innocenceproject's Profile > Messages Posted

Subject: Re: Languages

Forum: Languages
I can read and write in Spanish and, given enough time, speak it. But the hard thing is understanding what is said. Spanish takes twice as many syllables as English, so if you want to transmit information at the same speed, you have to speak twice as fast. It's easier for me to transcribe John Coltrane's sax solos from recordings than it is to understand the actors in the Telemundo novelas. Like anything else, that takes time and practice.

My wife is so fluent in Spanish that it turns me on every time I hear her speak it. She can speak about six syllables per second! Ever watch reruns on The Adamms Family? Every time Morticia speaks French, Gomez goes crazy? That's about how it works. I wish I could do that too but it would spoil the fun.

Subject: Re: Dinner for four

Forum: Dinner for four

If we were going to spend the whole dinner "talking shop" as they say, I would have to do some research before making a guest list. Since I write (or try to write) music for movies, I could invite John Williams, Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman. But I would bet that none of the three ever had to sell one of his pieces on websites such as Taxi or Broadjam. So what I would really want is to find someone who is a couple steps ahead of me and ask him or her how to bridge the gap. How did they market their compositions effectively? What is the best deal you can expect re publishing rights? Is it worth forming my own publishing company? They might not want to tell me, no one really likes competition (even if they say they do).

Or I could go the personal route like NjBr and invite my mom and my dad (both deceased) to dinner. But then I would feel terrible about who the third person should be. No matter how I chose, I would feel guilty about who got left out. The reunion between my mom and dad would be nothing short of breathtaking. But I have three siblings and only one spot left at the table.

You know what might be a hoot? I could invite Trump, Hillary and Bernie to dinner! That would be some lively conversation, right?

Subject: Re: Working Ahead

Forum: Working Ahead

I was always the last-minute kind of student. I remember one last-minute paper (this was before the invention of the personal computer) where I wrote each page by hand, with lots of edits and cross-outs, ran to the apartment next door where a friend lived, handed her the handwritten page and then went back to my apartment to write the next one. By the time she figured out what I had written and typed it, I had the next page ready. This went on all night. Finally, at 7:45 AM, the accursed paper was finished and I ran in my bare feet to the office of the professor to stick it in his mailbox. It was winter but thankfully most of the sidewalks were plowed.

I would have been so much better off if I could have taken the responsibility to set a schedule and stick to it. A passive student does nothing until s/he needs to. An active learner goes on the offensive. But it takes maturity to be an active learner. When I was 10 years old, I had the reading and math skills to attend college. When I was 30, I had the maturity to attend college. I really should not have bothered going until then.

Subject: Re: Essay topics?

Forum: Essay topics?

There was a time when I had a hard time deciding on a topic. I wanted to write a "good" paper (whatever that means) and that meant picking a "good" topic. Nowadays, I'm more pragmatic. Pick a topic where you can identify each issue and argue it from both sides. If you want to advocate gun control you need to anticipate every argument the gun owners will make and be able to advocate their position. If you can't or won't do that, pick a different topic. It's really that simple. You can't advocate anything without understanding the opposition to it. Want to advocate environmental restrictions on corporations in order to reduce climate change? You'd better understand the objections to those restrictions. Effective advocacy is impossible without addressing the opposing view.

Subject: Re: dyeing your hair?

Forum: dyeing your hair?
Well first, I'd like to say that if you're young, enjoy your hair as is while it lasts! The day may come when you feel as though you have to dye it. If it is still all the same color, let it be. I colored my hair once, probably won't do it again. I was in a band full of ugly men. Told everyone that looks matter in show biz so we were all going to do something to make ourselves look less ugly. So, late one night, I put blond highlights in my hair. I have some photos, I didn't do a particularly good job but it is still possible I was less homely afterward. The bald guy in the band wore a bandana and the oldest guy got his beard trimmed. I forget if we got any more work.

Subject: Re: Bathing. Morning or at bedtime?

