found speakers, improving same

I got a pair of abandonware speakers, so I’m making them better. They’re going to end up as another musician’s monitors – I can’t make them true reference, but I can make them a lot closer – and better – pretty cheaply, basically by adding a tiny dome tweeter and a crossover circuit.

I ran a frequency sweep through the factory stock speaker (one on the left is still factory) and found that the single driver started dropping off pretty naturally at around 6000hz, so set the crossover there, first. That didn’t sound quite right so I moved it down to 5000hz so it wouldn’t have to strain, and that was much better.

(For the geeky: single-stage crossover, 7.8uF film cap on the tweeter, .27uH inductor for the primary driver. Sound is… it reminds me of an upgraded Minimus 7, with more low end.)

This is just a phone recording, so don’t expect much – it’s real light on bass, it recorded some, but not much of it, and not well – but still, it’s a before and after and at least gives you some idea about how much these things opened up.

Recording starts with “before” (factory stock) and after several seconds swithces to “after” (added tweeter and crossover circuit), then proceeds to alternate between the two.

nwcMUSIC 2018 sneak preview!

Well, it’s a little past that time, but mostly, it’s that time – it’s the nwcMUSIC 2018 sneak preview!


click to enlarge

I think first-year showrunners Steve Perry (panel programming) and Dr. Owl (concerts) have done a really good job putting together this year’s show. Lots of fun workshops, a really great concert lineup, no overlapping events. So everybody, turn out to support both them and music at Norwescon, and just to have a good time.

I’ll be playing with Leannan Sidhe on Saturday, so I hope to see you there!

now, where were we?

And that was 2017. For the most part, the less said, the better, let’s be honest.

I did hardly anything musical. The band has been on hiatus. I’ve done a lot of politics, because hey, guess what, it’s fight for personal survival time again. Isn’t that just fucking awesome.

But while I haven’t been able to make the music happen, I have been writing. Not blog posts – as is clear from the blogroll this year – but fiction, instead. Kind of crazy amounts, for that matter – just over 130,000 words since April, a good… I don’t know, five times my previous total fiction writing history? And I actually got published once, back when.

And it’s all Overwatch-inspired fiction. I’ve never written fanfic before, but I am now, and it’s a torrent, and a lot of it – more than I’ll ever talk about – is deeply personal in different ways. Confusingly – to me at least – I’ve been told by several readers that they aren’t Overwatch fans, and don’t really know anything about the lore, but it works for them despite that. So that’s neat.

(I’ve also had a few people say variations on “for the love of god file off the serial numbers and sell this,” but I’m like, “Why?”)

Regardless, this seems as good a place and time to make a checkpoint tally. I also just put up a new short story – one that’s part of a series – that’s basically my New Year’s Eve story. So here are my works from 2017:

Novellas and novels:

  • on overcoming the fear of spiders, a complete 35,000 word novella, kind of an origin story for Amélie “Widowmaker” Lacroix and Lena “Venom” Oxton, professional political assassins, and, over time, lovers. The story’s neither grim nor dark, but it is deeply political. Start here. After all – I did.
  • Old Soldiers, the sequel novel, still in progress. It’ll be a short novel when completed, and isn’t one yet, but I’m pretty confident it’ll break past the novella size limit before we’re done. This is also a very political novel, but entirely through allegory. Lots of generational politics here – a couple of my characters are direct stand-ins for reality-orthogonal Boomer political insanity, but it’s nowhere near as simple as that.
  • The Armourer and the Living Weapon, still in progress, about 33,000 words at the moment. This one’s about getting everything you ever wanted, and how that might work out for you. It’s also about making choices that may be necessary but may not go where you’d hope – or even survive. Read the tags. No, seriously, read the tags. This will either be a very long novella or a short novel.
  • And Just Like That, She Was Down. 13,000 words, it’ll probably be another novella, but it’s also the third in a series of stories collectively called the manic pixie murder machine. I thought the first chapter was a standalone short story, but then my characters had other ideas and it wasn’t. A novella about identity and the ethics of power, underneath everything, I think.

