Katie’s Birthday

May 15, 2019 - 2 Responses

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2019.135.

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Today has been a fun day. It started out a little rough; I woke up feeling very dizzy (I was down most of yesterday from working on Monday, so this wasn’t entirely unexpected), but I improved a lot as the day went by—which was a really good thing, since today is Katie’s twenty-first birthday, and I wanted to feel well enough to be able to leave the house and celebrate. I said my prayers, had a gluten-free roll and a bowl of “Power O’s” (knockoff gluten-free Cheerios) for breakfast, and made sure the cats had enough food and water. Grandma came and picked up Levi and me at around 1:30 to go to her house, and we stopped by the library on the way so that I could pick up a Blu-Ray I’d had on hold.

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Levi and I wished Katie a happy birthday, and had a fun time hanging out with her while Grandma and Tami went shopping. We had brought our PlayStation, so we played a few games of Tooth and Tail (Katie’s very good at it, although Levi managed to win all of the games this time around), and then we played a round of Gang Beasts (which can be a very funny game to play; it’s kind of a brawler game, with the twist being that you have to essentially control your character’s limbs using “rag doll” physics—with the end result looking like a bunch of inebriated Play-Doh guys trying to duke it out).

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Levi felt pretty tuckered-out after playing, so we decided to all watch Mary and the Witch’s Flower, which was the Blu-Ray that I had picked up from the library. Katie had seen the English dub of the movie, but neither Levi nor I had ever watched it before at all (although we’re both of fans of The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There, which were also directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, so we were really interested to see it). It was a lot of fun; I’d never seen a Studio Ponoc movie, so, while obviously I had at least moderate expectations for it, due to the creator’s previous work with Studio Ghibli, I still feel like I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s definitely more in the tradition of an adventure movie; there’s a lot of action straight off the bat, and, while I admit that the plot was a little predictable at times, it’s still a very engaging and exciting story. The animation is superb, I enjoyed the music a lot (the film’s composer, Muramatsu Takatsugu, is actually the same guy who wrote the music for When Marnie Was There, and the score includes Joshua Messick on the hammered dulcimer, which adds a neat aesthetic to the movie), and the movie was actually pretty funny at times. The Tevebaughs came over towards the end of the movie; we were watching it in Japanese with subtitles, but I think that Nathan and Simon still enjoyed watching it (Simon really liked the cute cats).

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Sandy had come home early from work, and made a big barbecue dinner (birthday barbecues are the best). After we ate, Levi and I played a couple of games of Tooth and Tail again, this time with Clay. Clay doesn’t usually get to play video games with us very often, and we had a lot of fun; I actually won the first game, which almost never happens (I don’t think I had previously ever won in a three-way free-for-all, actually), and Clay won the second one. A short while afterwards, I took a shower, and now Levi’s finishing up his shower. We spend the night at Grandma’s pretty often nowadays, especially since they live so much closer to my work, but we won’t be staying the night this time; Mommy is supposed to come and pick us up in about half an hour (Not that I’m in any hurry to leave, but I really do want to start driving again, just for the record). On the whole, it’s been a really great day.

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The weather has been a lot cooler this week, which I really appreciate (it technically isn’t summer yet!); today it’s rained pretty heavily most of the time, which I’m also very grateful for (I still try not to take rain for granted, having lived in Northern California during a drought).

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Today’s St. Dymphna’s day; she’s one of my favourite saints, but, other than saying an extra prayer this morning, I feel kind of bad that I didn’t really do anything special. It honestly makes me miss when I was a kid, and people (including myself, come to think of it) were overall less busy; it wasn’t uncommon back then for a favourite saint’s feast day to be a good excuse for making a cake or something like that, but I guess life might slow down some when Mommy graduates and money gets less tight.

