solarbird: (korra-excited)

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:

THURSDAY:

  • “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.

FRIDAY:

  • “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!

SATURDAY:

  • “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.

SUNDAY:

  • “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.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (zoe-and-doctor-and-brig)

First, a surprise: the new single! I did it for this con, and it’s a cover of sorts that I turned into a Doctor Who song.

So, yesterday I talked about film. I have my answer, and the experiment with the fisheye lens film camera did not work out so well. 1600-speed film pushed two stops and, well, you’ll see below how dark and grainy the best of them were. I’ll give it one more try (pushing this film as far as it’ll go) and we’ll see. Fingers crossed.


Friday: Not as Fishy As Hoped

Anna and I got to Conflikt pretty early – we had a lot to haul, and the band had final run-through rehearsal at 2pm, a space for which the concom was kind enough to let us reserve in advance.

That went pretty well, so we also had time to get together with GoHs TJ and Mitchell Burnside-Clapp to do a runthrough of our very muppety opening ceremonies skit, which included one of those random semi-nonsensical songs of the sort they used to do on The Muppet Show back in Ye Daye. (It’s called “Magnetic Penguins.”)

So that was a revival of an older form. We knew very few people would get was that Mitchell Clapp here was reviving a character from a Long Fucking Time Ago in the spoken-skit parts of it, but our small test audiences laughed without knowing that, so we figured that’d be fine anyway. And TJ does a good Gonzo, so we knew people would read that part for sure.

Opening ceremonies had a few technical difficulties, which would presage the greater technical difficulties during the show. Still, I’m pretty good at stretching to fill time when needed, and people seemed to like Jeri Lynn’s and Shanti’s improv puppetry in front of the ice-cube background during the “Magnetic Penguins” song.

Then Betsy Tinney had her show, which was great as always, and I played an awfully-nwcMUSIC-like MC, followed by our concert!

Here’s a shot from the stage while I was walking on. This is the kind of thing I want to do with this dumb fisheye lens camera – but honestly, I’m pretty doubtful it’s going to work indoors. Which is a shame, it’s fun to play with, but wow, yeah, film. Film is terrible once you have better.


So Dark and Grainy

The tech issues from opening ceremonies got a lot worse during our show. (Screaming bursts of noise, some of which may’ve been related to RF interference in their gear; no vocals and missing instruments in the monitors, little or no electric guitar in the house mix apparently – really everything that could fall apart did.)

Still, we struggled through, and a lot of people made a point of coming to me and saying that despite the tech issues, our performance was good, and we sounded good in the room. (We didn’t sound so great on the livestream, though, which seemed to be mostly missing CD’s electric guitar, and had a lot of sync issues – I’m hoping to get the raw stems and remix them into a salvageable video.)

People told me they particularly liked “Supervillain For I Love You,” “Thirteen,” and “We’re Not Friends,” all of which are new, which is great.

“We’re Not Friends,” in particular…

I haven’t been talking about that one. I came up with the chorus months ago and had a few failed runs at writing it – those are lyrics which will never see the light of day – but it fell together over the last few weeks. So I took it to my band two weeks before the show and said, “This is brand new. We’re doing it. We are in fact closing with it.” Then I kept making changes to it as we went, because if you’re going to swing for the fences, you should just do that, right?

And the good news is, that worked. We got the crowd to sing along with a song they’d never heard, which was pretty neat to watch and hear, and a few people talked about it affecting them afterwards – ’cause, the thing is, this song is really important and personal to me, but, for a change, in ways other people really get. I’m not going to talk about why here, because it’s long, but – it resonated.


Saturday

Judging the songwriting contest with TJ and Mitchell and Jackie Mitchell (the Interfilk guest; no relation) got the day off to a good start. All the entries were pretty strong, though three did elevate themselves a level up from the rest. And while we did have a consensus on the winner – a song about the “evil” twins in “good/evil” sibling pairs explaining they do things that need to be done – it was close. It came down, really, to the winning song being the one most transportable outside the stated theme of the contest.

After that – running the “Twofers” open mic, running The Dara Show version of Kitting Out Cheap, etc – it was kind of like being back running nwcMUSIC, only with less anxiety. MCing that was always one of the best parts, for me, so more of that? Can do, sport!

I met and talked for a while with a guy named Sean who came to the studio-building panel. He works at Microsoft and has access to one of those ultra-quiet rooms. I asked him if he could get me a tour! I don’t think it’ll happen, but I can hope.

Then, lots more concerts. This actually is the best of the concert photos – everything else came out even lower-contrast:

Later, I also ran into Murray Porath, which was very odd, and was another person I know of through other people rather than knowing directly, until now.

Apparently he’s moved out here, I guess we’ll be seeing more of him! I didn’t get a chance to find out entirely what that was about, but he has a bunch of funny lawyer stories, including a Kentucky county denying some sort of fortune-teller a business license on the basis that they decided she was a witch and casting spells on people. Yes, a fundamentalist revival preacher was involved.

Conflikt’s concert hall also has a big area in the back with tables and craft supplies, so I took a picture of that from overhead. Other than the window, it’s probably the best shot I actually got:

Open Filk ran quite late each night – I don’t know how late on Friday and Saturday, since I had duties the following mornings so didn’t burn too much oil. Sunday night’s smoked salmon ran until around 2am, and given that it’s usually the earliest of the lot to close down, we can probably assume the others ran later.


Sunday

I never go to convention banquets, because the cliche about rubber chicken… well, frankly, it’s true. They’re cash-cows for hotels and that’s why hotels like cons to have them. But this time it was part of my job, so I did!


Sadly the best shot I got with Mitchell

It’s not just a lunch, in this case – you’re also writing a song, collaborating with your table, and using two words or concepts handed around at random. Ours were “awesomesauce” and “perspective,” and our table came up with two songs – one I just wrote, another that I helped with. That was a lot of fun.

Here’s mine, it’s very vaudeville – I was by the gods going to stay in theme throughout, if I could:


The Awesome Sauce Song

Apparently I also bellow like a drill sergeant, because my call for people to get their acts (literally) together for the Band Scramble got the attention of the whole crowd without a PA, because YEAH I CAN YELL PRETTY GOOD IF I WANT.

