New Website! Not That You Should Notice

Earlier this month, my web host since 2006 began experiencing extended outages. Normally, I wouldn’t care because I have been pretty inactive in posting to this site over the last few months. However, Downtown Host also hosts my professional site, at and because I post all my course syllabi on that site, uptime is very important, especially as midterm exams are nigh.

Back in the spring, I attended a workshop on Omeka as part of NYC Digital Humanities Week, and the presenter, Kimon Keramidas, recommended a web host built for academics, Reclaim Hosting. The latest outages forced my hand a bit: I signed up for Reclaim Hosting on Tuesday and began migrating my sites that day.

Easy Migration

My professional site was really easy to migrate. Because that’s site is state-of-the-art for 1998 web sites, it consists of just static HTML content and some Apache server side includes. I just copied the files and changed the DNS record with Hover. Within ten minutes, the site on the new host was working as it always on the old. (The process was similarly easy for the East Village Softball Association, which I also maintain using equally antiquated web technologies.)

Less Easy Migration

Because this blog is hosted on WordPress, the process was more complex. Most of it worked according to this guide, but there were some hiccups, due to having a multisite installation. Without getting into too much detail, here’s the basic steps I took:

  1. Downloaded the files from the WordPress installation from my old host.
  2. Exported the MySQL database.
  3. Uploaded the file to the domain directory on my new host.
  4. Created a new MySQL database and imported the old one.
  5. Change the DNS records at Hover.
  6. Reusing the existing wp-config.php file didn’t work. I had to start from scratch. Thankfully, WordPress figured out that I already had an installation running and made me run through a database configuration instead of reinstalling everything.
  7. Reactivated Jetpack because that stopped working.
  8. Set up a Multi-site Network to resurrect the blog.
  9. Added a and * subdomain with my new host.
  10. Reactivated the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin.
  11. Reactivated the WP Supercache plugin.

All of these steps basically got me back to where I was on Friday, except that the blog is now on a new host.

New, Same Old Site

So, after all that, I now have a couple of new websites, except that they should look like the old ones. But there are two distinct differences.

First, the sites seem to load a little faster, although that’s probably just a function of my imagination. After all this work, I might as well realize some improvement. The appearance to load faster might be that reward.

Second, the professional site and this blog now use HTTPS. The new host offered certificates from Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated, and open certificate authority that was launched to make securing web transmissions over HTTPS quick and easy. Now, transmissions sent between your browser and my sites are encrypted. A keen reader might have noticed a lock in the browser or that all the URLs in this post use https protocol instead of the insecure http. It’s very exciting.

Adventures in Discharge Screen Printing

Over the last couple of years, I’ve become a fan of discharge screen printing. The process was popular in the 1990s but has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years because time is a flat circle and these kinds of trends are cyclical.1

Most screen printing today is with plastisol inks. These inks offer a lot of advantages including precise color matching and allow the printer to correct their mistakes. Plastisol inks, however, have one big disadvantage: a shirt printed with plastisol, especially one with a large print area, can feel like you’re wearing a heavy layer of rubber. Water-based inks, on the other hand, dye the fabric and feel exactly as if there was no print. This makes for very comfortable t-shirts and it’s something I’ve seen in “high-end” fashionable t-shirts. The process works very well, except for black or any other dark fabric. To print on those, you can either use an opaque ink—with a white base—or remove the dye from the fabric and then print on to the natural color.2 The latter is what the discharge process does.

Sometimes you get some very desirable results just using discharge base without any dye. Most all-cotton black t-shirts discharge to a light-brown color, which is the natural color of the cotton fabric. For example, this basic American Apparel all-cotton jersey t-shirt discharged as such.

IMG 6427

This is what I expected to get with this all-cotton shirt, and the last run I did for Roebling Sporting Club looked as such.

However, not all of the shirts discharged as such. For example, some shirts, specifically the small-sized shirts, discharged to this blue color.

IMG 6428

Don’t get me wrong. That color looks beautiful, but it was not at all what I was expecting.

Upon closer inspection, the “black” fabric on the small shirts does look a little more blue than the rest of the shirts. Whatever American Apparel did to make that batch of shirts, it was enough to cause them to discharge to a different color.

Thankfully, the client was open-minded enough to accept the results, but in the future I will be inspecting the fabric of each shirt to ensure they are actually made from the same fabric to ensure consistent results.

  1. It also might be because of the toxicity of the process. 
  2. This only works for 100% cotton fabrics. Poly-cotton and tri-blend fabrics work, but you might be surprised with the results. 

Lecture: Ernie Gehr at New York University

Tonight, experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr will be giving the seventh annual Experimental Film Lecture, jointly presented by the departments of Cinema Studies and Undergraduate Film & Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The pre-lecture screening is of his films in 16mm. You might want to see those while you can, lest they burn up in the projector.

The announcement from NYU Cinema Studies is reproduced below.

Gehr web

Ernie Gehr, “What Is an Unfinished Work?”

