Decoded From Space

Justin Lyles' Weblog.

This is why open source is better (part 1)

Me: Cool, my school offers a free version of Microsoft Office!  Just what I need to get this assignment done!

(I login to Microsoft’s site using my school’s login information)

Microsoft: Hello!  Would you like to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version?

Me: 64-bit please.

Microsoft: …

Me: …

Microsoft: … you have been logged out.

Me: What?

Microsoft: Please enter your login information.

(I do so.)

Microsoft: Sorry, I don’t recognize that.  Try again.

Me: Ugh.

(I do it again)

Microsoft: Hello!  Would you like to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version?

Me: 64-bit.

Microsoft: …

Me:  Not again.

Microsoft: … you have been logged out.

(I re-enter my info)

Microsoft: Sorry, I don’t recognize that.  Try again.

HOURS LATER

Microsoft: Hello!  Would you like to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version?

Me: Well, since selecting the 64-bit version seems to bug you out so much, I’ll just take the 32-bit version.

Microsoft: Oh.  It looks like you have a 64-bit computer.  You can only download a 64-bit version, then.

Me: Then give me the 64-bit version.

Microsoft: …

Me: …

Microsoft: … you have been logged out.

Me: Screw this.

(goes to libreoffice.org)

(hits download)

(IT ACTUALLY DOWNLOADS AND INSTALLS)

(BAM I HAVE A WORD PROCESSOR IS THAT SO HARD)

My website is sort of done!

new site

Screen shot in mid transition!

After much sweat, tears, and more than a couple of curse words, my website is mostly done.  Well, it’s at least done enough for me to share it with the world.  It’s got photos from various places I’ve gone to, and will contain audio files from my radio show as well as video projects.  It’s sure to win me awards, or at the very least land me that million dollar job I deserve.

Check it out!

 

 

 

Weight Loss Report: Week 4

People keep telling me, “don’t weigh yourself everyday.”

I didn’t listen.

“Your weight will fluctuate.”

Nope.  Can’t hear you.

“It’ll bring you down when you haven’t lost weight one day.”

I’m a stubborn fool.  Not listening.  Wish I did, though.

Report:

weight graph week 4

Starting weight (7/21/14): 243.2 lbs.
Ending weight (7/28/14): 241.6 lbs.
Weekly lost/gain: – 1.6 lbs.
Net loss/gain: -13.4 lbs.

That giant spike?  What the hell is that about?  Talk about disheartening.  A day later, though, it plunged again.  I may not weigh myself everyday after this point.  However, if you’re embarking on your own journey in weight loss, take one lesson from this post: you will fluctuate.  The scale will lie.  Trust what you see.  Are you getting thinner every day?  Then it’s working.

Trust your eyes, not your number.

5 tips for getting played on college radio

The music industry is tough, especially if you’re starting out.  Even if you’re not in it for the money, you still want listeners.  Despite what some media outlets would tell you, college radio is a viable way to get heard.  In these days of Pandora, Spotify, and other algorhythm based music-matching radio websites, college radio provides things you can’t get from a website: personality and human connection.  Besides, college radio is generally seen as “cool”.

However, as a college radio station director, I have multitudes of people wanting to get played.  Some of them don’t, and for good reasons.  I certainly cannot speak for the entirety of college radio, but here is my personal list of things you should do if you want to get played.

1. Make it as easy as possible for us to play or promote you.

This is probably the best tip I can give you.

Most emails I get go like this:

Hi!  I’m an independent artist looking to get played on your station.  Here’s a YouTube video I made six months ago.  Thank you for putting me on your station!

This tells me you don’t value my time, even if you didn’t mean it that way. Yes, I could rip the audio of your video using any number of download sites.  Why would I, though?  If you just send me a YouTube video and expect me to do the work for you, you are essentially telling me either my time is not worth anything to you or you’re lazy and put me on a press list.  Either way, I don’t have time to deal with you.  I have actual artists who value my station enough to not waste my time with needless chores.

You may be saying “why not just ask them for a music file?  They may not want to be rude and assume you want the song straight away”.  That’s a bit like having a job opening and asking me “why not just ask them for a resume?  They may not want to be rude and assume you want their resume straight away”.  There is no manager, CEO, or human resource person that will ask anybody for a resume, especially when they have so many applicants.  Think of every track you send as a job interview.  We’re not going to go out of our way to get your material, especially when I can click “next message” and use another musician’s track who actually made my job easier by giving me a link.   If you don’t include a link, your pitch will most likely go in the trash.  It takes about ten more seconds, and costs you nothing.  If you can’t afford webspace, upload it to SoundCloud and turn on downloading.  Upload it to Mega.  Do something to get us the file in your opening pitch.

