Posts Tagged Jonathan Coulton

Leave Your Grave (Re: Your Brains parody)


Some people call Easter Sunday Zombie Jesus Day, and I’ve just recently spent a fair bit of time editing footage of a song about zombies, so it seemed natural to write this parody of Jonathan Coulton’s Re: Your Brains about Jesus. In this song, Jesus, omniscient yet somehow clueless, talks to [the cadaver of] someone who was crucified along with him.

Bless you, man, it’s Jesus,
from the cross just over there.
Good to see you buddy, how’ve you been?
Things have been okay for me; I’ve come back as a zombie now.
I really wish you could’ve seen.

I think I speak for all of us when I say I understand
how it can be bothersome to be hung up by your hands.
But not all dead must die — I’ve got friends in high places.
All you’ve got to do is leave your grave.
it’s not unreasonable;
you can’t always acquiesce to things.
All you’ve got to do is leave your grave.
You’ve got eternal life; don’t just spend it festering.
You just open up the tomb,
shed your doom and gloom
and leave your grave.

I don’t want to nitpick, Man, but is this really your plan?
Spend your death spoilt rotten underground?
Maybe that’s okay for now, but someday there’ll be worms inside your butt
and you’ll have to come around.
I’m not surprised to see you act like you don’t have a prayer.
You always played the victim with that heavy cross to bear,
but we’ve all been crucified, and I will bring the light to you.

All you’ve got to do is leave your grave.
it’s not unreasonable;
you can’t always acquiesce to things.
All you’ve got to do is leave your grave.
You’ve got eternal life; don’t just spend it festering.
You just open up the tomb,
shed your doom and gloom
and leave your grave.

I’d like to help you, Man, in any way I can.
You know I help the ones who help themselves, believe me
I’m no Messiah though, well, technically I am.
I guess I am.

Got to get ascending now, think I’ll pass on passing on.
I’ve got too much to do to rest in peace
Then I’ll put a word in to my father who’s been with you all along.
I’m sure he’ll help with your decease.
I’m glad to see you take my death and life advice so well
Thank you for not whining; helping others feels so swell
and I’m sure you’ll conquer death
when you take a breath; try it!

All you’ve got to do is leave your grave.
it’s not unreasonable;
you can’t always acquiesce to things.
All you’ve got to do is leave your grave.
You’ve got eternal life; don’t just spend it festering.
You just open up the tomb,
shed your doom and gloom
and leave your grave.

I’m not sure if this is Jesus being a total son-of-a-self to a guy who is literally dead, by not acknowledging the son-of-God privilege that makes his resurrection possible, or whether He’s actually encouraging everyone to make friends with His dad and gain eternal life. Interpret it whichever way you prefer. In any case, this is dedicated to anyone who’s been told to just get out of bed and smile/pray their way out of depression, chronic illness, poverty, etc.

I’m not sure I’m 100% happy with these lyrics yet; I probably stick needlessly close to the original lyrics in places, when I could have been cramming in additional puns. I have a few alternate possibilities, but these are the words I like best right as it turns Sunday in my time zone.

Here’s the aforementioned footage of the original song, as performed in Loreto, Mexico as part of JoCo Cruise:

Also, Joey recorded another ukulele song in response to my last post! Here it is:

In response, I wrote the following:

Who is this cool person called joeym
who responds to my post with a poem
and then adds on a singing addendum?
If I hadn’t already, I’d friend’im!

Tune in next post for the next exciting instalment of ‘Angela and Joey have conversations via poems and ukulele songs’!

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My MacBook (My Monkey parody)


It’s Poetry Writing Month again! I’m not sure if I’ll write a poem every day for the rest of the month, since I’ve recently landed back in Vienna and should be concentrating on looking for a job, but I have one I prepared earlier. Also, I recited the poem I opened last NaPoWriMo with at Open Mic 2.0 on the first of April. The audience seemed confused, so I followed it with a cover of the more self-explanatory Chicken Monkey Duck.

This is a parody of Jonathan Coulton’s ‘My Monkey‘, but since I don’t have a monkey butler named Brian Dennehy, I project feelings onto my MacBook Pro instead. I wrote it a few weeks ago after being away from my Time Capsule for quite a while.

