Monday, December 30, 2013

Long Time, No Post.

Or, "How I Stopped Worrying About Life And Learned To Love The Right Person."

Ah, and even now I am still learning. I typed that with a particular person in mind, but even as I wrote it realized that I was still technically thinking wrong... The person I learned to love was ME. I had not loved who I was in a very long time; in fact, I nearly hated who I had become. It took months of medication adjustments, 20 stitches, a week of in-patient, and the start of a divorce to get me back on track. Six years is a long time to lose, but 8 or 10 or longer is even more. Friends now say they worry about me, but the time to worry has passed. I left my downward spiral before I hit rock bottom. I took a look at it, sure, but didn't quite touch it. Seeing it in the distance was real enough for me. Now, I am free to take care of myself in the ways that I had been neglecting; the ways that matter the most.

Apologies for waxing philosophical.

So much to update. Cooking, knitting, word porn, zentangle, cleaning out the apartment, shipmates and battle buddies, Miss Z, Christmas, nostalgia and traditions, medication, true happiness and true love... so much to rant about, to varying degrees of personal.... Uh... Let's just say I'm going to leave some details vague, or missing entirely. For my own good. No more questioning, defending, or comparing the past. Only enjoying the present and looking forward to what's next.

Alas, I am traveling and limited to an iPad, so the more dense posts will have to wait until I am back home. Insomnia and back pain have struck on the East coast. Until I can really hack into updating, here are a couple pictures to tide you all over.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Another Longwinded Nutshell



Greetings, fair readers, assuming you exist. I know I have been very inconsistent with this bloggy-ness-thing. Life happens. Fortunately, I do still take lots of pictures, and duty days of boredom and loneliness are actually a good chance to write, if you want to start doing that glass-half-whatever thing. I have been up and down and dabbling across many fields [as I tend to do], so I'm going to repeat a previous format and see how it goes. This promises to be long-winded, so by all means feel free to skip to the parts that interest you.
 
Yarn Stuffs:
I finally got ballsy and decided to see exactly how much I knitted and crocheted while on deployment. This is the result. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to start putting the blanket together yet, and I'm actually starting to get a little nervous about how many various qualities, textures, weights, and sizes there are of squares. Girl night scheduled soon in order to divvy up squares for everyone. In related news, I have so much scrap yarn from this project that I have decided to start a random side-project blanket, which I have deemed 'the Ugliest Blanket in the Universe.' It is mindless, simple, and we'll see where it goes.
I am considering starting a file or notebook titled 'Cozy Compendium,' because if there's an inanimate object out there, there's damn sure a cozy for it. So far the only thing I have successfully completed in the cozy department is a skillet-handle-cover, and wow, yes, that was so worth it. My list of tiny things to make for friends is ever increasing, and I should probably get to work on those if I want to have ANYthing ready to go by Christmas.



Critter Stuffs:
What originally started as Hubs randomly suggesting 'Let's get a fish for the kitties!' has endured much research and much startup capital, and now results in us having a full-blown aquarium. Nothing too fancy, just a 10 gallon tank. We're starting the nitrogen cycle with a [Half-Moon] Betta [Hank, named after Henry Rollins], a snail [Etienne, because that's French for 'Steve'], and a small handful of ghost shrimp. I still really want to get some sort of Pleco, and hubs is gunning for some tetras since Bettas are supposed to 'tolerate' them. Hank is actually a darker blue, but he gets shiny and aqua in some lights. So far Miss Z is fascinated, she has tried to pat the tank a few times [she is a very feet-y cat]. Orange is mildly amused, but seems to think that he needs human chauffeuring to get from floor to desktop. The Princess could care less. 

Plant Stuffs:
So far, so good. Aside from occasionally forgetting to water them [the sunflower is the only one that can't handle it], me being home really does make all the difference. The aloe pups are still growing, and the sunflower will bloom... eventually. The only thing I'm not sure about is the mystery plant might be getting too much sun and I'm thinking it might be time to repot it into a larger home. 

Also, I was cruising through Safeway the other day and found THIS little guy... er, big guy rather! It was a little more expensive and I was skeptical of buying him from a grocery store, but upon closer inspection, this plant is WORLDS better than the ones I have bought from actual 'plant stores' via Amazon. I am excited to repot this sucker into some peat moss and perhaps settle him in to a shelf over the kitchen sink. [Note to self, build shelf over kitchen sink.]


