Tuesday, December 31, 2013

7 tips on how NOT to be a Lonely Guy


I re-watched Steve Martin in The Lonely Guy not long ago.  It was disappointingly not as funny as I remembered, though still worth the watch.  But, WOW, does it remind me of all of the lonely guys I've known.  You know the type: the guy who never recovers from a bad relationship, or simply can't quite figure out how to have a relationship with a woman...even though he really wants one.

Why am I qualified to comment? Well, if nothing else, I know how to get into a relationship.  I'm on my fourth (and final if I can help it) marriage, and there weren't many gaps between marriages where I didn't have a girlfriend.  I may not know much about how to keep a woman...but I do know a bit about how to get things started.

1.  Let Her Go

Dude, she's gone.  I know you were so happy, so complete when you were with her.  But that was a long time ago (or maybe just last month).  She's not coming back.  Do you really need to stop bathing, grow a floor-length beard, or sell all of your furniture and move into a box?  Do you think your brooding, crying, self-loathing and woman-hating is making you more attractive to the opposite sex?

Hit the reset button.  She wasn't your soul mate like you thought.  She was just a woman and there are billions of others.  Take it from me, you can be happy again, but not until you Let Her Go.

2.  Don't let the world know you are jaded

Yeah, life sucks and then you die.  But it primarily sucks because you are latching on to the idea that it sucks.  You probably think your non-stop observations about life's obvious pains makes you witty and insightful.  Nope. It makes you come across as negative. How many women are looking for a man who can clearly articulate life's suckage?  

If you meet a woman who begs "Please tell me why life isn't worth living!  I was so hopeful before I met you.  Please do something---anything---to dash my dreams!" run the other way.

3.  Don't be pitiful out loud

This should be obvious.  If you are resorting to pity for attention, seek counseling.  I'm surprised at the number of guys who do this.  

4.  Don't pretend you're All That when you're not

If you are constantly telling everyone who will listen how awesome you are, you are not awesome.  You know it and so does everyone else.  Be confident, not stuck up.  Nobody likes a braggart. 

If you are truly awesome, you don't need this advice.  Women already flock to you.  Don't get down about the fact that you are not awesome---figure out how to become awesome.

5.  Quit feeling sorry for yourself

Even if you aren't telling everyone on facebook, it comes across when you are.  The only way to fix this is to really quit feeling sorry for yourself.  If you don't like the way your life is going, then change.

6.  Don't be hyper-focused on You

Are you your own favorite subject?  When you get around women, do you launch into conversation about your true love, yourself? No one is as interested in You as you are.  

People, including women, care about the people who take a genuine interest in them.  So you like a girl?  Then ask her questions about herself.  Be interested in her family, friends and hobbies.  Don't launch right into your life story.  Wait until she asks you about You.

7.  Be your own person and love who you are

It's really pretty simple.  You don't have to be rich or good looking to attract women.  You just have to embrace who you are, find a way to enjoy living, and love yourself.  Women are attracted to confidence.  Women are just people who want to be happy, and when you are happy, they want some of what you've got to offer.








Sunday, December 15, 2013

Disco and Mint Green Suits

Want to listen to something funky?  Check out bibio:

http://open.spotify.com/track/7cXF6ZVxPFfIaTuHkfit7U

Ever since the 5th grade, I've been a sucker for Disco and funky dance music.  I can't remember the name of my music teacher, but she turned us on to the Saturday Night Fever album.  It was during our study of Beethoven, and she was wisely trying to bring pop culture into the conversation in order to make the subject relatable.  The soundtrack contained a lively disco instrumental of Beethoven's Fifth, and it was pretty good, but I was really interested when she played a little bit of the other tracks.

Speaking of funky, Tarynn and I saw the funkiest old man as we were walking into Duffy's this morning.  He was walking in ahead of us, decked out in in mint green from hat to foot, the whole package wrapped up in a full length, white fur coat.  If I had to guess, I would say it was rabbit fur.  "Now that's pimp," I said to her.

