filkertom: (Default)
Our friend Louis Adkins is trying to escape WV for the relatively tame wilds of Washington state. Won't you help?
filkertom: (i_has_a_sad)
Oh.

Oh.

There's an ache in my soul.

Something is lost.

There's a person-sized hole.

For ninety-four years, he was here.

Now he's gone,

But his life and his music live on
.

Crude, perhaps, as a chorus. But you can all sing it with me. And maybe come up with some verses to go with it.

For Pete.
filkertom: (Default)
Incredible sadness.

Not many people can be said to have changed the world, especially for the better. Nelson Mandela was one of them. Rest well, sir, and thank you.

filkertom: (Default)
This is probably a really good time to ask you all about a possible crowdfunding project.

First off, understand that this would be for three purposes: reprinting some CDs that I've run out of or nearly out of (e.g., The Last Hero On Earth and Homecoming: MarCon 2005); getting some spiffy new printings of some of the ones I've been burning myself, complete with actual covers 'n' stuff; and paying for some personal stuff that I need -- dental work, auto repair (or even replacement), that sort of thing. (That precludes Kickstarter, by the way, which doesn't allow fundraising for personal causes. The likeliest site would be Indiegogo or GoFundMe, but I have a few to check out.)

I need to be right up front about that. Neither I nor the economy is what it was six years ago; I'm no longer able to just squeak out a living at filk, not like I did. SocSecDis just about pays my regular bills; my food and any extras are covered by online sales and conventions. I'm not suffering, but I'm sure not flush -- it's the old every-time-I-get-money-in-it-goes-out game, with a side of one-bit-hit-could-leave-me-in-deep-trouble.

My original thought was to basically write at least one album's worth of songs in January and February, say, a dozen, with an initial goal of $5,000. That would cover the reprints of the two albums I'm thinking, the production of the new album itself, the dental work, and a new set of tires for Cashmere (the "new" van, the goldish one -- it definitely earned a name on the trip out west. Ran like a dream).

Stretch goals would include another song every $1,000 or so. Add-ons would include downloads of other albums, house concerts (where I come to you), maybe a personalized song (assuming I don't have any others in the fire), stuff like that. And the resulting cash would give me a buffer.

Leslie even suggested I run an online game for a few people. I have to think about that, but OOOOOOH it sounds great.

Lexi wants me to come out with a song book. I've been puttering at that for ten years; maybe this is the time to spend a month finishing the damn thing.

So. Thoughts? Are those levels reasonable, at least as talking points while I think through the details? Am I being a jerk about this, getting you guys to fund my dental work?
filkertom: (Default)
Twelve years ago, twenty men decided to take the lives of several thousand people in a most attention-getting way.

Our world has been fucked up ever since, and it's not getting any less fucked up the more we continue to encourage fear, bigotry, violence, and greed.

I don't think things are going to improve until we remember that our first priority as a species is... the preservation of ourselves as a species. Helping each other, loving each other, embracing the differences that make us unique, celebrating the commonalities that make us one.

Today is not a day to keep the flame of vengeance alive.

Today is a day to keep the flame of hope alive.

I love you all.
filkertom: (ThumbsUp)
Our old buddy Gary Wood, the filmmaker behind Saving Star Wars, is doing something cool for the next week:
Beginning today, August 23, through Friday, August 30, WoodWorks Films will donate $2.00 from every online viewing/rental of Saving Star Wars. We're excited to make this happen and hope you'll make this a Saving Star Wars/Make-A-Wish Weekend.
If you haven't seen it before, SSW is a great little picture, with humor, wit, and a lot of heart. I wrote "Rock Me Amidala" for it, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Check it out, won't you? And, if you like it, boost the signal.
filkertom: (Default)
This article is an excellent reminder that it always seems easier to solve someone else's problems than to solve your own.

