Archive for March, 2016

hugo nominations closing tomorrow; nominate now!

Hey, this is the last-chance reminder for all you Hugo nominators to go out and get your nominations in and help prevent the monstrosity that was last year from happening again. The deadline is tomorrow!

Yes, the Sad Puppies are behaving this year, and have put up a large reading list that does not constitute a ballot because there are far too many entries. But the Rabids do have a slate, and they will be slate-voting it. It’s a smaller group, one desperately hopes, but they’re organised.

(For the record: Bone Walker is eligible as a Related Work, should you feel so inclined. It’s probably the only time I’ll be able to say that I have an eligible work in pro categories, so there it is! 😀 )

I’ve got my nominations in. I hope you’ll get yours in too.

who was lakeside engineering?

I guess I lied, there is one more stage monitor speaker post, sort of.

I’m still kind of curious about who “Lakeside Engineering, Seattle, Wash.” might have been. Here’s a scan of the logo, off the better old patch panel, now removed. (The worse one had been partly painted over. I’ve saved both, I might add. No good reason, really, but it’s not like they’re big.)

I’ve cleaned up the scan and made the black background solid black again, but I haven’t really altered anything in the logo itself. I even left the scratches, and missed spots in the original silkscreen.

If you know anybody who might know who Lakeside Engineering was, pass this along. I’m mostly just curious, and kind of feel a little like sending someone down memory lane. And if they want to see some of their gear put back into order, just point them at the compilation post.

I’ve re-badged the speakers, by the way:

Because hey – why not?

i took so many notes

This was the first year in a very long time that I was not running nwcMUSIC or some other all-consuming event at Norwescon. As I was explaining a lot this year, I’m the sort of person who is very good at building somebody a neat toy, but I’m not the person to maintain the neat toy. I get bored and frustrated doing the same thing repeatedly, and those are two very bad adjectives to describe a supervillain. Do Not Let the Supervillain Get Bored. So: handed off!

And I have to say, Norwescon as purely an attending professional and congoer is a completely different experience. Goddamn, there is a lot to do at Norwescon, and knowing that on paper and trying to get to it are completely different things. I missed some great events – I didn’t get a chance to play Artemis, I didn’t get to Death*Star’s party-wing show, I didn’t get to Kadesh Flow’s Grand 3 show – so much missed! But there was just too much to hope to make it all.

Even being at a lot of the same events felt completely different a lot of the time; the gap between “doing something” and “doing something while making sure everything else happens” is pretty dramatic. As, I note, is the difference between “room in (quiet) staff wing” and “room in full-time party wing 5b,” which is where I ended up this year.

Wing 5b’s not so bad, though. First, I’m a late-nighter and partier regardless, so waiting ’till after parties wound up (2am or so) for sleep wasn’t such a big deal, I do that anyway. And second, I could just go all “Could you not?”/”I could not” and wander by party rooms playing my Cajun accordion as loudly as possible at any time of day. This was hilarious. For me, anyway. 😀

#no I didn’t do it after 2am     #thought about it

I took a lot of notes at panels, particularly panels I was on, and I wish I’d taken more. They put me on non-music panels too – Nicole Dieker’s “The Tumblr Effect” panel turned into a lot of language geekery, for which I am always ready, particularly when discussing hashtag language and typography as linguistic expression. And being on a costuming panel after being out of cosplay for so long before edging back into it the last few years – I was just thrilled to be included and geek out about making props. Everything everybody brought just looked amazing.

Shubzilla totally crushed several panels I saw her on, not just when talking music, but also about cultural issues in fandom. I also have a bunch of new-to-me nerdcore artists to check out, like upstate New York artist Sammus. (And fans should definitely check out The NPC Collective.)

Thanks to Jonny Nero Action Hero – who will be taking over nwcMUSIC concerts next year, which is 198% awesome – I know that chiptunes fans who want to drink from the firehose should definitely get on And he didn’t have to tell me about This Week in Chiptune, but if you want a weekly podcast consisting almost entirely of new chiptunes tracks, you now have your orders.

I’m not in the Carol Corps, tho’ I did consider myself an Angel auxilliary, which is pretty much the Supermarionation same thing. But I most certainly did enjoy the Carol-Corps-and-comics-fandom panel, just because it made me realise something about why my comics fandom in grad school was so very much not a boy’s club. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of guys, but also lots of women. Based on that panel discussion, I think a lot of the credit for that goes to the local big comic store being the absolute opposite of so many this-feels-like-a-dark-alley comic book shops. Comic Connection just felt like a nice bookstore that carried comics and graphic novels and games, and I don’t think I realised how good we had it.

that’s no moon
i think you’re right
that’s a space station
just how else
could a short-range fighter
get so far?

