rax: (Benten guitar case)
If you're interested in my main set: You can listen streaming here, download here, and see a tracklist here. If you're interested in other people's sets... I'll try to get copies and post them here? :)

What the party was like: It was kinda small and cozy, reminded me of CGR 4 or 5, where there was more socializing than dancing but a lot of the socializing was structured around the presence of music and the possibility of dancing. People seemed to have a lot of fun, and I got rave reviews, which always makes me really happy. Throwing parties that encourage people I care about to do different kinds of things than they usually do is super awesome to me. Would do again. Will do again. (I'd been feeling before the party a little like "ugh, will this be the last CGR? am I done with this?" and my answer is emphatically no. So that's cool.)

What DJing was like: It's interesting how much better I am at this than a year ago and just how much there is left to learn. Listening to last year's set as well as this one, I can tell that last year I took risks all over the place because I didn't know what I was doing, and some of them paid off in really interesting ways and others... Worked out okay. :P This year I was more careful, and while I think that paid off overall, it means I didn't do things as complex or reach-y as last year? Which maybe is related to how I'm approaching the world lately, or maybe isn't? Check back in a few months? (Also I whiffed the transition into Lights. Oops. The perils of going live; I brought in some stuff I hadn't expected to actually use at the end, so I was _way_ off script.) It was SUPER FUN. I did a second set at 3 AM or so, but it was just a reprise of half of the stuff from Laura's wedding afterparty, so while I did save my work for private review I'd much rather get a good mixdown of the whole set and share that later.

What CGR is growing to mean for me: A changing of the seasons. A chance to see old friends. A way to share what I'm learning about music with said friends. A way to bring people together. An excuse to put cat ears on everybody. One of the anchor points in my year, something I plan around even when I don't do a _good_ job planning around it and only get a venue locked down two weeks in advance. Sorry about that. I hope it can be some of those things for some of you, too, and is at least interesting to read about for everyone else. :P

What sucked this year: vague discussion of sexual assault/harassment )

Why this post is in this format: I have no idea. I'm pretty tired, time to go to bed.

Ten Songs

Oct. 20th, 2014 10:02 pm
rax: (Benten guitar case)
My dear friend [personal profile] outstretched  said I should join her and others in picking ten formative songs and writing about them. So here you go. Feel free to join us, if you'd like. (See hers and another friend's.)

loooooooong )
rax: (RAWKFAWX)
Life is pretty good! Here are some updates that were too large to send to Twitter! It’s an exclam day! I'm vaguely sick but I took cold medicine so I'm still enthusiastic and excitable and a bit loopy!
  • Magic: I’m playing Magic! I meant not to get into it super seriously, but I got recruited into a team, cardagain.com, and now I’m editing for their website and sponsored to play in major events. Oops! It’s super fun, and while if you don’t play Magic you don’t care, we recently got Travis Woo as a writer, and you can see a cool new article of his here! If you like it and want to share it around that would be awesome too I guess? I dunno, I'm terrible at social media. cardagain wants to be, like, magiccards.info plus tcgplayer when we grow up, and some of the features (visual decklists sorted by CMC) are already very cool.
  • Computers: The Homestuck Shipping World Cup kind of took up a hobby slot this summer. I don’t really care about the event at this point, and didn’t really participate as a fan, but I’m on the mod team, and did almost all of the coding. I feel like a way more proficient programmer than six months ago. Not _good_, but proficient, which feels nice. I can take python and sqlite and make them do things that someone might want software to do. It’s been very confidence boosty, and I _finally_ learned git. I’ve also gotten to play sysadmin, since it’s all hosted off of my server. I originally planned this as a way to have a record of me being able to do things with computers if I lost my job, but…
  • Work: I was worried I might lose my job because the work I had been doing was kind of drying up, but instead, I got promoted into new responsibilities! I’m doing new and different stuff, which is really refreshing! I’m not good at it and that’s mostly great because I get to learn things but it’s occasionally terrifying!
  • Therapy: I’ve been doing the therapy thing again after all the horrible bullshit from a year or two back. In the past I used to do mean things to future rax, and in the more recent past, I started doing nice things for future rax, and that’s treated me very well for the last few years. Right now I’m trying to figure out doing nice things for past rax. It’s super cool. It’s definitely hard and going to stay hard and… intersects with some kind of spirituality in weird ways I haven’t figured out yet? I dunno. I’ll talk more about that if I figure it out, maybe.
  • Travel: Has been awesome!!! So many wonderful people and I get to see them in so many wonderful places, between Boston and SF and Seattle and random road trips from those places and so on and so forth. (Also, I edited /home/rax/random-text/people-history/people-i-have-kissed for the first time in a long time, and it was great. <3)
  • Music: Has taken a bit of a back seat! But I’m getting back in the groove and have two DJ sets in September and one or two in November and I’ve already started working on them because it remains _super fun_.

