July 2003 Archives

July 6, 2003
Digi digi coo

I'm sort of on the lookout for a digital camera. I've decided to drag myself into the 21st century a bit. I can't really afford one, but it'd be nice to finally have one. I don't have overly much to take pictures of, but that's never stopped me before. Actually, Sarah and I are going on a little trip at the end of July and we figured it'd be nice to have it then. Also... I've had an interest in photography for quite some time. I never got especially good at it (though my family was always amused at my many shots of the water flowing in the kitchen sink). Part of that was cost. It was hard to practice when developing cost so much and I wasn't really taking pictures of anything of any note. So I'm hoping that maybe having a digital camera will help immensely. But we'll see.

I've mostly decided on the Canon Powershot A70, though a convincing argument could make me change my mind. It's a decently priced camera, has quite a lot of manual features, and it produces a good picture. It's really out of my price range, but... if I want to get one, I want to get a decent one that'll last. Hopefully this will fit the bill.

Posted on July 6, 2003 2:00 AM | | Comments (1)

Harry... no...!

Well, I finally got around to reading the latest Harry Potter book. Took me 2 and a half days to get through it (which is actually surprisingly quick for me, considering the length of the book). And I must say that I'm rather disappointed. Might be some possible spoilers here, so if you intend to read it and haven't, don't read this.

For a book that took this long to write, it seemed rushed. There were things hinted about in the beginning of the book that never actually went anywhere and it makes you wonder whether they were intended to be used at some point, forgotten about, then hurriedly tied off at the end when the editors wanted a book. The death scene seemed silly, preventable, and unnecessary. It was as if she'd convinced herself that someone had to die and so she did it, whether it made sense or not. It often seemed like she didn't really know how to write "dark". And I know these kids are 14 or 14 and under a lot of pressure and all, but jeez... with everyone biting each others' heads off for the first 500 pages or so, I almost couldn't stand to read it. The pacing didn't help, either. There were 100 page stretches where nothing really happened. And instead of the schoolwork being sort of a backdrop and framing to the action, it often ended up being the action. Also, main characters would disappear for very long stretches for some reason.

I must also admit that I'm getting a bit tired of the gimmick of people not telling people things and the trouble that causes. You'd think that, by now, everyone would've learned that lesson but they most definitely haven't. It almost seems like it was worse than ever.

Maybe my expectations were too high. But I guess I just expected a more polished product after all this time. It was my impression that she had this whole epic basically plotted out beforehand, but this one really lacked focus in its plotting. I guess the turning point in a series is more difficult to write. And yes, I know I couldn't have done a better job. But still... I don't make millions for my writing.

Posted on July 6, 2003 2:11 AM | | Comments (1)

July 14, 2003
Take a picture, it lasts longer

Well, we ended up getting a digital camera. The Canon Powershot A70. It's quite a nice little camera. We also got a 256MB CompactFlash card, which helped a great deal. The thing takes some nice looking pictures. Sarah took it with her when she went to visit her family this past weekend for her cousin's baby shower. She took quite a few pictures, plus some video. Though the video's only at 320x240, it actually looks rather good. Probably could've gone to 640x480, but we were still experimenting with how much size it'd take up. The lower resolution doesn't take much space at all, really. I doubt we'll do too many videos anyhow, but it's nice to have the option to do little clips (with sound, mind you).

I'm happy with the purchase. A bit pricey, but I think it'll work out great in the long run and it was better buying a nicer camera that we like than one that was a bit cheaper but sucky.

Posted on July 14, 2003 2:42 PM | | Comments (0)

July 18, 2003
And on the third day...

Okie. Trying out a new color scheme and some slightly different fonts and such in a few places. Hope it's not too incredibly hideous or anything like that. I just thought the site could use a slightly new face.

Posted on July 18, 2003 10:23 AM | | Comments (0)

July 22, 2003
When you close your eyes...

Some time this morning, I remembered 3 dreams that I had last night. Unfortunately, I now only remember one. I have no idea what happened to the other two. Nor do I have any idea what happened in them at ALL. I remember the other one pretty well, though.

I was talking to Ryan on the phone about my site. He'd mentioned in e-mail in real life that we'd have to talk about my storage space if I wanted to start putting pictures up now that I had a digital camera. So that's what we were talking about on the phone in the dream. For some reason, I mentioned looking at alternative hosting companies that provided more space. Then Ryan started asking me why I'd called tech support directly instead of going through him. He started getting kinda mad and said that it cost him $1000 every time I called tech support. So I said, "But I only called them 4 times!" And then he didn't say anything else and I just kept saying, "Hello?!" until I woke up.

Really wish I could remember the other two. But I have a feeling they weren't especially pleasant, either.

Posted on July 22, 2003 2:41 PM | | Comments (2)

The Blue Falcon and Dyno-Mutt!

Early on Wednesday, Sarah and I will be leaving for the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in the middle of nowhere in New York state. Not quite sure where it is, but we'll find it. It's quite a long drive. I'm a bit leery about the whole camping thing. But it's not going to be as hot as I'd expected, supposedly, so I won't get sick. Which will be good.

So I'll be even more quiet than usual between now and Monday or so.

Posted on July 22, 2003 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)

A dream remembered...

I remembered another of the dreams! It was obviously triggered by the fact that I had my Japanese class today and that I'm always worried about getting there too late or too early when I go on a vacation day, since it's easy to tell how long it's going to take when I go from work, but I'm never sure when I go from home. Anyhow... all that really happened in the dream was that I showed up for my Japanese class and I went to my classroom. I was sitting there and a different teacher came in and then I noticed that a whole bunch of students I didn't recognize came in. And no one seemed to think it odd that I was there. Then I realized that I was 3 hours early for class. And that was it. Not a particularly meaningful dream, but oh well.

