The @DNAlounge is in trouble.

Dec 19, 2016

20161228:  The DNA has started a Patreon account to accept donations!

20161222: It seems that the DNA Lounge is coming up with contingency plans, and they need our help!

Yesterday, JWZ, owner and operator of the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, CA made an upsetting and disturbing announcement.

The DNA Lounge is in danger, and may have to close down soon.

JWZ bought the space that is now the DNA roughly 17 years ago and during that time it's become one of the premiere hotspots of SF nightlife.  Just about any kind of event you can imagine has been thrown here, from a local motorcycle club renting it out while their primary clubhouse was undergoing repairs to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's silver anniversary, and raves a-plenty over the years.  Many have come to see a burlesque show or two at the DNA, or catch an up-and-coming band in a new and strange genre of music, or even come for a slice of pizza and a glass of beer while hoping to be tapped for the stage show of Point Break Live once upon a time.  I don't think anybody can easily count the number of concerts the DNA's hosted over the years (though I've no doubt that JWZ would probably know off the top of his head).  Long time readers are probably aware that I usually haunt Death Guild, the country's longest running gothic/industrial club night as well as Turbo Drive, the only synthwave dance night I've found anywhere in the country.

In the last two years attendance has dropped off noticeably, and it's hurt the DNA Lounge in a real way.  JWZ says that he can't afford to subsidize it anymore, and it might have to go out of business for good.

All I can ask of any of you, gentlebeings, is this:

Please re-share this post far and wide, so that as many people can see it.  If you'll be in the Bay Area for any length of time, please visit the DNA Lounge.  Go on a night of the week and pay the club a visit, it's not expensive to get in and the people there are genuinely cool folks; treat them well and they'll treat you well.  Give the music on that night a fair listen that night.  You might like it, you might not, but either way you'll be exposed to something new.  If you can't make a concert or a club night (or the night's really not your thing), visit DNA Pizza next door and pick up breakfast, get lunch, or maybe have a slice or two and a cold one after work.  DNA Pizza's open 24x7 and they have some of the best pizza in SF.  Hell, if you're on the other side of the country and there's no way you'll make it to California in time, consider buying something from the online store?

The DNA Lounge is a fixture in the community of San Francisco.  You can see just about any kind of live act, hear styles of music you've never heard before, and dance until your legs are sore.  This club means a lot to many of us and we don't want to see one of the few places that we can be ourselves go away.  Please, if you can, help JWZ out and keep the DNA Lounge alive.

Neologism: Hopepothesis

Dec 18, 2016

Hopepothesis - noun - What you come up with when you really don't know what you're doing or what's going on, but you pull something out of your ass anyway.  If anybody asks, that's your working hypothesis.

To everybody waiting on responses..

Dec 18, 2016

It's the holidays. I'm pretty busy right now, and hoping I don't have a sinus infection. I haven't forgotten about anybody. I'll get to the time-sensitive stuff first, and rest as I can.

Happy holidays.

Blind Guardian - 5 October 2016

Nov 23, 2016

Historically, it's rare that Blind Guardian goes on tour in the United States, so whenever they come to the States we scramble to get tickets because they put on a hell of a show. Around the house we jokingly call them elven thrash metal because their lyrics are steeped in the works of Moorcock and Tolkien, with influences from many different myth cycles, such as Arthurian legend. To be blunt, their show was face-meltingly good. They played some classic crowd singalongs like The Bard's Song and Valhalla during the show and brought the house down in so doing.

Unfortunately, when I was pulling these pictures off of my phone I accidentally deleted about half of them. I was able to recover all of the deleted files but now I need to sort through five or six gigabytes of recovered files... when I finally sit down and sort through them all I'll update this gallery. Sorry.

A thought on memorization and memory techniques.

Dec 12, 2016

In many memorization techniques it is often taught that you should make use of overly vivid, even absurd imagery to make sure that bits of information stick in whatever organizational technique you might use, be it a ladder of pegs or something as elaborate as the method of loci. Sometimes you have to work to make something stick, and sometimes the absurd makes itself known spontaneously.

Have you ever pondered why there are so many things that you simply can't unsee on the Internet?

Stop and think about all the things that you wish you'd never seen over the years. All the stingers and nasty surprises that gave you a nasty jolt. No, I won't list any, I've no shortage of my own memories that routinely invade my nightmares... the point I'm making is that those things are so far off the beam, so far removed from our daily experience (regardless of what it may be), so... there's probably a word in German for the concept. The best I've got it ho'polis d'l'Byr (Horror of the Other) that it wraps around into Lovecraftian or possibly Gigeresque surrealism or disgust (sometimes with a bouncy, catchy techno remix playing in the background) that it burns itself indelibly into one's long-term memory in exactly the same way that Musashi Miyamoto rolling out pizza dough with a shinai on a wicker papsan chair in the back yard does.

The 2016 election was not rigged.

Nov 27, 2016

There, I said it.

I don't think that votes were messed with, I don't think that any (horribly insecure) voting machines were tampered with, and while jerrymandering is totally a thing I don't think it had anything to do with the election. I think that appealing to people's most deeply held beliefs, the ones that few are willing to talk about openly had everything to do with it.

