New Music for Early August

Janelle Monáe + Wondaland Records – Hell You Talmbout

This references a bonus track off of Monae’s 2013 release, I think.

Mick Jenkins – Wave[s]

Mother Cyborg – Tough Femme Mix

Aye Nako – White Noise

Here’s a Pitchfork review of the track. From the review:

Dixon elaborated on the song, saying it’s about how “whiteness is centered in everything, how it taught me to hate myself for being black, how when I was a kid I used to pray to God that I could be white… how it scares me that white supremacy doesn’t even need white people to perpetuate it.”

Tunde Olaniran – Transgressor


Gold Paint Boy – little engine

Programmatically reshaping data

Yesterday at work, my coworker needed to reshape a data table, from CSV. The data was a time series, with one row per date. He wanted to reshape the data so there was one row per day of the year with a column for the desired variable for each year. He observed that there were 93 distinct days of the year for each year and used some clever Excel functions and auto-fills to do this in about 5 minutes. I spend considerably more time figuring out how to do this in PostgreSQL, Python and R.

Chicago Police Department accountability coverage

Updated September 21, 2015

Video of a police raid on a tanning salon in 2013 shows Chicago Police officers engaging in potentially criminal activity. Some of that activity was reviewed by the Independent Police Review Authority, but other potential crimes by cops were ignored by the agency tasked with rooting out police misconduct in Chicago. It raises serious questions about IPRA and its commitment to police accountability, questions that IPRA has refused to answer.

Updated September 14, 2015

In a 2013 police raid caught on video, an officer makes racists comments to an Asian- American woman he’s arresting, and then he threatens her and her family with death. IPRA has recommended a 25-day suspension for the officer.

Andy Kang with Asian Americans Advancing Justice said Scott Ando defended that decision in a meeting Monday.

“For those that engage in police brutality, I think the message unfortunately, what it tells us is that those officers will get a slap on the wrist,” said Kang.

The police allegedly approached Roberts’ vehicle with their guns drawn, ordered him to exit it, and then pushed him to the ground.

Roberts says one of the officers said to him, “Don’t make me fucking shoot you!” even though he had done nothing but comply with the officers’ orders.

One of the officers pulled Roberts’ wallet from his pocket, and discovered Roberts’ identification as a supervising investigator with the authority.

“Moments later, Defendant Ellison ran back to his vehicle and turned off his vehicle’s video recording equipment,” Roberts claims. Police assert that there is no video or audio recording of what next conspired even though two other police cars were present.

The complaint states that Roberts, “who was approximately 315 pounds at the time, was placed in a single set of handcuffs that were clearly too tight.”

He says he pleaded with the officers to loosen the cuffs, but they refused.

Update August, 17, 2015

Update July 27, 2015

Update July 24, 2015, allegations by ex-IPRA investigators of pressure to change findings

Update July 19, 2015, more stories

A few weeks ago, the Trib published a story about the review of complaints against Chicago Police Department officers to which I contributed data analysis. This week, a couple of stories about Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) came across my radar, so I wanted to share them here:

Become a Better Programmer Through Mundane Programming

“Become a Better Programmer Through Mundane Programming” is a session that Dan Nguyen and I did at SRCCON this year. Here’s the description from the session page

One of the most difficult challenges for learning programmers is being able to go beyond basic lessons to building “the next Facebook”, or even just applying programming to your work projects. The secret is that programming can be practiced — and used — on everyday, somewhat “mundane” computational tasks. When you learn how to program to do things that are helpful to you, you not only become a better programmer, but you gain insight on how programming fits into the bigger projects you hope to build.

This session will involve both discussion of everyday programming and demonstrations of creating and refining “mundane” programming scripts, with the goal of brainstorming ideas and use cases to expand the scope of problems we can use programming to solve.

The most validating experience was one of the participants showing me some shell script she had written using the t Twitter client to auto-follow SRCCON tweeters.


New music for back to school

Prince (the other one)

I work up this morning to the din of the first day of school. Even being out of school for a while, I feel like the fall still has this sense of beginning to me, even as the summer comes to the close.

Out of curiosity looked up the current band of a friend I’ve fallen out of touch with and was instantly pulled in by what I heard. Have you ever been haunted by a song and found yourself playing and replaying the same song a dozen times to see if the lyrics match up with the music’s powerful first impression? That’s what happened to me when I heard “How ya been feelin'”, a track from a forthcoming 7″ from Austin’s Prince. It has such a great combination of energy and sadness. The lyrics are direct, but use imagery that evokes something more than the words. The other recordings on the band’s Bandcamp page are pretty great as well.

Una Bèstia Incontrolable and Iron Lung

Last week I saw Una Bèstia Incontrolable and Iron Lung play and I enjoyed hearing two bands play interesting heavy music that’s still grounded in punk and hardcore idioms. It’s hard because seeing heavy bands live sometimes feels like the way we engage with the music is so predictable compared with the music.

I really enjoyed this Noisey interview with Iron Lung because it revealed some surprising influences that I hadn’t listened to very intently including Flipper’s “Generic Flipper” and Rudimentary Peni’s “Death Church”.

Dystopian Society

Some dear friends just moved to Florence, Italy and I was curious what was going on in local music. This death rock band is the first thing that came up when I google “Florence Italy DIY punk”.

New music for early August

Richard The Third by Richard Album and The Singles

I play in a cover band with the drummer of the Singles and he had a great one-liner describing this band which was something like “theatric power pop”. This is their new record and they’re on tour now.

Black Rainbow

They played Chicago this week and it was one of the best performances I’ve seen in a while. Direct but not boring punk music.

Sorrows and In School

Chicago’s queer punk fest, Fed Up Fest was a few weeks ago. It was really great. Good music, and a vibe that felt fun and purposeful. While I was excited to finally get to see Limp Wrist, even if they hadn’t played their unannounced set, I would have been satisfied to see some awesome bands that I had never heard of before. Two of my favorites were New York hardcore bands Sorrows and In School.