Lots of Kirby Krackle action happening these days. We opened for Weird Al Yankovic at the Calgary Expo in Alberta CA last weekend. So that happened. My wife put together a cool behind-the-scenes post with photos for you to marvel at. I’m grateful, because I had no time or means to document it all myself.
What’s it like to play an arena of 4000 people? Not to downplay it, but a lot like any other gig, except with awesome sound and lights, a huge stage to play on, and you can’t see the audience much because of the lights in your eyes. I will say it was a very comfortable experience — almost as if, oh, I dunno, I totally belonged up there. As Kyle described it: “like bathwater.” Actually, the whole band worked the booth the next day and I swear that was almost as much fun as playing the show.
(I did not meet Weird Al. Ask me again later.)
This weekend we’re charging into Studio Litho to record the 4th Kirby Krackle album. In the meantime, you may be interested in this, the inaugural episode of KrackleKast, the podcast Kyle and I do while waiting for the rest of the band to show up for rehearsal. This was recorded before the Weird Al gig so we talk about our expectations, a little about songwriting and the new album, and then Kyle grills me about my past. My thanks to Matt, who indirectly encouraged Kyle by encouraging me to encourage Kyle, or something. We’ll get better. I promise.
The only “problem” is that Amanda Palmer is a narcissist who has learned to embrace her narcissism, which allows her the freedom to pursue her chosen lifestyle as an artist. We may dislike her music, or be jealous of her Kickstarter success, but on a deeper level we covet her freedom to live out loud in plain sight.
Most of us are taught that narcissism is bad and you must seek permission. You must be at least superficially humble, and you must acquire the appropriate third-party signifiers — a record deal, radio airplay, glowing reviews — which indicate that it’s okay to like you, that you deserve your success. So when we see someone succeed by flaunting these rules — especially by someone as brash as Palmer — we’re confronted with uncomfortable evidence that maybe we don’t need permission, maybe we can just go ahead anytime and be whatever we want, and maybe it’s our own adherence to that worldview keeps us from even trying.
It’s easy to hate on Amanda Palmer and people like her, because in being outlandish and brave they cause us to question our own bravery, and to consider that maybe we’re just not wired right for this line of work.
This handful of paper is all that remains of an epic text adventure game I wrote in the summer of 1984 in BASIC on an Atari 800 with the 64K memory expansion cartridge. It had two features I was especially proud of: a parser that could understand phrases up to six words, and the ability to save and restore your progress in-game to an external floppy drive. It also barely ran, because the program itself chewed up so much memory.
So much of what I did with that old computer is long gone now, because I didn’t have the foresight to save any of those floppies. Also now missing along with that text adventure: “Lunar Lander,” a sorta-kinda game where you pilot a landing module to the surface of the moon, and an unnamed Robotron-style game, featuring you as an elf shooting arrows as enemy creatures came at you from all directions (including through the walls, as I hadn’t learned how to manage those types of collisions). Plus dozens of experiments and tutorials I had meticulously typed line-by-line from issues of COMPUTE!
Those floppies were either thrown out or sold along with the 800 when I went to college and lost interest in programming for ten years. I was hoping they’d be stashed in a shoebox somewhere, ready to be rescued and archived permanently in the cloud. No luck.
Young programmers! Save your work, no matter how mundane it seems at the moment. Throw it up on Github or Dropbox or Amazon S3, put it somewhere safe where it’s unlikely to be lost. I guarantee in twenty years you’ll want to see how far you and the world have come. You’ll want to remember the feel of those summer days in 1984, the chirping of the keyboard, the anticipation of typing RUN after a few blurry hours. Or whatever your equivalent experience would be these days.
The simple fact is that Apple always was Steve's company, even when he wasn't there. The force that allowed Apple to survive more than a decade of bad leadership, cluelessness and constant mistakes was the legacy of Steve's original Art. That legacy was not just an OS that was 10 years ahead of the rest of the world, but a Cause that induced a righteousness of purpose centered around a will to innovate — to perpetuate the original artistic achievements.
If you haven’t already watched that Dave Grohl SXSW keynote video that’s been bouncing around the web, skip it and instead listen to Dave’s guest appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, which covers a lot of the same stuff but is way more fun, intimate and with even more swearing. Plus, Marc’s ad-libbed intro to this episode is sublime.
I was bummed to hear Google Reader was shutting down, but mostly because I’d already invested a bunch of emotional energy getting used to it after the demise of Bloglines (RIP). I’m currently looking for open sourced, host-your-own alternatives. Ten years ago I would’ve tried to build my own, but these days I’d rather spend that time and energy learning to slap-pop on bass so as to more efficiently annoy my bandmates.
Others have said it more eloquently, but I’ll echo the sentiment here: this is a good thing for RSS and blogs in the long run. This is also the first time I can recall where the dominant player has self-selected for extinction. To be honest, I don’t know anyone who loved Reader. But judging from the online outcry, people still love reading blogs and want an efficient way to read lots of them.
It’ll be a pain finding a replacement, but I’m enjoying the hell out of seeing blogs and RSS in tech news again.
I wish I could write more about Kracklefest 3 than I probably will in this post, but it came and went in a giant blur and honestly I’m still exhausted. The Hard Rock had to go find a new roof after Nerds With Guitars, The Doubleclicks, and Paul and Storm blew it off in front of an estimated 450 comic con nerds.
Heather Disco posted a bunch of live videos from the night here, but the one you won’t wanna miss is the grand finalé, where we brought all the acts back up on stage for a full cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” complete with opera section and crowd sing-along.
We shot the entire thing using my iPhone 4 and I edited it together in iMovie on my Macbook Pro.
We started filming this in Spring 2011, using a rough mix of the song. In the gap between then and the EP release in Fall 2012, our drummer Josh up and left Seattle for Boulder, and (Kirby Krackle drummer) Nelson stepped in. It seemed wrong to replace Josh with Nelson in the video, too. Also, you won’t find me in the video. I couldn’t find a way to put myself in that didn’t feel dumb or contrived.
Big thanks to my patient bandmates who let me run with this, just to see if I could!
Also, this work is dedicated to my Dad, who once long ago taught me how to frame a shot and the power of black-and-white images. Who’d have thought back then we’d someday have pocket-sized phones that could shoot 1080p video?