Archive for the ‘video’ Category

useless machines

Since the optical theremin I was attempting to build blew up, I thought I’d first link to the base circuit from which I had expanded:

Build a Photo Theremin from 7 Parts

And introduce you to:

Useless Machines have a Debate:

And Useless Machine II: Useless Machine ANGRY! (Wait for it, it’s worth it)

(h/t Paul Johnson for the first.)

In other news, the rains have returned to Cascadia; it’s time to go buy cake vodka! Are these related? CLEARLY. Because I said so. Yay! Cake vodka!

And now since Useless Safari already decided to force-refresh every browser window on my once while writing this tiny post, I’m going to go ahead and post it before it’s et again.

an audience video from toronto!

I’m in Vancouver, at VCON! Or will be by the time this schedule post goes live. XD Here, have some toys while I’m gone:

ONE: The Mighty If! shot this and was kind enough to let me repost it. If you’ve ever had terrible, terrible, terrible housemates – as so many of you have, and I have too? Well, then, this song is dedicated to you:

TWO: This is a working radio built in the form of a map of the London Underground. There’s a video at the article; play it, it’s worthwhile.

THREE: One million-millionth of a second exposures. That is, yes, 1,000,000,000,000 frames per second. Watch light pulse through a bottle, and observe the shockwaves. It is utterly astounding:

Have a great weekend, everybody!

and in the end

The last day in St. John’s didn’t involve any playing at all, in the end – tho’ I did have a couple of people come up to me saying they loved that pirate song I did on Friday. 😀 This last day was nothing but soaking in the sun and hanging out at festival. PREPARE FOR PICSPAM!

Yet another sunny day on the tropical island of Newfoundland

Morning! We went to the Francophone tent. It was fun! Note the bouzouki. I always have to explain what the instrument I play is, in Cascadia, and even moreso in the States. Here? Yeah, they play that. <3

Even the Francophone tent!

Then we went to lunch, and caught some of the buskers at the Busker Festival also going on that weekend. Did I mention these people like their performing arts? This guy was hilarious:

On spikes. Not quite on fire. But on spikes.

We made it back up to the festival, and basically just kept it relaxed and groovy, because it was the end of the tour, and because the festival was just awesome, and we knew we were going to be there until close.

The Raw Bar Collective

I resisted the urge to add, “and Spinal Tap.” Barely.

When we went off site for dinner, we walked down to George Street, like y’do, and picked a place that looked good, like y’do, and one of the Irish Descendants popped in to do a set.

Yeah, like they do. Just like that, why not? It’s George Street.

Then into the our last evening before flying back! I gotta tell you, not without reservations, because I really didn’t want it to be over. At least I’d already bought THE BEST T-SHIRT EVER:

Disagree? You’re wrong. Sorry.

We saw The Once, who are an up-and-coming deal, and who – in rehearsal… played the zouk just a little like I do. Which is a first, frankly. Not identically, but I was very much in a “…I have to hear this” mood after that. Sadly, the song they were doing in rehearsal and sound check they did not do in their evening set. Dammit!

Still good tho’

And as the last official act of the night, Darrell Power’s band The Seven Deadly Sons! Featuring Young Bill Gates on drums.

Am I wrong? No. I am not wrong.

We were really interested in seeing them, since part of the point of Darrell leaving Great Big Sea was that he simply didn’t want to tour anymore. So his new band doesn’t! Not as a group, not outside the Atlantics, anyway.

Fifty Shades of Green

And everything was awesome and fun and stuff, and we were in that sleepy kind of good mood where you’re totally wiped out but in a good way, and then I heard Darrell start to say something about how he’d done something the night before he hadn’t done in ten years, and something about the way he said it made me go, “…no fucking way.”

And I wormed my way as close to stage as I could just in time for the other three founding members of Great Big Sea to walk on stage and do a number with as the old band again, just for the locals.

And us.

Because we were there. And I had a camera.


God dammit, I wish my still camera did better video. I tried to pull the white back in, but there’s just no data there to retrieve. I looked. At least the sound is good.