One of the nuts I was never able to crack in nwcMUSIC was “open filking,” which is to say, people just getting together and playing in turns (and together) at night. But this year, moved to the main floor, Open Filk felt the strongest it has in a long time. Discoverability had always been its biggest problem, and I knew that, but I’m still very surprised at how much difference going one floor down made. Lots of new people, lots of energy, going until well after 2am on Thursday and Friday, and after 3am Saturday night? At Norwescon? Madness! And yet.

Despite commentary above, the party scene didn’t seem as big this year. I know a couple of the regular crews were missing. My favourite was there, of course – Merchants of Deva, whose access pass is in the photo next to my badge – and that’s the biggest deal for me. They were, as always, tearing the place down with decor. (Imperial Starfleet Next Generation functional LCARS-interface control panels? SURE WHY NOT HAVE SOME. jfc those guys. I spent like a hour just playing with their setpieces.) And Party in a Box also made a good appearance, as did the Cult of Scott Bakula, and there were several publisher parties. But even so, it felt like someone or someones were missing, and I wasn’t the only one saying it.

But in the end, I got to see a bunch of people I don’t see often, some not nearly as much as I wanted to (Hi Joy! Bye Joy! That should’ve been longer!), failed to see some (Grace! I’m sorry! I kept looking for you!), had some good conversations at parties and on stairwells and in hotel rooms and hallways (or listened in on some – for Anna, this was 100% Hang Out And Chat With Tanya Huff Con), watched Saturday morning kind of go voop as half the con – seriously, it felt like half the con – took off for the Democratic caucuses, filtering back in during the afternoon, and… all in all had a remarkably de-stressed Norwescon.

I don’t know what I’m doing next year, but I can say that I’m really glad I took this year off.

I sorely lack pictures! Post links if you took some!

#not after 2am     #look I’m just saying that I have occasionally caused norwescon to make new rules     #the best one being “staff may not wear costumes on duty”     #that was a good costume     #what there was of it     #fake tumblr hashtags     #straps

off to norwescon!

Loading up for Norwescon – see you there in a few hours! First item on the agenda: “The Tumblr Effect” – 4-5pm, Cascade 9. HI TUMBLR!

The rest of my schedule is here.

Raptor 312 – launch!

eta: If you’re new here and into fan music, enjoy some of our free downloads, including two new 2016 tracks: The Blue Morpho and Thirteen.

goddamn these SOBs can move fast when they’ve got kids to hurt

North Carolina’s GOP-controlled legislature came into special session today and passed through both houses a bill repealing all LGBT protections and making it illegal for trans kids to use most washrooms.

God damn these sons of bitches can move fast when they’ve got some kids to hurt.

The bill also repealed all local minimum wage laws – that was buried in the middle. Surprise! Also workplace safety and the like.

Hey, Republican Party, NC GOP, I just want to know – so far, you’ve just been hurling slurs on twitter, but for the signing, are you gonna step it up? Maybe drag some trans kid up on the stage and bash ’em in the face for blood for the governor’s pen? Or is that too, I dunno, theatrical?

I have to say, from out here, it’s hard to know. You’re very fond of torture, we know that, and nothing gets you hard like hurting queer kids. But at the same time, you’re not so very fond of getting your own hands dirty. You like hurting people from a distance, so you can relax, point, and laugh.

I can’t really, at the moment, imagine being more contemptible than you. I can imagine more evil than you, sure – that’s easy.

But more contemptable?

That’s difficult, I have to admit.

eta: The reason it was unanimous in the Senate is that the Democratic caucus – which could not win – walked out in protest.

eta2: North Carolina Gov. McCrory confirms through his spokesman that he will be signing the bill tonight. All this in one day. Boom. OUTTA MY WAY, SMEAR THE QUEER IS BACK ON AND I GOT ME SOME FAGGOT KIDS TO SMASH, say the Republicans. Grotesque.

eta3: AND AND AND it voids CHILD LABOUR RULES. SPECIFICALLY. WOW, how did I miss that part? They really like abusing children.

targeting the supervillain: norwescon edition

It’s Target the Supervillain time! That’s easy – aim at Norwescon, of course, starting tomorrow. But if you’re the sort looking for more specific targeting, here’s my schedule:


  • “The Tumblr Effect” – 4-5pm, Cascade 9.
    Fandoms like Steven Universe and Dragon Age inspire passionate online communities and fan art that will take your breath away. The podcast Welcome to Night Vale doesn’t even have a visual component, yet somehow there are instantly-recognizable Cecils and Carloses roaming the halls at every con. Let’s discuss how social media is changing the way we interact with the things we love, and the people who love them with us.
  • “Home Recording” – 5-6pm, Cascade 12.
    Everybody wants to make a demo. What can you do with what you’ve got? If that won’t do (and it probably won’t) what do you really need to create a good demo? How little can you get away with? And once you have it, what do you do with it? How do you set it up? How do you use it to capture or create the best sounds you can? We’ll discuss both software and hardware solutions.


