music

Forget Regret?

Watch 1994 Madison Scouts in Music  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

That right there? That video was the first exposure I ever had to Drum Corps. Some Friday night in October '95 I was sitting in the high school band room. (Go Ben Davis Marching Giants! Animals Forever!) Anyway, twas the night before State Finals and the drumline was busy changing out drum heads, wrapping sticks with tape, tuning the drums, making them sparkle and shine for the big show the following night. Someone put on a video of Drum Corps International finals from the previous year and that served as background noise to our regular chatter and the thumping/hacking of high school drummers.

I didn't notice anything on the tv until ^THAT^ appeared on screen. If you watch the above video, you might understand why at 3:20 the entire room back in '95 stopped what it was doing and stared. It's been a long time since that night. I've seen and done a lot of things in the last 18 years (dear gods, 18 years?!), but I remember the electric awe of that moment. Cymbals, snares and holy god! My jaw was on the floor, and it certainly wasn't the only one. We begged our band directors, our percussion instructor... we hounded them. Please can we do that? Teach us. Can we do it? Please!! 

I said to my percussion instructor, "I want to do that!" "You and everyone else," he slurred. "No, not just the stunts, but THAT. What is that?" "Drum Corps. That's the Madison Scouts." "I want to do that. I want to be in that group." "You can't," he said. "You're a girl. They don't let girls into the Scouts. Men only." "Are there Drums Corps that let girls in?" I asked. "I want to do it!"

He never responded.

I never did Drum Corps.

You know how people always say, "If I knew then what I know now?" or they talk about the one that got away? Drum Corps is my white whale. For years I thought it was something I couldn't have. A teacher told me I couldn't. By the time I realized he was wrong--that I was wrong--and learned how to audition, and had the confidence to do it... I was too old. There's an age limit and I'd exceeded it. I'd waited too long to even try.

I learned from that mistake. This might be why I look fear square in the yellow eyes and say, "Fuck off, I'm doing this!" I don't want to run out of time waiting to be better, stronger, the stars to align or other such rot. I take the shots I'm given even if it's foolish to do so.

If I knew then, though... I totally would've done it. I would've auditioned for every corps I could find.

But I didn't.

I can't tell you how many speed limits I broke listening to that show (particularly with the soul-piercing trumpet at 10:53. Gah! Love it!!) I know that it's been a long time and people have improved upon drill and stunts and all sorts of other things that make this video chump change to some people. But for me, when I see it or hear it, I'm still 15 and wrapping my bass drum mallets with tape...my jaw on the floor.

Damn I love that show.

Nerdscape: An Evolution

So, fellow Arizona author Kevin Hearne is hosting a photo contest for a worthy Nerdscape. A nerdscape, as Hearne puts it, is a place for you to let your geek flag fly. I took a picture, thinking that would be the end of it, however, as I was soon to find out, capturing one's Nerdscape can often become a sojourn into one's self... So my desk in its natural state is its own altar to geekdom. I didn't have to do much at all in the way of meeting Hearne's criteria for a Nerdscape. One of the qualifications is "junk food". I sent him a quick tweet to be certain that booze was not considered "junk food". (Kevin says that booze, like coffee, is a vital fluid and therefore cannot be considered "junk".) So, I added a bag of Dove chocolates to my desk, artfully arranged a couple of books and took the first picture. Again, other than the chocolates and the positioning of the books, this is my desk in (pretty much) its natural state.

Represented above you will find 4 moai, the sunflower from Plants vs Zombies, a poker chip, a random duck, a d20, Dianna Wynne Jones's "Castle in the Air", Batman EGO, "Little Richard" from the webco
mic "Looking For Group" (wearing Tigger ears from Disney World, I might add), the above mentioned chocolate, a red frog, my extra monitor, external speakers, slave drive and laptop sporting the Dr. Who/Pulp Fiction mash-up as a desktop, and my framed reminder to Keep Calm and Carry On. (It sparkles!)
Now, I looked at this and thought, "Well hell, you can't tell there's a Doctor Who reference on the computer with that...maybe I should condense things and get a closer shot."  I did... but you still couldn't tell the desktop was Whovian. So I switched to a desktop of multiple TARDISES (TARDISII?) and this was the result:
I looked at this one, prepared to fire it off to Kevin, when I realized that something was missing. What about my love of Firefly? So, I thought I should dig into my box of joy that I keep beneath my desk and pull out the Firefly sticker. Whilst going through that box, I found a few other things... and so, here is my Nerdscape.
Includes all of the above as well as one of my many Timmy (Think Geek) stickers, my Firefly sticker, my Volunteer badge from Phoenix Comic Con and a miniature Cthulhu.
I won't call it finished, because it never is, is it? This is so not comprehensive. Even now I'm thinking, "DUDE! I should've gotten my daughter's Ocarina Of Time to put in that pic!" But no, if I keep going it will just snowball into an obsession. I have enough of those. Clearly.

