greetings atomacon

28
May

Well, after a little bit of back-and-forth, I can announce that I’ve been invited to be “Filk Special Guest” at Atomacon in North Charleston, South Carolina for 2019. This’ll be happening November 22 through 24 at the Hilton Garden Inn.

I’m just as surprised as you.

Oh well, I guess, after half a decade backing up The Blibbering Humdingers (and whoever else asks me) at conventions across the mid-Atlantic, and staying up late and making noise at filk circles in the same events, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I’m rather excited to share my songs with friends old and new at this small but growing convention. I hope y’all like me.

This has actually been a pretty good year for me musically, what with the regular open mic hosting gig, getting a song on the FuMP Sideshow, lots of great gigs with the Blibbering Humdingers (including an awesome Balticon this last weekend), and now this.

Now, as I’ve got this gig lined up, I should probably get cracking on the record I’ve been meaning to make so I have something to sell to folks!

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friday random elevenish: “up…and down” edition

21
Jun

It’s been a relatively quiet work week; too quiet, really – I’d really like some news on the status of my projects, honestly, and it’s not really forthcoming. I was stuck at the office on Thursday very late in order to help bail my boss and folks who aren’t as good at acquisition stuff as I am out of a jam, but I managed, as it lets me bail a little early for the weekend. Still kinda sucks, though.

This is really just one more example of how after a pretty big high – in this case, a pretty damned GREAT open mic hosting gig on Wednesday night, with one of the better sets I’ve ever played solo, and a wealth of talented folks (including my eldest child) coming out to perform and share their talents- the day following tends to land in the toilet somehow, what with the events of the first paragraph of my post, and some “kids off of school and stuck in each other’s proximity” drama popping up this week.

I did notice I never reported back about the recital or last weekend- it went pretty damned well, all told, but had a few bits of frustration, as they do. The dancers looked good, which is what’s important. And, the family took me out for a nice dinner on Fathers’ Day, which was nice.

The rest of the week’s been pretty dull, apart from the aforementioned stuff. My ankle’s still bothering me a bit after I twisted it last week – I’ve been low-impact walking a couple of miles a day this week instead of biking (the weather’s kinda iffy as well), but I’ve mostly been good about it without further injuring myself. It’s been damned hot all week at home, waiting on the parts for the A/C to come in, though the guy came by on Thursday to correct things (with the repair more than paying for our warranty in the process!) and with luck, it’ll stay working this time.

Not much else to report; I got nothing for the weekend, apart for doing some audio setup work at the new dance studio space Friday evening (again, assuming the wiring shows up on time), and the usual laundry/cleanup/chores/whatever for the rest of it; maybe I’ll get another tune in the can, having spent much of the week rehearsing for the open mic gig, and with the climate, the fans going put a damper on any microphone use anyway.

So, yeah, that’s it. Tunes as produced by the streaming app this time around aren’t bad; I’ll take the mix. Decent Queen track, some solid indie, and few of the usual suspects.

Oh well, in any case, by the time next week’s playlist comes up, I’ll be working my way down from experiencing Weird Al backed up by a symphony orchestra, which should be pretty cool.

  1. “Bouree” – Jethro Tull
  2. “Bruderov Paa Haegstadtun” – Asmegin
  3. “Highway Patrol Stun Gun” – Youth Lagoon
  4. “Killer Queen” – Queen
  5. “Is This Love?” – Whitesnake
  6. “Good Things” – Sleater-Kinney
  7. “I Melt With You” – Modern English
  8. “Australia” – The Shins
  9. “Hey You” – Pink Floyd
  10. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
  11. “One Way Out (June 27, 1971, Fillmore East Closing Show)” – The Allman Brothers Band
  12. “Farsoten Kom” – Svartsot
  13. “You and I”- Toro Y Moi
  14. “Nothin’ But A Good Time” – Poison
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friday random elevenish: “dance dad duty” edition

14
Jun

Forgive me, dear three or four readers out there, for getting this one posted late. I usually stage the playlist post Thursday evening, but last night I was locked down behind a soundboard for six or seven hours in support of the dance recital tech rehearsal, which, “hey, we had a tech rehearsal! cool!”, though I wouldn’t call it the most organized thing in the world, much to the consernation of my eldest child, who’s acting as stage manager for this thing. The performers all looked good, anyway, and it’s likely for the best that we’re just bypassing the weird Eastern European, poorly-documented in-house soundboard in this particular high school auditorum and using my smaller, but much more reliable eight-channel, 130 watt P.A., which is probably really too small for the space, but it seems to be doing the job, and lets me do things like have a monitor on stage so the dancers can actually hear the music.

