But first a little talking about talking about music

Once upon a long ago I used to merrily blog music. Yay, it was fun. Sometimes people would leave comments telling me they liked this or that or otherwise indicating that I wasn't just blogging into the void. That's always nice.

Then [personal profile] mizarchivist pointed out that LJ has these things called "tags" and I could tag my music entries. This is helpful to know what's going on, and particularly helpful for back-reference and finding things that are particularly notable. Eventually I got enthusiastic enough to go back and tag my existing couple years' worth of music entries... at which point I promptly ran out of tags. This more than anything else prompted me to move to a paid LiveJournal account because I needed more tags. All is fine until the company owning LJ decides to move the servers into Russian airspace and I decide it's time to move over here to DreamWidth. Which, I shall not bore you with details, will not allow me to have unlimited tags, even if I do pay them.

For a while this has stymied me. I really like the convenience of being able to go back and revisit things I've blogged in the past, and I blog a lot of new artist/DJs in a given month so the list of tags grows with no obvious way to condense them. I'm tired of being stymied though and it finally penetrated my thick skull that this convenience I've grown used to is just that, a convenience. I don't actually have to tag music entries in order to write them. So I'm going to start blogging music again, only with erratic-to-nonexistent tagging. You've been warned.

I realized this because I have re-remembered (I keep forgetting, somehow) that music is important in my relationships. Intimate, certainly, and otherwise. If you and I don't share some musical taste or other, it's likely we're less close of friends than we would be if we did share. For example...

This morning Pygment and I responded to a wedding invitation that included a request to list something that would cause us to get up and dance. At first I snarked that my music tastes would appall most people and DJs wouldn't play it at weddings anyway. Pygment agreed and said something like, "Yeah but imagine if they would, we could get them to play..." and in two clicks I had the track linked below, which we put on the RSVP card. I'll let you know if it plays at the wedding because I will sure as shit be dancing if it does.

We Can Make the World Stop

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at Please comment there; this journal is winding down.
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You know I don't care much for birthdays, so let me try something different

Normally a birthday is about the person celebrating the occasion. This year I'd like my birthday to be about one of my chosen issues.

With the help of Oxfam I'm putting out a request for money. If you're the sort who cares about food shortages, meeting the needs of refugees around the world, and who would consider doing something for my birthday please visit this URL. It's the home page for my birthday fundraising campaign. If you would normally get me something please consider giving that money to Oxfam. If money isn't your thing please help me by spreading the word. Obviously this appeal is to my friends and family and people who care about my natal anniversary but anyone who feels moved as I do can join in.

Sharing the things I care deeply about is one of the best birthday presents I can imagine.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at Please comment there; this journal is winding down.

For those in MA

especially if you have, have had, or will have school-aged children, please consider adding your name to this petition to set Massachusetts Middle and High School start times to 8:30 AM or later.

We have had two children go through this. One managed/manages it, but would enjoy life more if it wasn't a requirement. The other is just not coping with school starting at 7:30.

There is reasonable scientific evidence that these hours are not beneficial for children, particularly as they approach puberty. And frankly it'd just be a lot less stress on parents.

Thanks for your consideration.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at Please comment there; this journal is winding down.

Hi, I'm back(logged)

So, April was indeed the smoldering crater I figured it would be. I'm back and hoping May will be slightly more sane. I'm still going to try to get the other two April posts written and done. They'll be about family and work mostly so will be f-locked. I think I've caught up on all the posts I didn't read last month but if you put out something you'd like me to see and I didn't comment on it please do leave me a link.

I'm stalled out on finishing my move to DW by the tag limit. Even their premium paid service is maxed at 2000 tags, which my music blogging has already exceeded. This means I can't put tags on any new posts I originate here. That's the last thing I need in order to shut down my LJ. I've written to DW support asking about this and we'll see what they say.

Project Social continues. We made it to a party this past weekend, despite both of us having a lot of inertia and household stress. Then we had people over for game on Sunday. This week will see a dinner with another couple who also need Adult Time and whom we only manage to see a few times a year. Then a date I've been looking forward to for several weeks and maybe a social gathering before SoS.

Next week has an Arisia Divheads meeting but nothing fun social. Likewise the week after that has Thing 1's birthday but no adult social. If you'd like to help alleviate some of this please let me know.

Political things continue to occupy a lot of my brain but not as much as to overwhelm other things. I'm awaiting delivery of a bumper sticker I designed for HIAS. If it comes out well I'll be submitting it to be included in their official line of merch, which is kind of neat. I continue to be concerned about the upsurge in hate and am still looking for a good political organization that I can volunteer with.

Porter Square Books is hosting a "how to get involved, how to volunteer" workshop at the end of this month that I plan to attend, assuming nothing more concrete to do has materialized before then. I'm trying to be mindful that this is a long-term effort but I still want to be doing more.

What are you guys doing to keep sane these days?

