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The World Is What We Make It, So Make it Something Good – article by Oliver Ackermann

An opinion piece by Oliver Ackermann, “The World Is What We Make It, So Make it Something Good“, was recently published in Premier Guitar. It is available online at

I wanted to post the text here in case the link goes away.

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The World Is What We Make It, So Make it Something Good

December 29, 2019

I want to live in a colorful, paint-splattered dream world with expressions of community plastered all over everything. I think it’s easy to get disheartened with the work we do and forget how it affects the people around us. I realize every manmade object that I love took conscious effort to design. I take this into consideration all the time in everything I do, and it’s viral.

Walking around New York City, I see so many cool projects punks and artists have forced onto the world, and I love it! Death with a cell phone, “NECKFACE” rollered on the tippy-top of a building … someone would have had to climb on the roof and dangle from their ankles, one slip away from certain death.

I love that someone actually took the time to build a treehouse inside their bar, or tack up thousands of things about pizza, or give up their living room to throw shows where kids of all ages can enjoy live music. The more creative graffiti, mural bombs, makeshift flower boxes, wacky entry ways, and flashing lights I see in a building, the more excited I get.

It’s easy to get discouraged and think that nobody cares when you don’t see the results of what you have done or how it’s directly influenced people. I have to tell you, I am always thankful when a place is organized in a way that’s intuitive and easy to navigate, when something is colorful and exciting, or when someone treats me with genuine interest and compassion. These decisions are made behind the scenes, but the thoughtfulness of design is felt by everyone, even if the person who made it happen works outside the spotlight.

It’s true of negativity as well. If someone pushes me, cuts in front of me, yells at me, etc., and makes me want to lash out at them, that only perpetuates negative feelings and energy. Sometimes we don’t realize that someone is doing something negative to us because something negative happened to them. I find this is usually the case, so I try as much as I can to have a positive impact on the people around me and this usually yields way better results!

I always do my best to make sure I’m not contributing to more crap made out of crap just for the goal of making more money—which is crappy.

I had a teacher in college who told us that we were the ones who are going to make the world what it will be. That really resonated with me. It was up to us to design the world, and so I always took that as a directive to work towards the kind of world that I wanted to live in. It’s easy to forget that every small thing eventually adds up and contributes to my surroundings.

If I am nice to people, they are nice to me back. If I paint a room in fun colors, it is more enjoyable and fun to be in. Sometimes I don’t think about the road I’m driving on or the fork I’m holding in my hand, and that it had to be realized by someone! As a designer, this is a big responsibility, and I always do my best to make sure I’m not contributing to more crap made out of crap just for the goal of making more money—which is crappy.

I always try to run Death By Audio for the people around me and the people who use our products. I want there to be more and more creative music out there, so I do my best to design musical tools that will push people towards realizing their goals, rather than inflate my self-interest.

I think the world will be a better place if we all start working on decorating from our imagination and supporting our neighbors and friends to create the places and spaces and music we all enjoy.


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Recipe for Basil Yogurt Sauce


View do jour, June 15 2019

This recipe for basil yogurt sauce is from “Season Big Flavors, Beautiful Food” by Nik Sharma, a beautiful book with great recipes. Sharma also has a website A Brown Table,, and a blog at

We came into a great deal of cut basil from a friend who was going to be away from home for several days and had lots of basil in her garden getting ready flower.  We were in a similar situation a few years back and took advice from some online source to cut the basil back severely and give it away. The cut basil grows back in time in a relatively short time, ready for you to enjoy when you return form your trip.

Basil yogurt sauce uses a cup of leaves and is delicious as an accompaniment to vegetables, on eggs,  or as a dip. In his cookbook, Sharma uses this with sweet potato fries, The recipe that follows is as I made it.


  • 1/4 cup full fat organic yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and combine until smooth. You can add a little bit of water to thin the sauce.  If you plan ahead, which I didn’t do this morning, refrigerate for a couple of hours before use.




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Recipe for Don Deluise Mama’s Birthday cake

We have often made this for Lynn’s birthday. Very good!!

6  eggs separated

3/8 cup sugar (he says 1 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1 cup flour (I used sprouted wheat)
wax paper
2 round 9-inch baking pans
Beat egg whites until foamy.  Slowly add egg yolks to egg whites, one at a time. Then add sugar and vanilla.  Add baking powder to flour and gradually add to the other ingredients and mix well.
Pour half the batter into each round pan, both of which have been lined with wax paper.   Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from pan, cool cakes on rack.  Remove wax paper (easily after a little cooling).
1 pint whipping cream whipped
fruit of choice.

October 29. Gulf Shores Alabama

Gulf ShoresWe arrived here yesterday in the evening. Our motel is the Best Western on the Beach, a very apt description. We got a beach facing room with a balcony.Nive view and we can sleep with the door open to our balcony to hear the waversall night long, or whenever we are awake.

We had dinner at Doc’s seafood. It was OK. I had friend oysters and Lynn fried shrimp.. A unique feature is they give you some horseradish and let you make your own cocktail sauce. Not too special otherwise.