 Music Stuffs:
Maybe I will do full reviews later on in an effort to blog more often, but, I have a couple new albums. Cursory listen to Middle Class Rut left me somewhat unimpressed, while the new MSI album is exactly what I'd expect from them plus a little more edge.


As far as personal music goes, well, the pendulum tends to swing between extremes. We were overdoing it a couple weeks ago, and followed that up with almost no musical activity to speak of. We're trying to reach a balancing point between the two, but we'll see. Still feeling kind of suck/dumb on keys, and haven't learned or practiced anything in a while. For bass, I managed to solidify a couple newer covers and hammer out a couple of Corson's originals. Hubs eventually wants to record them for an EP. The tour has also been postponed, and that band has petered out as a result.

Geek Stuffs:
Definitely not as active in this department as I was a few weeks ago. Have put a bit more time into Civ5 BNW and come to the conclusion that Brazil is just not a good strategy in a multiplayer game. Tried XCOM for about a half a second but was feeling impatient with the tutorial.

Read the Oatmeal.
Can't remember what else I was going to put here.


Work Stuffs:
We made a lot of progress on our actual work, and the contractors still love me. I recalculated my scores and I should probably make the next promotion pretty easily. However, getting very discontent and frustrated with the drama and politics. Starting to lean towards 'FTN I'm OUT!' instead of reenlisting. Some days it's just not worth it and I want my life back. But anyways.
 
Gym Stuffs:
Perhaps this should be filed under 'work stuffs,' but it's hard to say since the two are so dreadfully intertwined. I need to shave a whole minute off my 1.5 mile in about a month. I'm sure it's doable, but I'm not having the best time trying to make time to run at home. I'm sure you can imagine. However, with a little effort I should actually be able to make it into the 'excellent' category for pushups [37] and 'good' for situps [54]. That would equate to like, a B and a C if we were talking school grades. My run is a metaphorical D-.


Kitchen Stuffs:
Another rather dull section, really. I still cook, all the time... Because I EAT all the time... but, really, nothing fun, new, or interesting going on here that I can recall.


Mind & Body Stuffs:
Sleep is still very much out of whack, and my back hurts more often that not. Today is a pretty bad hand-day, but I have an appointment with a neurologist next month to continue the diagnostic process. Finally have an appointment to look at some new medications... just so happens to fall on my 'day off' about four or five hours after I WAS going to get to head home. And again, I live roughly an hour away, so it's not like I could go home for lunch or a nap or anything and go back out. Hopefully better updates on this topic in the future.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Plantses Intro

So as you all may know, or at least if you read my general update thinggie, mah garden is all deadses. Except for the aloe I replaced, the sunflower Sir William donated, and the Mystery Plant That Will Not Die. Well, I've read about aloe 'pups' before, and my last really pretty pink/rosy aloe had popped two pups before it died. Not having any clue how to handle them, I've kept them around. Just kind of winging it. Well, somehow now that I am home, this is happening:
 Mah lil' pup is growing! I'd bought the plain aloe in consolation, but it turns out that in a few years or whatever, I may very well have my rosy aloe back. D'awwww.

In other news, here are the other sunflower and Mystery Plant.

Hopefully I will remember to blog more often... after a day of watching HAWP, well, that just deserves it's own post, so, spoiler alert for next time.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Limited Resources Update

Aha! I have returned from the Giant Pacific Ocean unscathed-at least
physically. Actually, I've been home for about two months now. Adjusting
takes a while. I am on duty today; without really getting into details,
suffice to say that I have zero access to photos, links, or basically
anything of any interest besides a pure outwash of words. Mah'pologies.
Also, deal with it. I may or may not supplement photos and links later,
we'll see. I might just move on. I'd like to get back into this whole
'writing' and 'blogging' business... ironic bunny quotes. I've put it
off quite a bit. Here's a crash course on my current... stuffs, so that
I can feel some closure [or whatever?] before I start updating regularly
again. Just so no one is lost. Without further ado or explanation,
consider this to be your 'Previously, on...' before the regular season
starts back up.

