The little ‘maintenance required’ light popped up on my car’s dashboard on Wednesday, too late to do anything about it before I had the long drive down to Merced and back, but I knew I couldn’t put it off very long, as there are more long drives in my future. So this morning we dropped my car off at the mechanic’s and then headed home and spent an hour or two giving the upper half of the house a much-needed cleaning. We ran half a dozen loads of laundry – all the bedding and towels in the house – and Richard beat back the rather alarming number of dust bunnies while I tackled the bathroom and the kitchen. And then we ate leftover cookies for lunch and poked around on our computers and waited for the car to be done.
The mechanic called to let me know the car needed a new air filter and new windshield wipers – both of which I either already knew, or assumed would be the case, but added in that it also needed new front brakes. And I realized huh, I cannot recall the last time I had to replace those. But I am closing in on 150,000 miles on the odometer so new brakes makes sense (it’s a 12-year-old car). And I am glad to have had them replaced, before they became an issue. Especially considering those aforementioned long drives we’ll be doing this summer.
After this afternoon, I can add another to that list. My sisters and I have made our final plans for this year’s annual Sisters Only Weekend, and this year we’ll be off to Ashland, Oregon, for the Shakespeare Festival, and it makes far more sense for at least my older sister and I to drive there instead of fly. We’re all looking forward to it.
I drove down to UC Merced today, to do part 1 of a facilities walk-through (work-related). It’s been a month or two since I’ve been down there, but while it’s a fairly boring drive down I-99, there are some bright spots along the way – the billboard that advertises headstones; the billboard for a company selling bar furniture that says “Come see our stool samples”; the farm with with the camels.
The walk-through was interesting, and brought back lots of my own college memories. I went to UC Davis (UC Merced wasn’t even a gleam in an architect’s eye when I was in college), but my major was in science and, especially in grad school, I spent a lot of time in labs. There’s new technology, and some of the equipment is clearly sleeker and more advanced than what I remember using, but all and all, it’s still the same.
I usually start a CD once I head down but this time I didn’t really feel like listening to music so instead I just sort of pondered the scenery and hummed along to my current earworm. not sure *why* this one has been stuck in my head lately, but it has been, and the thing one is required to do with earworms is to pass them along.
So here. I give you ‘Better Version of You’ by Paul and Storm. As a middle child, this one amuses me for many, many reasons.
I remember the early days of the internet, back when the ability to create a personal website was still brand new and you had to put it all together by hand. Oh, there were a few WYSIWYG programs out there, and a couple aggregate sites where you could set up your page without having to also deal with the hassle of registering and hosting your own domain, but for the most part, people were still hand-coding behind the scenes.
I also remember how you could always tell when someone was brand new to the web, so excited about having figured it out that they would slap anything at all on their pages. Eye-bleeding colors. Music that automatically played when anyone came to the page. And of course, animated gifs. The hallmark of an internet newbie was almost always animated gifs. You learned pretty quickly to avoid the sites that felt the need to throw them all over the place, and most of the time, people eventually got over the novelty of ‘look what I can do!’ and moved on to better things.
I find it amusing that here, in Web 3.0 (or whatever number it is that we’re supposedly up to), some things never change. An entirely new generation of people are out there, throwing things up onto the internet, although the world wide web is a lot more cluttered than it was back in the early days. The autoplay midi files aren’t so much an issue anymore, but that’s only because they’ve been replaced by video clips that automatically play (news sites, I’m looking at you specifically – holy crap but I hate those stupid auto-playing videos). And of course, the animated gifs remain constant. Oh, they’re much more sophisticated these days – now instead of some little pixelated thing, the usual animated gif is a clip of a TV show or a movie – but they’re still just as annoying.
I could wistfully wish that eventually people will get over the need to have things flashing around and autoplaying on their websites, but I know better. This is the hallmark of the internet. No matter how sophisticated the tools, I suspect we will never get away from the tedium of autoplay and animated gifs.
I finally sat down and did the taxes today, and it was…shockingly painless. I think this is the first year I can actually say that. Oh don’t get me wrong, we owe a sizable amount, same as we do every year, because we are DINKs (dual income, no kids), and alas, the IRS won’t let us claim the cats as dependents. But the actual act of doing them was much better than it’s ever been. Hooray for Turbo Tax, which now is able to import all the documents that have caused me so very much difficulty and swearing in the past. Perhaps next year I won’t put it off so long.
