Beat Portfolio is the central online presence of Daren Welsh. During the day, I train astronauts how to work in space while floating around inside a pressurized suit (ExtraVehicular Activity). When they go on their mission, I work in Mission Control Center (MCC in Houston) to direct them and provide the answers when things go wrong. I also use this experience to help design the systems of our future space program. It’s a tough job, but it pays the bills.

One of the things that helps me focus during my job and relax afterward is music. I try to stay open-minded about all types of music. My favorite genre is tech-house, but I also enjoy deep house, techno, dub step, dnb/jungle, downtempo, lounge, acid jazz, electro, breaks, trance, and progressive as well as some of the more “popular” genres like hip-hop, pop, rock, jazz, and 80s. I’ll even listen to classical and instrumental pieces from time to time. I suppose I’m learning to like country, but I’m still not a fan of it. I’m on the fence with opera and reggae. I’ll go ahead and denounce polka and new age. What did I miss?

I first started listening to electronic music in college — ahhhh, college. I remember watching MTV’s late-night Amp. I also remember walking into a mall CD shop and asking what they recommended for “good techno” (before I had really learned anything about electronic music). They suggested a Global Underground 2-CD set from Sasha. As naive as that may have been, it opened a whole new world up to me and paired with the advent of internet music downloads (this was before the RIAA went completely nuts), I fumbled my way through a myriad of electronic music. I still have that CD and would list it among my favorites.

In my Junior year of college, after a transfer from U of O to UW, I gained a new group of friends. One of these guys had a couple turntables and a mixer. He brought all this equipment over to our first party and spun music all night long. I had listened to this type of music for a couple years at this point, but I guess it never dawned on me to find out how those DJs actually made the mixes. This was definitely an eye-opener for me. Watching him seamlessly flow from one song to another, layering sounds from two sources, and controlling how the music sounded was incredible.

Shortly after graduating from college in 2001, I bought some turntables and a mixer (thanks to my spiffy new job). Since then, DJing has been one of my many pastimes. I have had the privilege of spinning music at house parties, record stores, and clubs in Houston and Phoenix. I have also dabbled in music production. Creating and playing music may never be my full-time job, but it will always be a full-time passion.

== Christmas 2011 update:

In the past year, I successfully recomposed my body.  I tracked my progress in a spreadsheet and periodically posted updates via Twitter and Facebook.  I found several online sources of motivation and I think it’s time I reciprocated.  So even though this site began solely to share my music interest, I’m going to expand and post whatever I find relevant to finding better health and fitness for yourself.

I started with the e-book Four Hour Body in December 2010 and changed my diet to high-protein and “slow-carb”.  Eventually, I hit a plateau and shifted into the Lean Gains method of intermittent fasting.  Around April of 2011, I found the book Starting Strength and focused my time in the gym.  In less than a year, I went from somewhere between 210-220 lbs to 175 lbs (about 12.5% body fat).  I also got stronger.  I can squat 360 lbs, dead lift 420 lbs, and bench press 220 lbs, all for a combined 1,000 lbs.

This transformation was just the beginning.  I recently joined Fitocracy to help track progress and find motivation through community support.  I plan to track my workouts here as a backup.  I also want to start a collection of references to medical studies and scientifically-based guidance for losing fat and gaining strength.  Goals cannot be measured without tracking progress and progress is more easily made with the support of others.