Friday, August 31, 2007


I can't do this. I come here with the intent of reading, writing, and generally educating myself, but when I end up sitting quietly with a book, my mind wanders off to what else I could be doing. I don't know why I can't seem to concentrate. As interesting as this subject is, I just can't focus on any one thing for more than five or ten minutes. I could, on the other hand, sit in quiet contemplation for hours.

Right now, I'm a bit hungry. From the stepping-off place of the coffee shop, I imagine myself wandering around downtown, backpack strapped, looking for a place to stop and eat. I love the idea of a solitary adventure enough that I come back to this theme frequently -- dreams of a month-long trek in the Canadian wilderness and the more realistic fancy of a walk downtown are of the same heart. Why do I so crave solitude? I'm alone a great deal of my time already. I guess, all things considered, adventures alone are so much more... fulfilling.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Genuine Advantage"

Huhuh. Check it out. Microsoft's WGA server crashed yesterday, calling everybody in the world who tried to install or update Windows a pirate, and with the "new and improved" WGA packaged in Vista, effectively shut down a good many machines.

While I wasn't affected [insert elitist snort here], I took the afternoon today to install a fresh copy of Ubuntu in protest. It's been awhile since I've done that, and hot diggity, they've made some terrific improvements. Wireless support works out of the box, and they've eased up the "only free software" attitude quite a bit to make installing Flash and the like as easy as it is on any other platform. Not only was it a breeze to install (20 minutes total, tops), it's shiny like new nickels after I spent 10 or 15 minutes making it pretty. Check it.

I'm not so good at Tetris... You should see the rest of the stuff that comes installed, though. I've got GIMP for image editing, Evolution for mail, a dozen or so games, the complete OpenOffice suite, GAIM for my IMs, a CD player/burner/ripper... I'm set!

--And now, for something completely different--

I've gotten a great kick this week from reading the archives over at Other People's Emergencies. The one entitled "Unconscious Calls" is great. My RSS bookmark list is growing steadily :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Love Blogs

I've discovered I'm not very good at writing my own, but what the heck does it matter? Reading blogs is the fun part.

I been reading the rants and musings of AD for quite awhile, now, but I have never read anything as absolutely perfect as his post yesterday evening. The flirting has apparently led up to a wonderful beginning. I've admired that man for his heart. Now, he gives me hope, too!

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Life, Rated

Nabbed this from Cranky Epistles, but after I posted mine, I noticed AD has one up, too. It is can be cool club time now plz?

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

I've got a better life than it looks on a graph... My non-sociability seems to have skewed my results.

It's pretty clear I have nothing to write about. Bear with me. Muse has shut herself in the bathroom, the crazy witch.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My Dog Uses Windows

She loves the darned things. I don't blame her, really -- she's an indoor-type pup, so an open window must be pretty exciting. If the front door is open, she'll just sit there, on alert, watching over the front yard through the storm door until we close the big door on her, slowly enough so she's got time to get out of the way. Sometimes, I sit on the floor behind her, and we watch together.

If we're all sitting around in the den, she usually joins us, but before long, she's invariably sitting in front of a shuttered window, staring at it. She has us trained well, see. I see her sitting there staring at the shutters, so I instinctively lean over and open one for her. She hurries to prop herself up and take watch out the window, her eyes bright, her ears perked, and her tail raised with confidence. After awhile, she'll move over to the ottoman and laze upon it, watching still -- albeit between deep, comfortable breaths at this point -- out that darned window, soaking up the sliver of sunlight that shines through it.

I could close with the "It'd be nice to have the life of a dog" cliché, but in truth, I needn't wish for that. No, the thoughts on my mind in those wonderful moments are perfectly plain. I think, "How warm, the sun is," and, "I saw a bee just now," and, "I like this place."

Saturday, August 11, 2007


It might be exhaustion speaking, but I laughed like a fool at this.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Geek Squad Training

I've discovered why grandma always calls us after Geek Squad makes a mess of her machine.

Top secret training footage, direct from an inside source. That's a lie, actually. I'm not sure who or what this picture represents, except a young man who'll hopefully learn not to play with the pins on a CPU or use a motherboard for a hand rest.

