2004-09-04 22:55 UTC


Tom Smith’s Music Store

Tom Smith has an extensive web site which includes MP3s for sale. Now that I’ve got broadband Internet I thought I’d give them a try. Payment is by PayPal, you are e-mailed a lengthy URL to download the files from using standard HTTP, and the files are standard MP3s, the collections bundled up in ZIP archives. No problems, no DRM, no BS. The one thing to keep in mind is that the URL is e-mailed to whatever PayPal thinks your primary e-mail address is. If, like me, you signed up for PayPal way back when and use it rarely, you ought to log into you PayPal account and make sure it has your current e-mail address as the primary address. The address is not actually displayed at any time during the transaction, and since I’ve undergone an address change, I had to e-mail Tom when it didn’t work. He sprang into action and made everything OK right away, but it is easier to get it right the first time.

The GaFilk 2001 collection is great. It is a pretty good live recording, with Tom recorded quite well and the audience not so well but well enough to hear at least much of their half of the between-songs discussions. I can only describe the songs and their delivery as very Tom Smith-like. If you’ve heard Tom, you know what I mean. Wonderful. Seventy minutes of Tom Smith for $4.99, and well worth the price.

“Badgers and Gophers and Squirrels, Oh My: The 24-Hour Project” is most special. All written in 24 hours, the songs are not all the very most polished, but there are some real gems in there. It must be heard to be believed. Given that, on a good day, I can get part of a verse done in 24 hours, I’m quite amazed. Twenty-seven minutes and also well worth the $4.99.

The Best of ChiCon 2000 stuff is also great, and you might as well get Tom and Luke Ski doing Cthulhu Fthagn too.

Go give Tom money. You can give him money without getting MP3s, but I’d definitely recommend you get the music.

2004-08-16 23:10 UTC


Housefilk, Milwaukee, 2004-08-14

On Saturday night we had a filk here in Milwaukee, hosted by Barisha and Richard. Nate Bucklin and Louie were there, along with quite a gang from Chicago, including anach, jerusha, almeda, Bill and Gretchen Roper, Becca, and EliseAlyse. From Milwaukee we had Art, Carol and John, Lee, Barisha and Richard (obviously), and Joyce and myself. I’m sure that if I missed or misspelled anybody someone will let me know.

It was nice to see everyone.

It is always great to hear Nate and Louie, and they had plenty of music to share, staying up past three to do so. Nate told some most interesting stories of his start in music as a young child, writing and performing at age nine on the very same well-used guitar he plays today.

I think this was the first time I’ve heard Eloise play guitar. She brought us some Blake Hodgetts as well. Art played some singalong material as well as some…deeply bizarre material. His response to The Eensie-Weensie Spider, special as it is, is not nearly as bizarre as the one about the chili.

Bill sang Teenage Popsicle Girl when we were on the dead girlfriends theme, and, with Gretchen, that song about how she was right and he was wrong. If you’ve heard it, you know which one I’m talking about (You almost volatilized my kitchen!).

Betsey led the traditional group singing of Outward Bound. I get to try out the bottom of my range singing along with her on that, which is fun.

As for me, I’m finding myself relatively functional these days when in front of an audience. It is kind of odd to have heart pounding before performing something and then after playing be so shaky that lifting a glass to drink is a challenge and yet actually play a musical instrument more-or-less successfully in between, but it certainly is better than shaking then, too, like I used to.

I would guess, from audience reaction, that not everyone had heard Ingrate before. It is a joy to see that moment when people realize what they are hearing.

I think I was pretty close to 100% as far as hitting the right notes goes playing Foggy Dew on the flute, though the tone at times could be better. I think the stage fright effects the breath control more than it does the fingers these days. I remembered to look at the key signature before starting this time, which doesn’t hurt. My run through Bach’s Fugue in G minor contained numerous fumbles, but to some extent people are impressed just that anyone would try to play such a thing at three in the morning at a filk.

I hope to see everyone again at the next filk.

(Comment below or in my Livejournal.)

2004-06-18 16:10 UTC


DucKon 13

I have some photos from DucKon.

Klaatu Barada Necktie t-shirt

Interesting t-shirts are found at cons. My own I’m blogging this shirt got a number of favorable comments. It was accurate….

woman with tail

Some people, of course, had tails to tell.

Bill Roper

Do not let this man’s smiling demeanor fool you—approach his table and you will find yourself with much less money, but much more music, than you had before.

Bill Higgins

Mitch Burnside-Clapp

Bill Higgins and Mitch Burnside-Clapp, at the “Oh, I want to fly that!” program.

Eric Coleman

Eric Coleman, in concert.

Susan and Sandy

Susan Urban and Sandy, in concert.

Becca and Chas

Becca and Chas, and


Andy, on fiddle, all of Riverfolk. He plays mandolin as well, of course. Did you know there was such a thing as a resonator mandolin? I didn’t.

audience reaction to Yellow Dog

Chas was singing Yellow Dog when this happened. This gentleman (who’s name I unfortunately do not know) reacts…strongly to some of the funny Riverfolk material.

dancing fen

The energetic Becca (Art suggests that we could solve our energy problems if we could only produce Becca In A Bottle) and equally-energetic Eloise, along with Filk Guest of Honor Steve Macdonald, dance to the music, with Richard looking on in the background and an oblivious Joyce (already ill with what we both are almost kind-of getting over now) in the foreground.

