glitch25: (Default)
It is strange to be in a situation where I both feel too old and yet too young. We decided to head out to see a local hot club band playing up in Lake Forest Park, and one of the things I noticed immediately was that most of the audience is 10 or several more years my senior. For this sort of music, and lots of jazz and other things I go to see, this doesn't necessarily surprise me.

I remember when I went to see the Dave Brubeck quartet when they passed through Albuquerque not quite 30 years ago. I was 18, and most of the audience was at least 40 or 50. It was interesting watching these older guys clutching their vinyl hoping to get an autograph. I found it cool that I was interested in the band at such an age, and I didn't care too much that I didn't know anybody my age that would have appreciated it. We all definitely enjoyed the concert, and we each got our turn meeting Dave back stage. :-)

Along those lines, I noticed that there is a 20-something group here that looks to be having a grand old time dancing and otherwise really enjoying the music. It is fun to watch them, and they also make me feel a little old. Old in that I was too shy and too wound up in my head to have these sorts of experiences when I was that age, and while this old dog can still learn a few new tricks, I feel like I have a lot less disposable time in my life than I did back then. Funny how that is.

Sometime in the future, I think I need to find a dance teacher that will give me some extended one-on-one time. We tried dance lessons at one of those weeknight classes they have at one of the dance studios with a dozen or so people, and while they were ok, they are kinda rushed, and I found it embarrassing to try and dance with a partner (particularly when we'd switch it up beyond the person I came with) when I really didn't have a good grasp of the steps. I felt like I was wasting their class time stumbling through. Maybe ultimately I wasn't, but I remember having a rough time with that part.

Things to plan time to do. :)
glitch25: (Default)
Every time I come here to look to write, I get overwhelmed by the volume of things I want to write about. I think the solution is to just make a list somewhere so I don't forget anything, and then just knock out a topic or two at a time. Seems like a workable idea, no? :-)

A lot of what has been on my mind is the state of the world lately. Not just politically, but the fact that the change in season is bringing about pretty hefty storms and fires and earthquakes and lots of the like, and a lot of people out there are suffering as a result. We are fortunate that our local impact is minimal. Obviously, even the smoke we've been having from the local fires has been minimal compared to the dealings of others more directly affected. But as always, it's a reminder to be grateful, and also a reminder to work on being prepared for troubles as they might come.

Sometimes, that preparation is just living with the idea that things can happen rather than ducking our heads in the sand and denying the possibility. By acknowledging that things can happen, that already puts us in a better place. Then even just thinking about what we would realistically do is another better place. Better to have thought about it and avoid the initial shock of disbelief when it happens than deal with the emotional trauma of the break in reality from our own self-created delusion. Beyond those things, sky is the limit on preparing. Red Cross makes lists of basics, and beyond that, sometimes it is helpful to include it in your day to day planning by adding a little extra storage-capable food in your weekly grocery shopping (things you either already eat or would eat). Also, try saving towards your upcoming bills and building up that essential bills pad. Not all bad things come in global sizes. Sometimes planning for something simple as losing your job puts you ahead of the game should that happen.

These preparation ideas are probably mostly for those who are privileged enough to be able to do these things. Others may have a more difficult time with these, and in fact may already be living their own crisis. So.. take advantage of your preparations and help others as they request and as you are able. It is the right thing to do. We are all humans and we all deserve to succeed. Lifting each other up makes us all better.

Stay safe, prepare, live, and love. <3
glitch25: (Default)
so I'm finding in my reading and desire to read, that I've developed what I'm calling book paralysis. This is not the first time this has happened, but I'm noticing it keenly enough that I thought I might write about it today and see for how many of you this might also apply occasionally.

Currently, I have at least two books on my Kindle that I'm working through.. in reality, I have quite a few others waiting, but I wanted to see about making progress on these two, and one is a classic. I know many of you have read it. But it is a bit long and it is ok, though as I read it, I find that I look at how much more I have to read and for all the crisis and convolutions of the first half of it, it feels odd that I'm only halfway through it. It is dragging in it's own way, like an orgasm that you feel building and building, but stubbornly refuses to pitch itself over the edge. Will I be able to keep up the momentum to get to a point where the book pulls me in deeper on its own and gives me reason to voraciously consume the rest? Or am I going to have to circle and circle around it enduringly hoping that the payoff and pain will be worth this work? It has currently sat unread for weeks now.