Donald Trump is everything that USians want to be, deep down inside. Let's be honest: Whether or not Donald Trump is really as rich as he says doesn't matter. What matters is that many people believe he is rich. In the United States cultural mindscape that equates to power. As he's bragged about on television repeatedly, he's done some pretty heinous and ignorant things and gotten away with all of them. That show of power demonstrates that he's effectively above the law. He's on television a lot, which to the USian cultural mindset equates to fame. Fame is a form of power all its own, because to be on television you have to have access to the media somehow, and having access to the media means that he can reach everyone watching a television, listening to a radio, and haunting every social network without even trying. If you follow his Twitter feed you can observe his antics first-hand.

USians love money. USians love power. USians love getting away with things. USians love fame. He's everything every USian wants to be - he's the American dream.

And who doesn't want to be like him? Who doesn't want to be Bruce Wayne, who's stupidly rich, gets away with the craziest shit during the day, and still has time to himself to practice being a badass after dark? Who doesn't want to be Tony Stark ("Genius, billionaire, playboy, philantropist."), hook up with Playboy centerfolds, and kick asses around the world while getting away with it (mostly)? Who doesn't dream of being Lex Luthor, an amazingly wealthy industrialist who just happens to want to kill Superman, the all-American do-gooder?

Donald Trump is all of those fictional characters brought to life (modulo being a hero, though I'll get to that in a second), every badass example of the American Dream that people think they have. Throughout the entire election he showed off all of those qualities writ so large you could see them from orbit, and people ate it up. The hero bit I mentioned? He promised a nebulous effort to "make America great again," which just about everybody who's worried about their lot in life ate up and went back for seconds. Afraid that the middle class is vanishing like spilled water in the desert? Hate "them other folks" but either won't admit it out loud or don't even realize you're racist? Openly racist and hold demonstrations calling for ethnic cleansing in the United States? Want reassurance that anything sketchy you might be up to might get a pass because Trump's promised to make it go away? Just want to watch it all burn? Trump not only validated those feelings but openly embraced them among his constituency and campaign staff. He promised to make the boogiemen under the bed go away. Everybody on the fringe, from the folks who took somebody's attempt at trolling seriously to genuinely scary people sat up and howled when the dog whistle blew.

You don't have to rig an election when you work to be the person that everybody identifies with. When the people of the United States voted for Donald Trump, they actually voted for the kind of people they themselves most want to be.

The bed's made, and bedtime's near. Nightmares are coming.

Vice Reine, Night Club, and Beautiful Machines at the DNA Lounge.

Nov 23, 2016

In October of this year, I once again made my pilgrimage to the DNA Lounge to spend the night dancing at Turbo Drive, the club's monthly (sort of) synthwave dance party. A sucker for the old-school synths as always, I dressed up in my finest to see Vice Reine, Night Club, and the Beautiful Machines perform live. I especially wanted to attend because that particular night celebrated the release of Night Club's first full album, entitled Requiem for Romance (listen to it!) This was one of the few nights where Turbo Drive was held on the main dancefloor of the DNA and not at Code Word, the side club upstairs. All three bands put on top-notch shows; Night Club was enjoyable as usual, and I really got into the Beautiful Machines.

In my photo album, you'll find a couple of photographs of a woman in a hand-made, full cyber costume constructed especially for Turbo Drive. Her name is Mikaela Holmes, and she specializes in wearable art of all kinds, from leather to optical fibre, low-light reflective to hand-formed electroluminescants. Photographs (hers and mine) don't do her work justice, you really have to see it up close to really appreciate it. She even has a bunch of tutorials up at Instructables. If you get a chance, stop by her Facebook page and check it out.

Anyway, here are the pictures I took.

Real life seems like Shadowrun - so why can't I throw fragging fireballs?!

Nov 26, 2016

From time to time I sit down with my gaming buddies, and we both lament and observe how well reading and playing cyberpunk games has prepared us for life in the twenty-first century. I don't think that many people expected real life to track quite so closely with many a cyberpunk world penned by the masters, from William Gibson to Neal Stephenson to Bruce Sterling. Strangely enough, many of the lifestyle strategies depicted in these stories have helped keep our own lives (and those of our families) stable and, for the most part nice to live as human history has gone nonlinear all around us. Sure, we're seeing early experimenting with direct neural interfaces in hospitals, AI research is changing the world around us faster than we can see (and some of it's even open source), grinders are starting to do some pretty weird stuff with their own bodies, and we have stupidly advanced technology available for next to nothing on the street, but let's dig a little deeper.

What's really fucking with me is how much real life is tracking some of the backstory of Shadowrun.

Click for the rest of the article...

When using Lastpass with Google Chrome, occasionally it'll automatically log you out.

Dec 01, 2016

Sometimes, very occasionally, when using the Lastpass plugin with Google Chrome, you may find that Lastpass will start acting wonky. Specifically, if you've had Chrome running for a couple of days, you will notice that Lastpass has logged you out, even if you're in an Incognito Window. When clicking on the browser plugin's icon, you will be able to log into it as usual; multifactor authentication will similiarly work as expected. If you wait a few seconds, the plugin's icon will go dark again. If you're quick and drop into "My Vault," you'll see that screen for a second or two before you get bounced out again. You won't be able to log into anything, and you'll eventually start cursing the day you decided to stop using a password manager like Keepass. You might do this a dozen or two times, scratching your head all the while.

To break out of this frustrating loop, clear your browser cache (Chrome menu icon -> History -> History -> Clear Browsing Data, check Browsing history and Download history, uncheck everything else -> Clear browsing data), fully terminate Chrome (don't just close all of your windows), and start it up again. That should fix the problem.