Oh, and the Sunday afternoon jam – I had an idea where I’d bring a whiteboard and a giant wet-erase marker to write out chords, so people could actually join in on an actual jam more easily, as opposed to it just being another filk circle. It seemed to help, we had really good participation – better than I’ve usually seen, I think.

So – yeah! I guess that’s pretty much it! Thanks to Jen and Beth and Jeri Lynn and Jeffrey and everybody on the concom who invited me. I hope everybody had a good time, and don’t forget the new single!

ps: And also, thanks go out to Tom of the Lundervillains – we traded certain device components on Saturday, and frankly, he was doing me a favour. Muah ha ha. 😀

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (Default)
So yeah, hey, I went to VCON 40!



It's a little bit of a blur, mostly thanks to too much fun crammed into too few days followed by unfortunate con crud. All of the panels I was on went really well, and most were heavily attended - the exception being Sunday morning at 10am on self-publishing, that one not so much. None of us were awake, and by "us," I mean "VCON members" - this is a pretty seriously late-nite con.

I hung out with the hot tub crowd for a bit, and one of the surprisingly large number of fem!Sheps (the two most technically impressive were in the masquerade, see below) kept me in alcohol and unexpected affection. I got to wave papers in the air like a five-cent street-corner Leninist during the Puppies panel and that's always a good day.

They had a Family/Fannish Feud PM game-show that was not remotely worksafe but our team didn't make it up on stage, which is a damn shame. They also had super-snazzy technology that my version from some years ago didn't have and it was pretty sweet - you can see the projector in shots from below.

Captain Canuck picked up Steve Rogers and his punching bag, which was pretty hilarious but didn't stay posed long enough for me to get a shot. The Turkey Readings - wherein terrible works of fiction are read and acted out by audience members, with the rest of the audience bidding in cash to make them stop - had some new people and some prime material this year.

The Dead Dog almost imploded, because the hotel totally didn't separate "quiet" and "party" spaces and shut it down, even though I have it on good authority that this was in the contract and there will be repercussions, and everyone including everybody snuck off Elsewhere to By God We Will Have a Dead-Dog and did. When I left just before 4am, it was still going pretty strong - just every so often we had to suddenly All Be Very Quiet, with concordant shushing and sssssssssh and apparently being a party made up entirely of snakes.

Ain't no party like a Slytherin party, is what I'm saying.

So, yeah! Bought next year's memberships already, will be there for 41. You should too, it's great.


Guests of Honour



Fannish Family Feud
The room was actually packed, the empty seats are where the two teams
were sitting before they went up on stage.



Holy Shit It's Finally October of 2015 And Marty is Here
I kept calling him Calvin.



Masquerade Winners



I found an alchemist and loaded up on void, fire, and frost salts
Time to make some potions!


Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (Default)
Anybody got a spare geekgirlcon pass they aren't using? I tried to buy passes late, but still during sales time, but none of my attempts to pay for them actually went through. (Thanks a pantload, PayPal!) So... anybody got a spare they can't use?
solarbird: (assassin)

Rehearsal last night for the shows in Tacoma this weekend; we’re going to have two more, one as Leannan Sidhe, and one as Crime and the Forces of Evil, probably on different days since rehearsing two bands’ worth of material in one day is a wee bit of a pain in the ass.

(I say that particularly since Leannan Sidhe gave me like nine new songs like two and a half weeks in advance, one of those weeks to be spent at Worldcon. But she only does things like that because she knows I’ll do it.)

So I spent a lot of that Worldcon week repeatedly listening to the new material and working on some of the more amusing chord changes. I rather suspect power-A to G#m to F#m to C#m in beat succession is easier on guitar than on zouk. But! I can be taught. And I was able to charge right through it just fine each time in rehearsal today. So, yeah, go me.

Now I just need to get a better grip on a couple of these new harmonies…

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (sb-worldcon-cascadia)

So. Where do we start?

It is far too late to start at the beginning, so let’s start where we last left off.

Those of us who have been calling for a NO AWARD vote above any slate nominee for the Hugo have, I am told, won. We have doubled the number of NO AWARDs given throughout the previous history of the awards, and blocked the meaningful slate candidates pretty much in their entirety. We are being congratulated, and for that, I thank you.

But I cannot consider this winning. I consider it… oh, let’s call it the least bad possible disaster given the position in which their machinations put us. That’s important. It shows that the large influx of supporting members who voted were not a Puppy rush. It shows that World Science Fiction Society fandom cares about the Hugo awards quite a bit, in fact, and thank you very much. It shows that gaming the system and violating decades of voting tradition will not be rewarded. Well done, fandom.

But it is not a “win.” It is not even a victory, because it does not end anything.

There are many who have said that a resounding defeat for political slates on this order would discourage them, and they would not return again. They say that any changes to the Hugo voting system are premature, even though any such changes would require at least two years – and two rounds of endorsement by WSFS fandom – to take effect.

That assertion has consistently struck me as naive at best. Movements driven by ressentiment are actually fuelled by defeat, at least in the short term. It merely proves to them that what they rightfully own and deserve has been stolen, unjustly, by the undeserving – which was in fact the line on Twitter from slate supporters on the night of the Hugos.

And further, as you can see in the tweet above, Rabid leader Vox Day has already promised another run at it, telling Wired that his intent has been to destroy the Hugo awards altogether – to, and I quote, “leave a big smoking hole where the Hugo Awards were.” Again in his words, “All this has ever been is a giant Fuck You — one massive gesture of contempt.”

He also claims to have an army of people who are not fans at all, and are “very anti-SJW [and] said, ‘Okay, we want to get in on this.'” And recruitment into the GamerGate misogynist crowd was certainly ramped up that night.

I don’t know that this continuing activism and agitation will convince the honest naysayers – those against reform for non-slate-related reasons, who are convinced this is an anomaly – that this problem is ongoing. I hope it will, but… I have my doubts.

However.

My big worry was that there would be a large and organised Rabid presence at Worldcon, and/or at the business meeting. I actually did not think it was likely – though signing in to the first meeting immediately after Lou “Let’s Set the Cops on a Guest of Honour” Antonelli didn’t make me feel any better.

But a distinguishing characteristic of the GamerGate phenomenon has been an unwillingness to appear in person. It’s not completely unknown – a GamerGate faction lied their way into a booth at a gaming convention last year, and disrupted several panels before they were ejected – but it’s rare.

