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Clearly, the custom Sufjan drawing is the best perk. BABBY PENGUINS FOR EVERYONE

I have volunteered at just one OpenHatch event, and it was awesome. I rambled about different paths to software and taught a whole lot of people how to submit pull requests on github. My sister has attended one too, in Boston, and brought people and learned a bunch.

songs that dented my brain this year

maiki’s post on musical influence made me think about what tracks made a dent in my brain this year, too. I posted a big comment that ended up being more for me than for him, so here it is on my own blaugh, plus some more. I think that most of these songs actually aren’t from this year, but this is about what I’ve discovered.

I learned about M.I.A. relatively recently too (I’d heard Paper Planes, of course, but hadn’t followed her until earlier this year, when my coworker Shaun said “this solange song marks a Moment, just like how last year mia’s bad girls marked a Moment.” I was like, “bad girls?” and he was like, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE VIDEO FOR BAD GIRLS” and we watched it immediately and it blew my mind. Incidentally, I had thought that the aforementioned Solange track had not dented my brain, but pulling up the video now, maybe it did, at least for a while, there–the instagrammed-out visuals, the ultra style, the odd juxtaposition of the funky dancing with the slow movement of the song, that motherfucking british flag umbrella, the sunwashed mellowness of the sound, the smoothness of everything). So, onward to what I was trying to say in the first place: I love love love Bad Girls, and I especially love the truly epic official behind-the-scenes mini-documentary. “She’s actually crazy.” MIA’s out there, and graceful, and she’s got this fire in her eyes, and she is so so so feminine without ever begging for anything. It’s totally different from so many of the (especially female) singers/artists out there, whose only mode of interaction with the rest of the world is in a pleading manner. She’s fascinating to me. I think she blew my mind so much because she represents an alternative way to be feminine, or something.

On San Francisco:

  • Google Google Apps Apps, which makes everyone profoundly uncomfortable. Especially me. I live in the mission right now. Every time I walk home from the bart station, I pass these spraypainted words on the sidewalk on 24th at Valencia: “FUCK TECHIES,” because that’s where buses drop people off. I cannot even talk about this track ironically. Or unironically. Or maybe even at all. I try to talk about it (I do, I really do, to anyone that will listen, and to lots of people who won’t) and flail, hard.

  • Bucket Betch by Double Duchess, somehow irresistible in its joyful insistence. “We’re poppin’ up and takin’ over the place.” Something about the noise and the clapping and the jingle and distorted vocals and the San Francisco sunshine is happy and expressive and free and summer-y: “wait for it wait for it: HOORAY!” Pure exuberance!

What Spotify showed me:

  • Amon Tobin – Kitchen Sink (Clark Remix) – I like the soundscape of this. Magic and faeries in a warehouse with cogs and gears, machining grotesque forms of twisted metal, pixie dust detritus scattered across the floor. I don’t even know what kind of music this is or how I can find more. Spotify was like “since you listened to [something else, which I wish I remembered right now, because it would be a clue about what the heck genre of music this is at all], you should try this track” and I was like “okay” and then I was like “omg what is this I love it”

  • We’ll Begin Tomorrow by Release The Sunbird. Lisa made me a playlist of all the music SHE had run into when she started using Spotify (“I haven’t listened to new music for like ten years because that’s how long it’s been since I’ve walked into music stores and looked at CDs! It turns out all these artists are still making music, and look at all these new artists!”)

  • Another one from Lisa: Jolie Coquine by Caravan Palace. Turns out there is a wealth of artists doing old-timey-sounding blendy new music. Then there’s also Catgroove by Parov Stelar, who we didn’t see in concert when they were here, somehow.

Also from friends:

  • Holdin on by Flume. I really like Flume. This makes me think of springtime and possibilities and the little fluttery notes that go up are like birds taking wing. I’m begging Dawn to help me choreograph a belly dance routine to this song. Hip shakin’ mama!!!! I mean really.

  • Speaking of belly dance, Dawn showed me this gateway song: Simarik by Tarkan. It’s accessible and catchy and so so fun. She taught me a beginner’s routine to this. Months later, I got to bust it out at <a href="http://www.aynurgirginwesten.com/"Aynur‘s Gold Party, draped in gold beads. This happens to be one of the biggest Turkish pop songs ever, and so the universe aligned and everything worked out. I totally practiced in my head over and over again in my zipcar on the way to the gold party from k&a’s wedding, so much so that I missed my exit. I’ve had a lot of fun to this song.

