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    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2010
    Wow, it's been, like, forever since I posted here. Sorry about that folks. Hopefully I can pick up the pace a bit. If anyone still checks:p

    To be honest, not much going on. Big project at work that keeps getting delayed, which means we're scrambling to get other stuff done at the same time now. But this isn't all that unusual, and I think we're doing well. I even won an award recently (and unexpectedly), which is nice. I'm also starting to build a new team of Business Analysts, though it's hard going at this point. But I'm still making my way through a bunch of resumes, so I guess there's hope. Getting a lot of people coming from the banking and lending industries. Unfortunately, a lot of them don't seem to have the temperament for fast-paced retail environments. Also getting a lot of IT folks, and my team is not technically in IT (which does make a difference).

    I'm also trying to figure out some vacations for the summer. I'm planning on a trip across the northeast, part of which some of you might already know about:p So Boston is definitely on the itinerary, but I may have stops in Manhattan, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (of those, only Connecticut is definite). Depending on how much time I can take off at once, I may also stop down in Washington for a day trip the next week too...

    Otherwise, I don't really have anything else. There will probably be something at the beach with my brother & his family later in the summer. I was also considering branching out and going to a different film-fest like Toronto or Austin (fantastic fest!), but that's too far away at this point.

    So my music listening project has been going reasonably well, though I'm encountering a big setback now that lala.com is shutting down (stupid apple - every bit as evil as microsoft, they just have better taste in design). That site allowed me to listen to any given album at least once, which allowed me to branch out to stuff that I was pretty sure I wouldn't like (in most cases, I was right, but it's nice to try). I'm only about 50 albums into the 1000 that are featured in my book, but it's still been fun. I'm listening right now to the latest Mike Patton album called Mondo Cane - it's mostly in Italian and seems to be an homage to 60s pop? Very strange, but kinda fun. I'll have to look into alternatives, but so far I haven't found anything reliable that's free.

    Grooveshark seems cool at first, but it's ridiculously unreliable and difficult to use, even for stuff that should be popular and easy. Pandora is neat and all, but it doesn't really allow you to listen to specific stuff. Other sites don't have the depth or quality I need. At this point, I'm seriously considering a Napster subscription. If I buy it for 3 months, it's only $5 a month, and it's actually an improvement over lala in that I can do unlimited streaming (and in some cases, it would be nice to listen to an album multiple times, where I could only do so once on lala)

    I honestly haven't been watching nearly as many movies this year. Only 7 or 8 movies that were released in 2010 so far, and we're almost halfway through the year... Usually I'm at least double or triple that by now. I should be able to catch up later in the year as this stuff is released on DVD if I want, but I guess we'll see. I am seeing Iron Man 2 tomorrow night. I'm not tremendously excited about it though. I mean, I liked the first one, but I didn't love it. I'm betting this one will be disappointing.

    I'm more excited for tomorrow's happy hour thing though, because a bunch of us have started a monthly quasi-tradition of finding a BYOB place and bringing various beers and wines and kinda doing a tasting. It was fun last time, and I get to try new and interesting beers (as well as share some of my own). I found a place in Delaware that has a wide selection of individual bottles for sale (big 750ml bottles, not a regular 12 once thing), including a lot of the microbrews and belgians that I really enjoy. I really don't have my beer snobbery down (reading beer advocate is always amusing, as I have no idea what they're talking about or how they can taste the hint of this or that ingredient, etc...) but I enjoy trying new and different stuff. Anyway, tomorrow we're going to be at this place called the stadium grille. It's basically a burger joint with a bunch of TVs for sporting events and it's also a BYOB. Fun stuff. We might even get the chance to watch the Flyers get knocked out of the playoffs!

    Well, my album ended and I want to get back to reading my Conquerors books, but if you see this, say hi and let us know how you're doing:)

    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2010
    I've been busy. Work, home, health. The last part is mostly about headaches and migraines. I probably just need a dosage increase on the medicine that's supposed to prevent them, but I was reluctant to do that, thinking the first spat of headaches were just a fluke, the second due to allergies, the third due to...well, I can't keep explaining them away, now can I? I've had a headache every day for weeks now. The headache doesn't usually last all day or even more than a couple of hours, but it still takes something out of me - energy, positive mood, motivation.

