May 2005

May 2005

31 — Henry and I played Settlers of Catan today! And we played a little WoW, too — took Zinny and Ramona to Duskwood. And we made cinnamon rolls (from scratch, naturally) and did housework and watched an episode of Nova about dogs.

Here’s a quote from that sonagram analysis of high-contrast rock hits page I’ve been reading, for those who haven’t gone there yet because it doesn’t sound interesting enough. This is from the section on “When the Levee Breaks”:

“Looking at the sonogram you might think you’re looking at a nuclear blast, which it practically is, but looking at the RMS plot, the RMS loudness is flickering as much as 3 db in a tenth of a second, continually. It’s a wall of sound, but it’s a CHURNING wall of sound with shrapnel flying out of it, it’s spikey on both the peak and the RMS level. You can’t just make sustained loud noises and expect them to be as compelling as this- even while sustaining a brutal, unbroken crescendo, Led Zeppelin continue to be high contrast- the very sounds themselves are. At full blast, they can flicker 3 db in a tenth of a second or cover as much as 6 db range in under a second without once slacking off the full-blast output- and the peaks cover a range of 9 db and more.”

I defy ANYONE to find that uninteresting!!!

30 — Tons of housework today. Picked up Henry in Temecula in the morning and then we got Fargo and the boys played here all day! It was wonderful. They get along so well together. They played with their lightsabres and Star Wars action figures and Star Wars legos, and swung on the rope swing and swam in the poool a few times, even though it’s still pretty cold.

Here’s the most interesting website I’ve read in a long time: http://www.airwindows.com/analysis/Albums/index.html. It’s a sonagram analysis of hit rock albums, which may sound dull but it’s not :) Read the “how to read sonagrams” link first, and then dive in. I still don’t understand everything I see but reading the analysis is fascinating. I skipped the Eagles album because I hate the Eagles, but the Led Zeppelin IV and Beatles White Album pages were great. I’m going to go read some more now… Oh yes and after you’ve looked at some examples of awesome, effective, high-contrast songs, take a look at some Bad Examples. You can clearly see that the bad examples are weak, mushy, and dull when compared to the vibrant, interesting sonagrams of the good examples! Really amazing! Mmm here’s a page that explains a bit more: http://www.airwindows.com/analysis/Dynamics.html

OH!!! I forgot to mention my incredible triumph. For the last… 15? 20? 25? years I’ve had this little acoustic guitar tune in my head. It’s one you’ll hear now and then on the classic rock stations, and i was pretty sure it was Fleetwood Mac (not a fan of most of their stuff but this little tune is something special); however, I’ve never known the name of it and no one has ever been able to identify it for me when I hum it to them :) But today, when we were driving, it came on the radio during 103.7’s “500 greatest rock hits” thingy and I made a mental note of the time it came on and its position in the 500 — it was #64, far higher than Stairway to Heaven (#144 or something) so the judges must have been crack monkeys, but I digress… Anyway when I got home I called the station and they identified it for me!! It’s “Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac. So yeah, go listen to it and it’ll stick in your head for the next 25 years too. But at least you’ll know what it’s called.

29 — I beat The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap! The last boss fight section was hard, and I failed a couple of times but this morning I triumphed. After the credits rolled it offered to let me save, so I did, and then my GBA SP seemed to reboot — but my savegame is back at the point before the boss fight. Hmm. Well, anyway, I won! And now I desperately need another Gameboy game…

28 — Housework, grocery shopping, errands, unpacking of boxes, ugh. I’m tired. Tonight Mom and I lay around and watched the Antiques Roadshow and a couple of episodes of The Daily Show. Bought a new flavor of B&J ice cream called Dublin Mudslide. Yum!

27 — Appointment with Dr. Rubin, my PH guy. But first we drove all over the place (Fry’s and Apple store) for Danshopping. But anyway my walk test went well and they say I’m no worse, so that’s good. Very very tiring day.

25 — Unpacked a few books and things, and set up my record player. Henry and I played some WoW together (took our Taurens to the Tirisfal Glade for some easy quests) and later I had some time to play by myself and got my warlock up to lvl 31, woohoo! She’s my favorite character.

Did I mention that I’m reading “Jonathon Strange and Mister Norrell”? I’m enjoying it very much. It’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before and I absolutely cannot predict what will happen next. And that’s rare.

24 — felt pretty bad today. Dunno why, just had a sort of cruddy feeling I guess, and didn;t feel like doing much of anything. But I accomplished my housework and piano students and spent time with henry and dan so that’s ok.

