alexandraerin: (Default)
Okay, so, for a long time this journal has basically been the place where I post things about work and productivity. I don't really have a personal blog at the moment. Personal stuff goes in random places, or more often, it just doesn't go anywhere.

But it wasn't a conscious decision to divorce this blog from anything having to do with my life in ways that don't obviously and directly touch on my writing, and I've made some attempts in the past to rectify that. This one is going to be fairly straightforward. I'm just going to make an effort to make a personal blog post every time I make a daily report.

So, I realized over this weekend that I have almost no music on my netbook, the new one I got earlier this year. I had downloaded what I considered to be my essential work/relaxation tracks to it and that's it. And I have quite a lot of music that's scattered among my computers, including some that's probably only on my old, ailing netbook that this one replaced.

To fix this, I'm taking advantage of Dropbox's superior syncing capabilities to create a master directory that has all of my music, hopefully with as little duplication as possible... I mean, if I copy the music library on this computer and the music library on my downstairs desktop computer into the same folder in Dropbox, it should recognize the duplicates and be like, "Oh, this file is already there, no need to download it.", right? That's my theory and so far, so good.

When I'm finished, I'm going to be setting the music library on each computer to only include the Dropbox music folder and make it the default location for downloading music from Amazon and ripping music from CDs. I won't actually delete the original source folders unless I run out of harddrive space (which is something that has never happened to me since my first 1 GB drive).

Right now my main desktop is uploading its music directory to Dropbox and this little netbook is downloading them as they're added. It's going to take a couple of days because I don't really want more than one computer uploading to Dropbox at a time, just to stop things from getting confused, but it doesn't take any attention from me once I've got things started... I already changed the notification area settings on this computer so I'd stop getting little balloons popping up telling me n files have been added to my Dropbox folder while I'm trying to do stuff. I am the original boiling-pot-watcher so until I took that step I kept checking to see what files have been added, try to look for any unwanted duplication, etc. Now it's all happening in the background and I can happily ignore it.

While I said this is for stuff that doesn't directly impact my writing... now that I have a lot more music to choose from (and am more aware of what music I actually have in my library than I have been for years), I can't help thinking... well, I can listen to the same track over and over again and not feel bored or get sick of it.

But not being bored is not the same thing as being stimulated. When I was writing Star Harbor Nights on the regular, most of the characters had favorite bands/musical influences and I could listen to them to get in touch with them. I could also use music to hack my mood or adjust my energy level.

In my report for today I looked back at my work life when I was doing data entry... my creative life was also affected by the way I listened to music then on my MP3 player while I worked. I could browse music and create playlists on the fly, but because it was kludgier than doing it on the computer and because I couldn't spend ten or fifteen minutes fiddling with an electronic device no matter how productive I was I relied on large playlists and shuffle more than I otherwise do.

It's still better for me to have a repetitive/non-distracting soundtrack for when I'm actually writing, I think, but it's good to have more varied influences for the rest of my day.
alexandraerin: (Default)
So, tomorrow [livejournal.com profile] s00j is coming through Nebraska and stopping to play a concert in Lincoln, a rare treat. This weekend she's been down in KC. Due to a situation involving the remote but unthinkable possibility of not being able to make the Lincoln concert, I went with a friend to drop in the last event of her Kansas City schedule, an April Fool's Day tea party in honor of the departed Mama Dragon. Midway through the festivities, we got a message of love from [livejournal.com profile] popelizbet and the Memphis pagan folks, who were observing the day in their own way.

It was very nice to be able to see s00j at a time when she wasn't working, just spending a few pleasant and joyful hours with food and tea and good company... I think she was surprised to see us. Definitely worth the trip.

Related soundtrack:

April Fool's Day



In The House of Mama Dragon

alexandraerin: (Default)
I have, I think, at some point before, linked to or embedded a song called "The Napoli" by English folk due Show of Hands. This song tells the true story of a modern-day shipwreck on the cost of Britain, and the modern-day piracy that followed in its metaphorical (yet still nautical!) wake.

As a refresher, here's the video:



(Their website.)

I threw that video up before today's link, which also tells a true story, one that's probably familiar to more of the readers of this blog than the wreck of the Napoli.

Give it a listen... and if you enjoy it, please note this track is free to download and the rest of the album may be listened to online for free. Also note that this album is nominated for a Rose And Bay Award this year in the category of Other Project. If you enjoy it, you know what to do

alexandraerin: (Default)
News For Today

So, today's garbage day, which means that last night we had to get the trash out to the curb. I was all set to walk carefully on the icy ground, only to get outside and discover that the ground was no longer icy. The driveway looked completely clear all the way down to the sidewalk.

And it was. It was the sidewalk that was icy, in one patch just before where we put the trash cans. The ice was sort of in shadow, so I missed it with my eyes. Don't worry, gentle readers... I found it with my feet. It was a controlled fall, and I managed to mostly land on the grass instead of the pavement, but it didn't do my knees and back any favors.

My mother, who deals with the same issues in her knees, is taking me shopping for shoes today, so that should help.

