mneme: (Default)
My long-time friend, Harold Stein ([personal profile] hms42), has finally left us--for nothing, for the great filksing in the sky, for dreams beyond our knowing...but...he's dead.

I'm...still processing.

Harold...is difficult to describe. He was pleasant and friendly without ever really being charismatic, eminently competent without ever being comfortable, and a tireless filk saint who was never honored for his service (in his life) except via a listener guest slot at OVFF -- which he had to miss due to his illness, listening to recordings of same less than a day before he died.

I first met Harold, that I remember, in the halls of Lunacon, as he waxed eloquent about how much he liked filk--having first becoming fascinated with it at I-Con, the Long Island con that has had great filkers, but has never been great for filk (except for introducing new people to the community, where it served an important role despite the diffulty of filk at a con where the evening programming a car ride away from the daytime programming). At this point, I think Harold had attended just two cons with filk -- Lunacon and I-Con. There were many more, afterwards.

I think (this was after I'd stopped attending I-Con) that I-Con was also where he first took a service role, thanklessly running filk at I-Con for many years before he decided to move on. That wasn't the end of his service, either -- he got digital mini-recorders when the latest generations of them became easily available, and would spend countless hours on a routine of changing out the recorders and backing up the night's haul, almost always closing out the night at NEFilk, OVFF, FKO,local cons, tirelessly worked at the sound boards, produced numerous CDs, (particularly the one-off Interfilk CDs, where after working the boards all convention, he'd package a concert or three to CD and sell them for our perennial fan fund), and took on numerous odd jobs as needed, driving my big harp to several cons and Spencer's gear to many others; and editing the Pegasus Award pages, and helping out the Filk Hall of Fame administrator, and spending his time and money on collecting hard to find filk collections, and helping administer the UK Filk Archive.

His exhaustive and extensive collection of archives were an amazing resource he spent countless hours on, exclaiming how the work of people writing down what got sung in a room, in a concert, or on a convention album would allow him to identify and index his archives, and then, opening them up to others. He also created -- and in most senses, was -- the tradition of an NEfilk CD, making a CD for each convention to be given out free to members and with remainders auctioned off at other cons for Interfilk, with songs from the guests, from the NEfilk guest for next year, and when he could, from or honoring filkers who had died within the last year.

And, of course, he also continued to run filk at local cons, particularly Philcon.

He didn't sing, that I knew, except, rarely, in groups when his voice could hide among others. Or write music, or play an instrument. He just listened, requested, recorded, edited, shared, and collected. It was enough.

Over the last...I'm not even sure how many years, we ([personal profile] drcpunk and I) fell into the habit of rooming with him at filk conventions. It was comfortable. We'd keep often only partially overlapping hours, and while we were all in the room, he'd talk about his various projects, job things, or ideas for other projects (he had so many ideas. Not all of them were good ideas, but even when you express a bad idea it often sparks a good idea from someone else). Sometimes we had to tell him we needed him to stop talking (so we could sleep, or read, or work), but once we realized he would if we asked, this was fine too. When he got his last car, he drove it over to our place to verify that he could fit my harp into it. (This wasn't because he drove my harp a lot; he drove it a few times, but he figured if the harp fit, a lot of other things would fit too; it's a big harp). We were friends.

But especially with guy friends, I don't always know what that means. If he had hobbies outside of filk (and Ingress, the ARG I introduced him to, which he continued playing well after I'd mostly made it a sometimes treat and moved on to other electronic geocaching friends (hi, Pokemon Go)) and building computers for people, I didn't know about them (I'm not convinced they exist). I didn't know much about his inner life, other than that he wanted to help people, do things that mattered, and that he ernestly wanted to apologize when he thought he'd wronged someone, wanted to make sure that he got permission before releasing work and didn't record those who didn't want to be recorded.

I do know that he was endlessly open to new experiences, even when they didn't work out. He would ask us to invite him to gaming nights even though board games weren't a passion of his the way they are mine (and did like them, even though he wouldn't take time out of a con to play them the way I will), would try out any restaurant we would take him to even though when he ordered for himself he tended to go for standard American fare, and would even try everything we ordered when going to more adventurous Asian restaurants, not complaining about the food that didn't work for him, but occasionally remarking that this dish or another one was "too spicy" for him.

