Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rough Masters and Masterpieces

Exciting Man News: After a wait of roughly 6 months, a copy of the rough master for the Water Suite (the one that was recorded in Prague last summer) has finally hit the doorstep.

We've been awaiting this recording with quite a lot of anticipation. Greg couldn't go to Prague to hear the recording session, so this disc was his first chance to hear the orchestral version of the suite. He ripped open the Airborne package, put it into the PC, and we sat... chills running up our spines. It's GOOD.

Of course, the final mix will sound a teensy bit different -- things will be balanced a little more, and there are a couple of extra sound effects (a clunk here, a knock there) that will be edited out. This isn't intended to be a live recording, after all. When it's done, I hope it blows people's socks off as it did ours. We know the piece well, and we still were amazed.

Speaking of recording sessions... looks like the one for the Sax Quartet is coming together for June in NYC. Greg doesn't have the exact dates yet -- or maybe he does and I just haven't heard them yet. The New Hudson Sax Quartet recorded Lukas Foss's quartet for the CD at his place in New York, and they've also done Mike Veloso's quartet. Now that those two are done, Greg's is the last to be recorded before production starts.

We have our tickets and our arrangements for the two ACA concerts on the first week in June. All I need to do now is make hotel arrangements for the pups. To be honest, there are a gazillion things I would rather do with my hard-earned vacation days than spend them in New York, but the concerts should make the rest of the experience worthwhile. I only hope I can find free wi-fi.

Greg's computer bit the Big Kahuna last week. One morning, it just refused to boot. We thought that it might be the battery or the power cord -- with laptops, you never know whether your problem might not just be a lack of charge. Anyway, Greg packed it down to MacEdge to have them look at it. They reported that it had pretty much fried -- the system board, the power supply -- well, it might be easier to list the components that didn't fry. They couldn't say exactly what caused the problem -- only that there wasn't a lot left to salvage outside of the hard disk and the extra RAM chips. The laptop was way out of warranty, so there wasn't much else left to do except take it out behind the barn and bury it. Fortunately, Greg has backups -- so he's up and running again on one of my old spare PCs. Now he can gripe about a different operating system.

Canine News (Ours and Others)

Charlie Brown turned 11 last week. It seems as though it wasn't so long ago that I flew out to Jody's house to pick him up. We went downstairs to the puppy pen, and I spied a little brown Superball of a puppy, bouncing up and down and up and down while his brothers and sisters milled around in greeting. "Guess which one is yours," Jody said.

It's still hard to believe that that little puppy is now a senior dog. Charlie's in great shape for 11, aside from a touch of arthritis in his left shoulder that is probably an artifact of his having had Lyme Disease some years ago. Half a Deramaxx usually takes care of things nicely, and he only gets that when he appears to need it. Otherwise, he's hale and handsome, and still can see, hear, dig, and eat dirt. (If anyone asked him what his secret for longevity was, he probably would answer, "Plenty of dirt.")

I did my second CGC tests this past week for my friend Mary's POC class. All of the dogs were adorable -- I particularly wanted to spend the rest of the evening smooching on Dewey the Boxer. Six out of our seven passed. Emma, the Springer Spaniel, was about as unhappy with the Supervised Separation exercise as Seamus had been, and squeaked continuously for her dad until we called him back to her. Dinah was the most distracted distraction dog in history -- not only did she not interact with any of the test dogs, but she kept her eyes focused on me no matter who was walking her.

My next CGC test would have taken place in June, but the date was moved to September to coincide with Responsible Dog Ownership Day/Month/Whatever. That works out nicely for Dinah and me, since it frees us up to attend a herding clinic on that weekend instead.

...And Still No Knitting Got Done

Geez, even my Second Life avatar gets more knitting done than I do! A friend of mine discovered a virtual knitting shop that sells animated knitting needles and tintable lace knitting projects. Of course, I had to have one -- if only so I can look like I'm doing some knitting.

