day's thoughts: getting on the fediverse, css wrangling, bootleg compilation complication

October 17, 2020 — Brynn

Three things going on today:

  • I want to get back on the fediverse, and I'm a lot more interested in self-hosting this time, but I need to weigh my options yet.

  • I got this blog looking how I wanted, but the CSS is a mess of spaghetti !important tags.

  • Noticed today that the highest-bitrate extant version of my favorite Eiafuawn track has a big nasty audio glitch right in the middle, which makes me sad.

More of each after the break.

Someone I met recently (involved with Volatile, who host a number of varied services) told me about Pleroma, which is an apparently-pretty-slick microblogging platform that federates over ActivityPub (same as Mastodon, which I'm more familiar with as an end user, and GNU Social). It does honestly look nice: the devs tout that it's light enough to run on a RasPi, it comes with a pretty single-column UI, it supports higher character limits than Mastodon, it can be configured to not transcode media unless you tell it to.

I'm gonna put off trying Pleroma for a while, though, for a few reasons. For one thing, it's pretty tightly coupled to nginx, and I've standardized on (and spent a solid week learning) Apache already. More importantly, resources on this VPS are getting pretty tight. Thanks mostly to my i2p router, memory usage has sat consistently at 70%, and CPU at 35-45% (doubly worrying because this is a shared thread). At this point I think I'd need to halve my i2p resource usage before I think about running a new database-driven webapp. Above all that, though, I really don't want to overextend myself. I'm in a state currently where if I get burnt out on managing this box, my life will become a hell of my own invention in short order.

What I'd like to do is buy into one of the decentral co-ops out there (of which Volatile is only one) that run member services like fedi servers and Matrix/XMPP, but that's not within my ability atm. $3.50/mo for this VPS is already stretching my abilities quite tightly. Being a disabled tranny hiki sure is hard! But I'm getting there, slowly.

I edited the CSS files that bashblog autogenerated to make the blog fit in better with the landing page. Not only that, but I changed some things on the landing page too (centered the body/outermost div instead of letting it align left, picked a new <p> color). I've liked bashblog for a while, but it's growing on me more now that I've made it my own somewhat. That said, the way bashblog does CSS is a bit weird. It calls one CSS file first, then another with some overrides, and they seem to interact in weird ways even when I mess around with !important tags. For instance, I can't make a have no underlines and a:visited have underlines, no matter what I do; it's either both or none. I don't especially care though. It looks great.

Clay Parton, of Duster fame, is way up there as one of my favorite musicians. Lots of people are familiar with Duster (a project of him, Dove Amber, and Jason Albertini), but few are familiar with his concurrent and later solo work as Eiafuawn ("everything is all fucked up and what not"). Even fewer people know about Clay's forum, stereobird, where he's occasionally posted unreleased tracks and unfinished demos over the years. Last year someone released a "bootleg" compilation of those called eisafu ("everything is still all fucked up"), 21 of those tracks and demos in their original released quality (various CBR MP3 bitrates, from 128-320).

Among my favorite tracks in the Duster canon is the Eiafuawn version of "My Friends are Cosmonauts," which is Clay's solo version of the Duster track of the same name off Transmission, Flux. There's an official music video for it on Youtube, but it's from 2008 or so, and the audio bitrate is in the toilet. Nevertheless, that was the only verison I'd heard until I finally checked out eisafu, and saw the "original" 320k version. Threw it in foobar, got comfy, aaand... there's a big honking ugly artifact at 1m07s. I downloaded another copy, but yeah, it's just how it is. Still a top-5 Dusterverse track to me.

Here's the offending copy of "My Friends are Cosmonauts." And for funsies, here's another, similar track of his, "Modulator Hustle" off Birds in the ground. I post the latter because 1) not nearly enough people know about Clay's best album, 2) both these tracks have the same vibe. They're very warm. They're comfy.

Different phantoms for different fires:

be patient, hush, hush

Tags: server, music