glitch25: (Default)
Something I've been meaning to post about that I keep avoiding, but that I want to tackle is a bit of a review of a product I've been using lately.

It is an online budgeting system called You Need A Budget or YNAB. It is a structure and a mindset to go about building and maintaining a budget and really to be more definitively aware of how you spend money and how to keep track of how and where it goes, and to use that information to make informed decisions about spending.

I seems like lots of people are in different places when it comes to money, and for me, my place involves some debt, a regular income, bills that are mostly manageable, and a tendency to not be mindful of any leftovers that come around. For me, this particular budgeting solution seems to work really well, and I've found some good successes in planning ahead.

I think the ultimate goal for budgeting is not just to make it month to month. It is to plan ahead if you can. If you aren't making enough to make ends meet, that is definitely one issue, but if your discretionary spending is really what is contributing to this problem or holding you back from moving forward financially, a budget is a good idea.

YNAB builds on various core principles of money. Firstly is the idea of giving every dollar a job. Account for every single penny in your possession and continue to lay out the specifics about what every dollar of every paycheck or income does as it comes. That means being intentional about your spending. It also means being mindful of your habitual spending. Notice I said mindful and not restrictive. Budgets don't have to be limiting. They just need to be accurate and mindful.

The next idea is becoming very aware of your expected expenses as they relate to how money arrives. In your goal to give money a job, account for the expenses you have before you get paid again, and set that money aside. Learn your expenses.. not just the ones coming in a couple weeks, but the other ones that maybe only happen once a quarter or once a year. Begin to think of them in the now and set a little aside to work up to them. There are really nice money goal features that allow you to set times and amounts for your expenses to help encourage you and to track your progress on your savings goals be they for an upcoming tax bill or even a day trip away.

Next, understand that budgets are not immovable things in stone. Expenses change month to month and your budget should change to reflect it. If you went to a movie this month and you normally don't, if you didn't budget for it originally, you need to now and you'll need to shuffle around your budget allocations to accommodate it. Maybe it means that the extra money you were putting aside for a new set of tires doesn't get as much as you normally put aside. It follows the common sense idea that you wanted to spend it, so since you kept track and gave every dollar a job already, you need to change those jobs a little. Working through THIS process helps you see where your financial priorities are. Maybe your priorities are having a latte in the mornings. Or maybe it is putting extra money aside to help pay off your school loan. Either way, you'll learn those priorities, and with the visibility that YNAB provides, it is in this process that you can learn to adjust if you want. Or not. It's all up to you.

Finally, the last concept is to age your money. The example they give, and one that I like, is the idea of the grain silo. If you think of your income as grain, it enters the top of the silo. What you spend you pull from the bottom of the silo. The goal is to make sure that grain stays in the silo as long as possible. If you pull out grain faster than you replace it, that is obviously not good. And if you are pulling it out at the same rate, that isn't necessarily good either. It doesn't give you a future place to work from. The program also mentions that really, you don't want your income to sit for years at a time outside of a specific investment either. Your money should have a job whether it is saving for future expenses or even planning for fun things. As you age your money, you find you have extra to push ahead for future expenses and can start feeling some of that financial breathing room. As you go along and account your income and your expenses in the software, it makes calculations as to how you're doing, and it displays the "age" of your money.

I've been using the system for several months now, and I find that it helps me be mindful of my spending, and it still gives me the freedom to spend the way I want to spend. One of the other things that this system stresses is to stop using consumer credit and to instead work at planning ahead for those sorts of expenses. I've found personally that as I've continued to work with the system and change my spending habits, my need for credit has become less and less. I find myself paying for things in cash in a way I never imagined I could.

To be clear, budgeting is not easy work. It involves updates and adjustments constantly. It is definitely a commitment not only to time but to working with the process. I am finding that for me, the system helps a lot and I'm seeing some very tangible results that make my commitment worth the effort.

YNAB is probably not for everybody, and if you have a system in place that already keeps you intimately aware of your spending and your savings goals, you probably don't need this. But if you've been looking for a structure to start with, and don't mind putting in the time and effort, I'd say YNAB is a great product and worth not only the money (a small monthly fee) but also the effort involved in following it and reaping the associated rewards.

You can find YNAB at https://www.youneedabudget.com/ and the first month is free!
glitch25: (Default)
Last night, I got around to watching the movie Imperium with Daniel Radcliffe. Firstly, if you haven't experienced Dan's acting outside of Harry Potter, you must. He is a brilliant and versatile actor, and I'm really getting to enjoy his work. This movie was a great role for him, and I think he pulled it off really well.

As to the movie, it was unfortunately rather timely. It is about an FBI agent played by Radcliffe who goes undercover into groups of white supremacists in effort to gain intel and to subvert terror attacks. As he's studying the literature and learning about how he will fit in, he discovers the nature of what it means to be a white supremacist and from where it comes.

One of the points the FBI in the movie made was a reflection of how many domestic terror attacks were racially motivated and the seemingly endless list of white male perpetrators, and how it is that finding the Islamic terrorists seems to be viewed by the administration as the golden ticket, but that it is the white supremacists that make for a more viable and sustained threat.

The movie paints a picture of both the radicalized white supremacists in particular along with the familial followers and the disenfranchised folks that find a focal point in the propaganda.