I also knew his health was worse than he pretended. We knew when he got a cancerous melanoma around 10 years ago, though he claimed it was less scary than any cancer is. We knew when the cancer came back a year or three ago, and that he was going through a course of treatment that they hoped would beat the cancer back once again--and when he got the diagnosis that it hadn't worked, wasn't going to work. It was just a month between when he got the report that he had, at most, a couple of years to live, and when the diagnosis went down from months to days or hours.

I don't think he gave up hope until those last few, horrible days. And even then, when I saw him the day before he died, he couldn't talk, not intelligbly, not anymore, but there was light in his eyes, enthusiasm, love. Hope, I think, of a sort. He wasn't obviously sad; he was frustrated, and happy that friends had come to visit him and sing to him.

Nothing will change now that he's gone, and everything. Harold wasn't out creating great works, and many of his projects came to nothing or came out only half-right. He wasn't one of my closest friends, although it's possible that I was one of his (one of the world's greatest injustices is that it contains this kind of asymmetry, but there is nothing we can do about it other than be kind).

But he brought a light--hope, kindness, and an endless heart that would fill up the cracks in the world around him -- with him wherever he went, and without him, that light is gone. Snuffed out from our world. What he did best was to help, and now in place of that help, we have to help one another.

I will miss him.
mneme: (Default)
I do try not to write in anger. Mostly.

But since I got blindsided by the most -smug- pro-harassment, pro-puppies song in a while today...wel, this came out.

A Pack of Lies
Joshua Kronengold
may be sung to the tune of Stan Rogers' "Lies"

At last, the con is quiet for a year,
The worldcon held in Finland, too much fun for pain and fear,
The filkers, sharing new and ancient verse,
The concourse filled with sales and games and lots of fan discourse,

Sure was a bitter couple of Worldcons for a while,
Some trolls tried to take over using cheats and hate and guile,
They thought they could pay money for our prize,
And tricking fans by posting wicked lies!

All lies
All those trolls are telling wicked lies,
Lies all lies
They have no shame for their disgrace,
If you disprove their story, they revise,
Their pack of wicked lies!

Are Hugo nominations ruled by TOR?
That was their story; somehow we don't hear it anymore.
Are they just fans just wanting to have fun?
They always seem so angry when the ceremony's done.

Each time the story changes, like Rashamon it sounds,
Like they think they can't lose if they keep giving runarounds,
But every time they give the game a try,
Why can't they post a better class of lies?

Those lies,
All those trolls are telling tired lies,
Lies all lies
They have no shame for their disgrace,
If you disprove their story, they revise,
Their pack of tired lies!

And now the pack have come around again,
This time they say they're being banned for what they think and when,
It's "censorship" that now ignites their fears,
Well we've been hosting everyone for over fifty years!

Your politics don't matter, if you are here for fun,
Your passion for SF should let you blend with everyone,
But if you come in hate, say your goodbyes,
You're banned for breaking rules, and not your lies,

Those lies,
All those trolls are telling themselves lies,
Lies, all lies
They cannot think they've lost their place,
So when they see their losses, they revise,
Their foolish little lies.
mneme: (Default)
I finished this (based, naturally, on some previous songs in the circle) about 20 minutes ago.
So no promises on it not drifting futher, but hey, fresh filk!

Up on the Internet (Magic)
by Joshua Kronengold
to the tune of "Under the Gripping Beast", by Cat Faber

For a cardboard box that's filled with cards, with five dots on the back,
Land, artifacts, and colored cards, red, blue, green white and black,
I bought them from some Wizards, from a land that's near the shore,
And should I keep on buying them, I'll die forever poor,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.

I sat there the first evening, as I tuned up my first deck,
I shuffled and I played a game, and found that it was dreck.
But with a few more dozen packs, and tuning for an hour,
I found my deck could draw some land and tap it all for power,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.


As I played, I needed far more cards to meet my decks' demands,
Rare creatures, moxes, fireballs, time walks, and multilands,
The next two sets released and shipped, and sold out in a night
And I resolved to get the next, if I had to wait 'til light,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell, and do not play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.

My decks won me a tournament, Mr Suitcase they called me,
So now those cards could bring me lots and lots of cash money,
But the thought that I should sell them all is not one I can bear,
Not even though in Legacy, they find my decks unfair

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.
mneme: (harp2)
Kathy Mar's wonderful Drink Up the River has long been a mainstay of my filking -- and I've had occasion to bring it back to the forefront given our current troubles. But as much as I love the song, it was pretty clearly written in '88, and while the nativism of this decades echoes that of three decades ago, it's hardly identical; more, while there's plenty of anti-science talk, the universal adoption of the web has clearly changed its focus and tenor.