That’s about it. Hope y’all are doing wel!
rax: (Benten metal sign)
The CGR set wasn't perfect, but it was flawed in an excited-to-get-better kind of way and not an embarrassed or ashamed kind of way. I think it's worth listening to, maybe you will too? Here's a link. The other sets were awesome too, and hopefully the other DJs remembered to record them. We even had a brief Speed DJing session at the end where I quickly warped six tracks and played/mixed them live, though Ableton crashed during the sixth one so I didn't get it recorded. :/ To everyone who came, thanks for coming and I hope you had a wonderful time, and to everyone who didn't, thanks for supporting me through this. :D

If you're curious, tracklist under the cut:

RAX'S CATGIRL GOTH RAVE SET 2013 YO )

"FUCKING ANNOYING PHONE SONG" is something we found on Napster by that name in 2000. I've never been able to figure out what it is by searching on lyrics or words from the samples or anything. It is a secret to everybody, but it is a surprisingly danceable secret.



rax: (catgirl makeup)
Every year Catgirl Goth Rave is a pretty big deal for me, and y'all who don't go probably get annoyed with me for posting about it, emailing about it, &c. so often. For me and for a lot of people who attend it's a chance to see a lot of friends in a type of environment I don't often get to spend time in, and to have friends share artistic/musical creations and, increasingly, traditions with each other. (I think everyone spends at least some time watching Kim's ridiculous video loop, which was first made for, like CGR 3?) But this year is especially a big deal for me, and I can tell because I'm alternating between bouncing hopelessly and kinda freaking out, and I want to share why to combination share myself/steel myself/understand through writing. Once I'm done with this post I'm going to go find something spicy and hearty to eat, then it will be SETUP MODE followed by PARTY MODE followed by SLEEP MODE.

This year I am DJing. I am learning to DJ for this party, and it will be the first time I've played music in front of other people in any significant way in like... fifteen years? Maybe only thirteen. "A long time." I had a pretty hardcore music education as a kid, getting steeped in music theory as well as reaching a pretty high proficiency level on a number of instruments (violin, piano, voice, tuba...) --- this is one of the tremendous gifts my parents gave me. Unfortunately it came along with one of their tremendous ungifts.

cut for vague-ish descriptions of abuse )

I've tried to get over this a bunch of times, between occasional plucking away at a bass while listening to music and trying to start a band with friends and having all of one rehearsal and keeping a tuba in my cramped dorm room for years while basically never touching it and all manner of other things. None of them took; I couldn't do it. I actually bought the equipment and software that I'm going to use to DJ tonight in order to try getting over this with electronic composition, which hasn't worked for me yet, but has a little for my brother.  Two things are different this time:
  • I'm back in therapy dealing with other abuse, and weirdly (or maybe not-so-weirdly), that's helped me manage my feelings around this and take care of myself while also pushing myself.
  • I'm doing this for CATGIRL FUCKING GOTH RAVE --- I'm not doing this (just) for me, I am doing this as a gift to all of my friends.
Typically the gift I've given is finding a bunch of real DJs and getting them to entertain my friends, and running all of the logisitics, because that's the sort of thing I genuinely like doing. This year, for a host of reasons, there weren't enough people to make music, and for a while I was worried we wouldn't really have anyone at all. Luckily a couple of good friends are back to spin, and I'm filling in a slot --- at 10 PM tonight, I'm going to get in front of a bunch of people I care about, and share music with them, and after the party's over, I'm going to upload it, and share it with all of you, mistakes and all, and if you take the time to listen to it, I hope you enjoy it.