​For nearly fifty years, artist Ernie Gehr has transformed his deep knowledge of the moving image into a distinct vision of cinema’s potential for interpreting and fragmenting reality. With an astute, often humorous, appreciation for the limits and possibilities of the frame, Gehr has, since the mid-1960s, created a large, radical body of work that continues to challenge and surprise audiences. He uses his camera as a tool for creating new modes of perception. With few words, no characters, and no plots, his films, video work, and installations push us to re-imagine our own relationships to time and space.

There are a multiplicity of adjectives that fit Ernie Gehr’s experimental film and digital work: abstract, beautiful, mysterious, invigorating, utopian.

Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 11/11/11

In Gehr’s hands, the camera seems to take on magical properties, able to transform the most quotidian object or environment—the pattern of sunlight on a wall, a busy street—into marvelous and unexpected phenomena.

Ernie Gehr’s Marvelous Cinema, Harvard Film Archive

Join us for screenings at 5:30 and Gehr’s Experimental Lecture at 7:00.

Pre-lecture 16mm screening of Serene Velocity (1970), Shift (1972-74) and Rear Window (1986/1991)
Artist reception
Experimental Lecture with screenings of Lisa and Suzanne (1968-69), Untitled: Part 1 (l981), Coney Island Boardwalk (2013)

Free and open to the public.


  • October 19, 2016
  • Michelson Theater, 721 Broadway, 6th Fl
  • Free

A Quick Note on Lighting in Eyes Wide Shut

In Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, which I screened earlier today in my Ways of Seeing class at Pratt in support of teaching mise-en-scène, I observed a use of lighting that I didn’t get to cover in class.

In the scene where Bill and Alice are in the bedroom and begin the conversation about the sexual appetites of men and women, the are shown in a single shot, embracing each other.

Vlcsnap 2016 10 04 18h00m42s538

The lighting cast on both Bill and Alice in this shot is the same. However, the background has two distinct colors to it:

  1. a warm light cast by an incandescent light in the bedroom, presumably from the lamp on the bedside table, and
  2. a very cold, blue light cast from outside, visible behind Alice, that washes over the bathroom in the background.

At this point in the scene, the two begin their debate which escalates to the point that Alice leaps up from the bed, away from Bill. The two continue their disagreement but now are framed in separate shots, stitched together through editing.

Bill is still on the bed and primarily lit by the warm incandescent light from the lamp. The entire shot glows like that light.

Vlcsnap 2016 10 04 19h02m22s124

However, Alice is now opposite Bill, over by the bathroom, and though she is still illuminated by the lighting cast from the bedside lamp, the shot glows in a much colder, blue color.

Vlcsnap 2016 10 04 18h01m11s026

The visual differences between warm and cool lighting illustrates the split that Bill and Alice have encountered in their relationship. This split will activate the crisis throughout the rest of the film and will only get resolved when they are both cast in similarly cool light after both sharing traumatic experiences.

Vlcsnap 2016 10 04 18h24m51s356

Wednesday Night Trivia at Kilo Bravo, October 12

Update: Kilo Bravo is celebrating its two-year anniversary on Wednesday so we’ll be postponing trivia to next week, October 12.

I’ll be back to hosting Wednesday Night Trivia at Kilo Bravo on Wednesday, October 12, beginning at 8:30 PM. It’s been a lot of fun, and if you’re around, please do stop by and play along.

Whet your appetite for our quiz questions—and the bar’s half-price chicken wings—with questions from this past week’s Current Events round. The answers are after the jump.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met in the first of three debates this Monday, setting a record number of television viewers. Photo NBC News.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met in the first of three debates this Monday, setting a record number of television viewers. Photo NBC News.

Current Events

  1. Last week, Bloomberg revealed that hackers gained access to data of about 500 million users of which email service?
  2. Earlier this week, who declared his plans to colonize Mars within the next 40-100 years?
  3. Which recent, but defeated, Republican presidential candidate announced his support for the “Republican nominee” in the general election?
  4. The first debate between presidential candidates Clinton and Trump was watched by about 84 million television viewers, setting a new record. Which debate previously held the record?
    • Nixon-Kennedy 1960
    • Reagan-Carter 1980
    • Bush-Dukakis 1988
    • Bush-Gore 2000
    • Obama-Romney 2012
  5. As arguably the greatest left-hander in Dodger history, who had his last game this Sunday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles?
  6. Because of another case of partisan gridlock in Congress, what really bad thing might happen on Saturday, October 1?
  7. Officials have learned that the 58-story Millennium Tower has a “pronounced lean” in which earthquake-prone city?
  8. Last week, we learned that Michael Bay’s upcoming Transformers 5 movie will feature King Arthur and which historical figure from the 20th century?

I’ll be hosting again next week. Bring some friends, gather a team, and win some prizes, including a bar tab that you can use on-the-spot.

Wednesday Night Trivia at Kilo Bravo

Wednesday Night Trivia at Kilo Bravo, September 14

Although I missed last week’s trivia night due to a really bad cold, I heard that the quizzing festivities went undeterred. Mike Q stepped from behind the bar to play quiz master. I heard it was a blast.

