alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
The place where I get my physical therapy usually has a radio playing. Sometimes, I am doing my stretches close enough to hear the lyrics.

Some of these lyrics seem appropriate to what I am experiencing:
Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone
Others, however, seem wrong and insulting in this context:
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stronger
No, actually, quite often what doesn't kill me nonetheless leaves me significantly weaker and in chronic pain.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
The last few bits of dad's legacy I put up on LJ involved sermons he gave at the UU church, largely music-based. The later documents I had by him were not just old scripts, but well-designed handouts. So, rather than OCR them, I've scanned them and put them up on my Facebook account.
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
Another of dad’s services, this one from early 1986.
Read more... )
alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
This is the script for the first of several services that dad performed at our UU church over the years. They all focused on music in one way or another, as that was a central part of dad's life and thought. While undated, context suggests it is from 1974 or 5.Read more... )
alexxkay: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] kestrell and I went to see Jonathan Coulton on Friday night. Overall a good time, though with some definite down sides.

Down side #1: The Paradise has remodeled since the last time we were there. They removed most of the old seating. Now, the only remaining seating options are benches at the back of the balcony. You cannot both sit and actually see the stage. Makes me reluctant to go back there again.

Down side #2: The opening act (NOT Paul & Storm) was an acoustic guitarist who was pretty awful. Whiny repetitive songs, with 'clever' musical structures that made them neither catchy nor dance-able. Also, in his 'banter' he seemed to neither understand nor be comfortable with either women or geeks. JoCo claimed to be a big fan of his, but I guess there's no accounting for taste.

Once JoCo actually came on, the energy in the hall ratcheted up a LOT. He's clearly enjoying having a band to do the rock star thing. For the opening number, JoCo was playing some odd sampling device which alternately produced 8-bit chiptune notes and sampled bits of Skullcrusher Mountain. Weird, but cool. Many classic songs, and a few from the new album, plus the new song he wrote for John Scalzi, "Redshirt". Kes and I had great fun singing along (or, occasionally, counter to) the music. We headed out during the start of the encore, so as to beat the rush home.
alexxkay: (Default)
(quotes approximate)

Kes and I went to the Jonathan Coulton concert Friday night. He had a reasonable facsimile of an *actual rock band*, with himself on electric guitar, Chris Anderson on electric bass and harmony, and Marty Beller (of They Might Be Giants) on drums. Anderson was sort-of similar to JoCo in his general laconic-ness, but Beller was grinning like the Joker, and playing as if it was his goal to spontaneously combust.

Coulton started out with a few songs on solo acoustic. When he picked up the electric guitar, he encouraged the audience to boo him like what happened when Bob Dylan first went electric. The audience did so, very enthusiastically. Some also hissed, which impressed him.

Even though Paul & Storm weren't physically present, I felt they were there spiritually, and some portions of the audience continued to hiss before *every* *song*. JoCo would occasionally have to stop and crack up a little. "At least you're not saying 'Aaaarrr'" Which, of course, prompted a few 'Aaaaarrrs' from the regulars.

At a later hissing point, JoCo broke up again. "You can always tell a Coulton audience. You guys take a gag and... *run* with it. It's like a, a... memetic biosphere in here." Big audience laugh. "And you know what I mean when I say 'memetic biosphere'!" Huge round of applause!

The show itself was quite good. Perhaps a bit heavy on the depressing songs, but many of them turn out much more upbeat when there's a manic drummer in the mix. Of the new material, our favorite was "Nemeses".
alexxkay: (Default)
Last Saturday, I went to a concert by Sassafrass, which was pretty awesome. Skill levels varied, in both composition and performance, but they seem to be improving on both fronts. The material from their currently-in-progress concept CD based on Norse mythology was, for me, significantly the best material (not to say the rest was bad, mind you). I was sad that [livejournal.com profile] gyzki wasn't there, as he would have gotten quite a kick out of it.

I've held off on posting, because I was waiting for YouTube videos to show up that I could link to. Not all of them have yet, but I'm going ahead and linking anyways. (None of the recordings are as good as live, however, so do check them out in person if you can.)

Read more... )
alexxkay: (Default)
So, I was in a Jonathan Coulton Youtube-browsing mood today, and stumbled on a really neat series of fan videos. A fellow called CaptainValor has posted a bunch of videos of himself doing ASL captions to songs -- and not just JoCo, though he does do several of those. He isn't just 'transcribing', either, but emoting and performing quite well.

I especially commend his interpretation of "Re: Your Brains". He made a zombie-office-worker costume with ripped and bloody shirt, some simple zombie makeup, and performs with most excellent shambling.

