music

Proof of Concept: An Interview with Open Beta

12049552_812993162146864_7296305435115425853_nIt's no secret around here that I am fond of music. I'm also a total geek. Imagine my delight when Open Beta came on the local music scene. Geeks with an amazing sound! I find them to be a quirky trio. Comprised of Paul Schmidt (guitar and vocals), Erin Lewis (violin) and Brian Abernethy (bodhran and vocals), Open Beta pulls from Irish roots, folk styles, and geek rock a la Jonathan Coulton. While Paul and Brian riff off of one another comedically, Erin often shakes her head woefully at their antics. She's a Wendy with a pair of Lost Boys. But when she puts bow to strings, holy shit, the woman is a kinetic firestorm. The way she plays with her whole body--sometimes even breaking into an Irish jig!--ignites audiences with Lewis's contagious joy in her work. After more than a year playing together at coffee shops and events around the Valley, Open Beta is putting out their debut album, the fan-funded Proof of Concept. I sat down with them so that you can get a better glimpse of Open Beta.

Pajamazon: So tell me about Open Beta, guys. Paul: Here's a stor- nah. We're creepy and- no, that's not it. Once upon a ti- that's closer...

Erin: On the surface we’re a band that does “Nerd-Folk/rock”. Open Beta is what happens when three longtime friends with a love for music, gaming, and geekdom blend it all together.

Brian:  We like to sing about Star Wars and Firefly and zombies, stuff like that.

11059196_773693066076874_352624874240467533_nWhat instrument do you play? How long have you been playing? How did you come to play your instrument? Paul: I play guitar and sing lead or backing vocals mostly, but I also play bodhran on stage, and piano at home. I've been playing and singing since high school (playing keyboard in a Duran Duran cover band comes to mind). My Gran first taught me piano when I was about three, and I went to more formal training until I was twelve, at which time I wanted to learn something more than just theory and classical. I picked up guitar here and there, only to set it aside for awhile. Then at 25, I picked it up again and threw myself into it, and it clicked.

10689619_647194615393387_7447306777836391422_nErin: I’ve been playing the fiddle for...um…25 years? I started when a lot of other musicians start, back in grade school, and that same year I joined a group called “strolling strings”. We played the Orange Blossom Special, so I’ve literally been fiddling since day one. Round about sophomore year in high school I went on a field trip to this crazy place called the Renaissance Festival and heard another fiddler out there. I was completely hooked. I auditioned the next season, made it, and played there for the next decade or so. It was there I started going from just playing at the fiddler to really performing with it, finding where the music lives and breathes and letting it run wild.

11187208_744265909019590_5774854161972114060_oBrian: I do both lead and backing vocals, (not usually at the same time) and I play the bodhran, a frame drum most commonly found in Irish music. I've been singing since I was a kid, and I learned the bodhran in my twenties. I was so hungry to get myself into a band, back then, and I realized that there wasn't much opportunity for just a vocalist. The bodhran seemed simple enough that I could learn it quickly and make myself more marketable. Turns out, it's a remarkably complex instrument; you don't expect to get a full octave of notes out of a drum. I picked up the basics from Paul, and practiced and honed those skills at Irish seisiuns in and around the Valley of the Sun. I've developed my style over the years to the point where I'm comfortable describing myself as "slightly above marginally competent".

Is there another instrument that you'd like to play? Will we hear you bring that to Open Beta sometime? Erin: *Laughs* I actually do play standing and guitar bass, English horn, a little piano, and some viola and cello. I’d love to get some bass lines in the sound on the band. I can hear them there, I just don’t have enough arms to do two instruments at once.

Brian: I'd love to learn to play bass guitar, if I could only find the time. Someday, perhaps, you'll see it on stage. I'm also getting into creating music electronically, as of late.

Paul: I'm teaching myself mandolin and octave mandolin.  I don't have a pickup installed in it just yet, but one day...

Do you have a day job? How do you balance band and "real" life? 12038761_812971878815659_7228893045060822251_oPaul: Oh, yeah; my day job is part database admin, part "data scientist". That means I make ways to find and harvest meaningful data to predict trends, and then make ways to store that data such that it's easily retrievable.

