never again (disquiet junto)

I’d been lurking (and listening) to the Disquiet Junto group over at SoundCloud for a few weeks, and finally grew the stones to post something:

This week’s assignment had us generating a core rhythm using an arbitrary phrase, put into Morse code, and then building on that. The bar’s pretty high over there, but I think I did… at least ok.

The entire project for the week is here.

always on a friday…

…another shooting. This one at a school in Connecticut. Twenty young kids, dead. Even the President, himself with kids in school, tears up a little as he talks about it.

I have nothing to add or say that hasn’t been added or said. I just want to remember that (at this time, anyway) the Consensus feels a little different. Maybe because it was kids in school, or because the chief target was one of the teachers, shot by her own son in her own classroom with her own gun. Or because after four or five of these in a year, people have just kind of had it with the NRA and their apologists. Nobody seriously expects a sudden move towards gun control. But I sense that we’re allowed to use those words out loud, again.

For my part, this is just another example of how our collective, cultural inability to think, talk and act like adults has been hurting us since at least Reagan.

IMO, we could at least try regulating firearms at least as attentively as we regulate automobiles, alcohol and OTC decongestants, and see what happens.

The Flowers. Where they at?

From this article in The Quietus:

Modern pop music began as the ultimate expression of democratic populism in the post-war years, but it is now some way into its decadent, baronial phase. When things have become so damnably hierarchical, it’s no wonder there hasn’t been a society-wide countercultural upsurge in years.

We haven’t been getting much news over here about just how badly the UK has fared under Cameron &co. Our media experience here in the US is much too well-managed to allow for anything so untidy.

But I do wonder where the protest music is, either here or there. IMO part of why the Occupy movement failed is that it had no discernible soundtrack of its own. Or even a sound.

I can’t be the only one who thinks that we’re quite due.

new uploads: industry, comes pale horse.

Uploaded two more drafts to the soundcloud site, minor remixes from the 2002 material: industry and comes pale horse.

This one is built on some AM radio samples. Mostly random news/talk radio late one night in the Christmas season, whatever sounds I happened to slew by as I moved the radio dial back and forth essentially at random. Distorted beyond recognition by the time it gets here. Live guitar as the bass thrum. Guitar synth used to simultaneously make the ‘shadow/shimmer’ you can hear on the top.

Come to think of it, it wouldn’t be ludicrous to call this a guitar piece, though I’ve never thought of it as such.

The next piece is longer:

This piece drove me mad all throughout the summer of 2002. Or vice versa. The core was improvised one night using Ableton Live. I then spent months putting layer upon layer over it. Most of the samples are from the guitar synth rig I had back then, sounds I had sampled during practice sessions and had lying around. The iBook I had then didn’t have much horsepower, so I had to use the old four-track trick of bouncing multiple tracks into one new track and starting over, rinse, lather, repeat. (At one point you have about 60 different sounds and tones, all hovering in the general vicinity of B-flat). Before uploading this, I did some minor remixing, and added the barely-audible voices down in the deeps that I had always imagined for this one.

Neither of these are mastered, or even finished. Just work-in-progress mixes, uploaded because I promised myself that I would.

one month later…

…to the day, I just realized.

Obama and the Quants won. Now we’re four-weeks deep into the ambiguous aftermath, headed towards what has been billed as the ‘fiscal cliff’, a time bomb strapped to economy by the lame-duck Congress of 2010.  No one can agree what that means, exactly. All seem to agree that it will change… something.

Israel almost invaded Gaza, then decided not to with a little help from the new (post Arab Spring) Egypt. Meanwhile, Morsi starts strange post-revolutionary parliamentary maneuvers we haven’t seen since the 1970s.  Gen. Petraeus resigns his CIA post amid some scandal. We’re still trying to figure out WTF is going on in Libya.  Assad contemplates using chemical weapons on his own people, knowing that will start a major war with US/NATO/etc.

