Category Archives: Music

nothing to prove

My brilliant friends The Doubleclicks made a beautiful video to go with their awesome song, Nothing To Prove. I’m honoured to be part of it.

This song is “Nothing to Prove” by the Doubleclicks:
You can submit your own sign at
This video was sourced from amazing geek girls around the world, as well as from some awesome Geeks: Kelly Sue Deconnick, Amy Berg, John Scalzi, Josh A. Cagan, Adam Savage, Paul & Storm, Wil Wheaton & more… THANK YOU!

The video concept is by Josh A. Cagan and the Doubleclicks, and the video was directed and edited by Angela Webber (of the Doubleclicks.) The concept was inspired by the book trailer for “Dear Teen Me.”

Do not read the comments. They are, sadly, a cesspool of predictable, adolescent misogyny from the sadly loud and obnoxious idiots who are the whole reason we keep having this conversation.

I have many stories and pictures to share from Comicon, which I’ll do just as soon as I fully recover from the trip.

Endsville Eddie

I’ve spent the afternoon ripping old vinyl into digital files, mostly as an excuse to listen to these records I have in brilliant analog sound. I’m using an ION turntable I got from Think Geek* and Audacity to get it all done, and it’s easy and fun.

One of the records I have I got at a yard sale at least ten years ago. It’s called The New Sounds Of the Weird-ohs, and it’s really great surf/garage pop from 1964. It seems to have been pressed to sell models from the Hawk company, and all the songs are pretty much anthems for one of the model characters you could get, like Huey’s Hot Rod, Hot Dogger Hangin’ Ten, or Endsville Eddie. All the characters have an Ed Big Daddy Roth feeling to them, so the music matches up perfectly.

I’m pretty sure this is out of print (a quick search of the Internets tells me that it is) so I think it’s okay to share one track from the record. If it’s not okay, I guess the NSA will tell me by activating the secret mind probe it put into my cellphone.

I’m not sure how to embed a player in WordPress (I guess I should learn that), but here’s a link to the mp3 file: Endsville Eddie

Wait! I think I got an audioplayer to work! Click the big PLAY thingy: [sc_embed_player fileurl=”″]

*They don’t sell it anymore. Sadtimes.

Bye bye, Portland. Get ready, Seattle.

Our show at the Alberta Rose Theatre last night was a whole lot of fun for me, and as far as I can tell, the audience enjoyed it as well (even the 28-minute Captain’s Wife’s Lament). John Roderick was amazing as always, and even let me write his setlist (Blue Diamonds, Honest, and Seven) to which he added the song he debuted on JoCo Cruise Crazy. The Doubleclicks sang a lullaby for Mister Bear, encouraged a Velociraptor, and reminded us about the benefits of classic literature. Paul and Storm added Opening Band at my request, because Anne had bought some outrageously obnoxious boxers to throw at them … and then forgot them at the hotel, so there was a break in the song when I came out, all excited to see a wall of panties thrown at them … only to give an extended Grumpy Cat thumbs down to the audience. There’s probably pictures somewhere.

I stepped out of my comfort zone again, and did about ten or so minutes of stand-up jokes before the usual storytelling. I thought it went well, considering it’s only the second time I’ve done that sort of thing and I’m still leveling that particular skill. It felt really good when the audience exploded into laughter at a joke I wrote, and I understood the appeal of standing in front of people on a stage, making them laugh. I owe Hardwick a case of Fresca for helping me work out my set, and making it easier for me to give myself permission to attempt something I’ve always loved watching, but always been afraid to do. I haven’t decided if I’m doing jokes at ECCC, because my show with Paul and Storm is so early on Saturday morning, and the audience may not be awake enough for it to work. I guess I’ll make a game-time decision.

I’m looking forward to sleeping for most of today, to save up energy for the con this weekend, and then getting my geek on until Sunday. Geek and Sundry has our own space this year, and I plan to spend a fair amount of time there, playing games when I’m not signing stuff.

