Rand and Erin album update (Seanan McGuire Indiegogo perk!)

As you may know, Rand and I are working on an album together. I’ve already shared our Indiegogo link once, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight a really special fundraising perk.

In 2013, we were invited to be the Filk Waifs (Toastmasters) at FilKONtario and our dear friend Seanan McGuire agreed to write our bio for the program book.

Of course, if you know Seanan at all, you’ve already guessed that what she supplied was no ordinary bio: she wrote an original short story, casting the two of us as characters. That story has only appeared in the program book, until now!

Campaign pledges of $30 or more get you a digital copy of that bio/story! And that’s not all the Seanan you’ll find on this project!

One of the tracks is a parody of Seanan’s song “Dear Gina,” with lyrics by me and Merav Hoffman. The song imagines that October Daye has gained sentience outside book world, realizes that Seanan is the one doing all of these horrible things to her, and threatens revenge. 😀 (You can see the lyrics, and an early performance of this song, here.

(Additionally, Seanan is going to supply us with some vocal tracks!)

I hope you’ll click the link and find out more about our project!

GAFilk 2016 Concert Post!

I started a full con report, which I suppose will get finished eventually…but for now, I wanted to get this post up about our concert for any interested parties! It went really, really well overall and I once again would like to thank the concom, the guys working the sound board, Amy McNally for providing her awesome fiddling on a couple of songs, and just everyone in that audience. I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted to hug you all. *hug*

So, this was our setlist for the ConCom’s Choice concert at GAFilk (with notes):

Heaven on Their Minds

really, seriously, just a straightforward cover of the song from JCS. (The Original London Recording is my preferred version. ymmv.)


A mashup of “Pandas” by Corky and the Juice Pigs and “This Jesus Must Die” from JCS

(Storybook) Love Story

A parody of Taylor Swift’s Love Story, about The Princess Bride (lyrics here)

The Princess Who Saved Herself

A cover of the Jonathan Coulton song (minus the phone call bridge)

Actually Ironic

A few years ago, College Humor or Funny or Die did a video that adapted Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic” to make it, well, actually ironic. We didn’t think it went far enough and added some of our own little twists to it. This went over really, really well.


Dear Seanan

With Seanan in the audience! Squee! This is a parody of Seanan’s song “Dear Gina” (lyrics here, by me and Merav Hoffman) Lyrics and video from our FKO concert here.


from William Shatner’s album Has Been. (which you should totally check out if you haven’t already.) This song was a collaboration with Brad Paisley. I played the part of William Shatner. Amy played fiddle. It was awesome.

Tiberius Rising

Just a straight performance of Ookla’s song with Rand on lead vocals, Amy on fiddle, and me singing a bit on the chorus.

Little Red Riding Hood

Cover of the Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, featuring me on the ukulele, alone…I’ve done this in open filk a couple of times, but I was REALLY NOT PREPARED to do it on stage. OMG. My fingers forgot how to work, and it was almost a total disaster…but the audience seemed to have a good time anyway and everyone seemed to be on my side and nobody threw things or anything!

Cowboy Secret Space Detective

with two new girl-centric verses! And yeah, I screwed up the lyrics (both in performance and when I posted them to facebook) and I am super embarrassed.

Haven’t We Been Here Before

A cover of a Styx song from the album Kilroy Was Here

View Mistress

“View Master” with lyrics modified by vixy (and tweaked here and there by Rand and me)

Cliffs of Insanity

A parody of “Green Hills of Harmony” about (again) The Princess Bride, lyrics by me and Rand (lyrics here) And here’s a video from FKO.

Obviously, links for a lot of things are provided, both to lyrics and video…I’ll get lyrics for some of these other things posted at some point.

And just in case you need a reminder of how much I never ever EVER thought I would sing in front of people let alone on a stage, you can read more in my writeup from FKO in 2013.

