Archive for May, 2008

Tape Update 1

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My battle with the audiocassettes continues. I’ve actually managed to get rid of quite a few of them so far, but they were mostly old mix tapes. So, to further my cause, I have decided to set myself a task. That is to post the items I need to replace here (so that you can be amused by my collection) and state why the heck I’m holding on to these until I’ve replaced them. Here is the first part of my challenge response, as it were.

I’ve mentioned that I have eclectic taste in music before, yes?

Right.

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Patrick Ball – Celtic Harp 3: Secret Isles
I purchased this cassette back in 1987 on my first school trip to Ashland, OR. This is not the reason that I’ve held on to it for…21 years, though. (21 years!!! This tape is now old enough to drink. Egad.) The truth is, I adore Celtic Harp music. Perhaps someday I’ll get myself some harp lessons…and a harp. Now that I think of it…I know a harp maker. Well, I know his son.

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The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail
I’ve no idea when or where I acquired this one. I do know that I’ve had it quite a while, though. I’ve actually answered a reference question using the information lodged in my brain from the skit with the “Professional Logician.” Someone came to me looking for the definition of a “Universal Affirmative.” It’s true what they say about my profession. Everything you know will come in handy. I’m holding onto this tape because it’s frickin’ hilarious. It’s not just a soundtrack. It also contains skits related to the film. Too fun.

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The Beloved – Happiness
I remember quite well how I came by this tape. I was borrowing it from a friend back in 1990/91 sometime, and my tape deck tried to eat the tape. I bought him a new copy, and kept the old one as the tape deck behaved itself henceforth. I am keeping this tape for the songs “Hello,” Time After Time,” and “The Sun Rising.” I like the other songs, but these three are my favorites. (To watch the slightly bizarre American version of the music video for “Time After Time” go here. Doesn’t he have interesting eyes?)

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The NeverEnding Story Soundtrack
It seems to me that I’ve had this soundtrack since the film came out, way back when. No, it’s not just Limahl’s title song or my love of the film itself that makes me hold onto this tape. I do particularly enjoy the “Moonchild” song.

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Queen – Classic Queen
I’m not sure when or where I picked up this album, but I’m a huge fan of Queen, so its existence in my collection shouldn’t be too surprising. This particular album has a few of the songs from Highlander on it, Bohemian Rhapsody (Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?), and Radio Ga Ga among others. I adore this album. (Witness the glory of Queen! Try the Bohemian Rhapsody video. I will forever be grateful to Wayne’s World for getting this song back on the radio. Also, here’s the video for Radio Ga Ga. The Show Must Go On will now always remind me of Moulin Rouge. Sniffle.)

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Sarah McLachlan – Fumbling Towards Ecstacy
I know that I had this tape the during the Summer I spent working and living in Yosemite, as I listened to it almost constantly. Really, I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite song off of this album. I’m thinking that “Mary” is my least favorite if that helps at all. Mmmmm… “I looked into your eyes. They told me plenty I already knew…” (Check out the video for Possession. This song will always make me think of Due South.)

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Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy
This album is best known for “Werewolves of London.” But, have you ever heard “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” or “Nighttime in the Switching Yard”? I know that I’ve had this tape since right after high school sometime. One of my friends introduced me to Warren Zevon using this album, and I had to own a copy of my very own. This tape is, in and of itself, an eclectic mix of song subjects. I guess that Warren is just random that way. (Warren did Roland the Headless Thompson Gunnar on the Dave Letterman Show.)

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johnny hates JAZZ – Turn Back the Clock
My tape actually has a typo on the paper sleeve thing. “I don’t want to be a hero” becomes “I don’t What to be a hero.” I remember buying this tape at Tower Records in Citrus Heights not that long after it came out, so that would make it ’88 or ’89. I can’t read the titles off of the tape without hearing a bit of the songs in my head at this point. I like side one more than side two, come to think of it. (Want to watch some videos from this album? Try Shattered Dreams and Turn Back the Clock.

Posted on 30th May 2008
Under: List, Rambling | 4 Comments »

When I am Queen…

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When I am Queen…

No, I don’t mean if. When.

What? You say that I’m an American, and therefore can never be Queen? Hey. My husband could turn out to be the heir to a kingdom. You never know. Just in case I have created my own little kingdom somewhere between France and Spain. Merevia is a small, but proud country. But, more about it some other time. Tonight I want to talk about some changes that I will make when I am Queen.

I have no desire to be ruler of the entire world. I rather suspect that would be a tedious job, full of paperwork and the occasional assassination attempt. In any case, I’d probably go mad with power and do something completely insane…like make all the country rulers get together and sing Kumbaya around a camp fire. Then they would have to go home and behave themselves or I’d make them come back and do it again. VoilĂ ! World Peace!

Things that I will do when I am Queen:

* Make it illegal to wear pajama pants in public. – I know. It’s popular. I don’t care. It’s one step below sweats. If you want comfort, go buy some Yoga pants for Heaven’s sake!

* Ban the 9/10 of a cent that is part of the price for Gasoline. – Round up or down people! Stop being a slave to marketing. Gas prices are bad enough without this 9/10 of a cent nonsense.