Since I know I have a few blind readers who will be interested, I include his back-translation of the ASL here:Read more... )
alexxkay: (Default)
I know lots of my friends love those old ballads featuring love, romance, and gruesome murder. here's a very well-done comics adaptation of one:

http://r-dart.livejournal.com/9753.html
alexxkay: (Default)
JoCo (and Paul&Storm) is one of the few folks that introverts [livejournal.com profile] kestrell and I are willing to go out and see. Even so, the crowds and volume level can be a big strain. Next time we probably won't actually have dinner at the Paradise, but find somewhere quieter. Also, the wait staff was utterly overwhelmed by the crowd. The food *was* good, though. Chatted with [livejournal.com profile] juldea a bit while waiting for food, which was fun. Much comparison of which songs no longer sound like they have the 'right' lyrics, having been replaced in our brains by the Weird Al versions.

Last time we went to the Paradise, helpful wait staff shooed us into the 'reserved' seating area on account of Kestrel's disability. Yay magic stick! We tried the same trick this time, and it sorta worked. *This* time, Judy's birthday party of doom quite overfilled the Reserved section. On the other hand, we got there first, and Judy quite gracefully let us stay. In fact, she even gave us glowing necklaces, so we would blend in with the rest of the party! Happy birthday, Judy!

The sound people had the bass turned up to 'vibrate bones' level. Luckily, the actual performances didn't feature too much bass, except for the Zendrum on Mr. Fancy Pants. (Which song gets longer and stranger every year.)

Paul&Storm had a new intro to their standard opener "Opening Band". This time they got 16 panties and a diaper ("That does *NOT* count!"). Much improv and audience interaction (heckling in both directions). Running gag of taking a random phrase that the other one said and saying "...that's the name of our (foo) band." When they sang a sad song, people not only lit up the 'lighter' app on their iPhones, but many Nintendo DSes were waved in the air as well. Mine had Scribblenauts on it, so I typed in "lighter" and waved that :) One person actually had a physical lighter, which greatly impressed the duo.

The Captain's Wife's Lament (about a 2 minute song) ran 10 minutes with the audience interaction and general chaos. Very rowdy crowd. Kes and I wondered how/if JoCo would rein them in. To quote JoCo's blog from a different occasion: "Paul and Storm did their usual kick-ass job of warming up the crowd, then setting them on fire and burning them up until only ashes remain."

What he did, and it worked pretty well, was to almost completely eschew patter, and just jump from one song, straight to another, giving very little opportunity for the audience to act up. I approve of this overall, as his songs are stronger than his patter (which is almost the reverse for Paul&Storm). It certainly seemed like he got to sing more songs by doing this, which I also think of as a Good Thing. He sang a song I hadn't previously heard, about the evils of Brookline.

During "Re: Your Brains", in the audience participation bit, I did sing some of the zombie verses from the Plants vs Zombies theme song, but they were drowned out. Fun idea, but turned out not to work.

The show ended a little after midnight, and Kes and I caught the last train home, getting home a bit before 2 AM. Next time, must consider whether it's worthwhile to just take a cab...
alexxkay: (Default)
Not very high quality, missing several numbers, and none of the Paul & Storm opening act, but hey, it's free:
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=justinrussell&view=videos

EDIT: You can [livejournal.com profile] kestrell squealing during "The Future Soon", just after the bit "She'll look the same except for bionic eyes. She lost the real ones in the Robot Wars..." :-)

EDIT EDIT: Spent way too much time today watching JoCo on Youtube. In case you missed it when it went around earlier, here's JoCo in Manchester singing "Creepy Doll" with special guest creepiness from Neil Gaiman.
alexxkay: (Default)
Not very high quality, missing several numbers, and none of the Paul & Storm opening act, but hey, it's free:
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=justinrussell&view=videos

EDIT: You can [livejournal.com profile] kestrell squealing during "The Future Soon", just after the bit "She'll look the same except for bionic eyes. She lost the real ones in the Robot Wars..." :-)

EDIT EDIT: Spent way too much time today watching JoCo on Youtube. In case you missed it when it went around earlier, here's JoCo in Manchester singing "Creepy Doll" with special guest creepiness from Neil Gaiman.
alexxkay: (Default)
At the Wang Theater, you could see Video Games Live at the Wang Theatre, featuring (among many, many others) orchestral music from BioShock. Sadly, I won't be able to attend, because [livejournal.com profile] kestrell and I already have tickets to the *other* Geeky Music event, Jonathan Coulton, live at The Paradise. Almost certainly cheaper, and I expect more actual fun :-)
alexxkay: (Default)
At the Wang Theater, you could see Video Games Live at the Wang Theatre, featuring (among many, many others) orchestral music from BioShock. Sadly, I won't be able to attend, because [livejournal.com profile] kestrell and I already have tickets to the *other* Geeky Music event, Jonathan Coulton, live at The Paradise. Almost certainly cheaper, and I expect more actual fun :-)
alexxkay: (Default)
Hey, how often these days do you run across new Tom Lehrer material? Here's a piece I haven't seen before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIpr0s52yVk

