solarbird: (tracer)
I've posted chapter 29 of 32 of "on overcoming the fear of spiders." (Link goes to the version on AO3, which has comments and chapter titles and so on.)

There are only three more chapters. Two are complete. The third is complete enough that I could post it as-is, but I'll expand it, I know, before doing so. But posting Chapter 29 really locks it down, because at this point there's really no changing course. The ending will work, or it won't. People will buy it, or not.

[personal profile] annathepiper has read it. She thinks it works. I hope it works for other people.

I wish this was a thing I could do more regularly, more intentionally. At roughly 35,000 words, it's more words of fiction than I've written, combined, my entire existence. I've never had fiction just flow out of me like this before, and I don't know that I ever will again. It's almost painfully close to a novel, but there aren't really other parts that should be part of it so I suppose I must live with that.

Spoilers, thematic, and possibly otherwise )
solarbird: (tracer)
Well, this chapter - the one I'm writing now - took an unexpected turn. [escalated-quickly.gif]

As I think about it, it makes a lot of kinds of sense. It's even important. I may need to keep it. But if I do, I may need to... hike up the rating on this story a bit.

Huh.
solarbird: (tracer)
goddammit characters stop writing new chapters for me (don't stop)

The fourth movement, "Exiled," has a coda. Tomorrow.

honestly i have no control over this story anymore i don't even know

hoo boy

May. 24th, 2017 01:24 pm
solarbird: (tracer)

chapters 20 and 21 are ... i'm pretty sure ready to go.

I'm glad 20 is short, because it is a hard chapter. I don't mean as in difficult to write, though it wans't the easiest, I mean, as in... blunt object. And 21 is, if anything, harder, also as in blunt object. But in a different way.

Hopefully that will make sense to other people by the end of the week.

and this is only the fourth movement. i think it may look like the end of an origin story, which I can see, but that's wrong. there is critically more to come.

solarbird: (tracer)
If you wanted to follow on overcoming the fear of spiders in chronological order - it is kind of futile, and not how I intended it to be read. But here is a chronological ordering of the story, by chapter and part number, as I was asked a couple of times now for that. I probably won't update this post, but it is correct as of today. (Okay, I updated it, it's now correct for the entire story.)

All chapters have final numbers and are posted. I am including only chapters already written. I am redacting titles of chapters not yet published. Chapters numbered ???## have probable numbers but they aren't final. Chapters ??? can't have usable numbers yet, as they will appear after others not yet written.

I consider the second movement, "Restored," to be two related mini-movements, but there is only one name, so they are combined here.

Some people would consider this spoilery (if nothing else, because of movement titles), so enjoy a cut tag.

It's 2068, and Overwatch test pilot Lena Oxton has just been given the go code, ten thousand metres above Greece. )
solarbird: (tracer)

i am setting up lena oxton so hard in this chapter, oh gods, i'm terrible

i almost feel bad

almost

solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

LambdaConf – a functional programming conference – invited an active and overt white supremacist as a speaker. A bunch of people signed a petition protesting that; LambdaConf told them more or less to fuck off. Now the neofascists are targeting all the petitioners, and Eric Raymond, noted open source developer, has jumped in endorsing a do-not-hire blacklist.

What makes this vaguely relevant here is that our old white supremacist and neofascist Hugo Award-scamming pal, Vox Day, has jumped in on the side of the neofascists, and is the one organising the blacklist. When I went checking to verify that Eric Raymond screencap, I also checked comments, where he’s stridently defending Vox. What a clusterfuck of horrible people this is!

And somehow, at the same time, you have the Horror Writers Association appointing fascist David A Riley to their award jury, and people are fighting over what’s wrong with that.

Now, Nick Mamatas argues that there’s a bit of a difference, in that awards are specifically bringing an entire aesthetic to a function, and Moldbug – the LambdaConf white supremacist speaker – was only going to be talking about code. True, but for me, it’s not really different, just different in degree, because developers are making decisions that affect the aesthetics of real life, all the time.

