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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Proof of string

As mentioned previously... I'm learning how to play the violin. Here's a picture taken this morning by the wife. I had my first lesson last Thursday. It was cool. Different. It's going to be a struggle, physically. I don't have the flexibility yet in my wrist, but I'll get there.

I'm learning with Julia Ainsworth. She nice and took things really slowly. Hopefully we're both comfortable with pushing me a little harder.

I suppose the worst that could come of this is that I waste some money (which would actually hurt a lot more if not for the awesome birthday money I got from my in-laws, or that I find that learning proper music training isn't going to work for me - which would mean back to hacking along with my own productions.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!!

I'm officially on my first spring break in years. A real benefit of being a teacher, breaks where there is no expectation of doing actual work... finally. And thus also the first time I've been able to take a vacation that didn't cost me vacation time or money. I can do what I want, when I want, and how I want.


It's fricken' snowing outside. It's expected to be a big nor'easter ending sometime tomorrow or Tuesday. Are you kidding me? I was so hoping to get my motorcycle out for a real ride and it looks like I will have to wait at least another week... gee, like during the week my wife has her spring break. Go figure.

I suppose that'll make it easier to play Lord of the Rings Online - it opens for real soon, so I should get more time in anyway. I've also got a line up of horror flix waiting to be watched, yay! I've got lots to do, so I won't suffer, but still... the middle of April and it's weather we SHOULD have had in November.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I got my violin today. Well, not mine - I'm renting a violin because I'm starting violin lessons this coming Thursday. Yep. Starting. I've never learned an instrument for real and being 35 and starting with the violin is a challenge from what I've heard, but a challenge that I'm more than excited to get going with. Half of me is really expecting that I'm going to do well, but I feel that way about everything new I try and it's just not always the case.

I got it home and opened it up, put rosin on the bow and checked to see that I could make it play sounds that weren't train wrecks themselves. A little googling to check on bow holding and how to rest the violin on my shoulder and I think I have it... I think I have it. What do I know? That's why I have a teacher - duh. I'm sure she'll happily point out any and all the flaws. Frankly I hope she does. I want to learn this correctly. Perhaps I'll post a picture of it with me as proof. Hahaha. Actually, that's part of the plan since the money being used to pay for the initial rental and lessons is from birthday money from my in-laws, so I'll want them to see what theyve done - and give them time to run for the hills.

[edit]I just got this link from a member of the Beginner Adult Violin Students yahoo group I'm subscribed to. Wow. It's about an experiment with one of the world's best musicians playing in a metro train station - and getting very little respect for it to say the least. A fun read at the very least.[/edit]

Oh, and on a completely unrelated story, I helped my wife set up her blog. Woohoo. I've been telling her for years she should have one because she has great stuff I think would make a pretty fun read. When she has a post created, I'll link her on the side.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sick and sick

Ask anyone who's known me for any amount of time in the last 10 years and you'll find agreement that I've often been sick or at least constantly coughing and clearing my throat. I'm sick now. I had a fever of 102.6 deg. F last night and thankfully it went down to 100.2 this morning. Well, I've not been unsick in over a month quite frankly. I got sick during the February break and was sick for a week after that, but really, I had a bad cough consistently since. My wife has told me constantly to go to the doctor. Well, I went last summer. He didn't seem too concerned that I have a persistent cough, but I pushed a little and he did some breathing tests, etc. Eventually he had me try advair... NOT CHEAP. It did nothing.

I'm assuming I might have some alergies, but WTF do I have to do to get my doctor to even care? It just doesn't seem right that a person my age should be getting sick this often.

So, next week I am on spring break... perhaps I'll make an appointment. But the truth is, I'm just getting sick of being sick.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Atheist Easter

I love my parents. I respect them both and hold them both in high regard in many ways. I do not, however, respect their faith. My mom has always been religious or at least of faith, but around 10 years ago or so, she became "born again". With a certain set of circumstances in life, dad ended up following along. I cannot honestly say what my dad really believes, but at the very worst, he believes my mom is worth him at least following along.

Anyway, they are members of a Methodist church that, from what I can tell, is possibly exclusively evangelical. Completely antithetical to my own beliefs - a strong atheist. Frankly, I find their religion offensive at its core. But like I said, I love my mom and dad and will be by them as much as I can.

So, today is Easter. In my view, a day of celebration of a fraudulent resurrection of a fake historical figure that entices children into celebration with the Easter Bunny and guarantees of chocolate delights (dudes and dudettes [err, I saw TMNT yesterday so cut me some slack], I practically live for chocolate) and other sweets. Christianity is sick in how it distorts everything to match its needs, co-opting pre-existing celebrations to do what it does best, fool people into adding numbers to the appearance of practitioners, to the point where we are now, millions in lunatics who actually believe their dogma, or worse, biblical literalists.

Most often, mo, tried to invoke prayer before we eat there. Usually she tries to get dad to do it, but he's doing it less and less, making me really wonder what's on his mind. When I was younger after their conversion, I defied the practice. I was becoming more open about my atheism on the internet, even had an essay I wrote published in an issue of Secular Nation and copied onto a few web sites. Defying them was something they took personal right off. These days, I let them have their fantasy, I just sit and wait for the madness to end. But what is funny is that when the whole family is together, such as today (immediate family and two wives), mom is surrounded by two strong atheists, an agnostic and a secular humanist. Lots of sore tongues form the biting there of. So I do my duty as a loving son and happy family member and silently - for the moment - suffer the insanity, as it makes them happy and I don't believe they are directly making the world a worse place... only indirectly

Thankfully xmas is pretty much the next forced down our throat xian holiday, where I'll happily go home and spend time (we do at least once a month anyway) doing a dinner with my parents. I just thought I'd point out the irony of the non-theists gathered around the praying theist.

To make it more intriguing I got home and read this exchange between Sam Harris (my somewhat hero) and Rick Warren, a relatively nice guy-but evangelical-creationist nut job. Not as cool as getting The End of Faith and A Letter to a Christian Nation as winter solstice (read as "that forced celebrating of xmas") gifts, but good enough.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Game of choice

First post and relatively pointless at that... I'm about to get playing Lord of the Rings Online. I was part of one of the stress tests then invited back for the closed beta. I'm new to these types of games, but certainly not new to Tolkien's amazing world... so I really didn't have a choice in the matter, I pre-ordered the game and am now in the open-beta until release and then I'll likely fork over the $200 for the lifetime subscription. Sad huh? Well, I figure that during summer break, I'll get in a LOT of gaming time, so that alone will likely make me feel like I got my money's worth.

So... I'm sure I'll post some pix/screenshots over time and perhaps talk about my experiences there. I'm currently playing a hobbit bandit... had to make a new one for the open beta, but I'm pretty much playing the same character I made for the closed beta. His name WAS "Brand", but amazingly someone took it before I re-created him... damnit!!! I believe I ended up picking Torbrand... good enough. Brand is the name of my halfling monk in one of the D&D campaigns I play in every Wednesday night.

More later.