And in one of those cases where no news really is good news, there was no organised disruption. There were a couple of very minor incidents – such as a really nasty flyer left anonymously on the flyer rack, claiming to be from SFWA – but nothing on a genuinely large scale.

And there were self-identified members of the Puppies present. But they were of the Sad faction, at least some of whom are actual fans – regardless of their actions regarding these Hugos – and had every right to be there. And they behaved, for the most part. One did leap to accuse me of slander during the Business Meeting, but sat down when told he was both wrong by definition and that his motion was Not Well Taken by the Chair. There were a couple of dramatic Storming Outs – including one by Lou Antonelli someone unidentified (see comments) at the Hugo awards ceremony – but that’s all well within the range of ordinary fannishness. I’ve seen bigger drama over points of canon in Tolkien.

So as is the history with these things, when it comes to taking action in person… you don’t tend to see these people showing up so much. Will that continue? We can’t know, but we can hope.

And so, while the business meetings may’ve run very long, and spanned four days instead of three, we got a lot done. In particular, there are two voting reform proposals which passed first reading and were passed on for final ratification next year, one of which I support strongly, the other of which I oppose just as strongly. And I will talk about both, later this week.
 


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

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (molly-brave-embers)

The Sasquan Worldcon Committee have decided to override their harassment committee’s initial decision to to refund Mr. Antonelli’s membership – Mr. Antonelli being the Puppy slate nominee who attempted a slow-mo SWAT of David Gerrold – and allow him to attend the convention.

In the executive committee’s statement, they say that Mr. Gerrold asked them to do this; that Mr. Gerrold believes that as a Hugo nominee – however dubious – Mr. Antonelli should be allowed to attend. As Mr. Gerrold was the target of the SWAT, I can accept that decision, if somewhat grudgingly.

But they did not mention Ms. Cuinn, who received a fleet of death and rape threats after withdrawing her acceptance of Mr. Antonelli’s story following this matter. I have expressed my displeasure, saying that they should’ve contacted her, too, and made sure she was okay with that.

They have replied, saying they did talk to her and she did agree with the reversal in this case. eta: THIS IS CONTESTED. THIS HAS BEEN REDACTED. See below. I can grudgingly accept that, as well. (Tho’ – let’s be honest here – once Mr. Gerrold gave his nod, there was no way she couldn’t go along without being socially eviscerated.)

But that they did so was not in their statement, so I had no way of knowing. I have suggested her assent in this belongs there, as well; at least one person from the committee agrees.

Given that the systematic harassment of women through rape and death threats has been such an endemic problem over the last few years, I am somewhat disappointed they didn’t realise that needed to be addressed publicly. However, the more important part is that they did contact her, and did get her signoff. I just wish they had taken a moment to say so.

eta: More and more complicated. Ms. Cuinn says she was not contacted about banning Mr. Antonelli, and did not sign off on that with the concom. She says here that she was contacted about whether she wanted an investigation, but that’s different. She also says at that post (as a personal statement?) that Mr. Antonelli shouldn’t be banned because of what he threw at her – even though she does not believe his apology or that he didn’t know his crowd would go after her. But that’s not the same as signing off on the committee’s decision.

eta2: Sasquan concom member Marah Searle-Kovacevic apologises for her misstatement, and confirms Ms. Cuinn’s version. [grab]

eta3: This leaves me in a rather odd position, really. Not in any sense of “what’s being said by whom,” but in the sense of how I feel about this. I was grudgingly okay based on misinformation, and I am less so on the actual information. But how much, I do not know.

I mean, this is a high level of abuse. Even if the Slo-mo SWAT letter undoubtedly had “crackpot” written all over it, it’s still a crackpot dousing somebody in honey and whistling for bears. (The crackpot part comes in when you apparently think that bears care if you whistle.)

And then you get the hounds let loose on Ms. Cuinn. Yeah, I get it, it didn’t take place at the convention, and didn’t involve a guest. But it was direct fallout from an event that totally did, and the scooch-scooch-scooch-scooch-phew-we-can-not-care-about-this-on-a-technicality doesn’t entirely sit well with me.

No sir – I don’t like it. Not one little bit. And I don’t have a good answer beyond that.

eta4: Pretty Terrible is Pretty Clear about how she feels about it.
 


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

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (korra-fruck-out)
...of your stupidity do you Puppies want from me? Clear warning labels on anything which might have Teh Gay, apparently. Or on anything with deviation from Puppy Gender Roles, or, maybe, on anything they might find philosophically discomforting. (But wait, I thought "SJW"s being "too sensitive" was part of the problem? Oh, right, that's other people, they don't count.)

From a February discussion of what's wrong wrong wrong with SF, on Puppy leader Brad Torgersen's blog:

Stephen J. says:




“I for one would find it helpful if you would cite a specific novel that you see as having been deceptively packaged.”

The first example that comes to mind is Mercedes Lackey’s The Last Herald-Mage trilogy. Now this may perhaps not convince, as it is (a) quite old at this point — the books having been published in 1989, 1990 and 1991 — and (b) the “deception” is mostly a matter of omission rather than active misrepresentation, and furthermore an omission that is not necessary for people who had read Lackey’s first Heralds trilogy and recognized the protagonist Vanyel Ashkevron from that first series’ backstory. Nonetheless, I think it is significant that neither the books’ covers, nor any of the back-of-the-book summaries — the stuff, in short, that usually gets the browsing reader to pick up a paperback and buy it — mentions what is usually considered the most “important” aspect of Vanyel’s life story: the fact that he is gay. And it is not until the reader is at least 40% into the first book, and hopefully already well-engaged by the story, that this revelation is made not only about the character but to the character; in other words, the story is structured to draw readers in and then surprise them with that element, in such a way that I cannot help but think (though this is admittedly unproveable) it was deliberately designed to reach audiences who would not have bought the book if they had known about the hero’s sexuality right up front. It also seems plausible, to me at least, that given the high proportion of teenage readers of SF/F in any given decade, books which did not alert people who glanced at them on a desktop or shelf about content that might upset parents were also appreciated.


Screen capture here, in case somebody thinks I'm making this shit up.

Thanks to Nick Mamatas for finding and pointing this out.

