inahandbasket: middle finger, extended (Finger)
I've gotta stop reading the news at the beginning of my work day, it just puts me in a state of despair where I don't want to bother getting anything done.
#FuckFaceVonClownStick
inahandbasket: (Default)
Just shared this in a facebook comment, and decided it's worth a post.

This is probably the greatest interview I've ever listened to. It's Daryl Davis, "a black musician who has made it his life's work to befriend white racists."

It's an incredibly powerful story of how to interact with people you disagree with, and is just as strong a message in today's painfully partisan political environment as it is in the context of racism.

Give it a listen, start with "The Silver Dollar" episode and then "How to argue."
http://loveandradio.org/2017/02/how-to-argue/
inahandbasket: (Default)
Haven't written a substantial update since the fall of 2015, so seems like maybe I should do that. That said, I'm not in a particularly loquacious mood this morning so it'll be a bit bullet pointy.

Adoption - well past the paperwork phase, now just... waiting. And waiting. (Basically a birth mother has to pick us as the people she wants to give her child to. The agencies tell you not to think of it as online dating, but frankly it's the most apt comparison.) It could happen literally any day, which is crazy to consider. Day to day life hasn't changed yet, but is poised to at the drop of a hat.

Furry critters - a little over a year ago we adopted a dog into our lives, and it's been a wonderful choice. Fennel (who many of you have met) is a lazy, lazy bum but even so has forced Meg and I to get out of the house a few times a day regardless of weather, and it's been good for all involved. Here's a year old picture since it's what I have handy: pic linky.

Work - work isn't my favorite part of life right now, but I'm a bit harsh on it to be honest. The day to day here really isn't terrible, I think I'm just burnt out on other people's computer problems. Not getting home until 7pm most days really sucks too. I'm looking around to see if I can find what's next for my career, but it's very unclear right now. Guessing I have to become a manager of tech folks.

That's the short of it, I'm going to try to be more active on here because I miss having y'all as a community to chat with.

Oh Hai!

Apr. 7th, 2017 03:54 pm
inahandbasket: (Default)
Importing ye olde LJ over to here, maybe I'll even start using it again.
inahandbasket: (Evil Twin)
Just an "I'm alive and reading" post. hi all. :)

stories...

Jun. 6th, 2013 09:33 pm
inahandbasket: (Evil Twin)
1: the IRS says hi.
So about a week ago our mail carrier dropped us off two little pink slips of paper, one for each of us, saying that we had certified mail awaiting our leisure at the post office.
From the IRS.
Now I don't know if you've ever received a letter from the IRS but I haven't, at least not one I've had to sign for, so my brain is going into overdrive trying to figure out what could be going on. What does getting audited mean, how much does it suck, etc etc. We had trouble actually getting to the post office when it was open, so for about a week my brain was idly angsting about these letters and what they'll mean.
Meg manages to pick them up, they're two big fat envelopes stuffed with papers. Didn't bode well. We pop them open and start decoding the bureaucratic nonsense. Eventually I manage to discover that all of this was because we owe them $0.17.
Yup. Seventeen cents.
I can't imagine how much they spent on those letters between time spent creating and collating, material costs, and two certified mailings, but I'm fairly confident that it adds up to an order of magnitude (or two) more than seventeen cents.

2: car shenanigans.
A brief history of the last few months: new shocks all around that required a cutting torch to remove the old ones, New tires purchased online after nearly skidding off a highway on-ramp in the rain, and at least two separate obnoxious noises noted.
I took the car to the garage next to work yesterday to get the tires installed, one of the noises fixed (since I know what it is) and the other noise investigated. I don't hear from them until about 2pm when I get a call from the mechanic over there.
"Hey, so that noise is because your ball joints are pretty much gone. I can't get parts for it until tomorrow. Were you... planning on driving this home tonight?"
"Yeah, I was going to..."
"Ah. Well...drive, uh, VERY carefully, ok?"
Now when a mechanic tells me that with that particular tone of voice, I take that shit seriously. I grabbed a ride home with a co-worker and left the car at work. Got it fixed today for lots of money. Whee.
On my way home it was great at first, but quickly started making a terrible metal on metal noise, loud enough that it startled a few bikers and was turning heads all through Somerville.
Great.
Get home, pop it up on ramps, check it out, and discover that it was just the dust shield rubbing on the rotor. Bend it out of the way and Bob's your uncle. (Which he is actually. Mine that is.)

Good times.

(Thought I had a third story but it's not coming to me. Later I guess.)

Ink.

Apr. 18th, 2013 09:03 am
inahandbasket: (Evil Twin)
Since I was about 16 I've wanted a music related tattoo at some point. I even have a pretty set idea of what it should be, though I'm not quite sure what the line style should be. Today for the first time I've gotten the desire for a different piece... inspired by this video. (Trigger warning, visual drug references.) Not going to post details of my thinking yet, but there's something swirling there.

