drool

Sep. 15th, 2008 01:28 pm
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I jutht god back from the dentitht.

Node do thelf: have breakfatht before having a cracked filling replathed, nod after.
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What footnote can
Contain the works
Of David Foster Wallace?

Science!

Sep. 11th, 2008 03:49 pm
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For those of you keeping up to date on the Large Hadron Collider, here are some realtime webcam views of the experimental cavern and control room. They make for surprisingly interesting viewing.

AAARGH

Aug. 28th, 2008 02:57 pm
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Nancy's drum, take two, was going perfectly; I was doing the final bit of tightening of the ropes when the weld broke on the bottom ring.

Is it possible to weld iron without burning the wooden shell behind it? (It'd have to be done in place; the base of the drum is wide enough that the ring wouldn't fit over it if it were welded separately.)

I'm not having the best week ever.
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The head on Nancy's drum split a few weeks ago during a class. I had successfully re-skinned my own a few months earlier, and was feeling cocky, so I volunteered to fix hers as well.

Here's what I learned:

If you put the new skin in water to soak and then take apart the old drum and find that the rope is too worn to use, and it'll take a few days to get some new rope, you don't want to save time by just leaving the skin in the water for those few days. Because before too long, that skin will achieve a more... natural state. As in, it will start to behave much like the skin of a dead animal. Which is to say: there will develop... an odor. A rather strong one.

I also learned that if in a fit of overoptimism you decide to try putting it on the drum anyway, hoping maybe the smell will fade after the skin dries, three things will happen: One, the odor will become much, much stronger. Two, it will fill the entire house. And three, the process of working with the skin will transfer the odor indelibly to your hands, which will continue to smell like rotting goat even after OCD-quality scrubbing with soap, lemon juice, baking soda, or bleach.

(The skin will also, incidentally, not so much work as a drumhead, because it will be covered with tiny bubbly pinholes. I don't want to think too much about the chemical and biological processes involved there.)

And finally, I learned that if you go with your smelly rotten-goat hands to pick fresh tomatoes at the farm, your hands will smell like fresh tomatoes with an undernote of rotten goat, which is an interesting -- if repellent -- combination of odors. If you then eat some too-salty snacks in the car on the way home because in the course of the day you never got around to eating any real food, and then you happen to forget what you're doing and lick the salt from your fingers... well, you don't want to do that. You really, really don't want to do that.

That has been today's lesson.

Tomorrow I will start again with a new goat skin.

How was your Tuesday?


ETA: Oh, hell, I nearly forgot; this post is dedicated to [livejournal.com profile] osirusbrisbane, who when I mentioned that I'd been up all night wrestling a rotting goat, responded: "I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the Olympics already ended."
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So, yeah, if you can read this, come to my house Friday evening and we'll have a party.

:)
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How many of you all are planning on being in the area Labor Day weekend? I'm thinking of having a birthday party sometime in there, wondered who might show up.
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I've been noticing lately just how infrequently it is that I go without input of some sort. Music playing, or a movie on the television, or books or magazines or some quick match-3 game on the iPod when I have a spare few minutes, not to mention the feedreader and the email program sucking down new data every fifteen minutes on the dot...

I'm spending so much time consuming sounds and ideas and stories that I'm wondering if I'm forgetting how to create them.
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Via [livejournal.com profile] istemi: a gorgeous bit of animation you should go look at right now.

Edited to add: maybe I should be less coy, and actually link to it. Oops.
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My sister keeps pointing out -- quite correctly -- that I've been terribly lazy about letting anybody know what's going on in my life lately; it's been ages since I made a substantial post either here or on the Real Website™.

At first this was because nothing worth talking about was happening; for a few weeks there I had let myself get into one of my unproductive cycles of procrastination -> self-recrimination -> moodiness -> procrastination again, which I still haven't quite shaken, but I'm getting there.

And more recently it's because there's too much to say, and it's all a jumble, so I don't get around to writing it down because it'll take too long to sort it into something coherent.

So fuck it, here's a massive, disorganized brain dump. Skim.