Posted on July 22, 2003 10:08 PM | | Comments (0)

July 28, 2003

Hi! We're back!

I'll post a full report shortly, but first I wanted to get up this little picture of Sarah with Dar Williams. Despite how it may look, no, Sarah isn't sitting on Dar's lap.

Sarah and Dar Williams

Posted on July 28, 2003 4:37 PM | | Comments (0)


Oooh. Go check out laze's site redesign. It's so pretty it makes me cry. And it looks a hell of a lot better than my pitiful attempt at making this place look a little nicer. The code is just so clean and lovely. It almost makes me want to finally take the time to figure out how to do this stuff properly. Almost.

I was also glad to see that he'd already taken it upon himself to be guinea pig for the new version of PhotoStack. I probably would've just gotten frustrated with it and wouldn't have had any idea what was going wrong.

Posted on July 28, 2003 5:41 PM | | Comments (0)

Falcon Kick!

O.K. Here's a slightly longer report about our little trip to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. To start with, I'll say I had a much better time there than I expected to. It's not that I dislike folk music or anything like that. It's just that I'm bad with crowds, dislike being dirty, and hate porta-potties greatly. I also tend to get sick in the heat and burn easily, which isn't really a good thing when you're talking about a completely outdoor event spanning several days where there's no way to truly get inside.

We arrived Wednesday night and, just after we got our tent up, it started raining. Since we hadn't properly sealed the seams of our tent, Sarah had the idea to lash one of our tarps to the top of the tent, which I think helped out a great deal. We then put up a canopy that she'd bought at a flea market, but it was sort of flimsy. By the time we came back from getting a quick bite to eat, it was pouring and one of the poles on the canopy had bent. We quickly turned the canopy into a lean-to (which I think also helped keep the rain out of tent) and dove inside. Sleep came pretty quickly for me, but Sarah wasn't quite as lucky.

Thursday brought much better weather. We were both pretty groggy, but we had a good time. There wasn't TOO much going on that first day, but we saw a few good acts and had some excellent (though somewhat pricey... but, really, not TOO bad considering it was a festival) food.

Friday was a scorcher and you could feel it from the moment we woke up. Friday was also a day when a lot more people showed up, including a rather annoying family that set up right next to us. The kids wouldn't shut up at night and the parents weren't what you'd call disciplinarians by any means. There were a lot of good things to see that day, though, so we braved it, but both Sarah and I got completely cooked. At least we both showered that day. We'd brought a little solar shower bag. Unfortunately, we didn't leave it out in the sun long enough since we'd wanted to get to an early show, so it was an extremely cold shower. Still... it felt kinda nice. Around 2pm, we were joined by Sarah's friend Susan, who set up her little tent right by ours. A definite highlight of that day were the stars at night. It was breathtaking seeing so many stars. Since it was in the middle of nowhere up in the mountains, the only light around was the light being generated by the festival, which was fairly minimal. The skies were perfectly clear (which was probably why it was so bloody hot). I've never been in a place where the skies were clear enough to actually see the Milky Way. It was too cold for us to stay out and look at them for a long time, but it was beautiful and we saw many shooting stars (I'm guessing they were part of the Perseids, though I couldn't remember at the time what Perseus looked like to make sure...). Despite the burnt flesh, it was a good day.

Saturday turned out to be another hot hot day and the crowds were even bigger than for Friday. Sarah and I both had to retreat to the shade for a few hours during the middle of the day and Sarah actually had to hit the first aid tent, since her sunburned hand had started to swell. Some ice and an antihistamine helped bring the swelling down, but it remained an angry purple during the rest of the trip. We braved the sun that stung our delicate burns and saw some great shows on Saturday, though. A highlight for me, at least, was the Fab Four Forever workshop where a bunch of the artists did Beatles covers. Though sometimes words and whole verses were forgotten, it was still quite cool. Probably the best was Nerissa and Katryna Nields' rendition of Dear Prudence.

Sunday started with rain. I woke at 6am to rain spattering against the top of our tent and tarp. Luckily, Susan had stayed out later than we had to see Arlo Guthrie and the rain had started just before she'd gone to bed, so she moved our chairs and such under the lean-to. The rain had stopped by the time we'd gotten up for good. Sarah had planned to stay until Monday morning, but the rain and her sunburns changed her mind. So we packed up our stuff Sunday morning and moved our car down to the parking lot. We saw a few shows, got rained on a bit during Richard Shindell's performance, and decided to leave before Lucy Kaplansky's set because we'd seen her before and the skies were looking ugly. Of course, after we'd gotten on the road, my tummy (which had been behaving brilliantly the whole time, no matter what I threw at it, which was a true miracle) decided to start acting up. I think the sun, the heat, and the somewhat heavy food finally got to me, so I felt sick for most of the 7 hour drive home. But oh well. My stomach was quite a trooper during the whole thing, which astonished me, so I guess it deserved a little time off.

It was surprisingly a good experience, really. One thing that sort of struck me, though, was a bit of a contrast. While there were some truly friendly, generous, and kind people there, there also seemed to be far too much of the "me" thing going on. For a subculture that seems to be all about activism and helping and treating everyone as your neighbor and your neighbor like your best friend, there was quite a bit of rudeness going on. People smoking despite the numerous no smoking signs and the announcements about same, people walking in front of us during shows, people standing in front of us for several minutes during shows, people walking all over our stuff and not bothering to stop to say sorry... Sometimes it seems like a lot of people think freedom is the same as acting like an ass. It seems like people at festivals and shows want to have a good time, which is fine, but far too many don't seem to care about other people's enjoyment. I guess it's all part of our growing culture of rudeness.

Posted on July 28, 2003 6:33 PM | | Comments (0)