drwex: (Default)
(slightly modified from a post by Cory Doctorow)

Dear Liberals, Independents, and principled Conservatives
In 2020 there will be a candidate competing against Donald Trump for President. It is very likely this candidate:
  1. Isn't your first choice

  2. Isn't 100% ideologically pure

  3. Has made mistakes

  4. Might not really excite you all that much

  5. Has ideas you are uncomfortable with

Please start the process of getting over that shit now instead of waiting until 2020.

Dear Democratic Establishment
In 2020 we will need to choose a candidate to fight Trump, an actual threat to the survival of the human race. So you might be tempted (again) to ask America to vote for a warmongering, banker-friendly, more-of-the-same candidate, on the theory that we'll vote for the candidate who makes people like you rich as fuck rather than enduring four more years of Trump, even if that candidate is terrible in every way except for not being Trump.

That is a hell of a gamble, and it could literally cost us the only planet we have. Knock that shit off.

Democrats have no future as the "at least we're not Trump" party. Get used to it. You have two whole years; use them wisely.

No love,
Me
drwex: (Default)
https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/1872925

I'm bombing all my social media one last time, so apologies if you already saw this on Twitter or Facebook.

BARCC is an organization I've believed in and supported for many years. I have been happy that Arisia forged a partnership with them and I'm certain that without that partnership we'd be in even worse shape. I personally have learned a lot from their free workshops and trainings. The only reason those things stay free is because of fundraising events like this one.

Please help keep a vital resources for abuse and assault survivors of all genders free. BARCC obviously helps people in the Boston/Eastern MA area a lot and they are a nationally recognized leader that work with local organizations elsewhere to train staff and build programs across the country.
drwex: (fucks)
Instead of the long-awaited third installment in the original Hellboy franchise (Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman) we get this semi-retread, semi-reboot helmed at least nominally by Neil Marshall, though lots of written rumor stuff says that the producers interfered heavily. The movie is not better for it. (2/5 stars, watch with a beer or other intoxicant of choice)

Hellboy has always been a challenging character. The comic has a small but devoted fan base but in the era of mega-sized superhero productions from Marvel and DC the movie needs a wide appeal and this just isn't going to do it. Credits to the cast for trying. Mila Jovovich is enchanting, Ian McShane is plugging away as best he can being a flawed person with no good answers to the questions he's being asked, and both Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim serve in the "new sidekick" roles with appropriate levels of gusto, snark, and angst. David Harbour works at being a worthy successor to Perlman despite being hampered by prosthetics that seem designed to make him awkward and expressionless. I like the actors' work enough that I'd be willing to see what this cast does with a good script and I raised it from one to two stars based largely on their efforts. But this film wastes almost all of it.

There are also some SFX fails, but the script is the downfall of this film. It's ponderous, ridiculously expository, and full of frankly unnecessary bits. Nobody actually faces the camera and says "As you know, Amanda..." but they might as well. The film starts off with backstory exposition that would've gone better as a flashback for Jovovich's Nimue character and includes a tie-in exposition that links the secondary villain with one of the sidekicks. Why? Because... reasons. Worst of all, there's an entire cul-de-sac that involves Hellboy fighting some giants (you see a bit of this in the trailer) and frankly the ENTIRE thing is disposable. Like, irrelevant. A distraction. If you took it out you'd have precisely the same movie. I can't fathom why it's in there.

It also has stupid unnecessary splatter-gore bits that just... why?
drwex: (WWFD)
I may try to do one of my more traditional posts celebrating this holiday, but Pygment found this item and I just had to share:
Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen of Beth El-Keser Israel said in an email, “Any food purchased by crossing a picket line or from scab workers is not kosher for Passover.” He said it is “a matter of well-established Jewish law.”

from https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Jews-face-having-to-find-Passover-foods-without-13763250.php

Not only do I love that this is the decision, but I _adore_ that this is a question that is already a matter of long-settled law. Because of course it should be.
drwex: (VNV)
Apparently lots of people at New Job pick Friday as their WFH day. I didn't this week and likely won't for another week or two because I am still getting my feet settled and I need to learn the patterns so I can fit comfortably into them. Anyway, this is an attempt not to let music tabs pile up so here we go.