Another book I've started but almost immediately stopped reading was a nonfiction book. One that might prove to help me be a better human, but which seems written from the perspective of the already enlightened and not from one like me who is still debating the merits of change much less committed to getting there. I say it is very fluffy, but what I guess I mean by that is that ideology presented in the book is very well regarded, but the text feels very cheerleadery and I find myself turned off by it. We're going to teach you the way of things, but we're going to make sure you drink the koolaid first. That has sat unread one or two chapters in.

So those were the two books on the docket. I suspect I will want to start a third so I keep moving forward on things I want to read, but in the meantime, the feeling of leaving those two books sitting... idle... leaves me not wanting to open my Kindle. It's odd. It is a sense of guilt of abandoning these things. One I want to read (as difficult as the text seems to be making the story), and one I need to read but kinda can't. Instead of removing them from my Kindle, they sit there taunting me, and turning me off the idea of reading altogether. It's.. interesting. I understand the mechanisms at work, and I've finally decided to face it head on and deal with the issue by 86ing both books and picking up the next thing I truly want to read and enjoy. I may trim out the on-deck list as well. I figure those books will always be available to grab later, and in the meantime, I won't feel this weird guilt and aversion to picking up my Kindle.

In their place, I have the first of the Bern Saga series by Hugh Howey that I'm looking forward to starting. It is older than his Silo series and some of the newer stuff yet, but I've heard good things, and I'm looking forward to it.

On the topic of Hugh Howey, if you have not read the Silo series, I highly recommend it. The Wool Omnibus is a great place to start. Also, the Beacon short stories are also delightful.
glitch25: (Default)
July flying and gone, and August nearly half over.

Papa did get a new pair of shoes. Nothing like the feeling of actual support when you've been wearing broken down old sneakers that barely stay together.

The truck got new shoes too! I'd been slowly putting aside money via my YNAB budget for the big day, and I finally got to pull the trigger this last week. The last time we had a little rain a few weeks ago, I was sliding all over the place, so it will be nice when we finally get some rain to wash away all this crap in the air, and to feel like I'm not going to slide off the road.

And you know.. the heat. I've been trying to not complain too loudly, but it is amazing how emotionally draining it is with the weather the way it has been. Add to that the smoke, and instead of a bright blue place where some people are happy, it's been this post-apocalyptic arid wasteland feel to it. I know I joke, but I'm not really that thrilled about living in FallOut.

The budget thing has been helping a lot. It is really freaky to pay for big things in cash. I appreciate a lot of people do that all the time, but it feels weird for me.

In other news, we attempted a small garden this year, but I think between the heat and the fact that we got a late start, we're not getting a lot in return. We ended up growing a variety of spinach that was strange.. It had spikey things on it and the leaves weren't that big. And I never realized how long it took for rosemary to grow. I know given room, it will go crazy and you'll end up with a huge bush, but apparently when you're just starting out, it takes time to work itself up. We also had a cluster of thyme plants that got decimated by some sort of pest. We can't really figure out what it was. We just came out one day, and noticed that where once were healthy and successfully growing thyme starts were now bare stems. No evidence to tell us what did it. We had a single thyme start growing in a different box, and that one was left untouched, as was everything else. It is weird.

We recently enjoyed the DVD release of our latest Eleusyve production, the Rite of Jupiter. A lot of work went into it even after the hard work of the crew and cast, and I believe we created our greatest show to date. If you haven't seen it, you should. :-) It is always wonderful to see our work put together and produced in this way. And it was really great to gather with friends and cast members and some old friends to share in our work.

We've also been contemplating the next stage of moving. I think we really want a house in the next iteration whether it is renting or buying. I suspect renting will be the plan to start. Part of it is space.. Part of it is privacy. I'm hoping we'll be able to find a place that makes our home space easier to work with and better for us all.

