Archive for February, 2014

Apparently I gained a second passport by voice acting

Remember that voice-acting gig I got last year? The project is finally out, so I can talk about it:


Destiny: A Tale of Unicorn Wings

I’ve only listened to it once so far, and had a small power outage in the middle (lol, windstorms) but – honestly, I’m really impressed, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in it. I’ve been following HeyLasFas on Bandcamp for a couple of years now, and he does really solid and often quite inventive work.

Destiny is a two-hour concept album/progressive rock opera, but I don’t think you need to know the background to follow the story, or need to follow the story to like the music.

Also, I’m pleased to say I was not left on the cutting room floor. Along with a bunch of other people, I am:

Dara Korra’ti – Citizen of Equestria

So I’m basically an extra in a crowd scene, but it’s a start! 😀 I have lines – again, in a crowd, so barely audible in with the mix – and therefore a voice acting credit! Go me! XD And thanks to HeyLasFas for including me, it was great fun.

Also, as a Citizen of Equestria, I presume this means I have an Equestrian passport now. Awesome. Take that, Conrad Black!

Oh, if you’re looking for the latest on the petition-to-SFWA pratfail – the new round involves threats to sue the internet and unwise protestations against “the Young” – here y’go. It’s hilarious, but then I try to be serious and constructive for a while, with genuine intent. It won’t do any good, but hey – I can but try.

what is being lost

You think this whole SFWA petition flap is over, and then, whelp, the goofy just ramps right back up.

Someone has taken a bunch of the discussion off of sff.net and posted it over on Tumblr, leading off with CJ Cherryh’s post to Facebook that discussions about SFWA and the petition shouldn’t be on the internet (which, as several have noted, assassinates irony), and proceeding to some prime ranting against “the Young,” such as:

“The Young are all dismayed at CJ’s position and vow henceforth never to sully their eyeballs with her stuff. Not once do they think to wonder— why would she take such a position? Might there be some merit in it? These people aren’t used to thinking.”

“This is the problem with people hanging around on social media where everyone is guaranteed to agree with them—dissenters are purged immediately. It atrophies the capacity for independent thought. On all sides of the opinion spectrum. This is what the Young want to make of SFWA.”

“They probably weren’t buying her books in the first place. They were probably downloading pirated copies.”

“They probably want Carolyn’s shelf space. After all, aren’t they entitled to it?”

There’s more – lots more – but this sets the tone for you.

Meanwhile, Sean Fodera (né Sean Fedora) is threatening everyone who links to this Daily Dot article about the flap with an apparently class-action libel suit, which isn’t actually a real thing and can’t actually happen, but he’s up to 1200 claims against and counting. Glad to be 1201, Sean. See you in court!

Now, all this hilarity aside, there is a genuinely sad thing going on here. The sexism and racism and the unflagging defence of it? Those aren’t sad. The damage done to SFWA and the speculative fiction community? Not sad. Infuriating, sure. Horrible, disappointing, sometimes hilariously self-parodying, all those apply. But not quite sad.

No, the sad part is how utterly and completely self-defeating this entire exercise has been and continues to be. Yes, self-defeating, on a deep and fundamental level.

See, they’re doing everything in their power to defend the old sexist and exclusionary system, making sure women, people of colour, “the Young” (apparently), and everyone else not on the Real People List know our places and know we’re unwelcome. They’re large and in charge, everyone else can go suck it, and if they don’t get their way, they’re gonna tear the whole damn place down.

That’s awful. But we’re still not to the sad part. The sad part comes from the implicit idea that they actually own this turf, and can defend it. The sad part comes from the idea that if they just push enough people out, they can be the only people who matter forever; that they can make people comply or fail, because…

…because they think there aren’t other options available.

And that leads to the sad part, the fundamental misunderstanding of the world part. The part wherein lives the idea that all these people they’re excluding won’t keep creating, somewhere else. The part where it’s still 1978, and you have the Big 3 Magazines, and the paperback publishers, and that’s all that matters. The part where supposed futurists so fundamentally fail to understand the modern world that they think someone can sue the entire Internet for libel. The part where they think it’s possible to keep that gate.

But you can’t, anymore. People will keep creating anyway. It’s easier now to create and distribute than it has ever been in history. And we, “the Young” (apparently), are creating, and distributing, and some of us are making our own damn amusement parks. (And some of us are writing about construction.)

Forcing everyone else out of your game no longer means everyone else can’t play. It no longer means sitting off to the side until we learn the right form of observances and genuflections.

It means we play without you.

Which, in turn, means that all these petitioners are doing is destroying their own influence, and throwing away any remaining choices they could have in shaping the future.