Tesla coil spark

I am here to tell you that photographing giant electric sparks in darkness (without a tripod, yet) is hard. If you try enough times, you’ll get one with someone on the other side’s flash going off while your shutter is open:

Tesla coil, backlit

Harsh light, kind of cool in a mad-scientist way. This was the GT folks destroying AOL CD-ROMs using a Tesla coil. It is not easily photographed, but it looked really cool.

2004-06-08 14:40 UTC


DucKon 13

DucKon was this last weekend, in Lincolnwood, Illinois. This will be the first pass at a con report, another will come in a few weeks when I get the many slides I took back from the lab and scan some of them.

The filk was great, of course. The concerts were great. I missed the Friday night concerts due to our late arrival, but the open filk was great, as were the rest of the concerts. Riverfolk were great, as always. They’ve taken to performing Ookla the Mok’s Home, which they do very nicely. As others noted, it is easier to hear the words when Becca and Chas sing it. Susan Urban has an amazing collection of strange, spooky songs. I don’t think I’ve seen Sandy Andina before—she and Susan performed together, and did so very well. Naomi Pardue sang a somewhat eclectic assortment of songs. I’ve seen Eric Coleman at OVFF [must have been last year’s Duck], and he was his usual energetic self. Steve Macdonald, of course, is a spirited performer, and played for a packed room at his concert. He broke his G string during the concert. The old string was auctioned off later, and now my lover is the proud owner of Steve’s G-string. He broke the A string later, during the filk, but that’s just not as interesting.

The Sunday concerts were by Graham Leathers and by Rob Middleton. I’ve seen Graham before, but this was my first extended listening experience. I first heard Nantucket Sleigh Ride many years ago, and, at least once I learned who wrote it, it has been the song I associate with him, but he sings many other songs, as well, of course. I was not familiar with Rob, and I enjoyed his music.

People like hearing my flute, apparently. I always get some positive comments. Filkers are a welcoming bunch. It is particularly nice to hear encouragement from the sort of people who are invited to give concerts.

I also achieved a more important filking goal: I sang Kanefsky’s Right Stuff Rising, which is set to Mad Scientist Guest of Honor Mitch Burnside-Clapp’s Red Star Rising. I’d been hoping to do that ever since I heard Mitch was going to be there. Art, of course, sang his Red Star parody.

There was a Harry Potter theme filk Saturday night. Milwaukee’s Art Warneke has a few and Steve Macdonald has way too many. Eloise had a few that she didn’t actually know the tunes to, so she talked Susan Urban into singing one which she knew the tune for.

There was too much at the filks for me to report it all, or remember it all. Dave Alway read some poems. The ever-energetic Eloise sang a number of songs, in particular some by Blake Hodgetts, including A Habitrail Named Klein and Hot Point, Warm Heart. Phil Parker showed off his finger picking ability. Becca and Chas of Riverfolk played a bunch of songs. Susan Urban had more of the weird and creepy. The other Susan sang some songs. Jason had some death and depression for us. No Harry Potter songs, of course, because there’s not enough death there. Mitch sang some funny stuff. Andy Anda added fiddle and Mandolin for us. Barb and Carol got Richard to sing with them. He always seems a bit reluctant, though he has a great voice. Bill and Gretchen Roper sang a deeply hilarious song about, well, husbands screwing up (“You almost volatilized my kitchen!”).

If I left you out, that’s either because of sleep-deprivation or else I just haven’t a clue what your name is. We had a nice rendition of Lullaby For A Weary World from…someone. That came just before Art and I did…things…to Red Star Rising.

It’s always nice to see people in person. It’s good to have some connection with people beyond LiveJournal. I spent a good bit of time chatting with Eloise, which was very nice. She showed me lots of photos on the little screen on the back of her digital camera. I need one of those. The delay for mailing Fujichrome out for processing isn’t so bad if I’m usually the only viewer of the photos, but it would be nice to get things onto the web faster, let alone show them off right at the event.

Backrub parter Jason was good to see. Sweetie Kitten was there, back from her long trip to Alaska, along with the entire clan. We have a Milwaukee housefilk scheduled for next week, so I’ll be seeing some of the crowd again real soon.

The GT people set up a Tesla coil and destroyed AOL CDs with high-voltage. That was really cool. I did not attend build-a-blinky, but my girlfriend did. These blinkies, they keep getting higher-tech. In the old days, the world’s simplest timer circuit blinking a diode was good enough, now we have really tiny general-purpose digital computers blinking the diodes.

Thanks to all the hard-working people who make the event possible.

2004-06-01 03:05 UTC


Double Dew

While eating on Memorial day at Bluemound Gardens, we noticed that they offer a drink of, I suppose, filk potential:

Tullamore Dew Double Dew
Tullamore Dew and Mountain Dew. Dew both in a glass and see what it does for you.