You also have John C. Wright saying, as far as I can tell, that having a transgendered character exist at all in Magic: The Gathering counts as deceptive. (Here's the story about her.) Also, you have "BikerDad" saying that he was mislead by a cover and a blurb he missed part of when skimming, so, I guess, if you have to read all the words in the blurb, that's deceptive too?

Here's another one from the first commenter. I don't really want to pick on one person, but he's just got it all. Damn those trixy, trixy authors, writing about things that aren't obvious in the first chapter!
Stephen J. says:




For another more recent series which might be accused of concealing a message until the reader is hopefully too entangled in the story to turn away, I’d suggest Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. What begins as initially a cool young-adult peregrination adventure through a steampunk world, and later various multiple worlds, winds up culminating in an author tract against religion in general and Christianity in the specific, to such a degree that several people I’ve read who had no disagreement with the content of that message nonetheless felt Pullman’s heavy-handedness about it had spoiled the story. And as with Lackey above, the fact that this thematic and philosophical message is (in hindsight) clearly intentional all along, yet not explicitly manifested until the reader is well drawn in, suggests a certain degree of deliberate disingenuousness on the author’s part designed to “catch” readers who might not normally have been drawn by that story.


(Screencapture, as before.)

It's worth nothing that these (and there are more) all come from Brad's semi-infamous "Unreliable packaging" post, where one of the great Puppy complaints is quite literally that you can't judge a book by its cover. Take it, Brad:

A few decades ago, if you saw a lovely spaceship on a book cover, with a gorgeous planet in the background, you could be pretty sure you were going to get a rousing space adventure featuring starships and distant, amazing worlds. If you saw a barbarian swinging an axe? You were going to get a rousing fantasy epic with broad-chested heroes who slay monsters, and run off with beautiful women. Battle-armored interstellar jump troops shooting up alien invaders? Yup. A gritty military SF war story, where the humans defeat the odds and save the Earth. And so on, and so forth.

These days, you can’t be sure.


I'm not the first to talk about this; I won't be the last. But I haven't just gone out and posted about it before, because normally, when I post, I want to provide some analysis. But I can't. It's just so damned stupid.

Except for one thing.

To my mind, what they're really saying here, in these comments, is that they don't want to have to consider the possibility that works about people and ideas they don't like even exist. That in and of itself is too great a burden to bear, and constitutes SJW's Destroying SF.

They're complaining about needing to filter works in order to avoid stories that include us, and that this filtering process is just too difficult, and by god, they're mad as hell about it, and aren't going to take it anymore.

Arguably, I already said that, when I said it's "just so damned stupid." But it's also lazy. And, I think, most of all - it's deeply, profoundly, petulant.

Way to live down to antique stereotypes, guys. Well done.

Echoed from Crime and the Blog of Evil. There's a blog-only sale on our music right now! Deets here.

solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Before getting to it - welcome, Freethought, Making Light, and John Scalzi readers! I don't think I've ever had so busy a Sunday before, and suddenly Monday is getting quite lively as well.

I've seen some possible evolution of strategy from a few of the major Puppies over the last few days. One is pretty minor: letter-writing campaigns against writers who write about Puppies in ways they dislike. A second involves the use of endorsements and/or slates as sabotage. The third... well, we'll get there.

First, John C. Wright has reposted the contents of his original hate-post about Legend of Korra and Korrasami. You remember, the one about worshipping the filthy phallic idol of sodomy, and all that.

Now that's interesting, because at the same time, he's tripling-down on the quoting-me-is-libel shtick that he threw at me, demanding this time that Popular Science fire a writer for talking about his post in ways Mr. Wright doesn't like.

His main complaint seems to be that Mike VanHelder said Mr. Wright called LBGT people and allies "disgusting, limp, soulless sacks of filth," when he only meant two people in particular, those being DiMartino and Konietzko, who... happen to be allies. As Mr. Wright proceeds to document. That would mean they are therefore part of that set of people, a.k.a. allies.

Apparently, this distinction - subset vs. set - is libel in Mr. Wright's mind. Accordingly, he's rallying his troops to write both Popular Science and their parent corporation, and demand Mr. VanHelder be dismissed.

Mr. Wright, this is not how libel works either. But by invoking libel in campaigns against other writers, we're seeing a shift. GamerGate activists have done a lot of the same sorts of things: write about our movement in ways we don't like, no matter how truthfully, and we will declare "libel" and retaliate. Fortunately, it's not the same degree of retaliation - no rape-and-death-threats that I know of - but it's still an interesting parallel.

And hey, look, everyone's favourite racist Vox Day is targeting the same writer, for different but similar reasons. He, too, is crying libel, and he, too, has a letter-writing campaign started against Mr. VanHelder.

Is this coordinated? I don't know, but the timing is noteworthy. Vox's assertions include, and I quote, "Gamergate is not anti-feminist" - a comment too laughable to answer, given that it has been virulently so from the start - and "neither Sad Puppies nor Rabid Puppies courted any assistance from GamerGate." This is demonstrably false, as has been noted many times.

Either way, it's a strategy; co-ordinated "independent" complaint campaigns look larger than single campaigns, and targeting specific writers could be effective. Make an example or two, maybe people don't want to write about you in ways you dislike anymore.

Vox also comment-posted an endorsement of The Three-Body Problem on File 770, saying it would've been on his Puppies slate had he known about it in time. (The Three-Body Problem was added to the Hugo shortlist after a previous Puppies nominee withdrew over the slate balloting, joining several others who have withdrawn.)

I can't help but see this as a possible test of strategy, too: one of sabotage. "Oh, a non-Puppy work got elevated to the shortlist. I'll endorse it and quasi-assign it to my ballot, retroactively, and see what happens."

I still assert that voting NO AWARD above all slate nominations is the best strategy this year, because all slates must be refuted, regardless of origin. But we know from several sources that the Puppies tend to repeat this insanity again next year, again for political reasons. Vox has also promised that he do his best to make sure no Hugos get awarded if NO AWARDs win. We can't really do much to fix this until at least 2017.

So given all that, I'm rather wondering if part of the Puppy plan next year will be to nominate works they want to see lose. Their slates have always been explicitly political, but they have generally been at least for works; now perhaps they will be against works.

That's bad, too, and a more difficult problem. This year, quashing those sorts of experiments isn't difficult; simply ignore these retroactive assignments and endorsements.