More to come. :-)
glitch25: (Default)
I often wonder if other prop people and people who costume or otherwise need different bits of things for projects are just people trying to manage their hoarding tendencies... or you know.. if it's just me..

I have come by my desire to save things honestly. Mom has certainly been inclined. My grandmother even moreso.

I bring this up because I feel like one of the big life struggles of mine... one that keeps me fairly busy is the fact that I am constantly trying to pare down the pile. It takes up a lot of room, and it interferes with life in ways that are uncomfortable. It isn't stuff that is total shit, thankfully. And a lot of it stays contained.. though in containing it, it takes up space and has a tendency to sit unaccounted and unused.

So I take time out of my weeks to dig through it all. Box at a time. Sorting things out. Trying to find ways to get rid of stuff, or organize stuff I don't want to part with yet. It feels never-ending.

I am finding the freecycle communities helpful for some of it. Between that and recycling events, I've finally managed to get rid of some of the bigger things that were taking up room, and I've replaced them with organizational plans including shelving!

It is daunting sometimes, since some of the boxes are not particularly well sorted, so part of the battle is first sorting it out, and then deciding what to do with it. Some things stick around. (Amazing the treasures you find when you dig through a box that has been hiding for months). Other things get thrown out immediately. Still other stuff gets sorted out and left to be dealt with on the whole at a later time.

There has been a lot of progress in many ways. Doesn't stop it from feeling like a huge weight tied around my ankle. I think as I get close, and as I continue to develop strategies to prevent it in the first place, it gets better. It is truly a struggle, but as slow as the progress is some days, it is undeniably progress.

So what have YOU been up to lately? :-)
glitch25: (memories)
This morning, I took a quick trip down memory lane talking about the cottonwood trees and the fact that the fluff is flying.

Where i grew up, our cottonwood trees didn't have fluff. At least not in the city. Outside of city limits, we'd see them sometimes. I remember Dad said that the fluff kind weren't allowed. Research tells me that there is an actual pollen ordinance on the books for ABQ that states that selling or planting various high pollen varieties of trees including those sorts of cultivars of poplars is punishable as a petty misdemeanor. Living in a dry climate is srs bznz. :-)

There were cultivars of Cottonwoods that don't produce the high amounts of pollen that were allowed by the ordinance. This includes the Rio Grande Cottonwood which was what I was most accustomed to seeing. We had the male variety in our yard, and much like the more pollen producing types, they dropped these floral pods that kinda resembled caterpillars that also had this sticky sap in the buds. Descriptions I see for these poplars in general is that they like to drop limbs unexpectedly. Even back home, this was true. Wind storms were a great way to find out how alive your cottonwood trees were. And in a lot of cases, how sturdy your roof is. :/

Another tree I grew up with is the bald cypress. For some reason, I had thought these were some variety of cedar, but no. They produce these funny little round cones, they have bark that sheds as they grow, and they also produce this significantly sticky sap that gets on everything. Our yard was landscaped with these cypress trees, and I remember the day my parents had them removed because they just made so much mess of the yard.

We also had a sour cherry tree that always produced lots of fruit. We would collect as much as we could and make pies and such. Very tart golden fruit with fire-engine-red skins.

We also had a spruce in the front yard that was a four-foot starter when my parents moved into the house when I was 1 year old, and later grew to 20-30 feet tall before it apparently became diseased and needed to be removed.

One other tree I distinctly remember were the sycamore trees. They grow these hard spikey seed-pods that break open and contain fluff and seeds. Kids would throw them at each other since they were also rather dense and would fly well. They also quickly discovered that if you broke open the pods and stuffed the contents down someone's shirt, that it would itch for hours. :/

Interesting the things you remember.

What sorts of trees were in your life when you were young?
glitch25: (Default)
I really enjoy cooking. I like learning new things and learning how to tweak them to my liking. I like being able to reproduce my successes and learn how best to make things work.

Along those lines, it has come to my attention that there is a significant appreciation for my hollandaise sauce. It is much like others. Rich, creamy, and delicious. But I think the main difference between mine and others is that I don't skimp on the lemon, the salt, or the cayenne. Mine is bold, a little tart, salty, and spicy.