Yarn Stuffs: Well, all the girls at home seem to have stopped doing any
yarn things. True, they are all quite busy and don't have as much wasted
time to kill as I do, where I NEED to be entertained by something
analog. However, I do have three whole USPS Flat-Rate boxes full of
squares to sort out. I am going to take a picture of total squares that
were done before I left, the total squares I did on deployment, and then
the whole pile of them together. After that, I will sort out which and
how many I am donating to the others. The running gag is that I've
probably finished everyone else's quilts for them-but seriously, there
might be enough squares to start putting things together! I finished
half of the twisty 'Mermaid' scarfs, and two of the gals LOVE them. Have been
putting off picking up yarn to finish the last two. Because you know,
you cant buy just one... or two... or four...

Critter Stuffs: Sigh. They didn't forget me. They still love me. They
have every bit of personality that I remember, and even more so. Miss Z
has realized what 'sea-bags' are... I had to cart so much stuff home
from work that it took me about three different duty days. Every time I
would pack up a sea-bag and sit it by the door, she would get mopey and
cranky and disappear. The sea-bags are hiding in the closet now, and she
likes to come sit on my lap and make muffins. Team Orange is no longer a
united front-civil war? Something like that. Grr and Z spoon and have
conversations-no joke, the other day he bopped her on the head, said
'mrowwww,' and made room for her to cuddle. The Princess licked me on
the forehead the other night. They really do pay attention to our
behavior.

Plant Stuffs: Soooooo... yes, of course, EVERYthing died while I was
gone. Well! Not entirely everything. The Mystery Plant, although now
without flowers, is still hanging in there. Since I've been home it has
almost doubled in size. My ALOE died. Seriously. My lovely pink stripey
aloe... I don't know how they did it, but they did. I was so sad that I
bought a regular boring aloe to replace it. BUT! Luckily I saved two
pups from the rosy aloe, despite their already-dead appearance, and at
least one of them seems to be sprouting a bright green thing. Sir
William the Pepper Whisperer also gave me a baby sunflower in
condolences for my lost garden. I almost killed that too. Shame on me.
It's doing alright now, except something decided to feast on one of the
leaves a couple days ago. We are going to hold off on the gardening for
this year since I came home so late, but I think I am going to snag a
potted bamboo plant soon. Sir William and Ms. Hellzinger have the most
enormous and amazing garden, so I will just kind of live [er plant, er
harvest?] vicariously through them.

Work Stuffs: Have been transferred to a 'team' instead of my 'division.'
At first I was pretty upset by this, thinking that maybe I wasn't 'good
enough' at my job or that they were trying to 'get rid' of me. Now, I'm
not supposed to brag, so I'll just be brief. It's a MUCH better
situation for me logistically... and it's actually a lot of fun and a
bit of a light work out. Lots more perks. Essentially I'm responsible
for demo & construction of living spaces on the ship. So, I spend the
day drilling out rivets, unbolting-er, bolts-and then dragging every
possible piece we can rip up-out-or-off, off of the ship. The
contractors are pretty cool; one of them is in a band I vaguely remember
and another one keeps asking if I've 'considered making a career out of
this?'

Kitchen Stuffs: Handy with power tools, and not bad behind a stove,
either! Yes, I washed my hands first. Nothing particularly new in the
kitchen department; I haven't lost my touch, and that's about all I can
say. Discovered Manhattan Clam Chowder [vs. New England style] a little
while ago, must find more or learn to make it. We had a curry party
recently, where I tried my hand at a lentil-chickpea crockpot version,
and apparently it was awesome. I do have a giant stack of recipes in a
folder that we are supposed to be trying... but time and effort.

Gym Stuffs: Yeahhhhhh no. Sorry. I am epic fail in this department.
Haven't been working out for quite some time now. Unfortunately for me,
we are home this time and WILL hands down have to run the 1.5 mile.
Yikes. I need to get on this. I've only been to yoga twice since I've
been home, and that bums me out. I keep meaning to just throw something
new on the tv or grab my ipod and go to the porch... but there's so much
going on that I never remember it until it's totally the wrong time.