Few people here in the US have had the time or energy to follow any of this. I haven’t. I’ve been too exhausted, myself, which is why I haven’t written anything.

With regards to the election, the one big, long-lasting takeaway from last month is this: They were True Believers, after all. Karl Rove refused to believe that his team had lost Ohio. Skeptics like me assumed that Karl Rove “knew” he had Ohio in the bag, for nefarious reasons.  Turns out that, no, Karl Rove literally inhabits a different universe where the electorate was whiter, older, more conservative. He really did have alternative math.

But it wasn’t just Turd Blossom. Turns out that Romney himself had been so certain of victory that he’d ordered up some celebratory fireworks for Boston Harbor, and neglected to write a concession speech. His own team’s polls had him up in NH, OH, CO, FL and VA.  Polls that weren’t so much unscientific, as colored by “personal expectation” on the part of the interpreters. (Because, after all, any damned geek in a white lab coat can take a poll, that’s just sissy mathematics– you’re paying for the interpretation, aren’t you?)

That scares me, frankly: These Reality-Creators had, in fact, gotten trapped in the very world they had built for us. So they were unable to see what was plainly there before them. Unable to see and process uncomfortable truths. Unable to make decisions based on real data.

Imagine what magnificent foreign policy blunders such a mindset could have accomplished. Imagine how much collateral damage to the social safety net and the working class such a mindset could have accomplished.

These people almost got to run the country.

the night before…

Almost everybody is exhausted, and just wants it the hell over with. Even a lot of people who wouldn’t normally care about such things.

The Quants like Nate Silver and the rest say that Obama’s a statistical lock. The Reality-Creators have already coronated their next Reagan, and are eager for the 1980s to return. Most mainstream outlets have depicted the race as neck and neck, even though it hasn’t been for over two weeks. And so, nobody really knows what is real.

I side with the Quants this time: Statistically, Obama should win tomorrow.  But I worry about mischief.  How bold will some obscure county clerks in OH, NV or VA dare to be?  Or even a Secretary of State?

Hard to conceive of a world where you have to fight for the Real. But that’s where we are in 2012.

after the storm

The wind had died down by morning. There were leaves and large branches strewn everywhere, as you’d expect. Also more than a few asphalt roof shingles scattered all over the street and sidewalk. I did my best to look around and color-match them to the roofs around me, and more than I liked looked like mine. I walked around and couldn’t easily see anything missing, but I’ll look more closely tomorrow (I was in a rush this morning).

NYC didn’t fare well at all. Record storm surges over 13 feet, flooded subways, whole blocks on fire. Luckily under 50 deaths so far, but that is sure to rise. NJ Gov Chris Christie plays the class act, drops all politics. Everybody interprets this however they like.

Mitt Romney re-brands his Victory Rallies into ‘Relief Rallies’, collects canned goods, and runs brazenly false ads hoping that there’s not enough time to counter them. (One ad: Jeep shipping jobs to China. Another ad obfuscating the GOP platform on Roe v. Wade. I’m sure there are more).

McCain. Benghazi. Fast and Furious. Screw the Hope, Time to Change. It’s like watching your country get eaten alive by Amway Zombies.

The election is a week from today. Most everyone just wants it the hell over with.

But IMO, there’s no guarantee it’ll be over quite so soon.


So there’s a hurricane post-tropical cyclone going on outside. First high tide was about noon, the harbor looked like this.

Too soon to say, but it’s looking like this area’s main issue will be the wind. Basically an October Nor’easter, like 1991. Or a February storm without the snow.

I was worried about storm surges and excessive rains flooding my basement, but for now at least, it’s all about the roof. And the occasional downed power line.

Good luck, NYC. The Weather Channel just posted a record 11.25ft surge.

And my house has just started shaking.

the third debate

Watching the pre-game chatter on CNN.

It’s the sound of Middle America, gazing up its own ass, remarking upon what it finds there in wonder and amazement.

I described at the old place about how, all at once, everyone just Decided to Pretend.

This is what it felt like.