Take that flap recently where a GeoIP company sent every person looking up an IP address’s geographic location to a specific address in the middle of the US if they didn’t have an actual, correct hit for that IP address. They literally chose an old woman’s farm as their default, because it was the nearest address to geographical US centre.

As a result, she’s been facing years of abuse from strangers, because the company never thought somebody would look up some woman’s address online and go harass her.

They outright said that. Tell me that’s not bringing an aesthetic to software.

And just as much as that sort of programming aesthetic, there’s simple flat out personal safety. White supremacists – like misogynists – don’t believe that everybody in the room is an actual person, right? Unless the croud is whites only, or male only, or both, of course. Preferably both.

Take Dave Sim as an example of an overt misogynist. I won’t be in the same room with that man. Preferably not the same building; certainly not at the same event. That’s because he quite literally believes that women are not people, and that women exist only to drain off of real people, meaning men.

If I have to be in the same room with him, I want a gun, because I don’t trust him not to attack me or some other woman. I think it’s very unlikely, of course. But I’ve read his writing about women, and I would not rule it out. And if we woke up tomorrow and found he’d cut up some woman and put her parts in a dumpster, I would have exactly zero surprise.

And given that this shit happens, and happens routinely, I don’t think that’s irrational. I think it’s called real life impact.

So in the case of an overt white supremacist like Moldbug, you’d have to be profoundly stupid – on an emotional/empathetic level at very, very least – to think people of colour aren’t going to have the same reaction. Because that also happens, in real life.

And I don’t think most of these people are stupid. I just think they’re fine with that.

Which is much worse.


This is part of a collection of posts on racism, sexism, and homophobia in geek culture, covering a variety of specific subtopics. A sorted list of posts can be found here.

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

solarbird: (shego-cosplay)

Marian Call got my attention yesterday with this tweet:


So I went looking around, and yep, it’s absolutely true. The Guardian also has commentary, as does ars technica, but the Bloomberg article is a bit more in depth.

YouTube wants to solve its “being a radio station” problem with a new streaming service, apparently, and if you as an artist don’t like it, they’re going to exile you. One imagines they won’t outright throw non-new-service-licensing videos offline (tho’ that might actually happen), but they can do a whole hell of a lot by whittling them out of search results. (And, apparently, getting all letter-of-the-law on accessibility.) Several smaller/indie labels in Europe are suing for regulatory intervention to prevent this; I’ve no idea how that will go.

It’s a huge loss, if it plays out as reported. Last I checked – a couple of years ago – YouTube amounted for nearly 70% of music plays on the Internet. Google are the new gatekeepers, and wow, does that suck, because “Don’t Be Evil, Inc.” has been busily showing what a lie that was this entire decade.

Now me, I don’t have a big YouTube presence; I’m barely there at all. Really, I’m only there so if someone actively looks for me, they find something. I’m not on even an “indie” label. I haven’t been asked boo about this initiative and I’m sure I won’t be – which means I sure as hell won’t be on their new service. I’ll be locked out.

On the other hand, I’m likewise sure they won’t be throwing off my tiny-viewership live videos. But damn, folks. A lot of people (Hi Molly!) have gained a lot of traction (Hi Doubleclicks!) on YouTube, and … will this hit them? I don’t know yet.

But it does almost certainly say that this particular onramp – a big onramp – is henceforth closed. Sure, you can still upload your videos. Shame if nobody was to find them.

And that’s certainly one problem. With this action, Google/YouTube have taken the gatekeeper position so many people (hi) have been worrying they’d take. Right now, it’s music. What next?

A further specific music problem gets discussed over here at the generically-named Music Industry Blog. Basically, Apple loss-leads content to sell hardware, with their music service, this claims. Amazon does the reverse – loss-leads hardware to sell music/content.

Google/YouTube’s plan is to loss-lead on both, in order to own you. Which is Google’s business model in general, of course. But the downside is that it means they’re placing no value on either music or music technologies – they’re both just lures. Which has the psychological effect of further devaluing the idea of music having value – bringing zero-value thinking to streaming services as well.

