bnewman: (damselfly)
I haven't posted here in a long time. I'd like that to change (okay — it just changed, 'cause I just posted — I mean I'd like the trend to change!). A number of my LJ friends have taken on a practice of posting at least something very regularly, but I'm not going to do that because what I really need is to maintain my LJ/website/whatever as a creative outlet, and my creativity usually comes out in bigger chunks than that.

It's been an eventful winter so far, and looks likely to be an eventful year 2.5 years going forwards. To avoid a single long post that I never finish, here's a brief overview looking both back and forward:


• OVFF, a major filk convention in Ohio
• Christmas as [ profile] fiddledragon's parents' house
MagFest, a vide game/music con (and my first non-filk niche con)
• Arisia, the Dionysian pole of the Boston general SF con scene (Boskone, the Appolonian pole, is in a few weeks)

Things I've learned

• People appreciate receiving my pipe cleaner critters as gifts.
• People will give me money in exchange for pipe cleaner critters.
• Among my critter designs are a good selection which can be made quickly and reliably.
• I know what I want to do when I grow up need to get a real job.
• If I play the next 2.5 years right, I can come out much better qualified for all of the top 3-5 jobs on my list.
• An "idea for a novel" works better if it has characters and a plot, as well as a setting.

Creative output I'll post soon

• Pictures of a selection of my 3D art
• A synopsis of a novel I might actually write
• A dirt cheap laser beam-spreader
• Three different visual or map-based storytelling games
• A few new songs

Plus the details of the above-hinted-at 2.5-year plan, a possible website overhaul (eventually!), and more...?
bnewman: (damselfly)
Over the last week or so, I have had a musical flood — I've written a number of new songs, extensively revised a few old songs, and recorded yet more songs to which I posted lyrics long ago. I've also posted a number of songs that aren't new-to-me, but which hadn't been posted previously.

The complete list of updates is on my songs page, without commentary. Note that this will probably be the last major update to that page, and also the last batch of songs to be announced on this journal, because this summer I will be moving my web presence to a new site and a new format, about which I will post at length after it happens. I will continue to use this LJ account for the purposes of reading and commenting on other people's journals.

[η: links fixed]

"Love Letter" (mp3) has gotten a major revision, with the third verse and its chorus ripped out and replaced with two new verses and choruses. This song was always intended, not just as one of those quirky songs in which Ben explains his world-view, but as a love song to the Holy One, as something you could earnestly pray. The original version started in a devotional mood, but then made a very abrupt transition to critical-thinking-land. This revision makes the transition much smoother, and the point-of-view character less canny, which helps to carry that devotional energy into the second half of the song. Of all the changes, the key may be "Please don't say you expect me to take this or leave it / 'cause I love you too much to say no." I don't think it's a coincidence that "Love Letter" didn't get properly finished until between Pesach and Shavuot.

click for even more songs )
bnewman: (Default)
In all likelihood I will never look at again.

DON'T PANIC, it's not because I don't love you! It's because I've lately discovered that my RSS reader, Vienna, being browser-based, authenticates to using a magic cookie just like any other web-browser, and thus I can pull down all the LJ that's fit for me to read as RSS. This completely obsoletes my previous system for keeping track of which LJ posts I have and have not read.

As part of the migration process, I have made some minor adjustments to the set of journals I read and to my friends list (note that there is now no essential link between these two sets). I make very few locked entries, and the main consideration when adjusting which information pipes I'm subscribed to is my time and sanity, so, as far as I'm concerned, these adjustments are of relatively small social weight. However, if it is for whatever reason important to you whether or not (a) I keep track of what's going on with you or (b) you have access to my occasional more personal musings, I will gladly take that into consideration.

note: I've been using a DefaultView custom friends group to filter my friends page, and I will, at least for the time being, continue to keep it synchronized with the set of livejournals I am actually reading, so you can check whether or not I am reading your journal by looking for your own entries on my friends page.
bnewman: (Default)
Meanwhile, despite the latest stupidity, I'll definitely be keeping my LJ account around for reading and commenting purposes... and I've been thinking that I could use a few more userpics — three more, to be precise, since that's what I get.

