solarbird: (Default)
Super-nervous about chapter six (just posted).

I always worry about tearing it, you know? In the showbiz sense. Breaking credibility, within a context, even if that context is pretty incredible (in the sense of not credible) to begin with, like Overwatch. And I kind of feel like I'm dancing up to that line with that chapter, with Venom as a character.

If people make it through Terrifying in Flight, I think chapter seven ("Is It Good Enough For You, Still?") will clarify some things. Angela thought, in chapter six, "that's a lie," and she was correct. But I can't put that in front of chapter six, I can't say, "trust me here," because, well, y'can't do that, it doesn't make sense.

Questions of identity float around in Old Soldiers, and this is part of that arc, and and and and.

Scary.
solarbird: (widow)
The biggest problem I'm having with writing Old Soldiers is that while it is a widowtracer/venommaker story, it's not completely widowtracer/venommaker-focused, so I'm not writing about them literally all the time and I'm kind of wishing I was.
solarbird: (tracer)

[AO3 link]


[All dialogue in «angle quotes» is translated from the Spanish]

«Whatcha doin', Spooky?»

Jack Morrison looked up upon hearing Leticia Delgado's question from where he sat with his notebook. Paper, pen, overstuffed chair - old school, like he was. «Updating the dossier.»

«On your old friends?» she asked, putting away her phone, and grabbing an orange off the counter separating the small kitchen from the small living room.

«They're not my old friends,» he growled. «But this attack by Amari, and this fake Overwatch news - maybe it'll help fit some more pieces together.»

Leticia nodded, peeling the orange. Morrison had been hauling that notebook around as long as she'd known him. He'd never let her look at it, and she'd never pushed too hard. But she'd been curious, and if he was going to open up a little, well, it beat sitting around, anxious and bored. «Why you so obsessed with this new Overwatch, anyway?»

He shook his head. «It's not Overwatch. The real Overwatch - my Overwatch - went down with me, when Talon moved against us.»

The street fighter cocked her head to her left. «I thought that was the UN.»

Morrison snorted. «Talon, UN - it's all the same thing, has been for a long time. Early 2068 - a few months before the Slipstream exploded - that's when I started to realise what was really happening, what was going wrong.»

«Talon,» she said, before biting into a wedge, «...controls the UN?»

«Talon proxies. Maybe mind controlled, like Lacroix, maybe conscious traitors, I don't know. But they're pulling the strings. I just have to find them all, cut them all down, show the world what they've done.»

«I know they're terrorists, but that's what they call us, too...» She swallowed the piece of orange.

«They really are, though. More than anyone knows. More than anyone understands. But I'm the one who's seen it.» He poked at his notebook. «I'm the one who's figured it out.»

«You got evidence?» She peeled threads off another piece of the orange. «I mean, if they're that kind of dangerous...»

«It's everywhere you look, once you start to see it. Start with Gérard Lacroix's murder - Talon eliminated him as soon as he got too close. You think he was their mole? Of course not. He just knew too much.»

The young Los Muertos gangster bit into another wedge. «I don't even know who that is.»

«You...? Yeah, I, guess you wouldn't. You'd've been, what, 12? 13?» He chuckled. «Gérard Lacroix was head of Overwatch's anti-Talon task force. Good man. Murdered in his sleep by his wife - or rather, by whatever thing Talon put in his wife's head after they took apart her brain.»

«Wait. I've heard part of this story... are you talking about la blue girl?»

«The killing corpse? The purple assassin? Yeah. The Widowmaker. Second-best sniper in the world. I was friends with the woman they killed to create her.» He flipped to the Amélie Lacroix section of his notebook, filled lately with his notes on her partner, the teleporting assassin known as Venom. «I'm not sure who they killed to create her girlfriend. I thought it had to be Lena Oxton, somehow back from oblivion, because...»

«Lena Oxton... the Widowmaker's girlfriend? Wait, you think the hero of Old London is the spider's sidekick? Really?» Laticia snorted. «Put this in your notebook, I heard about it from the old squad leader. Those two showed up at an arms show together a couple years ago, right? Got disrespected by a some anglo Texans, and killed like a dozen people just to make a point. They're not...»

«I know. The girlfriend part, that's what made me think it might've been Lena.» He tapped the page with the tip of his pen. «Still think it might be. Just can't figure out why they'd keep the lesbian angle. I didn't even think Amélie liked girls, not that there's anything left of her in that machine. But it has to be important, for some reason.»

Hoooo, she thought. This is kind of nuts. «I'm sorry about your friends, Jack. But this - it's a lot to take in.»

Jack looked up at Laticia, and nodded. He trusted her. He hadn't trusted anybody in a long time, and he didn't trust the trust, but it was still there. «It's a lot more to live through.»

She let out a little bit of a 'heh,' and replied, «This's why you don't talk about your past much, huh?»

