alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Once more on the subject of electronics--I called the town department of public works on Friday just to be sure we didn't have some kind of electronics recycling program. We don't, but! the very helpful woman at the DPW told me that one of the local elementary schools was having an electronics waste collection fundraiser on Saturday. I'm not entirely sure how the fundraising aspect of it all worked, but I think we paid the school to take our electronics, and then somebody donated the actual recycling, so the school could keep the money. We got rid of a big pile of stuff for $35 *and* helped a school, yay!

We do still have two items up for grabs: one DVD player in working order (may not play VCDs, I can't remember), and one DVD-R/VCR combo unit in mostly working order. The DVD-R side of the combo unit started having issues playing any DVDs that were not commercial or generated by itself (i.e., DVD-Rs made by other machines, VCDs, small semi-commercial runs). The DVD-Rs it makes, though, seem to play fine on other systems. So if you have a bunch of VHS you want to convert, this is the machine for you! it will do menus on the burned DVDs and everything. Either of these items are free to whoever wants to come get them.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Craigslist/Freecycle will be good for the things that work, but there's some busted stuff too :-/
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (tantrum)
I hate like hell to toss old VCRs, printers, stereo components, etc on the curb. But I'm finding out that it's enormously expensive--more expensive than some of these things cost in the first place--to recycle them. It's really frustrating. Staples will take small stuff like phones and cameras and desktop computers/monitors if you pay them a little, but this other stuff is looking grim.

eta: <a href='http://www.officedepot.com/speciallinks/us/od/docs/promo/pages/docs/techrecyclingbroch_july.pdf">Office Depot</a> seems to have the best program going, but it's still going to cost a pretty penny to dispose of this bulky stuff. Anybody want a used but functional VCR? ... yeah, I thought not. Well, I guess it is what it is. .
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
The router and laptop stopped speaking to each other just as I went to post my SYTYCD post, and I FIXED IT by changing the broadcast channel of the router. I am awfully proud of me for figuring all that out :-)
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SYTYCD

Nov. 18th, 2009 09:45 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
The laptop and the router feel like conversing tonight, so I am liveblogging the SYTYCD results show! )

I'm very glad I bought that iPod. I was never unhappy with the sound quality of my Creative Zen Sleek, but the iPod Classic's sound is noticeably better. Can you delete tracks from the iPod, without going through the computer to do it? I haven't figured out how to do that yet. I wasn't thrilled with the initial import procedure as I wanted more control than it gave me. But that's a small quibble. I'm very happy with the new device.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
Was very happy overall with how Raks Spooki went last night.  A huge thank you to the dancers, my zombies, to everyone who helped with publicity, and to everyone who came to the show!  There were some problems with lighting through the first act, which is frustrating since one of the reasons I moved the show upstairs was so that there wouldn't be such problems, and the show start was delayed due to all the cds having to be loaded onto a laptop, but those were really the only problems through the whole night.  By the end of the night, the sound/lighting guy was super enthusiastic about the show and wants me to get in touch with him in advance for next year so that he can, as he said, set it up perfectly for us.  Unfortunately the first act won't have much in the way of photos, and who knows how the video will turn out for that act.  But the dancers were all wonderful to work with and everything else went smoothly.  I am really looking forward to watching the video so I can see everything I missed--even when I had a chance to watch performers, half my brain was somewhere else.  I have a bunch of thoughts about next year already.  It's a good sign that even as I am done with this show and taking a well earned day off, my brain wants to think about Raks Spooki V!

I enjoyed performing my piece as well, my zombie zeffa and gothic shamadan.  I danced to Wuste by Einsturzende Neubauten, with a general concept of dangerous but loving truth hidden in the dark deserts of the heart.  I didn't have a specific mythological character in mind, but in a way I'd say it's my first goddess archetype piece.  Hope I can do it again somewhere.

Apparently FedEx tried to deliver my iPod this morning before we woke up, and so we did not hear the doorbell :-(  I'll have to wait for it until tomorrow.  At least today I'm getting iTunes all set up, it's taking a while to import all my music and convert the wmp files.  Then when I get the iPod I'll be all set to start loading it up!
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (tantrum)
I think my current mp3 player has raised the iPod issue to a much more urgent status by up and dying on me this morning. A hard reset did not unfreeze it :-(
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SYTYCD

Oct. 28th, 2009 12:39 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
comments on last night's show )

Thanks to everybody who answered my iPod questions yesterday. I've been really happy with my Creative Zen Sleek, but 20gb is just not remotely enough for me, and it seems like iPods really have the high capacity market sewn up. Plus there's so many more options for accessories, and the DJ at the Middle East uses a rig with iPod-only docking stations on it. I'm gradually talking myself into the recently re-released Classic with 120gb. I have to admit that the option of having it engraved if I buy it through Apple is pretty appealing.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
If you have an iPod, do you *have* to use iTunes with it? And next dumb question, iTunes won't impose any kind of DRM restrictions on mp3s that weren't purchased through iTunes, will it? Can iTunes deal with mp3s, or only mp4s? Don't have time to google this at work...

