Archive for June, 2015

don't fall for this

Sure, as a floating lair, it looks fairly swank, and the only ethical way to own this monstrosity is to steal it, so that’s fair. But when you see rooms like this?


This is Bond Bait. It’s engineered to make you fall into a variety of the Bad Supervillain traps, most notably monologuing about your own plans and awkward we’re-not-so-different speeches.

I’m sure you do.

Nobody needs another one of those speeches. Nobody. This lair? Give it a pass.

and we're back!

Got back early this morning. Pretty sleepy still, but now I can say I’ve survived a weekend of gigging in 46-48C (115-119F) temperatures. Surprisingly good crowds, particularly given the weather. Sunday went particularly well – we kind of turned a morning set in an isolated section of the fairgrounds into a musician jam-along that we’re all thinking we should do on purpose next year.

Also, shout outs to the aid pavilion staff who were there helping people do heat management. I spent most of the day Saturday and all of Sunday in the aid pavilion partly in self-care and partly – particularly on Saturday when I didn’t have the sense to go straight there – being treated by the nurses on staff. It was a wash-rinse-repeat cycle of aid-pavilion-with-fans-and-cooling-and-ice / perform a set / back to aid tent, emphasis on wash and repeat.

I did learn a few things. I dissipate heat well few places, but one place that works is in my hands. The staff were kind of amazed by how quickly I can melt ice just by holding it. Aheh. Drinking cold fluids didn’t help much; just eating ice in chunks as large as I could swallow helped a lot. So did ordering a case of chemical cold-packs in advance. But in future, with forecasts like these? We’re getting a hotel room or we aren’t doing it.

Pictures tomorrow. Not as many as usual, but a few nice ones, including a broad landscape that also happens to show the 90-minute traffic jam out in the middle of EXACTLY NOWHERE HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN? But that was okay. At that point, we had AC. 😀

and we're out

Too busy loading out for shows to write a real post this morning, but congratulations to all the QUILTBAG people in the States on getting marriage equality. I was a little worried they’d limit their ruling to full-faith-and-credit, but they didn’t.

And a shout-out to all the queer kids in homes where their parents and/or guardians are raving and ranting about this ruling today. Keep it together, stay strong, it may seem like forever but you will be out of there eventually. They’re wrong, and you aren’t.

See you in Richland!

going out with leannan sidhe

I’m going out with Leannan Sidhe this weekend, which is normally awesome good fun times. But this time, I’m actively worried. There are a bunch of different alarms and alerts up telling people to stay home and stay indoors and the forecast high during the days I’m going to be out is around 43°C, which is right around 110°F.

And laugh all you want to – I’ll destroy you first – but yes, Solarbird the Lightbringer has heat issues. And this isn’t the kind of thing you’re supposed to blog about, everyone will tell you, you’re supposed to keep it upbeat and confident in a music blog, and I’m actively kind of frightened, because 30C is a bit hot for me, and we’re shooting well past that and past “hi, I’m passing out now” territory and into “why am I doing this” zones.

Plus, we’re camping. There’re no hotel rooms around for less than $600. Well, that’s not technically true, there are, at hotels with reviews that talk about bedbugs, which is to say, there are no goddamn hotel rooms.

Normally, this is all quite fine, I’m fond of a bit of camping. But the lows are, like, 24C, which is, um, like 75F? The outdoor low in the shade is a temperature I find a uncomfortable for sleep.

I’m not kidding when I say I’m really nervous about this. Not in that isn’t-this-exciting way, but in that passing-out-on-stage-is-a-real-possibility way.

Yeah, so, that’s no fun. Here, meet Paper Jam Shatner. I found him while looking for something else completely unrelated and I have no idea why Google showed him to me. Paper Jam Shatner will only make sense at all if you watch a lot of Gravity Falls, but hopefully, that’s you.


nothin' but class

C’mon, George, have some goddamn self-respect.


It’s hard to tell, but his tongue is out. He only moved because he heard me get the camera, but for once, I got a picture.

ow ow ow ow ow

It’s really important for many kinds of instrumentalists to maintain good callouses, particularly zouk, mandolin, and guitar players. There’s a rumour that Stevie Ray Vaughn used to superglue his callouses back on if they fell off.

Somehow my left-hand (fretboard side) callouses have all disappeared. I’ve been playing all week but in the shower yesterday I was like, “wait, my fingertips on my left hand feel really soft, what the hell?” now, well, YEP THEY SURE ARE.

A few hours of playing tonight seems to be bringing them back, but… da hell?

minigame capchas now?

I’ve never seen this before – a puzzle game for capcha on some Livejournal comment pages:

queen to queen’s level 3

Yeah, I had to do a puzzle to leave a comment. Also to edit the comment.

There must be some truly severe spambots out there at this point is all I can say. Damn.

