solarbird: (Default)
whelp, I've slipped to 2:30am bedtimes again. I was just here... last week? About a week and a half ago. And didn't manage to push back it properly.

On the plus side, I got shit done. Two new vocal tracks (harmony chorus), another one fixed up a bit, some mixing challenges - well, one in particular - solved. Second release candidate for "Something's Coming," a kinda-sorta release candidate for "Song for a Free Court/Anarchy Now."

but really that's blog fodder.

I am just not real good at diurnalism. OH, THE IRONY!
solarbird: (vision)

So after all the eye surgery adventures last winter, I fell six months behind on everything, and then summer was filled with surprise extra tasks and work that aren’t related to music… or, really, fun… at all. But I had a lot of catching up to do, and it needed to happen.

And I finally have been. I haven’t been around the last few days in no small part because I have finally beaten down my to-do list to items that were on it before GeekGirlCon 2013 (the weekend my right eye went lol no) and all of those adventures. I diagnosed the roomba’s problem and repair parts are on the way. The minor ceiling repairs (cosmetic, really) upstairs that I started right before all that? Finished. The small mountain of weird credit union rewards points I apparently had? Sorted and spent! And so on.

Not to mention the album, of course. I just dropped Release Candidate 1 for another track. \o/

The downside of all that kind of catch-up work is that I’m really kind of out of performance shape, and I need to start working on that now. Studio shape – that, I’m in. But that’s very different to performance shape.

I guess it’s a little like the difference between being trained for sprinting and trained for a marathon. Right now, I’ve been in studio a couple of months, I’m real good at short bursts, because that’s what you need, and you need to be your best at it. But that’s tiring. Live, you also need to be at your best, but in a different way that doesn’t crash your stamina. And I need to switch back to that.

Plus, I need to be booking events. I mean damn. But it’s about time to be thinking about spring anyway, so at least, this time, I’m not late.

But yeah. Catching up, one task at a time, and far enough along that old things are coming off the stack. I’m tired, but it’s the good kind of tired, and now, the decks are almost clear, and we can be moving forward again.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (music)
Wow, hi! I haven't posted in days. And no time now, I need to get to bed! But I am anyway.

First, see [ profile] annathepiper's post on the Great Big Sea show at Woodland Park on Thursday.

Other than that I've mostly been working in the studio. I'm currently working on "Stars," and one of the things that happens when you perform something a lot is that you can lose the music of it, and I'd kind of lost that in "Stars," but with the addition of a djembe track, I've found it again. That'll go up on the band site with all the other completed tracks which you should listen to if you haven't already as soon as it's done; I'll probably release one more after that before holding off until the whole album is complete.

But mostly this weekend, I'm really working on [ profile] annathepiper and my entry into the Great Big Sea Karaoke Video contest. Anna is project director, and video director; I'm musical director, second unit video director (lulz), and have mostly been running the camera. The band released instrumental tracks from three of their songs and said "get creative," so I've added a zouk track (because it NEEDS MOAR ACOUSTIC), and some new lyrics and melody in the second half of the bridge, and Anna's on lead vocals except for where I sing the bit I wrote for the bridge, and she and I are both in the harmony brick, and [ profile] technoshaman was over today to provide a bass voice in this solid brick of harmony they do several times, and so on. Lots of work, and I'm tired, but it's the good kind of tired.

Tomorrow, more recording - Anna has some lead drop-ins to do, we both have more additions to the harmony block (and some plans to re-record some of our current work), and [ profile] cflute and [ profile] mamishka are both coming over for more harmony support. Then it'll be time to edit and properly mix. I know what I'm going to do, fortunately; it's going to involve more of the dreaded automation (dreaded because that crashes so damned much), but mostly it's pretty straightforward. The zouk mix is the most difficult part, but even that's not hard - it's just scary because it's what needs the automation.

Then it'll be back to "Stars." But I like these side projects, I always learn something. This time's no exception.