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I’ve found myself actually worrying about money for the first time, which honestly feels pretty weird and is a little disturbing; I still can’t work very often, because of my head, so I only help out with a few of the family’s bills, but it can still be concerning to watch the numbers in my account get smaller and smaller, particularly because I want to have enough money to renew my membership with the Piano Technician’s Guild by the end of the year. It’s frustrating, because I really don’t to be someone who worries about money; I already worry about a lot of things, most of which I know aren’t really based in reality, and I’ve always been at least a little annoyed by people who get super worked up about finances (even when it’s justified). I have to remind myself that I’m not working my job for the money, I’m doing it to acquire skills, and a little bit of money is just a bonus (after all, most people end up going into debt when they want to learn a trade, which is something I’m really trying to avoid; the debt part, I mean, not the trade). I’m also impatient, because I really do want to be financially independent sometime in the near future, and be able to afford a place of my own; I’d really like to not have to live under the same roof as the dog anymore, among other reasons. I’m actually still pretty into tiny homes, although my interest has shifted (perhaps partly due to Hurricane Michael) from houses on wheels to monolithic domes (I’d really like to get enough money where I can buy some land to build one on, as well as a few solar panel arrays to help lower my carbon footprint).

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I’ve done a lot of thinking, researching, praying, and dreaming about what I really want in life, and what I want to do to make the world a better place, keep myself sane, and be happy. As a result of having a night where I couldn’t sleep until after four in the morning, I actually have a list in my head of things I want to do, which range from things like political aspirations to just remembering to read fiction. I know my priorities have changed some as I’ve grown up, and I’m guessing that they’ll continue to do so as I get older (at least to some degree), but I know it’s good to be aware of what you want to do with your life; I just need to make sure that I don’t invest all of my happiness in long-term plans, since I don’t want to be so goal-oriented that I’m never happy in the present. I made the observation some time ago that most people seem to be mostly unhappy most of the time; since I’m ordinarily a person that’s almost always been at least content, this was kind of a terrifying realization, and I worried that this might be some sort of inevitable part of growing up. Life is rough—like, seriously, it’s kind of sucks a lot of the time—but I’d honestly rather not go through most of it upset on top of everything, if I can help it. It also makes me sad that I’m apparently not very good at comforting people, or sharing my happiness with others. I think part of the reason why I’m not the best at comforting other people is that I often try to think of solutions to other people’s problems when they talk about them, when they just want sympathy without ideas on alleviating their difficulties; and I think part of the reason why I’m not very good at making other people happy, other than I obviously can’t control other people’s emotions, is that a lot of what makes me happy other people don’t even notice. It really kind of weirds me out that two people can look at the same scene, and see completely different things. It seems to take a lot of effort sometimes to get other people to notice things like a cool pattern of light, or the sound the wind blowing through the trees, or how interesting a fact might be, or how funny some wordplay sounds; and then, afterwards, you find out that other people don’t really appreciate those things in the same way you do. It makes me wonder what other people experience, and what I’m missing out on that they can’t really show me. I know that everyone ultimately sees the world differently; and I want to say that these are differences that are complimentary rather than contradictory, but it doesn’t always feel like it. Sometimes I guess you’re the only one who can be happy about something, and that’s okay.

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Well, that’s all I have for today. I hope that you all have a good rest of your week; remember to be kind, make good choices, and eat your vegetables. Oh, and make sure to wear a seatbelt; I knew I was forgetting something.

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Today’s Question: What are some of your favourite movies?

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Today’s Joke: Actually three jokes today, because why not?

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Here’s one that Katie told me recently: Where do you buy extra chess pieces? The pawn shop.

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The book of incantations was useless; the author had failed to run a spell check.

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And, finally, for good measure, a Star Wars one!

“Yoda,” said Luke, “Are you sure that we’re going in the right direction?”

“Off course, we are.”

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-Isaac““

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Remembering Peter Mayhew

May 4, 2019 - Leave a Response

 

Peter Mayhew, 1944-2019

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Happy Star Wars Day, everyone!

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Today, as we celebrate one of my favourite movie franchises of all time, let’s take a moment to honour the life of Chewbacca’s original actor, Peter Mayhew.

