October 2005

October 2005

31 — Halloween! The Kenyons invited Henry to go Trick-or-Treating with them, since they live in a good trick-or-treating neighborhood and we live in a crummy one. Henry had a great time!

30 — Henry and I went to the Halloween festivities at Legoland today. He entered the Costume contest with a couple hundred other kids. We saw a lot of nifty and creative costumes and had fun admiring them. Tired. Recorded my section of A Christmas Carol tonight.. man that was long but very fun to read. Will edit out the coughing tomorrow.

29 — Henry and Sal went out on a tall sailing ship today and had a great time! I dropped them off at the harbor and took lots of pictures which are still in my camera, of course. Maybe tomorrow I’ll sort through them and upload them and the Zero Costume photos! Maybe. Anyway, I watched them haul up the sails and start out to sea, and then I went home to work on an organizing job for Librivox, fixing up all the Secret Agent files which was rather complex and took a long time. Here’s what I did: downloaded all the files from their various homes all over the internet. Pasted together the one chapter that was in three parts. Checked all files for bitrate info, then re-encoded them all to be at 128kbps for the happiness of archive.org. Then fixed all the id3 tags. Then uploaded them to archive.org, which took hours and hours. And now I wait while the archive curator checks them, and then I fix up the librivox catalog page to reflect the new location. It might sounds boring but I really enjoy doing that kind of thing.

27 — Check this out: http://librivox.org/2005/10/27/report-on-open-library-launch/. How’s that for cool? It’s so much fun being involved with librivox… if only I were getting paid, it’d be my dream job, heh, but luckily I have the luxury of being able to give my time away. Today I recorded the first chapter of my next kids’ lit solo project (I’ll announce the title later), rewrote the “how to listen” page on the librivox site, and worked on cataloging “Old Christmas”. That should be up on on archive.org tomorrow sometime, and then I can fix up the catalog page.

Henry’s dojo halloween party was last night. He had a great time, and won a prize (a bionicle) for Most Original Costume! I took lots of photos yesterday also but haven’t uploaded them yet. Soon.

26 — Yesterday was the Big Event that kicked off the Open Library project. Hugh (founder of Librivox) attended, and Librivox provided the audio files for An International Episode. Click the “listen” button, and you’ll hear Alex, Neal, Gord, Paula, Chris and me reading! We got a mention on boingboing, too :) If you just want to listen to the story you can download the files through our catalog page.

24 — Henry and I did some grocery shopping this morning, and other errands, and then came home and worked on his Zero costume for hours. Wait til you see it! It’s quite amazing, if I do say so myself. Photos soon. He is very very happy and ran around striking Zero poses all day :)

22 — Finally got annoyed by the faint but noticable squeak that my mic picks up during the gaps between speech, and tried everything I could possible think of to get rid of it. Dan and I finally came to the conclusion that it’s a faulty design. Sigh. It looks so cool, darn it :) So we bought another USB mic (after a long and frustrating misadventure involving Guitar Center and a line-in style mic). My new mic works extremely well, no background squeak or hum or anything. It’s the Logitech USB mic, $30 at Best Buy. If you’re looking for a USB mic, I suggest Logitech.

21 — Henry and I had a fun morning at Legoland today! He built a motorized kit (you can check them out and then return them when you’re done) and did the Mindstorms robotic thing, while I listened to Loveline on my iPod :) And then we rode the best rollercoaster together, and he did the driving school, and we walked through the factory thing. And he used some of his birthday money to buy some Bionicle armor and a weapon and a mask :) Lego makes good-quality costume stuff, very nice, sturdy and not too expensive. But he still wants to be Zero for Halloween — I forgot to mention that we bought all the cloth and stuff we need for his Zero costume a few days ago and have been working on it every day. I built a helmet already, and have most of the shirt done. We still need to add arm-stuff to the shirt and work on the pants, and make his Blaster Arm. He’s very very happy with what we’ve done so far!