* They will name a rose after me. – And said rose will have a scent, darn it. I’m not too particular about the color, just so long as it is not purple. Is that too much for a ruler to ask?

* OK will henceforth be spelled “Okay.” – All spell check programs will reflect this change. It just looks better that way.

* The Queen will decline to do tech support for stupid people. – If you have a brain and can use it, we may descend from our throne to look at your problem with Yahoo mail. It is more likely, however that we will send the royal IT department to deal with it. For the record, if you are willing to learn, can figure things out on your own, and read the signs that are there to tell you how things work you are not stupid. You can stay.

Here endeth my decrees for this day.

Posted on 29th May 2008
Under: Rambling | 2 Comments »

Did You Hear About That Storm Front…

…that went through the [tag]Atlanta[/tag] area a week or so ago?

Have I mentioned that a whole bunch of my [tag]family[/tag] lives out there and my Mum, Dad, and Brother are currently visiting said family? Well, they do and are.

So…about that storm front. Apparently food was being prepared at my Aunt and Uncle’s place when the word came down the wire that they should probably head for the basement.

Yes, the basement. It was that kind of storm. I asked, but it seems that not one of my usually quite witty family was heard to utter the phrase “Auntie Em, it’s a twister.” In point of fact there were a couple of funnel clouds spotted, but nothing touched down in that area. No, they just had golf ball-sized hail, wind, rain, and lightening.

Imagine if you will, that my parents, brother, cousins, 2nd cousins, and 93-year-old Nana (my aunt and uncle who actually live in this house were away at this point) are crowded into this basement when lightening strikes the transformer and the lights go out. Luckily, they had one flashlight! Unluckily…well… Okay, luckily there were two methods of egress from this basement. One door they came through and down the stairs and a ladder leading to a er…less sophisticated opening. With me so far?

Remember the unluckily? Yeah. The easy door locks automatically when it closes, it would seem. Did anyone have the key? Nope. They did have two smart and determined young men (the aforementioned second cousins) with screwdrivers and a flashlight in their favor. Also, they had my cousin who just up and climbed the darn ladder and dashed through the remaining rain to go through the house and let everyone out. So, all was well. A couple of the other family houses had electricity, so the meal was moved down the road a piece. Everyone was fine. The transformer was replaced. No worries. The roads in the area were a bit the worse for wear, though.

Here are a few pictures that my Dad took of the clean up efforts and sent to me.

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I think that used to be the top of a tree.

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A spot of tidy.

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I hope that the roof is okay.

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That doesn’t look good.

Posted on 28th May 2008
Under: Family, Photo | 2 Comments »

A Note on *That* Gas Station

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The Hubby and I, at his suggestion, drove by the infamous Gas Station this evening to see what heights the prices had reached over there. As you can see next to my poorly drawn arrow, the price for Supreme Unleaded is now $5.07 there.

Oh, and 9/10 of a cent. What is the deal with that 9/10, anyway? Are they going to start issuing “Ha’pennies” again at some point? Round up or down people!

Where was I? Right! The “[tag]Gas Station[/tag].” Please note that the Shell station down the street from me has the least expensive unleaded gasoline for $4.17/gallon, not $4.83.

Exactly who do these folks think they’re fooling? This station has to be some sort of cover for something else, don’t you think?

Posted on 27th May 2008
Under: Photo | No Comments »

Done?

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Have you ever considered what might happen if you were done? By which I mean, you’d tied up every loose end. All of those niggling little projects that you keep meaning to get to. That eternal “to do list” that seems to constant hang over your head. Your laundry all washed and put away. Your shopping done. Heck, even your emergency earthquake preparedness instructions and supplies taken care of.

All of it. Done.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How can I ever be done this side of the grave? And perhaps you’re right. But ask yourself what you would be free to do if you had nothing to put on your to do list for the day.

That’s your thought for the day. Personally, I think I’d seize the opportunity to take a nap.

Speaking of getting things done, taking a picture of the duck crossing sign I drive past all of the time has been on my mental to do list for ages. As you can see at the top of the post, I finally got out of the car and took that picture. I just love that second dancing duckling.

Also, from my 101 things list I have:

4. Go on Photo Safari to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (done! 5/25/08)
and
90. Watch the original Great Train Robbery. (done! 5/21/08)

I’m that much closer.

Posted on 26th May 2008
Under: List, Thoughts | 2 Comments »

So many pictures, So little time

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Koshvader’s Photograph of a Jellyfish taken with his camera

Over Memorial Day weekend, Koshvader and I ran off to the [tag]Monterey Bay Aquarium[/tag]. Somehow, along the way, we picked up a membership to said institution. Perhaps this has something to do with the mere 103 miles separating our place from that water wonderland. We checked the Trip Odometer and everything. Now, we can pop by the Aquarium whenever we feel like it.

