harp2

Mr. Handman

So, I didn't write any filks during GaFilk. Things happen that way sometimes; I was enjorying vibing out, and playing fiddle (maybe too much? I hope not!), and occasionally (but rarely) singing, and a bit of rehearsal for my small part in the interfilk guest's chorus, but I wasn't in a writing mood.

Apparently that means I'm inclined to filk after? These things happen sometimes.

Mr. Handman



(what happens if I listen to Mr. Sandman in a particularly receptive mood, I guess?)

By Joshua Kronengold

May be sung to Mr. Sandman (and probably should be).

Bung, bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung, bung

Mr. Handman, bring me a dream
Make him the cutest that I've ever seen
Give him two lips like roses and clover
Then tell him that his empty days are over

Mr. Handman, I am full-grown
But I've no body to call my own
So, please turn on your magic beam
Mr. Handman, bring me a dream

Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bring me a dream
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung

Mr. Handman (yes), bring me a home
Give him a pair of legs with which I can roam,
Give him a beating heart like Ringo's drumming,
And feet with ankles that are made for running
Mr. Handman, Handman, arms that can hold
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Would be so peachy to settle my code
So please turn on your magic beam (turn on your magic beam)
Mr Handman, bring me a dream

Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bring us a dream
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung

Hey! Handman, bring me a dream
Make him the cutest that I've ever seen
Just load me in; turn the motor over,
Then tell me that my empty days are over

Handman, Handman, I am full-grown
But I've no body here to call my own
So, please please please why don't you turn on the magic beam
Mr. Handman, bring us
Oh please please please
Mr. Handman, bring us a dream

Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bring me a dream
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Make me a dream
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung
We'll be a a team
Bung, bung, bung, bung
Bung, bung, bung, bung

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harp2

This be another Verse

I wrote the changed last stanza for

This be The (another) verse
A tiny hack to This Be The Verse (by Philip Larkin) by Joshua Kronengold ([personal profile] mneme)

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It passes like the winter flu.
Be kind to everyone you can,
So might the world be made anew.

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harp2

Godspeed, friend.

My long-time friend, Harold Stein ([personal profile] hms42), has finally left us--for nothing, for the great filksing in the sky, for dreams beyond our knowing...but...he's dead.

I'm...still processing.

Harold...is difficult to describe. He was pleasant and friendly without ever really being charismatic, eminently competent without ever being comfortable, and a tireless filk saint who was never honored for his service (in his life) except via a listener guest slot at OVFF -- which he had to miss due to his illness, listening to recordings of same less than a day before he died.

I first met Harold, that I remember, in the halls of Lunacon, as he waxed eloquent about how much he liked filk--having first becoming fascinated with it at I-Con, the Long Island con that has had great filkers, but has never been great for filk (except for introducing new people to the community, where it served an important role despite the diffulty of filk at a con where the evening programming a car ride away from the daytime programming). At this point, I think Harold had attended just two cons with filk -- Lunacon and I-Con. There were many more, afterwards.

I think (this was after I'd stopped attending I-Con) that I-Con was also where he first took a service role, thanklessly running filk at I-Con for many years before he decided to move on. That wasn't the end of his service, either -- he got digital mini-recorders when the latest generations of them became easily available, and would spend countless hours on a routine of changing out the recorders and backing up the night's haul, almost always closing out the night at NEFilk, OVFF, FKO,local cons, tirelessly worked at the sound boards, produced numerous CDs, (particularly the one-off Interfilk CDs, where after working the boards all convention, he'd package a concert or three to CD and sell them for our perennial fan fund), and took on numerous odd jobs as needed, driving my big harp to several cons and Spencer's gear to many others; and editing the Pegasus Award pages, and helping out the Filk Hall of Fame administrator, and spending his time and money on collecting hard to find filk collections, and helping administer the UK Filk Archive.

His exhaustive and extensive collection of archives were an amazing resource he spent countless hours on, exclaiming how the work of people writing down what got sung in a room, in a concert, or on a convention album would allow him to identify and index his archives, and then, opening them up to others. He also created -- and in most senses, was -- the tradition of an NEfilk CD, making a CD for each convention to be given out free to members and with remainders auctioned off at other cons for Interfilk, with songs from the guests, from the NEfilk guest for next year, and when he could, from or honoring filkers who had died within the last year.

And, of course, he also continued to run filk at local cons, particularly Philcon.

