaching The Next Level

I was actively seeking my next life/career adventure starting in October 2013 when I left my job of 10 years, as documented within this blog. Saved resources allowed me a full year (at most) to find the next stage of my career and life. At first I focused on improving my skills in the studio by taking a cinematic orchestration class for composers; then a ground-up retooling resulted in the setback of a new computer and the learning curve of all new, expensive professional software. Along came the DJI Phantom drone, then drone piloting and aerial cinematography got me out of the studio building my Aerial Demo Reels #1 and #2. At the time I was still searching for myself, trying to figure out how it was all going to come together, and wondering what was going to come next. The added expenses to tool up to professional levels shortened the time I had left to make a transition. Thankfully, nine (9) months after I started and in June 2014, I did indeed find my next adventure… and have been fully absorbed and engaged with that new adventure ever since! It’s still happening!

Reaching The Next Level

While my self-journey has been 32 years (since leaving home), it has taken me exactly three (3) years and five (5) months to actually figure out who I am (again), to learn myself well enough to articulate and exemplefy what I represent and what I stand for. However, while my whole life has prepared me for these moments, the past seven days of this new adventure pushed me over a tipping point. Until this past week, all the pieces weren’t in place for me to have recognized and reconciled with my new identity.

Until last week, I wouldn’t have been able to say this. Now I can confidently lay claim that I have achieved, within this past week, exactly what I set out to do when I left my previous position without first having found another job. Finding another job before I left the one I was in, back in 2013, was not an option. The only option was to jump! My train was headed off a missing bridge and down a 200 foot fall into the valley below, so I absolutely HAD to jump! If I didn’t jump, I would have ended up in the bottom of the ravine, bleeding, broken and dying. By jumping, I gave myself a future… and time to redefine what it was that made sense going forward as a career.

Back in 2013, and half-way into 2014, it was clear my time was being spent on “re-defining” “re-sculpting” and “refining” the skills I needed to survive in 21st-century Gen-X world. As it turns out, I’ve been re-sculpting and refining for exactly three (3) years and five (5) months to have finally arrived at what could be referred to as “having reached the next level.” To clarify, that’s 3 years and 5 months re-sculpting skills developed over 32 years… let’s not forget. Part of the lesson here is that eventually, if we hang in there long enough, make enough right choices, and actually, kinda, really try at living our lives… then you will eventually get somewhere. I am living proof the American Dream is still alive! In my case, music composition was only one of three interlinking pieces. My passion skills have always represented my three core competencies: Information Technology, Custom Sound and Music, and Original Content Creation.

The “next level” for me means that I’ve achieved an independent stability and am genuinely earning a living doing EVERYTHING I LOVE TO DO! It required all the persistence and perseverance in the world to get here, but it is NOT a coincidence that I’m in a position in my life where I can DO IT ALL. Specifically, that I can leverage ALL my PASSION SKILLS at ONE TIME… and get paid to play! I sincerely imagine the same would happen for you, but you’re going to have to work for it. It was not easy to carve out three distinct careers with professional-level competence. There is a success story in there to share with you, and I’m just barely getting started! Check out my updated website! I think it’s the most beautiful, professional website I’ve ever put together… and totally represents my Next Level in more ways than one.

It has always been my intention to use this blog as a platform of inspiration. Not to set an example of ego-dominated behavior, but to set an example of conscious living. To share how vital self-analysis is, and how vital reading books is, and that all the answers we seek to understand our relationship to God, Source, or the Universe (or whatever you prefer to call it) is available to each of us… IF we actively seek it! I would even go so far as to say all the answers you seek exist outside of religion; the world and everything around us contains the answers and a path towards higher consciousness. The answers are not bound to just a single book or a single faith. I started on a journey 32 years ago that would have been impossible to traverse without having made a LOT of changes to myself from within, and without having read a LOT of philosophy and life improvement books. I’ve shed my fears and anxieties, and dispelled my anger and reactivity… and have instead filled my heart with love, passion, joy, pride and commitment to constant improvement.

