Juggling Festival Crossword

I attempted to make a proper crossword puzzle for the 2013 Ann Arbor Juggling Arts Festival.

I did this once before a few years ago, mostly just trying to figure it out on my own from scratch. This time found a great book through interlibrary loan. That and a couple smartphone crossword-solver apps helped. But it still took a lot of trial and error, I still broke a couple rules, and it's still lame in spots.

Still, I like it, and if you're a juggler maybe you'll be amused by a few of the entries; print it out and give it a try:

music tools 4

A couple more, both very simple:

Everything so far

music tools 3

More fun with the Library's music toys!

And now I have a theremin checked out. It's a really nice instrument, and I appreciate the novelty value to making noise by waving my hands around in the air. But once that wears off I'm stuck thinking: OK, so I could make a lot of spooky wooo-eee-ooo sounds, or I could spend another 10 years practicing to actually get accurate pitch and rhythm with a fairly boring sound, but neither's too appealing. I tried running it through one of these delay things; that helps a bit.

music tools 2

A third ringtone, this one made with the Pocket Piano. Simple, but very ringtone-y!

I think my favorite so far is actually the Macpipes Electronic Bagpipes, but all I want to do with that is march around playing "Scotland the Brave", and you don't want to hear that.

numbers I wish I knew this time of year

Every time there's a discussion about local politics I realize how ignorant I am of the most basic facts:

- What's the city's annual budget?
- To a first approximation, can I ignore revenue sources other than property tax?
- I know how much a one-mill property tax costs a property owner ($1 per $1000 of half the property value; well, sort of). But how much revenue does each mill represent to whoever's doing the taxing? (And is the answer significantly different for the city, the school district, ? And remind me how many of those there are?)

Etc. etc.

I get the impression I have a lot of company in my ignorance. It's amazing we manage to get anything done.

music tools

The library recently added a collection of "music tools". I love my library!

It's fun to just bring them home and twiddle the knobs. I'd also like to make something with them. But I don't have much time. So, my goal is just to make a ring tone with each one. I figure a ring tone is short, doesn't have to sound like anything in particular, but could still be fun. So far:

  • first ringtone: made with the Wavedrum Mini. It's made up of several different sounds, but on a phone all you actually here is a big klang followed by a couple taps.
  • second ringtone: made with the Monotron. OK sort of simple but I thought it was funny for some reason.

Recorded either with a little external mike to my laptop, or with a Zoom H4n, then chose bits that work as loops and converted them to ogg format with Audacity.

Another year goes by

The baby is 16 months now, sleeps pretty well, crawls and pulls up, and is in general much more fun. I still don't have time for much else. But I keep reading: I'm taking another break from Proust partway through the last volume; rereading David Copperfield for the first time since I was a kid, and enjoying it immensely; read "Three Men in a Boat" while on vacation in Colorado a couple weeks ago, and was a little disappointed--mildly funny but not much more, to me; started "Huckleberry Finn", which I've never read, embarassingly!, and recognize the source of Heinlein's voice (so why do I find one charming and the other condescending and smug?); and more.

I should have more to talk about than that, but I'm tired.

Everything happens all at once part II

March 28 we became new parents; April 12th we moved someplace roomier.

Now there's no more time for anything!

OK, but I'm still doing a bit of reading--the Proust project's more-or-less on hold, but I'm keeping up with the New Yorker and made it through a novel or two. And I've been taking up the piano again in my spare moments. Movies are hopeless--I've been trying to make it through "La Dolce Vita" for a couple weeks and have maybe made it an hour in after 3 sittings.

suspense, reading, leftovers

I just saw "The Secret of the Grain", which reminds me of "No Man's Land", a movie that makes you wait the entire time for a bomb to go off--only to roll the credits without it happening. But it's couscous that's the source of the tension in "The Secret of the Grain". Time seemed strange to me in the movie--it skips ahead without warning in some places, then seems impossibly slow in others.

I feel bad for thinking "La Vie, Mode d'Emploi" is just a list of lists. It's growing on me. I'm taking a break to read a couple other things ("The Ballade of Beta-2", and "Count Zero"), but I'll put Perec in my luggage for thanksgiving.

We had some people from my French conversation group over Saturday. It went OK. Some people take their potluck contributions very seriously, and not only did we end up with much more food than necessary, but several people insisted on leaving the leftovers; we'll be eating them for a few more days.

Everything happens all at once

I learned that I can't just upgrade the entire OS (well, mysql especially) and necessarily expect mysql databases to keep working without dumping and restoring them.

OK, I was probably told that in large red blinking letters at the time I did an upgrade, and, as always, clicked through the warning without reading.

So anyway, I got this silly blog back up today after it being down for a few months.

In the meantime, summer's come and gone, and I've changed jobs: I'm working from home for Red Hat now, doing a lot of the same work I was doing before for at CITI. I like it.

I've been to Boston a few times for work, to Waterloo and DC for fun, and to Portland for Sara's work, my fun.

I haven't been to Paris, despite a half-hearted attempt or two.

After sharing a one-bedroom student apartment for 13 years, it seems time for Sara and I to move some place a little roomier. But we haven't figured out where.

In overambitious-reading-projects news, I finished "A l'ombre des Jeunes Filles en Fleur" and set aside Proust for a while, and I'm slogging through Perec's "La Vie, Mode d'Emploi". Maybe I should give up on Perec. I like to read novels, not lists.


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