    And Charles is having a health problem that's making me very unhappy for him. Like me, he has degenerative disc disease, aka osteoarthritis, in his lower back. But his arthritis is of the facet joints of the vertebrae; mine is of the intervertebral discs. We've known about his osteoarthritis for a couple of years now, but his doctor didn't make clear that his is located in the facet joints, which makes a big difference in treatment. The difference in location explains why standing for more than an hour can be painful to me but sitting is okay, and why Charles can't sit or lie down without pain but stand and walk fine. We're opposite, but each situation is equally shit. My physical activities are limited because bending forward, to the side, lifting, standing, and walking are all potentially problematic. Charles can never rest comfortably. Can you imagine getting home after work and not being able to enjoy a rest? Not being able to sleep through the night because lying down is painful?
    I've been living with leg and back pain for the majority of my life, and it's a hell I would never wish on another, especially the person I love most in the world. I wish I could take on his pain. He's doing physical therapy, so I really hope that leads to improvement the way it did for me.

    There will be more changes for me in my job, and I'm worried they're going to make me unhappy, but we'll see. I don't want to start not liking my job, but I'm sure things will work out no matter what happens. Nothing has stayed the same for me work or career-wise for 2.5 years, and that's actually the best kind of scenario for my personality.

    I'm really curious now as to what exactly you do tallman, so you'll have to tell me about it when we cross paths. ;) My husband can regale you with descriptions of his work.

    At home we're having a screened porch constructed on the back of our house. I believe the cement for the patio is ready to be poured, based on the amount of rebar set up out there. This project must be completed before we leave for our vacation in June, and I trust that it will. We're not supposed to be getting any crazy rain. So it will be screened porch, vacation, fostering kittens, house parties, landscaping, hopefully some attic insulation...we'll keep busy.

    I've been reading the past couple of months, when the headaches haven't been bad. I ended up really enjoying The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It's fantasy.
    Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic...

    There's a quote from a review of the book on the back of my paperback copy, and I didn't notice before I bought it that it compares part of the book to Harry Potter. Turns out that's kind of accurate, but only in passing. School of magic, strange professors, rivals, secrets, but not quirky like HP. The main character's young childhood is extremely cliche, but that's to be expected, especially within this genre. But I really like the writing. I eagerly await the second book...

    And then I also recently finished a second book within a triology (young adult fiction, but I think other adults would enjoy it) by Susan Beth Pfeffer. The first book is Life As We Knew It, the second is The Dead and the Gone, and the third is This World We Live In. The trilogy follows two families as they try to survive after an asteroid hits the moon, causing its orbit to be closer to Earth. When I read this blurb, I immediately knew I had to read it. Because while the characters in the books don't initially realize how screwed they are, I did. This is fascinating to me - how would we survive in such a reality? I enjoyed the narration of the second book a bit more than the first. The first is told from the first-person perspective of a 16 year old girl writing in her diary. It's less annoying than it sounds, because while I assume the author wanted the narrator to have realistic teenager concerns and focus, she also made her quite mature. The writing is not that of a real teenager, thank god.

    I did not like In the Woods by Tana French. It's actually a good book, I suspect, but I just didn't give a shit about the characters whatsoever. And for a book that's less about the plot and more about the development of the main character, that's unfortunate. I'm pretty sure I "got it" but just didn't feel invested. It never helps when I feel I do know the characters because they remind me of people I know/have known, and they happen to be people I don't like.

    I'm also sad about lala.com. I didn't know they had been acquired by Apple late last year until this recent announcement. Lala.com allowed me to grow my music collection by two albums in a month, which is quite a feat! I love that I was able to buy DRM-free mp3 albums, in addition to sampling music for free. I've bought a few single songs since I liked them but not the whole albums. How awesome is that?
    I did install iTunes a couple of months ago so that I can download some podcasts I listen to while exercise (though sometimes I read). iTunes was the only way I could do that, but god do I hate that program. I'm not a fan of Apple anyway. When we won an iPod nano in a raffle, I used it for one day and hated it with a passion. We gave it to my brother-in-law, who also hates it, but would hate buying his own portable mp3 player even more. I haven't liked what I've seen of my sister's iPhone from fiddling with that. I know there are lots of cool features, but I don't like the user interface in any respect. I wouldn't say I hate Apple because I'm open to liking their products. I'm not actively anti-Apple, I just have yet to be convinced of its greatness. Kind of like me and religion, haha.