Oh, and please enjoy Anna in studio a couple of days ago:

solarbird: (molly-tired)
I'm sick, tired, bored, and achy, and sitting at home. And bored. Did I mention the bored part? I'm bored. I might have econ later but my head hurts and right now I'm too tired. Entertain me?
solarbird: (Default)
[ profile] vixyish points her readers to two more cases of people without health insurance; Cheyenne Wright, the colourist for Girl Genius, who recently had an "alarming" hospital stay (without insurance), and, worse, an SCA fan whose family needs help with funeral expenses following his death, a result of loss of medical coverage and job. (Diabetes+inadequate money for meds=dead.) I don't know the family of the deceased - I'm not in SCA - but I do know [ profile] cleothyla through fandom.

I also don't know any of the details of Cheyenne's hospital stay. But I can tell you that over the six years of medical hell Anna and I went through ending in 2009 (touch wood), we did have insurance, sometimes through me and my self-paid business coverage, sometimes through Anna's employer. It wasn't bad coverage; some pretty high deductibles at times, but we didn't have to go to war very often with the insurance companies or anything. (Mostly billing fuckups, but nothing with intent as far as we could tell.) During this time, I got hit-and-run by a car while out biking, Anna had two rounds of thyroid tumours followed by breast cancer, and a few other things.

Our co-pay cost - the chunk we had to fork over - was over $100,000. That's just the "patient responsibility" portion (tho' it does include premiums) - the hospital stay portion alone of just my bike accident was over $150,000. That doesn't include physical therapy (some significant portions of which I delayed, to my detriment, for cost reasons), meds, and things like that. We've paid all of the direct expenses off; we have about $8,000 left in accumulated other debt we stacked up while shovelling money at hospitals. If you do the math - and I of course do - that balance is entirely from interest payments, not money we actually spent on things.

Cheyenne doesn't have health insurance. Whatever his total bill is, he's looking straight at it.

So. If you can, go clickie and throw a few bucks at people. It won't help fix the system, but it'll help some individuals, and that, at least, is worth doing.
solarbird: (Default)
A couple of friends are passing along links to [ profile] save_dave, so I'm propagating. I don't know Dave, but he's known to them and he's trying not to lose his house to foreclosure, which would suck. You can read more about it on [ profile] s00j's LJ, here.

Amtrak tickets to Vancouver are on sale! 25% off. Take the train!

I'm not going to work on this right now, because I'm trying to make a CD, not tweak the DAW more, but here're some instructions for optimising Jack on Ubuntu Studio 8.04. I have not done all of this - mostly I still have PulseAudio running. But for future reference: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.


Nov. 18th, 2008 11:09 am
solarbird: (zoe)
solarbird: (Default)
At 11:00 on November 11, 1918, the armistice that ended the Great War took effect, thus bringing to a close the opening rounds of the charnel house conflicts that would define the 20th Century. Possibly the most senseless war of the lot - sparked by assassination, launched by egotism, enabled by blindness, and prolonged, gruelingly, by incompetence and an inability to adjust theory to match reality on the ground - 20 million people died, and 20 million more were wounded, many permanently.

Remembrance Day
solarbird: (Default)
Okay, so, I'm now in more of a hurry to sell my pickup truck, so I've cut the price dramatically. I still think it'd be a very nice restoration project truck for someone, even if it is a full-size bed, or, barring that, a very nice occasional-use heavy-hauler. If you know someone who needs such a beast, please let them know. Thanks.
solarbird: (Default)
This is a cool fireworks picture. Worksafe.

misc bits

Nov. 29th, 2007 12:17 am
solarbird: (molly-content)
I shouldn't do linkposts, I'm not very good at them. But here:

Of course - it's so obvious! Also, this is a bit late - like, a month late - but it's still funny.