I'm glad I got that flu shot, as everybody who was at the NBDA benefit on Sunday seems to be dropping like little dancing flies. Apart from the exhaustion that is to be expected from three performances over the weekend and not enough sleep the past two nights, I feel fine. Knock on wood.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (tantrum)
I just got a call from a Dell rep introducing himself as my new point of contact for Dell, saying he was calling to see how things were going with the new laptop.  I told him it was fine, and he asked if I had any comments about my Dell experience.  I don't believe he had read my file before calling, because I rather stunned him with my polite but blunt comments about my Dell experience.  He apologized, and then said he needed to explain the terms of my warranty to me, fine, it was good to get clarification on whether the one year warranty started again at zero with the new laptop, which it did.  But then he totally turned the conversation into a sales call trying to get me to purchase five-year accident insurance for the laptop, five years for the price of one, isn't Dell great for making me this offer?  That sound you all surely heard just now, the one that sounded like tectonic plates moving?  That was my teeth grinding.  I said no nicely once but when he persisted I told him that I frankly resented that this had become a sales call and I would certainly call him if we have any further problems and good day to you sir.  RAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!
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updates

Jun. 8th, 2009 11:46 am
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Huge congratulations to David and Gauri!  It is hard to imagine two people better suited to each other :-)  I was deeply honored to be a part of the ceremonial proceedings and to dance at the Garba.  The song I performed to was about two people waiting to meet each other, knowing they are out there and that they will fall madly in love once they meet.  It seemed very appropriate :)

It was a fun weekend of wedding festivities, with some of the best food, best dancing and best dressed people at any wedding ever.  Hooray for bridesmaid outfits one can most certainly wear again!  Gauri looked stunning in each of her outfits and David was the epitome of distinguished.  It really was such a warm, wonderful experience.  Looking at the mehndi on my hand, I feel a happy afterglow.

Ferrets are doing pretty well.  I would like to see them both eating more, but their appetites are steadily improving, so that's progress.  Ianto pounced at me yesterday, the first time I've seen that in a while.  And Sissy stole a sports bra out of the laundry and hid it in the living room, showing that she is back to her enterprising self.  They're still both looking a little fragile to me but I hope they will continue to improve.  I've been asked to dance at a fundraiser for the shelter I adopted them from in July, which makes me very happy (and again glad for the Zipcar membership, since I could just say yes without checking with M first about his availability to go with me).

My pick for the Belmont came in second, digging in pretty unexpectedly for a strong effort.  I can see him really improving as he matures.  If I had known about the owners of the winning horse, he would have been my favorite, given the rest of the weekend (hint:  they are Indian :-).

We have gotten hooked on Primeval, watching season 2 on SciFi on Fridays and season 3 on BBC America on Saturdays.  Slightly confusing, but hey, the show is about time travel anyway, so it doesn't really matter. 

The house was completely empty and quiet yesterday afternoon and so I had my most satisfying yoga practice in a long time.  Focused on my arms and shoulders, which are now complaining today but in a good way.

And that's pretty much that.  Oh, the issue with the Dell laptop is definitely the wireless card--I played it all day with the wireless card disabled and nary a pop.  The Dell tech did some remote stuff on the laptop, changing some of the settings of the wireless card, but to no avail, once the card is enabled the popping begins.  Next step, a tech will replace the wireless card.  Based on what I have read online, that may or may not fix the problem.  But at any rate, the computer will be usable for music stuff again, as long as one doesn't need to be online at the same time.  I am irked that I am the one who diagnosed the problem, not Dell, but will make a point of telling Dell this, so maybe they will add this to the scripts the techs use for sound problems...
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
I just received an email from a Dell representative "with reference to the escalation that reached our Corporate office," which I suppose means my letter of complaint.  "Escalation" sounds like I have been lobbing missiles at the corporate office.  I can tell from the way the email was written and by the author's name that I have essentially been kicked back to the call center in India, which makes me want to lob missiles.  I honestly don't have much strength left in me for dealing with this.  But maybe this person is a higher up, since he or she was allowed to keep his or her Indian name and not use some Western alias, and can actually do something.  I suppose we'll see.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
As my dance gigs are starting to range further afield and I am starting to feel worse and worse about scrounging for rides, I've been thinking more and more about joining ZipCar.  While looking at their website today I found that there are two ZipCar spots with two cars each within a half mile of my house, so I think that clinches it.  My biggest hesitation had been that we have a single car-width driveway and thus have to share keys with the neighbors, so I wouldn't really be able to park a ZipCar in the driveway (no overnight street parking in my town).  But those drop off spots are close enough to walk home from, so I would be able to return the car immediately after using it any time of day or night.