I believe I’ve reached The Next Level, and I look forward to sharing more experience on these pages going forward. I couldn’t be more excited about where I’ve arrived. Also, I wouldn’t have been able to get here without the support of my loving wife… and I would be remiss to neglect mentioning that.

2017 Books To Read

Growing up, between the ages of 12-40, I read close to 400 science fiction books and still have most of them in boxes up in the attic. I was still buying 15-20 new sci-fi books every year right up until 2007; however, at some point within the past decade I lost interest in sci-fi because I didn’t feel like I was learning anything. I even started feeling guilty when reading sci-fi. A nagging impulse which eventually took hold was that I should be doing something more to expand my mind, learn new skills and generally improve myself.

According to my logs, I read fifteen sci-fi books in 2007, and only seven in 2008. By 2009, I had fully transitioned to reading non-fiction, with a focus on books that would help improve my productivity, improve my outlook on life, and increase understanding of my place in the universe. It seems at that point in my life, just after turning 40, I was ready to allow an avalanche of life-improvement wisdom into my consciousness… and I am extremely pleased with the results! If you aren’t spending any time reading, then you are potentially ignoring one of the greatest resources to help make your life better.

By the way, modern science and philosophy are at a cross-roads where the paths of these disciplines are converging. And that’s good news for the future of Humanity.

Here are the books I intend to read significant portions of in 2017.

The Holographic Universe:
The Revolutionary Theory of Reality by Michael Talbot

Frequency:
The Power of Personal Vibration by Penny Peirce

Emotional Intelligence:
Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

The Magic In Your Mind by U.S. Andersen

Cosmic Trigger I:
Final Secret of the Illuminati by Robert Anton Wilson

The Synchronicity Key:
The Hidden Intelligence Guiding the Universe and You by David Wilcock

Prometheus Rising:
Eight Circuits of the Brain by Robert Anton Wilson

Quantum Psychology:
How Brain Software Programs You and Your World by Robert Anton Wilson

The Nice Waves of Creation:
Quantum Physics, Holographic Evolution, and the Destiny of Humanity by Carl Johan Calleman

The Spontaneous Healing of Belief:
Shattering the Paradigm of False Limits by Gregg Braden

The Global Mind and the Rise of Civilization:
The Quantum Evolution of Consciousness by Carl Johan Calleman

The Biology of Belief:
Unleasing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton

2017 Books To Read

Back From Hiatus w/Music On My Mind

After my last post in December 2014, I entered a period of focus on my career and a general increase of activities in other areas. Information overload eventually forced me to take actions to simplify my life, at which point I pretty much decided my blog was one of the things I could do without stressing about. Throughout 2015, I grew increasingly frustrated with my life and my music in particular; you could say things were out a balance for a little while during my second year as an independent technologist and composer. While I did manage to compose 10 new songs in 2015, they are all pretty short and not fully developed. I stopped flying my drone for semi-professional aerial photography; I even took the camera off my DJI Phantom 1 and now fly it for sport. (con’t below)

MusicOnMyBrain

I wasn’t happy with where my skills with music were at the beginning of 2016 mainly because I wasn’t spending enough time with it. I wasn’t so much as “busy with work” as I was challenged, inspired and engaged with work… because work felt mostly like playing to me. My focus had been entirely on my music for the first year to eighteen months after becoming independent, but that focus was no longer appropriate for the circumstances in 2016. While I’d like to believe I always intended to put my priorities in order of Health, Family, Work, Art, I had instead been artificially holding Art as first priority. This obviously interfered with Family, Work and Health. I continue to determine to put Health as #1, Then Family, Work… and Art after those things. When Art was wrongfully held as #1 priority, the remaining three areas of focus all fell to a distant second place. That’s not true… work was a close 2nd; Art and Health fell to a much more distant 3rd priority.

After deep thought, the best adjusted perspective was determined to be that Music (my art) should be moved over into a pile of other things I liked doing, such as playing video games, watching movies, or reading books. Books, Movies, Games and Music. It’s a nice set of interesting things to occupy my time with when I’m not focused #1) Health, #2) Family, #3) Work. It was just a matter of priorities and putting things into the right order.