Oh, and do let us know if you have photos, video, or sound recordings from the concert…we’d love to see/hear them! (er, well, I could maybe do without ever seeing or hearing that performance of “Little Red Riding Hood”…)

Thoughts on FilKONtario Part 2: the concert

This is probably going to be a long one, so prepare yourself! Get a snack; I’ll wait…

I’ve always been a performer in one sense or another. I had a not-insignificant role in my 5th grade play. I was in a community theater production of Annie when I was in middle school. I was a cheerleader (don’t judge me! And if a cheerleader hurt you in your formative years, let me apologize on behalf of all nice-girl-cheerleaders everywhere…)

I never really thought of myself as a performer in the musical sense. I had been scared off of singing by an experience in middle school (Even after getting a role in Annie, I was cut from the middle school show choir. I ask you, who does that? It was middle school, and it’s not like I went to a performing arts school or it was super competitive or anything…but I digress.) When I went to college, I joined a sorority that took music very, very seriously, and I declared myself a founding member of the “tone deaf club.” Now, to be fair, I knew I wasn’t actually tone deaf, because people who are actually tone deaf have no idea that they’ve hit the wrong note. For us, it was about being people with no musical/vocal training among people who had been singing in choirs their entire lives. I was intimidated. I wasn’t very good at harmonizing. And so, I went merrily on with my life, singing when I had to (at things like Greek Sing, or other sorority events), but otherwise, singing along with the radio or my CDs was about it.

Well, it’s probably no surprise that the longer I hung around in filk, the more people started to express an interest in hearing me sing (*coughdebbieohicough*). I protested at first, but little by little, people started to wear me down. 😉 The first time I sang at all was in a very tiny circle very late at night at GAFilk in 2007. I blame Amanda.

erin and jam banquet

Amanda is one of my co-editors at Toasted Cheese, and the reason I sort of kind of knew what filk was before I even met Rand. We had been online buds since…ummm…I’m going to say 1999? But this was the first time we had met in person. Anyway, Amanda had written a short filk of “One Singular Sensation” and she asked me to sing it with her. We practiced it a few times, and then went looking for a small circle to sing it in. So, a handful of people in that room heard me sing that night.

I think it might have been the following year (at GAFilk again) that Rand convinced me to sing a bit of a Flaming Lips song with him–not “Yoshimi,” but “Fight Test,” which has a chorus with overlapping parts that becomes counterpoint at the end. The Flaming Lips are kind of known for having a singer who can’t really sing, so I figured it was pretty low pressure. (Actually, here’s a post I wrote about that.)

After that, he convinced me to try “Yoshimi,” which would have me singing lead. We worked on it, and I sang it in a circle at FKO in 2009.


(Photo by Brooke Lunderville)

People seemed to enjoy that, so I was encouraged. Rand and I kept singing “Yoshimi” in circles, but I was a little worried that people were going to start to get sick of hearing it, so I never really pushed for it. 😉

In 2010, Rand and Adam were nominated for a Pegasus award, and Adam was unable to attend the convention to perform it. Rand asked me if I wanted to try to do it. “Um…” I said.  I agreed to work on it with him (and I think I only freaked out and had a meltdown once!) We went ahead and did it, and but for the fact that I was later informed that Rand’s microphone wasn’t working, I think it went okay.

OVFF 26 059

(Photo by Walter Korynkiewicz)

Fast forward to last year, when Tom contacted Rand to invite us to be this year’s Filk Waifs. We started putting together a list of things we might be able to sing together, as well as ideas for songs (mostly parodies) that we might be able to write. I bought a ukulele last August, thinking that I might get good enough at one or two things to play it in the concert. (that…did not happen. It will, but I was more focused on the singing. Did I mention I was nervous about the singing? I ended up taking voice lessons from a former colleague, which was a HUGE help. Thanks again, Shelley!)

Erin practising in our room

(practicing in UT’s room Saturday morning. I’m playing a melodica–also known as a hooter. Photo by Allison Durno)

Fast forward again to the day of the concert. The Filk Waif concert is the first concert on Saturday. After having breakfast, Rand and I met up with UT to rehearse a song they were going to be performing with us, and we showed them a couple of other things we were going to be performing as well. It was really, really good for me to have a chance to warm up.  After that, there were a couple of workshops. I ran one on calligraphy and paper crafts. Tim Walker ran a percussion workshop at the same time, which I am super bummed I couldn’t attend! I’ll write more about the workshop later. After the workshop, we grabbed a quick bite to eat in our room, and then it was go time!