Ha. Yeah, right. I say that every year. But then, when one knows one is going to owe, why bother doing it early anyway.
Tonight was the final concert of the Hildegard project, and it went really well. Our normal venue doesn’t have quite the same acoustics as the cathedral in which we performed last night, but on the flip side, the layout of the cathedral doesn’t give us flexibility to let us do this.
Five weeks ago we picked up our music for the next concert project – an evening of works by Hildegard von Bingen, well known for her chant music. Our group has done some incredibly difficult music works in the past – twelve parts, tricky rhythms, dissonant harmonies, but this one was perhaps one of the hardest of all.
When this music was originally composed, there was no such thing as musical scores like we’re familiar with today, with key signatures and time signatures and useful markings to tell you how everything goes together. All you got, if you were lucky to have anything written down in the first place, was a line of notes with maybe a few notations here and there to indicate when you go up and when you go down in the scale. Easy to perform, perhaps, if it’s just one person singing it, or if, as was the case back then, everything was simply done by memorization. However, there’s 13 of us, and we only five weeks, to go through every single piece, line by line, and note by note, and make decisions on how we wanted to interpret them, so that during the actual performance we would be able to come together as one voice,
In order to get in to the office where I work now, I need a special key fob. This also means every time I leave the office, I need to remember to bring it with me. Instead of carrying around a big fat key ring with me everywhere (and running the risk of then leaving it behind), I have one of those little pull-things on my key ring where I can just quickly detach the fob, toss it into my pocket, and then every night when I get home, I put the fob back onto the key ring.
This morning I ended up walking from the parking garage to the office while chatting with a coworker about the new Superman vs Batman movie. We got into the elevator, I got off on my floor, and started rummaging around in my purse and…my key fob wasn’t there.
I started to panic. Had I forgotten to reattach it the night before? I tried to remember but it’s just one of those things I do now without thinking about it so I couldn’t recall if what I was remembering was from last night, or the night before. I got back into the elevator to go up to the floor where the reception desk is, realizing that I needed to get a temporary fob for the day, and as the doors closed, I absentmindedly patted my left pocket…where there was a familiar lump. Clearly at some point in the walk from parking garage to office, I had done my usual ‘take the key fob off and put it in my pocket’ and then promptly forgotten all about it.
Middle-aged brain. This is what it does for fun.
Completely unrelated, I’m starting to see folks coming over from the A to Z challenge, so yes, I’m doing it again this year. As before, my theme will be ‘whatever I feel like writing for the day’, and also ‘the letters in whatever order I feel like because it’s my blog and I can do what I want’.
We had some friends over for dinner tonight, and we played Pandemic. I’ve been wanting to give that game another try for a while, but just haven’t had the time to schedule it. Today was supposed to be spent finishing off a Call of Cthulhu game we all started months and months ago, but life has a way of throwing up roadblocks, so when half the party couldn’t make it, we decided to just do dinner and Pandemic instead.
Our first game ended in a miserable failure. We only managed to get one cure completed, before outbreaks took over and we were all doomed. We took a break for pizza fondue and chatting, and then decided to try it again, this time deliberately picking our roles as opposed to randomly selecting them from the deck. The second time around we were *so* close! Not only did we manage to both cure and eradicate one disease, but we had all the cards lined up for the remaining three cures (and to win the game, all you have to do is have all the cures)….and then we realized we were going to run out of player cards two turns short.
By this time it was late and we were all getting a bit punchy and then someone came up with An Idea. Richard scoured the rules, but there isn’t anything in there about a player (or in this case, two players) deciding to skip their turn, so we worked it out so that we actually *did* get the fourth cure on the very final play of the game….but we all knew it was winning on a technicality.
Ah well. Some day we are going to play this again and manage an actual win. Some day.
We were scurrying around this morning doing a bunch of errands but I did manage to pin out the test knit in the spare room so it can dry, unmolested. Alas, for our cool spring weather, it is not yet dry, which means it’s not going to get into the mail tomorrow like I’d hoped. Bah.
I also whipped up today’s snowflake. Open points *plus* oodles of picots.
Boy do those crochet designers really like their picots.