sweetmusic_27: A lego minifig in a blue dress with blue hair and a fiddle. (Lego fiddler)
Things I should tell y'all:

Cheshire Moon released a summer EP and I'm on one of the songs (Disenchanted), and all proceeds benefit Interfilk: http://www.cheshiremoonband.com/merch.html

Phil Mills released "Mix Until Absurd," and I'm on that, too: http://philmills.bandcamp.com/album/mix-until-absurd (Talk to Strangers, Tweedledee, Watching One Another)

I got to play with Talis Kimberley at LonCon this August and there's a "highlights" video of the performance that includes three complete songs - Corn Jenny, Síar Ón Ndaingean, and This Side of The Knife, and I'm on the last two of those. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEFRGyQOjFg
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
Sunday night I rehearsed with a vocalist/guitarist I play with in The New Lepers, a sort of may-or-may-not-exist Poguesish band.

Tuesday night I rehearsed with a jazz fusion band I've recently joined, Wunderkat - we're going to start recording the 2nd week of November!

Wednesday night I rehearsed with my jug band, breaking in the band's new guitarist.

Tonight is Thursday, and I played with Kurt (guitar/vocals/drum, 1/3 of The Tooles) as Borderlands for the Piper's Ball at the Janesville Performing Arts Center to open the Janesville Irish Festival.

Tomorrow I'm taking a goddamn nap. I may go to the comic book store.

Saturday morning is an Amy and the Patriarchs show, which is a funny name for "me and a dude or two play whatever we want" - it's me and Kurt again, and we'll be playing the Janesville Farmer's Market.

Saturday afternoon is The Tooles - all three of us, including David (guitar/vocals/bass) - playing our Big Stage Set on the Rileyville Stage of the Janesville Irish Festival. The Tooles are going to start recording the first week of November!

Sunday afternoon is Borderlands again, but it'll be me, Kurt, and Craig (a talented harmonica player, among other things) playing the Lake Mills Fall Festival.

Monday I'll do laundry and that night I might see my husband. Tuesday night I'll have Wunderkat rehearsal...

In the last few days, I've:
-cleaned the kitchen floor
-done dishes
-done laundry
-taken out recycling
-renewed my car's registration
-taken out trash
-picked up prescriptions at the drugstore and gotten my flu shot
-brought my sick girlfriend some soup and so far, it appears, somehow not gotten her cold
-renewed my auto insurance
-renewed my Musician's insurance (yay for protected instruments!)
-renewed my AAA membership (yay for getting home safely from pub gigs that end at one in the morning!)
-noticed our internet was wonky, called Charter, scheduled a service call, let in the specialist, got things fixed, called Charter on his advice, and got our plan switched to something that will give us twice the download speed for $30/mo less
-started cooking a tasty pot roast

I'm bragging about it NOW because I probably won't be this domestically productive again until... let's say early December. Hope all y'all are doing well.
sweetmusic_27: "Some games are too dangerous to play" displayed over rose petals and blood (Dangerous)
My car needed a new transmission and I couldn't afford the discounted replacement my mechanic could line up for me. So I called some junkyards and found one at a junkyard in Appleton. Drove to go get it, got the car with the new transmission in the trunk to my mechanic, went out of town for Contata and the Kalamazoo Irish Fest. Came back, car not ready. Okay, no big deal. Week goes by. Car not ready. "Okay, but I'm going to need a loaner now."

At first, the loaner car they gave me just seemed not-great. But slowly I learned that in addition to it taking a while to register when you put it in reverse and the broken gas gauge and the "Low Coolant" light... (It looks like an empty drum of blood with an arrow; I put more coolant in it. The light stayed on) ...it had some other problems.

The lights needed to warm up, or something. The first time I tried to use them they wouldn't work and I had to use the brights. Then after five minutes the regular lights worked. Then they turned off while I was driving. Once it stalled while idling. It lurched into and out of gears around 30 mph. And about five percent of the time, if I tried to accelerate after turning the wheel, it wouldn't respond to the gas pedal. "I put the pedal down, it bucks and tosses; it's a three hundred dollar car." It was JUST LIKE THAT.