Really good movie. I'd definitely recommend even if it wasn't Dan.

And given the latest cabinet appointments, it is scary as shit out there.
glitch25: (Default)
Something I do a lot at work, or when I need to kind of shut out the outside world and focus on something specific is pick a piece of music I like and play it on single-track repeat over and over and over and over again.

Typically it is a track with a driving beat. I think that part specifically appeals to my inner metronome. Driving beat, familiar melody. Lyrics and genre are unimportant. I typically don't "hear" the lyrics too much. If I do, they become part of the white noise (probably closer to brown noise knowing my preferences for these things), and I don't generally internalize them.

I have lots of musical tracks that I gravitate towards, and I've started creating a playlist of just those tracks that I will put on single-track repeat and play and play until either I get tired of it, or want something else, and then I hit skip and go to the next one. Generally, I'll hang on one track for hours. Sometimes I will keep the same track for days at a time.

I decided I wanted to write about this to see if anybody else does this specifically. Not so much a rolling playlist, but a single musical track or two that get played on repeat for a long stretch of time as a sort of zen meditation thing. :)

Brains are awesome. :-D
glitch25: (amazement)
You know, I paid for a subscription to this thing... I WANT to use it more. But I keep feeling like the frivilous things i want to chat about don't compare to the dumpster fire that is our country these days. I appreciate that somewhere along the line, posts of other things are useful and important to help us remember why we're fighting for all this. Doesn't change the fact that it's hard to want to post about anything other than the sitch.

Keep it up, folks. I don't know that we can say we're being heard just yet, but I'm pretty sure that the only way we will be heard is to keep going. The fatigue is real, but we must persist. It is the only way.
glitch25: (piano)
Howdy do! I finally have more topics than time to write about them. I've been keeping a running list using Checkvist (really nifty web based list maker, btw) of things as I think of them that I'll want to remember to talk about . I've got a few piling up, so I thought I'd make time to pull the ripcord on one of them

Today's entry is about the bass. Specifically that I've been learning to play bass. Last year, I saved up my pennies and purchased a Kala U-Bass which is a bass ukulele. I figured that it was more portable and versatile, and I think I made a good decision. The thing is, I never played bass before. So I've been learning what I can and playing around with techniques and such. It's been really fun. This bonus round, I picked up a well-recommended portable bass amp that pairs nicely with the U-Bass, and I've been having a lot of fun.

One of my favorite things to do to practice and to learn more musicality of the instrument is to find YouTube videos of songs with the bass removed and learn to play along. There are bunches of those types of videos for nearly any purpose/genre/instrument you can think of, and I find them to be a very useful resource. My favorite are the ones that include the chords. As for bass, the easiest bass line to play is the root of the chord, so these help me learn my way around the fretboard, and I can start to see patterns in the progressions. The tuning of the bass also lends itself well to popular chord changes. And while my bass lines are not always too interesting, I'm learning my way around playing 4ths 5ths, and octaves and venturing beyond that. I know my next major step will be to learn the scales of those chords so I can get more comfortable with walking bass lines and other creativity.

I often realize that with piano as my first instrument, my musicality suffered a lot. These is no challenge to make in-tune pitches. There is technique to dynamics, but for the most part, anybody can walk up to a piano and play middle C, and on an in tune piano, it will always be a C. Most other instruments require considerable more technique to produce just a pitch, much less a nuanced pitch. I think that makes me very spoiled. On the flip side, it may have helped contribute to my fairly good ear for pitch. I know it also have me a leg up on learning chords and also on learning limb independence which has been helpful with learning drums.

Drums, bass, accordion... Probably some woodwinds or reeded brass. Yeah. I like making music and I love learning how to play. It is becoming one of my favorite ways to create and express myself.

What new thing are you learning these days?
glitch25: (so big)
Howdy all. Hope the year is starting out ok. Hope that you survived 2016 mostly intact. I understand for some, it was a pretty good year even accounting for a lot of the upfront losses there seemed to have been. I'm glad that you guys are doing well.

As for me? I know I had been poking people to update this thing and then I went and slowed down/stopped myself. Part of that was being tied up in my own things and lacking the brain to write stuff down. A lot of things have been going fairly well for me lately. New supervisor at work means better job stuffs. I'm getting to feel better about my job and about what it has to offer and what I have to offer it. Relationships are going really well. I feel truly blessed. Home stuff has been going well too. Lots of sorting and cleaning and adjusting. And the holidays didn't add too much extra moving parts to that, which has been lovely. Finances have been stabilizing in large part due to embracing a budget and being smarter about my spending along with the knowledge that at least one regular bill will be ending soon in the coming months which will give me greater leverage over the rest of them. Lots of other good things I'll talk about soon. Mostly just want to say that the last quarter of the year in my corner of it hasn't been too bad all things considered.

The other parts about not posting come from not knowing what to say about all the has been dumped on us these last several months. Lots of negativity and lots of changes that will affect us for days/months/years to come. Not sure I know what to say about all that knowing that in some part, I am privileged in a way that some of these things won't directly affect me. But it will affect people I love. It will affect lots of you in lots of ways. I'm here to support in what ever way I can, and I'm also doing little bits as I am able on my own to speak my voice and to enact my will towards making things better. I think there is a desire to wonder what my little bits will do, but in seeing some positive changes in my budgeting lately from what seem like little but cumulative changes has been a good reminder that every little bit helps even if just to maintain momentum.