By excluding everyone else – particularly “the Young” (apparently) – they are consigning themselves to irrelevance.

And in this way, it reaches an entirely new level of short-sighted self-destructiveness. This is how it goes straight over into sad.

Much will be lost, of course. Institutional knowledge that still matters, that’s important. There are real advantages to long-term organisations and histories and so on. Memory still matters.

But these petitioners… this crowd… would, it seems, rather just see all that burn.

How sad.


Also:

eta: Previous posts on the topic:
     An Embarrassing Stumble Towards Irrelevancy
     A Horrible Group of People
     A Friday of Followups

lovely supervillain lair on market

It’s not my personal style, so I haven’t visited it myself – The Underminer and I have… non-compliementary work ethe – but if you’re in the market for a well-appointed lair in the high desert, you could do far worse. Have a couple of sample pictures; the rest are at the link.


Hardened exterior and high vantage point


Interior design follows traditional mole-machine thematics

ht jwz

a friday of followups

Is anybody else getting like eight million pieces of breast pump spam? I sure am. Akismet isn’t aware of this campaign yet, either, because it’s all going into the moderation queue. Most of it is normal, but a subset of it has informed me about a fetish I had not previously thought to contemplate, and which I will contemplate as little as possible in the future.

Saturday we have Sarah Kellington of Pinniped coming in to lend us her fiddle talents on one of our tracks – weather permitting, of course, which it may well not. Mixing and engineering work is moving along nicely; Ellen Eades (whose Facebook page appears to be unlinkable) was in for another round of recording on Tuesday, and I’ve been doing the pleasantly-simple comping and edits on that.

I had another follow-up with the surgeon, it went well; thankfully, that’s all I have to say about that this time. Even if all goes well, I won’t have proper vision back for three months, but it’s better than going blind. At least I’m getting work done!

If you missed it, I posted a final hint post for the Mystery Instrument, here.

Finally, the only new thing I’ve seen today on the petition-to-SFWA flap is Kate Paulk rewriting history so fast the TARDIS can’t keep up. There’s nothing really new in it, but there it is for you. There are several other trackbacks at the Radish Review post that reported it first, if you’re really interested in following what are hopefully the last trailings of this gruesome farce.

eta: If you’re new to this controversy, An Embarrassing Stumble Towards Irrelevancy and A Horrible Group of People should give you some background; plus, there are many links in comments. The followup post is What is Being Lost, posted Monday, 17 February 2014.

eta2: Jim Hines just posted what he hopes is his wrap-up piece on this mess. He tries to explain what the people signing it had to have thought. I cannot get there from here; you have to actively ignore far too much of what actually happened, and give far too few damns about the racism and sexism permeating the petition, the petitioner’s history of awfulness, and the insistent (and, again, horrible) rewriting of history. There is a petition that could’ve been written which would have me believing all of this; hell, there might’ve been one I could support. But not this one, not this way, not this path. I don’t like saying it, but for me, if you signed that thing – and stand by it – those bridges are still pretty damn burned.

eta3: Damn, this thing is the gift that just keeps on giving, isn’t it? What is Being Lost, wherein I take several shots but then attempt to be serious and constructive, because honestly, this is just sad now.

INSTRUMENT OF MYSTERY: Final Hint Post

Last week, I posted a couple of clips from a work-in-progress, including a mystery bass instrument.

The mystery bass instrument sounds like a double-bass (a.k.a. orchestral standup bass) but is not that at all. I processed it to sound like that, thanks to an accidental discovery, so I encouraged people to guess what it might’ve been originally. I even made it a contest.

We’ve had a lot of guesses! But nobody’s there yet. This is the final hint post, and I’ll give you two hints:

1. If you’ve listened to my recordings, you have heard this instrument before.
2. It is not bowed. Not even in this recording. It just sounds like it is.

Here’s where you can listen to the tracks. Winner still gets one free download of anything on my bandcamp site, including the current work-in-progress – the Free Court of Seattle soundtrack – once it’s released.

Actual answer goes up Monday, if nobody guesses by then. Reply at the band site with answers, please!

two down, two to go

Anyone following the petition-to-SFWA flap should read John Scalzi’s post this morning for some useful advice.

Yesterday’s hammer dulcimer recording session went very well; we have two more tunes in the can, one really on the first take – Ellen comes in prepared – though we took a couple more as well, just to be safe. She can’t be back in until late March, though. Still, it’s not like we lack work to do.

It is nice finally seeing the Big Board start to turn blue, I have to say. (It’s colour-coded; blue means completed work.)

