Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Month: May 2006 Page 1 of 2


Joe, I think I found some evidence of one of your past lives. 🙂
Dave Blazek’s Loose Parts

Song: Ordinary Tree

Today is the day we do horrible things to cadhla‘s masterpiece. As if what braider did to it wasn’t enough, kitanzi got my head wrapped around this possibility, and I couldn’t resist:

Ordinary Tree
TTTO: “Ordinary Day” by Great Big Sea
Inspired by “Sycamore Tree” by Seanan McGuire

Saw your name on the tree, your initials surround mine
I wonder who carved them there for me to find, oh-oh.
It’s a lie, but it’s also a fact
I love you, but I can’t come back
‘Cause I must fly…

And I say….Way-hey-hey, I’ve just got to fly away
And you’re not going to call me home
And the end of the day, I know I must fly on my own

I did all that I could to keep you from dying
And you’ll never know why I can’t keep from crying
But you fit in this small town world
And I can’t be a small town girl
No, I must fly…

Way-hey-hey, I’ve just got to fly away
And you’re not going to call me home
And the end of the day, I know I must fly on my own

We each paid our dues and we each played our parts
But there’s no second chances, there’s no second starts, oh no
And you’re not coming back through my door
But I know now who this song is for
And I must fly…

Way-hey-hey, I’ve just got to fly away
And you’re not going to call me home
And the end of the day, I know I must fly on my own

Saw your name on the tree, your initials surround mine….


I have a cadhla album, right here in my hands. *snoopy dance*

That is all!

RenFaire Weekend!

We had a fun weekend, overall. Saturday, we returned to the glam stylings of the Georgia Renaissance Festival for a second weekend, thanks in no small part to comp tickets slipped us by tarkrai, who is working the Faire this year as a street performer. We’d heard enough about his act that we wanted to make sure we caught it.

We got to the festival grounds just in time for the opening of the Gate at 10:30, and promptly wandered to the back of the village, intending to work our way forwards this time to see the bits we hadn’t seen a couple of weeks ago. About 20 minutes later, we touched base with thatcrazycajun, singing_phoenix, and SP’s mother, who we had arranged to meet and spend the day with. We caught up with them in time to catch most of a magic show featuring a clever illusionist and an amazing contortionist. We then wandered back up and around, stopping in the shops and admiring the various folks in costume. Sadly, this weekend was a much more typical Georgia summer day than our unseasonably cool trip two weeks ago. We eventually decided to sit for a while, stopping to catch the Tortuga Twins show, which is always good for a laugh, and then sat through to see the Lost Boys. This is the first chance we’d had to see the Lost Boys since three-quarters of their lineup changed. Their show was still a lot of fun, with a mix of old and new songs, and we decided that they were still good, just different.

Once the Lost Boys wrapped up, we picked up a copy of their newest CD, and wandered back down the dusty lanes, where we happened to run into tarkrai, in his guise as gallamor the bard. I immediately tasked him with singing a song for kitanzi, which turned out to be quite amusing. She refused to tell him her name, so he dubbed her Cassandra and sang of how she and her consort, the Dread Pirate Roberts #42 (me), and her crew were here to take over the Faire. And of course, I got a lot of pictures. (After being scolded for the lack of kitanzi photos in the last set, I should note that there are kitanzi photos in this set. Still none of me, alas, as I was holding the camera, unless singing_phoenix got some she’d like to share with me. Photos of gallamor start on Page 8, for those impatient to see that sequence. *grin*)

We then retired to the Tea Room for a light lunch, and then wandered about a bit more, and finally picked up an earlier purchase we had made, a gift for friends that we’ll deliver later in the summer, and headed for the luxury of air conditioning and home. Being exhausted, we attempted to order in Chinese, but the restaurants phone was out, so we went down the street to eat there, instead.

Sunday was mostly a relaxed day. We watched the latest Doctor Who serial, The Age of Steel, which was marvelous. Or at least, I thought it was. I’m a member of a lot of different discussion groups for shows I enjoy, from Doctor Who to CSI to House, and I sometimes wonder if I just have low standards for entertainment, or at the very least such different expectations that i’m not compatible with the greater FanMind, that I’m no longer fit to discuss things with these groups. I will watch something, find it totally enjoyable, then go online and see post after post about how “That was just awful and I hated it!” I can’t even find the common context with those folks to really have a discussion with them, so I mostly end up skimming over the commentary and not really reading it. And I feel a…loss to myself, because the whole point, for me, of watching TV and movies is to be able to discuss it with other intelligent people who share my interests. I fear I’m growing old. Or maybe the discussion groups are just growing young. Either way, I find it puzzling.

