Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Brain and Happiness: Alex's Easy Guide to Self-improvement

Your brain, your perception of the world, and thus life as you know it is not complicated or serious. The best way I can illustrate this is through the art of analogy, and it goes like this: When you are born, you are given a deck of cards. Only there aren't 52, there are a whole lot more, a practically limitless amount. The deck you get is based on the circumstances you were born into: Gordon and Sharon have a boy on February 23rd, 1987 in Minneapolis, MN, that boy gets this deck. Now, at first, you aren't the one choosing the cards. But as you get older, you not only get more control over which cards are chosen (until eventually you have near total control), but more of the cards become visible to you. So the cards you have and the ones visible to you are all based on the ones that have already been played. And life is a game, just a series of plays. Here's where it gets fun. If you don't like the cards you're holding, simply choose new ones. If the cards you're holding say you are depressed, bipolar, choose new cards. Choose the cards that say you are happy, in control of your emotions, welcoming to whatever the next day will bring. If they say you are unmotivated, that you'll never be the great guitarist you've always wanted to be, get new cards that say you will work hard and dedicate yourself to practice.

Okay, so you're sick of cards. But hopefully the analogy brought you on board to my line of thought. Another analogy, if any of my IPR frenz are reading, think about wires in the studio. "I don't like the sound of this compressor, I'm going to patch the signal through to this other one instead. Ahh, much better." It all comes down to the same thing, which is that our brain is just chemicals and connections, a living piece of machinery. You might be asking by now, "How do I just choose new cards, or change the connection? It's not that easy." And to that I say, YES, it is that easy. I'm asking you to change how you think, physically change the way your brain is wired. It's easy to understand how powerful your mind is and how it can cause physical changes in your body. A simple and crude example would be what happens to your body when you feel physical attraction. Your heart flutters, etc. So how do you change a connection in your head? Simple: a thought. That's it. Know what you want to change and what you want to change it to, and just DO IT. It is truly that simple, and ANYONE can do it. The key is to understand that you are in complete control of your mind and body, and that no outside force is as powerful as your own brain.

This is a good time to note something important, which is that there is no right or wrong way to think, and don't let anyone tell you any different. This is all about you, and how you want your own brain to work.

If you accomplish this simple task, you will find that you can be happy no matter what external circumstances are happening in your life. Again, the world is only how you perceive it, and your perceptions are based on the way your brain works. For example, I used to be unemployed, single, living on my mom's couch, and totally depressed. And in literally the span of one day, when I changed the way I thought about the world, I became completely happy, still unemployed, still single, still living on my mom's couch. I'm no stronger or smarter than anyone else, I just figured out how to rewire my brain, permanently, and the only way that really works. No drugs, no shrinks, just my head. I want everyone to be happy, and I believe that you can all do it.

Now go back to the deck of cards, or the patch bay, or whatever helps you, and visualize it. Find the things you don't like and exchange them for new ones. It is that easy, trust the power of your mind.

And some day, the card game ends. Maybe you'll get to play all the cards you want to, maybe you won't. But the game ends, and it's okay either way because you got the gift of being able to play it.

That's life.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Olivia Tremor Control; Circulatory System

Yeah, it's been a long time since I've used this blog. Those big changes never happened, but there are other big changes in the works now. BETTER big changes.

Anyway, the reason I'm suddenly blogging.. If you're reading this you probably got a cryptic facebook post from me. I made it short and confusing in the hopes that you would say, "Hey, what's this?" And then use Google, or Wikipedia, or YouTube, or whatever other method you fancy to look into it. Because, my friends, I've been sucked into a new and wonderful musical world.

The Olivia Tremor Control was one of the first bands in the group of artists known as the Elephant 6 Recording Company (perhaps more famous for the band Neutral Milk Hotel). Wikipedia's description of "indie-pop, neo-psychedelia, experimental" is as good as any. The Olivia Tremor Control recorded two albums that are reminiscent of psychedelic era Beatles and Pink Floyd while also maintaining their own modern sound. In 2000 OTC disbanded, but forming in their wake was Circulatory System. Composed of most of the main players from OTC, Circulatory System released their self-titled debut, refining their old sound and adding a slightly more electronic edge. Since then CS has been recording and fine-tuning their follow up album. Here we are in 2009, eight years after their debut, and finally Signal Morning is being released, and we're up to speed with where young Alex picks up on all of this.

Signal Morning is one of the best albums I've heard in years. Rarely in my life have I ever fallen so hard for a band, and an album. In fact, all four of the albums I mentioned are stunning, but in my opinion Signal Morning is their masterpiece. This music is unlike anything you've ever heard, and I want everyone I know to listen to it. So to recap:

The Olivia Tremor Control - Music From the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk At Cubist Castle
The Olivia Tremor Control - Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One
Circulatory System - Circulatory System
Circulatory System - Signal Morning

Excellent, excellent albums, I hope you can all fall in love with them as I have.

This one isn't great sound quality, but it's not awful either. At least worth it for the guy rockin the banjo, and it's one of their best songs.

And here's a song from Signal Morning: http://cdn.stereogum.com/mp3/Circulatory%20System%20-%20Overjoyed.mp3. ENJOY.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Big changes..

.. are afoot, for everyone's favorite hooligan. (That's me.) More info to come.. ((Oooo, how mysterious!) (I love parentheses.))

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Blog Post

So yeah.. I'm not really keeping up with this very well. I've been busy, but that's no excuse.. I know there are at least 1 and at most 3 of you are very interested in what I have to say. So, when I think of something cool to post about, I sure will do it.

Friday, August 8, 2008


So, I promised some videos, HERE THEY ARE, PEOPLE.

Built To Spill, indie kings from Boise, Idaho, were highly influential in the usage of layered guitar work that creates a beautiful sonic landscape. Bands such as Modest Mouse have drawn a heavy influence from these pioneers of rock. They have many, MANY great songs, but here's just a taste of a few.

Built To Spill - You Were Right

Built To Spill - Stop the Show

Built To Spill - Big Dipper: Here's one with just a studio recording, it reminds me of Matt's new band, The Direct Method, every time I hear it.

Okay, on to the other band I mentioned, ISLANDS. The man behind Islands, Nick Thorburn, was previously in a short lived, but amazing, band called The Unicorns. Sprawling, epic indie rock with a Caribbean flair, Islands recent release "Arm's Way" is a strong contender for album of the year.

Islands - Rough Gem: This video is silly. Listen to that bass, too!

Islands - Abominable Snow: One of the better live videos I could find. Youtube does NOT do this band justice.


The Unicorns - Tuff Ghost

So, in conclusion, if you're going to try one album from each band (you should), check out Islands - Arm's Way, and Built To Spill - Perfect From Now On. Built To Spill especially, for you Modest Mouse fans.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Here a blog, there a blog..

I've caved in and started a blog because I wanted to be cool like everyone else.

This first entry will be brief, still testing things out and gotta spread the word and all that.. I guess I'll just "pull an Alex" and recommend some music. These two bands have been dominating me lately. Music lovers.. do yourselves a favor. CHECK IT OUT. The bands are "Islands" and "Built To Spill". Album RECS, in order:

Islands - "Arm's Way", "Return to the Sea"

Built To Spill - "Perfect From Now On", "Keep It Like A Secret", "There's Nothing Wrong With Love"

I'll post some videos and stuff soon.