Friday, April 11, 2008


I'm lucky (if you tilt your head and squint really hard and remind yourself that there is something about a tendency to migraines that is "lucky") in that I usually get an aura before a migraine -- I nearly always get photosensitivity, I frequently get sparklies in my field of vision, and once in a while, I get this weird echoy feeling to my hearing.

I'm also lucky in that if I catch a migraine early enough and either medicate it or sleep it off, it usually goes away without getting too excruciating, which makes the auras a useful thing indeed.

So having one come on full blast without an aura as I was getting agenda books ready for next week?

I am not amused.

After a nap, I feel good enough to be bored (hence this post), but I've got the laptop screen (Data's big beautiful bright screen, even dimmed to its lowest setting, would be torture) dimmed to one notch above "off" and it's still too bright, so g'night all.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

So, It's NOT the Simple Things

So, apparently, I don't fail at measuring.  I fail at mind reading.

I went to exchange my capris today, and sheepishly told them that I'd like to try on a pair before I exchanged them.

I went and tried on the next size smaller.

Yeah, too big.

So I got the next size smaller yet.

A bit loose, but I like my clothes loose.  If I were the form-fitting type, I probably could have gone one more size smaller.

So I went to pay, and they asked what size I'd ended up with.  I told them, and they asked where I'd gotten measured -- at their Reseda store (which I didn't know existed) or at the Northridge store (which I hadn't known existed until I asked google for a closer place than Burbank to exchange them in the first place).

"I measured myself," I said.

"Oooh," the saleslady (who was...petite, shall we say, and not someone you generally see working at a plus-size clothing store -- which, of course, made discussing my larger size fun).  "See, when we measure people in the store, we tell them to buy two sizes smaller than what the measurements say."


** spoowriter raises hand **

If you consistently tell people to buy two sizes smaller...why not change your sizing chart?  Just sayin'.  I mean, what if I'd ordered them online?

Still -- very comfy, now that they fit.  They also look like capris, instead of just-a-bit-too-short pants, now that they fit.

ETA:  D'oh.  Apparently, I also fail at not-losing-Matilda.  So much for making homework tonight.  However, the kids are absolutely loving the book.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Not Bad for a Tuesday's a Tuesday and everything is taken care of for next week except agenda book stuff and homework.  Nifty.

Meanwhile, I'm going through my photos from the trip Patrick and I took to Disney World in January.  The goal for that trip was PACK LIGHT.  We shared one suitcase, one laptop case, and one camera (my point and shoot -- more on that later).

And I've discovered something interesting: nearly all of the uncorrected photos have no real blacks.  Observe:

Namely, the left side of the histogram; I've had to drag the black level over 5% or so on nearly all of the photos (it actually makes a huge difference in the overall appearance of the photo).

Now, what I think -- correct me if I'm wrong, someone -- this means is that the camera tends to overexpose, as I don't generally have the same drop-off on the white side of the histogram.

I have no idea if that's common with this camera or not -- it got decent reviews when I bought it, though the SD 900 had been released at that point.  In point of fact, the SD 900 was not much more expensive, but the 800 had a nice selling feature for me -- a slightly wider-angle lens.

Real wide-angle lenses for SLRs cost a bundle.  My dad had some, but of course not for Canon digital SLRs (digital photography was in its infancy in early 2000), so even if I could find an adapter, they wouldn't manually focus -- and with my eyesight, manual focus is difficult.

(Not impossible, mind you, but difficult.)

Anyhow, real wide-angle lenses cost an arm and a leg, but the point and shoot covered a bit more of the spectrum than either the kit lens that came with my Rebel (18 - 55 mm, I think) and, of course, the zoom lens (60ish - 200ish, I think).  So I figured that if I was ever in a "oh, I just need a bit more screen real estate" pinch, the P&S would help.

Anyway, I really don't want to have to manually correct every single image that comes out of the camera -- right now, I'm just correcting potential 4 and 5 star images. But I'm wondering if there isn't an exposure compensation trick I can figure out with the point and shoot.

(All of which is moot if I'm interpreting the histogram wrong, but it was a fun thought experiment.)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Oh Dear

Communicate: Symwriter rocks.

I mean, it ROCKS.

Importing pictures is painless.  You can also place pictures free on a page (useful for simple symbol-supported books).  It recognizes parts of speech, and symbolizes things like, "Can I have a drink?  Yes, you can drink a can of soda" with the "can as a question" for the first one and a picture of a drink for the first "drink," and then the second can is "can as a verb" and "drink is a verb," and...

...and it's all great.

Except that it says it can't run under VMWare.  So I booted into Windows directly, and then Windows wanted me to activate it...again...which VMWare said wouldn't happen if I installed VMTools as they asked during installation.

Plus, nearly $300.

But, oh, would it make life easy.....

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I Can NOT Afford This

Long time readers will know that Writing With Symbols has been giving me fits of late, though it seems to be working well on Lore so far.

But a few months ago, I was browsing some of the sites that have nifty products for people with special needs and discovered that there is a successor to Writing With Symbols: Communicate: SymWriter.  At the time, there was a trial available, but only for people in the UK.

However, the lovely folks at Mayer Johnson now have a trial available for folks in the US.  I think the nicest feature, if it works, will be the intelligent symbol use (i.e., it can tell the difference between "drink" the noun and "drink" the verb, and uses the appropriate symbol in the appropriate place).

I cannot afford this.  I know the district can't.