Music Stuffs: Hrm, where to start. Well, Corson Swift has learned about
four new songs, and has two or three shows booked this month. I have
also been working on keys/synth for Zero Love, who also has two shows
booked this month. It's a lot different. I can't get both my hands going
at once, but apparently I do kind of have an ear for 80s new wave. In
addition to that, Dreams Jaded is starting to practice again in
preparation for the 2013 NW TOUR WITH DOGS from JAPAN. OMG. The reason
this is exciting is a) their last bassist now lives in Ohio, soooo,
yeah, who is already familiar with the songs and can learn the rest of
them quickly, is adorable, and a better roadie anyways? This girl. Also
b) Since DOGS is from Japan and only one of them really speaks passable
English, 'this girl' is also more or less Tour Manager and Booking
Contact. Double excitement. Hubs always has some various metal studio
project on the back burner; unfortunately he is mixing some older stuff
with some newer stuff, so some lyrics I wrote for certain songs might be
resurfacing... except Sir William is already playing bass. But
apparently no worries, with my new-found ability to mash buttons and
pitch-bend, there is room for me on keys if it starts to take off. So,
that puts me in roughly 3.5 bands for the time being.

Geek Stuffs: Ooooh, also a dense topic! A lot of these topics will
probably resurface in the near future as I am still incredible excited
about all of them. First of all, Borderlands 2. Need I say more? Not
really. Oh, except I do: Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep. UM, YES.
Seriously. It's a super hot month, because in a couple days Brave New
World [Civ V's next expansion] will launch as well, including playable
civs such as Brazil and Poland. Teehee, Poland. Not to mention the new
[or at least new to me] Steam Workshop-where you can grab tons of free
mods and apps that make wonderful games even better. Then there's
Torchlight 2. Seriously, my list of games to play is so long right now-I
still haven't even finished Portal 2 single player. So there's that.
While I was gone, hubs took the liberty of throwing together a new
laptop and a new desktop for me, so that I can keep up with him on
gaming. They both run like a dream, and we even got a neat clear case
for like $30 on Craigslist... with LED fans! My old laptop is being
requisitioned for use as a midi multi-controller. Unfortunately, now
that myself and my hard drives are home, combined with Hubs' hard
drives, I now have the unfortunate task-unless you're OCD like me, in
which case it is actually somewhere between insanely fun and insanely
irritating-of organizing, compiling, and cleaning out roughly 7 tb of
data. The rotten thing is that I am so scared of losing data, that I
have managed to duplicate a LOT of folders. We have also successfully
made a 1-watt guitar amp, almost done with the 1-watt bass version, and
have a working prototype [on a test board] of Hubs' Stutter Pedal. He
wants to adjust one of the resistors to get a slower stutter, but
honestly, I can't believe how easy some of this stuff is. The physical
skill of soldering something tiny and delicate is the hardest part. If
you're looking for bulk components for similar projects, check out
Jameco. They also have a lot of cool starter kits.

In Other News: without getting too personal here, and partly because I'm
already covering a lot of topics [such is my life, never a dull
moment-so much to do, so little free time], I've recently been seeing a
counselor and a psychologist. Long story. But anyways, the story behind
it is unimportant for now. Just know that although I'm certainly no
expert, I may be adding some mental health posts, particularly on the
topics of Bipolar and Borderline personalities. This may off-shoot into
an entirely different blog, as there is likely an adventure in my near
future. But for example, Trent Reznor of NIN is diagnosed BP2, and turns
out he actually wrote The Fragile about it. Some other songs from
Downward Spiral also seem to fit. But that's a rant for later.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Let it be known...

…that I can hit 10 miles on the exercise bike and knit squares at the same time.

Just… just so you know.

 

We got our unofficial notice for fitness deadline. It will be weigh ins only again, so no run or pushups to worry about. I’m still at a 29” waist and 43” hips, according to my measurements, so I should be fine. I can pull a few more inches off of that by the time April rolls around.

 

One of my best buds at home sent me not only cookies, BUT also a homemade blanket that is absolutely amazing and fluffy and cuddly and I LOVE it! I also started working on the Mermaid Scarf, pics to come later, whenever I hit land. And my dad also sent me a bitchin care package as well from SWA.

 

Damn, I thought I had more to say, but now I’ve forgotten most of it.

