Believing Is Seeing

May 24th, 2022

Believing Is Seeing

As per usual, I am releasing Believing Is Seeing for download for those of you who wish to do so.

Official URL: https://www.sheer.us/stuff/BelievingIsSeeing2022.












Track IDNameWAV linkMP3 link
1Believing Is Seeing2496mp3
2Any Better2496mp3
3Holes2496mp3
4The other side of me2496mp3
5House Of the Rising Sun2496mp3
6High Grade Ore2496mp3
7This Too Shall Pass2496mp3
8Pride And Conviction2496mp3
9History Of Modern2496mp3

Album credits:

Entire album produced by Sheer
Mix and engineering by Sheer
Mastering by Bob Ohlson
Vocals for all but “Believing is Seeing” recorded at Orbit Audio and engineered by Joe Reinke, performed by Sheer
Vocals for “Believing is Seeing” recorded at Sheer Sound Studios East by Arthur St James, performed by Arthur St James
Executive Mix Engineer and Associate Audio Engineer Arthur St James
Lead guitar for “This Too Shall Pass” performed by Gabriel Smith
Drums for “Any Better” and “Believing Is Seeing” recorded at Orbit audio and engineered by Joe Reinke, performed by Bruce DeGrado
Percussion for “Holes” recorded at Sheer Sound Studios West and performed by Bruce DeGrado
Additional drum and synth programming for “Pride & Conviction” by Tory True
12-string guitar for “The Other Side Of Me” performed by Art Day
All parts not mentioned above performed by Sheer

Songwriting:

“Believing Is Seeing” words and music by Sheer
“Any Better” words and music by Sheer
“Holes” words and music by Sheer
“The Other Side Of Me” words and music by Sheer
“House Of The Rising Sun” – traditional
“High Grade Ore” words by Lee Hart, music by Sheer
“This Too Shall Pass” – words and music by Sheer
“Pride & Conviction” – words aand music by Sheer
“History Of Modern” – written by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, used with permission obtained via Easy Song Licensing.

Religious thoughts (tinfoil hat)

May 24th, 2022

So, one of the interesting variants of the religious thoughts that go through my mind is the possibility that certain aspects of Christianity are right and they explain the wrongness of all the rest of the religion.

Here’s the setup – one of the things that they do say is that hell is the absence of God. What if what this actually means is hell is the absence of the *memetics* of God – that is to say, we remove all the best ideas. So, no polyamoury? Strongly pushing pair bonds even though humans are wired to fall in love more than once? Pushing the idea that you’re fatally flawed and someone had to die because you’re so broken? All in fact not the best truth, but because we’re not in Heaven (i.e. in the zone of good memetics and good information) we’re assured by the priests, who are among the most confused of all, that we don’t deserve good memetics and we should be punished for being what we are. Get closer to the zone of not-insane-memetics and you’ll find some of the nuttiness fades – i.e. no more worshipping paper dollars over real value, no more telling people sexual hunger is wicked or they should only want to pet their One True Person, no more the republican party is pushing authoritarianism – basically the idea here is that you can steer for the world that you want to live in by coloring your beliefs and if you see the above sorts of nuttiness you’re aimed in the wrong direction.

Which gets tricky. What is it that I’m not believing that’s excluding me from utopia? I mean, lately I expect humans to hurt each other, to spend their technological energy on tools for hurting each other, to hurt each other over stupid reasons, to lie, to start wars, to try to punish people for having sex, to try and claim that babies belong to indiviudals rather than to all of us and that individuals should have to suffer because they chose to have them even though evolution has wired all of us to be real stupid about reproduction.

I’m sure you’ve all see me go on about all these topics elsewhere in the blog, but I am starting to wonder if part of my problem is I can’t stop believing the worst about us. I need to believe that we are better than this, can be better than this, and will be better than this. It’s obvious there’s no moral deities here.

It’s also obvious that everyone could easily be experiencing a custom variant of reality, and that there’s very few guarantees about how those realities even overlap. I just can’t believe that people can’t come up with a better future than what the GOP is currently pushing – while in the meantime I like the future the Democrats talk about but they seem like they don’t want to actually implement anything – they’ll even let the GOP cheat (Refusing to nominate judges for example) – I can’t decide if the problem is they all want slightly different things, can’t triage, and each think their one hobbyhorse is the most important, or they’re actually a bunch of scammers who really just want to donation farm and collect money from the electorate and they have to be very careful never to actually get anything done because they’d have less issues to use to push people’s emotional buttons with.

Anyway, I guess the thought that I was playing with the most here is that Earth’s religions are all so obviously wrong *because* we’re far away from the utopic axis. My sense that things are getting progressively worse is either just that all humans feel that way about all change or that I’ve been steadily sliding down that axis as my beliefs decay.

Perl bluetooth communications

May 20th, 2022

I had a couple of notes on using Net::Bluetooth from a raspberry pi to talk to a Bluetooth serial port because I couldn’t get the example code given with Net::Bluetooth to work.

