November 24th, 2008

And furthermore......

The Gabriola Complaint Choir is a real choir and makes everyone else sound bad.

Lots of complaint choirs at youtube-- collect them all!

Poll #1303313 Crucial Question

Should complaint choirs smile?

Yes. It's too much fun to expect people to keep a straight face. However, grinning is excessive.
No. Haven't you heard of....acting? They're funnier when they look serious.
People expect me to care about whether complaint choirs smile.

Singapore: excellent piano and singing (crap sound quality), political backstory and translation. A solid complaint choir.

Poiikilaasko: Children's choir. Girls are stupid, boys are stupid, Santa Claus is stupid.

Sointula: A solid set of complaints from a co-op. Seems to have been independently produced, which is not always a good idea.....see below.

Coro de Quejas: The singing and dancing are dire. For all I know, the lyrics are funny, but no translation is available.

Penn State: Technically not completely hopeless, though they have a point about those white guys doing rap. They are completely unclear on the concept: The point of a complaint choir is not to tell people that they ought to conserve energy.

Back to the good stuff: St. Petersberg: Exemplary complaints. Interesting culture and sexual politics.

Helsinki: One of the first and still worth hearing again. The "It's not fair!" chorus is exceedingly fine.

I was going to complain about the clear and convenient organization of the complaints choir site (shouldn't it at least be an ugly color?), but the forum isn't available. And trying to play one of the videos broke my browser. Back to youtube.....

Malmo. People don't bother to include umlauts, and other people might think this is a request for advice on how to post umlauts. After a slow beginning, the choir warms up and shows that it can both sing and act. Good complaints, too.

People become conoseurs of complaint choirs. I have to look up connoisseur because I couldn'r remember the spelling well enough to just use my spell checker.

Jerusalem. The subtitles are dark red and blur out against dark backgrounds-- about half the time. The complaints choir site doesn't have lyrics. The singing is good enough.

As It Happens: A solid Canadian choir. james_nicoll could write better lyrics. They don't even mention being next to America.

I'm running out of sufficient attention and enthusiasm to review all the complaint choirs.

Our precious memetic ichor

I was thinking that I was losing interest in fiction, and then I realized that the problem wasn't fiction, it was that too much of sf these days has features that I don't like.

Can anyone recommend recent sf which isn't milsf, genre romance, or cyberpunk, and which preferably isn't a murder mystery?

I give extra points for visually interesting, Italian renaissance, main characters who are good at doing things with their hands, sense of wonder, and clever world-building, but none of these are required.

I'm not sure how to distinguish genre romance from other sorts of love story, but I know it when I see it. I liked Bujold's Miles and Ekaterina stories a lot even though romance readers liked them too, but then Bujold looked into genre romance and wrote The Sharing Knife novels (and, I think, The Hallowed Hunt), and I'm not fond of them. I used to believe my problem was that genre romance is about falling in love with someone you shouldn't trust and getting away with it, but the Sharing Knife stories don't have that problem so my issue has to be something else.

Recently enjoyed: Midnight Never Come by Brennan (Elvish court parallel to Queen Elizabeth I), Swallowing Darkness by Hamilton (at least until the momentum was destroyed by an excessive sex scene), Od Magic by McKillip (mneme, thanks for recommending this-- I'm glad I finally got around to reading it), and I'm in the middle of McKinley's Sunshine and absolutely delighted by it. I also liked some recent Egan, so it's not that I'm necessarily looking for fantasy by women.

Unami and cocktails

Gay marriage and databases
There are various objections to expanding the conventional, up-tight, as-God-intended "one man, one woman" notion of marriage but by far the least plainly bigoted ones I am aware of are the bureaucratic ones.

To be blunt, the systems aren't set up to handle it. The paper forms have a space for the husband's name and a space for the wife's name. Married people carefully enter their details in block capitals and post the forms off to depressed paper-pushers who then type that information into software front-ends whose forms are laid out and named in precisely the same fashion. And then they hit "submit" and the information is filed away electronically in databases which simply keel over or belch integrity errors when presented with something so profound as a man and another man who love each other enough to want to file joint tax returns.

This is a playful take on the technical side. I'm told it's in SQL, but it's somewhat enjoyable even if you skim the technical details. Or at least if this is the sort of thing you like, there's plenty of it.

The real world has a much wider bandwidth than anything which can be expressed by characters in a row. In particular, its assumed that everything takes place in a jurisdiction with only definition of marriage, and as is pointed out in the comments, polygamy isn't covered adequately. I'm guessing that the author is youngish-- the assumption is that divorce or annulment are the only ways for a marriage to end.

Still it's a clue for those of us who need it that even fairly simple situations need to be thought about carefully if they're to be put in databases.

Link thanks to siderea.