packing and rehearsals

Met with Shanti last night for a decision-making demi-rehearsal – I’m going to be filling in again for them in a few shows this summer. I already know most of the material, again, and while there are a couple of new additions, they’re quite simple to play, so yay! Easy work. I’ll announce dates when I have time to look them up, but the first shows will be in Oregon, in May.

Everything else is Norwescon. Hey, look, I made a gong! It’s an ornamental tray, really, but it sounds kinda good. In fact, it’s right at that quality point where you think, “Y’know, I could use this on a recording,” before you realise it isn’t actually that good. But still, that’s a quality point, and is pretty damn good for a Can$5 thrift store find in Victoria.

The real reason I’m building it, of course, is Cascadia’s Got Talent!, our kitschy talent show on Saturday. We had a serving-tray-gong already, and I’m very thankful for Jordan for making it, but it was kind of low to the ground and not as obvious behind the judges. This one… will be obvious. HEY LOOK WE HAVE PROPS!

Okay, a prop. Still.

The giant frame breaks down for transport. This isn’t a picture of that, broken down; it’s the three vinyl-banner frames I made in earlier years. But they look remarkably similar, go fig.

Makes 3 banner holders, just add FORCE.

I need some way to label the pipe segments that isn’t visible once the frame is assembled. This year I’m just using clear tape (which I’ll remove after assembly) but that’s a pain because I’ll have to relabel it after every disassembly. There must be some way. Anybody got ideas?

nwcmusic / norwescon concert livestreaming

Remember the data I promised couple of days ago, when talking about K Wiley livestreaming the nwcMUSIC concert programming at Norwescon? It’s here!

Looks like we’re gonna need this!

First: a more specific streaming schedule! The Doubleclicks? YES! Hello, The Future!? YES! Vixy & Tony? YES! More: YES!

This schedule is incomplete and I know for a fact some of those TBDs are going to turn into YESes, but I can’t say who until it’s formalised. So keep checking Fan Supported for an updated list.

Second: A few of you have helped get K’s bandwidth expenses close to defrayed! You are super awesome. He’s hoping to go beyond that and get ahold of some extra equipment, so if you’re interested in helping and haven’t yet, go check his page. There are plenty of details and some rewards for people who help.

I bet you can guess what I’ll be doing the next couple of days – finally seeing Winter Soldier, that’s what. WOOHOO! Oh, and, okay, fine, doing some nwcMUSIC stuff too, I guess. XD Got any plans for the weekend?

come, casey kasem


Seriously, this is part hilarious, and part horrifying. I’m not sure which is the best part. Sensitive DJs and vinylphiles may wish to avert their eyes. XD

cascadia has a gong show of talent

One of my favourite events at nwcMUSIC is Cascadia’s Got Talent!, our talent-show parody with silly prizes. Scott Thomas, a found-objects artist I met in graduate school, makes the trophy for us each year; I think he’s outdone himself for 2014:

Also, the robots dance.

There is one thing I really need to say about this show that I don’t think I’ve said before. Specifically: yes, it’s tongue-in-cheek; yes, it’s for comedy; yes, the prizes are goofy. But if you come up and take it all seriously, the judges will treat you that way too.

I mean, sure, they’re funny people and will be entertaining about it. But a good two thirds of the entrants each year are serious – sometimes seriously funny, but, you know, intentionally. People have come away surprised and impressed. It happens.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is: if you’re thinking of entering, please do; if you take it seriously, we will; if you don’t, we won’t either, and everybody will have a good time. That is, after all, the whole point.

Signups will be at information during Norwescon, or you can register right before the show starts.

Oh, and if anybody specifically wants to get gonged offstage? Well, we do have a gong, and we do like to use it. Contact me. :D

livestreaming all the things

We’re going to try livestreaming the concerts at nwcMUSIC – the Norwescon geekmusic festival – this year! Not necessarily all the shows; some artists may opt out. But it’s a thing which will be happening, so we’re talking about it now. Go us!

If you can’t come to Norwescon, you can at least see some of what we’re doing at nwcMUSIC – for free! It’ll be an open livestream, no membership required.

K Wiley is running the webcast side; he’s done similar things at other events, and is donating his time and expertise to the convention. He’s also asking for help with defraying uplink costs, as this is an unfunded-by-Norwescon adventure and high-bandwidth mobile network uplinks are expensive.

I want to stress that the cost-coverage fundraiser is not a Norwescon project; it’s K trying to afford a better uplink, it’s all K, and all money goes to him. I’m chipping in myself, providing a backup network uplink, also out of my own pocket. But my uplink is slower, and less reliable, so he really hopes not to use it. If he can get some help, he won’t have to.

It has to fund really quickly though, because Norwescon is so close. Nobody really wanted to do it this way, but after some other ideas fell through, well, here we are, exploring options and engaging backup plans. So if you’ve wondered what nwcMUSIC shows are like – and we have quite the lineup this year, with people like The Doubleclicks and Molly Lewis and Seanan McGuire and 9K1 and Death*Star – but can’t attend Norwescon, give it a look.

