Untimely

No, not a demise, just my writing schedule is untimely. Sorry for the long silence. I’ve had a difficult time trying to convince myself to write, given the current status of things. I’d wake up in the morning, look at Twitter or listen to radio news, and invariably hear something that made me either shake my head or shout “SON OF A BITCH!” and then any sense of normalcy would disappear. It’s hard to write about current events when all you can think is “I cannot fucking beLIEVE this crap.” I mean, I could say that about a lot of things, and my readers would understand; it just gets kind of repetitive and redundant after a while. See what I did there? Anyway.

I’ve been all right, I suppose, except my blood glucose readings fell off a cliff a while ago and now I’m consistently in what the doctor calls an “uncontrolled” state. There will be a test soon to see whether there’s a reason for this beyond my lack of discipline with food and exercise. Beyond that, work is, y’know, work, and there hasn’t been anything unpleasant happening outside of work.

I haven’t been playing music much, but I have been listening and hearing it. A couple of weekends ago I saw one of my heroes, John Gorka, in Ann Arbor, which lifted my spirits considerably. This past weekend I saw Annie Capps and her band in Lake Orion, which was highly entertaining, and she’s such a sweetheart it gives me hope in the world, a little bit. The next night, the young and talented Emma Guzman released her first CD to the cheers and rapt attention of a large audience at the Dovetail coffeehouse in Warren, and I was happy to be there. Keep track of her name; she could go places.

The weather has been pretty nice, except when it has been cold and rainy which covers a lot of days in the last few weeks. Not far to the south there was severe weather and summertime warmth, but we had, like, an inch of rain and temperatures suitable to late March only it was the first week of May. Oh well. Weather varies, y’know?

My main escape, which I’ve been utilizing a lot, is watching my Second Life avatar run around exploring things with his friends or solo, getting into trouble. He got attacked by a werewolf and now he’s getting a little shifty, if you know what I mean. Now if only I could get him out of SL and behind my lawn mower, my yard might look a little better….

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National Poetry Month

It’s the U.S. National Poetry Month (I think the U.K. has it in October?). I always have great intentions, and I always end up writing a post in late April that begins “I always have great intentions….” I haven’t come up with so much as a haiku. But I have been retweeting poems that I see and like on Twitter, so I’ll share them here. Most are images of the text of the poems, which is how the whole poem fits in a Tweet.

April 20 – Advice, by Langston Hughes

April 11 – Endymion, by Roz Kaveney

April 9 – In the Library, by Charles Simic

March 5 – Red Brocade, by Naomi Shihab Nye

February 17 – The Mower, by Philip Larkin

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Checklist

You’d think that importing the entries to WordPress was enough, but there’s still more to be done:

1. Most of my images that appeared in LJ posts were linked from my Flickr account. But a few weren’t, and were hosted in LJ’s media area. So, I have to move them to WordPress’s media area. I’ve done back to late 2013, so far.

2. YouTube links disappeared from the LJ posts I imported here a couple of years ago. So those have to be relocated — they’re still in the LJ posts, fortunately (except for any that have been deleted from YouTube). 24 April 2017 edit: This has been done back to the beginning of 2013.

For these two points, there’s a limit to how far back I’m willing to go. I mean, who reads old blog posts, especially if they’re largely sort of a diary?

3. I’ve been using my LJ OpenID as a user ID on Dreamwidth, where I have a reading account for a few former LJers who moved there. Apparently OpenID isn’t really a thing for WP, so I need to do something about that — either a new OpenID for DW, or an actual DW account.

4. Likewise, I’ve used my LJ email address on a few other sites. It redirects to my Yahoo address, since LJ doesn’t have real email capability. Need to update that.

5. Oh, crap, I have links lists on LJ in the sidebar. Gotta do something with those.

6. Finally there’s the big sayonara post for LJ. I’m trying to not think about that much at the moment. I read Ursula Vernon’s farewell to LJ; that’s what got me thinking about things, and what got me not wanting to think about things.

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There’s music, and then there’s music

A week ago, I played a show at my regular coffeehouse with a friend, a couple of singer/songwriters with guitars and caffeine. Tonight, I’m going with another friend to see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra play Mahler’s 10th symphony and a world premiere guitar concerto by Chris Brubeck, with Sharon Isbin as the soloist. If that ain’t going from the ridiculous to the sublime, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Last week’s show was pretty good. The friend was Hugo Cruz, and he was getting over a chest cold or allergies that laid him low the previous week. Still, he was able to sing his very ambitious melodies and that was awesome.