[ profile] codeamazon says that this call by the Oregon state Republican Party to have the Feds take "more effective joint action against organized crime, drug cartels, terrorist networks and the Oregon Democratic Party" was still in the platform as of 27 November, until it started spreading around the net like this. Found here via [ profile] elfs, the wayback machine's archive date is March 3, so that means it was up at least eight months, three weeks. Meanwhile, the state GOP in Virginia is now going to require loyalty oaths to vote in their primary.

Of course, you still have the Democratic Party. Alas.

Meanwhile, in France, Undercover restorers fix Paris landmark's clock, with further commentary here and the restoration group's comments in English here, with pictures. The commentary on replacing the government where the government is inept is interesting. At the same time, American artists take a cue from a mall commercial and secretly build and live in an apartment inside a mall for four years.

[ profile] talisker posts a Vanity Fair article by Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz on the economic consequences of the Bush administration's massive deficits, spending practices, foreign policy, and so on. One other problem it doesn't mention is the brain drain the new close-the-borders crowd has triggered. (I personally know people who have made these same decisions.)

And finally, here, have some pre-9/11 Rudy Giuliani diplomacy.
solarbird: (Default)
Here, let me badly emulate for a minute:
[CRAZY] Mayor Resigns, Claims Abduction By Satan Worshippers
[BAD ARCHITECTURE] New approach to embassies for US: bunkers, bunkers, bunkers
[AWESOME] Wingsuits are awesome
[EVIL] Saudi Arabia increases rape victim's punishment for being raped to six months in prison and 200 lashes, primarily for having the gall to appeal her original sentence of 90 lashes handed down for being raped
[NOT THAT IT MATTERS] Scott McClellan blames President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for efforts to mislead the public about the role of White House aides in leaking the identity of a CIA operative
[COOKIES] Better writing than usual in The Stranger
Also, I have a Promaster 80A 49mm filter that I can't use. It's for using daylight film with a clear (standard) flash, typically indoors but wherever. The glass is in pristine condition and is the one in the photo Blue. Anybody interested?
solarbird: (vision)
Right, um, it's been a week. Damn. Okay. A quick list:

1: Cultural Warfare Update has taken a little hiatus. I will be resuming CWU posts, but I apparently need a little time away from it for the time being. (This bit is the only Culture War portion of this post, if you're looking at my stuff via that filter and that's your primary, consider this a vacation announcement.)

2: I'm fine. I haven't gone anywhere, though I will probably be away from LJ at the end of August and early in September. After that I rather imagine things might get back a little more towards normal. Right now, things are strange. Not bad. Just strange.

3: Bullet list of things I'd be thinking about more if I wasn't distracted:
A. The markets are about one more Bear Stearns-level failure away from a panic. Dr. Bernanke is walking a slackrope over the Grand Canyon; let's all wish him the best of luck. I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed.

B. This global oil production graph is not reassuring.

C. This external financing statistic is not good news either. Sorry.
So anyway, you might keep eyes on that stuff if you want.

Stuff is happening, but it's okay. )
solarbird: (Default)
Happy Yuri's Night, everybody! Here, have a cat who figured out the bus schedule, which has nothing to do with Yuri Gagarin and the first human into space, but, on the other hand, may be kind of a metaphor. And if not, at least it's awfully cute.
solarbird: (vision)

solarbird: (molly-happy)
[ profile] spazzkat sez, "Yarrr, prepare to be buttered!"

(spotted by [ profile] jwz)
solarbird: (Default)
So far, we've gotten multi-hour blackouts about once a year since moving to our new house, Murkworks North. And we got through this past storm pretty well. We had heat, we had light, we had food and the ability to prepare it. It wasn't good, but it wasn't really so bad. Since the more people prepped to handle these things, the better, I'm carrying some comments I made in email to someone off LJ about dealing with this sort of thing over to my journal.

