it's the privacy

Very often, I promise myself that I will write more. I am a writer, after all. That's my qualification. Sure, I've been writing software for web apps since the invention of the internet, but my degree is in Creative Writing. Go figure. So I go round in circles, because I want to create things, and I want to SHARE, but I can't just talk candidly about the people in my life, because that is a violation of privacy, and I am a pretty private person. But I also don't want to write things that no one will read. And as far as I can tell, unless I want to be a 'real' writer, and start my first novel, I am stuck being a blogger, and bloggers live and die by page views. Plus, my life revolves around a 4 year old and a 1 year old, and I don't feel right posting lots of photos and talking about them online. So it's quite a waste of time. I don't really even want particularly to be a successful blogger - I just want to feel like I am writing.

So what is there to talk about? Two things, really. The last few weeks were spent vetting new BI platforms, and although Tableau Online and Mode Analytics were both close, it became pretty clear that the only option for us is to continue with Periscope. They look the best, and they make my life the easiest. Sold. So here is a good example - my proof of concept was basically to recreate part of the main dashboard, and see how easy that is.

So, in Periscope, for the first chart the query is this:

select sum(amount) day_total, sum(f1) count_of_items, f3 merchant, ds
from temp_ps 
where p_type='Periscope Retailer 180'
and [f2=partner]
and ds > DATE_FORMAT(CURRENT_DATE - INTERVAL 31 DAY, '%Y-%m-%d')
group by ds, f3
order by ds, sum(amount) desc

Now, Tableau won't even let you give it a query, it likes to sit on a whole table and you drag fields around until you are happy. Not how I like to work. But Mode, on the other hand, looked pretty good, until you realize that:

  1. there is no Top X functionality;
  2. If you want to do that yourself you have to: write the query yourself, and handle the the settings in Python

So just as an example, the query, compared to above, for 'rolling your own' top x query - in this case, top 20:

select * from 
 (
( select * from
(SELECT (@rownum:=@rownum + 1) AS myrank,
merchant,
total
FROM ( SELECT merchant,
SUM(day_total) AS total
FROM {{@dash1}}
WHERE partner = "Facebook"
GROUP BY 1
) AS merchants,
(SELECT @rownum := 0) r
ORDER BY total DESC) z
where myrank <= 20 ) x
right join 
(
select sum(amount) day_total, sum(f1) count_of_items, f3 merchant, ds, f2 partner
from temp_ps 
where p_type='Periscope Retailer 180'
and ds > DATE_FORMAT(CURRENT_DATE - INTERVAL 31 DAY, '%Y-%m-%d')
group by f2, ds, f3
order by ds, sum(amount) desc
) y on x.merchant = y.merchant )

which as you can see is brutal, mostly because MySQL has no native ranking function, but to be fair that is before you even handle the presentation using python.

So it just quickly becomes a mess. I love the level of control, but I also need a simple workflow, and for Periscope you just click the damn checkbox. Yes please.

So it is nice to feel like I put us in the right direction. I hope that we can work with Periscope for a long time.

The only other piece of news is that I will be going to Austin at the end of the year to record an album with my buddy Shawn Pander as producer. I am super excited. Seriously this is going to be a pretty big deal. This is the song list (album working title: 'Nothing Can Keep Us'):

Go My Way
Roll Easy
Seeing Stars
You Got Me Running
Never Say Goodbye
A Little Dying
There's Nothing Beneath This
Dernier Coup

What Are We Doing

I was at a dance class with my young daughter. She is about to be 4 years old, and in about a month she will debut in her dancing career as a beam of sunshine. Cassie, the teacher, needed audio of each child saying their name for something she was putting together and each one of them needed to say ‘Hi, my name is…’ and finish with their name. So Cassie brought them all in to the office, which left me and the rest of the parents sitting by the wall as we do, waiting for what was barely 5 minutes.

And within 30 seconds, everyone had a phone in their hands, checking email or snapchat or Facebook or whatever it was. There was a mother close to me with a daughter in the class as well as a 1 year old son, and he and I caught each other’s gaze because there was no one else to make eye contact with. I smiled at him, and waved, it was a sweet moment but also sort of a sad one because he seemed perhaps a bit lonely right then.

A few minutes later, all the children filed back out of the office and the room livened up again.