Flashbacks and Fear for the Future

Good Monday morning, gang. Alright, let's just mention it now: Yes, Whitney Houston passed away this weekend. I have to say that while I wasn't  FAN! of hers, I have so much respect for her. In the 80s it was Michael Jackson, Madonna and Whitney. She is part of the soundtrack of my life. She's someone's mother, daughter and friend and I'm sorry her light has gone out.Last night was the Grammy's and I was glad to see Adele kick so much ass. I am sad for the state of our youth, though, when Twitter is flooded with people saying they have no earthly clue who Paul McCartney is. *facepalm* I just don't know where to begin with that and I refuse to be the one to educate you now. Why? Because my lessons will be riddled with more profanity than a submarine with Denis Leary, Sam Kinnison and George Carlin in a pissing contest. Anyway.... it's Monday, it's morning. Life is pretty damn peachy at the moment. I got a new office chair! I now bask in the glory of lumbar support. AND! I made it m'self! Alright. So IKEA made it and I put it together. But I did it myself! Also... I GET NEW GLASSES. Went to the eye doctor this weekend for the first time in damn near 5 years. Sean did, too, because he's now over 40 and thinks his eyes are starting to go. Well, my prescription has changed (go figure). When the doctor asked me to cover one eye and read the best line I could without squinting, I giggled and proudly shouted, "E!" Sean, of course, read something about 11 lines down but couldn't read the copyright date. *rolls eyes* The doctor and I both felt absolute disgust that my husband's eyes are damn near perfect and mine are shit. We told him to get out.

Truth be told, Sean and I are both a little sad he didn't need glasses. He found this awesome pair of rimless glasses. Sexy in a young Dumbledore kinda way. (And I love that Dumbledore doesn't set off my spell check.) So yeah, I pick up my new glasses today. I get to see again! *happy dance*

There is new ink in my future as well. I'm getting my memorial tattoo for Nicki in a few days. You'll see it soon and I'll just explain it all then with circles and arrows and captions and all that stuff.

SO! Today I'd like to offer you all a flashback. Some of you have been hanging around on my various blogs for a while, others are new. Back in 2001 or so, I blogged on this other site that I won't give press here. Had my own little following there. One thing the fans loved: my Vox Crania entries. Now, a few days ago I let you in on my character generation style with a Vox Crania post. To make it fun, I'm going to post one of the older, classic Vox entries.

This one was originally posted to that OTHER site on December 24, 2004. (Yup, it's my Christmas special!)

Quick primer for those who may not get it:

  • "Kemi" = my alter ego. My personality. Me. The Prima Wahine and Bee Girl herself.
  • "--ex Wahine" indicates someone who is in my life. Their "ex Wahine" vox is the version of them in my head.
  • Deus Ex Wahine is the part of me that figures shit out. Wisdom, Providence. Whatever.
  • Superman = a guy I had a date with back in 2004 before I started dating Sean.
  • Yes, parts of my body actually get a say in the Vox Crania.
  • Tigereyezz and Steal This Diary = My then-roommate and her then-boyfriend (now husband), respectively. Also, Steal was at the time a Legolas look-a-like.
Anyway, here's an old style post from yours truly and all the voices in my head. (Just enjoy how good you have it now that I've got 8 years of blogging experience under my belt and a more stable mind.)
Gift-wrapped Voxes Under the Tree - 24 December, 2004Kemi: *putting tinsel on the tree* On the last day of Christmas my Voxes gave to me...

Deus ex Wahine: A stupid special like on TV!

Clit: *putting tinsel on herself* I had the best dream last night...Superman was all sorts of sweaty and...

Kemi: Yeah and then my ex from high school showed up. Deus: I blame The Roomie and Steal. Kemi: So do I. Both: Damn the men with long blonde hair. Clit: Damn them indeed.

*doorbell* 

Kemi: I wonder who that could be. Deus: Expecting anyone? Kemi: Are you kidding?

*opens door*

Kemi: Look, Deus! It's Sarcastic Wit and Work-Induced-Dementia.

WID and Wit: Happy Christmas! Wit: We brought food. WID: We were going to bring the Wahine's Work Ethic, but the past week has turned Work Ethic into a cripsy crust.