So I've written an updated version entirely keeping Kathy's first and last verses identical, while switching out the middle verses for ones a bit more suited to our times (which, not that surprisingly, are -still- based around immigration and science/technology). (although it's trivial to add her Technology verse back in if one wants an extra verse, as the two are basically non-overlapping). Feel free to share and use with love.

Drink Up the River (2017 JK remix)
Tune, Chorus, and First and last verses Copyright 1988, Kathy Mar.
Middle verses Copyright 2017 Joshua Kronengold, Kathy Mar, and Lee Gold.

I was sitting by a river, when a thought occurred to me:
There are a hundred thousand rivers that we never even see,
They are the boundaries of all we know--of truth and right and wrong,
And I have written some examples for you here within my song.

Some are bridged and some are forded--some are swollen from the rain,
Some are the ultimate result of all our joys and all our pain,
But when the rivers in your life are full, and starting to wash down,
You've gotta drink up the river,
Before you drown.

[Chorus]
You gotta drink up the river x 3
Before you drown
You gotta drink up the river x 3
Before you drown

Throughout our nation's history, in times of peace and war,
An overwhelming wave of refugees have washed up on our shore,
They fled from death and persecution, and from poverty and pain,
And they made our country greater, as they strove to rise again.

But immigrants are turned away, "they're terrorists" we cry,
Or think they'll occupy our jobs, so passage we deny,
Our nation's based on courage, should we let the helpless down?
No--We must drink up that river, before we drown,

[chorus]

Since we learned to kindle fire, we have sought to understand,
How life began, how lightning works, the sea, the sky, the land,
And our science brings us wonders, as we wage a war with death,
And spin a World Wide Web of friendship nearly limitless in breadth.

Yet some folks are scared of Science, 'cause it means that nothing's sure.
They don't want its doubts and warnings, and they've learned to fear its cures.
We must not close our eyes, but keep on looking all around,
That's how we'll drink up that river, before we drown.

[Chorus]

There's a river of humanity that's passing through your life,
There is a sea of heavy sorrows and a stream of pain and strife,
There is a river of tomorrow that will carry you away,
And there's an ocean full of endless love to fill each passing day,
There are rivers all around you, in the life you have to live--
All the rivers you've been given and the ones you have to give,
So sing out this final message to the people all around,
You've got to drink up the river before you drown

[Chorus] x 2
mneme: (Default)
Conflikt happened. It was fun! Lots of hugs, lots of music in the hall and in the filkroom, and as seems to often happen, I collaborated on two songs.

The first was the song sung by my instaband, C3J -- consisting of Char, Jim Partridge, John Gray, and Yours Truly. The song was, naturally enough given the time, a protest song, written by Jim with a fair amount of editing and lyric changes by me. And of course, feel free to sing and share, at least as far as I'm concerned; this isn't a song meant to sit on a shelf.

If you didn't know which side -I- was on, you're not paying attention )

The other song might make it into here or on a later post after I clear permissions; it was written by the entire table at brunch, was entitled "The (thing) in the Room", and based on the words "Irredeemable" and "Eloquence", and to the tune and mostly structure of "Unforgettable" by Irving Gordon.
mneme: (Default)
Hear ye, hear ye!

On Sunday, January 22nd, 2017, from 1pm to 5pm, in The (new) Bookery (the one year new home of Josh & Lisa) there will be a housefilk, that being an open song and music circle. All are invited to attend, and, should they wish, join the NYMF meeting held immediately following (there are two accessable rooms, so there will also be somewhere for people to hang out, and if they wish filk some more or get dinner who -don't- wish to attend the NYMF meeting). People are also welcome to show up as early as noon, but if so, may be asked to help make the place presentable. This is an NYMF (New York Metropolitan Filk) Event.

The Bookery: 3920 52nd Street APT GD, Woodside (Queens), NY 11377-3230
Phone: 646-361-3257

Accessibility: We are on the ground floor, but the entrance is up 4 steps. If they are an issue, call ahead and we can meet you near 3940 and let you into the side entrance with no steps.

House Rules:

1. Please do not record; we will be setting up central recording, and once one is available, may provide a cleaned up and edited version on request. You may take photographs, but please get permission of their subjects first.