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Mayhew was born in 1944, in London. Due to his Marfan Syndrome, at his peak height he measured 7′ 3″ (221 cm). While initially working as an engineer, he ultimately found hospital work more fulfilling. He began acting in the ’70s, kind of by accident: After his photograph was included in a newspaper article about men with large feet, he was contacted by the producers of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, in which he played a minotaur. Chewbacca was the second role he was ever cast in (fun fact: both Star Wars and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger were released during the same summer). Initially, George Lucas thought of casting the significantly-shorter David Prowse as Chewbacca, but he decided to play Darth Vader instead. When Mayhew responded to the casting call, Lucas hired him right after the actor stood up to greet him. He played Chewbacca in every Star Wars film (including the Holiday Special) until his retirement in 2015, although he stayed on as a consultant to his successor, Joonas Suotamo, for both The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Peter Mayhew was really active and connected with Star Wars fans all over the world, did a lot of charity work, and would often visit children’s hospices and hospitals. One thing about him that a lot of people might not know about is that he and his wife, Angelique, wrote two books together: Growing Up Giant (a graphic novel for older children and adults), and My Favorite Giant.

He died last Tuesday in his home in Boyd, Texas, at the age of 74.

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Rest in peace, Peter Mayhew, and May the Fourth be With You.

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Today’s Question: Who is your favourite Star Wars character?

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Today’s Joke: What was Skywalker’s temperature inside the Tauntaun? Lukewarm.

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-Isaac““

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Mouse in the House

April 26, 2019 - Leave a Response

Catch-and-release jar sold separately.

 

This is the mouse that was in the my room last night (or, technically, very early this morning).

I was getting ready for bed—I have a pretty intricate routine that I go through every night, but, since I had started at a decent time, I was actually almost about to go to sleep—when I had a random impulse to check on my brother in his room to see if he was doing okay. I get little impulses like these fairly frequently, a little feeling like something isn’t quite right; more often than not they’re just false alarms, but I usually listen to them anyway, partially because my paranoia occasionally pays off.

I peeked inside Levi’s room, and, to my surprise, Levi was both awake and looking pretty distressed about something. Quickly, he related how his cat, Dante, had a mouse—and there Dante was, in the middle of his room, with the animal in his mouth (it was around this point that I remembered that I thought I had heard squeaking earlier, but didn’t think much of it at the time). I went to get my mom, but by the time we came back, Dante had brought the mouse into my bedroom, and it had escaped from him (I usually keep my door closed, but last night I had left it open to allow airflow; the smell from the dead thing in the wall—or under the floor, I’m not really sure where exactly—has mostly dissipated, so it’s not too bad as long as there’s enough ventilation—otherwise it just builds up). Now, having mice run around in your room is obviously an undesirable situation for a lot of reasons, but my biggest was that I sleep on a mattress on the floor. I really wanted to catch the mouse so we could let it outside, since I didn’t want to be kept up by squeaking and cats running around my bed, and especially because I also really didn’t to wake up with a mouse crawling in my bed (this has happened to me before)—or, worse, wake up with a dead mouse next to my bed (this has also happened to me before). This particular mouse was quite small—apparently he or she was quite young, and really cute; but also quite annoying, because it was very good at hiding. Mommy and I totally lost sight of it more than once; Dante stuck around most of the time, and was a little helpful in tracking it down, although I was really worried he would eat it. Emma occasionally showed some mild interest, but she is almost sixteen years old (her birthday is next week), and mostly just did this:

After about an hour, although I still kept hearing squeaking (the acoustics in our house are really weird, though, and Mommy couldn’t hear it, so this wasn’t as helpful as I’d like), we were so tired that we were ready to give up for the night, and I was resigned to coexist with the mouse for the time being, or just really hope that it had escaped through the wall somehow. But then, as we were putting my bed back together (we had taken most of my bedding off, so that it couldn’t hide in it), Mommy spotted it—on top of my dresser! Now, not to get too deeply into furniture nomenclature, but my dresser is probably more accurately described as a chest-of-drawers ( although I use it as a kind of bedside table), and it’s about four feet high. I honestly had no idea that mice could climb that high! Mommy was able to catch it in a mason jar (moms are totally awesome, just for the record), and released it (in the real sense of the word, not The Giver sense of the word) outside some ways away form our house.