So I put up with that for a week, intermittently checking the oil, transmission fluid, and keeping it very well gassed up since I had to guess how much fuel was in it. Then I called my mechanic. My car still wasn't ready. They just had no personnel to do stuff. They were very sorry. I told them about the loaner's problems. "Oh, no! Why didn't you just say so?!"

"Well, because I thought my car would be ready."

Today, I went to exchange loaners. I got on the freeway to do this. I was in the center lane, going seventy miles an hour, at the beginning of rush hour, such as it is in Madison - four fifteen - and I look down to see no RPMs. Speedometer reading 65 and decreasing. Semis going past me in the right lane.

I flashed my blinkers and waved my arms and got over, restarted the car, crawled forward until the rightmost lane turned into an exit-only lane and the traffic thinned there, and then used that to get up to speed and back into traffic.

It did not try to kill me again. I made it to the mechanic and did not totally lose my shit telling him what happened. I just said, "I know it's gonna take time. And I would obviously love to have my car back and repaired. But mostly, I just want to LIVE, okay?"

Then I went to the house where my bandmates were waiting to rehearse with me, and only then did I give in to the panic from the road and lose my shit. Bless them, they welcomed me in with open arms.

And then we played a great gig! And my new loaner is a nice steady old tank.

Phew. *falls over*
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
The Tooles At Kalamazoo 2014 -taken by Peter Alway


Laaaadies and Gentlemen! My band The Tooles - Me, David, and Kurt - has just launched our Kickstarter.
It's gonna be super great.

Musicianship has been making me really happy and keeping me busy. Contata was two weeks ago, and it was the first convention that ever asked me to be their Guest of Honor, and I was thrilled to bring David along and give a concert and trade whisky songs and play with 3/5 and [livejournal.com profile] peteralway and see the Burnside Clapps and Sheryl and EVERYBODY.

Last week was the Kalamazoo Irish Festival. The photo above was taken by Peter Alway, who made it there as well as [livejournal.com profile] bigbumble and we had a wonderful time. Soon, more festivals, more conventions, and then we get to record, and I LOVE recording. I'll just be over here, burbling happily. Some of y'all on my friendslist have already contributed to the kickstarter, and y'all are totally great and I adore you for it. You're gonna hear a whole lot more about it, and for that, I beg your indulgences. <3

SCIENCE

Apr. 25th, 2014 02:22 pm
sweetmusic_27: A photo of me biting the scroll of my violin, reading "Nom Nom Nom" (Fiddlenom)
Okay, everybody, here's the deal.

A company is making a product called Palcohol. Powdered alcohol. And I thought, "BUT HOW CAN THIS BE?!"

So I did a bit more searching. This article gives an explanation and a recipe for making your own powdered alcohol using a very fluffy and absorbent tapioca maltodextrin.

And I thought about it for a little while. And I realized all I would need is this: http://www.nuts.com/cookingbaking/salts/malic-acid.html and the superfine sugar I already have, maybe some flavoring, or I could use interestingly-flavored alcohols to begin with, and this http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1778/ -- and I could make caffeinated alcoholic pixy stix that you could set on fire.

Science.

I told this to my friend Johnny. Who told his friends, including a certain Mz Maau. AND THIS IS THE BEAUTIFUL RESULT. All hail Juan Carlos Ochoa, whose website is http://www.juanochoa.co/ - go take a look at all of his amazing work. pixies Final
sweetmusic_27: A photo of me biting the scroll of my violin, reading "Nom Nom Nom" (Fiddlenom)
Me: "I'm good in a crisis."

Benet: "I'm good... with algebra?"

(He is, in fact, good at a great many things.)
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
...so I built a snow lady!

Pictures. )

She's my first snow lady, though I did build an angel once when I was younger. Anyway, I'm sure you can do better. Go make your own and show me pictures!
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
If I were to pick two things that the end of this month did not require, I would say "another cold" and "more snow."

...guess what I got last night, on both counts.

