Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Basic and Essays and Space probes, oh my!

Hi all!

Just got done with my final composition for my french class. Coming in at just over 530 words, it's one of the longer ones I've written. Which, in a way, is sad, because I often write much more here on this journal than I could in French. Of course, here I don't have to stick to a single topic, and I don't have to be terribly coherent, either.

Anyway, I got the incredible joy of working with (even more!) visual basic today. Fortunately, having the sample that Jim sent me, I'm now able to generally feel my way through the simple commands that I wish to use, and have managed to make a program which strips the excess information off of the data as well. So that's fun and exciting. Much more so than data entry. It's kinda refreshing to be working on a programming project again, even if it's rather simple.

In other news, the Cassini deep space probe entered Saturn orbit today. I was lucky enough (that is to say, my roommate took me along) to be at the open house at LASP to watch (on television) the guys at mission control at the JPL in Cali receive the data indicating that the probe did, in fact, make it to Saturn, through the ringgap, and so on. It was pretty cool, to be there when it was announced. I hope that I get to be a part of something like that someday.

Well, that's about it for now. I should see Farenheit 9/11, although I will state that I'm already against Bush (I was against Bush when he was put into office). Anyone interested in going with me?

Monday, June 28, 2004

XHTML Strict isn't quite possible...

Curse the silly advert at the top of the page... it's not XHTML 1.0 Strict! *shakes fist*

So, I've been attempting to get this blog up to XHTML 1.0 Strict, but it's not going to happen while the advert is up there. I may have to start publishing it on my website itself.

Or I might stop caring.

Thanks to Jim (I sent you an email, btw), whose approx. 20 lines did the job beautifully.

And why would my bank put checks I was depositing into my checking account? They've never done that before... Hmm...

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Whew!

What a weekend. I sure wish that I'd had a chance to rest some more, but... I didn't. Friday, after work, I went down and conducted The Mikado... again (that was the fourth show). Then, Saturday early afternoon I had a wedding to play in Ft. Collins, so I had to get up there, then back down for the fifth Mikado show, then home. Today, I did my laundry in the morning, had a matinee to conduct, went afterwards to jazz band rehearsal, and then to the cast party, as today was the final performance. Busy. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to participate in Pride this year, on account of, well, see above.

The last few performances went well. I don't remember at this moment whether I've said it, but when I first saw a recording of the show, I said to myself, "There's no way they'll be able to do it." And that's partly true - after all, each show is unique, and they didn't have the cast or crew or money or sets or lights or orchestra to do the show that I saw in the recording. But, they did manage to do the show, and while it does remain community theater, I am very impressed that they were able to pull it off at all, especially the vocal parts, which were exceedingly difficult

I'd also like to state that I am also very very much impressed with and indebted to the instrumentalists. They received the music a week and a half before the first performance, managed to learn it sufficiently to play it (and it's not easy music, either. Where the actors are singing, it's not hard, in general, but the in-between parts are). They also followed me, and, perhaps most importantly, put up with me while I was learning not only the music but how to conduct an oper(a/etta). It's something different than a regular performance, let me tell you. You have to pay attention to the actors, take a combination of your tempi, the actors' tempi, and the orchestra's tempi (ie, how fast each group can actually play/sing), be ready to help the actors occasionally with lines (happened a couple times), be ready in case the actors skip lines, or forget them entirely, come in neither too soon nor too late, make sure the orchestra blends and doesn't overpower the singers, and vice versa... Quite a learning experience. Thank you again to Dale, Jean, Cheryl, Suzan, Millie, Martha, Don and most especially Rebecca, who donated somewhere around eight weeks of her time to be the rehearsal accompanist, at my request ('course, I didn't know that they'd rehearse for so long each time, nor did I expect her to have to be at all of them, but they did and she was at most). I intend to get something nice for each of them, but I don't know what yet. A card at least.

Which remains me: they got me a rose! A very pretty rose, too, I might add. And they signed a program and gave it to me! I just don't know what to do!

Anyway, what else do I have to say for tonight? Only another week of class, then I'm off (yay!), though I'll still be working, full-time again. That's another thing. I've been offered a position teaching viola at Universal Music, when the school year gets going again. The question is, is it something that I should do? Something I want to do? I've been offered to continue with my current consulting job, which, as I've mentioned before, pays very well. It's not something I want to give up, in terms of finances. But, I would kinda like to have some students. I could certainly teach beginning violists (violinists, too, for that matter, at that level it's all basically the same), and possibly even more advanced ones. And it is a job, which means that I'd have money coming in more or less constantly (depending on the number of students). But again, the consulting job pays very well, is constant, and I have been asked to stay on for a while. So. I dunno yet.

