Mastodon 2006 November —

Archive for November 2006

Belt test form

November 30th, 2006 — 8:57pm

Took Henry to his classes at Bayshore in the morning, and spent my free time shopping for black jeans and shoes for Dan (Do you have any idea how hard it is to find good supportive ALL BLACK sneakers?) and I picked up a replacement power supply at Guitar Denter and, while I was out in San Marcos anyway, bought him some helicopter fuel. Picked up Henry, got the mail, came home, vacuumed and mopped all the floors, and then collapsed, pretty much… I had planned to make stuffed peppers for dinner and started a pot of rice, but when it came down to it I decided I didn’t have the energy, so I opened a can of black beans, mixed them with the rice (first setting aside enough so I can make the peppers on the weekend) and served it with sour cream, homemade salsa, and shredded cheese. Easy, fast, and tasty.
Sat in and watched Henry’s karate class tonight and he got his belt-test form! When he passes, he’ll be 4th kyu — purple with a black stripe. He’s been longing to test, so we’re really happy that Sensei thinks he’s ready :)
Henry played on the electric drums for a couple of hours today in the afternoon and had a ton of fun!

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Nov. 30 (Thursday)

November 30th, 2006 — 5:15pm

Bayshore Science (digestive system)
Bayshore Art
Bayshore Spanish

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November 29th, 2006 — 9:08pm

The roofers woke us with much incredible banging and stamping at 7am.  Henry played with Nathan and Laura, and then we went out to do errands.  Too tired to do much else.  Oh we played a bit of WoW together — Zinny helped me find the Witherbark Cages in the Hinterlands.

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Nov. 29 (Wed.)

November 29th, 2006 — 8:13pm

Grammar (prepositions)
assembly of electronic drum kit
A Way With Words (food terms)
recorded new releases list for LibriVox
guitar practice

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November 28th, 2006 — 9:53pm

Are you tired of hearing about how tired I am? Still worn out from the weekend, plus I woke up way too early ’cause my stomach hurt.  Bah.  Basic Tuesday: Karate, groceries, home, mythology class, musical theater, home, muppet show, dinner, bedtime routine.   I had planned to get a little bit of LibriVox recording done during the hour and a half of quiet I had this afternoon while Henry was in class, but instead I had to fix LibriVox problems, and I was too tired to record well anyway.  Maybe tomorrow.

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Nov 28 (Tuesday)

November 28th, 2006 — 9:44pm

Karate (Tiny Tigers)
Mythology class
Musical Theater
Math-U-See (multiplication)
Grammar (prepositions)
The Grey King

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Nov 27 (Monday)

November 27th, 2006 — 9:44pm

Creative Writing (novel)
The Grey King
A Way With Words (Cooking and food terms)

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How to fix muxed video

November 26th, 2006 — 8:23pm

I was too tired today to do much of anything. I dumped the concert photos out of my camera and got them sorted and cropped and uploaded to my gallery. And I cleaned Henry’s computer area. But that’s about it, productivity-wise. Lay around with Dan and watched a lot of TiVo: Survivor (merge!), House, The Soup, and two episodes of season two of the Office (USA version). And two episodes of The Muppet Show with Henry before bed. I love the Muppet Show. We watched the first two episodes of Season One, which I’d never seen. I probably saw later seasons. I remember Loretta Swit, Harry Belafonte, Debbie Harry, Alice Cooper, Senor Wences (I think), Johnny Cash…

Oh yeah… I took a short video of Henry and Celia dancing on stage during Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. If you are a family member and want to see it, drop me an email and I’ll send you the link. My camera takes video in some funny way that separates the audio and video (I think it’s called muxed) so when I try to export the .mpg to a smaller, web-friendly .mov in Quicktime (or any other video program) I lose the audio. It’s really delightful, I’ll tell you. But there is a way to get the audio and video glued together.

Run Toast Titanium, tell it you want to make a video cd, and add the video. Then click that file in Toast’s window and tell it to export to .dv, which will take approximately 100,000 years. When it’s done you’ll have a HUGE .dv file – but this file can then be opened in Quicktime and exported to a small, web-friendly file without losing the audio. Why can’t Quicktime do this on its own? Why why why?

1 comment » | Blog, Tech

Rockola Soul!

November 26th, 2006 — 2:34pm

Yesterday (Saturday) was the big concert! Dan, Henry, and I arrived at the theater at about 10:20am. Dan immediately started setting up equipment, while I showed Henry around the theater. It’s really fun to see the backstage area and the dressing rooms and everything! Then we staked out a spot in the hall and amused ourselves until Chloe and Bob and the rest of the band showed up. There was much setting up and testing of equipment. Henry and I read and drew and knitted and talked and played nintendo and just watched the activity on stage. I ran out to the drugstore for bottled water. Henry was so good all day long. I know he got a little bit bored at times but he never complained. I tried to notice when he needed help finding something to do so I could suggest something. Eventually the band started to rehearse, so that was entertaining! I took Henry across the street to the Claire de Lune coffee place for breakfast pastry, and then later for a bagel. The orchestra kids got there in the afternoon, and their conductor ran through some of the material, and then the band joined them. And then Henry finally got to practice Penny Lane with the band! I taught him the part (whole note keyboard chords during the chorus) at 8pm the night before and he’d never played it with the band, but he did fine during the run-through.

