solarbird: (molly-oooooh)
The Soviet Union was really fond of hydrofoils. This is awesome.

There are some clickthroughs in this article, many are worth it.

http://www.messynessychic.com/2016/04/20/river-rockets-of-the-soviet-space-age/
solarbird: (korra-excited)

Since it’s been announced, I can confirm: I have accepted an invitation to be Toastmaster at Conflikt 9, January 29-31, 2016. It’s my first GoH position at any convention, and as I’ve been saying, I am confused but honoured to have been selected and I will do my best to be a good one.

Conflikt Chair Jen Kilmer asked me to pick my personal Toast title, as is tradition; previous officeholders have been Toastmistresses, Toastmaster both standard and burnt, and Toastmonsters; I have chosen Toastmuppet. Expect inordinate amounts of Kermitflail, starting right now:

The release concert on Sunday was pretty much amazing, at least from our end. We never did manage to have a rehearsal with everyone at once, but it didn’t seem to hurt us too badly on stage. A lot of people stayed through Sunday afternoon to hear us, and I cannot thank all of you enough for that.

And hoo, I will never complain about setup time for other bands again. Okay, well, I will. But not as much. We took over an hour, and that was as simplified as I could make it, and with all the advance material I could hand over handed over, and nobody screwing around.

And, of course, once again, thanks to everyone: Alexander James Adams (drums, vocals, backing fiddle), Paul Campbell (hammer dulcimer), Jeri Lynn Cornish (cello, bones, chorus), Angela Korra’ti (flute, readings), Leannan Sidhe (vocals), Skellington (lead fiddle), Betsy Tinney (drums), and S.J. Tucker (bass, chorus). It would quite literally have been impossible without you.


Highlights of the convention – hoo, I dunno, it’s hard to pick. Alec’s show was great, and not in that “as always” way, there was something extra in the energy that night. Having the rest of Tricky Pixie on for a few songs probably didn’t hurt anything. The PDX Broadsides won Saturday’s concert set, no doubt – they’re much better live than in their older recordings. (I haven’t heard the new album yet tho’ – I only heard old demos.) I’m so glad I’m having them in for nwcMUSIC this year. Oh wait, that’s still technically embargoed, lol. Regardless, they’re really good live. And Stringapalooza’s set on Sunday was the tightest thing I’ve ever heard at a convention, they were amazing.

I stayed through the near-very-end of the dead dog/smoked salmon; I like leaving while there are one or two holdouts still holding out, so I don’t feel like it’s really over even though it is. And there were two, and a couple of others who were just there to listen, at around 1am Monday morning, so I packed out before they could change their minds. Sunday night is particularly good as far as I’m concerned, because I’ll do any damn thing, and that includes the relevant-for-20-minutes-thanks-a-lot-guys Doctor Who song I wrote in 2013* and have performed live never, a cappella DEVO tracks, and pretty much anything anyone asks me for, rehearsed or not. I will just do the thing. And it’s great.


Also, this happened – thanks Tom!

S00j wrote a really relevant post about Conflikt and Filk in general, particularly as its position in the geek hierarchy, and you should go read it. She touches quite directly on some of the things I’m trying to address indirectly through the way I feature filk as the founding pillar of geekmusic, and the way I talk about the punk nature of their hands-on/DIY aesthetic, and the participatory culture foundation underlying all of that.

Definitely worth reading. Give it a little thought.


*: it was pretty good, too.

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solarbird: (asumanga-yay)

We have sent all files to mastering. Bone Walker is with the mastering engineer as of 22:46 14 December 2014. This is also functionally release to manufacturing, because the same group is doing both. In short: we are gold.

\o| eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! |o/

To celebrate going gold, we’re about the post the Big List of Creative Things our fans have sent in. It’ll follow this post in a short bit; it’s taking a little longer than expected because we apparently have a lot of creative fans, which is super-awesome.

While you’re waiting, consider helping us pay the mastering engineer and printing bill with a pre-order. The minions in particular would appreciate it. You know how excited they get. I can’t blame them. After all, so do I.

Big Post of Creative Fan Arts coming in a few! Check back soon. :D

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

NOW IT CAN BE TOLD: We will be having the official release event for Bone Walker: The Free Court of Seattle Original Soundtrack Album at Conflikt 2015 in Sea-Tac, just south of Seattle, Washington. It will also be the release event for book two in the Free Court novel series, also called Bone Walker.

This is going to be a full-band event, with readings, details of all of which will be forthcoming once everything’s nailed down. Certain key guest players from the album will be joining us on stage, and it’s going to be awesome.