Tonight is full dress rehearsal, which should be bit more tolerable, as at least we’re going in order and not jumping around in the set list. Probably also won’t take six hours. I’m a little tired this morning, and last night I didn’t have time to get anything to eat beforehand, so by the time we’d finished, I hadn’t eaten in like eleven hours, and was, as they say, getting a little hangry. Thankfully, my lovely spouse, in her infinite wisdom, had a bounty of fast food burgers ready and waiting when we wrapped. It was much appreciated.

With the recital itself scheduled for Saturday evening, I really don’t have anything else on my agenda; in fact, other than trying to carve out half an hour to pay the bills somewhere, and hitting the farmer’s market early Saturday morning, I haven’t really thought past 9pm tomorrow. So who knows what’ll happen. It’ll all be a surprise for me.

Oh, yeah – the rest of the week. Beyond the stuff I talked about Tuesday, work’s been relatively standard – had a good in-process review for my pet project, and I only had to bail my boss out of a jam (which always happens when he’s on the road) once. More importantly, Wednesday, in spite of not feeling amazing (I think I overdid life and exercise and wasn’t eating enough), I got to attend Fifth Grade “graduation” (they didn’t call it that, though the word serves) in, oddly enough, the same high school auditorium I spent six or seven hours in last night, watching my youngest wrap up her elementary school career.

My youngest child is in middle school – as if I didn’t feel old before.

Really, all that’s left is to talk tunes. There’s some decent variety here from the Pandora playlist (an uninterrupted hour sponsored by a gin company, of all things); yeah, the usuals are there, but since the Bowie is a deep cut off of Ziggy Stardust, I’ll let it slide. Semi-related, I did give the recordings I did the last couple of weeks the “car audio” test, and it wasn’t all bad news, though I have a nice long list of things to fix.

My work never ends…

  1. “Ceremony” – New Order
  2. “Promises, Promises” – Naked Eyes
  3. “Super Natural” – Turnover
  4. “The Hour of Defeat” – Unleashed
  5. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Green Day
  6. “Aqualung” – Jethro Tull
  7. “Feels Blind” – Bikini Kill
  8. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” – David Bowie
  9. “Camarillo Brillo” – Frank Zapps
  10. “Hungry Like The Wolf” – Duran Duran
  11. “No One’s Gonna Love You” – Band of Horses
  12. “Private Eyes” – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  13. “Carry On My Wayward Son” – Kansas
  14. “The Rover” – Interpol

Oh, Happy Flag Day, if celebrating that is your thing!

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almost an e.p.

11
Jun

Today the weather was rather gorgeous outside after several days of rain, so after voting (because it’s primary day, and I never miss an opportunity to cast a ballot), I racked the bike and hit the park for ten quick miles, on top of the five miles (according to the Pokemon Go adventure sync counter, converted from km) I did while walking laps of my building while on phone calls for two hours, that’s fifteen for the day, and twenty-five logged so far for the week, given the couple of damp hikes I’ve had the last couple of days. I feel good, even after twisting my ankle tripping over nothing yesterday at the office.

Graceful I am not.

As this is recital week, the back half of my week is pretty darned booked solid through Saturday evening, I worked to get some recording in early; I ended up knocking out a simple rough mix of one tune on Sunday afternoon, and another one (which was a bit more complicated) this evening after taking care of all the other stuff I mentioned. I’m not married to the recordings of any of these so far, but I want to get the bones of the record lined up relatively quickly, so I’ve got the luxury of tweaking and adding and subtracting and moving sliders and plug-ins and whatnot around for a good bit of time before I have to go to press, as that part (taking the various pieces I make and putting them together in a way that makes sense and is pleasing to the ear) is where the real learning is going to happen.

Anyway, today’s tune was one of my favorites that I wrote this FAWM; the one that’s gone over really well anywhere I’ve played it, be it a filk room or an open mic stage. As I’m wont to do, I won’t state the title outright, though I shall provide a hint:



That right there is three tunes down, at least in first-draft form…another two, I have an EP, another few on top of that, and before you know it, I’ve got a full length long-playing record (to use the ancient terminology) I can charge actual money for. It may not be amazing, but it’ll be the best I can manage on my own at this point in time, and in five years I’ll hate it because it sounds so amateurish, but it’ll be a snapshot of right now, which I guess is worth something, huh?