At 5 or so Chloe and I walked over the the near-by pizza place and ordered 12 pizzas and 8 six-packs of soda to feed all the musicians and crew, then Henry and I went back to pick it up in time for the 6 to 7pm dinner break. Lucky they had a trolley and helped us wheel all that food back to the theater!

At a little after 7 Henry changed into his show clothes (nice dark pants and his tie-dyed t-shirt) and we found our seats and got ready to watch the show. Chloe had set aside three nice seats for us, and joined us just before the show started. It was sold-out, or very nearly so! Rehearsal was a little bit rocky (but what rehearsal isn’t?) so we were kind of nervous, but when the band began to play it was obvious that everything would be just fine! They were AWESOME. They started out with songs from the Rubber Soul single, and then performed the whole album. It was just indescribably good. We loved it and the crowd did too!

At intermission I took Henry backstage. Chloe offered to walk him up to the stage when it was time for Penny Lane, but he preferred to wait backstage because it was “fascinating”. So I went back out with Chloe and we watched the second set, which was all Beatles music of course, with the Magical Symphony Youth Orchestra helping out on songs such as Eleanor Rigby, Here Comes the Sun, Something, Revolution (the slow on, yay!), etc. For All You Need Is Love, Bob asked for some children from the audience to hold the signs. Celia and Henry helped, too. It was too cute!

(sorry for the blurry band, but you can see the kids and the signs ok)

The crowd loved it. After that came Penny Lane, for which Henry stood front and center at Bob’s keyboard and played his chords during the chorus. He did a wonderful job! I was so proud of him :) He ran back out to the audience and sat with us after his song was over.

(That’s Henry in the center)

After the last song, “The End,” the audience leapt to its feet and gave the band a huge standing ovation. And then they played a few more songs! Henry and Celia went back onstage and danced to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, and the audience just ate it up. They played until 10, I think, or a little after. Man, what a show, what a show! Rockola rocks!

After the show, Dan helped tear down for a while, and then we finally left maybe around 11pm or later, I’m not sure. It was a long but wonderful day. We all slept late this morning :)

2 comments » | Blog

Star Trek: New Voyages

November 24th, 2006 — 7:36pm

I just discoved Star Trek: New Voyages!!! It’s a fan-created continuation of the original Star Trek series, with all the same beloved characters — Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, McCoy, etc. — but played by different actors. They use the same costumes, the same props, the same background music and sound effects.  I’ve just downloaded the three available episodes and watched a few minutes of the pilot.   It made me giddy with glee!  Sure, some of the acting is amateurish, but so was most of the acting in TOS, heheh.   It’s so much fun to be back in that good old Star Trek universe again.  Here’s some more information from wikipedia:

I can hardly wait to watch these three episiodes, and I hope more will be on the way.

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November 23rd, 2006 — 12:24pm

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I sat in Dan’s workroom and played WoW on my new laptop (it works acceptably well if you turn the graphics settings all the way down) and we listened to Loveline.  I made a feast in the afternoon — mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (homemade, not the stuff in a can), stuffing, and a couple of cornish game hens.  Yummy.  And then a bit later we drove down to Chloe’s house for a visit and to help them get ready for the show.  We listened to music (FabFour Christmas stuff, hilarious) and talked, and I worked on Henry’s cloak and my green sock, and Dan changed guitar strings and went over the technical things he’ll have to do at the show.  We had a wonderful time with them as usual.  It’s nice when family members are also really good friends.  Stayed there until about 1:15 and then drove home on the nice empty freeway.

4 comments » | Blog

Yesterday and Today

November 21st, 2006 — 8:58pm

Yesterday I didn’t write about anything but my lovely new macbook, so I’ll catch you up:

Woke up, developed a migraine which lasted all day, went to thyroid doctor in the morning, blood tests (ouch), then drove to Fargo’s house, brought him home with us, went to the bank and the mailbox, then came home, taught students, then lay around feeling crappy and doing LibriVox work. Then Dan got home and gave me my macbook :)

Today was busy but I felt ok again so that was nice. Karate in the morning, then groceries and pharmacy, then home for an hour, did laundry and chores, then out to Mythology class. I sat and played Harvest Moon DS while the boys had fun in class. I unlocked the second Hot Spring and found my first Cursed Tool. I’ll ask Flora to marry me as soon as I unlock a few more Sprites (I already have the blue feather and her heart is red, so I’m pretty sure she’ll say “yes” ;-)

Then took the boys to the trading card store, then home and taught a student, then did Librivox work for a little while and then made lasagna for dinner. And have been enjoying my lovely MacBook all day. The glossy screen kind of bothers me but I’m certain that I’ll get used to it in time. It’s different, but it’s no worse than a DS screen, which I got used to just fine. It’s so nice and fast, and Dan bought me some extra ram so now it’s even faster! And I have TWO processors ;-) And my iBook’s display was noticably fading, but the colors on this one are nice and bright. And the battery lasts forever and ever and ever.