He didn't sing, that I knew, except, rarely, in groups when his voice could hide among others. Or write music, or play an instrument. He just listened, requested, recorded, edited, shared, and collected. It was enough.

Over the last...I'm not even sure how many years, we ([personal profile] drcpunk and I) fell into the habit of rooming with him at filk conventions. It was comfortable. We'd keep often only partially overlapping hours, and while we were all in the room, he'd talk about his various projects, job things, or ideas for other projects (he had so many ideas. Not all of them were good ideas, but even when you express a bad idea it often sparks a good idea from someone else). Sometimes we had to tell him we needed him to stop talking (so we could sleep, or read, or work), but once we realized he would if we asked, this was fine too. When he got his last car, he drove it over to our place to verify that he could fit my harp into it. (This wasn't because he drove my harp a lot; he drove it a few times, but he figured if the harp fit, a lot of other things would fit too; it's a big harp). We were friends.

But especially with guy friends, I don't always know what that means. If he had hobbies outside of filk (and Ingress, the ARG I introduced him to, which he continued playing well after I'd mostly made it a sometimes treat and moved on to other electronic geocaching friends (hi, Pokemon Go)) and building computers for people, I didn't know about them (I'm not convinced they exist). I didn't know much about his inner life, other than that he wanted to help people, do things that mattered, and that he ernestly wanted to apologize when he thought he'd wronged someone, wanted to make sure that he got permission before releasing work and didn't record those who didn't want to be recorded.

I do know that he was endlessly open to new experiences, even when they didn't work out. He would ask us to invite him to gaming nights even though board games weren't a passion of his the way they are mine (and did like them, even though he wouldn't take time out of a con to play them the way I will), would try out any restaurant we would take him to even though when he ordered for himself he tended to go for standard American fare, and would even try everything we ordered when going to more adventurous Asian restaurants, not complaining about the food that didn't work for him, but occasionally remarking that this dish or another one was "too spicy" for him.

I also knew his health was worse than he pretended. We knew when he got a cancerous melanoma around 10 years ago, though he claimed it was less scary than any cancer is. We knew when the cancer came back a year or three ago, and that he was going through a course of treatment that they hoped would beat the cancer back once again--and when he got the diagnosis that it hadn't worked, wasn't going to work. It was just a month between when he got the report that he had, at most, a couple of years to live, and when the diagnosis went down from months to days or hours.

I don't think he gave up hope until those last few, horrible days. And even then, when I saw him the day before he died, he couldn't talk, not intelligbly, not anymore, but there was light in his eyes, enthusiasm, love. Hope, I think, of a sort. He wasn't obviously sad; he was frustrated, and happy that friends had come to visit him and sing to him.

Nothing will change now that he's gone, and everything. Harold wasn't out creating great works, and many of his projects came to nothing or came out only half-right. He wasn't one of my closest friends, although it's possible that I was one of his (one of the world's greatest injustices is that it contains this kind of asymmetry, but there is nothing we can do about it other than be kind).

But he brought a light--hope, kindness, and an endless heart that would fill up the cracks in the world around him -- with him wherever he went, and without him, that light is gone. Snuffed out from our world. What he did best was to help, and now in place of that help, we have to help one another.

I will miss him.

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harp2

New song: A Pack of LIes

I do try not to write in anger. Mostly.

But since I got blindsided by the most -smug- pro-harassment, pro-puppies song in a while today...wel, this came out.

A Pack of Lies
Joshua Kronengold
may be sung to the tune of Stan Rogers' "Lies"

At last, the con is quiet for a year,
The worldcon held in Finland, too much fun for pain and fear,
The filkers, sharing new and ancient verse,
The concourse filled with sales and games and lots of fan discourse,

Sure was a bitter couple of Worldcons for a while,
Some trolls tried to take over using cheats and hate and guile,
They thought they could pay money for our prize,
And tricking fans by posting wicked lies!

All lies
All those trolls are telling wicked lies,
Lies all lies
They have no shame for their disgrace,
If you disprove their story, they revise,
Their pack of wicked lies!

Are Hugo nominations ruled by TOR?
That was their story; somehow we don't hear it anymore.
Are they just fans just wanting to have fun?
They always seem so angry when the ceremony's done.

Each time the story changes, like Rashamon it sounds,
Like they think they can't lose if they keep giving runarounds,
But every time they give the game a try,
Why can't they post a better class of lies?