*ahem* Muahahahaha…

As predicted, the aquarium was really crowded. Have I mentioned that I don’t like crowds? Well, I don’t. We ended up eating at the sit-down restaurant instead of the self-service place just to get some peace and quiet. The food was really good this time around. I even had some green apple sorbet. Yum! While we were eating, we had a bit of an audience. Two cute little East Indian boys on the self-service side of the partition kept popping their heads up over the wall to watch us. I’m guessing that they were about 6 and 4 respectively. I know that I shouldn’t have encouraged their behaviour, but it was fun talking to them, and the rest of their party wasn’t saying anything about it. *shrug* Apparently they were having lots of fun looking at the penguins.

After lunch we were faced with the horrible truth. Koshvader’s DSLR camera had run out of battery power. So, like the loving wife I am…I loaned him my little point and shoot.

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The requested Cuttlefish pic as taken by Koshvader for my sister.

(Don’t worry, Sister Mine, he actually took 6 pictures of your favorite Cuttlefish with my camera. I have the big versions if you would like them.)

My sister informs me that I need to post more pictures, so here are a few of the survivors from the 200+ pics I took at the aquarium.

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A Black Sea Nettle

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Mediterranean Jellies

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I must’ve taken fifty shots of this little fish. Luckily, one came out.

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As you can see, the Moon Jellies are popular.

(for more pics, and larger formats, check out my flickr photostream)

Posted on 26th May 2008
Under: Photo, Travel | 3 Comments »

My New Skill…Let Me Show You It

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Driftwood at San Gregorio State Beach

While I have access to the internet I thought that I’d give you all an idea of what I’ve been up to lately. (Koshvader has been working on our network here at home lately. It has made my access a bit spotty. Sorry.)

Anyway, yesterday we went on a Photo Safari down Highway One. Basically, we drove out to Half Moon Bay and made a left. We stopped three places, and I took a grand total of 167 photos. Yeah. By the time I’d waded through them all last night my brain was toast. Before my brain decided to call it a night, though, I learned a shiny new Photoshop skill. I can now make photos black and white and/or sepia toned. Up above here, for example, is a piece of driftwood that I admired the shape of. I also quite like how the texture of the sand turned out.

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San Gregorio State Beach

So, what you do is go to “Image” then “Adjustments.” First, you choose “Desaturate.” This will drain the color from your image. Then, if you would like a spot of sepia toning for your image you go back to “Image” then “Adjustments” and choose “Photo Filter.” From the “Photo Filter” drop down box select “Sepia.” I set the sepia tone for 25% and then applied the filter twice to achieve the effects you see above.

Really, with this second picture, I had a set up I liked, but the image was kind of “blah.” I like how the changes made the bits of driftwood in the foreground more visible.

So, there you are. My new skill.

Posted on 24th May 2008
Under: Photo | 2 Comments »

Testing with a Cat

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We are doing a few upgrades on the server. You may have noticed the periodic downtime. So, this is me testing the [tag]Wordpress[/tag] ugrade.

Isn’t that a cute picture of Frisbee?

Posted on 21st May 2008
Under: Cat, Photo | 2 Comments »

Me vs. The Audiocassettes

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46. Get collection of music audiotapes down to only the amount that will fit in the red thing.

Well, I’ve been working on #46 on my list and I have already made a couple of discoveries.

1) I’ve been able to get rid of two old mix tapes by buying two songs. Apparently, “Pressure” from Billy Joel (iTunes) and “Done With Bonaparte” by Mark Knopfler (not available on iTunes, but Amazon.com has it) were each a lone song that I liked on a tape. So, that’s two tapes down.

2) Some of the tapes I have can’t be replaced. Generally speaking, this is because they exist only in that format. Le Sigh. Some examples:
– “One by One” by Miles and Miles. This band no longer exists. I managed to hunt down Margaret Miles, but I can’t seem to find any word of a CD or MP3s from that album.
– “Reflections” by Laura Allan. I found someone selling a used LP of this album. Sadly…that’s not what I’m looking for. No CDs or MP3s. Le Sigh.
– Golden Bough’s Self-Titled album from from 1990. I can find some of their other stuff, but not this one. I don’t think that I can even recreate the album from bits of other ones.
(If you have any info on these, please let me know. At this rate I’m going to have to sweet talk Koshvader into hooking his tape deck up to his computer again.)

3) I have several tapes that I can buy the CDs/MP3s for. I suppose that I have to start somewhere. It’s the mix tapes that are going to be interesting to deal with. Heck, I don’t even know who the artists are for some of those songs.

At least I’ve made some progress. And now you all know what the infamous “red thing” looks like.

Posted on 19th May 2008
Under: List, Music | 5 Comments »

50. Get properly fitted for a bra.

Remember my 101 things in 1001 days list?

Well, I can cross another one off of the list. The other day I was in town with a friend and I finally managed to go into Lula Lu Petite Lingerie. They’ve always been closed before, you see. While I was there the sales lady offered to measure me. It turns out that I’ve been wearing the correct size (you hear that Mum?). It’s just that I have previously purchased bras of…er…lesser quality.

Obviously I had to buy three while I was there. One of them I swear that I will return and buy one of every color. It’s just that comfortable.

Posted on 18th May 2008
Under: Fashion, List | 4 Comments »