I cannot begin to describe how much less friction there has been in my life since I got my priorities straight. And even more surprising, I feel like I’ve found myself in relation to my music, all over again, as though it hadn’t been fully as formed of a concept before now. Because for a long while, I turned my nose up at Books, Music, Games and Movies as a waste of time. Turns out, I function better if I keep those nice side-attention activities where they belong and keep my eye on the priorities, life is much more enjoyable. Indeed, I find more pleasure by ensuring I’m not neglecting my Health, my Family or my Work… because there is far more than plenty of time to develop my interests in batch processing, sticking with single-threaded topics for a month or months at a time, instead of trying to switch between all of them all the time. Focus on music for 30 days, and it’s amazing what comes out. I really need and deserve to fully develop my best ideas though, or else I’m short-changing myself, causing friction where none needs to be. It’s far easy to stay balanced and focused and accomplishment oriented, but take breaks all the time for doing other things you love… and you’ll find yourself there, waiting for you.

With this attitude, I regained the joy found in playing video games during my leisure time without any guilt, as well as experiencing an intense phase of musical composition again… finally! What happened to turn on the flow of creative productivity with my music again is that I stopped trying to compose music like everyone else is doing, and instead focus on my own personal nature, the sound I’ve developed over decades of composing, performing, and recording music that are finally paying off with some of the best music I’ve ever composed… and that’s happening right now.

Exactly What You Wanted

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Two points of interest.

1) Each and every one of us, we all tend to find… exactly what we’re looking for in our lives. The exceptions are rare.

2) When I realize I am no longer in doubt about the outcome of a certain action, I have set the universe into motion in my favor to create exactly the conditions I have conceived will be brought into reality. The depth of the certainty I have in turn provides me with a relaxed outlook as compared to the stress which frantic uncertainty and doubt did for me in the past. My degree of certainty for particular actions with anticipated result over a prolonged period of time is equivalent to the degree of certainty most baseball outfielders know in which direction to start running from milliseconds after the ball leaves the bat. Eventually, we learn to anticipate the long-term results of the things we each do to and for each other today, and our actions change to produce a different outcome. The change in outcomes can be dramatic. And all we’ve really done is rotated our point of view of things.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season, or otherwise give thanks for the things you have.

Sooth Aerial Demo Reel #2

Learning how to fly professionally, I flew 135+ successful flights this summer, accumulating over 12 hours of aerial video with my Phantom GoPro3+ Zenmuse UAV/drone quadcopter in both Colorado and Minnesota. I spent some time culling the best cinematography from over 40 locations and got that down to 30 minutes of footage. Then I cherry-picked clips from my favorite locations and used a 115bpm song of mine to pace the video editing and created this aerial feast for your eyes, 49 clips in under 80 seconds. Special thanks to Shawn Murry of Colorado Aerial Media Pros for introducing me to Cal Cheney from AllDigitalStudios.com.

Locations in the video include: (Colorado) Blue Mesa Dam and Reservoir, Monarch Pass, 11 Mile Canyon, Dunafon Castle, Evergreen Lake House, Cottonwood Lake, Tech Center, Castle Cliff Estates, Arrowhead Golf Course, Sanctuary Golf Course, plus locations near Perham, MN.

Adam Carolla Update #3

Well, the VIP party in LA with Adam Carolla on August 20th leaves me with mixed feelings. Turns out, Adam Carolla had nothing to do with the VIP promotional game that I played to get there, it was just a promotional gimmick where OTHER executive producers of Adam’s movie hired a 3rd-party to put together the online game. We were given the distinct impression that it was an “exclusive” party with Adam Carolla, and we all (the 3 musicians and 17 comedians who showed up) took time out of their busy lives to get to LA for the event. Comedians even came off their own comedy tours to get there.

