Music

Proof Like Comey (Moves Like Jagger Parody) – Annotated

I wrote a parody of “Moves Like Jagger”.

It’s about the Comey memos.

I put the lyrics below the video, and I put lots of links inside the lyrics.

I’ve emphasized the timeliest link, which points to a list of ways you can watch the Comey testimony live on June 8, 2017. (That’s tomorrow, as of this writing.)

Cheers!

-Duke

Proof Like Comey

-whistling intro-

Collude in the dark

Cause it seems right

When wannabe Tsars

Hold your strings tight

And take me aside

With something to hide

Cause Flynn’s a good guy…

You wanted control

Of my process

But I did not fold

To your nonsense

You say I’m a nut

I showboat and stuff

I don’t give a fuck…

Cause of notes like this

You wanted me to stop and just let go

But I wrote it down in my memo

Building proof like Comey

I got that proof like Comey

I got that proooooof like Comey

I did not deny or condone you

But when I testify I might own you

With my proof like Comey

I got that proof like Comey

I got that proooooof

But maybe you’re raw

Cause you realize

You can’t rule us all

Like a real tyrant

Cause we have press

And balance and checks

So may I suggest

Bro.

Just get in your lane

And then stay there

I know you’ve been trained

Not to play fair

But I’m on alert

So if you subvert

I will bring the hurt

With some notes like this

You thought that I would stop if you said so

Instead I’ll take you down like fresh memos

With my proof like Comey

I got that proof like Comey

I got that proooooof like Comey

The power of my pen is like old news

A reading man would know that I’d quote you

With this proof like Comey

I got this proof like Comey

I got this proooooof like Comey

 —

You wanna know

How to be my goon

Just wait a second

(Friends, can you leave the room?)

Now if I share this secret

You’re gonna have to keep it

Nobody else can see this

Now listen hard

To my hushed advice

Call off the guards targeting my Russian ties

But don’t record what we said

And never ever leak it

Cause this is almost treason

Hey, wait! James, wait!

But I wrote that shit!

Try to tell a lie and I’ll roll you

I know a couple crimes that you spoke to

And there’s proof like Comey

I got that proof like Comey

I got that proooooof like Comey

You’re strung up by the tongue that controls you

I really hope your party disowns you

Over proof from Comey

They’ll get that proof from Comey

They’ll hear the truuuuuuth from Comey

P.S. If you’ve enjoyed reading any of the articles linked above, consider supporting the journalists who wrote them. A monthly subscription to a quality journalistic outlet you trust is a pretty small price to pay if you want to cut through the disinformative noise chamber that is social media and/or read articles that are (generally) less riddled with clickbait headlines, editing missteps, and plain old typos.

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Rockets’ Red Glare

Action and reaction. Fire and force. In order to soar in one direction, a rocket has to burn furiously against the space it wishes to leave behind.

I’m a lover, not a fighter. I’ve always been a little miffed that my country’s anthem-choosers went with “bursting in air” over “sea to shining sea”. The shining seas are really nice. Bursting is…upsetting.

I remember sitting in classrooms and being told about taxation without representation. About people who were tired of giving so much to a king who cared so little about what they really needed, people who chose to risk what stability they had to fight for something better. And the story always seemed unreal to me, a touch too epic and yet a little too simple, like a fairy tale. Or a koan. Or a parable.

And it was too simple. A 2016 Google search demolishes the distortions and oversimplifications of a 1996 textbook. There was deep loyalism and colonial infighting and there were issues of distance and time and administrative friction and there was religious fervor and exclusion and there were countless tortured slaves and slaughtered indigenous people casting ugly shadows all over the Founders’ stated ideals.

There was also the fact that the colonies were doing alright by themselves in the years leading up to 1776. Why revolt when life isn’t revolting?

But anyway, I’ve been thinking about how rockets work.

So there’s this game called Just Cause 3, and it’s basically GTA meets James Bond meets Batman meets Tropico. You push various buttons in various sequences to make uber-badass Rico Rodriguez run and drive and fly around a sun-soaked archipelago that cowers under a dictator’s iron fist, and you shoot this and blow up that and grapple-tether those two other things into a collapsing heap and rinse and repeat until a town is liberated.

