Monday, June 30, 2014

Vaporizer, Vapulator, the Great God Mescalito Got Nothin' on This

The Great God Mescalito is something of an Old School deity in that he loves blowin' joints, pipes, and especially bongs but he's not too much familiar with this electronical gimcrackery in vaporizing.  This is a new technique through which one finesses the smoke from the leaf rather than incinerating it.  They say vaporizing is as healthful as spring water and soft as a baby's kiss ... but that's bullshit.  What it really does is stone your ass to Mars.  That it will definitely do.

Yevette asked me about vaping herbs as she does all this witchy stuff and some of it even works.  I mentioned previously an ointment she made for pain relief with a special witchy ingredient in it and it really does work.  So I suggested the Silver Surfer as it's excellent for vaping just about anything.  I told her it was perfect for reefer so that meant it does everything.  (You can even get an add-on device to do aromatherapy if you like as native the unit does not handle essential oils.)

So Yevette was trying her herbs on me and she said one is good for lung health.  I asked her how is smoking something going to make my lungs happy.  She said it's vaping, that's different.  I said smokin', jokin' or tokin', it's still something coming into my lungs that ain't air.  Then she said she had some Rootytooty weed that was just like reefer and might even get you high.   I said there's only one thing just like reefer ... and that's reefer.  We tried her witchy mix and I don't know if there was any effect as I was high already but she said there was a little buzz from it.  I'm not buying that it does anything good for your lungs but I'm sure we will talk about that more.

Note:  Rootytooty weed is not the actual name but that's not a code for K2, Spice or anything of that nature.  Those pseudo-reefer packages from so-called head shops can easily kill you.  They have killed others already.

When Yevette is not vaping her herbs, the Silver Surfer becomes the Vapulator Groove-o-Matic Mood Modulator as it does one hell of a fine job vaping reefer.  At first I didn't like it as it hit too hard and I was thinking this is no good, my lungs won't last a week.  However, I learned it's best to be greedy.  Take a big draw quickly through the wand like you're a total reefer sweat hog.  However, this isn't being a sweat hog at all as the faster the air moves through the wand the cooler it will be but less vapor you will draw.  Drawing slowly means the air will be more heated and you will get more vapor.

The effectiveness of the Silver Surfer is unmistakeable.  I've driven tens of thousands of miles when I was stoned.  I'm not saying you should, that's just what I did.  However, I wouldn't even think about driving after vaping on this Vapulator Groove-o-Matic Mood Modulator.  I have no idea why it works so well and can't say I care about why very much as this thing can easily get you to a state in which you're not good for doing anything but watching movies if you let it.  If'n you're in a mood to watch movies anyway then it's perfect.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

If Detroit were Baghdad, It Would Have Been Fixed by Now

The business sense is obvious in bombing the hell out of other countries such that American corporations can be paid to go into them and rebuild them.  The beauty example here is the U.S. Ambassador who brokered the deal with Bechtel for a billion-dollar highway project in Kosovo ... is now working for Bechtel to get that big cash payoff for services rendered.

Iraq is the all-time favorite as the bill is up around a trillion and a half dollars and it couldn't be more of a failure if they had sought bin Laden's advice.  Yet even now additional dollars go there to support the same puppet regime that's shown itself to be incapable of running the country.  The business sense in that is obvious.

After thirty years in the corporate world and ten of those just as close to the corporation's satanic heart as you can get, I will not suffer any further beatdowns from the right wing.  Every time there was a war there would be jingoistic right wing crap all over the place and you will support the war effort, won't you.  Thirty years of this bullshit.

Whether there is business sense in rebuilding Detroit is irrelevant.  You'll do it anyway as the other choice is to let it burn to the ground.  Given how much has been poured down overseas toilets, it's a national embarrassment that nothing has been done already.

Note:  there are ten other U.S. cities rated too dangerous to visit due to very high rates of crime.  It was the same symptom behind all of them as one or more corporations pulled out and the local economies collapsed.  As we see in Detroit, Flint, and one city after the other, the corporation bore no responsibility for it and there is no consideration elsewhere either.

Recording of Silas Scarborough at Cat's Art MusikCircus

There's a lot of blather in the following article about reviewing where to upload it so now that's done and the Silas Show - 6-26-14 at Cat's Art MusikCircus is on the Ride the Dragon podcast.  Listening to it is free and most browsers should let you download it as well.

The show runs about an hour and twenty minutes but I don't use Las Vegas rules and there's a lot of space between tunes ... plus there are no showgirls with large breasts with sparkly stuff on them.  That's the bar down the street, mate.

The download for the show is just under 100 megabytes.  On a good connection, that's nothing much but be aware of the size for slower ones.

The first tune is entirely pre-recorded.  I played all the bits but it's not live and I used the track to verify the audio levels.  I needed to be sure of that before getting into something with the guitar and discovering the track behind it is too soft to handle it.

The types of tunes varies depending on which looper I was using or whether I was using a back track.  There's a mix of that and there's a mix of bass and synth as well.

The stuff in my sets will never be good enough for me so I'll skip any review.

My Duck Soup is Recovered

The My Duck Soup site was destroyed by a hacker attack at the ISP where it's located.  Everything had to be restored from my own backups as the ISP was very heavily-damaged by it.  My Duck Soup is now fully functional again.

The Ride the Dragon podcast was already removed but there was a new variable on restoring it.  My latest experiment was to send Cat a recording of the show from Thursday.  It turned out to be about 100 MB.  I wanted to test the mechanism and that worked easily.  Voodoo has been using the same general technique to sell recordings of his shows for some while.

There's nothing proprietary in what Voodoo is doing and he would happily tell you himself that Dropbox is used as an intermediate storage medium.  In other words, he uploads the recording to his Dropbox and people can download it from there.  This way no-one gets access to his computer and there is no increased exposure to security threats.  (Evernote can probably be used the same way but not likely as effectively.)

Voodoo's principle is that you can't buy the show unless you attended the performance and this satisfies the Zen aspect as those people when listening to the recording know already the previous fullness of it but someone who was not there never can.  I don't know if Voodoo looks at it that way but that view of it feels pretty good to me.  There's a problem that sending a bad recording means you will trash the memory of that previous fullness.

There's a different problem for people who would like to be at the show but can't because of a pesky work schedule.  That's going to be a problem for many in America when I'm usually only playing at two or three in the afternoon US time and usually only once a week.  So then I have to balance existential philosophy against being an asshole.  Deliberately making it unavailable to someone who cannot hear it any other way sucks.

Another kind of amusing problem is for someone who thinks I'm an asshole already and would never come to a show ... but likes the music.  Deliberately making it unavailable to them is like when kids line up on each side of the street to shout out, you're an asshole ... you're a bigger asshole ... well, your whole family is assholes ... well, your dog is an asshole (that last about the dog was a mistake as now you have to fight).

Using Dropbox makes the podcast pointless and the solution still has the problem that someone who just can't be at the show can't ever hear even a taste of what it was.  The alternative is to upload the entire show to the podcast ... but then it goes to everyone ... even to people who think I'm an asshole.

After all that, the solution that works the best is to upload the show to the podcast.  That's Zen shot all to hell but maybe there's some benefit in putting things in bottles.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Persecuted" - Movie About Suffering Christians

"Persecuted" is a new movie in which it appears to tell a story of a politician who 'stands up for Christ' and it looks like it stars Fred Thompson.  He's the one who turned a bit part in "Hunt for Red October" into a term in the US Senate.  That turned into a bit part also and now he's going to be President the only way it would ever happen.  Perhaps it didn't occur to whomever was casting the movie that if Fred Thompson were credible as a President then he would already have been one.

When there's a Christian church on just about every street corner in the US, it's tough to imagine how can anyone can charge something so laughable as persecution.  The Christian church couldn't be any more successful if it put up its own set of golden arches and sold cheap hamburgers.

The persecution is so ludicrous that anything said is always assumed to be an attack on Christianity and you've got the blood of Jesus on your hands, you damn heretic.  Yeah, yeah.  But the fact is, I'm not talking about Christianity, I'm talking about marketing and the obscenity of the way persecution is used to market this particular product.

The persecution of Christ was told much better by Mel Gibson and that persecution was authentic as opposed to the manufactured tripe of today.  Perhaps we could ask atheists what they think about persecution of Christians or perhaps gay people or any of the countless people they have sought to marginalize.  They would all be highly sympathetic, no doubt.  In fact, Christianity hands out persecution like it's a party favor but screams to the walls if it perceives anything as persecution against Christianity.

Religion in Greece was much better.  Practically everyone is Greek Orthodox so no-one even talks about it, everyone just believes.  It's not that I advocate everyone believing the same thing as they didn't insist on that.  If you're an atheist then so what, it doesn't become a challenge to convert you.  What they will do is bring you into their family and you will probably pick up Greek Orthodox along the way.