My MacBook gets homesick sometimes.
My MacBook has a lot of things that need to be backed up.
My MacBook lacks power sometimes.
My MacBook’s not the only one that’s starting to act up.

‘Cause every MacBook needs time to thrive
when not all processes are queued live
to wake recharged with a renewed drive.
It doesn’t mean my MacBook doesn’t love you.

[My MacBook Sneuf is new and shiny still, but she’s worn out and she is sorry]
[My MacBook, she loves you. My MacBook loves you very much]
[My MacBook says My MacBook says]
[My MacBook says she’s sorry she’s a MacBook, but she’s got to be a MacBook ’cause she’s so insanely great]

My MacBook gets frazzled sometimes.
My MacBook’s used to Europe and needs sockets to adapt.
My MacBook gets bitter, sometimes.
My MacBook feels cut off when high-speed data use is capped.

And while there’s no pain in her diodes,
and she’s not going to send you STOP codes,
it’s hard to hold back all these uploads.
It doesn’t mean my MacBook doesn’t love you.

[My MacBook Sneuf is new and shiny still, but she’s worn out and she is sorry]
[My MacBook, she loves you. My MacBook loves you very much]
[My MacBook says My MacBook says]
[My MacBook says she’s sorry she’s a MacBook, but she’s got to be a MacBook ’cause she’s so insanely great]

My MacBook feels lacking sometimes.
My MacBook cut herself up so she wouldn’t weigh you down.
My MacBook feels lucky, sometimes.
My MacBook hopes that you will always carry her around.

She says she’ll stay with you for always.
It doesn’t matter what Tim Cook says,
’cause every MacBook model decays
It doesn’t mean my MacBook doesn’t love you.

[My MacBook Sneuf is new and shiny still, but she’s worn out and she is sorry]
[My MacBook, she loves you. My MacBook loves you very much]
[My MacBook says My MacBook says]
[My MacBook says she’s sorry she’s a MacBook, but she’s got to be a MacBook ’cause she’s so insanely great]

It doesn’t mean my MacBook doesn’t love you.

In other news, I have uploaded videos of the first Jonathan Coulton concert on JoCo Cruise 2015, which has pretty bad audio but interesting video during Re: Your Brains, at least. I’ve also uploaded the Adam Sak and Hello, The Future! show, the first jam session, the Patrick Rothfuss and Paul and Storm concert, the Magic: The Gathering match between Jonathan Coulton and Storm DiCostanzo, and the first part of the concert with The Oatmeal in it. More forthcoming.

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Better (Robot-to-Human version)


I’ve been thinking of getting my robot choir (an app I wrote to make my Mac’s speech synthesis sing) to sing Jonathan Coulton covers for a while, but as many of his songs involve robots, singing them with a robot voice forces a change of perspective. I rewrote Better to be from the perspective of a robot whose partner is becoming human, rather than a human whose partner is becoming a robot. Here‘s a rough recording of it using the Trinoids voice and the karaoke file for the song:

Here are the lyrics:

Where did we go?
When was the moment that we came unplugged?
I think I know.
In fact I am sure ’cause I’ve had your chips bugged.

I remember the first big surprise,
the day you came home with your infant-bred eyes.
I looked inside them and lased you a note
but your return signal was smoke.

But it’s not smoke, it’s fire,
and your burning desire
to turn into something
that I don’t require.
You used to be OK
and I liked you that way,
but I don’t think that I like you better.
No I don’t think that I like you better.

Started out small:
some lungs and a heart and your lasers unwired.
Now you’re just six feet tall.
Even when fully charged your organics get tired.
And I’m tired of the evenings I spend
making small talk with your new human friends
and their stupid insistence on blocking my lasers
when they know I know the three laws.

And you climbed the wrong way out
of the uncanny gorge.
You went from bad data
to bad Geordi La Forge.
You used to be OK
and I liked you that way,
but I don’t think that I like you better.
No I don’t think that I like you better.

So that’s how it goes.
Tap my interface once if you still understand.
No data flows.
Wait, are your digits just five on your hand?
I can tell by your insider art
There’s more than a pump in your chimpanzee heart.
I tried to reason, but something’s gone wrong.
Why am I singing a song?