2. The house has no pets of any kind. Try not to bring feline allergens in if you can. (if you are allergic to anything that we need to know, tell us).

3. The house is not kosher, but we'll try to provide disposable tableware and some amount of beverages. If there's something you must eat/drink, you might want to bring it (there is plenty of takeout in the area if you are hungry and need to order something). Do try to label anything you bring if there's anything non-obvious in it (err on the side of disclosure).

Directions:

By subway: Fastest: Take the 7 to 52nd street, turn North (towards Cafe 52, away from the Filipino place) and walk to, cross, Skillman; turn left and walk back to 52nd street, the entrance is on your left.
Less Fast: Take the R to Woodside, walk south, then make a right at 39th avenue and a left onto 52nd street. Destination is on your right.
Also less fast, but sometimes necessary: Take the 7 to Woodside. Get out and go to ground level. Walk west (numbers go down), turning on to Skillman. When you get to 52nd street, turn right and walk along 52nd street until you get to our place (on your left).

By LIRR: Take the LIRR to Woodside. Follow directions as "7 to Woodside" above.

By car: Go to our neighborhood. (Northern Blvd is probably the ticket, but you likely have a GPS that will give you something better). Find somewhere to park (not entirely trivial, but possible, usually by driving around the nearby park until something turns up). Then go to our apartment.

Do feel free to share this invite to those you think might be interested!

Space is not -entirely- unlimited, and we do want to be able to plan ahead, so please rsvp (if yes) on Dreamwidth(https://mneme.dreamwidth.org/89829.html), on FB(https://www.facebook.com/events/249907088755237/), or by email to mneme AT labcats.org.
mneme: (Default)
So as long as I'm doing a touch of backed up blogging before doing the necessary things (which is to say, upgrading our cleaning supplies and other things hilight by the recent plumbing disaster; see the last post), I might as well do a short con report -- because Rainbowcon, last weekend, was -amazing-.

Steve Savitsky and company held a tiny house filk convention (a tiny convention; not a tiny house; just to be clear; the convention was in the house) last weekend. I'd known about it for a year, after it was announced in the wake of the wedding in the same site last year, but we'd dragged our heels on committing, given that it was across the country and also likely to be tiny. And it was going to be expensive, given that it was fairly last-min, and we were low on cope after our move. On the other hand, I'd been an unofficial advisor, encouraging the organizers to go super-low on programming to accomidate the gap in "filk relaxacons" that can let filkers hang out together without a lot of must-make programming.

And you know? It was -amazing-, and I'm glad we went. The con guests were Decadent Dave Clement (who I admit I've always been somewhat intimidated by, but who is -amazing-, both personally and as a performer) and Tim and Annie Walker (who we've seen back and forth at different filk cons over the years when our across-the-pond paths crossed, and got to connect with, finally, at Loncon in 2014.

We decided to go out on stupid-early Friday morning (ie, a 4AM flight, without more than an hour of sleep between us before the flight), so we spent a bunch of time recovering before making it over to the con itself; at the con, I voted in (and was mostly outvoted, which was fair, since I didn't attend much programming) the programmed workshops, had something dinner-ish (con-provided in the excellent kitchen con suite by Colleen; extremely impressive given that it was, for most, a free con), listened to, danced to, and sang from the audience at Dave's concert, then chatted and socialized until the evening filk -- a modified poker chip bardic where you got three chips (blue > red > white x 2), and weren't limited to not using your later colors until after the early colors were used up; instead, earlier colors were higher priority and would "trump" later colors, but you had to use your colors in order rather than saving your blue chip until you -really- wanted to go. I loved this format, and loved this circle, however short; we'd intended to tuck in early, but as it happened we ended up sticking around until we'd each used up, IIRC, 3 chips (ie, gone 3 times) and it was after 1AM.

On Saturday, we slept in (this might be a pattern), missing the early workshop session; I don't remember much of this session, but I know it involved a Stan Rogers singalong by Dave, Annie leading a vocal/harmony workshop (where I decided to sing soprano--because I could (the soprano part was pretty low and my head voice is reasonably strong) and because we were heavy on basses and tenors and light on sopranos, Tim and Annie's excellent concert (we didn't dance as much as we had at Dave's concert, but this was mostly due to being too relaxed), much socializing and food, and the evening concert (which was a bit of a low-ebb, although still pleasant; it started late enough that the announced format; cats cradle, was way overkill; we barely had enough performers to maintain a chaos filk, so we mostly never got a queue of more than 2 people (and that only by effort), and eventually stopped passing around the yarn ball entirely before the filk ended.