I didn't want to stare but I really wanted to study the details, down to his belt.  "Maybe you should ask to take a picture with him," Tarynn suggested.  I would have liked to, but he was a older black gentleman and I didn't know how he would interpret it.  While it's true that he did look like the stereotypical pimp from the 70's movie Superfly, I was actually in awe and impressed by his personal sense of style.  I wanted to strike up a conversation, but what if he thought I was making fun of him?

While waiting in line to pay for our breakfast I decided to say hello.  I moseyed up to him.  He was sitting alone at a table for two, a plate of eggs and toast in front of him, his fork halfway to his mouth when I said, "How you doing?"  His eyes looked up, a bit startled I think.  Up close I could tell he was older than I initially thought, maybe 70 or 80 years of age.  "Hey, I wanted to tell you that I really like your mint green suit.  That's really sharp," I said.  He nodded to acknowledge me and I retreated awkwardly back to the pay line.

And that was it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Am I liberal or conservative?

I was first called a liberal when I called out a co-worker for using the N-word some 27 years ago.  Yet around that same time, I voted for Bush, a Republican, instead of voting for Michael Dukakas, the Democrat running against him.

While it's true that I've voted for the Democratic candidate in every election since, my views ebb and flow between the conservative, moderate and liberal.

So here are some of my current positions.  You tell me: Am I liberal or a conservative?

Gay Marriage

I previously supported civil unions and now support gay marriage for the same reason:  Marriage is a bundle of laws, and I believe that laws should be applied equally to every citizen.

Marriage may mean something to you based upon your religious views, but legally, church and state are separate.  The church ceremony has nothing at all to do with law, and churches should be free to marry---or not marry---anyone they choose.

Some believe that by legalizing "gay marriage," society will suddenly treat married gay couples exactly the same as straight marriages.  If that is the goal of gay marriage advocates, I think they are wrong.  You can't force someone to agree with your view via legislation.

Taxation

I'm not a fan of paying taxes.  Who is?  But I will typically vote for state tax increases if they improve my city.  I supported Vision 2025 and will likely always support capital improvements.  Look, the tax system is a system we're more or less stuck with if we want America to continue to be the country we were raised in.  I have no idea what an America without Government would look like, since my entire life I've lived in our current system.  And I don't hate it, so I don't support breaking it.

Equal protection under the law

I believe that all citizens of the United States should be treated equally, regardless of race, national origin, sexual orientation or any other category that we can dream up to separate us.  We're people, simple as that, and deserve to be treated equally and with respect.

Abortion

I'm not a fan.  I believe legal abortion should be available in the first trimester only, and that abortion inducing drugs should be readily available during that same time. Why are we still doing surgical abortions?  Don't we have morning after pills?  Why wouldn't you want someone who made a mistake last night to not deal with it tonight, when the fetus is not yet formed?

On the flip side, I think 3rd trimester abortions should be illegal. And that second trimester abortions should only be permitted in the case of medical risk to the mother.  Come on people, if you made it to month four of the pregnancy and haven't done anything about it...you should probably just have the baby.  In my humble opinion.

Gun Rights

American citizens should have the right to bear arms.  It's right there in the constitution.  And not for hunting either---such a day might come that we need to arm ourselves against a tyrannical government. Unlikely in the near future, but just in case, I support this constitutional amendment.

States Rights

The federal government is in a much better position to protect us, affect fiscal policy, and frankly do just about anything over the state government.  State government has been taking it easy for the last hundred years.  It's not a serious government. In other words, while I think it's good to retain some individual rights as a state, in reality the federal government is the king of this land.  If states had any real power, we'd still have Jim Crow laws in Alabama.

And I'm glad we don't.

Foreign Policy


I'm don't support the notion of the US being the policemen of the world.  We need to let other nations behave autonomously, and only get involved when threats are immanent.  I prefer diplomacy over war. 