But next year, it will be much more difficult, and the system-gaming will be more intense. It may be so intense that it collapses, but I'm not that much of an optimist. I'm very much afraid that the 2016 awards will be a disaster of competing political slates, and that many of them will be sabotage slates.

I'm still also worried about the WSFS business meeting, particularly after GamerGate-affiliated Men's Rights Activists lied about their affiliation to get a dealer booth at Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. They were claiming to be with the webcomic Xenospora, but were actually with themselves and with A Voice for Men, one of the more virulent MRA groups. The Mary Sue has photos of the GamerGate banner at their booth, taken before they were asked to leave the convention for violation of terms of participation.

Their goal was to disrupt, and they succeeded to some degree before leaving. This now having been tried - albeit less than successfully - Sasquan needs to expect this sort of thing in Spokane. That's not the only thing they need to worry about - I've alerted people on their concom of other issues they may need to expect which I will not detail here - but it's yet another potentiality for their plate.

So. A bunch of possible testings-of-water, strategy-wise. Am I reading too much into this? Possibly. But given that some of them actively enjoy this whole destructive process - and in my experience, it's actually many who do - I don't think I'm over-reading here.

Finally, I don't want to post without noting that we're down another nominee - Black Gate has declined their Best Fanzine nomination, as had staff member Matthew David Surridge declined his before the original shortlist was even announced. It's too late for Black Gate to be removed from the ballot, however; should they win despite withdrawing, I understand that's the same as NO AWARD.

PS: Bryke "turned on" by "lesbian oriental teenagers," John? Really? Really?



PPS: A reminder of what Bryan Konietzko had to say about the ending of The Legend of Korra.

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
On top of everything below, I'm mad that this Puppies slate-voting/nominations-gaming stunt happened this year in particular.

I know that's selfish, but we don't get a lot of Cascadian Worldcons; I know, I've been involved (at low levels) with a few failed bids. But more, a friend of mine won the competition to do the Hugo Award base. I was really happy for him, and now he gets to deal with this.

I mean, the whole mess is overtly political bullshit, done for overtly political reasons, mostly - when it comes right down to it - for spite, to Show Those People What. And while plenty of people have been hurt by this - to the distinct pleasure of some on the Puppy side, since after all, that's kind of the point - it's a little more personal when it's people you know.

Anyway. I've assembled a bunch of links off to other people talking about the Puppies, including - talking of people being hurt by it - Annie Bellet removing her story from the ballot, and Marko Kloos removing his novel. I had most of these already yesterday, but I wanted to keep one day clear of it.



Here are all of my posts on the topic so far; they've also all been added to the Sexism and Racism in Geek Culture masterpost, which is on the left in "Collections." Or, you know, right here.

  • On Buying some Hugo Awardstm, and voting No Award
  • We'd Better All Be Ready To Go To The Business Meeting, on gaming the rules change process itself
  • On Brad Torgersen and Crocodile Tears, and the Correia/Torgersen attempts to distance themselves from the white supremacist they invited into their campaign
  • A Predicable? Doubling Down, wherein I respond to Brad Torgersen's assertion that anyone opposing the Puppy slate are Leninist Communists
  • Some Puppies Are Deleting Things, wherein I repost and/or link to caches of material various Puppies - mostly John C. Wright - have tried to hide via deletion or just pretend never happened. Too bad that's not how the internet works, guys. Also wherein I get accused of libel by John C. Wright for quoting John C. Wright. That's not how libel works, either. Possibly to be followed by John C. Wright coming over here and yelling at me for this, too, because wow, John C. Wright vanity searches a lot, and this will totally come up in John C. Wright's John C. Wright search results. Hi John!

eta: I am adding to this list as I find more things today, some of which are kind of hilarious, some of which are kind of pathetic, some of which are both. Enjoy?

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solarbird: (korra-wha)

Over the weekend, I called out Brad Torgersen for trying to play bad cop/completely psychotic cop with Vox Day as the latter, following a weird post of Torgersen’s which was half-distancing, half-ante-upping, and literally calling everyone who would vote NO AWARD over slate candidates an asshole. The problem with the distancing part is that he and Correia actively recruited Vox into the fold – but, again, see the link.

I wasn’t going to write about this today, but… I can’t not, because his follow-up appears to be some sort of fierce yet hilarious doubling-down. Honestly – and I swear I am not making this up, go read it yourself if you don’t believe me – he’s saying that if you’re against the Sad Puppies slate manipulation of the Hugo process to take control over most of the literary awards, you are a Leninist Communist.*

No, really. Here’s a screencap of the tail end of his post.


Nick Mamatas, please call your office

Also, from the same post, the Chick-fil-A corporation is apparently similarly heroic – he doesn’t use that word, but that’s what he’s saying – for daring to go, as he puts it, “off-script.” Just like he and Correia and Vox Day claim to have done. To eliminate Mr. Torgersen’s euphemism, the Chick-fil-A corporation is heroic for actively supporting and promoting, via money and corporate action, official government discrimination against LGBT people. Just like the Puppies are heroes, apparently, for rigging the Hugo Awards with a bloc slate vote.

Apparently. And critics of that are, presumably, see above.

Hey, don’t blame me, it’s his simile. Also:

Because only supporters of corporations which promote government discrimination against queers are truly Free People, just like only blocs of fans voting the same identical ballots so they can “stick it to” the “SJWs” are Free People. Apparently.

But, you know, politics had nothing to do with the Puppies. They’re just Promoting Good SF. It’s the people upset about slate blocs who are the Commies.

I’m just… wow. I mean wow. Isn’t it great, what the Puppies have brought to fandom? Wow.


*: At least one commenter disagrees, asserting that the opposition to Sad Puppies are actually Nazis. Glad to have that cleared up.

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Sad Puppy slate organiser Brad Torgersen howls against people using Vox Day against the Puppies slates, railing against the "wild wolf" Vox day, and saying anyone who would vote NO AWARD against the Puppies is a giant asshole. (And he uses that word, so I use it here.)

I've also had Torgersen/Correia fans come to me, saying Vox Day isn't representative of the slate.

I have a big problem with that. Here's why.

