The Oracle of Apollo Snippets from the life of Apollo Lee

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The Sweep of Time

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about time and how days, which seem like they are in infinite supply, seem to creep by, but years, which are obviously fewer, speed by at an incomprehensible rate of speed. It’s astonishing how, when we’re focused on something (or even nothing in particular), the other things going on in the world don’t slow down. We’ve turned our head and now we’re in 2006. A second turn sees us in 2012. A third shows us the world of 2018.

It doesn’t seem to take very much lack of focus to lose huge, irretrievable swaths of time. It just requires you to take your eyes for a brief moment away from the things that really matter to you. Then, things—people, situations, physical items—can be swept along into the past. There is no time to wait and take a breath. We must decide and create specific actionable plans, if our desire is to have some influence on that sweep of time.

What do we do to make the most of our time, while it’s ours to do something with? How do we change our own momentum, our own trajectory, before we turn our heads a fourth and a fifth time and we find ourselves looking back from 2030? We sometimes defer doing things that make us happy and fulfilled in order to focus on things that make us fed and sheltered. How easy it is to allow routine to close around us and hurry us along without our direction.

Fifteen Years of Blogging

Fifteen years ago today, I started keeping a blog here. I haven’t maintained a steady stream of updates over the last decade and a half. I’m working on my plan for 2015. I’m not going to lay out any specifics, though. I’ve done that before and it’s really fucking boring to keep doing it over and over again without any follow through.

I wish I could lay out all the things I’ve learned in fifteen years of blogging off and on, but I don’t actually feel like I’m any better at it now than I was at the beginning of the year 2000. The only thing I’ve learned is that time flies by so fast that, if you don’t actively manage it, it gets away from you. You take your eyes off the calendar and lose your focus for a short period of time and there’s six months, a year, maybe even two.

What I’m hoping to do this year is rebuild this blog, craft a new focus for it, give it a new look and feel, and update it more frequently than bimonthly or semiannually. It’s not really that hard, but it’s super easy to get bored by something you’ve had for a long time. It’s always more exciting to go digging through the themes directories or a new blogging engine than it is to crack open MarsEdit and just do some damn writing.

I have an itch to create — to write words, compose music, flesh out ideas. As a result, I’ve ended up posting updates that didn’t matter at all, for long periods of time — updates about cycling (which I don’t do anymore) or going out to clubs (which I don’t do very much) or other silly things that don’t hold up to the scrutiny of the years. I should be writing about things I care about, things that make me excited to share with the world and add value to people’s lives or passions.

So, I hope this new year sees me post a bunch more things here — maybe music production and songwriting stuff, since that’s what keeps me glued to my Twitter stream and saving things to my bookmarks tool du jour. If nothing else, I’m doing a DJ mix a month for 2015 and I’m going to try really hard to remember to post them here.

I hope 2015 brings you good health, happiness, and success.

Compilations on eMusic

It’s eMusic download day. Deep deep deep house compilations and beautiful stratospheric ambient music. Giant compilations of deep tracks that number 27, or 35, or 50, or 75 for $5.99. Something about the possibility of finding a close-your-eyes-and-float-away song (or 25) that makes these completely irresistible to me.

I’m also supplementing my ambient collection with new albums by artists that I either heard on Edges on KBSU in Boise, Idaho or discovered by meandering through eMusic’s genre page and previewing things that caught my eye. Someday soon, I may congeal my project Ambient Improvisations into a long six-hour mix.

I’m picking out brand new grooves for my September mix, planned for tomorrow. It’ll be the tenth mix in the last year. Tonight, I’ll spend a chunk of time with Ableton and see if I can have something for show-and-tell tomorrow.

Making Excuses

For almost 15 years, I’ve had a blog here. Until today, it hadn’t been updated for almost two years. I have a list of entries I’m planning to write, dated, going back a long time. I’ve been designing a new experience for this site and deciding how many of the large number of utterly trivial posts in the last decade-and-a-half would make that transition.

It’s really easy to look at this site once in a while and get intimidated by the vast stretches of time that it’s gone neglected. I reached a decision today that I no longer care too much about the gaps between the sporadic updates in the last few years and now. I’ve been making excuses, looking for new themes, and procrastinating updating this place.

So, I’m going to try again. That’s all I can promise — to attempt a more consistent schedule than I’ve shown in the last four years. I guess I’m just tired of looking all these cobwebs.

Time to Build a Plan

I’ve been working my butt off lately and started taking an early morning class this week. Tonight, in addition to my homework (actual academic homework for the first time in a decade and a half), I’m going to spend some time working on music.

I play the piano and guitar every day — just to unwind, sing some songs, and whet my desire to write. I meander through chord progressions that might make great choruses and verses, but never quite get anything written down. I love devising with new harmonies, vocalizing through melodies, imagining what far horizons I could write about.

