The Gift and Curse of Time

I hate time. From the times where time never seemed to move in middle school to the times where time seemed to fly by too fast in college, time had never been on my side. It’s the ever pressing silent force that’s always pushing you forward towards moments you’re unprepared for. This is the curse of time.

I love time. The way the atoms move to change somehow lead to the changing of color in trees during the fall to the way it acts as a loyal friend always staying to assuage any trauma. Time is the third wheel who will ultimately help a relationship stay together, and will be the first excited to hitch you when you’re ready. This is the gift of time.


After these past 4 years, I have to ask myself: “How much did I really change?”
It has just become the new year of 2018 and like every other year, an evaluation has to be made about the current status of my life. I have to evaluate who it is I am, and how far I am to who I want to be. As I’ve probably said before, I believe change is one of the scariest things that can happen to man, but it’s also one of the things that helps us grow.
Recently I’ve been seeing a trend in a lot of shows who have characters that go through drastic self-initiated changes, in a desperate attempt to aim for the person they want to be. In all of these shows a common theme is emphasized: What traits did they have to lose to get what they wanted in the end?

These stories are usually about characters chasing power that will allow them to protect themselves and their friends from harm. Every time these characters chase for more out of life, there always seems to be an unexpected consequence to their actions. Although most shows don’t explicitly show this as a bad thing all the time, I see it as somewhat melancholic. The saddest part of it all being that the character sometimes doesn’t even realize that they lost something they thought was important.

Perhaps it’s for the best the characters focus on what they’ve gained, as the realization of what was lost can be catastrophic. Let’s take a show like Breaking Bad. We have a somewhat weak character like Walter White who was constantly taken for granted by his friends and family, and turned into a cold-hearted , take no prisoners drug lord by the end of the series.
Mr.White, who was commonly the butt of all jokes, was seen as the predictable Chemistry teacher with a lot of missed opportunities for greatness. He was seemingly a man who was content with who he was. What was surprising was that those around him regarded him highly for these traits.
With his predictable behavior he was seen as a responsible husband and father, and with his contention for life he was seen as a man focused on his family. For these reasons he was seen as a stable foundation for the family and loved dearly by everyone around him (although not obviously shown at first).

When diagnosed with cancer, reality hit him in the face, and he was forced to confront his reality — that he would die not quite living the life he wanted. So he set out to do exciting things in Chemistry, finding a lab partner to help him ride out the new rapid tides of life.
From this, he ended up having to give up his family, friends, and ultimately his life to becoming something bigger than he could’ve ever dreamed — a drug lord. But after getting there, he looked at the trail he left in his wake, and began to reflect on all that he could’ve been had he not chosen this route.

I want to make a lot of changes this year but I’m still thinking, “How much am I willing to lose to get there?”

My Proudest Accomplishment

My proudest accomplishment has been learning to program independent from school. In high school, I wasn’t the best student and was constantly discouraged from pursuing work in STEM fields because of my sub-par grades in math. It began with a failing math grade I first received in sophomore year, but my confidence in my learning ability at that time was never able to make a full recovery. Me learning programming was in response to a particular classmate who said I wouldn’t be able to pursue the career because of my non-technical background. It was a response to the frustration I had at not being able to find a suitable learning environment in school. It was my way of showing myself that I could learn without school as a crutch and take my education into my own hands. I picked up ‘C for Dummies’ shortly after and everyday like clockwork, I would read a chapter from the book. This would also lead to me watching videos of Harvard’s CS50 course, along with my progression into elementary data structures by means of the follow-up book I acquired, ‘C All in One Desk Reference for Dummies’. It was a time where I was able to focus all my attention to achieve something previously thought impossible, in order to fight back against those who doubted me. It is my proudest accomplishment because it ended up becoming so much more than a statement. Learning how to program also brought the realization that nothing should ever be able to impede my learning, and that I do not need to rely on school to take my education into my own hands.