2. Cut out all the crap that I don’t care about.

Yes, I am now aware you’re an actor.  Yes, I can see that you’re a model as well.  Your six-pack abs are impressive.  These things don’t have an impact on me as a radio professional.  Nowadays it does seem like to be successful you have to have multiple talents.  However, sending me all the information doesn’t differentiate you from the crowd.  My inbox is filled with head shots and promo emails from rapper/actor/model/singers.  While it’s most likely a lot of work to do that, it’s not a defining characteristic anymore.  I know you think you’re the next Will Smith, but frankly that’s what everybody thinks about themselves.

You’re a musician.  Let your music speak for itself.

3. Personalizing is for professionals; cookie cutters are for the lazy.

A little personalizing goes a long way.  If you make me feel like you took time to send me a message, as opposed to putting me on a list and hitting “send all”, you’ll get further.  Press releases bore me.  I ignore them more often than not.  While our station does have a blog, we are not an organization that prints press releases.  Most college stations lack the resources to follow up on press releases in a journalistic way.  We aren’t a newspaper.  Don’t treat us like one.

Do some research before submitting to stations.  What’s their mascot?  Are they a new organization?  Could you help them out in any way?  Put that in there.  Who are you addressing?  Find their name out.  Make it the first thing you write.  Do they have a show on their station that caters to your genre?  Include them in the message.

Yes, it’s more work.  However, work is exactly what you have to put in to get noticed.

4. Don’t lie to me.

When you tell me you’re represented by ClearChannelCumulusCBS Management Corporation, I know you’re lying because that is an obvious ploy to impress me.  When you tell me you won “Rapper of the Year” from Urban Rap R&B Time Magazine, I’ll check what that publication is.  If it doesn’t exist, I know you’re lying.  Stop making up phony awards and magazines to give yourself props.  It’s trashy, unethical, and more importantly it makes you look bad to the people who actually know what they’re doing.  Don’t lie.  If your product is good enough and you market yourself right, you won’t have to lie to get noticed.

5. How can you help me?

This may have ties with tip number one, but station directors will respond to extra help.  Willing to come and do a concert for their station?  Awesome!  Want to perform on-air?  Yes!  Want to join up with us and help distribute promotional material?  OH GOD PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME.  See where I’m going with this?  If you can make my job easier or help me promote my station, I will most likely give you a response.  We need performers.  We need interviews.  WE NEED HELP.  HELP US.  HELP US HELP YOU.

Example:

Your pitch could go something like this:

[person you are addressing here],

Hi!  I’m a local artist looking to get played.  Here’s a link to my latest single in WAV and MP3 formats.  I am available for interviews at your request if you are interested.  Let me know if there’s anything I can do to collaborate with you more, because I think we can be of benefit to each other.  Looking forward to working with you!  Go [insert mascot here]!

Sincerely,
[your name]

The Killing and why I won’t follow it on the internet

image

Right now, I love the Killing.  Ever since my obsession with Twin Peaks back in the day (you know, when we actually had to download our 480i episodes with fucking smoke signals or some shit), I’ve loved creepy murder mysteries.  While this show takes a less-supernatural approach, I still enjoy the characters and acting.  I feel for these characters.  I want Linden to get her life together and be a good mother and cop.  I want Holder to stop being such a fucking dick and get his life right.  I want Stan Larsen to be happy.  I care.

And it’s for that reason, I will not take part in any sort of internet community regarding this series.

I have found myself being… well… such a nerd about things I like.  I participate in discussions, fan theories, delve into fan art, and generally dissect the pieces I love.  I watch shows about the shows I like.  I listen to podcasts about the shows about the shows I like.

It’s a bit overwhelming.

In the 21st century, being a fan doesn’t mean you just watch a show anymore.  You have to blog about it.  You have to tweet during the show.  You have to do fan art and buy t-shirts with anything from the show on it.  I’m guilty of all of that.  I’ll probably be raving about Game of Thrones on this very blog at some point in the future, so feel free to leave me a comment telling me I’m a hypocrite.  I don’t want to do that with The Killing, though.  I don’t want a “Team Stan” shirt.  I don’t want fan art of Holder.  I don’t want any of that.  It exists in it’s own little world, and I like it that way.  I don’t want to dissect or pick apart.  I want to watch and enjoy.  The Killing may not be everybody’s cup of tea.  It may not hold a candle to Twin Peaks or True Detective, but I like it.  Geek culture can be a bit much.  Maybe we need to step back and not get so caught up in the minutiae.

