I struggle with perfectionism. Not in the sense that I imagine that I’m going to be the absolute best at everything I do, because there are just some things I do that I’m not exactly the most well-suited to the task. However, I give my all in everything I do. I don’t say that just to say it, I mean I really, REALLY try to do the best I can at everything. I know I can’t do as good a job as someone who really excels in that area, but gosh darn it if I’m not going to put something together that I’m proud of. So when I make a mistake, an obvious, big, stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb kind of mistake, it hurts.

Of course I know that mistakes happen. I’m ok with a small one here or there, it happens. But those big ones, or even when there are a bunch of consecutive small ones, get under my skin. A lot. It gets even worse when I know other people are affected by my mistake, and worse still when someone mentions it to me when I already know about it. My tendency is to internalize it and go over it in my head again and again pointing out everything I did wrong to lead up to it and finding everything I should have done instead. Within a minute of discovering a mistake I’ve made I’ve probably already come up with 5 ways I should have done it differently, and each one makes my heart sink a little more.

“How could you miss that!?”

“It’s obvious, you idiot!”

“You put in that much effort and that many hours and THIS is the best you can do?”

That list goes on and on. I make arguments in my head that I shouldn’t be responsible for this anymore. I make up any reason I can find to avoid telling them that the real reason is that I just don’t feel competent and I’m, honestly, terrified of trying again at the risk of failure again. This spiral of thought usually continues for several days, and by the end of it I can’t imagine having a lower opinion of myself. I’m afraid to face the people who know about my mistakes for fear that they might bring it up again or vocalize the many ways I should have done it differently that I’ve already beaten myself up over. Or worse, that they won’t say anything about it at all. Which in reality probably means they haven’t even thought about it again or trust me enough to learn from the mistake, but I’m convinced it means they’ve just written me off and are incredibly disappointed in me to the point that they just don’t even know what to say.

“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

God, thank you for my weaknesses. Thank you that through them your power is evident in unique ways. Thank you that in my insufficiency your grace is sufficient. Help me to learn that my weaknesses provide opportunity for your power to work in me and do things that only you can claim credit for. Help me to boast in my weaknesses and be content with them. Help me be content with insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. Father, increase my weaknesses so that your strength might increase. Yes, let me be humbled by my mistakes, but let them make me glad as a reminder that it is only by Your strength that I can do all things. Help me to walk by the Spirit and live by the reality that You are sufficient in all things.

I will boast in my weakness.

Re: An Open Letter to Change

Dear Dave,  (if you aren’t Dave, feel free to read but it won’t make very much sense. Sorry not sorry.)

Your video was amazing. I’ve actually watched it a few times but I’ve honestly not had the time to come up with a decent response. Heck, I still don’t. But I’ve got enough to at least respond with something.

First thing’s first. I started my job, which has turned out to be more of a 50-60 hour work week job. Don’t take that as complaining, I love it! But I’m very busy. I’m even lucky if I get to see my girlfriend once a month. I’d like to think eventually I’ll have proper two day weekends (as of now I get Friday and then Monday off) so that I’ll have a day to rest and then a day to be proactive in keeping up with friends, such as yourself. As it is I find myself so tired by the end of the day that all I want to do is call my girlfriend for an hour or so and then sleep. I can’t say how long it will be, but I promise that I’ve not disappeared forever into oblivion, like your memories (getting old, eh?).

Things are good. Really good. I could use more time and money, but I think the only people who at least get to cross one of those things off the list are the rich folk. I’m very happy. I mean, obviously I have my good days and bad days, but it’s a general upward slope toward joy. Anyway, enough about me.

Change. Change is something I’ve been thinking lots about too. My Disney home, Hollywood Studios, is undergoing such a massive change right now that in 10 years it won’t even be recognizable. That makes me sad. But also excited as I look forward to the awesome things that come from change. I think that’s generally how it should be viewed, though. And I think your video encompassed that perfectly.

I was very moved by your video. Lots of emotions as I remembered, missed, regretted, and then looked forward. I may not have some elaborate answer but I will say this: Time and space may keep us from communicating often, but you will always be a near and dear friend. Never forget to be awesome, and we’ll catch up sometime. Keep on keeping on! Miss you and our travels, brother.


Homosexuality: Oh boy, here we go…


Please, stop.

Stop right there.