  • The, uh, club version of the Wankelmut remix of the Asaf Avidan song, Reckoning Song (One Day). I had never seen or heard the original until JUST NOW, researching this comment.

  • This Get Low cover by Dan Henig which I cannot stop singing at the top of my lungs. This is a good one to really bellow.

  • Atish at robot heart on friday night this year. Obviously, burning man dented my brain rather severely. Atish also does monthly mixes. We go and find him every month at Tutu Tuesday.

I have given up on categorizing (and again, these are all things that are older than this year, but I just found out about them):

  • Major Lazer – ‘Get Free’ feat. Amber. First heard in a yoga class at work, started hearing it everywhere after that.

  • Aquarium by Nosaj Thing.

  • Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode lol.

  • Konstantine by Something Corporate, a band I’d heard of when my suitemate in 8b26 in 2000 watched her friend perform on Letterman for the first time, but I never knew this song, and I fell so hard and so fast, threw my entire body into it, overwhelmed by everything, longing, the unknown, the unknowable.

  • The album Far Away Trains Passing By, by Ulrich Schnauss, which is Dennis’ chill music, especially for when there’s traffic going across the bay bridge. Here’s knuddelmaus, which I really love. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, so I put this and Lullatone on.

“I guess this comment is really more for me than for you,” I said to maiki, in my comment on his blog. “In that case,” I continued, “I might as well list the other things that particularly dented my brain, especially earlier this year: End of Time by Beyonce, Sail by AWOLnation, Dream Catcher by Unicorn Kid ……..”

And, very recently:

  • Loud Pipes as well as everything else by Ratatat (like Montanita, and the chord progression in Gettysburg (there’s something so emotional about it, and sad, and uplifting too), but also seriously everything else by them too). I really like this a lot. A lot. That guitar. And a particular chunkiness to the beat. It makes you kind of slam yourself around, and I like slamming myself around.

  • Still Night by Pretty Lights. This track has really, really dented my brain in the last two weeks. For a little while, that five-note riff was the only constant thing in my head, reminding me that I was a person. Saw ’em at the bill graham civic auditorium. Had a grand time. Light show with tons of gold spotlights on a disco ball, shards of all our brains scattered all over the room, lasers making shapes on the walls. They released giant giant balloons, and watching them float up and down over the crowd made us feel like we were underwater, undulating, pulsing, alive. We danced like crazy.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things. Oh! Buzzcut Season by Lorde, which I already wrote about. Can’t Hold Us because in Amsterdam, there was a night where we went to like 5 bars and this song played at ALL OF THEM and it was demonstrated to me so clearly that there’s some kind of river of ideas connecting at least these parts of the world that I got to get mixed up in. I only mention Blurred Lines because it was so big, made so many people mad, there were these awesome parodies, and when we went to Burning Man, Mustafa had to find internet to check on his what rhymes with hug.me website, which totally blew up and got written up and stuff!

I was about to write “DUH, there’s Madness,” and I even knew what I was going to write about walking home to Euc house for two weeks through Stern Grove and the eucalyptus trees with this in my ears but it turns out that was in SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR, not this year like I thought. There has to be a cutoff somewhere. I did still listen to this song a bunch this year, I think.

I’ll probably be unable to resist continuing to add to this, especially now that it’s some kind of stream-of-consciousness free-association look back at this year.

This has been quite a year for me.

What a year.

Riot’s music video for Jinx

I’m totally fascinated by Riot’s strategies for hyping new content. This is an actual song, with a custom-animated music video, and the vocals are done by Agnete Kjølsrud, who is from a Norwegian rock band ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djerv_(band) , and what?

She has wikipedia pages in other languages, but not on the english wikipedia. Her link on the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_heavy_metal_singers goes to her older band, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Alpha

I’m fascinated because the LoL community still feels sort of small enough to touch. I kind of love the intersection between different forms of mass media now. Riot is brilliant: they wrote interesting stories, inspired fans to do crazy things, then harnessed the massive creative energy from fans with the Summoner Showcase, and now I feel like it’s gone even further–rather than simply relying on fans to make awesome homages, they’ve incorporated this style as part of their entire marketing strategy. I think they are brilliant.