https://soundcloud.com/griz/sets/ride-waves
I got this from a promo email for an upcoming GRiZ show and normally I'd be all over that but with this EP I'm not sure. There's some great stuff, like "Bustin' Out". I mean, who can object to tracks that feature phat horns and Bootsy Collins? But there's other stuff that goes all glitchy and wub and I'm not sure I want to see a show that bounces between these extremes. I mean I'm pretty sure neither Bootsy nor Snoop, who is also on a couple of these tracks, is going to show up and play...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eHaPaxw1ks
https://hypem.com/track/2ty46
Next up a twofer from The Funk Hunters. The first one, "Soul City," is indeed a heavily soul-influenced opener pushed through a heavy wub filter by K+Lab. I'm not entirely in love with it - the wub and I are still warily circling one another - but its classic funk and soul elements carry the track well enough for at least a couple listens.

Then there's Fort Knox Five redoing the Funk Hunters' "Revolution". Fort Knox Five are kind of the grandmasters of this style and they make the entire track flow and sing with hip-hop and straight-up hard drums mixed into classic funk beats and solid horns.

https://soundcloud.com/futuregenerationofficial/reaubeau-loris-cimino-louder-ft-twan-ray
"Louder" is intended to be played that way. It's a rock/EDM power anthem that puts together motivational lyrics with strong chords and an insistent bass. To be honest, most of these kinds of tracks are a little cheesy and this is no exception. It's also a well-done track that hits its target.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlhMJFdUUHY
To close out this set, have a classic (funny to use that word for a style that's only a decade old but you get my gist) mash-up from DJs from Mars. It's based around "Con Calma" from Daddy Yankee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQwj_FRntp8). The original is an interesting track in its own right, being a Puerto Rican-styled reggaeton track. It also includes rapper Snow, and takes many of its core elements from Snow's "Informer" which is itself now 25+ years old. (*checks* yeah, it came out in 1992.) The DJs do their usual speed-it-up-and-EDM-it tricks giving the mash a very different feel from the original. I like both and hope you will, too.
drwex: (Default)
https://www.classy.org/team/208301

I'm walking as part of Arisia's team this year for BARCC's fundraising walk. The walk itself is in just under a month and I'd love to have your support for our team.

BARCC does a ton of work for individuals, and for non-profits like Arisia, all of it free. The way it's kept free is because BARCC raises money through grants and donor events like the annual Walk. If your situation doesn't permit you to donate money that's fine - I can use moral support, walk/training partners, and general encouragement.

For Arisia 2020 I am co-divhead of the (newly renamed) Team Arisia Services and we're working to get staff more involved in activities that benefit the community. This is the first and I hope to have more to share in the coming 9 months.
drwex: (Default)
I've been meaning to post this all week but Things Keep Happening and my emotional spoons are near zero. There's a lot to say here and I think I'll divide it into three bits. First the facts, then the story, then the backstory. That way at least some of it will get written. So...

Monday, about an hour before my dad called to tell me my aunt had died, I handed in my resignation at work. My last day at Aspen will be April 1, ironically my exact sixth anniversary. It's a little odd to leave on a Monday but that's Sprint End for a couple of my major projects and makes it easier to put a neat bow on a couple things. Mostly I'm in back-to-back meetings trying to hand over as much of my work as I feasibly can.

I'll be going to work for PTC down in Boston's Seaport district. If you work downtown and want to do lunch or something let me know. The commute is going to suck rocks but there's WFH options and a transport reimbursement policy to ease the pain. There are some other nice perks; we'll see what the actual working conditions are like once I'm settled in there. I promise to update.

I will be a Design Director for them, which is a definite step up the ladder for me and one of my motivations for going. The core truth is that I'm sad to leave Aspen and the friends I've made here, but it was (past) time and I'm looking forward to new challenges.

