Archive for the ‘shows’ Category

Orycon is in Full Effect

Hey minions, it’s Day 2 of Orycon! Last night was a bigger travel day than expected due to reasons, but we got here in plenty of time. It’s been so long since I’ve been to Orycon that this is pretty much my first Orycon all over again, and so far, it’s pretty sweet.

Last night was definitely Questionable Decision Time as I played a lot of things I hadn’t played in a while, and one thing I had literally never played ever but found in one of Anna’s songbooks and scanned a little while ago. (“Catatonia County Rag,” an old Elfquest song.) That was obviously a bit of a spur-of-the-moment decision, but wow was I not expecting the whole room to know it and sing along. I’d never even heard it performed live before, but apparently it was like super-famous back in the day.

Fandom, rite?

I am sad I had to miss the last day of Desert Bus; even though I couldn’t be there, I did wear my Zeta Shift T-shirt last night while playing. Best news is that they broke last year’s record, and raised $677K and change! So congratulations all around.

Anna’s books are the NIWA table and occasionally so is Anna; I’m just wandering around because I’m not scheduled for anything today or tomorrow, but I’m sure I’ll make it to the open filk tonight. If you’re here, come say hi! 😀

Looking for the Grammy Awards Long List nominee post? Thank you for listening, and for your consideration.

nwcMUSIC needs a new Concerts Director

I haven’t been posting much about nwcMUSIC’s need for new personnel this year, and that’s because they had people! And they still have some people, but the Concerts Director had to step away due to work and oncoming new child.

So they need a new one, and they need them now! As I’ve said before, I will help you. I will meet with you, I will infodump like a madwoman on you, I will introduce you around.

It fun and it’s also kind of a glamour position in that you get to work with all the bands and even be MC if you want to, which is awesome, or you can pick an MC to do it for you and just sit back and watch them work.

Please, if you’ve given this any thought, this upheaval has left them short, and they really need someone to step in. Here’s the news post about it – and if it’s not for you, please, please pass it along!

Looking for the Grammy Awards Long List nominee post? Thank you for listening, and for your consideration.

very shiny review and auxiliary couch room viewscreen

Hey, remember that show last Friday? We got a really nice review from Howlin’ Hobbit. Thanks for coming and for the review! 😀

I’d write a longer post, but, well, Fallout 4 got here. So, yeah. Oh, so did the new couch, which is nice, because I moved the old couch up into another, more remote room in the Lair (electronics and sewing, if you really want to know) and along the way kind of duplicated the main couch room’s arrangement, which means that we now have an Auxiliary Backup Couch Room.

And that means we need an Auxiliary Couch Room viewscreen, since the primary Couch Room has a viewscreen, which, if you want to go old school, means the Auxiliary Couch Room viewscreen really ought to look something like this thing from Star Trek, right?

And I was thinking “well, this seems to be important now,” and I was thinking about what to do about that (if anything) when I realised that oh hey, we have a really old sunflower G4 iMac lying around, and I seem to recall something about its screen being all thick-border and curved-corners, and I bet I can figure out at least one of its passwords (success!) so…

…there we go. Sorted.

Incidentally, did you know there’s a Firefox branch specifically for PowerPC OS X antiques? It’s called TenFourFox, because it’s for OS X 10.4. (And 10.5, but presumably it’s 10.4 users who care.) So I have installed a modern-standards browser on its 80gb hard drive (lol 80 gigs) and wow does it eat CPU, but it works if you give it time, and VLC 0.9.iforget is still on the archived builds site and so it has that now, and talks to the Lair’s media server, and that actually works okay! So, well, yeah! Auxiliary Couch Room viewscreen engage.

I spent way too much time on that today. Also too much time on this post, if I want to be honest about it. ‘Scuse me while I try to actually get some work done now. XD

the first band you're in

They say the first band you’re in should be a cover band, and while in a lot of ways my musical history is the opposite of typical, in that way, it wasn’t. The first band I was in was Three Good Measures, and it was a mostly-Great-Big-Sea cover band. We did some other music as well – Billy Bragg, non-GBS Newfoundland trad, a couple of Popular Monsters tracks, Ivar Haglund (no, really, “Acres of Clams”), things like that.