And then you liberate all the towns in a province. And then you liberate all the provinces in a region. If you were wearing a tan shirt instead of a blue shirt, you’d say “conquer” instead of “liberate”. You’re not really a good guy here, so much as the most violent person in the world, whose violence happens to oppose the violence to which most other people in that world have resigned themselves.

The game’s creators understand this grey area they’ve put you in. It’s right there in the name.

For what did you blow up everything in that police station?

A just cause.

And why did you tether a deer to the back of a stolen sports coupe and use it to sideswipe that military motorcycle at 160 km/h while shouting “meat nunchucks, baby!”?

Just ’cause.

The game gives you an unlimited supply of remote mines; you stick a few to a statue of the Evil Bad Tyrant Dictator Guy, grapple up to a rooftop for a better view, trigger the explosion. After enough mayhem, you unlock rocket boosters on the mines, and you can stick them to the back of an empty car, set them off, and watch them propel the car forward (towards the entrance to a heavily-guarded base, perhaps) before detonating after a few seconds.

Fire and force. Action and reaction.

To push forward, you have to put things behind you.

And I’m writing this post so I can hear myself admit to myself that there are things in my life that I am afraid to put behind me, because I’m afraid of moving forward.

I’ve been doing alright by myself, more than alright by any modern standard, but I don’t feel free at all.

In the wide world outside the video game, where my potential for movement and exploration far exceeds the 400 square miles of Rico’s sandbox, I still find myself on the couch, dutifully spending another weeknight living out someone else’s power fantasy. I’ve used a helicopter to hit the ceiling of the game’s skybox, just to see if I could, but there are streets in my own neighborhood that I’ve never set foot on.

I spend 7 hours a week on a train to or from work. 28 hours a month. 330 a year. Between right now and when I’m nearing retirement age, I could potentially spend 10,000 hours getting better at any number of things. All I’d have to do is quit zoning out on Twitter, stop hate-reading bad editorials or idly browsing deal sites, and maybe open a book or a notepad instead.

I get 90 minutes to eat lunch. I keep telling myself I’ll bring my Maschine to work and spend 60 of them figuring out how to make music on it. Instead I hop online again and drink at the bottomless content trough while overeating McDonalds and trying to convince myself that what I’m doing is self care.

I have four waking hours every weekday that aren’t devoted to work or commuting, and my daughter gets one of them, and dinner gets another, so how the hell am I making time to keep up with multiple shows on Netflix and Hulu?

I am losing too much time and energy to things that don’t have my best interests at heart.

I am being taxed without representation. By myself.

And I’ve consented to this taxation. I love these shiny toys that eat up my free time and stall my creative drive. And Twitter is dope. And Mickey D’s is delicious.

I am the tyrant king of an island nation of one, and I’ve spent a year caring so little about what I really need that I’ve almost forgotten what it is.

But I haven’t forgotten completely. I’ve tasted better food before. And I used to have more conversations with real people, and no one ever got cut off at 140. And there was a time not that long ago when I made my own toys, created my own worlds to fly around in, wrote my own stories, told my own story.

I put all of that behind me for a good reason: I needed to move very far, very quickly, in a new direction.

Two years ago, over the course of an exceptionally frantic and joyful summer, I moved to Chicago and learned how to build beautiful and meaningful things on the web. It was a lot to learn, perhaps too much for the time I had given myself to learn it. Tyrants set high bars for success.

But I learned it anyway, by casting aside everything else. No TV, just restorative sleep. No hate-reads, just reflective writing. No vidya, just code and code and code and code. I had left my wife and daughter in another state, and some days I forgot to call them to check in.

I was a rocket, and my trajectory was true, and that meant there had to be a million directions I wasn’t going.

I graduated and stumbled into the most challenging and rewarding and fulfilling job I’ve ever worked, and for a while it felt like I had finally arrived.

I mean, on paper, that’s exactly what I did. I don’t have to grind 60 hours to make ends meet anymore. I can afford date nights and pay the sitter a living wage. My work is recognized and appreciated within a community of like minded people whom I admire and respect. I no longer feel like I have to apologize for or explain away my two college dropouts at family functions; they are now prologue to an adventure instead of a tragedy’s motif.