Last weekend we went to Philadelphia and had tapas with a political consultant, went to a lovely baby shower which featured many pregnant dermatologists, and a diner breakfast with a Thomas Jefferson interpreter (and his girlfriend, who does Abigail Adams and occasionally Betsy Ross.) It was a great weekend, even though I broke a lamp and [livejournal.com profile] squirrelhaven tried to have a baby two months ahead of schedule.

Okay, fine, I oversimplified, not all the dermatologists were pregnant, nor were all the pregnant women dermatologists. It was still a lovely shower, despite the lack of one-to-one pregnancy::dermatology correlation.

Farm vegetables are yummy. Farm eggs are OMG yummy. It's like I never tasted real food before. CSA farms are a force for good. Join one. If nothing else, you'll get to try some bizarre vegetables you've never heard of before. Last night we had these purple green beans, which when steamed turned bright green, no sign of the purple at all. (The water was green too.) Then I added butter, which turned purple again. Magic.

Classroom drumming with a bunch of beginners is fun. Freeform drumming with a bunch of people who mostly can't play very well (i.e. all drum circles) is fun. Drumming with people who actually know the rhythms and can play is really fun.

Speaking of drumming, Spiritfire started yesterday. I'm not there. I'm sad to be missing it -- last year was a deep experience for me. There's a lot going on there that I'm not feeling much of in my normal, day-to-day life; it stretched me in ways I need to be stretched, forced me into new and unfamiliar social situations, which is something I really need to do more of (I've developed such a safe, simple routine here that it's become very difficult to step out of it -- which I know in the long run is not good for me), and there are some people that I'll plain and simple miss seeing again... But all that said, there's some relief, too, in not going. It's easier. That ease is a pull I have to be more mindful of, and resist.

All things considered, though, it's probably a good thing I'm not there -- our little hospital visit earlier in the week really brought home the fact that a "due date" is pretty arbitrary; it's not out of the question that we could have a baby any minute, so it's probably best that I'm not off in the woods completely out of touch from the world. [livejournal.com profile] squirrelhaven's in fine shape overall, but still starts cramping up if we walk too far or too fast -- she started doing it on the way out of our birthing class at the hospital last night, which, well, if you're going to go into premature labor a hospital lobby is a convenient place to do it, but still.

I'm surprised at how not-freaked-out by all of this I am. Even at the hospital, before they gave us the magical "stop having contractions" drug and it wasn't clear whether they were going to evac us to the Springfield hospital right away, I felt a notable absence of panic.

To be coldly logical about it, there's really not much to worry about: we're already at the point where the risks of an early delivery would be miniscule. (Some of you reading this were more premature than our son would be if he was born today. And you turned out fine, didncha?) It'd be an inconvenience, to be sure -- we'd have to go live in Springfield for a few weeks, because that's where the preemie ICU is, and we haven't got the house quite ready or packed a hospital bag or, really, gotten our act together much -- but otherwise nothing to freak out about, logically speaking. But honestly I don't think my lack of freak is coming from a logical, rational place; I'm either happily oblivious to what's coming, or I'm just... ready. We'll see which is which after it's too late, I guess.

What I am freaking out about is all these other projects I've committed to and in a lot of cases completely failed to follow through on. I've been cutting way back on paid work, since I don't know how well the whole "work from home" thing will go with a screaming infant in the next room -- I've got two jobs left do do before I shut down the office completely; neither one of those is huge, one hasn't even started yet and the other is well underway, I'll probably have it done this week. That's not the problem; it's all this other stuff I've been telling myself I'd get done this summer, before the baby takes over -- which until recently was just some vague point far enough in the future that I didn't really need to worry about it much, and which now seems much less vague.

I know I'm going to have to either jettison or at least delay some of them, which I'm not happy about, and I'm finding it really hard to prioritize which ones have to go, and I'm spending a lot more time worrying about that than actually working on any of them, which is of course only making it worse. See above re: my evil procrastination cycle.

They are, in no particular order,

* [livejournal.com profile] osirusbrisbane and I have done a bit of planning towards making a short movie, which will be awesome and fun if I ever can get myself to focus on it for more than a few minutes at a time. It's going to be a prop-heavy shoot; so gathering all of what we need is a daunting task, and every time I sit down to sort it out I can just feel my brain slithering away. Sorry about that, osirus.