Otherwise, sorry I’ve been a bit quiet, things are happening. More to come soon. Lots more, I hope. :D

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solarbird: (music)

SUPERB P0WNERSHIP is the phrase of the day. Zoe Quinn has been dealing with a misogynist campaign against her for months, and, whelp, guess who has been infiltrating 4chan’s chat rooms and logging the shit out of all of the entire campaign’s ops room? Oh yeah. That would be Zoe.

DEMOLITION.

Oh, her angry ex-boyfriend? He’s in the logs too, helping coordinate harassment. Hey, look, a revenge campaign for breaking up with him! SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS, DOUCHEBAGS! There’s even video. This is epic destruction.

If you have no idea what this is about, it’s about misogyny in gaming, and an ongoing campaign to force women out of gaming, focusing on several specific people, one of whom is Zoe Quinn. You can get a bit of a summary here, if you like.

eta: Judging from the h8r reblogs on Tumblr and the anonymous asks I’ve got, it looks like the attempt at “defence” here is, “It’s all out of context!” Hey, pro tip: only cite context when it actually helps your case. Unlike here. Where it doesn’t.

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solarbird: (molly-oooooh)

I need this. I need it like burning. It’s a device that basically turns anything, and I mean anything, into a percussion instrument.


Including the coffee cup.

I see how it’s made and I’m kind of thinking, y’know, maybe I should build that.

Then again, maybe I should stop adding new projects and finish ones I’ve already started. Maybe that.

(Thanks to Klopfenpop for the link.)

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

The other set of LED tape lights arrived. Initially they had less impact when tested; the window behind the baffles in the left on this photo don’t go as high as the baffle, so the top lights were a bit hidden. So I tapped in a bit of wood to raise it.

Here are four configurations I’ve already found I like quite a bit and am actually using at their appropriate times of day – the idea is that if I don’t have BRIGHT DAYLIGHT LIGHTS on at 2pm, I won’t look up and go “oh look it’s 3:30 and I have to be up at… eight!”

Click to enlarge in a separate tab.


Overnight


Sunset and Evening


DAYTIME!
(It really does feel like daylight in there.)


Evil!

The pictures are colour-manipulated a little to try to get at least in the neighbourhood of the correct colours; this was as close as I can get. The white areas around really the colours you see near them, not white. The orange is more orangy, the green is more greeny, the snozzberries taste like snozzberries.

Exactly like snozzberries.

But yeah, $35 in LEDs – including the controllers and remotes. That doesn’t include power supplies; I had one already and paid $10 for a second one that can handle the full input requirements of the longer strand, so I do things now like put that one on cycle and leave the other one steady if I want. Just because I CAN.

Mood/time-lighting LEDs are awesome. :D

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solarbird: (fox do want)

I decided I liked how the LEDs looked where they were in the photo from yesterday, so here’s how I made a more permanent version using 100 year old knobs from knob-and-tube wiring!

The turns are knobs, pulled out of a 1911 house. The supports between long horizontal sections are foam core. To show a bunch of the colours, I decided to try panorama mode on the phone while the LEDs were in colour-cycle mode. It kinda worked, but really does more “look where Apple takes its samples” than describe how it looks in person. Still, it’s kind of cool:

And here’s what it looks like with the baffles put back into place. Only, not actually rainbowy all at once like this, it’s cycling through each of these colours as I pan the camera. Still, you can see how the shelf underlighting section works:

Finally, here’s a still shot, with only one colour, in this case GREEN! It’s actually greener in person than this, but my cell phone amps that up to white because it does and I can’t stop it.

People asked in comments yesterday how much power it draws. Well, it depends upon the mode. The green above is drawing about 10 watts. It draws as little as 5 watts while on, and 1.2 watts when “off” but listening for remote. At full brightness white, it draws nearly 40 watts. The colour-cycles draw anywhere from 18 to 38 watts, so that probably averages around 28.

Make sure if you do this that you’ve got a power supply capable of handling that 40 watts, and test it – the supposed 52-watt Radio Shack 12V power supply I had on hand blew out in 10 minutes! Badly done again, Admiral Shack! This one seems better, despite being rated for less.

I definitely want to order more of these, they are awesome. And they really do set a nice mood. If they blow up, I’ll be sure to post about that, too. :D

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

I may already be addicted to these. I want more of them. SO MANY MORE OF THEM.


