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2017 is drawing to a close! My near annual post about me.

Nov
20

I do the absolute WORST job of updating my personal website... which is funny considering how egotistical hosting a site about myself is. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, comes here for the right reasons - it's largely just another attack surface where I share some personal data about myself.

I guess the primary difference between this and social media is I maintain more "control" here... you can't censor me here, but would have to lean on external services such as Google, DNS, etc. I like having some control.
At the same time, the social nets have an army of employees to keep things working. Meh.

I'm posting because 2017, for a lot of people sucked. It sucked hard enough for me too I suppose, but coming through the other side of it has strengthened parts of me I'd forgotten existed. It all began in December of 2016. I was filling out paperwork with the Veterans Administration, and needed my entrance/exit dates from the VA Hospital in Los Angeles from the year before. I fetched my records on line, and discovered a discharge note related to a very small lump in my left testicle we had found the previous summer on a cursory examination. Upon leaving Los Angeles for Kansas City, I ditched the "Obama Phone" (laughable, Bush signed that legislation folks) and turned up my StraightTalk in the 913 area code. They had attempted to reach me, to offer a radical orchiectomy and prosthesis if I wished. I was sorta stunned... so I printed off everything I had, visited my primary care physician at the VA. He wanted an ultrasound. We had done two in El Lay, 3 months apart, to chart any growth over time. The machine was booked solid at the KC VA so they sent me to Research Medical Center on the "Veterans Choice" program. I get a very thorough exam, the technician shares what she's legally allowed to without a diagnosis. A doctor comes in, examines it briefly, blows it off as not a big deal.

It's a Really Big Deal(tm) when a flank incision starts at sternum, and circles your navel to continue South...

I return to the VA two days later... results from Research aren't available yet. Urologist I'm seeing is peeved, she can see I was sent to Research to pad someone's wallet, not actually offer care. She takes me to the front of the line for an ultrasound NOW, because she, "wants to see what the Hell is in there, right away." We get yet another, and in a room full of surgeons all agree this is LIKELY a trauma based tumor from getting kicked in the junk a few years back, but the "best course of action" is to separate it from my body, know what it is, be sure. So in January of 2017 we did an outpatient procedure to remove it, and perform a vasectomy on my remaining testicle considering as pushing 50, I'm not interested in fathering more children. It was straight forward, came home that day, lot of meds, bag of frozen peas for my half sack... and I have to toot the VA horn here: these doctors know incisions! In my lower left groin, within a couple of days the pristine incision looked like it had been healing for MONTHS.

Fast forward about 12 days, phone rings. Your testicle went to pathology, came back it's a Teratoma. It's what happens when a germ cell, which grows up to become sperm later, mutates or goes off the reservation. They can grow hair and teeth, and present very much like an ectopic pregnancy that has to be removed. We schedule a CT scan, which detects things they're concerned about, a mass in my retroperitoneum, the space behind my kidneys, liver, etc. We follow up with a PET scan, and clearly define the tumor that's roughly 9cm by 9cm (3 inch mass), and a "sprinkling" of activity in the lymph nodes of my upper left thigh region. This type of cancer, if it metastasizes, tends to follow a specific trail up the center of the chest towards the heart, and they wanna ward off ANY chance.

In my own research I determine platinum based chemotherapy rarely has success or efficacy in teratoma cases, so I decline the recommended two courses. The primary side effect that I'm concerned with, as a musician, is hearing loss and my quality of life. My medical team agrees with me, and we schedule an April surgery with University of Kansas Hospital. That's a whole 'nother story in itself... very much TL;DR territory, and I don't feel like trying to wrap my head around it all at the moment. I come out of surgery, essentially moving into my girl friend's home in Topeka for the next two weeks to avoid the stairs in my apartment, and go through all sorts of agony both related to incisions, post operative bowel issues, opiates doing the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde bit (I can't believe my girlfriend was so rock solid by my side, when I'm sure I was just plain nasty to be around. I don't speak out of obligation, but I owe her a LOT) as well as constipation, nausea, and a bout strong enough to tear open one of my stitches while retching. Top it all off, I get a "Saturday Night Palsy" from the seven straight days in the hospital bed at KU, which impinges my ulnar nerve in my left arm, rendering my ring and pinky finger extremely weak and uselessly numb for nearly a month. Once the strength returns, I can play guitar, but random numbness is likely to be a lifetime issue.