I try very hard to be a sympathetic person. No matter how rough some things have been, and still are, I'm working from a position of relative strength: I'm not about to keel over dead from anything, I've got a house, I'm mostly able to pay my bills. And I feel very bad for friends who are going through rough times. I've been there. I hope I don't end up there again.

I've worked for a long time now to adjust my reaction from "cursory expressed sympathy and then problem solving" (the sympathy is no less sincere, but comes across as brusque or perfunctory) to "lots of sympathy, hugs, listening, more sympathy, and THEN an offer to help if I can do anything and if they even want the help". I'm almost there, but problem-solving mode does kick in fairly quickly if I'm not paying attention. It's a reflex: I want to make better whatever's hurting.

This is for everyone who doesn't need advice, solutions, or inspirational speeches, but rather needs commiseration, a friendly and non-judgmental ear, and/or just a big ol' hug. I got 'em right here. Endless supply, and all free.

Fuck Fear

Jul. 14th, 2013 03:08 pm
filkertom: (Default)
Just headed off another argument on my Facebook page, this time regarding the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict. And I got on a roll, and way past that specific topic, and I thought I'd put it up here to see what you all think.

It kinda meanders, although I do my best to aim toward an obvious target. Simple premise, though:

Fuck fear. )
filkertom: (ThumbsUp)
The current Humble Bundle is a jaw-droppingly cool collection of eBooks by such luminaries as Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean, Cory Doctorow, Randall Munroe, and Wil Wheaton. The deluxe edition of The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold....

The Humble Weekly Sale that just started is also superb: There's a famous series of old, old, old-school RPGs set in a world called Avernum. They're not awfully expensive, but pricey enough that, in these days of damn near cinematic experiences, they may not seem very enticing. Well, now you can get them STUPID CHEAP. Literally, right now the average to get all of 'em and unlock the two extra games is $3.93. So, kick in four bucks, get EIGHT adventure games for PC, Mac, or Linux.

Any other cool online deals we should know about (besides, of course, the current 5th anniversary sale at the Apple App Store, Giveaway Of The Day, and Kindle Buffet)?
filkertom: (pirateme)
Serious help time. A longtime friend, [personal profile] louisadkins, is stranded in Wyoming with his family and a dead car. Any little bit will help right now, if you can PayPal something to louis.adkins@hotmail.com .
filkertom: (kermitflail)
Ninety-four years young. Teacherken at dKos has a great selection of videos. Feel free to link us to more.

What's your favorite anti-war folk song? Mine, without question, is "The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda'" by Eric Bogle. And Tom Paxton's "What Did You Learn In School Today?" is right behind, followed by Phil Ochs' "I Ain't A-Marchin' Anymore".
filkertom: (ThumbsUp)
You all remember the brouhaha that erupted online several days ago, regarding Glee lifting Jonathan Coulton's unique and hilarious arrangement of Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" and not crediting JoCo. Well, the celebrated Mr. Coulson has retaliated in the best possible way:
I’ve released this track as a single – it should be on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play eventually if it’s not already. It’s a cover of Glee’s cover of my cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song, which is to say it’s EXACTLY THE SAME as my original version. I’m releasing this under the same Harry Fox license I used for the 2005 release, so Mix will get all the royalties due to him. I’ll donate the proceeds from all sales that happen between now and the end of February to two charities: The VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and The It Gets Better Project. (fine print: iTunes will get their cut first of course, then I’ll deduct enough to cover my licensing fees, and split the rest between the two. iTunes sometimes takes a long time to report sales, sometimes even a couple of months, so I won’t be able to do the math and make the donation until I have the numbers. But I’ll let you know when I’ve gotten the amount and made the donation.)
You can get it on iTunes, GooglePlay, or AmazonMP3.

Helping JoCo, helping worthy charities, and gently embarrassing the Fox network for a classless move in such a way that they really can't complain. Win-win-win.

