Archive for November, 2016

and some days things don’t work

I wanted to post about the cool second-generation crystal microphone today BUT NO IT’S ALL STUPID AND NOISY AND I DON’T KNOW WHY but it sounds like either a really bad cold solder joint (please be that) or a bad transistor (@&*$&!!! special orders please don’t be that) and I don’t know which.

It’s too bad because I came up with a nice little jury-rig jig (say that five times fast) and so the backplate of the housing came out really well and I was looking forward to showing that off. Fingers crossed this is some sort of Surprise It’s Easy! fix – that would indeed be a surprise, to be honest about it, but a pleasant one.

In the meantime, enjoy this video of Overwatch players in custom game mode making some genuinely gorgeous Genji Beams. These are effects created by lining up opposing teams of Genji players opposite each other, in continuous-shot-deflection mode, and hitting them with various weapons. The shots bounce back and forth between the teams, and you get some really neat graphics interactions. It’s pretty cool and occasionally hilarious. Enjoy:

cyberrrrrrrr mondaaaaaaaay

It’s Cyber Monday, apparently, which means LET’S PUT EVERYTHING ON SALE. I’m doing my part – I’ve put out four singles this year, so I’m putting all of them on pay-what-you-like.

It’s funny, but the most recent one – We’re Not Friends (The Future Has a Place) – has really changed on me since the election. Particularly with Mr. Pence involved, it’s stopped being a celebration, and has turned into a declaration of defiance.

Fortunately, I’m real good at defiance.

Here’s the 2016 tracks. I think they’re real good. Pay what you like – and thanks.

i did forget one orycon thing

In soundcheck, setting up for my Sunday concert, we were setting up the octave mandolin, and really, there are “folkier” instruments than an octave mandolin? But not many.

Greensleeves, anyone?

So when I’m plugged up and the sound crew ask for some chords and it comes out roaring with that metal sound straight off the pickup, and they actually jump in shock because wow not expecting that… it’s really satisfying. 😀

orycon 38

Back from Orycon 38! They certainly kept me busy – panels on building microphones, on orphaned lyrics, on building a recording studio, a bunch of others. I was in fact so busy that I only managed to take one photograph. It’s from the green room balcony, and here it is:

But I’ve seen some other photographs around. Sadly, so far, they aren’t public – if you find any, link ’em in comments! Also, thanks to everybody who turned out for a Sunday afternoon show at checkout time, that takes some goddamn dedication. Cramming six songs into a half-hour set doesn’t sound that tricky, but I wasn’t simplifying anything for anybody, which is why I showed up like two hours early to set up before anyone else. (Setlist: Supervillain For I Love You, Thirteen, Coyote, Shout at the Desert, Kaiju Meat, We’re Not Friends/The Future Has a Place.)

I’m definitely going to keep performing Kaiju Meat as if it were actually a hiphop song, which it’s not really? But that performance approach really helps it work live, so I’m doin’ it. We also did USSR later, in the band scramble, and that nearly started a goddamn riot. EVERYBODY SING ALONG IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU!

I really only got to one panel I wasn’t running, the hilariously fun Overwatch meetup, wherein… okay, so, there’s a meme, Everyone In Overwatch Is Gay? Because EVERYONE IN OVERWATCH IS GAY. And at the meetup, literally everyone was queer, we actually checked.

It was hilarious.

So, yeah! Thanks again for having me, and special thanks to the createspace crew for the use of their sewing supplies – very much appreciated – and let’s do it again next year. ^_^

hark, a schedule!

Hey everybody! Heading down to Orycon this morning. I’m bringing the carbon and crystal microphones and we’re going to do what we did at Clallam Bay Comicon and let people record themselves all old-timey. It’ll be fun!

My schedule, as of the latest revision received:

5pm – Choosing & Learning a Musical Instrument – Mt. Hood (2)
6pm – Building Old-Technology Microphones Because You Can – Belmont (2)

2pm – Group Home for Abandoned Lyrics – Belmont (2)
6pm – Building a Home Studio on the Cheap – Belmont (2)

12:30pm – CONCERT! – Mt. Hood (2)
2pm – Band Scramble – Mt. Hood (2)
3pm – Jam In The Key of C – Mt. Hood (2)

See you there!

today was supposed to be about music

Today was supposed to be about music and about this weekend at Orycon. Today was supposed to be talking about the little demonstration circuit I’ve put together to improve my panel on building antique-technology microphones because you can. It was going to be fun.

But no. Not now. Because it’s been one fucking week since this savage election and Trump surrogate Carl Higbie is already talking about concentration camps as positive precedent on Fox News.



Fascism is right fucking here, kids. Right here.


oh and yes, this is going to be a thing for a while

Like everyone else, I wanted all this to go away for a while after this hellhouse of an election was over. And historically, I’ve kept most of my political stuff off the band blog, only getting into it when it was specifically within and about geek culture.

But given the fundamentalist policy influx I’ve already discussed, now supplemented by newer and creepier moves like ideological tests for higher education:

I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do,” Carson explained. “It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.

…and bringing in people like Peter Thiel, who famously kinda hates elections and democracy and thinks everything has gone to hell since women started voting:

I must confess that over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible. … Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.