Ping me if you want contact info once I get it, or if you want to socialize.
drwex: (pogo)
I am, instead, setting out to write a memoriam for my aunt. She passed very suddenly yesterday morning. I am not OK, but I have a good support network and I am keeping myself busy and distracted. This entry is unlocked because I want to be able to share it with people who are not on DW. Please be discreet in your re-shares and ask first. I do not want this on Facebook.

Her memory for a blessing )
Writing this has been the hardest thing I've done in a long time. I'm sure I've jumbled up memories in my haste to put things down but I did not want today to pass unremarked.
drwex: (VNV)
(this was supposed to post a bit ago; instead two copies of a music blog posted. I got nothin' except "Dreamwidth doesn't always deal well with multiple open 'Post an Entry' tabs". Let's see if I can re-create this review...)

Friday night Pygment and I went to see AcousticaElectronica (https://americanrepertorytheater.org/shows-events/acousticaelectronica-3/). The show's page is a little bit breathless but fairly accurate. It's a blend of (participatory) theater, dj dance, lots of circus arts, commedia, and a story told through action, dance and song. The production uses classical elements, including ballet and opera, as well as more modern musical and vocal styles. 4/5 stars for a fun night with a blend of interesting pieces. Would definitely see again, and apparently this troupe (based in NY) has been doing shows at the Oberon for seven years; I'll want to check cast credits more closely in the future to see what they bring next time.

AcousticaElectronica was a thing that had crossed my radar via the Oberon mailing list some time ago and I said "ooh, I'd like to see that but I'll probably forget about it." That was true but fortunately Pygment decided she could keep track of it and got us tickets. We had a fun time, didn't dance as much as I hoped for, bantered a little bit with performers afterward, and repeatedly had to clear our table so the performers could use it. As a former theater tech geek I'm impressed with how well it was orchestrated and how well they used the space. I particularly appreciated them being able to do things throughout the house without blinding people. There were a couple uses of strobes, but that was about it.

Shows like this are hard to review. There's no "star" and the entire plot is interpretive with no dialog so you form your own impressions through the performers' movements. They did a good job of letting all the performers showcase their talents. I was more disappointed in the audience, which didn't seem to be into the dancing as much and most left when the show ended, though they announced the venue would stay open until 1:30. When they announced "last call" at midnight-fifteen we decided to head out as well.
drwex: (VNV)
I have tabs! They have music on them! Let's close some of them - once again another all-funky selection, with variations on the themes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-ls0pZWWSA
I haven't posted nearly enough Stickybuds. This one I'm pretty sure came out of one of their Shambhala mixes. It's reggae, it's funky, and it's political. I'm also pretty sure this is a short version of a tune I've heard longer mixes for but it's the best I could find online when I looked. The featured vocalist, Burro Banton, was a riddim DJ out of Kingston in (checks online) the 80s and 90s which is why the name seemed familiar but it's long enough ago that I didn't remember details. In those days most of that music went to the UK and it was hard to get in the US. But now we have The Intarwebz and things are better.

https://soundcloud.com/bbprecordings/skank-spinatra-thank-you-free-download
Skank Spinatra might be the best musician name of the past year. This track, a remix of "Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself", keeps some of the original Sly & The Family Stone disco/funk edge but resets it into a 21st-century glitchy-infused style. I'm normally not a big glitch fan but I can forgive a lot if it's got a funky beat. As I said to MizA in a different context: "First comes the beat, then the bass" is like the first commandment of my religion.

https://soundcloud.com/cuttinitfine/gramophone-soul-dj-to-dj-free-download
Apparently I'm feeling funk-infused - shocking I know. Here we get Gramophone Soul doing "DJ to DJ". This is a rockin' track that blends a number of styles, going all the way back to 1950's era twist in a tight little four-minute dance track.

https://www.cuttinitfine.com/blog/2018/12/14/-cif-03-podcast-december-2018-
Cuttin' It Fine productions produced an irregular podcast back last year. This, from December, is a beauty of a set, including a number of fine remixes. The best part is that everything is listed with links to where you can get the tracks (mostly Bandcamp, which I recommend as a site that sends a good chunk of the money back to the original artist). I wish all sets came annotated this way - I'd buy a lot more music.
drwex: (Default)
https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

I had this recommended to me by someone when I did my last set of writing prompts. I figure I'll post the top URL here so you can read them all at your leisure and I'll work through them as I can. I have a bunch of other things that I've been holding back on posting and maybe getting some random writing done will help with that. Here we go...
What is something you have or are pursuing, that other people say is worthwhile, but you haven’t found valuable? Do you continue to pursue it based on the promises of others?