    We need some new beer in our life. It's usually Fireman's 4, other Real Ale beers, Fat Tire, Tilburg, or Live Oak. There's a store with a wide selection of bottled brews, but I wish I could buy just one bottle instead of a four- or six-pack.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2010
    I wish I could be heading to Boston!

    Instead, I will be doing a lot of traveling back home this summer. I leave on Friday to make a short weekend trip because my stepbrothers (twins) are graduating high school. I also have to condense 36 hours of work into 4 days this week and the week I come back to reduce leave usage. It is not going to be pretty. I'm going to have to force myself to get to bed at 10.

    I have yet to buy plane tickets for the June trip. They dicked around a bit on our cost savings canvassing period. Just got the paperwork last week...but they blacked out the entire month of June. So, I have to use regular vacation for the first part of the trip anyway. Then, my supervisor misread the instructions and thought she couldn't even approve my June vacation due to the blackout, despite the fact that makes no sense at all. What the instructions were saying was that she can't approve vacations until after July, so that she will know how many people will be out for cost savings days before approving them.

    Do you know how hard it is to come up with two weeks to take off for the next year? Harder than I thought it would be. So, I am trying for extending the June trip past July 4th with the first week of cost savings. Combined with the holiday that would mean more than two weeks in Oklahoma AND being able to take a day or two off work at home to readjust after the vacation. And then I'm attempting to take the second week at Christmas. I have about medium seniority in my unit, so I hope it works. But, I'm going to have buy a one way ticket for myself and a roundtrip ticket for my boyfriend soon and then wait until the end of this month to buy my return one way ticket.

    I use rhapsody for music since getting my MP3 player. I don't have the philosophical objections to DRM that others do. The fact that they store the library with the account even if I stop paying the monthly fee is enough for me. The ease of use is so nice, I'll even just drag and drop things I already own from Rhapsody rather than mess around with saving them on my computer first. What I really like is not having to store anything on my computer. If something happens, I don't have to worry about backing up anything or losing anything. My music is on Rhapsody, my email is web-based, don't watch movies on my computer anyway and if I did, it would be Netflix streaming.

    We still haven't gone to see Clash of the Titans. I may ditch my boyfriend on the movie-going front for the most part and start seeing movies with a friend of mine who is single, has more free time and often goes by himself to movies.

    I've been reading a fair amount, but not posting. I think the problem is that I have to post from my computer, which means going upstairs away from cats, the DVR, etc. I wanted to set up a wireless network connection for my laptop, to help with that but so far windows 7 is making my brain hurt with that attempt. We may have to call in semi-professional help when I finally get around to buying an Ipad. I have had no love for Apple up to this point, honestly. I hate the ipod and it's supposedly 'intuitive' wheel. The screens on the ipod touch and the iphone would give me a headache doing anything for an extended period of time. I was planning to get a netbook anyway, but a friend dragged me to the apple store to try out the Ipad when I expressed possible interest in it rather than a netbook. I see the Ipad as actually functioning like a multitool in many ways...as a netbook for browsing internet, as a portable DVD player when delayed in an airport using the netflix app and as an e-book reader. I wouldn't be able to get nice versions of all three of those for $600. I also don't worry too much about being an early adopter. The nice thing about having a large family, is if the shiny new version comes out and I can't resist then my old version will make the best Christmas present ever for somebody.

    So, since I last made detailed blog postings I've finished an Ursula K. Leguin trilogy, a book called Darwinia whose author I forget, Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg which I totally picked up just because of the Decemberists song, the second book in a space opera by Elizabeth Bear called Chill and two books in the Cast House Of Night Series. That last series is a tiny bit like Harry Potter meets Anita Blake. I'm not sure how appealing it would be to others. It is set in my hometown, so I can get past the bad YA writing style and cheesy pagan elements with the sheer glee of imagining the most prestigious Catholic school in town being turned into a boarding school for vampires. The others I may try to get around to reviewing at least briefly, but it may not be until after I get back from Oklahoma and stop working 9.5 hour days.