I know some of you reading this use ZipCar--are there any negatives to the service?  It seems awfully happy and shiny.

I would have to get some kind of GPS device thingy, if the cars don't come with them.  So probably a new phone.  This is going to be one of those money saving things that ends up costing money, isn't it...

Okay rehearsal at the Dance Complex last night.  The people in the studio before me were rude and overstayed their time, even though they knew I was waiting.  I should have just gone in and started stretching.  So that was a little stressy, but I got work done.  Unfortunately it was mostly work on music that I'm not actually performing to this weekend, but having fun should not be underrated as show preparation :-)
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clockworks

Mar. 10th, 2009 12:50 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
Elysium Dance Theatre's Gothla piece is way over the "not belly dance any more" line for me personally, but whatever kind of dance it is, I <3 the first half of this:



Couldn't see enough of the ensemble at once to get an idea of what was going on the second half. But in that first bit, Elayssa is just perfection. As BoingBoing observed, "That is one talented gothy clockwork lady in big chunky shoes."

Speaking of clockworks, the tech at the computer store could find nothing wrong at all with M's laptop. And the popping did not happen at all, through a full day of playing music at the store. Current theory is perhaps there is some interference near our house that affects just that laptop. The tech is switching out the motherboard, to see if that helps any. If it is interference, I think we're screwed, unless we can build some kind of shield box for it. Given that one neighbor's car alarm turning on or off interferes with our TV sound, the interference argument does sound possible to me. The laptop should be ready on Friday, so I'll play music on it at work and see if the popping happens there, then bring it home and test it at home. We shall see...
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Dropped off M's laptop at the computer store/repair shop at the university where I work--it was pointed out to me via Facebook that as staff, I have access to their services, and since they are Dell certified, if it's a warranty-covered problem, Dell will be held accountable for the repairs.  I described the computer's behavior to the tech, who said it sounded like motherboard issues, and that the Inspiron 1525s are known for buggy sound problems.  Le huge sigh.  But on the positive side, if it is the motherboard, that will definitely be covered by warranty, and perhaps this whole ordeal can be resolved. 

I watched the film Perfect Creature last night--it has vampires *and* zeppelins, what more could a movie need?  Plot was a variation of your standard edgy yet principled vampire and plucky lady law enforcement officer team up to fight big conspiracy story, but it was well done with some interesting twists.  I liked that the steampunk aesthetic was handled in a background, taken for granted kind of way rather than being all in your face.   I also liked that the technology was grubby rather than slick.  Not the best film in the world, but well worth watching if you like vampires and/or steampunk.  Just don't fret too much about the "science."  Seemed a bit like it was made for television, since it had pretty blatant "insert commercial here" moments, though it was a bit too gory for US tv I would think.  I wonder if there will be a sequel, since it left the door wide, wide open for one.

Looking forward to Old, Cold & Slow tonight, though I am feeling rather old, cold and slow myself at the moment.  I think I am coming down with something.  Glad I don't have any performances scheduled this weekend or next weekend.  After that things get hectic and sick is not allowed.

Ianto was bouncy and playful this morning, which was great to see because just last night I was thinking about how I hadn't seen him bouncy and playful for a while and perhaps he was just settling down into a quiet life of quiet enjoyments.  Sissy was thrilled too.
 
There are three police cars a few doors down from my office.  Maybe somebody has a bullet!
 
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (tantrum)
One hour of listening to M on the phone with Dell before they dropped the call + one hour of me being on the phone with Dell before they dropped the call + two hours of me on the phone with Dell = whiskey please stat

I don't know yet if we made any progress.  In a way we did, because the repeated calls have enabled us to get software tech support for free.  Previously they insisted they would charge us for anything beyond very basic hardware support.  Right now the solutions are 1) install new codecs and see if that helps (done, don't know yet); 2) if that doesn't work, reinstall Vista; and 3) if that doesn't work, a tech guy comes to our house and swaps out the motherboard.  The tech people were nice, by and large, but often seemed incapable of hearing what I had already stated a few times over.  It wasn't a language thing, either.  The tech would ask me, "is the sound distorted?" to which I replied no, it pops and drops out for a fraction of a second and comes back, the basic sound quality is fine.  Okay, says the tech.  A moment later, "So when you hear the sound distorted..."  I repeat no distortion, okay says the tech, and moments later it's "Is is still distorted?"  Argh.  I think the tech was trying to talk me into saying it was a problem that he knew how to fix.  He also kept insisting it had something to do with the bitrate at which mp3s were ripped from CDs, even though I emphasized this happened with all kinds of files, even those created from scratch that had never been on a CD or had never been mp3s.

So as things stand now, I installed up to date codecs, and M will do some sound work tonight and see if the problem reoccurs.  A Dell person is supposed to call tomorrow night to check up on it.  Whatever.