  • “Chiptunes: It’s Video Game Dance Music” – 7-8pm, Cascade 10.
    Chiptunes. 8-bit electronica. People have been hearing those awesome raw electronic sounds and thinking, I LOVE YOU BEEPY NOISES! HOW I MAKE YOU INTO SOOOOOOONGS?! From the Blip Festival to PAX, chiptunes are the native sounds of electronic gaming. Interested? Come find out more.
  • “Find Your Instrument” – 8-9pm, Evergreen 1&2.
    Have you ever wondered how people figure out what kind of musical instrument they want to play? Several of our pros have volunteered to bring their instruments and introduce them to people. This is a hands-on workshop. After an introduction of the instruments, participants will be able to try out various instruments, and receive brief introductions on how to play them, by their owners. This panel is aimed at teens and adults. Kids are welcome, but must be of an age and attitude appropriate to handle other peoples’ musical instruments!


  • “Nerdcore Hip Hop: Rapping About Star Wars” – Noon-1pm, Cascade 9.
    What is nerdcore, how did it get started, why are they rapping about videogames and Star Trek, and how can I learn more at this very convention? Come meet our nerdcore artists and learn where this came from and what all this is about.
  • “It’s All About You (Or Is It?)” – 3-4pm, Cascade 10.
    Musicians, writers, and artists, can all now be their own labels, their own imprints, their own galleries. But in the modern era, how do you, a tiny fish, get noticed in the sea of information and other stage-grabbing attention whores like yourself-without being an annoying annoyance? Some of our independent musicians, writers, and artists talk about being heard on the internet stage.


  • “Accessories on the Cheap” – Noon-1pm, Cascade 2.
    Our panel of experts will discuss resources and construction of creative costume accessories using inexpensive everyday items!
  • “Geekmusic Elsewhere” – 3-4pm, Cascade 3&4.
    Where do you find this stuff? How do you get there? Where is it being played, outside of Norwescon? Want to see your kind of music, live, when you’re not here? Our panelists talk about the venues and events that support different kinds of geek-friendly music.

fan art music – a blue morpho opening-credits theme song

So this past weekend, I got a visit to Microsoft’s world-record-for-quiet anechoic chamber! I will talk more about that as soon as I have the okay to post pictures. If I’ll write without pictures, if I can’t use them. (I didn’t sign anything; I just don’t want to get my tour guide in trouble.)

Meanwhile, know how I mentioned a little while ago that The Venture Brothers was really back at the top of its game? There’s a new character this year called The Blue Morpho, the original version of which was active in the 1960s and 1970s in-show. And! There was an in-universe comic book.

So I decided there was also a TV show. At least, a pilot. ABC ordered it in 1964. And hey, pilots need theme songs too, so I wrote one. This is like fan art, but music. If I was more of an actual visual artist, I’d make the actual opening credits, too – but, well, not as much.

Yes, it’s downloadable, free. Or you can hit the tip jar if you like; that’s always appreciated. Thanks!

sad puppies 4: the… better behaving?

So the Sad Puppies have released another list this year, late in the nomination season but by no means too late.

(For the record, Bone Walker is not in their list, so should you feel so moved, you can nominate it in Best Related Work without conflict.)

You’ll note I’m calling it a “list,” and not a “slate.” That’s because you can’t vote the whole thing. There are too many entries on it. That’s a good thing.

And part of the point, of course. They got stung last year by the Here Just Copy This approach, it didn’t work anyway, and everything exploded. They’re capable of learning.

But also, I’m honestly just not real offended by this approach. I wish the list had been even bigger. Even at its current size, it’s less nepotistic – and better – than last year, and that seems to be a common opinion. If it had been released earlier – long enough earlier that people could actually read a good chunk of the works – I’d… really, I’d be completely fine with it. As it is, there’s a whiff of “eh, pick some shit from this, doesn’t matter what” to it, but that could be hangover from last year. And otherwise – eh, I’m okay.