Weight Loss Report: Weeks 1-3

Introduction: First Things First (as Most First Things Tend to Be):

As I stated in my rambling and incoherent introduction, I started dieting and exercising.  I’ve started on the 1st, and have been at it for about three weeks.  I’ve heard from several sources (okay, Reddit) that the first month or so is where you’ll lost a metric-ass-ton of weight, and then taper off and struggle.

Hopefully that’s not true.  I’m the exception, right?  I’m special!  Probably not.

The app I am using to track my food intake is called My Fitness Pal.  I suggest you get it.  You can scan UPCs and it’ll tell you just how much a serving is and help you track it.  It has definitely helped me know what is going into my body before I put it in there.

Report: 

Here’s the first of many weight graphs for weeks 1-3:

weight graph 1-3

Starting weight (7/1/14): 255 lbs.
Ending weight (7/21/14): 243.2 lbs.
Net loss/gain: -11.8 lbs.

There’s a spike toward the end of the graph, which I feel I can attribute to a mild fever I had on Saturday.  My body was all kinds of jacked up.  I never went over my calorie goal though.

I think these first three weeks have put me in a better place, mentally and physically.  Shirts fit me better.  My girlfriend has noticed less of a pudge in my belly.  I occasionally run my hand down my stomache and wonder where I went.

My goal is 215 lbs.  That’s 40 pounds total.  I’m 25% there.  I’m doing this.

Weight Loss Report: Introduction

We were polar opposites.  Her short and athletic, me big and fat.  When we’d go out to eat, she’d get a salad and I’d get a burger.  When we stayed in, she ate grilled chicken and I ate fried chicken.  She’d drink water and I’d drink Coke.   Every few weeks she’d ask: “when are you going to diet?”  I’d reply: “soon”.  “Soon” was far away.  “Soon” was safe.  “Soon” never kept me from enjoying food.  I though “soon” wouldn’t come.

“Soon” came when there was a weight on my chest.

I was eating my usual dinner of McDonalds hamburgers when it happened.  My chest tightened.  My heart raced.  I panicked.  I froze in place as my heart struggled to beat.  Then, just as fast as it struggled, it went back to normal.  I sat there, looking at my hot hamburgers, half eaten and wondered if this meant I was dying.

Yeah, I’m melodramatic.  I thought nothing of it, though.  People almost have heart attacks all the time, right?  Right?  I’m invincible.  Well, it happened again.  We went to a restaurant called Bone Daddy’s and I had a “Flying Pig”.  Dripping ham, beef, and bacon.  I ate it all.  It was delicious.  My heart struggled.  I silently panicked while she talked about her latest fitness goals.

The next day, we were set to go to the movies.  It was one of those theatre / restaurants where you get to eat lunch while you watch the movie.  From memory, I knew what they had.  Burgers, fries, and popcorn.  Lots of fat and salt and more fat.  Suddenly, I had enough.  When being faced with another fatty and unnecessary gorge-fest, I broke down.  I told her everything.  The hamburgers, my heart struggling, the “Flying Pig”.  I spilled my guts.  She took me home and fed me salad all weekend.  She took care of me.  She made me smile.  She said what I needed to hear.  “It’s time”.  That’s all I needed.  “Soon” became “now”.  I started my diet the next day.

I don’t want to do this to look better.  I don’t want to impress anybody or get internet points for being thin.  I’m doing this because my life is worth saving.  She thinks I’m worth saving.  I don’t know if I am, but to use a cliche: “I believe in me because she believes in me”.

I’ve fought too hard to get the life I have now just to throw it away on junk food.  I’ve been through emotional abuse, abandonment, betrayal, depression, suicidal thoughts, years of therapy, and hard work.  I’m still struggling, but now I have something I never had before: support.  Support from others, and most importantly support from myself.

I can do this.  I will do this.  I have to do this.  There is no alternative.

Do it for her.  Do it for you.  Do it for everybody who loves you, past and future.  Do it because you’re worth it.

You are worth it.  You are worth it.  You are worth it.

New blog

So after many experiments with many hosts and multiple blog software installs, I’ve gone with WordPress. It’s what we use at Coog Radio, so I’m intimately familiar with it.  More to come.

I’m a dad, apparently.

#tybg

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