And that was the last of it, the impossibly good end of the festival.. or almost the end. The festival organisers brought all of the scheduled performers who were still around back on stage to say goodbye, and this is how they did it, with the entire crowd singing along:

We Love Thee Newfoundland

Yeah. We really do.

And that’s the last of the tour posts. Next Monday? Honestly, I’m not sure yet. The last few weeks have mostly been either about nwcMUSIC – this is a crunch time for us – or getting the house ready for winter. Most of the music I’ve been doing myself has been working on my bass skills and trying some new vocal technique lessons, the kind of thing you do when your day jobs have your life. Thursday, though – DIY day! Yay! ^_^

newfoundland and labrador and torbay

Right, back to Newfoundland and Labrador! Well, okay, St. John’s and Torbay.

We woke the morning of our third to the only rainy day we ever saw in St. John’s, and frankly, it wasn’t very rainy. But we decided to go visit The Rooms, a large museum of Newfoundland and Labrador history and culture.

It’s modelled from the outside as a collection of outsized fishing and fish-prepping buildings that every fishing family would have in the old days of Newfoundland, and there are a huge supply of exhibits – and also a large artspace showing work from Newfoundland artists. There’s also a small bookstore, where I bought a couple of histories; if you go, it’s entirely worth your time.

I took a bunch of photos of exhibits, but I’m only showing one here. Remember Red Dwarf?

Sound as a dollar-pound!

Ah, the shit you could get away with on the gold standard with fixed-exchange rates. 😀 Of course, you really couldn’t, there were all sorts of arbitrage tricks anyway, but, well, that didn’t stop people from trying. XD

Then we stopped for lunch, where there were bee-shaped light fixtures I posted on Twitter because it was CONTINENTAL DAY OF BEES! apparently, with everyone talking about bees.

Anna is not concerned about your bees.

…before it was time for the folkfest!

The Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival really got this whole trip started. Anna found out about it, and had long wanted to hear Newfoundland music on Newfoundland soil, and also, the third book in the Faerie Blood/Free Court of Seattle series is set partly in St. John’s, which means it’s RESEARCH!

Genuinely was, too. We walked that downtown like warders.

The first thing to understand is that like the Maritimes in general, and to some degree Quebec, this is a musical culture. That means music is something people do, rather than just watch or hear. It has cultural importance in a way that it doesn’t, say, here where I live; recorded music might be omnipresent, but if you do it, you aren’t generally thought of as a contributor – with the occasional and possible exception of classical. It’s frivolous, or worse. (I’ve been called a parasite at farmer’s markets for showing up to play for free.)

Basically, you have to have a special kind of magic to be accepted as that, which is something I’ve been working on.

So when you see festivals like this, don’t think Folklife. It’s not like Folklife. There’s one of these pretty much every week in the summer, when the weather permits, and people play all winter, too, and this event isn’t “for the tourists.” Tourists are welcomed, and they get them – from as far away as, you know, New Brunswick. Toronto? Well, sure, a few, once in a while.

Cascadia? Not so expected. Or that’s certainly the impression I got from the degree of shock we got at being from so very far away.

I promised a lot of video this post, and you’re getting it. This is a minute I shot to try to capture atmosphere.

Note most of all that this is not an old-people audience. Old people were there, absolutely, do not get me wrong; but this isn’t A Generation’s Thing, this is something people just do. I didn’t get a good shot of the headbanger pit at The Once’s show, but the fact that it was unironically and unapologetically there, I think, communicates the difference.

The next day was another glorious sunny day on the tropical island of Newfoundland:

And we always thought Alan was joking

Mornings at the Festival have a lot more participatory/educational programming, scattered over many tent platforms; we learned about Acadian chair-dancing podorythmie, sat in on a session, and! I even got a surprise chance to perform:

photo by Rick West, courtesy of the Folk Arts Society of Newfoundland and Labrador

…doing my story-and-song bit about how not to become a pirate, wrapped around Paul and Storm’s song “Ten Finger Johnny.” (I of course credited Paul and Storm.)