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at Please comment there; this journal is winding down.
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Further in the resistance

I have put my first bumper sticker on my new car. It simply says "I resist". I have one or two more I can give away; if you'd like one, ping me here or personally. are looking for volunteers to help find and contact the companies whose ads are appearing on - see for details and how to participate. You have to turn off your ad blocker, obviously, and if you want they have a convenient browser extension for Firefox and for Chrome to help you out.

These advertisers are called "hidden" because by and large they likely do not know where they are advertising. Instead a third-party ad broker sells spaces that these companies purchase from the broker. They simply collect revenue without any awareness of the context in which their ads appear. So goes advertising on the Internet now. The question becomes "Will these companies care once told that their ads are appearing on"

If you'd like to help find out, check the Google doc linked above.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at Please comment there; this journal is winding down.


If you cannot travel to Washington DC for the main March for Science on the 22nd, you may be interested in one of the satellite marches, of which about 600 have been registered. Find yours here:

The one in Boston, which I hope to attend, has not been well-publicized, at least outside Facebook. The event page is here:

Because Nature always bats last.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at Please comment there; this journal is winding down.


I didn't make time for my usual pre-Passover post this year, which is a little sad. Seder gets wrapped up in the I-will-make-a-post-soon-I-promise WTF weekend report.

But anyway, [personal profile] flexagon asked me "What are you... uh, passing over... for Passover?" which prompted me to get off my metaphorical ass and write this because I do like writing about Passover. Long-time readers will know that it's my favorite of the Jewish annual holiday cycle.

This year, Thing 1 pointed out that we four are being different levels of Passover-observant:

  • Thing 1 just doesn't care and eats whatever.

  • Thing 2 mostly tries to observe, except they "cheat" now and then because dessert is still dessert, after all. I pointed out that it was kind of amusing to be talking about observing Pesadic rules while eating bacon with breakfast. (Thing 2, not me. I still think it's nasty stuff.)

  • I tend to try to avoid obvious lumps of actual bread. When [personal profile] mizarchivist and I went to Bartley's for burgers last week I asked for no bun but I didn't fuss about whether there was leavening in the sweet potato fries. Likewise I avoided the nan with Indian food this weekend but acknowledged there was likely flour in some of the dish preparations anyway. So the thing I passed over was mostly anything that was overtly (leavened) bread.

  • [personal profile] pygment avoids gluten almost all the time anyway so the diet was little modified for her. The matzoh we got was made in Israel and apparently uses the European-style low-gluten wheat so that didn't bother her. It sure beat the heck out of the "gluten free" matzah we tried one year, which was basically a nasty-tasting cracker and not at all matzah.

Seder this year was generally as you'd expect. We delved into a few obscure corners of things, but the kids generally have the story down and understand the areas I like to poke at. We can't have a Seder without some discussion of gender and this year it came in the form of the "four children" to whom one is supposed to explain the meaning of Passover in different ways, depending on their type (Wise, Wicked, Simple and Unable to Ask). The Haggadah we used noted that in the original Hebrew a feminine form appears in relation to the Unable child, from which it is inferred that the mother is supposed to give the original instruction to children about these things. Make of that what you will.

I am interested by the Chabad discussion of these "children" ( in which they note that even people who have no children are to give these explanations. From that they infer that one should not think of them too literally as children, but rather as parts of ourselves to which we talk. Within us we all have parts that are wise, parts that are wicked, parts that are simple, and parts that do not know how to ask. Indeed. More food for thought for next year.

For this year, I had (have) refugees on my mind and one of the important aspects of the Seder is that there is a commandment to make everyone welcome, even the stranger. In the text there are examples of what a stranger might be and one of the mentions is specifically of "the Ethiopian". The family talked about what it might have been like for tribal people who had no experience of strangers outside a handful of villages to see a person with markedly darker skin and I find it interesting that we (Jews) are specifically commanded to welcome this kind of person into our homes.

I connect this ancient commandment with my own upbringing during an era when it was simply understood that Jews would be marching with black people in their quest for civil rights and on into today when I simply cannot understand how any Jewish person could have voted for Drumph and his band of neo-Nazis.

I know that such people exist, but knowing and understanding are two different things.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at Please comment there; this journal is winding down.

The state of the migration

I've moved about 80% to Dreamwidth. I need to get things finally organized so I can post music from here (DW) and do a final synch of entries. Right now the importer is backed up for days so there's no point adding to that.

I cancelled my recurring subscription on LJ. Due to bad timing it renewed last month so I'll coast on that for a year. No clawbacks allowed, oh well. I also need to move this thing to paid, which I believe will help with the tags issue.

I'm still struggling a bit with access controls. I think I've subscribed and granted access to folk but I'm not quite sure if I'm actually reading everyone. They claim to have "reading filters" but in fact I think those things are "subscription filters". See which has the text "Dreamwidth provides two types of filters: Access Filters, which are used for setting security on items, and Reading Filters, which are used for filtering your Reading Page"; however, the link is to "Manage your subscription filters". None of which makes clear what I'm actually reading, because the thing I had on LJ that was "default view" for my reading page now appears as an access filter.