Rand and Erin's Concert

(Photo by Debbie Ohi)

Here’s the set we played:

  • Star Wars That I Used to Know (parody of “Somebody that I Used to Know” by Gotye. Credits can be found at the YouTube link)
  • My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors by Moxy Fruvous
  • St. Brendan’s Way by Lowest of the Low
  • Actually Ironic (parody? sort of? of “Ironic” by Alanis Morrissette)
  • Dear Seanan (parody of “Dear Gina” by Seanan McGuire written by me and Merav Hoffman. Video and lyrics at the link.)
  • Crackstatic by Ron Hawkins
  • Yoshimi/Space Oddity/Major Tom mashup (Flaming Lips, David Bowie, Peter Schilling)
  • Cliffs of Insanity (parody of “Green Hills of Harmony” written by me with help from Rand and an assist from Amanda. More info in my previous post, linked.)
  • Still Can’t Buy Me Love by Ookla the Mok (with Urban Tapestry)

If you’re interested in the lyrics (other than the parodies I wrote/co-wrote, which can be found at the links), they can all quite easily be found by googling. I’m tired. 😉

I’m pretty sure it was a success. 😉 After we left the stage, Tim and Annie (who knew how nervous I was) ran over to us and gave us gigantic hugs, and everyone we talked to seemed to enjoy the performance. So…singing! Win! Right now, the “Dear Seanan” video is the only one I am aware of. I’m sure other things will appear eventually, and I’ll let you know!

Here’s Allison’s post about Saturday at FKO. I’ll have more later. Stay tuned!

Video from FKO

Video of Rand and me performing “Dear Seanan”- a parody of Seanan McGuire’s song “Dear Gina” based on her October Daye series. Lyrics (by me and Merav Hoffman) are below the cut.

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Meet Seanan

I know many of you don’t need to be introduced to my dear friend Seanan McGuire, but for those of you who do…I’d like to spend some time telling you how awesome she is.

Seanan threatens to eat me

(Seanan will occasionally try to eat your face. Do not be alarmed.)

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Poking my head out for a moment

1. School is going well. Busy, of course…but not in a bad way. I have taken on some new responsibilities this year that eat up a little more of my time (junior class moderator, trying to get a creative writing club off the ground), but am generally enjoying it all.

2. I am already hopelessly behind on grading. I think I just have to accept the fact that I will never be at zero.

3. Schedule makes it hard to find social time, me time, even internet time beyond scanning mail/twitter/facebook updates. Brain gets swiss-cheesy at times, so I apologize if I’ve neglected to answer a message!

4. Yet somehow managing to play Words with Friends on my new iPod. (join me! I’m eringoblog)

5. Have assigned my AP Lit classes an outside reading project. They have to read at least one AP-worthy book per quarter and complete a project. I am pledging to knock some books off of my to-read list by making time to read at least one of the listed books per quarter as well. The Namesake is first on my list.

6. Saw this excellent post on LJ which is what prompted me to log in and actually post. I’m going to do a linky, ala Kelly:

We love binaries because everything in our culture is set up around them. Light and dark, yin and yang, good and evil. But they are poison and lead inevitably to the worst one: us and them.

7. I STILL haven’t gotten around to writing proper reviews, but I’ve read two amazing books by my dear, dear friend (and Campbell Award Winner!) Seanan McGuire:

FEED (as Mira Grant), and An Artificial Night. Both were amazing, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. 🙂

8. I don’t remember what number 8 was. Maybe another time.

Books read in 2010

It’s been a while since I posted a book update. I’ve been pretty good about keeping up on Goodreads, but not so much with the post. I’m too lazy to go into detail right now, so if you have any specific questions, please ask!

1. The Enchantment Emporium–Tanya Huff
2. Stitches–David Small
3. When You Reach Me–Rebecca Stead
4. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians book 1)–Rick Riordan
5. To Kill a Mockingbird–Harper Lee**
6. Macbeth–William Shakespeare**
7. Memoir of an Occasional Superheroine–Valerie D’Orazio
8. A Local Habitation–Seanan McGuire
9. A Few Good Men–Aaron Sorkin
10. Planetary–Warren Ellis (vol. 1-3)
11. Romeo & Juliet–William Shakespeare
12. Pygmalion–George Bernard Shaw
13. Rats Saw God–Rob Thomas
14. The Losers–Andy Diggle
15. I Read It, But I Dont’ Get It–Cris Tovani
16. Understanding and Engaging Adolescents–Jeffrey A. Miller
17. Feed–Mira Grant
18. Airhead–Meg Cabot
19. Being Nikki–Meg Cabot
20. Odd Thomas–Dean Koontz
21. The Walking Dead
22. Ex Machina (v. 9)–Brian K. Vaughan
23. The Hunger Games–Suzanne Collins
24. Club Dead–Charlaine Harris
25. Scott Pilgrim (1)
26. Scott Pilgrm (2)
27. Scott Pilgrim (3)–Bryan Lee O’Malley
28. Juliet, Naked–Nick Hornby
29. Only the Good Spy Young–Ally Carter
30. Thirteen Reasons Why–Jay Asher

Miscellaneous thoughts

I’m not going to start by blogging about my lack of blogging, because hello…boring.

