Monday, April 28, 2003

Blackstone Raids

...A fun, relaxing time with my friends. The battles looked like fun. I am told by those fighting that it was a good time. The pix I took are either from the mine or castle battle--I couldn't tell. Either way, it involves obstacles that you have to fight around. I shopped the handful of merchants there. I ended up only buying a new book on Persian illumination, a pair of china flat shoes, and a bindi. I wanted to buy stuff from Father Dun, but managed to escape unscathed. The parties in the evening were a bit lame if you are used to Pennsic. I played my fiddle in front of our bunkhouse to the amusement of the household for a while, and then a bunch of us went in search of a fire and a rythm section. I was greteful for any drummer-types that I could find, but it was a challenge playing with those who were, let's just say, somewhat limited in their capabilities. At least one of the guys we found had just picked the drum up for the first time that day. He was not that bad, considering. The others were just totally not equipped to deal with melody, although they were very enthusiastic for the chance to play with me. I gave direction as best as I could. I taught them how to play and dance the "karsilama," but most of it was over their heads. Anyway, they soaked it up like a sponge. The young dancing girls wanted to worship me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

What's Going On...

My neck feels much better, thank you. I still have to address the ergonomic issues with the office furniture, though. It is going to be a slow and tedious process, I'm sure. So far, I haven't gotten anything by directly asking for it. I always have to find some surreptitious way. I'm getting a new printer, not because I asked for it, but because other people were complaining that I clog up the shared printer too much. I guess I have to be more annoying and get on more people's nerves to get what I want. Anyway...

This Weekend...

I'm going to Blackstone Raids, hoping for a relaxing time. It is usually a low-key event and small compared to Aethelmearc War Practice and Pennsic (these are the three major events that we go to each year). There will be merchants, A&S, classes, and fighting. Some of Khafif will be there, but I'm not sure all who. It will not be our entire group. I'm bringing the fiddle anyway just in case.

Speaking of Fiddles...

I'm still shopping for another instrument. I watched auctions all week on eBay. I cannot believe the prices that some violins go for. I specifically looked for old, not necessarily antique violins, preferably of European make, not too beat up. I watched some go for less than $100, even less than $50, while others shot through the roof at $1k, $2k, etc. with nothing really to distinguish them. Maybe they had a label with a famous name or something. I started looking at electric violins, too. I didn't see any particularly good deals on eBay. Searched the 'net and found some wonderful makers that I can't afford. Also found this cool site:, devoted to women who play electric violins. Decided that I needed to take lessons again...speaking of which, I had a jam session with my bro, who is quite a talented musician. I wanted to see if I could make the violin sound like a wailing electric guitar. It does! When plugged into an amp with distortion on. He tried to teach me about chords (being a violinist of orchestral background, this is a foreign concept) and I think it's starting to sink in. I am re-reading a music theory book I have and it's starting to make more sense. This is all good. I may need to start an ethereal-goth-metal band at some point.

Friday, April 18, 2003

The Wonders of Chiropractic/Office Ergonomics

I've finally come to the realization that my job is killing me. It was just a matter of time. I was in such pain (and denial) on Monday that I finally saw a chiropractor at the urging of family. I am seeing the dude everyday for two weeks now and continuing on for as long as it takes. I don't remember any significant trauma that would have caused my problem, and I don't play sports, so I'm thinking it's the blasted desk-monitor-keyboard configuration. I've been sitting in the same twisted position for three years. Oh well. Wanna see? I had to take pictures to send to the ergonomics assessment folks at work...

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Cultural Losses in the Cradle of Civilization

I can't help but write about the's on my mind. Especially the news that the Iraqi National Museum was looted--everything that could be carried out is now gone. This not just a loss for the Iraqi people, this is a loss to humanity. This museum housed 20 centuries-worth of antiquities from the dawn of civilization. I didn't see a lot of press coverage about this, and I think Rumsfeld brushed it off, saying that museum staff may have already hidden away the valuables, but even the vaults of the museum were broken and looted. I don't think that most people realize the gravity of situations like this. What do the Iraqi people have left to care about/be proud of?

Monday, April 14, 2003

So, I removed some of the clutter from the blog template because it was just too busy. I also worked on the page, but that is still a work in progress. I hate html coding. I hate coding. Ironic that my job requires it. Had a weekend.

Saw Rob Zombie's The House of 1000 Corpses and I have mixed feelings about it. It was colorful and kitchy, and a bit sucky. It was an homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by a film student with an unlimited budget. If you like kitch and the cheap horror flick genre, then go see it and judge for yourself.

Checked out Ds Six Pack & Dawgz place in Regent Square--it was great. Over 800 beers available for take out and you can mix-n-match singles, AND the most awesome veggie dog I ever had.