Erin: You know the song “Code Monkey”? Yeah, that’s kinda my day job. I’m in IT, and oddly enough I really like it. It pays the bills, gives me a chance to take the kids to cool things. I’m a geeky mom of four geeky kids ranging from 16 to 7, and have the crazy family life that goes along with it.

Paul: She’s an awesome Mom, too, and while that can make some rehearsals interesting-  “Mom(ma)! Where’s my fiddle/costume/backpack/book/snack/etc?" -it’s also something I know she draws from, in that one day the music will pay off so it’s the only “job” we do.

Erin: Integrating two families into one means a lot work for both me and Paul. If it wasn’t for my bandmates, I’m not sure what would have happened.

Brian: If by "day job" you mean "gainful employment" then no, not as such. I'm currently a full-time student at Glendale Community College, where I'm enrolled in their Commercial Music program. I also sink a lot of time into the band itself, seeking bookings, managing social media, planning out our next steps. Balancing that, and school, and family...it's a challenge. Most of my hobbies have fallen by the wayside, and there are people that I absolutely adore for whom there is never as much time as I'd like. Everyone's really supportive and understanding, but it's a strain sometimes.

Paul: He really drives the band to go further.  Not that we don’t want to on our own, but he’s got the most hunger for it, and that’s good, because it reminds us to keep reaching and pushing.  Someday we'll be in the position where the music replaces the "job", and that will be living the dream.

Is this your first band? Erin: Oh no. I’ve played with a lot of different bands, from Alannah, to ClareVoyants, to Sheanachie, the McMorrows, Trotters Wake, The Muses…I was second string fiddler for just about everyone for many years. I loved playing with all of them, but being in your own band, where you get input into what you play and why? That’s worth more than anything I can think of.

Brian: Nope. I've played in a couple of Irish bands previously, One-Eyed Fiona, and The Hooligans. That was a ways back, though, 15 years I think? Great experience, played with some amazingly talented people.

Paul: Nope.  You may have even heard of one or two before this one. 

10557396_831831526929694_1602417970268744660_nWhy Open Beta? What about this band tickles your ivories? Brian: Why am I playing with Open Beta? I ask myself this one all the time. Simplest answer is this: Love. I love my bandmates, even when they frustrate me. (To be fair, I can frustrate pretty easily). I love the music we play. I love our fans, the community that's forming around us. I love the possibilities that we're opening up, both for new music and for growth. Love is what keeps us from falling out of the sky. Love, and a bit of magic here and there. Not magic in the wand-waving, robe-wearing, "Expecto Paycheckum!" sort of way. But the magic of a good song, well-played. The magic of being in the middle of a performance, right in the middle of a song we've played a hundred times, and suddenly wishing that the fiddle would do *this*, or that Paul would play the next chord like *that*...and with not a word spoken or a glance exchanged, those things happen, and it's a wonder, and it's GOOD, and I couldn't begin to tell you how the heck that just happened. Moments like that. That kind of magic.

Erin: They hear you when your brain goes, “Can we run this this way?” And do it, without even needing words. This band, seriously, is my family. Not the kind that you are born into, but the kind that you chose because they see you. Not the front you keep up for society, for work, for the blood family that wouldn’t get it. The kind of family that can tell just when you walk in that you need that extra moment, or a hug. Or even just an extra coffee. And that extends from the band to the fans, many of whom my kids have also adopted as family. That, my friends, is humbling and exhilarating at the same time.

So it's not just that it's a band, but that it's THIS band. These people?

Paul: Brian’s this big brother who’s kept me safe and sane on more than one occasion.

Erin:Brian’s a lot of encouragement in a package he tries REALLY hard at being 11060935_786698311443016_2761406305341317065_ngruff in. He’s the minutiae man of the group, making sure our “I’s” are dotted and our “T’s” crossed when it comes to the business, and is the ballast if you will, reminding us that flying is good, but we need to run the checklist first.

Paul: Makes me worry about him overdoing sometimes, but that intensity pays off when we start playing off of each other, building each piece, each interaction, and really making each gig much more than just a show; it becomes an experience.