The following will connect to a mac address and send and receive data from it (in this particular example, a ESP32):


#!/usr/bin/perl

use Net::Bluetooth;
use Data::Dumper;
use IO::Handle;
my $obj = Net::Bluetooth->newsocket(“RFCOMM”);

$addr = ‘C4:4F:33:58:B6:FB’;
$port = 1;

if($obj->connect($addr, $port) != 0) {
die “connect error: $!\n”;
}

my $fh = $obj->perlfh();
$fh->autoflush(1);

sleep(1);

print “sending \n”;

print $fh “V\n”;
print “receiving\n”;

$buf = readline($fh);
print “Fetchhost: $buf\n”;

Invermectin does not reduce odds of hospitalization

March 30th, 2022

Via the NYT.

No big shock here. However, the question remains – how many times can Republicans be dead wrong, and keep coming back for more? Conservatism is *obviously wrong* – it’s based on the idea that there isn’t enough and can’t be enough – while food rots and buildings sit empty. There is enough, there has been for a while, there’s just a broken resource allocation system that conservatives keep declaring is the best thing in the world and should be worshipped.

I keep hoping at some point in repeatedly conservatives being demonstratibly wrong they will start to wake up and stop being conservatives. Yes, political ideology can be right or wrong beyond simply matters of opinion, and at this point conservative POVs have gotten people killed in large numbers.

Now, I understand that part of what is going on is that most people do not have informational immune systems and so when the talking heads say things, they believe, and they don’t necessarily have the self-awareness to recognize that that’s going on. And part of what’s happening is that it is profitable to lie to those people – some of this is telling them what they want to hear even though it’s not true and some of this is that if you get people to believe there’s not enough, they’ll endorse pointer-hoarding (remember, dollars are not wealth, they are a pointer to it) by the morons who don’t realize that the way to maximize wealth is to never hold more pointers than you need.

Anyway, here we have yet another study – and yes, they come regularly – showing that conservatives were just plain wrong and they were pushing a narrative that was getting people killed. Big shock.

Transhumanism

March 30th, 2022

So, I think most of my friends by now are familiar with my suggested path to a utopia. My chosen path to transhumanism does not involve virtual reality in the conventional sense, although it would place everyone inside a virtual envelope of their choosing.

The first step along the path is to build a working singularity – that is to say a neural network that is smarter than we are – and tie it’s survival to ours. (This shouldn’t be difficult, given the power it will take with the current technology will be something similar to bitcoin mining levels of energy). This will be tricky – partially because we want to avoid building skynet – and we also want to avoid building something that’s both much smarter than we are and completely miserable. We then get this singularity to help us understand the nature of our own minds and how to create neurological software (interties between neurons) that enable us to do things like having a hypervisor (multiple mental threads isolated, with one set of threads ensuring that our body stays alive and fed etc while another thread gives us the immersive experience)

The second step along the path is to build some *really* good memetics – possibly with the help of said singularity. A religion based on actual observable truth that gives the adherents the maximum freedom possible without interfering with the freedom of others. Ideally even the ability to make fundamental changes to the structure of the adherent’s mind – a end to depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc.

Now, I know there will be a bunch of people who are in love with their (easily demonstratable to be false) religions who will not want to participate, so we may need to figure out how we’re going to separate the transhumanists from those who want to stay behind. Given a lack of other inhabitable planets, I am not sure what the solution will be. One possibility is that the singularity will be able to talk some sense into folks.

More later.

Will Smith controversy

March 29th, 2022

So, I thought I’d weigh in on the Will Smith thing, not that anyone cares what I think, but I do watch the Oscars and I am a fan of both Will Smith and Chris Rock.

Do I think what Will Smith did was cool? No. Do I think he should be further punished for it, that it was horrible and deeply damaging? Also no.

I think we need to remember that Will Smith, despite getting paid to do stuff in front of a camera, is a human just like the rest of us. Someone said something insulting to someone he loved, he got angry, he briefly overreacted – by slapping Chris. Violence, yes, but it’s not like he did any permanent damage to Chris Rock, who I am sure has gotten far worse in his career. It was a bit jarring, but I also have to consider that emotions were running rather high, especially for Will Smith who was probably on edge because he was about to find out if he’d won the biggest award of his career.

I also have heard people talk about how Will Smith can’t act like this “as a black person”. Look, whatever the color of his skin, he’s still human. I understand the idea that some folks have to work harder because there’s so many ignorant and or stupid people who start out against them. I mean, after all, we had Obama who had to try to do the nearly impossible (get health care for people like me) – and then of course having had one of the best presidents we’d ever had, we then hand to demonstrate one of the worst (Trump, who even cheats at golf, is probably a russian asset, and tried to overthrow the government when he didn’t win – not to mention lying repeatedly – and, I could go on for many many pages about what a awful human being he is – I think I have, elsewhere, so I’ll return to my original point). But there are still limits.