Short works and collections thereof:

  • It’s Not Easy To Explain, She Said, seven short stories, all quite short – the longest is 1900 words. These are mostly about how an artificially-created personality thinks. It’s also about how people around them might think, particularly in relation to her, particularly when trying to have a relationship with her. The most recent addition, “‘That seemed to go well,’ she said, making the effort” is my new year’s story. This series will never go dark.
  • the web of time, a series of short stories set in the on overcoming the fear of spiders universe, containing – amongst other things – a couple of continuations of events started in the founding novella. (In one case, we follow a couple of American agents outside of a room, to hear their conversation; in another case, we have a short story which is basically Chapter 26.5 of fear of spiders, but which I moved to standalone for various reasons. It’s still canon, though.)
  • the manic pixie murder machine – two short stories that set up the novella And Just Like That, She Was Down, and the novella itself.
  • the deadly neurotoxin homebrew club,” a silly short story wherein GLaDOS from Portal chats up Widowmaker from Overwatch about their mutual interest in deadly neurotoxin and parallel problems with teleporting annoyances.

I have no idea what 2018 will hold, musically – but the only way out is through. Let’s hope we get lucky.

And that’s where I’ve been. How’s about you?

Kennewick! It’s on the way to Pasco!

Loading out for a weekend set of shows in Kennewick with Leannan Sidhe – if you’re in the area, here’s the Facebook event, c’mon out! Leannan Sidhe is a trad- and trad-style band, so playing a renfaire is something they do on the regular, even if very little of the music is actually Renaissance-specific, and the weather is supposed to be great. See you there!

wow it’s been a while since I posted here

Hiya!

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, hasn’t it? Well, it’s been that kind of year. I warned everyone that the band blog would get a lot more political, but instead, I haven’t even had time to write political posts. Take political actions, yes. (And also, write a lot of short fiction about assassins. One takes one’s stress relief where one finds it.)

But posts? No. And this isn’t one, either. This is about music stuff!

When I was Festival Mémoire et Racines in Quebec this year, I picked up a cute little noisemaker. It reminds me a little of a kokiriko, but much simpler and smaller, and played very differently. But it was radically underengineered, and the two small dowels used as spacers between clackers were absolutely not going to last – one even broke before I could get it back home.

Which is where attoparsec comes in. Matthew said he could totally make replacements out of brass for me, and that he’d actually kind of enjoy doing such a simple project to unreasonably unnecessary degrees of precision.

To wit:

Looks great, doesn’t it? The metal bits make it look so much more like an actual non-toy effects toy, rather than the Can$10 bit of fluff it is.

So… yeah! Not something I made or even fixed but something which someone fixed for me. Yay! Thanks. ^_^

the most old star trek thing i’ve ever built

I built a Windows 98 machine out of our old nameserver, door; it was a P166 from 1996 and NO YES REALLY IT WAS STILL ON THE NET UNTIL TWO WEEKS AGO because we were just seeing how long it would hold on.

Anyway, it abruptly retired itself from service, and I had a new machine already built because I also had plans to restructure the network here at the Lair and it required new hardware, but that left me with a reasonably functional P166, and I like the ability to read archaic media and it had a drive controller that could talk to 5.25″ floppies. So.

(It’ll also run DOS games. But I digress, as I do.)

The power supply is a weird short-lived format between AT and ATX called ATB, and these are thin on the ground, so as I was swapping out fans because these old machines sounded like goddamn jet engines how did anyone put up with this ever oh right because we didn’t know any better, I noticed a couple of caps on the power supply had failed, and that I could improve the whole venting situation with a much more open power supply case. So I made one, out of bronze fabric and aluminium, and it is, as the title says, the single most original Star Trek thing I have ever built. To wit:


canna take much more of thi SHUT UP SCOTTY AND MAKE THE ENGINES GO

And now I’m leaving for Montréal and Festival Mémoire et Racines, and if I see you there – yay!

a classic TARDIS interior for you

Paul has a Vive VR rig and he’s starting to make environments for it! He posted a really good classic Doctor Who TARDIS room environment this weekend. It’s Version 1 and the controls are all static, but despite that it’s lots of fun because it’s a full environment otherwise and the display panels work and there’s even a sonic screwdriver, and a Dalek, and some other things.


