Brief Update and Review of Witch Way to Murder

I’ve been doing so much read­ing because I’ve been sick and unable to do much else. We did get the girl to her doc­tor, so we know there’s no strep around here. The doc­tor wouldn’t rule out mono, but wouldn’t test for it either. (I don’t real­ly like this woman, and we usu­al­ly try to go when the nicer physi­cian is there.) She said that since they don’t do any­thing but treat the symp­toms if it is mono, and the con­ta­gion peri­od would have been 60–90 days ago, she doesn’t see any rea­son to run a test.
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Video: George Hrab, The Assumption


Fun video from George Hrab. I’ve heard of the guy quite a few times, and seen a fair num­ber of pho­tos, but this is the first time I’ve actu­al­ly heard his music. I like!

Many thanks to Chris Miller, who sent me a link to this video via Pownce.

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A Cappella Music, Babylon5, and Firefly, Oh My!

This after­noon, I opened the blinds on the win­dows behind my chair, think­ing it would draw Kioshi off the mon­i­tor (his tail kept obscur­ing the screen) to look out the win­dows. Nope. He turned around, so at least his tail wasn’t in the way, but he was inor­di­nate­ly pleased with him­self because he could then sur­vey his world from his nice, warm perch.

I down­load a ridicu­lous num­ber of pod­casts, then for­get to lis­ten to them. I can’t find my MP3 play­er, and it’s tiny any­way (512k), so it doesn’t hold much. Sam has the same kind, and he gets by, but he’s more moti­vat­ed: it keeps him sane while he’s “out there” every day. I nor­mal­ly take the lazy way out and lis­ten to Pan­do­ra or Last.FM.
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Relearning How to Play the Piano

I can’t remem­ber whether or not I bur­bled about this already, but if this is a repeat you can get extra hugs the next time I see you or some­thing. We have a work­ing, mar­velous, beau­ti­ful piano! It’s the freecy­cled Korg 88-key dig­i­tal that I men­tioned way back in Novem­ber, all clean and func­tion­al thanks to my sweet Sam. It sounds so good! It even feels right, unlike any elec­tron­ic key­board I’ve ever tried to play. I learned to play on an acoustic piano, and the feel is just dif­fer­ent. This piano has nice­ly weight­ed keys to help old­sters like me, and they’re even touch-sen­si­tive, like a “real” (acoustic) piano. And it has two ped­als! (There’s a pic­ture of a sim­i­lar mod­el down there under the “read more” link.)

It won’t go out of tune. We can record any­thing that’s played on it. There are not one, but two head­jack ports, so that, say, a teacher and stu­dent could hear the student’s attempts with­out both­er­ing any­one else in the house­hold.

Yes, I like!
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Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rota­tion:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, pod­casts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, col­lege
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing infor­ma­tion
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like.

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it our­selves.)

2007 wasn’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer housemate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

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KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse & the Cherry Tree”


Sam just sent me a link to this video. Incred­i­ble! I’ll def­i­nite­ly be look­ing for more of her music.

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Is There A NaNoReMo?

I think I want a Nation­al Nov­el Read­ing Month. I could do a nov­el a day (as long as I chose the right nov­els, of course). I’m behind on writ­ing reviews, but I’m wal­low­ing unabashed­ly in the num­ber of good reads avail­able to me right now. I’ve tweaked the Now Read­ing wid­get to show up to ten cur­rent books instead of just five.

I total­ly flubbed NaNoW­riMo. No, I don’t wan­na talk word count. Ugh. I have, how­ev­er, man­aged to keep up with NaBloPo­Mo. so far, and there’s only one day to go! Data­base prob­lems have giv­en me some trou­ble with get­ting the posts to the pub­lic at some points, but I’ve writ­ten an entry every sin­gle day, and I think all of them are even show­ing up now. (The auto­post­ed Tweets for the day don’t count, of course.)

TodayOn Thurs­day, Katie and I drove all over the place, as she had an orth­don­tic appoint­ment and I fool­ish­ly chose to com­bine that with oth­er errands. Dri­ving = can’t take usu­al pain meds. I came home and col­lapsed with a fever. Now it’s the nor­mal time to sleep, and I’m in too much pain to go lay down. (Actu­al­ly, I was so fog­gy that I for­got to hit the “Pub­lish” but­ton last night!)

But, thanks to a freecy­cler, we now own a Korg 88-key elec­tric piano. The catch: It’s tak­en apart. Com­plete­ly. I’ve nev­er seen the innards of such a thing before!