Now, right here, I want to be clear that I am not trying to shame or blame anyone. I too am a parent, and even just a few minutes of respite is a non-trivial thing. The truth of it is that messages do need to be checked, and notes need to be taken, and text messages don’t write themselves. We can’t just stop doing it. The fucking light is blinking.

But know that when we all do that, all the time, there will certainly be more cases where a tiny little person is looking out at the world, trying to connect and finding nothing.

I think we can do better.

cross posted to kaxel.quora.com.
— https://kaxel.quora.com/What-Are-We-Doing

Holy Crap It's March - or How I Made My Lenovo Flex 4 a Ruby Slave

I just have not been writing. I can’t believe it’s March. These last few months have flown by. We had a flood in the basement, which is stressing me out a bit, and I had to postpone doing my taxes this year because Wells Fargo screwed up my paperwork, so that’s a bummer.

And I spent a few weeks prepping my laptop for a trip to San Francisco, and we had to cancel because everyone got sick. But we are heading over this weekend instead, so that’s good.

I guess I’ve just had a lot on my mind. My friend Mike passed away sort of suddenly from cancer, and that is just a tough pill to swallow. I feel super guilty because the last time I saw him he had his guitar out behind The Hotel Cafe, and was playing the blues, I was there for Sally Jaye’s release for Amarillo, and I just felt like he was going to be there forever. And now that was 10 years ago and that is the last memory I have of him. So sad.

And after looking at our finances for last year, we really needed to pull in the belt a bit. So when I was looking at getting a new laptop, for the first time ever, really, I seriously considered getting a Windows laptop instead of a MacBook because the price differential is pretty much out of control.

I settled on a Lenovo Flex 4 / Yoga, which ran me just under $600. The cheapest MacBook with the same specs would have been close to triple that. I just couldn’t justify that expense.

I set it up in about 2 days, and now it is running a Rails 3.2 stack and it is a fully functional work laptop. It’s amazing how far things have come.

So if you want to do your Rails Development on a laptop that is not a Mac, perhaps this list of steps can help you a bit.

1 - Windows 10, or nothing. You need Windows 10, because it is the Anniversary Upgrade for Win 10 that introduced something called WSL (https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/wsl/) ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux’, and that is what makes this all possible.

2 - You cannot access localhost from WSL, but the ip 127.0.0.1 works just fine. And Windows properly can access localhost inside WSL. So it goes like this:

Database - lives in windows, accessed by WSL server via 127.0.0.1

Browser, lives in Windows (I use Chrome), accesses WSL server via localhost

server, runs in Ubuntu

Editor, lives in Windows, accesses linux docs w symlink 

3 - Apps. You might be worried about what apps are available, but it seems like a decent environment at this point. I love my Mac apps - Fetch, Sequel Pro, Textmate - but there are perfectly decent replacements available. And for any old Textmate people, like me, you might want to take a look at Atom. The auto-complete works really well and reminds me of my old Visual Studio days inside the Microsoft machine.

I use - 

Cmder (http://cmder.net)

Atom (https://atom.io)

mysql command line client for Windows (https://dev.mysql.com/downloads/installer/)

NOTE for MySQL - the 32-bit installer does indeed install a 64-bit version if you want. That was not documented at all that I could see, and if you are looking for a 64-bit installer you are not going to find one.

Sqlectron (https://sqlectron.github.io)

and I haven’t checked yet but I’m sure I can find a decent ftp tool.

I used this walkthrough as a reference.

and the last caveats are that, for ubuntu, only Rails 3.2 and 4.3 are available; and MySQL is only supported up to 5.6 (at least as of a few weeks ago).

All in all, I am very happy with my experience with Windows 10. It has been pretty great so far.

The steps (roughly):

1 - install WSL

2 - test out bash command, set up aliases

3 - follow rvm instructions for installing on linux (use stable version - https://rvm.io/rvm/install)

4 - rvm install Ruby

5 - gem update --system && gem update

6 - sudo apt install git

7 - gem install bundler

8 - symlink linux docs folder back to windows documents -  (ln -s /mnt/c/YOURUSERACCOUNT/Documents ~/Documents)

9 - set up new key gen (I used the GitHub link as reference: (https://help.github.com/articles/generating-a-new-ssh-key-and-adding-it-to-the-ssh-agent/)

10 -start trying bundle install, use apt-get as needed

for example: sudo apt-get install mysql-client-core-5.6, sudo apt-get install ruby-railties-3.2, sudo apt-get install ruby-dev, sudo apt-get install build-essential g++, sudo apt-get install libmysqlclient-dev will all be necessary

11 - gem install mysql2 -v '0.4.5'

12 - gem install activerecord-mysql2-adapter

and then the occasional sudo apt-get upgrade should keep you running.

good luck!

this is the best I have ever looked on TV

NOTE: This story was originally published on my old blog (from before I moved to Squarespace).