So if you're reading this and I'm not commenting on your stuff please let me know. And if you're not reading this... um, I hope you see it on LJ and let me know because otherwise I iz lost.

[personal profile] jducoeur posted (only on LJ) a pretty cogent piece on why he's moved. Here, go read it. If you're reading this on LJ and haven't moved that's cool. I will stop reading LJ at some point, but before that I hope to have as much of my conversation network re-created over on DW as possible. If that's an option for you, I hope you'll consider it.

Although I am not myself targeted by Russian discrimination against political bloggers and LGBTQ persons I view it as a gesture of solidarity with those persons to withdraw my support from LJ.

I'll cease cross-posting soon.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at You can comment here or there.
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And this is (part of) why I like Warren Ellis

I'll just leave this here:
From here, the Nineties look like the bloody Enlightenment. Back then, we were just a hungover post-imperial nation that was expected only to fuck, take drugs, make art and dance really badly. Now, the fight for the future is on. The fight for diverse and conscious voices, the fight for privacy and secure communication and home automation that makes sense, the fight for news and the fight for art that gets to say what it wants and design that looks forward and anything that isn’t just there to please the reactionary forces of xenophobic chinless ex-bankers and the racist daughter of a vicar from Little England and an angry orange pensioner in the thrall of actual fucking Nazis.

From Orbital Operations, to which you can subscribe. I recommend it.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at You can comment here or there.
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    hopeful hopeful

April update, the first

April's going to be a crazy month and if I put off updating it'll be Too Much and I won't write it. So here's a bit of an update on what's been happening.

This week I drove in town three times in four night. Monday I went to a professional society talk at IBM Cambridge, which was OK. Good to know what people are doing.

Tuesday I met Pygment and I couple other folk at the hotel John Scalzi was staying at. We sipped Cokes and traded chit-chat with Scalzi and each other for about an hour before walking over to Brookline Booksmith for his reading and signing. I enjoy hanging with him - we swapped college-for-kids stories since our oldest is just a year behind Athena on that path, and how it is different for the kids from what he and we did when we applied.

Scalzi always reads something different than the book he's touring for and this was no exception. We were asked not to Internet-spoiler it so I'll just say it was an excerpt from a new work that I'm now quite looking forward to. Someone brought a ukulele so he played a song on that and told a story about himself and Krissy that was quite endearing, even if it did lead Pygment to poke me several times. I wanted to stay for the signing but as the line formed there was a press of more people getting more closer to me and I saw the claustrophobia about to set in so I bailed. Fortunately, Pygment and I had arrived in separate cars so she stood and got signatures and I went home after taking several deep breaths outside.

Then last night I headed back into Cambridge to meet up with my best cocktails buddy [personal profile] silentq. We had a plan to dine at Asgard and then head to a new place for cocktails. That was great right up until the heavens deluged the area just as we were finishing up food. Asgard was far too loud for catching-up conversations. We set out for what we thought was our intended target and ended up going the wrong way. Fortunately, Cambridge is chock full of interesting places and rather than try to backtrack in the downpour we adjusted plans to the new place, and took seats at their bar.

Sadly I forget the establishment's name, but the theme is very Spanish/Central American and on Mass Ave so easy to find again. Many of the staff spoke native Spanish (some with little or no English) and most of the drinks featured the bar's extensive collection of rums. I got something fruity, and silentq ended up with two drinks because the first one took forever to arrive and was made wrong. So they showed up with a free corrected drink unprompted. We passed on more food but did succumb to tasty desserts (flan and a dulce de leche thing that was entirely decadent).

Hanging with silentq is always fun, drinks or no. She's just back from her ski-and-Viking-death-metal vacation and... yeah, that's totally her and a thing that actually exists. My own stories pale by comparison and we have a good time catching each other up on life and relationships and families and houses and all the things.

The past weekend started Friday night with [personal profile] pygment(*) and I going out to dinner at Besito in the Burlington Mall. I was completely blown away by how good it was. I had a salmon with mole' and I cannot remember when I had a better-prepared piece of salmon. The entire meal was quite tasty - even the rice-and-beans were exceptional - and I ate too much. Definitely planning a return visit with anyone I can convince to come along.

Saturday I was wiped out so we stayed home and did house- and life-maintenance things and tried sleeping. You'd think after all these years I'd be better at it. But anyway. And on Sunday there was D&D and the party did not ALL die, but several bodies hit the floor in pretty rapid succession. We have yet to see the end of this fight but we're not going to be able to game for several weeks. So there's that.

(*) I've realized this is going to break for people whose names have changed between LJ and DW. Sorry about that.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at You can comment here or there.