Momentum is an important thing. Inertia is science! It not only applies to the physical world, but to society and our lives as well.

I hope that in spite of all that's been out there that your year has been more good than bad, and I hope that you are able to find your own momentum to continue to make your own corner of this place the sort of place you want it to be.

Love you all.

More soon!
glitch25: (Default)
SO MUCH CLEANING...

Really, not cleaning in the strictest sense. Mostly organizing. There have been boxes and boxes of stuff piled up in the living room. Things that were once mostly sorted that were allowed to become a part of the disarray. Boxes mixed with paint, bottles and tubes of adhesive, scale maille, ribbon, bits of cloth, leather, foam, saws, drills, punches, chisels, screw drivers, and so many other things.

One of the worst parts was that the apartment wasn't perfectly organized before all this started so I'm also working around that issue too. The plus side is that in the process of fixing everything, I'm taking care of stuff that has sat for months waiting to be done.

The change of season also means that things like most of the gardening stuff can be stored away now too. Might consider some garlic to winter over on the deck, but otherwise, I'm thinking most of the annual stuff is done and over. Speaking of the deck, we have a pallet to dispose that we never ended up using. There was a nifty gardening idea for pallets, but it requires a regular full-size pallet, and what I had was not that. Maybe in the process of breaking it down, I'll reconsider and finish the work to it that was going to be necessary. It would be neat to have a tiered garden next year, and we can do some of the prep for it now. Or I'll just toss it. But one way or another, we need to deal with it. We also have some plastic garden furniture that has traveled around for more than 10 years now, and needs to be tossed since I'm guessing the UV has made it unstable. In its place, we have a fantastic iron set of furniture that also needs some TLC, but is much better on the longevity. Looking forward to finishing up the prep work there and giving ourselves a nice place to take in the neighborhood during the spring and summer months.

We also have a tall solid steel one-piece handtruck that is taking up space. If you need one, we can probably arrange to get it to you. Might have some minor rust, and I think I need to get a new tube for one of the tires, but it is otherwise in good condition and has always been pretty diehard.

The dining room table was definitely the hardest hit by the propping since I used it as the weighing/mixing station for the polyurethane coating I was using. I have a few drips and spatters to deal with, but mostly I just need to continue to collect all the supplies and tools used for that part of the projects and get them either stored or disposed as appropriate. There is hope that we can get the table serviceable for things like dinner and gaming and other social events. :-) Would be weird. :-D

Strangely enough, the kitchen has been mostly ok. It ebbs and flows as things go, but it generally has stayed in reasonable condition if just to allow us to continue to cook and feed ourselves. :-)

The music room is in need to some shuffle as well. We have the old couch in there that doesn't quite fit at the moment, but can once we shuffle a few things. I also have a corner desk to disassemble and remove that will help to bring up storage space. And I'm thinking that a nice solid wire rack shelving unit will help organize some of the storage bins and give us a focal point for that sort of storage where as they are kinda stacked in the middle of the room at the moment.

All in all, lots to do, but lots of reward. I'm hoping to continue to momentum for a good while yet, so that we can get through the things we need to do before the winter's desire to nest saps the productivity streak. :-)

How goes Fall for you? What is on your plate and what are you eyebrow deep in?
glitch25: (Default)
For the first time in months, I feel like my head is finally lifting above the fog. Ironically just in time to see real fog. :-) I love Fall weather. I love Spring weather too. And I cope reasonably well with winter. Summer can kiss my ass. :-)

Our opening weekend of Rite of Jupiter was a rousing success, and I feel happy for that unto itself, and also because it means I can finally mostly cut it loose. We've achieved showtime, and that means that most of my worries and frustrations are at an end. As prop master and assistant stage manager, my role drops to just helping to keep the wheels on the bus, and fortunately, we built a very sturdy bus. :-) Have you come to see it? You should. :-)

Tickets here http://ritesofeleusis.com/purchase-tickets-merchandise/ or at the door as they are available.

I was digging for some work-related photos on my phone today, and I realized that I have a lot of photos that I keep not posting from outings, concerts, and various other things. I suspect I will attempt to fix that soon. Lots of good stuffs. :-)

Now that props are done, we can begin the arduous process of returning the home to living-space-mode. Our living room has been a pile of tools, foam, wood, and boxes for months now. We have a small path carved out to pass by, and mostly keep things free of important stuff, but it wears you down a little to come home to it, and to have to deal with putting it off a little longer. Now can commence the excavation.

And with that, I suspect there will be a lot of time spent being home. Working on home things, home space, and dealing with some changes that have had to be put off over the summer that are still needed with regards to space and organization. And more music. :-) One of the things we'll be working to do is making our music making space more usable and friendly to the process. There is a corner desk that will be getting the boot, and I will be doing more consolidation and storage of stuffs.

I have a lot of art projects on the horizon as well. Things I can do while being home. :-) I'll be working on at least one more regular book binding project, and I also have a surprise tangential project in mind that I might build out to sell if I can get a handle on it.