I would like to announce, to the media gods who are always keeping score, that this is the best I have ever looked on broadcast television. Remember me thusly when I am at the pearly gates.

screen grab from the CHEYENNE DVD (MTV 2006)

screen grab from the CHEYENNE DVD (MTV 2006)

I finally watched the dvd that I have had for 6 years now, and it is actually not a bad show. I remember how much empathy I had for her, she was such a sweet girl with so much going on and I can't imagine what it's like to have had so much success so early in her life. As turns out, I got on camera a little bit, which surprised me. My face was in the tag montage, which was cool. And the shot above is a screen capture of me walking on stage in Breckinridge, about to play keys and sing backup for CHEYENNE at our show there which was being filmed for an HD special. There are a few other shots of me in the earlier episodes, but this is far and away the biggest shot of me in terms of time and closeup level that has ever been broadcast on any channel of television. I have set my own bar in terms of media slam dunks.

The line-up was:
Cheyenne Kimball - acoustic guitar, lead vocals
Dave Krusen - drums
Joey Clement - bass, vocals
Krister Axel - keyboards, vocals
Travis Arnold - electric guitar

The Grants Pass Christmas Tree

And a plea to anyone who was at the show. I saw a few people taking video and one girl just right at the end of the show said how about one more for Grants Pass Live? - whereupon I played my new song Roll Easy, and it was pretty good. I'd love to see some of that video.

This is a shot I pulled from a GP travel website. This year it looked very similar, except I don't remember the tree being so big, and they had a little campfire squared off right under those lights, and I set up the music right behind where the tree is.

This is a shot I pulled from a GP travel website. This year it looked very similar, except I don't remember the tree being so big, and they had a little campfire squared off right under those lights, and I set up the music right behind where the tree is.

So anyway, the story is that I got called very last-minute to do a First Friday show in Grants Pass next to the Christmas tree which was just about two weeks ago now. And I thought it went quite well. I probably wouldn't have taken the show otherwise, but I had my show at Barnstormer's Theater coming up and I was trying to get more people in the seats. It was too last minute (and low-pay) to bring the whole band, but Jinnee was able to make it for about 2/3 of the show so I said why not. It turned out to be a really fun show. It went from 5:30p to 8:30pm and Jinnee had to leave at 7:30 if I remember correctly. And that last hour was pretty cool too.

My approach to this show was to use my looper pedal, which I bought earlier this year and tried to use once with the band at the Talent Evening Market to little success. The thing with using the pedal is that it forgives not at all, so all you can do is listen and follow. It will not move to you, you need to move to it, and as turns out in the band with the way we do monitors it's just not possible currently to have everyone hearing well enough to be locked to a loop. So it's a thing I can only do for a solo show, and honestly there is a lot there to explore. It's great because I can play new songs immediately, I can change stuff on the fly, and it is lot less work for set up. So I plan on incorporating more solo shows next season, hopefully to funnel new fans to the band shows that I do set up. Because the other lesson from last season is that band shows are expensive and seem to always introduce scheduling conflicts, often last-minute, which raises the stress level for my poor accommodating wife.

So we will just have to make the band shows count for more, less of the time. We still have a long way to go to establish any sort of solid reputation around the Rogue Valley. Perhaps ironically, we seem to be having more success in Grants Pass than Ashland so I'm hoping to land more shows up there because why not. I'm a big fan of Grants Pass.

Below is good example of what the new solo format will look like.

That's it for now. Our next show is in mid-March, so for the next few months I will be finishing up some new songs and getting ready for next season.