2004-03-16 04:50 UTC


Milwaukee Housefilk

Last Saturday evening one of the occasional Milwaukee house filks took place in Barb’s basement. Barb now has heat in her basement, which is nice, particularly for those of use who are always cold, such as, for example, Barb.

Turnout was fairly large. Emory sang his latest creation, an amazing amalgamation of songs. We had singalongs. Guitars. A flute. Snack food. Backrubs. It was the usual fun time staying up late filking.

Thanks to Barb and Richard for hosting it.

2004-01-21 02:48 UTC


OVFF 19 photos

I finally have some photos from the 2003 OVFF processed and scanned. These are from the Blue Moon songwriting contest and a few from the auction that followed.

Blake Hodgetts

Blake Hodgetts


ASH Productions, if I’m not mistaken.

Pete Grubbs

The illustrious Pete Grubbs

Renee and Ray

Renee Alper and Ray.

sound board

The sound board (I am a geek)

Cat Faber

Pegasus winner Cat Faber

An Interfilk auction runner (Susan, I believe)

And this Interfilk Wench would look great on the cover of a fantasy novel (just imagine her holding up a sword).

2004-01-02 21:27 UTC


Happy New Year

Having stayed up late filking and then had a day off from work, I am convinced that it is Monday. Fortunately, it is actually Friday, so the weekend approaches. I went to the Lytheria new year party, where I saw the people who I see only at the Lytheria parties and other people I see other times as well. We had a nice filk up on the third floor. It was generally agreed that Dangerously Close shows some very subtle signs of having been written by Kanefsky. Right. Actually, it couldn’t be any more obvious, from choice of subject matter to choice of such a beloved song to do that to. Plus I sang it so that’s about a 50% Kanefsky probability right there. As I promised, I sang Witnesses Walloped. There was wonderful music from Barb, Carol, Art, Phil, Emory, Richard, Deirdre, and anyone else who I may have forgotten. I should practice the flute more—people like it.

Thanks to Lee for hosting these great events.

2003-12-08 21:45 UTC


At the next filk…

Do I know what I’m going to sing at the next filk? Why, yes, I do.

2003-12-02 17:30 UTC


Chambanacon 33

I spent the weekend after Thanksgiving in Springfield, IL, at Chambanacon, having a wonderful time. The filk was lively, with a few more people, I think, than we’ve seen in recent years. Dave Alway shared quite a few poems and a few songs. The Suttons were entertaining, as always. We were treated to a wonderful display of musical talent (as well as Frank Hayes Disease) by Joe Haldeman. Juanita Coulson was present, as usual. Ernest (KB9SKI) played some great songs. (Mo is Om spelled backwards…although we who spent too much time in the electrical engineering department think mho is ohm spelled backwards, now known as the Siemens.) Milwaukee fandom was also well represented.

I experienced the joy of having a perfect follower, in my case Jabber-Whacky, a parody of Jabber-Wocky by Isabel Di Caprio using brand-names everywhere, which I’ve set to the tune of “Witch of the Westmoreland,” as a follower for a song about dreaming (or not) of ordering every single item advertised on late-night TV that Bill Sutton sang.

If you would like people to join in on an instrumental piece, Road To Listonvarna would be a superb choice. I think I had two guitars, a mandolin, a fiddle, and a drum joining my flute. I’m having to learn to play it more consistently, to avoid losing everyone.

I learned a useful lesson: Don’t sing Nobody’s Moggy Lands when Jan Di Masie is present. I had just gotten to the chorus when she took my filk book and removed the offending pages from the binder. I’m glad I don’t have memorized. I don’t want to find out what she does then. We had a cannibalism and death theme going, so I figured, why not road-kill cats? Now I know why not. Jan was giving out some excellent raspberry sake (all is forgiven) and brought along the always-entertaining Spot, the Ball Python. Both Jan and Spot are looking good. Spot was fairly energetic and spent some time crawling over me. I have no idea how he moves. He’s pushing somewhere and pulling somewhere else and sliding along elsewhere, and, well, somehow it all works. He knows what he’s doing.

The Cajun restaurant that formerly occupied the thirtieth floor of the Springfield Hilton is gone, replaced by an Italian restaurant with the somewhat cliche-sounding name Capisce?, which, annoyingly, has a piece of punctuation in the name. I guess we should just be glad it’s not CaPisce?DotCom or something. The food, however, was excellent. I had the canelloni alla nettuno and my traveling companion the canelloni tutti carni, two closely-related yet quite differently flavored dishes. Just superb. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal, as well as the view from the thirtieth floor, some hundred meters above street level. I highly recommend the place, if your budget allows it—our dinner for two totaled about $60.

I’ll post my stair-climbing times and measurements later. One can’t spend a weekend in a thirty story building without trying out the stairs, can one? (Stair article now up.)



by Michael Pereckas


Subscribe with Bloglines

mspland home
Flickr Photos
Interesting links

Advanced Search



Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

Recent Photos

Currently Reading


My RSS feeds at Bloglines
My LiveJournal friends list
Armadillo Aerospace
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

powered by blosxom.