1. Have non-electric entertainment. During last year's blackout, we had a music jam! [ profile] annathepiper even wrote up a jam report. It was good. ^_^ This time, we did crosswords and lazed about, and were getting ready to play Yahtzee right before the lights came back on. We'd have had more fun except I was busy prepping for my chemistry final all Thursday and was then kind of wiped out Friday night.

2. If a big windstorm is coming and you have warning, stock up on ice early to keep your cold food viable. (Not all these come with low temperatures.) Keep the ice in bags in the freezer until the lights actually go out (a [ profile] spazzkat addition), then transfer the ice and most valuable foods to a locking cooler, and if it's cold out, put it outside. We did not do this, but have now learned. Oh well, at least the fridge is all sparkly clean. That's a switch.

3: Other food: stock more up on soup (easy to heat) and other canned fruits and vegetables (also easy to heat) and tea (easier than coffee to make), and try to keep at least a few days' supply of food in the house, stuff that you eat normally anyway, so you can rotate through it and not feel like you're wasting money. That's a little easier said than done, but a box of canned green veggies, a box of canned fruit, and a bunch of cans of soup OR boxes of mac and cheese plus canned tuna will give you a pretty decent emergency balance of protein and vitamins, and they're all easy to make in the dark without a lot of heat. Also, maybe keep some candy around for morale purposes. YAY! STORM CANDY! Or something. ^_^

Or, if you're tight on space, go over to Uwajimaya and get some decent rice. We like Nishiki brand, and no, I don't mean the sushi kind you can get at QFC, I mean their regular rice. It's easy to make, compact, tasty, and very good for you. This is something we keep 20lb bags of anyway, but even a 5lb mini-bag will keep you in calories for a good amount of time. Plus, it stores well.

If cooking heat is an issue, then there're always MREs, breakfast bars, Tiger's Milk bars, and other similar no-heat high-protein or high-fruit snacks.

3: Lighting: the cheapest way I've found to get decent emergency brightness is to get a couple or three oil lamps and keep a bottle or two of candle (paraffin) oil around. They work surprisingly well. The lamps cost about $8 (or mine did, anyway, at McLendon's Hardware), the oil costs about $4 for a large bottle. The ones I have look like 19th century little-house-on-the-prairie metal-base long-glass-chimney lights, like you'd expect Laura Ingalls to be carrying around. ^_^ One large bottle (which is, hum, a litre?) of paraffin oil fills three of the kind of lamp I have full, and we used it constantly through the evenings during the blackout and didn't even need to refill once. You can get the oil all kinds of places; Bartell Drugs even carries it. And I wouldn't recommend kerosene lamps unless you'll remember to store and replace kerosene every year; paraffin lamps aren't as bright but the paraffin doesn't degrade like kerosene does. (It's a moisture thing.) I studied for my Friday-morning chem final using one of these lamps, so they're bright enough for comfortable reading.

Alternatively, if you're thinking about this right now, you can get these sets of three press-click LED area lights that take batteries for $14 from Costco. Buy those and a brick of AAA batteries. They won't be as good for general lighting as a paraffin oil lamp, but they don't involve flame or bottles of candle oil. Oh, and LED lights are better than regular because they use less power (so the batteries last longer), don't burn out, and are brighter than standard bulbs. But as with most battery lights I've found, the light isn't very even, so reading is like reading by a flashlight.

A still more expensive but definitively more comforting solution for light is to get a good-sized computer UPS (spendy), keep it charged, then use it to power a compact-florescent light during the blackout. Get something that'll keep a full computer system running for 25 minutes or more. We have a couple of these for our servers. They were more than half-drained by the time we got all our servers shut down, but despite that, we got a full evening's light out of one, and that was mostly just as an experiment. We used a full-spectrum daylight compact florescent (Ott-Lite, available at Home Depot and other places) bulb, which we use in some fixtures anyway.