On the up side, Conflikt was great, and though I've spent a lot of the last month or so sick, I've also spent a lot of it playing fantastic music. Expect a post on my mini-tour soon.
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
I have now been sick, on-and-off, for a month and a half. Got bronchitis again, bad enough we had to rule out pneumonia, refilled my albuterol scrip, and am back on the upswing. Happily, it is almost time for GAfilk, two more gigs, and Conflikt. Also happily, I slept eleven hours last night.
sweetmusic_27: A lego minifig in a blue dress with blue hair and a fiddle. (Lego fiddler)
Hey, all -

I've been quiet a lot lately, and mostly it's been because I've helped out with some holiday retail at my old job, had a bad cold, gone to SFContario (which was great!), gone back to helping with holiday retail, played a sub gig, gotten another cold, and gotten a wicked case of bronchitis at the tail end of it, needing a kick in the pants with antibiotics and an albuterol inhaler.

It's always a study in patience when I lose my voice, a difficult relearning of two painfully frustrating lessons: Don't say anything you don't need to. If it hurts, stop.

You'd think I'd have gotten those down a long time ago, but I sure haven't. On the up side, I've also gotten extensive remedial training in hot toddy making.

Tonight I have a nifty big important gig, and tomorrow I have a fun pub gig. Thank goodness I'm not primarily a vocalist.
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
November 23th is International Survivors of Suicide Day.

Pretty terrible-sounding holiday, huh. This is an updated post that might look familiar to some of you who have seen it the last couple of years In general, I try to keep my posts upbeat and not get too political or activist-y. However, this day and what it means is very important to me, and I'd be grateful if you read, shared, or just thought about these issues, just for a few minutes. I make this post annually on November 19th because that was the date of my first ISOS Day - it's always on a Saturday.

I know this is a difficult topic. )

This is my story. )

Resources. )

Thank you for reading. I know that this is a confusing and difficult subject, but I feel it’s one that people should be able to talk about. Today, I’ve decided that “people” starts with me. I hope you'll decide that "people" starts with you, too: Feel free to link back to this. Feel free to comment here with other links and resources and stories. Feel free to talk to me about suicide. Feel free to comment anonymously on this post (trolling and hate speech will be deleted).
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
Well, it's been quite the week that's just finished.

---My band Borderlands was on the radio. We were on 92.1 The Mic for the show The People's Mic, and you can listen to the podcast of that show here on their website. We're on from about 13 minutes in until about 35 minutes in, if you're curious. There are a couple of skips in the podcast, but it's still pretty great! Being on the radio was... terrifying. Electrifying. Charming. The songs we do are "Just Too Tired to Sleep," at 15:37-18:30, "That Ain't Right," 22:32-25:54, "We Will Not Break," 26:57-29:49, and "Good To See You Again," which I think was my favorite from this show, 31:08-34:18. I do some singing along! The violin and harmonica come through fairly clearly! The people at the station were really, really nice.

---I was in a magazine! It's a local online publication called Project Famous, and my article is in the October Issue. ProjectFamous Oct 2013 page 53ProjectFamous Oct 2013 page 54ProjectFamous Oct 2013 page 55

---I was an extra in a music video! The Lords of the Trident are a local heavy metal band, and I guess I haven't said much about liking metal before, but for one, sometimes metal is just satisfying. You raise your fist and you yell for blood and the bass buzzes in your heart and your shoes and you leave feeling better. It's cathartic. For two, heavy metal bands are generally composed of dorky guys whose genre expects them to do the things that most women in music are expected to do, like put on makeup and dress up in weird restrictive garments. This band in particular has a great sense of humor about these things. Being an extra was a lot of fun. All I had to do was jump up and down and sing along a lot, and, in the opening scene, look pissed off. I enjoyed it immensely.