And if, after I'm done, I find myself on the floor crying, this time it won't be because I'm afraid. <3
rax: (Twilight thinks Deleuze is on crack too.)
Random things:
  • This morning Krinn convinced me not to write a mail client with the most effective threat I have ever had made to me. (Recently our office mail server upgraded, and while in theory getting new webmail and access to Apple Mail and Outlook 2012 should make things better, each of those three clients has some critical flaw I can't chase down that makes me have to run a minimum of two of them at all times. I now understand why people write mail clients.) She said: "If you try to write a mail client, all of your Shaymins will stop smiling." I think I actually gasped. The image is SO SAD. Good work, Krinn. <3
  • I dreamt last night about being part of a band that did abstract process-as-performance shows where we dragged beanbag chairs on stage and had shitty rehearsals at various venues. It was awesome. I think the other members of the band were punk kids from our Pokemon league and from Albuquerque's. If no one has done this schtick yet, someone should. *finger on nose*
  • [personal profile] rushthatspeaks 's blog (and in particular this book review) got me thinking about generation ships --- which, if I understand correctly, are giant spaeships meant to serve as a habitat for many generations of human as they go off to colonize some new planet. I mean, I have never actually read a book or really consumed any media that used generation ships, because I'm a very sporadic consumer of science fiction, but the idea in and of itself makes sense and has some plausibility benefits over AND THEN THEY WOKE UP FROM CRYOSTASIS ON "EARTH, BUT WITH CAT PEOPLE" or what have you. What it did get me thinking about was Lyotard's essay "Can Thought Go On Without A Body?," which I am pretty sure is in The Inhuman. He talks about the difficulty of producing machines capable of thought, with the idea of sending them outside of the sphere of influence of the sun so that  thought will persist after the sun explodes/implodes/whatever. The reason he thinks it wouldn't work is that machines don't have gender --- that is, some difference between some fo them that has an almost religious inscrutability and implies the imbrication of the other with the self. Or something, I'm butchering his argument. The point is, if I take that argument at face value, I actually think generation ships could be the cure for gender, if that inscrutable difference as expressed in the people on the generation ship was the difference between the people who did and didn't stay on Earth. Maybe? I dunno. Been chewing on it, figured I'd share. (Also: Does gender need a cure? "Curing gender" is not unproblematic, but boy are there some interesting thought experiments and maybe stories in here. Haha. "Boy." GENDER WHY)
  • It turns out I can make fairly spicy lentil curry by just milling good black pepper into it until my arms are tired and then asking someone else to do the same. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D I have been trying and failing to make reasonable curry since losing nightshades from my diet, and apparently the trick was to start from an Ethiopian recipe and modify, rather than starting from an Indian one? Once I've got it at "I know what I'm doing" I will post a recipe or something.
  • I hate to do anything that even comes off as complaining about weather when I know a number of my friends are still stuck under snowdrifts, but on Sunday Rik and I walked for five miles or so and it was cold enough with the wind that my legs were covered in hives. Stupid cold allergy, and arguably, stupid me for walking five miles in shorts in February. It seems mostly better although my calves are still itchy as all get out, and while this is mostly not a huge deal I scratch in my sleep. :( I think as fashion disastery as this is, the best solution I have without spending money might be shorts, leg warmers, and sandals. ... ... ... how does one go about selecting good hiking pants? I don't know how to garment.
  • There's still a long-form life update email... coming... soon... ish? Hope y'all are doing well!
rax: (mudkip lieks you too <3)
Here's some stuff I am enjoying right now.
  • Salads. Man, until recently, I was not such a big fan of salad. And if I haven't had a large meal in a day yet, I will still sort of look at the salad and say "That's nice, where is my tofu or seitan." But getting fresh vegetables, finding accessories you actually like, picking a good dressing? These things make salad better. Also I think Krinn just has a magic touch or something, because it doesn't turn out that good when I make it. (Except that one I made in a wrap a couple of weeks ago. That was pretty astounding. I think I just got lucky, though.)