It TOTALLY WORKED, here, for me. I haven’t played LoL for ages, but I’m looking at http://oce.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/champions-skins/champion-reveal/jinx-loose-cannon-revealed now. Plus… I mean come on, she’s a female anarchist marksman. Why does that work? It seems so easy to rope me in. I guess we’re all products of our culture, so our psychology is predictable. Here we are, now; entertain us.

Seriously, though, why does this ‘lightning-blasting anarchist femme unpredictable’ trope on a female character work for me? I didn’t sigh and turn away, because: because what? Because even though she’s in a bikini top, at least she doesn’t have enormous boobs, and that’s actually really noteworthy? Because I’m fascinated by stories about women who are feminine but not? “Do you ever wanna catch me? Can you try a little harder?” she asks, and I guess I’m trying really hard to find something in there about gender/power, though LoL has male characters that have a “catch me if you can” attitude, too. I’m fascinated about what this says about us, and where we’re at in terms of video game culture, and being delighted that kill bill-type female chaos-bringers are in vogue.

i live in a hologram with you

I am obsessed with this album. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Heroine

There are so many gems in the lyrics. They all break my heart. I love the way “I’m kinda tired of being told to throw my hands up in the air, so there” is old and young and something about her voice, her voice, her voice.

I can’t stop listening to Buzzcut Season. The octave piano on the off-beat already feels like an old friend.

I am so heartbroken by this song. Here are the lyrics I hear. I looked them up after I typed them out. What I hear (recorded below) is slightly wrong, indicated by corrections in brackets for no really good reason other than I think it’s kind of entertaining to write down what I thought the lyrics were before I knew what they are in canon.

I remember when your head caught flame.
It kissed your scalp and caressed your brain.
(I remember when your head caught flame.)
Well, you left. Baby, it’s okay. [Actual lyric: “‘Well,’ you laughed, ‘baby it’s okay'”]
It’s buzzcut season anyway.
(Well you left. Baby, it’s okay.)

Explosions on tv, and all the girls with heads inside a dream.
So now we live beside the pool, where everything is good.

We ride the bus with the knees pulled in.
People should see how we’re living.
(We ride the bus with the knees pulled in.)
Shut my eyes to the song that plaaaays. (that plaaays.)
Sometimes this has a hot, sweet taste.
(Shut my eyes to the song that plays.)

The men up on the news, they try to tell us all that we will lose,
but it’s so easy, in this blue, where everything is good.

And I’ll never go home again.
Place the call, feel it start, favorite friend.
And nothing’s wrong, but nothing’s true: [Actual lyric: “nothing’s wrong when nothing’s true”]
I live in a hologram with you.

Where all the things that we do for fun [Actual lyric: “We’re all the things that we do for fun”]
cannot be, let it go, [Actual lyric: “And I’ll breathe, and it goes”]
play along, make-believe, it’s hyper-real
but I live in a hologram with you.

The cold earth, the burnt-out taste; [Actual lyric: “The cola, the burnt-out taste”]
I’m the one you tell your fears to.
There’ll never be enough of us.

Explo-
sions on
tv, and all the girls with heads
inside
a dream
so now we live
beside
the pool
where everything is good

And i’ll never go home again
place the call, feel it start, favorite friend
And nothing’s wrong but nothing’s true
i live in a hologram with you

where all the things that we do for fun
cannot be, let it go,
play along, make-believe, it’s hyper-real
but I live in a hologram with you.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 2.53.20 PM

silent frisco at ocean beach 9/29/13

Have you been to a silent disco? I highly, highly recommend it. It’s surreal when you take off your headphones and see everyone jamming out to the sound of silence, or to waves crashing. Here’s a neat writeup of the concept (and its history, and a bit about how he got there) by one of the founders of Silent Frisco: http://ignite.me/articles/artist-interviews/robbie-kowal-aka-motion-potion-talks-silent-disco/#sthash.rQe2IBKA.dpuf

At sunset, someone came up to me and said “your shirt matches the sky exactly. Get someone to take a picture of you.” She was awesome and full of joy. She passed us again when we were all leaving, and said “thank you for being here.” So I looked for myself in some of the party promoter’s pictures:

silent frisco ocean beach - judy in the waves

silent frisco ocean beach - tiny judy in the back

If only finding myself were really that easy.