But the majority of material? Great Big Sea. When we came back as Twelve Good Measures for a one-shot video contest? Great Big Sea.

Most people, I think, if they were honest with themselves, knew that the last GBS tour was a farewell tour. They’d just released a box set that had very little new new material – plenty of unreleased old stuff, but very little new. We saw them at the tour’s start, Tor Bay, Newfoundland, and it was like going back in time to 1998. (Which was awesome.) Darrell Power, the original bassist, even came back for “Excursion Around the Bay,” his old signature song with the band:

Later, on the other side of the tour, we saw them on the other side of the continent, in Vancouver, at the Expo. That was a lot less like 1998, but it was still a great show.

But they never called it a farewell tour. And even after they lost Séan McCann, they didn’t make it official. With only half the original band left – and with Séan being so critical to everything they were – I didn’t see any way they could honestly continue.

Finally, almost two years after their last show, Alan Doyle has said it – Great Big Sea is retired. I’m fine with that; they had a hell of a run (20 years is a lot) and the last couple of real albums, honestly, sounded to me like they were finished. They sounded like they wanted to do other things.

While it’s sad – they meant a bunch to me as a band, and as a musical force – it’s good to have official word, and it’s good – as Alan said – not to see anyone “fighting over the spoils.” Anna has her own thoughts on the statement over at her blog, including video of the time she almost died from swoon.

I’ll miss them. With the possible exception of DEVO, I’ve never seen any band before or since do a live show with as much impact, and who knows when I’ll ever see it again. But hey, I got to see it, and more than once. So thanks for everything, guys – it’s been great.

Meanwhile, the other band I’m in now – Leannan Sidhe – has a show today with several other bands at Shoreline Community College. 4-6pm, I’m not sure when we’re on. C’mon by!

Looking for the Grammy Awards Long List nominee post? Thank you for listening, and for your consideration.


I feel again like I’m playing catch up, but I’m feeling like I’m actually getting a bit caught up. I’ve started nailing down timing on a special song I’m doing for Conflikt in January; I’ve mostly got past a lot of life-and-business maintenance things that built up while I was out playing a lot this summer (and then got further behind on during the Four Week Flu); I’ve been taking Poison Ivy’s advice on houseplants (also NASA‘s, given that Harvard study); I’m not where I want to be, but it’s steps.

Yesterday’s tech rehearsal for tomorrow’s show at Shoreline Community College went pretty well; that’s 4-6pm, several bands, Shoreline campus, there are a bunch of bands so we only get like 3-4 songs each. We’ve been rehearsing four. What finally happens will depend upon what it’s like at the show. Visitor parking is free after 4pm, apparently, so that’s fun.


Jeri Lynn – Leannan Sidhe’s cellist – is starting to dip her toes into effects pedals. She’s got at least one new trick she’ll be doing live at the show. Should be fun. See you there!

Looking for the Grammy Awards Long List nominee post? Thank you for listening, and for your consideration.

wifi progress, and a new show

Short notice show! I’m playing with Leannan Sidhe at Shoreline Community College’s Black Box Theatre on November 6th. It’s part of the Express Yourself Showcase. I don’t know what the rules are for audience admission – as in, whether it’s students and faculty ID required – but if you’re around, come watch the fun! There are lots of groups performing.

We’ve made some progress on the Lair’s wifi situation, particularly on the lowest level. We’ve gone from really quite a mess to something a lot more reasonable. To wit, enjoy some signal-to-noise ratio maps:

Minionland and Chudville had Really Bad Wifi

Minionland and Chudville have Much Better Wifi

Colder colours are noisier, blue is pretty bad, unevenness is generally not good. I’m showing signal-to-noise maps rather than raw-signal-strength maps because as long as you have enough signal to use, S/N ratios are much more important than raw signal power. A full-strength signal that’s 30% garbage is useless; a weak but audible signal that’s clean is just fine. So.