While I’m fixing up my long-lost productivity, I might as well take one of these nifty new little college-ruled composition books and fill it with phrases and fragments, daydreams and memories. It’s better to get moving and make forgettable things than it is to wait and make nothing.

Remembering Wona

With a sad heart and in eternal gratitude for his friendship, I dedicate last night’s mix to the memory of my friend, Mike Wona Warner, who lost his life on Sunday.

This humble set of house tracks starts with his own Ups and Downs, which I discovered yesterday on SoundCloud, and includes a few of his friends. I started mixing last night and just thought about all the conversations, laughter, and music we shared. I hope you all like it.

Apollo Lee – Remembering Wona

Strong Like Giselle

So, a couple of weeks ago, I put together a mix, inspired by Giselle and her third fight against cancer. She knows so many legendary artists, musicians, and DJs that I felt a little shy about sharing this.

This one’s 34 deep house tracks (the number of candles on her next birthday cake), includes a few friends. I hope you like it, whoever you are.

Apollo Lee – Strong Like Giselle

Returning to the Water

Today, for the first time in about 23 years, I got back in the water. After a grueling week a few weeks ago, I managed to acquire plantar fasciitis in my right foot, an inflammation of the tissue that connects my heel with the ball of my foot. Since I was used to running a couple of times a week, the painful heel removed one of my main endurance workouts. I thought, for a couple of reasons, I should substitute swimming so that I can work on my endurance, do something other than kettlebell exercises, and get back in the water.

I scheduled a session with a professional swimming teacher on the Peninsula, some 12 miles from my house. Other than my instructor, I was by far the oldest person in the pool this afternoon. With a half hour session, we worked on a few skill transfer exercises and I was able to remember how to swim right away. More than two decades of being intimidated by the water are gone. I went to the lap swim pool to work on my skills, but having done CrossFit for more than five years made it easy for me to construct cues in my mind about all the little things to remember when swimming basic freestyle. I continued after my lesson for another half hour in the lap swim pool, practicing (sometimes failing) the front stroke and breathing without swallowing a mouthful of water.

I’m still doing CrossFit and I’ve recently passed my five year anniversary, but with plantar fasciitis, I have to substitute a lot of WODs with something that doesn’t kill my heel. Swimming a couple of times a week will also make me more confident when I go kayaking. I can even take up other aquatic sports, like sailing or paddle-boarding.

Like most things in life, this adventure seemed a lot more scary in my mind than it turned out to be. We all have a swirling quagmire of our personal mythology in our heads, reaching back years into our individual pasts. Sometimes, we need a reminder that we’re always free to edit it and even work on discontinuing entire chapters.

Four Years of Digeum Mix Sessions

A little more than four years ago, Jay Def and I started posting our mixes on, about three years after an abandoned attempt to start a podcast. This set of mixes, dubbed Digeum Mix Sessions reached the grand finale of Volume 8 (26 mixes, A – Z, per volume) yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, in downtown Boise, Idaho, we did a tag team mix for over two hours. Each of us debuted a brand new track. It was wonderful mixing with Jay again, laying down stomping electro house grooves with my best friend. It was our 208th mix in 209 weeks. This seems like as good a place as any to call a time out, especially since 208 is Idaho’s area code. Jay Def and I met in the 208. 208 mixes are on Digeum, featuring almost two weeks worth of music.

A few months ago, we discussed putting Digeum Mix Sessions on hiatus to figure out what’s next. With increasing commitments and projects in my future, it’ll be difficult to maintain the schedule we’ve held for the last four years. While I’m contemplating the future, I’ve really enjoyed these last four years. I’ve felt closer to the music than I have in years. I’m excited and optimistic about what’s next.

I’ve had a blast bringing this music to you every week. I’m really grateful to have shared this journey with Jay. Thank you, Jay. You’re the best.

One Giant Example for Mankind

This past weekend, Neil Armstrong passed away at the age of 82. 18 months or so before I was born, he became the first human to walk on the Moon, the first time a person stood on any celestial body beyond our atmosphere.

We’ve lost one of the good ones, one of our heroes — reluctant though he may have been to wear that mantle. It was precisely his humility and modesty that makes us so lucky that he made this milestone. He did his job, ducked out of the celebrity spotlight, and quietly went about his life on his own terms. All the tributes I’ve listened to or read in the last couple of days made a point of mentioning his lack of ego.

“I guess we all like to be recognized not for one piece of fireworks, but for the ledger of our daily work.” —Neil Armstrong, interviewed on 60 Minutes: First Man (CBS News, 2005)

The statement from his family speaks volumes about the type of man he was. For those of us who never met him, but find ourselves inspired by his famous walk on the Moon and his legendary humility, we find ourselves gazing upwards tonight in remembrance.

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Thank you for your service, Commander. You’ve inspired us all to follow our dreams. Rest in peace, Neil Armstrong. None of us will ever forget you.

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