Well, I like to think different, but it’s not quite the same.
If this is a trojan, I know who to blame.
You used to be flawless; now you’re F-ing lawless,
and I don’t think that I like you better.
No I don’t think that I like you better.

Some lines stay close to the original when I perhaps should have struck out and gone with something completely different. If you have any suggestions, let me know; the beauty of robots is I can change the words and make a new recording in seconds.

The tune is based on Spektugalo’s UltraStar file for that song. I had to make some changes to the robot choir to handle the one-beat gaps between notes, and I made a few tweaks to timing after that, which probably messed up more than they fixed. When I started writing this parody, I assumed I had the source tracks of the original song to work with, but it turns out that song is not on JoCo Looks Back, so all I have is the karaoke version with some backing vocals. I’ve turned the volume of my vocals way up, both so they’re easier to understand and to obscure the backing vocals more when the lyrics are not the same. Consider this a demo.

Now that I have the tune done, I’ll probably record the original song and my entitled hipster parody of it soon. Maybe not too soon, though; I have a cruise to go on!

On the subject of cruises, I’ve just had some copies of my They Might Not Be Giants poster printed, and I’ll bring them with me on JoCo Cruise Crazy. If you are going on the cruise (or will just be in the area the night before) and you would like to buy one from me for less than it would cost through Zazzle, let me know and I’ll make sure I bring one for you. I can’t sell them on board the ship due to the cruise line needing a cut, but I can do so at the hotel before the cruise, the cruise port or airport after, or we can work out some kind of trade involving upcharged food or drink on the ship. They are A3 sized (just a tiny bit smaller than 11×17 inches) and printed beautifully on 300gsm silk-coated paper.

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Video: Christmastime is Wunnerful (Robot Protectors cover)


I felt a bit bad about having to truncate the full-length instrumental that Colleen and Joseph made for JoCo Day is Wunnerful, so, having already taught my robot choir the main melody, I decided to record my own cover of Christmastime is Wunnerful. I was toying with the idea of making it a mashup with Jonathan Coulton’s other Christmas classic, Chiron Beta Prime (since the source tracks for that are available), when I realised that even without modification, Christmastime is Wunnerful is quite amusing to listen to while watching Tom Ellsworth‘s music video for Chiron Beta Prime. So I decided to edit that video (with Tom’s permission) to match my cover. Here is the result:

For comparison, here’s the original Chiron Beta Prime video. I didn’t have to change very much, really:

I had to pretty much abandon the ‘daily’ part of Holidailies because ended up flyng to New Zealand, which in itself takes more than a day without internet. But here’s some more holiday for you.

The voices I used were, in order of appearance:

Adult human male: Alex

Standard robots: Zarvox

Festive holiday figure robots for the purposes of augmenting human morale and productivity: Trinoids

Adult human female: Victoria

Human male emulation for the purposes of undetectable redaction: Ralph

Juvenile human: Junior

I also used the bells and ‘Message redacted’ tracks from Chiron Beta Prime, and the ‘Machines’ track from The Future Soon.

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I signed up for Holidailies knowing full well I’d miss the first day. The reason why will probably not amaze you.


A couple of my friends (or was it the same friend twice?) mentioned this Holidailies thing, and although I have too many things to do already, I reasoned that I did get through half of National(?) Poetry Writing Month relatively unscathed, so maybe I should do it. I signed up for it on December 1, knowing full well I probably wouldn’t be able to post anything that day. You see, I was busy working on something that had to be finished by the end of December 1 in Brooklyn, but would be unlikely to be done before midnight in my own time zone. I did finish it in time, so I’m posting it here as either my December 1 or December 2 post, depending on whether I get around to making something else worth posting today.

I did the video editing for this collaborative birthday video for Jonathan Coulton from his fans, the sixth one so far. Tradition dictates that no matter how early somebody starts suggesting we make something, nobody actually does anything until December 1 is almost upon us, and this year it was really down to the wire; the first contributions were sent in on November 29, and although many people had previously expressed an interest in participating, in the last few days we could only gather four people, some robots, and a cat. It’s a good thing I’d already learnt the basics of Final Cut Pro while making the Paul and Storm karaoke video, so I could do a lot of things fairly quickly, even if I probably went overboard on the things Final Cut can do that iMovie couldn’t, and there are many other things that I’d have liked to spend more time getting right.

