19 June, 2020
As part of my learning regimen, I've been doing a daily code challenge on Codewars. So far, it's been going very smoothly, and I can often think up an algorithm and get it coded in under an hour--with some solutions coming to me immediately.
Today, however, I had to use my first life line, after racking my brain for over an hour.
The problem, as described in the "Kata", involved finding unique characters in a string. Specifically, checking whether a given string was a "pangram", which is a sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet (e.g. "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog").
Of course, my first naive approach involved all kinds of desperate Regex patterns, and keeping a counter, and then checking whether the total count was at least 26 (one for each letter of the alphabet), but I had to abandon this path when I realized just how lost I had gotten.
Fortunately, it didn't take much time to search online for a hint, and my pal "Google" led me to Set, which immediately got me to my solution:
const isPangram = (string) => [...new Set(string.replace(/\s/g, "").toLowerCase().split(""))].length >= 26;
I know every experienced coder will tell you that the best skill one can have is Googling the solution, and I strongly agree with that, but it also feels nice to be able to think up an algorithm all by myself. However, I won't beat myself up too much, because the next time I need to find unique values in a set, I'll know exactly where to look!
"One Of My Lies"
17 May, 2020
Inspired by all the fun videos that musicians are putting out (particularly the Goldfinger ones, since they're a band that's near and dear to me), I decided to challenge myself to do a similar quasi-live video. Here it is:
Since I'm not the greatest guitar player, I decided to stick to something that I could handle (or at least pass off as "good enough for punk music"). 😎
I went with "One Of My Lies", off the Green Day album "Kerplunk", which has always been one of my favorite songs, even though I didn't know all the lyrics until last week.
In the spirit of capturing a quasi-live band performance, I did these in full takes, without editing. I did about three drum takes before I was happy, maybe a dozen bass takes, and roughly a billion guitar/vocal takes. Haha. I kept fucking up the lyrics (I still did flub a couple tiny things, in the end), but mostly I was just messing up the guitar-playing, which is an impressive feat when you consider that Green Day is not exactly a band covered extensively by Guitar Player magazine.
Anyway, this was a blast to make, and I'm excited to try another one soon! Maybe something even easier on guitar? 😂
iCloud and node_modules
04 May, 2020
For now, I've opted to remove all my Node projects out of iCloud, and instead make a habit of creating remote repos on Github.
If you're not using React, the following solution should still work, and I'd still recommend it!
I've been using the COVID-19 lockdown as an opportunity to learn new skills and expand on the ones I've already got. For the most part, this has been in the realm of coding.
I'm not quite ready to share the projects I've been working on (most of them are really basic little web apps that are more for learning than for a portfolio), but I wanted to share one quick little tip for anyone developing adds with Node.js that uses iCloud.
By default, any new file or directory that you store in iCloud on macOS gets uploaded and synced. In the case of a Node.js project, this means that the monster that is
node_modules gets uploaded, as well. This is unnecessary usage of bandwidth and also takes quite a toll on your battery and hard disk.
Fortunately, some smart person made a utility for dealing with exactly this scenario: nosync-icloud.
You can read about it on their site, but the short version is that you can run a command in each of your Node.js project folders, and it will look for a
node_modules folder, append
.nosync to the folder name (which disables iCloud syncing), symlinks
node_modules to the newly un-synced folder, and then adds both to your
Habit & Routine, Vol. 2
24 January, 2020
Hi, friends! Please welcome “Habit & Routine: Vol. 2” into the world!
Only half the songs as last time, but twice as many guitar solos, I think. The fact that the number of solos is increasing disproportionally to the quality of the guitar playing just shows that maybe I’m becoming a real guitar player? (That was a sick burn on guitar players, but also self-deprecating, which makes it ironic and humorous, just like people on Internet!)
Anyway, like last time, I wrote, performed, recorded, and mixed everything in my practice space, over the last few months. I’m stoked with how they turned out and look forward to putting out more stuff this year.
And if you didn’t get a chance to listen to the first batch, those are still streaming, as well!
Listen to "Habit & Routine: Vol. 2" on the platform of your choice.
Habit & Routine
24 September, 2019
Hey, I made a pop-punk EP!
“Habit & Routine” is a collection of demos that I worked on by myself in my practice space over the past month or so. Everything you hear was written and performed by me, in my little 9’x12’ carpeted box of inspiration. I also engineered and mixed everything, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
I have never really considered myself a songwriter or a singer, to be honest. And I definitely never considered myself a guitar player. Haha. It’s been years since I did any of those things in earnest, so I just never got to work on it. But, I decided that if I work those muscles more regularly, maybe some day I won’t shy away from those labels.
I also figured that if a lot of my favorite punk bands didn’t really know how to play guitar or sing—and some of their records sound pretty bad—then I would probably be okay. 😂
That’s why I decided to release what I’m working on. This isn’t supposed to be a masterpiece by any means (it’s pop-punk not Radiohead), and I’m under no illusion that people will love this and clamor for more. But, I did enjoy making these songs, and I thought they turned out fun, and see no harm in letting other people hear it.