Stop what?

Stop immediately jumping to conclusions on the contents of this blog and what it will be about/what it will say. I fully intend for this post to be full of love, truth, and fairness. No judgements, no condemnations, no being a jerk. As such I would appreciate it if all discussion in comments (as well as all thoughts toward me) remain non-violent and civil.

You stopped?

Thank you.

I’ve been avoiding this for a long time because of one simple reason. I had come to the conclusion that no matter what I wrote, no matter how much time I spent thinking and writing, and no matter how I worded things I would inevitably offend people, missspeak, get something wrong, or even just miss a point I meant to make entirely. Instead of writing some massively long blog, I think the best thing for me to do is keep it short, simple, and to the point. I will include links as well so that you can get more information if you are interested. Alright, here we go.

1. Homosexuality is, according to God, a sin. (link)

2. So is stealing, lying, murder, lust, etc. (link)

3. No sin is greater than another.  (link) (link)

4. All have sinned. (Romans 3:23)

5. Therefore, all are equally deserving of death. (Romans 6:23)

6. Jesus died for ALL sin for EVERY single person. (link)

7. We have no room to judge others. (link)

8. We are commanded to love. (link)

9. It is out of LOVE that we should point out sin. (link)

10. God is love. (link)

And that, my friends, is where I firmly stand. I recognize a person’s right to make their own choices whether or not I believe them to be wrong (as long as it does no harm to others). I do believe homosexuality is wrong, but that does not mean I look at any person differently because of it. I will lovingly remind them that I disagree with their decision, but that’s not going to stop me from being a kind, loving friend. Ever. And it shouldn’t for you either. I’m not going to let a difference of opinion alienate me from another person. Alienation ruins a christian’s ability to witness and share the love of Christ. There is no need for anger, hate, stupidity, fear, etc. Just love. Let us all be a people of love. I think, at least, we can all agree that love is best. Even if we have different opinions on what it looks like.

Funerals Are Boring

Hey there, blog! I haven’t given you any love lately so here we go. Heck, I won’t even share this publicly so very few people will probably ever read this. Anyway..

But aren’t they? Funerals are so dull. I don’t know about the typical funeral you’ve been to, but all the ones I’ve seen share a few common things. Slow, boring church music like Amazing Grace or whatever your family picks to be played. Then someone, usually a preacher, gets up and gives a boring speech about the life of the person where they tell a happy, funny story that makes you laugh but it’s still a very somber mood. It’s miserable! I get it and I appreciate it, but no thank you.

Me? When I die, I want to be remembered well. I don’t want to say anything cheesy like “I want it to be a celebration!” Nah, you better cry because I sure hope you’re gonna miss me! But I don’t want the mood to be intentionally somber. I don’t want people to be walking on egg shells at the visitation because it’s a sensitive atmosphere. Forget that! Tell all your favorite stories. Laugh. Enjoy yourselves. Watch all my old YouTube videos that have long-since been forgotten. Don’t forget to look up videos of me that weren’t on my own channel. Some of my best stuff is over on Dave’s YouTube channel or on NFI. I’m sure there will be more videos of me in the future. The point is, I know it’s gonna be sad. That’s how it’s supposed to be. But don’t make it INTENTIONALLY sad. Don’t get onto kids for running around in the room with my casket. Don’t feel the need to hush and whisper. Don’t dress up either, for goodness sake! Please don’t dress up. When you come to my visitation or funeral, come dressed the way you would when I would normally see you. Chill. Relax. Have some refreshments. Idk, set up an xbox or something for the kids to play COD once they get bored after the first five minutes and don’t tell them to turn it down.

Don’t you dare play some sad slide show with sad, sappy music playing! Ugh. Just… please, avoid being boring and somber. Sure, shed your tears, but do it between genuine, loud, obnoxious laughter. That not only makes the whole process more enjoyable for everyone, but it makes me feel more comfortable with my own death. Quit moping around and just enjoy my memory! That’s all I ask.


TIDAL: Lossless Propaganda and the Truth

Some of you may or may not know that I like to consider myself an up-and-coming audio engineer. Don’t get me wrong, the more I learn the more that I realize I still have LOTS to learn.. But I would like to think that I know more than the average consumer when it comes to audio and recordings. With this in mind, I would like to discuss TIDAL with you.