Redwall


Bluewall

They also do normal colours like radioactive green, daylight, warm light, and OH GOD I LOVE THESE THINGS HOW CAN I PUT THEM EVERYWHERE?

They’re pretty bright, too. I am not disappointed on that front.

I’ve got this strip colour cycling now (fade/slow transition) but it can be set to specific colours and and yeah these are awesome. They’re like $16 for five metre lengths with controller but without power supply. I have plenty of power supplies sitting around, so that’s just fine by me.

Honestly right now I just want to put them everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

Remember Mine to Love, that album I co-engineered last year at Supervillain Studios, and ended up playing on too? Leannan Sidhe’s second album? It’s finally out! It came out today! I didn’t know! SURPRISE!

I’ll post more about it tomorrow, but my favourite song on the album (which I’m not even on) is King of Elfland’s Daughter, which isn’t streamable because of copyright reasons. Just go buy it, it is worth your 99¢, trust me here.

Here’s a player for the entire album other than that track:

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solarbird: (asumanga-yay)

So for the longest time, the comments count on the blog page have been totally wrong. A post could have 30 or 40 notes (comments, likes, etc) of various kinds and show up as zero or one comment in both archives and latest-post (“Blog”) views. The correct number would never appear.

For example, the two pictures I posted of George today showed up as zero notes combined; the real number was 14, mostly likes. But if you went to the post view or went directly to the individual post, you’d see everything.

There are reasons for this, having to do with custom comment types and echoing posts around and stuff. I’ve tried to fix it before, to hilarious failure sound effects, but now? I FINALLY HAVE IT YEEEEEEEEEEEEES :D

It still doesn’t count linked comments, which means comments on places like Livejournal and Dreamwidth aren’t included, but those are only linked-to comments anyway, so that’s fair.

Damn, this place has felt inappropriately lonely from the Blog view for a long, long time. Talk about discouraging new people from interacting!

Oh, hey, also – I have a mobile theme (Carrington) that kicks in on small devices. Mobile users, are you okay with that thing? It’s incredibly hard to customise so I haven’t. I could turn it off entirely, and you’d get the desktop view on your phone, but that’s… not super-optimal either. Any thoughts? (She asked on a Friday afternoon, when nobody reads anything… XD )

(I will say this for Carrington: it has counted comments correctly the whole time. So there, WordPress! XD )

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solarbird: (mandolin-and-flutes)

Forbes Magazine has noticed the return of the analogue synthesiser. I’ve seen a lot of people buying old and rebuilding; I wasn’t aware how many of the classics were back in or about to return to production.

Korg MS-20 (courtesy Wikipedia)

There seems to be some idea floating out there – and certainly in that Forbes article – that it’s a matter of rejecting digital, with it’s an implication that it’s some sort of Overdue Retreat From False Progress, and similar foolishness.

That’s not just wrong, it’s stupid. It’s the kind of derpitude written for people who don’t understand a subject and are wearing their late-middle-age everything-was-better-in-my-day nostalgia crap goggles.

Never wear those.

But something real is happening: a recognition that these were interesting and unique instruments in their own rights, and that new “versions” of the instrumental idea are not the instrumental idea. Just as the successors of the lute were not lute version 2.0, the successors of these synths are are not these instruments, version 2.0. They’re new instruments, with their own merits and flaws.

The technology model of continuous improvement doesn’t apply to everything, no matter how hard you try.

Similarly, just as MIDI violin doesn’t preempt real violin, emulations of the actual instrument – while useful, I’m a huge fan of the Animoog implementation on my iPad – do not always replace the actual instrument.

Particularly not with players. Not with the musicians. All of these things have their own physicalities, and for a lot of players – like me – that’s important. There are tens of thousands of bass guitars out there; there are a few I love. There are far fewer Irish Bouzoukis out there; and there are two, so far, I love. Part of that’s the sound; part of that is the physicality. It all matters.

I’m glad that’s finally being recognised for these classic analogue subtractive synths. The recognition that they are unique instruments, of a kind and a type, and of value not as a step to something else, but to themselves, and their unique sounds – it’s long overdue. Returning them to production is no more some kind of reactionary step backwards than is continuing to produce fiddles.

And I’m all for it. Welcome back to the fold, subtractive synths. We missed you.

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solarbird: (shego-cosplay)

is under attack! For the first time since 2005.

Yes, that’s right, THE POWERPUFF GIRLS RETURN TO TELEVISION JANUARY 20TH. Mark your goddamn calendars because it is about time.

And if you’ve wondering what that has to do with us, the band – well, here’s a refresher course. The 28 second mark is particularly relevant.