It's sort of ironically funny to find myself writing-blocked by a writing prompt. Like, I've puzzled over this for a while and I'm having a very hard time coming up with examples.

If I break it down I can consider it through different categories. For example, physical objects. I have lots of junk - that is, stuff I own that I don't find valuable. But for most of those things other people generally would agree that the junk is ... well, if not actually worthless it's things I could dispense with. I doubt I'd ever go into some kind of minimalist lifestyle entirely but I could stand to decruft a considerable amount. Part of what makes it harder to decruft is that I hate just creating trash, and finding someone who'd value the things I want to be rid of is rare.

There are lots of things (material) that other people own and find valuable. Some of them I want, and I get them. Some I don't, and don't.

Maybe the question is more abstract - consider qualities, or habits. I know there are lots of good reasons to, say, exercise more or eat vegetarian. It's not that I don't recognize the value in those things. I do them because I (intellectually) recognize they have some value. I do them a lot less than I should in part because I haven't personally connected with the value. These days there are lots of articles appearing on how to make habit change "stick". Recognizing that people tend to regress to baseline, even when they know that baseline isn't great, means you need to take a different approach than just issuing dicta "Eat better!" "Exercise more!"

In the last set of prompts I talked off and on about interpersonal qualities. Ways of talking, thinking, or relating to other people. Here, too, I do some of these things but less than I should. Honestly, I don't know why. I don't think it's because I don't recognize the value. It's some combination of "old dog, new tricks" and the difference between abstractly recognizing the value in a thing and having internalized it to the point of it being one of my values.

There, I wrote a thing. Maybe I'll write more things. If you encourage me that's more likely. Or discourage me if you think that's appropriate - I won't be offended.
drwex: (Default)
Alita: Battle Angel is a western adaptation of a popular manga. As such, it's already treading on some very thin ice. Previous attempts to westernize manga have ... not gone well. This one avoids many of the bad pitfalls but ends up not being entirely satisfying. 3/5 stars for basic competence and yes I'd probably watch a sequel if one gets made.

Alita is a SFX tour-de-force, portraying a world of mixed machine/human bodies from grotesque prostheses up through full-on cyborgs. At some level you know it's animation and effects, and the film doesn't try to hide that. Instead, it wants to keep your attention with a combination of action and novelty, wrapped tightly around a self-discovery story.

Rosa Salazar plays Alita through a dizzying set of changes. One scene she's a disobedient fourteen-year-old girl; the next, she's a teen discovering a potentially mutual attraction with another teen. Not long after that, she's a fighting machine and then ultimately she goes (effectively overnight) from 14-15 to young woman. She's figuring out who she is, who her friends and enemies are, and how she will shape her place in the decaying decadent world she inhabits.

Given that it's manga you need to keep both hands firmly suspending your disbelief because... really? I mean... really? OK, no spoilers, but there's just a huge handful of things that make no sense even if you accept the movie's premises and context. Getting past that would be helped if more of the supporting cast were given better dialog. It almost feels like screenwriters James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis forget characters are in scenes at times. This is particularly painful in early scenes where Alita and Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) are talking. In the room is also Nurse Gerhad but she remains silent throughout the scenes. Idara Victor is reduced to nodding, waving, and looking concerned in places where you'd expect a normal person to have something to say. I was actually surprised when her character did speak; I half-believed she was intentionally mute.

Of the supporting cast, the only one I really liked was Vector, which is likely due in part to Luke Cage having turned me into a Mahershala Ali fan. Walz does a competent job but the problem is that he's initially set up to be the father figure of the naive Alita; the film doesn't seem to know what to do with him once she attains (effective) womanhood.

