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Saturday, November 27, 2004 
the incredibles
so i've been collecting incredibles toys from mcdonald's. i've eaten half a dozen happy meals in the month of november, and have four toys to show for it (i've now gotten doubles of two toys, which i gave to drbmd for his birthday). terrible, i know; i own super size me on dvd. but the toys are pretty damn cool.

it started a couple weeks ago because i was hanging with drbmd & he hadn't eaten dinner. there's a 24-hour mcdonald's only a few blocks from his house, so that's where he was going. i was hungry but had already eaten dinner hours earlier, so, remembering that mcdonald's was doing a happy meal tie-in with the incredibles, i decided to try a happy meal. i got an elastigirl toy (though mcd calls her "mrs. incredible") & it was actually pretty cool. so even though i hadn't seen the movie yet (though i planned to and expected to like it, being a superhero geek), my collector's mode kicked in & pretty soon i kept going back in order to get more toys. best case i'll probably only end up with 5-6 out of the 8 (at least without getting the rest on ebay or something), but they are genuinely good toys for the low cost. and once this promotion is over i'll probably go many, many months before eating another mcdonald's burger.

well today is my father's birthday, so we all went out for lunch, then dad & i went to the movies to finally see the incredibles.

wow! the movie was everything i could've hoped it would be. i would rank the incredibles as being on par with any superhero film i've seen. it's total formula (the characters are clearly modeled after the fantastic four, for just one example), but they absolutely nailed that formula. this is textbook superheroics. having only seen it once, i'm not totally comfortable it's "better" than truly great superhero films like spider-man (1 or 2) or the original burton batman. but i can say this movie this movie is great for all the reasons the raimi spider-man movies are: fantastic action sequences combined with very strong character work. and it's PG, as opposed to all my superhero favorites which are all PG-13.

and i haven't even mentioned the animation. needless to say, it's "exquisite", to borrow a term from connie's review.

this also tells me i need to watch the iron giant, which i'd always heard was good, and was adapted/directed by brad bird, the same man who wrote & directed the incredibles.

(fyi: the toys i have so far are [in order of coolness] violet, frozone, elastigirl, and syndrome. if the sequence shown on the happy meal site is correct, i can hopefully still pick up the incredibile at least, though it's probably too late to get mr incredible, dash, or jack-jack. or maybe i should stop eating all that solidifed fat & get them all on ebay... there are already 81 auctions up, many of which are for the full set [and several of which have "buy it now" options, even]. that would be the healthiest option, but i've managed to make it this far without even signing up for ebay. i'm not sure why; it's probably inevitable that someday i'll have to do it. but it's also xmastime, so maybe i should just hint around that a full set of incredibles happy meal toys might be a good ebay gift...)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 
made for walkin'
check out my new boots:

okay, not exactly my boots; that's actually a catalog image... but yes, i have a new pair of FUBU boots (i think i might have to call them "fuboots"). apparently this style is called the "thug-2". i truly have thug boots. true pimpin'.

my father used to sell shoes many years ago, and to this day he enjoys going shoe shopping. so on sunday, knowing that winter is coming and that i had no boots for such weather, dad suggested we go out boot shopping for an xmas present.

i would've been quite happy to go to the army/navy surplus as i historically have, but local army/navy stores have been slowly disappearing over the years, and the one in my 'hood is apparently closed sundays. so en route to castleton, where there might still be an army/navy store (but i don't remember if it's still there), dad suggested we go to designer shoe warehouse. dsw doesn't have combat boots but they have lots of work boots (and thug boots, apparently)... i spotted these little fubu numbers and the rest is history.

Monday, November 22, 2004 
mixing the vomit
remember in my post about the philip glass/bang on a can show, i mentioned that bobby vomit jammed out for awhile on my equipment after the show? well, here's an mp3 of that recording.

equipment used:
one numark ttx1 turntable
kp2 kaoss pad
vcr hooked into the mixer, playing cartoon network (rurouni kenshin and futurama)

records used:
beans - shock city maverick (sides a & b)
dev/null - e boyz revenge: 230 bpm eternal 12"

Saturday, November 20, 2004 
start the riot
so a few of us went to bw3 in broad ripple for drbmd's birthday. as far as sportsbar-type establishments go, bw3 isn't too bad... the place is swarming with tv screens, but they have quite the beer selection (and woodchuck cider on tap, a huge plus for me), & last night i discovered the joy of wings with thai sauce... today i'm already craving some more thai wings and another 23oz glass of draft cider. but anyway...

bw3 was chosen in part because drbmd wanted to watch the pacers/pistons game. i generally don't like sports, but it was his birthday after all, & i think we made a good choice of places to go. what a game it was! people are already calling it one of the worst moments in nba history... and i actually saw it live. to drbmd: happy birthday. love: the nba.

pacers were up the whole game, by as much as 19 at some points, so it seemed like it would be an uneventful game, but then things went crazy. pacers were still up 15 points. ron artest (pacers) fouled ben wallace (pistons), who flew off the handle, shoved & charged at artest. things seemed to be over, and artest was actually lying down giving an interview, when drunken pistons fans started throwing shit, and artest got hit by a flying beer. that sent him over the line and he charged into the stands. then everything went fucking nuts. lots of footage of fans throwing shit, angry ballers bringing the smackdown.

i thought pistons fans waited until after the game to riot! last night they couldn't wait, & the game was called with 45 seconds still on the clock.

this story, and its repercussions (including long suspensions and possible criminal charges against players and fans) will probably dominate sports news for several cycles. there's a lot of outrage over what happened, but realistically this will probably fuel interest in the nba (and especially the pacers/pistons rivalry). americans like violent sports: football, hockey, war, etc.

so there you have it: an actual sports entry. don't get used to it, because there might never be another.

