Alex Raichev

Ira Glass on Storytelling


Ira's sage advice, which comes in four video parts, pertains to other creative endeavors as well.

Video sourced from YouTube here.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2019-05-31
Tags: video, advice
Permalink, Comment

Paper Dragon Demos Batch 1

This post has been moved to Paper Dragon's website.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2019-05-02
Tags: music, Paper Dragon
Permalink, Comment

The Dø: Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy


Video sourced from YouTube here.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2019-03-16
Tags: video, music
Permalink, Comment

Wye Oak: Civilian


Video sourced from YouTube here.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2019-03-15
Tags: video, music
Permalink, Comment

So Many Hours Lost

When you try to choose a meaningful variable name.

Sourced from this Tweet by Real Python.

"There are two hard problems in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-1 errors." ~Leon Bambrick

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2018-12-13
Tags: programming
Permalink, Comment

Tangleball is Dead

President's Report, 2018-06-26

Tangleball is dead, smothered in a hooded blanket of colourless sawdust, a virulent algae that sucks the breathable atmosphere from what was meant to be a diverse and healthy ecosystem. Perhaps that is merely the most obvious sympton to blame for the failure of a group of predominantly like-minded and coincidentally demographically identitical individuals to argue their way to a vision outside of their own individualistic needs. Questions and fundamental management, basic rights, commercialisation, use of electronic discussion were argued passionately and at length, yet always were fought by dominant voices representing various sides, set in the mindset of crafting the space in a manner of how it can best suit what they physically want to do. Eventually, the wrong arguments won out over the wrong arguments.

Tangleball is dead, and perhaps like the majestic phoenix, the idea of something better rising from the ashes is an absurd fiction. However, the people who remain present and involved in the space seem willing to clean up the chaotic mess and remove the largest obstacles, before trying to hand over the reigns to people who can create something that is more welcoming, than self-serving. Perhaps this can one day be a space where wide array of different people can feel comfortable in the center of the action and in full control of the direction, and not forced to exhaustingly fight for a small space on the margins just because they do not look and sound the type.

Tangleball is dead, and perhaps something better can be built in its place. Or with the ongoing, looming threat of the rent going up or the building being sold, perhaps it will soon just fade away. In any case, long live something else.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2018-12-06
Tags: report
Permalink, Comment

In a Dark Time


A documentary about the American poet Theodore Roethke (1908--1963).

Video sourced from YouTube here.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2018-09-11
Tags: video, poetry
Permalink, Comment

I Knew a Woman

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing we did make).

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways).

~ Theodore Roethke, 1954

What a sweet poem! Here's my musical setting for (part of) it.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2018-09-10
Tags: poem, Roethke
Permalink, Comment

The Event

Sourced from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2018-08-19
Tags: comic
Permalink, Comment

Deploying a Flask Application on Webfaction

A few months ago i had to deploy for the first time a Flask application on a Webfaction server. After studying this Webfaciton Community thread on the topic, issuing a Webfaction support ticket for help ---Webfaction customer service is excellent--- and trying and failing several times, i figured it out. Here's what i did.

Suppose that your Flask project structure looks like this:

│   ├──
│   ...
│   └──
├── Pipfile
├── Pipfile.lock
└── README.rst

that you are tracking it with Git, that you run it locally in a Python virtual environment, e.g. using Pipenv, and that it works. Now, let's deploy it to Webfaction.

  1. Log in to your Webfaction control panel and create a new mod_wsgi/Python application. Also create a corresponding domain and website for the app. I assume you know how to do that.

  2. Throughout the remainder of these notes, suppose that your Webfaction username is USERNAME and that your Flask application is called APPNAME

  3. SSH into your Webfaction server and run these commands:

    > mkdir home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/APPNAME
    > rm -r home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/htdocs
    > rm -r home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/lib

    You don't need the lib directory in the last line, because you will be using a virtual environment.

  4. Set up Git, Git hooks, and push your local repository to Webfaction. See the Webfaction instructions here and here.

  5. Create your virtual environment ---let's call it VENVNAME here--- and install your app requirements. I think the easiest way to do this is to install Pip to install Pipenv to manage your virtual environments and packages.

  6. If your local repo has a .env environment file containing (Git-ignored) secrets, then create a corresponding .env file in your Webfaction repo.

  7. If you haven't done so already, create the file home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/APPNAME/ containing the single line from main import server as application.

    This assumes that your Flask code lies in the module and that the Flask app you create in that module is call server. If that's not the case, then change the above snippet as needed.

  8. Edit the file home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/apache2/conf/httpd.conf to the following, where PORT is the port number that Webfaction assigned to your application (which you can view in your Webfaction control panel for the app):

    ServerRoot "/home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/apache2"
    LoadModule authz_core_module modules/
    LoadModule dir_module        modules/
    LoadModule env_module        modules/
    LoadModule log_config_module modules/
    LoadModule mime_module       modules/
    LoadModule rewrite_module    modules/
    LoadModule setenvif_module   modules/
    LoadModule wsgi_module       modules/
    LoadModule unixd_module      modules/
    LogFormat "%{X-Forwarded-For}i %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" combined
    CustomLog /home/USERNAME/logs/user/access_APPNAME.log combined
    ErrorLog /home/USERNAME/logs/user/error_APPNAME.log
    Listen PORT
    KeepAlive Off
    SetEnvIf X-Forwarded-SSL on HTTPS=1
    ServerLimit 1
    StartServers 1
    MaxRequestWorkers 5
    MinSpareThreads 1
    MaxSpareThreads 3
    ThreadsPerChild 5
    WSGIPythonHome /home/USERNAME/.virtualenvs/VENVNAME
    WSGIDaemonProcess APPNAME processes=2 threads=12 python-path=/home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/APPNAME:/home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/APPNAME/APPNAME
    WSGIProcessGroup APPNAME
    WSGIRestrictEmbedded On
    WSGILazyInitialization On
  9. Restart your app via home/USERNAME/webapps/APPNAME/apache2/bin/restart.

These instructions will probably go obsolete in a few months, as all things web related do. Still, they'll help me while they last and maybe help you too.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2018-05-17
Tags: instructions, tech
Permalink, Comment

Why no comments? I used to do public comments but found that moderating and maintaining them took too much time in front of the computer, time better spent playing outdoors. So these days I only do private comments, that is, you can email me comments regarding a post by clicking the 'Comment' link at the bottom of the post.