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Rocking Out

A Night at the Rock Opera (REP)userpic=repeastLast night, we went to go see “A Night at the Rock Opera” at REP East (FB), so I’m guessing you’re expecting the traditional write-up/review. But you’re not going to get it. There are a few reasons. First, there were no handouts, so I have no cast list to credit, nor a song list (or should I say “set list”) to give. Secondly, this was a fundraising benefit — so you don’t expect quite the same level of perfection as a polished show. Thirdly, we’ve got company coming over this evening, and I’ve already lost 6 hours to a headache. So, instead, a few observations.

  • The cast was made up of a REP regulars, from what I could tell. Going just from tagging on Facebook, the performers included: Ginhee Eng, Lori D’Itri, George Chavez, Sarah Krieg, Tom Lund, Beth Ann, Sarah Stoddard, Coastal Eddie, Nikki Berra, Casey Christianson, Kelly Bader, Amber Schwinn, Erin Rivlin, Leslie Berra, Jill Kocalis Scott, and Bob Berra. All were good singers — a few had particularly strong rocker voices (you can hear the difference). You can see a picture of the cast here.
  • The performances were very strong. Good voice, lots of energy, and you can tell they were having fun. That’s always key to me — if the folks on stage are having fun, the audience has fun.
  • The selection of songs was a wide mix, and I could recognize most of the shows: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Who’s Tommy, Mamma Mia, Hair, Little Shop, All Shook Up, We Will Rock You, Hairspray, Footloose, Return to Forbidden Planet, Spring Awakening, Next to Normal. Posts indicated there were songs from Rock of Ages (which I expected), but I don’t recall hearing anything from that show. There were also a few shows I expected to be in the mix but that weren’t: Grease, American Idiot, Marvellous Wonderettes, Backbeat. I also wish that more songs from certain shows were included — particularly more from Next to Normal (I love “My Psychopharmacologist and I”, but “I’m Alive” would have been great), Hairspray (“Mama I’m A Big Girl Now”), Spring Awakening (“The Bitch of Living” and “Totally Fucked”), and Rent (“La Vie Boheme”). But there’s only so much time. Part of the problem with song selection is defining just what is “rock” and what characterizes it. Especially for music from the early 1960s, the line isn’t always clear. This affects some of the songs from Hairspray, Little Shop, and All Shook Up. Arguably, more of the headbanging stuff was what I expected. But then again — this is a concert, I had fun, and all the songs were good.
  • I was thinking, when they were performing Bohemian Rhapsody, that they really need to listen to the Big Daddy version. It’s on an unreleased album that was available only as a Kickstarter premium. However, I have it, and would be glad to play it for them. Just imaging Bohemian Rhapsody with “Shaboom, Shaboom”.
  • In general, the theme of the costuming was … black. Black dresses (of many forms, all long), and most of the guys went for the black on black look (black suit, black shirt, black tie). Some of selections worked; some worked spectacularly well, and a few less so. For women, the black dress has always been a classic; I’m guessing the black-on-black look for guys is in now (I never grew up with it). I’ll have to try it. Do you think I could rock brown-on-brown?
  • In some ways, the concert was sad. There were middle aged and up performers on stage, and the audience was filled with middle-age and such (including me)  rocking out. Since when did Rock become the music of the older generation (I remember making this observation when we saw “Rock of Ages”)? Gee, I’m getting old. Excuse me while I go shoo someone off my lawn.
  • The show got me thinking — could someone make a jukebox musical out of rock musicals (especially original songs for rock musicals — otherwise it gets too meta). It could be an interesting commentary on the evolution of theatrical music from the traditional era of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Upcoming Theatre and Concerts:  The last weekend of April will bring Noel Paul Stookey at McCabes, as well as the Southern California Renaissance Faire. May brings “The Lion in Winter” at The Colony Theatre (FB), and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at REP East (FB), as well as “Hairspray” at Nobel Middle School. I may also be scheduling “Porgy and Bess” at the Ahmanson. June is mostly open pending scheduling of an MRJ meeting, but I will try to fit in as much of the Hollywood Fringe Festival as I can. July will be busy: “Ghost” at the Pantages (FB) on 7/5, “Return to the Forbidden Planet” at REP East (FB) the weekend of 7/12, “Once” at the Pantages (FB) on 7/19, “Bye Bye Birdie” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) on 7/26, and “Family Planning” at The Colony Theatre (FB) on 8/2. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411.