…and the inclusion of white nationalist anti-semitic misogynists like Steve Bannon at the top level of the new administration:

Now, you may be asking what I would have women replace the [birth control] Pill with, since it’s obviously so awful. Condoms? Vasectomies? The answer is: nothing. We need the kids if we’re to breed enough to keep the Muslim invaders at bay.

The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: women should log off. Given that men built the internet, along with the rest of modern civilisation, I think it’s only fair that they get to keep it. I, Donald Trump and the rest of the alpha males will continue to dominate the internet without feminist whining.

…that’s not really an option anymore.

I mean, Mr. Bannon in particular is a vicious piece of work. It’s not just that he made Breitbart a propaganda vehicle for the “~~alt-right~~” clusterfuck of racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny, but if that wasn’t cartoonish enough, he literally has the endorsement of the literal fucking American Nazi Party, NO, REALLY:

Chairman of the American Nazi Party, Rocky J. Suhayda, who wrote a post after Trump’s election night victory celebrating it as a call to action, said he was surprised at the pick of Bannon, but said it showed him Trump could follow through on his campaign promises.

And it’s not like Trump and Bannon don’t know the arc of this path either. Bannon in particular wants to destroy everything so they can take over:

Trump: “You know what solves it?” [Mr. Trump] said of America’s sorry state. “When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have a [chuckles], you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great.”
Bannon: “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed… “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

I should’ve paid more attention when the fundamentalist right started quoting Stalin without irony a few years ago. That should’ve twigged me more than it did. I thought it would marginalise them completely, and talked about it like that, saying, “wow, they’ve really gone off into the woods,” but goddammit, instead they’ve found their white supremacist leadership cadre, have allied with actual fucking Nazis, have taken the offer the devil offered Jesus (by 81% – they didn’t even hesitate), and are going for it.


And unless you’re heading overseas, you don’t get to opt out. And maybe not even then.

Am I scaring you? WRONG. I’m not scaring you, the facts are scaring you. The situation is scaring you. And go ahead, be scared. That’s fine.

But do not be intimidated. Do not be paralysed. Fear is a great motivator if you don’t let it control you, and now is the time when you need to control it – and translate that energy into action.

I’ll talk more about that soon. We need to go after media that tries to pretend this is normal, and provide “balanced” coverage of THE ACTUAL FASCISTS, like they’re already doing with Bannon. We need to go after politicians who try to deny the white supremacy, the misogyny, the anti-Semitism, like Trump transition team leader Reince Priebus, who says, “I haven’t seen any of these things” out of Mr. Bannon. (HEY REINCE, I’VE GOT A HANDY LIST.) When they start the sweeps going after people, don’t call that normal either.

“If [Mr. Trump] wants to deport two to three million people, he’s got to rely on tactics that will divide communities and create fear throughout the country,” said Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies of New York. “He would have to conduct a sweep, or raids or tactics such as those, to reach the numbers he wants to reach. It would create a police state, in which they would have to be aggressively looking for people.”

Fight this police state bullshit; completely refuse to co-operate on any level, and tell your cities and states and schools to do the same. Fight it, fight everything like it, fight everyone who is for it, because in the end there is no middle ground with fascists, with white supremacists, with proud misogynists, because there is no civil discourse with people who have decided that you are not people. In dispensing with the idea of ‘loyal opposition,’ they’ve run themselves all the way to the brink, so far along the crumbling edge of the cliff that they’ve made their with-us-or-against-us vision of the world actually come true.

this is the neofascist “alt-right”‘s vision for you

Ally with anyone who backs off that precipice. Try to peel off the underinformed, the automatic party-identify voters, the low-information, the unaware. Pull back everyone you can. But the true believers, the Trumpian alt-right base?

It’s them, and it’s everybody else. If they can fling us to our deaths off that cliff, they will. And they’ll enjoy it.


orycon this weekend, with show and tell

I’ll be at Orycon this weekend! I have panels and workshops and a concert on Sunday afternoon, so please come out for it!

They’ve actually given me a panel on building old-technology microphones, which is pretty cool, and I’ll let people record themselves on a 1920s-ish carbon mic and a 1940s-ish crystal mic, so hopefully that will be fun. People really seemed to enjoy it when I had the setup running at my dealer table at CBCC.

I need to find time – somehow – to wedge in building a new amp board for the microphone panel, because I don’t want to take apart the existing crystal microphone for show-and-tell, and I think it’ll be neat to show that off. Later today. Hopefully. Assuming nothing else explodes.

Like, Monday, right? Things Happened, and then I got to spend the afternoon pulling unimaginably gross material out of a fluid pump system while going, “oh gods, oh gods, I hope this is only cat litter, please let this just be cat litter,” and when that’s happening, you have officially reached what one might call a BAD SCENE.

Not “darkest timeline” bad scene, but: bad.

so disgusting

Anyway. Thank the gods that’s over. See you this weekend!

i got a complaint from a heterosexually married straight white man

Here’s something from one of the arguments I mentioned in my previous post. This is from a discussion with a heterosexually-married straight white Catholic couple – both Republicans – who argue that talking about the Trump supporters hating people is unfair, and stereotyping, and hate speech directed at straight white men.