(Link courtesy of Mark Evanier.)
alexxkay: (Default)
Hey, how often these days do you run across new Tom Lehrer material? Here's a piece I haven't seen before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIpr0s52yVk

(Link courtesy of Mark Evanier.)
alexxkay: (Default)
That is, Old School as in the Great Old Ones. A happy cheery Christmas song. Well, not if you're human, I suppose.
alexxkay: (Default)
That is, Old School as in the Great Old Ones. A happy cheery Christmas song. Well, not if you're human, I suppose.
alexxkay: (Default)
So yesterday, in a futile attempt to banish the earworm that is the Portal End Credits, I tried replacing it with another JoCo earworm: Re: Your Brains. As it percolated through my brain, it struck me that the point of view expressed by the zombie in the song was reminding me of The Management in the current writer's strike in Hollywood, particularly in the peculiar redefinition of such words as "reasonable" and "compromise":
All we wanna do is eat your brains
We're not unreasonable,
I mean no-one's gonna eat your eyes
All we wanna do is eat your brains
We're at an impasse here,
Maybe we should compromise.
If you open up the door,
We'll all come inside and eat your brains.
Management wants to take away residuals from things like DVDs, which is perfectly "reasonable", since they're leaving residuals for traditional broadcast television intact. Never mind that broadcast television is dying. Meanwhile, the writers want a piece of the quick-growing pie called "New Media" such as the Internet. Management doesn't want to give them one. Management has proposed a "compromise" by which they study the question for three or six years -- in the meanwhile, continuing to not pay the writers anything in these areas.

Wait a minute, this sounds familiar. That's exactly the same "logic" that President Bush has been getting away with for years now. Only apparently the WGA has more intelligence and courage than Congress, and isn't standing for it.

Y'know, I used to think that one President was much like another. That's been beaten out of me. For one thing, I've seen studies showing that, at all levels of society, the ethics of a leader figure strongly influence all those beneath him. For example, under Nixon, white collar crime went way up. Now, after so many years of a President whose greed is practically unparalleled, whose idea of compromise is "shut up and do what I say", and whose ability to even *understand* his opponents is so small -- is it any wonder that the Hollywood Producers are acting the way they are?

Some of the writers are wondering why Management is acting so irrationally. Surely they *know* that this can't end well, that they are facing united opposition that will never yield on the important points. But refusing to face such realities is how Role Model Number One in the White House does things, so they're doing it too.

I'm starting to think that this will be a very long strike...
alexxkay: (Default)
So yesterday, in a futile attempt to banish the earworm that is the Portal End Credits, I tried replacing it with another JoCo earworm: Re: Your Brains. As it percolated through my brain, it struck me that the point of view expressed by the zombie in the song was reminding me of The Management in the current writer's strike in Hollywood, particularly in the peculiar redefinition of such words as "reasonable" and "compromise":
All we wanna do is eat your brains
We're not unreasonable,
I mean no-one's gonna eat your eyes
All we wanna do is eat your brains
We're at an impasse here,
Maybe we should compromise.
If you open up the door,
We'll all come inside and eat your brains.
Management wants to take away residuals from things like DVDs, which is perfectly "reasonable", since they're leaving residuals for traditional broadcast television intact. Never mind that broadcast television is dying. Meanwhile, the writers want a piece of the quick-growing pie called "New Media" such as the Internet. Management doesn't want to give them one. Management has proposed a "compromise" by which they study the question for three or six years -- in the meanwhile, continuing to not pay the writers anything in these areas.

Wait a minute, this sounds familiar. That's exactly the same "logic" that President Bush has been getting away with for years now. Only apparently the WGA has more intelligence and courage than Congress, and isn't standing for it.

Y'know, I used to think that one President was much like another. That's been beaten out of me. For one thing, I've seen studies showing that, at all levels of society, the ethics of a leader figure strongly influence all those beneath him. For example, under Nixon, white collar crime went way up. Now, after so many years of a President whose greed is practically unparalleled, whose idea of compromise is "shut up and do what I say", and whose ability to even *understand* his opponents is so small -- is it any wonder that the Hollywood Producers are acting the way they are?

Some of the writers are wondering why Management is acting so irrationally. Surely they *know* that this can't end well, that they are facing united opposition that will never yield on the important points. But refusing to face such realities is how Role Model Number One in the White House does things, so they're doing it too.

I'm starting to think that this will be a very long strike...

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Alexx Kay

June 2017

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