Hang Detroit Out to Dry - Cut Off the Water

Detroit is bankrupt and a great many residents have no jobs so they can't pay their water bills.  Detroit is saying they will be cut off and it's now gone to the United Nations and their position is that what Detroit is doing is a violation of human rights.  In their view, cutting off water when someone has the ability to pay is doing business, cutting off the water when they do not have that ability denies that person's right to water.  (RT:  Cutting off water to Detroit's poor 'an affront to human rights,' says UN)

We can quickly review the Party responses as the liberals will want to send Detroit more money and the Republicans will not want to send Detroit more money.

There needs to be bigger thinking than that.  Detroit is the town that made the most bad-ass automobiles on the planet and they did it for decades.  This town has major power for anyone with enough imagination to harness it.  Even better for a lot of people is that Detroit is Motown.  You can make cars somewhere else but you can't copy Motown.  It's not so much that these histories should be preserved but rather that Detroit has the capacity to make history and that's what needs to be preserved.

You hear all the time about investment bankers so, ok, where are the investments.  As cities go, you won't get a heavy engagement in one any cheaper than in Detroit right now so why is that not good business to invest small dollars with a very high probability of returning tall dollars.

Cadillac Man goes up to Detroit frequently and he goes to the po' side of town.  He is a perfect target as he's a big guy but he's not exactly graceful and won't be on Dancing with the Stars any time soon.  He's also about as white as white guys get.  Maybe you don't think he would ever last in rough neighborhoods but don't tell him that as he has been doing it for years.  He's not some gangster but rather he does fair business representing a product that's very useful to people in poor neighborhoods.  This isn't door-to-door stuff but rather he goes to the small businesses that keep these communities alive.  Part of the reason he goes there is that he loves to talk and he meets people from all over the world.

Quibbling over whether to pay the water bill is needlessly theatrical.

Is T Boone Pickens the New Messiah

There are a whole lot of people who admire T Boone Pickens as he has made and lost a large fortune at least twice and then returned to make another one.  He's the kind of cowboy businessman who exemplifies what one man can do in America.  He's smart and he's got good ideas but people are always afraid of them being too radical.

I'm afraid his ideas are not radical enough.  T Boone Pickens wants natgas filling stations all about the place and that's good and clean and nice ... but ... it doesn't go near to solving the problem which is a ridiculous number of cars on the road.  If you don't live in a big city, it's not so bad.  Inside a city is worse.  Inside a city which is in close proximity to another is yet worse.  Add to that the finest example of Mafia highway projects in the Western world and it's between Fort Worth and Dallas.  Now you have misery that is beyond description.  For all the countless billions they have spent on those roads, they are still a nightmare and are hopelessly overloaded.  Thank you Godfather.  Thank you Rick Perry.

Another example of a Mafia project was the Big Dig in Boston.  They had dragged that one out for ten years and it still wasn't completed.  It may not be complete even today and it's now five years later.  The Mafia banks on governments needing people to act like Moties in which they never think big enough to solve a problem and continually redesign whatever is there to make it work.   This means nothing ever gets completed and they have lifetime careers.

(See "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven to read about Moties.)

I want to see things that reduce the need for cars.  I see a type of tram running about Dallas and that's a good step.  It's not even close to a big enough step but it's electric and clean and it gets a certain number of cars off the road.  I want to see commitment on the level of European investment in alternative transportation and it's not simply for the greenness but rather because I would rather kick back in a pleasant transportation device than deal with a car and especially not a Google car that drives itself.  That particular vehicle is such a glorious failure to understand the problem that one would think even Google could grasp it but nooooo.

I don't believe the individuation inevitable in driving personal automobiles is good for America and I don't believe it's good for humanity.  We are social creatures and it's not so long ago that we were happy to sit in the sun picking fleas off each other.  A great many things move in opposition to that and there doesn't seem to be much thinking toward what would mitigate them.  I've seen various architectural solutions for communities in which most things are in walking distance and there's more of a communal vibe but I really think there will never really be psychological peace unless we feel tribal with wherever we are.  That doesn't mean we have to get up at night to dance naked around fires with the rest of the tribe ... but ... who's to say that's such a bad idea anyway.

Lisa and FunkyFreddy Duet at Key West

Lisa Brune and FunkyFreddy Republic came to Voodoo Shilton's show at Cat's Art MusikCircus and it was surprising how many musicians were there.  You know a show is happening when musicians start turning out for it.

Lisa and FunkyFreddy had to leave for their own show which would start at Key West right after Voodoo's show ended.  Cat asked if I would like to go to that show as well so off we went.

Lisa Brune does just fine by herself singing solo and she has been doing it for years.  FunkyFreddy also does just fine on his own and he too has a long history in the virtual world.  There is always 'jam synergy' that comes people get together even if it's only two of them and the duets between Lisa and FunkyFreddy work very well.

Lisa sings from France and her accent is delicious.  She may not think much of it but an accent like that can fuel a million or so fantasies in America.  FunkyFreddy sings from America and his accent is, well, upstate New York.  Put them together and they are music that's 'bigger than both of them.'

Lisa has a beautiful voice but there are two things I notice when I listen.  The first is that she could easily overpower FunkyFreddy with her voice but she doesn't do it.  In jams, this is major class.  I also notice hear her being more aggressive, experimental, and many things which she may not otherwise have the freedom to do.  It works the same for FunkyFreddy as he is bringing out his best stuff too and the combination is a beautiful thing.  There was a very good crowd so you can clearly see people appreciate it.

FunkyFreddy was making some sounds with his guitar that have me thinking it is a MIDI guitar (i.e. the guitar is capable of sending signals understood by synthesizer hardware).  I'm not positive as he has a smoothness similar to Voodoo in employing various pieces of background hardware.  This is interesting to me as my guitar has MIDI capability as well.  It's not working at the moment but that's not due to a fault in the guitar.  When it's used well, MIDI augmentation of a guitar's native sound can be exquisitely beautiful so I'm very curious about what FunkyFreddy is running.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Voodoo Brings Octopus Brains to Cat's Art MusikCircus (Updated)

Voodoo Shilton advised us tonight that an octopus has a brain in each of its arms and they can operate independently.  Right away I knew how Voodoo does it:  he has octopus brains in his hands.  It's only a theory but it is suggested by his own evidence.  This is how he plays so quickly, he has little octopus brains in his hands.  Now you know.

Voodoo has the kind of set for which ones store of superlatives is quickly depleted.  Even when he makes a mistake it's cool as he recovers so incredibly well.  The only mistake in music is to stop and, after a technical error, your mind goes into super overdrive to come up with a new course for the starship.  It's very intense as you can't be any more 'in the moment' than that and there is even coolness that comes that way as this is the stuff that comes when you are way out on the edge.

Voodoo has the edge and it's sharp too.  His notes are fast but the precision is stunning.  He doesn't bump other strings and there are no spurious noises so the result is immaculate.  It must present something of a challenge to Voodoo as how can he possibly top himself.  I'm sure he doesn't look at it that way but it's real that the audience knows his work and they keep coming back because it's so extraordinary.  How does one find a new piece that works with this level of material.

We have resolved previously that the music comes from the Necromancer but to know what to do with it you need Voodoo.  His latest and my favorite is "Spin the Compass."  This is his tribute to McLaughlin, de Lucia and DiMeola and he dispatches it brilliantly.  Those three are incredible musicians so Voodoo chose to use a looper and different tone settings on his guitar to emulate three guitars playing together.  Imagine all the wheels turning in your head at the same time to do that.  What Voodoo does is not a copy and that's why I marvel.

And ...

Voodoo introduced the World's Strangest Chord and he learned it from something by, here's a shocker, John McLaughlin.  I haven't asked but I'm curious about whether Voodoo has had formal training in music theory as knowing the World's Strangest Chord is all very well but knowing what to do with it is something else again.  You bet Voodoo knows what to do with it so there's your question:  where did you learn that magic, matey??

Update with Voodoo's answer:

Juan Araneda thanks again man for holding down the fort today! You asked about my formal background, I did study a lot of music theory especially jazz theory in college, as well as taking a few classes in traditional south indian classical music (where I get a few odd scales and things). A lot of course i picked up on my own too. It definitely helps!

Phoenix J Flies at Cat's Art MusikCircus

There are very, very few times when neither Cat nor I can be there to start up a show but things went quite wrongly running up to the show.  I was late by an hour and that just doesn't happen.  Cat's Internet was up and down and was torturing her.  Fortunately I got there before everyone left and could get the show started.

Phoenix J does lovely work and it's from a long list of songs that includes covers and her originals.  My preference is always for originals and the ones Phoenix has written are very special ... but ... my tardiness meant people at the MusikCircus already had plenty of time for requests and tonight they wanted to hear cover songs.  That's fine as Phoenix is a professional and she has built up her repertoire over years so she can bring people what they like.  (It's not for me to make requests as those should come from guests.)