The changes I’ve gone through felt like arrival for quite a while.

But what is arrival to a rocket?

I press R1 and Rico sticks a mine to the top of an unmanned enemy helicopter. In a couple minutes, I’ll have raised enough hell to raise my Heat Level and they’ll call in air support. Someone’s gonna man this chopper and right as they track me down and start opening fire, I plan to press and hold R1, which should trigger the extreme downward pressure of the pre-splosion rockets and cause the chopper to politely “land” before detonating.

Comically, I hope.

And tragically, I realize that I’ve spent the last year and a half doing the same thing to myself. The bladed bird is my creative life, soaring and explosive and hard to control and dangerous, brought to a standstill by a dramatic push to set my future on more solid ground.

But I hadn’t planned for the explosion after, the glut of timekilling consumer joys that would make me forget how good it felt to record something brand new and share it with the world.

In real life, the detonation is agonizingly slow. You ignite the boosters while playing your songs for 50 bucks a night and feeling like the brokest dude who ever conquered the world (or did you liberate it?); a few months later, you’re planning on writing an Internet radio app to help boost album sales for yourself and your artist friends back home; half a year on and you still haven’t put any new music out but it’s cool because you’ll hit 1000 followers soon and you’re getting really good at teaching and the school’s tri-weekly open mics feel like enough of an outlet for that gasping but ever-quieter voice deep inside; another year gone and Aesop Rock’s “Rings” hits your eardrums for the first time and you realize, holy shit, this song is about you. Or at least, it will be if you don’t change your trajectory, find some different stuff to put behind you.

It’s hard to admit, but I used to rap. And sing, and blog, and strum, and fold paper, and cook, and daydream about big stages in faraway places. I used to go to open mics every week and play billed slots on shows every month. I used to spend train rides refining couplets and reshaping clauses. I used to need to restring my guitar five times in a single summer.

And I was flying high, too high to reliably bring enough money home to my family or spend enough time with them when I got there. So I made my plans and set my mind and set my mines and pulled the trigger and found a more down-to-earth way of living.

But something’s bound to burst pretty soon.

And I’m hoping the pastimes to which I once pledged allegiance are still there.

Because I used to be braver than this. I used to be freer than this.

So I’m declaring my independence – from crafting and polishing my image on social media, from refreshing my feed in search of another like or update or aghast quote tweet to get riled up about, from Netflix binges and memorizing Hulu episode release days, from shopping instead of writing, from critiquing instead of practicing, from blowing up digital regimes instead of making the music that helps me stand up to real ones.

I’m declaring independence from trying to love a little bit of everything as a defense mechanism against forcing myself to fight for the few things I really care about. I’m a lover and a fighter. Some bursts are far more upsetting than others.

The easiest way for Rico to bring down a helicopter isn’t to blow it up or shoot it. All he has to do is grapple tether it to the ground and it will crash all on its own. The pilot AI is too rigidly aggressive to adjust to the tether, and it will pull at the line until it collides with earth and bursts into flames.

But humans aren’t coded like that. We can adapt.

So let’s say you were born yearning to soar, but reality has tied you down to an earth bursting with easy but hollow pleasures.

If you choose to stay where you are, you’ll surely rust from the inside out. But if you choose to fly, you’ll never break that tether, and you won’t be able to get as high up as you’d hoped, and changing direction too quickly or pushing too hard on the attack could disturb your vessel’s delicate balance and put an end to everything.

Why would you risk flight? Why would you even play the game at all?

Maybe you would if you had a good enough reason.

Or maybe the game is its own reward, and you’d give it a shot just ’cause you could.

Happy Fourth. Put something behind you so you can battle for something better. And don’t give up the fight.

 

Dev Bootcamp Rap Recap: Week 6

I did it! I got through Phase 2 in one go, and I was so happy and proud of the effort I put in. Then Phase 3 hit, and the pace didn’t change. I feel like I’m hitting my stride, gaining more stamina when it comes to long coding sessions and grinding through the work in spite of feeling stuck on new problems. In the flurry of activity, I lost my hold on my blogging routine, but hopefully I’ll rediscover my balance this week. In the meantime, enjoy this rap recap. It’s a week late, and I’m trying to explain why in the lyrics. Read along below the video.