Oh, also, we saw Jurassic World. It’s much better than I was led to believe, on several axises, and easily the best since the original – which is not a high bar, of course, but I don’t mean it as a backhanded compliment. It was genuinely fun.

I didn’t get into it enough to write my own review, but Anna posted one over here. I guess the only thing I’d say about Anna’s reaction is that the shit Claire got for not picking up on her nephews personally the first day there.. I really read that as fallout from her sister’s impending divorce. I’ve seen divorcing parents ramp the “it’s all about me” neediness up to 12 before, and for me, anyway, it felt very much like that.

Sadly, another character also gave her shit for not dropping everything and attending to the kids, too. Just not as much. I’m sorry, did you miss the part where she had a serious job and where events were unfolding?

Regardless; better and less annoying than I was lead to expect, and well done making me be actively on the velociraptors’ side. Team Velociraptor. Go Blue.

And so it begins: Paypal phone spam

I have a Google Voice number that I set up a couple of weeks ago solely to give to PayPal, given their new horrible data-mining and cold-calling-by-anyone terms of service.

I have given this number to quite literally no one outside my lair. (And not even everyone in it!) I even added it to the Do Not Call registry. So guess what I got today that could only have come through one place?

Die in a fire, Paypal.

If you have a PayPal account, get a throwaway number for it, because the spam robocalls are coming.

jupiter ascending isn’t what most critics thought

We finally saw Jupiter Ascending a couple of weekends ago, in the lair, rented rather than in a theatre. I wish I’d got myself out to see it large, but, well, life and all that.

It’s better than it’s given credit for. And I thought I had a long post to write about this, but I keep not writing that post, so I’m going to write a shorter one and see what happens.

Jupiter Ascending is, in large-brush-strokes, David Lynch’s Dune, but with the “Chosen One” trope excised and replaced with “Hidden Princess.” It’s a bold decision to make, because audiences aren’t used to Hidden Princess in live-action anymore, and they’re not used to it in nominally-SF movies at all.

That’s what it is, though. You’ve got all the bits. You have ultra-rare critical-to-galatic-society unique-brutal-production-method High-Protein Liquid MacGuffin. You have old-school Dune-style space-opera politics-as-secret-warfare over the usual space-opera things, with betrayals! Everywhere! You have overflowing decadence, commentaries on exploitive economics, and massive disparities of wealth and power on an intergalactic scale, and set design Lynch would’ve killed to possess. And it’s a whole family of disturbing predilections and obsessions, as in, again, Dune.

You even have Eddie Redmayne channeling Sting’s shouty Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, only with a little more of a lid on it.

But not much of one

Meanwhile, instead of Chosen One tropes and fantasies, you get a huge bundle of Hidden Princess – the lost royal child, the family of commoners who know actual love vs. the royality who doesn’t, all of it.

Plus you get the bundle of heterosexual schoolgirl fantasy stuff that tends to go along with that trope. So… you’re found by a guy who is part wolf and has a tragic backstory you can’t be bothered to explain coherently because it doesn’t really matter because it’s different for you because it’s you (of course) and he has wings and he’s utterly devoted to you and has a great ass – did Tina Belcher write this part?

That’s just one example. And sure, it’s silly, just like a lot of the Chosen One tropes – Harry “Lightning Scar” Potter, I’m looking in your direction. But we take those tropes for granted, and run with them because they’re so common, they’re shorthand, and given meaning depending up on how well they’re done or not done. We don’t even call them “silly,” half the time; we call them “mythic” if we don’t just gloss over them entirely.

And when push comes to shove, that’s what I think did in Jupiter Ascending with critics; familiarity with “Chosen One” tropes, and the expectations thereof, but a lack of current familiarity with “Hidden Princess” in anything like this context.

Many, many people complained that the story made no sense, or was confusing. It’s not. It lacks narrative discipline, sure, but the primary flow is deeply linear – pedantically so at times. It only fails to make linear sense if you either try to force it into the Chosen One paradigm against all the actual storytelling on screen, or if you ignore everything women characters do as unimportant. (Every reviewer who referred to Black Widow as “eye candy not doing anything much” in the first Avengers film, I’m looking in your directions.)

But also explains why it did eventually find an audience. A subset of the viewing audience did pick up on the Hidden Princess tropes, and once you get that, it makes all kinds of sense.

Particularly once you realise it’s Hidden Princess Dune. Then, suddenly, it’s pretty neat.

I should schedule a critical-viewing double-feature at the Lair: Lynch’s Dune and the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending. Seeing them in that close a proximity sounds neat to me, as a cinematic exercise. Maybe in the fall, once summer touring season is done.

actually, chrome worked out pretty well

Guess what finally showed up in the post:

I’m happy with the chrome instead of the black I’d originally wanted – I worried the chrome on the frame wouldn’t match that on the vehicle itself (because I have seen it in different colour temperatures) but yay, that worked out fine. ♥

Rehearsal today. Getting ready to head out for shows again soon. Yay!

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