So yeah... there's a whole lot of "Bad Shit(tm)" I'm bemoaning from 2017... but this is really a post about perseverance, improvisation, overcoming obstacles, adapting to life on life's terms, and continuing the battle that is drawing every breath.

I'm cancer free, and based on my most recent CT scan and blood work, in 100% remission with no reason to expect a return. (Teratoma is the "lottery winning" cancer in that regard, rare that it returns once dealt with.)


So, fast forward to August of 2017, we (my lady friend, her dog Bug, and I) move to the Northland of Kansas City, which I've formerly eschewed because it's "way up there in BFE". We're in the Nashua neighborhood just a few blocks off of 169 Highway at Shoal Creek Parkway and North Oak. It's lovely, quiet, large fenced back yard for our beloved fur baby... nice neighbors. The two car garage and unfinished basement sealed the deal for us. As highlighted in my much more regularly updated musician website over at http://maslowsbasement.com/news/november-fading

Bug Dog approves of the back yard too

I'm building a recording studio in half of the basement. It's built around a brand new 27" iMac with 8 CPU cores, a TON of RAM, 4 terabytes of network storage, Google Fiber, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, Presonus Faderport mixing console, bitchin' new Rockville monitors... I've invested some serious cash in myself here, and it's a weird word to use... invest tends in normal parlance to suggest a desire to be "paid back" or recompensed in some way. It's not so much about the money for me, it's about the tools and ability to fully express myself. While relatively adept at written word, where I "feel" I connect with what I want to share is in music, even if I'm not the most talented person on the planet. It's that truth, that access to the raw, gritty, reality of life and stories or sounds about that, that I find I'm most excited... most influenced, most fulfilled, whatever. It may be me making music nobody ever even hears. It's first and foremost, art for MY ears. If it can't pass my muster, if it doesn't please me, why would I expect it to be worthy of my time or release to the Internet? Yeah, weird headspace of course, but again it's about going UP out of the basement, from those lower "layers" of needs like food, shelter, etc into the heady, "here's my spiritual composition and how I intend to deal with it" world.

Incidentally, the inaugural "noises" I made on the new rig last night, hastily though they may have been, are available here:
http://www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=223563
I owe the "clean" sound to the new insulation, among other things...

New Insulation

Control Desk Coming Together Slowly

And I would be remiss were i not to show off and let everyone know how very thankful and thrilled I am to have an original work of art from Karol Good to hang when the studio is closer to completed. It's titled "Six String Melody" and I think it's absolutely PERFECT!

Posted By kyrka read more

Watching the calendar...

Dec
11

So 2015 is steadily drawing to a close. It's been quite an interesting year.

I've been working with Veterans since May of this year in the West Los Angeles Veterans Domiciliary program, where I manage a Professional Development Center.
I Maintain computer lab workstations, network connectivity, access to printers. Basic troubleshooting and assistance with personal devices being used on the wireless segment of our network.
I assist Veterans with Job Searches, Housing Searches, and access to electronic benefits. I also assist with modification of Pro Per and Pro Se legal pleadings.
I provide one-on-one tutoring to Veterans wishing to update their skills and become more fluent in technologies such as Microsoft Word, Web Browsing, and personal security in the Digital Age.
And I participate in staffing incentive therapy and compensated work therapy tours and provide staff with tools and training necessary to effectively complete their tours.

It has been rewarding and challenging work. Most of my clients fall in the "dual diagnosis" arena, dealing with substance abuse issues, PTSD, perhaps former incarceration for significant periods of time... we run the full gamut here. Some days I'm really good at it, when I maintain an appropriate measure of gratitude for the good things I have going for me in my own life... and sometimes, I allow external forces to rub off on me, and become complacent, wish, hope, hem and haw... and the day doesn't turn out very well. I am not a religious man, but I am a spiritual one, and I find that when I allow my connection to all that is good become rusty, the results are spiritual tetanus.