I did pretty well, too. The highlight in my set, to me, was an old song called “Come With,” written by New England songwriter David Buskin, which I learned off the radio back in the late 1970s. I played it all through college, and eventually left it while I was writing my own songs. But I didn’t forget it, and about three years ago I finally procured the album it came from, so I could learn it right—there’s a key change that I’d never mastered, now I have. Last Saturday was when it came together completely for the first time since college.

The only bummer was, we didn’t have many people in the audience. We had high quality people, at least.

I’ll probably write about tonight’s concert in the next few days, if you’re curious about tunes with lots of instruments and no words.

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Probably the next-to-last LJ post to be here in WP

Users are fleeing LiveJournal over Russian owners’ possible anti-LGBTQ terms (Daily Dot, 6 Apr 2017)

After Moving Servers to Russia, LiveJournal Bans ‘Political Solicitation’ (Global Voices, 4 Apr 2017)

Also worth noting: The English-language version of the new Terms of Service are labeled as not official; the official terms are in Russian, which I cannot read so therefore cannot really know what they mean.

Original h/t to Ursula Vernon (who’s also here), who has had one of the top 10 LJs for years, via her Twitter account. (No, we’re not friends, I’m just a fan.)

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Beginning of the end, or a new era, one of the two

I just discovered that LiveJournal has updated its terms of service. It’s a little confusing, since there is still an American operation that handles something (I couldn’t quite grasp what), but the new TOS specifically states that it aligns with the laws of the Russian Federation. OK, whiny American, everyone else has had to put up with American laws, but he can’t take it, huh. Well, have you read any American news lately related to Russians and our election last year? Maybe if it was a different country, but I’m a bit tentative about Russia.

But that’s not the biggest thing. The biggest thing may be the clause that says that I must “Mark Content estimated by Russian legislation as inappropriate for children (0 −18) as ‘adult material’ by using Service functions.”

You know what’s adult material over there? Any mention of LGBTQ (etc.) things in a positive or neutral light. If I ever wrote anything sexual, that would be one thing. But I don’t, and anything that’s just newsy or supportive is not deserving of censorship. If that’s the rules now, then I’m out.

LJ set it up so that users must accept the TOS in order to even see their journal, so I gritted my teeth and did so. This allowed me to transfer the last year’s worth of posts to WordPress, so everything is now here. I still need to move some photos so they’re hosted somewhere besides LJ. I will work on that in the next few days.

So, here I am. It should work out fine, no?

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Unsolicited promotional for Bandcamp.com

Last Friday (Feb. 3), the music site Bandcamp.com (where my CDs live digitally) had a special event. For any purchase made, Bandcamp would donate their proceeds of the sale to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). During the event, they sold a million dollars worth of music, which was a 550% increase over their usual Friday sales. Bandcamp’s share is approximately 12% of the proceeds of a sale, so that means the ACLU got a lotta money. Especially since around 400 acts donated their share of the take to the ACLU too. Here’s their report on it.

None of the sales were of my music. I don’t say this to make anyone feel bad. For a lot of reasons, I didn’t expect to sell any more than usual, and usual has been nothing for a while. It would’ve been a good time for me to release a new recording, but that didn’t happen. So I wasn’t going to be a contributor to the effort that way.

So I bought stuff from Bandcamp. I spent about $50 on five different CDs, mostly from local folks. Bandcamp mostly sells downloads, if you’re wondering, but they also sell CDs (with included downloads) if the artist has those, and other “merch” too. Once you buy, you can stream your purchases all you want. You can stream before buying, too, though only a few times.

I think Bandcamp is one of the most underrated music sites out there, to be honest. There’s so much out there, and it’s not flooded with mainstream pop stuff like all my other favorite sites from the past, like mp3.com and myspace before they fell apart.

It felt good to buy the CDs, not just for the ACLU angle, but this is the sort of purchase for myself that I tend to put off and never quite manage. That would be a shame, because now I have cool music I didn’t have before. And I helped kick some bucks to an organization that I think will do us some good, too.

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