---

Obviously my political views are limited, pedestrian, and I doubt I'll be taking telephone calls from heady think-tank wonks with questions about the economy anytime soon.  But I think what I think, maybe right, maybe wrong.

So to recap the question: after reading my views, would you categorize me as a liberal, a conservative, or a monkey from the planet mars?














Thursday, November 21, 2013

The night of the Justin Timberlake concert

It's a cold night in Tulsa, Oklahoma---too cold.  I'd rather stay in than visit Arnie's.  I come into the house and let the excited dogs out of their crates, say "Outside," and watch them race toward the back door.  They won't be out long.  In five minutes or less Henry will be barking to get back in.  In fact, I hear them now, the thumps of dog paws on the staircase.

Why do we have two Christmas trees up?  And before Thanksgiving no less?

I sit and type.  So much of my life I sit and type.  The ding of an iPhone in the dining room prompts me to retrieve the infernal device.  Henry barks, as if on cue, once, then again with impatience as if to say, "Hey, you son of a bitch.  Let me in.  Didn't you hear me the first time?"

It's Steve on the phone, sending me a text about taking the girls to see JT.  I text him, "I just dropped them off.  I'm back home bringing sexy back to my living room."

I rub my eyes and adjust my glasses.  Bifocals.  Not so handy when your head is hanging at a tilt, one eye looking through the top of the lens, the other through the bottom straining to see the words.

The iPhone beeps again.  Crap.  It's so much easier to type on this actual keyboard than it is on the little virtual keyboard.  Why can't everyone just use email?

Hey, if you know me: send me an email.  I hate typing on the little phone. I hate its beeps.  I hate its patented curvy corners.  I'm not 26 years old---I don't really want to text for any reason.  If you want to text, send a message to my daughter.

I pause for a moment to read the other tabs on my browser.  They read:

"bad reaction to waxing - Goo..."
"Blogger: Devin Venable - Crea..."
"Are You Allergic to Waxing? - Y..."
"facial waxing and allergic reac..."
"bifocals - Google Search"

That was me Googling bifocals.  I wasn't sure if there was a hyphen between the Bi and the Focals.

"Shut up Beatrice." I say, hoping to silence her gruff barking.  She quiets down.

The sink is full of dishes and I don't feel inspired to clean them up.  A little voice inside says, "Go to bed," but I know that I'm on the hook to pick the ladies up from Justin Timberlake in a few hours.  Man oh man.  I could just go to bed now, if only I could.  I'd better make some coffee.







Monday, November 18, 2013

This is what it feels like to be a 45 year old man

I listen to Tupac, or at least I did today on the way home from work.  While listening, I had a daydream about writing my own rap song.  Then I remembered that I probably can't rap and that 45 year old white men probably shouldn't rap.  Then I reconsidered, thinking, why not?

I still don't listen to classical music or play golf, two things I've always associated with middle aged white men.

I still like sex, though I can go through longer periods of the day without thinking about it than when I was aged 13 through 44.  I'm pretty sure I'll always like sex, no matter how old I get.  Dirty old men get a bad rap...they're just regular men who got older.

I judge others less based on their religious views, political beliefs, quirks, conversational style and position in life.  This is a growth area for me.  In my 30's I got really worked up over political affiliation.  In my 40's I'm back to believing that people are people.

But I judge some more, particularly anyone who holds themselves up to be better than anyone else, is ridiculously shallow, or prides themselves on their ability to consume products and services.  Yes I'm talking about you stupid-guy-with-flashy-car-fancy-watch-and-overly-white-teeth.

I like to go to bed at a reasonable hour.  Why not?  I feel better the next day.

I don't know if God is real or not, but probably not.  I believe that there are things bigger than me that I don't understand, but I don't know that I'd label it as God.  Ironically, sometimes I still pray.

Only people matter.  Things are future garbage.