  • Camper Van Beethoven's New Roman Times. This comes to me by way of [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four via Rik, I'm pretty sure, and while Pitchfork thought it was kind of heavy-handed I don't agree with them for the most part. (Ok maybe the Might Makes Right track is a bit too heavy-handed.) It's really musically interesting in places (I would like to find more of what they call "math rock") and there's more subtlety to it than is apparent at first listen, both lyrically and musically. The main beef I have with is is that it's really best appreciated having Rik or someone else who really knows the album in the car with you on like hour 20 of a road trip explaining all of the references and the coherent story behind everything, and you're listening to everything he says and really taking it in because what else are you going to do as you drive through a town named Yellow in freaking Texas? And by the end you are like "Oh man all of this is so clever" but if someone had just handed you the album you would be like "What in the hells are they talking about why is the Unabomber working for Texas what what what." So this is a cautious recommendation, unless you like concept albums or can make Rik explain it to you, in which case oh my god go check this out right now. (They're playing in Arizona on the 13th. I am somewhat tempted.)
  • Jennifer Chung's debut novel Terroryaki!. Full disclosure: The author is a good friend of mine. This novel was the winner of last year's Three-Day Novel Contest, which by the way starts tomorrow if any of you have more free time than me. There are moments where you can tell that the first draft was written in three days, but despite this and even in part because of this it is a hilarious read, and an absolutely wonderful airplane antidote to spending hours and hours reading Marx and Marxists. It's fluffy, sure, but if it's a fluff sandwich, it's made with real bread, not the bleached-out stuff that rips all over when you try to sink your teeth in it. The main characters feel like real people, and make real decisions, and I found myself rooting for them and hoping for good things to happen to them, rather than for everyone's life to descend back into the misery that is the stuff of post/modern existence. And then, because it was fluff and not, like, Dubliners, everyone wasn't miserable at the end! And I smiled a lot and was energized to go read more Marxists! (Wendy Brown's States of Injury, while I don't agree with everything she says? Actually really good.) So if you're into that sort of thing, check it out. (Especially if you know Jen --- the characters very much aren't her but sometimes you can hear her voice coming through and it's awesome.)
  • [livejournal.com profile] pkmncollectors . I know, I know, this is a terrible habit --- and it is. But not only is pkmncollectors a great place to get playable cards at lower than market price, but it's a really friendly community and I've enjoyed all of my interactions with folks there. I... may start collecting Shaymins, and not (just) the cards. They're so cute! And someone was selling a mini-collection I could start from at absolutely super cheap! And... oh dear. Yeah. The community's really great, though, and I enjoy helping people there with card pricing the same way I enjoy helping people make fair trades at league.
  • Biking! Sure, it's 110F out or something, but you know what? I don't care. Tucson is an awesome town to bike in, and biking is awesome. I'm usually out three or four times a week --- as it cools down a little more and I get back in shape I will do some longer rides, too. Have I mentioned here yet that like half the roads in Tucson have bike lanes and don't have parking to the right of the bike lane? I am going to be so horribly spoiled when I move somewhere else. I mean sure I've seen a couple of nutty drivers but even biking on the roads people said were "super crowded and dangerous" feels lackadaisical compared to Boston or Bloomington. (Which everyone said was such a great bike town, and I guess it sort of was, but it wasn't really a bike commuting town so much as a bike racing town, which is less my thing. I don't want to go 100 miles or go ultra-stupid-fast around a track. I want to get to work without having to burn fossil fuels or sit on a bus full of strangers. Bonus points if I get exercise.)
  • Seattle. It's kind of too cold there (I only say this because I am acclimating to a desert) but beyond that it has good transit, it's a vegan paradise, it has Rik, it has a number of other friends, many of whom I think would be closer friends if I lived there... It's a place I feel like I could live. And might, when I'm done with graduate school. I would complain about the hills all the time because some of them are unpleasant just to walk up and I can't imagine they would be comfortable on a bike, and things are kind of spread out and I would have to do a lot of bike-bus chaining rather than being a five mile ride from everything like in Boston or at least a ten mile mostly flat ride from everything like here... but man the stuff would be worth going to, and I would already have something like one and a half or two social groups to spend time with on day one, and at least there's not much snow. Although if I lived in Seattle, where would I fly to when I wanted to go have fun for a weekend?
