2010 Year in Review

I was planning on doing the @lasertron Radvent project more than I did, but after the first few I wasn't able to resonate with it anymore.  They involved things that didn't make sense to me.  Either making things, or interacting with people.  Christmas parties, neighbors, etc.  I didn't have any of these and I felt pretty lame.  So instead I figured i'd write this blog post about 2010. I wish I could say I have a lot of detailed things to talk about that happened in the past year, but I really don't.  It's been a year that has been focused on just a couple things, and It's been a year of removing anything that diluted the focus.

I guess I lost a lot of friends this past year.  I couldn't tell you exactly why.  Some I've purposely cut out as a way to get away from people and/or situations I find distracting or making me unhappy.  Others have quietly slipped away from my life, maybe citing the same reasons, who knows.  Though this year I found I need to step away from unhappiness due to the hands of others.  And I had a really awful Summer that involved some of that.  I even told my parents during a visit this year that they're not allowed to come back.  I'll stand by that.  I learned unhappiness due to guilt or association is stupid.

While I say I haven't done anything exciting this year, it's not entirely true.  I mean, I went to Seattle to visit the TechStars program for frack sake.  How cool is that?

I also was able to go to South By Southwest for the first time.  Something I've always wanted to do.  Just being in attendance and meeting people doing awesome things, and hearing people's ideas, and watching things in action is really a jump to anything you might be doing.  I'm really looking forward to SxSW 2011, hopefully bringing my own passion and ideas in tow.

I thought maybe this past year would have included me working on more music, but again, my passion and focus was elsewhere, so unfortunately a lot of the tunes I hoped to some day finish is again being pushed into the next year.  Maybe 2011 will see the completion of my mysterious album.  Though I am releasing tracks as they get finished, so I suppose I'll give myself a little credit there.  Plus I was able to finally put out the music video for "Got Skillz?" all these years later.  Something from 2006 finally online?  That's pretty cool.

Also being that I left West Corporation at the very end of last year, 2010 was also thus far the entirety of my freelance/consulting work.

For the most part, I can't complain. I've made some neat projects and really done my best. Though the output of the process has been a complete failure. As of this writing 55% of my invoiced total have not been paid. If you think that's an impressively high number...YES it's a high number. Some of it i've written off as "I'll never get it, so I'm not going to fight it any longer", and some of it I'm actively fighting. A lot of that number comes from clients "unable" to pay me due to their client not paying them in some shape or form. And this isn't just a single client, there's multiple. So I'm thinking it's just part of the game. Sometimes you luck out and get paid, sometimes you don't.  My advice if you're going into consulting work, only do it if you love it, because you'll be doing it for free most of the time.

So I don't know.  Do I have other things to wrap up from the year?  Probably.  I'm just doing this off the cuff.

I hope you're all having a great holiday season, and I hope to catch up with you all soon in the new year.

Radvent Dec 5 - #Radvent tunage

Create the soundtrack of your year.

Now THIS is more like it!  Though to be honest I feel like I talk about music to people so often I don't know what to put here that's worth reading.

It's actually pretty easy for me to find what I've been listening to this past year because of Last.FM.  In fact here is my 12 month chart in detail. However, this year I haven't really been "into" anything significantly like most years.  It's certainly been a soundtrack of a year built of previous years and a couple new discoveries.  But unlike years where I can say "I was really into Daft Punk" or "I discovered the new pornographers this year" this year has been a pretty casual listening time.

Of course Nine Inch Nails has been a staple, but there's nothing new there.  Though I really enjoy any live releases that happen to come out from shows, so there's generally always been something new to listen to.

Ghostland Observatory came out with a new album this year, "Codename: Rondo" and I've given that a few e-rotations.  They ended up pretty high in my list with 119 plays.

Crystal Castles also came out with a new release this year, and I've played them a bit.  Well, only 85 times.

I went to see Lords of Acid this year, and around that time I was playing them quite a bit.

Blaqk Audio is an electronic dancey group that I never would have heard of if @andrea_joi didn't suggest them to me.  They get a pretty constant play rate in my rotation.

If you organize my music by what tracks I listened to the most it gets even a little more broad.  Is that Semisonic's 2001 hit "Chemistry" way up on the charts?  Yes it is.  And that, my friends, shows you that it's been kind of a down year when it comes to tunes for me.  (Don't get me wrong, I really like that song.)

For some reason "Shiny Toy Guns" was a staple this year as well.  But that's some feel-good, fun time poppy dance tunes that I can't go wrong with.  So who would blame me?

If you look at albums I've listened to the most, I think it's a pretty good list.  We start with Blaqk Audio's SexCells, as mentioned before.  A couple soundtracks, including Repo!  The Genetic Opera. And the awesome comedy album by The Lonely Island, Incredibad.

Also as far as albums we have that new album by Ghostland Obervatory I mentioned, The Dance Macbre Remix album by The Faint, Daft Punk's Discovery, and Battles' Mirrored.

I've heard Battles in previous years, but it was just this year I got their album "Mirrored", and it's really great stuff.  Highly recommended.

To close things out I'll point you to songs that I've been recommending, as they are a great example of music I've loved at that point in time.  So seriously head over to http://gabekangas.com/musicrecommendations to hear some tunes.

I know this post wasn't very deep or anything, but hey.  What do you expect?

Below I'll embed a few sources of tunes probably mentioned above, and you can partake if you like.  Enjoy!

MusicPlaylistView Profile
Create a MySpace Playlist at MixPod.com

Radvent Dec 3 - Sexy notes to yourself

Write a letter of love to yourself to read again in one year. And then some stuff that has to do with getting away from the computer.

