My concert went well

The Tapioca Song singalong and recording beforehand went reasonably well, but I was sweating my god.

The concerts were recorded and livestreamed. I will provide links if and when I find out what they are. John Seghers has indicated he’ll provide wav files recorded from the board, which would be nice. BUT I HAVE TO EMAIL HIM FIRST hint hint I have to remember that.

Paul sat in the back and provided comment afterward. He said my stagecraft has improved and I was entertaining as hell. Also, and he was really surprised, he is used to being the first person who hears a new song (sometimes it’s Mike, but 90% it’s Paul) and he DID NOT KNOW I had learned the Lousy Cutters on dulcimer and so sat with his mouth hanging open, which was fun to hear about afterward. I COULD SEE CINDY SINGING ALONG FOR HALF OF MY STUFF IT WAS AWESOME. Also, there was some guy in the audience – new to me, youngish by filk standards, who started smirking as soon as I fired up Alexios and laughed aloud repeatedly so goodie.

I played Way up in the Sky, (everybody laughed in the right places and the ONE PLACE I WANTED TO GET A LAUGH made the whole room shout with laughter – such a lovely feeling – the line is “The sun’s hot (semi longish pause) … don’t touch it”,  Gelis and Nicolas, Zero-G (the Bed), Dishing with Joyce, The Friend who Gave Me This Ukelele, The Lousy Cutters, The Anarchist Parade Marshall, An invocation to my ancestors, Alexios the Murder Hobo, Pardon me is that stool taken, and possibly one other song that currently escapes. I had a good time and it really showed, according to BL Chiffon, whom I ran into along with Frank Hayes in the Con suite after. Also I said, “I play the song of my people” and blasted the slide whistle and cracked everyone up.

I forgot to take my meds so that probably explains why I was sweating like a pig.  I took them late, apparently suffered no problems.


In an hour I have to do a seminar.

I have a long long day ahead but I et my brekky and I’ve had my coffee and I’m ready to go more or less.


Vanessa Cardui’s concert was fantastic. Her song “Made it” which is an intense family history song that is completely a true story made me want to hug my fOlks and brother so damned hard you have no idea, and her song from Data to Spot was SO WONDERFUL I must obtain a copy for Jeff. She sang in OCCITAN F’CHRISSAKE don’t let anyone tell you that filk isn’t educational. Anyway wonderful guitarist and vocalist. Her only song not self written was about the Molasses Flood of Boston and despite the horror we all laughed.

AND I wrote and delivered a land acknowledgement which covered all the territory I could. I didn’t use the word unceded because this is their land, and I’d prefer to just call it what it is, stolen, if I have to.


I live upon and come to you from the shared lands of the Sto:lo and Coast Salish, and we are gathered now on the lands of the Coast Salish, Duwamish and Puget Sound Salish peoples. May our time together at Conflikt 13 be a living memorial to the values of sharing and community, and to our deep appreciation for the beauty of this land and its first peoples. May we especially honor the frogs and all the creatures of the wetlands, the salmon and all the creatures of the ocean, the wolves and all the creatures and plants of the forests, the elders and the children in all their beauty, and all the remaining Sasquatches. Dear ones, let us make a memorable festival, and let us be thankful.

awesome George Carlin / Fury Road mashup

I loved this movie by the way. Its over-the-topness was a marvel.

a view of the hotel room, shown is a cutaway acoustic-electric guitar named Smokey and Otto, my octave mandolin WOULD BE HERE if the hotel wifi would let me email it from my phone to my google account. I’ve sent it four times, NADA

christ it only took two hours, wtf Hilton

Jeff Tiedrich on twitter:

ideally, you want the President of the United States, the Mayor of Crazytown and the village idiot to be three different people


not enough sleep

Paul and I are checked into the Hilton Doubletree at Seatac. Nice room. There are a lot of instruments in it.

Trip down was uneventful. Agent at the border was a total sweetheart and told us to spend hella money. Driving in rush hour Seattle traffic which I seem to do at least once a year whether I need to or not was not eventful but in the rain it pretty much sucked a mop. Stopped at Razzi’s for pizza, which I may consume for breakfast.