There’s less yellow super-hotspot area now, but you’re not going to get much throughput improvement between those strong green levels and the yellow. The evenness of field should help with reliability, of course – that’s lots and lots of yellowish green, which is pretty solid.

And most of all: no more blue. Blue in this software means problematic levels of noise. I was seeing S/N headroom numbers as low as 20db, and regularly in the low 20s; that’s not disastrous, but it’s not good. Now we’re reliably in the 40db range, which is a huge improvement. dB is logarithmic, so that’s not twice as much headroom, it’s 100 times the headroom. It’s a lot.

To get here, we’ve done a few things. One, we got seriously started on the RF noise suppression in the wiring through liberal use of filter units and ferrites. There’s still lots to do, but it’s a start.

Two, we moved the primary lower hub so that it’s as close to above the downstairs repeater as I could get without tearing into walls. (The location indicators on the display are wrong; it’s the software’s best guess, and it’s inaccurate sometimes.)

Three, I built a reflector for that primary hub to spread the signal around better on the ground level, the non-CHUD half of which is shown above. (The CHUD half is a secret.)

Also, we had to repurpose a functionally-useless AirPlay receiver as a second repeater, one level up. That repeater is not shown. It’s so that the main level would have somewhat reasonable coverage from the lower network, which is useful for people going up and down stairs.

So, yeah, there’s that update. It’ll be a couple of days before the next set of line filters arrive – I burned through most of through my useful stock – but that will hopefully help with the noise a bit more.

Then I’m going to poke some at the upper network – officially the “west” network, though both “up” and “west” are true – to see if I can get some better south-end coverage out of it. It’s unlikely, but I’ll try. Mostly, I’m happy not to have done it any measurable harm by adding yet another transmitter to the lower network.

Will this solve all our problems? I doubt it. I’ve already found that we shouldn’t be using our upstream provider’s DNS servers. Our servers don’t use it, why should our workstations? So I’ve gone back to using our own, and that’s already helped. But the big job, I suspect, is getting IPv4/IPv6 concurrency sorted. We’re running some IPv6 now, on workstations, and I’m pretty sure some of the stacks are… not entirely ready. And I’m not sure what to do about that.

So much overhead in running a lair, I tell you.

If you’re looking for the Grammy Awards Long List nominees, thank you for listening, and for your consideration.

now what exactly happened yesterday?

I had two very interesting meetings yesterday. One is about a new fan-run event; I’m providing advice and information and possibly some other involvement. They’re very ambitions, and I worry that they’re overreaching, but their numbers are sane. It looks promising.

They’re also looking for some people for various positions – webmaster, music track lead, publications lead (they have multiple promotions people), programming co-ordinator (they have most track leads already), stuff like that. Their web presence at the moment is just Facebook, but give it a look.

The other one… the other one… yeah. The other one is more in I-would-be-setting-fires territory. But it’s early days, and I provided a lot of data, and a lot of advice, and I’m throwing some people who need to be together at each other, and hopefully that’ll work. Because I do not want to start that particular riot.

On the way back from that second meeting, this happened. I was not involved with the accident, but nonetheless ended up directing traffic for three hours on a side street after an articulated Sound Transit bus got directed by police down a lane-and-a-half road with oncoming traffic, inadequate guard rails, and hairpin curves. That was… a bad decision. And my reaction was… weird. I guess superhero instincts still kick in sometimes. Ah, well, I guess I’ll get over it.

(Spoiler: I will never get over it.)

Anyway, eventually police came by and I thought they were going to take over – I had asked a previous traffic cop a couple of hours before for somebody to do this because goddamn – but they said “yes, helping, but stop it, liability.” And I was all “really? good samaritan law?” and they were all “NOT FOR YOU” and I went “oh.” So I quit.

I guess the best part of that was the road traffic worker who I helped get through the traffic and offered me his reflective safety vest. He thought I was doing it just fine. But I guess that wasn’t the point, anyway.

Yeah! Weird day. Very weird.

off to talk with convention organisers

Off today to talk to a couple of convention organisers about music tracks and music programming. Hopefully I won’t talk myself hoarse, and hopefully this will result in more little geek music festivals around Seattle!