Sunday? Sunday, well, we also slept in (who didn't see this one coming?), and hung around, mostly chatting with a bit of filking, until the jam/closing ceremonies started. The Jam was a lot of fun; we had just enough instrumentalists that it was solid, but not so many that it felt like (as you do at OVFF) that you're lost in the crowd and your individual contribution cannot be heard, much less be a full part of the ouvre. We'd planned at this point to slink into the night, since we had a red-eye going back to NYC (after all, this is how I manage other-coast conventions without losing more days of work than I want to), but it turned out that the dead dog dinner was near the airport, so we were able to spend a precious few more hours with people before we had to drop off our bags and wait for our plane (particularly Stephen Schwartz, who I've been second order connected to for -years-, but only briefly bumped into at a few events for the last 18 years or so we've known the other exist; also planning to do a 4 player online Fiasco game that we really should set up and plane).

Will we be back next year? Well, it's still an open question; a lot depends on how Contata planning is going; we'll either be at the end of our rope or really, really need the break, I'm guessing. But assuming we have the budget? Absolutely. When you get down to it, this tiny con gives you -more- than you get from a larger con. Of course, if enough people decide that this is a good idea, maybe some day it won't be as small a con, but as long as the concept stays largely the same it will likely have a lot more of a "small con" vibe than a con that's designed to be a larger filk convention cut down a few sizes (like the NEfilks, which as much as I love them, tend to go with "yes please" on programming).

Pros: Yes, there are some. With an intimate setting like this, you get to spend more time with more of them individually, so there's less of "traveling to hang out with people you hang out with all the time"). The hosts were amazing and gracious. The con was in many ways far more relaxed than a larger con (even GaFilk, which tries to be as "filk reclaxicon as it can given its size) can ever be. I had lots of chances to also rock a shaker egg and my bass voice (I even ended up walking over near Dave, who was singing a bass line on a song, at one point, so we could hear each other better and choose different lines) rather than accidentally colliding all the time)

Cons: Yes, it was one. Next year there will probably be a slightly smoother way of disseminating the program, since there was one even if it was relatively minimal. I brought my little harpsicle SE, rather than a fiddle--which would normally be the right decision except that as I'd forgotten, they'd rented a lovely 36 string Dusty Strings for Annie which she was totally willing to let me use whenever she wasn't using it, so if I'd brought a fiddle I'd have been able to play fiddle -and- harp as appropriate. It was too short, and we weren't able to attend the dead dog filk. On my way out of the dead dog, I had a brain fart and forgot Dave's name (because my brain does stuff like this), so ended up skipping over saying goodbye (and circled back and did so a minute or so later after my secondary search engine had gone online and searched, appropriately, against "Decadent.")); whooops/ack.

My morning

May. 7th, 2016 02:51 pm
mneme: (Default)
Woke up at 10AM--had a rest of three or four hours.
Woke up at 10AM--was just pulled out of my bower,
I wished I was sleepin'--or at least wearing shoes,
I've got the backed up plumbing, first floor apartment blues.

I started bailing; filling up buckets and plastic cans,
Yeah, I started bailing, gross as it was, it all-hands,
It was unavailing--I was Sisyphus--doomed to lose,
It was the backed-up plumbing, first floor apartment blues.

I thought it was our fault--that we'd left the water on,
Yeah, I thought it was our fault; our home insurance would be gone,
Then I saw the bathtub, it looked just like a big loo,
We had the backed-up plumbing, first floor apartment blues.

We called the super, he took one look and went away.
Yeah, called the super, but with our problem he wouldn't stay,
I cursed that pooper, then it flowed like a transfus-ion
He'd cleared the blockage--that caused our first-floor blues.

It wasn't over--the floor was covered in dirt,
No, it wasn't over; my back was starting to hurt,
He brought back a hoover, and sucked up most of that dread stew,
It was finally ending, our backed-up plumbing blues,
All done, but the cleaning--our backed-up pluming, first floor apartment blues.

....


Yeah, this morning was a bit interesting. I knew people said that first floor apartments were prone to flooding, but nobody mentioned the idea that it wasn't -outside- flooding you had to worry about (we're actually above the garage, so that's not such a big deal for us) as that you're the early warning signal when the plumbing goes haywire. Also, gross.
mneme: (Default)
Inspired by a line from [personal profile] satyrblade

This song is -shamelessly- political. And decidedly time-bound, but hey, now's the time.