This entry was originally posted on Observations Along The Road (on cahighways.org) as this entry by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link below; you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. There are currently comments on the Wordpress blog. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

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seder #2

Tuesday night I had assorted friends over for an all-adults, talk-as-long-as-we-want seder. I thought it went quite well. There were ten of us (planned to be eleven but somebody stayed home sick, alas).

As we did last year, we had the first part in the living room -- if we're reclining in comfort, why not use the comfy chairs? (I think, but am not certain, that I have Lee Gold to thank for this idea.) The haggadah I use (Silverman, revised/enhanced) has transliteration for many of the key parts -- part of why I chose it, for accessibility -- but not all of them, so I made a supplementary sheet with the rest of what we'd need. With luck I got everything this year that I had missed last year; it's an iterative process. People were good sports about faking their way through unfamiliar melodies, and I got to hear one or two new ones from others. (When you bring diverse people together you don't all have the same traditions, which is cool because we can learn from each other but can leave people feeling a little off-kilter while they get used to it.)

Somebody brought the Velveteen Rabbi's haggadah and shared some readings from it. Note to self: go download that. One thing in particular that I want to pick up for future years: as pointed out by one of my guests, the haggadah spends more time recalling discussions of the exodus than the exodus itself; we don't read from the book of Exodus, for example. The VR haggadah has a nice engaging summary that we inserted into the magid to good effect.

Note to self: get more grape juice next year! Last year we only used one bottle and this year I bought two (had a couple more people); three would have been better. Also, it's worth it to get the nice bottled sparkling grape juice, not the stuff from the juice section of the grocery store.

We went for about 2.5 hours before the meal, I think, with lots of good conversation. The meal was pleasant and we did the rest of the haggadah and sang some of the songs after.

Note to self: get a different, or additional, folding table for next year. There was no good way to seat 11 people with the tables and chairs I had; I set up something that I thought would work but people rearranged while I was getting the soup ready, so I guess it didn't. Since we only had 10 they were able to make that work. But I don't want my furniture to limit my guests in the future. (When the dishes start to limit the guests I'll just get more or use plastic or something.)

I'm glad my friends were able to be part of this, and I'm glad Dani was there this year.

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seder #1

Monday night I went to Chabad for the first seder. This was new for me; the only other community seder I've been to was a university Hillel, and the only other time I've been to anything Chabad was a Shabbat dinner when traveling once. The people there were nice, and it turned out I knew one person at my table, someone who was in that class I took last year.

Unanticipated (but if I'd thought about it...): a community seder draws people who don't have anywhere else to go, which includes people who aren't otherwise very Jewishly involved. (So it's great that somebody is there for them.) Being asked to teach somebody the blessing for candle-lighting came as a surprise to me. (She was very nice, and at my table. Later I taught her the blessing for hand-washing.)

Halachically speaking there is a minimum amount of matzah you have to eat and a minimum amount of wine (or grape juice) to drink. Handing out maatzah in pre-measured bags makes sense in retrospect, but I was surprised by it at the time.

Acoustics in a large room with children running around making noise where the leader can't use a microphone are challenging. I hope the poor rabbi had a voice left the next morning.

Noted in passing: Chabad doesn't do matzah balls. (I don't know if that's "at all" or "at the seder". I think the former, and that this is something called gerbrokts.)