The closer is when I got my wish and I do prefer her originals because there is a lilt in her voice in the melody line that adds a touch that may not work in a cover song.  In an original, she can sing it however she likes and the result is very beautiful.

Phoenix plays piano and guitar and she does both beautifully.  The tone from both is crisp, clean and clear.  I'm not sure what kind of piano as there are so many types now.  Some of the better electric pianos have multiple voices but some of those are only within the range of piano-type sounds as opposed to angel voices, flutes, or saxophones.  Phoenix may not like synthesized sound so I must ask her to give you a little more background.  What she does now is beautiful already and this makes me curious if there is more Phoenix we have not heard yet.

I apologize again for problems getting the show started as nothing was forgotten but our plans sure didn't work out so well.  Cat crashed several more times before the evening was over.  It was not such a good evening for Internet in Bavaria.  We hope your holidays are wonderful and will look forward to seeing you perform here again.

Silas Plays at Cat's Art MusikCircus

Silas looking all beautiful on Cat's new stage that definitely is not a sexual metaphor.  Say to yourself several times.  This stage is not a sexual metaphor.

Now try saying to yourself that rock music is not a sexual metaphor.  Try repeating that several times also.

That didn't work, did it.

So that's the prettiest sexual metaphor since "The Wall" and if rock doesn't make you ready for love then nothin' else is ever goin' do it and why even pick up the axe.

There were times playing last night where something would click just right and I'd be thinking, ok, maybe that guy can play after all.  I have not listened to the recording yet as it's painful, not because it's some huge artistic ordeal but rather I'm just not interested enough in myself to listen for an hour and a half.  I'm curious about the latest "Death March Digression" so I probably will review that.

There were not so many people there but it was cool that Pizza came back as she was there a few nights ago and came back.  She stayed for the whole show so hopefully that's a good sign.  Despite the low attendance, I will not stop alienating people.  If it's necessary to curry favor with gun-toting lunatics to succeed then I will not succeed.  My position on guns is final, it will not change.

You're supposed to hype a gig like there were a million people there but (shrug) a million people weren't there.  This is not an emotional thing to me as it would have been a miracle if people had stayed after Lara's set.  She sings in a sweet and gentle way and, well, I don't.  The set isn't deliberately abrasive but it would feel that way.  This isn't a problem as some, like Eric the Chicken Man, will stay for both sets and there's great coolness in that.  The Chicken Man likes different kinds of music and these people are the most fun of all.  Lots of people are fans of one or a small number and that's fine but people coming to the MusikCircus often want to hear lots of different things.

The number of gigs won't change as the reasons all this medical stuff started in the first place have not changed.  There is a huge funk behind that but it would not make interesting reading.  There is no way to make much sense of things just now so stay tight with Cat and play that funky music, crazy boy.

My Duck Soup - Total Data Loss

The hosting site was hacked by people with no intention other than damage.  There was not, apparently, an attempt to steal passwords or anything of that nature.  Instead, a low-level security exposure in some hardware was exploited to set disks to erase themselves and that destroyed a substantial part of the data center.  They are attempting to restore data but there is little hope of success.

HostingCheck has set up a new account and I can recover from what backups I have here.  I don't have the full site but I have more than they've got and can at least get it back online again.

And, yes, I did do it better in my own systems.  In fact, I did much better.  My friend, Ron, and I built systems so strong you could roll tanks against them and the systems would just laugh.  For backing up data, on the primary site the A disks are constantly being backed up to the B disks.  The B disks are then flowed over external channels to C disks at another site.  The C disks get copied to the D disks and those in turn get flowed over external channels the E disks on a third site.  To destroy data in that environment, you would have to blow three full-bore data centers out of the Universe.  Hackers are destructive but they're not even close to that powerful.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

USA versus Germany in the World Cup in Brasil

Cat and I have been looking forward to this one as playing Germany in soccer is the Big League.  USA and Germany had the same record going into the game so this set up a fairly-even contest.

The USA allowed only one goal so I'm calling their defense pretty impressive, particularly playing against a team with the calibre of Germany.  Müller and Klose were the names that were most dangerous in the box.  USA could not keep control of the ball as well as Germany but the defense was good at preventing goals.  They didn't have what they needed to bring the ball back to Germany's goal but that power will grow over time.

Congratulations to Germany after a final score of 0:1 which makes it a good win.  If Germany had scored a great many goals then that would have been humiliating but that isn't what happened so I'm well-pleased with the game.  It would have been better to win it but the game was good and I'm very pleased USA can make a credible showing at the world level in soccer.

Software note:

Watching the game was via the BBC which is disallowed in the U.S. but this can be defeated by software called TunnelBear.  The software runs on all platforms and is very easy to use.  Set the country for which you wish to appear to be originating and then turn it on.  You can get a free gigabyte of data transfer per month and this was barely enough to cover ninety minutes plus half time for the game.  For unlimited access, it's necessary to subscribe for $4.99 a month.  This has substantial merit as I've been frustrated multiple times by copyright restrictions on viewing videos because many are restricted by country.  I'm reluctant to take an ongoing expense of any kind at any price but this could have quite good value.

It is also possible to watch the game for free legally via UniVision but the commentary will be in Spanish.

Seminar with Aldous Huxley at UC Berkeley

A good many of the ethical and philosophical matters of concern today are addressed more accurately and more honestly by Huxley ... in 1962.  This applies specifically to terrorism.  The discussion on conditioning applies directly to various aspects of behavior today that make no logical sense and yet are held with great passion by various people.

Feeding your mind isn't just about eating acid.

Note:  this is not about trippin', alternative consciousness, etc.

Things Always Make More Sense in the Dark

In the daytime there are so many arbitrary views of things which seem solid and real but are only accepted illusions and mean nothing of any substance.  The stuff is nothing more than future rubble for a Planet of the Apes movie.

In the night, you can make up whatever you like.  This is my time.

I suppose that was for real shock earlier as it really fucked me up.  Doctor, you're saying what?  We don't have to do this.  Um, what?  WTF?

It's all good.  There are no second thoughts on the decision.  It's that a decision was even necessary that flipped me.  I wasn't ready for the possibility there would be a wave-off and that it would be an appropriate thing to do.

For anyone in the situation, hopefully this will be helpful to you as it surprised all hell out of me.  At first it's a relief as you think, cool, I don't have to do that horrible shit ... but then you think about all the horrible shit you had to do so you were staged up for this horrible shit so which horrible shit didn't mean anything.  Fark.

In fact, it all meant something although that's hard to discern on the drive back from the hospital.

One thing I cannot emphasize strongly enough:  do not listen to anyone about it unless he or she is a doctor standing in front of you.  These days many smart-asses think they can do better than doctors just by googling it.  Don't ever do this.

- I never looked up any aspect of this on the Web
- I did not ask anyone for advice on what I should do
- I did listen intently to the doctors and I mostly did what they said to do

If you don't trust your doctor's advice, here's a tip:  get another one.  Web medicine can and will kill you.  Every tin-ass snake oil salesman of the Universe has now got a Web page and is either pretending to be a doctor, a preacher, or a psychologist.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Impossible to Process

This isn't a roller coaster but one extreme shock to another.  I was ready and thinking this is going to suck but let's get it over.  Poof.  Never mind.

There is no fault.  Decisions were correct.  Evaluations would be faster given more resources but that's irrelevant now.

Whether to play, write, watch a movie or anything involving time is different as time is different.

The biggest fear behind this has been attack from the Internet.  I have not looked at comments or email in some days.  I probably still won't as now we have the possibility this was all some rigged-up piece of Internet crap.  This is all way too far out there to get sand-bagged by trolling as who knows when beloved Patricia may visit.

Time, life, a whole lot of words change meaning in a few minutes.

Everyone looks confident, oh yah, I know what reality means ... well, do you now.  When the hallucinations are more than dragons in the sky, they will move to the perception of things and events relative to one another.  What is important and what is stable vary tremendously.  The cute, perfect little couple ... suddenly gets divorced.  The brand-new twenty-four million-dollar yacht ... burns up.  The stock market drops and a trillion dollars disappears into mystery meat never to be seen again.  Love and music are real, sure, but not much else.

When they were done with the pre-op stuff, there was nothing left but waiting for a shot that will get me dropped down for the procedure.  I was thinking, well, this time it isn't like all the others and it's conceivable you don't wake up from this one.  All that came to mind was so it goes.

That's not a bad thing as my mind wasn't wailing in regret.

I don't know what is happening now and there's never been a time when there was any use for the expression I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  There's never been a situation for me that was so ridiculous.

It's going to take a bit for this to settle down.

Special Thanks to Yevette

Yevette crashed at about two last night and asked me to awaken her at five.  Yevette does not do this.  Yevette does not ever do this.