* I built a cabinet to hold all our movies, since they needed to move from what was the TV room which is no longer the TV room into the living room which has no room for the large bookshelves we were using. The actual building-a-cabinet part went much better than expected: I've done some rough carpentry, but never anything this elaborate, so I was a little worried I'd be wasting both my time and a lot of wood. But [livejournal.com profile] shgb gave me his old tablesaw, I succeeded in cutting all the wood without removing any important body parts in the process, and put it all together into something that to a surprising degree resembles actual furniture, lacking only the final aesthetic touches. It's been sitting in the garage for a couple weeks now, because I can't make up my mind how best to do those final aesthetic touches, and should really just pick one and get it over with already.

* I've been slowly trying to learn how to write software for the iPhone, which the nerdier among you can read about in detail on the Other Site if you care to, because the details are far too nerdy to go into here. Short version: deep end, jumping into.

* This one's really stupid, but we need to get our septic tank pumped, or else I'll spend the whole winter worrying about it. We could probably go another year, but the thing's completely inaccessible when there's snow, so if we don't do it now I'm going to spend the whole winter visualizing the basement slowly filling up with sewage. Here's the problem, though: I can't find the damn tank. I know roughly where it is, because we've been through this before -- it's somewhere within a quarter-acre of overgrown weeds and raspberry brambles which I really should've searched through in early spring, before it got all thorny and jungly, but it was early spring and I was more interested in relaxing and thawing myself out after a long winter than in raking through a lot of dead undergrowth looking for a small concrete vent in the ground. So now I need to hack my way through a lot of much thicker, denser, thornier, living undergrowth instead. I have purchased a machete. It's a start.

* There are a couple of non-paying web projects I keep meaning to focus some time on. One is this online tool I threw together for playing D&D over LJ, which yes thank you I am completely aware of how thoroughly geeky that is and I am perfectly fine with that, no really, because it seems like the sort of thing that might actually be useful to other equally geeky people out there, and maybe even self-supporting in a low-volume text ad kind of way, if I got off my ass and made it slightly less fragile and ugly. Another is to update the website I built back for my tenth-year high school reunion as a strategy to salve the guilt of not doing any of the organizing for the reunion itself even though as class president I was technically supposed to do that. (I ran as a joke. Nobody warned me I might actually win. Dammit.) Against my better judgement I agreed to update it for my 20th-year reunion, because I am an Old Old Man whose 20th reunion is coming up still feel guilty about not doing any of the real organizing. So I gotta get that going, one of these days.

* There's still this big fish painting I'm supposedly working on. That one's pretty clearly on hold for the time being, but it's still lurking on the mental to-do list as one more Thing I Ought To Be Doing Instead Of Sitting Around Fretting About The Things I Ought To Be Doing.

So there's that.

Okay.

My brain feels pretty thoroughly dumped now, so I'm going to go cook dinner (ratatouille -- we have all these yummy farm vegetables to eat) and then get back to the work I was working on before I got distracted by writing this.
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We're going to be -- well, "performing" seems a bit overstated, how about "drumming in public" -- at MuseMix this Friday. (That's the ground floor of the Beaver Mill, what used to be the CAC before it, um, stopped being the CAC.) There's a gallery show there as well, about which I know little. Nothing, actually. I'm sure it's awesome though.

Anyway. We'll be starting around 7:30; if you're in the area stop by and say hello.
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It can stop raining any time now.

That would be just fine with me.

Oops

Jul. 1st, 2008 01:28 pm
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I just fixed a bit of bad character encoding in the feed from my main website which seems to have dumped a couple months worth of posts into LJ all at once. Sorry about flooding your friendslist.

On that subject -- what would you all think of me just automatically mirroring posts from that feed into this one, so you don't have to subscribe to both? (I would not mirror the other way around, of course; what happens in LJ stays in LJ. :) Would that be an improvement, or is it better to keep them separate?
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Sacred means treating something as though it's important, even though it might not be, because it should be.
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So all the manly cutting of trees and stacking of lumber I've been doing has led to me throwing my back out again. (Lift with your knees, folks!)

