ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
We met my parents in Champaign today.  :D  Stopped to shop for spices, and I got the ones I was looking for.  Doug found a new brand of world spice blends that I looked at for 2 seconds and said, "If I start going through those, I will blow $50 and I've already got a sizable order here."  But I definitely plan to go back and do that in the future.

For supper we went to Olive Garden, which had a sample table with their two flavored lemonades: strawberry-passionfruit and kiwi-melon.  Both were utterly fabulous.  I got the strawberry-passionfruit, Doug got the kiwi-melon, and we shared.  :D Both flavors had a top, middle, and bottom note so I will definitely remember that for future reference in fruity lemonades.  It made a huge difference over just strawberry lemonade.

We watched Step Afrika at the Krannert center, which was also brilliant.  They did amazing things with dance, drums, and body music.  Very exuberant, whole-body motions.  The show told the story of the Great Migration from Africa to the South, and then the South to the North.  \o/
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
Here's a gorgeous rendition of "The Song of Durin" by J.R.R. Tolkien.  It's a beautiful description of a young world full of hope ... from the perspective of an old world full of trouble.  But there's a lovely bit of Dwarven spirituality about reincarnation in there.

If you appreciate my poetry, well, it's because I grew up reading stuff like this.  
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the January 3, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] alatefeline, [personal profile] technoshaman, and [personal profile] johnpalmer. It also fills the "angst" square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo fest. This poem is the free epic for the April 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl, based on an audience poll. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
This awesome new project involves commissioning composers (including our own [personal profile] artsyhonker) to create new, wordless lullabies to be sung by Megan Ihnen. I gather the intent is something akin to scat singing.  This project is at $3,923 pledged of $5,650 goal, with 78 backers, and 4 days to go.  It's an all-or-nothing project so it only funds if it meets the goal.

For my friends with insomnia or anxiety, think about whether such a recording might help you sleep or relax.  A pledge of $25 gets you a downloadable copy of the digital album upon completion.  For anyone else with such friends, note that a pledge of $15 gets you listed as a backer in the liner notes, while a pledge of $85 allows you to dedicate a song to someone you know. I'm waffling between the $15 and the $25 levels, and wishing that I'd heard of this darn thing a week ago when people were asking what I wanted for my birthday!

This project just seems like a fantastic way to support people with the invisible disabilities of insomnia and anxiety.  It's a practical aid that should work for many people, given the popularity of extant soothing music, and it's a nifty new idea.  It alos offers an opportunity to support the arts.  If you wish you were in Terramagne-America, this is the kind of project often sponsored by their awesome public art grants, but people do these as crowdfunding too.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
My partner Doug found this video of duelling bagpipers.  :D  Be patient, it's amusing from the beginning but takes a while to get to the really relevant part.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
In a little breath of Terramagne, I bring you a L-Amsterdam gizmologist who makes adaptive wind instruments.  

Why is this gizmology instead of just advanced tech?  Because he's customizing these things to whatever hand(s) his customers have. Some of the instruments have completely rebuilt the controls, moved toneholes, and made other major changes.  Others just have simple extensions, minor changes of key shape, etc.  The first really brilliant premise is to fit the instrument to the player, not the player to the instrument.  For example, many of these have props or supports.  Why is this not standard practice?  That's a stick with a clip on one end.  But people are routinely told they can't play an instrument if they can't hold it -- that happened to me with flute.  (I wanted to play piccolo.  They wouldn't let me, said I was only allowed to learn on flute.  I couldn't hold up a flute, so that didn't happen.)  A simple prop would have solved that problem, although not my lack of musical aptitude in this life.  The other brilliance is that the guy just sits down and figures out how to redesign each instrument as needed.  That kind of innovation is gizmology.  

On retro-engineering: once the design exists, another instrument maker of sufficient skill could duplicate it.  (The two adaptive necks, which can fit on an ordinary flute, could be mass-produced if anyone were arsed to do so.)  But most of them could NOT make an adaptive instrument for a different disability, let alone a constant stream of them for all different shapes.

This sort of thing is more common in Terramagne.  The one-handed nurse that Ragno winds up getting advice from is a flute player, and that gets Ragno interested.  It's a chance to learn something new, interesting, and fun -- rather than struggling to relearn yet another formerly easy task.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The Harp Twins are crowdfunding new harps. (Remember, they need two of everything. Yikes.) At the concert we saw, they had acoustic pedal harps, and electic lever harps. Now they're saving for electroacoustic pedal harps, which will have special effects pedals along with the usual ones for changing the pitch. Pay close attention to the status: $13,615 of $6,000 goal.  $6000 was the amount they were short of the downpayment for having the harps made, after saving money on their own.  The overage all goes toward the monthly payments, which are also large.  So the more, the merrier.  If you've got a few bucks to spare, chip in and let there be more harping!