I logged in and I noticed that I had several beginnings of posts saved as drafts that I will probably never finish and post, because I no longer care. That happens more and more lately…

I just uploaded a few photos to flickr–things that were on my phone. I still have some stuff on my camera that I will get around to uploading soon. (I love sending photos from my phone–it’s so easy!) Among those photos is one of my little red Chevy Prizm, which I recently said goodbye to. I’d been driving it for nearly ten years, which is about as long as I’ve lived in WNY. That probably needs its own post one of these days…anyway, we bought a Honda Insight, and the Civic is now my driving-to-work car.

I am liking my phone quite a bit, but am finding myself tempted with the idea of an iPod touch so I can have access to apps not available for Droid. It occurs to me that I have never bought a new iPod–I’m on my second hand-me-down from Rand–so it wouldn’t be totally insane. 😉

I’m finding that I’m not reading as much as I would like, and my to-read pile grows by the day. I’m going to have to start making a dent in that. Here’s my current to-read shelf at goodreads, which I’m certain is not complete…not all of those books are in my possession, and I know there are books in my possession that are not on the list.

The last non-school book I finished was my friend Seanan’s book A Local Habitation, which I owe her a review of. I am a BAD FRIEND. (I liked it, by the way. Maybe not as much as Rosemary and Rue, but there was plenty to like. I promise to write a proper review in the next week!!!)

And finally, today was the last day of school before SPRING BREAK, BABY. I am not going anywhere fun/interesting, but I will be enjoying my week off. Whoo!

Rosemary and Rue–a review

Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire
DAW Books
September 1, 2009

Full disclosure: Seanan is a friend, but I consider that more the reason that I knew about this book than the reason that I liked it. 😉

Short version: I love, love, loved this book.

Longer version: Seanan McGuire’s first novel, Rosemary and Rue, is for anyone who has ever believed in faeries, for anyone who has ever wished to step into a wardrobe and out into a world that is magical and every bit as real as our own.

October (Toby) Daye is a changeling–half human and half faerie, caught between two worlds and never quite fitting in to either. Toby is a private investigator–I picture her as sort of a grown-up version of Veronica Mars, but with magic. This book calls itself “faerie noir,” and that’s an apt description. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it’s not always easy to read, but it is always compelling reading.

In the book’s prologue, we learn that Toby had fallen in love (and had a child) with a human man. She was off working a case one night when she walked into a trap and disappeared. For seventeen years.

When she returns, her family has moved on, having believed her to be dead. She isolates herself from everyone she knew, not wanting to be a part of either of the worlds she inhabits. That is, until the murder of a friend (if you can call her that) pulls her back in and forces her to interact with the people (and fae) she tried so hard to walk away from. Toby will solve the case, or die trying.

McGuire’s voice is influenced by modern-day writers like Warren Ellis, Stephen King, and Joss Whedon, yet it is completely her own. The world she creates is at once fantastic and utterly real. The book is set in present-day San Francisco, and the city lives and breaths and inhabits the book as much as the characters do.

Toby is a fantastic example of a flawed heroine–she hurts, she bleeds, she screws up, and you will alternately want to hug her and slap her silly. In short, Toby is real, as real as the world she inhabits. She’ll make you feel her pain, and you’ll cry the tears that Toby won’t let herself cry.

Rosemary and Rue is the first book in a series, and it does exactly what a good series novel should do–it makes you want more, but stands on its own as a complete story at the same time. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the release of book 2, A Local Habitation, in March 2010.

If you like paranormal fiction, grown-up fairie tales, urban fantasy, tight prose, well-drawn worlds and characters, sarcasm, murder mysteries, or any combination thereof, pick up Rosemary and Rue. You won’t be disappointed.