Why did the pre­vi­ous own­ers take it apart, then give it away? Their tod­dler spilled paint on the keys. The donor couldn’t remem­ber if it was fab­ric paint or acrylic paint, but it isn’t water-sol­u­ble, in any case. For­tu­nate­ly, the paint did not get into the elec­tron­ics! Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it did stick a few keys togeth­er. So the man of the house took it apart, intend­ing to clean it up—then stuck it in the garage, where it has lan­guished for two years. In a clean­ing fit this week, he decid­ed to toss it out and just get a new one. Hap­pi­ly for me, his wife per­suad­ed him to give her a week to offer it on freecy­cle instead, and now it’s ours!

I’m encour­aged by the fact that every­thing worked before it was tak­en apart (oth­er than the stuck keys). I’m excit­ed about hav­ing a piano. Now I have to fig­ure out what to use to gen­tly clean said keys, then fig­ure out how to reassem­ble the whole thing. I con­sid­ered just tak­ing it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter, but I want to see if we can do it first, as their quot­ed labor rate of $70/hour would add up very quick­ly. This is a $1,000 instru­ment, so it’s worth putting some mon­ey into mak­ing it work. Hav­ing the mon­ey, as usu­al, is the prob­lem.

It came with its nice stand, which is inte­gral to the piano, as it has the ped­als on it. I’ll still need a bench, but I’ll deal with that after I have it work­ing.

A repair man­u­al would be very use­ful. The instru­ment man­u­al can be down­loaded from the Korg web site, but since these things aren’t con­sid­ered user ser­vice­able, it doesn’t show how to take the piano apart and put it back togeth­er. If I can get it cleaned up, though, I can prob­a­bly ask Dad­dy for assem­bly help. My Dad­dy can fix any­thing.1 He’s much bet­ter with things than with peo­ple.

I’m total­ly open to sug­ges­tions for gen­tle sol­vents.2 I’m fig­ur­ing non-ace­tone nail pol­ish remover might do it, but will it dam­age the keys?

Of course, if any of you fine folks hap­pen to have expe­ri­ence with tak­ing elec­tric pianos apart and reassem­bling them, by all means, please speak up! (Hey, a girl can hope, can’t she?)


1 Yes, I am 41 years old, and he’ll always be Dad­dy, and I’ll always believe in his mirac­u­lous fix-it-abil­i­ty

2 Yes, that’s some­thing of an oxy­moron.

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Ooo, I Want! New Putumayo CD

I love Putumayo’s CDs, and we have at least ten or so. I’ve yet to hear one of their com­pi­la­tions that I didn’t enjoy.

Celtic Dreamland CDBut I real­ly, real­ly adore their Celtic col­lec­tions, and I’m a big goofy nut about lul­la­bies. I don’t know why—maybe it’s because nobody sang them to me—but I can’t get enough of them as an adult.1

With that in mind, you can bet­ter under­stand why I just went nuts over the ecard with snip­pets of three songs from Celtic Dream­land that just arrived in my email. And ooo! There are more sam­ples over here!

And hey, I like you peo­ple, so I’m shar­ing the joy with you.


1 Be warned: I do sing to babies. Anybody’s babies. I can’t resist snug­gling a sleepy baby and lul­laby­ing away.

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Rumbles from the Recliner

Not from the grave, oh no, not yet!

It’s been too long to do a real “this is all that has hap­pened in my life.” Writ­ing it would exhaust me, and read­ing it would like­ly bore you. If you want to know about some­thing in par­tic­u­lar, please ask.

I’ll be post­ing a few things short­ly that I had “ready to go” and just didn’t post, for what­ev­er rea­son.

The girl is enjoy­ing life as a teen, or as much as any teen can. I wouldn’t want to go through those ups and downs again! She’s always my most pre­cious, beau­ti­ful God­dess gift baby, even if she will be 17 this week. That’s our “big thing” right now.

She con­tin­ues to amaze me with her cre­ativ­i­ty. She’s the head pho­tog­ra­ph­er (or what­ev­er they call it there) for the year­book, which has had her run­ning around to all man­ner of events for which there must be pho­tos! Now! Yes­ter­day! Couldn’t they hold Home­com­ing in July? Come ON peo­ple! And she loves it. She com­plete­ly filled her 1GB com­pact flash card with live pho­tos from Fri­day night’s foot­ball game, then had to switch to her small­er, old­er card and be very judi­cious in her shots to fin­ish the game. She obvi­ous­ly needs a much big­ger card!

