ChucK Fix for Mac OS X Lion
Sat Mar 24 15:44:43 -0600 2012

As I recently began preparing for some upcoming earWorm gigs, I found that ChucK (my audio programming language of choice) would not run. Sadness. This is the first time I've tried to run this code since I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. I was in a hurry, so I gave up and put fixing ChucK on my to do list.

After some digging I found the solution. The current release of ChucK is 1.2.1.3 (dracula), which will not work on Lion. However, after the release of Lion a flurry of emails went around the ChucK list, eventually resulting in a 1.2.1.4 beta build being posted to the list by the ChucK team. Works perfectly for me!

There's also an updated version of the miniAudicle for users of the friendly GUI ChucK editor. You can find the beta download links for both in a chuck-users message from August 16, 2011.

Lifting Mist, Weightless
Fri Jan 27 22:51:13 -0700 2012

I have scheduled the final oral exam for my PhD for February 16, 2012. With the paper finished and the end in sight, my mind has exploded with joy and a restless desire to do a million things, things that have been impossible in the throes of dissertation land. The past several nights I have lain awake for much longer than normal thinking about learning Arabic, yearning for regular aikido practice, getting psyched about Probabilistic Graphical Models class and Model Thinking class, planning a trip to Europe, and learning to care for honey bees.

I have read a ton lately, just for fun. I swept through Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (obtained at a friend's birthday party book swap) and am most of the way finished with Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon (lent by my neighbor). Listened to several audio books: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Getting More by Stuart Diamond, and, currently in progress, Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel, on a recommendation from my sister.

I guess I'm just saying that the prospect of the end of my schooling has me feeling "thrilled and daunted." And weightless. Free. Unburdened. At peace.

Recruiting a Technical Co-founder
Thu Dec 15 15:22:04 -0700 2011

I recently had a conversation with a friend in San Francisco searching for a technical lead for his startup. Here is an edited excerpt I thought worth posting.

You might try attending some local programming user groups to get to know the community of developers. [Insert list of links to local user groups.]

Attending these meetings will serve several purposes. Obviously you'll meet potential candidates (as well as lots of programming newbies). You'll also get wind of some of the latest developments in the web coding space, even if you don't understand every detail of the presentations.

Also, if you go to all of the meetings I suggested above, you'll get a sense of the cultures that surround the different languages. If you're thinking of rewriting everything from scratch, then picking a language is on the table. Ruby and Python are going to be the two big contenders for the back end. (PHP, Java, and lots more are out there too.) Every web app requires javascript on the front end, but there are some exciting server-side possibilities in the javascript world as well. I highly recommend going and finding out which community of people you actually enjoy more and which community is a better fit for your product. Picture half the people in the room as being your dev team in 5 years. You might be surprised at how big the personality contrast is between the different groups.

There are usually sponsorship opportunities at these meetings. This might mean you buy beer and pizza for the group one month, or it might mean you could give away or offer a discount on one of your products. People (especially those leaders who run the meetings and know the work it takes to keep them going) take note of the sponsors, especially if they already recognize a face from that company.

Overall, it's really a relationship-building process. Your company's product and culture are going to be the most important attracting features, not money as you might think. Money, equity, and growth opportunities obviously set a bar for the level of person who considers the job at first glance, but if you develop a relationship with a potential candidate, the things that will really make or break their decision to join (or stay for very long) are going to be questions like:

  • Am I really excited about this product?
  • Do I feel honored to be considered for an interesting challenge, or is this beneath my abilities?
  • Am I uniquely qualified for this, or could anyone else do just as good a job as me?
  • Do I like and respect the people at this company?
  • Do all the company's leaders respect me?
  • Will I be empowered to make important decisions?
  • What's the culture of this company; do I want that to be my culture?

When developing relationships, ask questions like:

  • What do you specialize in?
  • What do you get excited about?
  • What's your biggest pet peeve in software development?
  • What kind of team do you like to work with?
  • Who do you look up to?

Unfortunately, a lot of developers will have very narrow-minded answers. A select few will show a lot more creativity in their answers and have interesting stories to tell. They'll make you want to get to know them better. The latter are obviously the kind of people who'll contribute the best and most diverse ideas to your organization, and who will more effectively lead a future team, keeping a clear vision of where the company is heading while supporting a valued and diverse group of designers, developers, project managers, sysadmins, etc.

Review of ghostbridge theatre's Ask the Question
Tue Nov 08 11:05:46 -0700 2011

On Thursday November 3 I attended the opening of ghostbridge theatre's Ask the Question at Bryant Lake Bowl. Just looking for a quick rating? Eight out of ten—outstanding—some of the best theatre I've seen in the Twin Cities. Where too many shows are primarily flippant escapism, Ask the Question reaches toward an ethos of weight balanced by humor. Get your tickets now for either of the remaining Thursday evening shows.