Jeri Lynn greeted us at the hotel lobby (after an amusing moment which I shan’t elaborate upon) and she and Jeff C helped us get our instruments out of the car. I loaned her my octopot hat to keep the rain off Jeri Lynn’s head.

I GOT THE THREE OF CUPS as my day card today; improvement is not possible.


Today, registration and rehearsal and sound check and concert and welcome.Apparently other guests at the con have been injured or jostled or had emergency surgery on the way to the con so I guess I’m going to count myself lucky that nothing bad’s happened to me so far. Also, I will get to be ‘toastedmaster’ for the duration of the con, so YAY knowing the people who print the con badges.

Explosion in Houston may have been triggered by a meteorite! if that’s what happened it sure picked a good spot to impact at 30K kph; a polypropylene tank surrounded by oxygen tanks. The bang, whether it resulted from a meteorite or not, was heard and felt 30 miles away and showed up on weather radar. So, you know, not small.

Retweeted something critical of Bernie Sanders, four people stopped following me. LOL Bernie Sanders is not going to be president, 45 will steal the election through redistricting and purging voter rolls and fraud at the polls, plus intimidation, etc etc. Fascism and America are fuck buddies, and the last ten years have proved it.

In Paul’s honour, a pic from Instagram of a cake from Punk Rock Pastries on Hastings. The last time he was in town somebody broke into his car and stole the tool box I bought him shortly after he started working at Air Canada. It’s a good idea not to get attached to stuff.

Air Canada Cake…. by Punk Rock Pastries

frens and travel

Cindy and Elias her son will be leaving this morning as well, so we will likely meet up with them in the hotel sometime this afternoon.

It’s raining, and it will rain all day, but I’ve driven down that highway ten times at least in the rain, and it’s no problem. I’ll phone Paul around ten am to find out how his preparations are coming.

I woke up at one thirty but forced myself back to sleep. I’m assuming that extra hour and a half will do me some good; I feel quite perky.

Did you know that statins can cause antisocial behaviour?

HOTM 55179

30k of fanfic published in 4 stories since the 17th, including one with polyamory elements. It’s interesting which stories collect kudos faster. Hint kittens vs polyamory….

Obvs I’m freaking out

But, not as badly as yesterday, and it doesn’t really affect my sleep. I don’t understand how I can be such a worrywart during the day and then BOOM I R UNCONSCIOUS at 20 after 7 in the evening. I’ll be checking in Thursday and leaving Monday and driving Paul down in his vehicle – yes the very one I assisted in rescuing.

Walked over to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up the prescription I had paid for but not yet collected. On the way back I bought some pork chops from the finest butcher shop in town. (This is a song quote, and if the one person who reads this blog stumbles across it they will howl.) Picked up some ground meat, too. I plan to make spag. Also six donuts.

Wrote a thousand words yesterday. It started as one thing and then the fucking wife shows up as a ghost and I never have supernatural elements in my SPN fic so I am pissed as hell about it. I’m trying to figure out her motivation but all she does is stare at me and point menacingly at the other characters. Thanks byotch I got other problems at the moment. Dragging out one of the other fics for massage instead while that one cools off. The newest fic is at a 7% kudo rating on just over 1000 hits, which is solid.

One of my namesakes: shown below is Allegra Kent, Principal Ballerina of the NY Ballet Company in 1959, the year this was taken.

Post image

I think I’m going to have more coffee and have another whack at “Just How I Feel” my SPN polyamory story provisional title. After that “You Can’t Sleep Here” and “Don’t Forget to Bring a Snack for Men’s Group” need to be bashed into shape.


56135 HOTM – added through edits, and I deleted about two paragraphs, so….

brekky with Alex

It’s by no means guaranteed, but we are probably going out for breakfast with Katie and Alex this morning. LATER YES IT IS GUARANTEED they will be here to pick us up in 20.

I got almost eight hours of sleep last night. It was absolutely wonderful. I definitely sleep better when it’s cold in here.