See, I may be handing off nwcMUSIC to new people this year – which still feels weird, I feel like I should be going to meetings and planning that show now – but I’m more than willing to talk. I’ll dump off all the data, institutional knowledge, and know-how that I’ve got to anyone planning an event if I can. There’s lots of room for more of these things.

Maybe I should do a series of knowledge-dump blog posts. It’d be nice to have all this online someplace so people could find it.

vcon 40 and photos

So yeah, hey, I went to VCON 40!

It’s a little bit of a blur, mostly thanks to too much fun crammed into too few days followed by unfortunate con crud. All of the panels I was on went really well, and most were heavily attended – the exception being Sunday morning at 10am on self-publishing, that one not so much. None of us were awake, and by “us,” I mean “VCON members” – this is a pretty seriously late-nite con.

I hung out with the hot tub crowd for a bit, and one of the surprisingly large number of fem!Sheps (the two most technically impressive were in the masquerade, see below) kept me in alcohol and unexpected affection. I got to wave papers in the air like a five-cent street-corner Leninist during the Puppies panel and that’s always a good day.

They had a Family/Fannish Feud PM game-show that was not remotely worksafe but our team didn’t make it up on stage, which is a damn shame. They also had super-snazzy technology that my version from some years ago didn’t have and it was pretty sweet – you can see the projector in shots from below.

Captain Canuck picked up Steve Rogers and his punching bag, which was pretty hilarious but didn’t stay posed long enough for me to get a shot. The Turkey Readings – wherein terrible works of fiction are read and acted out by audience members, with the rest of the audience bidding in cash to make them stop – had some new people and some prime material this year.

The Dead Dog almost imploded, because the hotel totally didn’t separate “quiet” and “party” spaces and shut it down, even though I have it on good authority that this was in the contract and there will be repercussions, and everyone including everybody snuck off Elsewhere to By God We Will Have a Dead-Dog and did. When I left just before 4am, it was still going pretty strong – just every so often we had to suddenly All Be Very Quiet, with concordant shushing and sssssssssh and apparently being a party made up entirely of snakes.

Ain’t no party like a Slytherin party, is what I’m saying.

So, yeah! Bought next year’s memberships already, will be there for 41. You should too, it’s great.

Guests of Honour

Fannish Family Feud
The room was actually packed, the empty seats are where the two teams
were sitting before they went up on stage.

Holy Shit It’s Finally October of 2015 And Marty is Here
I kept calling him Calvin.

Masquerade Winners

I found an alchemist and loaded up on void, fire, and frost salts
Time to make some potions!


Woah, VCON starts tomorrow! I’m on a bunch of panels and my concert is Friday at 7pm, with the possibility of an ish on that because I don’t know if that includes the setup time.

Because I’m just goofy, I’m bringing like three instruments just for the show, plus a few others for a panel, and I’m doing some really old material and a couple of things I’ve just written. BRAND NEW AND FRESH FOR YOU!

Over on Dreamwidth, Batyatoon asked if she could get a listen to the surprisingly cheap and trashy and awesome sound the octave mandolin makes when it’s tuned to an open power chord that’s down a bit. Since she’s all East Coast Tribe and stuff, and therefore far away from any likely shows, I’ve decided CAN DO, SPORT!

This is a raw single mic recording I just made of the “Thirteen” riff, no effects at all, barely any compression for levelling, but it’ll give you the idea:


I love how overdriven it sounds even though there’s not a hint of actual overdrive. I’m still getting a feel for it and a SRS BSNS PRO probably wouldn’t play it out yet but SINCE WHEN HAS THAT STOPPED ME? Muah ha ha!

Relatedly, Part Two of the Doctor Who series opener… surprise! It was pretty good! I’ve got a nit or two to pick, but nothing major, and again, several bits I really quite liked. Still on probation, but this is the best it’s been in a while. I don’t know what happened, but I’m glad it did.

Anyway – see you at VCON, I hope!

said count by the minutes and count by the hours
you’ll see a future that you never knew
but the path’s all covered with the blood of strangers
raggedy man, there’s too many of you

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