Friday, November 19, 2004 
happy birthday, dr. butcher m.d.
happy birthday, you jerk-ass dork.

hurry up and figure out where you want to party tonight, yo.

Thursday, November 18, 2004 
my computer is fixed (or at least, it is back to the way it was behaving a month ago, rather than being on the verge of death). i went to compusa at lunch & bought a new heatsink, then barry put it in once i got home. everything seems to be running smoothly and, more importantly, quietly. so i'm all set, at least until i try to upgrade more parts (my burner has been flaky since i installed xp, for example, refusing to work with any program but windows itself, & i think i might need to buy a new one to get full functionality).

i also just got back from walgreens, where we picked up leland's prescription heart medicine (diltiazem). poor baby has to take 1/2 pill everyday, and he's a very finicky eater so i don't think i can trick him by sneaking it into his food. (i just tried to give him some moist food with his pill in it, & i don't think he ate a bite. he got up & ran over as soon as i opened the can, but once i put the bowl down he didn't eat any. he doesn't seem to eat much of anything but dry cat food.) barry has volunteered to be the one who has to force leland to take his medicine each day... and i'll probably let barry do it because i'm a big wuss about things like that. the idea of holding his head, forcing his mouth open, and then forcing him to swallow something just seems to mean, even if it is for his own good. i just wish there were a more pleasant way, without having to go through some online specialty pharmacy (even with a good-tasting suspension, we'd still likely have to force his mouth open to dose him).

but the sites i looked through about diltiazem at work (sorry, no links) sounded promising, saying that it can prevent or reverse hardening of his heart cells, as well as increase blood flow & make the heart's job easier. so i'm really happy to give it to him; i just wish there were a way to do it that wasn't so violent.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 
down for the recount
the past week's blog entries have dwelt on my own drama (taking my cat to the vet, tracking down my web traffic, & my ailing computer), and even when i've mentioned current events, it's been out of personal interest (namely, some of my favorite musicians passing away). so in the awful event that anyone relies on this blog for current events (please, don't), here's a quick recap of what's been going on.

more white house resignations! the most prominent is colin powell, the token moderate, the most globally popular cabinet member. he's gone, and with him (unless bush has some very surprising appointments in store) goes any chance that the president will hear from advisors who might actually disagree on something... the moderates are gone; only the crazies and sycophants are left. in powell's place, bush has promoted condolezza rice. like alberto gonzalez for attorney general, it's more of a promotion than an appointment: a reward to rice for spectacular ass-kissing. because it seems like i need a link for every news item, here's a quote from a nytimes editorial:

Our concern about Ms. Rice is not that she makes the president feel comfortable. It's that as national security adviser, she seemed to tell him what he wanted to hear about decisions he'd already made, rather than what he needed to know to make sound judgments in the first place.

this trend of rewarding the yes-men and kicking out any actual thinkers is not limited to the white house. it's happening in the cia as well. porter goss, newly appointed partisan head of the cia, is kicking ass and taking names: the names of agents who dared to disagree with bush, that is, & those names are being written on pink slips. many people agree that the cia needed fixing. but how can the fix for politiced, faulty intelligence be... further politicizing the intelligence?

the story of the recounts is going, despite the attempts of some to shut down the discussion and smear those who would mention it (i heard a particularly disgusting piece on npr last week that cherry-picked all the weakest arguments, as though nothing went even remotely wrong... i believe this was on all things considered, proving that in fact not all things are considered on that show). conservatives are all over keith olbermann for daring to cover the story on tv.

ohio has still barely started counting provisional ballots, the bulk of which will almost undoubtedly go to kerry. it might not be enough to flip ohio, but it will narrow the margin considerably. 9th district house race:

Democrats sought the recount, which will begin in Dubois County, because of a voting machine glitch in Franklin County that wrongly tabulated straight-ticket Democratic votes as Libertarian votes. Although that county is not in the 9th District, the same kind of voting machines also were used in three counties in the 9th -- Ripley, Scott and Switzerland.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 
beep the speaker
my computer is making awful sounds! and i mean that in the bad way! it emits this terrible racket that sounds like a detuned engine revving up, & every so often it will start to sound this little two-tone "siren": it sounds sort of like a midi ambulance. click here to listen!

right now we suspect that the grinding engine noise is a fan that is dying, most likely the heat sink. and i think the alarm noise is my motherboard trying to tell me that my cpu is overheating (or at least it thinks it's overheating).

the siren keeps becoming more frequent: in fact this computer has been on maybe 20 minutes and the siren just started up again! looks like we're for some good times trying to upgrade some of my hardware...

cat scratch fever
just got back from taking leland for his cardiac ultrasound. my hopes were fulfilled and his results were the best possible given the circumstances. he does seem to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but it's in the very early stages (the dr explained that "some purists" in the field would not even diagnose it as hcm yet [for reasons i might or might not explain in a future post], so you know it's pretty mild at this point).