The song is based on ‘Christmastime is Wunnerful’ from Jonathan Coulton’s and John Roderick’s Christmas album, One Christmas at a Time.

Everyone did a lot; the two most musical of us each sent in many amazing instrumental tracks that it would probably take me months to figure out and years to learn to play. Meanwhile, as a software developer who’s only recently started learning about music, I simply made some robot voices sing in ways that perhaps amaze people who don’t know how that works. That was done using my robot choir, a program I wrote to sing using the built-in Mac speech synthesis, which I intend to rewrite with a decent interface and release on the app store one of these days. Maybe next year some time, if I don’t end up finding a new day job after my current one ends. I’ve released several mediocre songs using the robot choir.

Later this month I’ll be going to Norway for the first time, to celebrate Christmas with some friends, and I don’t know how much time I’ll have for blogging. But I’ll do my best. Perhaps I’ll write a sonnet on a mundane topic each day; sonnets are structured enough that they’re fairly easy to write when you have nothing to say. Leave topic suggestions in the comments and I’ll try to get to them. If your topics can only be expressed in dactyls, I reserve the right to write a sonnet about how you are a poopy-head.

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Better (Entitled Hipster Version)


This is a parody of Jonathan Coulton’s song ‘Better‘. You probably haven’t heard of that song, because it’s from before Jonathan quit his day job and got all famous. It’s way better than his new stuff, because it’s about someone who liked their partner before said partner turned into a cyborg and sold out to the robot overlords. Opinions expressed in these lyrics do not reflect those of the author.

What have you done?
I think you know what I’m talking about.
No more homespun;
I’d just bought in and then you just sold out.
I remember the Yale Whiffenpoofs,
Spizzwinks(?) and Pop!Tech and Little Gray Books.
Little short lines I read nothing between.
Nobody loved you like me.

But it’s not me, it’s you.
It’s the star you’ve turned to.
The day job you quit
like no artist would do.
You were my great nerd love
that no-one had heard of,
but I don’t think that I like you better.
No I don’t think that I like you better.

You started out small,
some free tunes and some gigs as an opening band.
Now you must have it all;
you moved on to the sea once you’d soft rocked the land.
Now you tour with a real live Scarface,
big boomy drums and a super star bass,
and the act that you opened for opens your act;
you act like you don’t know your place.

Then you made record-deal ‘art’
and produced it with Flans,
denied us your real heart,
ignored your real fans.
You might be a giant,
but I ain’t no client
and I don’t think that I like you better.
No I don’t think that I like you better.

So that’s how it goes.
Your whole cake is a lie, and you’re eating it too.
Everyone knows.
Why would anyone think I’d be happy for you?
It’s not about you, it’s all about me.
Here is a list of what I want to see.
Don’t please the masses, and don’t plead for cash.
Just be authentic for free.

Now, I’m not against gold mines
’cause I like sluice box muck.
But man, you’re the nugget,
the million bucks.
You used to like monkeys,
but now you’re like Snuggies
and I don’t think that I like you better.
No I don’t think that I like you better.

 

Just for fun, I’ve included the titles of or otherwise strongly referenced the titles of at least five other songs of his, and one song by his opening band (that he used to open for) Paul and Storm. See if you can find them!

‘Better’ was actually one of the first Jonathan Coulton songs I heard, when I found Our Bodies, Ourselves, Our Cybernetic Arms, and Jonathan was probably about halfway through Thing A Week when I found it. I didn’t find out about the Whiffenpoofs, Spizzwinks(?) or Little Gray Books lectures until some time later. I like his new albums too and I’m glad that he’s successful and therefore has the freedom to do whatever he likes without worrying too much about what will sell. I’m happy that if I mention his name at a geek-adjacent event these days, people are likely to know who I’m talking about. I even sang ‘Better’ at a karaoke event in Vienna recently, and it wasn’t the first JoCo song to be sung there.

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Queen of Pants: The JoCo Cruise Crazy 4 Ball Pits (In My Pants)


My last post here said that JoCo Cruise Crazy would have a ball pit. Due to hygiene regulations, that ball pit became an imaginary ball pit, but there were still at least two real ball pits on the ship. The one I brought was sewn onto my pants for the annual Fancy Pants parade. Anyone who wanted to get into my ball pit would have to at least buy me dinner first.