And my point is, yes of course we all want to represent the best we can be for our race/country/whatever. But we do also have to forgive small mistakes because we are human – which means we are created via a evolutionary algorithm and created as a blank neural network which then has to pattern while immersed in all kinds of emotions. We’re complciated animals and we’re going to have flaws despite the best of our intentions. Will Smith made a mistake. He apologized for it. I do not want to see cancel culture revving up to cancel him for it and i am sure he will regret it for the rest of his life and probably be remembering it on his deathbed. We have no need to punish him further for it.

The search for good vocals

March 29th, 2022

So, I went to see Journey live last night. Now, of course Journey is known for their series of amazing vocalists, but I did find myself studying the way their latest (Pineda) used his voice. Today when I was practicing I was noticably more conscious of my control of tone – and I also was doing some exercises this morning to try and flip in and out of falsetto more reliably and also to experiment with what tone control is available with falsetto. I definitely have gained (possibly due to the voice lessons, exercises, or just singing every day) some range over the years – I can’t quite do the “Don’t stop believing” high part yet but I no longer have any trouble at all with the “Ma’am I am tonight!” in “Walking in Memphis”, which I used to have a lot of trouble with.

I still am not happy with my pitch control. I need to spend some more time working on it. Journey was amazing, by the way.

I sent in my further-edited content from the album to mastering – I had gotten the first draft of the mastering content back and my already-marginal toms in Believing Is Seeing had become unbelievably muddy, so I did a bunch of cutting, pasting, effects and EQ changing, etc. These toms have been the bane of my existence ever since I started mixing that song – they sound different on every system. Initially, the problem I was having was they would sound great in headphones, good on studio nearfield monitors, and truly crappy in a car or on a laptop. Then I think I might have gone overboard with the reverb. The new convolution reverb plugin I’m using has instead of a dry/wet knob, separate dry and wet gain knobs. This is actually a much more flexible setup for a inline plugin – it lets you emulate the results of using a send to a seperate channel on the board with much less work and I think all reverb and delay plugin developers should consider doing it. Anyway, providing a hotter dry path helped a lot with the muddiness. I also discovered slight timing errors in places where I’d doubled roto tom and rack tom, which I fixed. I cleaned up a ton of little timing errors on high grade ore (originally I just wanted to fix one place where it was obvious I had cranked the gain on “ore” but at the point at which I was having to pay to redo mastering I figured I might as well spend a few hours sanding everything I didn’t like.

It would be really neat if some track on the album were to hit. It doesn’t seem particularly likely – although I do definitely get points for spanning a number of genres. But it woudl be neat. And I am going to try to market it several different ways.. although I also want to get back to tracking.

600 hours

March 25th, 2022

hour meter showing 600 hours

I continue to chip away. I’ll have to have some kind of celebration at 1000.

One of my problems with religion

March 20th, 2022

So, I was just involved in a argument on facebook with someone who was under the illusion that there are no stupid people. I mean, I would love to live in a world where that was true – but it just really isn’t. Recent things coming from this person’s corner make me suspect that they have recently succumbed to a damaging information virus (translation: religion)

Anyway, this is one of a few different times today when I’ve been bothered by people who obviously believe things which are not true because of the religions they are infected with. Normally I’m all for whatever gets you through the night, but I think these beliefs in things which are not true are really starting to hurt us all. I mean, you have all the people who voted for Trump due to deeply delusional beliefs, but it goes a bit further than that. You have people pretending peak oil won’t happen, global warming isn’t real, and that if we just pray real hard everyone in the Ukraine will be okay. (You also have people ignoring that the US has over and over provided the weapons – and sometimes the soldiers – to destroy people’s houses and kill folks just as Russia is currently doing to the Ukraine – generally because we didn’t like their ideology surrounding resource allocation although occasionally just because it was profitable for US corporations)

Anyway, my point is, one of my problems with religion is that it makes people believe things that are clearly not true, and then make decisions based on those beliefs. I’m not saying this is the biggest problem facing humanity but it clearly is a problem.

I don’t know why it rubs me so much the wrong way today to have people making clearly untrue assertions and suggesting useless actions in response to disasters. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood because of other factors. But the appeal of just deleting my facebook account seems larger than usual today. I do continue to think it will be useful as a vehicle for getting people to listen to my music, although it also may be that I’m never going to have that large a audiance because I am not sure I can be what most of the world would apparently want me to be – I mean, the odds of someone as anti-religion as me being cancelled seem pretty high.

I did unfriend the person – they haven’t contributed anything positive in my life in the last several years and various aspects of their smug superiority combined with lack of connection to observable reality made me think I’m better off without them. My patience with people who are convinced they are vastly superior to me seems to be wearing very thin.

My ability to control the future (humor)

February 22nd, 2022

So, occasionally I find my ability to control the future amusing. I’ve stopped transacting in bitcoin because I find the amount of power that it uses unacceptable and the lack of evolution of the bitcoin network distressing. However, I still have some bitcoin. If I were to sell this bitcoin, the future value of bitcoin would exceed $1m/BTC – after I sold it, of course. If I HODL it for the rest of my life, the future value of bitcoin will asymptotically approach zero.