Cousin Alex is not having a good time sleeping these days. Well do I remember my early fifties and I probably have dozens of blog posts complaining about how much I sweated….. menopause is hard, but most of the parturition crowd would say it’s eventually worth it. Don’t forget the Replens, it makes a huge difference.

Feetsball today. Jeff will be thinking of our pOp.

Wrote lots yesterday, trying to get a fic finished.


This is Anastasia Baburova, murdered a decade ago by fascists. She was a student anarchist and journalist. I think she was one of my people… does she look like a Scythian warrior woman to you?

I have learned not to immediately respond to news on Twitter. If it’s accurate someone smarter will have a better assessment and if it’s not you’ve not made a fucking idiot out of yourself at least more than normal.


early in the morning

seven hours of blessed sleep last night, most welcome. The weighted blanket the children gave me continues to be one of the best gifts I ever received in terms of keeping the kindness of the givers clearly in mind and its effectiveness.

Newfoundland is experiencing hurricane blizzards, and once again Rex Murphy limns his irrelevance with a lovely misstep, lining weather and climate up together to ‘prove’ that global climate change is not occurring.

It’s weird weather, all the time, until the new normal in about 150 years.

The new fic, which is basically how I grab three major and two minor but re-appearing characters and toss them into a domestic support situation with a major mental illness and a newborn baby girl and five important dyadal relationships to see how witty I can make the dialogue, is coming along nicely.

A list of my twitter trends this morning. LOL

Screencap of five twitter trends: Jesus Christ, snowstorm, Newfoundland, Rex Murphy and YouShouldntHireMeBecause


posted another fanfic

I have 8 fanfics in process right now. Started and finished one yesterday and posted it at supper time. It already has 691 hits and I’m watching that number increment by about three per minute. If you want to know where it’s located private message me.

7 percent kudo rate…. not too shabby for 2100 words


HOTM 53075 YES TWO WHOLE WORDS but that was after I took a bunch of stuff out…


not as much wind as expected here

More snow, though. I suppose I should post pics.

For the first time in days, we let Buster out. He was back, annoyed and still very zoomy, within ten minutes. Poor lamb, he just wants to stretch his legs and take a leak under the sundeck and the snow went past his oxters.

When I let him out (via the cat door) he demonstrated, yet again, how goddamned funny he is.

He sniffed the door.

He looked around.

He sniffed the door again and pushed against the flap until he was almost completely outside. Now, when I say almost, I mean that he left ten cm of tail behind him. At that point he paused in his exit, with thoughts much like “THis is sOME bulLshit!” crossing his mind. Then he took another step forward and stopped again, this time with about 3 cm of fur caught in the door flap. He arrested there a while as well, and then fully braved the night and snow.

snow poem

under this soft & fleshy snow
the seed of spring is sleeping
within the snow, the freshet
within the snow, the torrent
within the snow, the rain of another sky

all the northern seasons are in you
little piece of wind-sculpture
beckoning finger of frost
the mud of May, howling January

the molecules untroubled if they
cling to a comet
& abrade themselves into light
or sting my cheek
or sit in my glass
but as a pure white blanket
protecting the eternal babe of spring
I love them best





There you have it

16cm yup another six inches

that’s what’s forecast between now and Thursday night (it’s midnight Wednesday now.) We definitely need more salt,  but I’m not shovelling until 6 am. It’s East Burnaby so we’ll probably get 1.5 times the forecast.

mOm very kindly put cousin Laurel on the phone yesterday so I got to talk to her. There’s been a death on the inlaw side of the family and it coincided with the worst of the ferries and roads, so she’s had an adventure; this is also the week her husband turned seventy. Much sadness about the new normal. Supporting the recently bereaved is a beautiful challenge though.

Anyway, I woke up dizzy, a horrible feeling, got up and peed, sat up and now I don’t actually feel fine but I could probably go back to sleep. I should, I only got four and a half hours…. Read on line, I’m probably dehydrated or have low blood sugar…

No I did not go back to sleep I made coffee.