People were coming up to me two days later saying they loved my pirate song. That was awesome. 😀

But the biggest part of that day, of course, was not in St. John’s, but heading up to Torbay to see the first Great Big Sea show of the 20th anniversary tour. It was also Torbey 250, their 250th year celebration. We met up with Krista and Sile, local fans Anna knew through GBS fandom…

Actually from dinner the night before…

and got there super-early…

Queue position… 12 through 15?

Which meant we got set up here

Front and God Damned Centre

…for the show. Now, non-GBS people won’t know that Murray Foster wasn’t their original bassist; that was Darrell Power, and he left about 10 years ago because he just couldn’t deal with the touring anymore. And Murray’s great; the boy had a lot to contribute. But we were thinking, just maybe, for the 20th, right here where he lives, maybe, just maybe, we might see Murray show up. For the 20th.

Then a gust of wind blew this literally to our feet:

I am not even lying

…the Great Big Sea setlist for that evening. Now, if you’re not a GBS fangirl, you won’t know that EXCURSION means “Excursion Around the Bay,” and that it’s in the encore, and that it was Darrell’s signature song. They’ve still been doing it since he left, but, well, in the encore? That was kind of a big fucking hint right there.

But first! Other bands! Repartee opened; they’re good, and a rising thing in Newfoundland right now. Lots more experimental and synth-rockish; I liked a lot of what they were doing, and went to their tent later; when she found out I was a musician too, we traded CDs, or, as she put it, “really expensive business cards.” It’s true. 😀

They were followed by The Trews and Jimmy Rankin. Both acts were quite good but not my thing, so we’ll skip past those. Cute roadie, tho’:

…but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what that labrys he’s wearing means…

And then, at last, Great Big Sea! The boys put on a show heavily on the trad and heavy on the goddamn well rocking – it was very much a show straight out of 1999, in a lot of ways, which, as far as I’m concerned, is perfect. To be honest a moment – their last couple of albums, while wildly successful, have really been moving towards country/folk. And, while I wish them the best of continued success – that’s not what I care about.

I care a lot about a lot of original music. I like their older originals, which were more in the Newfoundland style, and less in the western/country style. But not where they’ve been headed. So for them to do it up old-school for the home crowd? That made me extremely happy. And if I had to go to Newfoundland to see that kind of show again?

Worth. Every. Goddamn. Penny.

Here’s what the audience is like before they’re really worked up:

Hear us? We just took over on some songs. Alan would lean the mic out, like y’do, and let us go for a bit. Straight out of the Great Big DVD, honestly. It was fantastic.

And then, well, it’s encore time, and…

…guess who steps out of the fuckin’ shadows…


And he does exactly what we expected:

Aw, Yeaaaaaaaah.

And we were right there.

I’d really intended to wrap up the tour with this post, but it’s so long already, I just can’t. So next week: one more day in St. John’s, some more performance video of awesome, and some closing thoughts.

PS: have 37 more seconds of Darrell and Great Big Sea being awesome. You’re welcome. ^_^

faerie blood and bone walker

My partner Anna is a writer; her first book – Faerie Blood – appeared a few years ago, from Drollerie Press. It was out as an ebook and selling briskly, so Drollerie planned a paperback release, and to publish its sequel, Bone Walker, as well. But sadly, the founder’s health went bad, and they shuttered before any of these plans could materialise.

So Anna’s decided rather than shopping around, she’ll take matters into her own hands and launch a Kickstarter project to get both books back into print.

I made the video. Video is fun! I’m also her book designer, but not cover artist or editor – those are Kiri Moth and JoSelle Vanderhooft, respectively.

Faerie Blood‘s a good book. It got some great reviews. Something’s Coming is part of the Bone Walker soundtrack. (I also have a tiny, tiny cameo. 😀 ) So go over to the Kickstarter project, read the sample chapters, play the video, and if you like what you’re seeing, support the project.