Being physically in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital that it is, has its perks. I have ready access to a vast and wide selection of both local and national music acts most every week if I can afford a ticket. And it's a very "happening" massive city, but at the end of the day, it's really "small town". Just bigger, dirtier, noisier, and with the WORST TRAFFUCK EVAR! Now that "winter" (if you can call it that in Southern California) is upon us, and a promised El Nino effect, we'll hopefully see significant precipitation. At a minimum, I hope the higher mountain ranges get a ton of snow to help with our spring water needs. It doesn't rain much here on the edge of the desert... and folks won't generally be prepared. They forget how to drive in it, and there's not a lot of room for all that water to run off for that matter. It will be interesting if we get all that science has forecast for us.

2015 has probably been one of the BEST years personally as a musician ever. I have far less gear and tech at my disposal for recording and performing, but the lessons of the year have been absolutely tremendous. Crossing the threshold into 45 years of age, I've actually got experiences and things to say when I write now as well... where formerly I might have written a song about riding a skate board or the like, now I right about things far more relevant such as the shootings in first Paris France, and more recently, San Bernardino California an hour and a half from here. With that, I'll close the year out a bit early sharing "Don't Take The Fall", and wish you a Merry ChristmaQuanzaHanukkah plus happiest of New Years rolling into 2016. Make it your best ever!

Posted By kyrka read more

Always looking for that balance...

Oct
12

I mean, c'mon, it's the public gosh-darned Internet... I'm not exactly going to be baring my soul here on a daily basis.
All the same, it's been far too long since an update. [For those actually tuning in, yes, I review logs and I can see you over there.]

So I'm in West Los Angeles for the moment - have been since around the 20th of April this year. Working hard on getting into a MicroLoft apartment in the downtown area.
Working on music near daily, except when "life on life's terms" gets in the way. Click on the now fixed "My Music" menu item and you can check it out.

I'm dealing with the Veteran's Administration, so starting school on October 5th... nope, that sure as sh*t didn't happen. It's not something I'm holding my breath over (uh, because I'd be long dead if I did) but I'm simply trusting that this is what the Universe has in store for me.
I have started looking at Open Mic opportunities in the Los Angeles area... both the "free mic" and "pay to play" slots, and if I've learned nothing else, it's that once I've gone through all of the work and searching and phone call verifications and such I should really build a website/application for musicians to utilize right here in El Lay, and then expand it to be actually USEFUL for other up and coming musicians as well. Most information I find googling around and diving deep through links turn out to be like, circa 2012 or the like. Many of the venues in the Santa Monica area, for example, don't even exist anymore according to Yelp, et. al.

I've had the pleasure of working with Veterans over the past three months in a professional development center where I assist them with housing searches, job searches, resume preparation, and even a few pro se/pro per legal filings to help them out with their criminal history and such. It's also a part of life that requires balance : between simply shaking my head apathetically when completely unrealistic expectations brush up against my lack of patience... I deal with a lot of folks who have never actually used a computer like... ever. I know a lot of type A geeks used to snicker at the thought back in the late 90's... but I really never considered what it might be like to take a 45-60 year old individual with ZERO experience from that zero to merely 5MPH on the Information Super Highway. It's a lot harder than it sounds; and you need a customer service oriented heart and compassion to be successful at it as well.

More important than a silly blog that very few people are reading, I presume it's probably time to start writing some letters to people in Missouri and Kansas who have a vested interest in what I'm up to.

Posted By kyrka read more

Study Something You Love

Jul
17

It's been quite a while since an update - but I just had to break the silence today and point out that I'm going back to school!
I'll be studying musical performance with an emphasis on guitar at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California! Weeeeeeee!

Posted By kyrka read more

I see YOU!

Jan
15

Bad Login

It never ceases to amaze me, the number of things going on behind the scenes that folks think I don't notice.