Having normal electric light around, even if it's a single fixture, definitely helps cheer people up. You want c.f. and not incandescent because of the much lower power utilisation, again - 15W for a room's worth of brightness instead of 60W means that your battery power lasts four times longer. We also recharged my cell phone off it.

4: We weren't relying on this, but were very surprised to find that our hot water heater worked through the blackout. This is the advantage of natural gas over electric hot water, and probably tanks over tankless, tho' I don't know for sure about that last part.

5: Heating: if you're willing to store (and annually replace) a bit of kerosene, indoor-use no-vent-required kerosene heaters are available, put out a good amount of heat, and aren't very expensive. But you have to run them on non-flammable surfaces like stone or tile, and you have to have the right kind of fuel (K-1 Kerosene and nothing else), or you'll get CO poisoning and die, assuming the heater doesn't, you know, explode. So it's important not to do that. ^_^ The emergency solution to the floor thing where you don't have these options already is to buy some large garden pavers, put those on the floor, then put the heater on them. The solution to the fuel thing is not to try to run the heater on something stupid like diesel. Diesel and gasoline explode. Kerosene doesn't, even if you put a lit match to a spoonful of it.

If you have your own home, of course, a better solution is a woodburning stove. It's much better to get a soapstone or other rock-lined stove, which have a higher thermal mass and are generally more efficient than iron stoves. You'll also want something made in New England that's sold to people who live places like Vermont and New Hampshire where people actually use them for heat, because those people won't generally put up with a bullshit stove. I've actually seen some of these stoves in person, and they seemed pretty good at the time.

We were surprised to discover that the gas fireplaces we've thought poorly of since moving in were quite effective heaters, as gas fireplaces go. This is not usually true - I know people who found that their gas fireplaces didn't provide any useful heat without electric fan assistance - so if you're putting in a gas fireplace, get one that will burn without electric assistance and has high BTU output without the fan as an aid.

6: This doesn't matter for windstorms, much, but when we have the next big earthquake, you'll want either stored water (difficult) or at least water-purification tablets (easy) on hand. $4 will get you a decently-sized bottle of purification tablets. Replace them every year or as directed on the package; they go bad even in proper storage.


All the local governments and the Red Cross tell everyone in this region to have three-day packs. These are grab-and-go backpack/carrypacks containing survival supplies for three days. This kind of storm is one of the reasons why three-day packs are recommended. We didn't have to get into ours, but we had it handy, and that was really reassuring. (And I go through it once a year and restock it - tho' I should do that every six months, really.) If you think this windstorm was bad - and it was - wait 'till the next big earthquake. It'll be much worse.

Emergency Essentials will assemble a top-of-the-line 3-day pack for you. That's kind of expensive - and you'll get on some Mormon mailing lists, which is kind of funny - but comprehensive. The Red Cross sells cheaper ones that are better than nothing, but they're pretty bare-boned and you'll want to round them out a bit.

So. These are the kinds of things we (mostly) had ready and handy, and helped us deal with the multi-day blackout with a lot less pain and stress than we would have had otherwise. Feel free to offer better ideas, I'm sure this post could use 'em.
solarbird: (Default)
[Poll #860484]
solarbird: (dmw)
It's National Coming Out Day. So hi, if you're reading this, I'm a dyke. If you're not reading this, I'm still a dyke, and get out of my brain.

Cultural Warfare Update later.
solarbird: (Default)
Student orientation today, toured the tiny Shoreline campus, met a bunch of faculty, and a lot of incoming freshman; that went alright and I wasn't nearly as exhausted as I had been after the Tuesday visit. Sadly, I didn't win the drawing for the iPod. Classes start tomorrow morning - yeek. Then I have an appointment with the neurotrauma people and hopefully I can safely go off these stupid meds. Wish me luck!

Today's (Wednesday's) Miles: 2.8
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1339.5
Miles out of Rivendell: 874.5
Miles out of Lothlórien: 419.5
Miles past Rauros Falls: 11.6
Miles to Isengard: 459.3


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