Thank you to Yevette for service way, way beyond the call.  Some guy just 'friended' me from G+.  I have no idea who he is and it turns out he's an attorney who fixes traffic tickets.  Somehow I don't think I could call him and ask him to drive me to the hospital.  Yevette did it and at five in the fookin' morning on three hours sleep.

I was feeling like a bit of a pig but then I remembered I did this too, I think it was on the most recent visit to Fort Worth.  That doesn't make us even, it just shows all the more what happens with propagated goodness.  It never works if you're expecting anything back but otherwise it seems to come back by itself.

Yevette and I were talking on the way over to the hospital and I said she's a very generous woman.  She was surprised to hear me say it even after I've been crashing on her couch for six months and her not expecting anything more than a hug once in a while.  There's something about Marigolds.

Some of you may not know the song and others may have been puzzled by it.  "There's Something About Marigolds" is not a trivial thing to me as they really do stink, they seriously stink, and many will reject them on that basis.  However, they also make charmingly colorful flowers all Summer long without needing anything more than a little rain once in a while.  Better, I'm pretty sure bunnies won't go near them so they may serve well as a perimeter around things they do like.  I guess that would make your Better Bunny Barrier.  Actually there's a lot about marigolds but people dismiss them so quickly they don't ever learn of these things.

Yevette is my good friend and I appreciate it.

You Ain't Goin' Believe Dis

They called it off.

Everything was moving along toward getting into surgery as you've got to do all the pre-flight routines.  Then she asked me if I had taken my blood pressure meds today and I told her I had not.  She said, boy, I'll say but she wouldn't say how high it was.  I was just thinking, nooooo, don't wave it off as then we will just have to do this all over again.  She didn't wave it off and we went for a CAT scan to determine what difference exists between now and scans taken starting in December and February.

The surgeon spoke with me after the CAT scan and he believed there was a high probability my lung would collapse (i.e. pneumothorax) if he went ahead with the procedure.  This was compounded by the intended node being in a location in the upper lung that would be difficult to reach.  The difference between previous CAT scans and the one taken today were judged not to be of enough significance to warrant proceeding as it was also judged there would be too much risk from the procedure.  These points were reviewed with me and I decided that proceeding would be foolhardy.  It was my decision to make and I have no second thoughts on it.  My general thinking is if the cancer is not aggressive then why be aggressive with it, particularly if there is a high risk in doing that.

The head trip that comes from this is kind of unusual.  I thought for sure I would be holding a bottle of pills for chemo or I'd have an appointment for radiation right about this time.  That it suddenly turns around to, well, we will just keep an eye on it is disturbing and relieving at the same time.  There were several amused, bemused moments on the way back from the hospital that went 'what the fuck just happened.'  You have seen multiple references to Terry Gilliam in my articles and, guess what, here's another one.

Note:  I'm being more exhaustive about this than would otherwise be my inclination but lots of people are in a similar situation and any information that doesn't come from a WebQuackDoc trying to make a fast buck could potentially be of value.

I have no reservations about the handling of this by the VA although the resource shortage is obvious in that the first indications of cancer were in December and it's not until June that there's an attempt at a biopsy.  That's not a failure in VA, that's a failure in funding and in management.  Every single person I have met has been charming, highly-motivated, and highly-capable.  I don't have any reservations whatsoever about the quality of the care.

Note:  Referring to Terry Gilliam is not a cheap dust-off for something I don't know how to explain.  Gilliam's surrealism, in my view, makes him a master of things making sense even when they don't seem to make any sense.

My Duck Soup is Down (temporary)

The bill has been paid so that's not why it is down.  I'm kind of frosted as it was a very hard bill to pay.  It's been at least five hours but a ticket has been submitted.  I need to be on the road in minutes so that's where it stands just now.

You will see some broken image links on the blog and that's because it fetches certain images from My Duck Soup.  Those will resolve as soon as the Duck is back up again.

Reviewing the Bad Omens

The procedure will take place in a few hours so last night the world went all out to fuck with me.  It's not clear why it thought that would surprise me but it tried nevertheless.

The first plan for last night was the most basic and is always required:  if you are screwed then always show some attitude.  For many in Texas, that means to go out and shoot someone but for me it means to do a show.

So I tried that and Cat was pleased as Reis and Aldo are off for the summer anyway so there was a perfectly good gig slot that was obviously looking for some body heat.  I wanted a bang to start so that was "Necromancer" ... but he did not bang and Cat reported the volume was low.  That made no sense to me as I had sound checked it and it was working ... sputter sputter sputter ... but try it again and continue.

It took a bit to get going as I shouldn't do tunes when I'm just doing them for effect.  "The Necromancer" is real as I believe it and I like doing the tune ... but I had been thinking before the set, make it shorter ... the lead goes on too long.  I didn't do that but, as Fate with its infinite sense of humor will often do, I would up doing it twice due to trying to fix whatever was wrong the first time.

Then I did "Empire" and that was worthless.  This wasn't from some emotional funk as the attitude wasn't something I was faking, I wanted to blow some stuff out ... but ... I even blew a key change and I was fumbling thinking, recover, recover, get on with it ... but my fingers were arguing with my head.  The only reason I mention it is that it was so unusual.  You make mistakes while you play and that's part of music, those are what teach you not to make mistakes ... but ... blowing the key is different as you know the key, you know the notes ... but your fingers go to the wrong places ... your head hears it is the wrong key but your fingers don't believe it.  This has never happened before and I thought you might get a kick out of the weirdness of it.

Laidback Celt was out there and he's one of three conservatives I know who is not an asshole.  That means they have one hell of a lot of other conservatives to fix ... but ... that's not my problem ... I'm not a conservative.  So Laidback and I talk.  He doesn't agree necessarily with what I say but that isn't required and we talk about it.  He's a good man and you have to earn it to get into the Lotho category. He plays in SL and he has been doing it for quite a long time so check him out sometime.  (Thanks very much for coming, bro.  That meant a lot to see you out there.)

I saw Michi Renoir and Janeel, Belethil, Anja, Delphia, Laidback, Roza, Helmut, Karli, Michalis, Paula, Sister Julie, and most of all I saw Cat but I don't know who else was there.  Damn tiny little screen!  Thank you all!

The show started feeling better as soon as I dumped the back tracks.  If you start feeling like you're whipped in a gig, you might as well put the axe down and start telling elephant jokes as that show is over.  So it started building and I can't read Chat well but I could see people were enjoying it so it starts becoming a fine display of attitude.

But ...

There had been thunder throughout the show and I knew I should have unplugged but I was damned if I would give up on playing.  Unfortunately, playing gave up on me ... KA-BOOM - huge clap of thunder, Second Life crashes, Internet is down.  (cough)  The End.

This isn't a source of depression but rather it stimulates the idea for a call to Terry Gilliam to ask him, dude, was that really necessary for the story.  I love surrealism too but that was fucked-up.  I was pissed as Paul was so screwed when he did that Pickle Barrel concert and I admire that shit!

The biggest problem on an Internet drop is letting Cat know that Lockheed Martin didn't explode from whatever hellish things they are making over there (e.g. F-35).  After a long period of trying, it was clear the Internet would not be back soon so, in the infinite despair of it all, there's only one thing left:  hit the couch and crash.

Fate was not through screwing with me as I slowly brought things back up some time after midnight. That is, I brought up everything except My Duck Soup as the site is down.  A ticket has been opened with the ISP but who knows how long it takes.  I rarely miss having my tech staff but there are times. Whomever I have on call will answer the phone immediately or we have an office talk in the morning.  Same deal with Ron's crew and this was twenty-four hours and seven days.  When it's really important to keep computers running, nothing less is acceptable.  For bank security reasons I can't show you, even now, what the machine room looked like but I can tell you it was gigantic.  You could tuck a two-car garage into a corner of it and never even see it.  Between the two of us, there was nothin' we couldn't fix and that's a swell feeling.  Unfortunately, it seems kind of an old feeling these days.  Four-hour response time ... pfft.

So, um, Great God Mescalito, I see you must have found some cool new reefer but, as I advised Terry Gilliam, this is fucked-up.  There are times for Omens such as when you are starting into a romance with someone new and you say, oh, Great Oracle of Love, show me a sign.  That's an ok time.  Perhaps you are considering a new job and you might inquire of the great Trumpulous of Bluster, Booty & Bullshit how you may fare.  That is also an ok time.  However, Great God Mescalito, bullshit Omens prior to the hospital do not make an ok time.

I have only one answer, Great God Mescalito:  fuck you.

Attitude, it's important.

This may amuse you.  I was about to hop off to take a bath and then thought, hmm, screw that.  My body has gathered up a happy set of bacteria from wherever the hell it finds bacteria so this is my team, those are the fighters ... why would I wash them off.  Uh oh.  I just googled it and this is a very bad idea that will get me croaked as fast as an anti-vaxxer.  So the bath fills.