    Our favorite liquor stores usually have at least on refrigerated unit where you can make your own six pack. You still get charged individually for the bottles you put in, but you are allowed to mix and match. It's the best way to go. That or have a boyfriend who reads about beer all the time and is also chatty with the guys at all of the stores we go to, so he can subtly influence their ordering or know when they are getting something new in stock for only a limited amount of time.
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2010
    Sorry to hear about the continuing problems with headaches and migraines. Not getting migraines is one of those things I think I take for granted because I'm never sidelined by headaches. I do get them though, and actually I think my new laptop at work (which has a crappy graphics card or something) is causing me to get more headaches (probably because of my nonstandard dual-monitor setup). Either that or I spend too much time looking at screens and/or concentrating on a book. Whenever I get a headache at home, I just fold laundry, which sorta helps my head, I guess because I'm not visually focusing on anything. Anyway, I hope your headaches subside because they are truly frustrating.

    My job has changed somewhat of late, and being a manager also changes things a bit too. My new job is known as "Business Analysis", but it's something I've been doing for the past 10 years without ever really calling it that (along with a bunch of other stuff like interface design, usability, information architecture, QA, and frontend coding of HTML/CSS/JS). There are a lot of formal processes and stuff for it that I'm not that familiar with, but I'm learning and trying to put together a team that can focus on this...

    A screened in porch sounds pretty awesome. My porch right now has all this moss or something growing on it, which I'm going to have to deal with soon. But still, screened in porch would hopefully keep the bugs out whilst providing you with some fresh air, etc.. Fun:)

    I've always wondered what a real magic school would be like. Harry Potter always annoyed me because neither the teachers nor the students seemed particularly adept at their respective roles in the education system. Of course, HP is a kids book and it's a fantasy, but I'd wonder what a real school would be like... which sounds like what you're describing with The Name of the Wind?

    I just signed up for 3 months of Napster. Unlimited listening online, and I get 5 DRM-free MP3 downloads per month. So basically, I'm getting 15 songs for $15, plus the unlimited listening. Seems like a decent deal for me, and now I get to listen to stuff I like more than once without having to buy it. Rhapsody seems pretty cool too, though I probably fall into that camp of people who disagree with DRM on philosphical terms... Still, the convenience there is the ability to download files to put on a portable device (is that how it works?) I think that's the one way I can accept DRM - when it comes with a large value proposition and is reasonably convenient, it doesn't bother me as much (another example that gets it right: Steam). But for now, I think Napster will work for me...

    With respect to apple, I have to admit that they make great stuff. I just don't like their control-freakism. I mean, buying lala and shutting it down makes a lot of sense for Apple. It just sucks for the rest of us. I actually don't hate itunes. It's grown on me over the years, and I do really like my ipod and iphone.

    The iPad is an interesting device. For the current price, I don't think it's worth it for me, but maybe when the next generation comes out and maybe if the price comes down a bit... the thing that it seems really ideal for is the couch web surfing scenario. I have a laptop for that purpose right now, but it's really awkward and it takes a while to turn on, etc... The ipad would probably work just as well if not much better. It's smaller and it turns right on with the swipe of a finger (I really like that part). The things that annoy me about it, though, is the price and the fact that I can't share my iPhone 3G plan (or at least get some sort of discount for having both devices). Maybe someday, after the next generation of iPads come out... In the meantime, my ipod is probably on its last legs (I don't like to use my phone to play music) and I'll probably be investing in a new ipod nano at some point.

    Pennsylvania has terrible alcohol distribution. First, you can't buy beer or liquor in the same store (nor can you buy either in a supermarket). So if you're planning a party, you probably have to go to a supermarket, a liquor store, and a beer distributer. Three separate stops. It sucks. But Delaware is relatively close, which is where I can get those bottles of good beer:) Sov, I used to frequent a pizza shop that had a few coolers of beer and would let you mix-and-match a six pack, which was awesome. But that place closed down and I don't know of any others... I agree though, it's an ideal situation, provided they actually have a good list of beers.

    One of the things we were thinking about doing at work was to have a case swap - we all buy one case of beer, then get together and swap our beers to get a variety... so if there were 12 people, we'd get 2 bottles of each beer. That would be pretty awesome.