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friday random elevenish – “progress? maybe!” edition

07
Jun

The week, thankfully, is winding down. It’s been a reasonably busy one, except when it hasn’t been. Feast for famine for activity. Work either has me on the phone all day, putting out fires, or it’s sitting around waiting for something, anything, to happen. I have, at this point, managed to knock out seventy bike/hike miles so far this week, and dropped another three pounds. On Wednesday, I had my annual doc check-up, and I’m in pretty decent shape, all told. I’ll take it, I think.

I have also, as I type this on Thursday evening, completed, I believe, a rough mix of the first tune on the yet-to-be-titled Chuck record that I need to have pressed and in hand by November. If I can knock one out a week, I’ll have plenty of time to mix/tweak/etc ahead of getting the think pressed on plastic. It doesn’t sound, as far as I can tell, like total crap, even. As for what song it is, here’s a pretty obvious hint:

Not much on tap for the weekend; this is the quiet one where school winds down, and we enjoy the quiet a little bit before dance recital weekend next weekend. I think I’m just going to keep my head down, do some laundry, and read a bit.

All that’s left, really, is the playlist, yanked off my hard drive. A few friends, and a big hunk of Central Pennsylvania there in the back half. As I’ve said previously in this very post, I’ll take it:

  1. “Skeleton Woman” – Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands
  2. “Spy” – The Clarks
  3. “Miles Away” – Winger
  4. “Help!” – The Beatles
  5. “Love Lies” – SJ Tucker
  6. “Tear In My Heart” – twenty one pilots
  7. “Shout It Out Loud” – KISS
  8. “Bliss” – Tori Amos
  9. “Ballad of Dick and Jane” – The Badlees
  10. “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” – Halestorm
  11. “Let There Be Lonely” – The Secret Sisters
  12. “Reject” – Earth to Bob
  13. “C is for Corpse Camp” – Mikey Mason
  14. “We Want the Easy Road” – Gray Rinehart
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disconnected

03
Jun

Spent pretty much all of Monday waiting around for the office network to come to some sort of decision regarding whether or not it was going to function, and allow users to accomplish anything at all beyond watching spinning “wait” icons for pretty much every tool we use. The modern office, as you might imagine, is pretty much centered on networked applications these days, and without access, operations are dead in the water.

The email mostly functioned, however, which was its own kind of amusing, because the stuff that made it through through was mostly system broadcasts from my organization throwing another one (who is supposed to be in the process of taking over core IT functions) under the bus because stuff isn’t working. Yay; nothing in the world like an inter-departmental slap fight.

Anyway, that’s been my Monday. The weekend was marginally better. I took Friday off to handle some appointments, but started things off with a bike ride, which was nice, though I’d been struggling with wear on my saddle hardware, which caused the seat to shift around when I hit bumps (which on dirt trails is pretty much constantly). One of my errands, then, on Friday, was to vist my local bike shop, Molly’s. They didn’t have all the stuff I needed in stock, but they were able to set me up with a loaner seat post while they got one in, which worked really well when I took it out for a twenty-miler on Sunday.

Waking up to rain on Saturday morning, I didn’t hit the trail, but I did grab some good stuff at the Farmers’ Market and took care of the shopping and other errands, and eventually the skies cleared and things dried out in time for us to go catch the soccer game with our friends in the evening. Sunday was low-key; I did my long ride, as mentioned, we made a spur-of-the-moment run out to Hardywood for lunch from Curry in a Hurry, and I spent a couple of hours in the afternoon working on laying down some tracks for that record I’ve set myself to making before Atomacon (and actually had a bit of luck with it, even if I still am figuring out drum programming/loops); If I keep at it as I intend, I’m hoping to have a rough mix of “This Is Where She Appears” (I had a drum loop lying around that I’d played with a few months ago that seemed to do the job) by the end of the week. We’ll see.

Looking ahead, the week seeoms pretty typical; work, bike, etc; along with the previously stated musical goals. The rest of the family is working toward getting through the last couple of weeks of the school year, and prepping for the upcoming dance recital (where, as usual, I’ll be running sound). We’re also pacing our way through Good Omens on Amazon Prime Video, which, given the first two episodes we’ve watched, is pretty great if you did the whole Pratchett and Gaiman thing, which, as is pretty obvious, we do.

