Thursday, November 05, 2009

Generic Update Title about Being Really Busy

I haven't posted in quite a while because I've been so godawful busy. And stressed.

The last week of October was particularly packed for me. During the course of that week, I moved to a new apartment. It's a bit cheaper, and it's a lot closer to where my kids live and go to school. Moving there has cut 10 minutes a day off my usual morning drive to take them to school, which I'm hoping will help clear up some of my financial difficulties.

So I spent most of my free time that week packing stuff up and moving it. I got the last of my stuff moved on Halloween and turned my keys in with time to spare — though I realized the next day that I forgot to empty out the freezer at the old place. Not much of a loss, though: months-old half-empty bags of frozen tilapia and broccoli. I did have two relatively recent servings of ground turkey that I left behind, though.

Friday night, the IWS had its Halloween concert. Since I do the group's programs, as well as a lot of other stuff, concerts in general can be pretty stressful. This one was moreso for three reasons:

  1. We played The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I haven't had my ass so thoroughly kicked by a piece of music in quite a while. Essentially playing the violin part on a clarinet is normally a horrid experience, but this was one of the worst. (Not that it wasn't a good transcription; it was just so damned hard!)
  2. We were supposed to come in costume. I fretted (waaaaay too much) over my costume since the end of September. I originally thought of dressing as a cubicle, but in the end, I took my mother's old bee outfit and paired it with a sword, shield, and crown. That's right, I was a Bee King. But not just any king! I was Bee Arthur. (I have to stop being so obscure with my costume. Nobody recognized it right away, and when I told them the pun, I got a mix of laughter, rolled eyes, and disgust. Two years ago, very few people even recognized that I was dressed as Ned Flanders. Next year, I'm just wearing a white T-shirt with the words "Obscure Fictional Character" written on the front.)
  3. I had to create a PowerPoint presentation to be shown while the band played Barry Kopetz's The Raven. Our concert was in part billed as a commemoration of Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday. We had an actress from Cabaret Poe (which I know nothing about) come in and enact the poem before we played. For the presentation, I was lucky that Gustav Doré had created a series of engravings to illustrate "The Raven," so I could just use those. If the recording of our performance is any good, I'll eventually put the two together, turn it into a movie, and then post it online.

All this on top of my usual nine-to-five job, some freelance copy editing, and going with my kids to see the Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie. Things are finally calming down, though.

My "next big thing" is that I'm making my way through Beginning XML, Third Edition, from Wrox Press. (Full disclosure: I work for Wrox Press's parent company.) I'm trying to learn XML for a number of reasons — number one is just because it's there. I'm hoping that, eventually, I'll be able to put together a small XML program that'll let people track Google Sidewiki comments on their Web sites (I'll probably write more about Sidewiki later), but I won't consider my efforts a failure if I never make it that far. I'm learning XML mostly for fun and to boost my overall skill set.

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