I have to say, my farmemory makes this all the more squeeworthy.  Concert harps were exciting enough -- the classic harps could only be repitched with a tuning key.  Special effects pedals?  My historic and futuristic aspects are both geeking out at the same time, and that almost never happens.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the February 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Anonymous on Dreamwidth. It also fills the "talk with a friend" square in my 2-1-17 Platonic card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. Note that these events take place shortly after Turq and Ansel meet, concerning one of Turq's cohort.

Warning: This poem contains some intense stuff. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features homelessness, disconnection, feelings of loss and despair, depression due to mad science torture, shame, references to computer hacking, poverty, sleep disturbances, difficulty asking for help, and other challenges. Nebuly is a mess, because everyone who survived Carl Bernhardt's attention is a mess, but he's doing a little better now. This poem captures a turning point when friends become family of choice. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the February 2017 Creative Jam. It fills the "WILD CARD: Family Love" square in my 2-1-17 Platonic card for the Valentines Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] artsyhonker. This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )

Harp Twins

Feb. 18th, 2017 10:55 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Yesterday we went to see the Harp Twins perform in St. Louis.  They play rock music on acoustic concert harps and smaller electric harps.  They are exiting in person!  Among my favorites: "Stairway to Heaven," "Carry On, My Wayward Son," "One," and "The Imperial March."  (I imagine Darth Vader is spinning in his grave over having his scary music played by hot chicks on electric harps.)

We have the first two albums, and bought the second two, plus a couple of t-shirts.  Their stuff is available online too.  We also found out that they've been crowdfunding the purchase of new instruments, so this counts toward us supporting crowdfunded projects.  \o/  We actually got in line before the concert, but they had to close the line to start the concert.  I suggested giving out numbers to those of us who hadn't gotten through -- we'd been standing there for 20 minutes -- which the staff did.  If this happens to you occasionally, you can write numbers on scratch paper.  More than occasionally, just buy a strip of tickets you can tear off and hand to people, it's faster.  So we were able to get our swag quickly after the show.  :D

I suggest booking these talented ladies at Worldcon some time.  They have played other conventions, they already know a bunch of fan-relevant material, and there is nothing else like them.
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
This poem is spillover from the February 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] callibr8 and [personal profile] stardreamer. It also fills the "be here now" square in my 2-1-17 Platonic card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the LIFC series. You have new prompter [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke to thank for the second freebie.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (neutral)
We finished assembling the Yellow Submarine!  \o/  We enjoyed putting this together.  I recommend it for Beatles fans and Lego fans.  Young fans or others with low dexterity may need extra help putting it together, as some of the pieces are finicky.  We found it worth the time, though.

We're done playing with Legos! )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (neutral)
[livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug and I are continuing the assembly of the Yellow Submarine.

Let's play with Legos! )
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
[personal profile] callibr8 asked me to modify a song as an elegy for Mike Briggs.

EDIT 1/29/17:  [personal profile] callibr8 performed this at a convention, and it was translated by [livejournal.com profile] judifilksign.  Wow.  I have long admired her work in translating the songs of Tom Smith and other filkers.  *GLEE*

HANKIE WARNING!

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (neutral)
[livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug and I have been assembling the Yellow Submarine model from Lego, which was among his birthday presents.

Let's play with Legos! )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I've started posting pictures of our project to assemble the Yellow Submarine model from Lego. 
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
Thanks to a donation from [personal profile] technoshaman,  "Become Music Again" is now complete.  Shiv learns how to play saxophone.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the March 1, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] rix_scaedu and Thea Strange on QueerSciFi. It also fills the "manipulative" square in my 2-29-16 card for the Villain Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] librarygeek. It belongs to the Jackie Frost thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some controversial material. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. Contretemps is a magnificent bastard who loves manipulating people. This includes seducing women even though he is gay. His gay relationships aren't all that much healthier. He screws with politics and economics too, and is generally a pain in everyone's ass. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the December 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from [livejournal.com profile] siliconshaman and this image.  It also fills the "thrift shop" square in my 12-1-16 card for the iPod Shuffle Music Fest.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: [livejournal.com profile] technoshaman

FULLY FUNDED
280 lines, Buy It Now = $140
Amount donated = $57
Verses posted = 23 of 85

Amount remaining to fund fully = $83
Amount needed to fund next verse = $3
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $.50


Warning: This poem is about as fluffy as Shiv ever gets.  His head is still a mess, but good things are happening to him.  Boss White helps a lot, but Shiv doesn't always know what to make of that.  Hanky warning, especially for musicians.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
There's a new open epic over on LiveJournal.  "Become Music Again" features Shiv just after his release from prison.  Boss White introduces him to a new positive  coping skill.

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