We ate breakfast at Hazel’s Nook, #1 rated for breakfast. Really a buffet with an omelet bar.More fried food! Then we drove to Fort Morgan and stopped at Bohn Secour nature preserve and beach on the way back.  It was beautiful. White sands, mild surf. Also a crane on the beach, long thin neck some red markings on its belly. After that sublime time we went to a place named Lambert’s. More fried food! Moe other unique features of the place, but not nourishing or enjoyable. Then we drove to the pier at Gulf Shores Sate Park. Then back to our beach where we had a nice, brief time on the beach. We took pictures of the sunset from the beach.

For dinner we went to Mikee’s. Really very good! I had steamed Ruby Red shrimp, 6 steamed oysters and Lynn had a salad and pan seared shrimp. A pound of shrimp either way was $13.99!! Best meal yet in Gulf Shores.

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October 25, long drive to Natchez in the rain

We had a long drive to Natchez from Clarksdale. Some of it was our own fault because we decided to go to Cleveland, Indianola, Leland, and Greenvillealong the way. A restaurant in Cleveland had been recommended by a chef we talked with in Oxford. We had an early lunch at the Delta Meat Market in Cleveland. Excellent food. The restaurant was in a strip of businesses, a gentrified part of town. We stopped into Abraham’s clothing store. THe help was great but we really didn’t want to buy anything.We eventually started talking with the owner, Dannyy Abraham. He had a baby grand piano in the shop and asked if we wanted to hear some blues. Who wouldn’t? He played and sang for us Hewas very gregarious and we enjoyed talking with him. He told us the real Crossroads, where RobertJohnsonmadea pact with the Deveilwas at the intersection ofroutes8 and 1 in Rosedale, MS>  We deceidedtogoforit, about15 miles out of our way.  him

October 24. Clarksdale MS

Drove from Oxford to Clarksdale via Avalon – Home of Mississippi John Hurt. Nothing there but a dirt road and some broken down, decorating shacks/buildings.

Then took a semi-paved road to Money where Emmet Till was abducted and killed. remote areas. Small towns. Only agriculture, mostly cotton. Our primary destination was Clarksdale MS. Lots of Delta blues lore and music there. We stayed at the Shack-Up Inn the self proclaimed lest American Bed and Beer establishment. Spent the night in a converted share cropper’s shack.

Heard acoustic blues at the Inn then went into town to hear blues at Ground Zero and reds. A full music night. Ate chicken wings at Levon’s. It was very neat to hear all that music in a variety of settings. Rain started overnight.  Many puddles the next morning as it continued to rain.

Oct 23. Nashville to Oxford MS

Drove on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Beautiful/. Got off near Tupelo and stopped in a Elvis Presley Birthplace.. Not bd but fairly unremarkable. Then drove yo Oxford, MS.Spen the night at Ole Miss Motel. Cheap but clean and quiet. No frills. Walked to town and he Square. Ate dinner at Neon Pig. Next morning went to Big Bad Breakfast and then to Ole Miss Campus. Taylor Grocery was closed do drove to GRIT and had excellent red beans and rice topped with catfish.

Visiting with friends including APtBS in Nashville

We visited with David Popkin, Pam Perez, and Dan Popkin at David and Pam’s home in Nashville, Oct 20-23.

It was great to spend time with them again.

We also got to spend time with Oliver and the rest of the folks in A Place to Bury Strangers. 

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Jonesborough Tennessee

We drove to jonesborough, Tennessee on October 19. As usual Lynn did all the driving. We traveled on interstate 81 most of the way. Scenery was nice but lots of cars and trucks

We had a reservation at Franklin House BNB where we spent the night. The item got is tickets for “A Spot on the Hill” a one hour performance telling the stories of several people who were in the local cemetery. 

The performance was at the cemetery. Interesting stories. Jonesborough is where national story tellling competitions and held.

After that we walked around town. Bought some CBD oil at a hemp store. There was obviously a party or outdoor music going on in town. We were directed to the local distillery where a band was performing outside. I think it was an event to promote breast cancer research. ≥

Today we drive to Nashville to visit with David Popkin and Pam. And see Oliver and APtBS on Monday. It seems we’ll have a drive in the rain.

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A Place to Bury Strangers reviews: a show in San Francisco, the album RePinned

A Place to Bury Strangers are on the road again. A Place to Bury Strangers & Kraus at Starline Social Club, Tuesday, October 9, 2018 is a review of a recent show in San Francisco.

Bringing their trademark disorienting and immersive live experience to the bay, APTBS dished out a multitude of tracks, including many from their latest album, ‘Pinned’.

The band has also recently released the album “Re-Pinned” a remix of many of the tunes on Pinned. Andy Frisk wrote a review of the album in the piece   A Place To Bury Strangers Gets Remixed on Re-Pinned in his blog Shutter 16.

Rarely does a great album, or artist, get to be the object of such great re-mixes. APTBS and Pinned are one of those lucky artists and albums.

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