Erin: And seriously, there’s no one outside of Paul that can keep up with me on a drum. *grins*

Brian: No easy feat. She is The Unstoppable Elfling. Erin is a delight to play with. I love her enthusiasm, her desire to charge full-speed ahead into whatever's next. There are times, when we're trying something new, and I watch her working her way through a new piece of music, and nail it, and then look up with eyes wide and a tiny smile, as if to ask "Did I get it? Did I do the thing?" and it's like somebody just gave Dobby a sock. Then there are moments where she just cuts all of the brake lines, and her strings start to smoke, and the cute little elf I've known for years is gone, and Titania herself is in her place, and fire and fury and passion and life all come howling out of that fiddle, so hang on to your hats. Erin genuinely believes that anything is possible, that we're capable of anything. She dreams for us, and she does it well.

11986926_806219982824182_7605538636773145691_nPaul: There’s mischief there; she’ll get an idea of something to do with the fiddle that just snaps our heads around, and all we can do is keep up, or ham up from our end (see the photo of Brian balancing a bodhran on my head) just to give the appearance of keeping up.

Brian: This guy has no room to talk. He's got this infectious laugh and this devilish smile, and I don't think I've ever told him that I've learned more about music and the art of performing from him than perhaps anyone else ever. I wouldn't be making music if it weren't for him.

Paul: Brian's the big brother who's kept me safe and sane. On more than one occasion.

Brian: Paul is the guy I turn to, without hesitation, when I'm getting lost or maxed-out. I can turn to Paul and say "I need you to handle this," and then forget about it. When we're making decisions for the band, where to play, what to try, how to grow, it's Paul who acts as our voice of reason. He looks out for all of us. (This whole project was Paul's idea, really. So blame him.)

Erin: Paul's kinda the balance in the band, where I get ran out too far ahead, and Brian gets buried in everything else, he finds the middle ground and gets us back on track.

So it sounds like you're collaborative. Paul: Hell yes.

Erin: With these two, definitely! Music isn’t something that should be experienced alone, really. Not from the audience’s side, or the musician’s. There’s an energy that flows between bandmates, between the band and the audience, and among the audience itself. Without that, creating new things, wanting to create new things wouldn’t be possible.

Paul: There’s been many a moment where one of us will start goofing around on their instrument, or make some really bad nerdy pun or cliche, and one or both of the others will have that look you get when the lightbulb flicks full on, and then it’s a frenzy of writing or “hey, can you play this?”, and the next thing we know, we have a piece ready for show.

Brian: I let them think it's collaborative. Actually, it's a benevolent despotism. Don't tell the elf.

What's the creative process like for you? Paul: Personally, for me it’s a lot of second guessing myself right now.  I’ve got probably about a half-dozen pieces from years past that are a few minutes from being finished, but that need to dig out and actually get comfortable with finishing them or touching them up with more recent insights, and then putting them out there.

1913433_743895709056610_997490995947350789_oErin: Until working with Paul and Brian, I couldn’t get a single bloody note down to paper. I always lost it somewhere in the aether between paper and pencil. I can’t stop writing now! When something new hits, be it a change in a riff in a song we’re already doing, or a new fiddle tune that demands attention, or writing a filk, when the creative muse hits me it’s like a freight train, and you can ask the guys, I can’t focus on a damned thing until I get it written down. With writing and arranging songs IN the bands, a lot of it is the three of us finishing each other’s sentences, an idea hitting more than one of us at the same time. Sometimes it’s just a key change, or a modulation, or a total rewrite, we do that together.

Brian: First, I undergo a ritual purification by submerging myself in a vat of boysenberry yogurt...

NEXT! So a lot of your growth and creativity seems pretty organic. Like it happens in the moment. What's rehearsal like for you guys? Erin: Slightly organized chaos.

Brian: Have you ever tried to herd cats? It's kind of like that, without the purring.

Paul: More often than not, I’m the cat that needs to be herded.

Brian: There's usually some talk of business, bookings and payments and merchandising and the like. There's discussion of whatever music we're currently doing, what's gone stale, what's not working well, what is REALLY resonating with us and with the audience.

12240321_10153878534941004_7787203379300834517_oErin: There’s notes and pictures taken, and depending on the week, a kid wandering through sneaking a hug in or ninjaing an un-busy lap.