I’ve already started work on “Habit & Routine: Vol. 2”—I swiped the name for this project from a line in the movie “Memento” which always resonated with me, since I’ve had really poor memory for as long as I can… remember? 🤔—and hope to continue putting stuff out for as long as the creative drive holds up.
I’ve thought about whether I could put a band together and play shows and maybe tour. I’ve thought about whether I could work with a producer and session musicians to write better songs and make a better record. I’ve thought about whether I could perform these songs at the park on a guitar. I’ve thought about a lot of places that I could go with it. But, ultimately, I’ll do what I’ve always done and let things happen organically.
I never set out to be a drummer or drum tech or any of the things that I’ve been fortunate enough to do that have paid the bills in the past. They’re just things that happened because I had passion and was fortunate to have had a support system (ie. A dad that didn’t mind me crashing in his basement 😂) and have always been surrounded by a talented network of generous musicians, producers, and other creative folks.
Anyway, if you’re interested in what I’m doing in any capacity, please let me know about it!
Listen to "Habit & Routine" on the platform of your choice.
19 September, 2018
“Panic Stations” came out three years ago today! Here’s me recording one of my favorite songs to play from that album.
Still blows my mind that I got to make a record in the same room that Dave Grohl recorded “In Utero” in. Life is wild!
"Still Into You" - Drum Cover
04 September, 2018
Check out this video I made today!
I unabashedly love this song, as well as the tasty drums that Ilan Rubin recorded, so this was a lot of fun for me.
What should I try next??
RIP Warped Tour
10 July, 2018
tl;dr Warped Tour was great, and holds a very special place in my heart.
This year, I wasn’t gonna be home for the last Warped Tour in Minnesota, so we decided to find a way to attend one while we were on our cross-country RV trip, and we ended up in Dallas. Turns out that if you drive an RV into the lot when the buses and Bandwagons are pulling in, and you act like you know what you’re doing, security just waves you on in! We had a blast, watching bands and hanging out with people that I’ve met over the years.
My first time attending Warped Tour was in 1997 in St. Paul. To be honest, I don’t even recall how I found out about the tour, where I got tickets, who drove me there, or what I ate that day. But, I do remember seeing Reel Big Fish and getting their autographs. At the time, they were absolutely my favorite band, right up there with the Suicide Machines and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, both of which also played that year.
The next year, 1998, my ska band (Flipsyde) entered the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands. Back then, they had the bands that got the most online votes play a show in town (ours was at Bandana Square), and local judges declared a winner that would go on to play the Ernie Ball stage at Warped. We didn’t win, but we still attended. Fun fact: that was the year that Ozzfest and Warped merged (in Somerset, WI), which was memorable, even though I didn’t catch a single Ozzfest band.
In 1999, there was no Warped Tour in Minneapolis. I remember emailing Kevin Lyman about getting into a different Warped Tour, since there was none in Minnesota, and he told me to bring my ID and we could get in. My bandmates and I decided to drive to St. Louis that year, because that’s what young people on summer vacation do! To this day, Kevin remains easy to spot, if you know what to look for: straw fedora and sunglasses. I managed to find him and he went and got us backstage passes. I remember going up to Travis Barker after his set with Blink 182 and asking “So, do you still go by ‘The Baron Von Tito’?” because I think I was trying to somehow impress him by knowing about his old ska band, The Aquabats. Woof. He told me, coldly, “My name has always been Travis”, and that was the last and only time I’ve ever interacted with him.
On our way home from St. Louis, we got a call asking if we’d like to play the Warped Tour in Chicago. We said yes, before even consulting the rest of our band (who were back in Minneapolis). So, 1999 in Tinley Park, IL on the local stage was my first time playing the Warped Tour. After our set, my bass player told me that none other than Travis Barker had stopped to watch us play for a quick minute. Incidentally, he watched us play a song that included a drum fill lifted directly from an Aquabats song. I wonder if he stopped to ponder if I was the idiot from St. Louis, or if he recognized his fill being butchered by some local band.
The following years went like this:
2000: Played with Flipsyde. Metrodome parking lot on the Ernie Ball stage. Fun fact: Lifter Puller (Craig from The Hold Steady’s old band) also played our stage.
2001: Played with Flipsyde. Somerset, WI on the Ernie Ball stage.
2002: Played with Flipsyde. Harriett Island on the Drive-Thru Records stage. Fun fact: Motion City Soundtrack also played our stage.
2003: Played with Somerset. Somerset, WI on the Ernie Ball stage.
2004: Played with Somerset. Metrodome on the Smart Punk stage.
2005: Played with Somerset. Metrodome on the Kevin Says stage.
In 2006, I travelled with the Warped Tour for the first time, drum teching for Motion City Soundtrack. This was the year that I got to know a lot of the crew that is still around. It was my first time making money while traveling, and the beginning of what I’d consider to be my professional career, both as a tech and a drummer.
2008: Worked for MCS who did half the tour
2010: Worked for MCS who did half the tour. Fun fact: It was on this tour that I got the drumming gig with Saves The Day.
2013: Played with MCS who did the whole tour. Fun fact: I filled in on drums for The Wonder Years for one of the shows!
17 February, 2018
Here’s to more drums this year!