I did, however, flash my balls at people occasionally:

Ultimately, giving such a ‘special show’ to the Monarch of the Seas, Queen Courtney, won me a trophy, and the title of Best In Terms of Pants. Here’s the video of the parade from my own camera (expertly wielded by Simcha, who also took his own videos of the cruise), showing my humble beginnings and triumphant return:

And here’s a video from an angle that shows the rest of the parade well. You can almost see that when Jonathan Coulton is walking around humming God Save the Queen, I flash my balls at him and make him laugh a little:

I thought I had some fancy pants, and now I know it’s true. I looked at all the fancy pants and held the trophy high:

I hold the trophy high, while Jonathan Coulton gestures towards my pants

Everybody cheered, but I swear by Coulton’s beard, that everybody had the best pants. For while it may not seem like it from the fact that I was wearing toys bought from a baby store and making jokes about balls, I am mature enough to understand that the key to happiness cannot be in supplanting someone else’s pants. Chances are you’re best in everybody’s pants. There were shiny pants, blinking pants, gumbo pants (I liked them, and he did put a ring in it), squid pants, wrong pants and right pants; you can see some of them up-close in Atom Moore’s gallery.

Some of the balls were less securely attached than others, causing a wardrobe malfunction whereby a few of my balls fell off during the parade. This was fun, because I could throw them to my adoring fans (of which I have none) in the hot tub at the end of the catwalk. It looks like they were thoroughly examined. I’m told the people in the tub chanted ‘ball pit pants!’ to correct Her Majesty’s proclamation of ‘balloon pants’. Off with their heads!

The fancy pants parade was followed immediately by a movie night, which was followed by a concert. As I made my way to the concert, I heard that somebody had already added ball pit pants to the life-sized Lego statue of Jonathan Coulton that brick artist and JoCo Cruise Crazy 4 performer Nathan Sawaya had unveiled earlier in the week and left in the game room to be embellished. I was honoured!

The guy who took that photo got a bit creative with the later shots.

We got special JCCC playing cards in the swag bag. Naturally I was very happy about this. Monkeys, squids, pants and robots, oh, my!Some people wondered how I made the pants, and some did assume I’d used balloons, due to the difficulty of attaching and transporting balls. But they are, in fact, balls. I started with some old jeans that were starting to fall apart. After searching for playpen balls in the toy sections of various stores without success, I finally found some at a store called Babywalz, and bought two hundred. They were for babies, and definitely not the crush-proof kind Randall Munroe recommended for adults. As such, they were made of a quite supple plastic that was easy to get a needle through, so I could sew them on. At first I only attached them with one stitch each, and these were probably the balls that fell off during the parade. We each got a single playpen ball in our swag bags when we boarded the ship, but those ones were harder than mine and wouldn’t have been easy to sew. The swag bags also contained the pants/squid/robot/monkey playing cards that the one pictured comes from; while this post is not technically part of Writing Cards and Letters, I couldn’t resist using such a card. The pants cards were designed by Katie Rice.

I used nearly a hundred balls to cover the front, outer sides, and back lower calves of my pants. I left the other parts ball-free so that I would be able to sit down, and wouldn’t have to splay my legs apart to make room for my balls, as I have little experience in that. On the backs of my legs I sewed some coloured foam circles I found in the craft section of a bookstore… not as many as I’d intended to sew, since I only remembered to do that on the night before flying out.

The balls were not crush-proof, but as Randall Munroe warned us, there still wasn’t really a way to compress them for transport. My pants filled that third of my suitcase that I usually struggle to fill without going over the weight limit. As I continued my vacation to Kennedy Space Center, Chicago (including Fermilab) and MarsCon, I accumulated more and more souvenirs, and my victorious balls got more and more crushed. I still showed the pants to a hot-tub full of dementites at MarsCon, though, and once again threw some balls in for playing.

The tutu was a birthday gift made by my mother; if you like it, and you live in New Zealand, you might be able to get your own. The ‘great tits’ T-shirt (entirely necessary to balance the inevitable ball jokes) was from an ornithological society which has since sold its domain name to a more lucrative enterprise.

