inside the world’s largest musical instrument

A tour inside the world’s largest functioning musical instrument. Literally inside, as it spans several stories and you go into the superstructure.

Predictably, I suppose, it’s an organ, but seriously go look at that thing. It’s in Philadelphia. I guess I have a reason to go to Philadelphia sometime now. Not as an organist – I’m not one – but just for the holy hell will you look at this of it all.

(h/t @gfish on Twitter.)

so who else is going to worldcon?

The World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane is a week away! Well, a week and two days, kind of? But I’m leaving a week from tomorrow.

I have to admit, I’m frankly a little nervous about it, given all the things going on as of late, and I’m not looking forward to going to all those business meetings. But needs must and all that.

Also, I’ve been looking over the schedule, and their music programme appears to be entirely filk-focused. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a large convention where the music programme is purely filk – the large events I go to tend to be mostly nerdcore and chiptunes. So this’ll be interesting.

On the downside, it doesn’t seem to be very interactive – across all five days, there are only seven non-concert daytime panels and/or workshops. That’s only a little more the entire week than I’d programme for a single day of nwcMUSIC at Norwescon.

I’m also hearing that the space given to non-concert musicians for evening open performing – “open filk” – is… very small. Too small, I am hearing, even for the crowd at the local convention, SpoCON.

This is not really how I’d fly that ship, myself. But hey; it’s not my ship.

Then after, I’ll be playing Puget Sound Pagan Pride, down in Tacoma! Twice, actually. Both times on the 29th. Once with Leannan Sidhe, at noon, and once as myself, at 4pm. Here’s the CPSPP page, with details; I’ll add a Facebook event tomorrow. It’s a free event, so add it to your calendars now!

Given what I’m hearing, I suspect I’ll likely be holding down the harder edge of that event’s concerts. I’m okay with that.

and here we go a’SWATing

Lou Antonelli is a writer and voluntary part of the Sad Puppy slate, who has clearly stated his support for their political agenda. He has received a couple of nominations due to their slate voting. He has written screeds against the godless leftists who oppose the Puppy slate, and has accused anti-Slate activists of engaging in organised criminal activity:

[Opponents of the Slates] should hope there is not a sweep of No Awards because they crossed the line in attacking some authors into that’s called “exaction” under organized crime statutes. They threatened someone’s income or livelihood. It’s not extortion because no physical threat was employed, but when people say certain authors will never get published again, or that they will have to use a pen name in the future, they are committing exaction. Certain editors at Tor books – and one of the MCs at the Hugo ceremony – are guilty of this.

And now it has come out that he wrote a letter to the Spokane Police Department, urging surveillance of Guest of Honour David Gerrold as “insane” and “a public danger.” Here are his words, as quoted at the link:

I personally wrote a letter addressed to the police chief in Spokane and said I thought the man was insane and a public danger and needs to be watched when the convention’s going on, and I mean it. I attached my business card. I said this guy’s inciting to violence. Somebody—a weak-minded might attack somebody because of his relentless strength of abuse. I think, honestly, I think he belongs in a secure psychiatric facility.

He has apologised for this, now that the word is out. Despite the order and proximity of those events, several people have noted the apparent sincerity of the apology. He has also posted on Facebook that he’s had an upcoming story cancelled by the publisher, and says he deserves that.

As for me, well, the only difference between this and SWATing is the reaction time, and I’m very glad he chose to write a letter instead of calling 911.

I already lacked any sympathy for the Puppy crowd, as my writings clearly show. But this – this is genuinely a new low. This is slow-motion GamerGate bullshit right here.

I was honestly thinking that the outrageous portions of this mess had died down, and that perhaps things would be just fine. But then we get things like this, and maybe not.
eta: So this happened:

And Lou Antonelli is telling people to knock it off, you jerks, you aren’t helping:

Ok, if anyone I know out there is contacting Carrie Cuinn and castigating her for the decision not to publish my story, knock it off. She and Lakeside Circus have their right to free expression, also. Lambasting her is certainly not helping things.

Insofar as the story is now available, and to make the best of a bad situation (since it probably will never be published anywhere anyhow – or anything I write in the future, for that matter), I will drop it in here now, so maybe some people can enjoy it.

eta2: However, turns out he’d edited Carrie’s letter to delete context and add identifying information before throwing it out there to his fans. That “knock it off” of his has a whole lot less value to me now. To me, it now feels less like “don’t do that” and more like, “okay, I figure she’s had enough.” Wow.

eta3: Pretty Terrible points to other cases where he’s done stuff like this before. So this isn’t a one-off.

eta4: I talked with members of the Worldcon concom about their decision to override their harassment policy and their harassment committee’s decision to refund Mr. Antonelli’s membership and bar him from the convention. In their statement, they noted that Mr. Gerrold had asked them to do so; I can accept that, grudgingly. But they did not mention Ms. Cuinn, about which I expressed my displeasure. They have now said they did talk to her and she did agree with the reversal in this case. I’ve suggested that belongs in the statement; they agree.

This part of a series of posts on the Sad/Rabid Puppy candidate slate-based capture of the Hugo Awards, and resulting fallout.

a contemptible trailer

The Stonewall Riots – the revolt that started the modern queer rights movement – were started mostly by the drag queens and transwomen, with a bulldyke, a black drag queen, and a transwoman all resisting arrest just for being queer.