And pass this around, too. Publishing books is expensive; she needs to hit $4000 in pledges or none of it goes through. She got almost a third of the way there in the first day, tho’! That’s kind of amazing. Girl has fans is what. 😀

i made a video for somebody else

I dropped a release candidate video for Anna and her book reprint/series extension Kickstarter earlier this evening; she’s pleased. So far, nobody in her crew is kicking it back, either.

This video stuff is kinda fun. Less of a learning curve than recording studio so far, but I’ve used a bunch of these skills before. Recording live audio for sync was kind of interesting too – I had three sources (on camera true live, on-recorder broad-field mic pair sync sound, on-boom-stand large can cap mic, also sync sound. I ended up using exclusively the large-can cap, but despite it being the least noisy of the three, and despite what seemed to be a pretty quiet room, the uncontrolled environment still creates quite a quality and noise problem.

But I think it sounds okay. It was work to get it there, and it’s not as good as if I’d recorded the sound in a studio and looped it, but… it’s pretty okay. I’ll point at it more closely once it’s public. ^_^

open mic night at the winking skeever

So at the Portland show, I actually did “Open Mic Night at the Winking Skeever, a.k.a. Anybody Got a Banjo?” and I was also trying out all kinds of new hardware and setup and stuff? And it mostly worked! The audio setup changes ALL WORKED PERFECTLY. I couldn’t believe it, but it’s true! If I can get a handle on lighting, I can make some really good videos.

But people liked the Skyrim/Winking Skeever lyrics when I posted them, so this happened:

Now I am off to Vancouver! Four days back in beautiful British Columbia! Yay! o/

freight train to lisdoonvarna

I haven’t played bass guitar much since finishing the bass parts on Dick Tracy Must Die (and particularly the bass solo on Stars). And that’s sad, because I really like bass. So I’m practicing again, with scales, exercises… and Irish jigs. Which I personally think is hilarious. Not tuba hilarious, I grant you. But hilarious nonetheless.

Here, I put up a video from the show at the B-Side!

The camera tripod was too low for the stage, so it’s all lol-hiding-behind-music-stand, but the sound quality is pretty good. I think I’m getting a handle on the sound part of this live-recording business – more than the video so far, anyway.

Next show I’ll have new and much taller tripod, and actual video camera! It’s very exciting. PORTLANDERS! The show’s on the 26th! Contact me if you want an invitation! ^_^

Oh good, something’s beeping in the server room. I hope it’s not on fire!

i see smoke signals coming from them
they say “we are out of furniture”

i love it when things work the first time

I made a another little thing.

It’s another one of my little cable devices, a really simple one, but I’m pleased with it because as I’ve failed to find a match for my PA’s main speaker, I’m trying two smaller ones with similar sound on either side, at lower power, instead. The idea is the main will be primary output, and the small sides will fill in weak spots.

But since my amp doesn’t have discreet output controls, I had to haxx0r something, so I did some circuit math, and hey! It came out just right! Or as right as I can tell without field testing. Aheh. But I’m optimistic! The numbers are good and things sound fine.

This is actually an old pre-stereo HiFi trick. The only reason it didn’t stick around into the stereo era is because it required too many discreet amplifier components to avoid channel bleed, and so was a lot more expensive. The EICO ST-40 tube amp I found at a garage sale was wired to do this (L, R, CENTRE) but somebody modded it to pure L/R.

Also, the new speakers look like smaller versions of the main, so Rule of Cuteness nr. 7 is in effect!

Here, this needs more plays! Almost none of you have seen it yet, so play it:


Meg Davis reports we’re already halfway to her fundraiser target! This is awesome. If you didn’t read Monday’s post, the TL;DR is: Meg Davis was awesome, was hit by MS and forced to retire, wants to try to return to music on at least a small scale, is asking fans to help, go help already.

Well, what’re you waiting for? MOVE, SOLDIER! XD

Also because I can do this

Here, a video pretty much none of you guys have seen yet. It needs more plays because 4 is a lonely number. Unless you’re monogamous, in which case it’s a crowd – with benefits. Or something, I’m not sure how it works. Anyway, this needs more plays:

Also, because I apparently have nothing better to do:

[poll 21]

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