That’s possibly already a lost battle – see also how the music industry made “music ownership” have negative value – but if there’s more damage to do, I’m wondering if these clowns won’t find it. I’ve previously discussed how streaming/banking services keep alienating customers with constant appearance and disappearance of shows, due to licensing games. This takes “licensing game” up another whole new level.

In a real way, it’s another prevention-of-plenty action. Like the cable companies and the so-called “internet fast lane,” which means slow lane for you and me, Google is gaming the system to benefit themselves and the other large companies with which they are making these deals, at the expense of everyone else.

Let’s limit supply of music on YouTube to that from other large corporations. Let’s try to implement some artificial scarcity.

Is that the plan? Maybe. Where there’s a way, there’s a will, and this part of the supply-constraint game is the opposite of new.

But will it work? Good question. Looks like we’re about to find out.
 
 


This is Part Nine of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, a series of essays about, well, what it says on the tin. In the digital era, duplication is essentially free and there are no natural supply constraints which support scarcity, and therefore, prices. What the hell does a recording musician do then?

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

solarbird: (Default)
I've started another little specialty photo blog over at Tumblr; this one is called Oldphemera, and it's photos I take of old pieces of ephemera that I find. Typically, they're between 40 and 50 years old, but by no means always that young.

It's a companion blog to SEATTLE—July 20, 1971, a limited-time blog wherein I am posting, bit at a time, the newspaper I found being used to wrap an old Japanese-made display doll. If either of these are of interest to you, they have RSS feeds.
solarbird: (pingsearch)

Yesterday’s post about a groupnoun (apparently “collective noun”) for microphones generated a lot of suggestions – 28! – for alternates to “silly,” so we’ve made a poll! Pick your preference.

Each suggestion is followed by the name(s) of the person or persons who suggested it, and where they made the suggestion – LJ means Livejournal, DW means Dreamdwidth, G+ is Google Plus, FB is Facebook.

Pretty much the only places sitting this out were Twitter and Tumblr.

The question of a groupnoun for a collective noun of microphones – which would be applicable here – is left as an exercise for the reader. I might suggest a “redundancy.” XD

A Groupnoun of Collective Nouns for Microphones
(You have to vote at the band site, because reasons; no account needed)

  • [ ] A Boom of Microphones (Pauline, band site)
  • [ ] A Bouquet of Microphones (Kensaro, LJ)
  • [ ] A Feedback of Microphones (Corvi & Jessie C, DW; Clemtaur, LJ; Susan Davis, FB)
  • [ ] A Garden of Microphones (oh6, LJ)
  • [ ] A Heard of Microphones (Josh K, Russ, Susan Davis, FB)
  • [ ] An Impedance of Microphones (Scott, band site)
  • [ ] An Isthisthingon of Microphones (cmcmck, LJ)
  • [ ] A Myriad of Microphones (Erik, FB)
  • [ ] A Silly of Microphones (Me, band site/original post)
  • [ ] A Sputtering of Microphones (Russ, FB)
  • [ ] A Stand of Microphones (Pauline, band site)
  • [ ] A Vibratery of Microphones (Geoff Gill, Google+)
  • [ ] One of the Excluded: Audience, Captivation, Clamour, Clip, Coil, Compression, Condensation, Crowd, Element, Gearslut, Influx, Interference, Neumann, Pattern, Screening, Shureness, Stance (Various)
  • [ ] One not in this poll (but will be specified in comments)

[ VOTE HERE ]


We Are Waiting

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

solarbird: (shego-rule?-you?)

Google+ has opened up communities. There aren’t any supervillain guilds. I kinda want to start one – but I don’t have a name yet.

I don’t want to reuse The Guild of Calamitous Intent – that’s an epic tag, but let’s have something new. (Plus, I want to keep my Guild membership.) And it can’t be generic.