I also have apparently added accordion to my list of things I am learning to play. I find that it spends a lot of time not in the case when I'm home with some time. Because it is a smaller version of the full size instrument, there are some musical limitations, but I'm having a lot of fun finding the edges of them and playing around with the thing. I needs a bit of a tune-up, and I'll be looking to get some money together to do that, but on the whole, it is in remarkably good shape for its age, and I'm having a lot of fun playing around with it. I don't know that there will be time for lessons, but there is definitely time for play.

On top of accordion, I have a list of piano things to tackle as well. And today I felt my bass calling to me too. And of course, that means that guitar and mandolin aren't far behind. It's a thing.. That's for sure.

Some of the time spent not-at-home will be attending various things with Loves. Second Story Rep in Redmond has what looks to be a compelling season this year, and I suspect I'll be visiting their lovely black-box often this winter. Also, there are lots of movies coming, and lots of TV coming.

Speaking of movies, I wanted to mention that I'm continuing to be happy that Trump exists. Not for his presidential run as such, but for the fact that his brazen ways seem to be helping to give others less fear of speaking out about their controversial positions. These positions are, of course, not good ones. But as I've said before, I appreciate that people are speaking up and being upfront about their politics. It makes them easier to see and find. And in my case, to avoid. In this case, I'm speaking of a couple of directors of late. Clint Eastwood has regularly been a bit of an asshole for years, but his "pussy generation" comments of late tell me that he really doesn't care about the hurt and abuse people experience. I can't even see it as ignorance as much as willful disregard. It was a line that was drawn, and now he's off the proverbial list. I might catch his movies after the returns have been so completely diluted that he's not getting a penny for my patronage. However, it is entirely likely that I will just not go there at all. Trump has proven that Eastwood has plenty of people on his side. I can do without them. And though I know Hollywood is in the business of making movies, it would be nice to see actors taking a stand. And of course, we also have Tim Burton and his latest comments about how he essentially is flippant about the importance of POC in media and movies. That will be another set of movies I won't be seeing. Happy to see any of them pull their heads out of their asses. If it will happen. Not sure that it will. Don't feel much remorse about missing out on their stuff in the meantime. I'm just happy the assholes are carrying banners now. Makes them much easier to spot.

Anyways, nesting is the order of the day, and things on the whole are going well. More to come in this space as things unwind and settle for a moment.

How are you all doing??
glitch25: (Default)
I think I like to think that, while neck deep in prop stuff.. and materials... that.. somewhere along the line, I'd say to myself, "I hope I never see another $thing in my life again!" But that never seems to happen. :-)
glitch25: (Default)
Ok.. enough of that. ;-)

Happy the week is over and that I'm starting a nice Staycation on Monday. More likely a Propcation, to be honest, but I plan some down-time in there too. I'm planning a short trip out to Seaside to enjoy the beach and see what the area holds. Possible a trip to Astoria and to the movie museum. Hoping the weather holds and that I can fly one or more of my kites.

As to props, one of the inevitable things about being a builder is when you come to that point where you realize that your designs and experiments are not yielding a viable project and you have to take some time to regroup. Despite some good successes with other props this go around, I have reached that point with one prop and I am going to have to start over. Fortunately, I have some time and my other successes are guiding me to a solution. That makes me happy.

It's kinda funny because almost every run, I find myself stuck in a situation where I find that I am favoring a design or even a particular type of material for construction, and something doesn't go to plan. Unrelated to my troublesome prop, I found that I was favoring a particular material for a different set of props, and had to change it three times because of supply chain issues. XD Sometimes it pays to make sure you have enough of what you need before you decide you are enamored with it. One day I will learn. ;-)

In job news, our new supervisor started this week. So far, he seems ok, and I'm looking forward to getting to know him better and figure out how we all fit together as a team again. We've been proceeding without one for some time now (including the tail end of the reign of the last one), so I suspect it may take some time to get us warmed up again. Fortunately he doesn't appear to be in a hurry, and I appreciate that. I feel a little bad that I'm bailing on his second week, but this was planned before I even knew he was coming on board, so I guess we'll both deal. :-)

I also just reconnected with a friend I had lost touch with in high school, and we've been writing emails back and forth. It's kinda fun to reconnect and talk about all that's happened since. I haven't kept in touch with much of anybody from high school mostly because I wasn't close to very many people and on the whole did not consider high school a thing that I particularly wanted to remember. Haven't made it to the reunions and can't imagine that will change for the next one. But it is nice to catch up with some of the folks that I did want to remember.

How are you doing?
glitch25: (Default)
And even more props. :-)

It isn't so much that I have a lot of props this go around with Eleusyve and the Rite of Jupiter, but the props I do have seem like they are taking extra details and fussing. One set of props is involving a lot of detailed work that is both time consuming and involves lots of different materials. Another is mostly one sort of material, but it involves new techniques and it is new material that I've never worked with. Part of the process for that is also time consuming in a different way and involves a little bit of hazardous materials handling, which has been interesting. :-)

It's definitely been fun this go around with both sorts keeping me busy.

Time is of the essence this go around, and most of my free time is contemplating the next steps on these props. I'm enjoying the process and the opportunity to stretch my creativity and my skills. I'm also looking forward to getting to the end of the tunnel. :-)

The house is all props as it always seems to become. I'm looking forward to that settling out too. :-) So much stuff!! All over the place!!