In spite of the time I've been sinking into SL of late, I have been trying hard to get things accomplished, and am making a teeny bit of headway. I revamped Greg's Web site, keeping all the things he liked about the original while making the new one faster and more standards-compliant. Whatever he's been using to update the site re-declared the same font family statements every 4 words of every sentence on every page. That's a lot of Delete-key action!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Hurrieder I Go, the Behinder I Get

"Don't look so happy, Seamus. You're the next one headed for the bathtub."

Sorry, gang. I didn't mean to be away from the blog for so long, but things have just gone from wacky busy to completely freakin' nonstop insane. Some days it's about all I can do to choke out a weak Twitter post (I cannot call them "tweets"; I don't care) or two before sprinting crazily to the next destination and the next task.

Not that it hasn't been more fun than a barrel of Beardies. We survived the local kennel club shows and the associated weather. My camera battery died about halfway during Beardie bitch judging on Saturday, so you'll just have to visit Sue's blog to see photos of the delightful Maine weather (and to congratulate her and Camille on earning two Rally Novice legs there).

I'm also deep-purple-envious of Sue for getting to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday. I had entertained notions of going over there today and dragging Dale with me, but I was just so fried after showing on Saturday and driving back late from my friend Daryl's house that I just couldn't move this morning. I never made to the festival or to rally class.

Not that I've been able to knit a single stitch in weeks -- maybe months. Between spending so much time in Second Life and rushing around in First Life, there hasn't been much time left over for just relaxing in front of a movie with the needles. SL has even managed to keep me from buying more yarn, which is probably another reason why Greg likes SL so much!

Guess who else showed up in SL last week: Dale! She's been wandering around with another friend of hers, seeing what she could see. It's nice to run into people you actually know in SL.

Meanwhile, back in RL (Real Life), Daryl had a surprise for me while I visited her down in CT. Her brother-in-law Keith and his wife Mary, both of whom I've known since just about forever, were up visiting from Virginia. They moved down there from the Boston area when the elder of Mary's two sons entered college down that way. I haven't seen them since sometime in the 1990s, so we had a huge amount of catching up to do and rehashing of old war stories. We're all a little grayer and a little heavier, but those two haven't changed a bit. Both of them are now online, so we'll be able to keep in better touch.

Now that the latest work deadline is past and the YCKC show is over, I hope to have a little bit more time to relax and make stuff. I've received my stewarding assignment (my first solo flight) for the Vacationland shows, and the chief steward was kind enough to put me next to the experienced steward who trained me. The Meet the Breeds event has been rescheduled for September in order to coincide with Responsible Dog Ownership Month, so another thing on my to-do list has slipped to a less stressful part of the year.

Fooled Around and Didn't Fall in Love

The company I work for has been redefining which devices are secure enough to work with our email service. Unfortunately, my beloved Blackberry turned out to not be one of them. We Crackberry-addicted employees may still use the devices of our choosing, but we need to pay for a third-party software program-cum-delivery service in order to maintain the requisite degree of security.

With all this in mind, I decided to upgrade to a device on the "approved devices" list when my contract with T-Mobile came up for renewal. I requested a T-Mobile Wing and was assured that I'd have two weeks to experience buyer's remorse.

The Wing was gorgeous -- even more compact than I thought it would be, with a slide-out keyboard, a beauteous display, and Windows Mobile OS. I played around with it, set it up to send and receive corporate email, and even enjoyed Twittering from it.

However, I made it about 48 hours before buyer's remorse set in. The Wing only allows you to set up six email addresses. Six are probably three or four more than most people need, but I have more of them. I was forced to decide which accounts I should check and which I should leave.

Also, I couldn't make that sucker synch with my Mac no matter how hard I tried. Yes, the Mac does boot into XP when necessary, but I am absolutely not going to drop everything in Mac OS and boot into XP just to synch my silly phone. Even ponying up the money for the Windows Mobile Edition of Missing Sync did nothing except cost me the price of the software.

Ah, the Wing was beautiful and I really wanted to love it, but it's headed back to T-Mobile as we speak. All I really wanted was another Crackberry, anyway.