Archive for March, 2014

urgent update – george has rolled over

Oh gods he’s dreaming and making little mrrp noises and just rolled over, now I’m really trapped. Send a crane.

george has fallen asleep on my shoulder

George has fallen asleep on my shoulder. He is snoring. It’s adorable. I can’t move my arm. Send help.

back on stage

So last time, in the giant post about rocks, I mentioned getting back on stage since the first time since eye surgery. So, well, how’d it go?

At the Vancouver Folk Music Society
(photo courtesy Anna Korra’ti)

I’m gonna toot my own horn a little and say that it went really, really well. I was pretty scared going in, honestly – I was only doing three songs, part of the “open stage” set of VFMS, which really isn’t that different to an open mic as far as I can tell – but still, it had been months.

Now, I knew from their website that their crowds like to sing along, so I did Song for a Blockade Runner, Ten Finger Johnny, and The S-100 Bus, all of which have easy repeating bits. As it turned out, like I said in Twitter, they are the singingest audience I ever know! I had the room with me the whole way. They even gave me a little extra time, and after, took a break before the next performer and did some announcements.

So thanks again, VFMS, for letting me play! It was loads of fun, and I’d like to do it again. ^_^

Then a couple of days later, up in Cumberland, Anna and I found the venue where Le Vent du Nord would be playing on Tuesday. It was pretty empty, being a Monday night:

…tho’ more people were there than can be seen in this picture. Anyway, a couple of the patrons noticed I had the zouk with me, and asked if I’d play. The innkeep overheard, and hoped I would too – she turned off the house music – so Anna and I did a set and a half between us. Very relaxed and informal, and I note again for anyone who might be considering this from a legal angle that it was unpaid, unscheduled, and unofficial, so not work in any legal sense. But it was still a lot of fun and all the people there listening thought so too.

So, yeah! A couple of baby steps back in, really, but quite successful ones, if I might say so. I’m not quite ready to start booking out gigs again, but… soon.

rocks rocks rocks, my love affair with rocks

First: I got the CD orders shipped this afternoon! So if you’re waiting for those, you should have email with dates. ^_^

Okay, now, to the rocks. I’m not a geologist, and being all Fire Nation Asshole, not much of an earth-bender sort, but the south coast of Vancouver Island will turn anybody into a geologist.

We actually discovered this kind of by accident. Trans-Canada Highway 1, one of the longer highways on the planet, starts in Victoria. It heads north up the island, then ferries over to the mainland, then goes back to BC and makes its way east eventually via bridge and ferries and such alllll the way out to St. John’s, Newfoundland. And I knew there was a marker monument at the road’s start, so we went to see that.

So on Sunday after the symphony show, we went to High Tea:

Anna at High Tea

And before going to play at Norway House – which I did later that evening – we went to see Mile 0. On the way there, we found this:

Comfy Cement Mattress Bench is Not Actually Comfy

Now, Mile 0 is obviously pre-metric, which is kind of hilarious, since everything else is metric. But more hilariously, TC-1 gets really tiny on the way to the end. In town, it’s a large city street – like Aurora, only not as big and far better controlled – and at the end, it’s basically a park access road.

That’s from the sidewalk. The only car you see is parked.

And after wandering through the very nice Beacon Hill Park, we got to Mile 0 and Terry Fox’s statue.

Mile Zero

Terry Fox

And while taking pictures, we saw someone run somebody else off the seashore road. We were already going to explore that a bit anyway, since it’s the meeting really of the Salish Sea and the Pacific Ocean, but the near-accident pointed us to a stairwell down the cliff, where we found this insanity.



I mean seriously, what.

See how all those pretty much unlike rocks are crammed up against and into each other and shit? That is madness. Welcome to the subduction zone. According to Fishy, Vancouver Island was actually – many millions of years ago – torn off from Alaska as the Alaskan plate moved north. So it’s violent and different and merged and mixed up in all sorts of crazy ways. To wit:

Go Home Rocks, You Are Drunk

And some places it just looks like a volcano went off. Which… arguably it has. Fairly recently. But that’s not what made these rocks. All these rocks are dozens of millions of years old.

Not a Lahar, Not Lava Either

I’m telling you, the Doctor Who episodes you could film here would be epic.

We hiked around for – I don’t know, really, I’m bad at time. A couple of hours, climbing up and down things. As everywhere in Cascadia, they have beach logs, one of which apparently belongs to a giant robot.


(Larger versions of all these are on my Flickr photostream.)