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friday random elevenish – “one-two punch” edition

31
May

I’m still kind of coming off of the generally pretty great rock star/Guest of Honor experience at Balticon 53 last weekend, where The Humdingers played some great shows, I had some pretty decent meals, got sorta drunk with Nebula and Campbell award winning author and scientist Greg Benford, and got to hang with some friends I don’t get to see very often.

Combine that with the other big news about my booking the “Special Filk Guest” slot at Atomacon in November (an honor I’m much appreciative of but still kind of coming to terms with), I almost resisted being yanked back to mundane reality by having to sit several hours on an acquisition review board briefing (along with begging for approval for my particular project’s contract to go forward) upon my return.

Oh well, my business area is pretty routine, and given my contracting background, my documentation was on point, I made my case and got my blessing within about three minutes. Still had to sit around waiting for most of two hours for my turn to come up.

Otherwise, it’s been normal stuff – mowing the “lawn”, doing laundry, riding the bike in the 100° weather, and the occasional novelty of giving the cat her ear infection medication. Oh, and our A/C is doing it’s biennial “I don’t feel like it” routine…thankfully, it’s under warranty and probably doesn’t need much anyway, but the guy can’t get here until Wednesday to take a look at it.

Weekend plans are kind of in flux at this point; I’m off on Friday for “appointments”, and there’s talk of hanging with the soccer hooligans on Saturday (and helping our young friends celebrate their wedding anniversary), and perhaps (if it doesn’t break the budget and the weather holds) hitting the VA Ren Faire Sunday; we’ll see.

Otherwise, I’m considering my options and doing research to fill my knowledge and experience gaps in recording in order to meet my self-imposed (perhaps lofty) goal of having some sort of limited-run CD recorded, mixed, and pressed in time to have something to sell to my theoretical adoring fans come November. I have six months…I think I can handle it, and have plenty of brains to pick for advice should I need it. I’ll get it done.

Speaking of music, here’s this week’s playlist, interesting in the fact that it totally avoided the Zappa/Donnas/Bowie continuum (maybe Pandora is learning), but went heavier on the Tull than usual. Otherwise, it’s a lot of indie and 80s new wave, plus the BNL song that both blew them up huge, and also kinda prompted my declining interest…I’m such a hipster.

  1. “Sanctuary” – Ian Anderson
  2. “In A Big Country” – Big Country
  3. “Powder Blue/Cascine Park” Yumi Zouma
  4. “Tainted Love (Re-Recorded)” – Soft Cell
  5. “The Scratch” – 7 Year Bitch
  6. “All On My Mind” – Anderson East
  7. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Extended Version)” – Tears for Fears
  8. “Sweet Dream” – Jethro Tull
  9. “Tides” – Swimming Tapes
  10. “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster The People
  11. “Black Ice” – Kitten Forever
  12. “One Week” – Barenaked Ladies
  13. “Entering Eternity” – Falconer
  14. “Out of Touch” – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  15. “Under The Milky Way” – The Church

Oh- friends heading to Concarolinas this weekend, have a great time!

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social justice bard

30
May

So, along with the other stuff I’m doing these days, I finally got myself a proper bio on the Social Justice Bards web site, since I’ve been part of that crew for a while now (even if I don’t stream…yet). I’m in good company, what with Metricula, David Tyberg, Cacophonie, Rhiannon’s Lark, Wanda Hayward, and the Misbehavin’ Maidens!

In any case, the Social Justice Bards are a collective of artists that kind of stand for the following:

The Social Justice Bards are a group of live streamers, musicians, storytellers and other creatives that try to celebrate art in the face of mental illness, a terrifying political climate, and a world that we can’t always control. Sometimes, just being yourself is a radical act and being proud of that might be the light someone needs to see.

We’re all in this together!

While many of us met on Twitch, we’ve expanded beyond that as we’ve made new friends at sci-fi cons, gigs, and other areas in meatspace. We’ve developed as a geeky, creative networking group with members all across the USA and beyond and host a behind-the-scences Discord for collaboration, support, lead sharing, and connecting with other artsy types and fans alike.

In any case, you’ll find us all over the place, but my particular piece of things is here, if you’re interested.

