January 6th, 2005


One cat, two cat, red cat...

It's another beautiful day in paradise. I wish I weren't so tired... but I suppose I have good reason to be.

You see, Wednesday night is Blues Night here in G-ville.

So on Wednesdays, we head out to the big purple house, swill a few beers, and listen. Zack, of course, doesn't swill any beer. But he does listen. And he plays well with others.

Last night, there were a couple guys who didn't know how to listen. The resulting cacophony was so disparaging that my ears and shoulders ache even today. Once they'd left, though, it was a joy to listen again.

We stayed out way too late. We always do. We'd probably get our parental licenses revoked in most states... but those who love music would forgive us, I think. Wednesday nights provide a unique educational opportunity for the lad, and his prowess and listening skills improve each time.

I didn't bring my camera last night, but here's a clip from three weeks ago. I should probably mention at this point that Z is a guitar player, not a bass player. To my knowledge, he's only picked up a bass a couple of times. It was also one in the morning, he was absolutely exhausted and his fingers were blistered. Wouldn't know it to listen to him, though. I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll be getting him a bass before too long.

still image of video
Click to watch the movie file!

Or click here to download the .avi file.

The guy playing guitar is/was his teacher. I say is/was because he's taking a break from teaching for health reasons, starting this week. But he may be playing gigs with Zack in the near future.

I've never edited video before, but editing this piece was pretty easy. Let me share with you a little bit of what I learned from this experience:
  • VirtualDub 1.6.2 is DA BOMB. Its interface is very intuitive, and I was editing video just as soon as I'd installed it. It's very powerful and includes a host of filters both practical and esoteric, and yet has a tiny footprint. I recommend it very highly.

  • DivX 5.2.1 codec is also DA BOMB. I didn't know what all the hoopla about DivX was before I used it... now, I'm not sure I could live without it. Interestingly, the DVD player I got Paul for Christmas MAY be DivX compatible. I say "may" because it's mentioned in some marketing, but not in other marketing or spec sheets. There are individual reports online that claim that it works. My guess is that it's compatible, but not certified, and the marketing and documentation were changed to deflect criticism. We'll see :)

  • Zack's really good. So's his teacher.

To give you an idea of how good VirtualDub is, here's the source image compared to the final output:

image before processing image after processing

Considering I managed to download it, install it, use it, and find the DivX codec in less than an hour, I'd say it's pretty awesome. My only stumbling block was concerning the logo overlay-- the filter wouldn't read the alpha channel. Well, duh, .tga is the only file format they allow which uses alpha channels. If you're using anything else, it's important to check the Alpha Image checkbox and use your logo as both the logo and the alpha image.

Oh, and I also learned the "embed" command today. I like being able to provide you with instant gratification video, yes I do!

In other news, a neighborhood cat has been terrorizing Max and Gracie.

I dreamt of this cat not too long ago, when I first met him-- in my dream he was a stray, and moved in with us. The other cats were so happy to have him with us. It was bizarre. Everybody was blissful.

He's sweet to us, but absolutely terrorizes the cats. He bit me on the ankle the other day, too. I'm sure it was a love nip, but still. When I bent over to look at where he nipped me, he bit me bum!

He's taken to sitting in my office window and howling at them. I howl right back.

Little bum-biting bully.

Gracie went to the vet today to have her teeth cleaned. Most of them will be extracted, I'm sure. She's had terrible teeth. I hope this procedure gives her some relief. The process was successful and very quick, and she's in recovery now.

She was a little hellion this morning when Paul tried to get her into her kennel. She jumped out and climbed all over Paul, claws extended. Paul gets the Good Sport Award for the day. She got him right on the neck, too. He looks like a vampire victim.

I can't wait to get my little girl back home.

I just died. Seriously. Ten times. Heart attacks, every one.

You see this entry? I've been adding to it all day. I couldn't replicate it if I tried. So imagine my surprise when semagic gave me a popup that said "Server Busy: This action cannot be completed because the other program is busy. Choose 'Switch To' to activate the busy program and correct the problem"

Choosing "retry" achieved nothing, and choosing "Switch To" merely opened up my Start menu. AAAAAAAAAAAAAADSFJDLJSFLHD. I couldn't get back into the entry to save my life, and googling proved fruitless (except to show that this seemed to be an issue with spellchecking, which I've never used).

I finally right clicked on options on the semagic icon in my system tray, and managed to get back into the entry long enough to save it. Sheesh.

It happened again the next time I tried to open that link to the embedded video from the preview pane. GAH. The problem seems to be related to iexplore.exe closing as an application, but not as a process... I just manually shut three processes down. Whatever. I go blahblahblah now.

Just picked up Gracella. She insisted on being fed (earlier than the doctor suggested, but I think she'll be OK) and is now drunkenly wandering around the house. They had to remove all but six teeth-- five little ones on the bottom, front, and one fang. She looks a bit like Bucky, really.

Well, that's it for now. I'd better keep one eye on the kitty, and the other on the lasagne. Not sure quite yet what the third eye should be focusing on, but isn't that just how it is sometimes? ;)

Hope all is well with you and yours :)

~Hugs to those who need 'em, those who want 'em, and those who don't run away quickly enough~
  • Current Music
    Limbeck, at Bre's request... 03: Julia