The structure is incredibly clear without being blocky—this show has flow. An opening patter of interweaving lines spoken by all the characters communicates depth and a sense of surprise, setting up the work to come. While the intense and information-dense opening text flutters by, each character repeats a unique gesture that inaudibly sinks right to heart of what that character represents or holds dear. This opening draws the audience immediately into the world of the play. No clunky exposition here! I found myself imperceptibly leaning forward to make the mental connections faster, to catch the hints rapidly dropped by the rhythmic interplay of text and iconic gesture.

The playwright and director Jeff Nichols has an exacting sense of timing. For me, it was just at the right moment that this opening blur of overlapping text moved into a series of monologues. I will refrain from spoiling the meta-theatrical surprises that unfold from one monologue to the next. How are an author, a Pakistani prisoner, a cult leader, and a young veteran connected? See the show, and find out.

Particularly memorable and compelling were spoken word performances by Aly Westberg as the character of The Author, as well as the gorgeous and subtle insertion of musical director Karen Elaine Massey's voice as a nostalgic childhood memory of The Author. Alex Cotant disturbingly found the humanity in the character of The Initiated One. Actor, director, and script powerfully combined to push my empathy buttons even for such an obviously messed up megalomaniac.

Touchingly edgy and realistic is the depiction by Christian DeMarais of Iraq war veteran Alex Dobson who has found a tenuous niche back at home as a museum security guard. His attempts to protect the art at all costs are a bit scary, not to mention his genuinely vulnerable reaching out to (or hitting on) a young art history co-ed researching her paper at the museum.

There are two shows left, both on Thursdays: November 10 and November 17. Get there before 6pm to ensure your seat and to catch Happy Hour: $3 domestic taps, $4 select taps, house wines, rail cocktails, and $4.25 appetizers. Make a date night of it, and grab dinner fresh from local farms like my wife and I did—BLB has food and drink service in the theater!

Ask the Question premiered in 2008 at The Marsh in San Francisco. Do not miss its limited run here in Minneapolis.

New Recording: Eric Honour's Phantasm
Fri Oct 14 10:46:35 -0600 2011

Eric Honour, who performed my work Fight to Flow Between for saxophone and computer in a world tour a while back, has released that work and several others on a new high-quality digital release entitled Phantasm.

Ravello Records has created an engaging interactive digital booklet where you can listen to the recordings and follow along with the scores. Yesterday, I Care If You Listen posted an excellent and thoughtful review of both the music and the digital booklet. Many thanks to the reviewer George Heathco and of course to Eric Honour for making the project happen.

You can purchase either Fight to Flow Between or the whole album, recorded with outstanding quality and attention to detail, directly from me ($8) or on Amazon ($9) or iTunes ($10).

VOCA::Omni Audio & Fringe Show!
Fri Jul 29 12:39:52 -0600 2011

Finally posted some audio from VOCA::Omni (Ritual #1).

And RenegadeEnsemble is performing at the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival! The show is Bridges and Borders by Solange Guillaume. Joshua Clausen wrote the awesome music. You will not see a better integration of theater and music. You could come just to hear a professional chamber ensemble play new work by a local composer, but the musicians are also characters in an internet-age drama not unlike this one.

Changed Performance Time: 10pm
Wed Mar 23 18:45:50 -0600 2011

The performance time of VOCA::Omni (Ritual #1) has moved to 10pm on all four performance dates. RSVP and invite friends on facebook!

Items to remember:

Our first all-call rehearsal was beautiful last night. You are in for an amazing, reverent experience! Help us out by inviting all your friends!

VOCA::Omni (Ritual #1)
Sat Mar 19 16:57:57 -0600 2011

A collaborative creation of Zachary Crockett and Vanessa Voskuil, VOCA::Omni (Ritual #1) is an evening of live performance, dance, music, and visual splendor that explores themes of light and dark.

Nature hums with beauty and chaos.

facebook event

Dance Show in April
Thu Feb 10 17:16:41 -0700 2011

Announcing the performance of my PhD dissertation, an evening of original dance and music in collaboration with Vanessa Voskuil. There will be 4 evening performances, April 1, 2, 8, & 9 at the Ritz Theater in NE Minneapolis. More information coming soon...

New Music Scrapbook
Fri Jul 16 13:21:25 -0600 2010

New Music Scrapbook is a new local project that distributes interviews of and music by Minneapolis composers. I've sincerely enjoyed listening to the posts so far. It's a real treat to hear my colleagues share their reasons for making music. Colin Holter and I talked a few weeks ago, and the interview is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, July 21. We discussed ethics and meaning in music, movement, rock climbing, earWorm, and much more. Head over and check it out!

Additional news: earWorm will be performing several gigs in the Twin Cities in late September, including the Spark Festival. Stay tuned.

cracked red surface