After that we hiked on back to the hotel, from which we headed north to the show. And I’ll post about those bits tomorrow, while the water heater is being replaced. My first stage experience in four and a half months! How did it go? Find out tomorrow. ^_^

and back again (from vancouver island)

Back, but playing catch-up liek woah. I have some orders to fill (yay! And that comes first!) so if you’re ordered CDs and are reading, they’ll be going out Thursday or Friday, probably Thursday, which for most of you, means today.

As I get caught up, I’ll be posting some pictures over what’s left of the week. Or you can see them out all at once on my Flickr stream if you can’t wait. ^_^

Anna on Lookout Duty

Right then. Great trip, but I’m writing this the night before, like I occasionally do, and it’s bedtime. Good morning! 😀

greetings from victoria

We’ve about wrapped up our Victoria adventures for this trip and will be heading up island later today; the town had been great as always, and south island will make anyone into a geologist.

I mean look at this insanity.


The Le Vent du Nord symphany show was pretty good, but way too respectable for me. The crowd pre-show particularly seemed a bit dismayed. It’s a fairly conservative programme here, with a… somewhat elderly audience, and I kept hearing things beforehand like, “well, it’ll be different,” with a bit of a “what exactly have I signed up for here?” air. That the boys managed to win that crowd over was a bit of an achievement.

Then last night I went up to Norway Hall and got my first stage time since GeekGirlCon and round one of emergency eye surgery; they’re big into singalong at the Victoria Folk Music Society, so I loaded up heavy with singalong-able choruses. They are the most sing-alongy audience i’ve ever seen, which is saying something.

(photo courtesy Anna ^_^)

Nice hall, too. Loads of fun. Thanks, VFMS!

Next: further north!

soundfonts and north again

Heading north again tomorrow, to Victoria and then up the island to Cumberland. This time I’ll try to remember to take the camera, tho’ I’ll have less, sadly, to photograph. Ah well, such is the way of things.

MIDI is still giving me problems on Ardour; everything works (including the on-screen mouse-click keyboard) except it’s ignoring/not seeing my actual MIDI keyboard, the one pictured yesterday. I know the keyboard works, I used it with Garage Band a week ago when using those other chimes. I don’t suppose anyone has experience with this, do you?

On the other hand, I’ve been shown Sound Fonts. Sound Fonts are like fonts, but for sound, and are plug-in/software independent (to the same degree typography fonts are) and this is super awesome. Imagine that you had to get a different company’s word processor to use this other typeface you like, and that’s what instrument VSTs seem to be like. Then someone throws typefaces at you and suddenly you’re all I LOVE YOU FORVER.

That’s what sound fonts are, for sound font supporting plugins. It’s so obvious and yet soooooo cooool. Or will be, if I can get Ardour to see my @&$#(*!!! keyboard.

Separately, the water heater has sprung a leak. It’s not much of a leak, but any leak is much worse than no leak. That’s what I get for playing with the 15 tesla pocket magnetic field generator in the basement, I guess. Live and learn. And mutate some genomes. But really, that goes without saying.

those smaller midi keyboards

I’m starting to see the advantage of those smaller, two-octave-ish mini-midi keyboards:

don’t lean on that

I’ve found some chimes that sound pretty good, now I just need to make everything talk to that keyboard. I’ve always cheated and gone over to Garage Band in the past, but this is very close to working natively in Ardour, and that would make a zillion things easier.

Adding and editing notes, that I can already do, but I’d really prefer to play the originals then edit them into place than do the whole thing via screen keyboard. It’s making this first time more difficult, of course, but it’ll be easier in the long run. Or so I keep telling myself. XD LEARN ALL THE THINGS!, I guess.

goddamn will you look at all this packaging

JFC shelves come with a lot of packaging. I was expecting a flatpack, not a box the size of a coffin.

Seriously, look at this.




Goddamn, good thing I’m handy with scissors!

Y’know, that really was an undue amount of danger for shelving.

I will not be leaving positive feedback about that, let me tell you.

no clear consensus

Oh, right, the group noun / collective noun of microphones question!

You collectively came to no consensus whatsoever. As is typical for supervillains, so we’re on theme there. XD Of all the candidates for a group noun for microphones, most received at least one vote – my nomination, a silly of microphones, being an exception as it didn’t even get my vote because your ideas were better. And there’s a three way tie for best.

To wit, the top three, in alphabetical order, with the names of the people who suggested them:

  • A Boom of Microphones (Pauline, band site)
  • A Feedback of Microphones (Corvi & Jessie C, DW; Clemtaur, LJ; Susan Davis, FB)
  • A Heard of Microphones (Josh K, Russ, Susan Davis, FB)

And only one vote behind, worth an honourable mention:

  • An Impedance of Microphones (Scott, band site)

Personally, I think it should be a heard of headphones, myself, but that wasn’t tabled for question time this past go ’round. What do you think?

[poll id=27]

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