Interesting logistics: they gave us a small meal (which they called a "snack") before the seder got started, which was after 8PM. We probably got to the meal around 9:15 or 9:30, which I don't think of as terribly late, but people with kids may have a different view. (In a similar vein, both last year and this I put out munchies -- raw veggies, pickles, etc -- during the first part of my seder, so people would have more than a sprig of parsley before the meal.)

Contrary to what I've heard about the length of Chabad seders, we were finished before 11.

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Hugo Did What?

The Hugo Awards have very few nominators and no barrier to entry to becoming a nominator other than money, which creates room for an engaged fan base to get just about anything on the ballot. This is not news. We’ve seen Doctor Who dominate the short-form dramatic presentation ballot for half a decade. We’ve also seen an acceptance speech get nominated for short-form dramatic presentation. That went relatively well because people liked the guy who gave the speech. This year, unlikeable people got nominated.

This doesn’t mean there’s a significant chunk of right-wingers rising up to retake SF fandom, despite what Vox Day would like to think. Let’s look at the numbers. References: the LoneStarCon 3 stats for the 2013 Hugos (PDF) and this year’s nominations. Also, the 2013 Hugos had 1,343 nominations.

This year, there were 1,595 nominations for Best Novel. Last year, there were 1,113 nominations. That’s 43% more nominations. This year, there were 728 nominations for Best Novelette. Last year, there were 616 nominations. 18% more nominations.

The Winter 2013 LoneStarCon 3 Progress Report lists 1,773 members as of November 22, 2012. The December 2013 Loncon 3 Progress report says they had 4,282 members as of November 18th, 2013. That’s 141% more memberships. The Hugo nomination campaigning probably isn’t the reason why more people submitted nominations; the increase in memberships purchased more than explains it. I’m not going to assume that the 100+ increase in Best Novelette nominations was all Day/Correia voters.

It took 38 nominations to get on the Best Novelette ballot last year. Apply the 18% adjustment: it probably took between 44 and 45 nominations to get on the Best Novelette ballot this year. That’s not block voting, that’s a mild wave in a fairly shallow wave pool.

(For any kind of rigor I would go back and perform a similar analysis for the last ten years or so, to see if membership purchase rates and nomination rates ever track well together.)

Edit: Liz notes that it took 69 nominations to get on the Best Novelette ballot this year. So much for rigor. Thanks!

Mirrored from Population: One.

[tech] Understanding git usage?

I'm attempting to grasp git usage best practices.

Let me explain something that I think I understand, and those of you who are git users can tell me if I have it right.

Consider the common scenario that you're hacking away on Verion 2.0 of your widget, and an urgent issue, say a critical bug, comes up in the Version 1.13 release, and you have to stop what you're doing on Version 2 to go fix Version 1.

Do I understand correctly that the git way of doing things is that you commit everything you've changed in your working directory on Version 2, and then you [verb] the historical version (possibly by tag) of the project, thus syncing your working directory to the Version 1.13 state, you make your fix, commit the files, [merging them back in?] making a Version 1.14, then [verb] back your working directory to Version 2 and return to work on your project, only with the merged in changes?

Instead of getting a copy of Version 1.13 in a new directory tree and working on it there without disturbing your work on Version 2?

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An Interesting Deal on Jewish Music

userpic=folk-artistsI originally highlighted this on Facebook a few weeks ago, but felt it should go here as well. I learned about this from my brother-in-law, and I purchased it about two weeks ago… and I’m still working my way through it. For 0.99, you get over 200 songs, 8+ hours of “Jewish” music. In reality, it is a mix of 1960s Israeli music (including a lot of Israeli dance song), loads of Yiddish, Klezmer, a few Russian folks songs (mostly drawn from albums published by Vanguard), and a Jan Peerce album about Passover. A real eclectic mix, but I’ve figured out what some of the source albums were — and some are rare and going for over $100 on Amazon, so the value is surprisingly tremendous. I have no idea when they will reprice this — it’s been up for a week. Here’s the link for the MP3 album. [ETA: It looks like they won't reprice it -- it seems this group's deal is to create big collections of music that is out of copyright. What this likely means, for this album, is they are going from the original vinyl, as opposed to any CD reissues.]