55073 HOTM

It’s been weeks, but every time I think about that piece of grafitti in Ultraviolet “Czirny fans get sick notes from their drug dealers” I crack up all over again. Czirny was a made up football team for Łódź which is pronounced wutsch.

View image on Twitter

the Duchess of Sussex is out and about – shown here at a women’s centre in Vancouver yesterday AND NOT WEARING A DRESS lawks

I MEAN IT’S WONDERFUL but TERRIBLE and EXPENSIVE like 10 million dollars of extra colonial expenditure and all we really care about in this household was her gig on the TV show Suits. I feel sorry for Harry, although not for his choice of bride.

Environment Canada says Howe Sound is going to get wind and snow something awful so it’s a good thing Laurel’s not travelling today.


HA HA HA HA STEFAN MOLYNEUX that unregenerate Nazi sockwad has been cut off from Mailchimp so his list of 70K asshole supporters is no longer his. LOLOLOLOL excuse me cough cough.

I sent mOm a couple of links about a former colleague….


wanna drive?

Alex’ school’s closed. Katie is staying home. I did volunteer….

Later, around ten after seven

All the schools in the lower mainland are closed. There is not a snowball’s chance in a foundry that I could have made it to Victoria today without considerable horror.

How to notate a song when you don’t read music THIS IS FULL OF SWEARING and why not


originally drafted December 22



Question number one! Why can’t I just sing my song into an app on my phone and have it transcribed.

Answer number one: because you don’t produce pure tones and the overtones in your voice confuse the hell out of the software. You’ll be asked to input the song on a keyboard, oh goody. If you’ve found an app that works, be sure and tell me, I haven’t seen one yet.

Question number two: Is there any other way of doing this that doesn’t involve so much work?

Answer number two. Sure, you can see if somebody at one of those Mechanical Turks sites like Fiverr will do it for you after you send them an MP3. Who knows how much it might cost. This way has the distinct advantage of being under your control, even if it’s slow.

Beginneth the lesson

Sheet music gives a specific and replicable understanding of what notes, rests and intervals occur during a melody, or in the instrumental accompaniment for a melody, aka a tune, a song, an air.

Sheet music is always approximate. Don’t let snobs sit for free in your musical creativity and poison it just because you can’t read music or easily write it. The map is not the territory and the live performer gets the last note. It’s a memory aid for you as well as a hard copy for the world and it means that you’re serious about sharing your music in certain platforms.

but if your music is never written down that just means you’re not participating in a colonial musical methodology which does not take all aspects of culture and performance into significance as it is recorded

There is no dispute in my heart either way. I can see both views as valid, and others besides. 

In order to get specific to be able to convey this to someone else, you need to know at the outset:

The beats per minute

the key

the time signature

For the beats per minute, you sing the song aloud while tapping this. Sing at least one whole verse of the song so you get a solid average.

So for example the “Way up in the Sky” song is 118 bpm.

The key is a little harder. Unless you specifically do a key change in the middle of the song, like the G to A in the middle of Barry Manilow’s classic “Can’t Smile Without You” which may God kick my brains to the curb was the first key change song I could think of, thank you classic AM radio from the 70s, OR you do something bizarre in the last bar of the song which throws this trick off, there is a very simple way to tell what key your song is in.  Sing the song to the end and the last note the song is on is either the key the song is in or part of the major chord (or minor chord) of the key the song is in. I am assuming if you’ve gotten this far you can tell the difference between a minor and a major song by ear.

ACK BUT HOW DO I TELL what KEY it is in. Go to the website with guitar chords, and strum around until the last chord sounds right. Play with it until you’re virtually plucking the right note – the last note of your song. The strings, as you move the chords or the virtual capo up and down, change in value so you can record the notes.

While you’re there, you can figure out which guitar chords go along with the song you wrote and strum like you know what you’re doing, it’s very satisfying. All those chords your sausage fingers will never play, bwa ha ha ha ha !!!! 

Those B chords you will never play. Sigh. Anyway.

So you know how fast you’re going and what key you’re in. Now you have to figure out the time signature. I won’t lie, this is not my favourite part. But we’ll get through it.