The rest of the day was spent playing City of Villains and waiting for the apartment complex to send someone to fix the AC, which was underpowered again. I finally impressed them that something was wrong with it more than just needing to recharge it. The guy who came was new, and said that we might need an entirely new unit, and certainly needed a new thermostat. He did get it back to cooling the house properly (before, it woudln’t get below about 80F/27C no matter what you did, which wasn’t a problem until the last few days when the weather warmed back up) and promised to be back within the next day or two to replace the thermostat. So we made Thai chicken and watched the finale of CSI:Vegas (No-spoiler review: Wow) before heading for bed.

All in all, a fun weekend, full of friends and festivals and good food and all the joys of life. I could enjoy a lifetime of such days.

Have some Kool-Aid

Mike Peterson pointed this out over in rec.arts.comics.strips

Meanwhile, here’s an amusing little piece — this is an INS site that
helps immigrants prep for their citizenship tests. Click on the answer
button and see if you notice anything missing — do suppose they know
something the rest of us haven’t been told yet???


EDIT (29 May 2006): Well, it looks like it’s been updated to include Freedom of the Press after all. I guess enough people were poitning out the lack.

Bloody Expensive Weekend

This weekend was the weekend of unexpected expenses.

It began on Friday, while I was at work. My group has inherited the MIS functions of the local office at work, and towards the end of my day, I was underneath a desk setting up a new computer for one of the VPs. Being slightly unable to reach the spot I needed to plug in one of the cables, I rolled slightly onto my side, on top of the carry case of my phone. Unfortunately, the case has one of those ball-in-socket clasps, and it concentrated all of my weight onto a single point. I heard a muffled crack, and my heart sank. A quick check of the phone revealed that yes, the screen had cracked.

Now, my phone is more than just a phone. It’s also my PDA, and a remote Internet device, and it’s something that I really rely on for work. Being able to get on the net from anywhere, anytime I need to, being able to track my meetings and task lists, all in a handy single place. It’s my portable brain, and I feel somewhat adrift without it. Unfortunately, phones that can handle all these functions well tend to be relatively expensive. I had been previously using a Sidekick II, which served me well, but had a variety of annoying features.

I did a bit of research and determined that the best option for what I really wanted was finally available from T-Mobile. Long ago, I’d wanted a Treo 600, until I actually got my hands on one. I didn’t care for the way it felt in my hand, and though the keyboard was too small. The Sidekick had the substantial feel i wanted, but was hamstrung by a non-extendable OS and some very peculiar design choices that were frustrating. But finally, someone has made the all-in-one PDA Phone that I’ve always wanted, and it’s name is the T-Mobile MDA.

The MDA is a Windows Mobile device, which means that there are are a huge variety of 3rd party apps for it, and it has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for the maximum amount of networking capability. Some of the reviews criticized its phone performance, but I had an hour-long call with catalana last night and it seemed clear and strong to me, even with only 1-2 bars of signal. I’m still playing with it and figuring out its idiosyncrasies, but I think that I’ve found the perfect (for me) phone/pda/portable brain.

Saturday, another unexpected expense bit me. kitanzi and I were playing a bit of City of Villains, when suddenly my computer froze and the monitor switched off. When nothing I did seemed to be getting it back, I powered everything down, then back up. All I got was a white screen with pink pinstripes spaced about an inch and a half apart. Muttering profanities, I shut everything down, opened the case, and poked my finger about for a bit. (Note to my female readers: guys do this with computers, appliances, and automobiles whenever they break. It doesn’t accomplish anything, but we don’t want to admit yet that we have no earthly idea what’s wrong.)

After some checking of connections and the working-ness of fans, etc, I managed to coax it back to booting, but it was clearly an unhappy PC. I got a windows error that it blamed on the video driver, and some odd artifacts just after the boot-up was complete. Then it seemed to settle down. I checked e-mail, surfed a couple of web pages, then fired up CoV again. Within 10 minutes, the display with splotchy, then crashed the entire machine again.