The film's other big problem is its unsatisfactory ending. In a manga, you expect the end of a story (volume) to be just a chapter in a long-running saga. Translating that onto film requires something more and this script falls short, I think. See this for the cool effects and snappy action and let's hope Rosa Salazar gets to shine more.
drwex: (Default)
...which is just fine by me. I've seen several good reviews of this movie but none so concise as this, which I think originated on Polygon:
Captain America gets back up again because it's the right thing to do. Captain Marvel gets back up again because fuck you.

Another reviewer pointed out that this is a movie about female power, which is subtly different from empowerment. Carol Danvers always has power - she's just trying to figure out how much and how to use it. 4/5 stars as a competent and enjoyable Marvel film filling in important origin information.

The movie does several things very well; for example, I can't think of another mother-daughter superhero film in the modern canon. It allows both Captain Marvel to have her origin told and to give us, somewhat subtly, Nick Fury's MCU origin story. That's a credit to the writing and directing of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

A lot of electrons have been spilled over Brie Larson's acting, many of which I think miss the point. Larson is playing a character who is amnesiac, unsure of herself, but at the same time brash and cocky. When you critique Larson for inconsistent acting you miss the reality that she's bringing to life. Vers, her Kree name and persona when we meet her, is a person unsure of herself in an unsure situation. The transition from Vers to Captain Marvel (a name that's never actually spoken in the movie) requires that Vers recapture her past Carol Danvers self in order to create the foundation for who she will become. I wouldn't put Larson in the "A" acting class, yet, but I think she shows herself more than capable at her craft.

If there's a weakness to this it's that the script has too much action. Perhaps that's deliberate, but the pacing of the film sees Vers yanked from one emotional and physical challenge to the next. That alone could keep someone off balance, sure, but it also doesn't give us viewers time to become closer to the character. For much of the film that doesn't matter, but when Danvers is interacting with Lashana Lynch's Maria Rambeau I think the film would've benefited from a slower pace, especially as an origin story.

To the rescue comes Monica Rambeau (Akira Akbar). Other than Spider Man we haven't seen many children in MCU movies so I was intensely interested in how they'd handle this. I can't say much because it'd be spoilers, but Akbar's dialog and performance provide much-needed cement for the scenes she's in.

In conclusion I urge everyone who has any interest in the current genre of superhero movies to see this, if only to drive up its revenue numbers and make more dudebros cry. We've been desperately short on female-centered MCU stories and this one is a good example of what can be done with these characters.
drwex: (VNV)
And by "different" I mean different from each other and different from my usual things.

Set 1, we might call "world". That is, it's based largely on non-US/non-European sounds. This is a style of music I like in general. Experiencing other parts of the world through their native instruments, beats, and sounds ties directly into the "music is love" idea I talked about a while ago. These are also examples of where the artist has taken traditional elements and fused them with modern elements and made something new and more interesting.

https://soundcloud.com/lazysyruporchestra/clozee-koto-lazysyrup-x-waspy-remix
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QvMcQ2Eejo
I love the koto (https://americanhikikomorifilm.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/screen-shot-2013-07-23-at-5-20-04-pm.png) - some people call it the "national instrument" of Japan. I like both its sound solo and the way Japanese music combines koto with flutes and drums. Here Lazy Syrup Orchestra and Waspy have remixed CLoZee's "Koto". The original is at the second link above and it's a great blend of all three elements. The remix speeds things up a bit and adds some chill house sounds to it. Really, both are excellent.

https://soundcloud.com/westwoodrecordings/wood-for-the-trees
It's slightly cheating to call Moontricks "world" in that they're from backwoods Canada, which isn't a lot different from backwoods US. There's a similarity with the twangy sounds but in this case Moontricks de-emphasize the twang in favor of more smooth harmonies. Still, when they switch to the solo banjo it'll be recognizable to anyone familiar with US folk music. As with the previous track, it's got some definite electronica mixed in - mostly chill low-tempo stuff, and I find it works really well with the vocal harmonies.

https://soundcloud.com/young-nrg-productions/sets/menes-ancient-egyptian-ep-freedownload
I'll close out this group with a gorgeous four-track EP from Menes called "Ancient Egyptian". This reminds me a great deal of older Beats Antique, which also took from the Middle Eastern musical tradition and infused a modern EDM sensibility. Here the result is much more psy than crunk but the core DNA is the same. It hits some pretty high BPM if you're looking for a way to power through; I think the first and fourth tracks are best.