I start with AB's recipe as a guide. You can find it here ---->

For me, I end up using more lemon juice, salted butter instead of unsalted (and I don't add the extra salt listed in the recipe to it), and I'm generous with the cayenne. I think one of the other things that makes a difference is that I don't add the sugar to "balance" it back out.

I prepare it a more traditional way using a double-boiler method with a bowl over a strongly simmering pot of water. I feel like I have more control that way then over direct heat even with pulling it on and off. I also remove and replace it as it heats through to keep the temperature even and to not overcook the eggs. I made the mistake once of leaving the sauce to warm over a no-longer-simmering-but-still-hot water, and in no time, I had scrambled eggs. I have since learned to treat it better. :-)

With some smoked salmon as a base protein and a few capers sprinkled over the top of the generously coated eggs Benedict, this is undoubtedly one of my favorite breakfast meals to make.


May. 18th, 2017 09:07 am
glitch25: (Default)
Feels like the list of things I need to do at home never shrinks, but actually, we've been making serious progress.

While a recent attempt to partake in a recycling event fell through, I was still able to find free resources to dispose of an old large metal desk along with some very antiquated computer hardware and other miscellaneous hardware/appliance junk. This both freed up room in the music room as well as on our deck outside.

Last year (or was it two years now?) we picked up a nice wrought iron outdoor table and chair set that has sat unused (aside from as a holder for some prop preparations) on the deck since we brought it home. Along with that was an old hand truck, and some previously used plastic chairs and table. The truck has since gotten rusted out, so I added it to the recycle pile along with the plastic chairs and table. And we finally got the last of the prop prep materials cleaned up and stowed away.

In that process, we discovered that not only are we very behind on a garden this year, but that some of the previous plantings from last year actually wintered over and are growing again. It's a shocker! We'll be adding some herbs to it and perhaps some lettuces and spinach. Nothing too fancy, but I enjoy growing things that are useful.

In place of the old desk, I picked up an IKEA shelf to house my bins of bits and bobs. I apparently collect a lot of stuff, and part of the process in digging out the spare room has been working through sorting some of what became "miscellaneous" bins and downsizing and consolidating other bins. It's been an ongoing project for the last 6 months, and the progress is showing!

In related music news, the path to the piano has again been unearthed, and I'm once again getting time to sit down to it to practice and learn new things. The recording equipment has also been getting some flex as G has been submitting various parts for stuffs. However, our recording computer, which is a nine-year-old laptop, has seen many a better day, and is finally reaching the end of its useful life as a recording computer. As timing would have it, my current everyday laptop has also reached a point where as a daily driver laptop, it is losing functionality and usefulness, so I just purchased a new laptop as my daily driver, and my old one will replace the studio computer which will be a sizable upgrade for it both in storage and in functionality. The oldest laptop will probably be relegated to some menial digital housekeeping tasks that I've been meaning to get working.

I did however add another two antiquated computers to the recycle pile recently. I had an old Dell desktop that was operating as our house fileserver for some time now, and since the new server has been burned in and bolstered, I no longer need a secondary location. Also, the old server was not set up in a way that monitoring was very easy or feasible and given its age, it was always a matter of when it would die vs if. I also replaced our routing device from an ancient Compaq desktop computer to a much more streamlined and power efficient purpose-built router device that not only takes up a fraction of the space but is more robust. Yay for having a VPN tunnel to the home network!

Home time seems to be otherwise dominated with keeping up with the regular tasks as well. Those definitely never end, but I've been working to find ways to at least make either completing them or prepping them more efficient. One of those ways has been using NFC tags. We each have phones that support NFC tag reading, and I picked up a pack of NFC tags to use at home. What are those, you ask? Basically they are little discs that hold a chip and transceiver setup that allows you to use your phone to program the chip with a small amount of data. With a specifically installed program (I use one called Trigger), you can hold your phone over the tag, and execute a pre-defined set of instructions like... "Set timer for 3 minutes" for brewing tea. Or "Set timer for 40 minutes" for the laundry cycle. Makes it much easier to remember your tea or to change out the laundry. It's been fun working with the tags and thinking up new ideas of things to do with them. They can automate almost anything your phone can do.