In case you're facing this and, judging by all the cigarettes, a good many of you are, they will probe my lung with some device that will remove some or all of the tissue that concerns them.  That will go off for biopsy and then on to next steps.  One medico said it might not be cancer.  I didn't say anything but I thought, yah, maybe it's a winning Lotto ticket, what do you think.  I'm not fatalistic about it but I'm not going to bullshit myself either.  Just get it the fuck out of there and then we'll see what goes.  I'm not particularly concerned about the surgery as pain I can handle but the following treatment nauseates you and makes you sick.  That I don't handle well at all.  It's likely I will stay pretty far out of reach in that circumstance as the only thing that makes a situation like that worse is feeling like you have to entertain someone.

As to tracking what comes, @yevetteN on Twitter will know but she won't Tweet anything before Cat knows.  They will connect via Skype but please don't try to make a Skype connection with either of them unless you ask first.  If you follow @yevetteN then you will know almost as soon as Cat.  I'm not assuming the worst but rather I am covering possibilities.  My assumption is that I will send any update myself.  If that is not possible for whatever reason, @yevetteN is how you will know.  It would not be a good vibe for the Circus if Cat were posting medical updates on Facebook and I wouldn't want to put that on her anyway.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Big Bang and Spontaneous Human Combustion

Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) is a phenomenon in which someone, typically quite fat and usually an alcoholic, may spontaneously catch fire and burn.  What makes this an ever-popular favorite is that, according to the story, no ignition source is required and little or nothing around the victim will be burned whereas there will be almost nothing left of the victim except hands and feet.  (WIKI:  Spontaneous Human Combustion - Warning:  the article is highly-distasteful as to how the process works)

Scientists have studied the phenomenon as there is a case log that goes back at least to the Seventeenth Century and apparently the phenomenon really does exist but there was little or no evidence of cases that were triggered without an ignition source.  The folk wisdom is that victims spontaneously burned but there doesn't seem to be any empirical basis for it.

So then we talk to the same guys about the Big Bang.  This was the event from which all things sprang and thus the Universe was born.  Galaxies, stars and planets appeared in great abundance.  From single point, an entire Universe arose and the physics for this are impeccable.  The science works beautifully.

Then we ask them what caused the Big Bang and they'll tell you nothing caused it, the Big Bang just happened.  So we ask, it was just spontaneous, huh?

Something like that, they say.

It's not my purpose to refute scientists as people with considerably less knowledge than my own do that almost every day.  Most of them are in the Tea Party but there are many equally-ignorant others.  Similar fools turn up as anti-vaxxers but they aren't so much of a problem as their kids will die and Darwin will solve it.  The still self-righteous mothers will probably blame it at that point on vapor trails from aircraft or tuna from Fukashima.

So, You Wanted the Cancer Update

I have not talked to anyone as I don't want to hear some crap about everything will be alright.  Obviously it's not alright, I've got the fuckin' cancer.  Maybe they get it all out, maybe they don't.  After that they will screw with me in some unpleasant way that hopefully doesn't go on more than a few months.  I was advised the blog can be depressing.  Well, gee, ain't that a bitch, huh.

I don't want to talk with anyone about it.  In fact, I don't want to talk about this shit at all but this is life beyond the avatar and the update is by request.  I'm fine with doing that and I know people who are near the same circumstance may get something useful out of how this goes.

Cat said she thinks I am brave but I don't see that.  This isn't the fear part as that already happened.  You've got cancer, dear.  That's the fear part as through our lives there are Words You Really Do Not Want to Hear and that is one set of them.  So I'm already screwed, the question is only what to do about it.

One thing I will do is play after Michi tonight if Cat would like that.  If you're in some deep shit and you're going down, there's only one good answer:  show some attitude.  OK, let's play.

The procedure will go down tomorrow morning.  I usually play on Thursday but it's a deep stick for what they will do so I imagine that will hurt for a few days and I don't know if I will be able to do it.  If there's a conflict with the USA / Germany game, there's no chance of playing as Cat and I will watch that for sure.  Yes, I do see that this new enthusiasm for soccer might be getting a bit out of control ... but I like that.  Maybe cut some slack on this as I'm not talking about Candy Crush Saga.

Frankly, I'm kind of pissed that people didn't believe me.

Bo and Lefty Getting Electrical at Cat's Art MusikCircus

Untolerable Bohemian played first at Cat's Art MusikCircus and I'm pleased to tell you it was nothing like what happened the week before.  He got punched at the start of the set as he lost electricity but he recovered in about fifteen minutes.  He didn't get started right away after he got back but it wasn't long before he found a groove and then he was running with it.

When you hear Bo's Groove, you'll know right away as he doesn't memorize anything.  He didn't cast the bit into his memory banks a day or a month ago so he could do an improv along that line, he does it absolutely fresh.  Maybe he even makes up the riffs each time, I don't know.  And maybe you think riffs are bad but don't tell it to Beethoven as he was kind of partial to them.

What comes in Bo's show will be anywhere from what I was considering kind of a beatnik fifties jazz to maybe a late seventies jam band. This is Bo's greatest strength but he seems conflicted on it.  I believe but I'm not sure that he's thinking he needs to do some type of covers to find any success but this is the single biggest mistake a musician can make.  The only success that ever comes to a musician is in playing what you want to play, finally no-one can tell you what to play.  I cannot possibly recommend strongly enough against playing something just because you think this is what the audience expects.  In fact what the audience expects is for you to come out and be what you really are.  That's precisely what you will hear when Bo gets his groove.

To Bo's strength, his grooves, there are times when I hear Hendrix in this.  I've said this more than once and I've listened to a ton of Hendrix in my life.  There are times when Bo is exploring when it will have very much of a feel I got from when Hendrix was doing it.  I'm not comparing Bo to Hendrix and it would be stupid to try - I loathe comparing musicians - but I do want to give you an idea of the flavor and it's just a taste for a few bars and then he continues exploring.

lefty Unplugged played the second show but he did not do the Angela Merkel song, sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't.  The show was wonderful and there was an excellent lesson for Bo in it.  I don't regard this as comparison and hopefully there will be no offense.  lefty sings whatever he wants and he very rarely does covers.  It takes a long time for most to discover you have the freedom to do this and you will be judged but so what ... people will judge you anyway.

When lefty Unplugged finished his first song, he looked out over the audience and said, "CRIPES!  Jupiter just flew in front of me!"

Well, actually, no.  It wasn't Jupiter.  That was Saturn ... Jupiter will fly past your face in just a moment.  The True Confessions part is that we turned them on but now don't know how to turn them off and now there are huge planets flying around the dance floor.  Welcome to the virtual world!

"Love Gone Runnin' on Home" is the ballsiest song lefty performs.  At times he may sound like a minstrel, at others a protest singer from the sixties, and at others an emissary from the future ... but this is when lefty sings his blues.  He's got the beat, you can definitely dance to it, and this is one fine tune.  Art, schmart, it's a good song.

But lefty is an artist, he's a craftsman, he's Doctor Dolittle.  All of this is in his music and his vibe.  His songs are beautifully crafted but one way they really excel is that he can screw with them.  If he wants to extend then he can do it and he can go with the groove of it.

And then he can talk about Pidge who has been acting in a most unusual way lately.  Everyone knows Pidge as lefty frequently uploads videos he has shot of her flying into his backyard and hanging out with him.  (She really does come when he goes outside.  I've seen it!)  So perhaps Pidge has fallen in love and that is why she behaves strangely.  Perhaps it's a summer romance.  Right now we just don't know.  Did that pigeon Love Go Runnin' on Home?

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Tomorrow is Here" - Up-Front with Voodoo Shilton (video)

Voodoo Shilton gave a wonderful performance on Friday at Cat's Art MusikCircus but I didn't write of it quickly enough to give a good report.  There is another answer, tho.

I've written multiple times of Voodoo Shilton and his looping but this video goes one better and shows you.  He plays multiple instruments and you can finally see him with his udu.  The view of the fingerboard of the guitar is very good so you can get a good feel for how his play goes and may get some of the feel how it is to do this in-performance.

Words are pointless for anything more than introduction so enjoy the video.

Painting in the Clouds - Gallery Opening

So many have their eyes fixed firmly on their ground that they never see the clouds anymore but Paula Cloudpainter goes right up inside them.  In a world where everyone else follows Angela Merkel's lead, Paula flies right over all of it.  (The reference to Angela Merkel is due to lefty Unplugged's song in which she is always looking at the ground.  If you want to hear the rest of it, come to his show tonight at the MusikCircus!)

Paula Cloudpainter's gallery opening was on Sunday and Deceptions Digital was making the music.  Paula likes to play with reality in physical media by making paintings with highly passionate brush strokes and yet with rigid square looking glasses to see inside it.  The result is your eye is jerked back and forth between the overall image and the forced views created by the arbitrary structures as you try to resolve what is real.  All of it is real and this was the show of it.  DD's music was bending reality every way she could as well so DD's music and Paula's art complemented each other well.