Throughout the day today, my mom was sporadically watching this movie about a couple who met on a blind date. It was clear that the couple in this movie had chemistry during the first date, but what proved even more interesting was their main point of relatability — the fact that they both couldn’t get over their exes. During this one particular part of the movie, the girl, after seeing the guy for a couple weeks, decides to visit him unexpectedly and catches him at the house with his ex-wife. Shirtless.

Crushed, the girl tries to flee the scene in embarassment. The guy, trying to salvage their budding relationship, tells her his ex-wife just came to drop something off. The girl sees through his lie and calls his bluff. He finally admits to it. He then starts to defend himself by asking her if she can really blame him. He says that the love someone has for a long time partner never completely disappears and asks her if he’s supposed to put a halt on those feelings for someone he’s just started to see. This rubbed me the wrong way which led me to writing this blog post. The way that it had me feeling was anger. In fact, it was the type of anger that had me wanting to engorge my fist right through this guy’s fucking eye.

Granted, I am biased when it comes to this issue. I myself was also involved with a girl who…drumroll… had an ex. To be fair, the girl in question IS less scummy than this fuck-wad, but it evoked the same kind of anger and emotional displeasure I imagine the girl in the movie might’ve felt.

First I’ll start by elaborating on my relationship to said girl in my story. Our relationship was one that was never been officiated as really anything. It was just me and her hanging out a lot. “That’s ridiculous and stupid then,” you might say, given that I had such an adverse reaction to her reconnecting with her ex. The thing is, although I never really said anything, I firmly believe this girl did know I had an interest in her and it felt like she may have had an interest in me too.

Because of particular circumstances, formally asking her out at the time would be inconvenient for the both of us and so our relationship was what it was. Now let me tell you about the extent of her relationship to her ex and how that affected me.

As I said before I’m 90% sure this girl knew I liked her, and for that, whenever she was busy on any given weekend she would spare me the specifics of any plans that prevented us from meeting. If it weren’t for me pressing on, I probably wouldn’t have come to find out that those weekends were spent resolving issues with her ex-boyfriend. It was only when I pushed a while into our relationship did she reluctantly tell me where she would go. Where this reluctance came from? I’m not sure.

The reluctance could’ve came from the fear of losing a friend who could act as a stand-in boyfriend, it could have stemmed from the fact that she liked me, or it could’ve been because there was an omnipotent presence following her around everywhere threatening to shorten her life by a day every time she mentioned her ex-boyfriend. My guess is the first option because it’s the most pessimistically probable answer I can think of, and in terms of potential contingencies, I usually like to imagine the worst-case scenario.

After more pushing, I learned my ‘friend’ was staying over certain weekends at his house, and I was not ecstatic to know the truth which I long suspected. After that I kept my distance, although we still somehow talk to this day. Either I’m very bad at letting things go, or she is…a musing for another blog post. Anyway, this whole story has been built up to go through my emotions and why I might’ve felt them, not her emotions. With no due respect, fuck her emotions(or at least that’s the ideology I wish I could adopt).

The question now becomes, why was I frustrated and angry at the situation? Why do I think the girl in the movie had a right to be angry? Why do I think she has a bigger right to be angry than I was (although I’m a fairly angry person in general). I think it’s partly because when you form a dating relationship with someone else, end up liking them, and start assuming that they like you too, you start to feel special. Like “this amazing person I met, also thinks I’m amazing,” or some shit. Now when said person goes back to their ex, a new thought arises: “Shit, I was so unexceptional that they felt they needed to go back to a relationship that was so bad they broke it off? How horrible must I have been to make her reassess her previously discarded options?”

There were also other thoughts that went through my head like “I like her so much that I just want to see her happy even if it means some heartbreak for me,” but that’s some pussy ass shit, so I try and get those thoughts out of my mind. Plus those thoughts are too focused on her own well-being. Fuck her well-being. This post is about ME.

Anyway, as lame as you may think my reasons may be, I felt for the girl in the movie. The guy got her hooked on to his dick early on just so he can say he feels like they’re moving too fast when she starts to reciprocate his affection. That’s a power move if I’ve ever seen one. Through the beginning of the movie, he was the one really trying to make things work which makes it suck even more when he cops out after she reciprocates that sincerity. Like I said, it did hit close to home which is why I thought it necessary to project my thoughts onto this blog post.


