Monday, June 28, 2004

Call Me Morpheus

I've recently been doing a series of how-to articles on Blogger Hacks -- cool tricks you can use to get Blogger to do spiffy new things. This week, I got to write a guest column about them all for Blogger Knowledge. Check it out: Hacking the Blogger Matrix.

Update: This is turning into a fairly popular article. It even showed up on BoingBoing. There was also a WebUser UK article about it, though I was rather disappointed in how they referred to it as hacking into Blogger, which sounds rather more evil than anything I intended. Anyway, it's fun to see people noticing and commenting on it.

Disclaimer: While I do appreciate all the comments and emails from people about this, I will probably not be able to respond to them all. Also, please note that I don't take requests for particular hacks, or for tech support. (If you have general Blogger/BlogSpot questions, please check out, or write to Blogger Support.)

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Gold Country Stunt Mandolin

I went over to Livermore yesterday for the premiere of Miz Evie's Gold Country, the movie that various Fletchers and Crains filmed last year but only just got finished editing. It ended up being about an hour long, and was a lot of fun to watch. I'm listed in the credits under "Stunt Mandolin," thanks to some creative editing of the barn dance scene, which gave the impression that I can play in the band and dance at the same time. I got a copy of the DVD, plus another disk that just has all the raw footage from the barn dance, which might be interesting to see, though I haven't watched it yet.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Costa Rica

It's official! I'm going to visit Quena in Costa Rica! I had been thinking I would go sometime in October, but then Lacey decided she wanted to come along too, which will make things even more fun. So we moved it up considerably so she won't miss any school. We're going to be gone August 25th through September 5. (And actually, Lacey will be staying a bit longer on her own.) This will be my first time out of the country in about 11 years, so that will be exciting. And we get to see Quena! Yay!

Monday, June 21, 2004

Well Waltzed

DipWaltz Weekend was good. I didn't actually learn a whole lot of new stuff, but it was fun to meet and dance with a lot of new people, and I was very glad to get to see and dance with Jessica again, too. I also worked out some new cross-step waltz stuff on my own, with some variations on a matador position move, so that was kind of cool. I finally sat down and read through Richard's "complete" list of 62 cross-step moves and found that I know pretty much all of them (not the hovercraft move, though) so I guess it's just time to start inventing more.

Brave Combo last night was absolutely fantastic. They are so much fun to dance to. Highlights included a hyper-speed polka, sailing smoothly around the room with Tina while various other frantic couples flailed past us, and an absolutely gorgeous last waltz with Jessica to a tune that just make me want to melt.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Let the Waltzing Begin!

Waltz Weekend starts tonight. The schedule is here if you want to see what I'll be doing all weekend. It should be fun, especially with Brave Combo playing on Sunday night. Looks like there will be a lot of cross step, which is always my favorite. I'm also curious about things like "jazz era waltz" and "the quest for the perfect waltz." Fun fun fun.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Reviewing Stuph

So the Weblog Review decided to review my blog. It got a 4/5 (with an extra quarter of a point because I'm a TMBG fan) and a summary of "a nice blog by a nice guy." Not a particularly gripping tagline, that, but oh well. It was interesting reading a review by a complete stranger. He obviously read (or at least skimmed) an immense amount of my blog, which is impressive, but he definitely pulled out different things to focus on than I would have. And I think he was too impressed with my template (which is mostly just a Blogger default). But still, I was amused, in an egocentric kind of way.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Clearly a Nuthatch

I was talking with Susanna about associations the other day. We each have colors that we associate in our minds with certain letters or numbers, and interestingly enough, a lot of them match. I have a similar thing where I pair certain colors with musical keys, and I also associate particular keys and colors with people. Susanna's version of that, as a bird watcher, is to have particular species of birds that she associates with different people. She gave a couple examples, and then, naturally, I asked what kind of bird I would be. Without a pause, she said "Oh, you're clearly a nuthatch." That completely cracked me up.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A Silver Grahamiversary

I think 25 will be good age. It still sounds older than I'm used to feeling, but it'll be okay soon. It's just a good number, too. It's funny, the effect numbers can have. Twenty-two was a good year -- a power number, not to mention an Emperor-Fool number. Twenty-three was rough, though. Not only odd, but prime, and very unstable. A lot of difficult stuff happened that year, and a lot of changes. Twenty-four, though was very different. A much more stable number, with a very solid feeling, having so many factors. My life stabilized immensely over this last year as well, in various ways. And now I'm at 25, an odd number, but a square. I'm not sure yet how that will work out. It has a very pointed, determined feel to it, as if it has two feet planted firmly on the ground, and yet reaches as far as it can towards some lofty ideal.

Birthdays for me are times for reviewing and taking stock of life, and noticing what I'm learning. I don't think I'll do as detailed a recap of this last year as I did on my previous birthday but still, a few highlights are in order.