There are no examples of Paula Cloudpainter's work here on the blog beyond what you see above.  It's deliberate that the only picture in it is off-angle and that's so the digital image can't be stolen.  If Paula says it's ok then I'll run a series another time to show you but I definitely won't do it without permission.

The turnout for the opening was quite good as Paris Obscur was there and so was Voodoo Shilton.  What's more, they stayed a good long while.  I'm sure it's not a coincidence that all of the musicians who visited are ones who specialize in original work.

Side-note:  big congratulations to Paris on his brand-new baby son.  So far I think his working title is mini Obscur but I think this may not be permanent.  More news on that as it comes.

Congratulations to Paula on a successful opening.  It wouldn't do to ask but hopefully there were many sales and she's encouraged all the more to go forward.  She will be doing another showing at some point in the future with her Music series but I don't know how soon that might be coming.  Ask her yourself as she often comes to the MusikCircus and you can talk to her there.

Deceptions Digital was all-out trips last night.  Her songs often have a techno industrial feel to them with a very strong four-beat and some hard-pumping music but there was a much more ethereal quality to her songs last night.  This lent itself very well to the overall vibe as in looking at a painting you probably want to contemplate it for a while so music that pushes you will probably conflict you.  Instead DD was using some quite soft voices at times and she even used samples of Paris Obscur's voice!  That's her tribute song and that was extraordinary too.

Congratulations to DD on music that was well-chosen and well-played for the event.

(When I say 'well-played,' some may contest it as DD's music is recorded.  It's not live, they say.  If you're using back tracks, how about elaborating on what 'live' means then, huh.  Don't you worry about me getting defensive for DD as I'm not.  My purpose is only to explain what she does as she is in a constant state of creation and her shows are almost like checkpoints in which she shows her latest and then immediately goes back to make more.  Her music is very much live but not in the sense that one typically envisions liveness.)

America and the World Cup

Which World Cup?

Say what!  There is only one.

I'm surprised at the lack of interest in Facebook in the World Cup as the action in soccer never stops whereas American football stops and starts constantly.  Football might be more interesting if the pace were faster but it's interrupted so much that a game drags on for three or four hours.  One thing for sure, those football fatbodies would vapor lock instantly if they ever tried to play soccer.

So, uh, what'samatter, kids ... can't handle it when America is in a fair fight??  I'm really getting sucked into this World Cup and Cat did it.  She's no sports fan but she knows a fair bit about soccer and the players and last night we watched USA play Portugal.  It's important to keep track of multiple games as the MusikCircus is highly international and Bo will play tonight but he's in Portugal and he won't be too pleased at the result of the game.  We also keep an eye on Chile as Voodoo favors them.  I want to see Germany do well as I like nationalism that doesn't get people killed and they are very good at it.

This was a surprisingly exciting game.  Portugal scored early and I was bummed as I thought the game might be over before it had even really started ... but America came back in the second half and scored ... and then the excitement was non-stop as likely the next score will win the game ... and America does it ... the game looks like it is won ... but ... with only five or ten seconds remaining, Portugal scores one more time and the game ends in a draw.

The biggest difference is that in-between scores the action never stops but, with football, they constantly take breaks to set up steroid and coke deals or whatever else they do in the interminable breaks, time-outs, phone calls home to their mothers.  With soccer, we were watching all the time as the ball never stops moving so who has the best ball control; who can get the ball back if it's lost to the other team; who can control the position of the ball on the field the best.  I was surprised as my interest in sports is even lower than that of Cat but this was fascinating to watch.

This game is important as USA goes to face Germany on Thursday.  I didn't want to see either team going into that game in a one-down situation (i.e. coming off a loss and feeling bad).  The result of the Portugal game is that USA and Germany go into Thursday with identical records so this means it's close as it can be to a dead-even fair fight.  You bet I will be watching this one with Cat.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Playing for RacerX Gullwing at his Ten Year RezDay Party

RacerX Gullwing has reached the point of being an institution in Second Life but you wonder if that's such a good thing to be like a building or a brick, those are really old, aren't they.  I have no idea of his real life birthday or age but he's been RacerX for ten years now and he's the only one I know who has made it to ten.  (It's possible Slim Warrior might but she's not much involved with SL anymore.  I can cheerfully report she has been far too busy recording and producing lately.)

This man, erm, rabbit is one of a kind.  Sometimes people who have not experienced Second Life dismiss this as hiding from reality but in fact it's creating reality.  It's not about hiding but rather about becoming.  Many of the people who aren't given to making things have left SL and have gone to Facebook where they can jibber jabber all day long.  The ones who remained are now part of the biggest art commune that has ever existed in human history ... and RacerX Gullwing has been in the thick of it almost from the beginning.

RacerX Gullwing is a very giving man.  He's been running the Giant Snail Races for much of the ten years in Second Life and that aspect is highly-visible and spectacular.  It looks like a virtual amusement as who really needs to take a ride on a Giant Snail, much less race one ... but ... that's only part of it.  He runs the races as a benefit for Relay for Life.  He doesn't do it once in a while, he does it all the time.

At first I was thinking, man, got to draw some people for this Party but that's not likely when I don't do many gigs, I rarely promote my group, and my ability to antagonize people on Facebook is unparalleled ... but ... that wasn't a problem as people started pouring into the place.  I don't have pictures as I can't shoot them and play at the same time.  Cat was there but we haven't talked about pictures as, man, it's World Cup time and Nigeria was playing Bosnia.

Side-note:  Cat and I already knew Argentina won so Joaquin will be feeling good.  We're also pulling for Chile because Voodoo leans that way ... but ... the big show is on Thursday when Germany and America play.  Both have played Ghana and America won while Germany played to a draw.  Therefore this should be a good contest on Thursday.  I will be pulling for Germany but it looks like America can make a good showing and this could be a very exciting game.  The players have to play for their own countries in the World Cup but the coaches don't ... so America got a German coach (laughs).

The World Cup has been crushing gigs in Second Life and it will for some weeks yet but it sure didn't crush anything last night.  My screen is quite small so it was tough to tell who was there but I did get to talk a little bit with people I hadn't seen in a very long time.  Petlove Petshop was there and I'm not sure if she was one of the Tinies but these days she shoots lots of video and, better yet, she gets paid for it.

Just before submitting this article I realized I had not mentioned by own name and that'd be Silas Scarborough.  Here's a picture of my beautiful self.

Dazzling, aren't I.  (laughs)

The show started loud as the problem with Feedback is finally resolved.  This has been a Demonic Plague for quite a while and telling you about it would be sharing a Demonic Plague so better to get things going with "Necromancer" as he hasn't been flying around in quite a while.  So there were a couple to start that came out hitting hard but then over to the looper to screw around with that.

You can sound any way you like on a guitar, do anything at all you like with one, anything, anything ... except ... sound timid.  When you reach for a note and your finger touches the string on that fret, you hold its heart with your finger.  If you hold it timidly, all the blood will run out and it will die.  This isn't so important with electric as the sustain of volume level carries over that to some extent but you can never ever get away with it when you're playing clean.  If you can't hit a note strong then don't hit it at all, particularly as you push high on the neck.

The reason for remarking on that is the play in the show last night felt very confident to me with very little meandering.  I like to meander as that's how you find new stuff but there's a time and a place.  The MusikCircus is the best place for experimenting.  For a Party, I want to blow it out and it was feeling good for that.  As to how I did, I really don't know.  A Party is for socializing and much less for shouting YOU RAWK at the band.  Cat said new people signed up for my group and she doesn't think she does much but I can't do these things.  In fact, most of the people in the group are there because she added them.  Thanks to all who did join and we hope to see you again soon.  Most of all, thank you Cat.

Here's to Ten More Years for RacerX Gullwing and a hat tip to the Rabbit!

Russell Brand - Hat Tip to a Good Man

Well, really they do want to talk about it but that's all they want to do as American politics are just a means to avoid doing anything.

Look around.  Do you see them doing anything except building bombers and endless highway projects?  I rest my case.  It's all talk.  They say they care but obviously they don't as they fail to solve problems that just about every other country in the world has already solved.  When every other country can do it with relative ease and America cannot do it at all, that leaves one conclusion:  it's deliberate.

Oh, that's hyping the problem?

  • Student loans
  • Abortion
  • Execution
  • Gun ownership
  • Welfare
  • Militarization

America has failed altogether in dealing with any of those matters but goddamn can they talk about them.  So, Russell's wrong in that they don't want to talk - they love to talk - they just don't want to do anything so they go to Facebook which makes it easy to pretend.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Silas Live at Cat's Art MusikCircus 6-19-14 (video)

This is the closing tune from the show on Thursday at Cat's Art MusikCircus.  It's the latest version of the "Death March Digression" although I didn't do the reading.  I should have as it ran twenty minutes anyway.