 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thoughts on Feelings.

A friend of mine had reposted this a while back, and while it seemed apt and inspirational at the time, I am in an argumentative mood and reviewing it has caused me some grief. So I suppose, instead of taking it out on the wrong people, I’ll just write instead… always a good choice, I’m told.

 

From: Buddhist Boot Camp
I was taught that feelings naturally come and go (like clouds in the sky), whereas emotions are feelings with a story attached to them. Those emotions can last for as long as we keep feeding the story, and this can go on for years. So when people FEEL sad, I understand, but when they EMOTE sad, I get very confused.

 

Buddhism teaches us that if we get attached to impermanent things (and feelings are a perfect example of things that are impermanent), then our lives will be full of anguish. But if we live each moment without getting attached to it, then we can eliminate the very cause of suffering right there and then, and joyfully live our lives.

We all feel sad sometimes, or hurt, angry, excited, anxious, even blissful, but it never lasts for very long, and that's okay. When one feeling passes, another feeling will replace it.

 

 

So. What… if the emotion… doesn’t pass like a cloud in the sky, but instead settles over you like smog in LA? An immovable, suffocating aura that doesn’t move? What then? What if the feeling doesn’t pass, therefore you have no opening for something to replace it? There’s not enough room to cram two conflicting ‘feelings’ in there [where? Heart? Head? I dunno]. Overlapping them doesn’t work.

 

On a semi-related note, my mother always told me, “Fake it ‘til you make it, sunshine.” A colleague recently reposted a similar thesis. I advised him that yes, that could get you through some tight spots, but you shouldn’t let it become your life long-term, or you will end up an empty, spiteful shell. With 20/20 hindsight and all, I think now is about the time I should be putting my foot my mouth and chowing down on toejam sandwiches. No one here has any clue. They think I’m okay. They don’t know that it’s all a fa├žade. And even when I do crack and snap at someone, or stew for a day or two, they only are catching a percentage of the truth. Every day I turn my brain off feels like an accomplishment. Every day I am too busy to think, too occupied to ponder, those are the good days. But it’s getting harder and harder to keep my mind caged up doing parlor tricks.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Conversations on Applied Music Theory between a Physics Major and an English Major

Apologies that this is long-winded, but I think it’s awesome.

I love my friends and I love being able to have conversations like this with at least a handful of people who don’t think I’m crazy. Usually Hubs is also on that list, although we do tend to argue theory and semantics more than we perhaps should, which is why I skipped him this time and asked another friend instead. We have a group out here that is supposed to be about music theory, but we’re starting from scratch so we’re still on reading line and space notes… I won’t be particularly thrilled with the class until we actually get into time signatures at the very least.

For those of you who could care less, I suggest you skim down to the last paragraph or so of his response. Except he also uses algebraic theories to explain music, which made me giggle, a lot, out loud. I was an English major, and he is currently studying Physics; we are both musicians, but I would put is into the category labeled ‘serious’ instead of ‘professional.’ So, without further ado, Advanced Music Theory for Not-So-Dummies. Pardon incoming geek-squeal. PS, I like pretentious sounding strings of words. [emphasis added after the fact]

 

-----Original Message-----

On Mon, Dec 31, 2012 Karate Jones wrote:

 

      Heyyyyyyy, so sometimes it’s easier to talk to anyone besides Hubs about music, because, well, you know how he gets. I think you can give me a much simpler answer without dissecting it to bits. Chevelle writes most of their music in drop C. While it sounds amazing on the record, it’s annoying as piss when I try to learn their songs myself. We play “The Red” in standard E tuning. What is your best recommendation for transcribing their stuff to a playable level? And by that I really mean Drop D or Standard E. So and also, I guess, what are the open strings in C-standard versus Drop C?

 

-----Reply-----
From: Zaranil

 

Okay, I'll give you a really long explanation.... but at the end I'll sum it up so you can skip all this if you want.

 

      Standard tuning is when you have your guitar tuned normally like it always is, EADGBE.  Any standard tuning has this tuning pattern.  A drop tuning takes the "low E" string and detunes it a whole step, which allows you to play "power chords" by barring your finger across one fret.  So in drop tuning, the E changes and everything else stays the same.  I'm sure you knew all that, but just making sure we are on the same page. 