I currently have three userpics, which I associate (roughly) with wonder, compassion/intimacy, and snark/outrage respectively. I'm looking for three more. I'm not sure how often I will be posting (I don't post that often now), so these will be mainly be used for commenting, suggesting that they should convey attitudes/emotions rather than topics. (The one topic I'm likely to continue to post on is music.) Basically, I'm hoping for comments from people who know me well enough to identify conversational moods of mine which are not well-covered by my current set of userpics.

At some point in the not-too-distant future I will be moving and completely redesigning my personal website, at which point even the stuff I have been posting to LJ (i.e. songs and commentary on songs) will be best-viewed over there.
bnewman: (omg_wtf)
Apparently, LJ will no longer allow the creation of Basic (free, ad-free) accounts. Existing accounts can (for now) still be switched to and from Basic status. The latest news posting (which might, theoretically, have prominently mentioned this) says nothing about this change.

As has been ranted about at greater length elsewhere, this is a violation of (legally non-binding, but quite explicit) promises LJ has made in the past regarding the character of its service and its relationship with users. Brad, original founder of LJ and now Not In Charge, but on an advisory board which is apparently going to be ignored by the new Powers That Be, agrees that this was a breach of trust and a bad move.

I'm not sure what I'm planning to do about this. My account will remain Basic unless and until there's another change in policy (I wouldn't trust an assertion that this won't happen if I were given one), but I can certainly no longer recommend in good conscience that anyone join LJ in order to keep up with me. On the other hand, I don't post here all that often. People can follow my journal, such as it is, using RSS, and comment anonymously or using an OpenID, and I have few locked posts.

At the same time, I will say this: Why have so many of us put ourselves in this position where the data that make up our personal and social lives is held by a company that we don't control and with whom we don't even have a real contract? For each other. I could drop LJ in a moment — log out and never log back in — if everyone on LJ whom I care about would follow me. They only have a hold on me because they have a hold on you, and so on, circularly. We are hostages. We came because it was a good deal, but we will stay even if it becomes a bad deal, at least for a while.

Where could we go? Another social networking site? There are others that have better reputations (InsaneJournal seems to be an especially popular destination for LJ refugees)... or, we could hope for some software and protocols that would allow us to achieve the same functions we get from LJ while hosting our content on whatever machines we choose.
bnewman: (Default)
Edit: I accidentally forgot to make this post private, thus revealing one of my most dangerous secrets — how I'm keeping track of which posts on my friends page I have and haven't seen before.

Just before I start reading my friends page, I make a private post containing just the text "*** bookmark ***". I read my friends page until I see the previous such post, and then delete that post. I started doing this quite recently, and it has been helpful in making LJ a bit more manageable. If you have any other tips along these lines, feel free to mention them in comments.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled livejournal.
bnewman: (Default)
From now on, this livejournal will have tags. And, yes, all previous entries have been tagged, too.
bnewman: (Default)
My infospace is in shambles.

Okay, a few weeks ago I made serious inroads against a number of primary nexi of infoclutter, and my email is basically under control. However, infosanity has suffered some serious setbacks lately:

  • Swarthmore College just shut down its NNTP server. This means there is now no practical way for me to read usenet in the same logical frame in which I read my regular email. I'm not cut off from usenet, but I'm going to have to change my routine, and that's not easy for me.

  • I'm going to be starting graduate school at a new university. I have a new email account. Should I forward it to the one I'm using now (what I'm currently doing, but of course it's not getting much mail right now)? Vice versa? Something else?

  • I've just gotten a livejournal. I don't have to explain why this is potentially a serious setback to my infosanity, do I?

Beyond advice about how to organize the information I receive, I'm also looking for advice on how to organize the information I project — which is where you, O gentle reader-of-information-I-project (and you are, aren't you? — right now, even!) come in.

What would you like to see here in this livejournal? What would you like to see more of on my website?

Right now, the only part of my website that's really alive is my songs page. When I set up my pretty front page, I thought about what information I would like to project, and how I might organize it, and then never got around to creating or posting much of it. Here's a quick guide to the website I thought I would make:

Read more... )
So, what would you like to see? What do you think belongs in a livejournal versus going on a website?
bnewman: (Default)
I, Orawnzva Arjzna, have cleverly concealed my identity behind the most powerful encryption technology known to the Internet. You will never unmask me. Mwa ha ha ha ha!

-- Ora
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