Those lies,
All those trolls are telling tired lies,
Lies all lies
They have no shame for their disgrace,
If you disprove their story, they revise,
Their pack of tired lies!

And now the pack have come around again,
This time they say they're being banned for what they think and when,
It's "censorship" that now ignites their fears,
Well we've been hosting everyone for over fifty years!

Your politics don't matter, if you are here for fun,
Your passion for SF should let you blend with everyone,
But if you come in hate, say your goodbyes,
You're banned for breaking rules, and not your lies,

Those lies,
All those trolls are telling themselves lies,
Lies, all lies
They cannot think they've lost their place,
So when they see their losses, they revise,
Their foolish little lies.

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harp2

On humor. And jokes

So, something you might not know about me. I don't actually know a lot of jokes.

I mean, I know a few. But mostly, if you tell me a joke, I'll probably try to make one up to follow you. And...I'm not awful at it. Usually.

Which partially explains this chatlog between me and [personal profile] batshua. Note that every joke I tell except the ones specifically marked I made up on the spot.

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harp2

Filk: On the Internet

I finished this (based, naturally, on some previous songs in the circle) about 20 minutes ago.
So no promises on it not drifting futher, but hey, fresh filk!

Up on the Internet (Magic)
by Joshua Kronengold
to the tune of "Under the Gripping Beast", by Cat Faber

For a cardboard box that's filled with cards, with five dots on the back,
Land, artifacts, and colored cards, red, blue, green white and black,
I bought them from some Wizards, from a land that's near the shore,
And should I keep on buying them, I'll die forever poor,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.

I sat there the first evening, as I tuned up my first deck,
I shuffled and I played a game, and found that it was dreck.
But with a few more dozen packs, and tuning for an hour,
I found my deck could draw some land and tap it all for power,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.


As I played, I needed far more cards to meet my decks' demands,
Rare creatures, moxes, fireballs, time walks, and multilands,
The next two sets released and shipped, and sold out in a night
And I resolved to get the next, if I had to wait 'til light,

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell, and do not play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.

My decks won me a tournament, Mr Suitcase they called me,
So now those cards could bring me lots and lots of cash money,
But the thought that I should sell them all is not one I can bear,
Not even though in Legacy, they find my decks unfair

Up on the Internet is the price that they will pay,
For all my Magic cards, if sell instead of play,
But the pain of giving up my cards, no sorcery can heal,
So just until the next release, I will will keep my cards and deal.

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harp2

Meme time: Amendment

Migrated from Miles Vokosigan of FB (who is apparently nolonger in the LJ/DWverse?)

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT: If you could add one Amendment to the US Constitution, what would it be?

Here's mine (warning: it's a mouthful).

Every citizen of the United States of the age of majority is guarunteed an equal vote and an equal share of representation for senators, as well as for federal, state, and local representitives. Accordingly:

1. No Citizen of the country at or above the age of majority shall be denied the right to vote for any reason save an act of rebellion.

2. The states are required to make sure that all citizens are eligible to vote have the ability to vote in both semifinal and final elections, facing no bars such as unreasonable waiting periods, unnecessary voter registration, or unreasonable demands for identification beyond that needed to prove that they are a citizen of the United States (or for local elections, if that is not required, a local reseident).
a. This also means that a means of voting shall be made available to any citizen who might otherwise have problems voting due to residency, illness, disability, or incarceration.

3. Henceforward, the President and all other top executive offices of cities, states, and the country will be elected via direct popular vote of the populace.

4. No bar should be allowed to an equal exercise of the franchise based on any basis except that listed out here -- including location of residence, except that one must be resident within an area in order to vote for their executive officer or representative body or bodies. As such, the practice of Districting for the purpose of determining voting areas is hereby banned; instead, states and all other territories of the United States must use a voting system that apportions representitives in a manner proportional to the voters preferences.

a. All citizens must be able to vote in national elections and to elect representitives to the governing bodies of this nation, so non-state-resident citizens shall be considered as living in the non-geographical state of United, which shall be given Representitives and Senators as any other state.

5. In order that no cartel should henceforth control the choices available to our fellow citizens, all elected offices will also have their final candidates set via public and open semifinal elections, which like final elections, must allow choice of multiple candidates and produce fair and proportional results. Thus, there shall be one set of finalists for the Presidency and Vice Presidentcy throughout the nation, rather than separate and potentially contradictory sets of finalists in the several states. Congress shall make laws determining how this election proceeds, and whether the President and Vice President are elected and/or nominated together or separately.