But ‘Guild’? I like Guild. That’s a nice word. So I’ve been playing with that. Guild of Strategic Interventionists isn’t bad, but isn’t right yet. Infelicitous Action Guild is a little too Silver Age DC if you keep the “Guild” part – even morseo if you swap out “Guild” for “League.”

Society of Superpowered (not superhuman, thanks) Instigators isn’t terrible, but isn’t there. Fellowship of Felons sounds like a bunch of hobbits and says nothing about lulz, mad, or science. Supervillainy United has plusses, except for sounding a bit much like a football team; Fiends Unlimited is a little too 1990s Marvel; Confederated Criminality just sounds like the mob, with pretensions. (Still, it’s better than – lol – “Intergang.”)

You can see the difficulty here.

Infelicitous Action, though. It’s kind of hanging out in my head. Infelicitous Action…

Alliance?

Internally contradictory, as all such organisations tend to be so let’s get that right out there. Implies subversion – always fun – and has the word “action” which expresses dynamism. Kind of keeps the spirit of the Guild. Leaves room for non-superpowered non-mad-scientist actors such as agents of SPECTRE.

Most of all, does not exclude lulz.

hmmmmmmm.

I have to think on this some more. But… hmm.

PS: This is what a link from The Old New Thing does to your stats:


No, those weren’t all zeroes before. It was quite bumpy.

…makes them utterly useless. Yay! HI NEW PEOPLE! :D

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (music)

Sometimes I take old folk songs and rewrite them into the Republic of Cascadia universe. That’s where “Columbia” came from, for example – the first song I wrote what got covered by another artist. Sometimes I write new music, sometimes I don’t. The latest one is “High Barbaree,” which is an old song about a pirate encounter, and of course, in all traditional versions, the pirates lose, but that’s not the way we roll here, now, is it?

But while I came up with a chord set I really like – yeah, this is one I’m substantially rewriting – I’d been stuck for a while on lyrics. Then last Thursday, I realised that in my version, High Barbaree is the name of the ship, not the locale, and a nice chunk of verses all came tumbling out of my brain. Yay!

It’s now about blockade-running privateers for the Republic, and atypically cheery for me. It’s not finished, but now I see how to get there; I should have a first draft ready for nwcMUSIC 2012/Norwescon 35. T-10 days and counting!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (Lecturing)

This is going around: Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins thinks everything sucks. Here’s a YouTube embed:

Basically he agrees the major label system sucks, but not for the same reasons we do; being one of that tiny percent to actually make money in it, he thinks that part is just fine. He just thinks the people who do manage this feat are the “winners.” What he hates is what he calls the “singles mentality” and homogenisation, combined with the death of the album form, which he sees as removing the connection between little indie band (j0) and MEGASUPERSTARDOM RAR!

And he also spends a lot of time crying for the mass cultural experience.

But at the same time, he also hates on the indie scene, mostly on his exposure to it through alternative rock, declaring it eternally “precocious” and incapable of sustaining an audience or band, dismissing it entirely as, “What’re you going to do, sell albums to the same 10,000 people every year?” and saying bands that go that route are just going to be working back at Burger King in ten years.

As opposed to almost all major label artists who end up back working lousy day jobs and bankrupted.

Personally, if I can sell 10,000 albums a year, I’ll be totally psyched. I’d also be making more money than most major label artists. But to him you don’t count unless, as he puts it, grandmothers know about you. You have to CHANGE THE WORLD, MAN. Like he, um, didn’t. (Sorry, guy, got news.)

I don’t actually want to spend this entire post hating on this interview, because he has a bunch of things to say in there which are varying degrees of legitimate, like how goddamn behind the technology curve the major labels have been and continue to be. But god damn, dude – do some fucking math. The label-and-album system that did work for you (and for about 10-15 other artists a year) didn’t work for anybody else. Except the labels, of course.

You’re so concerned about all this, about the “little” and “indie” bands who are so “precocious?” How about floating some goddamn ideas instead? Because the album as an art form may come and go – Dick Tracy Must Die isn’t just an album, it’s a goddamn concept album – but changing fashion of forms isn’t going to save anybody. Not even the labels.