March, 2016 ("We're gonna miss him")
© 2016 Joshua Kronengold
(to the tune of "You're gonna miss me", Lulu and the Lampshades)

Obama's got less than a year to go,
Some people think he's on his way.
And I sure would like to send a lot of company,
Send some congress with him for the U-S-A.

When he's gone,
When he's gone,
We're gonna miss him when he's gone,
We'll miss his jokes made with aplomb,
We'll miss his air of peace and calm,
We're gonna miss him when he's gone.

Me and my friends are registered to vote,
For those that we like both old and new,
We've got ones who make us shiver,
We've got ones who makes us quiver,
But I sure wish we had Obama too,

When he's gone,
When he's gone.
We're gonna miss him when he's gone.
It's been a lovely seven years,
It's been full of right-wing tears,
We're gonna miss him when he's gone

The primary race has been a lot of fun,
With too many double-takes to list,
We've got a race that's kind of tight,
And a clown-car on the right,
But it's not for them that I sing this song,

When he's gone (when he's gone)
When he's gone (when he's gone)
We're gonna miss him when he's gone.
We'll miss the way he fills a tux,
And the year he gave no...buckets,
We're gonna miss him when he's gone.

When he's gone,
When he's gone,
We're gonna miss him when he's gone,
We'll miss his jokes made with aplomb,
We'll miss his air of peace and calm,
We're gonna miss him when he's gone.
mneme: (Default)
Because [personal profile] technoshaman claimed that Let it Go was going to end up "like Band from Argo"...


Banned from Frozen
ttto "Boston Burglar" (trad) as learned from Leslie Fish's Banned from Argo

The snow is glowing brightly, not a footprint to be seen,
A land of isolation, and it looks like I'm the queen,
The wind is howling loudly, like the storm that swirls inside,
I couldn't ever keep it in, and heaven knows I tried,

So I will let it go and let it roar,
Yes I will let it go, I cannot hold back any more,
I care not what they're gonna think or what they're gonna say,
I'm never bothered by cold, anyway,

It's funny how some distance seems to make things feel so small,
And the fears that once controlled me, they can't get to me at all,
So now it's time for freedom, and to see what I can do,
I am beyond both right and wrong, the limits I'll break through,

So I will let it go, become the sky,
Yes I will let it go, and you will never see me cry,
It's here that I am gonna stand, and here that I will stay,
I'm never bothered by cold, anyway,

My power flurries through the air, and flows into the ground,
And my soul is spiralling in fractals all around,
Then suddenly one thought turns clear, just like an icy blast,
I'm never, ever going back, the past is in the past,

So I will let it go, rising like dawn,
Yes I will let it go, for good that perfect girl is gone,
Let the storm rage on, for here I stand in-the light of day,
I'm never bothered by cold, anyway,
mneme: (Default)
There's earlier version of this song earlier in my feed, but since made a few changes prior to singing this as an argument at the Business Meeting, after being recognized, as an argument at the World Science Fiction Society at the 73rd Worldcon, on the motion of the same name.

The Five Percent Solution )
mneme: (Default)
I'm well aware that this has been done before, but I wasn't satisfied with how, so having had an idea of doing a thing, I feel compelled to finish.

I'd be sorry, except I'm really not.

Click here to read the thing )

Dexcon 2015

Jul. 7th, 2015 02:12 pm
mneme: (Default)
Another Dexcon come and gone. This time with less stupid sleep deprivation and more late mornings, due to not wanting to put my brain on the fritz.

I came down late Wednesday, somewhat against my original plans, as something came up at work I couldn't easily skip out on--but due to trains being fast, still made it to Morristown well before 9 (games start at 10), doing an Ingress mission on the way and catching up with [personal profile] drcpunk for dinner.

A longish con report with included song follows )

When your friendship's on rails 
To be much more than pals,
That's amore.

When you cook up a dish,
Of an 'eel' of a fish,
that's a moray.

