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The Process Makes No Sense. So What?

This week, on Tuesday, as a matter of fact, a vice president in the company for which I work curbed me during a one on one conversation, seemingly randomly providing me a validating piece of wisdom:

“You know, man,” he started, “you’re young. You’ve probably got dreams. Don’t be afraid to leave Cerner to pursue those dreams. Just don’t burn any bridges. And if those dreams don’t work out, you can always come back to a place like Cerner.”

I don’t think he had any idea how much I needed to hear that from a person in a position such as the one he held. I sure didn’t. But hearing him say that was like a breath of fresh air. Before I (finally) get around to mentioning what that conversation snippet has to do with anything whatsoever, let me clarify that this is not going to be a post about me hating my job; my job is pretty solid. It’s not going to be about encouraging anyone to quit anything to chase flowers, or chocolate, or the flying spaghetti monster, or what have you. However, I will be personal.

I’m a year and a half into taking my music seriously. Yes, you read that correctly. I’ve been a musician for 14 years, and I’ve been uploading content online and releasing projects for three, six, really, if you count my stuff that only friends and family have heard. Unfortunately, it was only a hobby until I realized how much it keeps me up at night, how much a part of my identity it is.

In the year and a half since I fully embraced my music passion, since that second semester of my second year in graduate school, I have felt more liberated and more empowered than I ever had up to that point. There are people who actually appreciate my letting out things that I didn’t value enough to expose! Who would have thought that was possible? It’s incredible to know that people are listening avidly to anything I decide to enunciate, at any given point in time. It’s been an awesome time period for me.

It’s also been one of the most painful things that I’ve ever known. This has been the hardest year I’ve experienced thus far, and I think that’s because we grow so much when we finally make a decision to embrace us. Who are you, really? Freedom, joy, pain, wrath, frustration, exhilaration, all of these emotions and more are crunched into the messiest packaging possible, bound, and slapped with a gift label that reads something along the lines of “You finally decided to figure it out. Good luck.” Some good that it does. From my end of things, I feel like life would have been a lot easier if I weren’t so frustrated with normal — whatever that means — on a regular basis, and if I was fine with being successful, textbook definition style. Unfortunately, that will never happen with me. It won’t ever happen with you either. Odds are, if you pay attention to the NPC (Happy Birthday, Us!), you probably are a little different some kind of way, and you’re hella proud of it. Even when it sucks, you’re proud of it. When it’s great, you probably play things down to make sure it’s real, trying to do everything you can to take things in the right way and to grow and learn as much as possible while it’s good. Because it will probably suck again soon.

And that’s perfectly fine. That’s part of the greatness of the process that is discovering you, me discovering me, us discovering us.

The conversation I listed really just reminded me that people who have made it to their stations in life don’t always expect us to follow the paths that they built in order for others to further build their successes.

I don’t really have a major turnaround, wrap up, moral, or anything like that for this post. I just want to encourage you to do you. Period. Because doing you is awesome. Every single winding, tumultuous, calming, contradictory, peaceful, destructive moment of it. I hope you embrace it the way that we are over here in NPC-land….

Because life is anything but linear.

Stay up.


— Desh

Desh on Fire - Gateways

For the Love of Music Volume 5 : Random aka Mega Ran

So I’m a big Mega Ran fan it’s no secret. I stumbled across his albums right before I finished my senior year of Wabash then Forever Famicom and Mega Ran 9 got me through some tough times in my life when I first moved to Dallas.

Fast forward about 4 years later I have not only have met this respectable fellow multiple times but am fortunate enough to call him a friend. When I was in Phoenix in June for work we got to hang out for a bit and I saw it only fitting this random chat be the next volume of “For the Love of Music.”

Get to know a little bit about the life of an Indie Musician.

The struggles, the balance and what makes it all worth it from the homie himself – Mega Ran.

NPC Collective – Sound Samurai Approved

I would never pass up a chance to catch up with the stealthy sound samurai himself K Murdock. I personally got to meet him almost two years back (at the same show I met Random at) and every time I run into him he greets me like family. Extremely talented producer and a super stand up dude – get to know him a little bit from the NPC Q&A below! 

1. What are you nerding out on currently?

Apps! For my iPhone, for my desktop Mac, I even found some for my Playstation… and I’m so friggin’ organized, like I spend hours (literally) organizing my apps then I barely wanna use them after. lol

 

2. What’s your most recent game played?

I’m still hooked on Mass Effect 3… its like my 3rd play through but this time I’m finally playing ALL the DLC as I’m very much a perfectionist on stuff I like. Other than that, Hitman GO for iOS is phone, it’s like a turn based strategy game to get Agent 47 to his mark… its dope!

 

3. What music is on your playlist?

I listen to a lot of beats music playlist and most of those are about classic hip-hop from the 90s or synth-pop/R&B from the 80s. I have been hooked on artists like jazz vocalist Gregory Porter and Odd Future’s The Internet a lot too. Also the instrumental trio BADBADNOTGOOD as I also am always listening for new dope beats for my instrumental podcast.

 

4. What do you do in your downtime?

Video games and listen to audio books or podcasts… Also i love me some binge watching when theres a new series I’m into.

 

5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

I used to do weekend tutoring and workshops for inner city junior high kids when I was in college and that sparked my passion for eventually trying to teach and give back. Whether its speaking to kids at a local school or mentoring a young student… Lets go! Most recently, I helped engineer a remake of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On” for The DC Humanities Council commissioned with a group of young adults; Very proud of their message in lieu of the Ferguson incident… So timely! Here’s a link

 

6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

How to play chess and effectively manage my time better to be more productive!

 

7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of our website and collective?