You may or may not know about TIDAL. Long story short, Jay-Z purchased and relaunched a semi-new music streaming service called TIDAL. He (and a whole bunch of super-stars who each own 3% shares) is claiming that this is the new game-changing service. They are all preaching on about how this is a service by artists and for artists, how it will save the music industry… The list goes on and on. To be frank, I could go on for hours about its strengths and weaknesses, but those are all better covered here and here. Read them if you are interested.

What I would like to talk about concerns this video. Go ahead and watch it really quick and then come back. I have lots of fun things to tell you.

So the video tells you that you are switching back and forth from MP3 to lossless, right? Fun fact: It’s a lie. *gasp* “But I thought I could trust everything I hear on the internet!?” I know, I know. I feel betrayed too. But it’s true. Now that you are over the initial shock, listen close (well, you know what I mean).

First I’ll tell you about how that video is a lie, then I’ll explain what lossless (WAV, FLAC, etc.) vs. lossy (MP3, AAC, etc.) means in the most basic way I can. If you’ve watched a lot of Doctor Who you may have noticed that The Doctor sometimes explains things in a way to help it make more sense and then turns around and says “but it’s nothing like that.” This is going to be like that. My fellow audio people, I ask that you give me some understanding for what information may be kinda-but-kinda-not-really-accurate in my attempt to help people understand this sometimes confusing situation.

So the video. Yes, it gives a disclaimer at the beginning, but it is important you understand it and don’t miss it, like I fear many are. Compelling, right? Who knew that the audio quality you were used to from Spotify and YouTube was actually so bad? Well… I did, but I don’t blame you if you didn’t. Even worse is the fact that the music you download from iTunes or Amazon is, in fact, no better. At all. Even worse, actually. And that video is making an attempt to let you know by showing you what all of that file compression takes out. It switches back and forth from terrible sounding audio to seemingly high quality goodness! The lie? Well, if one takes the time to examine the code of the website, one would find that the video that plays on the website is hosted by Vimeo. Why does that matter? Remember how I mentioned that YouTube is low quality? Vimeo is no better. “Even when switched to HD?” Oh yes! Granted that the improvement from 360p to 1080p audio quality IS a drastic improvement, the only reason the HD sounds good is because of what you are comparing it to. In fact, neither YouTube nor Vimeo are even capable of playing lossless, Hi-Fi audio. It’s LITERALLY not possible for them to. So what’s going on in the video? They have manipulated and degraded the sound quality of the “MP3” audio drastically and noticeably. The “lossless” that it switches to is, in fact, no better than your run-of-the-mill MP3. But by comparison to the degraded audio, it sounds so much better! That, my friends, is how they are tricking you. It’s just propaganda. The difference in lossy vs. lossless sound quality won’t be like the video portrays at all.

Now, “what’s the big deal if there is no such thing as lossless audio?” you say. STOP! I didn’t say that! There most certainly IS such a thing as lossless audio and it absolutely most certainly IS incredibly better sounding than the MP3s you are all used to. I’m just saying that YouTube and Vimeo can’t actually play them. You see, MP3 (and other file-compression coding) was introduced as a way to store music on your devices in a way that would keep a single song from taking up all of your memory. (Remember the days of a 1GB MP3 player? Hahahaha…. I’m old…) You see, MP3 takes a lossless file and compresses it to fit into a much smaller amount of data. A single song can go from being 33 MB to around 6 MB. That’s a significant size reduction! In fact, it’s a modern day miracle! It shouldn’t even be logically possible to take something that was originally so much data, reduce it, and then play it back in a way that it sounds the same! Well… It’s not. It IS a miracle that it sounds even remotely like the same song, let alone that it sounds as good as it does. However, what’s actually going on is that the information is literally being removed.

Imagine that you had a page in a book in front of you and that you have one of those nifty white-out pens. Now remove every 4th word. Hmm… Not enough, do it again. Uh… Remove a few more words… Ah, that’s the ticket! Now re-type the remaining words in order and print it out. Now read it. Amazing, isn’t it! You can fully understand what that page used to say even though all those words are missing! … Wait, you can’t understand what the page originally meant? Too much information has been removed? Exactly. The compression for MP3 works in the same way. That’s why I say it’s a miracle that it sounds like the same song! The best part is that almost everyone has been tricked into thinking that it’s perfectly ok. It’s not! Not at all. iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube, Pandora… The list goes on and on. Heck, even when you buy a CD, your computer is set to download as an MP3 when you rip it! That ruins the point of a CD, which actually carries lossless audio. So TIDAL wants to change that. And even though their video is all propaganda material, they actually do improve the quality. By about 4 times!…. For $20 a month. Yeah, that’s too much for me too.