But Adam Carolla owns a restaurant in LA, and every other week he sets up a live broadcast of The Adam Carolla Show podcast from his restaurant. From Adam’s point of view, it was just another day doing his show from the back room of his restaurant… and that the VIP folks who played the online game were only there to help celebrate HIS SUCCESS of raising $1M for his movie on FundAnything.com. It certainly was NOT an exclusive meet-and-greet party, and we did NOT get to “party with Adam”. Anyone off the street can walk in every night Adam does his podcast from the restaurant; there wasn’t anything special about this night from his perspective, except that he had a solid fan-base in his restaurant’s back-room during this particular podcast evening. Greg Fitzsimmons and Alison Rosen were there as well. Here’s a shot from my front-row seat.

Greg Fitzsimmons, Adam Carolla and Alison Rosen 2014

In fact, Adam had to run out after his podcast for a taping of the TV show “The Soup”, and couldn’t even stay to hang out with the folks who spent a month of their lives playing this game to get there and hopefully improve our chances of getting into his movie. It’s true (supposedly) that 3 comedians and 3 musicians would still be chosen from all those who posted original submissions to YouTube.com, and it’s true that we’re all still considered “backers” of the movie. But the whole VIP Leader Board promotional game had NOTHING TO DO with our chances!!!

After recording his podcast show every two weeks from his restaurant, Adam stands in a roped off area so that people can “meet the celebrity” and have a few minutes with him by waiting in line with anybody else who was there at the restaurant. There were even people at this particular show who did NOT play the game, but just walked in off the street to be there. Thus, we weren’t really VIP’s at all!

And that’s when my reality of the whole situation shifted: the way I imagined the whole thing going down was that we’d have time to hang out with Adam AFTER his show and really party with him, meaning we’d have PLENTY of time to promote ourselves. That’s why I went there, afterall… to promote my music for his movie. It was based on the assumption that Adam was the primary executive producer of his own movie, and by connecting with him we’d have an “in” with the producer. Guess not!!! Psyche!!! Was still a fun experience though! (sigh)

Success With Technology

I’ve been quiet lately, but that’s not a bad thing. It only means I’ve been super busy, which is a good thing.

While I was listening to one of the latest songs I have composed, I realized that listening to my compositions over and over not only heals me, but it actually sounds DIFFERENT every time I listen. Thanks to the latest in sequencing sampler technology, the music I compose starts off as a capture of my performance with every instrument in the song. That’s what a sequencer does: it captures exactly how I played the keyboard for each particular “take” or recording. So when I compose, I’m not actually recording anything, except when I struck keys in order along a timeline, along with how hard I struck them, how long I held them down, whether I pushed on the keys while holding them down (and if so, how hard), and the moment I let go of any key. There may be additional performance controls recorded simultaneously, or as a second or third pass; controls which affect the live performance of tweak-able parameters of the sound.

Behind the scenes, inside the computer, sophisticated playback devices are triggered with the playback of my performance, much in the same way player pianos were triggered in the 19th century saloons. There’s a maturity of those playback devices which have added several layers of realism to my performance, to help your ears believe that real instruments were being played by real people, rather than synthesized instruments being manipulated by a keyboard player. That technology allows for mildly human characteristics to be applied to my performance, such that each time it is played back, every instrument being triggered has multiple layers of sounds to evoke at random so that humanistic-flaws can be artificially introduced into the resulting mix of instrumentation.

The outcome is truely inspiring while sitting here in the studio listening back to 27 instrument tracks being played back, each one loyally playing exactly as I performed it originally, but with a slightly different nuance each time the same piece is heard over again.

Seriously, that’s some really cool shit right there. My peformance, as though being played back by real people, just a little bit differently each time I play it back, every instrument combining up to 5 or more variations of every particular note, with mildly different inflections.

The bottom line is that I’ve been fighting an up-hill battle with technology to get it to perform to the level of my expectations, and it seems that I’m making incredible gains across all fronts in the level of productivity I’m now able to achieve across the boards with all the latest, greatest technology I have invested in within my studio. That includes my Phantom/GoPro aerial multi-rotor high-definition camera rig, as well as the 12-core super-computer which powers an entire orchestra beneath the muscle-memory perambulations of my narrow fingers across a piano keyboard. Amazing Technology, ALL of it!