23 — the DirectTV guy came today and was here for 4 hours installing that dish and various boxes and cables all over the house. Now we have nice new DirecTiVos in our room and the living room, and Mom will have satellite tv hooked up to her TiVo in her room when it gets finished. The new TiVo units are very nice, just as nice as our old one. Long live TiVo!!! Henry and I started “Bagthorpes Vs. The World” for his bedtime story tonight :)

22 — A nice Sunday. I was able to play World of Warcraft for a good long time, for the first time in weeks. I played my little gnome warlock, Carol. She was stuck with too many hard quests so I travelled to the Duskwood area and got a whole lot of new non-impossible quests and worked on them for hours. And now she’s level 30! Woohoo! I had a lot of fun. And I did other stuff like laundry and other little chores… Last night we started watched “The Office” (the British one) and it’s great, so probably more of that tonight I hope!

Here’s a link to a great Scientific American article: 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense in case you get into an argument with a creationist… although I doubt if rational argument will help much in that situation :) It frightens me that in the 21st century we have to worry about creationism being taught as a SCIENTIFIC FACT and not as the MYTH that it is. Sigh. It’s a nice story, if you’re into that kind of thing, I guess. It sure would be nice if people could accept myths for what they are and be happy. Mythology can be a good thing! Enjoy your myths! But don’t proclaim them to be facts, please.

It’s nice to have my desktop computer back again, and very nice indeed to be using John’s gigantic LCD monitor. Lordy the thing is huge. I’m using it now… in the sitting room in front of the open window with with the smell from some jasmine-like plant wafting in. Lovely.

21 — John arrived at noon just as he planned. Yay! He and Dan moved furniture into the sitting room and set up computers and made the wireless interweb work etc. Now that room is pleasant and mostly useable — we still need to unpack books/records/desk stuff etc. Still sick.

20 — Ugh I feel sicker again, and horribly tired. Gerry finished the floors in the hall and sitting room!

19 — Star Wars Episode III opened today. Henry has been really excited about it, so I took him to the very first show this morning, at 9:30. We got to the theater (the nice new Krikorian in Vista) at 9, and there was already a pretty long line of people who had tickets, and a short line at the box office, which wasn’t open yet. So Henry stood in the long line and I stood in the short line, but they actually started letting people into the theater before the box office opened! Henry pointed out that there was a self-serve ticket machine, so I ran over there (no line) and bought our tickets and in we went! Although it was pretty crowded we managed to get our very favorite seats — the front row behind the railing above the walkway that divides the “too close” section from the “normal” section, so no one could sit in front of us and we could put our feet up on the railing. The first preview was for “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” — it made me all shivery and choked up and teary eyed, it looks SO good, and from what I can tell seems pretty faithful to the book. The audience applauded when the preview was over!

Then they played a few more preveiws for wretched-looking movies (Stealth — ewwwwwww) and then Star Wars started! And now I have to cook so I’ll finish this post later…

Ok I’m back. Anyway, Star Wars III was pretty enjoyable. The dialogue was stiff, and unintentionally hilarious at times: “Hold your fire! I will kill this Jedi scum… MYSELF!” (can you guess what happened next?) I got tired of lightsabre fights. But mostly it was a good enjoyable adventure movie.

18 — Set grommets in the big curtain and finished it except for the hem. My excuse for not hemming it is that it’ll be good for it to hang for a while first :) Yeah, right. Washed everyone’s sheets and pillowcases and hung them out in the sun to dry, yum, and then made all the beds up fresh when they were dry. Henry and I played WoW together for a while, ran around in the wetlands killing raptors and screechers. Henry tamed a screecher and named it Kashmir (he had Zeppelin running on iTunes in the background). Is he the coolest kid or what?

17 — Bought muslin and grommets for curtains! I decided to make them single-layer, so I bought 2 yards of 45″ wide bleached muslin for the stairs and 2.5 yards of 108″ wide bleached muslin for the sliding door. Also a pack of grommets. I washed, dried, and ironed the stuff, and then did most of the work of measuring and hemming. I split the 108″ width in half and did a narrow hem on the long sides and a 3/4″ hem at the top. The stair curtain is done already, as I didn’t have to hem anything but the top and bottom and set in two grommets. It looks nice and serves its purpose well. I got too tired to finish the big ones but I can finish tomorrow. Henry and I finished “The Bagthorpes Unlimited” tonight so we need to take it back and get the next one soon. Sooooooo tired tonight.