And keep reading for updates; since this is a late addition, I’ll be posting updates as we have more pieces fall into place. And they will – if nothing else, we have my Verizon uplink. But it’s much less robust than a proper high-speed network uplink, so check out his page and see what you think.

We’d like to do this every year! Maybe someday we can. :D

we finally have a stage banner

nwcMUSIC finally has a dedicated stage banner. It even says Norwescon! It doesn’t technically use the “Norwescon logo” (official) as to make it work we had to lose the spaceship, but it’s still recognisably Norwescon, I think.

Last year we were still using one of the wayfinding vinyls, and that was still big enough to show up decently in stage photos, which is, of course, the point. This will show up better. ^_^

Also, with all the nwcMUSIC workshops moving from the unfindable Salon to the more-easily-findable Evergreen, we’ve made new vinyl banners and are upping the ‘wayfinding’ game. I sure hope we get some boost to turnout – the new workshop rooms are a lot bigger. We were overflowing in Salon, but Salon was tiny. Evergreen… isn’t.

As this is posted, we are nine days and seven hours to curtain. Stay on target.

i am made of disappoint

So one of the big events at nwcMUSIC every year at Norwescon is Cascadia’s Got Talent! which is our Gong Show-like talent show. It’s part actual talent show, part parody of talent shows, we have people who come in and demonstrate really cool talents, we give away terrible prizes, everybody has a good time.

For me, as presenter, the terrible prizes are the best part. We have a trophy, we have a trip, we have smaller gifts… and the thing you have remember is that they’re all real and exactly what we say they are. They work. We give away junk, sure; but we don’t give away garbage.

Which is why I was so excited about and looking forward to announcing:

Help Me Make It Through the Night with Jim Nabors

But I always make sure these things work, right? They have to be playable, and in pretty decent condition (unless the condition is part of the funny), so I got it out to clean the disc and make sure it played.

Wait, What?


Son of a bitch.

big floppy petals

Big Petals

I used to post flower pictures a lot back when everybody was on Livejournal; they’re all still up, so if you enjoy that sort of thing, here they are. In the autumn I’d change over to pictures of brightly coloured leaves.

life with supervillainy: shipping balloons

I can’t be the only person out there who looks at these shipping balloons and thinks, “y’know, with the right incendiary or biotoxin, these things could be hilarious,” right?

supervillains need server racks

First: If you haven’t read about the CD release yesterday, you should!

Okay, so. Supervillains, as everyone knows, need computers. Lots of computers. We, predictably, have a lot of computers, and last week, after an… experment… we needed a new KVM switch. (KVM switches keyboard, video, and mouse across several machines at once, so you don’t need so many monitors and such everywhere.)

So we got a new one, and it’s quite snazzy, supports USB and PS/2 both, also switches sound, yadayada nobody cares just make it work.

But what we forgot is that one of the machines is so old, it isn’t PS/2 or USB. It’s 5-pin DIN keyboard, and 9-pin serial mouse.

Nightmare City, 1995. This box is old enough to drink in British Columbia.

Not so bad; we can connect anything to anything, including the arm control nerve in your belly. So 5-pin DIN to PS/2 and good, right? We aren’t using the mouse, of course, because in the server room, GUIs are for the weak. If it weren’t for vi, those minions would still be using ASR-33 teletypes, and thank the gods for vi, because teletype paper is hard to find now.

Except turns out the switchbox has no idea what to do with a 5-pin DIN machine, because it was made in the modern era, not The World Before, or The Olden Times. I can switch to the display, but the keyboard doesn’t work.

Now, the old switchbox partially works – two connections out of four isn’t bad for a failed experiment, sometimes we have… seismic incidents… to clean up – so I try using it as an adaptor for the keyboard cable, since it talked 5-pin DIN just fine, and has PS/2 outputs.

That didn’t work either.

Eventually I figure out that the new switchbox doesn’t actually have any trouble with the keyboard! With a PS/2 adaptor, that’s just fine. No. It needs the mouse cable plugged in. TO SOMETHING. Why? I DON’T EVEN KNOW. So I plug it into the old switchbox’s PS/2 mouse connector and that works and everything is happy, except getting rid of that damned broken box was the entire point, so this isn’t happening.

But! Serial mice worked on 9-pin serial! So I have a henchie order a 9-pin to PS/2 adaptor. But then I discover I already have a PS/2 to serial adaptor! And I plug that in and that works! So I disintegrate the henchie and have a minion cancel the order, since no one must know of my mistakes.

…but then it turns out it works only on the switchbox, and not on the computer, because kill everyone. This machine doesn’t put out enough voltage.

…but a USB wall-charger most certainly does, which is how I ended up with my computer’s mouse cable plugged into the power strip in order to get the keyboard to work.

There, I Fixed It.

Some days, supervillainy IT is just kind of dumb.

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