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solarbird: (molly-oooooh)

I’d like to hope this glass-window noise-cancellation device could work. It’s only a prototype right now, and I really have to wonder how much of that is purely-computer-prototype vs. actually extant. I tried to make something like it, once, using purely analogue circuitry, and utterly – and I do mean utterly – failed.

But wouldn’t that be nice? Damn.

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solarbird: (molly-happy)

Second Thanksgiving went well; we had 15 people, as it turned out – a nice size. We were expecting possibly as many as 20, so had a 30 pound bird for the first time in years – but that’s good, because mmmmmmm turkey tacos, mmmmmmm turkey jos, mmmmmmm turkey leftovers on sammiches, etc. :D

It ran late, into the night, and felt a lot like one of the Homeless Waifs Thanksgivings our housemate Vicka used to throw, before she got her doctorate and moved back to Boston. I don’t know exactly why, honestly; it just did. Good circulation and a crowd large enough to form several groups made up part of that. More new people than usual probably helped too, I suppose.

I imagine the return of the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Turkey Day Marathon didn’t hurt anything. I missed that – we were singing the “We Gather Together (To Watch Cheesy Movies)” theme over and over again while cooking. We named our turkey Clayton McLargehuge, in honour; Anna told @JoelGHodgson about that on Twitter, who retweeted it. XD

Also, we need more Thanksgiving songs. One isn’t enough.

My long-term undefeated Jenga streak fell this year, I hate to say; that lack of parallax thing really hurts when it comes to tower stability wars. Even when winning the first game, I was telling people, I could feel it – I could be owned, in my current state. And was, alas, the very next round.

We had more music than usual, too, with LasFas and Fred both being around and having more time than usual, and with me and Anna, that made a pretty good bit of jam.

The last people left Saturday, which says a bit about it. We overbought alcohol (darn) and food (like we always do) but it’s all being eaten and much will be frozen or stored.

For real, this is my favourite holiday. How was yours?

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solarbird: (zoe-and-doctor-who)

In addition to today’s DIY post on monitor speakers, this past weekend was more or less nirvana for Doctor Who fans. If you missed them, I did a 50th Anniversary reaction post called Okay, Moffat, You Can Live, and a second post on the surprisingly delightful related short features. Enjoy!

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solarbird: (zoe-and-doctor-and-brig)

Well, my goodness, that was very exciting, wasn’t it? So many bits and pieces, but still put together so nicely – you have your bit of a runaround, you have your bit of a base under siege, you have a bit of your timey-wimey, you have your bit of a change of history that doesn’t rewrite everything but still doesn’t end up feeling cheap as it often does; just fun.

I think it’s not spoilery at all to say that John Hurt played Eight and a Half in the Classic Doctor style, which I was entirely happy to see. Best of all, he did it so so well that it integrated seamlessly with Tennant and Smith’s portrayals of their doctors. And did anyone else note the parallel scene with Hurt and Louise-Coleman versus Bradley’s Hartell & Grant’s Carol Ann Ford in An Adventure in Space and Time last night? You can’t tell me that wasn’t intentional.

Well, you could, but I’d mock you pretty fiercely.

Oh, let’s have some spoilers about moments, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry »

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solarbird: (fox do want)

It’s new Inspector Spacetime! Yes, yes, thanks to NBC, it’s officially Untitled Web Series About etc nobody cares, it’s Inspector Spacetime. There’s an eight-minute prequel to Series 2 out, there’s a Kickstarter to fund the whole series, it is great. This prequel is everything I wanted in Series 1 but didn’t really entirely get. Don’t get me wrong; I liked Series 1, but it was a bit slow and kind of uneven. Now, though, now they have it going:

Here’s the Kickstarter. Hie thee and go fund!

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solarbird: (cascadia dance dance revolution)

I found these on Tumblr and edited them up to print resolution. :D


Shatterdome Maintenance Level

The studio is actually on one of the upper levels of the Lair. The last thing you want to do is lose satellite signal when you’re aiming energy bolts at your enemies. It’s just sloppy. Besides, if we’re going to be launching jaegers, who wants to wait in elevators?


Particularly when we drop the bass

Extreme crush hazard. Extreme.

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solarbird: (molly-oooooh)

I have to admit, it’s a tad breathtaking, in a good way, to get home on the train and walk into this station, after so many years of the horrible 60s “modernisation” and a decade of restoration.

It’s one hell of a first impression, I have to tell you.

Back from Vancouver. Bed now. More later. ^_^

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