everyone commented on how wonderfully behaved he was. i had been told that the procedure takes 20-30 minutes (at one point i even heard 30-40), but leland was so well-behaved he was done in 10! i had just settled down in the lobby, watched a couple minutes of animal planet on the tv, & started leafing through the paper when the dr's assistant came out, cat in arms, & said "i wish they were all this easy." i've been him through a lot recently (three vet visits in two weeks!) & he has a little bald spot on his belly to show for it, but he's a trooper. he even still gets in his carrier voluntarily.

i still have to talk to the other vet about possible treatment (the dr i saw today even used the word "if" so it's possible leland doesn't even need treatment at this point, though i'd rather be safe).

so yeah, he has some potential health problems: early stages of heart disease and he's a carrier for FeLV (the virus is in his body, but seems to be latent: no infection), but he's in remarkable health considering. you'd never know he was sick (not without spending a few hundred bucks).

all in all it's still a little depressing, but considering how much worse it could have been, overall i'm relieved.

Monday, November 15, 2004 
rip john balance
RIP john balance

damn, it was bad enough that odb died (though i think i was more upset by the slew of online haters who couldn't wait 5 minutes before trying to tear the man down), but now john balance? founding member of coil, & collaborator with groups like throbbing gristle, psychic tv, current 93, nurse with would, zos kia, etc...

and they died on the same day! alas.

Sunday, November 14, 2004 
bang on a glass
last night avant garde classical ensemble bang on a can came to town with special guest philip glass. i'd known about it for months but i hadn't been planning to go because the tickets start at $25, which is a bit stiff. but bobby vomit called me the other night & asked me if i wanted to go, insisting that he was going even if he went alone. now that i had someone to go with, it was hard to resist the chance to go see a living legend like philip glass. so we went.

bobby vomit, his cousin matt turd, & i arrived mere minutes before the 8pm showtime, & still had to wait in line at the box office. of course, at the box office they try to sell you the most expensive tickets unless you specifically ask for cheaper (which we did). this netted us tickets for the second terrace. when we got up there the show had already begun so we had to wait a couple minutes for bang on a can to finish their first number before the usher would seat us. i thought the seats were good for being on the second terrace: we weren't exactly close to the stage, but the view was very clear.

bang on a can played two more pieces: a michael gordon piece called "light is calling" with some electronic sounds (it sounded almost like an ambient electronic composition: very cool) & a louis andriessen piece called "workers union": this was a very intricate piece full of point & counterpoint & these guys rocked it hard: about as it's possible to rock when you're playing classical instruments like cello, double bass, clarinets, etc. i'm not sure i'd ever been to a show with musicians who has so much classical training playing something so "different".

then came the intermission: at least 20 minutes if not 30 or more. i stayed in my seat for awhile, then bobby v & i went outside for a cigarette. we got back to our seats just in the nick of time, as philip glass was walking onstage. first he played solo on the piano (playing what he called "four metamorphoses", explaining that he was not going to play what was on the program). the composition was exactly what i've come to expect from glass: repetitice, subtle, changing very slowly after time. bv asked me after the show if it was "the best piano piece i'd heard all year" & i had to admit that it was, though that's not very stiff competition considering how few piano pieces i generally hear. really good stuff, but i'm used to glass having more of an organy electronic sound.

next the members of bang on a can came back onstage & joined glass in playing his "music in similar motion". excellent. this was closer to the sound i was expecting: glass on keys, alongside these supremely talented performers, playing an interesting piece full of gradual movement. at one point i looked over & bobby v was literally trembling: i had to check to make sure he wasn't having a seizure.

after that glass left the stage. i guess he wasn't needed for the next piece: his own "music in fifths". despite his absence, this was possibly my favorite piece of the night.

they had suggested that "music in fifths" was the final number of the night, but obviously that was false because they walked offstage but the house lights didn't come up. i've never understood the point of encores: if you plan to play a piece, just put it in your normal set. don't yank the audience around by pretending the show is over & make them "demand" that you come back for more. but within moments they were back onstage, again with philip glass. bv and matt were very excited to hear that the encore would be "closing" from glassworks. again, it was very good. then we were on our way home.

during the ride home there was much mocking of the guitar player: onstage he looked more like he belonged with def leppard or something. he would make what matt called "eddie van halen" moves, which would make sense if he did them at emphasis points, but they seemed to be at totally random intervals. the moves were amusing & distracting, but i couldn't really hear him much so i didn't mind much. matt claimed that as a guitar player he could hear the guitar more clearly, & it was distracting for him, arguing that shouldn't even have a guitar. i can see his point, but it didn't bug me all that much really. and criticisms of the guitar & the high price tags (cds were apparently $20! i might've bought one if they were $15 or less), we all agreed it was a great show & we'd enjoyed it.

then we came back to my house for a bit: bobby vomit rocked out using my gear (one ttx1 turntable, the vcr audio, & my kp2 kaoss pad). i recorded about 40mins of it, with some beautiful moments where he would randomly pull some fantastic audio off of the cartoon network: at one point he switched over right as one character said "bad taste"! fantastic (& i didn't have to pay $25 to see it). then they were off, & i watched adult swim & real sex before turning in for bed.

rip odb
ashes to ashes: dirt mcrgirt

Friday, November 12, 2004 
my waste
nearly a year after pimpdaddysupreme first invited me, i have finally given in & joined myspace. of course, no luck so far finding the mysterious source of the traffic.

my profile is here so go ahead & add me if you like associating with losers.

traffic jam
831 requests for "we will iraq you" since 8pm last night. 7.3GB transferred in the past 13 hours. referrer logs suggest the traffic might be coming from somewhere on myspace (but as for where exactly, i don't know). i have never signed up for myspace myself, so i don't know who on there might've discovered it, and the search function on myspace is not very useful. maybe the link is circulating its way through myspace blogs?