I know it’s a little late to ship this,
I know that I slipped out of existence,
cause I was turning my focus to JavaScript,
working and hoping that I could commit enough to live 6th week only one time,
and speed through the crunch time,
my social presence went from a feast to a lunch line.
I never guessed that I’d lose the heat from the sunshine; 
I was hidden and living at the peak of a CRUD grind. 

I kept reaching for a punchline only to grab lines of code from my troubled mind,
and catching up was the name of the game
my frantic pace was insane, I couldn’t even try to bust rhymes.
My priority shift was quite enormous: I quit from nightly blogging and missed shots to talk to my kid.
I had to sacrifice a lot for my wish to reach the Phase three spot but I did,
by dropping off of the grid.

I guess I did what I had to, banging on the door of potential until I passed through.
I’m hard-headed but finally understand dudes saying doing more than just coding can be a bad move.

And that’s true but I honestly think it’s worth it to try,
that’s why my rapping is returning to life,
I might not do it perfect – I’m uncertain and shy,
I might get down on myself and feel nervous at times, but that’s all of us!
Any programmer can lose confidence,
breaking links can make you think you’re an impostor but,
if you can weather the lows you can get back in the flow; 
I happen to know that it feels like an awesome rush.
So try not to play it safe –
test limits and get driven to win it working crazy late.
And let the struggle be your saving grace,
cause this emotional roller coaster is crazy but it makes you great.

Dev Bootcamp Rap Recap: Week 4

This week was the toughest and most inspiring yet. So I tried to write a verse as intricate and cross-dependent as the curriculum itself. Lyrics with links are beneath the video, and you might want to do some clicking, because some of these metaphors are kind of a stretch.

Enjoy!

It goes create-read-update-delete,
It’s no delaying the feverish pace we keep.
First we rake db:migrate and seed,
and then we table strings and make them sing.
Cause we’re sitting in with Sinatra, giving it all we got,
delivering something awesome and shipping it on the spot.
We’re dipping our toes in water and dripping a little knowledge to test.
I confess that it’s getting a little harder but we got this, we aren’t weak;
we stay cool and venture out (like a freon leak) into the web
and check the browser for the ERB, and we all see the progress of three long weeks.
Breathe, dog, breathe…because every day is a training one:
breaking CRUD toys with poise and having crazy fun,
raising up hands to ask questions and make ’em run,
staying tough, driven, and with it and never playing dumb.

Dedication is how we handle the pressure
and this user authentication is a valuable weapon.
I’m getting after the sessions. The routes are hooking up,
and that’s how the cookie crumbles when the packets are sending data
in hashes with hexes I’m feeling good which 
means the programming world is where I should live.
Ruby is dope but I’m flexible and I could switch
over to Haskell and that would make me a HOOD-rich codeaholic

…and at least I would be functional
but that discussion should be conducted when I get done with school.
I’m staying grounded about it and in a humble mood,
steady growing my knowledge like the seed of a mustard moves.
I’m journal writing these raps to sort of save state,
plus I hope I’m lighting a path like border gateways.
So if you feel insecure like port 80 observe my short statements
and maybe you’ll try to chase fate,

and witness why I’m believing in where I’m staying –
I’m saying these are some people with dreams and they’re amazing.
See, on the weekend we drink in these validations
’til we’re turnt up like one screen at a pairing station.
It’s apparent we’ll make it cause we’re looking out for each other
as brothers and sisters and getting good at what we discover.
It’s cool, we’re showing up because we love what we do,
and as for practice there’s never really enough to consume.
We stay hungry, but not for the dollar; we ain’t Puffy,
the Benjamins matter less than the drive to create something
and take it from me, if you’re just trying to make money
you’ll find this ain’t funny – the grind is straight nutty. Dig deeper.

I’ll try to help you see these things each week,
computers counting this as release 3,
and I’m on a mission to spit this out from DBC –
bringing more flow control than the TCP.

– Duke Greene

The Dev Bootcamp Rap Recap Repository

Here are all the Dev Bootcamp Rap Recaps I’ve uploaded to date. Thanks in advance for listening and pulling your friends over to your screen of choice so they can listen too.

