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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in hackerguitar's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
10:53 pm
Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Originally posted by twbasketcase at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Originally posted by gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

Friday, September 30th, 2011
10:03 am
Inverse proportion
When you're a kid, preparation for playing live is usually somewhat fussy - you have to get dressed up, and there's waiting, and nervousness, and WOW BANG YOU'RE IN FRONT OF PEOPLE PLAYING and then, if things go well, there's cake.

When you're first playing professionally, you take too long to set up your gear. Doesn't matter whether it's a single horn or a big electric rig - you take too long, get too fussy. It happens because you're unsure of your playing, and you're trying to make preparation work as a substitute for the in-the-moment facility needed to play.

After a while, you simplify, and set up really fast. Come in, put the horn on a stand, put the guitar on a stand, plug in the amp, make sure the mic works, and go get a drink and chill before playing, because you want to play, not set up. That works pretty well but lacks nuance.

In time, you get to a place where you take just a bit more time - put everything together, do a soundcheck that's actually a mini-set, and then chill until it's time to play, and play and have fun. That's black-belt level - just go in, set up, and not worry about your level of playing. Performance anxiety? Always there. But not at a crippling level.

In my experience, I'd rather see a band that's taken less time to set up than more time. It bodes well for the music - they want to play. I think there's a law, or guideline, or something, that states that the quality of a band is inverse to the amount of time they take to set up.

Which makes two-day rockshow setups kind of suspect ;-)
Friday, February 18th, 2011
2:13 pm
Gulp of size
Tonight I record the music for a friend's 15-minute short film.

Yes, I have charts. Charts that I wrote myself. Charts that are, in point of fact, reasonably readable. Charts which I can actually play,

My nails are in decent shape for playing. My left-hand calluses are in reasonable shape.

The instrument's got new-ish strings and sort of plays in tune.

All of which is to say that conditions are notionally propitious....

....still, something about being on mic for posterity (as opposed to being on mic in a club playing for drinking people) increases the butterflies-in-the-stomach factor by an unspecified but very large factor....
Sunday, December 26th, 2010
8:50 pm
Boxing day
We thought about having leftovers from yesterday's excellent dinner, but realized we had fresh leeks and potatoes, so soup it is. Comfort food for days.

Played with friends last night, from about 7:30 to midnight; my finger is still a bit sore but it was worth it. It was a good way to spend the evening - we brought in new players and new music.

....and the cat has settled on my left leg on the ottoman, and is asleep and purring. The cat and I have an agreement: he sleeps on me and sheds on the furniture, purrs, and is generally an agreeable example of felinity; I, in return for services rendered, feed, pet, and praise him until he gets bored and either leaves or starts viewing hands and feet as playtoys. This is, of course, a perfectly satisfactory arrangement; he knows he's got the big monkeys wrapped around his finger.
Friday, September 24th, 2010
9:38 pm
Small graces
I recently received a book of music containing scores for several pieces of music I like very much. One of them is an Edward Gerhard piece called "5 to 99," which is an interesting piece with echoes of Skip James.

It sounds very difficult to play.

It's not.

I'm DELIGHTED. A weekend of work will pay off with a tune that really catches the ear.
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
10:40 pm
The head of Pat Metheny's "Missouri Uncompromised" is a *lot* more difficult than it sounds. It's going to require a re-read of the melody with the fingerings and the picking technique in mind. There are definitely a couple of pick-sweeps in the first couple of bars, and another in the last bar before the top.

Fortunately, I already use a really, really stiff pick and have reasonable technique, but I may drop the pick and play the head with fingers; that, at least, will obviate the need to dredge up tricks I haven't used in a long time.

Either way - pick or fingers - the tune is amazing and is chock-full of rich harmonic content; it's worth playing because there'd be no end to the invention possible with it.
Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
10:04 pm
Car's wrecked - got rear-ended on 101 by a knucklehead who wasn't paying attention, skidded 75-100 feet before shortening the trunk of the car. F=MA in action.

The car, while reliable as could be, wasn't worth much, and I guess we wind up with a new car payment, which I really didn't want.

It seems inequitable, but it appears to be How Things Work.
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
8:10 am
Niles Town Plaza opening this weekend
This weekend, the new town plaza opened downtown.  It's been fun - the first day was full of fine speeches and good music, organized by local singer-songwriter Michael McNevin.   Saturday's music started at 10am and continued through the day, with some excellent local singer-songwriters.   The day ended with a set from Bay Area old-time and bluegrass musicians Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, with the T Sisters singing backup.  Pictures will be forthcoming, but here's a pic of the T Sisters from their promo page - they are wonderfully talented and deserve much wider recognition.