The other ball pit was created by Christopher Badell (not pictured), one of my thirteen roommates in the Presidential Suite, and also the official sponsor (in the name of his company, Greater Than Games) of the imaginary ball pit. He brought a few hundred balls to float on the surface of our suite’s private hot tub, which were fun to play with on the only occasion I had spare time to sit in a hot tub. There may be video of that later from another of my roomies (or ‘suities’, I guess.) I added a few spare balls from my pants to that hot tub as well, making a total of three hot tubs graced by my balls.

I’ve been saying this a lot in the last few weeks: my life is ridiculous. And I like it.

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VI of Hearts: The Cantor Ternary Set Cantor Ternary Set


It’s self-referential! It’s self-similar! It would give Jonathan Coulton nightmares! It’s the Cantor Ternary Set Cantor Ternary Set: a representation of six steps in the construction of the Cantor ternary set using sped-up and slowed-down samples of Jonathan Coulton singing ‘Cantor ternary set’ in his song Mandelbrot Set, in which he professes to fear said set. I suppose you could say Jonathan Coulton is the cantor, but would it make him turn a reset?

Six of Hearts on a Jonathan Coulton Mandelbrot Floyd shirtI added a Wilhelm scream to the end, because that seemed appropriate. Here’s the audio-only version.

The Cantor ternary set is what you get if you take a line (technically a line segment, but we’ll call it a line), cut out the middle third, then cut out the middle third of the lines that remain, then cut out the middle thirds of those, and so on. If you continue doing this forever, you end up with just as many points as you started with (isn’t infinity grand?) but they’re nowhere near each other. I made the ‘lines’ at each stage out of clips of Jonathan singing ‘Cantor ternary set’ at different speeds; first at one 27th normal speed, then at one ninth, then one third, then normal speed, then three, nine, and 27 times normal speed. Then I put all the lines (i.e. audio clips) from the different steps on top of each other, positioned according to where each line came from in the original line, to make the full canticle (cantorcle?) You can see how it works in the video. To make it easier to differentiate the different layers, I put the second and fifth layers (counting from the slowest one at the bottom) toward the left ear and the third and sixth toward the right, leaving the other three (1/27-speed, original-speed, and 27-times speed) in the centre.

This didn’t take very long to make, in the end, but there were a lot of false starts. A long time ago I decided to make some kind of song about mathemusician Vi Hart using snippets of the various source tracks I have of Jonathan Coulton songs — a Hart-shaped box, on the table, and far too late you see the one inside the box is Vi Hart, who’s not a real heart but is a real bad-ass mathematician… that kind of thing. I realised some time ago that it would have to be the six of hearts, because in Roman numerals that’s the vi of Hearts. But that didn’t stop me from putting off starting it till about a week after the last minute. It’s a good thing I set my own deadlines.

A couple of days ago I finally started to actually work on this. I cut some sounds together (‘my heart’ and a ‘v’ sound from When You Go) to make Jonathan sing Vi Hart’s name, and collected relevant phrases from other songs. But I needed some kind of musical background track to tie it all together (like the Mr. Fancy Pants choir I used in my ‘Code Monkey Like…’ thingy.) I had considered using Vi’s piano music that she played on JoCo Cruise Crazy 2, but in the moment I didn’t feel like looking for it, and also didn’t feel like I could do it justice; I’ve just recently started listening to a basic and hilariously over-dramatic audio course on music theory, but most of what little I know about music, I learnt from Douglas HofstadterLeonhard Euler, Leon Harkleroad, and Vi Hart herself. While I’m okay with the mathematical side of things, I don’t think I remember enough to make a fitting musical tribute. So I asked myself, as I often do, what would Vi Hart do? Probably something symmetrical, mathematical, brilliant. So I hit on the idea of making a Cantor ternary set of Jonathan Coulton singing Vi Hart’s name, and using that as a backing track for the song.