The preview shot from the video looks a bit nuts but the whole video doesn't look like that.  This is the prism effect I was trying earlier.

I will play again at 2pm SLT for the RacerX Gullwing RezDay Party.  I may try to capture video again but have no hard plan for it.

Out of Respect for the Chicken Man

There are many things you may have encountered in your life but I doubt that a talking chicken was one of them.  Eric Poultry shows us the Man in the Moon is actually a Chicken.  This is just one example of all the things one can learn in a virtual world.

Video from the Silas Show on Thursday (updated)

There was some panic about the video as I tried to load it from the camera but was told there was no video to load.  After a time it dawned that one must copy the recording from one place to another inside the camera before one can copy from someplace in the camera to someplace on the computer.  These types of steps are necessary because engineers hate us.

The closer was the "Death March Digression" and that's the part I've snipped out for the video.  The scene is highly-subterranean but I've done a bit of Final Cut on it to trick it out a little bit.  There's one segment that involves a prism and it occurs to me now that I might have been able to use keyframes to make it go in circles.  If that's the case then I'll have to render it all over again and it took two and a half hours for the final last night.

Assuming a final copy, the next thing is what to do with it.  Uploading it to YouTube means there is no chance anyone would ever buy a DVD ... but ... after getting a DVD someone would just upload it to YouTube anyway.  That's not being defeatist as that's just how it goes.  The hotshots make their dollars from advertising click charges via Google on YouTube but, unless you're getting thousands of them, that doesn't matter much.

As you've seen before, I'll upload it anyway but that won't go a millimeter toward solving an exceptionally-bad financial situation.  If you have an answer, spit it out as I don't have one.

This is not a tease as the idea of keyframes and a prism has me intrigued so I can't upload it right now anyway.  I have to find out if that works the way I think it might.  (I'll get into what keyframes do another time if you like but right now I'm going to play with some.)


Nope, it didn't work.  I'm still thinking there is some kind of devilment the video may yet need so I will screw around with it more.

Friday, June 20, 2014

On Yer Menu-Driven American Politics

Lotho was saying the other day is that one can, in fact, pick and choose which aspects of policy one supports as a conservative.  Well, no.  Republicans talk about financial practicality while they bomb the shit out of other countries and Democrats talk about financial possibility while they bomb the shit out of other countries.  No-one can pick and choose as there are only two teams.  You can't say I support financial conservatism but not bombing the shit out of other countries because that product doesn't exist.  It doesn't exist for me and neither does it exist for you.

And that is the problem.  I'm pissed off because Obama sucks as a Democrat.  You're pissed off because you have to call yourself a conservative instead of a Republican, a name you don't want to use because ... you can't pick and choose the elements of the platform.

The more wild-eyed Republicans talk with the passion of the Lord when they describe American military adventurism.  Doing a Blitzkrieg on Iraq was advancing the global strategic interests of the U.S.  I've had someone say that to me in almost those words.  In my life, I have never met any rational person who believes this kind of thing but politics and Jesus get people behaving like they're at the World Cup rather than bombing the shit out of other countries.

Right now I'm annoyed as Kennedy is sending military advisors into Vietnam ... whoops, no ... Obama is sending military advisors into Iraq, three hundred of them, apparently.  This marks the third try doing the same thing after failing on the two previous so if you look closely you will see Einstein pissing on Obama's head.  Einstein said it's the mark of a fool to try the same thing twice and expect something different to happen.

So Obama has failed the Democrats as profoundly as anyone ever could.  It's not clear to me why conservatives fail to take any accountability for what Bush did but so it goes.  I have no view of good guys or bad guys as I'm only interested in who delivers the product and whether the product has any value.  Right now there is no product and there hasn't been since 9/11 and the travesties Bush unleashed in the aftermath, including that eyesore of architectural sentimentality built to replace the WTC.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sonya and Silas at Cat's Art MusikCircus

Sonya Jevette is a dear lady and she works so hard for her music.  She writes, she sings, she teaches and music really is her life.  Her songs come from her life and she tells that story with her own special poetic style which is much more interesting than a simple series of rhyming couplets.  Most of all, she sings with such extraordinary control.  When she reaches for a note, she hits it and holds it perfectly without ever seeming like she stretches.

Cat was the Raven woman and you can't see her feet in the pic but they have got huge Raven claws.  In "Big Girls," Sonya advises women to 'make sure you get treated right' because if you don't then 'she is going to mess you up at night.'  Cat's Raven claws won't just mess you up, they could carve you into thin-sliced turkey.

Giving a good report on Sonya's show is difficult as I listen to her set while I'm also setting up for my own.  Something Sonya doesn't know is that after tuning the guitar, I will play along for a time with whatever she has happening as I can hear her the whole time.  My guitar goes through the same speakers so, ok, let's jam!  It's cool as Sonya is singing concert loud through the P.A. speakers so it's big fun throwing a few guitar licks into it sometimes.

I know it was cool today that Uruguay won but you missed some wonderful singing tonight.  Sonya will be back in two weeks and you can learn a lot more about her in hearing her songs, seeing her videos, and all kinds of things on the Sonya Jevette Web site.

Silas Scarborough (i.e. me) was up next and there has been a rascal of a problem for quite some time, weeks or longer, in which there would be uncontrollable feedback if I tried to get any audio from the computer while the audio stream was live to the Internet.  I knew it was some ridiculous little switch in hardware or software but I could not find it despite frequent searches.  I was violating my own principle as always in programming I'd be saying if you look at something for more than fifteen minutes then you're looking in the wrong place.  It wasn't the software but a USB THRU switch on the mixer.  Who knows what pushed it as maybe even one of the cats did it.

Everything seemed like it was ready to go and I went on through the first song which was belting loud here ... but wasn't at all in the Circus.  The sound from the computer, even though it wasn't feeding back, still wasn't working right so that meant bagging the back tracks I had planned to use.

That's ok, recover and push on with it the show.  It took a bit of knob twisting but things got going fairly quickly and playing felt pretty good as you know when you're in-touch and when you're just reaching.  What was different was that this was being recorded on a video camera.  There is only one so I put it on a very long shot to try to catch Every Single Thing from the top of my head to foot moves on the different devices.  I have not yet reviewed the video and will see whether it's worth the time to mix it with the audio recorded on the stream.  It's a very time-consuming business screwing around with video, particularly on a small machine, so I'll need to verify it before getting on with it.

The video would be a whole lot cooler if Cat were in it.

No such luck as it's just me in the video.

There will be one more show on Saturday for RacerX Gullwing's Ten Year RezDay Party and this really is a high honor.  After that I don't plan on playing again until I know what happens after next Wednesday but it's possible next Tuesday so we'll see how that goes.

ChicagoSax Brings the Blues to Cat's Art MusikCircus

ChicagoSax is blues Chicago all by himself as he has been playing all over town since the late 50's so he knows very well what it is when you talk about Blues in the Windy City.  The songs he chooses to cover aren't radical progressives but what he does with them takes them to the other world.  In-between he talks about music and Chicago and wraps you up in a vibe that tells you what Chicago really means.

(Sister Julie the Poet and Eepz listening to ChicagoSax)

For this picture, it looks like ChicagoSax is bringing more greens than blues but sometimes we just have to play with the lights.  ChicagoSax is experimenting too as his EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) can use two hundred and fifty-six voices because it uses a synthesizer.  He was trying one voice after the other last night and they ranged from a guitar sound to a B3 organ.  He got the best voices he could find for it and these are all rich, full, and immensely expressive.

It took much longer for MIDI implementations to appear for wind instruments as there is lots of complex technology behind that.  In the early days of MIDI for guitars, typically the translation was not so good and the speed was awful.  What I notice specifically with ChicagoSax and his EWI are there is no evidence of any notes 'wobbling' as they all ring clean and pure plus ChicagoSax can play whatever speed he likes and it keeps up just fine.

You can visit the ChicagoSax Web page and see his instruments.  They really are beautiful and they look highly-foreign to me as I have no experience with wind instruments but they still look ridiculously cool.

Cat asked if I would like to play after ChicagoSax so I did do it for some time and it was very cool for ChicagoSax to stay.  Where ChicagoSax is so smooth and elegant, I, well, am not (laughs).  There's no need to write any more of my own set just now as I will play again shortly and there can be a report from that.

American Guilt

There isn't much evidence of American guilt but it's there.  The perception of Texas is that it's nothing but goat ropers drunk on Lone Star who go out riding horses to shoot Mexicans ... but there are liberals all over the place here.  Austin is one of the coolest places anywhere.  So there's plenty of guilt in America, it's just lost in the noise from those with skin as thick as reptiles.