I feel like I spent a full day at work despite the snow day.  I had intended to watch/dance with Ranya Renee's new baladi DVDs today, but only got to watch the first 45 minutes or so of the first disc.  That said, though, I officially join the Ranya cult.  So much information, and she is such a stellar dancer!  I think this DVD is pretty unique in the way she breaks down rhythm and song structure.  I especially liked the demonstration of how a maqsoum layered over a fellahi sounds--light dawned for me.  I loved the stories of her accordion player, too.
 
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
I am glad that we made our reservations for Sunday at Craigie on Main yesterday rather than today, as today there was a fine review of it in the Globe.  Sunday night the menu is chef's whim, I'm looking forward to it.

I did wonder if this quote from the review might perhaps be someone I know:

"I'd order Fernet Branca, Tommy, but I have a bottle at home," a young woman confides, showing off her knowledge of the cult liqueur.

synaethesia, I'm looking at you ;-)

I am loving my new earbuds--such clear sound and crisp detail!  They are far superior to my last pair, not leastly because both sides work.  They're Philips SHE9800, should anybody else be in the confusing market for earbuds and want recommendations.

Success!

Jan. 6th, 2009 10:44 am
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Last night we got M's new laptop online, so it appears that I successfully set up the router and home network.  Though apparently I needn't have bothered, all our neighbors have unsecured connections all over the place.

Superstars of Dance has been interesting.  It seems to be structured like the Olympics of dance, but I like that because soloists and duetists can get their own glory even if their countries don't fare well over all.   I find I tend to agree with the South African judge most of the time; he's tough, but the judges should be tough.  Sometimes I think the US and Russian judges are in their own competition to see who is the bigger softy.  (The Russian judge is an odd one, seemingly bent on confirming every stereotype about Russians.)  One issue that has struck me with the judging in general is the issue that was raised by the US tap dancer last night--how can the judges judge a dance style that they know little to nothing about?  But I think there are some relatively objective standards common to all dance performances, things like conviction, making it look easy and seamless, emotional content/connection, synchonized movement in the case of duets and troupes, that indefinable yet obvious air of a seasoned pro, and so forth, and the judges can and should score on those things.  I was also glad that last night they tackled the issue of needing to have dance in a dance performance last night, though I still think that they gave the Shaolin monks an easy pass on that one, especially given how hard they came down on the Argentinian team.

At any rate, I'm enjoying seeing the different performances.  The South African woman's afro-modern fusion number was the best thing of the night as far as I was concerned.  I choked up watching it.  The Australian contemporary dancer was also very good, though I hate those godawful adult contemporary rock ballads the contemporary dancers all seem to use.  I thought the US tap dancer was under rated, as was the Argentinian soloist.  The Bharatanatyam dancer was very good, but the Bollywood troupe was pretty second rate.  The coach proudly announced that they were all college students, and that's exactly what they looked like, college kids putting on a show.  And I have to say that the US hip hop troupe really did rock the house.

Trying not to be all mama bear about something that is really none of my business, but it's hard.  Note to self: none of your business means none of your business.

Both weasels climbed into bed with me last night and we all fell asleep together.  Yay!
 

la la la

Jan. 3rd, 2009 04:14 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
I knew "five easy steps" was too good to be true in the home wireless network instructions...  but finally the thing seems to be working, thanks to "John" at RCN's tech support line (more likely Ajay or Mahatma or Naveen, but whatever, he was helpful).  I am regularly frustrated by RCN, and I certainly didn't enjoy the half hour hold time on the phone, but in this case I really appreciated that they helped me with a problem that was really of my own making, by introducing a new component into my system.  Actually I blame Vista, which most pirate-like took over the installation process from the router's own installation software and messed up all the network settings, requiring a reset from RCN's end.  When M gets home, we'll see if the laptop can connect and if I got the security settings all correct, and then hopefully all will be well that ends well.

I sang songs I didn't really know in Rock Band last night and did okay--granted I didn't set the difficulty level any higher than medium, but once I got the hang of reading the lines and also let go of using actual words if I didn't know them already, I did okay.  M was very amused by my singing a Nine Inch Nails song.  At which I scored a 96%, I might add.  Scored 100% on Teenage Lobotomy, but that only has I think one more vocal note than the guitar line has chords, so that's not really all that impressive.  Still felt good though ;-)  And now I feel more confident about joining in when Rock Band breaks out at parties.  I'm hopeless at the instruments but people always seem to be wanting singers.

We were thinking about going out tonight but being out four or five nights in a row has left us both drained.  I think the router finished off any initiative I had left in me.  So tonight it is us and the couch and the weasels and last night's Sanctuary, a show to which I seem to have become quietly addicted.  It's not at all great and Amanda Tapping's accent (or lack thereof) is ridiculous but I enjoy it lots.
 

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