Also, in news that might seem sort of bitterly hilarious to people who've been following my blog for two years or more, our bathtub has developed a leak. We have someone coming out to look at it today.

Finally, I've managed to misplace my phone. It might have been left in a friend's car, I'm waiting to hear back on that.

Personal Assessment

Knees. Ow.

Positive side: Still sleeping unaided. The sheer volume of blankets is possible to sleep under in the depths of winter is definitely aiding my streak there. I believe I'm up to eight.

Dreams From Last Night

Indistinct, but they involved cooking.

Random Link

Show Of Hands are an acoustic folk duo from England whose music was first brought to the shores of my ears by [livejournal.com profile] s00j. You should check them out. Here they are performing their song, "The Napoli":



Plans For Today


  • Write a MU chapter for tomorrow.
  • Make a post explaining the volume shift/relaunch plans in more detail, what to expect and what not to expect (e.g., the Spanish Inquisition.)
  • Do a page of character tag descriptions.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I've got an update ready to go and no website to put it on... I'm going to make a brief Livejournal post to kill time and see if the problem gets resolved before I have to go to sleep for the day.

So, yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] s00j's new album Mischief dropped. This isn't the first post I've made squeeing over it, but now that it's actually available for you to listen to and, if the mood should strike, buy.

Hmmmm, this was going to be longer but I'm already getting tired. And no response from the website. Goodnight, internets.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Mischief, [livejournal.com profile] s00j's new album, has now been given a release date of July 16th. I am so excited about this album I don't even have words. Well, I do have words, but they all have to do with how excited I am about this album. While Ms. Tucker is far more than a novelty act, her more whimsical work (in particular with the aid of [livejournal.com profile] stealthcello) appeals very strongly to me and so I've been hoping for an album version of Salad of Doom since the first time I heard it. (There's actually a video of some of that performance within the link.) That's not the only reason I'm looking forward to this album, it's not even the song I'm looking forward to most or the one that's been the most persistent earworm, but it's the one I've been looking forward to the longest.
alexandraerin: (Default)
If I were to write a story of my trip to Memphis so far in one word, it would be "Progress". If this one word story had chapters, the first one would be subtitled "In Which I Meet Amy Steinberg".

She's worth knowing.

alexandraerin: (Default)
I just got linked to a fun new web toy right at the moment I really needed it: blip.fm. It's kind of like Twitter and Last.fm had a baby and then that baby grew up and invented a website that aggregates music searches and lets you share your favorites with people social-networking style.

The link above takes you to my feed, which as of this moment has all of one song on it, a [livejournal.com profile] s00j video. Bookmark/follow it to see what I'm listening to.
alexandraerin: (Adorable)
So, I'm writing this from my parents' house. I usually spend Christmas Eve down here with them... but the weather projections just kept getting worse and worse we went to "Well, maybe you should come down Wednesday so you don't get stuck in Omaha" to "How about Tuesday night instead?" until I ended up coming down this afternoon at two. It made for a sort of hectic day, and it's going to make for a hectic weekend as I'm leaving for Maryland on Monday... hopefully the weather will be cooperative with that.

It's not like I'm complaining, though... an extra couple of days with my family around the holiday is not a bad thing, especially as it seems like we might be starting to go our separate ways a little bit more in the following years. That's not a bad thing. I have a brother who's getting married, my folks are getting a condo in Florida, and my little sister's getting closer to finishing college and doing whatever amazing things she's going to do with her own talents.

Earlier tonight my dad made my mom snort taco meat up her nose laughing when he caught her off-guard when he ended his story about telling the Angel Tree folks that the poor had better hurry up and die to decrease the surplus population*. It caught my mom off guard because she didn't expect a punchline to a story about hunger at the holidays. I, on the other hand, knew exactly where the story was going from the moment it started... some things are just genetic.

Right now the latest Celtic Woman concert is playing on a five foot screen, DVRed from whenever it aired. Chloe Agnew and Mairead Nesbitt rock my world... Mairead's skipping and dancing across the stage right now. Amazingly talented. My mother is mixing up peppermint mochatinis. I'm going to settle in and finish writing some stuff in a bit. I think it's going to be a good night.




*Don't worry, he actually gave them $25. The "surplus population" thing is a reference to Christmas Carol.

You know, Charles Dickens?

...

READ A BOOK!
alexandraerin: (Default)
First, there's some musical magic, brought to my attention by [livejournal.com profile] popelizbet who is kicking ass and taking names at law school*. (*The preceding statement should not be taken as an admission of violence on the part of [livejournal.com profile] popelizbet)

Check it out:



My computer did not arrive yesterday. The tracking info still hasn't updated from the first time it was generated. This generally means it hasn't actually shipped yet... they've just stuck it in a box and generated the FedEx label for it. Probably there's a backlog, given the time of year... this sort of thing is among the reasons why companies cite things like "7-10 business days" when they're shipping using methods that only take three or four of them. No biggie. I'll send them an inquiry if it hasn't moved Monday.

