Below are 40 entries, after skipping 40 most recent ones in the "elthar" journal:
[<< Previous 40 entries -- Next 40 entries >>]
Holy cow, Graham is FOUR today. How'd THAT happen?
Sita Sings the Blues|
Next time you have an hour and a half to yourself, you could do worse than to watch Nina Paley's jazzy, irreverent version of the Ramayana
is (was?) just over a mile from my house. Without realizing it, Darla saw the smoke while walking the dog last night.
Looks like the Rocky Mountain News is shutting down
. I can't say I'm surprised, since it had been looking for a buyer, but I'm somewhat bummed; when I did subscribe to (and read daily) a newspaper, I preferred the Rocky over the Denver Post.
I'm sure that in some way I contributed to the paper's demise, since I'm one of the growing horde that gleans its news online. Media evolve. But while I understand the reasons for its passing, I offer it a sympathetic tear, and hope that the staffers are able to find new livelihoods...
One of the weirdest things I have ever seen: a fish with eyes fully encased within a transparent cranium.
(The things that look like eyes on the front of the head are nostrils; the eyes are the green things within the head.)
Next chance to see|
A week from Saturday, the Denver Roller Dolls are heading down to Colorado Springs to compete in the Four Corner Feud, hosted by the Pikes Peak Derby Dames
-- check out the PPDD site for details!
I'm looking forward to my first shot at tournament announcing. I've also never had the chance to see many of the participating leagues skate, so that'll be cool.
If you don't want to make the trek down to the Springs, our first home bout this season will be on March 28... which just happens to be Graham's fourth birthday!
Happy Darwin-and-Lincoln Day!
Writing this from a Tae Kwon Do seminar my (very small) school is hosting, at a beautiful little retreat center in the mountains. Very busy day today, particularly just after lunch, when I tested for my second-degree black belt. Some things went very well, but I was supposed to break four boards two ways. Breaking with a side kick worked, but despite it generally being one of my stronger techniques, due to a combination of factors, I didn't have a lot of luck with my elbow strike. Finally managed to break three, which my grandmaster accepted.
So, yes, I've been officially advanced to second degree. (Does this mean I get more hit points?)
A side note on the election|
A note Darla taped to the front door today:
WE HAVE VOTED! Please DO NOT knock on this door to poll! I AM DONE and will not be friendly if you do!
Of mistaken parsing|
My eye just scanned past a cnn.com headline:
India mounts mammoth rescue effort
and even though I heard just yesterday about the folks stranded by monsoon floodwaters in northern India, my first thought was:
"They're rescuing mammoths? Awesome!"
Of obscure national holidays|
Must... control... fist of death...
I'm in one of those modes right now where I'm too busy living life to chronicle it, so I essentially never post to LJ, let alone read it. (Scanned my friendslist today, though – good to look in on folks!)
Trying to list all of the things I have on my plate would be too much like a TODO list at this point, so I'm just going to ramble a bit. Suffice to say that there are at least a half-dozen tasks I could/should be doing right this minute, but it's Saturday afternoon and I need to relax sometime.
Normally one would relax with some hobby or other, but as I said on Dino earlier, my problem is that I'm a sufficiently clever and competent guy that while pursuing my hobbies I generally end up with obligations because people see that I can be trusted to do things, but I'm not sufficiently clever to get out of the obligations – with rare exceptions.
As far as the voice acting gig goes, I'm this close to having my commercial demo put together – but, again, the difficulty is making the time to work on it! This is complicated by the fact that we have a huge project going on at my day job right now, causing me to work extra hours on that, right when I'd love to have a completed demo to brag up to other voice actors at NDK. Time will even be short next weekend, since we're going up to Nebraska so I can announce an away bout for the Roller Dolls – something I've been wanting to do for ages, it's just perfectly timed to coincide with everything else!
"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen all at once. Lately it doesn't seem to be working."
Know what I hate?
I hate when I'm eating a hard-boiled egg, and even though I put the egg in cold water after boiling it, chunks of the egg white are stuck to the shell and come away as I peel it.
I hate that.
Met up with a childhood friend today, a guy I'd known before my family even moved to Colorado. We hadn't seen each other in something like 30 years -- but though we took different paths, we wound up in more or less the same place, married IT professionals with two kids. We met up in the park next to Owen's school, and the kids all chased around while he and I hit the high points of the last few decades. We only had an hour or so, hardly enough time to really reconnect, but it was great to see him again, and we exchanged e-mail info so it shouldn't require many more decades to continue the conversation...