The albums that seem to make this up (in whole or in part) are:

  • “Israel Sings!”, Karmon Israeli Singers, 1998 Vanguard
  • “Sings Jewish Folk Songs”, Martha Schlamme, Vanguard 1998
  • “Tumbalalaika! [Yiddish Folksongs without Words]“, Emil Decameron Orchestra, 1959, 1991 Vanguard
  • “Behold Thou Art Fair” And Other Songs Of Israel , Netania Davrath, Vanguard
  • “Martha Schlamme Sings Israeli Folk Songs”, Martha Schlamme, 1960 Vanguard VRS 9072
  • “The Singing Waltz: Klezmer Guitar and Mandolin”, Jeff Warschauer, 1997
  • “The Yiddish dream”, Vanguard 1991
  • “Raisins and Almonds: Jewish Folk Songs, Martha Schlamme
  • “Out of the Ghetto: Songs of the Jews in America”, Leon Lishner
  • “Songs of the Sabras”, Karmon Israeli Singers, 1993
  • “Netania Davrath Sings Russian, Yiddish & Israeli Folk Songs”, Netania Davrath
  • “A Passover Seder”, Jan Peerce, 1997

For the price, as they say, “what a buy!”

This entry was originally posted on Observations Along The Road (on cahighways.org) as this entry by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link below; you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. There are currently comments on the Wordpress blog. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

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Observation StewThis has been a busy busy week — even busier than my normal busy weeks. I’ve only had a little time to read the news, and even less time to comment on it. Further, nothing has completed a threefer or better theme. So let’s clear out the stack and make a little stew, shall we?

  • It’ll Soon Be Over. According to reports, Metro and Caltrans plan to all-but-finish the 405 HOV lane project through the Sepulveda pass in May. “All-But” means that there will still be landscaping, and I’m guessing just a little retaining wall work to do — but all lanes will be open. I’ll believe it when I see it — the 405 has been under-construction since I started work at Aerospace — first completing the I-105 interchange, then adding the HOV lanes through west LA, then the HOV lanes in the valley, then the HOV lane southbound through the pass.  Hopefully it will make the drive easier for the van.
  • Los Angeles History. While we’re talking the 405 and history, let’s talk a little about places the freeways touch. From the 405 go N (W) on US 101, and you reach Woodland Hills. The history of that community, and the scoundrel that created it, is quite interesting. A true flim-flam man. While in Woodland Hills, you’ll see a number of LAUSD campuses that are closed and decaying. Luckily, not for much longer — LAUSD is finalizing plans to have long-closed campuses taken over by charter schools, including El Camino Charter HS.
  • Food News. A couple of food items. The first looks at Tilapia, a white-fish that is growing in popularity. The problem is that it might not be that great for you (but it is still better than any red meat). The second notes that you might be able to get bigger muscles by eating green tomatoes. Not fried, of course.
  • Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo. The LA Times had an interesting article on the backstory of Yasiel Puig, a star of the LA Dodgers (you know, the team you can’t watch on TV). There were rumors Puig was smuggled out of Cuba by members of a Mexican drug cartel. There were rumors he still owed the smugglers money, and that his life could be in jeopardy. There was talk about Puig being essentially owned by a Miami businessman with a criminal record who hired those smugglers in exchange for 20% of the ballplayer’s future earnings. I read this, and the story in the musical Damn Yankees popped into my head. Young Joe Hardy also just showed up from nowhere, and then all these rumors surfaced about his connection with criminals. I wonder if Puig will disappear after hitting the winning run when the Dodgers make the playoffs?
  • Let’s Go Shopping. A few commerce related items. The woman’s retailer “Coldwater Creek” is going bankrupt, and is holding a major liquidation sale starting on Mothers Day. That may be of interest to those who can fit into Coldwater Creek’s stuff. Secondly, information on about 3 mln credit and debit cards have been stolen from the retailer Michaels. This is a big deal — much bigger on the consumer side than anything leaked by Heartbleed. Keep an eye on your statements folks, especially if you live with a person who loves crafting.
  • Pasadena Playhouse, Sigh. The Pasadena Playhouse has announced their next season. In a word, “sigh”. I so want them to succeed, but Sheldon just doesn’t know how to pick a good season. They start with a rework of Kiss Me Kate (a musical that needs no rework) to put it in the context of the African-American theatre of the 1900-1925 period. Why? They also have Stop KissPygmalian, and Two for the Seesaw (the comic play that was the source of the musical Seesaw), plus a TBA play. Nothing that would attract me. This seems to be the year for long established companies to have completely uninteresting seasons.