With a pattern that fades
Smoothly between two shades,
that's a moire,

With two letters that come
As a version of "mom"
That's 'M' or 'A'


more con report! )
mneme: (Default)
So apparently there's a measure that's been submitted to amend or remove the "5% rule" for the Hugo awards. This is a good idea -- that rule was put in place to avoid the case where you have, say, three works that get 50%, 25%, and 20% of the ballots -- and then the next work has 4% or less of the ballots, thus not really in the running for competing with the more important works. But in fact, when a category is saturated enough, the field gets large enough and we no longer have central places where everyone is reading the same things, we end up with situations like Best Short Story -- where for most of the last 5 years we've had fewer than 5 things on the ballot (sometimes as few as 3) with even the successful nominees not getting much more than 5% (or mabye even that; the 5% rule has an exception that you still have to have 3 nominees even if you need to bend it to do so) of the ballot, and thus no significant difference between what made the cut and what didn't -- but a much thinner field than there really should be.

They call it "The 5%" solution.

The reason for the following one verse filk, therefore, should be obvious.

(Also, thank you, [personal profile] drcpunk for remembering to write down my brainstormed chorus couplet so it was still around when I finished the verse and got around to writing the chorus).

"The Five Percent Solution"
TTTO: "I Never Do Anything Twice/The Madam's Song", by Stephen Sondheim
By Joshua Kronengold

Before I was a neo,
I don't recall the date,
We made a rule for our premier award,
Even if it made the cut, a nomination met its fate,
If one in twenty didn't think it scored

At first it proved a good rule,
Avoided the long tails,
But later, when the field ballooned in size,
If our population fails,
To all read the same tales,
Where the ballot's concerned there's too much for the prize,

Then, yes, the genre was small,
Now, though, you can't read it all,
Then, tastes were more concentrated,
The best stories rated,
And found themselves slated

We must this rule amend,
At this point, it's hard to defend,
I think that it makes no sense,
To limit works by five percent.
mneme: (Default)
A Sonnet to Serenity

First quatrain and last couplet by Joshua Kronengold, second quatrain and following couplet by [personal profile] batyatoon, first couplet (5-6) and editing by [personal profile] thnidu.


Deny me answer to my heart's behest,
Deprive me of my property and lot,
Remove my person, force me by duress,
To where the land shan't bear me, I care not.
For I am unencumbered by oppression,
Nor canst thou wrest the sky from my possession.

Though I be exiled to the endless dark,
And though they tell the world I'll not return;
Though thou may'st fan the flame or set the spark
That seas may boil and that the land may burn;
My will's my own, and so the skies shall be --
And neither wilt thou ever take from me.

Now nowhere can I be, since Peace I found,
But mine is that which lies above the ground.
mneme: (oldharp)
Reposting this here, since I'd somehow only put it into facebook, where it is -trivial- for it to get lost (whoops).

I should come up with a title for this at some point.
(to the tune of Santa Monica Pier, of course). And maybe a second verse (or two).

I've got half a dozen apples in my pocket, rolling round and getting bruised,
I should cut them up into pieces, and soak them up before they're stewed,
The nutmeg smells a little bit like home, like mulled cider on New Year's Eve,
I've got a cup of oatmeal measured out, and the flour is sieved.

I am a baker here, setting up all my kitchen gear,
Greased up pans and cooking shears, planning food like a brigadeer,
Oh, there's a baking pan, covered up in a spray of pam,
I have dreamed of sweets like these, all of my life.
mneme: (Default)
The music schedule for Chessiecon is pretty solid at this point. I'm taking some risks, but I think it will be fun, and that the con will be awesome.

Some hilights:

Tom Smith. Because.

Batya. In, and out of the Funny Things (with Merav).

-Five- sometime members of Clam Chowder, doing their thing in, and out of the music room. Including Don Stallone, who hasn't been seen for...quite some time.

Familiar. Who I've never heard in person(that I know of), but sound -damned- good.

Glen Raphael, Gary Ehrlich and Roberta Rogow (because I do actually want filk on the menu).

The Usual stuff (filk circles, including a moderated 2pm Friday one; the Halelujah Chorus, caroling, Moggy, Ellen James, Sarah Pinkster, and, of course, an insturmental jam).

More lobby performance than you can shake a stick at. Because it's always good to have a choice about where to go.

There -may- end up being too much music. (is there such a thing?) There won't be too little.

If you don't have anything else you're doing on Thanksgiving Weekend this year, it's worth doing.
mneme: (Default)
Nominations end at midnight tonight!

