New Song Debut: ‘Tauntauns to Glory’ [video]

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of appearing with several other central NC authors at the Orange County Library in Hillsborough, for a combined reading called “Winter Tales.” Here’s a YouTube video of one of my contributions:

From left to right at the table behind me were fellow authors James Maxey — who organized the gathering and recruited the rest of us — Rebecca Gomez Farrell, Alex Granados, and Mur Lafferty.

It was great fun, and I debuted two songs I wrote specifically for the event: a serious song called “Winter Simplifies the World” that alluded to the winter I spent stationed at Thule Air Base in Greenland, and, in the video above, my first-ever STAR WARS filk, “Tauntauns to Glory.” I hope you enjoy it!

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Because I Need One More Project … The Manufacturing Minute Video Series

I’m pretty sure I really don’t need any more projects, but this one falls in the “it was my idea” category so I got to do it.

I am now the host of a series of YouTube videos called the “Manufacturing Minute.” As of now, we’ve done three official episodes, the most recent of which (below) was on “additive manufacturing.”

There are some extra videos on the Manufacturing Minute YouTube channel, and we’re going to try to put up a new one every week or so. I hope that some of my other Industrial Extension Service co-workers will take part, too, so it won’t be just my ugly mug on your computer screen. We’ll see if that happens.

Drop a line and let us know what you think, or if you want us to feature a particular topic.

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From ‘Unsolved Mysteries,’ the Legend of the Gray Man

A few weeks ago, award-winning author Jay Lake held an “open dinner” in Greensboro, where I made his acquaintance and that of his cousin, Sheri. After supper, my vanity license plate attracted some attention and led to me explaining who the Gray Man is and how I came to adopt the Grand Strand’s famous ghost as my alter ego.

Sheri, who lives in South Carolina, knew about the Gray Man and sent me a link to this segment from Unsolved Mysteries that delves into the legend of the ghost of Pawleys Island: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aU_UkpszL8.

If you have 10 minutes to watch, you’ll learn why the tag line of my web site (and my business cards) is, “If you heed the Gray Man’s warning, you make it safely through the storm.”

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UPDATE: Unfortunately, that video has been taken down because of a copyright claim. You can still find the segment with a little persistence, if you’re of a mind to.

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New Songs at StellarCon

What a difference a year makes!

At the time of StellarCon last year, I had written a grand total of one filk song, which I sang (a year ago today, in fact) at the DeepSouthCon 50 party: “The Monster Hunter Ballad.”

Fast forward to this past weekend at StellarCon 36, and my filk repertoire had grown to the point that I debuted two songs on Friday night: the Firefly tribute song “Finding Serenity,” and “Don’t Cry When You Get Rejected” (to the tune of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”).

But that wasn’t enough. Saturday afternoon I finished a Hobbit song I’d been working on, so that night I debuted “Thorin Oakenshield” (to the tune of “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer”). And even that wasn’t enough: I had started writing another new song at the con on Friday, and by Saturday night I had a couple of verses and a chorus for “Steampunk Pirates.” So the filk circle on Saturday also heard me sing my work-in-progress.

What is this craziness?

Whatever it is, it’s fun.

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All That is Gold Does Not Glitter — J.R.R. Tolkien

Facebook friends have already seen this on my status, and will see it again when this blog post shows up there. But I’m proud, so I’ll take the risk.

The video below is “kinetic typography” by my son Chris (a.k.a. Topher):

He chose a verse from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and composed and performed the hammered dulcimer background music.

I think it turned out right nice.

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Can’t Get Enough Monster Hunter?

Ballad, that is … “Monster Hunter Ballad.”

Today Alethea Kontis posted on her blog a video shot during her “traveling sideshow” at Dragon*Con, which includes me doing a rough-but-passable rendition of my song, “The Monster Hunter Ballad.” Appropriately, I’m sporting one of the Monster Hunter International hats that were given out during the con.

My song starts at around the 7 minute mark. Before my song, Leanna Renee Hieber did an evocative reading (I was particularly taken with the imagery), and after my song, Danielle Friedman performed a wonderful “poi” routine … unfortunately, without fire. You will also hear some “zombie haiku,” which have become something of a staple at Alethea’s readings.

Thanks again, Alethea, for letting me play along!

P.S. For anyone who may not have seen it, the first video of the “Monster Hunter Ballad” is still available for viewing.

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FULL DISCLOSURE: The Monster Hunter International books by Larry Correia, which inspired the aforementioned ballad, are published by Baen Books. I work for Baen as a contributing editor.

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Having Failed to Be Raptured, I Wrote This Stupid Song

Yes, that’s really the title of my latest musical nonsense … or maybe, in this case, semi-sense … to hit the web.

Filmed in the Baen Barfly suite at Dragon*Con, you can click to watch it here:

Having Failed to Be Raptured, I Wrote this Stupid Song


(“Guitar Player” by Mister Wilson. From Flickr, under Creative Commons.)

I explain the genesis of the song in the video — I wrote it a while back, but it took months to add a chorus — so I won’t repeat those details here. But here’s one verse for consideration:

It seems to me when folks like that pick up the Bible
They only read the passages they like
They pick and choose what to believe for their agendas
And if you ask me, well, I’ll tell you that ain’t right

As always, tremendous thanks to Tedd Roberts for his video magic.

And, of course, I hope you get a chuckle out of it! And if you like it, feel free to share it with someone else who might appreciate it.

Finally, if you’re so inclined, now that I have four songs available, I started my own YouTube Playlist.

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First Molniya Satellite — Highly Elliptical Orbit for High Latitude Communications

Forty-five years ago today — April 23, 1965 — the Soviet Union launched Molniya-1 on a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur.

The satellite was placed in a very particular orbit: highly elliptical, with perigee (the lowest altitude) very close to the Earth’s southern hemisphere and apogee (the highest altitude) far above the northern hemisphere. By carefully selecting the angle of inclination (how “tilted” the orbital plane is from the equatorial plane), they produced a situation in which the satellite’s apparent motion over the northern hemisphere was very small, providing extended communications coverage in the polar regions where geosynchronous satellites could not.

The orbit soon became known as a Molniya orbit, after the Molniya satellites that were first inserted there. “Molniya,” itself, means “lightning.”

Here’s a wonderful YouTube video showing how the Molniya orbit works:

— BREAK, BREAK —

And, congratulations to the Air Force’s X-37B team for their successful launch last night. (Head to the Space Warfare Forum if you want to discuss it.) Well done!

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Great Video: The Barbeque Song

This was posted on YouTube a couple of weeks ago, but I just found it today — and as one who appreciates barbeque in most all its forms, I found the rundown of different styles to be a delightful tribute to one of my favorite foods.

I particularly liked the bit about whether or not Florida is a Southern state* — down to using the outline of California.

Enjoy!

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*To most of us who consider ourselves Southern, it isn’t.

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YouTube, MeTube

I didn’t expect to make the cut (which may mean there wasn’t a cut), but there I am on the “videoblog” fantasy author Gail Z. Martin made at ConCarolinas. Here’s the YouTube link. I’m the last person she talked to that day, right after GOH Mike Resnick.

Surprise, surprise, as Gomer Pyle used to say. And of course I didn’t take the opportunity to plug my web site. Ol’ dopey me.

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