Archive for August 2006


On the BBC

August 31st, 2006 — 5:08pm

The BBC called me today for a little quickie live radio interview with someone named Anita. Here’s a slightly abridged transcript:

Anita: Don’t amateur readers suck?

Me: Nope.

The end. Lol. The intern, or whoever she was, who called yesterday to make sure I’d be home for an interview asked a lot more questions, and more interesting questions :) I’m not inclined to track down the audio online, but it’s probably there somewhere. I was on after a discussion of homeopathy, middle of the night UK time I guess, either late Thursday or early Friday.

2 comments » | Blog

pandora profile

August 31st, 2006 — 9:28am

Forgot to give you my pandora profile:

http://www.pandora.com/people/kara00

What’s yours? :)

Did I mention that I paid for a yearlong ad-free subscription? Not that the ads were that bothersome, not at all, but mostly I just want to support these guys who, if they’re like any other internet startup, are probably losing money. Go, pandora, go!

5 comments » | Blog, Tech

sofas and tables

August 30th, 2006 — 9:55pm

Yesterday I decided we should get rid of half of the big blue sofa.  It’s got two long sections that form a right angle but it’s wayyyyy more seating that we ever need.  So this morning I placed an ad on craigslist – “free sofabed”.  While I was at craigslist I thought I’d look to see if there was a nice dining table — also decided yesterday that we need a better dining table if possible.  And there was a lovely one listed, light-finished wood on top with white legs.  Just right for four.  And it came with 4 chairs also, all for $75.  Woohooo!  So I emailed the table lady and said GIMME!

Then I went upstairs to help Sal with her computer.  We had fun with pandora and firefox for an hour and a half.  Then checked my mail, the table lady replied, said the table was still available, yay!  So I sent her my phone number and waited for her to call.  Meanwhile the phone rang and it was the BBC, wanting to do a live phone interview later today.  Yipe.  While I was on the phone with them, the table lady called back so I had to tell the BBC to call me later, heh.  Mom offered to take her car down to Clairmont to pick up the table & chairs, so I had to figure out a time when the table lady would be home and mom was free, but it worked out eventually.  BBC called back and we chatted for a while, story background I guess. Then I ran to the bank for $75.  Henry and Fargo were entertaining themselves with movies and squirtguns all this time, very good children.  Then got back with 10 minutes to spare before my piano student, hopped in the shower, and went up to wait for her. Oh, meanwhile I had three people email me about the free sofa.  I told Guy #1 he could have it if he could pick it up today.  He said he’d come later in the afternoon with his roommate’s truck.  Student didn’t show.  Mom left around 2 to get my table and got back before HER students at 4.  I sat around waiting for the BBC to call, also sat around waiting for sofa guy to show up.  His roommate was late…  BBC finally called at 5-ish, said there was breaking news and could they do the interview same time tomorrow? Ok, sure.

Sofa guy eventually showed up around 9, brought three friends and a truck, was delighted with the sofabed, and hauled it away, YAY!  Now I can put the two rocking chairs where the old sofa was and it’ll be much nicer.

Dan brought us In-n-Out for dinner and we sat at our new civilized table :)  So happy!

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Our Island Story, ch. 16

August 30th, 2006 — 7:59am

Our Island Story, chapter 16:

King Alfred in the Cowherd’s Cottage

2 comments » | Audiobooks

Obsession

August 29th, 2006 — 7:04pm

Have you tried Pandora.com yet? Have you have you have you? It’s free, it works in firefox, it’s not spammy, go try it! You can listen to my stations and see my bookmarked songs and artists here: http://www.pandora.com/people/kara00

Go!

2 comments » | Blog

carwash

August 29th, 2006 — 3:40pm

Forgot to mention that Dan gave me a gift certficate for an ultra-fancy carwash!  I dropped Henry and Fargo (who’s visiting for a couple of days) at Henry’s dad’s house and went down to the carwash place.  It took them an hour and 15 minutes, and my car is super-clean and shiny and nice.  I think I got a teflon wax or something.  Anyway Dan said it was good :)  While I was waiting I walked over to the convenient neaby yarn store (Noble Knits) and felt the luscious yarns.  Mmmmmmm.  I realized I had no cash with which to tip the carwash guys, so I bought a couple skeins of fine cotton/acrylic blend for socks on the debit card, and the nice yarnstore ladies gave me a couple dollars cash back.  There’s a knit-together there tomorrow night.  I might go.  Maybe.