Set 2 is liquid drum & bass. I'm not generally a d&b fan - I don't go for the very high BPM nearly frenetic style. But this is something else again, and much more to my liking. Set aside your preconceptions about d&b and listen with me. (I am indebted to DJ Steveboy for these tracks, which he used in a recent mix.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcEkoZxAgRY
Fred V & Grafix bring us "Shaded" and I still get goosebumps listening to it, third time through. It takes a full 2:15 to get to anything I'd recognize as d&b and by then I've been drawn in and hypnotized by what is at heart a breathy love song. The track is nearly ethereal in places and if you listen closely you'll hear it pay homage to the old rhythmic static of physical LPs. Just one of the subtle touches in this exquisite composition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g2ucb32eGY
Hybrid Minds brings us another ethereal d&b example, this time fronted by the high soprano notes of Emily Jones. "Tapestry" is unerringly a d&b track, but it also clearly shares a style with vocal trance where the core beats are interspersed with vocal pieces, keyboard solos, and muted chill elements. As with the previous track, this one shines in production values - it's a composition of lots of disparate elements artfully arranged.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=km9emna0lJ4
We close out with another entry from Liquicity, but it's very different to the other two. Maduk's "Avalon" is straight-up d&b without the breathy or ethereal bits of the other two. This is the kind of track I think of as "drwex doesn't like d&b" except... listen. The vocals here are all samples, played and stretched and interwoven through electronic effects. The track doesn't leave you just with the high-BPM beat, though that's present. Instead, it playfully bounces around and comes back again - seriously, this track reminds me of a puppy out on a lawn and who can hate that? Let the puppy take you home again.
drwex: (Troll)
Blogging this mostly for my own reference. Starting with my annual physical in January I've been attending to various medical grr-argh things and trying to do something about some of them. If any of them turn serious I'll post more. Generally I'm not dying any faster than expected.
medical bullet points )
drwex: (VNV)
Friday night we engaged in an unwitting socio-anthropological experiment. What I thought we were doing was going to a club venue to see the members of Glitch Mob DJ. All three have experience as DJs before and their work includes some nice covers and remixes so I figured it'd be interesting to see them doing some of this live and more freeform. Nice theory, eh?

First clue is that the venue didn't open until 10PM. But we gamely got there early and were in line. That ended up being fortuitous as we got a table that allowed us both a good view of the stage and to have our backs to a large pillar. Generally also with room to dance, about which more later.

We sort of figured there'd be some kind of opening act. What we hadn't counted on was that the "opener" would go on for 2.5 hours and Glitch Mob wouldn't come to the stage until midnight-thirty. To make matters worse, the opener was... bad. I mean, he started off with some passable generic techno and then went off into awful repetitive crap. Thank goodness for earplugs.

Glitch Mob did start off well and other than a couple of interludes of discordant noise they did generally what I'd hoped for - playing their own stuff live mixed and several of the things that they traditionally cover (e.g. Prodigy, Seven Nation Army). They were still going when we finally decided to call it quits at something like 1:45. I am seriously too old for this, even if I did dance more in those two hours than I have at most events in the past year. Seriously, there's something insanely awesome about a live mix of "Our Demons" which is one of my favorite of their tracks that they don't do a lot at their live shows anymore (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkvOLB7Yzhs)