Along the lines of new stuff, I discovered I can once again afford to bring in a CSA box, so I reactivated my account with Full Circle and we've been getting boxes again. It is nice to have weekly incentive to get creative with food that is healthy and interesting. We've been working to bring in more veggies to the meals anyways, so it is a way to get it in the house. I find that a lot of the non-veggie options that Full Circle sells are a little out of budget, but I appreciate that they offer them. It also reminds me that quality product demands quality prices. And that's ok I guess. I'm still less choosy about some of my consumables, but I am at a point where I feel like I can do it with intent. Still an ongoing thing. I may decide to cancel again in favor of buying from a local market I like. We'll see how convenience prevails vs return on investment.

Little by little, changes are making a difference. Some days it's difficult to remember that, but I look back and see how far we've come. Some goals have been completely accomplished and would not have been without the little-at-a-time process, so I take comfort in knowing that the process works.

How are things progressing for you?
glitch25: (Default)
So much to say!

First, a grateful appreciation to comcon and to the participants of this really awesome filk convention. I had heard it was a special place to be, and I was not disappointed. The feeling of community and love of music is what filk is all about, and FKO demonstrates this with excellence.

I ventured out to the land of the north both to experience FKO for myself and to support my sweetie who was Interfilk guest this year.

When I arrived, I was really not feeling well. Flights are not my favorite thing. Less about being in the air, and more about being in a seated position for longer than a few hours. And well.. the rigmarole of what is modern air travel with a dollop of foreign country rolled in. Arriving to a hotel that was in the midst of construction with very prominent smells of the outgassing carpet and paint was very overwhelming.

We had dinner that night in the hotel bar, and began to watch familiar faces trickle in, and I got to meet several more faces that are now familiar faces. :-) Just a taste of more to come.

Friday was particularly hard. In spite of extra sleep, and not having much on the responsibility plate but some early rehearsals, I was really having a hard time coping. I tried really hard to keep it contained, and for any of you that might have had it rub off on you, I truly apologize. I was definitely not wearing my best face. :/

Saturday seemed to improve some. Sound check, rehearsals, more concerts including my sweetie's Interfilk concert. More faces. Some new, some old. Some old faces that I hadn't met until now.

Concert was a decided success, and I enjoyed being part of it directly with some drums as well as supporting Shawna for the rest. She did an amazing job and I think we all had a lot of fun with it.

One thing that didn't improve was the fact that all that dust and out-gassing was reviving what was the remnants of my chest cold that was just settling down prior to the trip. So that was a struggle. Likely not contagious. Probably mostly allergies. I seem to have lost any immunity I may have had to local allergies and I keep getting pounded pretty hard by this year. No fun.

I think I finally reached a relaxing place by Sunday. Heart filled with lots of music and love and peoples. I'm sad it took so long, but I'm happy I got there.

Highlights include getting to share the stage with so many wonderful people and getting to cheer on Shawna. Also watching Sunnie get conscripted for lots of other concerts and circle bits or was that volunteered with zeal? :-) Details. I loved all of the guest concerts and one-shots. The Hall of Fame induction dinner and honorees. The Interfilk auction! Hanging outside with the HAM hounds learning a little bit more about radio. Meals and gatherings with friends and family.

I think it is reasonable to assume that if we can swing it, we'll be back next year. :-) I'm already researching flight cases for some of my gear. :-D
glitch25: (Default)
So how have you been for the past six months? Me? Apparently sick.

Every memory I have of events and non-home sick time involve them being viewed through the lens of not feeling well in some capacity or another. Whether in the zone of coming down with something or the slow inevitable attempt to recover, I think back to the holidays and various outings and such and wonder why they seemed so off. I've been gently reminded of why things seemed that way.

It's a bit weird to have that revelation.

The plan after this latest round dissipates is to visit the doc for an overview. And probably a review of diet and exercise.

Illness aside, things haven't been too bad. I've been getting a fair bit done between bouts of not feeling well. But I certainly realize how much more I could be doing if I were 100%.