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Henry’s Teeth!

August 28th, 2006 — 3:43pm

Today Henry got to pick up his long-awaited spacers at the dentist. We got the removable kind, because Henry is responsible enough not to lose them, and to remember to clean them. He gets to take them out for meals but leave them in the rest of the day and night. He has a bit of trouble speaking, for now, but I’m sure he’ll get used to them soon :)

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Steppin’ Out

August 28th, 2006 — 9:03am

According to Pandora, here are a few of the hundreds of attributes cataloged for Fred Astaire’s “Steppin’ Out with my Baby”:

swing dancin’ style
sultry vocals
romantic lyrics
a well-articulated piano solo
a horn section
light drumming
electric guitar accompaniment
jazz-pop style
a mid-tempo swing feel
interesting part writing
strong melodies
lyric-centric composition
two-step style
mixed major and minor tonalities

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Awwww :)

August 27th, 2006 — 10:49pm

Birthday greeting from LibriVox :)

2 comments » | Blog

Happy birthday to me!

August 27th, 2006 — 9:29pm

Today is my birthday! It was a great day. I woke up early and set up my new recording equipment. Slid the USB audio interface under my iMac, and set up the mic-stand on the left side of my desk at about mouth level. Tried another sample recording and I think I’ll be getting good results one I figure out what eq settings to use. I think I’m nearly there, actually.

Henry came home around lunchtime and gave me presents, too — a handmade little medallion/bookmark and Super Princess Peach for the DS! I’ve been wishing for that game because reviews were good and it looked not too difficult. I get frustrated with impossibly hard games. One very nice thing is that it saves after you complete each short level. I get stuck in New Super Mario Bros. because you can’t save very often, and I don’t always have the time or energy to make it through a tower or castle, or save up enough coins. Anyway, I love Princess Peach so far.

The guys went out and brought pizza home for lunch, and we watched a couple of Star Trek episodes (Devil in the Dark and I, Mudd). Henry invited me to a game of scrabble, and after that we watched Austin Powers — Henry hadn’t see it before and he laughed and laughed, heheh.

Also I tinkered with my blog a lot. I didn’t want a huge string of archive links in the sidebar, so I set up a special archive index, as you can see. And Kri pointed me to a useful plugin that lets me show only blog posts on the front page, so I won’t clutter up the blog with audiobook episodes and knitting and whatnot.

4 comments » | Blog

More Pandora niftiness!

August 27th, 2006 — 9:32am

I just noticed Pandora’s “edit station” function. (click the little triangle on your station name). This screen lists the founding artists/songs of your station. You can remove any that you’ve changed your mind about. You can also see which songs you’ve “liked” and “disliked” — again, you can remove them. (e.g. you told pandora you liked a certain song, then heard it a few more times and changed your mind about liking it!)

I listened to my Pete Seeger station all day yesterday and for a while this morning, and added a couple cds to my Amazon Wishlist! (Would have added more but many of the older, more obscure ones were not available. Sigh.) I just decided it was time for a change, so I made a station founded on Benny Goodman and Fred Astaire. Figured that should give me a nice mix of 30s/40s swing/pop. So far I’ve heard Benny, Fred, Nat, Bing, and John Pizzarelli (I’m not on a first-name basis with him, heh).

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Guitar Denter

August 26th, 2006 — 11:23pm

Today Dan took me out to buy birthday presents! I decided that I wanted a better recording setup (inspired by the equipment we ferried to Hugh) so we went to Guitar Denter Center. Dan helped me choose a condenser mic and a usb audio interface, so I can avoid my soundcard when recording. I hate Guitar Center. It’s loud and the salesguys are pushy. When we got home and set everything up, it turned out that my mic was probably a returned model (though not sold as such), and the threads were stripped. Nice. So we went back and exchanged it for a shrink-wrapped model, which was suprisingly easy. The whole affair was exhausting, but I did eventually manage to make a couple of sample recordings and I think my new mic is going to be really nice!

Also tinkered with my blog for hours, also listened to Pandora at all times (when I wasn’t recording)!

