kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
In other news, you may recall some time back I lamented the fact that the girls weren't as much into listening to music as I'd like them to be, since I think there's so much to learn and gain from a love of music. Well, I'm happy to report that time seems to have remedied that. Hermione especially--she started paying more attention to the music on the radio when we're driving around, and then I got her an alarm clock for her room that included an FM radio, which she and Hallie would turn on while they played in her room before bedtime at night. After a while I got her a cheap little mp3 player I could load up with music, and a pair of computer speakers to plug that into. Since then I replaced that with a little shelf cd system, so they can also trawl through our cd collection in addition to the radio and mp3 player options. Since Hallie and Hermione are typically inseparable, Hallie's picked up on it as well. We're planning a road trip next month, for which the girls are already excitedly packing, and Hallie wants to take an mp3 player and headphones for her own entertainment (luckily I picked up another little player somewhere along the way). So that's a good thing in my mind!

So far their tastes tend to be on the mellow side. When we're all driving in the van we tend to listen to either country (from the aughts or earlier, none of this modern bro-country nonsense) or classic pop/rock stuff. When I take them somewhere in my car without the wife, I tend to go for slightly heavier classic rock and my beloved 80s hair metal. So they dig stuff like Journey, Heart, REO Speedwagon, a little Queen and Def Leppard, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Kansas, Bon Jovi, stuff like that. I'm pretty good with the variety they like! Hermione's been interested in learning to play some things on the piano like Journey's "Faithfully" and Heart's "Alone," both of which she's picked up very well. Hallie plays violin, so she's interested in learning the violin solo part of "Dust in the Wind," which would be very cool since I could accompany her on the guitar. Fun stuff!

One thing that meant a lot to me... "Lost in the World" by Green River Ordinance is a song I love that makes me think of my girls, so I'd put it on their mp3 player. I figured out the gist of how to play it on the piano, and was showing Hermione so she could pick it up too. I sang a little of it as I was playing to show how the piano part fit with the verse (usually I only sing alone in the car, since I'm a bit self-conscious about my singing voice) and Hermione said it was one of the most beautiful things she'd ever heard. So yeah, that was nice. :)

kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Hm, that title sounds kind of ominous. It implies there's something going on. But really? Nah, same stuff, different day. Some highlights lately:

I had 3 photoshoots in 8 days last week! And all repeat business, which was kinda nice. I did a maternity shoot out at the Polynesian for a couple I know (we used to work together and I shot their wedding a year or two back). Then a Massachusetts family I shot out at WDW a couple years ago were back down for a cruise, and we met out at Cocoa Beach last weekend before they set sail. And then last Monday, a family I'd shot twice before hit me up for Round 3--EPCOT this time. Pretty nice weather for all, thankfully, though the beach was über-windy. We made the best of it, anyway. I have the first two sets all done, just need to plow through editing the last one and I'll be all caught up. Then I have another maternity shoot in early May, and a family down on vacation later in the month. And whenever the aforementioned couple's new baby arrives I'll be doing a newborn session with them. Keeping busy, kinda nice! The extra money is certainly helpful, and has already paid for some new toys. Observe:

Cut for those who don't care! )
In other musical news, I've been playing more--practicing more, I should say. Trying to polish up some areas of my playing that I've always neglected, while also trying to cram more musical theory knowledge into my aging brain, especially as it pertains to the guitar. Helps to know the rules before you trash them, right?

Oh, and one more recent purchase with my gig money: I'd been wanting a new tablet, since my aging first-gen Nexus 7 was getting more and more clunky. Given my musical aspirations I wanted one that could serve as a mobile music-making platform, so I decided to go to the dark side and get an Apple. I prefer the smaller form factor for tablets, so I decided on an iPad Mini, and had just about talked myself into going for a refurbed Mini 2 for $250 when I got an e-mail from Best Buy that they had new ones on sale for $200. Nice! So I grabbed one of those Friday, and spent a little time over the weekend setting it up. So far I really like it. Performance is snappy, screen is a good size and looks amazing, battery life seems quite good. My only real complaint so far is that a couple apps I have and use on my iPhone aren't available in iPad versions, for no good reason I can see. But there are workarounds and alternatives, so I guess that's not too terrible.

Now to actually indulge my creative side more often. And stay off of Facebook more, I've been getting unduly annoyed by stupid people on there lately, especially with this whole bathroom-bill fiasco. Win-win if I skip FB and go to tinkering with music instead. :)

Otherwise.. Work is work, though we got a treat Friday in the form of a fun team event, bowling at Downtown Disney. I hadn't been bowling for a few years--I should do that more often, it is fun. I should take the girls sometime too, see if they take to it.