Apple finally fixed my broken podcast image. I found a form to fill in at the bottom of this page, and although I haven’t heard anything back from them, my image was fixed two days after I submitted the form. Thanks, Apple! So if you have a broken podcast image (that broken chain-looking thing) you might try filling in that form. (I’m getting a lot of hits on this blog from people looking for help with this issue, so I hope this link will help some of you)

20 — O Halelujia, I finally found a tool-bar add-on for World of Warcraft that actually works. Both InsomniaxBibToolbars and Discord stopped working after the last patch, grr. So I went hunting for an alternative today, and found the wonderful Flexbar! here’s a link: http://savagevines.com/flexbar/. It takes a little while to set up but boy, it’s nice to have extra buttons that actually work. I wanted to email the developer and thank him but I couldn’t find an email address anywhere. I guess I’ll register on the forum to say “thanks” one of these day.

17 — Nice rainy day. Henry and I both felt really happy and cheerful all day, and we think it’s because of the lovely rain. He helped me with the Monday housework, and then we worked on packing up some of his older, unplayed-with toys and books. We aren’t done with his room yet but it’s a bit better, and we have a HUGE pile of his stuff to store away for now. We went out to the store in the pouring rain, and he suggested we wear our cloaks so we did and got a lot of friendly comments :) I also helped him work on his blog profile — he’s a got a photo and a sound clip up, so you might want to check that out. No new posts yet though :) I uploaded my Road to Oz recordings to archive.org, which is where librivox stores their sound files. The curators still have to approve it, but it should be live in a day or so. Pretty neat! Librivox has several completed books waiting for approval on archive.org. Go us!

16 — Looking at the apple support forums, I see that I’m not the only one with missing podcast images. Today, to my surprise, the OLD librivox podcast showed up with the new image… I guess a) Hugh hasn’t taken it down yet and b) he figured out how to make the feedburner file point to the image I made. Yay Hugh :) I guess I’ll just keep waiting and see if apple ever fixes whatever problem they’re having… Must stop obsessing, MUST stop obsessing…

15 — Why does the iTunes Music Store Podcast Search Thing suck so much? I made a new xml file for librivox, one that i can update manually to show all the book podcasts forever. They had been using a feedburner one which drops older podcasts off the bottom so it’s harder for new subscribers to find old episodes. Anyway, made my file and submitted it to the iTMS. Next day it showed up when searched for, yay, but with a broken image link. I noticed that the _old_ librivox podcast also had a broken image link, as well as several other podcasts among the top 100. I’ve never seen that particular problem before. I’m not talking about the default purple “you didn’t submit an image” icon, but the new one which looks like a broken chain. The old librivox podcast used to have the purple one — now it has the chain, and I didn’t even TOUCH that file. My xml validates perfectly. The image is sitting in its proper home on my server. My Kara’s Audiobooks podcast uses the same code and its image shows up perfectly (knock on wood). Hello apple, what the heck are you doing? Also, it seems that podcast subcategories went away. Also, when you’re at the purple podcast page and you hit one of the “categories” links, it takes you AWAY from the podcasts and into the music store, and you have to scroll down the list to hit “podcasts” again. What kind of logic is that? Apple, please stop sucking.

Dan and I had the house to ourselves today. It was soooo nice and quiet :) I did a ton of recording on my iMac (instead of using my iBook in the closet to avoid noise) and was able to FINISH recording, editing, encoding, id3ing, and uploading The Road to Oz! Woohoo! Way ahead of schedule. Also did my Treasure Island assignment. Huzzah! I sure do enjoy making audiobooks, I do.

Last night I was fishing around on the tv in our room, as there was nothing in the tivo I wanted to watch, and bumped into Monty Python’s Flying Circus on BBC America, or whatever it’s called. When Python was over, these two men in odd green jackets appeared and introdiced a show called “The Mighty Boosh”. They were odd and funny and appealing so I left it on and was hooked. Dan stopped doing whatever he was doing and watched too. We watched two episodes, one with Mod Wolves in it (but Vince was King of the Mods so the wolves gave them a lift on their scooters), and another in which Vince told a story about Charlie, a creature made of bubblegum. We are in love with The Mighty Boosh. Highly highly recommended if you want to watch a peculiar and very funny show that’s truly unique!