It being a very nearly perfect day - bright, clear, sunny - we slathered on sunscreen and wore wide-brimmed hats, which helped with the sunburn, except where it didn't....which was above my beard, which I figured didn't need it, because it was shaded by a big hat.  So much for that theory.  My nose is bright red, and the sun never directly hit it - it was all reflected light. 

Fortunately, there was water provided by the city all day, which prevented dehydration, which would have been a bit hard to take on top of the sunburn. And the local businesses offered some pretty amazing lunches. My good friend Tom from SF came by just as the T Sisters were starting, and found them - and keynote act Laurie Lewis - fun and enjoyable.

Sunday is shaping up to be pretty amazing as well, with another group of outstanding musicians.

Noon -12:40 The Placebos
1:00 - 1:40 Writers In-The-Round w/ Stevie Coyle, Lila Nelson,
Michael McNevin
2:00 - 2:40 Calaveras
3:00 - 4:00 Kerbside + Special Guests

The new stage at the plaza is quite good for an outdoor venue, and is only hampered by the relatively diminutive size of the PA Michael was able to put together for the show.  The sound is good and the seating and such quite comfy - sitting on a blanket on the grass is not the worst way to spend a weekend afternoon, projects at home notwithstanding.

If you get the chance and are in the Bay Area, it's worth the visit - today's music should be great, with the restaurants offering good food (and free cake from the Railroad Museum), and general good cheer.
Sunday, January 31st, 2010
8:45 pm
Monday, January 11th, 2010
1:54 pm
F**k cancer
In memory of family and friends who have lost the battle with cancer; and in support of the ones who continue to conquer it!

Post this on your LJ if you know someone who has or had cancer.

Here's to the survivors, who soldier on, and to those whom cancer has claimed. 
Thursday, January 7th, 2010
9:00 pm
Monday, December 14th, 2009
3:03 pm
11:27 am
Friday, December 11th, 2009
12:26 pm
Has anyone had LASIK? Any experiences to report?
Thursday, December 10th, 2009
4:14 pm
Monday, December 7th, 2009
10:32 pm
Dead gear: the sequel
At my friend Jacline's request, I played a gig at the local art association with a local pianist, who was a monster player with great chops.

Of course, that's when some gear went belly-upCollapse )

Current Mood: frustrated
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
10:24 pm
Musicians have a good bit to think about - notably, what they're going to do when they're playing. Building a decent act is a full-time job.

Gear shouldn't die.  Period. But it does, way too often.Collapse )
Monday, November 23rd, 2009
5:16 pm
Assorted random:
Assorted random things I've discovered, after not posting for a bit:
  • Caffeine withdrawal hurts.   Muscle stiffness is not uncommon.  Ouch.
  • A chiminea which is not painted or otherwise varnished steams when a fire is built into it after a rain, and is rather eerie-looking late at night.
  • Bad memory in computers is more common than it used to be, and it's more expensive to fix.
  • VoIP is awesome.  DDWRT firmware is awesome.  The ability to use the latter to provide QoS is invaluable.
  • Four days off in November?  Hah.  I anticipate three work calls on T-day, minimum.   
Sunday, October 11th, 2009
10:12 pm
Sunday productiveness
We were very productive today.

  • Reorganized the spare room
  • Cleaned up the cables and got started on the computer room.  There is LOTS of stuff in there which will go - if you need a mouse, call me; I haz billions and billions.
  • We got the outside of the house ready for rain - that which must be covered, is now covered; that which much be under the half-roof is mostly there.   And the chiminea, still in need of a stand, is under a tarp to protect it from the rain.   I shall not be able to use it until the rains ease up.
  • Lined up all of the instruments and found three that I'd forgotten, two of which require some work and one of which is going to be good fun.
  • Got the first of the tables made from barrel-tops and barrel-staves and barrel-hoops together.  It's a bit spindly but sturdy and are appropriate for the patio. 
Go team getting things done.
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
3:58 pm
mentally exhausted today
Yesterday was a terrifically stressful day - our IP phones, provided by a third-party vendor who shall not be named, went out completely about 8:30 am.  Since we're a service business, and since phones represent the fount and source of all revenue, the outage required a tremendous amount of very manual coordination to implement the DR plan phone fallback and coverage plan.    IT was, as they usually are here, completely useless, so it fell to client-facing operations senior management to invoke a phone fallback and coverage plan. 

I was on a cellphone almost continuously for almost 12 hours, with the thing plugged in.   The longest stretch I had off the phone was when I swapped batteries at 2pm; that was blessed, but I nearly fell asleep. 

Right now I feel as thought there's not much brain activity going on.  I could use a nap.....why is it not 4:30 yet?
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