We still need E Pluribus Hugo, mind you. An exploit successfully demonstrated will be used again, and this exploit remains unpatched. I’ve been what someone in computer security might call part of the problem, and were I the Puppies – particularly the rabid puppies – I’d make a point of behaving better this year, of acting just like this, to get people to think ‘eh, crisis over, we’re good’ – exactly so I could go back to doing the same jackassery as before, with the patch clock reset.

I don’t know, perhaps that’s just my years of experience in dealing with these sorts of movements talking. Oh wait, that’s totally relevant, isn’t it? Yes! Yes, it is. So we still need E Pluribus Hugo. Just in case.

But… I’ve never objected to suggestions, or even lists thereof. I’m a member of the Hugo Recommend community on Livejournal, which is still reasonably active. I just recommended “All This and Gargantua-2” (January 2015, Venture Brothers) on that board for dramatic presentation, short form, not because I have any connection to it personally, but because it was freaking awesome. I like sincere suggestions.

What I object to is their conspiracy-theory paranoia, their Not Real Fan bullshittery, their political propaganda, their insistence that people voting for things other than their list has nothing to do with actual enjoyment or quality but a cartoonish parody of a political standard they made up, and – most of all – their ballot-stuffing last year. But I do not object to them making recommendations lists.

Hell, like I said, I hope they make it bigger next year.

So if you’re looking for a response from me – right now, this year, this isn’t looking like a slate. It’s borderline (should’ve been out earlier, I’d like it better if it was longer in more categories), but it’s not the sort of thing that demands a specific response. I will not be leaving The Martian off my long-form nomination list just because they have it in their too-long-for-a-slate recommendations, and I do not suggest people withdraw on that basis, either.

In short, I’m not going to nominate anything because they listed it, but I’m not going to leave things off for that cause either. Not this year, at least. I’m going to nominate things I liked and thought were worth a Hugo nod. Just like I used to do before last year.

And if E Pluribus Hugo passes the second vote at MidAmericonII, I can feel confident carrying on in future, as well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that, shall we?

eta: File 770 has a compilation of other reaction posts here. Severely mixed feelings, to put it mildly. Like Catherynne Valente, I’d rather hope this isn’t a trojan horse, and I reserve to change my mind about all of what I’ve said above. But right now, this is how I’m rolling, and I’m hoping I don’t end up regretting it.


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

rip sylvia anderson (1927-2016)

okay, now 2016 can suck it. Sylvia Anderson is dead.

In the States, everybody knows Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, but the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson collaborations spanned decades as well, new series after new series, some of the most amazing, crazy, quirky, modernist epic madness you’ve ever seen.

And the thing is – because sexism, everybody thinks of Gerry as the only mad genius, but I got news, he wasn’t. Sylvia was slugging right in with him. She had a career after they broke up. And the important part, the part people don’t know unless they dig into all this, is…

Sylvia was the one who made their worlds work. She was the one who sold you on their modernist futures, who put the pieces together so they breathed, and even when it was the supermarionation (puppet) shows – no, especially when it was the puppet shows – it was her aesthetic that made them live.

Thunderbirds without Sylvia, without Lady Penelope? Impossible. Captain Starlet without the Angels? Ha!

Yeah, you want to see the difference Century 21 shows with and without Sylvia? Compare series one of Space: 1999 with series two. That’s when they separated, between those two years. They were already fighting pretty badly in year one, so it’s not always their best work, but I will goddamn well stack up “Voyager’s Return” or “Dragon’s Domain” or “Mission of the Darians” against anything that came out of Star Trek and look pretty goddamn good, thanks.

And then look at the train wreck that is Series 2 and know, that’s without Sylvia. Don’t discount her. Ever.

And now she’s gone. Not, I suppose, “before her time,” even though she was still working as a voice actress last year. She was turning 89 later this month; that’s where you really start to lose even the more durable of people.

But I don’t have to like it.

So long, Lady P. Thank you. It’s been marvellous. Well done. Well done.

eta: I made my Tumblr blog a Sylvia Anderson fan blog for the day. Here are the posts. I may add more.

blue morphooooooo… blue morrrrrrphooooooo…

I may have written a theme for the Blue Morpho unsold pilot episode that would’ve been made circa 1964/1967 in the Venture Brothers world. That may be a thing that has definitely happened.

I wonder if I have enough decent MIDI instruments to record it. I wonder if there’s such a thing as actually good MIDI horns. That has to be a thing, right? Surely. I’d pay for that. How much would I pay for that and where would I get it? Because this is not the first time I’ve wanted this so now it’s like OKAY MAKE ROOM FOR BUDGET!

Linux (soundfont) preferred, but I have room in my life for Apple Audio Units.

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