      I'll write this out like algebra for you because that will be fun.  You can have "x" standard tuning, where x is the note your "low E" string is tuned to, and the rest of the guitar follows the tuning pattern of a standard guitar based off whatever the "low E" string is.  For instance if you want to play C standard.  Well C is 2 whole steps lower than E.  So you will need to take a guitar in standard tuning and detune every string 2 whole steps.  In this instance your "low E" string is now a "low C" string, and pretending you could not tell the difference between 2 whole steps of tone, you could play your guitar and you would not notice the difference because all the strings are still relative to each other in a standard tuning.

      Drop tunings follow a similar idea, but you need to think a bit more to calculate how to tune.  So, you can have drop "x" tuning where x is the note your "low E" string is tuned to, but that note is one whole step lower than the rest of the guitar.  This is easy for drop D because the rest of the guitar doesn't change.  For anything below drop D, you need to detune the guitar.  So consider drop C.  We know then that the low E string is now a low C string, but we also know the C is detuned, so now we ask the question of, "detuned from what?"  Well a whole step above C is D.  So if the guitar was in D standard, (that is to say that every string is tuned a full step down from E) and we dropped the low string, then we would be at C.  So a drop C tuning is actually a D standard tuning, except the low string is a C instead of a D. 

      Why do this?  2 reasons.  1.) When you alter a standard tuning it means that the "open chords" for the guitar become different notes and 2.) The guitar can now play lower notes.  You may wonder, why not have "up tunings"?  For chords, this is what a capo does and the second reason is not really applicable because nobody needs a guitar that has a higher note, they already sound horrible as is at the top end.  If you wanted to play your guitar like normal, but you wanted everything to be lower, you would use a standard tuning that is lower, based on your needs.  A drop tuning is a bit different because it provides several advantages.  1.) A drop tuning, in a sense for rock, extends the range of the instrument.  The guitar can go plenty high already, no need to go higher, but a drop tuning can give all the comforts of a standard tuning on higher strings, and at the same time play a whole note lower if needed.  2.) A drop tuning allows for those 1 finger power chords which sound nifty in rock and possibly most importantly for rock, it allows you to play that lowest note (the whole reason you detuned in the first place) as a chord without using any fingers at all.... that is to say, strumming the lowest 3 strings open will make the lowest power chord, which is what rock is all about it seems.  This lets you play one finger power chords on frets 9-14 and then pepper in low open chords without moving your hands, which is how Chevelle plays like half their songs.

  Okay, very long explanation.  So can you play this shit in other tunings?  Sure, you can... but it just won't sound the same. You can totally play "The Red" in E standard instead of C# standard like Chevelle does.  Will it sound as good?  Nope.  When you change the tuning, you lose the whole advantage of detuning in the first place, which is that beefy low note.  Chevelle has several favorite tunings that all range from variations of C + or - a half tone that is dropped or not.  When you watch them play live you will notice their set list is built around tuning changes.  Since you know how the tuning is done, changing the notes back to a different tuning like drop D or E standard is easy, just adjust everything back by whatever the tuning change was.  It just won't sound the same.  For instance, E. always plays heart shaped box in drop D and it just doesn't sound as good as Nirvana playing it in drop Db.

 

  ***Long story short, tl;dr ***

  There is no easy way to transcribe the songs to drop D or E.  You just need to "undo" the tuning change, whatever it may be, note by note.  But also, you see now that is dumb.  You're basically doing a lot of extra work to make a song sound worse.  I keep my guitars in multiple tunings for this reason.

 

-----Reply-----
From: Karate Jones

 

It's good that music is based in math, because honestly I can't tab by ear worth SHIT.

 

So, double check my work here:

[on bass, also there are no notes listed above the bottom 3 strings anyways]

 

Standard E = EADG

Standard D = DGCF

Drop C     = CGCF

 

So wait, ok, this next one is supposedly Drop B. But that is only a half step below C, and I guess while it's fine and dandy to drop only a half step, that would put the strings at B F Bb D# which at first look makes NO SENSE and contradicts the principle of simplicity inherent in drop tunings. Soooooooo..... WTF.