16 — Happy birthday, dearest Dan :)

I am feeling a lot better but my throat is still a little bit scratchy. Today was basic housecleaning day — vacuum, mop bathrooms and kitchen, dust, empty trash, declutter. This house is nice to clean because it really looks good when I’m done. (well, the rooms that are at least semi-finished, anyway!) I need to make some kind of curtains for the sliding glass door, and one for the stairs between the kitchen and the livingroom, for a little bit of privacy. I’ve been considering this for days, and I think I finally made up my mind. They’re going to be extremely simple, just flat panels of bleached muslin with grommets set into the top corners, which will hang from nails or hooks. I said it was simple… To “draw” them in the daytime we’ll just unhook one corner and let them drape to the floor on the other side. I think it will be a pretty effect. The sliding glass door is big but if muslin comes 60″ wide, two panels will be perfect, and they can overlap in the center. I’ll do a double layer of muslin, I think, as it’s thin. They will be extraordinarily easy to wash and dry and iron, so there will be no reason for them to get dusty and filthy over time. They should always look fresh. And if everyone hates them, I’ll have 14 yards of muslin for other projects :) I’ll buy muslin and grommets tomorrow.

Dan came home from work tonight while I was teaching my last piano student for the day, and he sat in the teaching room with me for a while. What a treat!

15 — Henry updated his blog! (http://spaceman3000.blogspot.com)

I had a notion a while ago that it would be convenient if our family had some kind of online calandar, so that all three of could easily see doctor appointments, Karate belt tests, piano students, etc. I hunted around for a good, free, php-based online calendar and decided on http://www.k5n.us/webcalendar.php. Dan helped me set it up last night. I did most of the work, which was very fun! It’s a wonderful calendar and does everything I was hoping it would. We have it set up so that Henry, Dan, and I each have our own calendar, but each can view any calendar. There’s also an “everyone” view, in which you see all appointments from all three calendars. When you create an appointment, you can choose “participants”. Each participant will see the appointment on his calendar — so for instance, Henry’s karate classes show up on his calendar and mine, but not Dan’s. But of course Dan can see them by viewing the “everyone” calendar. It will also send email reminders if you wish, and is highly customizable. We had such a fun time setting it up and everyone is very pleased.

13 — Sick. Last night around bedtime I noticed that I had that funny feeling in my throat, a sort of tingle, that I get before a bad sore throat… and sure enough my throat was terribly sore all night and still is. Had creepy dreams, too. But I don’t have any students, errands, or activities to attend to today (Karate was cancelled) so I can just lie around all day. But still it stinks to be sick.

Everyone loves maps.google.com, right? Well it worked in every browser on every computer in the house except in Firefox on my iBook. Annoying. Today I installed the latest Firefox (1.0.4) hoping google maps would work but no, it still didn’t. So I went searching the interweb to see if anyone else has this problem… and, finally, many pages deep into a google search, I found the answer! You must go into firefox prefs: web features: javascript: advanced: change images ON. Hallelujia, it works! I guess firefox on all the other computers had that option checked already. Odd.

Well I’m just lying on the bed, computing and watching tv today, waiting for mmy throat to feel better. Henry was keeping me company for a while and we watched a couple of episodes of Star Trek together. Now he’s gone out with Sal. They’re going to bring me some juice and get the mail while they’re out. I’m watching the Antiques Roadshow now, very soothing. Speaking of TV, why is American Dad so very very bad? I expected more from Seth McFarlane. The first episode was lame but I thought, well, that’s only the first episode, maybe it will get better, but the second episode was equally lame. I watched about half of it and then I realized I hadn’t even smiled once and was simply feeling annoyed, so I tuned out. Dan has a greater tolerance for bad TV, or perhaps more optimism, than I do so he watched the whole thing. Go ahead and cancel it, Fox.

12 — Gerry finished the floor in the dining room. Henry and I moved the table and chairs back into place and now we can eat like civilized people again :) It’s lovely! Gerry says he might be able to finish the upstairs hall tomorrow, and then work on the sitting room on Tuesday.

My dear nephew John flew into town this morning for a job interview and he got the job YAY!!! He’s flying back to KY tomorrow and then will drive out here next week. He’ll be staying with us for a while which will be wonderful, although the poor guy won’t have his own room until Sally’s remodelling is done. He’s geeky and lots of fun and we all get along really well. Henry adores him because he likes Tolkien as much as Henry does, and taught Henry some Elvish long ago.

11 — The house is coming along nicely. The downstairs floor is done, so today we dragged the furniture back into place and it’s sooo nice!