Speaking of the girls, I started taking Amy to a karate class we found at a neighborhood rec center not too far from home. She likes it, and I think I might start doing it with her. That should be fun. I'm waiting for the instructor to send me the e-mail he promised, and I'll ask him if I could join in too. I'll look silly doing it, of course, but it's been on my wanna-do list for ages and would be good for me.

This past weekend we didn't roam too far from home. Saturday we headed out to a park or two up towards Sanford, and yesterday Heather had to take Hermione to a concert at a church for the morning. After that we went for a hike in the woods and found a geocache, something else I've been meaning to get back into. That reminds me, I need to log that find.

Okay, better get some work done today, even if it's just submitting an expense report for my work-related road trips last week. Hope everyone is having a fine day!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
In which I dissertate upon my musical past, present, and future. Cut because I'm sure it'll be long, and probably boring too. You have been warned! :)
Clicky! )

A New Toy!

Feb. 22nd, 2016 03:30 pm
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
WARNING: Guitarist Nonsense ahead, skip if you don't care or have no idea what I'm on about. :)

Clicky! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)

Been scarce around here for a while! No excuse, really, just life churning forward and me along for the ride, I s'pose. I think a bullet-style entry is the only way to go here.

• Forgive the Upper Midwesternisms of my subject line. Been watching the second season of Fargo, which is awesome. I really dug the first season, but I must say the second is even better. And they recently announced a third, so whoo-hoo! Good stuff.
• Also been working my way through The Walking Dead. Not bad at all, but man oh man is that show an emotional wringer. They have no shame, killing off people I was quite fond of. I must admit I took to cheating on IMDb to see how many more episodes this or that character had in store, or if they continue into the present season. I'm somewhere in season 5 presently. I'm enjoying it, but.. it seems a really difficult concept to sustain for so long, you know? It keeps wanting to settle down and keep the survivors safe and getting going on a new society of a sort, and then it realizes that's contrary to the nature of the show and yanks it all away, rinse and repeat. Anyway. Zombies are cool.
• The photo up top was a chance thing. Hallie's taken an interest in photography lately--something I really need to nurture. She was getting Hermione to pose for her and I was off to the side, and it was too nice an angle to pass up. :) I feel I fall short in teaching the girls the stuff I know, which should be the purview of every good Dad, right? I need to really start doing that. Photography, computers, cars, woodworking, all that stuff should be mine to teach. And guitar, if they want to rock out.
• Speaking of music, both Hermione and Hallie had their first performances last week! Hermione started playing flute a few months back and joined a nice homeschool band, and they had a Christmas concert. Not bad at all! And Hallie's been taking violin lessons and had her first recital. I can't even say what a big deal this is, for both of them. They're both pretty shy and hate to be the center of attention, so getting up on stage in front of people seems totally out of character for them. But they seemed to really enjoy it! It was probably easy for Hermione since she was just part of a band, but even alone, she has no problem playing flute or piano for people. And Hallie was out on stage all by herself (well, her teacher accompanied her on the piano, but still) and she seemed to have no trouble at all. I was really impressed! Awesome to see. :)
• Thanksgiving was good. Heather's sister came over the weekend before, and I took a couple days off for her visit. Part of the fun was a visit to FunSpot for Hermione's birthday, which was a lot of fun. Nice weather for it, too! Turkey Day itself was fine, we headed over to the coast to meet our friends at a park to catch up and play, and then we went to Mom's for a mid-afternoon feast. Good stuff. Didn't see Dad, and haven't in way too long. I think we'll see him around Christmas, though.
• Which is less than 3 weeks away! We decorated the house the weekend after Thanksgiving, as usual. Went a little further than usual with the lights this year, too. I'll have to get a photo to share, and so I remember how I did it next year! We really need a new tree, though. We've been using a hand-me-down artificial tree for years, and though it was a nice one when it was new, it's definitely the worse for wear. Might have to invest in a new one when they go on clearance this year. Present-wise, I think we're in pretty good shape. I always want to get more stuff for the kids, but I'm trying to hold back. The wife and I mainly picked our own gifts, at least the big ones. I have a few small surprises for her, and she's mentioned a thing or two on the way for me as well. It's mainly about the kids at this point anyway, of course. I am bothered presently (no pun intended) because I can't find one of the things I ordered! I know it came, and I know I tucked it away somewhere, but damned if I can remember where! Silly.
• I've been especially political on FB lately. Ugh, don't even get me started. There's the gun debate, which flares up every time there's a massacre--so weekly, at this point. There's Trump going full-Nazi when you NEVER go full-Nazi. There's TIME's Person of the Year, wherein Bernie Sanders very handily won their poll--twice the votes of the next-highest person--and yet was left out of the shortlist (and Trump, who was 19th in the poll, somehow made the cut). The signal boost would have done him some good, I think. It's all a mess. I remain hopeful, though. The first primaries are going to be stressful for me, I can tell!
• Work is okay. I had a really good training last week, a thing about leadership styles. Apparently the methodology began as a parenting strategy that was adapted to corporate management, so it might even be useful at home. Kinda useless at work since no one reports to me anymore. But oh well, still good stuff. Later this week I'm going to a class on Myers-Briggs personality types, which I think will be interesting as well.