(thanks to my darling [personal profile] sweetmusic_27 for reminding me about this)
filkertom: (i_has_a_sad)
Great sadness, and the end of an era. Pauline Friedman Phillips, who wrote under the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren, has passed away at the age of 94.

I don't know that there's an easy way to sum up Dear Abby's contribution to our culture. Some people made fun of her newspaper advice column; some people collected it. But, no matter what, for decades, Abby was as close of a blogger as we had, dispensing advice and wisdom and a little gentle humor. A product of her time, sometimes she was really wrong. But, when she was right, it was usually the best possible advice. And she was right way more often than she was wrong.

Rest well, Ms. Phillips, and thanks.

filkertom: (got_impin)
No, it has nothing to do with Captain Jack Sparrow. It's an indiegogo crowdfunding project creating cups, straws, and glasses that change color if they come in contact with a date-rape drug. They've got about 64 hours and a fair chunk of change to go, so won't you help?

(h/t [personal profile] cluegirl)
filkertom: (ThumbsUp)
Our friend Elena (the artist behind the Babylon 5 Jumpgate Pins) has slowed down a bit these days -- she's dealing with breast cancer -- but she's hardly out. Her new page, Astronomy Jewelry, has some lovely stuff at very reasonable prices. If you're looking for some sparklies, you might want to check it out.

Any last-minute signal boosting? I'll have some of my own tomorrow.
filkertom: (science)
James Anderson, one of our regulars her (under the user name [personal profile] jasperjones22 is a science grad student with a very common problem: lack of funding. Specifically, travel expenses to get to a conference.

So, for at least the first one, he's set up a fundraiser at indiegogo.

Rewards are a certain amount of his brainpower, depending on how much you donate. Ten bucks, one science question answered. $500, you've got your own Hermione Granger. Except, you know, male. And hairier.

He doesn't need a lot. If, over the next 38 days, you can spare something, won't you help?

What other good crowdfunding/Kickstarter/indiegogo projects should we know about? These things change constantly.
filkertom: (Default)
This has been posted on FB, but I figured it would be a good idea to remind folks of it here.

For the past few years, I've gone down to Dayton, OH around this time to do what amounts to a semi-public house concert. One of the cool things about it is that it's also specifically aimed at gathering toys and games for kids at Dayton's Ronald McDonald House. So, the suggested donation is $10-15 (some of which goes to me, some to the RMcDH), and an unwrapped, non-stuffed toy or game. Classic board games or other activities that sick kids can share with their families are always a good idea.

And, hey! It takes place at a game store: the unbelievably fantastic Epic Loot Games & Comics in Centerville, a bit south of Dayton proper. Seriously, pretty darn good on the comics, and one of the absolute best gaming stores I've ever seen.

I'll start singing about 8:00, and go till, oh, 10:30 or 11:00 or so. We'll be in the big Collectible Card Game room, lotsa seats, and if you feel like bringing some snacks or something potluckish, well, hey. :)

For more information, or to sign up for the potluck part, click here: Tom Smith Charity Concert And Christmas Party, Episode IV.
filkertom: (Default)
List night was a lot of fun. Leslie and I met Anne at the only Red Hot & Blue left in Michigan, and devoured excellent barbecue in quantity. Anne couldn't believe how good the biscuits were, and I have sorely missed their dry-rub ribs. Les tried their new Barbecue Meatloaf: a-nom nom nom.

After, Les and I went to the Just One Angel Tour performance in Sterling Heights. The show was a charity for MCrest, which provides help and housing for homeless individuals and families. Christine Lavin, Uncle Bonsai, Don White. Exceptional music and fun.

I got to spend a few minutes with Christine after the concert, and she asked if my glasses slipped down my nose. And then she showed me these Keepons Eyeglass Retainers. They're fairly cool, and I thought some of you who wear glasses might find 'em useful, especially since they're dirt cheap. So, I promised Christine I'd boost the signal, and here 'tis.

What signals do you want to boost today?

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