Look for a new one each weekend here or at my homepage.

WEEK 1 (Full post with lyrics here.)

 

WEEK 2 (Full post with lyrics here.)

 

WEEK 3 (Full post with lyrics here)

 

WEEK 4 (Full post with lyrics here)

 

WEEK 5 (Full post with lyrics here)

 

WEEK 6 (Full post with lyrics here)

 

WEEK 7 (Full post with lyrics here)

Dev Bootcamp Rap Recap: Week 3

Raps. Lyrics. Links. You know the drill.

I’m leaving Week 3 behind,
trying to put it all together like a schema design,
and singing a rhyme’s another way for me to define
what I mean when I try to say that DBC in the CHI is the dream of my life.
So just breathe and type, for real, and try to heed advice
A db‘s the type of fabric people like
Cause whenever it gets rough you can SQLite
One two one two, and one to one –
I one to many a battle cause my puns are dumb.
I call a method to try and see how the function runs;
If I can inject a plus I can lump the sum knowledge of all of us,
working together and staying positive,
every table is inner joined, getting cooperative.
Listen, if it’s awesome you can accomplish it,
so keep holding your head high like an ostrich…

…but that’s the wrong bird.
I’d say “chirp chirp” but that’s the wrong word.
My Bobolinks are a class of bomb nerds
and we browse on trees like mastodon herds.
We craft sublime text, and when times press, we relax from high stress.
We work hard and play hard and learn hard to stay hard and attack the five tests the wisest.
A level-headed endeavor to weather the pressure is evident whether or not we’re killin it,
and if we need more time we hang back (no shame in that), we stay active with a will to win.
And though the hot sun still exists,
graduation is an oasis in the wilderness. 
The apps they make are amazing and they were built to give
proof to the point that potential is pretty limitless.

So make room – we’ll be making the same moves, like, way soon –
that’s the purpose of learning Phase 2.
Why do we rake through database groups and trace routes and break loops?
Yo – it’s how we pay dues!

I stay cool, calm, and collected
and get ready to greet new Mantis brethren,
I’m trying to increase my average freshness,
and my current high score is an Active Record.

Dev Bootcamp Rap Recap: Week 1

Let’s try something different on the weekends, yes?

Yes.

Listen up.

Annotated lyrics below:

I’ve only been here for a week
But I’m already feeling like it’s gonna be the year of the geek
My peers in this effort are clever and clearly unique
Climbing this mountain and a coding career’s what we seek
And while we’re nearing the peak, we have Sherpas
who pack for us and transform us from bad learners
into stack warriors fast forwarding our grasp on how the code works. 
It don’t hurt to ask for it if you need guidance,
cause the speed frightens the bravest of souls
searching for knowledge they can aim to control. 
Working with scholars trying to daily expose your vast ignorance
leaves a bitter taste in your mouth like black licorice;
I won’t candy coat it, it’s hard work for most folks,
but getting through it together is how you grow close.
This OO and TDD is no joke at DBC…
who needs degrees if your code’s dope?

Time to put an end to the foolishness
I got foo-bars and drop gems like a Rubyist.
The loop exists until I’m greater than or equal to great
at believing mistakes are the building blocks of usefulness.
Cause perfectionism’s a recipe for hurting
but still, some people do it to themselves like recursion…
this is programming examined by a wordsmith
my stack’s overflowing with verses. 
You ask if it’s worth it, 
like, “should I really have the time to blog?”
maybe you heard it’s long nights involved and that’s true. 
But if I’m never signing off I’ll burn out like a dying log
and that’s realer than a float or an integer
I’m trying to state the obvious: 
you gotta save time for yourself like a modulus, 
cause if it’s nothing left over you’ll stress over the smallest little problems
and not arrive at accomplishment.
That’s why I gotta spit sometimes
I’ve only got one mind
adjusting to the hustle of crunch time.
I bust rhymes and return to the screen craft
with a passion for tapping keys, stabbing at tab as I punch lines…
So what’s prime? How do you test for it?
Describe the type of data structure that’s best for it.
I’m going in like a nested array
debugging out till the end of the day.
– thIIIrd person

Back to the keyboard tomorrow. This was fun. Let’s do it next week.