My angel card for this last year was Abundance, and it certainly turned out to be an abundant year for me, in many ways. The most obvious example would, of course, be my wonderful new job -- my first permanent one ever. And the job then has allowed for my new year's resolution, which has shown that giving money away is every bit as much an affirmation of abundance as receiving it.

I've had an amazing abundance of learning this year, as well, which always makes me happy. There's been shape note singing, Tuvan throat singing (sort of), Rubik's cube solving, a lucid dreaming class, West Coast swing, and more books of all sorts than I can shake a stick at. Just the way I like it.

Other wonderfulness in my life from this last year has included a piano to get me playing again, a spiffy new computer, the ever-glorious Camp Harmony, and my first ever trip to New York. I could go on with many other examples, big and small.

So it's been a good year for learning to notice and appreciate and create abundance in all forms. For this coming year, the Angel Card I've drawn is Power. A good card for 25, I think. It'll be an interesting concept to start focusing my awareness on for a while.

Monday, June 07, 2004

West Coast Study Buddies

I went back to The Dance Spectrum last night for some West Coast Swing, this time with Susanna. The lesson was better than last time, with a few nice sugar-push variations, and then we stayed for the entire dance afterwards. It was awesome having Susanna there -- I learned far more than when I was there by myself last month. She would go off and dance with all the really good leaders there and then come back and find me periodically to show me things they had led so we could figure out how to do them. I can dance with good followers, but I don't really learn much from them, because they're restricted to what I know (aside from adding extra styling). So it was really great to have a "spy" to send over to the other side and bring back new tricks. We actually managed to reverse engineer a lot of moves, so that was really cool. I wrote several of them down when I got home, so hopefully I'll even retain them.

Aside from the first-Sunday WCS dances, The Dance Spectrum also has drop-in beginning and intermediate classes every Monday. So I might want to try going to some of those at some point. Not tonight, but soon maybe.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Harry Potter and the Moviegoers of Azkaban

I saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with Mom today. I think it had been a while since I'd had a good Harry Potter fix, so this was a lot of fun. You could definitely tell the change to a new director -- everything was a lot darker and a bit creepier, but I think it was appropriate, since the books change their tone this way a bit as well, as you get to the third book and beyond. There were some wonderful new sets, and a new location for Hogwarts as well, which was absolutely beautiful (though a bit farther off from the description in the books, I think). A lot had to be chopped from the book to fit it into a 2-hour movie, but I think they did a very good job of it this time around. I would have added a few things back in, but on the whole I think it was well edited. Pay attention to the music in this movie, too. There was a greater variety than in the previous two, including what sounded like some authentic Medieval or Renaissance music, which was a nice touch that fit well with the castle setting.

The Marauder's Map was always one of my favorite magical artifacts from all of the books, and I loved the one they created for this movie. (Watch the footprints on it during the closing credits, too -- it's fun.) The Whomping Willow was really neat, as well. The dementors and the hippogriff and the grim were all quite good, but the one that was really awesome was the werewolf. I had always imagined werewolves as fairly humanoid, or at least bipedal, whereas Mom had always thought they just turned into regular wolves. Professor Lupin, though, was in between and very different from either one of these possibilities. I didn't think I liked it at first, but it turned out to be far cooler and far scarier than either alternative.

So now I'm completely in Harry-Potter-mode, with no new book due out for probably another year or two. Argh. Meanwhile, though, I'll compensate by reading Book 5 in Spanish, which I just requested at the library, so hopefully I'll be able to pick it up soon.

And while we're on the subject of cool kids' books, I wanted to mention that the Lemony Snicket books are being made into a movie coming out in December: check out the trailer for A Series of Unfortunate Events. That looks like it'll be a lot of fun. I'm going to see if I can read the last seven or so books in the series before that comes out.

Friday, June 04, 2004

TSF Thank You

I got my first ever thank-you letter today from the stanford fund. It's weird being on this end of the process, and being addressed as "Mr. Waldon" by a student earning money for his extra-curricular group. But it's kind of neat, too. In fact, I think I actually had a class once with the person who wrote my letter -- his name sounds really familiar. He would have had to have been a freshman during my last year, but if it was in one of my music history classes or something, it could have happened (he's a music student). I think he was outsourcing his letter writing, though, because the hand writing doesn't look like a guy's. Not that that's anything unusual, of course, it's just amusing to notice. He also made a reference to my "December gift," which was odd, since I thought they weren't supposed to say anything that referred to a particular point in time. Maybe they changed the rules? Oh well. Yay for the tHE sTANFORD fUND.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Busy Weekend

This weekend contained:
  • 1 improv show
  • 2 dance shows, involving 3 different groups
  • 1 contra dance
  • 1 Shakespeare performance
  • 1 new friend (previously an online-only acquaintance)
  • 2 books finished, 1 started and 1 continued
  • 1 Memorial Day / Birthday party
  • 2 lucid dreaming experiments
  • Several naps
  • The best (though sadly, the only) Mondae Night Dance of the year
Not bad for three days.