 

This entry was originally posted on Observations Along The Road (on cahighways.org) as this entry by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link below; you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. There are currently comments on the Wordpress blog. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

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[women] Enter a gentle astringer

I have had this picture up on my computer for four days, so I figure I might as well post it.

A girl and her giant raptor: 13 yo Ashol-Pan and a golden eagle she's learning to hunt with; it rests on her right arm, which she has low, waist-height -- the bird's face level with hers, eye-to-eye, and extremely close to it, two finger's breadths between her nose and the beak.  It's leaning in towards her, incredibly intimate, its wings slightly extended about her, she is smiling, and her left hand gently rests on the eagle's breast, as if caught mid-caress.

My inner five-year-old has lost her mind over this picture. If I'd seen that picture -- or any of the others of Ashol-Pan with the eagles in this article -- in grade school, I would have swum the Atlantic and walked to Mongolia.

More other great surely-thats-photoshopped-but-no little girl power fantasy fodder pictures at that link.

Wikipedia's page on the golden eagle -- which is astonishingly comprehensive, even by wikipedia's standards -- tells me that white on the tail feathers indicates that this is a juvenile; apparently these two young ladies will be growing up together. And think: neither one is at her full size yet.

ETA: From the photographer's website:
At the end of the photographing session, I sat down with her father and the translator to say my goodbyes, and I asked him this:

“How did it feel watching your daughter dressed in Kazakh uniform, on a mountain top, sending the eagle off and calling it back again?”

“Very good”

“And honestly... would you have considered truly training her? Would she become Mongolia’s first ever female eagle huntress?”

I expected a straightforward “No” or a joking “Maybe”, but after a short pause he replied:

“Up until two years ago my eldest son was the successor of the eagle hunting tradition in our family. Alas, two years ago he was drafted to the army, and he’s now an officer, so he probably won’t be back with the tradition. It’s been a while since I started thinking about training her instead of him, but I wouldn't dare do it unless she asks me to do it, and if she will? Next year you will come to the eagle festival and see her riding with the eagle in my place.”

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So, yes, it turns out that apparently all the previous problems were an artifact of something the ghost was doing. On boot, the ghost takes a copy of /etc/crontab and installs it as root's personal crontab, in /var/spool/cron/crontabs/root.

Having wiped out the latter, all my cron jobs have run fine. (Well, I'm down to known bugs in my own code. :)

But since the ghost's going to unfix that every time I reboot, I'm going to need to run something at boot time to ununfix it. Yes, I need a daemon to clean up the ghost's mess. Yes.

Well, okay, I don't actually need a daemon. I just need a shell script that runs on boot.

Do I just pretend it's a service and put it in /etc/init.d like all the real sevices, add it to runlevel.conf, etc? Is that the tasteful way to do this? What's the right proper [Debian|Linuxy] way to have a script run on boot, but not until the ghost has run?

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*squeee*!

*squeee*! *squeee*! *squeee*!

Following this link constitutes a minor spoiler for Captain America: Winter Soldier.

http://hellotailor.tumblr.com/post/82970317918/most-of-the-intelligence-community-doesnt

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