The preceding two hours were an amazing adventure into a scene that is so Very Not Me. I can't even begin to catalog all the social/anthropological weirdness involved. Some highlights:
- we discovered Pygment has the power to attract cute chicks whereas I attract crazy Russians and crazy Asians. Don't even ask.
- we discovered that for a mere $900 you could get a "VIP table" for yourself and up to 9 friends. Purchasing this amenity gets you a small table in the center of the floor roped off from the riff-raff, a large metal tub of dry ice containing a bottle of champagne, a giant bottle of vodka, and an assortment of traditional mixers such as OJ. Oh and the presence of a scantily dressed extremely conventionally attractive female who will pour said drinks for you and your companions. No room to dance - you're there to see and be seen. And when I say "scantily clad" I mean "butt floss and a top that is too small to hold a cell phone so she had to put it into her waistband."
- we saw only a couple of folk we knew; usually at a Mob show I'd expect to see around a dozen.
- there was ample eye candy of many genders, all of it far too young for me. The security dude at the entry amused me by calling me "young man" despite being more than a decade my junior. I did see a couple of folk who were around my age but this kind of club night is clearly a young person's game.
- and then there was the guy with the dishplate pupils who had UV-glow paint on his face and left the tubes on our table for a bit so we could test it out. Nice concept but the tube paint came out in such a thick amount that it was impossible to paint anything like a shape with it.
- and then there was the guy who kept putting down his pair of drinks on our table so he could text with whoever (you needed to order two drinks to hit the $20 minimum for using a credit card; clever trick, that).

And more. It was definitely an interesting experiment but it's not something I'm likely to repeat, even for the Mob.
drwex: (Default)
I no longer blog regularly on copyright issues. Over a dozen years of watching the Copyright Wars evolve and turn into grinding trench warfare I got bored of it. But guess what, the world doesn't care how bored I am, it keeps slogging along and right now, copyright is in a very interesting state. It's beyond broken - it's irrelevant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL829Uf2lzI

OK, maybe it always was irrelevant, but that didn't stop the Content Cartel from suing music fans, more or less en masse. The Internet keeps growing, though, and music fans have stopped being the biggest problem the music business has - now it's streaming services, which have essentially ended the idea of "owning" music anyway.

See also, YouTube, which is a major player in people (like Hank and John) constantly 'breaking' the law... and no one cares. What they care about is the rules of the corporation (in this case Alphabet/YouTube) of which we are all citizens. YT sets policies that are informed by the law but only insofar as that serve's YT's purposes. When those policies disenfranchise small creators... oh well. When those policies generate rafts of bogus paperwork... well, YT cares only to the extent it has to deal with that paperwork. If it can foist that work off on other people, so much the better.

There's an argument made in the video that "culture blew past the law" and Hank's not wrong about that, but it's also not a new thing. We just have Internet-powered culture now. Does that make copyright interesting again? I doubt it, as a regular pastime, but occasionally... sure.
drwex: (VNV)
https://soundcloud.com/defunk-165975487/sets/valentine-mix

For those who just want the tunes, here's an hour and a half "Valentine Mix" from Defunk. Like a lot of long mixes it has good bits and bad bits and I don't think all of it will appeal to any listener more particularly. It has funky bits and country bits and electronica bits and some lovely moments. I link to it because it's a Valentine's Day mix without a lot of sappy 'romantic' pop stuff. If you know me at all, you know that's not my speed. I don't even much like V-D.

What I do like is music. If you know me at all, you know that music and sharing music is an important part of my love language. Not in that "oh, here's our song and let's stare soulfully into each other's eyes while it plays" (non)sense. But rather, music is love. Sharing music is showing you care. Music, and sharing of music, has been an important part of every meaningful relationship I can remember in my life.

If we haven't shared music, then we haven't shared something important to me and it's a way in which we aren't close, yet. We can share music by passing tunes back and forth, by going to shows together that we both enjoy, by proclaiming our favored music's superiority, by arguing about which of our musics is good, bad, or just plain trash. You can love terrible music - music I can't even listen to. You can think my music is terrible and unlistenable. When you choose to share that, you are saying "love" to me. This is something I've known about myself for a long time but haven't really been able to articulate until recently.