Correia and Torgersen brought him onboard. Actively. Here's a pro-sad-puppies podcast talking about that decision, back in March, before the shortlist came out. Here's Brad Torgersen in particular way back in January defending Vox Day, describing him as a "gentleman." I didn't have to go digging for these; I spent 30 seconds using DuckDuckGo. It's that easy to find.

This whole Puppies thing has been a bit abstract for me. Yes, as an active target of that political wing - the anti-gay, anti-women side of it, I mean - I have strong personal feelings. But my campaign is and has been against slate voting in general, which is why I continue to feel that No Award is critical against all slate candidates.

If slates work - as, so far, they absolutely do - they will continue and multiply. The only way to prevent this is to make sure they do not work. Pending rules changes, this is our only option to stop the Hugo Awards from being slates-ad-infinitum.

But this? This obsfucation, this shuffling shifting of blame, this transference of responsibility? This makes me angry. The leadership of the campaign actively made the decision to bring in Vox Day and people like him. So it is impossible to argue Vox Day is not representative; they chose him as one.

Vox Day is inarguably viciously racist, homophobic, and really, really hates women, arguing such things as women find rape and murder attractive (and that this is objective fact, of course), and that marital rape does not exist because marriage is irrevocable consent to sex on demand. And so on - the list is endless!

And none of this - none of it - can be pretended to be any kind of surprise. The man is infamous. He is a walking, writing cartoon of the ultra-right. He was booted from SFWA after using SFWA resources to promulgate a white supremacist rant against another SFWA writer, and his ejection was one of the nebula of triggering complaints floating around when the Puppies were getting started.

In short, all of this was obvious, and they brought him in anyway, by conscious and deliberate choice. And now they're crying when people talk about it, and pretending it isn't their fault, and alleging that by talking about it, we're being so unfair, that we're "assholes," and ruining the Hugo Awards.

The audacity is breathtaking. Go to hell, Torgersen. You made this bed. You can lie in it.

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solarbird: (Default)

The Sad/Rabid Puppies have already moved to threats. That's good. It gets everything right out into the open, so we all know the grounds we're operating on here.

Specifically, if fans use their fully-legal voting rights to vote NO AWARD in any Puppy-controlled Hugo Award category - something which I strongly urge be voted in every such category - and thereby undo the 10%-of-voters gaming-of-the-system that the Puppies engineered, herr oberpuppyführer Vox Day says:

If No Award takes a fiction category, you will likely never see another award given in that category again. The sword cuts both ways, Lois. We are prepared for all eventualities.

Now, this is what I expect out of this sort of crowd, by which I mean, the sort of crowd who thinks that Naziism has more "truth" to it than, say, equality for women - and let me assure you I am not exaggerating, let me quote him for you on that:

National Socialism is not only human logic, it is considerably more logical, and truthful, than Communism, feminism, or secular Zionism. That was part of the tragedy of Germany's descent into it. Unlike the first two ideologies, it actually functioned effectively.

But lets get back on track, and look at those numbers above. I knew the Puppies bloc - the bloc voting their slate - was a minority in fandom. It's only yesterday that I found out how small. They're ten percent.

Ten percent voting in a block got this motley gang of white supremacists, vicious homophobes, misogynistic GamerGate opportunists, and innocent-bystanders-slash-human-shields complete control over most of the fiction awards.

And now we've been told that if we don't sit there, ignore our legal voting options, and give them the trophies that 90% of fans did not want them to have at all... they'll destroy the awards forever, or at least try.

It reeks a bit of desperation. I don't think they understood that NO AWARD is a real thing, and now they're going with threats, and claims of omnipotence, at least in planning. I think the NO AWARD movement has them destabilised.

But even without that, the rules can and will be changed. It takes two years, but unless they're going to brownshirt-up the business meetings for the next two Worldcons, those rules changes are going to happen and this is going to be stopped...

...but then again, they do say they're prepared for all eventualities.

Maybe they've tipped their hand. Maybe brownshirting up the business meeting is exactly what they mean to do. Come in a bloc, ram through round one of any rule changes they might want (like getting rid of NO AWARD, perhaps?), and most importantly, block any attempt to work around their awards manipulation. That'd be real high on their agenda, given that they've already announced they're going to do all this again next year.

They are all about the politics, after all.

Maybe we all better be ready to go to the business meeting. Turnout is usually small. Maybe this year, it needs to be large. Maybe it needs to be very large. I don't know what, yet, can be done to stop slates - but something has to happen, or it will be slate vs. slate as far as the eye can see, because political parties work, whether you like it or not. And I'd prefer rules changes to diminish the effectiveness of slates to a slate-vs-slate non-solution.

So I think we have two agenda items:

  1. This year, vote NO AWARD.
  2. Come to the business meeting at Worldcon, and stay there, to make sure it sticks.

eta: The Guide to WSFS Business Meetings. Read this before the meeting!

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solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)


Boom

A lot of people reading this won’t know: there is an award called the Hugo, for science fiction and fantasy literature and fannish activities. There are also awards for movies and film, but the big ones are for the written word. It’s shaped like a rocket, with a base that changes every year.

These awards are nominated and chosen via vote, by members of the World Science Fiction Society, which mostly means Worldcon members. Voting is entirely optional. It’s also possible to join the society (via a “supporting membership”) without attending the Worldcon. That’s pretty cheap, which is important here.

The voting system is reasonably sound, overall, but it has a major vulnerability to gaming. And that vulnerability is: anyone can join the WSFS. It costs $40. If enough people do this and all nominate the same things in lockstep, then they will have all of their choices nominated.

This hasn’t been done before. Oh, there was a case in the late 1980s when the Church of Scientology had a bunch of well-scattered members all acquire memberships in order to buy L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission Earth: Volume 1 a nomination for Best Novel, but it finished behind “NO AWARD.” That’s important, and we’ll talk more about that below.

But as you can see, this is a known vulnerability. In part as a result, and in part in an attempt to maintain the integrity of the award, there has been a long-standing social agreement that people would not campaign, much less exploit the process via slates and bloc voting. This agreement has not even been implicit, but discussed and debated and regularly brought up. People brush up against it pretty regularly; there has been a lot of debate about writers such as John Scalzi and Seanan McGuire posting to their blogs about what works of theirs are eligible, and a lot of argument over whether this constitutes campaigning.