Upcoming this week: more school and work, I have a final on the 2nd, I may have a gig on the 4th, one on the 5th, and there might be something else along in there sometwhere, too. No rest for the wicked, the virtuous, or the middling. Sigh.

There's a new R'thoria post over at my livejournal. We're finally coming to some of the ones I really like!

Poetry:

Lumbering clouds droop heavily above.
Which is better: friendship or love?
Is there a difference, when push comes to shove?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

A short update:

Mikado, at least the three performances so far, has gone well. Three more coming up this weekend, then that's the end of that. The whole frustrating situation had essentially disappeared by Thursday, which was the dress rehearsal, so everyone was (more or less) happy.

Monday night I went over to Andrew's and we talked for a while. Either the boy is oblivious or not interested. Anyway. Tuesday I went up to Brandon's and we also talked for a while. Tonight we went and saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was actually quite good. I enjoyed it, partially because it was a bit darker in tone and subject, and partially simply because I enjoyed the book. Plus I got to spend some time with Brandon, which I do enjoy.

Otherwise, today wasn't all that great a day. I got up late, which meant that my roommate got into the shower ahead of me, which meant I was running late when I left. Fortunately, I leave about ten minutes early, so I was alright. But I almost ran into another cyclist on my way out, and some pedestrians, and then again on my way back. Then, I forgot my wallet after I left for work, which meant that I could only get less than $6 worth of food at the burger stand, as that's how much cash was in the car (I'm going to greatly replenish its stock tomorrow). Then, eating my little lunch, I dropped it onto my lap. And I had a frustrating afternoon trying deperately to code in Visual Basic which isn't for Beginners, isn't very All-purpose, and doesn't seem to be Symbolic so far as I can tell. Nor could I find the "visual" part. But it is indeed Instruction Code. (The worst part is trying to use the incomplete m$ Access reference manual, which doesn't, always, actually refer to commands in Access.) So I eventually had to give up on that, though I'm convinced that about 20 lines of PHP could do the task quite nicely.

I did get my homework done tonight, well my composition, anyway. Tomorrow, I don't know what I have going on for sure. Friday I need to remember to bring an extra stand for The Mikado, since we'll have an extra flautist. Saturday is a wedding and more Mikado. Sunday is pride and more Mikado, though we'll see whether I get to go to pride.

Oh, and in case any of the images stop working: the imageserver where they were hosted is undergoing some upgrades, so it may be offline for a while.

I need to write some articles. Hmm....

Poetry time:

A soft nimbus surrounds the pit
Another flautist must fit in it.
With strings, a keyboard, drums and winds
Our music with the actors' blends

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Hey all!

Rather than post all the old entries here, I've decided to re-release R'thoria's Used Plot elements incrementally on my Livejournal (since I wasn't using it for much else), starting today. They do get better than that one, really they do!

Nothing new of note. Got my homework done, yay!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

AAAAAUUUGH!!!!

Rehearsal was frustrating today. And let me tell you why.

It actually started yesterday. I left rehearsal after act one so I could get my French homework done. Being the conductor, this is a more dangerous thing to do than as an instrumentalist. But I did it anyway. Hey, I'm paying for the class, and dearly. Anyway. I left early.

So, today Gina calls me and asks if it would be okay to have another conductor ccome in; someone who could kinda take over for me when I'm not there, and maybe we could switch off or something. Anyway, the way that Gina put it was amenable. Either way, I win. I either get to conduct the full thing, or someone else does it and I get to have a life again (well, kinda).

So, I get to rehearsal, unsure of whether I'll be able to stay the whole time (not having had a chance to do my homework yet), and Jamie comes by and tries to exlpain that she was the one who had brought up the idea of having someone else. Now, I didn't catch on right away (I'm a trusting sort), but what her subtext was saying was: I don't think you're quite good enough to be conducting the show that I'm in, so I've found someone to replace you.

Keep in mind, this is three days before the first show.

Now, I don't normally say these sorts of things, but no one in the show is "quite good enough." The Mikado is a difficult show. The actors don't know all their lines (or songs) and the orchestra got the music a week ago. A week. Very few in their right mind would agree to rehearse an orchestra that, for the most part has not ever seen the music before, and while is good is not a professional-level orchestra, and get them ready to play in a week.