Apple what now?|
So I've been recruited to MC a fundraiser for the Roller Dolls.
.....I lead an interesting life these days.
ah HA|This thing
has been hitting me lately -- the first time I thought it was some schmo on the other end (which it was, but an unknowing schmo), the second time I thought the other person was the victim of some sort of virus, the third time I clued in that some agent was pulling a fast one on both of us and Googled.
Darla: I've got one more load of laundry to wash, one more to dry, and one more to fold, and I win!
elthar: For now.
Darla: ...shut up!
Of children's compositions|
If you are what you eat, then Graham is composed of blueberries and noodles. This particular compound must have a natural rubbery resilience, because in his endless runs up and down the back yard, he can fall and scrape his knees, shins, and feet countless times, and so long as he receives the required Healing Parental Kiss, he bounces right back into the action.
Of astronomical imagery|This
is really cool and brings back memories of long nights spent in the dome of the 24-inch telescope during grad school. We had one of the spare CCDs manufactured for the first Hubble Wide-Field/Planetary Camera, and it took a considerable amount of work to turn the raw photographs into useful images -- as shown by this Flash presentation...
Of natural sound effects|
You know how in the original Star Trek, if they were just chillin' on the bridge watching the viewscreen, there were those little "doot doo-deet dee-doot doo-deet" background noises?
There are some birds who hang out outside my office window that sound just like that.
Ahead warp factor one!
Some friends of ours -- parents of one of Owen's best friends -- renewed their vows today. Nice simple ceremony, in a beautiful little spot on the way to Estes Park. I'd heard that the guy who owns the land (whom we know slightly through these friends) had built a little "fort" on top of the hill. "Sounds cool," I thought, "I'll have to check it out."
While I was looking around the little rock enclosure atop the hill... I glanced down and spotted this. Clearly artificial. I picked it up and carried it back down, and showed it to the landowner and his wife to see if they'd made it or left it up there. Nope! He thought he might have unknowingly brought it along in a load of sand from New Mexico. I offered it to him, but he said "Naw, finders keepers."
So now I have a permanent memento of the occasion! I'll drag it into the CU museum next week and see what they have to say about it. Judging from the shape, I'm guessing it's some sort of awl or leather punch, designed to be lashed to a wide stick as a handle.
The green-eyed monster|
Graham doesn't mind if Owen hugs Darla.
But if I hug Darla... he physically interposes himself between us and pushes us apart.
The problem is, he's strong enough to do it, too.
I guess I'm flattered that he regards me as serious competition for Darla's affections...
My attempt may be doomed to failure, because initial indications are that Owen is the one male on the face of the planet less athletically inclined than me, but I got him a new baseball glove and we've been playing catch in the back yard. Today I grabbed a soft-grip (but not Nerf) football as well.
I figure, I had to, he has to. And I'd be a bad dad if I didn't at least try. And you know, it's even actually kinda fun.
Highlight of today was taking Owen down to see the "World Famous" [sic -- the scare quotes are on all their materials] Lipizzaner Stallions® at the Broomfield Events Center -- met up with my parents, sister, brother, and sister-in-law. I've seen them before, and as usual it was an excellent display of dressage, but I've become sensitive to the production aspects of shows and grew tired of being told how "World Famous" the horses are. I did enjoy the story of Patton's rescue of the Lipizzaners in 1945, though. Owen was particularly impressed by the explanation of the various brands on the stallions, indicating their bloodlines and farm of origin.
Just barely made it into our seats before show time, though, despite arriving at the venue about 20 minutes early -- took forever to get into the parking garage and then over to the arena. Looks like it could be a nice spot for a roller derby bout, though...
Afterwards, took Owen over to the sporting goods place and we picked out a new baseball glove for him -- one that ought to last him into adulthood -- then tossed the ball around in the back yard for a few minutes, after I mowed the lawns. We haven't historically done this much, so I want to remedy that. After a few minutes, he was actually catching it halfway decently; I look forward to working up to the point of needing more room than our back yard provides.
Of last Friday's bout|
Final: Bad Apples 104, Green Barrettes 94
In a scenario reminiscent of the home season opener five weeks ago, the Bad Apples took the lead early, and went into halftime ahead by 8 points. The Green Barrettes were far from finished, though, and went on a scoring run that took them to an 11-point lead midway through the second half. Seeking revenge for their one-point loss in the opener, the Apples poured it on again, and in the last couple of jams cemented a 10-point victory!