In other news:

  • My brain doctor helped me increase my brain meds a little bit, and though he told me it would take five days to feel the change, I’m already feeling better and closer to normal. I’m a little sleepy, but that’s an expected temporary side effect that I am happy to endure.
  • The reaction to Tabletop Day has been as positive as I expected, but the sheer volume of responses and events planned already is blowing me away. I made a silly video that should go up today, but may be delayed until tomorrow because the initial announcement was delayed by a day. Check our YouTube Channel (and subscribe if you haven’t) obsessively for the next 48 hours or so.
  • This trip to Portland was shorter than usual, but we had a great show, and I got to spend an entire afternoon yesterday with my sister and my godson, so I’m choosing to view it as a visit of concentrated awesome, rather than a visit that was too short.
  • Scallops the ProspectARRRRR


The Nightmare Before Doctor Who Christmas Special

This stained glass TARDIS is one of two in the world. It was made by a friend of a friend who gave it to me for my 40th birthday.

It was a long time ago, longer now than it seems, when Amelia Pond met a man in her dreams.
And the story that you are about to be told about Doctors and Daleks
is centuries old.
Now, you’ve probably wondered where the good Doctor comes from. If you haven’t, I’d say, it’s time you’ve begun!
For there was a Time War and and many were lost
and no one quite knows just exactly the cost.
But The Doctor is now the last of his kind
and when he was forced to leave Gallifrey behind
with a ride in his TARDIS across time and space
he met dear old Sandy Claws, face to bony face.

From The Vault: the nights are darker and longer than they were a week ago

My soundtrack to yesterday was a collection of essential 1990s ambient music from Woob, FAX Label, and Global Communication, and Deep Space Network.

I mentioned this on Twitter, and was delighted to discover that there is a new (to me) Woob album, which should be embedded here:

And this is as good a time as any to cut and paste part of an old post I wrote about ambient music in 2008:

I’m always happy to share this type of music with people, and if I have an opportunity to turn people on to music that really opened my mind (without the assistance from any chemical or mind-altering substances, I always feel compelled to add) I always seize it.


I’ll point those of you who are interested to a portion of a post I made in 2005 (my god, how is it that it simultaneously feels so long ago and so recent to me?) about ambient music. The “it” I refer to is an ambient song I made in GarageBand called Lakeside Shadow:


If you like it, you’ll probably like some of the artists who influenced me over the years: Woob (especially 1194, and especially the track strange air) Dedicated (especially Global Communication, also called 76 14), and Solitaire (especially Ritual Ground). Also, Instinct Records (still alive) andSilent Records (sadly, tragically, defunct since 1996) released an amazing number of genre-defining ambient discs in the 90s. And now, just to prove how hardcore I am, I’m going to throw out Pete Namlook, and the FAX Label, but their stuff is far more experimental than the rest of my list, and isn’t what I’d use to introduce a new listener to Ambient music.


Finally, if you can find it, Silent Records put out an incredible record called Earth to Infinity (I think in 1994) which was pulled shortly after it was released, due to some sampling issues. I think it’s one of the greatest ambient recordings of all time, and don’t ask me for it because I’m not going to jail for you, Chachi.


I think I could have said “incredible” a few more times. Allow me to emphatically pulverize this dead horse deep into the ground: if you only get two ambient records in your whole life, they should be 1194 from Woob and Earth to Infinity (holy shit there are two available from Amazon). If you can only get three, add 76:14, and thank me before you touch the monolith and journey beyond the infinite.


Okay, as I said in 2005, most of my ambient CDs are from Silent, Instinct, and Caroline, and I have a metric assload of FAX recordings that I don’t listen to very much any more. If I were to expand on the artists and albums I mentioned three years ago into a list of essentials, I would add Pelican Daughters‘ breathtaking record BlissConsciousness III (orLunar Phase) by Heavenly Music Corporation, and the 2295 compilation from em:t.


If you’re intrigued, and want to know what some of this stuff sounds like without waiting, please go directly to Magnatune, and fire up their ambient mix. They’ve got artists over there, like Robert Rich and Falling You, who make truly incredible music. (I really think I need to say incredible and really more. Really.) Soma FM has magnificent downtempo and ambient streams, as well. Groove Salad and Dronezone rarely disappoint.


The thing to understand about ambient, though, if you’ve never heard it before, is that it’s slow and deliberate. It takes its time. It doesn’t work in the car, and it doesn’t work if your brain is cranked up to eleven. It’s best enjoyed when you can relax, and let it fill the room around you as you slowly sink into it and out of yourself, like you’ve stepped into a giant gelatinous cube.


