Critical Mass, but for horseback riders
Critical Mass, but for horseback riders
Ramon Project UPDATE:
You know, I originally directed my initial pitch toward "musicians". I more recently realized that wasn't a mistake exactly, but much too limited. I feel like I barely count as a musician myself, and in any case am always keenly interested to work in the spirit of Punk Rock, in its broadest, abstract, and ideal sense: Punk not as a particular sound, but as an ethic of working that severely discounts "professionalism" in art and promotes enthusiasm, commitment, independence, and non-conformity as highest values in both aesthetics and ethics. Perhaps the best analogy I can think of to the group I hope to assemble for this mission would be the Portsmith Sinfonia. So, if the idea intrigues you, but you weren't sure what you could do: by all means please get on board and you can at least bang on a can or help make flyers or what have you—and I would be most pleased to have you make your debut on an instrument you've never played before.
Speaking of getting on board, while any and all interested parties are welcome as ever to email or Signal me (details in the blog header), the canonical option for "signing up" or at least indicating your interest is to head over to the brand-new Ramon Project forum, create an account, and start posting. I've done what I can to test it out, but if anyone has technical or other trouble getting going over there, please get in touch and let me know.
Thanks once again for your kind attention, and please consider sharing this post.
I'm going to jump over to FB as soon as this is posted and tag all of you I can find on my list, because I have what I'm sure is a shit-hot idea, but I need a lot of help to pull it off and I don't know how else to even get started except to use such meager tools as I have and just start asking around. Despite the fading of its 90s "sharing economy" utopian halo, this here World Wide Web is still the best way I know of to present an open call like this.
There's this Laurie Anderson tune from 1989 called "Ramon" (YouTube link, also check out this rare solo TV performance on the old Leno Tonight Show). I've always admired this one even above my usual love for all of her work (not least because much of the lyric is paraphrased from my main man E. E. Cummings).
I thought of "Ramon" this morning for some reason, and gave it a listen for the first time in a long while. It struck me that I would love to bring into the world a new arrangement of this song, and there's a message in it that might be to the world's benefit in our present moment, as well. While I have ideas about how I would want such a cover version to sound, on my own I very much lack the necessary resources and chops to pull it off. In particular, I'm no kind of singer — but rather than dwelling on my shortcomings, the like main thing here is that what I'm after in its nature is a big, bursting-at-the-seams, celebratory Polyphonic Spree-meets-Mahler type of affair (maybe with Teresa Nervosa on drums, if we can get her 😉). What's more, I also don't want to dictate the outcome to any degree. Sure, I may have been struck with a Vision here, but achieving a highly collaborative work is a fundamental part of that vision in itself.
Look, I realize most of us are older folks now with busy, complicated, responsibility-filled lives. The last time I tried to get a band together was 5 years ago or so, and we couldn't find time in our schedules for just 3 of us to have a first practice session. And but the thing I miss most about being in my 20s during the 90s was being able to pick up and play music with my friends just for the fun of it. So, while I invite and welcome anyone and everyone who might want to make some noise with me on something like this to please get in touch, I also can't even begin to fathom either the social or logistical stuff it will take to pull it off, and one fact that remains from my 20s is of course I have no budget to fund any of this myself 😕 💸. Anyone with possibilities for sharing practice space, equipment, recording facilities (including the basement or bedroom sort, natch), &c. — or even with ideas of how to move this type of project forward by as much as a millimeter — is someone I would dearly love to hear from. Passing the word along to anyone I haven't thought of would also be appreciated.
I am serious—even passionate—about giving this a real shot, y'all. I wish I had a big recording contract or a grant and could offer everyone a bunch of money and deli trays at a big studio and we could just bang this out like pros. If by some remote chance this makes it as far as a finished product, and said product ever sees any commercial action whatsoever, I give my word to hand all proceeds over and divide them as fairly as possible among everyone involved, keeping none for myself. This seems like the least I could offer in comparison to the gratitude I would owe.
Once again, I get that we all have busy lives, and many of the people I'm sharing this idea with are pros who really shouldn't even entertain the idea of working without cash up front. Also, maybe few of you will be as into the song as I am. So, no hard feelings whatsoever if there's nothing here to interest you. Also, I'm sending it to some far-flung people because hey, we live in a time when stuff like Playing for Change is possible, so why not think big?
I also like to think that by some wild chance this will reach people I haven't even met yet, and some of those people will want to get involved. By all means, get in touch. My contact details are at the top of this page. (If I hear from enough people I can also set up a forum or Slack or something to facilitate group communications, but let's begin with Signal and email for now.)
Let's make this happen, or at least have some fun trying. Thanks very much for your kind attention and consideration.
Quick aside on the post immediately below: getting an embedded YouTube video to be both playable and respectful of the z-index of a
position: fixed; div like the one on the top of this here blog was much more tricky work than I bargained for, and than I feel like it ought to be. What I finally found to be necessary:
?wmode=transparentin the iframe
srclink, and make it the first thing in the query string. That last part is weird, but I swear it didn't work when I tried
As you can tell, all this still looks like a bunch of weird voodoo and I feel like my solution is a bit cargo cultish in that I doubt every detail is really necessary to be exactly as I have just described, but it only worked for me after I did All the Things, and I have to admit I don't understand which thing was the thing that did the trick so I am reluctant to mess with any of it any more now. Sometimes it would go behind the fixed div as desired, but you couldn't play the video. Then I could make the controls work again, but the z-index wouldn't work and the video would scroll over the div. It was insane.
Really, I just wish it Did the Right Thing automatically in the first place. Took me more than an hour just to embed a damn video. In 2017.
I feel like I don't have enough nor sufficiently powerful superlatives to give either this beautiful music or the video for it the adoration they deserve. But let me give it a shot anyway: stupendous, head-expanding, exceedingly lovely and brave. Also helpful and necessary. 12/10!!
Note to my nerd self (and anyone else who might find this information handy one day): if you run the Unix
env command and there is a blank line in the middle of the output? it means there is a goddamn newline at the end of the value assigned to the variable immediately above. Trying the old
echo $MYENVAR can mislead you even more; it doesn't even print an empty line to
STDOUT or in any other way indicate the presence of the
\n at the end of your assigned value. If this envar happens to be—oh, let's just say,—setting an administrator password in your application container, and you overlook this subtle nonprinting character, this can entirely fuck your shit up, even as far as a full-day-wasting, headdesk-y bout of frustration.
A good way to finally noodle out WTF is going on is to drop into a Python shell and
os.getenv() the offending variable. The result will actually, explicitly, and helpfully show you the
\n at the end of your value, and you will remember to strip that damn thing off before you base64-encode it for your Kubernetes Secret resource definition next time, but trust me: the blank line in the
env output should clue you in, and would be a lot faster and less painful.
TFW your laptop power cord is tangled up w/ your shoelaces
I see the candy companies are still referring to teensy candy bars as "Fun Size"