I know almost nothing. It would be great if I could say that after 45 years, I've got it all figured out.  But the truth is, I'm just a guy who knows a little, enough to live in our society, but not enough to be a guru, sage or preacher.  I'll tell you my opinion if you want, but I'll probably be wrong.  I'll tell the truth though---I'm not afraid to do that.  The older I get the more real I get.










Sunday, October 06, 2013

Jackd and pulse audio

I need not to forget this again:

Best resource I found here:
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PulseAudio/Examples#Pulseaudio_through_JACK_the_old_way

For UbuntuStudio users:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuStudio/ProAudioIntro/1204#The_Pulse_Audio_to_Jack_Bridge_-_using_both_at_once

PulseAudio and Jack working together

Thanks to Jack and Pulse Audio packagers, there is now a very easy way to get PulseAudio and Jack working together. First of all, install the package pulseaudio-module-jack
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-module-jack
If the dbus option is checked in Qjackctl (Jack Control) setup, it should work without any other tweak : as soon you start jackd, a new Jack virtual sound card is created in the Unity sound preferences, and Pulse Audio inputs and outputs are available for Jack.
It means you should see virtual "Jack Sink" outputs and inputs in Audio preferences, and "PulseAudio" Sink (outputs) and Source (inputs) in jack (use Qjackctl or Patchage).

To have sound with PulseAudio applications (Totem, Rhythmbox, Firefox, etc...) and your jackd sound card, just connect PulseAudio JACK Sink to the sound card outputs with Patchage. Then in PulseAudio preferences, choose "Jack Sink" as output. That's it.


---
And...

Pulseaudio through JACK the old way

The JACK-Audio-Connection-Kit is popular for audio work, and is widely supported by Linux audio applications. It fills a similar niche as Pulseaudio, but with more of an emphasis on professional audio work. In particular, audio applications such as Ardour and Audacity (recently) work well with Jack.
Pulseaudio provides module-jack-source and module-jack-sink which allow Pulseaudio to be run as a sound server above the JACK daemon. This allows the usage of per-volume adjustments and the like for the apps which need it, play-back apps for movies and audio, while allowing low-latency and inter-app connectivity for sound-processing apps which connect to JACK. However, this will prevent Pulseaudio from directly writing to the sound card buffers, which will increase overall CPU usage.
To just try PA on top of jack, have PA load the necessary modules on start:
pulseaudio -L module-jack-sink -L module-jack-source
To use pulseaudio with JACK, JACK must be started up before Pulseaudio, using whichever method one prefers. sPulseaudio then needs to be started loading the 2 relevant modules. Edit /etc/pulse/default.pa, and change the following region:
### Load audio drivers statically (it is probably better to not load
### these drivers manually, but instead use module-hal-detect --
### see below -- for doing this automatically)
#load-module module-alsa-sink
#load-module module-alsa-source device=hw:1,0
#load-module module-oss device="/dev/dsp" sink_name=output source_name=input
#load-module module-oss-mmap device="/dev/dsp" sink_name=output source_name=input
#load-module module-null-sink
#load-module module-pipe-sink

### Automatically load driver modules depending on the hardware available
.ifexists module-udev-detect.so
load-module module-udev-detect
.else
### Alternatively use the static hardware detection module (for systems that
### lack udev support)
load-module module-detect
.endif
to the following:
### Load audio drivers statically (it is probably better to not load
### these drivers manually, but instead use module-hal-detect --
### see below -- for doing this automatically)
#load-module module-alsa-sink
#load-module module-alsa-source device=hw:1,0
#load-module module-oss device="/dev/dsp" sink_name=output source_name=input
#load-module module-oss-mmap device="/dev/dsp" sink_name=output source_name=input
#load-module module-null-sink
#load-module module-pipe-sink
load-module module-jack-source
load-module module-jack-sink