6. All election days shall henceforth be national holidays, that no ciitzen be prevented by hardship or financial burden from exercising their rights and duty.

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harp2

The Saga of the Hall Light

So, last night, we came home at, I dunno, 9:30 or so, turned on the hall light as we came in--and it flickered and then went out. Light was dead.

So naturally, I decided to try to change the light.

For a bit of background, we moved into our current place 14 months ago (or so), and it has 9-10.5 foot ceilings.

So...the first question was whether we had a ladder tall enough to hit the lights. It turns out that our normal 6-foot ladder, standing on the highest safe step (ie, the one made of hard plastic), I can -just- reach the ceiling, and thus have enough height to -just- change the bulb. So with bravery-aplenty, and not much forethought, I started doing just that.

The first problem I ran into was that I couldn't figure out how to remove the cover. I didn't take pictures, but our hall light consists of a metal plate, with a big glass bulb on the bottom--with no knobs, dials, or screws in evidence. Of course, I tried turning the bulb in different directions, but when I did, the whole thing twisted (against the wall). So...after much struggling (but not even -close- to the amount that happened later), I eventually had the whole lamp hanging from three wires, each spliced using plastic wire nuts. With this as my starting state, I decided (this was one of the correct decisions involved in this whole process) to just remove the lamp entirely and figure out how to remove the glass cover once it was safely on the ground, and did so -- carefully removing the huge disc of fiberglass foam that had been lodged behind/above the lamp.

Of course, [personal profile] drcpunk attempted to make sure the light switch was off (and to be sure, also that the dimmer switch was on the lowest setting, since with the bulbs out there was no way to be sure the swich was Actually Off unless we'd marked the on and off sides, which we hadn't.


As it turned out, the glass cover -was- easily removable, by twisting it counter-clockwise and lifting it (or letting it fall, when it was on the ceiling). However, since the lamp was attached to the ceiling by two screws, which were locked in place by...twisting the lamp counter-clockwise...this was no easy feat to do without dislodging it from the ceiling.

Now it was time to wire the lamp up and put it back onto the ceiling.

As it turned out, this was a bit more difficult than I might have anticipated.

First, of course, there was the matter of wiring up the three wires -- positive, negative (whichever was which; they were, strangely for the slipshot manner the entire thing was constructed, pretty well color coded), and a very clear ground wire connected to the body of the lamp and unlike the others, uninsulated. The first charged wire went fine; the second had the complication that on first touch, I could tell it was live (with one wire connected, this was noticable; presumably the circuit needed to be nearly complete for it to matter, since I wasn't about to short out the circuit by touching the charged wires as a test; I guesss I could have used a light bulb), without getting more than a tickle of electricity (thank you, self-installed dimmer switch), and got Lisa to turn off the light. After that, the second wire nut went on just fine.

But the third wire? The one that had a ceiling wire connected to the uninsulated wire from the lamp? Well, that one was a bit more complicated. It seems that that combination of wires was quite a bit shorter than the other wires, so I needed to hold the lamp up higher to screw it on, which complicated a one-handed attachment between two very unlike wires that would -not- line up, and there were several false starts and offers from [personal profile] drcpunk to "help" by providing more light (useful, mostly) and provide a book to stand on on the ladder (very much -not- useful; I did not need some way to make it more likely that I'd fall of the ladder and get seriously hurt). But eventually I was able to attach the third connection. It was now time to re-attach the lamp to the ceiling. Also, my arms were very tired.

This was where the trouble really started.

The problem was that it was impossible. The two screws the lamp twisted on to were just long enough to enter the holes, but they were in a cradle that wasn't firmly anchored on its own (although it was firmly-enough attached to the ceiling), so they'd sway and rock and slide as you tried to tactically push the lamp into them. Plus, it was super clear from how the lamp left the ceiling in the first place that those screws needed to be tighter than they started or it wouldn't stay up. I did try borrowing a mirror to see what I was doing, but this was useless; the lamp body blocked out any sight of what was going on, and the result was my arms getting even more tired but nothing getting done.