---I finally got the time to sit down and listen to the newly revamped Stars Fall Home from beginning to end. With all of the things I do, all of the recordings I'm in, I make sure to find time to listen to the entire thing, with no distractions and a decent sound system. I know it's been out for months, now, but this was a big thing for me. It was the first album I did with Kristoph Klover as sound engineer, it was the first studio album where I was such an instrumental accompanist, it was a testament to my years of participation in filk... it was a lot of things. And it still is. But more. Lots of little things are tweaked, but there's also a new addition, Continental Divide, a song which didn't get included on the initial release. I remember listening to each and every take of the original with Mike Whitaker at The Mill House, just like I did for "River Lies." I'm not even on this song, but I wound up giving input and encouragement and, okay, sometimes just drinking tea. The new version of it is a masterpiece. And now that I've finished listening to the whole album, I'm going to cue up "Downhome Aphrodite" and listen to it on repeat. Because that's how I roll.

---I'm starting to get plans together for The January Cons, GAFilk, and Conflikt. I get to do the first with Play It With Moxie, and the second, I will be the Guest of Honor at a convention for the first time. I get to go with David Perry, a fantastic musician whom some of you have heard before, and I get to enjoy the talents of fellow fiddler and Toastmaster Sunnie Larsen and the amazing Tim Griffin as Interfilk guest. I'm still not entirely sure how the setlist will look, but I can tell you that it's going to be a lot of fun.
sweetmusic_27: A photo of me biting the scroll of my violin, reading "Nom Nom Nom" (Fiddlenom)
Here at my house, we go through a lot of bread. I was out in the correct direction today, and I finally had the bright idea to go to the bakery clearance shop right next to the bakery today and picked up two loaves of nice bread and some muffins. Turns out, when you spend $5 or more at the bakery clearance shop, you get a free loaf of bread! Since I already had two nicer loaves, I knew just what to do with it. After all, "When life gives you bread, make croutons, cover yourself in garlic butter, and laugh maniacally!"


...that's what they say, right?

Jetsetting

Sep. 16th, 2013 10:37 pm
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
This month, I am extra-lucky. I get to be a jetsetting recording artist! I spent Saturday at [livejournal.com profile] billroper's laying down nine tracks for three different people's projects. And then next week, I'm going to get to hang out at [livejournal.com profile] k_stoph's and work on [livejournal.com profile] cadhla's album! Musicwise, next month will be almost-quiet, which is probably a good thing, as November should be nutty as all get-out. I'm going to SFContario and Windycon! I'll get to see [livejournal.com profile] dapatty!

It's gonna be great. :D
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
In a startling example of investedness and responsibility, I seem to have penned a proposal to amend the constitution of the World Science Fiction Society.

I have done this because though there have been several proposals for a YA Hugo in recent years, there wasn’t one on the minutes for this year.

I hadn’t attended any of the WSFS business meetings because I hate meetings, and I didn’t know I was allowed to vote, and waking up in the morning at a convention is hard. But I’m going to wake up in the mornings and go this year, because I think it’s time to show up and vote on something I care about.

Here is the text of my proposed amendment:
"Short Title: YA Hugo

3.3.___: Best Youth Book.
(a) A science fiction or fantasy book published in the previous calendar year for young adults, middle readers, or children.
(b) An author (or authors) whose book is nominated in this category and the Best Novel cateogry may not be nominated in both categories simultaneously.
(c) Three years after being implemented, this Constitutional amendment shall be repealed unless re-ratified.
Proposed: Amy McNally, Member Number 3324
Seconded: Brooke Abbey, Member Number 3648"

When I show up to defend this thing I have written and vote for it, I will face some opposition. I’d like to talk about what folks might say, and what I might say in return. )

ETA: Links fixed, sorry!

ETA2, 8/17/13: Here is the new text of the amendment with some proposed changes so far, some of which I may bring up at the preliminary meeting: )

Coming soon: A guide to distinguishing between juvenile literature and adult literature for the purposes of voting.
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
Dear internet

That's a photo of the packages I'm sending out. If you have already commented on this post or sent me an email, your package will go out today or tomorrow and should arrive in 1d6 weeks. Most of them contain a random Advance Review Copy of a YA novel, some stickers, a toy, some blank postcards, and some bit of convention swag. Some of them have Special Extra Random Crap. I did not include notes or explanations.