Well, that was interesting, but it sounded terrible. The gap in the middle (the middle middle, not all the other gaps in middles which make the Cantor set what it is) sounded like a lawnmower, most of the rest sounded like a bad choir being massacred by a possessed lawnmower, and the 3x-speed ‘Vi Harts’ were more prominent and understandable than the ones at the original speed. I fiddled with levels for a while, and tried to make the lawnmower sound better by adding more words from other songs, but no dice. The fact was, using a Cantor ternary set of Vi Hart’s name (sung in that particular way) as a backing track was a terrible idea. And now that I think of it, I seem to recall that Hofstadter mentioned experimenting with fractal music and finding it didn’t work very well. That’s fine, though; I’m no musician, so I figured I could make it work to my low standards eventually. But just to take a break, on a whim I decided to try making a Cantor ternary set out of Jonathan singing ‘Cantor ternary set’.

Five minutes later, I discovered that the greater variety in syllables and pitches makes this sound quite interesting even without added lyrics, and you can fairly easily hear the words at several different speeds, so you can tell what’s happening well enough for it to be a demonstration of the Cantor ternary set in itself rather than just a backing track. Plus it’s a Cantor ternary set made up of the words ‘Cantor ternary set’. Why on Earth did I not think of that in the first place? Sorry Vi Hart; you’ll get your tribute song some day, and hopefully from someone better at music than I am.

On the subject of Vi Hart, last weekend I was at my physicist friend Aidan‘s place and noticed he had made some pretty neat things with Geomag, so I asked him to explain it all on video. He did mention Vi at one point. Here’s the video, in which we talk about RF cavities, conservation of angular momentum, triangles, and various kinds of pole, among other things:

Aidan also makes a lot of videos explaining particle physics; you should check them out.

Also on the subject of physics, and cool people I’ve met on JoCo Cruise Crazy (Vi Hart being one of them) here’s an LHC-related comic that Randall Munroe from xkcd drew for me on JoCo Cruise Crazy 3.

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Queen of Clubs: A Few Things You’ll Need for the Cruise


Here is some advice on preparing for JoCo Cruise Crazy, to be sung to the tune of My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music, because the cruise is one of my favourite things:

Queen of ClubsPlan out your formalwear; book some excursions;
catch up on memes from the previous versions;
make your own fancy pants, moustache and fez;
read every word every Sea Monkey says.

Sign up for Cruise Monkey, hug tags and Twitt-arrr;
learn to play Artemis, drums, uke or guitar;
buy things for nerd cred and smuggling in booze,
then you’ll be halfway-prepared for the cruise.

What the sluice-muck? It’s a cruise, schmuck!
There’s no need to stress.
Just book, grab your passport and get to the port
and please don’t forget to dress.

Memorise bios and work of performers;
make sure your stateroom and friend group’s enormous;
map out free WiFi at each port of call;
learn not to sleep so you won’t miss it all.

Practise for open mic and karaoke,
and to meet idols without sounding croaky.
Pack things for signing and panties to throw,
then you’ll be three-quarters ready to go.

I repeat: it’s all unneeded;
do what piques your geek,
then bring any meds that you need to survive
and you’ll have an awesome week!

One of the things on my pre-cruise to-do list is ‘write something for the Queen of Clubs’, but I couldn’t think of anything but my pre-cruise to-do list, so this is what I wrote. You can do all sorts of planning and preparation for the cruise, and it’s fun to do it, but even if you do nothing more than get to the port on time with clothes on and the relevant documents, you’ll have a shipload of fun. More advice, especially for first-time JoCo cruisers, can be found on Alice’s blog.

This is my third parody of My Favourite Things, after My Favourite Strings and The Bad Coder’s Favourite Things. It’s an easy song to parody.

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Let’s pretend this is the three of clubs: JoCo Day


Grand Unification: Strong nuclear force "freezes out" the original moustacheThis is a collaboration by many fans on Jonathan Coulton’s forums to celebrate Jonathan’s birthday, and it would have been nothing but an idea without everyone else, but I think I put enough effort into it (lyrics based on Pizza Day, video editing, and even singing) to count it as a card towards this Writing Cards project. It happens to feature the Jack of Spades, but I’ve already done two of those, so how about calling it a grand unification of JoCo fans. It’s the continuation of a tradition that started in 2009; I recommend watching the previous videos if you like this one. He seemed to like it.

This afternoon I might already record a video of what will probably be the four of clubs, a very short piece I wrote in the middle of the night which I feel like reading aloud. Then I’ll have brought my average back up toward one a week.

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