Eventually -- and I do mean eventually, it occurred to me the screw holes were plainly visible and accessible when the cover of the lamp was off and the bulbs removed. So (with a rest for a minute or so since the lamp could hang from the three wires--well, one wire, really, since the ground was so much shorter than the others, and without the glass cover on, without a -real- risk of something tearing and there being broken glass all over the floor), I got to work. This wasn't as simple as I'd hoped; there was a -lot- of screw, so it took a while to extend the screws, although I could do it by hand, and once I'd done so, one of them went through (and was able to twist in place, making it -much- easier to take periodic rests without fear of something going wrong), but I think the screws were a touch too narrow for their holes; not enough not to lock, but enough that they were at slightly different angles. So I tried to find the other one to no avail for a while, with much gnashing of teeth; involving another rest, and eventually returned, extended the loose screw enough to put the lamp on that one -first-, and was then able to lock it to both.

Of course, with this much standing on a ladder with my arms over my head, I -really- needed a rest, but there was much more to do--still, I thought if we could, we should really find the electric screwdriver rather than spending many minutes turning the fully extended drivers back to the point where things were nicely locked down. Which involved looking through the tool shelf (I should really get rid of useless stuff and compact that down to a tool case plus maybe an appliance or two) fruitlessly, then a few other places we sometimes put tools, then [personal profile] drcpunk suggested it might be in one of the chair-stools we put things in when we had a housefilk, so she resolved to look in the easier one and I looked through the harder one in the corner (where it wasn't), but there were keyboard ephemera on top of the "easier" one, so [personal profile] drcpunk declined to try to figure out how to move it; eventually I finished up with the far box, opened the nearer one, and...there it was. And my arms weren't quite as tired either.

So I used the electric (it's kinda amazing how much better simple battery powered motors are at turning screws than muscle power, really; we're super good at big motions, but simple tiny motions tire us out nearly as much and we're much less efficient and fast with them) and was able to lock down the lamp nicely, put the bulbs back in (tested them, because you always test them), swapped the dead bulb that had somehow got among the live bulbs and replaced it, and put the glass cover back on, twisting it in place. All good.

At which point, the entire lamp twisted, and came loose from the ceiling again. And I saw a golden wire peeking out, indicating that the ground wire (which, you'll recall, was shorter than the others) had finally snapped under the strain.

So, -much- faster than anything else went, I removed the cover and the bulbs, tried to loosen the screw that had attached the ground wire to the lamp (and failed) and decided to just tie it to one of the loops hanging up from the base of the lamp instead (metal be metal, for ground), took cardboard lying around and made -shims-, loosened the screws on the ceiling and put the lamp on them and then tightened them again (this time all with the electric so it went fast), shimed the screw holes so the lamp wouldn't twist off them without the shims being removed,, put the bulbs back into the lamp, tested the lamp (and determined that one of the bulbs was a cfc didn't work great with the dimmer switch, flickering like mad when it was dim, so swapped it out for a cfc that was fine with our dimmer), put the glass bulb back on, and -now- were done. Only, oh, an hour and a half after I started trying to change a light bulb.

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harp2

A completely unplaytested mafia variant

Ok, so here's an idea for a somewhat uncomfortably realistic Mafia-style game:

You, the players, are the President of the USA, his VP, and his cabinet.
You are also all completely and utterly corrupt, and can be forced to resign by someone revealing all your dirty laundry.
Unfortunately for you (but fortunately for the American people), there are a number of traitors in your cabinet (or even the President or VP) who are very willing to reveal people's dirty secrets.
Naturally, nobody except each other know who the traitors are.

The game is divided into week and weekend turns.

On each weekend, while everyone's off on vacation(eyes closed), the traitors collectively decide which non-traitor's secrets to reveal and that person resigns (over the course of this game, there is not time to replace empty positions). They cannot do this to the President unless they have no other choice.

During the week, the President decides who to fire, though that can be blocked by a majority of the rest of the cabinet (including the VP). Or, with a majority of the remaining players, the cabinet can unseat the sitting President.

If at any time, there are no traitors remaining, the Administration is saved (the American public...not so much).

If, however, the cabinet is ever composed of a majority of traitors, then they can discredit the rest of the administration and save the country. Yay!

To set up the game, deal out playing cards face up to determine positions; the highest Spade (ace is high) is the President, the others should decide on their own positions in descending order, suit first (SHDC, of course), then number within suit.

Then gather up the cards and use one card for each player, starting with one black suited card for every 7 players (round up), and filling in with red cards. These cards should be mixed and dealt out face down; if you get a black face-down card, you're a traitor, otherwise you're a loyal member of the administration.

Someone should not play and moderate -- or you can start with a week and just have the President fire someone to be moderator to start (realism is, of course, paramount). See the comments for a sample moderator script.

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