Q: How do you know your three-year-old is left-handed?
A: All the red marker self-tattoos are on his right arm and leg.
Of last week's bout|
I can't really improve on the excellent Derby News Network recap
of last Friday's bout against Duke City. I was able to meet Justice Feelgood Marshall at the bout, and I have to say that the Fillmore is an awesome venue for roller derby. There's a chance we'll be holding more bouts there next season, which will rock if we can manage to cram more fans into the joint!
There's a cool article
on cnn.com right now about a treasure-laden shipwreck, recently discovered in Namibia (the land of my birth).
However, the headline says "14th-century shipwreck laden with treasure found"... while the article goes on to date the wreck to the late 1400s or early 1500s.
Hey, CNN... the 1400s are the fifteenth
century. Fifteenth. If it's the 1500s, that's sixteenth.
But who's counting?
Ho. Ly. Cow.
We had the home season opener for the Denver Roller Dolls last Friday night, and it was one heck of a bout.
On paper, at least, it might have been considered the Bad Apples' bout to lose, since despite the fact that their not-so-secret weapon Rockett is still sidelined with a knee injury, their other not-so-secret weapon Jersey Trouble was skating, and they had the more seasoned roster.
However, the Green Barrettes jumped out to a good start, and after the first few jams, managed to open up a lead of nearly 20 points. The Apples soon found their stride, though, and battled back steadily, overtaking the Barrettes and then building on their lead, until they were comfortably ahead at halftime.
In the second half, the Barrettes had more than a 30 point difference to overcome. Yet they refused to fade, and in fact began whittling away at the Apples' lead, reducing it to 20 points, then 10. Finally, as the clock was winding down on the second half, the score was tied at 97... then tied at 101!
The final jam was under way as the clock expired. Then both jammers wound up in the penalty box, which means the remaining skaters reset on the track while the jammer's star was handed to one of the pack skaters. Toxic T took the star for the Bad Apples, while Boo Boo Radley, normally a formidable pivot, took it for the Green Barrettes.
I've seen Boo Boo jam at practice, and she's actually remarkably good -- and she proved it as she quickly moved out, earned lead jammer status, got just ahead of Toxic on their way through the pack, and strategically called off the jam.
Final score: Bad Apples 102, Green Barrettes 103!
One of my coworkers was at the bout, her first exposure to derby. I told her she picked an awesome bout to be her first one. She had two things to say: "I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that," and "I'll never look at you quite the same way again." I think those were compliments...
A blast from the past|
So I dug a bunch of my classic sf out of the basement, wondering whether Owen was ready to read it — things like Heinlein's Between Planets and Rocket Ship Galileo, and Asimov's Foundation trilogy — and, although I think Owen still needs a couple of years, I've enjoyed re-reading books I hadn't read in decades.
It's truly remarkable how Neanderthal the portrayal of women is, though. Tolkien often gets dinged for having basically three female characters in all of The Lord of the Rings, but at least they are all queenly and strong and individual characters. Heinlein's women are one-dimensional carbon copies, and Asimov barely acknowledges their existence.
Graham is three years old today!
Unfortunately, he's also sick.
Poor lil piglet!
I remember how, back in high school, heyrocky
would use a black dress sock to create an armband of mourning in response to some significant loss.
My first reaction to hearing of Gary Gygax's passing was to imagine him doing it again.
Sure enough, I shortly received e-mail from him stating, "I don my +2 black armband in his honor."
I don't have much to add to the outpouring of tribute to the man. Eric Burns's reminiscence
has been the one to most strike a chord with me -- if you have time to read it!
Considering the new climate of openness and confession, I feel it is only right to admit that I, too, am a user of performance-enhancing drugs
Had my performance review today.
In the standard, cliché version of this, the boss is looking stern and excoriating the employee, who tries frantically and/or vainly to defend himself. In keeping with my history of bucking the trend, I was the one saying "I suck!" while my boss said "No, you don't!" (with an undercurrent of "For the love of God, don't quit!") Not quite in so many words, of course, but at any rate, I'm getting a much more positive review than I'd have given myself, and my boss even had a few good suggestions on things to try in the year to come.
I'm still going to pursue a voiceover demo, of course -- gotta do what I gotta do.