I had a ton of fun. I wasn’t there for very long, and I got totally distracted by RUNNING INTO THE OCEAN so I missed the end of the set that I came to see, but it was all worth it because RUNNING INTO THE OCEAN. Irene turned to me in the waves and said, “it’s so great to be alive.”

It’s so great to be alive.

dance with me // google glass

Sarah set up her Google Glass yesterday.

Here’s one of my favorite ribbon dance moves as seen by other people: https://plus.google.com/106689835670274491358/posts/4EaaLXWKKgs

And here it is as seen by me: https://plus.google.com/106689835670274491358/posts/aUWg5YAafke

The move that I’m referring to is the sequence that I repeat twice: two circles waving my arms upwards and reaching up while kicking my left leg back, skipping forward, and then two circles waving my arms downwards and skipping backwards, and then one bounce of the ribbons at the bottom, and then ending with a big flourish upward again, holding the ribbons mid-flight so they float for a beat. I love it so much because of the ecstasy of reaching up, like I’m reaching for the sun, like my chest can’t possibly contain my heart, like my ribbons are an expression of everything inside me rushing out to meet the day.

I remember working so hard on that move in dance class. I remember our dance teacher barking at us to reach up higher, to jump higher, to kick back higher. I remember her admonishing us to bend down lower, and when I bent down lower, my sweat would fly off of my forehead and smack on the floor. I remember how good it felt to jump as high as I could, and then hear my teacher’s voice, and then jump higher, somehow, on the next round. I remember flying. I remember the afternoon sunlight spilling across the wooden floor through the door, the warm rhomboid glow reflected in the mirror. I remember when class ended and we were sweaty and red-faced and panting, and it was so hot, the south bay in mid-summer, and our teacher pulled out her giant fan and we got tiny cups of water from the water jug in the tiny hallway and went to the fan and lolled. I remember feeling alive.

Imagine twelve people doing that move in a circle, facing inward. The result is a pulsing amorphous flower that flashes impossibly into existence and scatters apart just as suddenly. It’s a swirling vortex, and it’s a heart beating, and it’s unbridled joy and creation and I remember watching home videos of our performances on VHS, breathless. I know now that I don’t have to wait for instructions from anyone else to make that happen again. Will you make a giant flower with me? Will you dance with me? I can start calling around and seeing if I can order more of these ribbons, or we could figure out how to make more. I think it’s silk, but I’m not sure.

=D

Glass is fun! I know it’s really early, and I know I could achieve the same effect by strapping my phone to my forehead, but it’s still kind of dazzling to try on.

I really want to see first-person views of all kinds of dancing! I want to see 32 fouettés en tournant. Someone please get my favorite ballerina, Maria Kochetkova, a pair of Glass!!! How can we conspire to make this happen?! I love her Instagram posts, so we know she loves social media… maybe we can ask if she’d wear Glass for a day? Has this already happened in the world?? We live in San Francisco, so surely someone has already done this. Right?

Sarah wants to make lip-reading software that subtitles people speaking to you in real time. I want to make all kinds of things, things like twitter handles (or league of legends names!) showing up on top of peoples’ heads (one of the things I miss most about WoW is how easy it is to stay in touch with someone: their name is above their head, and if you danced on the Ironforge bridge together for no reason other than you were both wearing ridiculous outfits, you could just add them).

But I also want to make something that traces peoples’ hands as they wave them around, of course. More ribbons. It won’t be the same unless I find some kind of amazing physics engine and learn about wind and fluid dynamics (since in real life the ribbon doesn’t do exactly what your hand traces–there’s gravity and momentum and flinging the ribbon out to catch in the air and such) … but I should at least start with tracing people’s hands. Maybe lots of Glass apps already do that (many of the early Kinect apps did that).

And maybe waving your arms around to learn to write Chinese, which was always a dream of mine for the Kinect.

There’s a lot.

Also I went to Burning Man. I need to write a lot about it.

I am not the same.