14 — Got my hair cut short today. Thought about it for three months and finally decided today. It was a harrowing experience. I think the result is ok though, and Dan says it’s adorable AND beautiful :)

13 — I took this little movie of Henry playing along with “Money” on his bass in September, but I had my camera set to high quality and the resulting file was ridiculously huge. It took me until now to figure out how to make it smaller, heh. I wasn’t as simple as opening it in Quicktime or iMovie and exporting it to a smaller format, which is what seems reasonable — everytime I tried that, I got video but no audio, arghhh. This morning I spent an hour researching the problem and trying various solutions. Apparently the movies my little camera takes are “muxed” which somehow separates the audio and video and confuses the heck out of Quicktime or whatever. The final (and easiest) solution was to open the .mpg file in Toast, on the Video tab, then select it and “export” to .dv format. Then, finally, I was able to open the .dv file in quicktime and export to a much smaller file size. Jeebus, I had to hunt all over the internet for help with this. Click the picture!

12 — Oooooooo my podcast showed up in the iTunes Music Store Podcast Directory Thingy. Do a search on any combination of these keywords — kids books children’s audiobooks kara shallenberg oz baum — and my podcast should turn up :) pretty cool, eh? Or you can just click my iTunes 1-click icon on the podcast page.

11 — Alex linked to a neat personality quiz. Here are my results:

Big Five Test Results
Extroversion (16%) very low which suggests you are extremely reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and private.
Accommodation (60%) moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly kind natured, trusting, and helpful at the expense of your own individual development (martyr complex).
Orderliness (70%) high which suggests you are overly organized, neat, structured and restrained at the expense too often of flexibility, variety, spontaneity, and fun.
Emotional Stability (38%) moderately low which suggests you are worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.
Inquisitiveness (54%) medium which suggests you are moderately intellectual, curious, and imaginative.
Take Free Big Five Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

I think it’s far too exaggerated, but if you kind of tone it all down it does sound like me, I guess. What do you think?

I’ve been listening to Alex’s fabulous solo recording of “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” lately. He’s got 7 chapters done already. Go Alex!

10 — We were looking forward to more Foyle’s War last night… but I guess it’s over. BAH. Only four episodes? Well every episode was 1.5 hours and very very good, so I guess that’s fair. Better that than 12 half-hour episodes of crapolla. Well, we’ll be looking forward to the next season! We were really in the mood to watch some tv together tonight, so we put on Dr. Drew’s show, Strictly Sex. Pretty good, not as entertaining as loveline (nothing could be) but still enjoyable and informative. It’s on one of the Discovery channels in the middle of the night, in case you were wondering.

Housework today, and some errands with Henry — we went to the fabric store to look at possible patterns for Halloween costumes. Henry decided, after looking for a while, that he wants to be something mroe creative for Halloween, so we’re thinking of a Zero costume, similar to the Megaman one I made last year. But as long as we were looking at patterns anyway, and they were on sale, we picked up the adult-size Jedi — they were out of the children’s size but I can scale it down easily enough — and a child and adult-sized Matrix-style coat, just for fun. Henry loves to wear costumes and I love to sew, isn’t that nice? :)

09 — Ok, I guess I don’t actually _hate_ the Oz book I’m reading for my podcast. I read three chapters today and kind of enjoyed it, really. Sally was upstairs giving piano lessons and Dan was playing GTA:SA in our room (using his headphones, but still making clicky joystick noises), so I took my laptop into the closet and did my recordings in there. The recordings turned out well, with even less background noise than usual. And I enjoyed sitting in the closet :) Between takes and while editing my files I turned the AC on for Dan, and it didn’t even freeze me too badly, although a little bit of icy air leaked in through the door. Hehehe. I installed ipodder, a podcast catching program, just to make sure it liked my xml file as much as iTunes does, and it worked just fine. Very good, yay me!

08 — I’ve set up my free children’s audiobook podcast! Hit the “audiobooks” link at the top of the page, and feel free to subscribe :) I’m quite proud of myself for figuring out the xml business. I submitted my podcast to iTunes so I hope to be able to have a one-click subscription button once I get accepted. I’ll be sure to mention it here!