Hrm. Maybe that’s not the best way to describe it. Go ahead and fill in your own: “______________.”

Yes, that’s it. That’s it exactly.

So there you go. As the weather changes, the leaves begin to fall, maybe something here will help you through the nights that are darker and longer than they were a week ago.

Three fantastic Halloween music compilations you really want to download

I love Halloween. As long as I can remember, it’s been my favorite holiday. I think it was Warren Ellis who called it “Goth Christmas”, and even though I’m not Goth (Goth-adjacent since 1987, though), it’s pretty much my Christmas. Of course, this year I’ve been sick and busy, so not only do I have no costume tonight, I never even decorated the house. But a cold, the flu, and a few thousand miles of travel haven’t stopped me from enjoying the usual amount of Halloween music, which is what this post is about.

When I was a kid, I had the Disney Haunted House record (both releases), a whole bunch of kiddie records with scary stories told by people like Boris Karloff, and the usual collections of sound effects records.

One night a few years ago, while wandering around the Internet, I came across some fantastic music blogs that had links to long out of print Halloween-themed records (look up Frankie Stein and His Ghouls for what I consider the canonical Halloween 60s pop), as well as links to this blog called Scar Stuff, that was like hitting the motherlode of awesome Halloween nostalgia.

Jason at Scar Stuff made two Halloween music compilations that are in heavy rotation every October at Castle Wheaton. I don’t know why I’ve kept them to myself all these years, but I’m correcting that Trick by offering this Treat: Spook Party and Ghoul-arama, by Jason at Scar Stuff.

If that whets your appetite for more human flesh gallons of delicious blood brains fantastic Halloween compilations, allow me to point you over to WFMU’s Rock ‘n Soul Ichiban, where you will find Kogar’s Spooky Spectacular.

Oh, and as a stupid bonus, here’s the first and only (so far) Halloween Radio Free Burrito that I made a few years ago.

Happy Halloween, everybody! I hope it’s fun, especially for those of you who are drying out from the Superstorm.

Green is the cat’s eye that glows in this temple

The following 1000 words of mildly interesting thoughts are brought to you today by iTunes shuffling to Love At First Sting, which teleported me back to the living room floor in our house in Sunland, surrounded by M.U.S.C.L.E. figures while I tried to figure out which ones I was willing to trade the next day at school. Through the magic of memory, the scene shifts to my bedroom around the same time, where I carefully copy a program from a computer magazine into my TI 99/4a computer, and then to the same room where I fudge a roll because I really needed my WIS roll to be higher than 8 for the Wizard I was making. I’m at the desk where I do my homework, trying and failing for the nth time to draw Eddie on the cover of Piece of Mind. I am a child, a pre-teen, and always, always weak and weird and awkward and strange. But I have music, and that is comforting.

There’s this moment in a child’s life when they start to build a sense of self, as they develop their own likes and dislikes that are more complicated than “I don’t like milk” or “I want to have more ice cream” (ICE CREAM HAS MILK IN IT YOU STUPID KID! THAT’S WHY YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING! YOU’RE STUPID KIDS! JUST TELL ME HOW TO FIX THE FREAKIN’ SHOW! *cue Ralph Wiggum turning the dial to sad.)

For me, this sense of self is heavily tied to music, to the exclusion of almost everything else. My earliest memories all feature music in some sense, from listening to Fleetwood Mac and Elton John on my parents’ record player with the giant can headphones and the 20-foot curly cord to sitting with my first wind-up record player out on the lawn with a 45 of The Beatles Love Me Do that belonged to my mom. Those memories are from around 1975 or 1976, I guess, and in my memory, they look like the pictures in The Happiest Days of Our Lives.

My whole childhood, my dad had great taste in music: ELO, Boston, Steve Miller Band, Pink Floyd, and whatever was on KMET. My mom was … not so much. She was all about Barbara Streisand and Joni Mitchell and Christopher Cross and artists that just seemed whiny and wussy because they were. I spent a lot of time in the car with my mom when I was going on auditions, and  I still hear Streisand in my nightmares. When dad took me on auditions, we got to listen to The Doobie Brothers, mom! I MEAN JEEZE.