If you can count four, you’re in four (one two three four). If you can count two, you’re in two (one two one two one two – literally the two step rhythm, or as I like to call it with all the sarcasm in my flabby corpus, ‘white man’s rhythm’.) Everybody knows what waltz time sounds like, one two three, one two three. If you can count ticketa-ticketa-ticketa you’re in six-eight. If you have anything more complicated than that, you’re probably a legitimate musician or grew up with them, and so I must ask you to leave or at least avert your eyes. TFO as the kids say these days when they’re feeling dismissively hostile. Well it’s your fault, professional musicians, you did make a big divide between us, and let’s not start with how badly things are taught in school. If at all.

You didn’t come here for that, did you. Not my immense, intense, pignosed raging fucking anger at the various missteps of my life, not all of which were my goddamned fault. But you came here to be educated, so by Christ you’re gonna get it.

Virtually every filk song ever written is in four four, so if you can count four you’re okay writing it down in four four time.

So there you are. Now you can open a file in a music notation software program like Musenote or Finale and tell it that you want to enter a song. You only want one clef, most likely, unless you sing bass. Tell it the key, the BPM if requested, and the time signature. It’ll ask for a bunch of other stuff, choose the defaults for the rest.


When you first start singing a song, you take a breath, sing a note or a couple of notes and then you hit a downbeat. The ONE in the One two three four. So if you are like me the first time you start writing songs down (awful, obvious hint, don’t be, you will feel sorry for yourself like unto draping black crepe on things) you will somehow miss the obvious-to-every-one else fact that every bar of a song in four four time is a bucket for four beats, and you have to get the right number of beats in the bucket or the entire song notation process runs off the rails.

I am easily frustrated and emotionally sit around seven or eight years old most of the time and mother of babbling bozoids but this was the worst part. The worst worst worst part for me. I could not get it right. If I hadn’t had a playback function on the software I never would have gotten it right, and you may find yourself in the same situation; or there may be other cognitive tripwires along the path to writing a song down.

So figure out how many notes / beats go in the ‘not full’ bar at the beginning of the song, and then you can reasonably divvy up the rest of them without chasing your tail/tails for the next thirty bars. Most melodies fit in thirty-one bars. Does the presence of such a slippery prime number, squatting like a garden toad in the middle of your song, not disturb you? I know it disturbs me, but apart from comparing my feelings to a garden toad, how am I supposed to convey that? Is it art?

Anyhoo, with few exceptions, the math for any song in four four always has something left over, and the leftover bits are actually at the beginning of the song, and it’s so you can breathe. Sixers don’t have to breathe so their songs sound anatomically improbable.

Okay, you’re now having to master entering notes and rests and getting notes to go past the end of bars with those funny swoopy lines as you’re typing in the notes. It’s terrifying, and I didn’t tell you anything useful about it, so you’ll be feeling grumpy because I’ve left you all alone with this software you downloaded.

It can be very useful at this point to back off and get as much of the contents of the bars – those buckets I mentioned earlier, as clear as you can before you start learning how to enter the notes with. In other words, break the two tasks down so that you know how many notes are going in each bar before you assign a value (note) to them in entry. This will also prevent you from making two different mistakes at the same time while you’re entering the notes. 

Then, very tediously figure out what the first note is in relation to the last note (which gave you the key). Chordbook or a keyboards that show the note as you play are useful here, and where it the beat is so that the first note in the second bar is on the downbeat. 

Playback allows you to tell if the notes are in the wrong place and the wrong value; you will be very sick of the song by the time you’re done. Depending on verses and chorus and spoken parts it will take an hour or two to finish it the first time, so pace yourself and stay hydrated, it can be frustrating.

Usually a 4/4 song with a short chorus is 31 bars long.








Yet More Snow Marmee

Oh good god at least this last batch wasn’t heart attack snow, it was fluff, because it’s now quite cold and drafty. I won’t be going to Victoria tomorrow as promised because the wind, snow and weather for Wednesday are, according to Environment Canada, pretty much up for grabs. There will be snow, there will be arctic outflow and there will be wind, but no one can say exactly how much and where between here and Victoria