    Anywho, I've got the rest of the night free. Not sure what I'm going to do. Perhaps watch a movie. Or maybe I can finish off Conqueror's Heritage tonight. I'm still rather stuffed from the Mother's Day brunch earlier today, but I need to eat something now or I'll get hungry late tonight and want to eat a full meal right before bed (which is bad!) So I should probably do that now...

    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2010
    Oy! I haven't been around in a while. Bad me!

    I'm sorry to hear of your and your husband's ailments, Spencer. That looks wrong. "Your and your husband..." You and your husband? Whatever, I'm tired. ANYWAY THAT SUCKS.

    Uh, what's going on with me? I saw a peacock the other day on my street. No, there's more to my life, but let me tell you about the peacock because I live just outside of downtown so peacocks are a big deal. I was coming home to grab my iPod before heading to work and I saw it, walking along up the street, but figured my eyesight just sucks and there's no way there's a peacock just grooving along but then I got closer and IT'S MOTHERFUCKING PEACOCK TIME! You may have seen this already, those of you on twitter, but check it: http://twitpic.com/1ongfo


    I've heard its squawk echoing through the neighbourhood before but didn't actually realise it was a peacock. It sounds like a person doing a really bad imitation of a cat. I've heard them before and knew they were peacocks but it's been so long I'd forgotten. Anyway, the funniest part is that the night before I was talking to a girl at a bar and she asked where I lived and I described the area and she said "oh near the peacocks?" and I thought I misheard her or she'd had more to drink than I thought and was spouting nonsense.


    Anyway, what else? There's a girl I've been seeing for a couple months now. She's quite amazing and for some reason thinks similarly of me, so I'm not going to question it. I enjoy the company of anyone with whom I can watch documentaries about theremins at four in the morning. Did I misuse "whom" just now? Whatever, I'm tired. Back to the point, our schedules probably conflict too much for most people but since neither of us sleep easily and go out a lot, it works out really well actually. Except that I've been seeing her since March and only like three of my friends have met her even though I've met a billion people she knows.


    Work's been busy and we've recently become rather understaffed so it's been even busier. It's not bad though. I'm on a new project and would rather be busy all day than not busy at all. We have a couple iPads at work for testing and sales presentations. I think the iPad's probably a really good product for someone else. I'd rather have a netbook just because I could code on it (but I don't because I already have a more powerful laptop that I almost never use). The other features really aren't that important to me. Email/Internet is more than good enough on my (non-smart) phone and I can't justify spending $600 to play scrabble with my friends who have iPhones. I think I kinda annoyed the Mac guys at work when I started legitimately yelling "how do you right-click on this thing?!"


    Quit talking about reading. You're all making me look bad. I have tons of unfinished books lying all over the place. At my feet. On my nightstand. In my laptop bag. On my face. I should go to bed now.
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2010
    I saw your peacock on twitter. It's a very nice peacock. You should capture it and start your own TV network, then sue NBC for stealing the likeness of your mascot (or CEO, depending on which direction you want to go in).

    Nice to hear about your lady friend! And theremins are pretty cool, are they not? Why wouldn't someone want to watch a documentary about them at 4 in the morning?

    As for reading, well, I was really bad about reading for the last half of last year. I started reading Infinite Jest, and then puttered out at around 400 pages in... it's still sitting on my nightstand as if I'll pick it up and read it. But I gave up TV for Lent this year, which suddenly increased the amount of time available for reading, and that's sorta stuck with me. I think it was a good idea:)

    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2010
    I ran the lawsuit idea by my CEO and it's a no-go. Peacocks don't care for trivial matters, he said. Actually, he said "awwwrrraaaaahhhhhh awwwrrrraaaahhhh" but I think that's what he meant. Either that or "ladies, I'm over here!"

    Actually, since then I have another peafowl story. I came home from work on my lunch break the other day to get some paperwork and as I was leaving to go back, I noticed a peahen (the ladycock has no crazy tail but is still crazy-looking) sitting on the railing of the stairs that go to the roof of my building! The invasion has begun.

    Since then, I've also actually procured a theremin of my own. I can't play it terribly well yet but it's fun. I love it. The other day I took it to a friend's house and hooked it up to her distortion pedals for her guitar, which made it go from sounding like a weird spacey classical thing to the secret lovechild of a jet engine and a guitar. It was awesome.
    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2010
    Mmm, theremin. Tasty.