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Our Island Story, ch. 6-15

August 26th, 2006 — 4:14pm

Oops. Let’s catch up, shall we? :)

Our Island Story, chapters 6 – 15:

The Last of the Romans
The Story of St. Alban
Vortigern and King Constans
The Coming of Hengist and Horsa
Hengist’s Treachery
How the Giant’s Dance was Brought to Britain
The Coming of Arthur
The Founding of the Round Table
Gregory and the Pretty Children
How King Alfred Learned to Read
(though there’s really no need to depend on my memory… you can get the entire first half of the book by following this link: Our Island Story, Part 1)

2 comments » | Audiobooks

Pasting in old posts

August 26th, 2006 — 10:01am

I tried several different methods of importing my blogger.com posts into wordpress.  None worked.  But there are only 24 or so blogger posts so I’ve started pasting them in by hand.  I’m keeping the timestamps exactly the same as the original posts.  I’d hate to rewrite such important history.

4 comments » | Blog

Pandora Internet Radio

August 26th, 2006 — 8:17am

WordPress has this “press it” thingy that lives up in the browser toolbar. Click it when you’re on a nifty page and it starts a wordpress post (in the same tab! beware!) which has the url of the nifty page in it. Like this:

Pandora Internet Radio – Find New Music, Listen to Free Web Radio

I discovered pandora yesterday and listened to it all day! It’s an amazing service. I adore it. Pick an artist or two and it starts a “radio station” for you in your browser. It selects songs by the artist(s) you picked, and adds songs by other artists that it considers similar in style. Every song, at any time, allows you to “thumbs up” it, in which case it knows you like it and it will tend to pay songs by that artist more often, or “thumbs down” it in which case the song stops playing and it remembers that you didn’t like it. You can ask “why did you play this song?” in which case you’ll get a popup something like this:

“Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features folk roots, acoustic sonority, majoy key tonality, melodic songwriting, and acoustic rhythm guitars.”

That was the popup for a Leadbelly song on my Pete Seeger station :) Now I’ll mark it “thumbs up” and I’ll get more Leadbelly in the mix. It already played me some Pete Seeger, a little Dylan, a Woody Guthrie song, and a couple of songs by artists I hadn’t heard of, two of which I really liked (Stan Rogers and Bob Gibson). You can “bookmark” a song or artist, and it’ll show up in your profile where you can listen to a sample of it, or buy it from iTunes or Amazon. Handy for remembering new and cool songs and artists! Bob Gibson’s “Erie Canal” is on right now. He’s obviously heavily influenced by Pete — who better to be influenced by? So I’ve bookmarked him and I can consider acquiring a cd of his later.

Pandora is SO COOL!!!!!! Also, it’s completely free if you don’t mind a few advertisements in the tab (and possibly audio ads later?) or $36/year for the ad-free version. Hmm, it’ll let me add my favorite songs, artists, or stations to my blog. Let’s see how that looks…

2 comments » | Blog, Tech

bedtime

August 25th, 2006 — 10:58pm

i’ve fiddled with this thing long enough.  i’ll try to make it conform to my expectations tomorrow.  also i’m hungry.

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new blog… again

August 25th, 2006 — 9:04pm

working on my own wordpress installation.  while it’s still ugly and unkempt, you can read my temporary blogger blog here: kayray.org/blog.html

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New York Times!!!

August 25th, 2006 — 2:13pm

So! Now that blogger.com is working again and I can reliably create a post, here’s a link to the NY Times article about LibriVox that was published today:
Public Domain Books, Ready for Your iPod

To misquote Larry David: “Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty cool!”

Dan was up early, went out and bought the paper, and left our story on the bed for me to find when I woke up :)

4 comments » | Blog

Hmm…

August 25th, 2006 — 2:10pm

Interesting. I got fed up with blogger not publishing that last post, and not letting me remove 3 duplicated posts, so I went into the html file on my server and poked it with a stick. Added some plain old text at the top to let people know I knew it was broken. And now it seems to be working again, go figure. But still, now that I know I enjoy the new-fangled blogging experience, with the comments and the feed and the web-based posting, I will install my very own wordpress and not have to rely on blogger.com anymore. Probably work on that tonight.

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blogger.com is being lame

August 25th, 2006 — 1:58pm

Yeah blogger.com has been broken to a greater or lesser extent all day. As you can see, i’ve got some delightful duplicated posts that I CAN’T GET RID OF! They don’t show up in my “edit posts” screen. Sigh.

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