My nominations:

Best Song:

Sedna
Just beyond
One small boat
Solar flare
Dragon for sale

Best Classic Song:

A Gown too Blue
Storm Dancer
Following in Valentina's Footsteps
Mommy, Can I have a Spaceship
Second-Hand Songs

Best Performer:

Heather Dale
Lady Mondegreen
Sassafrass
Toyboat
Sunny Larsen

Best Writer/Composer:

Ada Palmer
Andrew Ross
Betsy Tinny
Batya Wittenberg
Bob Kanefsky [Bob's only got one! And no other wins!]


Best Fairytale Song:

Little Beard Blue (yeah, I nominated myself. I couldn't help it--most of the brainstorm list wasn't what I consider fairy tale songs, and I was running out of nominees I could think of).
My Fairytale
Po Boys
"There's Always a Bigger Fish"
Miller's Daughter

Best Alien Song:
Queen of Air and Darkness (yes, this -seems- to be a fairy song. But it's actually about aliens just pretending to be fairies!)
Fly Little Bird (as revealed in Discount Armageddon, the Jhorlac (coocoos) are aliens from another dimension).
Alien Salad Abduction
Little Fuzzy Animals
Alien Jellyfish Song
mneme: (Default)
I just said I probably wouldn't do a Conterpoint report. Which would be shame, as my Conterpoint was Packed With Things. So this is a small (probably) con report. I will miss things! I will skip things!

Also, it's not actually that short. )
mneme: (Default)
Had a short dialogue with [livejournal.com profile] gundo on the nature of fandom, coming out of my musing on running a con (did I mention? No, I didn't--yet--but I'm running a con, and it will be -fabulous-) and occasionally having to -un-delegate, which I figured was worthy of wider distribution. "mneme" is, naturally, yours truly.

mneme: I have very mixed feelings towards the hotel/guest liaison positions, as having someone focused on making the hotel/guests happy = good, but having another step in the game of telephone between the rest of the concom and these ever-important externalities = bad

gundo: at a larger con, I believe those are necessary, but the size of the NE cons...

mneme: Indeed. A larger con also has a larger pool to troll for someone with the combination of knowledge and proactiveness you really need for a good liaison. But they also have (potentially, anyway) a lot more guests, and not a presumption that most of the concom already know some or all the guests.

gundo: Well, and at the larger cons the guests aren't part of the larger family, whereas here they are

mneme: Indeed. Well, sometimes they aren't--but filk overall is a much smaller community, and, yes, we pull guests from that community rather than across a (however artificial) "pro" barrier. (something that sf fandom in general also resists, but..it gets complicated).

gundo: Very complicated

mneme: Yes. In general, fandom favors GOHs who are part of the fannish community, if on the pro side. But there are exceptions--and someone who is fan/pro and treated as such in one area is still going to be a superstar in another where they're less well known.

gundo: Well, there are a lot of us who are in the filk community who are pro in some way

mneme: Indeed. The filk community -also- has a pro/fan barrier, although it's even thinner than in literary fandom for a number of reasons. But with the exception of segmented GOH items like the GAFilk "Super Secret Guest", we don't even -think- to pull from outside the community (if often Pro-side people known and known to be within the community ). This is, I think, because Filk defines itself as "within the filk community" -- whereas sf defines itself primarily as "within the dialogue of science fiction" and the literary fandom/convention-going communities is within and appreciative of (as well as in dialogue with) the larger community.

gundo: Right...there's that definition of filk as community, vs filk as style or content

mneme: *nod* It's very telling. And I think a lot of that -is- dialogue. Something is part of a folk tradition if and only if it is in dialogue with other things within that tradition -- just as a work is genre sf only if it is in dialogue with the body of sf works (and when a sf work gets written that is -not- in dialogue with the sf genre, this is often painfully obvious).

gundo: As long as there is ongoing dialogue, then yes, it works

mneme: Indeed. A one-sided "dialogue" can go south, very quickly, particularly when it's perceived differently from both sides.

mneme: Ah, true. And yeah, the whole dysfunctional fannish community thing can be...bad. Some of that is that different people can have really different idea of what a community, well, means.

gundo: Yeah, that's true as well

mneme: Particularly when you're looking at communities built out of geography vs ones based on association and common interests. I mean, one of the reasons that Merav and I are pretty good choices for leadership in the NYC filk community is that we're both in close dialogue the the more global filk community, rather than mostly/primarily in the local area. But that also means we'll have some closer relationships with people across the country than ones with some of those in the local filk community.

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Joshua Kronengold

October 2018

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