Archive for December, 2013

top ten posts of 2013

All of my Top 10 posts but one in 2013 are political – or, at least what I would call political. John Scalzi has seven of his top ten posts on similar topics, but doesn’t think of any of them as political. I find that kind of surprising and a little confusing.

See, in my head, I’m not sure how these various issues aren’t political. They aren’t necessarily partisan, true – it’s not to do with politics in the electoral sense – but all of it is still the politics of society.

What do you think? Are these “political” to you, or something else, and if so – what would you call them?

  1. Three out of Four – a mixture of PAX report and political complaint.
  2. Power and Supervillainy – about harassment at conventions.
  3. Gatekeeping and Recourse – something specifically only men can do about sexism in geekdom.
  4. All That SWFA Fail, a summary and linkpost to other posts about SFWA’s sexism and racism fails this past year.
  5. Somewhat Past Time – to just say Theodore Beale is a white supremacist.
  6. Unexpected Side-Effects – the triple-rainbow picture from last year, still in the top 10.
  7. Orson Scott Card Can Blow It Out His Ass – no, his begrudging admission that marriage equality is on the way does not make me want to see his movie.
  8. Exclusion – why representation matters, and why a crowd that’s 1/3rd women is not “gender-balanced” – but Hollywood thinks it is.
  9. Pushback and Misandry – I get into a fight with Penny Arcade’s Dave Kuchera. Watch as multiple guys call me a misandrist for citing data!
  10. If You Want an Organised Boycott – why I’m not boycotting PAX – yet – and what you’ll have to do if you want one to work.
    Once you get past those – 11 through 20:
  11. Kind of Done with Agents of SHIELD – finally! A post that’s kinda sorta something else!
  12. Going On – the end-game politics of the Baby Boomers.
  13. Two Followup Items – sexism in fandom and gaming again.
    You guys really prefer these kinds of posts to anything else, don’t you? But now we get into a different focus – DIYers, ahoy!
  14. Okay, Moffat, You Can Live – A Doctor Who 50th Reaction Post.
  15. The Studio Buildout Series, Part 7: Jeff Bohnhoff on Room Conditioning. The first DIY post in the top 20.
  16. DIY Video: Making Cheap Acoustic Sound Baffles. Another DIY post!
  17. The Studio Buildout Series – the amalgamation post containing links to every post in the set.
  18. The Studio Buildout Series: Part One – The Room. Room conditioning again, this time, by me.
  19. nwcMUSIC 2013: Sneak Preview. nwcMUSIC being the music festival I run at Norwescon.
  20. I Needed an On The Air Sign – the first remote-controlled on-the-air sign I made, another post from last year.

Moving further down the list, I find I’m still getting a bunch of hits from last year’s posts. And not just the triple-rainbow picture; mostly studio buildout series, as it turns out.

So, mostly what I think of as politics, and DIY. But like I said – I’d call these political, but other people clearly do not. What would you call them?

showing 2014 the body of 2013

Seen on Twitter: if 2013 was a battle for you, then take heart: it’s dead, and you’re still alive. Show 2014 the corpse of 2013, as a warning.

That’s right: it’s time for the year-in-review post!

New stage costume in progress, for GeekGirlCon

My 2013 was pretty good, most of the year. Actually, until October, it was really good. Honestly, it didn’t feel like I did all that much, but I’m looking at it, and thinking I must’ve been busier than I remember!

I did my first zouk solo on stage (and came away with a funny story), appeared on someone else’s album for the first time (as well as recording more than half of it), put out several episodes of a Geekmusic Podcast, appeared on The Cosmic Ray Show, played in Victoria, rebuilt this website, and toured briefly – eight shows – with Leannan Sidhe.

I fell really hard for Pacific Rim, and wrote a song about it for Jaegercon, recorded with help from fans tereshkova2001 and Kathryn Tewson, had fun at Clallam Bay Comicon and Virtual ComiCon and VCON and Harrison Hot Springs, got involved with fannish and gamer misogyny, including a fight with Penny Arcade’s Ben Kuchera on Twitter about something other than PAX, and performed a supervillain elfmetal operetta with Hello, the Future! and tereshkova2001 and Angela Highland and Amber Clark at GeekGirlCon, complete with a new stage costume (thanks to Leannan Sidhe for her help)…

…which is when things got annoying. Emergency eye surgery, rounds one and two. And Anna had to have major medical adventures of her own, which kept us both – aheh – homestuck for a couple of months.