Kemi: You brought a dessert I see. WID: Yes, it's a cheesecake with a nice cripsy crust. *looks knowingly at the audience* Wit: The crumble crust of a cheese cake is paved with good intentions. WID: Since this work ethic is fucking useless, we're going to feast upon it in this season of giving.  Movie Quoting Vox: We'd gladly feast on those who would subdue us. Wit: And how.

*Wit and WID go forth, skipping, towards the tree*

WID: What's this I see before me? Wit: Egg nog? Cider? Kemi: Margarita. 

Deus: Did you really expect otherwise from this Wahine?

*doorbell rings*

Kemi: I'll get it! *bounds back to door*

*opens door*

Kemi: Heart! and Mind! Look at you two, all friendshippy and stuff!

Heart: Very Merries, everyone! Mind: And Happy Stolen Holiday with large monitary burden--value to you, too. Heart: Why can't you just say Happy New Year? Mind: By which calendar, my dear? Heart: Impossible, this one.

Deus: Come in, come in. And what's this you've brought? Mind: Oh, just a little something we kinda went in on. Heart: I wrapped it. See. Deus: Why, it's covered in little...Superman S'es. Heart: And they're pink! Deus: Methinks you should go speak with Clit. Heart: Really? *bounces off in a flutter of pink* Mind: Deus, she's peachy, honest. But being the holidays I just let her go a little, ya know.  Deus: Keeps her sane, I'm sure.

*Dingdong*

Deus: Look everyone....it's our friends...Blue Man Group!

Blue Man Group: *enters* Kemi: Hi Guys! Blue Man Group: 

Kemi: Make yourselves at home, play, whatever! Blue Man Left: *crosses to Tree* Blue Man Center: *crosses to Cheesecake* Blue Man Right: *crosses to Clit and Heart*

Ex Wahine Delivery Man Vox: Knock Knock. Clit and Heart: *bounding to the door* Hello there. Delivery Man Vox: I have a delivery for Worker Bee.

WID: I'll sign for it. Worker Bee is Blue Man Center: *shoves heaping piece of cheesecake in mouth* WID: ...indisposed

Delivery Hunk: Merry Christmas. *leaves*

WID: K, what have we here. *opens bag with large Santa face on it* Bath stuff. From ... Freaky-Eyed-Boss Lady?? What the hell? Kemi: That's nice of her. She's been driving you crazy and to aberrant acts of cannibalism and she gave you bath gel and a loufa! WID: What is she trying to say? That I don't bathe? I do! DAILY! With expensive shit from Victoria's Secret. Clit: What say we do some after Christmas shopping together, there, WID? WID: What the fuck is this?  Movie Quoting Vox: PC Load Letter?

*ding dong*

Kemi: Look everyone! It's Hoss and CatEyedGirl Ex Wahine! And they've brought The Boy! Hoss ex Wahine: Greetings. CatEyedGirl ex Wahine: Heya, darlin'. The Boy: *hugs Kemi*

*ding dong* Deus: And look, it's The Divil ex Wahine and Tower ex Wahine with the Venerable Pooh ex Wahine!

Divil ex Wahine: Happy Holidays, my Ego and I will be over here under the mistletoe. Clit: That's what I forgot!

Tower: San Juan is the Greatest Game Ever! Assembled Ex Wahine Voxes and Kemi: SHUT UP!! Blue Man Group: 

CatEyedGirl Ex Wahine: This cheesecake is phenomenal. What did you use for the crust? Sarcastic Wit: Lots of hard work. Pooh Ex Wahine: Look, something shiny.

Hoss ex Wahine: Beer. Where is the beer?

Kemi: Wow, Deus, looking around I'm not sure who's missing.

*dingdong*

Deus: How hard did you work on this script? Kemi: What script?

Movie Quoting Vox: *opens door to see The Illustrious Roomie and Steal This Diary* Neb Dolan (spelling?) SUBTITLE: You're Late.

Assembled Voxes turn and stare.

Hoss: You're done. Movie Quoting Vox: It's a quote from LoTR!! Aragorn arrives to Helm's Deep... bah, fuck you all.  Venerable Pooh ex Wahine: *following Movie Quoting Vox* But I got it!

Kemi: That's the holiday spirit!

Tigereyezz: He's Here!!!! Steal: Hi. Tigereyezz: He's here!!!! Wit: *to Steal* Cheesecake? Blue Man Group: 

*ding dong* Kemi: Now I really wonder who this could possibly be...

*opens door*

Bri and Carrie Ex Wahine: Surprise! Bri ex Wahine: Hello, lover! Carrie Ex Wahine: Jaymbay *running tackle hug*

Kemi: WOW! What are you doing here? Bri and Carrie Ex Wahine: Well, it's your Christmas special.  Bri ex Wahine: what would it be without all of thems you love present, eh, sweets?