But all of that aside, it’s held up acceptably well. And the only reason it’s worked – the only reason publishing houses haven’t been breaking the system for decades – is that gaming the system isn’t economically effective. The cost needed to buy enough voting rights to capture an award’s nominations via slate voting is much greater than the added economic value of the Hugo Award(tm) label being stuck onto anything.

But political spite-voting has no interest in cost vs. reward; it’s about anger and retaliation, and people will spend anything on that. Anything.

There is a wide rightist/racist/misogynist swath within fandom. It’s led by people like Vox Day, who is, as I have discussed before, an avowed white supremacist. You might recall he was booted out of the Science Fiction Writers of America, for using SWFA resources to promulgate a racist screed against another SFWA member a couple of years ago.

These fans have become increasingly angry over the last few years as women and queers and people of colour – and works about the same – have been nominated, so they started a campaign last year to nominate a slate of acceptably-rightist and rightist-compatible works. Their justification for throwing out the social agreement has been that the wrong people are winning, therefore it’s obviously already rigged by bloc voting, despite the lack of any such evidence, by “social justice warriors”; therefore all rules are off and they can do whatever they want.

Last year, they failed. Some hoped that would be the end of it, but those hopeful people underestimated the power of spite, and this year, the same group succeeded. The “sad puppies” (or “rabid puppies”) slate captured most nominations, including two nominations for Christian supremacist and white supremacist Vox Day himself. Baen Books’s complicity in this – because hey, if you don’t have to pay for it, suddenly vote-buying does make sense – have led some to boycott the imprint.

In order to achieve their result, the Puppies engaged in a massive “voter registration campaign,” mass slate voting, and overt campaigning which included reaching out to the misogynist harassment and hate-group #GamerGate, trying to get more votes from anyone willing to “humble” and “hurt” the “social-justice warriors.” As some of the Sad Puppies have been willing to admit in great detail, it’s about the “wrong” kind of stories winning – or, even, existing.

As with GamerGate, they are now attempting to pretend this had something to do with quality of work and types of work – anything but the real issue. But with samples of now-Hugo-nominated works like this being only the beginning, few people are taking that argument seriously. They’ve also claimed that the works nominated as of late aren’t enough about SF, but that’s pretty hard to sustain when one of their fan-writing slate favourites is mostly a rightist political blog.

They also talk about reaching out to “new voters” within fandom; I’m sure those GamerGate guys are serious science-fiction readers. Totally into it.

Some fans are considering counter-slates for future years. I cannot state strongly enough: This would be a disaster. And not just because it would insure the Puppies more slate victories. To reply with counter-slates would be to enter what in foreign affairs is called a Red Queen’s Race – a continuing escalation of resource expenditure to less and less effect resulting eventually in structural collapse. (See also: wars of terrorism, current case study: Syria. But I digress.)

Fortunately, there is an alternative. Remember, above, how I mentioned that Mission Earth: Volume 1 finished behind NO AWARD?

If NO AWARD wins, no Hugo in that category is awarded. This has happened before – not since 1976, I think, but it has happened.

NO AWARD short-circuits the Red Queen’s Race. It makes all slate efforts null and void, as long as fans collectively decide not to award any award in slate-controlled categories. It burns most of one year, to save the rest. Compared to the alternative of competing political slates that reduce the value and meaning of the award to absolutely nothing on any axis – other than spite – it’s a dramatically better option.

NO AWARD is an available tool, requiring no rules changes. It’s a tool that has been used before. And it is the only answer to this situation. If the only way to win is not to play, NO AWARD is not playing.

Fortunately, you don’t have to vote NO AWARD in all categories this year. A few categories have one or more nominees which are not on the Sad Puppies slates; one is entirely Puppies-free, since they did not nominate in that category. This means no best novella; no best novelette; no best short story; no best related work; no best editor, short or long form. It’s a heavy price, but it’s the only alternative to political voting as far as the eye can see.

This is a list of nominees which did not appear in any form on the Puppies slate. When voting, vote for any of them, in whatever order you prefer. And then beneath that, vote NO AWARD, and do not put any Puppy-nominee on any ballot at all.

It’s an unfortunate thing to have to do, particularly for anyone who might have no role in this other than having been picked for the Puppy slate without cooperation. But if you want to stop this political slate-voting while it can be stopped, NO AWARD is the only option that could work. Do the math; nothing else available under current rules stops this from happening continually. To prevent slates (of any kind) from occurring, the act of slate-voting has to become utterly futile. And this is the only way to achieve that.

So to save the Hugo, WSFS members must vote, must not include any Puppies nominees, and must include NO AWARD.

I urge everyone to do so. Vote, and vote NO AWARD.

ps: You want to know the really pathetic thing? One of the Sad Puppy rallying points is their assertion that Heinlein couldn’t win a Hugo these days. They didn’t even include the new Heinlein biography in their slate, thus insuring it couldn’t win. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s hilarious.


eta: Scalzi has weighed in on the Secret Social Justice Warrior Cabal theory that the puppies use as an excuse for their slate. NO AWARD is still the only answer, but his commentary on their use of him as a scapegoat is amusing.

eta2: I missed Jim Hines’s post on this, wherein he takes apart some of the arguments made about NO AWARD somehow being cheating… while slates are just fine. Apparently. Does that make sense? No, but it doesn’t have to.

eta3: George R. R. Martin has been promising to weigh in for a while, and has; his post is worth reading, I think.

eta4: I have a follow-up post on Vox Day's threat to end the Hugo Awards entirely, over here.

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solarbird: (fascist sons o bitches)
You think GamerGate misogyny has gone away? Oh hell to the no. After Brianna Wu cancelled her company exhibit at PAX East over threats of violence and concerns about inadequate security - remember, there have now been actual attempts to kill women over this - she went personally, herself, to appear on a panel about censorship. And this happened:























Of course, the GamerGate response is to launch a Fear, Uncertainty, and... oh, we'll say Denial ("shitpost") operation:



eta: Brianna Wu responds:





Tycho, Gabe? The ball's in your court. This guy needs to be banned from all PAX events, everywhere. Forever.

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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)

The times on the webstreaming site are a little confusing, so: we are being livestreamed 2pm Cascadian/Pacific on Sunday, barring the usual things-running-lateness. And! There are several other shows and events also being livestreamed both today and tomorrow, so drop in for any and all of those, too!