Which means I'm trying to stay as horizontal as possible, which in turn means that those of you who kindly volunteered to assist in the great game of musical chairs (and couches and tables and armoires) as we rearrange the furniture to make room for the baby are off the hook for the time being -- I feel bad enough about asking people to carry heavy objects for me; there's no way I'm going to do that when I can't even help.

Bleah. Getting old kind of sucks.
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1. The new Portishead album is awesome.

2. My jittery clicky mouse finger accidentally bought two copies. Who wants one?

3. You know how sometimes words get stuck in your head and you catch yourself using them way too often? I've been doing that with "awesome" lately. (It's still an awesome album, though.)

4. I've infected [livejournal.com profile] squirrelhaven with the word, too, I've noticed.

5. My old college roommate had a special talent for that sort of thing, feeding little earworm words and phrases to whole crowds of people. Sometimes you'd hear the same unmistakeable phrases come back at you from people in completely different social circles. I still catch myself repeating some of them, fifteen years later. It was something in his delivery, tone of voice, something.

6. I hereby renounce MetaFilter and all its works. I do this periodically: spend a few weeks obsessively reading it ten or eleven times a day, and then have to add some hostfile entries to make the site inaccessible for a while, until I lose the habit. Then I forget how much I hate arguing with strangers on the internet, unblock the site, and the cycle starts all over again.

7. I know all community websites start to go downhill immediately after inception, but man oh man the level of discourse on that site has gone downhill. There's some sort of broken windows effect: once one person starts posting in illiterate myspace style whatever-the-opposite-of-l33t5p34k-is, everybody starts doing it.

8. I tried to quit coffee. Then for a while I tried to just drink decaf. Then I tried mixing the decaf with the regular. I just made myself a double shot of espresso. And when I finish it I just might go back and make another one.

9. It's not so much that I need to be awake and alert. It's that I need to be able to control when I'm awake and alert. Left to my own devices I'm a dedicated insomniac, drowsy and stupid all day long and then wide awake and pacing the house until three in the morning. Which would be fine if I was able to get any work done at night, or if I didn't get completely depressed without enough sunlight, or if I never wanted to see my wife. As it is, not so much fine.

10. The thing I never realized about ultrasounds is that they cast shadows. You can't really see it in still photos, it's only noticeable while the beam is moving around: every time it passed through our baby's ribcage there'd be these little venetian-blind rows of shadows streaming behind it.

11. The other thing I never realized was how much fetuses (fetii?) move around. I always pictured this basically quiescent figure calmly wrapped into, well, the fetal position, and waiting like that for nine months or so. Instead the guy was flopping around more or less like a goldfish in a too-small fish tank.

12. A dozen is a good place to stop. Time to get back to work.
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In the car yesterday, I was being kind of quiet, and [livejournal.com profile] squirrelhaven asked me what I was thinking. And I realized that I was thinking about how much work it was going to be to clear the extra land around our house so we'd have room to raise some crops, and how I might be able to improvise a fence using the branches from the dead wood I've been clearing lately anyway, to pen in some grazing animals -- probably goats would be manageable -- would the lawn and be enough of a food source or would I need to clear more land for them, too? A lot of ferns grow in the woods here, can goats eat ferns? And if we stopped chlorinating the pool would it still stay clean enough to be a safe water source for the animals? because the stream at the bottom of the hill is much too far away, and it might be a good idea to get started on all of this sooner than later before it becomes impossible to rent a tractor, because if I have to try clearing those stumps by hand we're going to starve to death for sure.

I traced back through the chain of thoughts that had led to me spinning out this little apocalyptic peak-oil narrative to myself, and it turned out to have been triggered by this: I saw a cow. That's all it took.

It's possible I need to start being a bit more mindful of where I let myself drift.

--

Edited to add: This, of course, would be the same car ride during which she was planning our baby's pirate / ninja upbringing.

We're going to have one weird-ass kid.
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This will amuse [livejournal.com profile] eeblet particularly, because almost the same thing happened to her recently:

Time elapsed between me whining on LJ about having no work to do, and me receiving an email (from someone who had not seen the post) with a new job offer: 40 minutes.

I'm pretty sure that's a new record.
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