These music blogs are acts of me sharing my love with you, my readers. I hope you recognize yourself reflected in these sharings, as I mark and blog music sometimes with people in mind. I hope you hear this language and will speak it with me. And I hope you have a good Valentine's Day, whatever your love language is.
drwex: (VNV)
We're going to get sent home early today (it's Feb 12th as I type this; no promises on when it posts) and so meetings are being shuffled around. A couple things I need to do in-person will get postponed and that all means I have a little space to write about music. Buckle up and stay warm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5F-aj171QM
Bob Mould brings us the latest installment of his personal post-punk music odyssey. This has the expected Mould vocals and guitars and it's definitely punk-influenced. It's also somewhat autobiographical, as Mould has moved to Berlin and the song comes from his personal experiences of having trouble fitting in. It's also more gentle and pop-influenced than traditional punk. There are melodies and nobody screams or thrashes but at its core it's a song about social oppression and (not) being part of the larger culture. If that's not punk, I don't know what is.

https://soundcloud.com/dirtwire/the-whip-an-ten-nae-remix
Dirtwire just posted this "swamp crunk" remix of their track "The Whip". I love that concept, and this tune. It's got a good beat and the spare claps and whistled melodies are drawn out with echoes that invoke outdoor spaces without being creepy or too much like country-western for my tastes.

https://soundcloud.com/dirtwire/the-whip-an-ten-nae-remix
I usually post Sander van Doorn mixes, as I listen to his weekly podcast and posted setlists whenever they appear. I'm pretty sure I got this track from one of them but it's been a while so I've lost track. This "One Love" is a great mix of high-energy/high-BPM brackets around a really lovely guitar-led romantic track.

To close this out let's have some serious funky stuff from Stickybuds...

https://soundcloud.com/stickybuds/doyourthing
First up, a James Brown tribute mash with "a ton of samples" from The Godfather of Soul and elsewhere. Definite chair-dancing music and I particularly like how they use other musical styles (particularly reggae) to vary the mix.

https://soundcloud.com/stickybuds/ff18
And to take you home here's the Stickybuds Fractal Forest mix from the past year's Shambhala festival. In my fantasy universe where I have the money and time (and physical/mental resources) to do music festivals this one is always top of my list. I love the setlists that come from it; like this one they're deeply funk-infused and dance-encouraging.
drwex: (Default)
I can't believe Arisia was more than a week ago. In the interim I've done some household maintenance, done a lot of transition things (about which I'll write more soon, I promise) been sick AF for about two days, and wow, it's been a week.

Past me wrote "eight inches of snow followed by rain followed by a hard freeze won't be AAAANY problem, right?" Past me is mostly an idiot but boy was Past Me right about that. Monday I came home before the rest of the family to find 6" of fine light powder covered by a 2" thick sheet of frozen snow that had no problem holding my weight. Getting up the driveway to get to the shovels wasn't amusing, nor was the 90 minutes of hacking it took to clear enough space that I could get my car into the driveway. I would've done more but I did something nasty to my left forearm and I declared myself done before I caused a serious tendinitis flare.

The temp and wind walking from the BPP to retrieve the car from under the Commons was so bad I literally cried from the pain of it hitting my face and then had to clear tears from my glasses so I could see to drive. So _that_ was fun. I have no idea how any of the Arisia Logistics on Ice crew managed it; they are tougher humans than I.

Arisia was about 25% smaller in attendance this year, but mostly didn't feel like it. It had all the things I've come to expect from the convention and we managed to fit many things more or less well into the new hotel space. That can be improved with experience. I'm also discovering I missed seeing a large number of people even though the Con never felt overcrowded to me or like I was missing out.

blow by blow, chronological )
drwex: (WWFD)
I discovered accidentally today that I had no problem writing "my master's thesis" like normal people do. That was not true for a long time.

While working on the thing I changed all instances of "thesis" to "Grendel" as in "the monster that must be slain". At one point my only way of making forward progress on the actual text was to use the word processor to replace all instances of "the" with "the fucking". It's remarkably more relaxing to read or write about "the fucking experiment" and "the fucking results". Of course I changed it back before sending it to readers, but it got me through one four-day-weekend push.

(Preemptively, I categorized everything to do with my PhD writing as "Mordred" as in "that bastard". I still don't like the 'd' word but it's not as trauma-laden as it used to be.)

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