At this point, I was reasonably certain that this was a video card failure. Its often hard to prove that, since you cant’ do a lot of troubleshooting on a PC you can’t see anything on the screen for, but it was the most likely of the three likely components to have failed (the other two being the motherboard or the power supply). So it was off to Best Buy to replace the vidcard and hope that I’d made a proper diagnosis. (Luckily, this isn’t House, or my first diagnosis would have nearly killed the computer and it’d have taken three more tries to find the real problem just before the last commercial break.)

Unfortunately, the replacement of the phone the day before meant that I really couldn’t afford the super gee-wiz-bang top of the line graphics card my gamer’s heart truly desired, because gosh they’re way too expensive still. I had been pondering upgrading said card sometime in the next few months when the price dropped down, but for now, I settled for a BFG GeForce 6200OC, which is still an upgrade on my old 5500FX, and means I don’t have a large powerful useless computer on my desktop, which would have made me very cross.

Unfortunately, these unexpected purchases put us back at least a month on our debt-reduction plans, and mean that it’s highly unlikely, barring a sudden windfall, that we’ll be making it to ConCertino. (It was highly unlikely we were going to make ConCertino anyway, but I was keeping out hope until the last minute, because, dammit, wanna….), and I’m not even really sanguine on ConCarolinas, which at least has the virtue of being local. We’ll see about that one. Meanwhile, back to the drawing board on the whole “paying off the debt” campaign. And the war was showing such promise!

A poem for Mother’s Day

In honour of Mother’s Day…

The Lanyard
by Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Next: Using a Magic 8-Ball for a Therapist

Put your music player on shuffle. Press forward for each question. Use the song title as the answer to the question. No cheating! (ganked from elfen)

I can see clearly now…

I’ve known for quite some time that I really need to go and get an eye exam. For one thing, the last time I had one was eight years ago, and that’s far too long for someone who actually wears corrective lenses. For another thing, i was finding that I couldn’t read the small text on the TiVo screen from the couch, which is only 6-8 feet away. So when one of the nose pads fell off my glasses Friday morning, I took that as a sign from the universe to stop procrastinating, and made a call down to the LensCrafters at North Point Mall, since that’s where I get a discount through my insurance.

They said they could see me pretty much anytime, and I made an appointment for 6pm, so I could go down after work and not need to try and rush it all on my lunch hour. Showed up and filled out the paperwork, and then was shown back into a room for some baseline tests, including the dreaded puff-of-air-in-the-eye glaucoma test, which I’ve detested since I was a child.

The optometrist turned out to be a very pleasant woman who checked the prescription on my old lenses, and then went through the whole “Is this one better, or this one” routine to determine what the new prescription should be. Once that was complete, I went for another test with an amazing new piece of technology they’ve gotten in since the last time I was in, a machine which took photographs of the inside of the eye! It was really cool, even if it took a while to get good shots. (I wasn’t complaining — the tech running the test was super-cute. *grin*). The amazingly cool thing about this machine is a) it means they don’t have to dilate the pupils in order to see all the things in the back of the eye they want to see, and b) they can save the images to use as a baseline for comparison from year to year, making it much easier to notice deterioration or damage. I thought this was exceptionally nifty and well worth the extra $30 or so it added to the bill. Once the images were taken, I went back in with the optometrist who explained the images to me, and said that everything looks very healthy.

Once I had a new prescription in hand, I wandered next door to the LensCrafters to pick out some new frames. I dithered a while over these or those before finally settling on a pair that I like. (I notice that big chunky frames are back in fashion again, but somehow they’re just not my style at all). I was told they could actually have them ready for me in an hour to 90 minutes, so I called kitanzi to meet me for dinner, rather than have to go home and come back. We were somewhat bemused to discover, once she’d arrived, that nearly all of the non-Food Court restaurants have closed in North Point Mall. Mick’s is gone, Atlanta Bread Company is gone…it was sad. We ended up at the little Japanese grill in the food court, for lack of better options. We then wandered down the mall, stopping briefly in the Mac Store because I like lusting after the laptops and the ipods. We finally made our way back to LensCrafters, where my glasses were waiting for me.

Wow. I actually did a double-take when I put them on. I knew that my old lenses were no longer correct, but I hadn’t realized how badly and how much I was just compensating for. I walked all the way through the mall back to my car just marveling at how much better the world looks when its in focus. (Note to self: Once a year. Stop being so lazy and get these things done.)

Catching up…

So I’ve been procrastinating catching up the state of things, and I’m currently stuck over the at our colocation centre waiting for a RAID rebuild that should have been finished by now, so I may as well drop a note here on some notable events of the last couple of weeks.

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