08 — I’m sitting with my laptop out on the back patio, blogging and listening to the mockingbirds. Sal’s roses look so good! One of my favorites is the Double Delight rose, which is sort of yellow and pinkish, mixed and streaked together. Henry’s been helping her plant big clay pots of annuals, and they’re looking lovely. Today Henry got home early (10am) because his dad had to work, so I took him over to Sunterra to play with his best friend, Fargo. They get to play together all day so they’re really happy! I took the last stuff from our apartment and loaded it in my car (Cannie the giant trash can, my vacuum, my mop, etc) and on the way home stopped at Target to shop around a little. I was looking for a replacement mop head for mmy O’Cedar twist mop but they don;’t seem to carry them any more. Argh. But they had nice duffle bags on sale for $15 so I got one for Henry’s karate gear. I think he’ll be pleased! I was going to make him one but I couldn’t even make one for as little as $15, and this one looks all sporty nice. Well I guess I’d better go unpack some more kitchen stuff.

07 — This was a busy and very good day! First we went to Dan’s office so he could do some work for an hour or two, and I sat around and finished reading Whip Hand. Then we drove back up to Oceanside and picked up my car and went over to the apartment for some final posession-removal and cleaning. Dan loaded all our remaining stuff into the two cars while I cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, and then he vacuumed. And he also threw out a bunch more stuff yay!!! We both really love throwing things out — it’s quite liberating and gets easier and easier the more you do it. It sounds like a big awful job, doing a move-out cleaning on a whole apartment, and I guess it was, but we had a ton of fun together, talking about all the Sunterra crap we won’t have to put up with anymore and how much we both love living with Sal! And encouraging eash other to throw things out, and just talking and working together and stuff. By the time we got home we were exhausted and filthy so we took showers and hung around for a while. Dan wanted to buy me so I didn’;t have to cook, and he had the lovely idea of going to Trader Joe’s to pick out some fun microwavable food that we wouldn’t ordinarily buy, so we did that! Came home, fixed food, sat in front of Jon Stweart and ate and laughed and had a great time, and then it was bedtime :) A lovely day!

05 — Yesterday Henry and I watched a Nova episode about tornadoes and then we watched the String Theory one again at his request. And he asked me to save it in the TiVo so he could watch it again. I mention this in case he becomes the most famous String Theorist in the world someday :)

Here’s a time-waster for you: guess-the-google. Very amusing.

04 — We love living here! There’s so much elbow room, even with three of the rooms being completely torn apart for remodelling. I am especially happy about the laundry situation — five steps from my bedroom and there’s the washing machine — out the door from there to the backyard and there’s our lovely new Brabantia Lift-O-Matic Outdoor Clothes Dryer. I recommend it very highly, by the way. We also have the garage stand for it (since there’s no dirt out there to drive the stake into) but be warned that if you use the garage stand outdoors you’ll need to weigh it down with something. I used a couple of bags of potting soil. Otherwise the wind catches in the laundry and knocks the whole thing over :) Anyway I don’t have to haul the laundry down a flight of steps and across a parking lot, remembering to bring quarters, laundry detergent, and a key. It’s a luxury, I tell you! Also there has been no pointless ridiculous excessive yardwork performed by a squad of leaf-blowers outside our window at 8am, a common occurrence at Sunterra. There are workmen here doing the remodelling, which is noisy, but they are kind and cheerful and are here for our benefit and for a good reason! That makes all the difference in the world.

Oh yes it turned out that the oak staircase leads from linoleum-on-cement to linoleum-on-particle-board. I would like to know what the original builder was smoking. Our fabulous floor guy is chipping off all the disgusting old linoleum today, and says he can start laying the Pergo down on Thursday (it has to acclimate to the house or something).

03 — They’ve started ripping out carpet to install pergo floors! Wooohooo! Under the layers of crappy old carpet and padding and linoleum on the stairs they found solid OAK. No one knew it was there — when we moved into this house in the mid-80s there was hideous gold shag carpet everywhere, and when Mom had it replaced a few years ago no one told her about the oak staircase. We wish the whole house had oak under the carpets but so far it’s just the stairs. Crazy!

02 — We went to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy this afternoon! Dan and Henry both liked at a lot. I didn’t think it was that great but it had some good moments. My favorite was when Slartibartfast took Arthur onto the Magrathea factory floor… awesome. When we got home we put the radio play on :)

01 — Dan unloaded the U-Haul today and set up his and Henry’s computers and made the TiVo work so it would record the new Family Guy and American Dad. Family guy was pretty good but American Dad wasn’t. It’s great living here! We all love it. We were so sick and tired of all Sunterra’s crap.

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