Stormé DeLarverie, the bulldyke daughter of a black mother and white father, urged the crowd to action after she was beaten with a club while being arrested. Marsha P. Johnson, the black drag queen in question, is generally believed to have thrown the first brick that really got resistance going. She and the above-mentioned transwoman, Ms. Griffin-Gracy, are all acknowledged as leaders in the revolt. Sylvia Rivera, another transgendered woman, was also important.

All this is true unless, of course, you’re watching the contemptible movie version coming out later this year. From the trailer:

If you watch this trailer, this message is pretty damn clear: a straight-looking gay white guy turned things around and made this revolt happen. The trailer is telling you a straight-up lie. It’s whitewashing, it’s erasure, it’s elimination of women and people of colour from history. It’s contemptible. And it’s routine.

The director calls it “fictionalised.” Yeah, fictionalised to change the actual people of history into a straight-looking white dude.

Do not support this movie.

found gear

Sometimes you buy gear, sometimes you make gear (particularly if you’re a DIYer like me), sometimes you just find gear.

Leannan Sidhe’s lead singer had an old black leather purse she didn’t use anymore because somebody got paint on it. It was passably renfaireish before that – at least after she’d put on a metal decoration on the front to distract from the modern clasp – but since the paint accident she’d put it aside. And that’s how I found it at a rehearsal.

paint not shown.
(it was mostly on the strap)

Now, at renfaires – her band does a lot of renfaire gigs, and these days that includes me – you can sell CDs and stuff. But you want to keep them and your sales gear out of sight, since those are obviously very much not period. Talk about it at your show, of course, but don’t carry a big cardboard box from Memphis around. The illusion is tenuous enough as it is.

So when I looked in this old purse and saw it had CD-width dividers built-in, I said, “Oh, is this what you used to carry CDs in before you got that awesome wooden box you use now?” And she looked at me and said, “…I never even thought of that.” And so she gave it to me.

The paint was just latex. It came off with a mild orange-oil-based adhesive residue remover (De-Solv-It) that doesn’t even need gloves to use. And so now I have a renfaire sales box – one compartment for CDs, one for download codes (and an extra CD, because it fits), one for money and Square for charge cards and a pen and there’s even room left over. Keep the big stock in your tent, refill between shows as needed, carry 10 or so CDs to a set, everybody wins.

I didn’t even have to make this thing. It already even had correctly-sized dividers inside! I just had to recognise what it was, and clean it up. So yeah, sometimes… you just find gear.

resetting the art

Every so often I need to cut through clutter and reset things. My clutter tolerance threshold is actually pretty damn low – most people wouldn’t’ve called my studio cluttered, but it hit that NOPE! point for me and I had to reset it.

I know a lot of people thrive in clutter, particularly creative people. That’s never worked for me. I wish it did, I’d spend less time resetting studio spaces.

On the plus side, it was a good time to change around art. I rotate pictures and such in and out so I don’t get too tired of them. Korra and Toph survived this round, and even got frames, and the Utena art I found at ECCC finally made it onto the wall. Plus I built a little shrine to our favourite Russian Jaeger pilots. :D

Bigger pictures at Flickr, like usual. Mostly useful for the panoramas, of course.

the usual shot

the far side shot

the shrine, in sepia, because the colour came out weird

underlighting makes everything into art deco

Plus there were actually a couple of things that needed repair, like one of the lamps turned out to have some bad insulation (if “missing” counts as “bad,” which I think is true in this case) so I fixed that and its stuck switch.

And those horizontal lines on the sound baffles? Those are part of the new wall anchoring system. I had a baffle come down while trying to put a speaker away, and that sucks, so I fixed it. Plus, that let me put like three support legs into the closet, opening up more space and getting rid of distracting visual noise. Here’s an comparison to the previous reset, with the above panorama cropped to match.


It’s not a big difference, but people other than me notice it when they walk in, so it’s enough for that. Other than the art, it’s mostly corners and shelves, really. And the closets. Those got a good straightening out. Really, if anything actually needed it? It was the closets.

wait a minute, what are these things?

So Paul’s going through Fallout 3 again, and just found a paperweight in a box, and I kind of laughed because ‘hey, here’s something you can carry just to take away from your carrying capacity!’ and so on. But then I realised…

…we all know what a paperweight is. But I’ve never used a paperweight as a paperweight. In fact, has anyone here ever used a paperweight as a paperweight?

Hell, has I know anyone ever used a paperweight as office equipment at all?


anybody know where I can get spares of these beads?

A piece of costuming that I use for some gigs – mostly Leannan Sidhe gigs – threw one of the ring-type beads that are used in tying up the front. It’s just flat gone – no sign of it – so I need a replacement.

I think they’re shell. I’ve been a few places trying to match them with no joy and with the stores not having anywhere to suggest. So… any crafters or beaders out there seen these recently?

Failing that, anybody have a similar? I was thinking maybe niobium – but I’d rather keep what’s there now if I can. (Also, I haven’t seen any that would work.)

who has more smug than any other kitty mug?

George, that’s who.

Click for larger

what do you do with a broken hard drive?

I had already queued this post for today, back on Monday. Intel’s announcement on Tuesday – see previous post – made it even more appropriate.

♪ What do you do with a broken hard drive? ♪
♪ What do you do with a broken hard drive? ♪
♪ What do you do with a broken hard drive, ♪
♪ once it eats your data? ♪

Well, thanks to Boris L. on Facebook, I know know that you can turn it into a microphone. I don’t even know what to think about that. XD

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The Music