Happy Nerdy Christmas — Santa Baby, Geek Edition

Geeky santa
Slip a Catbug under the tree
For me
Been an awful big nerd
Geeky santa
And hurry down the chimney tonight

Nerdy santa
A chameleonless TARDIS too
Bright Blue
Hope it’s bigger inside
Nerdy santa
Hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the cons I’ve missed
Think of all the morons that I haven’t dissed
Next year I’ll be comprehensive
If you make my hobbies a bit less expensive

TV Santa
Explicitly gay Sherlock
It’s not a lot
Moffat’s teased us for years
TV santa
Hurry down the chimney tonight

Science santa
Fill my stockings with Bill Nye
and Ty-
son. For a dot we do fine.
Science santa
Hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and deck my Festivus tree
With Companion Cubes bought from ThinkGeek
I really don’t believe in you
But free Amazon Prime might change my mind

Bechdel santa,
Equal representation too
From you
It just can’t be that hard
Bechdel santa
Hurry down the chimney tonight…

DFTBA tonight…
Live long and prosper, tonight.

Musical Monday: Cyndi Lauper Ukulele

My present to myself for getting a new job and passing my comprehensive exams was this shiny new acoustic/electric Les Paul ukulele.  I am working on learning some songs that sound good and crunchy with electric effects, but I think that means learning ukulele power chords, which I don’t really understand just yet.  It involves skipping strings, which I find weirdly difficult.

In the meantime, “Time after Time.”

Future Doctor Miller talks Karaoke

Photo by Amanda Walczesky DanielsonI know I’ve been close to radio silence here on the FtB lately.  I’ve found a lot of the fighting going on in my pages about Shermer a bit triggery, but mostly I’ve been getting ready for and recovering from the oral defense of my Comprehensive Exams.

WHICH I PASSED.

Yes.  I am All But Dissertation or, as I plan to sign only the most ridiculous things I talk about: Ashley F. Miller, almost PhD.  Of course, there’s that pesky dissertation thing between me and making everyone call me doctor.  And I’m starting a CAREER sort of job tomorrow, but I got this.

In light of the serious scholarly weight I’ve been carrying around with me this last month, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about something not terribly deep at all.  My love for Karaoke.  Consider this a love letter, of sorts.

I have been having a rough couple weeks, but I’ve had the opportunity to go to karaoke frequently with people I like a great deal, so that’s been good.  It occurred to me that the rules of karaoke and how I approach it are very different from the way I do most things in life.  There are unwritten rules, the most important of which is that Taste Doesn’t Matter.  This is really weird for me because I am highly critical, but when I go to karaoke that part of my mind almost totally shuts down.  I mean, I still notice when something I don’t like is happening, but it generally doesn’t matter very much.  No amount of anxiety meds or alcohol or CBT has ever been able to shut off my obsessive-compulsive noticing of flaws, but karaoke very nearly does.

Photo by Chris Bickel

Karaoke is about supporting people doing something they enjoy, whether you would normally enjoy it or not — in exchange, they support you when it’s your turn.  Don’t like the song or the genre of music?  Too bad, support them anyway.  Don’t think they can sing?  Too bad, sing along.  Think “Blurred Lines” is quasi-date-rape-y? Too bad, sing the “hey hey hey”.  They are butchering a song you wanted to sing later?  Too bad, clap for them and find a new song.  They’re too drunk to read the screen and don’t know any of the words? Sing along in the audience to help them out.

This rule applies to the performance as well.  You want to do something that’s fun for the room.  You’re not obligated to, you can sing whatever you want, and not all audiences are alike.  One group might be very impressed by your rendition of a slow Adele song while another much prefers over-the-top cock rock.  You can’t always know this, but when you do, aim for helping them have a good time with your performance.  Do you think “I’m Too Sexy” is a great song? Of course not — but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Many of the best karaoke songs are songs you’d probably be embarrassed to admit to liking. Want to do something weird?  Own it.  Someone having fun on stage trumps everything.

This is the only rule of karaoke.  Unconditionally love and support the singer, even and especially when that singer is you.  That’s the reason it’s fun, because it isn’t about being good, it’s about the shared performance of audience and singer.  Oh, it might be great to be the best singer in the room or give the most convincing air guitar, but, when done right, karaoke should be just as much fun when you aren’t singing as when you are.  And that’s my karaoke wisdom, do with it what you will — Ashley F. Miller, almost PhD.

Photo by Chris Bickel

Ashley talks a lot: atheism, women, minorities, pop culture

(ROY ZIMMERMAN. Also, I go first so you don’t even have to watch very long to see me)

Weird Moments in Is This Even My Life: Rockapella

I recorded “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” on the ukulele about this time last year and somehow it’s gotten a bunch of comments that I was never alerted to.  I am really bad at following my YouTube in the first place, but I’m pretty sure that I would have noticed this alert.

Well!  The gentleman who co-wrote the song and was a member of Rockapella and went on to have a solo career, Mr. Sean Altman, friggin commented on my stupid ukulele video!

His comment is as follows:

It gives me great pleasure to be your first comment-er. Great job on my song. I’ve never heard it on uke, and it just goes to show that a catchy song translates to many styles. Let’s hope that J-Lo comes asking for permission to use it in her forthcoming Carmen flick. Yours, Sean Altman (ex-Rockapella)

7-year-old me is so stoked right now.  And since I’m pretty much still fundamentally 7, I am also so stoked right now.  WHAT IS MY LIFE

Musical Wednesdays: The Universe, Monty Python, and hate mail

As you may or may not be aware, I have been getting loads of hate mail/comments wishing me harm because I am in a relationship some people on the internet don’t approve of. So, whenever life gets me down, usually in the form of lowlife, scum-of-the-earth comments from racist, misogynist assholes, I sing myself this song and it generally makes me feel better.  Hurray astrophysics!

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown
And things seem sad or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious, or daft
And you feel that you’ve had quite enough…

Happy Wednesday.

Musical Wednesdays: A comment and ukulele song for Pope Ratzinger

It’s been a very long time since I’ve allowed myself to do video commentary on YouTube.  I once had a vlog and it was so thoroughly abused by assholes that I took it down.  But, I am short of time lately and it’s less difficult to just sit and talk than to carefully construct an article that I found the video to be the better format for my anger at Child Abuse Supporter Joseph Ratzinger.  Here’s a comment and song just for him:

FULL OF BAD WORDS