The other thing about valerian versus melatonin is that it seems to result in more interesting dreams, or fewer details being lost in the fog between states of consciousness. I came up with an awesome idea for an item set in 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons out of my last dream. I won't go into the details here because it's conceivable that I'll get my online games running again once I have a working desktop. I might elaborate on the mechanics behind them in my gaming blog without detailing the specific items, though. I've got a bunch of half-finished posts sitting in the drafts folder over there... things I started and then lost my train of thought on. I'll have to look through and see which ones can be salvaged.

Mmmm... I had more things I wanted to mention in this post, but I've already forgotten them. I think I need to blog more often, as ideas come to me, instead of putting it off when the ideas come to me.
alexandraerin: (Default)
Today has not been a good day for my blood pressure, obviously. I'm chilling out listening to Echo Slightly, an indie band that's come slumming around my ad slots a few times. I think I may have plugged them when I first heard their album, but that was a while ago. They're worth checking out.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I read an article a few years back about how the changing face of the social landscape in the 21st century means that more people in America are doing without the traditional "safety net" of a network of close friends and family members upon whom they can rely when they're in trouble.

But then, even if we don't have a close network, we have access globally distributed super network of friends who, if they aren't near enough geographically to pitch in more directly, will still do what they can, and then boost the signal to their friends, and so on.

Because I already depend on the internet for my living, sometimes when I boost a signal for someone I feel a twinge of apprehension that I'm going to the same well too many times. Well, I feel at least a twinge of apprehension with most things I do... anxiety isn't always rationale.

But of course, it's not just my well... it's a massive, globally-distributed well, and I don't help anything by obstructing its waters. No one person has to give to any cause I boost, but some people will, and some people will also pass it on.

[livejournal.com profile] popelizbet, She Who Is Kind Of A Big Deal In Her Own Way, Pope Lizbet the Onlyth by the grace of God and the gods of grace, has an icon that she uses a lot... actually, it looks like it's her default icon right now... and it looks like this:



(Icon credits: pic by karinny icon by cjtremlett

And that's really what this is about. The internet is magic, I've been touched by magic, and it behooves me to pass it on.

So, here are a couple of quick signal boosts and a couple sites you can use for No Money Down Do Goodery.

[livejournal.com profile] deza, a friend of [livejournal.com profile] karnythia, has sent out a request for help dealing with a problem generated by family drama, her medical condition, and her husband's deployment. She's offering to repay money sent to her. Update: That situation has been resolved. Yay, internet!

And this Off Topic post on [livejournal.com profile] sf_drama details the plight of a disabled woman who's lost her housing assistance due to senseless acts of bureaucracy and is faced with eviction.

Those are the causes of the moment. Please feel free to repost to your own flist if you can do nothing else. It costs nothing.

And on the subject of costing nothing, some fun and free stuff...

The Hunger Site - Click on the "click here to give" button and the advertising (simple on-screen button ads, nothing flashy or downloady or wormy) will be used to help feed the hungry. There are five other sister sites under the same umbrella... you can click along the tabs at the top of the page and repeat the very brief process to help fund education, conservation, and other such needful things. They also sell clothing and jewelry and things, with the proceeds benefiting whichever of the causes you have active. A lot of the items for sale on the site also directly benefit artists and artisans who are engaging in sustainable activities in impoverished areas.

Free Rice - I spotlighted this site a few years back. It's another advertiser-supported click-to-giver, but in this case, it's in the form of an addictive little knowledge testing/building game. It was an English vocabulary builder when I first learned of it. Now they've added other languages, and different subjects as well. Pick something you're good at and get the ego boost. Pick something you need a refresher on. The site is an excellent tutor - when you miss a question, it gives you the correct answer and reshuffles it into the deck so you get reinforcement on it. It pays to increase your word power, yo.

And because I just got my daily reminder to listen to music that makes me feel happy, here's a frog with a banjo:

alexandraerin: (Default)
I was going to use an entirely different recording of this song, but after getting back to my room and reading that Garrison Keillor has suffered a "minor stroke", this just jumped into my head:



It's from Robert Altman's lovely swan song, A Prairie Home Companion, a fictionalized film account of the end of Garrison Keillor's signature radio show with his whole cast of personae brought to life as separate members of a radio repertory company. A lot of people felt the movie was a big talkie mess, with plot threads brought up and dropped seemingly at random, with none of the expected morals or messages, and a lot of unnecessary ambiguity, especially at the end.

So of course, I loved it.

But then, I also loved Altman's other underrated musical treasure, Popeye.

Anyway, my thoughts go out to Mr. Keillor.
alexandraerin: (Default)
I'd honestly planned on not doing three [livejournal.com profile] s00j songs in a row for my little Meme of One here, but then yesterday we visited Epcot and rode on one of the underrated treasures of Walt Disney World, the Maelstrom. As a result, this song has been in my head more so than usual:



This song and the two preceding ones are all from the musical companions to Cat Valente's Orphan's Tales cycle. I have yet to finish the second book and meant to bring it on this trip... I have yet to finish it because it's so good I keep re-reading my favorite parts of the first half of the book and then I find myself having to start again to get things sorted out.

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