Thursday, November 11, 2004 
i've recruited pan's (my web host's) help in tracking down the source of the "we will iraq you" traffic. in order to find the source he'll have to turn on the "referrer" logs (which are off by default). he'll have to reset my logs to 0 in order to do that, so don't call me a liar if you check the stats & there are only a few hundred hits. checking the log right now (before he resets it) shows 10,300 requests for "we will iraq you".

on a lark i was visiting my site stats & came across something unusual: i seemed to be doing quite a lot of traffic.

the stats page resets whenever the server is rebooted, so they only go as far back as 11/02. right now, it says i've been transfering an average of 9.93GB per day. usually i peak at 1GB/day max! that's a lot of traffic. scrolling down further, i discovered that all this traffic seems to be for one specific file: /stallio_-_we_will_iraq_you.mp3. in fact right now it says i've gotten 10,072 requests for that file since november 2.

that's an insane amount of traffic for this site! so i googled "we will iraq you" looking for some popular site that might be linked to the file, resulting in those numbers. i couldn't find any specific site, but i did find a couple interesting things.

i'm not the only person to have thought of the "we will iraq you" joke: various bloggers, message board posters, & the like have included the phrase somewhere in their online ramblings. one or two have even explicitly talked of reworking the queen song. i seem to be the only one to have done the actual splicing. apparently there's a conservative parody writer named paul silhan who released a clinton song with the same name in 1998. though since his work has been prominently featured on the rush limbaugh show, and he doesn't sample at all, i reckon his piece is quite different than mine.

i also found a site called active opposition with audio & video galleries as well as news & activist info. that site has an mp3 on the site (currently attributed to "artist unknown") called "we will iraq you". turns out that yes, it's my track... but it's a shorter "radio edit" version without the 7 minutes of c-span noise at the end. i don't know who made this edit. i'm pretty sure i didn't do it. i did give ctephin permission to create such an edit, but then ctephin would know who to credit... is that what happened, but the attribution got lost? did someone else somewhere on the net do it, sensing intuitively that the track doesn't really need all those c-span callers at the end? i don't know, but since creating that edit was a good idea anyway, shortly i will upload a copy of it to the site here for folks to download (properly credited this time). [update: file is now avaiable here]

my only theory right now about the high traffic is that the track has picked up a lot of buzz by being referenced in the INtake article and being played on the free zone last saturday. but that doesn't really account for the stats: neither of those link to the file, so someone would still have to search & find the file through the site, but the main page & mp3 pages would have a lot of hits too. i suspect something else is going on, but i'm not sure what.

cat scan
leland is now safely at home, & i am back in the office to finish off my workday. woohoo.

apparently leland has an abnormally high heartrate. his x-rays were pretty clean (no signs of heart enlargement, tumors, etc), but the rapid heart & the heart murmur suggest that he might have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (hcm). so he still needs an ultrasound for a proper diagnosis. i've left a voicemail with the recommended specialist; if possible i will set up an appt for next week sometime.

the fact that he's otherwise asymptomatic is a good sign & suggests that if he does have hcm, it's likely to still be mild, so he could still live a fairly normal life. on the other hand, hcm is known to kill quite suddenly in some cases.

it all comes down to the ultrasound. they'll have to shave a bit of his belly for that.

i'm supposed to find out about blood test results tomorrow.

cat's pajamas
got up early this morning to take leland to the vet for his x-rays & blood tests. he's there now, likely unhappy or at least confused, but the vet said he hoped to be done by noonish, at which point i will go pick him up & take him back home... then return to the office.

apparently he is not getting an ultrasound today. there was some confusion about this last time: they technically don't do ultrasounds in-house at this place (the paw patch in broad ripple), although sometimes they'll have an outside crew come in to do it. i was under the impression that this was what i was scheduling for, but apparently not. the good news is that this will cut $200+ off my bill for today! that's cool. but the bad news is that, of course, if it's determined that leland still needs an ultrasound after today (which is likely), i will still need to set up another appt to do so... most likely i will take him to noah's pet hospital, where they do ultrasounds and have a specialist in-house, as opposed to bringing him back to the paw patch yet again.

anyway, hopefully i'll know more in a few hours. i have no idea how long it takes for feline blood tests to come back: if they have a lab in house, they might have the results for me when i pick him up, but having dealt with human doctors & human blood tests before, i know better than to count on that.

the poor kitty, stuck in the doctor's office all morning...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 
out with the old, in with the ewwwww
there was much rejoicing yesterday when it was announced that the holy roller john ashcroft had resigned as attorney general. that rejoicing lasted about 24 hours.

now bush has appointed white house counsel alberto gonzalez as the new attorney general. this is the guy who wrote some very controversial memos that attempted to justify brutal interrogation techniques in iraq & afghanistan (using ideas similar to the ones that were just struck down by a federal judge):

Democrats will probably press Gonzales during Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on the legal advice he and the Justice Department gave Bush regarding people captured in the war on terrorism.