Hopefully y'all also have good things going on! I'd love to hear about them!
rax: (Rainbow Dash: She can summon rainbows yo)
  • While the last week of work was grueling and I am glad that I have a long weekend after it, spending a few days in the office with my coworkers actually made me feel really enthusiastic about my job. It's sufficiently positive that I am surprised about it --- I mean, I like my job or I wouldn't try to do it while also doing graduate school, but some of that is obviously about the money, maintaining a standard of living, being able to visit partners and friends and family, &c. Maybe less of it was about the money than I thought --- I'm really psyched for the next few months of work I have to do and think I can make a difference in my company's workflow and ultimately in the quality of its product and service offerings. Whoah. Is this what it feels like to sell out? It feels kinda nice.
  • At the same time I have also been doing some academic reading! Not as much as I should be, perhaps, but the last couple of days I have been working through Zoontologies, a collection of animal studies essays edited by Cary Wolfe. For the most part I really like what I've read, but one of the essays made me somewhat uncomfortable. Paul Patton's "Language, Power, and the Training of Horses" attempts to unravel the ethical and power dynamics of training horses for dressage, raising interesting questions about what constitutes non-violence and whether it's possible to have a non-violent relationship between the parts of the dressage assemblage. Uncomfortably, while I read him as saying "Yes, this is possible" when he says that "we do well to attend to the re­quirements of the hierarchical and communicative relations in which we live, and … certain kinds of emphasis on equality in all contexts are not only misleading but dangerous," (96-7) the essay has ultimately made me less convinced rather than more than dressage can be engaged in ethically. (That said, that quote is really thought-provoking in other directions...) I'm not about to start crusading against dressage, as even if I did know enough dressage to talk about it seriously there are other things that I think deserve my attention more [0]. But I'm not sure the takeaway I got from the article was what I was supposed to get, and I am not sure what to make of that either. Something to chew on. Anyone else read this and have thoughts?
  • I'm currently in a suburb of Atlanta visiting [livejournal.com profile] bossgoji and it is pretty awesome! I had never had grilled scallions before, but they are pretty excellent! Also the trees here are subtly different in a way that's a teensy bit uncanny valley, but otherwise Indiana has prepared me decently well for Georgia, at least at a surface level. I'm not weirded out by the spacing of houses, or the types of cars around, or those sorts of things in a way I would have been five or ten years ago. I like getting to learn new places! Is there anything I should check out in the Atlanta area while I am here?
  • Once I hit Georgia in the car, I felt obligated to put on some For Squirrels. If you don't know what I'm talking about, they were an early 90s band out of Florida that put out one self-produced album and one label-produced album and then half of them died in a car accident in Georgia on the way back from CBGB. Their label-produced album, Example, is amazing and while it's a bold statement I think popular music today would be measurably better if they had made music for another twenty years. (The survivors did put out Never Bet The Devil Your Head as Subrosa; I like it, but it's not the same.) Since I discovered them in like 1998 I've been trying to get my hands on a legit copy of Baypath Rd, the album they put out on their own; a couple of weeks ago, I finally did. I had heard some of the tracks before, but had never listened to it all the way through until I got it. Its sound is absolutely wonderful; its lyrics are way further from my politics than I remembered, including a bunch of religious imagery and an explicitly anti-polyamory message. I'm not really sure what to make of this. It is a Thing. I am still glad I have it and going to frame it and cherish it and sometimes listen to it and cry. For Squirrels, man, just, For Squirrels.
  • In other musical news, maybe it will grow on me, but at the moment I'm sure glad I only paid 99 cents for that new Lady Gaga album.
