Musician friends,

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.

2017-11-04 01:28:38+00:00


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:

  1. Include the magical ?wmode=transparent in the iframe src link, 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 ?rel=0&wmode=transparent.
  2. As many people suggest, I put a wrapper div around my iframe for browser responsiveness, and found I had to assign a low z-index to both the wrapper and the iframe itself. That's maybe not so surprising. Here's the weird part: it didn't work with a negative z-index value. It had to be at least 0 (while still lower than the fixed div, obvs).

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.

2017-11-01 18:19:44+00:00


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!!

2017-11-01 07:52:13+00:00


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.

2017-11-01 05:31:55+00:00


TFW your laptop power cord is tangled up w/ your shoelaces

2017-10-31 18:06:53+00:00


I see the candy companies are still referring to teensy candy bars as "Fun Size"

2017-10-31 17:49:55+00:00


Current stage of social media withdrawal: everything I stumble across on the internet looks amazing, fascinating, and super-important to be posted and shared. Otherwise not feeling strongly drawn to actually log in—not missing it, surprisingly.

2017-10-31 15:24:00+00:00


The interesting question isn’t whether so many Republicans are demonstrating a striking degree of hypocrisy, but why. – David French, NYT, 2017-10-30

2017-10-31 07:08:56+00:00


Like everyone does from time to time, it seems, I am taking a break from the social media. I've tried this before and to be honest I'm really bad at it. But I have gotten increasingly upset about what Twitter and Facebook have done to warp discussion in the general commons of society at large, and have always been uncomfortable letting someone else own my personal data. I am also (again, like practically everybody) concerned about the effects of compulsive or addictive checking social media sites on my personal life and relationships.

I don't have a plan for how long I want this hiatus to last. I realize my chances of success would improve if I made a specific commitment, but like I sad I'm bad at this. I also don't have a great history with blogging, but I'm hoping having this little site going will give me an outlet to turn to with stuff I might otherwise post to the Facebook or the Twitters. I am really hoping to keep this hiatus up for at least 30 of solid days of not logging in or checking FB or Twitter at all, and my fond wish is to find I can do without them permanently or at least indefinitely. I haven't missed LinkedIn since I deleted my account there, I tell you what.

2017-10-30 23:54:58+00:00