Forum: Bathing. Morning or at bedtime?
My work day starts so early that I don't really have a choice. I know that if I got up at 4 AM I could probably fit in a shower but, guess what? That's not happening. So I wind up showering right before bed, jumping into bed before my hair is completely dry and then, the next morning, sticking my head under the faucet so it looks as though I just showered. Don't know if I've fooled anyone. But that's male privilege for you - my hair is short enough that I can get away with neglecting it. If I had crazy long hair like some women do, I probably wouldn't try it.

Subject: Re: Talent or hard work?

Forum: Talent or hard work?

If I decided to become an Olympic figure skater, no matter how hard I worked, I would fail (unless they give medals for comic performance). I am musically talented or at least, I come from the most musical family I know of. And when people hear something I've recorded or written they tell me how "talented" I am. It makes it sound as though my life came with more bells and whistles than theirs did. They have no idea of the sacrifices I have made, the other careers I might have had, the places I might have lived in, the relationships I might have had, the money I have spent, the times I have driven alone in the wee small hours of the morning. They know nothing of the heartbreak, the resolve, the dogged pursuit of something that can't be seen. When people say the word "talent" I usually try to change the subject.

It sounds to me as though you are talented at self-discipline, probably other things as well. I think you have to decide what talents you have and then do the hard work.

Subject: Re: Do You Like Going Outdoors?

Forum: Do You Like Going Outdoors?
Like Eddie, I stay in during the bad weather but I love to be outdoors when it is nice out. I swim and bike whenever I can. I love to camp in a tent and hear the night sounds in the summer, the wind in the trees, rain on the roof or if you're lucky enough to be by the ocean and you can hear the waves crash.

Apparently there is some disagreement on whether the sun is good or bad for acne. I had acne on my back (actually I still might but I don't look any more). But anyway, I would go outside in the summer and get burned on purpose because, at least in the short term, it seemed as though it made it all go away. I'm sorry to hear that it has the opposite effect on you.

Subject: Re: It was meant to be...

Forum: It was meant to be...

I've had my share of success and failure and I am not really sure how to attribute each event. Was it fate, God's will or the choices I made? Here are some examples.

For years, I put off having children because I wasn't sure whether it was ethical to bring children into a world like this one. Then, my former father-in-law almost died of congestive heart failure. I suddenly realized that one day, every person that I loved would die. I couldn't prevent that from happening but there was one thing I could do about it. A month later my former wife was pregnant with our first child. That was my choice, not fate and it was the right choice. The daughter that was born nine months later lights up the world wherever she goes. I haven't succeeded at much in life but at least I have beautiful kids.

Way back in the Dark Ages when I was in elementary school, my general music teacher did a big unit on the lives of famous classical composers e.g., Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. I remember hearing how hard their lives were, how many obstacles they had to overcome and I remember thinking "that's going to be me someday." And I was right! Like Bach, I married my singer, like Beethoven I spent lots of time alone and went deaf, like Mozart I have perfect pitch and late in my career I'm having as hard a time as he did selling his music. Music was a choice too, maybe the wrong one, but I chose.

There's a thingy on Facebook, you might call it a meme, that scolds us as follows: Your life is due completely to the choices you make. It goes on for a while but that's the gist of it. But other people make choices that affect us, are we responsible for those choices as well? Life can be rather chaotic, we want to see patterns, we want it to make sense. When we see something that looks like fate, we want a happy ending. If we believe in God, we want God to have a plan for all of us and we want that to have a happy ending too. I believe in God but I can't figure out whether God is trying to teach me a rather harsh lesson and I'm not getting it so I have to learn it over and over.

In other words, I don't know.

Subject: Re: Do greener places do anything for you?

Forum: Do greener places do anything for you?
As I am wretched at taking care of anything, green spaces in the house tend to become brown spaces. The only exception was when my niece gave me a potted begonia. Somehow, that survived for months, long after I would have guessed when I first saw it. I think the plant came to symbolize the sort of person my niece is, not cuddly or cute but beautiful in her resilience. And just like my niece, the begonia survived in adverse conditions. I watered it when I remembered and kept it outside where it could get sunshine and rain. The darn thing was still kicking after Halloween.

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