Soon. Very soon.

Prop time!

Jul. 20th, 2016 11:40 am
glitch25: (Default)
Now continues that tradition of filling my home with weird stuff in the process of creating props for Eleusyve Production's Rites of Eleusis.

As often is the case, I find myself working with new-to-me materials and brainstorming interesting ways to make creative and functional prop pieces. This time I'm working with scale maille and also with polyurethane foam and coatings. :-)

I find it to be an interesting process that often involves beating my head against a wall repeatedly until inspiration arrives. Usually it actually involves lots of experimentation and thinking through the full usage of the prop and designing both flexibility and durability. If a prop looks delicate, it still has to NOT be delicate so that it can survive not only the actual live shows, but all the required rehearsals up to that point.

Mock-ups and prototypes are all part of the process, and eventually, I settle on a design that will do. Inevitably, I'm still not satisfied with that design, and I begin what I like to think of as the process of mitigation. Each proposed prop design typically has weak spots in some way or another, and it becomes my process to do what I can to bolster and otherwise account for those weak spots. If something might break, either I find a way to make it less likely to break, or maybe I plan ahead so that when breakage happens, the prop is easy to repair. I also try VERY hard to make sure that if the prop has some sort of functional aspect in the show... a moving part... something that needs to be opened or closed... some aspect of the usage of the prop on stage beyond its mere existence, that it is easy to use and that it minimizes both effort to use and the possibility for something to go wrong.

Aesthetically, I'm generally bound by the nature of the show, and the wishes of the directors, but I appreciate that they give me a lot of leeway in the process and are receptive to concerns and solutions.

One of the other interesting aspects of going through this is that I always seem to learn a new set of skills in some way or another. Either materials handling, or some artistic skill. I appreciate that process a lot because I find that the greater my knowledge is, the easier it becomes to make decisions about props and prop construction. Inevitably, I also learn more interpersonal skills as a function of working with people in the process of gaining materials, getting help building, and accommodating cast/director requests through the build process. Always more to learn. :-)

One of these days I'll get some pictures up to preview a few things, but you should really just come out and see our show.

Tickets can be found here: https://ritesofeleusis.com
glitch25: (Default)
I've been wanting to take a few minutes to write, but every time I do, I get overwhelmed. Less about the writing itself, and more about trying to figure out what to pin down long enough to write about it.

Lesseee... Health wise, things are going kinda ok. I managed to catch a flu a couple of weeks ago, but I did so far dodge strep this last week, so I feel pretty good about that. I've been seeing more reactions to allergies than I ever have in my life before. This has me testing various remedies to see how they make me feel. Mostly I get congestion, sinus headaches, and sometimes runny nose/itchy eyes. Mostly the classic symptoms. The headaches are strange because sometimes I can feel the mass of congestion behind my eyes, but in general it doesn't hurt unless I tilt my head certain ways or if I shift my head suddenly. I'm used to solid sinus headaches, and this experience has been a little different. So far, Flonase seems to take the edge off of some of the symptoms, but definitely not all. I keep trying to decide if it is worth dealing with the smell of ball-point-pen for a couple hours after I dose. (Does anybody else get that?)

Speaking of health, I've become acutely aware of my addiction to sugar. I haven't cut it out, but I've been much more mindful of it and the associated cravings, and have been working to will better choices when I'm fiending for a fix. It feels a little like a toy I've been playing with where when I do certain things to change my behaviors, I see expected results.. which includes cravings and the need to push them aside or give in to them. It's interesting.

In other health news, I somehow managed to pull at least one or two muscles in my arm. Most everyday activities aren't affected, but there are certain positions/ways I move that cause pain. The doc didn't seem to wildly concerned and wanted to give it time to heal, but it's been a couple months, and it doesn't seem to be getting better, so I'll be heading back. Maybe some PT will help.

Most of my time of late is tied up into about 4-ish things: First, keeping up with the regular day to day including laundry/dishes/vacuuming, etc. Second, working to do some Spring cleaning/unpacking/consolidation/culling. I know I have too much stuff, and a lot of it didn't get organized when we moved the last time, so I have boxes and bins with miscellaneous stuffs that I'm in the process of sorting out. I kinda hate it on the one hand, but I also appreciate working through it to try and make things cleaner and easier to deal with. Part of the problem is that a lot of this "stuff" is packed into the music room (music is #3, but I'll get to that in a min), and there is just no room to move and do things in that room. I had envisioned this space where we can go and relax and make and record music, and it just isn't there yet. Progress is being made, and I am trying to keep my chin up and not be discouraged about it. On the flip side, the space is usable, just not ideal. The other benefit of all the work I'm doing is that I'm finding things I lost in the shuffles, and also, I'm making dedicated places for things I am keeping so that it is easier to find them when I need them.

