Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Track A Day: "Carry On" by Dylan Drazen

The early 2000s were a heck of a time. I was working for MTV, I had met the woman I'd marry (and later divorce, an outcome almost everyone I knew saw coming except for me), and I'd kicked off the decade with friends in South Beach for 10 days, where we got our first taste of Deep House.

A challenge facing any genre is that the name itself can bring to mind very different bands and sounds. "Rock" meant Grateful Dead, sitting in a darkened room with a glowing Steal Your Face poster to my middle school friend Jamie. "Rock" meant something boring to my Harlem born, Pantera loving, speed guitar loving friend Jayson. "Rock" to my piano teacher Dennis was The Boss, full stop.

Deep House, after having a run during the 2000s, fell out of favor while other forms of electronic music came into being (or washed upon our shores). Psytrance, Glitch and of course Dubstep, the giant elephant sized modulator of a genre in the room. It came back into effect, but many of the kids who enjoy this EDM-flavored Deep House of the 2010s (what is the correct term for this, anyway?) may not connect with this mix...and that's okay.

This was the first full length non Hip-Hop mixtape I listen to on repeat. My homie Jayabose had found it around the net. A smooth mix of tunes which still took you on a journey, and the audio sample backdrops...priceless.

Dylan Drazen, based at the time in Brooklyn, had a Jekyll/Hyde thing going with Deep House & Hard Techno. I've never listened to many of his Techno tracks, but his Deep House mixes played through many long nights throughout the late 2000s when House started going through its minimal phase, playing with the spaces in between the sounds.

As luck would have it, I actually got to meet the man himself before he moved down to Florida.  There was a party that sought to unite ravers, Burners, and assorted other types of club kids. I went there with another music head. We were both much older than many people there, but we went because he was spinning. We enjoyed his set, and caught up to him on a roofdeck outside while he was smoking a cigarette. I got to thank him in person for his work.

Give this mix a spin and let a brother know your thoughts.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Excerpt: Trixie 2


A second Trixie walked out of the basement and moved to pick up the legs. She preferred that to holding the head. That always squicked her out, looking into their eyes like that.

"At least I'm a woman now" , Trixie thought as she carried her proto-corpse to the disposal chute. "All that testosterone was a serious distraction that I didn't need. Now I'll hopefully have enough time to make some things happen before my next body comes to me. And then I can-"




Trix 2's body surrendered to the Update prep routine and followed her mother through an open door leading down to the Update chamber. Her eyes wandered over the cozy couches and around the room in the way that eyes do when the rest of her body's stuck in pre-flight Update.


"As soon as I can use my teeth again, I'm gritting my teeth for several minutes straight. Damn program, combing through my memories. I've almost got a mind to-"


Trixie sat down on her spot in the Update chamber. Her arms sunk into the armrests and  the viscous restraining fluid spread over her wrists and ankles. The chair reclined and lowered an almost horizontal position and lowered to the ground, which activated a glowing blue bioluminescent field that enveloped both Trixie and her mom.

"Blue in the face, blue in the thighs, blue in the eyes...bye bye!"

The lights went out.

Trixie remembered playing with these museum artifacts called plasma balls, from when our people didn't know any better, and invited cancer to their bodies. People could touch the ball, and the charge from the ball would make their hair raise. The Update did her hair dirty in a similar fashion, her black curly ringlets suspended in mid air, surprised and swaying slowly. The chair made sure her hair stayed out of the way. That was one UU (Upgrade Upgrade) she was glad to own. "I mean, think of all the people who don't have their own Chambers, and have no UUs so sometimes they end up with vom in the-"

Chocolate & Peanut Butter: An Overview

Name all the peanut butter candies here.
There are a few favored flavors that I have enjoyed for as long as I can remember, and will stay with me until the end of time. Lemon Pepper goes on top of rice, eggs and almost any combination of veggies. Ginger goes greatly with many things. Sriracha has got me covered anytime I want some heat on my plate.

Two foods that always tasted great together are Peanut Butter & Chocolate. The first candy I remember sliding down my throat were Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Back then, you could have the two pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Reese's Pieces, or the mini Reese's Cups. I used to pick up one every week when I picked up my weekly Marvel Comics (60 cents each). 

I remember running into Nutty Buddy (pka Nutty Bars), Peanut Butter Twix, PB Max throughout the 90s and 2000s. There were a few choices, but not a plethora of options. I mean, the local candy shops like Krause's Candy Shop held me down with custom chocolate peanut butter candies, but that was just during my time spent upstate (in high school).

At some point in the past decade, the number of Peanut Butter candies has expanded. There are several brands of Organic Peanut Butter Cups out there, as well as peanut butter versions of Snickers, M&Ms, Butterfingers, and almost anything else you can imagine. There's even a Peanut Butter Burger in a bar in NYC.

While my Chocolate Peanut Butter intake has slowed down and likely will (shout out to Type-2 Diabietes in the family), I do want to spend some time reflecting upon different Peanut Butter Chocolate candies over the years. A full rundown of Reese's History, the short lived PB Max and more esoteric Peanut Butter Chocolate candies out there.

I'll have more to say about this as time gores on, but for now, watch this space...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Excerpt: Trixie

This is an excerpt from a short story I was working on awhile back. There's more in this world that is definitely worth exploring in the future:

Trixie's forehead tingled with the five minute warning before the broadcast. Luckily, the effects of the pama juice lingered long enough to both numb the warning and prepare him for the coming announcement.

"Thursdays. They always come on a Thursday" he thought. It was a poignant reminder of the day that changed the world; when B.C.E. and A.D. became B.S. (before split) and A.S. (after split).