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the panel should be tough on Gonzales.

"The road from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib was paved with the memos of Gonzales," Ratner said. Photos of inmates at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad showed them being mistreated by U.S. guards.

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that lawmakers should probe Gonzales's beliefs about the Guantanamo Bay detentions, the legality of torture and the constitutionality of the Patriot Act.

Sixteen provisions of the act, including some that deal with wiretaps and access to business records, will expire at the end of 2005 unless Congress renews them.

he's latino, which is good. but he has a seriously flawed sense of ethics and human rights. he probably won't annoint himself with oils or censor seminude statues in the justice department, but he probably won't do anything to preserve civil rights in this counrty (or throughout the world) either.

he still must be approved by the senate, but they approved ashcroft last time, so don't count on that meaning much.

rumors are also circulating that powell & rice will step down soon, and millions of fingers worldwide are crossed in the hopes that rumsfeld will resign also.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004 
down for the count
the election is over. the actual vote counting is still underway. & if the US is going to go around the world inflicting our vision of "democracy" on other countries whether they like it or not, it seems obvious that we need to lead by example & make sure all the votes are counted. the chances of the final vote counts flipping the election for kerry are slim (and you'd better believe the gop would fight with all its might to ensure that doesn't happen), but that's not really the point.

(i keep having visions of the Count from sesame street inspecting punchcards... "that's one vote for kerry, ah ha ha! two votes for kerry, ah ha ha!" maybe that's just me. or maybe that would make for a kickass episode of elmo's world.)

if you listen to the mainstream corporate media, they might tell you how amazingly "clean" this election was. but that's not really true, except possibly by 2000 standards. yes, so far there have been no federal lawsuits filed by the candidates. the election will most likely not be decided by the supreme court this time around. but there are lawsuits aplenty, with tons of allegations and stories of voter fraud, voter intimidation, & all-around voter irregularities.

so far, the only member of the mainstream media to acknowledge all this is keith olbermann at msnbc. he's been doing some great blogging about voter irregularities, such as strange results in many florida counties, which show bush winning significant numbers of democrats (some counties even have more ballots cast than actual voters... thousands more). or the fact that everyone was so quick to accept that exit polls were wrong, despite the fact that exit polls have always been considered fairly reliable, to the point that observers would shout "fraud!" if exit polls were that far off in other countries. and greg palast has been talking a lot about "spoilage": the whopping three percent of votes in a standard election that are simply thrown away due to "voter error": undervotes, overvotes, chads of the hanging & pregnant persuasions.

so far, if you want to hear about these stories you must research them yourself, or frequent the liberal blogs & news sites. but with olbermann, a major pundit on a tv network, pushing the story, the rest of the corporate media might get shamed into covering the story as well. ohio results are confirmed on november 12, if i'm not mistaken. so pay attention.

Monday, November 08, 2004 
good show, bad turnout.

the previous two times we hosted shows at the bloomington playwrights project, our shows were scheduled while indiana university was on break, so there were no kids in town to attend our shows. this time, we made sure our show would happen while the students were still in town, but it was all put together at the last possible minute, with no time for promotion, and once again people didn't come out. i'm convinced there were at least 30+ people there during the earlier hours, but 10 of them were performers & many of those brought guests. if the guests had paid to get in, i do believe we would've broken even, but as it is we lost money on the show.

the performances were all great, though, & i believe everyhing was recorded to dat, so although nobody was there, many might still get the chance to enjoy the music in the form of mp3s.

first up was miim vs humdrum, a "versus" set between humdrum's dj & experimental personas, performed on turntables and bent electronics. the humdrum style of bending involves taking simple RCA cables plugged into the mixer and touching them to open spots on various consumer electronics: the current produces a range of odd sounds with no soldering required. so this was somewhere between harsh noise & bangin' hardcore records. good stuff, straddling the line between a dj set & a live PA.

i played second: a well-received half hour of political noise. i played some election returns, a little rave master, some porn for kerry, and some quotes from the awesome movie network, with lots of digital noise & loops. i thought it went pretty well (a good sign, since often when i'm improvising a performance i can't tell how it went until i hear the recording), & as soon as i looped my finale sample of "i'm mad as hell and i'm not gonna take it anymore" people started cheering... kids like the anger, apparently.

after me came a dj set by amy v, better known as one half of local digital hardcore group the people bomb. slammin' hardcore & breakcore. people dug it.

then came firestorm viper, performing on turntables & laptop, though at first he was having some technical problems with the laptop. another set that straddled the line between dj set & live PA: i couldn't tell how much of it was original material, but he clearly played at least a bit of both. good stuff, though, and he seemed to bring a big chunk of the crowd with him... strange because he only moved here to indiana from seattle a few months ago. dark jungle, ragga, hardcore, & more.

mark tester, the other half of the people bomb, followed. another dj set of breakcore & other dark, sick music. what else is there to say? we had a few djs, they all played similar styles, & they were all pretty good. peeps were dancing.

then came a leaner, meaner murkbox, our prodigal son who currently lives in tennessee. he started with some new material before going back & playing a bunch of his hits. he told me later that he'd played so much older material because he forgot to bring his external hard drive, which had even more new stuff on it, but you couldn't really tell during the performance; it all sounded good, & it was cool to hear some of those tracks again on a loud system. the set also ran longer than anticipated since bobby vomit was still setting up while murky was scheduled to be wrapping up.