And something pissed me off so badly that I just have to blog about it. We were window shopping the South Side and happened to go into one of the numerous antique/second hand stores there. This one always as the hand-shaped chair out front. I asked if they had any violins because I have been looking for a second one to use as a backup. Nothing fancy, I just want a functional full-size student-grade, not made in China but preferably German or Czech. They had two that were really really beat up. Both needed lots of work before they would be playable again. Both were very old and had numerous scratches and damage. One was inexplicably priced at $790 and the other was labelled $125. I was willing to go for the $125 but I asked the girl if they would take a check. This is where I made my first mistake. I should have just gotten some cash, made the purchase and ran, because the girl called her boss (the owner) for check approval. The guy came down and I asked if I could write a check for the $125. I also asked why the other vln was priced at $790--I was curious. This was my second mistake and he must not have liked my tone of voice because he started to say that the $125 must be mislabelled and he couldn't sell it to me. I think this is a lot of bullsh*t because the fiddle clearly had a tag on it that had $200 crossed out and $125 written in, as if it was marked down to that price. It wasn't worth a cent more, but the guy must have gotten scared because I knew what I was talking about, and so he refused to sell it to me. I have run into this a lot during my violin shopping. People who don't know what they are doing think they've got a gold mine. Any old beat up violin, which doesn't appear to be made out of any special woods or have any special decoration, no matter if it's 50 or 100 years old, is not worth more than $150-$200. Just because it has a label in it with "Stradivarius" means NOTHING. Tons of student-grade strad copies were made in the last century and the big manufacturers were German and Czech. Now the big manufacturer is China. All the real strads that exist in the world are known about, and you are not going to find one by chance in a second-hand shop. That only happens in movies like The Red Violin.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

From My Speckled Past...

Here's a scary one...


This was a LONG time ago. This was before RED hair, before Khafif, before the SCA...this was back during my "metal" period. Both of us look really thin compared to now, but I'm gradually working back towards a thinner me--I'm down 23 lbs. since January. 440 x 249

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

So I took the "Which Munster are You" quiz today and it's no surprise to me that I am:

take the Which Munster Are You? Quiz
by tiffanie

I even have my own Herman;-)

Sunday, April 06, 2003

FLUX9 Aftermath

Well, my camera battery died, so no pix of FLUX, at least not from me. I think I enjoyed being a participant of this FLUX more than I ever did just attending one. The only bad thing was maybe having to play in the cold on the outdoor stage--my fingers were almost frozen. The light show was pretty cool, though. The Art of News was up in the old Pollinator lounge and interviewed us before we went on the main stage--that was fun. The Pollinator hardly changed a bit since I last saw it. The bar and bench seats are still there. I got to sit in my old booth. I wonder if I'll ever get to do that again. The old artwork on the walls provided the perfect backdrop for the new artwork that was displayed all over. It is a shame that the Oakland Beehive has been closed so long and it's ultimate fate is yet to be determined. I wish for it to become a theatre and show place again.

Our big moment on the Beehive stage came, and I was so terribly nervous. We had no sound check, and they had the violin up too high, and the monitors were almost deafening me. They finally turned it down at some point during the performance, but not until after I loudly flubbed one of my riffs in the first tune. I recovered it, but still I can't stop thinking about it. We were on the Beehive stage for cryin' out loud! We opened for ATS!!! It was almost too much to bear. The audience seemed appreciative, though. We were a novelty. I think we made an impression.

Overall, it was a great show and very well attended. By 10 pm, they had to count people in and out of the building because it was so crowded. After hanging out for a while, we mozied on over to Ceremony (goth night) at the Upstage. It was especially hoppin' n boppin' there last night.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

FLUX9FLUX9FLUX9--this Saturday

Need I say more? I made a really really really cool goth-urban-tribal-inspired outfit for the occasion. Will be posting pix soon after the event. We are doing one piece that is a departure from our usual Khafif tribal world-fusion selves, and it has me fantacizing about starting an ethereal goth metal offshoot band. Oh, and congratulate us--we have sold our first music CD on eBay. First eBay, then the world tour.

Next up on the sewing agenda, I am going to be working on some 1830s (Regency/Romantic period) re-enactor garb for a friend. I spent the big bux and got the "La Mode Bagatelle" pattern ---the rolls royce of Regency wardrobe patterns. Can't wait to try it out. Might make an outfit for myself, even though I don't usually do that period. I've also got some ideas for more patterns for bellydance gear. I am so thankful for all of the positive feedback that my eBay customers have been giving me. It really gives validity to my patterns. Even though I am self-publishing them--I tried to do a very professional job and surpass the competition (if there is any).

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