Hopefully, the mouse has a peaceful and successful life, just away from people; sure, it definitely has more than a fair share of predators, but at least if it comes down to that its death will likely be relatively quick (and hopefully less painful), since most animals in the wild aren’t going to play with their prey as much as Dante.

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It was really late when I did fall asleep last night, but I slept pretty soundly—until about 7:00 AM, when I woke up to the sound of more squeaking; but that’s a story for another time.

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Today’s Question: Another superpower one. Which power would you rather have: Invincibility, immortality (is that even a superpower?), or invisibility?

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Today’s Joke: Two hamburgers walk into a bar. The bartender looks up, “Sorry, we don’t serve food here.”

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-Isaac““

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Greta Thunberg’s Full Speech at the UK Parliament

April 24, 2019 - Leave a Response


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This is a video of the awesome speech that Greta Thunberg gave at the UK Parliament yesterday. If you’re in a place where you can’t really watch any videos with sound (like maybe a library or a loud store or something), you can read a full transcript here.

Thunberg is the founder of the Fridays for Future school strike for the climate. It’s really amazing; she started it back in August by protesting alone in front of the Swedish Riksdag (Sweden’s legislature), and now well over a million students all over the world have participated in the strike. She is also autistic, and can’t always speak with her voice, so learning about her starting such a huge movement by protesting, giving talks, and riding trains all over Europe (which sounds super fun, just for the record) is personally really encouraging and inspiring

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-Isaac““

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Easter 2019

April 21, 2019 - Leave a Response

He is risen!

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It’s been a kind of weird Easter, and a busy month.

First of all, my parents remarried on March 18th (two days after Tami’s birthday); they technically “eloped”, and went to the county that the house on the coast is in, since the court fee there was significantly cheaper. Both of them have jobs now as CNAs, and they’re working really hard (Daddy’s even been working sixteen hour shifts sometimes; they’re both trying to stabilize finances and save the house from foreclosure); Mommy is doing really well in school, and is about to start her last term. Daddy’s back in nursing school; he actually has his first day of class tomorrow.

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My brother turned eighteen years old on the 30th (the day after I turned 7,777 days old); he’s had a rough few weeks, but one kind of fun thing about me making some money now is that I was actually able to buy him a PlayStation game that he really wanted this year for his birthday (it’s a single-player game, so obviously it’s not one that I can play with him, but I’m happy that he’s really enjoyed it). We also went out for Chinese food with Daddy as a birthday treat; and the next day Papa surprised us by taking us to see Captain Marvel in the movie theater, which was really fun.

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As of yesterday, it’s been 1,000 days since my head injury. I recently went and saw the neuro-ophthalmologist; overall it was a good experience (even though there was a mixup with their computer due to a power outage about a month earlier)—the young woman interning there did a good job giving me space when she measured my eyes, and I felt like the doctor took me seriously. He was nice, but very obviously feeling pretty down because one of his colleagues messed something up, but I think that I helped cheer him up a bit with my jokes. So now I have a prescription, a new pair of glasses, and kind of a new diagnosis (it’s being called a TBI now, Traumatic Brain Injury, instead of an MTBI, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury); it’d been over four years since the last time I saw the eye doctor, so there was quite a difference between the new pair and my old. I’d actually been kind of putting off going to get my eyes checked since my head injury, since it initially really affected my vision, and I was hoping that it would stabilize more with time before getting a new pair. To an extent, my eyesight has become more consistent, but both the ophthalmologist and Dr. Thom said that using glasses that had become outdated for me was putting too much strain on my head. I like my new glasses overall; they’re actually the exact same frames as before, since I’ve always only wanted to wear circular lenses, and they’re tinted like my last pair was. The tint does seems to be a little different, though; it’s definitely more intense, and, although it is still amber, it seems like it lets in more green light. They’re also polarized, which is great, except that my phone screen is as well, so almost no light passes through when I look at the phone in landscape mode; since this is how I typically watch videos and take pictures, this was a drawback initially, because it took me a while to discover the admittedly really obvious solution of just tilting my head a little to the side when looking at my phone, which allows the light to pass through.