Brian: Lately, there's been talk about what I'm picking up in school. Eventually, someone remembers that we really should practice some music.

Paul: Erin writes fiddly bits on the spot, and I find different ways to attack songs. Then we put it all together, rearrange, rehearse, miss cues, miss giving cues, and then we nail it.  

Erin: A break for caffeine and calories followed by another burst of music, sometimes with a scattered, feverish scribble of a new tune or some lyrics that popped into someone’s head.

Paul: Maybe we even remember to write down what key we’re playing it in.

Erin: It's insane, and I love it.

Turning to the future...What do you hope comes of your time with Open Beta? Wave the magic wand, shake the snow globe of destiny and tell me where the band is in 5 years if you had your druthers. Paul: The dream? They say if you find a job doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.  That, right there.

Erin: Day jobs are a thing of the past, and Paul and I only do IT-related stuff for or own enjoyment or to help out a friend. We’re regularly booked at DragonCon, NYComicCon, etc.

Brian: Well, Paul likes the security of the regular paycheck, so he's still coding, but on his own time and working from home/the road. Because we'll be spending perhaps 150 days a year on the road, touring and making our music. We're working on our latest album, "Dork Side Of The Moon".

Erin: Weeks are spent with family, writing new songs...

Paul: ...gardening, videogaming...

Erin: Living rather than survivng.

Brian: We'd be hitting conventions, playing gigs in game stores, selling our music, planning out the next thing. Staying connected to our fans, keeping in touch with them, taking them (figuratively) on this journey with us. We'd be celebrating being booked on Jonathan Coulton's "JoCo Crazy Cruise".

Erin: Our Patreon, gigs and album sales are supporting all of our lives, and in return we’re crazy close to our fanbase.

Brian: And Glee has just infringed on our copyright for one of our songs.

Erin: This is the music-geek dream.

12277989_10207694568235721_441350940_nTo that end, let's talk about the album.

Brian: Proof Of Concept will have a very limited release on November 28th. $15 gets listeners our EP, photos, and more all on a nifty custom-made flash drive with a free Open Beta keychain. We're having our release party that night at SoZo Coffeehouse, from 7:30-9:30PM. The album and other merch will be available there. We'd love to see you there!

If people can't make it to SoZo, is there a way they can pick it up? Paul: Right this second, it's a physical release only. With the proceeds from sales, we'll be looking into the possibilities of digital distribution, including licensing costs for our cover tunes. We'll make announcement as soon as that's available. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to make sure you catch it.

Other than this weekend, where can we see you? Erin: If you check our Bookings page on our website, you can find out where we're playing. We also announce gigs through our Facebook page and Twitter feed. At the moment we play a free gig every Wednesday at Cup o' Karma in Mesa. We'd love to see you there! If you can't make it to the shop, we broadcast our shows live on Periscope.

 

Guys, it was an absolute pleasure sitting down with you and learning more about what makes Open Beta tick. Dear readers, make with the clicky, if you please and follow them. Watch their shows on Periscope if you can't make it down, and consider buying Proof of Concept.

And if you're in the states, have a safe and happy holiday.

*All photos in this post are courtesy of Open Beta and Melissa Wold McCollum.

Big Announcement!

colbert high fiveSo if you follow me on the social media, you know that I'm big on local geek folk/rock band Open Beta. Well, last night we made the big announcement live on Periscope during the band's weekly performance at  Cup O' Karma. If you didn't see it, here 'tis! Open Beta has graciously offered to do a concert to raise funds for this Kickstarter. Next Friday (September 25) from 8-10 pm we will all be at Gotham City Comics in Mesa, AZ. We will have live Periscope streams for those who can't come to the event itself, so you can enjoy the music and get in on the action. We'll have merch, raffles and other joy PLUS a very special guest emcee. The link to the live feed will be posted here, on my social media, my website, and the band's social media as well. The best thing you can do is to join us (on site or via the Periscope feed), share the link far and wide and bring in new eyes and ears so we can get this Kickstarter funded!

Between now and next Friday, please keep being amazing, spread the link to this campaign, tell people why you dig this project and help us meet the goal of $8500.

Thank you for your support. I love you all and could not do this without you.

j.

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.

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.