Oddly, a similar situation applied to that this week; after doing my homework recordings on Sunday night, I was very dissatisfied and thinking "I suck!" but my Monday class was pretty positive, even as my coach observed areas for improvement. It would help if I set aside some time for practice/rehearsal on a couple different days during the week, so I'm not doing everything all at once at the last minute (my usual modus operandi).
I'm also throwing something new into the mix, namely volunteering for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic
, which I'll do weekly on Monday mornings. I went to an orientation session yesterday morning, and I'll start next week -- though one doesn't go directly to reading books, one starts with learning the process for a few weeks. I'm hopeful that it will be both interesting and rewarding.
Most triumphant|I win.
And I haven't even played Portal! (yet)
Voice Acting Update|
Yesterday I had my fourth session with my voice acting coach.
It's been interesting and rewarding and frustrating so far. The things he's been having me do are often quite out of character for me, but that's why it's called acting, right? And we've been working on pretty stock commercial stuff, not fooling with weird characters and accents, which I (naively) thought would be a big asset for me. He's helped me find new ways of focusing my voice, and he's working on getting me to bring the right type and amount of emotion to a piece, which is difficult for a guy who's naturally reserved, but again that's why I'm getting help. It's frustrating when he insists that I'm not breathing from my diaphragm when I know damn well I am (I played a lot of clarinet and saxophone from 4th through 12th grades), but most of his criticism is constructive and on target.
Two things occurred yesterday that were highly encouraging.
First, he said that if he felt I had no potential to succeed, he'd have told me "This will be our last session" -- he has no interest in having his name show up on the resume of somebody who doesn't have what it takes, even if he'd be paid for the lessons in the mean time.
Second, for the first time, his eyes grew wide and he said "Wow!" while listening to one of my homework assignments, rather than calmly listening and pointing out where I could improve, which has been his usual mode of operation. I'm supposed to pick out an 8-second segment for my eventual demo.
It's finally starting to feel like I can not only scrape by at this, but maybe even become good at it.
Requiescat In Pace|
One of my Tae Kwon Do comrades passed away yesterday.
He fell to a systemic infection that invaded his body and shut down his organs, following surgery for an intestinal blockage late last year. Due to the infection, he wasn't strong enough for the liver and kidney transplants he needed to save his life, and last week he went home to spend his last days under hospice care.
He was a second degree black belt, and when it became clear that he wasn't doing well, he was awarded an honorary third degree, in recognition of his time and service devoted to our school.
There was nothing I could do to help save his life, or ease his final days, and there's precious little I can even do to console his family at this dark hour. At this point in my life, there's no way I can take over the TKD class he started in his home, fitting though that might be. But I can honor his memory by rededicating myself to the practice of the art, and my second and third degree tests, when they eventually occur, will be dedicated to him.
The other day I had reason to call in to a credit card company. The issue was handled readily and to my satisfaction, once I was talking to a human, but to get there I had to navigate one of those voice response systems that pretends it's a human being. "Okay, now to do that I'll need your credit card number," and suchlike.
"God, I hate these things," I thought. "...I wonder if I'll be recording them in six months."
Happy New Year, あけましておめでとうございます, and Rabbit Rabbit, Gregory!
New Year's Day is traditionally a time of resolutions and changes. It's totally coincidental in terms of timing, but 2008 promises to be a year of significant change for me.
After much soul-searching and contemplation, and after over 20 years working with systems and software, most of that for the same institution, I will be working with a coach to prepare a demo for professional voice acting.
It's a scary prospect in some ways, but I'm fortunate to have a flexible workplace and supportive management, so I really couldn't ask for a better circumstance from which to explore the possibility with minimal (if not zero) risk -- and I fully intend to take advantage of that fact. It may be some time before I'm ready to cut my demo, let alone start taking jobs, but if I never start I'll never get there, and I'm going to give it a serious shot.
Coincidentally, both stoat
pointed me at this post
, suggesting that there's a good deal of luck and/or networking in breaking into the profession. I fully expect that's true, but fortune favors the prepared, and there's more than one road into the field.
Why am I doing this now? Combination of mid-life crisis and work burnout, I suppose. I just want to try something different and fun, and see if I can make a living at it. I'm applying two general principles: "To have a good career, figure out what you'd be doing anyway and get somebody to pay you for it," and "Better to regret the things you did than the things you never tried." For a long time, "what I'd be doing anyway" was "playing with computers", and I've had a good run at being paid for that, but in the past couple of years, it's changed to "inform and/or entertain others with my voice," so...
[<< Previous 40 entries -- Next 40 entries >>]