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Something died in either the wall between my room and my brother’s room, or somewhere under the floor, or something. Whatever it is, it’s making the whole half of the house smell like death; it eventually became so intense that my brother had an asthma attack, and so Mommy had him and I stay at Grandma and Papa’s house. We’re hoping that the smell will be gone by tomorrow, and we can go back home after I’m done working and spend time with Mommy on her day off.

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Last night, because of Mommy and Daddy’s schedules, Grandma took Levi and I to the Vigil Mass for Easter; Mommy was hoping to go to the morning service, but she woke up super sick, and has had to stay in bed for most of the holiday. This is the first Easter which I haven’t been able to celebrate with either of my parents, which is really weird and sad, but I think that Levi and I made the best of it. He and I watched the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie with Papa, Grandma and Tami worked really hard on a great dinner, and I went outside a little (although not for very long, since it was pretty cold for Levi—I have a hard time sensing temperature compared to other people; apparently today was not a day I should have been outside without shoes on, whoops).

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Work overall has been pretty good; last week actually went really well. Dr. Thom had me take five minute breaks every two hours to lie down completely flat. There’s not really any obvious place to lie down at my job, but it all worked out; the first time was when I was in the shop proper, which usually has a pretty messy floor (which is partially my fault, since I’m the one who usually sweeps on the days I work), and I have a thing with contamination, so I pushed two piano benches together and lay down on them instead; the second one I just took during my lunch break, which I had in the gallery (which has a much cleaner floor) since my boss was shellacking in the shop; and right now I’m only working six hours, so my third rest I had at Grandma’s house. I think that I was able to work a lot better; I certainly had less headaches, and I wasn’t down for days after working, which is super awesome. I’m actually looking forward to getting to work tomorrow; I’m hoping that, between taking breaks, having glasses that aren’t straining my eyes, and the awesomeness that is Nux Vomica, I’ll be able to work at least twice a week by the end of the year (obviously I’d like to eventually work every day of the work week, but twice a week seems very realistic to me, and I’d still be able to get a ride with Papa most of the time).

I’m learning lots of new things at my job. Last week, I worked on a drop action for the first time, which was really cool; I’ve mostly played spinets growing up, so it was kind of surreal getting to actually help put one together. I still really like spinets, but they are definitely kind of a pain to put together, since their actions have to go in just so; but it was really fun getting to install keys into a piano. It’s actually really interesting, because most piano keys have capstans on their ends, which connect the keys to the rest of the action; in spinets, however, keys have little U-shaped metal ends to them, and the rods from the action snap into them from underneath (which is why it’s called a drop action). Also, thanks to a visual aid from the last PTG meeting that I went to, I finally learned why people call them tuning hammers, even though they’re a kind of socket wrench! Back in the day, they were more T-shaped, and their ends were different, since tuning pins used to be more triangular; and they’d actually hit the tuning pins with one end to move them in place! So they were actually used as hammers.

One thing that I have learned that I’m apparently exceptionally bad at is using using a tool in a place where I can’t see what I’m really doing, even if it’s right in front of me; for example, if I’m tightening or loosening screws, even if I have a general idea of the vicinity of a screw, if I can’t actually see it (and upright actions are kind of terrible for me because of this), then it takes me forever to do what I need to do. Apparently, this whole magical “proprioception” thing that most people have (the ability to know exactly where your body is in space without seeing it) also extends to tools (since people think of tools as kind of extensions of their bodies). Weird, right?

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My brother and I have been working on a few fun projects together; one that we started semi-recently is a kind of “re-dubbing” of the webcomic Pepper & Carrot. Our challenge was to try to tell a completely different story, just by changing the dialogue (and some minor editing). Pepper & Carrot is open-source, and I made sure to read up on the license it was published under before we posted our edit, so that we’d be all nice and legal. You can read our first episode on our new blog that we launched for our joint-projects, The Brothers Buckley.