Fortunately, I am not in my right mind. While we are not perfect (we lack all the players we need, we have some problems with notes and rhythms yet, and, yes, I am not the best conductor for the job), we are the only orchestra and director they've got.

Until today, when Jamie brought in her friend. Now, I was amicable to the idea of sharing the job before Jamie talked to me, and as the first act progressed I began to think about what she'd said, and decided, by god, I would not be replaced now. In addition, the first act didn't go all that well. My tempos were slow and I couldn't get the chorus to speed up after having started. So. It was frustrating. And, when I did start at the right tempo, some of the chorus followed me, and some didn't, and they changed tempi throughout the song, and it was just a big old mess.

Well, I'd finished my homework by the beginning of rehearsal, so I did stay to do the second act. I'd decided that, as I can't be there tomorrow, I may as well use the conductor that was offered me and have him come tomorrow. Well, by the end of the second act, he'd decided he didn't want to do it. So, tomorrow will be great fun for everyone.

Blah.

Anyway, not a whole lot of other news. I await Scott's return 'cause I need someone to hang out with (seems like everyone is busy or gone). Coffee with Andrew went alright, but not in the direction I would've liked. I can't decide how I want to proceed. Sometimes I'm attracted, and sometimes I'm not so much. Sigh.

I don't think I'll have to worry about being too timid anymore, though. To put it gently, I'm not a virgin as of last Sunday. Yay! I think!

Anyway, I must to bed. Be well, all.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

R'thoria's Used Plot Elements

R'thoriaHey everyone! Welcome to R'thoria's Used Plot Element Emporium! I'm your host and proprietess, R'thoria (ruh-THOR-ee-uh) Deadwood. For those of you that can't figure it out from the title (admit it, you know who you are!), we sell a wide variety of pre-owned plot elements, deriving from all genres of literature from all periods of time. And they're generally only slightly damaged, which means you pay next to nothing for a near-new storyline! What a deal!

Today, in honor of being a fabulously wonderful gal (and, my best friend Zane is in town), RUPE is proud to offer a fine selection of Queer-themed plots. Fresh in!


Greek at the Knees

Greek KneesTake seventeen young gay men, a college campus, six mentors, and a gay fraternity, mix well, and pretty soon you have drama! You also have Greek at the Knees, a thoughtful presentation of the classic theme of brotherhood. Set in the city of Bladder, the young men must deal with each of their own lives while coming to terms with each other and learning to work toward a common goal as a family. Despite the tensions - and occasional drama - that develop, the group finds itself reaching for the ever-elusive "it," and reaping the rewards of brotherhood in ways they had never considered.

Underneath the main plot live the romantic subplots, which are developed subtly and in a different way for each character. As they become closer, some of the young men find themselves falling in - and occasionally out - of love with one another, creating a dynamic tension which interacts beautifully with the main plot.


Seven brides for Seven Sisters

Based on the 20th-century musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, this story takes place in downtown San Fransisco in early 2004. The Pontifee sisters search out true love while dealing with the harsh life of San Fran. The fourteenth act sees their journey across the wide continent as they travel to Massachusetts to seek eventual confirmation of their love. Throughout, the characters must battle prejudice, hatred and having only one bathroom in their apartment (yikes!). Although the play is mostly fluff, the underlying currents do allow the characters to grow and change. Well worth its 25 hours, though you may want to take it in doses.


Weathertop Story

The classic story of Romeo and Juliet is told once again through song and dance in this neo-romantical parody of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Frodeo, the hobbit, finds himself falling madly in love with the only son of his enemy, Sauron, as he journeys to destroy the One Ring.

The play takes place entirely on Weathertop, in the space of a few hours. We see the young lovers meet while exploring the hilltop, fall in love and spend a passionate ten minutes in the bushes before being discovered by Samewise, Frodeo's guardian, and the Ringwraiths. The hobbits and the wraiths fight, and in the scuffle Frodeo throws himself upon the wraiths, only to be struck. Meanwhile, his lover is set ablaze by Frodeo's extremely distant cousin Aragord, and left for dead. The story ends with an uncertain twinge, as Frodeo is taken away, unconscious, by Samewise and Aragord.

Not truly the greatest tale ever told, but if you're in the mood for darkness and have a hairy-foot fetish, this one's for you!

