I learned things about chords this weekend. Prior to Saturday, I knew of the existence of two types of chords: major and minor. I could kinda tell the difference between them when I heard 'em. With some fiddling on the keyboard, I could play them. That's about it. It didn't really matter, because I just hit the keys indicated on the sheet music anyway.
And then I had my first piano lesson in 8 years. And whoa, there are a lot of different types of chords! There are dominant and diminished and chords with flattened 5ths and ones without and when you slide one finger half a step down all of a sudden everything sounds completely different! I've heard these chords in music before, but didn't know that they actually had names and were differentiated from each other, kinda like if you'd classified colors as "light" and "dark" and suddenly heard people talking about "blue" and "kinda orangey-red" and "deep turquoise." Confusing. But super-cool.
So now I'm trying to learn how to recognize those by ear. Generally speaking, I'm trying to learn to do more things (starting with music) by ear. Must rid self of excessive paranoia of doing things by ear (for me, this means "without reading"). I'm also going to look through the audiobooks on Librivox and try to find one with a nice crisp voice, and train myself to understand audio without lipreading input without freaking out and straining to listen; I want to quickly be able to distinguish between Audio I Can't Understand (the vast majority of audio-without-visuals) and Audio I Can Actually Understand But So Far Have Avoided Because They're So Few And Far Between That It's Just Easier To Assume I Can't Understand Audio Without Accompanying Visual Input Period.
For the record, anyone who wants to imitate my writing style: use plenty of hyphens - like this - and (lots (and lots)) of multiply nested parentheses, as well as Long Strings Of Words Capitalized For Emphasis. Also, act like everything is exciting, and you'll pretty much have the Mel writing style down pat.