So what can you do? Well, the need for music to be the size of an MP3 is no longer valid. We live in the age of practically unlimited space. We can fit hundreds of gigabytes into tiny little devices now. There’s no need for file compression. So, at the very least, try buying actual CDs and changing the iTunes import settings to download as AIFF. Those *are* lossless. They aren’t the absolute highest quality (44.1 kHz/16 bit out of the now possible 192 kHz/32 bit float) but they are technically lossless and sound way better than MP3. “I tried comparing MP3 to lossless and didn’t notice a difference.” Well, you may be using terrible quality speakers or headphones (computer speakers, apple ear buds, Beats headphones, etc.) Get a proper good speaker system or pair of headphones and then give a listen. Fun fact, the human ear actually takes time to adjust to hearing music. For a true test of enjoyment, try listening to about 30 minutes or more of MP3 music and then listen to 30 minutes or more of lossless audio (at the same exact volume level) and then see what the difference is. It’ll astound you.

I like the idea of lossless streaming. I REALLY like the idea. I’ve been begging for it! But… $20 a month is way too high for my budget and probably most of yours too. But there’s a chance that TIDAL will be throwing in lots of really cool perks to go along with that subscription, so as more details come out, it may very well be worth it. Check it out, at least. And do your ears a favor and look into buying some proper, good quality listening devices and stop downloading crappy MP3 and AAC files. I understand that it’s easier.. as well as streaming Spotify and YouTube! However, the quality just *isn’t* there. Need suggestions on what to do to fix this epidemic? Email me at connor.l.holland@gmail.com and I’d love to give suggestions to meet any budget!

Have a blessed day!


Ever wish you were better with words?

I do. A lot.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty good command of the english language and my ability to communicate what I’m thinking is, I believe, at least above average. I’m almost always able, with careful consideration, to choose the rights words to communicate exactly what I’m thinking or feeling. I’m rarely at a loss for words. Most moments of silence I get caught in are simply for the purpose of going over the words in my head to make sure they paint the picture I’m trying to get across. This gift comes with a bit of a curse, because it also means that I sometimes know the exact wrong thing to say and choose to say it anyway, and that always hurts the people I love more than I’d like to admit. The point, however, still stands: I’m pretty good with words.

Despite all of this, people like me can still find a loss for words.

Sometimes it happens because the situation you are in is so strange to you that your brain simply doesn’t know how to process the situation. Sometimes someone says something that was so unexpected that it takes you a minute to absorb that they actually just said thatOccasionally our brains are just tired, and other times we just don’t care enough to expend the thought energy. Sometimes we’re so angry that all of the emotions and thoughts run so quickly and so loudly through our brains that we completely overload our left frontal lobe and end up making the most ridiculous noises that don’t even remotely resemble speech.

And then there are situations – very special, very important situations – in which it’s not your lack of ability, but rather the inability of language itself. These situations are rare, but their importance in our lives cannot be overstated. These situations happen when there is someone or something so amazing, so beautiful, and so perfect that you absolutely cannot find words to describe them. It can also be the case that things are so terrible, so horrible, and so traumatizing that words don’t exist. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I’m probably glad that those words don’t exist… But enough of that! Allow me to re-direct your attention to the more preferred of the two.

I’m almost sure that this has happened to you! Think back. Maybe you reached the top of a mountain and the breathtaking view was beyond description. Perhaps someone displayed an act of kindness toward you that was so wonderful you simply couldn’t appropriately express your gratitude. Or maybe, just maybe, you met someone so wonderful, so impossibly beautiful, and so charming that you couldn’t possibly express your feelings toward that person. This person could have entered your life at just the right time in such a way that no one, possibly not even you, could ever understand the positive impact they had on your life at a very important turning point. This person could have blown away all of your previous expectations for what was even possible to find in another human being. Without knowing or meaning to, this person had such an incredible impact on your life that, no matter what happens in the future, you will never be able to look back with regret because they made your life better.