Well, that's all that I've got for now! Remember, for Action! Adventure! Hairy men, be they wookies or hobbits! Come on down to R'thoria's Used Plot Elements / Wookie/Hobbit Emporium / Restaurant!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Whee! I dislike power outages.

Okay, so... first things first... happy belated birthday to the London Symphony Orchestra. Here's to another hundred.

Secondly, an interesting editorial (yep yep, slashdot repost again, but then I'm just helping it get as spead as much as possible), The Linux Platform is Getting Fat.

Thirdly, I'd like to point you all to the Chilling Effects Clearing House, which aims to inform users of their speech rights online... and protect them.

Night! Be well!

Oh yeah! Coffee with Andrew on Saturday! Yay!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

One last thing before bed...

Darwinian Poetry!
So, I think that's my first review. Comments, suggestions? I welcome all (except advertisments... those suck).

The Dispossessed

by Ursula K. LeGuin

One of the first novels I've read - ever - that seems to address my conception of anarchy. Nearly dead-on, though there are a few minor details that I've had to reconsider since reading it.

Set on the (essentially) twin planets of Urras and Anarres, The Dispossessed follows the journey of an Anarresti physicist - Shevek - from his departure from his anarchic home planet to Urras, an "archist" planet. Invited by his colleagues at the University there, he finds himself in a strange, capitalistic world, where people's motives aren't always what they seem. Meanwhile, LeGuin takes us on a journey throughout Shevek's life, from infancy to just before he begins his intra-stellar journey, giving us the opportunity to penetrate into the anarchist society, and, consequently, to contrast it with the capitalistic society.

The thing that I like best about the novel is that it goes beyond portraying "good guys" and "bad guys," though I certainly sympathize strongly with Shevek, but reveals that, indeed people are people, no matter where you go or what political system you are a part of. There are decent archists (and even a decent communist, which I've not often seen), and there are power-hungry anarchists. And violent anarchists; and peaceful anarchists; individualist, social, hardworking, mooching (called nuchnibi) anarchists.

There is famine, and drought. On Urras, there is a rebellion, quickly and ruthlessly crushed. There is war, in which thousands of Urrasti are sent to fight and die. But there is also great comfort and joy; in life, in music, and in the spirit of brotherhood and in family, found both on Urras and Anarres. And, of course, there's a vaguely implausible but intriguing physical theory to keep us geeks happy.

My rating: Five stars. A superb piece, which you all should read.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Well, I've obviously been working on the 'blog layout, what do y'all think?
THE LORD KELVIN LOVES YOU!

There's quite a bit of amusing material on the site... http://zapatopi.net/ Check it out!
Found an old notebook, thought I'd share a poem or two from who knows how long ago:

Razored beaks and talons slash.
Oh, how those grizzly grapplers scratch!
The vicious creature draws quite near;
For the worm the end is here!

And also, a commentary on hotels:

Flowers, purple, pink
Adorn the walls
In their frames
Mass produced with 4-tone ink.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Okay, so here's an update. A better one than the last, even. I started summer session today, taking French Composition (umm... again) so that I can hopefully replace my previous D+ with at least a C- so I can stop taking french but still graduate with my degree in linguistics.

Sunday, I went bookshopping with my sister and my mom. Yay! BoOkS! I hadn't been bookshopping - not with the intention of buying more than one non-class-related book - in quite some time. So, here's what I got: Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett. Near as I can tell, third book in the Discworld Series; The Dispossessed and The Other Wind by Ursula K. LeGuin, who was recommended to me at some point in the past by somebody; and two books on Leonardo da Vinci for my sister's graduation present (umm... yeah, she graduated last Friday :-P). I've completely read Equal Rites, which I finished the same day (which was the point! I like light, easy reads now and then!), and I've gotten through a bit of The Dispossessed, which I am indeed liking, though there are some parts which trouble me; fortunately, it's gotten me thinking about some of the problems with true anarchy. (Specificly, there's a part in the very beginning where a group throws stones at someone they view as a traitor [and who happens to be the protagonist], but miss and instead hit one of the "Defense," who are readying the ship Shevek [the protagonist] is boarding, and kill him. And... nothing is done. The death is paid no mind. That doesn't seem right to me.)

For other news, well, I'm back in B-town, obviously so I can go to class. Also, turns out Nat plays violin. Small world, with, like, gazillions of violinists, isn't it?

Quartet rehearsal tomorrow after work. I hope I can keep up with my schoolwork.