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Well, that’s all that I have for now. Remember, God made you special, and He loves you very much.

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Happy Easter!

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Today’s Question: If you had designed the different houses in Hogwarts, what would they be called, and what would be their general traits?

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Today’s Joke: I like to play chess with old people in the park, but it’s kind of hard to find thirty-two of them.

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-Isaac““

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Pi Day

March 14, 2019 - Leave a Response

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2019.73.

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Happy Pi Day!

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I woke up with a fever today, so this post will probably be pretty short—just a short little blurb-like sentences scattered haphazardly over a page, instead of real paragraphs—but I feel like it’s been such a long time since I last blogged that if I don’t write anything soon I might go crazy (not literally).

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A lot has happened in the past couple of months. First, some good news; my parents are back together again; within twenty weeks of their divorce, my parents reconciled, went pretty quickly from reconciled to tentatively together, and are now going to remarry again (Daddy proposed to Mommy last night). It’s been an intense few months, but on the whole I’m happy that things turned out for them, and I’m glad that they’ll both probably be happier now.

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We’re living at a higher elevation, so we’ve been snowed in multiple times in the past couple of months, I think the longest for about three days. We’re already over a week into Lent now (although I unfortunately missed the Ash Wednesday service, due to the aforementioned weather), with Easter just thirty-eight days away. Levi and I have spent a couple of weekends at Grandma and Papa’s; it’s great to get to spend more time with family, and it’s a lot easier for me to get to work from their house. We’ve been under the weather off and on for what feels like the last few weeks—one time I even had to bail out of a day at work, because my head was doing so badly I couldn’t really stand up for long periods—although I’ve also had a couple of really good days where my head felt really manageable, particularly since Dr. Thom gave me new exercises to do.

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Work has been pretty good overall; it’s definitely a learning curve, and I often make mistakes; but I really enjoying getting to find out more about pianos and how to maintain and restore them, acquiring new skills, and getting to see different projects take shape (the shop recently delivered a really beautiful grand piano, which I’d helped out with I think a plurality of the time I’d working there since I started). I don’t always have the greatest coordination, but so far I’ve only come close to having a pretty serious accident once (a note to fellow rookie piano people: when moving am upright piano onto a tilter, lift with your body from the sides of the piano, don’t do what I almost did and try to lift from the front of it), and my coworkers have been very encouraging and understanding (I often wear my sound cancelers most of the day when I’m working).

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While I’m on a musical topic, my brother and I recently downloaded a program called MuseScore, which is a free music notation program. Although I’ve composed songs since I was a kid, either by using a piano, a MIDI keyboard with GarageBand, or writing on paper, I’d never actually used software made specifically for score-writing, and it’s been a blast to learn how to use; it’s definitely something I should have looked into earlier, and I highly recommend it. Right now I’m working on a song that I’m calling Clockwork for now, which I’m writing in D and E minor.

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I had a kind of weird experience recently. My parents had left the house, and Levi and I were about to start playing Lego Harry Potter on the PlayStation. On a whim, I picked up Levi’s acoustic guitar, and started playing Hedwig’s Theme! I’ve never really practiced the guitar before, and I was really shocked; I found out that I could play a whole bunch of songs, even though I was only plucking out the melodies without the chords. I brought it up to my piano teacher, and apparently it’s something that kind of translates over when you learn music theory, with each guitar fret being a half step. It was a really fun discovery; and I’m hoping to get better at the guitar, particularly so that I can start actually start playing with chords.