My musical awakening came in the fall 1984, when I was 12, and a kid I knew at school slipped me a cassette tape at school. It was Judas Priests’s Screaming For Vengeance. I thought the cover was cool, and when I got home that day, I played it on my little single-speaker tape player thing that was standard issue if you were a lucky kid in the 80s.

I wasn’t sure about this music when I heard The Hellion, but by the time Electric Eye was finished, I was on board. It was You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, though, that hooked me. I still can’t say why, but when I bought the album, I put that song on every single heavy metal mix tape I made for the rest of the 80s … even the ones with Metallica. I took the cassette back to him the next day, and asked him for more heavy metal. In the coming weeks, he gave me Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Dio, and The Scorpions.

I loved them all, saved my allowance, and bought my own copies of Diary of A Madman, Number of the Beast, and Love At First Sting at the local record shop. (I should point out that we were in a parochial school at the height of Reagan’s Conservative American Nightmare, and the Satanic Panic was about to hit its peak. It says a lot about my parents that they let me buy Number of the Beast, instead of freaking out like a lot of parents did at the time.) I loved the thick, heavy guitars. I loved the raw vocals. I loved — I mean, really loved — Iron Maiden’s lyrics, which were smart, literate, and about history and mythology instead of less important matters.

I wasn’t an angry kid, I wasn’t a particularly rebellious kid (though I admit that I’d already decided that religion was something I didn’t want or need in my life, so listening to music every authority figure in my life besides my parents deemed terrible and ZOMG SATANIC did give me a bit of a thrill). I just really liked the music, and the artwork, and how it seemed like a natural extension of Thundarr The Barbarian for some reason. There was real power in the music that didn’t exist in any of the rock-and-roll I was used to. This music wasn’t about just sounding nice, it was about kicking ass.

This music became a huge part of my sense of personal identity. It was one of the first big choices I remember making for myself, because it was something that I liked, not because my parents or a relative gave it to me, or because it was something popular in school that I wanted to have. )Metal was decidedly unpopular at my school, and since I was already a nerd, I really didn’t need to give the Cool Kids something else to use against me on the playground).

And yet.

It became the soundtrack to my life. While I made D&D characters and dungeons (a little on the nose, I know, but it’s true) I listened to Maiden. While I played with my M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, I listened to Dio. When I played with my WWF action figures, my Transformers, or my Stomper Trucks, metal was there. I made dozens of mixtapes featuring the same songs in different order, always using Dee from Blizzard of Ozz to fill in the space at the end of each side.

As I got older, my musical proclivities changed. I fell in love with punk rock, then British new wave, then grunge. Metal was still there, but less and less frequently. I think it was Metallica’s shitty Black Album that started pushing me away. Not even Tool could bring me back. Thanks a lot, Lars, you dick.

Interestingly enough, as my tastes changed over the years, the one constant was the musical comfort food of my youth: Pink Floyd, Boston, and ELO, which all came from my father, and The Beatles, which came from my mother (true fact: my mom once got to sit in on a Beatle’s press conference when she was a kid. The way she tells it, John Lennon made eyes at her. TAKE THAT YOKO.) I mean, I still listen to that stuff today, and probably will for the rest of my life. It’s my classic rock, despite what the goddamn radio says today when it plays music from when I was in high school.
There are people in the world who can take or leave music. They don’t really care what’s on the radio, or even if the radio is on. I am not one of those people. Music is profoundly important to me, because it has helped me define who I am at various stages of my life.
I guess that’s why I was able to clean 10GB out of my iTunes folder yesterday, and still have 60GB left.

George R. R. Martin please write like the Wind!


Paul and Storm debuted this song at W00tstock Founder's Night last year, and somewhere in the SD card of my phone, I have the very first public-ish performance of it, backstage.

I loved it then, I love it now, and I hope this video gets all the views and up thumbs, because it is awesome.

…and Winter is coming.

JCCC2: in which I “sing” Karaoke on a boat.

So this is a thing that happened.

It has everything Karaoke should traditionally have: not-very-good singing, not-very-good dancing, fucking up of lyrics, and the obligatory small glass of magic juice* responsible for the entire thing.