Feeling restless as he always did before The Update, he walked over to the front of the house and counted the number of augmented eggs thrown against the front of it. House Bot recorded seventeen eggs, fifteen of them registered with the local Protest Authorities, one a slightly illegal hack which required more than one wipe, and one which House Bot quarantined, but would not touch.

House Bot was so distressed about it that agents (the umbrella term social media used for humans, aliens, bots, ai and mutants that week) on the House Bot feeds were sending calming and affirming memes on its public and private channels.

"Oh great", thought Trixie "another one. If only dad hadn't registered itoldyouso.bitches..."

Trixie's body stiffened and slumped to the ground just inside the front door. Out of the kitchen ran Trixie's mom. She leapt over the couch, betraying her hurdler's heritage and shouted


She lay her head to Trixie's still chest to listen for a beat that was not forthcoming. Her lips trembled and tears welled up in her eyes. Then the noise started

"Nononono....nonono. Why? She was my only-"


A second Trixie walked out of the basement and moved to pick up the legs. She preferred that to holding the head. That always squicked her out, looking into their eyes like that.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Music: Fake Blood - USED series

Now for something new; I post a little something about music treats and gems that I've discovered over the years. These are songs and/or mixes that I come back to in my music collection time & time again. It's also a convenient place to put music recommendations whenever friends ask.

First up on the list; the USED mixtape series from Fake Blood. This series blew my mind as an electronic music fan whose first love was Hip-Hop. These mixes are pleasurable not only for the background behind the Hip-Hop classic from yesteryear, Fake Blood actually plays the 12" on 1200 and proceeds to make the loop of that sample on the 1s and 2s, so you hear both the original song as well as the sample(s) that came from that song.

Each mix is a journey through old soul, rock, jazz and other obscure genres and makes for nice mellow background music to accompany your day.

Check these mixes out below and let me know what you think.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

A Lot Can Happen in Two Years

...and quite a bit has.

The takeaway from these experiences is the universal currency of entertainment; the story.

My story has changed. The story for a lot of people who look like me has changed.

I'm almost in a place to relay those stories.

I look forward to being able to do so.

Watch this space.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Glossary, "Taking the Local", "Choose Your Own Adventure"

It's time for another Glossary installment; this week, we'll tackle "Taking the Local" and "Choose Your Own Adventure".

  • "Taking the local" - Have you ever said something that was witty, yet obscure enough that it takes people some time to get it? When the comprehension dawns in their eyes, I tend to refer to that time it takes slow people to catch up as "taking the local", as opposed to the time it generally takes to connect the dots on slang or meta-slang.

    PosDnuos from De La Soul as an emcee kicks a lot of rhymes that make people take the local. To quote a couple of lines from the fantastic single "Stakes Is High"...
    "I be a piece of the East Coast, so give a toast to Plug Wonder Why / Back in the day who soaked his words in ginger / So when I ran a phrase in June, you didn't catch it 'til December (emphasis added)".

    I'd venture that there are people who are still trying to figure out some of his lyrics 20 years later.
  • "Choose Your Own Adventure" - Sometimes your friends will ask you your opinion on a matter where they have made up their own mind already and are seeking validation. Sometimes, it's not possible to agree with said opinion, especially if said opinion is something like "if someone isn't clear on whether they like me, I should make a grand display to show them how I feel","We haven't talked about expectations for this sex party, but I'm sure it'll work out", "They've got some problems, but I'm sure my love will help them get to a better place", or "driving my car with just my feet is fun!". At that point, if someone seems determined to defend their bad decision to the end, I realize that I cannot change their mind, and I also don't want to participate in their rebellion verification session. So, the best response that comes to my mind is "Choose your own adventure". It's a reminder that the decision you made was yours, and yours alone, so I hope it works out.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hacking Away The Weekend; It's Personal

The title of this post is based upon the post on my tech blog about the hackathon I attended this past weekend. Here I have some more observations and thoughts not directly related to codebases, business propositions, or competition. Here goes:

  1. The XO Group had a pretty nice space, overall. The retro arcade room was good both for breaks and for nostalgia. I played Moon Patrol and Gauntlet and remembered how much fun simple games can be.
  2. The hackathon that brought people together to have people work upon projects to help with mentoring, dating abuse, development and conservation efforts was made possible by an organization that makes software for weddings.
  3. It's fascinating to observe bickering amongst language, framework or tool acolytes. While I think it's helpful to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of code that falls into any of those categories, the tunnel vision I encounter from those acolytes reminds me that Computer Science can be as much of a trendy fashion show as anything else.
  4. The Hackathon went overnight Saturday night until Sunday afternoon at 1. Red Bull was available as well as coffee. These all point to the image/idea that a coder (or anyone who works in tech, or new media) as an overstimulated geek who will work until exhausted. Unfortunately, there are folk who maintain that kind of work habit even in the absence of a particular deadline. I'd rather have a life-work balance than a work-life balance.
  5. There is a general happiness that people have when working upon something that means more to them than winning a contest. Everyone I talked to was very passionate about what they put together, and was looking forward to doing more. I'm already trying to figure out my next hackathon.
  6. There was a pretty wide & diverse spectrum of types of people working on their hacks, which was also encouraging to see. The tech field can be monochromatic sometimes, so seeing that balance is encouraging.
  7. Finally, not only did I have a lot of fun this past weekend, I feel very good about what I took away from it, which was primarily this app.
Although I have more to speak upon about this experience, I should try to get some shuteye and get ready for the day. Until the next time...