Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Life Update

Life owning a house is always an adventure.

The thaw and rain in early April taught us that the basement has a seepage problem - not a ton of water, but enough to ruin the carpet. We thought we had fixed the problem with the addition of window well covers, but we were dismayed at the start of May to discover the leak had returned with the heavy rains. Although we have not decided yet on a final course of action, I anticipate adding French drains to the northwestern corner of the house to avoid this problem in the future.

This, of course, as we are set to have Tony's boyfriend, Jason, move in.

On a brighter note, with Steve's ardent lead we have created a raised garden on the east side of the garage, about 4x20' in size. For our first season, I (somewhat haphazardly) planted: beets, spinach, marigolds, garlic, peas, carrots and onions. Fortunately, all of these crops are somewhat cold-resistant, because this past Saturday (Mother's day, of course), Colorado's weather decided to turn cold and snowy.  I think, and hope, that this will be the last freeze however.

No changes to report on the work front; things generally continue to go well, and the development team is growing.

BrightonMusic had a good 2014-2015 season, with two CU students submitting compositions for our Homespun concert. I have also had a number of my own compositions or arrangements performed throughout the season, including "Brighton Fanfare", "Rise of the Machines", and "Hoedown for Strings." Lee Grothe also organized a surprise celebration for Kat, in recognition of her work in Brighton and elsewhere. (Astonishingly, she had no idea it was coming!)

Overall, I would tentatively say life is going well. We have some challenges to overcome regarding the house and the finances required to repair it, but I think we can overcome those.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

2014 was a year of change for us. Some good, some bad.

The year started off rough when we ended our relationship with Pat. After 11 months, it was the second most significant romantic relationship of my life, and my first true triad. It hurt like nothing else I've felt before.

In the wake of the breakup, we decided that we needed to expand our sphere of friends, so we joined the weekly poker game at the Wrangler. Meanwhile, Steve continued to host monthly gayme night at Enchanted Grounds, and the event continues to grow. We also strengthened our friendship with Nick.

In February, we rescued a kitty named Ada that had been run over by a car, and yet seemingly escaped unscathed! She has become integrated into our lives quite well, although at times she attacks Rory for no reason.

April took us to Arizona for vacation and to visit Steve's sister Michelle and her family. Easter day was spent in an Easter Egg hunt with added distractions - nerf guns! Despite this, eventually Ben found all the eggs we had hidden (and re-hidden)!

May saw the conclusion of the orchestra's season, and a very successful end-of-season picnic.

June we went up to Breckenridge to stay at Steve's company's cabin there. My parents joined us for a few days, and we also got to see our fraternity brother Danny while he was in town with his family. We went on a mine tour, tasted some Breckenridge bourbon and got a couple nice hikes in. We also got to attend Denver Pride, which was enjoyable.

In July, we got to see the live Welcome to Night Vale show at the Paramount with Gabe and Nick, which was amazing. So many queers in the audience! We also started hosting a bi-weekly movie night for our friends.

September was a big new step in my life - the purchase of my own house. Starting in August, the whole process was done in about a month, and we moved in on September 28! Since then, it has mostly been a matter of settling in and hosting game nights, movie nights and other get-togethers, including our first Thanksgiving and Christmas at the new home!

Looking forward to 2015, we will continue to expand our circle of friends and strengthen the bonds we already have. I am hopeful for the new year and anticipate many good times ahead!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Falling Down

Pentapedes are falling down
Falling down
Falling down
Pentapedes are falling down on your head now

Try to block with arms and hands
Arms and hands
Arms and hands
Try to block with arms and hands, still they bite you

Pentapedes are out for blood
Out for blood
Out for blood
Pentapedes are out for blood, we must stop them

Volunteer to crush the bugs
Crush the bugs
Crush the bugs
Volunteer to crush the bugs and save your country!

Anti-pentapede propaganda and recruitment video, ca. 2031. Source: the Sapient War national archives.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

GSP - 2013-02-05 to 2014-01-11

Recording this for my own remembrance.

It was amazing, in the beginning. We clicked right away, and got involved pretty quickly. He was smart, funny, energetic, and passionate. As time went on, we became more comfortable with each other, but cracks began to show - he was more outgoing, more interested in going out to concerts or other events. We tended to want to stay in. I believe that was what eventually did us in; complacency in our routine in conflict with his desire to do more and different things.

The end hurt when it came, but we have passed through it and allowed it to change us, hopefully for the better.

I will remember those 340 days fondly, but I hope that they were not the only ones we will get to spend with him. Thank you, Pat.

Sunday, August 04, 2013


China Miéville

In Embassytown, Avice Benner Cho relates the events of her life, leading up to and including the radical transformation of Embassytown and its residents. Embassytown, the book's eponymous city where the majority of the plot takes place, is a pocket of human-breathable space on an environmentally hostile (to humans) planet, Arieka. The planet's native inhabitants, Ariekei, are incredible bio-engineers whose language requires two vocal streams to speak - and a single living mind behind it. In order to accommodate communication, the humans on the planet have created Ambassadors: cloned human twins, raised to serve as interpreters to the Ariekei and ostensible leaders of the little colony, linked through empathic implants and kept identical through careful daily physical syncing.

The first third of the book largely concerns itself with the past - Cho's childhood and her relationship with her linguist husband Scile, while the remainder recounts the events following the introduction of an outsider Ambassador, EzRa, who causes Arikei society to fall apart.

I really enjoyed Embassytown.  There are lots of strange new (at least to me) science fictional concepts to enjoy, and I love language, so the sections dealing with Scile and the language of the Ariekei (simply called "Language") were especially interesting.  The format was a little unusual; there was a lot of jumping back and forth during the first third of the book that made it difficult to follow at times, especially given the convention of specifying time spans in hours (such as kilohours and megahours). Ultimately, however, the order of prior events is less important than their facts and consequences.

One aspect of the book that I particularly liked was that it took a relatively tight view of events, a tighter view than the reader realizes at the time, and then provided a twist that expanded that view - twice. This shows a level of world-building beyond the simple aspects of the single story, but also the skill and care to not allow it to bog down the plot.

While there were a lot of new ideas to get a grasp on, I found it more comprehensible than Perdido Street Station, although I have the impression they are set in the same universe. I would recommend it for pretty much any science fiction reader, but particularly those with an interest in linguistics.

Enabling your compose key for Unity in Ubuntu 13.04

If you ever write in a language other than English that uses Roman letters, the compose key is a huge help to doing so. It's also useful for times when you need to write a name with an accent, for example, Miéville.

Unfortunately, the compose key doesn't seem to be active by default in Ubuntu 13.04 (at least, for me it wasn't). Fortunately, you can restore the functionality quite easily.

First, open up the system settings application, either by clicking the icon in the sidebar or typing "system settings" into the Unity search bar.

Then, select "Keyboard Layout"

In the "Keyboard Layout" window, click the "Options" button in the lower right of the window.

Find "Compose Key position" in the list, and click it to open it up. Select the desired key(s).

Now, you should be able to create accented characters easily:

Compose + ' + e => é
Compose + ' + o => ó
Compose + ` + e => è
Compose + ^ + o => ô
Compose + ~ + n => ñ

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Import your (DRM-free) epubs and PDFs into Google Books

I can't believe I just found out about this, but Google has added upload functionality for your books to Google Play.

To upload a book on the web, just go to Google Play -> Books -> My Books (or go to )...

Then, on the right side of the screen, click the "Upload files" button.

An upload dialog will appear.

Select the files you want to upload, and they will be immediately uploaded and imported! (Google notes that large files may take some time to be processed.)