I’ve hit an impasse in my music theory studies and have spent these last few weeks focusing on just trying to make a piece of music everyday. A big part of it was not yet being able to find a simple all-in-one resource for it all. Everything is scattered, and even the topics themselves have to be discovered as prerequisites to other, more relevant topics. For this post, I decided to try and rein the interest in music theory back in, and try to define some of the concepts used in my first ‘Rapper’s Journey’ post along with some other helpful material. Thoughts and improvements on my own music-making process will be noted near the end.

One thing I’ve learned about is what an “envelope” is. In its most basic definition, it consists of 3 parts — attack, sustain, and decay. These components are usually expressed as a knob along with a graphical user interface to show you how the sound wave looks like.

The attack is a value that indicates how long a sound should take to fade into its max volume. The sustain show’s how long the sound should remain at its max volume. The decay is how long it should take to fade into silence from the sound’s peak volume. These intervals can be extended or shortened making the any subsequent phase also start later or earlier by consequence.

Another definition I’ve learned is the function of a ‘high-pass and low-pass filter’. A high pass filter reduces the amplitude of frequencies in a sound below a specified frequency. As you can imagine, a low-pass filter does the opposite (reduces the amplitude of frequencies higher than the specified frequency. This definition might not be the greatest since they reference other technical terms such as ‘frequency’ and ‘amplitude’ — which from my very limited background of physics/and chemistry are terms related to ‘waves’. For me to explain all these terms relative to music might take more time, as I don’t completely understand all the underlying theory and bridge to the sciences.

Luckily, two other terms on my list ‘cutoff’ and ‘res or resonance’ both directly relate to the concepts of ‘high-pass and low-pass filters’. The ‘cutoff’ is the aforementioned ‘specified frequency’, and the ‘res(onance)’ is the process of amplifying a certain range of frequencies around the cutoff. Apparently older mechanical filters used to do this (possibly unintentionally), and new digital filter software has kept the anomaly in as a feature to make more interesting sounds. These definitions came straight from the image-line (the people who make FL Studio) website, and had pretty straightforward, awesome definitions. Check it out to see what else you can learn from there:

A ‘walk’ is when you play all notes in a scale. Something I’ve been using a lot lately is an arpeggio, or as defined by Google, “the notes of a chord played in succession, either ascending or descending.” As I’ve said in my previous post, it’s a trap beat fundamental. The drums usually come naturally to me, or I can simply copy a drum line from a song I want to take inspiration from. If you listen closely to any of the drumlines heard on the radio, you’ll notice that many are the same. This kind of comes in the vain of the quote “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Not every drumline has to be invented, or hand-crafted. Chances are, any handcrafted drumline you make has been used before, so why not focus on the piece in it’s entirety?

Last but not least, I’ve decided to attach a song per the request of my number one fan, and only reader. Check it out!

Rapper’s Journey (RP3)

I’ve made a cool new discovery when putting together trap melodies! Apparently, trap melodies like to move in ‘white key’ step ups. What that means is that if you start with a white key and play 3 consecutive white keys up from it, it builds suspension, and looping with those 4 keys can assist in making a generic trap beat. Honestly this video was very helpful in a lot of realizations, not just trap melodies, so I recommend checking it out:


I realized that I’m learning a lot more from copying people than from all the music theory stuff (at least at this point in time). For example, I still don’t completely understand chord families and progressions after binging videos about them (I guess this is mostly due to the youtuber I was watching), but I learned how to make a trap melody in the span of a couple minutes. It’s actually pretty easy, just loop a 4 key sequence, rising in note every key. So if we looped ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘e’, and ‘f’ played one after the other, that would make something of a trap melody.


Another example are jazz chords. If you know what chords to use, you can pretty much make a jazzy song by playing some permutation of them. Here’s the youtube video I used to learn jazz chords:


There’s still a lot more to say, but I’m extremely busy this week so I thought I’d cut this post short. Know that I have been making at least one beat everyday, and that progress is still being made.