Pan-Pacific Defence Corps

Also, we had Cat Pee Festival 2013, about which the less said, the better, but if you think that wasn’t a distraction, I have a bundle of WRONG for you.

None of that stopped me from doing my first voice acting during recovery, but damn, that was nasty. We had to miss Orycon and everything.

But then, at the end of the year? I got invited into the Mega-Music Download, which just made me go EEEEEEEEEEEEE because here I am surrounded by all these people who are better at this than me. so exciting I can’t believe I got included eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 😀

Better than Me

And that doesn’t even talk about nwcMUSIC and the like, so… yeah. I’m not lying when I say I feel like I didn’t get much done this year. But then you stack it up in a list like that and I feel better about it.

Even if that damned soundtrack album got stalled out for a while. More recording is scheduled, at last, in January. There will be an album, goddammit. There will be.

As usual, there were a bunch of DIY highlights. I built a remote-control for Ardour, a remote-control ON AIR sign, made some retr0brite and de-yellowed some equipment; I identified the Lord Ruler of All Hard Drives while rebuilding and upgrading my digital audio workstation, modded the hell out of an old input switch to make a speaker-selector and warning device, made my DAW into a standing workstation, did some graphic design to make a nice, legal-size comp sheet to help in studio work (downloadable!), and found super-cheap but very effective ways to do speaker isolation and microphone cases.

Oh, plus, put together a buildout post for the Austin Microphones ribbon mic kit, and an even better buildout post for the pre-amp kit. I’ll be using this on that album.

Blinkinlights blinking!

So, yeah. It’s been a year. By most reasonable standards, it’s been a pretty big year. From a purely commercial standpoint, my two biggest download months are both this year, the second-largest being right now. (Downloads still pay-what-you-like, but not for much longer!)

But for all the everything, I don’t…

I don’t feel like I’ve been playing much, and not writing much, either. I did write some songs – not just Kaiju Meat – and even performed them out. But… yeah. Not so many.

I think that’s what’s missing; it’s been a year as much about engineering and talking than creating and playing. I think 2014 needs to be a kind of followup.

My tools are in pretty good shape, now – let’s get back to using them.

eta: Anna has posted an even longer, more detailed year-in-recap post of her own!


My Second Doctor Sonic Screwdriver arrived!

Or at least the base for it. Trying to figure out how to have it make the noise… that’ll be another matter entirely. There’s no extra room as currently configured, but that’s not actually a big deal – smaller batteries and a couple of changes in switch operation will solve that.

Oh, and the light needs to be blue. Jamie said so, and he’d know.

Please enjoy the only time the sonic screwdriver is seen driving a screw on-screen.

between new years and old

Happy almost-new-years everybody! Time for either the big new year’s clean and hatsumode, or lots of vodka science and quality assurance testing, or hey, why not have both? I’m for it. We could call it Vodka Science Day, throw it in with the rest. Only downside is I’m not sure anyone would notice. I’ve, er, “got friends” who just call that Thursday.

If your music collection needs refreshing, the big Mega-Music New Year’s Download that I talked about before is still going, so go grab that while you can. And all my Bandcamp downloads are still set pay-what-you-like, too.

If you had – or still have – trouble with their official download link, here is a backup that I put up myself, so use that instead.

Whup, gotta gear up, kaiju’s about ready to hatch, and you know what a mess that is! Have fun out there, and try not to die.

That’s supervillain for, “Hey – I like you.”

megamusic download is go go go go go!

Okay, so I mentioned the big project? Well, a bunch of bands, including us, SJ Tucker, Heather Dale, and lots more, got together for a truly massive free mega-music ‪download package. Seriously, there are like 39 artists in this thing:

The Mega-Music Download

If the download link there doesn’t work for you for some reason – it’s been a bit swamped! – here’s a direct link to the .zip file with all songs:

Backup Download Link

In addition to the previous, there’s Betsy Tinney, Talis Kimberly, Pandora Celtica, Julia Ecklar, Ginger Doss, Whisky Bards, Tom Smith, us – so many different bands.

GO GET IT. And if you like what you hear, a lot of us are doing specials right now on our own download pages, like us, where everything of ours on Bandcamp is currently pay-what-you-like. That won’t last forever, so GO. NOW.