Surprisingly Genuine

I'm a creature of habit. I'll follow the same routine day after day without getting bored. I do like things to be familiar, and if I'm familiar enough in a place myself, I can squeeze out limited bits of social interaction I'd otherwise be completely lonesome without.

Today, I ran into somebody I thought was gone forever. I'd accepted her disappearance with grace, knowing folks don't usually remain employed in fast food very long, and in several visits over the last couple weeks (I took about six months off from that place -- one can only eat so many sub sandwiches), I hadn't seen her around. Today, though, there she was, just like always. I broke into an idiotic grin before I could stop myself. She smiled right back, and we exchanged a few meaningless words before it was business as usual.

I was so happy to see this familiar stranger today. How often, in reality, are people truly glad to see somebody else standing before them? When's the last time you greeted a real friend with a genuine display of joy? Perhaps I'm just a loner, but that hasn't happened in long enough to surprise me when it did today.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Music Fills Me

I learned today. I discovered, after playing alone for so long, that I'm a better musician than I'd previously thought.

I picked up my dad's acoustic guitar the other day and played my heart out, basking in the strange feeling of those rich harmonics resonating against me. I dropped the low E to a D for some bass, and immersed myself in a delicate, Fauré-meets-jazz solo improv session for about 30 minutes straight. I hadn't played on an acoustic like that before -- I don't have an acoustic, myself. Ruby will always be my one and only, and her tone is just right for that style, but I could feel the notes on this acoustic. I decided, at that point, it wouldn't be cheating to get one for myself. Ruby is my one and only, and she knows that'll never change.

I went out to the music store today, then, in search of a loved (read: used) acoustic guitar. "Mountain Music Music Shoppe," the place is called, and the instruments they carry sure do reflect their name. They have a spectacular section of banjos (fun, but I'm certainly not ready to drop $1k on an expensive one), mandolins (one day I might try the mandolin...), autoharps, strange hand drum things, wooden flutes... the variety and selection of non-standard instruments in this place is enough to make any music nut's heart flutter. They had a couple racks of acoustic guitars, but they were either $80 and cheapy or, as my favorite turned out to be, a 50-year-old, heavily loved archtop for $1,100. Needless to say, I had to put both back. The first would frustrate me, and I couldn't afford the second or bring home such a serious threat to Ruby. No, these weren't what I came to find. I spent the next half hour or so just browsing around, picking up this or that, plucking on one and strumming on another. I thumbed a couple notes on an acoustic bass at one point, and-- hey, wait a sec. *Thumbs again* ooooh. That feels nice! I'm not sure how to play the bass, but-- *Thumbs a simple guitar riff* ahh! I'm playing the bass! Handily enough, this one is electric, too. I plugged it in, and I fell in love at the first resonating note. Forget the guitar; I've got Ruby, besides. I've needed a bass for a long time, too. In no time, I was carrying out a lovely acoustic bass guitar.

I got home, and I set about straight away learning how to play the thing. After a few plunkings around, a good top-to-bottom inspection, and a sniff inside, I've determined this one's male, despite the hideous bright pink case he came with. I'm calling him Fish, for lack of inspiration and a love for double-meanings.

My dad was awfully excited -- he, too, has a love for musical instruments. I played the 12-bar on his guitar (always safe when you're not sure about the other half of your duet), and he played a fancy blues riff on the bass. We switched instruments after that, and he started playing some jazzy something-or-other on the guitar. With nothing else left to do with a bass than play, I played. I realized a couple things, over the next five or ten minutes. First, I learned there's not much more to playing the bass than any other instrument -- it comes down to playing the right role. With the bass, I am rhythm and style. I found out by changing my style, even though he was just playing away, it completely changed the style of the music we were playing. Different scales changed the same tune from jazz to blues, then to latin and back again. Different rhythms made it funky or happy or soothing. Second, and more important in a general sense, I discovered that following another musician, even if they haven't told you where they're going, isn't as hard as I'd always thought. The bass is massive, compared to the guitar, and it made me slow down. Playing slow, it's not hard at all to follow. It seems slowing down was all it took to reach this epiphany. The feeling of a bass resonating everything around you is second only to the wonderful feeling of a key lesson learned.