If you haven't noticed, I'm going to ignore the parts of this project that deals with getting away from the computer and doing things.  That's not really my jam.  Journal, stamps, special pens, beautiful paper, stickers, glue, etc... not things I own.  I write with the tool I'm using right now.  Little buttons and a little screen.  I'm not much for using a pen or paper.  It bugs me enough that I have to sign credit card receipts.  Can't you scan my retina or something?  It's 2010, at least pretend that we're evolved beings.

Anyway.  I think I'll do this one.  I'll write a love letter to myself later today.  I'll save it as a private post here on my blog, and in a year I'll read it again.  Maybe even let you read it too.

A love letter to myself.  This is going to be hot.  Dirty boy.

Radvent Dec 1

So @lasertron is doing a thing, beginning with her blog over at PrincessLasertron.com, where she's issuing a blog topic every day throughout the month of December.  She asked some others if they'd be willing to join her, and here I am. I'm not so bold to think I'll actually blog every day this month, but I'll try.

Enough of that, here's #1.  @lasertron writes:

What were you doing five years ago today? Where were you? Who were you with? What did you want? What did you have?

Lucky me, I get the "bad remembering" part of the writing exercise.  Five years ago I was living with my ex in Illinois, planning our wedding and getting ready for the holiday season.  If you know me and my thoughts about weddings and holidays you're cringing right now at the thought of reading this post.

Almost everything at this point in time revolved around the whole wedding thing.  Our trip to Vegas, the reception to be held in Marquette, MI afterwards.  Who was coming?  What are the travel arrangements?  Was the venue paid for?  Did you contact the cake lady?  Blah blah blah.  All that shit that people think is important at that time in life, but are really just trivial details that won't ever matter again.  Weddings are such crap.  All that money wasted to prove to others 1) How much you "love each other", 2) How big of a party you can throw, 3) How much better you are than everyone else, 4) How creative you are.

What did I want?  Honestly, I wanted the holiday and the wedding to be over with.  As an adult I've never enjoyed Christmas time.  Spending time with my family is not something I enjoy.  The "you spend it with those of genetic resemblance to you because you have to" thing never really jived with me, but I was able to deal at this point in time because I had a partner in crime.  I didn't have to sit in the corner alone feeling like I wanted it to be over, I had at least someone to talk to when visiting my family.

And what did I have?  I don't know.  I guess I had the same things anyone that is just about to celebrate christmas and get married have.  Annoyances, bills and a bride-to-be who may not be exceptionally easy to work with.

I'll do my best to be less bitter next time.  This one is kind of a hot button for me, and I apologize.

Barcamp Omaha 2010 was rad (and the jam was fun)

Thanks to the organization team of Barcamp2010 here in Omaha it was another great event.  Learned some stuff and had some fun. Also thanks to everyone to indulged me in my attempt for a lunchtime jam session.  I can't honestly say it was the most musical thing ever performed, but we all had fun anyway :)  Thanks to everyone who took part!  It was nice to mix things up a bit.

Photos and video stolen from this post.

Barcamp 2010: The Musical

I've been thinking about what I wanted to do for Barcamp this year. I was chatting over lunch today with this week's Coworking Wednesday participants about how I wished there was something different I could do. Something collaborative and break the mold of what an unconference session should be. I mentioned music stuff and @whatevermatt mentioned a drum circle. I thought about that a while (at least 2 to 3 minutes) later that day (today) and thought I'd see if I could pull something off.  So here's an attempt to get a jam session rocking at Barcamp.

So here's a call to all Barcamp participants who have access to any kind of simple, acoustic, portable instrument that is jam-able (hammered dulcimer, Roland 808: maybe not so much.  Think hand drum, acoustic guitar, rain sticks, stand-up bass, iPhone, didgeridoo, you get the idea.)

And don't worry, I already talked to @lasertron about a way to do it so speakers don't get upset: she suggested to have it at lunch!

This is informal, and it'd be cool for as many people to join in who are willing.  If you have any extra gear at home that might be appropriate for this, bring it!  I'll bring what I have as well.

Tell your friends!

Lost and Found: A video experiment started in 2006

In 2006 I was diligently working on my (still unreleased) new album "The Longest Post". With that I decided to create a couple music videos both as an experiment on if I could make something fun, and to have a visual way to distribute some songs. A couple apartment moves later and the hard drives with the music videos were lost.

Until now. In October, 2010 I found the hard drives while cleaning out my music studio and decided it was time to show them to the world.

They weren't completely finished, however. But a couple nights of some polish and fixes made it so the first, "Got Skillz?" could be released. And here it is.

Some things of note: You can tell it's from 2007. Old school web pages and apps. You see an old version of YouTube complete with a greasemonkey script changing the background color of it running within an old version of Firefox.  I was running a lot more extensions then than I remember.

Also given the lack of resources as far as what video I had to work with I experimented with using the game/app/world of "Second Life" for some of the character stuff to emulate the "party in the computer" vibe.

The video "Got Skillz?" tells the story of the party inside the computer. The song says "Get off the floor, and get on the net. The dance you see there is unbelievable I bet." and the video shows it to be true.

It also mocks the world of rap music by itself being a rap song, but showing how the character of Real-ity doesn't belong in the ghetto with the homies and would probably just find the nearest computer and get online.

See below for a "behind the scenes" video from when I was working on this originally (February 2007).

Check out facebook.com/pages/Real-ity/192311904989 for updates and new tunes. And as always gabekangas.com to see what Gabe is up to.

The video

Real-ity - Got Skillz?

"Behind the scenes, February 2007"