Meanwhile we, the eternally “precocious,” will be over here, trying to get some work done. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll figure some shit out.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (music)

nwcMUSIC is a geekmusic festival that I’m building at the Norwescon Science Fiction Convention. We have chiptunes, nerdcore, geek rock, elfmetal, filk, nightly concerts, daytime workshops, panel programming, late-night open mics, filkcircles, the whole deal.

Our programming includes “business of being an independent artist” panels. Going indie – not wanting a record deal – has become more and more common as the technology to record competently on your own has become more and more accessible. As my mastering engineer for Dick Tracy Must Die said, there used to be a time when you recorded your demo on a four track and recorded your studio album in a professional studio, and demos sounded like demos and label releases sounded like real albums – but now people like me walk in with recordings they made in studios they built at home, and sound real.

It kind of freaks him out.

So now, doing your own album is considered not just valid, but important. It’s a positive. It shows the ability to complete a project and the talent necessary to produce something listenable. Labels now tell bands who want labels to “bring tribe with you.” (And a lot of smarter bands are replying, “if we have our own tribe, why the fuck do we need you?” The RIAA are desperate for good reason.)

Writing isn’t like that, yet; just finish the damned manuscript. Self-pubbing through a vanity press? Folly, reserved for rampaging ego muppets with too much money.

But the technologies are changing, and the economics of book publishing are in flux.

Now, there are cheap eReaders. Companies sensing opportunity have jumped in with distribution models: CD Baby has BookBaby, Amazon has its Kindle-only programme, etc. These all let you not just produce your own eBooks, but make them widely accessible, in a variety of formats. And having done both, the technology of taking a manuscript and laying it out into eBook form is dramatically easier to grasp than that of recording.

So some midlist authors are starting to reissue their out-of-print backlists in eBook form. Some for free, but others are apparently making enough money at it that imprints are trying to claim eBook rights from contacts written before eReaders even existed. And with examples like Amanda Hocking out there, you’re seeing some re-evaluation of self-publication, as well.

So this year, I floated multidisciplinary versions of our business panels, specifically calling out artists and writers. I had one sign up, a well-respected writer/artist of graphic novels. I’m really pleased to have her! But I had no interest from any traditional-book authors.

In part, this shows how a lot of musicians know the recording industry exists substantially to screw you. It also implies that publishing houses do not currently have this reputation. From here, that difference looks legitimate; if you go through a major label and sell 20,000 copies of an album, you’re bankrupted and you won’t even own your recordings; if a writer goes through a major print publisher and sells 2,000 copies of a paperback book, they’re earning royalties.

It’s probably also relevant that record labels haven’t traditionally added much, artistically. They’d bring you people who could and often did, but you’re paying for it, not the label, in the form of advances against earnings. By contrast, book imprints – by which I mean a good editor under the employ of that imprint – historically could add a lot, and they paid that bill.

But cutbacks in publishing have had visible effects. Editors are hugely overworked and understaffed, and it absolutely shows. What if that added value continues to decline?

Do writers need to be looking at us indie musicians, for their own sakes? Do they need to take some notes?

I’m wondering about it both as a future necessity and as a future reasonable – at least, non-embarassing – option.

Hopefully it won’t become a necessity. Me, I’m in this for the music, and the recording part is fun because it gives me opportunities to work with other musicians and play with sound toys. I am not in it for the marketing, management, distribution, product design, advertising, packaging, shipping, and on and on and on. But as an indie musician, I have to do all of that too.

An indie writer would find themselves in the same boat.

I have writers in my audience; what do you think? Are we living in your future? And if so, does that sound cool, or do you look at this whole scene and want to run like hell?



PS: Happy birthday to my favourite writer, Angela Korra’ti. Smoochies! ^_^

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (cascadia dance dance revolution)
This is my last year of doing the daily 'zine at Norwescon. Last year was going to be my last year, but I relented when I hadn't managed to find anyone to train, but this year I srsly mean it - I am so burnt out on this it's not even funny. But fortunately I have someone to train this year! And I'm treating it a lot like her first year more than my final.