Today is more eye-surgery follow-up, so I’ll be OOS (Out Of Studio) all day. Hi ho, needs must and all that. See you tomorrow!

a horrible group of people

In ref. the latest bit of SFWA-related fail, and the petition to restore the old system that lead to last year’s various racist and sexist disasters – because apparently 2013 wasn’t a bad enough year for the Science Fiction Writers of America, they must need another one – I was pointed at something else today.

The petition’s author, Dave Truesdale, described the 2007 atypically mostly-women PK Dick Award shortlist as, and I quote, “vagina-heavy” and the authors as “five furry pussies on the ballot,” in his column on SFSITE.com. He later amended the post to claim it was satire and protest against sexism by women, in true Men’s Rights Activist fashion.

Until now, I was merely very disappointed in the signatories to this thing. Now I’m angry. Anybody who would sign a petition by this asshole is off my reading list and onto my die in a fire list. Goddamn.

For those of you on Livejournal, James Nicoll has a poll running, which you may find interesting. The comment section is very active.

eta: Scalzi weighs in with some desperately needed advice for signatories.


eta: Related posts:
An Embarrassing Stumble towards Irrelevancy (Monday, 10 February 2014)
A Friday of Followups (Friday, 14 February 2014)
What is Being Lost (Monday, 17 February 2014)

an embarrassing stumble towards irrelevancy

Remember all those rounds of Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) racist and sexist pratfail in 2013?

Well, now that SFWA is trying to clean up its act, here comes the pushback, with a petition against “political correctness” and violations of the First Amendment by… applying editorial control to its own publication.

A publication which is, by the way, supposed to be the official house organ of this supposedly professional writer’s organisation, and not the fanzine of a moderately horrible Old Phart Phan.

These things are inevitable, but man, is it still embarrassing. Not because it’s happening – that’s inevitable; old-school holders of racial and gender entitlement will generally push back at any perceived loss of that entitlement. It’s a turf war. That’s only to be expected.

No, it’s embarrassing because of some of the signatories. Many of them are the sorts you’d expect, but some of them aren’t, and in them, I am disappointed, for multiple reasons.

First, the idea. The confusion of “what we want in our trade publication” and the mere idea of editing with censorship, in people who are old enough to know better.

Second, the damn thing leads off with “political correctness.” Anybody who starts with this line has no goddamn facts. To steal a line, “political correctness” is a dog-whistle for resentment about feeling pressured to treat people decently.

Finally, look at this thing. Content aside, this came from a professional writer? This sprawling slurry of rambling resentment apparently formatted by a hyperkinetic hamster who has no comprehension of punctuation and an unsettling attraction to the spacebar?

As someone who has pulled $1.50 a word writing, albeit technical writing, I am appalled on that basis alone.

Honestly, how many faces can one hand palm, anyway?


Followup posts:
A Horrible Group of People (Tuesday, 11 February 2014)
A Friday of Followups (Friday, 14 February 2014)
What is Being Lost (Monday, 17 February 2014)

a Mystery Instrument hint

Nobody’s figured out what instrument I turned into a fake double-bass with processing tricks in the instrumental recording I posted last week. So here’s a hint – no, wait, two hints:

1. A couple of people have been close, in the sense of being in the right category of instrument. But in each case, they’ve wandered away again by adding on to their initial guess.

2. Directly relevant to clue 1: yes, it sounds bowed. That does not mean the original instrument actually was bowed, and, in fact, it wasn’t. That’s one reason why it’s so amazing. XD

And, of course, from the first post, I repeat:

0. It’s not synthetic, and it’s not a double-bass.

This is a contest, so here’s where you can listen to the tracks, and also the tiny rules list, which is tiny.

midi chimes are go

I HAVE THE MIDIS! I’ve actually had them for a while, but I just recorded a bunch of MIDI chimes for the Chapter 22/23 set part of the Free Court of Seattle soundtrack.


Bendy Keyboard is Not Actually Bendy

The MIDI part worked fine. I’ve actually played with it a little before; I used it (and this loverly Roland) for sound effects before, but this is the first time it’s ending up in music.

It’s also the first time I’ve tried to use Garage Band for much of anything since, idk, 2009? And damn, a girl could learn to hate that thing. DO NOT SILENTLY RESAMPLE AND RETEMPO MY RECORDINGS, GARAGE BAND, I WILL END YOU. But it did. Like, twice.


Also, I rageflip over the lack of any pictures of someone rageflipping a MIDI keyboard.

And that’s why it took like four goes to get a proper export of the sound. Still, I got it.

inb4 Why Garage Band?: Existing instruments that I could edit to sound right. I need some instrument libraries for my DAW, f’srs.

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