unneccessarily snarky vegan footnote )
rax: (ADORAVUL[PIX])
Maybe I'll try to do one of these "things that aren't class notes or tasklists" posts a week.
  • So far, new housemate is awesome, and there's ample space in the house so I don't feel trod upon but there's someone else to talk to periodically. That's basically ideal. (Also, I think his alarm is going off at... 11 AM. Damn, crazy nightshifted people. (edited to add: I think he turned it off and went back to sleep. :P )) A mutual friend of ours is considering taking the remaining room --- I'm trying not to get too excited but it would basically be perfect. 
  • This weekend featured great conversations with people I hold dear, which is always excellent. It may even feature more, although I expect today to be mostly homework with a side of housework; I spent more time yesterday on social than I had initially budgeted.
  • I tried to run errands this morning, but stores aren't open at 9 AM on a Sunday. I guess everyone else is either hung over or at church. Well, I wanna buy some stuff! Come on, people! (In particular I am out of soy sauce and do not wish to pay Bloomingfoods prices when I could just go to the Asian grocery. I wil stop by on my way home from class in the next couple of days, I guess.)
  • My Pokédex is now at 441; if I have time this evening I will be making a list of everything I need, and how I can go about getting it. I'll probably post that here just in case any of you are curious. I guess when I hit 493, I... stop? Or I could do a Nuzlocke run (you can read the rules here since Nuzlocke.com is down right now) which for those of you unfamiliar with pokemon is basically like doing a NetHack conduct run, which as you may know I have some history with. I'm still proud of that NetHack game. Orrrrr... has anyone heard anything about whether the new Final Fantasy for the DS is any good? (Old-style RPGs seem to be really good for my sanity in small to middling doses. I don't ask questions, I do the things that make me not lose my shit.)
  • Spent last Thursday night and Friday in Ohio for work, and worked like 18 hours or something while I was there; have to do it again this week but with more hours (probably like 22-24). On the plus side that means anyone who calls me on Wednesday can kindly fuck off speak to another representative. And I should be able to get ahead on homework this week which will be awesome.
  • Leaves are starting to change, and I should probably buy a rake. Potentially dumb question: Do homeowners rake and dispose of all of their leaves, rather than letting them degrade into the soil, for appearance reasons? Or is there a good reason to make them go away? Also uh I should figure out how to go about being an adult who has a fireplace. This is not a skill I have ever learned. I can start a fire --- I did go to MIT after all --- but I'm not good at things like "keeping it contained in a fireplace" or "having it go out without the use of fire extinguishers. (I even managed "starting a charcoal grill without lighter fluid because furries are not prepared for things" a couple of months ago, although we didn't really get it to meat-cooking heat until someone brought lighter fluid. By that point I had eaten, go team vegan.)
  • I should also buy a snow shovel, so that I don't get caught without one when everyone else is trying to buy one. I do have an electric snowblower, but something that's not terribly effective.
  • I think for the time being "not drinking" has changed from "I don't seem to be doing this anymore" to a rule; I dunno if it will stick or not. I'm pretty sure this is the opposite of what one is supposed to do in grad school, but so is having a tech job, and so is owning a house, so whatever.
  • A coworker got me listening to Kate Miller-Heidke, who has less bass in her music than is usually my preference but an amazing voice and a great sense of timing. Here's a link to one of her songs I'm fond of --- sorry for the boring video but I couldn't find a non-live version. As a side benefit, having iTunes do the Genius thing with her is finding stuff I had forgotten about but really like (is "Little Boots" your fault, Rik?). I have no idea how said coworker can like Miller-Heidke so much and hate Kate Bush, though.
  • Speaking of music, have you all heard the new Of Montreal album? I found it much easier to get into than Skeletal Lamping (or even Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse) but a little more heavy-handed or less nuanced or something? The tracks with Janelle Monae are particularly enjoyable, and I should track down some of her stuff. I have not been listening to it non-stop to try to get it like I did with the two albums previously mentioned, but it was hardly a waste of $5.

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