### Automatically load driver modules depending on the hardware available
#.ifexists module-udev-detect.so
#load-module module-udev-detect
#.else
### Alternatively use the static hardware detection module (for systems that
### lack udev support)
#load-module module-detect
#.endif
Basically, this prevents module-udev-detect from loading. module-udev-detect will always try to grab the sound-card (JACK has already done that, so this will cause an error). Also, the jack source and sink must be explicitly loaded.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

I'm hundreds of millions of years old

I woke up last night thinking about how comfortable I felt wrapped up in my blankets with my wife.  I thought about what it must have been like for my grandfather when he woke up at night with my grandmother in their little home in Ada, Oklahoma.  I wondered about my great, great grandfather before him, and for the countless generations before him and before the invention of the modern mattress set.

They're all me, and maybe some of you.  They're not the personal me, the me of my conscious mind, but nonetheless my life is their life.  My life is a continuation of their being through sexual reproduction.  If at any point in my lineage had one of my forefathers' life been cut short prematurely, before his opportunity to reproduce, I would not exist.

We're all unique, it's true, as our generics are a combination of two different lines of humans---lines that likely crossed many generations ago, perhaps many times.  But the resulting human, me or you, we are literally them.  Our traits, our personalities, our physical makeup---all born of lines of DNA passed from organism to organism for millions of years.

Sometimes I wonder if we overemphasize the importance of the individual human, the person we know ourselves to be.  After all, our consciousness is transient.  We live in one body so briefly.  It seems we barely have enough time to grow up before it's over.  In 70 to 100 years, we go from knowing nothing of the world to knowing much that a human can know before consciousness shuts off.  But, if we reproduce, we pass on the core of who we are, the recipe, literally the life, on to the next generation.

Some might argue that you pass on the blueprint only, and that each new life is "born", but I'm not sure I would agree.  From the moment my little swimmers left my body, they were alive.  The fought their way into an egg and from there life morphed and continued.  I have three kids walking the earth today carrying on my life force.  If I were to die today, this life of mine would be considered a success from a biological perspective.

So who are we?  Macro individuals or members of a micro collective?  Are we but mere vessels, an ark for microorganisms to ride upon through time?

And from a conscious level, how am I connected to my ancestors?  Is my consciousness an echo of theirs?  Do I have the same struggles as a distant forefather 1000 years ago?  Did his back hurt like mine does?  Did he have high blood pressure?  Did he struggle with depression?  Did he like spicy foods?  Did he lay awake at night, satisfied to be near his wife, wondering about what it really means to be alive?



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Low latency midi

This might be just about the only way to get decent latency performance out of midi (using external hardware):


devin@devin-OEM:~$ jackd --sync -Xalsarawmidi -dalsa -r48000 -p256

Or even more betta:

devin@devin-OEM:~$ jackd --sync -Xalsarawmidi -dfirewire -r48000 -p256

Starts up midi in raw midi and firewire for audio...still testing this out

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Ardour 3.0 Notes

First off, I paid for the software.  Why?  Because I like it and I've been using it for years.  I thought now would be a good time to pay for a release.

I'm excited about using the midi features with my external keyboards. But the midi port setup has changed.

jack midi ports (virtual) can't talk to alsa midi ports (hardware cards) without a little help.  So after starting up qjackctrl, I must launch this daemon.


 a2jmidid -e

After running, hardware ports show up under an a2j node in the MIDI tab.

I want to connect my BCF2000 to Ardour and this process too has changed.

1. Map ardour MIDI control out to BCF2000 midi 1
2. Map a2j BCF2000 capture midi 1 to ardour MIDI control in

Using preset 2 on the BCF2000, I can then "Operate Controller Now" on a virtual fader and take control with a hardware slider.

But...PRESET 2, which with Ardour 2 was configured to control Ardour's transport controls, don't seem to have an affect.

After reading Paul's comment (https://community.ardour.org/node/4942), I'm about to try to map the MMC.

Yes!  That worked.  I simply had to map the MMC in and out ports to the same BCF2000 ports I used in steps 1 and 2 above.