Guess we'll see how it goes. I'm not looking forward to chest cold number 4.
glitch25: (Default)

Howdy peeps.

It is difficult to want to "encourage" you all to post when I'm not posting nearly much myself. I've been having difficulty wanting to commit things to the page. Particularly when it isn't just spewing frustrations about the state of things.

So to cope, I've been keeping myself busy lately.

I do find it interesting and difficult when I'm in a situation where I see someone I haven't seen in a while, and they ask, "How are you? What have you been up to?" and my knee-jerk reaction is to say that I have been busy. But busy with what? The same can be said when I'm talking with people I just met who want to get to know me better, and ask what I do.

Work always used to be the default answer, but in truth, work doesn't take up nearly as much of my physical and emotional bandwidth as it once did. I totally find that to be a vast improvement over past, and I'm happy that work things seem to be moving in good directions over all. I've never wanted to consider my identity or my "output into life" to be particularly focused on my work endeavors. I think work has always been a means to an end and not an end unto itself. I've frustrated many a boss by not being willing to work my way up the corporate ladder because I have been unwilling to part with personal time to do large leaps in my career.

So what ties up the rest? Well... for those that get to see in a little deeper into my life, you know about the relationships I have with three lovely ladies. My time with them ties up the largest part of my personal time. Between outings and dinners and adventures and homemaking and talks and sometimes just time spent on the couch enjoying catching up on media, we spend our time well. Sometimes we craft together. Sometimes we have long talks about all sorts of things together. Often we go out to see shows and music.

Up until very recently, I was recovering from my second cold of the year. I started out January carrying over a cold from last year. And with less than a month break, I caught a second one. I'm finally starting to feel like I'm out from under it. Unfortunately, Spring has decided that allergies are a thing, and as I get older, I find I am more susceptible to pollen counts and other things. But I don't have the chest involvement I did before, which is fantastic!

So what else has been keeping me busy? Lessee. The carousel has begun turning again. I'm in the midst of a lot of little projects, and making progress on some bigger ones.

With regards to the ever-present productivity in the household arrangement, we've been making big strides in improving process and making adjustments to make every day chores and such easier. I've also been trying to get caught up on the lag from the winter slumber and get some smaller projects moving forward. One of them continues to be the organization of the music room. It is getting much much closer. I need to find a new home (recycle) of an old desk I have that is taking up space that is no longer in use. It had a tempered glass top that shattered some years ago, and I intended to replace it with a nice plywood work surface, but never did. Now, I find that the desk is unneeded, and I really need the space where it sits. hoping to find a recycling event which will take it. We've also been re-arranging things in the kitchen to make better use of the space. This has resulted in a little bit more work space, and better organization of some of our larger kitchen appliances.

We also have a 6-foot folding table that we don't really need anymore. Anybody interested?

On the music front, I also have been enjoying my mini ukulele bass and have been learning more and more. I have arranged to have it out in an open space so it is easy to pick up and play around with when I have a moment, and that has succeeded in getting me to pick it up more often.

Piano is on the cusp again. I have some things I really need to make time to learn, and I also have some arrangement and writing tasks ahead of me.

I have also been spending time and money working on our media server. We have a linux-based media server that serves as both storage and a back-end to Plex Media Server, and we access it via the web or via our Roku devices. It has been fun to get that up and running, and I'm in the process of tweaking the hardware to make it run better and to expand storage. Last year, I got us up to not quite a terabyte and a half. We're already over 2/3rd through it with some blu-ray additions and several TV show season additions. And there is a lot more to add!

Finally, I am also getting the artistic itch again, and have some book-binding projects that I plan to engage. I want to perfect my basic coptic binding style, and then I want to get into Japanese stab binding. And one of these days, when I'm bored, I should continue work on my t-shirt latch-hook rug. :-)

So aside from all that, and the usual things that never seem to end like.. laundry and dishes... You know, for what amounts to a household of two, it's amazing how much laundry and dishes we generate. :-)

What things have been keeping you busy?
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 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)

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 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. :-)

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