Yes, she uses her own equip­ment. Her cam­era is head and shoul­ders above the qual­i­ty of those the year­book staff owns, even the few dig­i­tals. That makes sense, con­sid­er­ing the expense of them, the time it takes to real­ly learn to use a dig­i­tal SLR prop­er­ly, etc. Most of what they have are point-and-shoot 35mm film cam­eras, which aren’t such big a deal if a stu­dent los­es or dam­ages them.

Sam is still work­ing at the same place, help­ing peo­ple with com­put­ers and net­work­ing and phones and so on—even A/V equip­ment at times. If you can plug it in, his depart­ment is the one every­body calls first for help. I’m sur­prised jan­i­tors don’t show up with vac­u­um clean­er com­plaints some­times (and I don’t know that it hasn’t hap­pened at some time at the past).

The help­ing peo­ple part is, of course, the most impor­tant thing. He loves it, he does it well, and he finds wells of patience that must come from Some­where Else.

I’m reg­is­ter­ing for fall class­es (DeVry is on an odd sched­ule, but you may have noticed that). We’re look­ing for a place to move to, but not find­ing what we can afford where we want to live. I sup­pose that’s an eter­nal lament, isn’t it?

I’m still a gimp, and now have a (man­u­al) wheel­chair of my own. I real­ly need a ramp for the front entrance of the house, but I’ve delayed try­ing to have one put in here since we want to move.

We’re still in lim­bo with Social Secu­ri­ty. In Geor­gia, the wait to have your case heard by an admin­is­tra­tive law judge is (accord­ing to the SSA office near me) about 36 months, aver­age. That’s the lev­el I’m at now.

It’s damned frus­trat­ing not to be work­ing, not to be able to work. I don’t want to be on dis­abil­i­ty or need it! I want to find a job I can do for a decent wage!

But I’ve had yet more icky health stuff, so… Sam and Katie are more of a bless­ing than I can say, cer­tain­ly far more than I deserve.

I real­ly want music. I mean, to make it. Noth­ing else seems to be able to replace hav­ing a piano (not a lit­tle key­board) in my home. That’s when I sing the most, as I accom­pa­ny myself. (I don’t play all that well, so I don’t play in front of any­one else.) I was think­ing of tak­ing a new vocal class Elise Witt is offer­ing, but it con­flicts with a fam­i­ly com­mit­ment.

I’m re-read­ing Madeleine L’Engle’s Cross­wicks Jour­nals and poet­ry as I mourn her pass­ing. Yes, there will be a sep­a­rate post about that, but for now, I’ll leave you with a tiny quote from her:

I learn my lessons slow­ly, sel­dom once for all. Con­tin­u­al­ly they have to be learned and re-learned, not with solem­ni­ty, but with awe and laugh­ter and joy.

Namaste,
Cyn

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Gaming & Podcasting & TV, oh my!

Sam has start­ed anoth­er pod­cast in cahoots with Bill Wal­ton. This one, Square One, is for com­plete­ly new gamers. Check it out — they’ve done a good job. I’m in one episode, though I don’t think that one’s up yet.

Sam and I are part of a group play­ing Out in the Black, a Seren­i­ty RPG mod­ule, that’s being record­ed for the After Seren­i­ty pod­cast. The first episode has already been put out on the feed, and the sec­ond episode should be out soon (we’ve already record­ed it).

At home we’re still play­ing Raven­flight togeth­er. Silken Moon­light is on hold ’til Son­ji can join us again. She’s always too busy to play from about Sep­tem­ber to Jan­u­ary each year. Sam recon­nect­ed with some­one we gamed with in the past recent­ly, and we have hopes of gam­ing with a group he’s part of before too long.

We (Sam and Katie and I) have been watch­ing the first sea­son of Veron­i­ca Mars on DVD. It’s a good show, with a bit of a non-super­nat­ur­al Buffy feel. We’re also watch­ing the last episodes of Alias. The con­trast is inter­est­ing, to say the least. Since we get around to watch­ing maybe one episode of one or the oth­er a week, it’s slow going.

I final­ly fin­ished watch­ing Rent, too. Sam and I have both found that movie to be a dread­ful ear­worm gen­er­a­tor. I picked up the sound­track CD at the library this week­end, and will try lis­ten­ing to it ’til I’m sick of it. Maybe that will help.

Sam has a small TV in the kitchen, and he always has some oth­er series going in the DVD play­er there to keep him com­pa­ny while cook­ing if some­one isn’t in the kitchen with him. The cur­rent one is Penn & Teller — Bullsh*t! The Com­plete Sec­ond Sea­son. I thought I’d watched that, but appar­ent­ly I mis­re­mem­bered. Penn is awful­ly atten­tion-get­ting, even with­out a visu­al.

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