Friday, March 28, 2008

I am a Nerd

But we knew that, right?

May I present the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide of the computer world:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some Progress

So, Windows XP is now installed on the iMac.  I haven't installed Boardmaker or Writing With Symbols yet because I'm still waffling on whether to stick with Boot Camp and deal with rebooting when necessary or to spring for Parallels or VMWare.

The advantage to Boot Camp is that it's free.  Parallels got mostly good reviews everywhere I looked, but VMWare's reviews were almost uniformly a variation of "So much better/faster than Parallels."

So we'll see.

Now I'm trying to get some of my programs off my PowerBook and onto the iMac.  Some of them (like Final Cut Express) will have to run under Rosetta (emulation)...which will be slower than universal binary or Intel native versions...but considering that video rendering went from .14 frames per second to 29ish frames per second...I'd imagine that even "slower than native" Final Cut will least equivalent, if not faster, to how it was running on my laptop.

(Plus, big beautiful screen.)

The only remaining task is to get the files off my old PC (I've got several years of adapted books on there, for one thing) and to get an external CD/DVD drive for the iMac to run Writing with Symbols and Boardmaker concurrently.

(Unless I can find a way to trick the computer into thinking they're in the drive.  I tried that once years ago with a program used by gamers for the same essential reasons but it didn't work.  Basically, the program was supposed to make a copy of the disk and then mount it as a virtual drive, but I never could get it to work.  It may be worth exploring, now that I think about it.)

Incidentally, I like Cat's idea of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde name scheme for the iMac.  Unfortunately, I can't think of any fandom names for this except for Angel and Angelus (Angel) and John and Harvey (Farscape).

I'll keep thinking....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Something About That Song

Picture this.

(Sicily...19...dang, Patrick's been watching too much Golden Girls again.)


Picture this.  It's 2001, and I've walked with Patrick's class to the movie theater to see Shrek.  It's their last field trip of the year, and his last in middle school, half community based instruction and half his teacher just wanting to let the kids have a good time.

Of course, at the time, Patrick was deathly terrified of movies.  So I went along, mp3 player in tow (yep, this was in the pre-iPod days) in case he had a panic attack.

The movie had lots of music -- in fact, that's what sets the first Shrek apart in my mind -- the music seemed to be much more carefully selected in the first one.  And Patrick did okay.

And "Hallelujah" came on.

There's just...something about that song.

The montage was great, but the quiet, sublimated anger in Rufus Wainwright's version was enthralling.  I had no idea that so many versions of the song existed, until a couple of years later, when I searched it on a whim in iTunes.

See, I'd recently searched the song "Yerushalahim Shel Zahav" ("Jerusalem of Gold").  One night when inputting lyrics, I'd googled the song to see what I could find, and I found out that the tune is actually a basque lullaby.  Well, I couldn't imagine the defiant chant in Schindler's List (which is how I had the song in the first place) as a lullaby, so I searched for other versions of it.

Thus began my interest in different versions of songs -- I love how different artists can put such a different spin on things.  What is a defiant statement in one version (Schindler's List) is a quiet, introspective song in another version.

Anyway, I was searching for different versions of Hallelujah and came across k.d. lang's version from Hymns of the 39th Parallel.

Wow.  There's a quiet...almost desperation to the song.  I was absolutely enthralled.  (I now have 4 versions of her singing the song.)

So, now, I have a total of...I think 8 versions of the song.

And then, a few nights ago, I was reading through writer Elizabeth Bear's blog, and discovered, to my amusement, that she had posted on the subject a little while back.

She has 14.

The funny thing is, now that I have a computer that doesn't stutter and die on youtube videos, I can easily see myself finding that many and more.

There's just something about the song.

Easter, Writing, and TMI

So, as has been the case for a few years now, the only folks in my family nearby that celebrate Easter had other plans.  Which, to Patrick, means one thing: Disneyland.

But we did depart from our usual routine, and even had dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria -- which is a very nice table service restaurant with (get this!) reasonable prices.  Not just Disneyland-reasonable-prices, but semi-good-Italian-restaurant reasonable prices.  Wow.  Of particular interest is the orange sorbet dessert, served on a frozen navel orange.  Yummy.

Anyhow, it being a holiday, Patrick...ahem...permitted me to use (my) point and shoot camera to take a few shots, on the condition that I also shared the next in his self-portrait series.

(See if you can guess which shot is his.)

In other news, I have been writing up a storm.  I'm just not sure if it's any good -- it probably isn't yet, and probably won't be without a significant re-write, but it's nice to shut up my inner critic and just get the ideas out.

Meanwhile, I find myself watching the beginning of season 9 of Stargate to determine the extent of Cam's injuries...and 'cause that's when the whole Ori thing started.

(Did I mention I liked the Ori storyline?  Yeah....)

Now, as far as the TMI stuff....

Men are babies.

My grandfather has developed a touchy stomach in the last year or so, and often when he goes on dates with his girlfriend, he ends up throwing up the next day.

He threw up today a couple of times, and called my mom this afternoon to say he's going to go to the emergency room 'cause he just can't keep getting sick like that.

Now, far be it from me to be unsympathetic, but....

When I was in 8th grade, I had a rare form of mono that manifested itself with months of excruciating stomach aches that kept me up for hours at a time because the pain got worse when I laid down.  It was literally unbearable laying down; I'd have to walk in circles until it died down enough to sit, where I'd gingerly curl up with a pillow (because if I got too horizontal, it'd all start over again) and try to sleep.  A few hours later, I'd be able to lay somewhat flat.  A few hours after that, I'd go back to bed, only to get up an hour or two later and try to make it through a day of school.

Then, one Friday morning must have been early February (the stomach aches had been going on since August or so), I was getting ready for a half-day of school.  My parents were picking me up afterwards, and we were going down to Anaheim to stay at the Disneyland Hotel for the first time in several years (my dad had started his own company four years or so before).

I woke up and threw up.

(I warn you -- I said TMI was coming.)

I threw up.  To the point that there was only stomach acid, and I kept throwing up.  I threw up until I was literally screaming from the stomach cramps as my stomach tried to keep throwing up when even the stomach acid was gone.

I didn't keep solid food down for a month.

But after that, the other stomach aches tapered off.  For years, I'd get one or two a year, always accompanied by other TMI symptoms that I associate with what was going on when I was in the worst of it.  Over the years, I figured out what I could and couldn't eat -- for instance, I can only eat kosher hot dogs because something in regular hot dogs will trigger a stomach ache.

I know it's no fun to be sick.  And I remember being in the middle of two or three of the worst stomach aches, wanting to go to the hospital -- if for no other reason than that they could sedate me and I wouldn't be aware of the pain -- but literally terrified of the pain that sitting in the car would provoke.

I remember that -- and I remember sitting on the steps outside of my Spanish class during lunch because the smell of the cafeteria was just too much, hoping the yard supervisors or whatever we called them, wouldn't catch me until the library opened for lunch and I could hide in there.

I remember when the fatalism caught up with me on Patrick's birthday and I figured, "What the heck.  I'll throw it up anyway; might as well have a hamburger."

It was the first solid food I kept down in 30 days.

And I know it's awful and uncharitable, but part of me says, "Give me a frelling break.  So you threw up a couple of times.  Come talk to me when you're throwing up stomach acid and not food."

Thank you.  I just had to get that off my chest.  This way, I can be the nice, sympathetic, dutiful granddaughter.

Back to your regularly scheduled program.