Also Bone Walker is now live on iTunes and CD Baby! We are officially in general release. Yay!

That of course includes Amazon, so if you preordered from there, you should be getting things. And if you wouldn’t mind dropping a review, we’d love that, ’cause they really do help. You don’t have to have bought it there to review it there.

Of course, Bandcamp is where you can stream the whole album uncut (and also where we get the largest share of the purchase price, yay? economics?) and that’s also the best place to get the physical disc.

Yay! We’re official!

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solarbird: (music)

Everything is starting to come together for the CD Release Show at Conflikt; we have a big bloody lot of musicians to try to pull this thing off live, which is a good thing, because we’ll need ‘em! The performance lineup:

The sharper-eyed amongst you may note that we have all of Tricky Pixie in our band for this show. And that none of them are playing their usual roles, except for Alec, who is throwing in the same fiddle work he did on the album. I think this is hilarious and I hope you can come see it. It’s Sunday at Conflikt. (They have a show the weekend after us, and you should go see it, too.)

Also, I just finished the first draft of the print edition of Bone Walker, the novel. I’ve already found a couple of things to fix, but it’s close. STAY ON TARGET

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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)

PAX Prime tickets went up for sale while I was on the road, and by the time I could stop and add myself to the queue, it was too late. Thanks to Anna, I still managed a couple of days of tickets at face value.

This was the first time I’ve ever been nervous going to a PAX, mostly because of not just last year’s most recent round of crap (and before you ask, other than “I was here first, you fuckers,” here’s why I keep going) but because of the threatened protests by “men’s rights” misogynists.

Thankfully – and typically – they were too disorganised and cowardly to actually do anything in public. I only saw one I could even identify – he wore a “men’s rights” organisation T-shirt with a long name which makes an anti-women acronym; their logo is the venus/woman symbol with a big international NO graphic over it. I have a picture, but I’m not posting it.

But that wasn’t what the show was about; it was instead pretty awesome. I’m really disappointed I chose poorly on Saturday night and missed Abby Howard‘s feminism panel, her tweets made it sound excellent.

The queues weren’t bad this year. From this picture, that sounds like a “lol what” moment, but seriously, they weren’t. For one thing, crowd control second only to Disney. For another, even when long, the whisked right along, it was really impressive.


Welcome to Nerdvana

The big game buzz post-show this year apparently ended up being Gigantic. That surprises me, honestly, because all the buzz I was hearing Saturday night was about Lichdom, which is a lot like “we really like the magical combat and look of Skyrim, let’s turn those up to 90 and drop most of the other stuff.” I played it; if that sounds good to you, then you want this game.


Hadooooooooooooooken!

Evolve’s booth drew a lot of attention, too. Mostly because of the Big Guy here. Paul and I ended up scrappin’ with it ’cause that’s just what happens.

World of Tanks, as always, had a giant-ass tank. I’m pretty sure they bring in a bigger tank every year. Nothing will top the year they brought in an actual tank, but that had to be outside, so I get why they didn’t do that again. Plus there was this bioshock-ish angry bear next to the Gauntlet demo booth that I liked.

I did not know Lenovo had a 27″ Windows tablet! They call it a tabletop, and it’s about the size of one. This is the first Windows Tablet that’s made me go “ooooooh, I do want that, but it’s $1500. Still, that’s a lot cheaper than a “surface,” so maybe in another couple of years it’ll even be doable. I’m not picturing it as a “tablet” of any sort, but damn, as an RPG add? I hung out at the Intel booth playing Risk against the computer for 45 minutes, that’s how cool it was.

I didn’t take a photo, so I’m a bad person and should feel bad. But they had a picture on their website.

Alienware has a new high-end gaming PC that looks spectacular. I mean honestly, this is one gorgeous beast. They say that the atypical shape helps cooling by eliminating dead airflow pockets.

Frankly, I’m not convinced, particularly with the drive bay, and I’m nervous about the GPU bank. There are fans at each corner (or just offset) and I can see what they’re doing, and I’m… they know how to run airflow tests, I’m sure it works well enough. But even given that, the drive bay side smells like Bad Choices to me. And any other cooling options are kind of off the table, because of the shape. I think I want to like it more than I do.

Also, holy crow, I actually won something in a drawing! I enter all the drawings, but of course, so does everyone, so usually I just get a T-shirt or something. Or a cape. Intel did capes two years ago, that was awesome. But this year I won a gaming headset! I may do a review later. You know how I talk about headsets and amp equipment aimed at consumers trying to “help” and being terrible for mixing? Definitely that category. On the other hand, the positioning of sounds in this headset is amazing. I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s neat.

Lots of cosplay! If I’d had a third day there I’d’ve had more pictures. But I liked Snow White playing Lara Croft, so I had to snap that, and a few others just needed photos even though I was running around so much.


Snow White Plays Lara Croft


Power Rangers!


Game of Thrones – these looked better in person than in photo. Acting!


The Best Ewok

Paul and I went to concerts on Friday night, about which I felt kind of bad later, because I was also going to go to Shubzilla and Death*Star’s big concert block off-site, but I thought that was on Saturday so I didn’t. And then OOPS SAME TIME ;_; but well, that’s how PAX works.

I wasn’t, I admit, into the Triforce Quartet that much – see, most of you people were Nintendo or Playstation people and are all up in the Zelda things, and some of us were SEGA!heads, and chasing rings with hedgehogs, and that’s just how we rolled. Still, they were good. Don’t get me wrong, they performed well and got a standing ovation – it’s just not my thing. But The Doubleclicks were definitely on, and in the last song they got Paul and Storm to join them a song early, and hilarity ensued. Those two groups together really multiply up the funny.

LOOOOOOOT. I don’t have the assortment of T-shirts or the giant balloon Gauntlet spiked hammer when I took this photo, I don’t know what was wrong with me. But HEADSET! and SHOT GLASSES! One of which I didn’t even have to pay for!

I also ran into some people I’d love to talk about and made some early possible arrangements for some other things I’d love to talk about that I can’t talk about, which is why not talking about them is all down at this end of the post because I can’t talk about them.

But if any of it comes through, it’d be awesome. And it’s definitively related to music stuff I do. And it could be pretty epic. And that’s all I can say right now.

I hate secrets. I’m so bad at them. But if they happen, these will be worth it. :D

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

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