Music has been interesting. Having pretty much learned the one piano piece that was driving me crazy for so long, I'm chomping at the bit to do more. I'll be picking up a new Brubeck piece soon, and have a Rachmaninoff piece in mind. I've also been enjoying my bass and have been having fun working out lines and learning to do popular bass lines to songs. I've also been coming to understand the stringed instrument concept of conservation of movement. Which is to say that sure, I can drop 12 frets to do an octave on the same string...or... there are alternatives. :-) Bends my brain as a piano player to think in these terms. And that's to say nothing of the differences of timbre and tone of open string notes vs fretted ones. I have a whole lot to learn, but I'm enjoying it so far. I suspect there will be a proper bass guitar in my future someday soon too. In addition to a custom bass uke that I have my eye on. :-)

The last bit is various small projects. G and I have been working on a small container garden on the deck, and we've been successful with a lot of it. Some of it will require a little more diligence than we anticipated, but I'm optimistic that we'll prevail. I've also started playing with an Arduino microprocessor boardc and been having fun learning how to mess with it. I have some ideas for projects based on either an Arduino or other similar microprocessor boards. You know. When I find time. ;-) Fun stuff!

More involvement with the latest Eleusyve Production is around the corner as well. Props, props, and more props! And sets! And stuff! We have extra surprises in store this time around. You guys will definitely want to come, and I hope you'll be interested in helping support us in the meantime.

More things to write sometime about feelings about the state of life and of the world. We'll see if I find the spoons to deal with it. If so, more here. If not, then more of the same so far. *shrugs*

Hope things are going well for you all, and would love to hear how things are in your neck of the woods!

ttfn
glitch25: (Default)
Definitely spring.

Between the warm spells, the rain, and the fact that so many things seem to be in motion, I'm struck by how different it feels to not be nesting.

We've started an herb garden that we're tending indoors for the time being. We'll turn them into deckboxes once the temps stop dipping.Lots of fresh stuff that we normally buy. It will be nice to have them on hand in a fresh capacity. I'm also looking forward to finding ways to preserve any leftovers we may have either by drying, oil packing, or freezing. It's been a fun venture so far, and it is very satisfying to see work towards that end pay out in obvious and notable growth. Literally. :-)

Music is coming around again. Not in piano form, oddly. I've had to remember to sit down at the actual piano and keep up with some of the things I've been working on. Instead, I've been learning the bass in little bits. I don't recall if I mentioned in previous posts (and am obviously too lazy to go back and look) but I finally gave in and picked up a Kala U-Bass. It is essentially an acoustic bass ukulele that is modeled and plays very much like a traditional bass guitar using special polymer strings that enable a deep tone with such a small scale. It's been fun to play with and I'm learning a lot. As with other instruments, I continue to find my musical theory lacking, but I'm happy that both my ear and my general feel for music and what I'm realizing has been a love of good bass lines for so long are paying out for me. Along those lines, I've been dipping my toes in participation and collaboration for an online group I'm part of that creates covers of music based on weekly themes. It's been fun to do it, and it has been helpful as both an outlet, and as incentive to learn something new with the instrument.

I've also been struggling through my propmastery stuff in building things for the latest iteration of the Rites of Eleusis as performed by Eleusyve Productions. Nothing like standing at the glue/adhesive aisle of several stores and shaking my head. :-) Also, I think by the time I'm done, I'm going to have so many spare maille scales that I'll have to open a side business making jewelry. :-D

Still blowing through chunks of Skyrim. I just picked up Fallout 3 and New Las Vegas too. Waiting to finish up Skyrim before I go down that hole. But I'm happy to have them. Skyrim continues to be challenging in some ways, and not in others. I remember leveling up in prior iterations of Elder Scrolls games and finding that most of all the usual challenges never really leveled up with me. Which is to say God mode was kinda inevitable. In this game, I keep getting my ass handed to me no matter what level I am, and I'm finding that I really have to stay on my toes to survive in some cases. It's good. :-)

Lots of other side projects and things. Always looking for new concert/show stuffs.. and movies.. OH.. speaking of movies and things of the like, I'm working on building out my media server with stuffs. I set up an old laptop on a shelf near my collection, and its dedicated role is to rip movies and upload them to the media server. It's been working so well that I've gotten to the point that I need to look into the next storage solution :/ Guess that's kinda the nature. I'm not compressing the media for Reasons, so I knew this was inevitable. I need to create a dedicated storage box and migrate the collection to it. And then I plan to repurpose the original server as a database for some things I've been wanting to do. Also working out options to set up a site-to-site VPN using more of the same router I just set up for myself recently (a Ubiquity Edgerouter Lite) to do some media sharing, remote backups, and access to the aforementioned database applications. Should be a fun time.

So, busy busy. :-)

We recently had an employee sale here at SanMar, and I was reminded of the piles of tshirts I already have waiting to be chopped up into strips to use as material for my T-Shirt Latch-hook Rug. I should work on that one. It's a bit rough on the hands though. But the spots I've done feel so damn lush. So good on the toesies. Once we get the seedlings outside, the table will be free up, and I can break out my cutting mat and pick up a rotary tool to make quick work of those tshirts.

And then there is the cleaning, reorganizing, and so much other related stuffs.

Not enough hours in the day. But I'm working harder to maximize time I can. Not always successful, but I'm learning not to beat myself up about it. That's helpful. :-)

How are things for you?
glitch25: (Default)
Three keyboards... a motherboard... an optical drive... several top covers....

Most of that was under warranty.. But lately, the keyboard has been sticking again and my upper left quadrant has been giving me grief enough to cause problems entering passwords!

