In the office where I work, it's wall-to-wall shelves, and adjacent to my desk lives Charles N. Brown's collection of nonfiction SF & fantasy-related reading. From time to time I practice bibliomancy with the titles of the books on the shelves. . . it only works if I don't intend it to happen. The title that leapt out at me today was "Erotic Universe". I mean, it really leapt out at me - for a moment there, none of the other titles seemed to exist. I think I'm willing to accept this message from the universe.

In other news, still makin' art with Polyvore. A link to my pretties: Polyvore

Picture of the Day: The Orion Nebula

College Musical

For those of us mourning the passing of Glee (to return April 2010), I have some alternate entertainment. Now's the time to increase your appreciation for college a capella singing. At Yale, singing groups are BIG. My absolute favorite Yale singing group was Shades; unfortunately none of the videos available online come close to capturing the excitement of their performances. (You can get a vague idea here: More Than a Paycheck.)

I also remember being particularly fond of the Spizzwinks(?), because they actually had a sense of humor. Forget the Whiffenpoofs, it's all about the Spizzwinks(?).

A few sweet Spizzwinks(?) samples:
I Want to Be Like Grace Kelly So cute!
This one's especially for Foo: Steam Heat
Pinball Wizard Great arrangement.
Sixteen Tons Just amazing. I could watch this over and over again.
Song About the Moon

And (alright) one from the Whiffs:
Summertime Incredible arrangement of one of my favorite songs.

This trip down memory lane is courtesy of another Yalie, whose work is making the rounds of the internet: Sam Tsui, the one-man show choir.

Don't Stop Believing Sam Tsui sings a Glee cover. . . with himself.
Michael Jackson medley Sam Tsui sings an arrangement by Kurt Schneider. . . with himself.
He is so cute! Talk about conviction as a performer.

Porn: The Musical

So, appropos of nothing. . . I am not opposed to pornography. I'm certainly opposed to the abuses that go on in the industry, but there is no way you'll catch me saying I'm opposed to seeing sexual images on film. How could I say something like that, in a society that barely blinks at graphic decapitation, decomposition, and defenestration? Along those lines, I must commend to your attention the illustrious PG Porn compositions of James Gunn.

I'm particularly fond of Squeal Happy Whores, with Jenna Haze and Joe Fria, despite some scatological humor (consider yourself warned), and would happily watch "Porn: The Musical" if only James Gunn would direct it.

Also fond of High Poon, and Nailing Your Wife (speaking of substituting violence for sex). Don't forget to watch the "behind the scenes" videos, too. Joss fans will recognize Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion having WAY too much fun. Unfortunately not together, sorry girls.

Oh! And watch Twilight with Cheeseburgers, via norilana.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

RIP my crazy, crazy friend

All right. . . those of you that know me know that I've been working at Locus for the past several years, as 1/2 personal assistant to Charles N. Brown, 1/2 Assistant Editor for Locus. That was actually how I was hired -- to work part-time for Charles, part-time for Locus. This distinction rapidly became meaningless in the day to day rush that characterizes any organization that works to deadline. It was impossible to keep track of the shifting needs in those terms. . . like everyone in the office, I just responded to what needed to happen, when it was needed, as fast as I possibly could.

Picture Charles. . . a man who, at 72, still hadn't really retired. An opera-lover, a gourmand (who, by the way, taught me to cook), a bat-out-of-hell backseat driver, an inexhaustible fund of bad Jewish jokes. He was born in 1937 (talk about first fandom!) and although he retained some of the ideas of those times, he was in many ways so young. . . a young, flexible mind, still learning, still seeking, still absorbing as much knowledge as he could. So much respect for that!

He claimed to have retired, and half the time if you came to him with a question about the magazine, he'd say "that sort of thing is up to you now. . ." but I learned quickly not to blink ("don't blink. . . don't ever blink"), because the very next minute he'd come back to you with an opinion about every detail of everything you were working on, had ever worked on, and would ever work on. . . I've never met anyone more knowledgeable about the science fiction and fantasy field, more opinionated, more expansive. . . I first met him while I was struggling with my Mom's health troubles, and I was able to apply some of the lessons learned in that struggle toward his own problems. When Mom died, I think he know how afloat I felt with both parents gone, and he made a real effort to make me a part of his world. I know he really loved being able to share his knowledge (and his terrible, terrible puns and jokes) with a new unsuspecting victim employee. I became so fond of him, and am so privileged to have known him. I really loved the cantankerous old guy. He was family.

Charles died yesterday, on the way back from Readercon, his favorite convention (which he enjoyed tremendously, according to my fellow employee, who went with him and was there with him at the time of his death, for which I am so grateful). He fell asleep on the plane, and simply never woke up again. Really, there could not have been a better death for him. I think those of us that knew him were concerned, as we watched him age, that he would suffer. But he always said he'd die of a heart attack in his sleep. . . and for his sake I'm glad that's how it happened. Still, I think we all expected he'd be with us a little longer. . . RIP Charles, I wish you the best in whatever form that wish can possibly reach you now.
  • Current Mood
    geeky stunned

Locus question

Sorry I'm not posting much recently -- too much going on! I have a work-related question. As y'all know, I work for a science fiction organization, which means there's (inherently) not a whole lot of money to spread around. We're looking for cheap advice on how to fix a web problem. . . Here's the scenario. We've uploaded our magazine onto a site called, and we need a password page so that we can make the magazine accessible only to those who have paid for it (novel concept!:-) I think it's great the magazine will finally be available in PDF format, but we just need that extra piece of information to make this float. Ideas? Recommendations for people to talk to?

Love, the Phran


In other steampunky news, I'm on the wait list for the Steamcon vendor list (according to Ariane, I'm high up on the list and she's hunting for extra space.) If it does go through, I will need a clothes rack to hang lovelies up for sale. Anyone know where the portable white rack we used for the Baycon costume swap resides?

Also, I loaned out a few large gears for adornments at the last Baycon, and now find myself in need of them. Anyone?

SF Events Upcoming

Upcoming SF events I am tempted to attend, ganked from the Borderlands newsletter and SF in SF list:

SF in SF presents a special Steampunk event for LitQuake, with authors Kage Baker, Joe R. Lansdale, and Rudy Rucker, Thursday, October 9th at 7:30 pm at the Variety Preview Room in the Hobart Building, 582 Market Street. An evening celebrating all aspects of Steampunk - impossibly fantastic adventures you'll never forget. Steampunk is Victorian elegance paired with modern technology: steam-driven robots, souped-up stagecoaches, and space-faring dirigibles, all fueled by gaslight, romance, mad scientists, and oh-so-trim waistcoats. Cash bar, books for sale courtesy of Borderlands, and a good time for all. Doors open at 7:00 pm, and the event starts at 8:00 pm. We expect a large turnout for this event, and we'll try to accommodate everyone, but come early to ensure that you get a good seat. More info at

Collapse )
  • Current Mood
    artistic artistic

In honor of the Parasol Protectorate

This one's for Foo, via Wired:

"The entourage of the Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has an unusual secret weapon. Her security team defends the head of the government with umbrellas. Not ordinary umbrellas, but unbreakable fighting umbrellas. Watch the video to see the combat-brolly in action, and marvel as Thomas Kurz ("the world's foremost expert on flexibility training") viciously splits a watermelon in two."

All I have to say is damn. Pronounced day-am for emphasis.

Also fond of these: Collapse )
  • Current Mood
    awake bemused