Writings from The Underground

A Succinct Assortment of My Interests

This is the section of the website where I write about my interests. Nothing much more to say, as far as introductory rites go; so let's begin!

Programming

Programming is my principal interest. While it is not my only interest, it is my favourite interest to develop, and pursue.

I first began programming in 2011, when I was around 9 years old. It was my sister who introduced me to Python, and IDLE (a tool to write Python code). I learned some of the basics, but quickly got lost, and stopped. I returned to it numerous times after that, but I never stayed commited to learning it until the point where I could program something useful. Programming definately made an impression on me, because while I couldn't program much, I enjoyed it a lot!

Luckily, my lack of commitment for programming changed in late 2016. I saw the T.V. show "Mr. Robot", which portrays a young hacker, Elliot Alderson, struggling with a serious mental condition. I loved the show, largely because of the vast glamorization of programming, and as a result, I was inspired to pick up programming again. I grabbed a book on Python 2, called "Hello World!", and began programming again! It took a few months to learn all the basic programming concepts, but I enojoyed learning this crucial stuff a lot!

After my love for programming was sparked, I began developing some simple games in pygame (game development library for Python). However, I quickly learned of the library's limitations (e.g., one cannot export an executable to Mac or Linux, from a Windows computer), so I decided to look at other game development libraries. I settled on LibGDX which prompted me to learn Java. I picked up on the language quite easily after having initially learnt all the basic programming concepts, and constructs, in Python.

At the moment, I enjoy developing games, in LibGDX, when I have the time, and energy (and the money?). Most of the projects I am working on, and all the projects I spoke of on this website, have programming involved in them. To learn of said programming projects, please have a look at the "Projects" section of this website.

At the moment, I have started to learn a systems programming language called Rust. It runs blazingly fast, and guarantees thread, type, and memory safety. I can safely say that Rust is my favourite programming language, with Java being my second, for now, and Python third.

Music

My interest in programming is closely followed by my passion for music. I play music just as much as I program, and I enjoy both equally. This sounds like a blatant contradiction, since I described programming as my "principal interest", however I'll clarify by adding that programming is the interest which I intend to study in college, as well as build a career from.

My musical instrument of choice is the electric guitar. Before the guitar, I played piano, but I lost interest in that quickly. I was introduced to the subtle art of playing rock electric guitar in the 21st Centuary by an old friend. I saw him playing "Rumble", by Link Wray, and I became interested. I bought a cheap Yamaha Stratocaster rip-off guitar (the "kit" cost around 280 euros, which included a small amp, tuner, etc), and started taking music lessons from his guitar teacher. That happened in February of 2014. While I am a self-taught programmer, I think that I wouldn't have acquired any skill if it weren't for my guitar teacher. Back then, I'd play the music of all the usuals: Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, Thin Lizzy. For a full year, I remember playing, and listening to Jimi Hendrix's music exclusively. I still play some of this music from time to time, but I have moved on.

After strong encouragement from my guitar teacher, I began taking the process of writing music more seriously. Now, it is one of the only things I do, on the guitar. While I was interested in writing music from the beginning, it wans't never a question of commitment, because the type of compositions I wanted to write couldn't be mathematically composed. So, for me, it took around 2 years until I could finally start finding riffs, or chord progressions, which I thought were good. Since early 2014, my creative process is as follows: plonk around aimlessly, until I find something (which doesn't happen around 19 times, out of 20), record it with a free DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) which everyone heard about, called Audacity, give it a stupid "working title", and chuck it into a mysterious "vault-like" directory of archived recordings. The plonking around part is kind of synonymous with just sitting down and playing, without any backing music, because that would be improvisation, although some may call this "free-form improvisation", however I haven't reached that level of pretentioussness yet. I often revisit these recordings, and write more music, until they resemble some part of a "song". Some, are less than a minute, and just contain one idea, others are half-written songs, and a few are full songs. There are about 3 and a half hours of recordings, however only about half are any good at all, with about half of that being worthy of proper recording. About 20% of the recordings were from early 2017, about 60% from early November of 2017 to late January of 2018, with the last 20% recorded anytime after March 2017. At the time of writing, there are 49 of these recordings,

About half a year ago, I started recording some of these ideas with a better DAW called Studio One (which is still free), and mixing programmed drums with a "mock" bass part, which is just a regular guitar with different amp and EQ settings to make it sound more like a bass guitar. I intended to do more of this recording during this summer, however I haven't gotten around to doing more than one recording. I recorded many things this way, and about 7 are complete, and "serious", which tots up to under a half hour.

The other thing that I do a lot on the guitar is play improvised guitar solos over backing tracks that I find off of the internet. I started out using pentatonic scales (every "classic" rock guitar solos used this simple 5 note scale, such as any Hendrix, Page, or Clapton solo, ever), which are great, but I started using the modes of the major scale since around August 2017. I often record solos, if I feel like I'm playing well on a particular day, over a particular track. I've about 2 hours of these recordings.

As well as playing and writing music, I am like everyone else in that I also love listening to music. For years, all I'd listen to would be rock with varying amounts of blues in the music. These artists would include Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, Pink Floyd, etc. My favourite artist is Frank Zappa, who was an American composer, guitarist, satirist, producer, and one of rock's most prolific recording artists. His discography has risen him to a critically acclaimed status, with most calling him a genius. I also like jazz-fusion artists such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Allan Holdsworth, "electric" Miles Davis, Jeff Beck, and Steely Dan. I love progressive rock artists such as King Crimson, Henry Cow, and E.L.P.

Misc.

This section describes any interests I have which I don't actually practice or pursue very often (or at all). Maybe, someday in the future I will.

I have an interest in literature and writing, to some degree. However, I have not written anything original, nor do I intend to, in the near future. I don't read much either. From the little that I have read, I enjoyed "Waiting for Godot", by Samuel Beckett, "The Outsider", by Albert Camus, and "The Godfather", by Mario Puzo.

I have an interest in film, like most people. But again I don't watch many films, nor do I have any aspiration to make them. I love the films "Taxi Driver", "Pulp Fiction", and "Back to the Future" (in that order).

Back in the day, I used to like drawing and sketching (which was around 3 years ago). I was pretty useless at it, and I didn't stick at it for long (barely a few months that is), but I still found it fun. I am only interested in sketching drawings, and then inking/shading/colouring them. So, definately no painting, or sculpting. Again, if I had 30 hours in a day, I might be finding myself drawing, or sketching now and then.