He nodded, flipping through pages, adding small notes in tinier text. «One of the reasons.» He dotted a couple of lower-case Is and put the book down. «The part I can't get past - there is just no way that the real UN would ever have moved against us. Not like that. They'd never have shut me down, not us, we mattered too much. Not even with that bastard Gabriel turning on us, turning on me...» He'd run through the story too many times in his own head even to get angry anymore. «I don't know whether they brainwashed him or reconditioned his mind or whether he just got bought out, but he turned on us. All those lies at the hearings, all that slander, all those leaks...»

«I remember that part,» she said, finishing the last of the orange.

«Big news, even to the tween set?»

«We watched the hearings in school.»

The solder smirked. «Not surprised - schools are about control. But all that propaganda aside - we mattered too much. The real UN - an uncompromised UN - wouldn't've shut us down. Never.»

She tapped her fingers, one, two, three, four, on the table, working out bits in her mind, before sweeping the peels away. «So... if Talon took over the UN, then...»

He nodded again, this time, approvingly. She gets it, he thought. «Then they have control over a lot of the governments, too. Deep state agents, fingers in key parties, big and small.» He picked the book back up, made a few more notes, and closed it again. «But I'll get it all out there, sooner or later. Once I have it all figured out. Then everyone will know, and we can start to put the world back together.»

The soldier looked down at his empty mug, feeling all talked out. «Hey. You mind making some more of that coffee?»

Delgado looked quizzically at Jack Morrison. «My coffee?»

«Who else's? I can't make it the way you do.»

«You can't... you hate my coffee. You always dump it out, and by the way, you still owe me new beans.»

«I don't hate it, I...» and he remembered, oh, yes, he kind of did, didn't he? No, that's not right, he loved her coffee. Nobody else could get it quite right, particularly not that white-haired... he shook his head, no, that doesn't make sense. «I'm getting used to it. It's kind of growing on me.»

«Ha!» She grinned. «I'll teach you how to appreciate good food yet, gringo. If I do this, you can't pour it out! I have to make a whole pot, or it comes out too weak, like yours. Just, you know, not as bad as yours. Which is terrible.»

«Wouldn't dream of it,» he groused, and stood up. «While you make that, I'll go out, get some more beans. I do owe you.»

«It's been quiet long enough, yah, I think it's safe.»

He nodded his agreement. «You heard anything from Araceli?»

Laticia shook her head, checking her phone again. «No, not yet. I'm worried.»

«Afraid the Maras got her?»

«Worried they might've.»

«I hope not. She's no soldier, but she's... a pretty good kid.»

Delgado smiled, surprised. «Thanks, Spooky. That's the nicest thing you've ever said about her.»

Morrison looked through the edge of the blind from the gang house. Twilight, and all clear - at least, as far as he could tell. Amari doesn't double-dip, he thought. We should be fine, for now. «I'll be back in a few minutes,» he said, throwing his gun over his shoulder. «With dinner.»

«No hunting in city limits!»

«Not even for tacos?»

«Okay, maybe for tacos. You know the kinds I like?»

«'Course I do,» said the soldier, opening the door. «If I'm not back in 15 minutes - leave, and don't look back.»

«Don't have to tell me twice!»

«I won't.»

solarbird: (widow)
I don't normally write Lord of the Rings fic - or, even, really, think about doing so - but I'd been chewing on Faramir's handling of Frodo and Samwise and Sméagol, and how, really, that helped nobody, in the end, and how things might've gone at the end had he been a little less of a dick. And I threw it off the two biggest Tolkien geeks I know, and they were all, "Yeah, write that up," so I did. AO3 link.

I'm not sure what's going on with my Widowmaker play right now. My scoped hit percentage is climbing. Not as quickly as I want, and I'm not where I want to be, but the delta is in the right direction. But I'm not feeling more effective, and I feel like I'm being killed more, not less. Like, the last game today, quickly, defence at Eichenwald. We won, I had 15 kills (7 point kills), my scope percentage was like 48% (not good, but better than where I started, and better than my cumulative average, which lags), I shut down a couple of ults (and failed to shut down a couple of others), and won a duel when they brought out an enemy Widowmaker to try to deal with me.

But I died 7 times and didn't medal in anything. They kept sending Winston and a second person back behind the lines to deal with me, and I can't win that fight, and fleeing - he was chasing me. And I don't know if it's because I'm a soft target (which I am, as Widowmaker) or whether it's because I'm improving enough that I'm getting noticed.

(I'm also getting routinely triple-teamed. In Hollywood, literally half their team was coming to wipe me, and specifically me, out. I don't know if that's because they were going all the way to the back of the line and then working forward, which is also probably true, or because I was getting annoying, which I hope was true. I was golding in everything until they started that shit, and it shut me down pretty hard.)

I'm also spending a lot of the time at the range, improving my twitch shots. I've been working the dodgy-robots part of the range a lot, from a variety of attack positions, and I'm starting to spend more time on the most twitch-focused perch I've found so far. I hope it'll help. I don't know. I have a tendency to overcompensate for direction changes of target, and this seems to emphasise the need for getting that right, so... hopefully.
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.

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