It's realistically time to replace things, but the internals of this laptop have always been great. I can game the way I want to, and I have no other major problems.

I priced out replacement laptops with modest upgrades, and figured out what I'd need to save up for. And I realized given my other savings goals, if I could fix what I needed to fix with parts and time, I could save a lot of money and keep this old thing running a good while longer.

So I ordered a keyboard replacement and a spare. and I finally got time to install it. I've been inside this laptop several times before, so I knew what I was facing, but even with that, I ran into challenges.

In the process of getting the cover off, I noticed one of the screw posts on the frame snapped off. Several of the plastic snaps also sheared likely from the repeated disassembly and reassembly. And one of the connectors for my wireless card antennas popped off the board. Thankfully, they almost always have two antennas, and the auxiliary one is working fine for now, but it occurred to me that I could take the opportunity to pick up a replacement card that is faster and compatible with my newer access point. The laptop is older, so the parts are pretty cheap.

I got the post glued back in with super glue, and it's holding fine. The keyboard went in with no fuss and is also working great now. It also gave me an opportunity to get new conductive thermal paste on the proc and video card heatsinks.

Once I get my replacement wireless card, she should be as good as new!

All in all, about 50 bux in parts vs over 10 times that for a new laptop.

She's not perfect, but she's very serviceable. I'm hoping it will last me another couple years.
glitch25: (Default)
I was reading a blog I follow occasionally called ZenHabits by Leo Babauta. In it, he talks about various mental life-hacks that help him through his day-to-day routine and ways of changing and sometimes improving the way we go about things. I don't always agree with everything he posts, but I find a fair bit of good material there and appreciate what he says a lot of the time.

One of the things he recently commented on was improving his reviews. He writes up year-end reviews of the year, and he realized that without doing monthly reviews, it can be difficult to keep track of everything and that it can be a daunting task to do. So he's decided recently to start with Monthly reviews of things in his life.

The sentiment behind the review at all is to physically document accomplishments and things we want to remember. Goals of things to improve, moments for which to be grateful and thankful, lists of progress on other goals, etc.

I know some of you do similar things, and I wanted to be able to be more aware of myself and the things I do and don't do, and find a way to document my time. I find it distressing at times when time seems to have passed and I don't really remember what filled it. It is easy to suggest that important things didn't fill it because I would otherwise remember if they were important, but I think that's a silly perspective. Life is a thing and it lets us wander in lots of directions and lots of things continually happen and both distract and motivate us, so it is unrealistic in a lot of cases to say that "important" things are memorable. Probably better to say "difficult" or "taxing" things are memorable since we know we spend a lot of time on them in one way or another. And I think it is habit to give greater weight to negative things than positive ones. So the whole point of a review is to really look into what did happen and figure out what is what, and give it a realistic view and review, and to take from it, and go forth.

So... January... hehe.

This will be interesting since I didn't make an effort to keep much in mind, so I'm having to do my own shuffle and dig. :-) Maybe it will get easier with habit?

Music ended December and started and ended January. We got to see the Bobs perform at The Triple Door for their usual after Christmas performance. They had a few extra folks with them this time around, and it was a fun show. We also got to see Pearl Django perform in is what their typical early January show at Jazz Alley. My sweetie got us tickets as a holiday gift, and it was a wonderful show! And Conflikt ended the month, and I got to perform with Vixy and Tony as Cade's backup band. I provided a little brush-on-snare action and had fun with that. I'm reminded that I probably should have stuck to my guns as a kid when I suggested that I wanted to play drums. Realistically, I'm not sure that it would have made a huge difference, but I find that I have a workable instinct to drumming that I haven't found yet for piano, and I've had a lot less time officially playing drums than I have piano. I think part of it is that my brain lives in rhythms, and it is difficult for me to not get caught up in them. Definitely a telling sign. Along those lines, I've decided I will likely take up bass soon as well since it is also a foundation instrument, and I've had a fascination with how bass fits in both rhythmically and musically. I've decided that I want to pick up a Kala U-Bass (which is a special bass ukulele with custom strings and pick-ups that tends to make it sound like an upright bass). We'll see how all that goes. :-) January was the start of recording time for Eleusyve Production's next musical called the Rite of Jupiter. I will be participating vocally for the soundtrack and am looking forward to that as well as helping transcribe parts for the performance rehearsals. Should be interesting!

Health wise, I was just getting over one chest cold only to end up in the midst of a new one. Not sure why it's a struggle this year, but I think it may have to do with new allergies. I found that up to the previous cold and after it, I never seemed to get rid of the gunk much. I've been getting more sinus-related headaches lately, and congestion just seems to be a thing now where it hadn't been ever before. I suspect I may have to research options to figure out what works best. Not looking for suggestions at this point, btw. *smoooch* Just a thing I'm working on. Beyond that, I had also been finding my body being less than cooperative physically than it has in past, and I'm realizing it has a lot to do with the fact that I haven't been as physically active as I should. Also beginning to work on this process and figure a way to get going that won't injure otherwise very cranky and underused parts of my bod. Time and process, I'd imagine.