Rapper’s Journey 2 (RP2)

So for now, I’m just working hard on trying to build my own individual skill set. To do that, I’m memorizing certain drum beats at specific tempos. A lot of my time learning is actually just spent memorizing. Memorizing patterns, terms, sample names… The goal being that I’ll always have a good frame of reference to start my own drums from. Everyday I’ll also try to experiment. Playing around with new concepts and ideas seem to be the best way for me to memorize and internalize ideas over time.


In terms of standard material necessary to learn, I’m still looking into music theory. Chords and chord progressions seemed to be one of the necessary tools for making complex music, so I wanted that to be high on my list of priorities. Chords are essentially just layered notes (notes that are played together) that sound nice together.


From what I learned, people have worked very hard to make the pitches between notes of any instrument uniform. In terms of a piano, that means the difference in pitch between 2 adjacent keys are the same as any other adjacent pair of keys on the piano (be it a white key or a black key). With that being said, the step between any 2 adjacent keys is called a semitone and 2 semitones is a tone. From this we’ll define a scale, and from there finally we can define chords. To identify which keys are part of a scale, you can do this algorithm with any note:


1) Add the start/base key to your scale (this can be ANY key)

2) Do this 2 times

2a) Move 1 tone up, and add that note to the scale

3) Move 1 semitone up, and add that note to the scale

4) Do this 3 times

4a) Move 1 tone up, and add that note to the scale

5) Move 1 semitone up and you should arrive at the same note


All the notes you have recorded as part of the scale make up part of the scale. Now a ‘major’ chord is when you play the notes in your scale, but remove all the ones in even spots (indexes) in your list. An easier quick-hand way to do it is to just get a note, get the note 4 steps above that, the note 3 more steps above that, and play them all together; that will also make up a major chord. A ‘dominant chord’ is just when you also play the note 4 keys up from the highest note in the major chord.


Using this simple notion of a major chord and the concept of a scale, I’ve been taught by one of the youtube gurus I’ve seen online (a guy on youtube with the channel ‘worshipwoodshed’) that chord progression and movement can take place with other major chords in the scale to sound good. All I’ve really learned thus far is that a chord A played after another chord B, with a base note 4 keys away from the base note of chord A, will sound good when played sequentially.


The guy I’m watching is not too intuitive or clear on some of the material, but he has an exhaustive list of topics covered by his videos. At the very least, I can get a survey of music theory as a whole so I find which terms to search for the next video. I still haven’t gotten a hold of the term definitions from the last post, but Tuesday I’ll hopefully have a lot more to say.

Rapper’s Journey 1 (RP1)

Since I don’t make use of the blog all that much,  decided to start using it to document my journey as an aspiring rapper — to keep me motivated. I’m not exactly the rapper archetype, even less so than MCs like Childish or lil Dicky, but I’m inspired and moved by music and aspire to make great music of my own. I’m starting off using a free software called LMMS that frequently force closes on Mac, so save often if you do use it. It’s somewhat of a struggle to learn the software coming from a weak musical background, but with youtube tutorial videos on how to use the LMMS, it’s starting to get a little easier.


What I’m actually starting out with is using suggestions from a reddit thread ( to learn. The gist I got from it was to learn fundamental music theory concepts like chords and scales, to follow videos of people making beats, and to make beats everyday. To start off, I’ve been learning the software, how chords, and scales work, and how to recreate a Travis Scott beat. The video I found was for FL studio ( a more popular ‘DAW’ — something I learned on the reddit subreddit that stands for ‘Digital Audio Workstation’ ). At first I thought this would be a huge problem, but I seem to be accommodating the changes in software fairly easily. One particular example was when the tutorial guide used a shortcut on the piano roll ‘ctrl-u’. I quickly Googled ‘ctrl-u piano roll FL studio’ and was able to find that it represents the command ‘quick chop’. From there I just searched for how to chop in the LMMS piano roll. I unfortunately couldn’t find a mirror command in LMMS, but no worries, the command was more of a convenience than a requirement. I can do exactly what the ‘quick chop’ can do by hand! Although it is a HUGE inconvenience, especially for an aspiring professional. Maybe I’ll try to make  a ‘quick chop’ option myself since the software IS open source (although I know it’ll probably be hell to work with code that complex, especially for an unguided newbie to the code base). Anyway, here are some foreign terms that I’ll try and learn before the next post on Thursday.  It came up in various tutorials found online. Hopefully I’ll have good definitions for them by then.