Let it become a haven for people who are also nerds of color and think “Geez, no one can relate to me.” We have an array of entertainers and personalities from different walks of life, and thats dope to me as it not only shows the beautiful spectrum of us NPCs but also that the content we produce is fresh and positive too.

 

8. Favorites: (I don’t deal in absolutes)

a) Movie? Big Fish

b) Food? Pizza

c) Website? thats too open, website for shopping, downloading torrents, generating memes? I mean I need more specification! lol

 

9. What’s upcoming for you?

Finally starting the follow up to Hero Muzik… In time for a certain 20th anniversary of one of my fave RPGs next year! That and working on a new project for my main group Panacea too!

 

10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

Easy. My late uncle Melvin Lindsey who was the originator of the radio format “The Quiet Storm” in the late 70s. I grew trying to emulate him, went to the same university and tried to follow his path but my road took me down the technical side of audio. But to be honest there would be no “Sound Samurai” without him. He was a great influence to me and others on and OFF the air!

Shubzilla charging through the NPC Q&A!

Shubzilla : The woman, the Dinosaur, the LEGEND.

Also the wonderful individual who keeps us all on track when we start drifting away. Take a second and get to know this wonderful gem we know as Shubzilla.

Shubzilla and the NPC:

1. What are you nerding out on currently?
BISHOUJO SENSHI SAILOR MOON IS ON HULU. So there’s that! I’ve been a fan since 1998 and it the one franchise I know hella about so it being on Hulu is a big deal for yours truly.

2. What’s your most recent games played?
I ran through Saints Row 3 and Saints Row 4 in a couple of weeks. It’s such an over-the-top series! They really found their groove to separate themselves from other open-world games with how unabashed they are. However, it’s the music and their usage of that sucks you in to this world. Kudos to the folks that chose the music for these two games!

Since, I’ve picked up Hitman: Absolution. I haven’t played that series since Hitman 2: Silent Assassin so it’s cool to see where they took Agent 47’s story. A far cry from the ridiculous story of the Saints Row series, it’s been one of the most serious in story that I’ve played in a long time.

3. What music is on your playlist?
I have been listening to a lot of MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lady of Rage, Wu Tang Clan, and Peter Cetera. Guest voices include Atlantic Starr, Hall and Oates, Kanye West, Jay Z, and Tyga. Shoutouts to Pandora and their glorious shuffle feature.

Also! I just copped the download for Sammus’ “Another M” and this is FIRE! Do not sleep on this EP.

4. What do you do in your downtime?
I’ll either eat, game, read, and/or sleep.

5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

I am one of the founding members and the current merchandise manager of the Seattle-based organization GeekGirlCon. I invite and encourage everyone to check us out. The focus is to celebrate the achievements of the female geek in everything from math & science to pop culture and gaming. While the name highlights girl, GeekGirlCon invites EVERYONE to join in on the celebration as they create a space where women and girls are acknowledged for their contributions and what they are most passionate about. We are four years strong and still going! This year’s annual convention is Saturday, October 11-Sunday, October 12 in Seattle, WA.

6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

I’d like to learn how to sew so I can create my own cosplay. Also, I am interested in learning the production-side of music – composing, sampling, the whole bit.

7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of our website and collective?

This is a space where you, as a nerdy person of color, are free to collaborate, contribute, and participate. Please do! Our aim here is to celebrate each other and BE VISIBLE in the nerd/geek community. Join us in that mission.

8. Favorites:

a) Movie? Bloodsport. Any time you have two musical montages in a row, you know it’s gotta be from the 80s. This gem also features a young Forest Whitaker as Agent Rawlins assisting in the pursuit of protagonist Frank Dux (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme). Just see it. I could go forever about why this movie is ridiculous and how this is my favorite movie, but just go see it. If not for those two, then see it for Bolo Yeung who straight kills the game as the vicious Chong Li.

b) Food? Pancit palabok. Also most cheese.

c) Website? I’m a fan of the comic Zen Pencils. Artist Gavin Aung Than creates comics that revolve around an inspirational quote. My favorites include his take on Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” and William Earnest Henley’s “Invictus”

ALSO: My Facebook Page

AND: My Twitter Page

9. What’s upcoming for you?

It’s gonna be a very busy few months! Lemme do this in to-do list fashion:

1: Bill Beats and I will be releasing our EP in the next few months. Be ready!!! We’ll be having a CD release party in Seattle in August.
2: Lex Lingo and I are writing the next 9k1 album. Be double ready!
3: Sammus will be joining me here in Seattle for GeekGirlCon’s GeekGirlCONcert July 13 at Seattle’s Barboza. Other acts include 9k1, Death*Star, and Jonny Nero Action Hero. If you’re in the 206 that night, come thru and party with us!

The best thing to do is like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for all the hilarity and updates.

10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

One event that has made a difference in who I am now is the passing of my maternal grandmother. She was the heart of my very close knit family and she had been battling health issues for years. My mother and her sisters had been taking care of her around the clock and even more so near the final days of my grandmother being alive.

Whenever my grandmother was hospitalized, I would volunteer to stay at the hospital with her as I usually stayed up later and had a more flexible schedule than my mother and elders. It was incredibly difficult seeing one of the strongest women I knew in health and in faith reduced to a shell of her former self.

My grandmother’s passing did bring my mother, my aunts, and I closer. We made the promise to my grandmother that we will uphold our family’s traditions and ensure that family always comes first. In fact, my elders have even come to some of my shows for our “family nights (Their favorite song is “Hello Kitty Swag.”).” Keeping the fam close is something that I have especially held true to, as my nears and dears will tell you. While family is a community you are born into, the family that you create is one that holds equal merit.