123.30.189.246
% APNIC found the following authoritative answer from: whois.apnic.net
% [whois.apnic.net]
% Whois data copyright terms    http://www.apnic.net/db/dbcopyright.html
% Information related to '123.30.0.0 - 123.31.255.255'
inetnum:        123.30.0.0 - 123.31.255.255
netname:        VDC-NET
country:        vn
descr:          VietNam Data Communication Company (VDC)
admin-c:        VIG1-AP
tech-c:         VIG1-AP
status:         ALLOCATED NON-PORTABLE
changed:        [email protected] 20090325
mnt-by:         MAINT-VN-VNPT
source:         APNIC
role:           VDC IPADMIN GROUP
address:        Internet Building, Block II, Thang Long Inter Village
address:        Nguyen Phong Sac str, Cau Giay Dist,  Ha Noi
country:        VN
phone:          +84-912-800008
fax-no:         +84-4-9430427
e-mail:         [email protected]
remarks:        send spam reports to [email protected]
remarks:        and abuse reports to [email protected]
admin-c:        THMH1-AP
tech-c:         THMH1-AP
nic-hdl:        VIG1-AP
notify:         [email protected]
mnt-by:         MAINT-VN-VNPT
changed:        [email protected] 20090325
source:         APNIC
changed:        [email protected] 20111114
% Information related to '123.30.128.0/18AS7643'
route:          123.30.128.0/18
descr:          VietNam Post and Telecom Corporation (VNPT)
descr:          VNPT-AS-AP
country:        VN
origin:         AS7643
remarks:        mailto: [email protected]
notify:         [email protected]
mnt-by:         MAINT-VN-VNPT
changed:        [email protected] 20100121
source:         APNIC
% This query was served by the APNIC Whois Service version 1.69.1-APNICv1r0 (WHOIS1)
Posted By kyrka read more

Linux Server Hacks - O'Reilly Press, Hack #67

Oct
24
One of my absolute favorite server hacks.  This requires that you have already setup SSH keys for authentication instead of passwords.  

Hack #67. Turbo-mode ssh Logins



Even faster logins from the command line



If you've just come from the previous hack, you've only seen half of the solution! Even with client keys, you still have to needlessly type ssh server every time you want to ssh in. Back in the dark, insecure, unenlightened days of rsh, there was an obscure feature that I happened to love that hasn't (yet) been ported to ssh. It used to be possible to symlink /usr/bin/rsh to a file of the same name as your server, and rsh was smart enough to realize that if it wasn't called as rsh, that it should rsh to whatever name it was called as.



Of course, this is trivial to implement in shell. Create a file called ssh-to with these two lines in it:


#!/bin/sh 
ssh `basename $0` $*


(Those are backticks around basename $0.) Now put that in your PATH (if ~/bin doesn't exist or isn't in your PATH already, it should be) and set up symlinks to all of your favorite servers to it:

$ cd bin $ ln -s ssh-to server1 $ ln -s ssh-to server2 $ ln -s ssh-to server3

Now, to ssh to server1 (assuming you've copied your public key over as described previously) you can simply type "server1" and you'll magically end up with a shell on server1, without typing "ssh," and without entering your password. That $* at the end allows you to run arbitrary commands in a single line (instead of spawning a shell), like this:


server1 uptime





Linux Server Hacks



by Rob Flickenger

Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2003
Posted By kyrka read more

Enable Two-Factory Authentication for Safety/Security

Sep
01
It's a jungle out there.  Protect yourself.  
Two factor or two-step authentication is your new friend until we figure out a better scheme than passwords. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-step_verification)

Here's how to turn on two-factor authentication on the most popular personal cloud storage services:

Apple iCloud

  1. Login to My Apple ID.
  2. Pick "Manage your Apple ID and sign in"
  3. Select "Password and Security"
  4. Under "Two-Step Verification," select "Get Started," and follow the instructions.

Note: Be aware that when you change your Apple ID to two-factor authentication, it's a one-way journey. You can only change your password afterwards by using the two-factor method.