In doing a bit of research I stumbled across this guy's ink, which is possibly the sweetest backstory and most awesomely music nerdly ink I've seen: Paul J. Hermann.
So very cool.
inahandbasket: (Evil Twin)
My profession, in #upgoer5:

People's computers and other things break, I fix them. Then I teach the people how to fix it themselves. Then I try to make it so they don't break. Then I try to look at the big picture and make all the things work better and faster.
inahandbasket: (Evil Twin)
This is amusing the hell out of me today.

Just sharing, commentary welcome if you want to strike up a conversation.
inahandbasket: (Evil Twin)
So... who's free tonight?
And wants to help me hang sheetrock in my kitchen?

Free chili and beer... or i'll order pizza if you're a veggie. :)
inahandbasket: (Default)
Anyone available to lend me some hands Thursday night, late?
Like, 10pm-midnight or later?
Payment in awesome karma and all the free beer you can drink...?

(Moving some servers, no super-heavy lifting but certainly some carrying of stuff and awkward shoving-things-through-ceiling-tiles.)


all set!
inahandbasket: (Buddha)
(x-post with G+)

And now a bit of audio geekery...
Since I spend the better part of 8+ hours a day with my headphones on I figured it was about time I took my audio sources a bit more seriously.
Awhile back I scored a good deal on a set of Grado SR125 headphones. LOVE them. Best sounding audio purchase I've ever made.

I built a headphone amp to drive them (a gainclone) which worked well but ate 9v batteries like candy. Once I realized I was even burning through rechargeable 9v's at an unsustainable rate I decided to just get a desktop headphone amp instead. Enter Fiio E9 amp, which sounds 99.9% as good as my gainclone did, (I think it has a hair less bass oomph but that could be listener bias; hard to A/B them) and doesn't burn batteries. yay!

This config really made it apparent how lossy even Pandora's "high quality" option sounds. The compression they put on it for streaming really became apparent. I still use it for music discovery but I'm moving more and more towards listening to high quality source files. (Thank $DIETY most online services are offering 320kbps mp3 or lossless files these days... bandcamp wins with FLAC.)

The last hardware step would be a standalone DAC to do my digital->analog conversion, but I haven't been able to justify the $100ish it would run for a worthwhile one.

Anyway, on to the point of this ramble.

I just A/Bed a new piece of software against Winamp, my longtime friend. And winamp lost, handily.
JRiver (who I stumbled across randomly this morning) makes a very audiogeek friendly media center which does everything and the kitchen sink. (WAN streaming? sure. DVD archive and playback? Why not.) It's $50. Bleh. BUT! They also make a free product for audio only with all the core functionality for playback. WIN!
Supports direct hardware playback if you don't mind locking up your audio hardware (no system beeps will make it through), but even just through the DirectSound conduit it still sounds better than my old warhorse Winamp.

Thus I can happily recommend JRiver Jukebox ( http://www.jriver.com/mj/ ) for all your audio playback needs.
It really whips the llama's ass.
inahandbasket: (Bass me)
ENSMB kickstarter launched...
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/258462273/pledge-your-allegiance-to-the-emperor

Spam accomplished! :-D

But seriously, we'd love to be able to pay our studio and engineer, and actually pay to print these things... :)
inahandbasket: (Evil Twin)
Just got done watching Bunraku.
Loved it.
It's a generic revenge action movie story line, with slightly above average dialogue and the usual modern-day mish-mash of fighting styles (brawler, samurai, capoeira, etc.). The goodness mostly came from the direction, art, and visual devices employed. Lots of papercut and CGI that looked like papercut comprising the cutscenes and folded into the storyline.
(Hah, see what I did there? folded? HAH! I kill me.)

I do love me a good action movie now and then as a guilty pleasure but they rarely stick with me as they're just fleeting pleasures.
This one though, I may come back to...

(Also served to remind me how painfully out of shape I am. I think I'm going to tackle that in a serious manner.)

O' Death

Jan. 23rd, 2012 01:32 pm
inahandbasket: (Bass me)
Another song post, been saving this set of links up for about a year now...

O' Death. Author unknown, traditional Appalachian dirge.

Repopularized by the incomparable Ralph Stanley on the soundtrack of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (won a Grammy '06), and then more recently on the TV show Supernatural (which has Death as a character), sung by Jen Titus.
I knew the song, but it was forcefully re-entered into my lexicon by Molly Zenobia when two other upright bassists and I accompanied her singing it. One of the more powerful musical moments of my life/career.
Wikipedia entry with lyrics.