*Thumpa Thumpa music starts playing* 

Sarcastic Wit: Ya know, every time there's thumpa thumpa a Drag Queen gets his stilettos. Kemi: That's right.  Deus: Gods bless us everyone.

Kemi: Wow, we've got friends, and margaritas and good music... what more could anyone ask for?

Blue Man Group: *starts playing along to thumpa thumpa, a tech'ed out version of PVC IV*

From all of our Voxes to all of yours...

Very Merries, Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Time!

iGrieve

  http://jmak.tumblr.com/post/9377189056Like most people in the world, I did not know Steve Jobs personally. I never met him, never sat in the same room while he gave a speech and never so much as caught a glimpse of him through a car window.
Like some people in the world, I'm not a Mac user. I don't have an iPhone and I often joke that some of my friends are tethered to the Apple teat.
But like everyone in the world, my life has been changed because of Steve Jobs. The first computer I used in a school was an Apple II. In college, I learned how to use music writing software on a Mac. My iPod has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.
I think the biggest effect Steve Jobs had on my life, though, wasn't in his inventions, but his attitude. Steve Jobs knew what most of us creative types know: you have to fail. It's always an option and it's the only way we learn. Jobs made mistakes and kept moving forward through them. Steve Jobs took chances. One of the best risks he ever took was backing a tiny upstart group of geeks and writers in Emeryville, California back in the 80s. You know them today as Pixar.
I list Pixar as one of my most prevalent influences. No, I don't write material for kids, but then, that's not what Pixar does either. Pixar tells stories. Plain and simple. And their stories are good. I strive to find that level of mastery in my craft. Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Wall-E... The world would not have those stories if someone hadn't given those geeks a chance. I am grateful not just to those at Pixar, but to Steve Jobs for making it all possible. For believing in someone else's skills enough to say, "Go for it."
When I heard the news last night that Steve Jobs had died, I cried. I've been in a state of mourning since then and part of me feels incredibly stupid for feeling so deeply about a man I never met. Say what you will about money and industry and business or bicker about being a PC or a Mac, complain about updates or lack thereof... but Steve Jobs touched our lives in ways we may never understand. The full scope of his life will not fit on a microprocessor or a nano. He was more than tech.

Steve Jobs was a dreamer. A visionary. An artist.

The world is different because he lived.
Thank you, Steve. Shine on.

To Your iPod You Listen...

...save you it can.

Good morning, friends. So, with school back in session, I'm walking at least 2 miles a day. Usually in the morning, thankfully. Heat stroke doesn't appeal to me. When I'm not doing a Dalek impression and saying to myself, "REHYDRATE! REHYDRATE!" I've been working on my new project. As of this post, the new novel is sitting pretty at around 14k words and humming quite nicely. This project is a six book story arc with at least 3 short stories to go as companion pieces. I've got most of the larger arcs plotted out, and I call the series "Etudes in C#". Genre: Urban Fantasy. We're playing with gods, demi-gods, mythical creatures and technomancy. It's a blast, kids. (Does that mean my elevator pitch is, "It's Anansi Boys meets Tron"?)

Anyway, the honeymoon is over and C# and I are really into the nitty gritty. Forming a rough draft can be difficult, especially if you've a) been away from novel writing for a while or b) have been editing polished work. Rough drafts can seem so... rough! They're crude representations not even suitable for the title "book". I don't know if you other writers experience this, but when I'm getting into a new rough draft, I hit a spot (usually about 30 pages in) where I just want to scrap it and start over. Rather than telling the goddamn story, I'm worried about things like pacing, voice, world building... which is good, but it's counterproductive.

Here's the thing. Second guessing those first 20 pages? It's a defense mechanism. It's your tender ego fighting for its life. If you never finish the novel, you never have to get rejected. Rough drafts are for writing. Get Patient 0 out of your head, then let your inner editor spank the fuck out of that monkey. Spend an editing pass focusing solely on voice, another on world, another on pacing...repeat ad infinitum until that baby shines and you can see your reflection in it.

So, this morning, on my walk home I was jamming to shuffled tunes on my iPod and pondering the scene I wrote last night...where I want to take it today... should I do some edits today. The track changed to Crystal Method's remix of "Roadhouse Blues" by the Doors. (I fucking love this song. Both versions.) First words you hear? "Keep your eyes on the road."

I smiled and looked up from the sidewalk to see a truck with detailing that said, "Trust the process."

Wow.

Coincidences happen. You can't always look for signs and portents, but I'll accept that as a nudge from the Universe.

So, if you'll excuse me... C# and I have a date.