Sunday, March 23, 2008

almost caffeine day!

well, really, my laptop says it's 6 minutes to midnight. my laptop doesn't realize we're in another timezone, though. and i doubt that it would be favorably looked upon here, chez les parents, to go wandering into the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee this time of night anyhow. anyhow, if you see me tomorrow and i'm a bit spastic, it's normal easter sunday procedure.

today was gorgeous, sunny and 60 degrees, which if you ask me is a bit too cool for ambient temperature but absolutely perfect for running. i'm sure mumbling to myself the entire time really helps with the keeping up appearances as a sane member of society, but studying chinese while running is my new favorite pacing mechanism -- being able to talk in one-sentence chunks means staying in an aerobic but not-very-arduous heart rate zone, and i don't get bored. (lately, runs have had the tendency to turn into sprints and walking... which is also good, and winds up with about the same average pace, but it feels very different.)

oh, and my friend judson sent a link -- someone's put up a statue of the flying spaghetti monster in front of the crossville courthouse. i may have to make a quick pilgrimage on the way back to knoxville tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008


google sky (must do work, must quit playing with pretty toy.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008


one of my favorite projects of the moment is teaching myself mandarin chinese (with occasional bouts of pronunciation help from the boyfriend, complete with laughter on both sides at what a mess i can make of it). it's very odd compared to my other foreign language experience -- since i currently have a lot more time in the car than i have free time elsewhere, i'm picking up the audio side of it more quickly than the written one. (many thanks to the pimsleur audiobooks downloaded from the library and fun podcasts like chinese learn online and chinesepod.)

today, i sat down and started trying to catch up, at least a little, on reading and writing. i got a little frustrated -- i had pdfs with lots of characters i wanted to learn, but i was depending on this site for animated gifs showing how to draw them with the right stroke order. however, to search for a particular character, you need to be able to paste it in from somewhere. this character dictionary is actually pretty amazing for going from pinyin* to characters, but going through multiple webpages was getting a little tiresome...

then... the benevelont electronic overlord** wins again! i got curious about how on earth a person types when a writing system has thousands of characters. there are other input methods, but one of the wikipedia articles mentioned that google pinyin is one of the implementations for translating pinyin to character. so now, i can change my input to chinese in the language bar, then type in pinyin without the accents and select the right characters as i go. i think if i keep typing, it'll use context to decide the right characters for me... but let's face it, there are few enough words that i can spell correctly in pinyin right now that it's a little hard to test.


*=the standard system used to romanize chinese. it's phonetic, but i still have trouble with it... my brain won't admit yet that 'q' sounds like our english 'ch', for example.
** i think i owe that terminology to will... so appropriate, though.
*** should be pronounced with appropriate degree of language-learning lesson perkiness. when do i ever say goodbye to you on a normal post?

Monday, March 10, 2008

pin curls - the results

i did get curly hair. kinda randomly curly rather than the nicely organized curls i'd like, since i didn't know what i was doing, but i found this page with what looks like good advice for next time.

curly hair, even hairsprayed down, was in no way equal to the rigors of dancing to the point of sweatiness. so by the end of the night, it was a slightly stickier version of my usual straight hair. oops.
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Saturday, March 8, 2008

pin curls

we get enough dress-up gigs where it's desirable to look at least a little vintage 1940s-ish that i'm finally admitting it: i ought to get better at putting the look together when necessary.

so beyond shopping for the clothes, today i'm experimenting with pin curls. get hair damp, twirl pieces around finger, pin up. at the moment, i have little mounds of hair and pins sticking every which way. i can't even pass the look off as bad wedding hair -- i need a kerchief to go out today. i'm usually a wash and wear girl, not so good at doing complex stuff with my hair. we'll see how it turns out.

time to find that kerchief and go buy some hairspray...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


i'm trying to make myself learn to like dancing in heels. not even super-high ones, just these.

project had been put on hold, as i recently sueded a pair of green keds that make me really happy, but a couple dress-up sorts of dances in the last week made me get them back out. i wore them to the monday night dance last night, just for a little more practice.

i know my dancing is less comfortable in these shoes, but i'm trying to understand exactly why. predictably, the biggest is in distance of heel from ground... i rarely dance flat-footed anyway, but i think i tend to pulse from both knees and ankles. wearing heels limits the latter -- my heel is stuck at close to its usual maximum height above the floor, so it feels like there's less bounce and elasticity in my steps. suppose that's a matter of learning to use the rest of my leg more. and i am -- i think that's how a lot of the styling winds up feeling like it's a lot more in the knees and hips when i'm wearing these. my quadriceps get really tired. it looks different, it feels different, but i'm starting to enjoy having the option.

the other biggie is balance. i've worn them enough now that most normal steps are fine, and i think (hope!) i've quit going super-heavy from arm tension due to fear of falling over at any moment, but my body still hasn't figured out exactly how to compensate for the difference in foot angle on some of the fancier spins and such. guess that means logging more hours in them until those things feel right...