-low pass filter






My Thoughts on Sleep

Sleep is like that moment when your mom used to pick you up from a friends house as a kid. When the whole day was spent thinking of things to do, and a stroke of genius was only able to hit you at the last minute.

Sleep is the end of a perfect first date, where you say goodbye until the next encounter. It marks the temporary halt of the ongoing process of life, and signifies a termination of ongoing action. Like the subtle loneliness that creeps in after the separation from a group gathering, sleep indicates change. Disruption even.


For me, it marks the stolen down-time of life. The point where you can no longer function without impairment. Sleep is a greedy force that won’t stop until you pay it it’s due time. For a man such as myself who’s obsessed with the passage of time and the control I have over it, I’ve come to see it as almost an enemy. A physical law of nature to be fought vehemently, just as others have before me.

Sleep represents the constraint of my human capabilities. It’s a constant reminder that I’m tied to the laws everyone else is binded to, and am cursed to adhere to the human limitations. It reminds me that the unwavering pursuit of my dreams will always have the roadblock of insufficient time taken by sleep. Surprisingly, I recently formed a new perspective about sleep and see it as something else entirely —  a consequence of life.
Sleep isn’t only a consequence of life, but an indicator of a life well lived. It’s a reprieve from the unfaltering pressure of life, and is working more for us than we can imagine. This payment of time isn’t ill spent. Sleep gives us the chance to restart our lives with vigor everyday. It’s not so much of an annoyance than a reminder of our limits, and a temporary escape to deal with the endless triage of brain activity. Sleep is a vital and often under-appreciated part of our physiology, and rather than impeding you from following your dreams, sleep is the almighty origin that give us the context of pursuit in the first place. 

Lost Purpose

Recently I’ve been thinking about my motivation and self-purpose. I began to ask myself what it is exactly that keeps me going? Of course, it’s always some sort of passion that drives people but what I have as my motivating factor does not warrant that title. Years pondering what ‘the meaning of life’ means to me has brought me to the conclusion of ‘happiness’ as the goal, to which another couple years of pondering told me it may never be attained. A quote from Drake sums up what we all know about this fact, and even what keeps us motivated — “They say no one’s perfect, but you look perfected.” Just like humans can only be admired for their strive to achieve an unattainable ‘perfection’, people have a tendency to see the attempt at happiness as a means for happiness in itself. So yes, in summation, humans are masochists who enjoy the never fulfilled task for fulfillment.

What does this have to do with my motivation? Well as much as I consider myself different from a majority of people, I too must admit myself as one of these strange masochists who see beauty in the ‘struggle’ while constantly aiming for that aforementioned struggle to end. This means my motivation to work is to both create great products and eventually strike it rich. The two aren’t mutually exclusive though, and one goal can definitely be reached without the other (with a preference on the ‘rich’ part happening sooner rather than later). An overarching factor also playing into all of this is my overall happiness in general. Most times, I feel indifferent, so these small things do give me something of a boost in happiness. I can’t say that accomplishing ‘happiness’ is the same as obtaining money, although that is the only plan that I have for now. It’s the hope for the happy future that keeps on going, fueled by the expected happiness I think I would receive. This reward of ‘happiness’ isn’t  all that familiar with me, and sometimes it’s hard to imagine a happiness that could warrant the work put in to get it. In some ways, imagining this light at the end of the tunnel is the light that guides my journey itself, and frankly I have nothing much other thing to do than hope and strive for the best.