But now my cold has passed, and I’ll be back to hosting again on Wednesday night. Again, there will be prizes…

  1. First place: $25 bar tab
  2. Second place: $15 bar tab
  3. Third place: a round of shots for your team.

Come on out! We start signing up teams at 8:30.

Wednesday Night Trivia at Kilo Bravo

Wednesday Night Trivia at Kilo Bravo, September 7

Update: I won’t be able to host trivia tonight because I came down with a bad cold. I’ll be there next week, though.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be hosting Wednesday Night Trivia at Kilo Bravo, located at 180 N. 10th St in Williamsburg, on Wednesday nights starting at 8:30 PM.

My friend Mike Q works the bar during the night and contributes a bunch of questions, usually with decadal themes such as 1990s fashion, 1990s music, 1980s movies, and 1970s sports.

My own contributions include current events of the past week and a picture round to identify something I put on the TV screens at the bar. You can see last week’s questions, below!

Come out with a team, join one, or play solo. It is half-price chicken wings until 10:00, and there are prizes:

  • $25 bar tab for the first-place team
  • $15 bar tab for the second-place team
  • a round of shots for the third-place team

The fun starts at 8:30. Hope to see you there!

UberPOOL Rides are now a Tax-Free Benefit

When I first started working at CUNY in 2008, I signed up for the Commuter Benefits Program offered to its employees. The program, now administered by WageWorks, allows you to set aside an amount of your choosing to be deposited onto a Commuter Card. The amount you set aside, up to $255 per month, will be deducted from your paycheck, pre-tax, meaning that those contributions won’t be taxed and you pocket the savings. 1

For New York City employees using WageWorks, the Commuter Card can be used to buy rides on the following systems:

  • NYC Transit busses and subways
  • Long Island Railroad
  • Metro North Railroad
  • NJ Transit
  • PATH
  • and a bunch of other transit lines in the region.

Another way you can use your Commuter Card is to pay for uberPOOL rides. But before you start booking rides on POOL instead of riding the train or bus, be aware of a few nuances that might make using your Commuter Card a little onerous.

  1. You will only be connected to drivers in full-size vehicles that can carry six or more passengers.
  2. Your ETA may be longer when requesting uberPOOL or $5 POOL with your commuter benefits prepaid cards.

While I appreciate the creative thinking that made possible using transit funds for a certain Uber rides, I would love to be able to use my Commuter Card for bike share expenses. It’s something that other New Yorkers have desired, but alas, that is not yet the case.

  1. Starting this year, New York City requires all employers with twenty or more full-time employees to offer this program for their full-time staff. 

Apologies for the Cobwebs

Yes, I’m still alive! No, I haven’t abandoned this website.

With only three posts since Memorial Day weekend, I know it looks bad, but I will be posting again soon. The summer months, while certainly not boring or uneventful, did not find me with much to share with the world.

But summer is over, and I will be back to sharing again, including a few backdated posts.

Ball Busters Win 2016 Heckscher Cup


It took three years, but we did it! We reclaimed the Lower Manhattan Softball League’s Heckscher championship cup.

The team looks a lot different than the previous championship teams in 2012 and in 2013, and not only because we sport pink livery.

Johnny, our longtime manager and spiritual leader, moved to Miami last fall and bequeathed the team to another player. With Johnny leaving, a lot of our veterans left, too. Some moved away while others felt it was time to move on.


As the team changed around me, I found myself playing a diminished role. Instead of pitching one or both games of the weekly double header, as I had done since joining the team in 2010, I returned to the outfield and batting as an extra-hitter in the bottom of the lineup.

I didn’t complain about my role, however, because the team dominated throughout the regular season, finishing 21-3. But by the start of the playoffs, we were losing players left and right. Some opted to play in other tournaments. A few key players were hurt. But we held on and rolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The finals, on the other hand, were much more challenging. Largely because our regular pitcher, who dominated throughout the year, missed the finals because he was taking his family on a weeklong vacation.[^ family first]

Below is a game-by-game recap of the finals.

Game 1

After a lengthy rain delay, we played a very stressful first game against the Big Red Machine, the finals opponent we vanquished in 2012. It was back and forth until the sixth inning, when we broke through with four runs. We held on in the seventh to win 13-9.

Game 2

In the second game, we scored a run early in the game but fell behind shortly thereafter. We played a pretty sloppy game, letting in a bunch of runs, but the shoddy defense did not factor in the game as we never scored more than one run in the game, losing 7-1.

Game 3

By the start of the deciding game, Hermes, our pitcher, was gassed. Our coaches asked me to pitch the third and deciding game of the finals. The rest of the team seemed concerned because they hadn’t seen me pitch the whole year. I too shared some of their trepidation because I hadn’t thrown a pitch in Central Park all summer, but after a few minutes warming up, I found my groove.

We scored a run in the first inning and two more in the second, and our bats fell silent after that. But our paltry offense didn’t matter because our defense was impeccable. I gave up one run—a solo home run—on five hits and no walks. At just over thirty minutes, I’m pretty sure this was the fastest game I ever played in, largely accelerated to avoid the impending rain. We won the deciding game, 3-1, and were crowned champions shortly thereafter.