Recorded two more chapters of Oz this morning before Dan woke up and then made him a big jolly breakfast, his standard weekend favorite of sausage, eggs, cinnamon toast, and orange juice. Then I worked on my podcast setup for a while, and then we went out and did some errands — guitar strings, returning a video card, bolts, and more juice etc at Trader Joe’s. We bought a loaf of French bread and a thing of herbed goat cheese and some tomatoes, and had that for lunch/dinner while watched The Office. Speaking of offices, Dan told me today that he loves his job. That made me so happy!

07 — Recorded my chapter of “Five Children and It” today. It was an absolute joy to read! If you’d like to hear it, go here: fivechildren and download the mp3 for yourself. Librivox volunteers are working on the rest of the book right now (I hope) so I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

06 — This morning Henry was at his dad’s house, John and Dan were at work, and Sally was out, so I had the house all to myself for a few hours and it was quiet! Actually quiet! Amazing. Recorded two more chapters of “The Road to Oz.” I’m beginning to hate it. I loved the Oz books when I was a kid but now they’re too syrupy, wayyyyyyy too cutsie-cute. But I’ve got five chapters done so I suppose I’ll keep slogging through. Will probably set up a podcast of it this weekend, in case anyone out there is in the mood for something sweet, heh. The next book I solo will be something I’ve read recently, something that can be enjoyed by 8-yr-olds and 36-yr-olds alike.

I made another apple pie tonight. Here’s my recipe: buy a ready-to-bake crust from Trader Joe’s. I used to make my own but it’s so much easier to just buy one, and that means I make more pies! Put one of the crusts in your pie pan. Peel and chop 6 or 7 granny smith apples. Mix one cup sugar, two heaping teaspoons cinnamon, three heaping tablespoons of flour, and a dash of salt. Coat the apples with the sugar stuff, dump into the pie pan, cover with the other crust, trim edges, press edges together, bake at 425 degrees fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then cover edges with tinfoil and bake another hour at 350. Let it cool for about an hour before you try to cut it. We like it drizzled with significant amounts of heavy cream. YUM.

04 — Ran many errands. Took Henry to breakfast at Einstein Brothers (they have pumpkin bagels and pumpkin cream cheese again YAY!), and then went to Circuit City for a game controller for Dan, then over to the lab for my bloodwork, then to Starter Brothers for groceries. It was noon by then so we went home and will do the Trader Joe’s shopping trip tomorrow maybe. Still coughing and sneezing but it’ll surely be over soon. This house was _unbelievably_ noisy today but I still managed to get a little bit of recording done by hiding in my room and plugging my mic into my laptop. The elephants went stamping around overhead but the recording turned out ok. Henry invited me to play his Star Wars game with him and it was pretty fun! It’s sort of Unreal Tournament style, the screen splits and we drive Star Wars vehicles around and shoot at each other :) Very entertaining. We seem to be equally matched, too.

03 — Happy birthday Kathy!

Did a lot of stuff today… errands in the morning — bank, water store, videogame place, where Henry rented a Star Wars game. Went home, vacuumed the whole house while Henry emptied the wastebaskets. Helpful boy. Did more miscellaneous housework, recorded some more “Oz”, and volunteered to be “team leader” for the librivox recording of “Five Children and It”. Go here to volunteer to read a chapter or two! I know a lot of other things happened today but I’m tired and I can’t remember them now. Oh well.

02 — Recorded another chapter of “The Road to Oz” today. I had to record it twice — the first time I picked up a horrible hum from somewhere. It took me about half an hour of troubleshooting to figure out where it was coming from… Sound Studio decided to forget about my USB mic and use the built-in mic instead! I’ve just volunteered to read a few of the Just-So stories too. Really excited about that! Watched two more episodes of “The Office” with Dan tonight. “Free love on the free-love freeway…”

01 — Congratulations pthree and ern! Hope your wedding day was lovely :)

The scenery changed in Animal Crossing — the ground has an Autumnal look to it now. And I caught a ladybug! We went to Fry’s today to get new bits for Dan’s desktop… tiring. Watched the first two episodes of “The Office” tonight. What a show… so entertaining and yet so difficult to watch. I think it’s even better the second time through.

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