Time to read a bedtime story (Greenwitch)!

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Nov. 21 (Tuesday)

November 21st, 2006 — 8:31pm

Karate (Tiny Tigers)
Mythology class
A Way With Words (Australian Slang etc.)
handwriting practice

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new macbook!

November 20th, 2006 — 8:34pm

Dan said he’d buy me a new battery to replace the dead one in my 3.5 year old iBook today. Instead, he came home with an early Christmas present for me — a brand new white MacBook! He says he did buy me a new battery, he just wrapped it in a new laptop :) Dear dear Dan :) It’s just lovely. I’ve been working on getting it all set up properly. Dan copied over my Mail and Firefox settings (including all my extensions – Foxmarks, DownThemAll, Fuzzy Time, Google Notebook, TabMixPlus, FlashBlockM, adblock), (updated April 3, ’08: super drag and go, quickdrag(Aug 2008, works with FF3), FoxClocks, and the PMOG extension), and I’ve been installing my favorite Mac OS X software (most of which is free!):

Firefox (web browser. Free!)
Jumpcut (clipboard buffering: copy many items, then choose which ones you want to paste. Free!)
Quicksilver (indescribable but indispensable. Free!)
SoundStudio (audio recording/editing. Overpriced at $80 and has many flaws, but the nicest editing interface I’ve found)
Smultron (lovely text editor. Free!)
MenuMeters (shows cpu, ram, network traffic etc. Free!)
bean (lightweight basic word-processor. free!)
cyberduck (FTP client. Free!)
colloquy (IRC client. Free!)
vlc (media player. Free!)
twhirl (twitter/ client. Free!)
Adium (AIM/iChat client. Free!)
NeoOffice (MS Office replacement. Free!)
seashore (lightweight GIMP-based image editor. Free!)
Skype (telephone client. Free!)
pandora boy (pandora standalone player. Free!)
GrandPerspective (Helps you find wasted disk space, and looks like yummy candy. Free!)
FizzBall (pinball/breakout game, adorable and well worth the $20)
Skitch (amazingly wonderful screenshot tool, free beta right now (Aug 2008)

Still need to install:
World of Warcraft (Best. Game. Evar.)
GraphicConverter (very useful graphics program)
scanner drivers
tablet drivers
MobilePre USB drivers
And probably other stuff I can’t think of right now but I’ll notice someday.

More tomorrow!

1 comment » | Blog, Tech

Nov. 20 (Monday)

November 20th, 2006 — 8:29pm

Verbal math drills
A Way With Words (Pirate terms, etc.)

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Nov 19, 2006

November 19th, 2006 — 4:35pm

Just off to return things to the library and wanted to jot down a few titles:

The Illuminator, by Brenda Rickman Vantrease — historical fiction, very well-written and a good read!

Rattled, by Debra Galant — satirical, funny, thought-provoking.

Me and Emma, by Elizabeth Flock — gripping, beautifully written, impossible to put down.  I have a hard time reading any book in which horrible things happen to children, so this one was very difficult for me.  But once I got started I had to finish anyway.

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Interesting article

November 19th, 2006 — 9:20am

How the Nintendo Wii will get you emotionally invested in video games:

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Visit to Chloe!

November 18th, 2006 — 11:41pm

This afternoon I went to visit Chloe and listen to another rehearsal.  It was so much fun!  Chloe and I got to hang out, just the two of us, and talk about all sorts of things.  I want to help her manage her hundreds of tasks, so I’m going to try to make her a database of some kind.  Cross your fingers.

Wen I got home, Dan and I put in the dvd of the first season of The Office (USA version) and watched the whole thing.  It’s really odd to see the same characters but with different names and played by different actors.  They kept the script of the first episode the same, but then branched off for all the rest.  The Gareth character (Dwight) is a lot less likable than Gareth.  You could sort of root for Gareth sometimes, but not Dwight.  On the whole it’s very good and we’re going to rent the second disc next.

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Bond, James Bond

November 17th, 2006 — 11:39pm

We just got home from seeing Casino Royale. I enjoyed it very much! Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, is the best since Sean Connery. Maybe (gasp) better. There’s nothing pretty about him and he’s quite, um, attractive :) *fans self* He seemed to give Bond quite a bit more personality than usual.

This was one of the best Bond movies I’ve seen. There were not more explosions or chase scenes than the plot could handle, though there were plenty, as expected. The dialogue was believable and non-cheesy. I loved the camera work and the grainy B&W opening sequence. Yum. The last few Bond movies I’ve seen just seemed silly most of the time. (Remember the Ice Palace? Remember the Tank Chase? Remember Bond falling FASTER than a plummeting airplane?) This one did not seem silly at all, though there were several laugh-out-loud humorous moments. It was extremely violent, so don’t take your kids :) But for 2 1/2 hours of good solid spies-and-bad-guys entertainment I recommend it!

Oh I almost forgot — the opening credits/titles/whatever they’re called (I’m too tired to think of the right name) were creative and beautiful!

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Our Island Story, ch. 50

November 17th, 2006 — 11:16pm

050 – How King Richard II Lost his Throne

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