For this person, you lack words and the words are lacking. Oh, you try to find the right words! You may even spend some time with google typing something like “beautiful synonyms” just to try and find the perfect word or combination of words. You might try calling them beautiful, incredible, wonderful, dazzling, lovely, magnificent, superb, stunning, gorgeous, elegant, angelic, pretty, marvelous, cute, charming, splendid, or even the unlikely (and rather unappreciated) pulchritudinous. But there’s still a problem! None of these even come close to communicating what you’re trying to say. Not a gosh darn one of them!

So what can we do? Well, there really isn’t much we can do except keep using our incredibly limited resources to try and communicate our feelings of gratitude, appreciation, or even love. In all honesty, and I hate to be a downer, but they will probably never fully understand what you mean. They might not ever fully know the extent to which you appreciate them. But here’s what you do: Never give up trying. Never stop seeking new words. Never give up using new combinations and configurations of words. Is there a risk that what you end up saying makes absolutely zero sense? Absolutely! But that doesn’t matter. If this person has truly earned your feelings that you have toward them then are they not worth trying? Find new ways to tell them the same thing. Sound like a broken record. Write it. Carve it. Sing it. Anything! Although you will never, ever be able to fully express and communicate your thoughts and feelings, you better make darn sure you never let them forget what you can communicate! Tell them often and tell them always because that’s what they deserve.

So that’s exactly what I will always try to do.

Katie, I love you! I know that I don’t know the plans God has for me and you, but I also know that, no matter what, you have impacted my life in a way that I can never fully show my gratitude for. You truly are the most amazing and beautiful person I have ever met and I am sorry that I will always fail to communicate my appreciation for you. I promise to keep seeking the perfect way to communicate my thoughts and feelings for you as long as they are mine to communicate – because whatever happens, whatever may change, you made and continue to make my life better. Thank you so much for that. You truly have no idea how much you mean to me. Even if we find ourselves apart in the future, that doesn’t change a thing because you didn’t just improve my life, you helped change it. You served as a wakeup call from God when I needed it. Thank you for your willingness to serve the Lord. Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your time. Thank you for being you. And, finally, thank you for being born!

Happy (almost) Birthday, Catharine Marie Welch. I hope tomorrow is the best!

Good Enough?

Here’s a semi-short one for a change.

I keep seeing things online about being good enough. Lists of ten reasons you are good enough or some incredibly motivational short piece of writing over some “inspirational” landscape photography. Heck, I like to think that some days I’m doing pretty well, but those things almost get me feeling “better” from an imaginary low. But I have a problem.

That problem? Those things are wrong. Dead wrong. I’m sorry to tell you, but no. No, you are not good enough. You will NEVER be good enough. I should hope to think being good enough wouldn’t even be the goal either. If I am to ever reach a point where I feel “good enough” then I would want to quit. Final save-game and log out, sell the game back to Gamestop for a fraction of the price I paid for it and get a new game. I did it. I’m good enough! There’s nowhere else to go. I’m bored.

No. I never want to be good enough. I want to strive to always be better. Heck, I’m always striving to be the BEST. I want to be the best and I believe I CAN be. Better than the rest. That’s my goal. But never good enough. Good enough implies two things to me. One: You made it to the top. Two: Meh, that’ll do. I never want either. I want to always improve.

That said, I understand what they are actually trying to say. That it’s not so bad. It’s trying to let people know they can survive. But I still find that depressing, really. So here’s my counter to that: No, you’re not good enough. You’re GREAT! And you’re only going to get better as long as you try. Life is hard and it sucks and it’s REALLY good at framing everything at just the wrong angles to make life look wrong and horrible when all it takes is a single side-step to see the full, amazing picture. You’re AMAZING. Not good enough. You’ll never be good enough. You ARE awesome and you WILL always get better! Just gotta keep going. Be the best you can be, which is to say, strive to be better than the you from yesterday. I never want my today me to be the same as my yesterday me. I want to grow. I want to increase. I want to learn more. Love greater. Feel more intensely. Etc. Etc. Etc. But I never want to be good enough, and I never can be. The me I am today is AWESOME! But I have a long, long way to go and that only makes me excited. Just because future me is going to be even MORE awesome doesn’t make present me any less awesome. And the same goes for you. You’re pretty great! So make it your goal to be even greater.

*waves goodbye*