You can still comment and/or email me and get a package, however it will not go out until I get back from SDCC.

Right.

Jul. 14th, 2013 11:28 am
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
So, as I mentioned before, I've been cleaning. And there's some weird stuff in my living room. And I am inspired by the success of an internet yard sale my girlfriend had recently.

And I think snail mail is awesome. So here's what's going down!

If you would like a MYSTERY GRAB BAG PACKAGE (which will probably involve books, toys, stickers, and/or weird swag from cons), send me an email with your address at infamousfiddler at gmail dot com or comment here with your shipping address.

I'm not charging for shipping, even if you're international. You can buy me lunch or something if you feel guilty.

I will not send you old pens that probably don't work even though I have approximately nine gazillion of them.

Cleaning?

Jul. 10th, 2013 02:05 pm
sweetmusic_27: A lego minifig in a blue dress with blue hair and a fiddle. (Lego fiddler)
Facts about cleaning:

1. My living room looks slightly less full of crap.

2. I finally found both of my corded drills!

3. Even the dust in my house smells like cookies and garlic.

4. I have a lot of stickers, tape, sharpies, and hair elastics.

5. My vacuum cleaner takes Eureka L-type bags, and I just gave up and ordered them online.

6. If I ever actually manage to clean the entire living room, the universe may implode at the improbability. If it doesn't, I may need a new bottle of scotch to christen the place. Also a little note that says, "Yes, you really live here," outside the door. Until it gets messed up again, of course. In a week. *headdesk*
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
A couple of days ago, I made a post on harassment in life and at conventions. Please go ahead and read it if you haven't already; there are some interesting discussions in the comments.

You may be surprised to know that I actually pulled some of my punches in that post. I was polite, sure. I cut-tagged, sure. Also, I didn't talk about my worst experiences, just the first one and its escalation, and then a number of vague examples. I didn't tell anyone else's stories, either. I wish I didn't have so many stories from others.

I didn't talk about those events because they make me feel awful. The things people have done to me over the years have made me feel filthy, ugly, ashamed, stupid, crazy, desperate to leave, desperate to be someone else, guilty, nauseated, and violently angry.

I didn't talk about those events because the list is long and depressing and all of the little ones run into each other because they happen again and again.

I didn't talk about those events because lots of other people have had it worse for so many reasons. Kat Howard has a brief explanation here of why people don't report and why we shouldn't pressure them to do so. She says, "Really, the wonder isn't that more people don't name names. It's that anyone is brave enough to at all." Then she links to this post by Genevieve Valentine, and if you haven't read it yet, I'm just going to post the entire thing: )

Some of the discussion in the comments there is interesting, too. In most places, you'll find a fair number of people saying stuff like this, in varying degrees.

Seeing all these posts is probably beginning to get tiresome. Nobody likes to read about depressing stuff over and over and over again. Nobody likes feeling like maybe they're part of the problem. Nobody likes being afraid to talk to people at cons, a place where it's supposed to be fun and easy for geeks to interact. Nobody wants bad stuff to happen. (Well, okay, I'm generalizing here, but even members of the Evil League of Evil try not to harass that girl at the laundromat.) In fact, while I'm on the topic, everybody wants to think that they just don't have the potential to do awful things within them.

But these things keep happening. Some part of the backs of our heads must be telling us that it's okay. These things happen. Must have been one heckuva misunderstanding there, or somebody had a really bad day. That person's always been nice to me. That would never happen in my backyard/city/convention/party. Why do these people keep complaining? I wouldn't tolerate that bullshit, and then complain about it later instead of acting! I'd throw a punch! Everybody else just needs to learn respect and to grow a spine. That one dude is just like that -- sure, he's kind of a lech, but he's a harmless lech, and that's why we all put up with him. Some people just can't take a joke. Don't we all have bigger problems to worry about? Well, I just won't go to that con or talk to that person.

I'm not going to lie, I have thought these things. I will think them again, because I have been taught to think them. But just like everything else in life, to get to the really big and shiny things, to get to the future I want, I'm going to have to stop doing some of the things that make me feel comfortable.
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