bobby vomit augmented his usual turntable hijinks with the addition of a casio sk-10: harsh noise & fm tones. one of his turntables was a unit designed for hunting: portable, with a megaphone-loudspeaker that he would point in different directions to change the acoustics of his performance. good stuff as usual.

there was a break of a few minutes while backstatic set up. he played without a computer for a change (due, as always, to technical problems with the computer), but that didn't impair his set that i could tell: hard, slow rhythms and rhymes from the man with the gas-mask microphone. his vocals were mixed too quietly (problem with the monitors) but beyond that it was yet another successful performance. too bad everyone but the core crew had left by this point, because we were having a night of great music!

unszene took the stage for the penultimate performance of the night. unszene plated a stripped down set of circuit bent noise: he had a simple box of bent circuits, controlled with switches, touch sensors, and a light sensor that he triggered with a flashlight. this was all run through an fx processor and several petals to build up some deep, heavy tones. fun sounds, & fun to watch.

dr. butcher m.d. rounded off the night with a set of drunken breaks & electro. lots of tomfoolery & showboating such as air guitar solos and playing his computer keyboard with his tongue, and plenty of false stops.

so it was poorly attended, but well documented. murkbox had four disposable cameras that he farmed out for others to document the show with: i had one of those, so i took approximately 27 photographs, although it could be days or more before i get to see them. there were also other cameras, video cameras, & like i mentioned earlier, all the audio was recorded to dat. much fun was had, & much falafel was eaten.

big ups to all the performers, to matt for the use of his PA, & to jon for the phat hookup on falafel sandwiches & hummus. stay tuned: mp3s and photos will hopefully start to turn up soon, & i'll post links as they become available.

Friday, November 05, 2004 
cat's cradle
leland has no physical eye damage, and the vet suspected that his conjunctivitis was just an infection he probably picked up last week when he snuck out of the house for a few hours. i have some antibiotic ointment, which sounds very awkward to apply (it's an ointment & we have to wipe it into his eyelid) but should clear his infection right up. so that's the good news.

the bad news is that apparently leland has a level 3 heart murmur.

so i set up another appointment for next week, to get an x-ray, an ultrasound, & a multipurpose blood test (which will also check his FeLV status). they gave me an estimate of $479. there's no way to know whether the murmur is serious until the tests have been run (though he's definitely not lethargic, which is a good sign).

like i said in my previous post, he seems pretty healthy aside from the squinting, so i'm not too concerned just yet. but he could end up on heart medication for the rest of his life, & it potentially could be (or get) pretty bad.

cat's eye
i think my poor kitty has conjunctivitis.

on wednesday night i noticed leland had an eye booger, a bit of discharge in the corner of his left eye. i didn't think too much of it but later noticed that he also seemed to be squinting a bit in that eye.

yesterday i checked again & he was still squinting. barry had noticed it too. & on further inspection i saw that the corner of his eye was red & swollen. having had conjunctivitis this year, i recognized the symptoms enough that i'm somewhat confident in that diagnosis. other than the squinting or occasional rubbing his eye, he isn't acting sick in the least, though.

i did some research on feline conjunctivitis & apparently the most common causes are viral infections. the #1 most common cause is apparently feline herpes virus, which is much like human herpes in that it's not curable: you can merely treat the symptoms (and perhaps most importantly, is not transferrable to humans). and outbreaks apparently go away somewhat quickly even without treatment. i thought this was a good sign because i'm pretty busy this weekend, what with the craptacular show tomorrow night in bloomington.

but as i kept reading, site after site recommended getting him to the vet either "promptly", or worse, "immediately". while it might not be that bad, it could deteriorate & cause long-term discomfort or worse. and when i came across a site that said a cat with conjunctivitis "should be checked for feline leukemia virus", i knew i needed to get him to the vet.

leland hasn't been to the vet in about 3 years, since he was neutered. at the time, i was informed that he had tested positive for feline leukemia virus. FeLV is a feline blood disease (again, sorta contagious for cats, but not humans) that can cause immunodeficiency problems in some cats. or some cats fight off the infection permanently & never get sick. others live asymptomatically as carriers for years, if not live out their whole lives normally. leland has never seemed sick; occasionally he'll sneeze or vomit on the floor, but what cat doesn't? so i never got around to taking him back in to be retested, to see if he's even still infected.

this is the first time he's ever seemed "sick" in any fashion (& like i say, he's behaving normally except for the squinting, so he's clearly not too sick). i just hope this is a minor matter, & not a sign that FeLV is finally taking its toll on him.

we have an appointment for 5:15 today at a new vet, so by this evening i should have a better idea what's going on, or at least have some eye drops for him, though i'm sure administering the eye drops won't be much fun...

Thursday, November 04, 2004 
what is wrong with blogger?
i checked my blog this morning & it had reverted to just showing my css template again! ack!

[update: i'm at a serious loss for what's causing this. i'm pretty sure it's some kind of blogger publishing error (since when blogger is busy or buggy it doesn't always publish completely or correctly), but have no idea how to fix it. right now it appears that all my blog pages are normal except for the 10/17/2004 archive page... and that page appears to be there in its entirety, but when i view it i see the html code instead of the actual page... anyone know what causes that? i've tried updating the doctype but it doesn't want to stick. maybe later today blogger traffic will slow down & it will publish normally.]