Lotho has got a bad case of Wanting to Save the World.  So do I.  That's why we bros.  In my lifetime Rock'n'Roll Fuck Fantasy, I would play guitar and then I could get houses for my family and friends and all of us could hang out, getting hammered, making music, and having a whole lot of sex.  There was never anything more to it than that as these were the sixties and we believed peace would one day come, we just had to prepare for it.

That didn't quite work out and Lotho didn't quite pull it off either but this isn't a story of regret as the world obviously still needs to be saved and neither he nor I are dead yet so that means there is still time.

Lotho has conservative guilt as he got sucked into the vortex of needing financial conservatism but not necessarily a formal Republican agenda.  However, it doesn't work like Catholicism as you can't pick and choose which parts you will heed and then ignore the rest.  Once tagged as a conservative, you, seemingly, own what they do and, oh fuck, I didn't ask anyone to go drone bombing children.

Conservative guilt is a bitch and I understand that as democracy is a fucked-up way to do business.  A whole lot of dumb asses get involved and then it's impossible to make an intelligent decision about anything.  That America survives isn't destiny, it's a fucking miracle.

The gigantic corporate behemoths concern everyone as to how they dominate various things in the world and they all have one thing in common:  not a single one of them is run as a democracy.  A good many of them are also stone evil (i.e. Nestle and 'we own the water', etc) so that's where you can argue the value of politics all night.  And I do mean you can.  I'll be playing tonight.

You're not going to lose your guilt in some ultra-dramatic revolution so the other choice is to make the democracy work.  The existing parties are useless as there's no difference between them.  They are all on the same team and they only argue over who takes home the Prom Queen.  The only other option is a Hugely Futile Gesture: create another political party modeled after the Greens in Germany.

There is a Green Party already so how about you take on those cement head politicians with something real.  Run Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for real and take on the other parties straight-up.  This is using the same strategy as the Tea Party only this time for something that's actually useful (e.g. rationalizing student loans, rationalizing military spending, etc, etc.)  Even if the Greens cannot win, they can force these matters into the front of a campaign and there is no way in hell they will come up if you run tired old wankers like Clinton and whatever dregs the conservatives can find (e.g. Jeb Bush).

If you think that's stoner fantasy, take a look at Germany where the Greens are a significant political presence and you bet they pull their weight in determining policy for the country.  They are not a majority but they are heard.  You can be too.

One area in which there seems to be a huge conflict is in what constitutes financial conservatism.  There is great left wing enthusiasm for regulating the tax tables to prevent the capital shift that has taken place and to rationalize the economic model as a whole.  Conservatives typically get wild at this point as any thought of this will destroy capitalism, etc, etc.  Moreover, taking all the money from the ultra-rich and giving it away to everyone else would only buy each one a cupcake or some such.  However, that thinking is the flaw.

There is no intention of taking all their money and giving it away, even if for no other reason than it would be a ludicrous waste of resources and bad business.  The actual left wing intention is not to give anything away but to make that money work.  Build the schools, the factories, all the damn things that countries need get along, do business, have good lives, etc.  This isn't charity, it's doing business.  As we've seen in every developed nation, the birth rate drops as the standard of living goes up.  In time, populations stabilize or even decline and, what do you know, which economic stratum do you think will dry up first (assuming the world is functioning according to a rational business model instead of one driven by combat for regime change).

Always I hear this can never happen, no way people can agree, no way we can do it.  Um, yes, you can do it and it's not even that hard.

Yah, you're still thinking stoner crap ... but you aren't thinking of the Marshall Plan.  This was the use of American tax dollars to help Europe rebuild after World War II.  Boy, you sure lost your ass on that one, didn't you.  Those tax dollars helped grow some of the most dynamic economic entities on the planet.  Tax and spend, tax and spend ... are not bad things ... so long as you spend right.

Note also the tax rate on the rich in the post-War years was still what the rich currently consider too high.  And yet it was one of the world's greatest periods of prosperity and out of it grew the European Union, no longer warriors but partners.  This isn't preaching, it's fact.  It doesn't seem it should be a tough package to sell to do the same thing that was done previously and has been seen to work.

One of the first things you need is to get your religion out of politics.  There's time enough to deal with prostitution, prayer in schools, smoking reefer, etc.  There is no time at all to wait for dealing with the matters that drive such things and these are the anger and despair that rampage around America.  This isn't hyperbole as you can see it anywhere.

Kennedy said he wanted to go to the Moon.  OK, America did that.  Johnson said he wanted to end poverty.  He made his steps toward that.  Maybe you don't agree with them but that's not the point as these things defined direction.  Right now there seems to be no more direction than killing Muslims and, regardless of your political persuasion, life probably needs to be more than that.  In my view, they also kill America in their hunger for killing Muslims as there is no other direction and then people fall to ennui.

Even if the direction is to build a road under the Atlantic, so what.  It's a direction.  Right now if someone wants to get big into solar power then someone else will try to stop it.  Saps the energy of the Sun, don't you now.  Well, no, I don't know that.  (It's rubbish)  When everything comes down to yet another sparring contest, nothing can ever get accomplished.

If you want to lose some guilt, find a direction that means something and make it happen.  You won't even have to sell it that hard if it's any good as America longs for it.

When you want to save all the babies, I know it hurts your heart but you can't.  It's the same mistake America makes in coming up with Radin China 4 which was some type of high-production rice (i.e. matures fast, feeds many, etc) or sending food trucks to the middle of the desert.  None of these things go to the problem which is too many fucking people.  Some type of Marshall Plan approaches the problem altogether differently and, as we've seen, populations typically decline behind that.

The biggest population problem in developed countries isn't from internal growth but rather from immigration and, what do you know, a huge percentage of that comes from people trying to get out of Places That Suck.  It's mystifying to me that people see no business sense in assisting them in the same way as Europe as everyone comes out golden from it.  Population pressures moderate around the world if people just stay where the hell they are and most of them want to do that anyway.  It seems nothing more than good business sense to help them do it.

A neo-Marshall Plan isn't direction, it's just doing sensible business.  Finding the direction is on you.

A Story on Dog-Eating ... by Request

If you are not expecting strange when you come to visit here, your best bet is to revise your expectations.  I do not have 'strange guilt' as I enjoy being strange but I don't enjoy the level of the strange of one of the most annoying constructs of the electronic world:  the mommy blogger (i.e. I am Woman.  I make Babies.  And so on).  In today's example, we have one who was playing Munchausen by proxy with her little boy so she could write about his manufactured illness on her blog.  It worked too as many came ... but the boy didn't.  He died.  We don't do that level of strange here.  That's more strange than we want anywhere.

(Ed:  please don't forget some other electronic highlights of the blog world such as the always popular unemployed musician blogger, the wannabe philosopher blogger, and the absolute most stupid and irritating of all, the Texas global economics blogger.)

So Lotho sent me a clip to an article about people eating dogs in China.  Perhaps he is screwing with me.  He knows I am hungry here.  He knows there is Tobey the Dog.  Therefore:  eat the dog.  It's true that it has an algebraic elegance and he is a crazy ass dog but I still can't see eating him and it would definitely be a good idea to keep him out of China.  (AP News:  China dog-eaters dodge activists with early feast)

I wouldn't have a problem with eating a dog, just not that one.  I've eaten a McDonald's Synth-o-Meat cheeseburger with the bland, grey hamburger patty that's so heavily-processed that you can't tell that half of it comes from recycled hotel mattresses.  This is arguably the worst food product in the world and I have eaten it ... but I have never eaten dog, at least not to my knowledge.  What do I know, tho. I have eaten tacos on the streets of Juarez so I could have had dog many times.  The only thing that makes me think this might not be true is that generally they were chicken tacos.

(Ed:  that means they were probably pigeon tacos)

Good point.  (Question for another time:  why don't poor people eat pigeons and solve two problems at the same time.)

There is one 'food product' that I don't think anyone will eat and that's when you sit down for a monkey brains feast as in "Indiana Jones and the Lost Temple of Doom."  I could get hungry enough to eat a dog but I don't believe I could get hungry enough to eat that.  However, there are many who fry up brains and eggs for breakfast in the morning.  I will not be one of them.  It is not known if there are different kinds of brains one can purchase at the market.  Some of you may need to know if there is a qualitative difference in the taste of a pig brain such as those of the Koch brothers or a monkey brain such as those of most musicians, etc.

The big problem is the Law of Eating Ugly Animals which says specifically that no-one, no matter how cool or how rich or how pretty, is allowed to eat cute animals.  You go immediately to Hell for killing crickets, eating lemurs, or, especially, for eating Spotted Owls.  However, the LEUA does not preclude eating pit bulls as that is one ugly-ass dog.  They look like someone put them in a microwave and their faces partially melted.  So, OK, that's the compromise.  I can't say I would like a meal of Shih Tzu but if you want to roast up a pit bull then, hey, what time is dinner.

So, uh, Lotho, does this answer your question (laughs).