Anyway, she had this idea for The Singular Voice, wherein the conceit is that the writers are post-singularity intelligences trying to talk back in time to those of us before the technological singularity, which is a lot like you and me trying to talk to the goldfish So we've decided it is the goldfish, along with other household pets, who are the ones doing the talking. C.f.:
Fido: "...oh for the... it's like... it's like... talking to the cat."
Mittens: "I'm offended by that! It's like talking to the fish."
Goldie: "That's it! I'm done. I'm not fixing your computers for you anymore."
And so on. I think this could be fun and I'm trolling you lot for more lulz to add to the 'zine. I have a few (in particular, thanks to Regis's recent tweets relayed to me by [livejournal.com profile] annathepiper, I think UNIMOG will be making a cameo appearance or two) and we've tossed a lot of stuff back and forth but we always need more.

So! Got any ideas, anyone? Big themes, little themes, anything that seems good.
solarbird: (music)
Today's attempt at rehearsing the 9th consisted of nonstop medicinal teas interspersed with very short (and progressively shorter) bouts at singing separated by long recovery times; first bout, I got six minutes of my warmup routine, a short break, and the first three phrases of the 9th. Second: three minutes of routine, two phrases. Third: two exercises (probably, what, 90 seconds?) and two phrases. Fourth: no warmup, two phrases. That's all I had, so I went through the rest of the 9th voiceless this evening. (I was hoping for a fifth bout; I didn't get it.)

I am not losing this fucking gig, goddammit. I'm not.

Oh, and I did some other music stuff, mostly bodhran, and I wrote the first draft of the article that's due on Wednesday the 15th. Yay, writing.
solarbird: (Default)
Here, have bullet-point life:
  • I wanna see Kannazuki no Miko. I have no idea whether it's any good. I'm also totally squeeing over Princess Princess, but I think I said that already. And yesterday at anime night a character started playing a song and the first six notes were from one of my songs which kind of fruck me out. But then it became completely different. So that was better.
  • Does anyone know a 501(c)(3) that could use a 3/4 ton pickup truck? Directly, I mean, not auction-and-take-the-proceeds; I know a lot of ways to do that. But with the auto market in the toilet, sales attempts are full of fail so far. (Not unlike the two stores I put up for Cascadian Mecha Militia and League of Disgruntled Software Workers swag. Snif.)
  • This whole mini-RBL+our blacklist+greylist thing is full of awesome. Since I threw it online, across four accounts, I've gotten two pieces of spam handed to spamassassin. (And, of course, zero in actual inboxes.) It's so far down that I've actually reported spam to postmasters again, since in this one case it came from an actual mail server of an actual (tiny) ISP. (They have two Class Cs. OooooOOOooo. Their mail servers are named things like "fish" and "fish2" and so on, meaning we received spam from, um, fish. In Canada. Nigerian scam mail, only rebranded North Korea. The fact that the count enough is low enough for me to care again is epic win.)
  • My throat is still terrible. This is really bad. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to practice again by Saturday. That'll give me a week and two days to try to whip this Beethoven thing back into something like shape. AGH HATE HATE HATE NANG DIE. I'm dosing it constantly with nasty medicinal teas and it's helping a lot - two days ago I got about 10 minutes of practice before hitting FAIL (but otherwise felt fine), yesterday I couldn't talk (but felt fine, maybe a little tired), today I can talk a bit but I'm still all low like this which is weird and unpleasant. Also, I can't do much flute practice, as that seems to dry out my throat pretty seriously.
  • I'm done with the extra research I wanted to do for my next article, so I start writing it tomorrow, which is good; it's not due for a week and a half, but I don't want to push it. I like being able to do drafts, let them sit for a day, and come back to them.
And that's it for today's Bullet-Point Life. Yay?

ETA: Fred is in REM sleep and twitching furiously. HOW CAN THESE CATS BE SO CUTE?! ^_^

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