[second update: i have figured it out. my folder structure shifted around during the server move, & i had fixed it in one place in blogger but not in others. it is now fixed throughout.]

Wednesday, November 03, 2004 
after being agitated all day (& much of last night) about the election, i'm going to take this therapist's advice and relax tonight, read some comics & watch some tv (fun tv, not cnn!).

if you're upset about the elections (& a lot of people are), read it. you're going through the grieving process (the same as you would after any major loss) & there are tips there for how to cope. it's from the dailykos diaries, though the top several posts on the main page are worth reading for some perspective.

actually, i'd already been planning to relax tonight for some semimindless fun, but this gives me an excuse to post about it!

now it begins
i listened to the kerry concession speech. i think he did it too soon: the votes aren't even close to all being counted yet, & there's an outside chance he will still win the election despite having given a concession speech (in which case, he might actually look better for having conceded than if he had fought vigorously). but realistically, the election is probably over & even if he does end up with more votes in ohio and/or florida, we won't necessarily hear about it in the media.

i could spend a lot of time speculating on "what went wrong?" most liberal blogs will probably have posts like that. i won't write a whole lot about my own thoughts because others have already gotten most of the important points. like kristof in the nytimes:

I'm writing this on tenterhooks on Tuesday, without knowing the election results. But whether John Kerry's supporters are now celebrating or seeking asylum abroad, they should be feeling wretched about the millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses who ended up voting - utterly against their own interests - for Republican candidates.

One of the Republican Party's major successes over the last few decades has been to persuade many of the working poor to vote for tax breaks for billionaires. Democrats are still effective on bread-and-butter issues like health care, but they come across in much of America as arrogant and out of touch the moment the discussion shifts to values.

or eric alterman:

The problem is just this: Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the “reality-based community” say or believe about anything.

They don’t care that Iraq is turning into murderous quicksand and a killing field for our children. They don’t care that the Bush presidency has made us less safe by creating more terrorists, inspiring more anti-American hatred and refusing to engage in the hard work that would be necessary to make a meaningful dent in our myriad vulnerabilities at home. They don’t care that he has mortgaged our children’s future to give trillions to the wealthiest among us. They don’t care that the economy continues to hemorrhage well-paying jobs and replace them with Wal-Mart; that the number without health insurance is over forty million and rising. They don’t care that Medicare premiums are rising to fund the coffers of pharmaceutical companies. They don’t care that the air they breathe and the water they drink is being slowly poisoned and though they call themselves conservatives, they even don’t care that the size of the government and its share of our national income has increased by roughly a quarter in just four years. This is not a world of rational debate and issue preference.

we already knew that large majorities of bush supporters believe things that are clearly false. bush managed to bring these people out to the polls en masse. the "sleeper issue" of the election was "moral issues" (read: hating abortion and hating gays).

but from what i've read so far, i think kos had the best advice: remember goldwater.

winners never quit. quitters never win.
now the official news is that kerry will concede at 1pm EST. it will be interesting to see what happens if the votes in ohio and/or florida turn out in kerry's favor but kerry has already conceded. likely that wouldn't even be reported in the major media.

now we wait until 1 o'clock to see if kerry actually does concede. i don't think he should, but maybe he thinks it's "for the best"... if the situation were reversed, there is no way in hell that bush would be conceding at this point.

kos puts it in perspective (emphasis mine):

Bush is currently leading in Ohio by 136,221

If there are 250,000 provisional ballots outstanding. The highest number I've seen.

And 90% of those ballots are good, as they were in 2000. That leaves 225,000 votes.

If 85% of those ballots prove to be for Kerry, about the number that Gore got in 2000. That leaves us with 191,250, giving us a lead of 55,029.

If there are only 200,000 provisionals, following the same calculation would leave us with a lead of 16,779.

If the provisional ballots are only 175,000 that leaves us with a deficit of -2,346 that will leaves us in a position to get an automatic statewide recount.

Or, to put it another way, an automatic recount is triggered by a margin of 0.25% or between 13,000 and 16,000 votes.

either this will come down to counting the votes (what a novel concept!) or it will be decided by the courts once again.

hurry up and wait
it's not over & it might not be for days. kerry is behind but not out yet. ohio might not be decided for days, and there's something really fishy about the florida numbers even though the media has called florida for bush (why do the official florida returns have a zero in the turnout column for all the most populous counties? what about the potential 1.6 million uncounted absentee ballots in florida? michael moore also has one hell of a long list of florida voter irregularities).

and is it a coincidence that the two most-conservative networks (fox & msnbc) have called ohio for bush but nobody else will?

some people have already given up. mercifully, kerry isn't one of them. he still has a chance, though i'd be lying if i said it looked good.

now we wait, either for the rest of the votes to be counted, or for someone to usurp the process.

in local news, indiana has elected its first republican governor since evan bayh took office in '88. but bayh himself is going strong, absolutely crushing his opponent marvin scott (scott was the only person on earth who thought he could unseat bayh). bayh is a democrat, but arguably a DINO. my representative julia carson has kept her seat in the house, after a race that flipped a few times as results came in.

ps. blogger is giving me some weird error where sometimes instead of seeing my blog you will see my css stylesheet... wtf? so last night's 2am has not been visible apparently.

it's not over, but it's messy
well if kerry wins, it won't be by a landslide.