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friday random elevenish – “on the road” edition

24
May

By the time you’re reading this, it’s quite likely I’ll be somewhere on the American Interstate Highway System in the general mid-Atlantic region (not that I’m not on stretches of that every day or anything), traveling to Baltimore to play shows and geek out with The Blibbering Humdingers, who are Guests of Honor at Balticon, a convention I haven’t been to in years, but am kind of looking forward to getting back to, because, why not. We’ll be rocking the 5-piece band at (at least) the following times:

  • Saturday 1pm – Maryland Ballroom – “Guest of Honor Event”
  • Sunday 2pm – Room 6036 – “Wizard Rock Concert”

And we’ll likely be participating in (or moderating) these events in some capacity:

  • Friday 7pm – Maryland Ballrom – “Opening Ceremonies”
  • Friday 11pm – Kent – “Open Filk”
  • Saturday 11pm – Kent – “Open Filk”
  • Sunday 10am – Kent – “Panel: Pushing the Boundaries of Filk”
  • Sunday 11am – Kent – “Panel: There’s More To Music than Three Chords”
  • Sunday 11pm – Kent – “Open Filk”

Otherwise, we’ll be vending, visiting, and generally being good convention guests. I expect, given that the con is at the Inner Harbor now, we might be catching some of the sights at some point as well.

The other interesting bit about this weekend is that my youngest child is getting her first official “Guest” status at an entirely different event this weekend; she’ll be part of the Starship Horizons team at Escape Velocity. She’s been unofficially sitting in with these guys and helping out at cons we’ve been to the last couple of years, and has become a pretty solid expert on the workings of this neat bridge simulator program, so they invited her to help “officially” facilitate things for other participants. I’m pretty proud, and kind of wish I could be there for this one.

I’d say “that’s pretty much it” for the weekend, although, honestly, it’s probably quite enough to fill the time.

Otherwise, all that’s left is the playlist. All the usual participants, and the unusual apperance of a Dirty Dancing classic, but I like it:

  1. “Hey Jealousy” – Gin Blossoms
  2. “When You Close Your Eyes” – Night Ranger
  3. “Po-Jama People”- Frank Zappa
  4. “How Soon Is Now?” – The Smiths
  5. “Give Me What I Want” – The Donnas
  6. “Didja Think” – Arlie
  7. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns ‘N’ Roses
  8. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers
  9. “List of People (To Try and Forget About) – Tame Impala
  10. “Ziggy Stardust (live, 2017 remastered version)” – David Bowie
  11. “Running Down A Dream” – Tom Petty
  12. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life (feat. Jennifer Warnes) – Bill Medley
  13. “Shut You Out” – Lunachicks
  14. “Where Is My Mind?” – Pixies
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mid-week celebration of appreciation

22
May

It is Wednesday, and I’ve been busy enough that I haven’t managed to check in on this space as I usually like to do, so I’m doing that now.

The office, with a few exceptions (which I’ll get to eventually), has been pretty slow this week, figuring in some big senior leadership meetings in Ohio and the holiday weekend we’re heading into having a lot of folks off. I’ve managed to clean up a few lingering things, set some priorities, all at a mostly leisurely pace, and hope that those meetings in the rarified air of the executive suite will settle out some of the timeline nebulosity I continue to deal with.

Tuesday, however, as I suggest in the previous paragraph, had some interesting exceptions, when a phone call from the boss (who’s in those senior leadership meetings) needed me to bail his ass out of a dumpster fire by turning a garbage acquisition review board presentation (for a program I’d never been involved with before) into a top flight presentation to go before the firing squad in two hours. I managed it (because I’m a goddamn professional), made my boss look good, and got a nice thank-you note.

It’s nice to be appreciated, though I really hope this gets remembered when performance review time comes around.

Otherwise, this week, the weather’s been beautiful so far, and as I post this missive, I’ve gotten thirty miles or so behind me on the bike, and when I weighed myself in this morning, I’m down another five pounds. I’m almost back to fighting shape, and I’m hoping to knock that fighting weight down five pounds below where it was at it’s peak. Nice stretch goal.

The weekend gig down in Durham was nice, though hot. We played our sets solidly, and people mostly appreciated our efforts (especially the second set, which wasn’t as technically proficient, but had much better energy), I got paid, and the nice folks at Bull City even threw in a couple of free crowlers to take back to the wife, even though I had fully intended to pay. Again, nice to be appreciated.

That, right there, is pretty much that, other than the general ennui/righteous anger I’m feeling at the state of the American political scene right now, and what this crap means for the state of the rights of people who aren’t bog-standard white cis-het men like me. I’m working through those feelings, and working out how to best translate those feelings into concrete action, because crap like that shouldn’t stand.

Stay tuned later in the week for what’s likely to be a pretty promo-heavy post, because we’re going to be busy this weekend with events all over the place.

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