Mentioned above:
Ralph Stanley, live version, wonderful.
The scene from Oh Brother Ralph singing (Lynching scene, fyi.)
Jen Titus, video is the scene in Supernatural. Base for most present time pop-culture knowledge of it. Stunning version, well deserved fame for it.
Clean version of Jen T., no dialogue and street sounds.
Molly Zenobia, Yours Truly, Tony Leva, and Mike Leggio at Lizard Lounge. (direct mp3 link)

Traditional takes
Bessie Jones, solo vocals.
Dock Boggs, banjo and vocals, recorded in '63.
Charley Patton & Bertha Lee, 1934! Scratchy transfer off a 45rpm, WELL worth a listen. (I may audio-grab and try to clean this up...)
Random woman doing a really good acapella version.
Gregory Paul doing a clawhammer banjo arrangement. Non-dirge.
Tim Eriksen, solo fiddle and vocals. Awesome.
Tim E. with Tony Trischka, two stunning musicians. (Fiddle, banjo respectively.)
Luke and Kyle Abbot, guitar, tuvan throat singing. Spine tingling moments, wish recording quality were better.
Bellyache Ben and his Steamgrass Boys. Tasty "steamgrass" (I guess) rendition.
Rising Appalachia, beautiful harmonies, 2 voices with upright bass and faint drums.

Drums + instruments + vocals
Samm Bennett, drone + percussion and vocals, very nicely done.
Lauren O'Connell,more modern Americana take. Multi-track solo, well done.
Kaleidoscope, 1967. American psychedelic folk band from the 60's.
Camper Van Beethoven, solid version.
Pearl and the Beard, quite a different take on it.
Barrelhouse, 60-70's blues style, recorded 2010. Pretty excellent.
Obligatory metal version

Remixes:
Alan Lomax, samples from Bessie Jones ('59) with bass and hammond organ. Traditional feeling remix.
Jen Titus, dubstepped. Quite good, try it out even if you hate dubstep. (Soundcloud version.)
Jen Titus, chill. Quite good as well, sounds almost like ethereal triphop.
Skinny Fists, electronic drone w/multiple voices.
Ralph Stanley dubstepped. Wonder what he'd think? I think meh. (Good idea tho.)
Industrial remix of Jen Titus. Not bad, but rather generic.



Also, youtube playlist for "o death", lots more there, but I think I culled the best ones out.
inahandbasket: (Bass me)
(Alive, read daily, rarely post.)

Awhile back I made a post about a song I was kind of obsessed with. Mad World.
(The post with links to countless cover versions.)

Here we go again... :)

I just stumbled across a live John Cale rendition (with string quartet no less) of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (original)
Here's a studio version by John Cale as well; no string quartet though.

The interesting part is that most of the covers you've heard of this song are more closely linked to Cale's version from the early 90's, not Cohen's original.

More:
Cohen live
Jeff Buckley, relatively famous rendition.
Rufus Wainwright, made famous by Shrek's soundtrack.
Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, Kurt Nilsen together. (Quite good)
Imogen Heap, beautiful minimalist take. (Vunderbar, listen!)
trancey electronica/guitar, slow start but good.
Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris (pretty good)
K.D. Lang (not bad)
Bon Jovi (meh)
Some random kid with an accent I can't place, great multi-track solo cover.
Regina Spektor, terrible quality sound, great performance with cello, maybe viola.
KERMIT! Well, someone pretending to be. Pretty convincing. :)
Adele Cosco (operatic, not for me.)
Obligatory terrible metal version

(It's a favorite cover on X-Factor and American Idol type shows, search them if you want 'em.)

Some Remixes:
Progressive house remix of Imogen Heap's take, quite good.
Another remix of Imogen Heap, not bad.
euro-techno take (meh)
Oontzy dance remix (meh)
8-bit take. (meh)
Ouch. (Masochists only)

Now that your ears are bleeding, go listen to Cohen's again. :)
inahandbasket: (Default)
Alive, but contemplating hibernation for the winter. Getting out of bed's been hard lately.

A brief list:
- Married for 4 years now to the most awesome person I've ever met. I <3 [livejournal.com profile] prosicated
- Kitchen progressing very slowly, just don't have enough time in my life lately. argh.
- Work's busy, but mostly good. Some meta-angst there as usual.
- Honk! rocked
- Crooked Still show last night was awesome, don't see enough live music that I'm not in. Must fix that.
- Actually made a dr. appointment for the first time in, I believe, a decade. Literally. Looking forward to hearing how terrible my body is.
- Spending today doing laundry and dishes and running errands. whee!

Most of my blogging these days seems to be happening over on Google+ if you're interested in following my random escapades. :)
inahandbasket: (Default)
Food dehydrator... got one? that I can borrow?
Just picked about 5 gallons of hops, scrambling to figure out how to dry 'em all!
inahandbasket: (Default)
Who posted recently about scoring an R2D2 that was made out of old vaccuum cleaners and was going to live on their porch?
inahandbasket: (Default)
Who posted recently about scoring an R2D2 that was made out of old vaccuum cleaners and was going to live on their porch?

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