Thursday, May 5th, 2016 10:29 pm
It's been almost a month since my last entry, and in that time I've:

- Performed in the Cherubini Requiem, without suffering heat stroke, thankfully.

- Seen Pentatonix perform in a nearly sold-out arena, with both of my kids fanboying like crazy.

- Sewn a birthday gift for [personal profile] mackatlaw, a duvet cover with a Star Wars theme.

- Seen and loved the remake of Disney's Jungle Book.

- Spent a week traveling with about 150 fifth graders and their chaperones, covering something like 10 national monuments, 5 dead presidents, and more than 50,000 steps taken over the course of three days in the DC area.

- Sung in another handbell concert, this time an arrangement of the Beatles' song "Let It Be".

- Begun practicing our two chorus songs for the Star Wars concert with the symphony on the 21st, "Duel of the Fates" and "Battle of the Heroes".

- Attended two meetings with the kids' school teachers, with a third scheduled for tomorrow.

- Seen the Punch Brothers (Chris Thile's other band) perform to a packed house at Iron City.

- Taken my mom to see Paul Simon's first concert here in 25 years.

So to say that I've been busy would be a wee bit understated. The next few days should be a bit calmer, although I'm hoping to go see CA:CW on Saturday if I can get someone to keep the kids.

Still reeling from the Paul Simon concert last night. I've had his 1991 concert on CD since I was in high school, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect, but it was still overwhelming how many fantastic songs he's written over the course of his long career, songs that manage to both have a timeless quality while also instantly transporting me back to the age I was when I first heard them. He performed a two hour set, including four(!) encores, and still left me wanting more.

Set list... )
Thursday, May 5th, 2016 05:45 pm
"Hello, I'm the Ukip candidate."
"Not at all my thing, I'm afraid."
"Oh, don't worry, I'm on the liberal wing of Ukip."
"Everyone says we're about racism! It's not about racism! It's about space! Like, I proposed at national conference to send a cruise ship to the Med to pick up the migrants and check their papers. Better than letting them drown!"
"Well, yes, better than letting them drown."
"But let me tell about healthcare tourism! People from all over the world come here and get treated free."
"It's not that common for..."
"Pshaw! Have you been to Salford Royal recently?"
"Then why did I need to get health insurance when I lived in the US and came back to the UK?"
"That's what I mean! Foreigners shoulf have health insurance!"
"We have to go now."
"Thanks for talking to me! So many people don't."
Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 08:13 am
So, uh. This happened at work.

The University's been facing a tough time with declining enrollment. To make the books balance for next year, they had to cut eight staff positions.

I got called into the Dreaded Uncomfortable Meeting with five other staff members yesterday afternoon, where we learned we were being laid off. They went to great lengths to say that these reductions were a strictly financial decision that had nothing to do with our individual performance.

While I'm understandably annoyed that my position is winding down, I'm not bitter about the situation. The current leadership at AlgomaU has a lot going for them, and I truly wish them well in meeting the challenges they face. The University has the potential to be a profoundly important institution for all of Canada, and a crown jewel of our local community. I hope I see them turn that vision into a reality.

That said, I'm taking this as an opportunity to springboard on to greater things. =)

Because of our family situation, I very strongly prefer to stay local (Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada), but at this point I'm open to substantial travel -- say, 25%, possibly even 40% or more depending on how it's spread out? So if there are any cool places out there who could use a *nix nerd in Software Development, QA, or Systems Administration, right now I'm all ears. ^_^
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 12:20 am
[Alexander the Great is questioning some Indian philosophers, and has threatened to execute anyone who gives a wrong answer]

• The first one... being asked which, in his opinion, were more numerous, the living or the dead, said that the living were, since the dead no longer existed.
• The second, being asked whether the earth or the sea produced larger animals, said the earth did, since the sea was but a part of the earth.
• The third, being asked what animal was the most cunning, said: "That which up to this time man has not discovered."
• The fourth, when asked why he had induced Sabbas to revolt, replied: "Because I wished him either to live nobly or to die nobly."
• The fifth, being asked which, in his opinion, was older, day or night, replied: "Day, by one day"; and he added, upon the king expressing amazement, that hard questions must have hard answers.
• Passing on, then, to the sixth, Alexander asked how a man could be most loved; "If," said the philosopher, "he is most powerful, and yet does not inspire fear."
• Of the three remaining, he who was asked how one might become a god instead of man, replied: "By doing something which a man cannot do";
• the one who was asked which was the stronger, life or death, answered: "Life, since it supports so many ills."
• and the last, asked how long it were well for a man to live, answered: "Until he does not regard death as better than life."

-- Plutarch, "Lives", late 1st century
Monday, May 2nd, 2016 06:22 am
Just messing around. (
Thursday, April 28th, 2016 08:48 pm
Been afraid of saying anything, out of fear I'll scare away the motivation by mentioning it, but I've been playing guitar often enough / long enough that I'm finally starting to develop calluses.

I've been taking a scattershot approach: some evenings I follow a more structured approach (Andy Guitar when I've got the attention span; various apps when I don't). Other evenings I just sit down and play random songs from things people have put on the internet.

It's very nice to be able to sit down and have music come from my fingers. Like... like what, really, is this?

And because pop songs all take after one another, it turns out that even though there are like, a million different chords, half a dozen is enough to play most songs.

I'm still avoiding bar chords, but those come up so infrequently that I sometimes just don't *play* that one chord, and fill it in with my voice instead. (Cheater cheater <3)

I'm trying to wrap my brain around chord transposition. I've got something which takes an existing series of chord and transposes them, no problem. But then... I'm unsure what this means when I'm playing them on the guitar. Do I play on the same fret as I would pre-transposition, just with the new chord? Do I move one fret down for each step I've transposed? idk!
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 12:38 am
So...our ski club hosts a lantern ski two evenings a year, so people can putter along enjoying the trails and the twilight. They used to use oldschool kerosene lanterns, but the club got rid of them a few years back. It sounds like they were getting dirty and rusty, and nobody was quite sure how to make them less so.

Unfortunately, the candle lanterns that replaced them don't work very well. They don't provide any substantial illumination, and in the winter, the candles burn out quickly -- they don't retain enough heat to melt their own wax well, and burn down the middle instead of across their entire width.

I went looking for a better solution, and was surprised to find that new kerosene lanterns are actually still a thing sold in North America. Like, ones for real use, as opposed to collectables or antiques that are just supposed to sit on a shelf and look nice. So I ordered one.
Read more... )
Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 12:00 am
by Dorothy Parker
I shall come back without fanfaronade
of wailing wind and graveyard panoply;
but, trembling, slip from cool Eternity —
a mild and most bewildered little shade.
I shall not make sepulchral midnight raid,
but softly come where I had longed to be
in April twilight's unsung melody,
and I, not you, shall be the one afraid.
Strange, that from lovely dreamings of the dead
I shall come back to you, who hurt me most.
You may not feel my hand upon your head,
I'll be so new and inexpert a ghost.
Perhaps you will not know that I am near —
and that will break my ghostly heart, my dear.