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Mommy had her fortieth birthday twelve days ago; Stephie had been coordinating a surprise party for weeks, and everyone was in the know. Now, I was apparently born with pretty low deception, and I’m uncomfortable with telling even the most well-intentioned of white lies—I’m not, like, Thomas-Aquinas-level in my opposition to lying; I’d even go so far as to say that there are (hopefully rare) circumstances where lying is morally obligatory, such as protecting innocents from an immediate threat, but I believe that most lies are a misuse of a technically good power (which I think can apply to pretty much all sins anyway, like how murder is a misuse of the ability to kill)—but anyway, I was pretty paranoid about accidentally slipping up about knowing about the party, but somehow we all pulled it off without her even suspecting anything (in my case, I just almost completely avoided talking about Mommy’s birthday at all, which worked surprisingly well without arousing suspicion). The plan that Stephie worked out was that she and Mommy would go out for coffee, and then “stop by” her house to drop off a tool that Clay needed. So, while Stephie and Mommy were out, Grandma and Papa picked up Levi and I, so we could make it to the Tevebaughs’ before Stephie came by with Mommy. Most people hid their cars on the other side of the block (the only ones who didn’t were driving cars Mommy wouldn’t recognize); which was good, because a whole bunch of people came, more than I thought would be there at first: Papa Jeff and Ramona had come from the coast, Uncle Jim and Aunt Janet were there, Matt came a little later, Sandy and Katie were there with Tami, Grandma and Papa were there with me and my brother, and of course all four Tevebaughs were there. Mommy had a lot of presents, Clay made cake that we could have, and there was even a collage with pictures of Mommy from different stages of her life. On the whole, everything went perfectly; Mommy was really surprised (I was worried it would be too overwhelming, but fortunately it was a happy surprise for her), and I was really impressed that Stephie organized it so well.

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Daylight savings has started again, depriving everyone of an hour of sleep for the possibility of saving a little energy; I’ve already explained my negative opinion of DST before, so I won’t be redundant here, but I’m bringing it up now because there is some potentially good news on the horizon: Right now, lawmakers in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California are all considering bills that would keep their respective states and province on Pacific Daylight Time for good, so we’d never have to adjust our clocks forward or backward again. I’ve heard of a proposal for abandoning DST being shot down before because of economic concerns with being in a different time zone than neighbouring states, so I think we have a higher chance of finally abolishing Daylight Savings if we on the West Coast can coordinate together as a region to end the practice at the same time. I’m not expecting a miracle, there’s always hope.

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Well, that’s all I really have for now. Tomorrow, I’m supposed to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons with Levi and some of his friends online; I’ve only played the game, like, eight times before, and never with strangers, so it’ll be a new experience for me. I’m nervous, but I came up with what I think is a pretty funny idea for a character, and Levi helped me a lot with putting him together yesterday, so I think it should be fun. Tami’s birthday is this Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, St. Joseph’s on Tuesday, and the Feast of the Annunciation will be on the 25th. I will turn 7,777 days old on the 29th, the day before Levi’s birthday—he’ll be turning eighteen this year, which seems kind of crazy to me, even though it makes perfect sense since I’m twenty-one now.

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Today’s Question: If you could change or add one law, what would it be?

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Today’s Joke: A new study recently found that humans actually eat more bananas that monkeys; which I guess makes sense, since I can’t remember the last time I ate a monkey.

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-Isaac““

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A Perfectionist’s Prayer

February 2, 2019 - One Response

Praise be to You, Loving God!
You are all that I am, and all that I fail to be,
The Author of my life, and the Source of all good.
As I strive to become the person that You created me to be,
Help me never to find peace in my own perceived righteousness, nor to despair in my sins,
But always to seek solace in the infinite perfection that exists in You alone, my Creator and Guide.
Compassionate Father, quiet my anxieties.
Light of Humanity, direct my thoughts and actions.
Eternal Melody, give me the grace to recognize You in every joy and sorrow.
I give You thanks, Almighty One,
My God in harmony and in chaos,
My God in success and in failure.
In Your mercy, remember me at the end of my life,
That with the saints and angels I may praise You forever.
Amen.

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It goes without saying that I’m a person who tends to obsess a lot over details, whether the subject matter is religious or not. I’ve struggled a lot with scrupulosity to one degree or another in my life (although thankfully to a much lesser degree now than in the past), which is why I wrote this prayer today. I’m sharing it here with the hope that it will help other people with similar problems.
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Happy Candlemas!
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-Isaac““
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St. John Bosco

January 31, 2019 - Leave a Response

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“Do not put off till tomorrow the good you can do today. You may not have a tomorrow.”