Okay, I guess that's enough for now. I'm sure there's been more over the past few weeks, but I can't think of much at the moment. Hope everyone is having a good week so far!


Feb. 4th, 2015 12:41 pm
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
It's already February? I should no longer be surprised by the swift (and ever-swifter) passage of time, but it still sneaks up on me. And even this week is flying by, here it is already Wednesday! So, have an update in the form of.. whatever pops into my head, yeah?

I took last Friday off for a 3-day weekend, which was nice. Friday we went out to the Magic Kingdom, since the weather looked pretty nice and the crowd calendar was reasonably low. We rode some stuff we don't usually, and did the full circle on the steam train, so it was a nice visit. Saturday and Sunday we didn't do too much, really--mainly stayed close to home, and accomplished some things around the house. And I procured a giant milkweed plant for the butterfly garden. It was a bit pricey, but if it settles in and gets bigger, it will save me a small fortune in buying the usual small milkweed plants that get decimated by just a couple caterpillars. I was convinced to buy because at the nursery they had several with monarch chrysalises right on the plant--since (unlike the small milkweeds) this one still has leaves when they've had their fill, they'll pupate right on the plant instead of wandering off to find a spot. That will be nice for keeping track of them!

Sunday we also loaded up the bikes for a short ride--we head to a park we like and then take a bike trail about a mile to another park we like, and back. It was a very nice morning for it. We've been pretty good about getting more exercise so far this year. For some reason my wife decided she'd like to start jogging, which is awesome since we've never really been too attuned to staying in shape. So every other day or so we take a run around the block, which is about six-tenths of a mile. If we add the detour down to the neighborhood lake and back, it's an even mile. We don't go particularly fast, but it's good to work the muscles and get the heart pumping!

Hermione decided she wanted to get another guinea pig, so we did that last week too. This one's name is Cookie, and he's pretty cute. He seemed to settle in quickly too, which is good.

Oh, and on Monday Amy had her first violin lesson! Heather found a place not too far away that offers all sorts of musical lessons for kids, at pretty reasonable prices. Amy was keen, so we figured what the heck. And she did very well, from what I hear! Hopefully she'll keep that up. We want Hallie to start taking lessons too, but she's proving resistant and we don't want to force it too much or else she'll hate it, you know? Hermione's about ready to switch from her piano teacher (the lady down the block, who is nice but not really a professional teacher) to someone who can take her further, so we're thinking maybe we'll have the lady work with Hallie instead, since she kinda already knows her. We'll see.

Some of you saw this on FB, but it's funny. On Monday I was expecting a FedEx package to be delivered. Nothing important, really, just a welcome kit because I re-joined Canon's Professional Services program. Anyway, the package didn't arrive, so yesterday I took a look at the tracking info to see what was up. And it turns out that the package was shipped from Hampton, VA, made it to the FedEx hub in Memphis--and then took quite a wrong turn and ended up in New Delhi and then Dubai. Talk about taking the long way around! Today I took another look and it had gone through Italy back to Memphis, and is already out for delivery today. I feel like this will be a remarkably well-traveled package when I get my hands on it! I'm just glad it wasn't something I actually wanted/needed quickly, you know?

Not so funny, there's a house near us in our neighborhood that's a rental property. The current tenant apparently runs a tree and/or yard service, and is in the habit of burning in the backyard the tree limbs and whatnot that his business generates. This is against county code, of course, but usually it's not too annoying. This week, though, whatever he's burning is apparently especially smoky, enough to drive the kids indoors if they're playing outside, and even enough to infiltrate the house and give the wife a headache. This is not cool. I wrote to someone else on the HOA board to see if they've heard any other complaints, and to see if she'd like to send the guy a letter or drop by for a chat since she usually handles that sort of thing. I hate to call the cops on the guy and/or get him fined, because otherwise I couldn't care less, but it's definitely becoming a nuisance.

Okay, enough for now. I hope everyone is having a good week--it's all downhill from here, right?

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