Speaking of health, what is with all the people dying? Celebs and others. Seems like 2016 took a big bite to start the year off. I realized that I was enjoying my holiday media by incorporating Die Hard into my Christmas movies because of course Alan Rickman. And just a few weeks later, he was gone. :/ Lots of others. I think we all got a good reminder of our mortality and short time. Good to remember as we continue to make decisions and oversee our paths that things don't always go to plan and we shouldn't reserve our happiness and fulfillment for a one perfect moment. No better time to start than today since we don't know if we'll get a tomorrow. I think planning is fine and all well and good, but it has to be tempered with the today. As for me, it also means working on putting aside fears and doubts and just doing more of the thing.

So go do the thing!! :-)
glitch25: (Default)
More stuff shuffling around on the to-do lists these days.

The biggest of course is working to get things squared away in the apartment. Always feels like there is more to do.. And part of doing it is time management.

I tend to get home and want to flop on the couch and do nothing constructive. Or.. sometimes I get caught up in daily chores/cleaning, and then don't want to do some of the leftover things I need to do. Or.. sometimes I want to work on the leftover things, and ignore chores. It's a battle almost every day to decide how to do things and what gets priority. And I've found that it is easy to get overwhelmed.. which of course leads to more couch flopping with a 1000mg dose of Fukitol.

What I've been working on over the last few months is trying to find ways to organize tasks so that I can make headway even if I can only apply a limited amount of time to the projects. It's a bit of a thing to do. But as I get better at it, more and more gets done. Granted, HUGE things don't always get done at once, but the point is to strip the "huge" things into bite-sized bits, and make time to do the bits and plan them out. Eventually, the big thing gets done.

It is weird to view progress through the lens of bits. Seems like there is a prevailing thought that things must be done all at once and in a dedicated determined manner for them to be valid accomplishments worth value. Anything else seems like it's "barely getting by" or "not really good enough". Not sure why that is. But I find that learning to change the lens makes the heart lighter. I can see my progress if I really look, and though that old voice of "but it isn't all done yet" sometimes creeps in, I'm learning to tell it, "it doesn't have to be all done for my work on it to be valid" and "It's ok that it isn't all done yet."

I think that last one is the most difficult. Life seems to be a yardstick to which we hold ourselves against, and if we haven't grown to those familiar hash marks, we're just not valid.

Fuck that. I'm valid for the work I do and for the accomplishments I make. Ultimately, I'm the one that decides what that yardstick looks like. I'm the one that gets to decide my value. We all have our struggles, and I bet we all look sideways at that yardstick and wonder. I haven't beat it totally out of me yet, but I'm making progress. On my timeline.
glitch25: (no spoon)
So....

I get the feeling that now is the apparent time to be reminded of our mortality. As of today, losing 3 pretty heavy hitters in the last couple weeks. And I am to understand there have been some more personal losses as well. Big C. Fuck it.

That said, and speaking of mortality and what we stand to leave behind, what's on your list?

Do you have dreams that you will someday bring to fruition? What thing or skill or place or status or evolution is there waiting in the wings? What of it will be left unfinished or unachieved when you meet your time?

Are there things you keep meaning to say to someone? Situations you mean to sort out? Interests in people you want to pursue? Relationships or people that you need to sort out?

What is on your list?

Today I'm thinking about the things on mine.
glitch25: (piano)
So something that has been on my mind lately... something silly. I'm assuming you guys know about misheard lyrics. Things people sing along to songs that are totally not the lyrics to the song. Some songs are ripe for those opportunities, and others are just far reaches.

I've been noticing opportunities for misheard lyrics that could only exist in the last decade or two.

For example, in Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar Over Me, the line, "Livin' like a lover with a radar phone," which almost itself sounds like a misheard lyric, kinda sounds like "Livin' like a lover with a red iPhone".

Another I noticed recently was Earth, Wind, and Fire's Shining Star with the line, "Shining star come into view," which sounds like "Chinese laptop interview".

Have you noticed any potentials that could only exist in the now that wouldn't have existed 20 years ago?
glitch25: (Default)
All the music posts (and I forgot to move some of them over), but I realized I haven't made a real post. :-)

Holidays have been pretty good. Mellow, which I think was required this year. Got to spend it with a lot of family. Including a bit of unexpected family. G introduced me to a bit of hers which involved a bit of coming out, and it went pretty well!

I spent Eve with C's family and that was remarkably good as well. And after having a polycule brunch on Friday, G and I spent the evening with S's family. I guess you could say I had LOTS of family time.

Otherwise, it's been reasonably restful and generally uneventful.

Health has been mixed. I feel like I may be flirting with the next cold. Or the first one didn't totally leave. Or maybe I have some sort of allergies that are keeping me congested and the head pounding periodically. Not sure. Also, either related or otherwise, I'm not sure I've had an uninterrupted night of sleep for... well... it's been a fairly long while now. I've had varying amounts of sleep, and on some weekend days I've slept longer to make up for the fact that I'll wake up and be awake for a bit. So I dunno. Not an issue of bed or pillow either. At least not specifically. Nor caffeine. Nor bright screen toys. At least no more than usual.

I have noticed on the whole that I've been sore and otherwise continuing to be out of shape. In the plans to see if I can at least break even somewhere on that. Less concerned about weight and more about pulling funny muscles doing things that shouldn't pull muscles. Working on that might help with the sleep thing too. :-)

New Year's looks to be mellow as well. I'm all for that.

How were things for you?

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