As always if any fans of the The River South have any contacts in the region for paid performances, especially daytime, please get in touch!

a Trip to Austin to perform at Austin City Limits and Willie Nelson's Ranch

I suppose I'm in the habit now of taking a lot of photos. Ever since I became a dad I am pretty shameless with my camera. Life is too short to not get good photos of the fun stuff. That being said, I was a little over-cautious taking photos of some the 'insider' stuff, like Tito's secret backstage area, that had a Prohibition vibe and massage chairs and free vodka drinks. I still got some photos but it was even bigger than it looks. I did get a bunch of shots at Willie's ranch, because they bussed in the visitors and then promptly bussed them out so we had the place to ourselves a bit more than at ACL which was totally insane with crowds of people. The whole photo album is on Google photos if you want to take a look. Below are the highlights.

A big shout-out to my buddy Shawn Pander, who called me up to sit in on his ACL gig because his main keyboard guy was in Italy.

Flying in to Austin.

Flying in to Austin.

setting up at Willie's Ranch - called simply 'Luck'.

IMG_2920.jpg
Food trucks! The lobster roll was delicious.

Food trucks! The lobster roll was delicious.

Most of the buildings were put up in the 80's for a movie that Willie did. The story goes that he loved them all so much that he had the script changed so that they wouldn't have to be burned down at the end of the movie.

Most of the buildings were put up in the 80's for a movie that Willie did. The story goes that he loved them all so much that he had the script changed so that they wouldn't have to be burned down at the end of the movie.

After 2 great sets at Luck Ranch we started getting ready for our show at Austin City Limits. We performed on the Tito stage, who I met briefly and seemed like a very cool guy. He certainly takes care of his employees and his performers and he is quite rightly a big deal in the Austin music and business community.

I got a kick out of this Henry Rollins quote posted right at the entrance to the stage.

I got a kick out of this Henry Rollins quote posted right at the entrance to the stage.

Tito of course has a killer backstage area set up for his artists and their friends, as well as his own entourage. It had a roaring 20's/prohibition vibe which was pretty cool.

Tito of course has a killer backstage area set up for his artists and their friends, as well as his own entourage. It had a roaring 20's/prohibition vibe which was pretty cool.

Shawn and his wife Beth.

Shawn and his wife Beth.

You know it's a big stage when you have to shoot a panoramic just to see the whole thing. Note the lack of crowd at the beginning.

People started showing up during the set and by the end we had quite a crowd.

People started showing up during the set and by the end we had quite a crowd.

Beth's sister got a few good shots of the stage before it got too crowded.

Beth's sister got a few good shots of the stage before it got too crowded.

after we were done we just kicked it back stage with Tito's people. :)

after we were done we just kicked it back stage with Tito's people. :)

yes they had a craps table. Tito does not mess around.

yes they had a craps table. Tito does not mess around.

Bloody Mary bar and finger food. Yes please.

Bloody Mary bar and finger food. Yes please.

another thought about Hillary

This is an excerpt from a video that was shared on Facebook by Carey Wedler. It sums up nicely what I would say to any Hillary supporter out there. It goes into a fair amount of detail, mostly about Hillary's war record and below is the TLDR version.

Listen up Hillary supporters... Whether you genuinely like her, or are just terrified of Donald Trump, if you cared enough to be even marginally informed about current events, you would know that Hillary Clinton's policies and actions have directly contributed to the conditions that gave rise to him, from the bad trade deals and violent drug war, which sparked waves of undocumented immigration, to the ongoing 'war on terror' which inspired victims of American violence to wage terror attacks in the west. She directly helped create a society ripe for the demagoguery, islamaphobia, and authoritarianism of Trump, and his movement will only grow if she's elected.
I guess what I'm saying is... there's the fanaticism of Donald Trump, and then there's the fanaticism of people so terrified of Donald Trump, they'll rationalize voting for a war-mongering sociopathic criminal. If you fall in to one of those categories, you're the problem, not me.

It is impossible to overstate that the basis of the Clinton campaign is disinformation. The problem with that is people tend to fall in love with their conclusions, even if they are based on lies. Thus we have a fair number of liberals who are convinced that she is somehow a maligned, pragmatic champion of the people who 'will get things done'. Yes she will get things done. The wrong things. Everything she has accomplished in her career has been at the service of corporations, foreign governments, the defense industry, or some combination thereof.

She is qualified to be president in the same way that the wolf is qualified to run the henhouse. That wolf will certainly get things done.

Until we run out of chickens.