music as a second language, and calculation as a tool

One of my friends and I used to make up stories in band when other sections were practicing, or we didn’t have any parts to play in a section of music. They’d be silly, but sort of creative explorations of what the music was telling to us, in a way. I realized a while back that I still do that, but in a different way. If I take the time to think about it, I always have a little vignette in my head associated with any particular song, as I’m listening to it. No words, and it’s always kind of just one scene more or less on loop.

This song came on on my way back from the store just now, Godhunter, by Aviators:

In my head, it was night. A person of indeterminate gender was walking down a city street, wearing a hoodie pulled down low so I could not see their face. Hands in pockets, head hunched – but not so low so as to look defeated.

Strange people and things were all around them as they walked, but they were determined, focused on their destination.
It was not clear where they were going….

But they were going to get there.


Making a conscious effort to think about what each song is emoting, to me, and incorporating a wider range of genres into my internal musical catalog – gives me greater power in being the one controlling my emotions.

It’s like my emotional/mood/mental state has an analog tuner that came stock, but I’d never taken the time to understand my hardware well enough to know what that little knob did, and over time even forgot it was there.

Music is one of the ways I can twiddle that knob, intentionally and in the ways I want it to go.

When I have a clear internal perception of what any given song or style of music tends to make me feel, I can better follow the method I described in this video:




Although, now I’ve been setting the dial to more varied states than the one I described there.

I mentioned to Metavore recently that sometimes, particularly when I’m listening to a song that I’m really feeling in the moment, it feels like I’m in a movie. But it’s my own movie, playing concurrently to everyone else’s individual movies.

And in thinking about that since that conversation, I’m starting to feel like maybe that has direct relevance to what I talked about in #climbing-trees , that impulse to seek perspective.

Maybe, that feeling of being in a movie, is something akin to watching our own movie. Watching our emotions, as we feel them, instead of letting them be the master of us and our actions without our knowledge or consent. Instead of being merely a character in the movie, directed by unknown and unknowable forces – we become both the character and the director simultaneously.

It’s perhaps a way to center ourselves. To become a little more present, in that moment.

If any of that makes sense?

This song


Again in a city. My view is of a person walking ahead of me, again it’s not clear what gender. But they are wearing skinny jeans, a fitted leather jacket, great figure. Medium-short dirty blonde hair, maybe light brown. Feathered. Bounces ever so slightly with their step, which is almost a swagger, but not ostentatiously so. Just emanating pure, calm, confidence.

The sun is just beginning to rise ahead of them; people are walking by, heads down, briefcases in hand. On their way to work, they barely spare a glance for this person, who has clearly been awake and busy all night.

As they walk, the sun crests. Brightens, the light filling the sky all around.

They put on a pair of sunglasses and the camera pauses, but they keep walking. Disappearing into the blinding light.



[Original posting date: May 29, 2020]

For anyone who doesn’t already know this:

For a instant, real time idea of what mood I’m in/trying to maintain-

Click on my name in the server list. You will see what song I’m listening to, right then.

And that will give you some context to whatever I’m writing about!

Everything I do is calculated.

Almost everything, anyway!

But I don’t see that as having to be a negative thing.

Calculation is a tool.

Manipulation, is a tool.

Like all tools, they can build, or they can destroy.

I believe that manipulation is a (heavily weighted word) to communicate the concept of nonverbal communication.

Well, perhaps communication, even, as a broader whole.


We are always communicating things beyond the literal definitions of the words we use.

And when we aren’t aware of that, we don’t always create. We frequently destroy, without meaning to or even being aware of it at the time.

My actions, in most moments, are calculated to maximize the total net value in my life/thought-equations.


One thing I haven’t gone into much yet, is the absolute necessity of taking the effects of various variables on everyone potentially affected, as equally weighted in those equations.

Now, I don’t mean equally weighted in the sense of a value that is equal, always, across all parties.

I mean…. something I haven’t found the words for yet, really.


I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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