He and his wife are both very Catholic – and very conservatively Catholic – which will explain some of the below, which otherwise might appear irrelevant.

The Republican party does hate LGBT people. Democrats used to, though less – that changed slowly over the 1980s and 90s.

Right now, the Republican VP elect and the man most in charge of domestic policy in Mr. Trump’s transition team both also hate LGBT people, and are part of a movement that hate LGBT people, and one is an executive director of an organisation that officially hates LGBT people.

Mike Pence opposes Anna and my marriage. Mike Pence backed a constitutional amendment banning it. Mike Pence thinks I should be banned from certain jobs, such as the military. Mike Pence supports civil rights law, except for queers, where he opposes it. Mike Pence supports hate crimes law, except for queers, where he opposes it. (This is not a commentary on the validity of support for those laws, but it is a commentary on the exceptions he makes.)

Mike Pence thinks me and Anna being married will destroy society.

Mike Pence supports “conversion therapy,” and advocates Federal funding for it. I’ve talked to people who have been through “conversion therapy,” involuntarily, sent there by their parents. It is a fraud, a quackery, and ranges between ludicrous bullshit and literally torture – look up electroshock aversion therapy sometime, if you want a sample.

I know people subjected to this. It is real.

Mr. Pence thinks it’s okay to torture people like me into not being queer, and thinks the Federal government should fund it.

I don’t know Mr. Pence’s position on Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which overturned state laws making me illegal for existing, but the movement he’s proudly a part of supported those laws, fiercely, with newtype blood libel, massive lobbying efforts, and public initiatives to make me various degrees of illegal. I worked eight of those, including ground work, going door-to-door arguing why people shouldn’t vote to do things like ban me from many kinds of employment and have public schools teach that I was, oh, what was the phrase, it showed up in three initiatives – “illegal, immoral, perverse, and wrong,” I think it was. I don’t know that Mr. Pence supported that – but the fundamentalist evangelical political movement he is a part of absolutely did.

And that’s the vice-president-elect you voted for.

And Mr. Blackwell, who the Wall Street Journal and other media have reported is in charge of the domestic policy group inside Mr. Trump’s transition team is worse. I do know that the Family Research Council supported all these initiatives, because I was there, fighting them. As well as fighting their state-level mirror and proxy groups.

Mr. Trump chose both of these people to make domestic policy, and said all the way back in January that he would be onboard with overturning Obergefell v. Hodges, which triggered Federal recognition of my marriage.

That’s the president-elect you voted for.

If this was Northern Ireland, and I supported, argued, and voted for a rabidly anti-Catholic party, one that argued that the government should fund torturing Catholics into converting to Protestantism, would you argue that I didn’t hate Catholics?

If this was Northern Ireland, and I supported, argued, and voted for a rabidly anti-Catholic party, one that argued that the government should fund torturing Catholics into converting to Protestantism, but I said it wasn’t for that, it was for other policies they supported, and said I didn’t actually have anything against Catholics but was voting for this party anyway, would you believe that? Even if you did, would that make it okay?

Would my callous disregard for your rights and safety be cool with you after they won and started setting up a transition team stacked with believers in the anti-Catholic parts of the platform? After allied parties started outlining the steps of their plans to implement the first parts of this?

If you complained about all of these actions, and talked about your fear now that plans are being moved into place, and I said, “Why are you being so horrible to me, talking about all this? Why are you so awful, calling me such a hater? You’re stereotyping me! And hating me!” – how would you react to that?

Be honest. And show your work.

And that’s only the one axis. I’m not even going to talk in depth about the racism and demagoguery, though really, I should, because Mr. Trump’s alt-right base is overtly and proudly racist, proudly misogynistic, proudly anti-Semitic.

And it’s not just one-way support from that alt-right, either. Mr. Trump and his team retweeted their memes. Mr. Trump and his team appointed a self-declared alt-righter to run his campaign, one who made Breitbart into another home for them on the web. That alt-righter – Mr. Bannon – is now on the executive committee of the transition team. Mr. Trump brought them into the tent.

His campaign has made white supremacy campaignable again. I’m not including you on that, but when I see those targeted groups’ fears? I get it. They’re not making this shit up either.

It’s not that you’re a straight white guy. It’s that you’re a straight white guy who voted for this, and now are mad that we’re upset at the result. (Because it deeply and personally attacks core components of our lives. We have cause.) And here you are, trying to make it about all about your hurt feelings, and complaining about you feeling hated for your vote, when we’re trying to figure out whether those of us who can do it need to flee the country for our own safety.

I like you both. I didn’t know you that long when you were here, but I like you. But when the stakes are this high, well, you vote for part of it, you’re voting for all of it.

And you did.
Additional commentary on what they called my “ideological superweapon” is further down the blog page.

about those calls for unity

Anna and I have been in arguments with Y U MAD SIS Trump voters about why we’re, shall we say, unhappy with the election results. Here’s a good post from her about that:

So about that call for unity, then – November 12th, 2016

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