msnbc & fox have called ohio for bush. without ohio, kerry cannot win. msnbc is even spinning this as "kerry campaign refuses to concede ohio". here's their photo caption for the story:

Supporters of President Bush cheer early Wednesday morning in Washington after the television networks declared Bush the winner in Florida and Ohio.

note how it says "the television networks"... the obvious reading would be that all the networks have called ohio for bush but kerry is in denial.

but that's not true. as of right now, cnn has called ohio officially "too close to call". abc & cbs haven't called it either. cnn is talking quite a bit about absentee & provisional ballots, which won't be counted until ten days after election day.

there are perhaps a million uncounted absentees in florida too, but for some reason nobody hesitated to project bush for florida.

it is way past my bedtime & i need to sleep. when i awake, i do not expect this to be over. but hopefully, by then msnbc will have pulled ohio from the bush column.

even if bush does win ohio, there is still the possibility of a tie...

this is ugly. i hope i can settle down enough to fall asleep.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004 
i voted!
i sincerely hope all my readers are registered & plan to vote today if you haven't already.

in past elections here in indiana i voted using big old '70s-style voting machines: flip the lever, baby. this year i used a paper scantron ballot: fill in those ovals!

i'm not sure if the ballot difference is simply because i'm now voting in a different precinct, or because of changes in local election procedures.

i got to my polling place around 8:20. i overheard one of the poll workers say something like "from 6:30 to 7:15 the machine wasn't counting ballots. they had to come in & fix it" (i'm not sure if she said 7:15 or 8:15).

i was voter #76. i don't know if that includes the people who voted around 6:30 or not, but there weren't many people there so i suspect they had already run those ballots through again.

this was my first time voting for a democrat for president! in past elections i voted third party... i was so dissatisfied with the clintonesque "neo-liberalism" (aka "business-friendly democrats") that i refused to identify with the democratic party. so in my first couple elections i voted libertarian. i now see the irony in that: the DLC might have had its hands in big business's pockets, but the libertarian party is f'n radical in their belief that corporations can do whatever the hell they like. i do still think voting for a third party can be noble (since those parties need the federal funding, which is primarily why i voted lib in the first place), but the libertarian economic platform just scares me.

in 2000, i voted for nader. no, i don't regret it. but this year i voted kerry, obviously.

get out & vote, bitches!

Monday, November 01, 2004 
what a halloweekend!

my saturday show at bubba's got a lot of press. it was at least mentioned in all the major local newspapers, one radio station, & two tv stations. this show was an all-ages benefit for the families of two police officers who recently died in the line of duty. i was scheduled to play in between all the other acts, for a total of six 10-minute sets.

for some reason, people didn't come out en masse. we probably had at most 30 people in there at once (& that was early on), with maybe 60 people showing up total over the course of the night. but it was a good time nonetheless. the people were all cool, & the music was undeniably diverse, from the roots music of jethro easyfields to the '80s-style showmanship of niswander rock theater to the dark psychedelic rock of pharmakon to the harsh experiments of TEC & noiseman433.

and i sold one cd: to someone who i later learned was a "venture capitalist [...] who was particularly impressed with il Troubadore, Pharmakon and stAllio and [...] is interested in helping develop these acts and the Indianapolis music scene." at one point this venture capitalist brought in three pizzas from next door to share. i'm not sure if he bought them, simply carried them, or what. they were tasty, but they were all "meat-lover's" or the equivalent, so the vegetarians (like bobby vomit & his crew) didn't get to eat any...

bubba's is an unusual venue, with mini bowling (where the pins are small & there is no machine to reset them; you had to walk down the lane & put them back manually) & pool tables. il troubadore decided to eschew the PA & play their set acoustic, so naturally right after they started a new group of kids arrived & started bowling, loudly stomping down the lanes after each throw. boom crash opera.

anyway, we apparently earned $151 for the families of the fallen officers, played a good show, & hung out in good company. not the kind of turnout i'd hoped for, but not a waste of time either.

sunday night was the asobi sexsu show hosted by the free zone. quite a contrast from the night before. the place was packed! we had 100 people through the door & probably half or more of them were already there when i kicked off the show at 9pm. when i was onstage performing i could very clearly hear the din of all the bar conversation. it was almost as loud as my monitors. i was tempted to turn my sound way up. but when i finished my set, i got a loud round of applause, so maybe that was just an acoustical problem & the audience could hear me just fine... the other bands sounded quite loud in front of the speakers, & i performed at the same sound level i'd sound-checked at, so right now i'm going with the idea that my monitors just should've been louder, since the sound from the real speakers doesn't reach the stage.

lunar event played a great set (i thought they sounded tighter than when i heard them at the red room during mms, but maybe my mms opinion was tainted by my uneasiness with the crowd there), & asobi sexsu sounded pretty good as well. not something i'd want to buy & listen to often, but an enjoyable live set. after they finished, everyone rushed to the merch table to buy their stuff. nobody bought any stAllio! swag, but i did trade t-shirts with derek from lunar event.

i got to meet (however briefly) a couple people i'd only communicated with online, & i handed a free cd to steve hammer (if you aren't local, hammer is the main music reporter & columnist at nuvo, a tabloid weekly akin to the village voice, cleveland scene, etc (it was the only paper in that market for years until intake came onto the scene recently).

and chandler paid me $50! i don't think i've been paid that much for a show since the very first bt show in muncie back in january 2001!

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