Click for full-size

And a happy new year to everyone!

eta: Okay, maybe having everybody involved tell all their people at the same time wasn’t the best idea. XD If you’re seeing an XML error, it’s a result of server overload; try again in 15 minutes to an hour. But my Bandcamp downloads are working fine – Bandcamp is more robust. 😀

all bandcamp downloads free/pay what you like

Through the holidays, all my Bandcamp downloads are free/pay-what-you-like. That’s not a permanent condition, so grab while the grabbing is good! And if you feel like hitting the tip jar on the way out: awesome, but optional.

CDs are also still discounted, for any last-second physical gift-giving, but you can buy for other people through Bandcamp, too.

a slightly updated kaiju

I have released a slightly updated version of Kaiju Meat. It’s not really a remix as much as it is a couple of technical corrections and undoing a compromise made originally because I didn’t have time to build the automation to do what I actually wanted to do. Now I have.

People who listen mostly on earbuds will hear the most difference, mostly during the bridge. People who listen on laptop speakers, second most, same place. Anna says it sounds better but wasn’t sure why. That’s exactly what I wanted.

This is all prompted by a project. Yep, there’s a reason. Stay tuned, hopefully soon. 😀

so much better than the first one

I just came back from The Desolation of Smaug – well, about an hour ago as I type this – and I just have to say here that I thought it was epic. I thought the first one was pleasant enough, but I enjoyed this one throughout, not the least of which for those little moments of wonder that got to play out briefly, here and there – and at the end, in broad swipes of amazement.

You see, they desperately, desperately needed to sell Smaug in a way that Smaug has never been sold to me, even in the novel. Smaug needed to be convincing, and terrifying, and he was, and it was beautiful.

Also, I found Tauriel to be a great addition and am thinking about my cosplay options; haters may step off right now. She’s complicated and interesting and yeah, frankly, representation matters, and I’m glad we didn’t have to go through seven hours of fantasy film without one woman.

There’s all sorts of added stuff, not just Tauriel. Mostly – not entirely, but mostly – I found these to be positives. We finally get some motivation for all the combatants in the War of the Five Armies; the dwarves have motivations of people, rather than caricatures; all these character additions are making that whole fight make a lot more sense from a motivation standpoint.

As for these purists out there who whine, “It’s not like the book!” in one variation or another? All I can say is no shit, purists. For one thing, I am going to remind you: Bilbo is an unreliable narrator in canon. He changed his own retelling. Like between the first and second editions of the novel, The Hobbit, where he went from “finding the ring lying about” to “that whole thing with Gollum.”

Kind of important, isn’t that? Wouldn’t really leave that out, would you? That’s the definition of an unreliable narrator. So, knowing that, how much else did he not bother to mention? It is reasonable to guess quite a bit.

There and Back Again is Bilbo telling his version for his people that makes him the total hero of everything. Also, it’s kind of the version for kids. That’s going to leave a lot of bits out. Adding other bits back in – particularly from the appendices – tells more of the story, not less, and doesn’t “get it wrong;” it tells another person’s version of it.

Which gets to my real point:

Tolkein explicitly and specifically wanted this to be a broad, wide-reaching English-language mythos, like the ones the Germanic peoples have. A defining element of myth is that it gets told and retold and changed and reinterpreted and fit to what people need and want when it’s being retold. That’s the whole point of a mythos. Going on about “changing it is wrong!!” is missing the entire point of Mr. Tolkien’s actual stated endeavour.

That’s not an argument for liking this retelling, if you don’t like it. There’s plenty not to like, depending upon your tastes. Yes, the film’s pacing is a little weird (but no less weird than the book), yes, some parallels are a bit too heavy-handed. That’s all fine.

But that it’s added to – and in some cases changed from – the book; that’s not “disrespecting the material.” Not in this case. In this case, it’s the exact opposite. It’s proof of Mr. Tolkien achieving his goal. It’s one of those cases where reinterpretation isn’t just okay; it’s a tribute.

eta: Anna has a long review post, here.

the city of townsville

is under attack! For the first time since 2005.

Yes, that’s right, THE POWERPUFF GIRLS RETURN TO TELEVISION JANUARY 20TH. Mark your goddamn calendars because it is about time.

And if you’ve wondering what that has to do with us, the band – well, here’s a refresher course. The 28 second mark is particularly relevant.

a second case confirming the first

Cheap-pistol-case-as-microphone-case also works well for ribbon microphones and their pre-amps, which is actually more important than for the small-can condenser mic I showed before. Ribbons need extra protection! Plus, this keeps the preamp and the mic in the same place.


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