Archive for the ‘collections’ Category

Collection: Microphone Buildout Projects

Building microphones is fun and seems to be of interest to readers, so here’s a collection post for posts about that! These posts discuss building both microphones, and, when applicable, their matching microphone driver circuits and/or pre-amplifiers.

Building a Carbon Microphone:

Related posts:

Building a Crystal Microphone:

Building a Ribbon Microphone:

Building a Large-Diaphragm Condenser Micrphone:

Other microphone and preamp customisation/modification posts:

the saga of the infamously terrible stage monitors made good

John Seghers, local sound guy, gave me a set of locally-infamous and astoundingly terrible stage monitors. I mean, seriously, they just hurt to listen to; musicians would cringe when they saw them on stage.

They’d been through a lot of bands by the time they reached me, and came with an amp I was also being given. They were, in fact, more or less the price of the amp – if I wanted that, I had to take these wretched things too, just so John didn’t have to haul them to the dump.

And upon testing, they were indeed hilariously terrible. They totally lived down to their reputation. There was dirt caked in the speaker foam, and they were filled with fibreglass insulation and in one case quite literally a small dead animal. I was looking at a parody of bad stage gear.

But that is not the story. The actual story is how it turned out they were secretly – very secretly – great, just… buried, and muddled beyond all recognition.

They’re back now; for the first time in literally decades, they sound really, genuinely good. But it was a long way home. This is how we got there.

The original back panel – anybody ever heard of this crew?

the fannish downloads set

About once a year I do a song that is particularly fannish. I mean, it’s me, right, they’re all kind of fannish or nerdy on some level, but I’ll do some straight up Pacific Rim or Buckaroo Banzai or Doctor Who track about once a year. Often, they’re for a convention or some other, similar event.

Did you know I always make those free downloads afterwards? I don’t do these for money, I do them because I love the thing I’m writing about. Sure, the link usually still says “Name your price,” because if somebody wants to hit the tip jar, I’m not gonna stop them. But these songs are up for $0 because I want people to download them. I’ve had people tell me they feel bad about that, but – seriously, don’t, that’s what they’re for!

So pass this link around:

The Fannish Download Set

It goes to all the free ones, including the new one from this year, “Thirteen,” my Doctor Who song. We aren’t getting any new Who this year, so maybe that’ll help tide your Whovian friends over. And hey, we just got word Pacific Rim 2 is a go – I’ve got a song for that, too. ๐Ÿ˜€

G’wan, hit the link. Find something you like and take it home. It’s on me. ^_^

Collection: the fan tracks

Several tracks I have up on Bandcamp are free downloads, and always will be. There are various reasons – generally because fandom, sometimes because licensing, and sometimes because they’re light-production live tracks, which doesn’t mean they aren’t fun.

This is a compilation of those free tracks. Some of them say “buy now” because of how Bandcamp works, but just enter $0 if you want and that’s totally okay. Enjoy!

  • The Blue Morpho is a new character in this year’s The Venture Brothers, and he’s basically their Green Hornet – a superhero who pretends to be a super-criminal and everybody buys it. I decided the Blue Morpho pilot made in 1964 for ABC Television needed a theme song, which once again demonstrates I only do really obscure fan music.

  • An altered-cover song, I wanted to do the “filkiest” thing I could come up with for Conflikt, a filk convention (geek folk music) which brought me in to MC the event as Toastmuppet. So I took an existing Vixy & Tony filk track and – with permission – made it even geekier by making it about the 13th Doctor Who, out of regenerations, and contemplating his own mortality. Topical and relevant! For about six weeks. THANKS MOFFAT.

  • Written and performed for Jaegercon, the 2013 Pacific Rim fan convention. It’s what happens when we get the most electronic. Listen on headphones. Guest artists are Pacific Rim fans tereshkova2001, via Tumblr, and Kathryn Tewson, via Facebook.

  • Found on Cracksman Betty (2012), a song about the days of computers old, when they mostly came as kits. Not components: kits, with zillions of parts and soldering. No, really, this was a real thing. This will make very little sense unless you know that, and also know that the S-100 Bus was the first expansion standard for what became personal computers.

  • Live from Mars is four songs from one of the first live shows I ever did, at the Mars Bar in Seattle. To be honest, I mostly released it because I wanted to have an album called Live from Mars that actually was live from Mars. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • A team-up of Crime and the Forces of Evil with Twelve Good Measures for the 2010 Great Big Sea Karaoke Contest. Being us, we couldn’t leave well enough alone, and added more instruments and lyrics over the originally-wordless bridge. We had the most listeners by far in the viewer-response part of the contest, but weren’t included in the band-selected final tally, probably because of that. Ah well, it was still fun. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • The Diesel-Driven Eight-Dimensional Jet Car Blues (2009) (not on Bandcamp – direct mp3 download) – a joint effort with The Hong Kong Cavaliers. It always bugged me that Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers were big rock stars in the cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, and yet, we never see them perform a whole song! We see them start, twice, but plot keeps happening, so… I fixed it. All the Cavaliers are on this, including Buckaroo Banzai himself, and every one of their notes (except, like… three?) are scraped off the film soundtrack in tiny, tiny slices. Seriously, there are eight billion edits here, and I’m still proud of how you can’t hear any of them. And, of course, since it’s a joint appearance with us, Crime and the Forces of Evil are here too! Those are my lyrics (since the film didn’t have any – in character, they’re B. Banzai/P. Tommy), and we’re on zouk, and mandolin, and a bunch of kinds of drums, and some other sounds.

Collection: The SFWA, Sexism, and Racism Posts

This collection covers posts made in reaction to various sexism and racism explosions in geek culture. Topics include the Hugo Award, SFWA, and PAX controversies, as well as commentary on queer erasure with particular regard to Legend of Korra and Wikipedia, but also in other areas.

If you’re a guy, particularly, and still don’t think sexism and outright misogyny are a problems in geekdom, I hope you’ll read Power and Supervillainy, and then Gatekeeping and Recourse: what only men can do against sexism in geek culture.


The 2016 Hugo Capture – how a political slate played the same game, with a new goal, and how this can be the final year of this nonsense:

The 2015 Hugo Capture – how a political slate captured nearly all literary nominations:

Legend of Korra, Korrasami, and Queer Erasure (attempted):

General geek culture; also GamerGate, and PAX related posts:

SFWA and petition-to-SFWA related:

Collection: Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment

Starting in the autumn of 2012, I started a series of articles on doing music – and, really, anything creative – in the post-scarcity environment which digital reproduction has created. It got launched by my reaction to an NPR commentary by an intern who noted she’d bought almost no music in her entire life, and went on to explore how one might build a new-model career in an environment where there is no actual constraint on supply.

These were popular enough that other people made link collections to them, so I made my own. I add to it as I write new instalments. Enjoy:

And while these are not directly a part of that series, they are strongly related:

the mandolin case build-out series

These are links to the mandolin hard case build-out series, wherein I documented making a hard travel case for my mandolin. This does not include all the details of woodworking, and assumes you have some basic cabinetry skills. I didn’t start out writing it as DIY, but people started asking questions, so my posts became much more detailed as the series ran. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in home recording or small studio construction, check out the Studio Buildout Series. If you’re you’re into DIY in general, click on the blog’s DIY tag for the fire hose of All The Things We Make Ourselves.

the studio buildout series

These are links to the complete studio buildout series, as well as some others highlights from our DIY category of posts. It’s by no means exhaustive – we post about DIY on a fairly regular basis – but these tend to be the topics asked about most often. Enjoy!

We also have posts on making other things, like instruments, pickups, and sound-effects boxes:

And there are the other DIY collections, too:

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