Enjoy… if you dare:

On our performer mailing list, John Hodgman kept saying that he was going to turn this into a Murder Cruise… none of us believed him, but I can see that he was successful, because I just murdered that poor song. Well played, Hodgman. Well played indeed, sir.

Very special thinks to KatyHaile for sharing my shame with the world, and preserving it for future generations.

*A type of "sauce" if you will.

The boat is still moving, even though I am not on it. But there was music when I was on the boat.

I've gotten much worse at writing relevant titles since an hour ago. Oh well, circle of life.*

Previously, on Battlestar Galactica my blog: 

Holland America goes to this private island in the Bahamas that is everything you'd expect from a private beach in the Caribbean, if you were expecting a beautiful white crescent beach with a giant pirate ship on it, and inside the pirate ship is a bar.

We spent the day playing Frisbee and Ball on the beach, with occasional breaks to visit the pirate ship.

"This is the best in the world," I said to Ryan while we were swimming in the ocean. In February.

"Yeah, it totally doesn't suck," he said.

And now, the exciting conclusion to that day…

We swam back to shore and traded the Frisbee for Ball. Ball is what we call this sort of smooshy ball Anne and I bought when we were in Hawaii last year. It's slightly bigger than the palm of your hand, waterproof, and skips off the water when you throw it. I don't know why it's as much fun to play with it as it is, but holy crap Ball is probably the best thing you can do on the beach that doesn't risk getting sand into your neither regions.

After hours of Frisbee and Ball (where we were joined by, at one point, seven or so Seamonkeys), it was time to get back on the boat and set sail for Aruba. We bid the beautiful beach a fond farewell, and rode a tender back to the ship. Which I prefer to call a boat, because it really annoys people who fancy themselves nauticalists, which is a word I just made up to annoy them further.

When we got back on the boat, we cleaned ourselves up and headed into the main theater, to enjoy the Paul and Storm musical programme, featuring the musical music of popular musicians Paul and Storm.

They performed their newest songs, which as it turns out are pleas to creators of popular culture named George.


(Fun fact: the Han Solo ice cube tray Storm talked about was bought for me, and given to me as a gift. It's currently filled with frozen water in my freezer.)


Ahhh. Wasn't that nice? Some of the great works from canon were performed. Panties were thrown. Then, it was time for a song about pirates! Featuring the additional vocals of me! And a lot of cover band jokes! ARRRR!


Okay, after Paul and Storm and a little bit of me, there was a brief intermission, and then we had our first actual rock performance by an authentic rock and roll musician: Chris Collingwood, who some of you may know as the guy from Fountains of Wayne, performed a set for all of us. He was super nervous about not being relevant to our interests (I know, right? I don't know why he thought that, but there you go) but he was amazing. And then Paul and Storm got to sing Stacy's Mom with him, which was pretty freaking awesome.



All kidding and excessive use of all caps aside, Chris was just amazing. He was kind to me and my family, his set was beautiful and fun to listen to, and if I hadn't already been a huge fan of his band (because I was introduced to Fountains of Wayne by John Kovalic, by the way, which is interesting and name-droppy) I would have become a fan for life.

He closed his set with Hey Julie, which is my favourite** Fountains of Wayne song. 

"Anyone who wants to sing backup with me can come up on stage right now," he said.

This wave of increduility washed over the audience. "Really?" A girl near us said.

A few people — about a dozen, I guess — found their courage and made their way to the stage, where they sang with him.

The wonderful thing about this, that made me smile so much my face was in danger of splitting apart like I was in some kind of Japanese horror movie, was seeing the girl who'd said "Really?" who was probably around my sons' age, singing and dancing and being the physical embodiment of pure joy. It was obvious that she loved this song, knew all the words, and loved getting to sing it on stage with the guy who wrote it. Maybe I'm just a little too sentimental, but seeing how joyful she was made me #FuriouslyHappy, and even more grateful to be part of the cruise than I already was.

I mean, think about this for a moment: where else could you see a real rock and roll musician perform music you love and then invite you onstage to sing with him?

It turns out that this was just the beginning of the awesome things that were going to happen in this theater, and on this boat, for the next seven days and six romantic nights.

More later…

*If you're looking for footnotes to make sense, you've come to the wrong place, Chachi.

**That's for you, Canadians. I love you.