I, of course, filled it with beach balls because that’s the kind of thing I do.

Also the Dalek needed a Gene wig and a monocle because it is CLEARLY a Special Monocle Dalek.

Anyway, it’s good, and you can subscribe to it and he’ll post updates. He’s working on a more kinetic version now where you can do things like operate console controls and have them do things. That’s apparently a lot more work, But he made a lot of progress yesterday on getting levers to move and such, so I expect he’ll have a version two out in a few weeks.

Me, I mostly found out that something which shouldn’t affect network behaviour at all affected it a lot and now I’ve broken through the 1800 level in Overwatch competitive, with 2000 finally in distant sight.

(I don’t know if I posted about that here, but when I went through rank evaluations, people on my team dropped halfway through in four out of five games, which meant I started in the depths of bronze, and while that’s kind of terrible, it also means I get to be THE WOLF IN THE FOLD and rain death from above. Raining death from above is always fun, but then the network started acting up on me so I had to fix that, then door – network infrastructure here in the Lair – exploded and I had to fix that, and and and and and. Then every so often everything is fixed and I climb 100 levels in a day. Which is what I just did again.)

But, yeah. Working my way up the ranks via the slow road. But I’ll show them. I’ll show them all.

So what’d you do this weekend?

hey linux networking peeps

I’m finally getting back to working on a new gateway/router server and I’m basically setting up this old-school sort of DMZ, with the rest of our servers hanging off one card, and our internal LAN/DHCP/NAT side hanging off the other. (Using ISC, which Debian seems to like.) And all of that seems to be right from the new server’s perspective, which is yay!

Except there’s no packet forwarding from the DHCP side even though it’s enabled and I’m sure I enabled it and yes the kernel thinks its enabled but it isn’t happening.

Any ideas where to start?

remember that novella I’ve been working on?

Remember that novella I’ve been writing, On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders? It’s finished. 32 chapters, a bit under 35,000 words (there is a canon digression linked at the appropriate time, but not contained within the primary volume, that boosts the word count), and I’m rather pleased to hear from a couple of readers who do not know anything about the Overwatch world that it makes sense even to them. They know there are emotional beats they’re missing, but it still works as a story.

I wasn’t specifically trying to do that, but I’m really quite pleased that it happened.

If you don’t know the lore at all, but are interested, here’s the original animated short introducing the world of the game, and here is the animated short “Alive” that featured Widowmaker. You’ll see the latter story in short form in Chapter 10, but in the cinematic, the chemistry between Amélie and Lena is absolutely smokin’, which spawned a lot of ships.

(If you really find yourself getting into the lore, here’s the official site, including the comic that confirmed Tracer – the literal face of the game, she’s on the cover of the box – is a lesbian.)

Also, you should know that in canon, in-universe, we ‘know’ that Amélie Lacroix was kidnapped by Talon and recovered apparently well but in actuality neurally reconditioned to assassinate her husband, the head of anti-Talon operations at Overwatch. After that, she went on to become a supposedly-emotionless assassin who feels only satisfaction at the success of her kills.

We are also given a lot of clues in both lore and game that this is at least in some parts a pile of lies, and that we are supposed to figure that out.

Anyway, this has been an experience like few others for me – it is literally more fiction than I’ve written, combined, before, in my life, and I actually tried writing fiction for real in college. I even got published once, in a little Ontario small-press magazine for a token $20 payment. But it was always like pulling teeth, whereas this was more like just trying to stay afloat on top of the tsunami as it carried me forward. I’ve had that feeling for individual songs before, but never for fiction.

I really liked it. I hope it happens again.

Friday gig cancelled

The Gas Works Park show tomorrow is cancelled – turns out the organiser didn’t realise that even ‘private’ parties require permits for entertainment, and once made aware of that, discovered… well… yeah.

Sorry folks. Just found out myself.

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