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“Servite Domino in laetitia!”

(“Serve the Lord with gladness!”)

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-St. John Bosco

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Fun fact: While perhaps better known for his patronage of publishers and young people, John Bosco is also the patron saint of stage magicians.

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March for Life 2019

January 18, 2019 - Leave a Response

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marchforlife.org

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-Isaac““

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A Really Old Piano

January 15, 2019 - Leave a Response

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2019.15.
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So, I was at work yesterday afternoon, cutting old strings on a piano, so that it could be restrung; I’d never done this before, so it was a bit of a learning curve at first. You know the whole “can’t break a stick in a bundle” thing? Apparently, the same goes for piano wire; it’s kind of impossible to cut more than one string at a time. And, before you cut the strings, you have to relieve some of the tension by loosening their tuning pins, which you do by using a tuning hammer (which, despite its name, is actually a kind of socket wrench). I was a little intimidated initially, especially because sometimes the strings spark when they’re cut, and I was concerned at first about the wires popping up when I cut them (they didn’t; even though they have a lot of tension in them, I only really had to worry about my eyes getting poked when I helped take the strings out afterwards, during which I was very glad that I wear glasses). Eventually, though, I was able to get into a groove; and, by the end, I was able to cut them pretty quickly (at least compared to my very slow start)—however, it still took quite a while because, even though I wasn’t cutting the bass strings, there were three strings to each tenor and treble note. On the whole, though, it was a really fun process; I feel like I tend to be better at repetitive tasks in general, and the strings—although assumably no longer able to keep a tune—were still very musical, and often let out a final ping! as they were cut.
The piano was a Steinway grand; and, as I was cutting its strings, I noticed this decal on its soundboard:
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You can’t really tell in this picture, but it was encircled with various coats of arms and national seals.

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So, as you can see, I unfortunately didn’t get the best pictures, but the words say:
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STEINWAY & SONS
LONDON NEW YORK HAMBURG
MANUFACTURERS BY APPOINTMENT TO
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HIS MAJESTY WILLIAM II
German Emperor and King of Prussia
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HIS MAJESTY NICHOLAS II
Czar of Russia
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HIS MAJESTY ALFONSO XIII
King of Spain
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HIS MAJESTY FRANZ JOSEPH I
Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary
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HIS MAJESTY OSCAR II
King of Sweden
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HIS MAJESTY EDWARD VII
King of Great Britain and Emperor of India
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HIS MAJESTY UMBERTO I
King of Italy
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HIS MAJESTY ALBERT
King of Saxony
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HIS MAJ. MOUSAFFER-ED-DIN
Shah of Persia
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HIS MAJESTY ABDUL HAMID II
Sultan of Turkey
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AND OTHER DISTINGUISHED ROYALTIES.
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So, I’m thinking, wow, this is one really old piano; apparently older than World War I, since otherwise I don’t know why Steinway would advertise to Anglophones that they’d made pianos for the last kaiser. The soundboard looked like it was the original, but I assumed that most of the other parts had been replaced over time, since the piano was in really good condition. But, come to find out a little later (but before I had completely finished), all of its parts except the bass strings were original—so all of those strings I was cutting had apparently been in the piano for over a hundred years!
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Isn’t that crazy? I was pretty shocked; I thought it was really cool (awesome, in the full sense of the word), although I did feel a little bad as I continued to cut the strings, like I was undoing a bit of history; but I’m still glad that the piano is getting new strings, so that it can continue to make music for many more years. I think that the people who originally built the piano way back in the day would be happy to know that their piano still plays, and I think that it says a lot about them (as well as the people who took care of the piano so well) that their work has lasted this long; as far as legacies go, I think that is really amazing.
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Today’s Question: What something that you’re looking forward to in 2019?
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Today’s Joke: I just started my own business weighing miniatures; it’s a small scale operation. (Thank you to Levi for his help with wording this one).
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-Isaac““
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