Dropbox

  1. Sign in to Dropbox.
  2. Click on your name from the upper-right of any page to open your account menu.
  3. Click "Settings" from the account menu and select the "Security" tab.
  4. Under "Two-step verification" section, click "Enable."
  5. Click "Get started" and follow the instructions.

Note: You will need to re-enter your password to enable two-factor verification. Once you do, you'll be given the choice to receive your security code by text or to use a mobile app.

Google Drive

  1. Login to Google from this link.
  2. Enter your phone number.
  3. Enter the code that you'll get from either a text or a voice phone call.
  4. Follow the instructions.

Note: You will need to get a new code for each PC or device that uses any Google services. For some services, such as Gmail when accessed on an Apple device or by a mail client or some instant message clients, you'll also need to set an application specific password

Login to your Microsoft Account.Microsoft OneDrive

  1. Go to "Security & Password."
  2. Under "Password and security info," tap or click "Edit security info."
  3. Under "Two-step verification," tap or click "Set up two-step verification."
  4. Click "Next," and then follow the instructions.

Note: Microsoft may require you to enter a security code that the company will send to your phone or email before you can turn on two-step verification.

Posted By kyrka read more

Missing Burning Man

Aug
25

I'm missing Burning Man this year. Seems it might have been one of the most prudent years to select a year off - lots of rain and hail the day the gates opened.

I'm doing as well as can be expected - still working my tail off to get out of the basement.
Posted By kyrka read more

Further down the Domestication Rabbit Hole : Tuna Salad

Mar
30

Gourmet Tuna Salad

And so today, I give you the secret recipie for gourmet tuna salad, comprised for the most part of knowledge

passed down by my darly departed Grandmother.

Getting started:

Truth of the matter, I get started about 12-14 hours ahead of time by hard boiling two eggs. My preferred method is pretty

simple; I place two eggs into a small pot and add enough water to cover the eggs. I bring the water to a boil, then cover

the pot and remove heat, setting a 20 minute timer. At the end of 20 minutes, I remove the eggs from the hot water and cool

them beneath cold running water for two minute, and toss them in the refrigerator.

Today we get started with a large pyrex bowl and two cans of solid tuna in water. I squeeze out the water, then break the

tuna up into smaller pieces with a fork. I take this opportunity to add 6-8 twists of a pepper mill set to the largest sized

bits and mix it into the tuna.

Hard Boiled Eggs

After breaking up the tuna, we peel and fold in two hard boiled eggs after putting them through an egg slicer twice.

Sweet Relish:

Sweet Relish is the next component added, essentially one large spoon full. I also toss in a dash of finely chopped green

onions, and red onion at this point. It's important to bring in any additional flavors you wish to express in your own tuna

salad right here, BEFORE we add the mayo.

Mayonaise:

I intentionally bring the mayo in last, two large dollops from a spoon. We want to ensure the dryest ingredients have been

mixed well, and the mayo is used to hold our masterpiece together as a primary function; flavor is actually secondary.

Adding mayo last also decreases the chances of adding more than we need - extra mayo will separate and leave extra fluid in

the bottom of your leftovers container that has to be mixed back into the tuna salad before making a sandwich.

The Secret:

The secret ingredient at the end of it all is enough paprika to cover the top of our creation, then mixed in thoroughly.

Posted By kyrka read more

More updates

Feb
25

For those regular viewers (both of you) you'll note the addition of my Twitter feed today.  I've kept my Tweets protected for quite some time, and decided perhaps it's a better idea to open it up and make it "useful" to some degree.

Since I carry a hella-smart phone, it makes sense to start making use of Twitpic, Yelp, and all my other apps...

I want to keep the focus on myself, obviously, and content that I think friends and family will find genuinely useful.  In the case of Facebook, I prefer to create an entry here on my website, and publish it over there to "pull" folks off of Facecrack, even if only for a moment.  By and large, however, I'll let Twitter, Twitpic, YouTube, et al store my large content for me.


Posted By kyrka read more

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