Sunday, 20 March 2016

Puns, Patty Parties and Progress

The word of the week is customary .

Mar 14 – Getting There...

This was a completely normal week for me - finally.

I rarely checked my heart rate from day-to-day, depending instead on focusing on my daily tasks and not focusing nearly as much on how I was feeling from hour to hour, which was good in many senses of the word.

I'm back to just working through each of my days one at a time, with little hanging over my head, so to speak. That's the way I've always dealt with my busy schedule and it feels normal to get back to that progressive state of mind. I won't belabour the point, but suffice to say that my anxiety and I seem to have called a truce for the foreseeable future. I'm still taking two St. John's Wort a day, but that's a far cry from what I thought I'd still need by this date.

The time change yesterday has also meant that things feel lighter around here - literally. With sunset now happening well after 7pm( and later every day )it's far easier to feel energized in the evening if it's still light out.

Which is good, as I have a lot to do before the fall when the clocks go back again. Lots and lots to do...

Mar 15 – Medical Punnage

I love puns; sadly, many people don't.

Puns are a complicated matter, much like humour: it's complicated. Yet for all the effort, most folks can't be bothered to make a pun, much less appreciate them, with many ascribing the pun as being 'the lowest form of humour' and so forth.

Still, I pun, and I enjoy it, even when most other folks groan and walk away - fast. I do know when to stop, but for some pun-loving jokesters, it's non-stop.

Now, medical science has determined that there's something behind the motivation of the worst punsters: they're medically unable to stop punning.

According to this article, people who can't stop punning( or telling jokes in general )whether they're funny or not have suffered brain damage at some point in their lives - that should come as no surprise, really. The damage means that they only find their own jokes funny, including puns, and lose all inhibition regarding joke-telling as they can't determine if other people are finding the jokes funny or not. It's an unusual condition and while fairly rare, could explain the nonstop puns of the occasional jokester, it definitely doesn't explain my own penchant for puns.

Thankfully, my girlfriend appreciates the better puns that I let slip: I'm a lucky guy!

Mar 16 – Laserdisc Fixed????

After work, I picked up my Pioneer Laserdisc player from the repair shop.

I'd received a call yesterday that it was done, but that it wasn't fixed, per se as that would take specialized equipment and skills that just aren't available around here. I was lucky to find a place willing to look at it, really, and the technician who had it this last week has 40 years of experience electronics, so I trust his word when he said he tested everything, including the spare motherboard that I gave him along with the service manual. Getting it back, I resigned myself to months or even years of searching to find someone who might be able to repair it comprehensively. It's a rare Pioneer Elite unit, so it's unlikely that I'll ever find a similar or better unit that's in as good condition, even with the internal video glitch.

But, lo and behold: once I set it up again tonight, the picture was clear as crystal! No wavy coloured lines distorting things to unwatchable levels - huzzah!

According to the tech, it seems that the laserdisc I gave him to test the unit was warped significantly, which may have caused the distorted lines. I had also initially tested it with a Star Wars disc, which showed the same lines of distortion, but tonight's spending of a Babylon5 disc was apparently the charm!
I watched the Babylon5 disc for two hours solid tonight, and both sides played perfectly without any distortion whatsoever. I was able to see the excellent detail of the CGI scenes in each episode, with much greater clarity than the poorly-done DVD video transfer. I'm a happy guy!

I'll have to check my laserdisc collection for warped discs, which can be fixed using various simple methods to restore their perfectly flat shapes. It's unfortunate that age and mishandling can distort the disc, but it's to be expected given their size and even DVDs can be warped if the situation isn't good.

The irony is that I don't have a lot of time this year to sit and watch my laserdics, but as 2016 progresses, I'll be able to sneak in a few here and there, watching with a grin on my face thanks to the technician's tune-up and suggestions.

Mar 17 – Jazz Poetry!

It was an entertaining St. Patrick's Day!

I met my girlfriend and her poetry group at Hermann's Lounge for dinner, as they were having a meeting before the evening's entertainment. We talked for a few hours about Irish poetry, in honor of St. Patrick today. While I am not an official member of the group, all was able to put in quite a few cognizant observations about the poems, including one comment about combining poetic types that had everyone eagerly voicing their opinion as to how it might be accomplished - go me!

After some hours of lively discussion, the evening's entertainment took the stage:

The trio played some lovely light jazz, just loud enough to cover the crowd’s conversation and laid back enough to be utterly relaxing. After the first set, the band took a break and when they came back, they were joined by a young jazz singer( whose name I didn't catch )whose dulcet tones added wondrous new dimension to the music. There was also an elderly clarinet player who sat in a chair on the stage and showed everyone what decades of musical experience could do.

What a great night!

Mar 18 – Bye-Bye Bengal

Friday night after work, I went lounging.

Not just anywhere though: I joined my sister and some of her work friends at the Bengal Lounge in the Empress Hotel, down in the heart of the harbor area of Victoria.

It's a wonderful place, the likes of which can't be found easily in Canada anymore. It's a throwback to colonial days, with potted ferns and murals depicting African safaris on the walls, and the centerpiece of the lounge is a real tigerskin - barbaric, but that's part of the charm I guess:

I've always wanted to go into the Bengal, but the prices have been so prohibitive that I never bothered - check out what a grilled cheese sandwich costs:

The food was excellent, and so was the company, but we Teft after about an hour as it was getting too loud. The lounge is always crowded, with a line waiting at the door( mostly for the renowned curry buffet ) but after this April, it won't be anything but a construction zone, so I'm glad that I got chance to eat there at least once before it closes at the end of this April.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright...

Mar 19 – Catch-Up / Podcast / Party

Today was a busy day!

I spent most of my morning and early afternoon catching up on the week, getting various things squared away around the place - the usual when I have a little time.

In the afternoon, I again took part in the final of three podcasts regarding the third in the series of Dark Crystal graphic novels, Creation Myths Vol. III. I spoke for an hour and a half long with three other fans of the dark crystal, discussing each of the chapters in the graphic novel. It was fascinating to be able to 'read along' with other fans as I did the podcast, as we all discovered things that we missed as each of us pointed out little details here and there.

Soon after I wrapped the podcast, my girlfriend and I headed out for dinner, a few hours before we had to be at a party. We chose Ithaka, a family-run Greek restaurant just down the road from where I live and somewhere where I've been a few times before( good experiences both times, I might add ). It was quite crowded when we arrived, but the host managed to find us a table by the window, which was extremely fortunate.

The small restaurant was hopping, with a dozen staff moving in a smooth flow from kitchen to tables and back again while weaving around the occasional guest. The last few times I had been here, it wasn't nearly as busy and I came to appreciate quite quickly how well-run Ithaka is: each of our food plates arrived hot and perfectly timed for us to finish the last, our server was attentive and not a single thing went wrong the entire meal. It was one of the best restaurant experiences I've had in recent years and we'll definitely be going back soon.

After dinner, it was time for party!

Specifically, we attended a post-St. Patrick's Day party at a coworker's house, with all attendees having to wear something green and bring the same in terms of a food item. My lady and I both wore green, and we managed to find some excellent mint cupcakes along the way that were perfect( bottom left ):

Everyone at the party was wearing something green, and many had gone 'the extra mile' when dressing up. There was even a table of items to 'add' to your attire, should you so wish. We took advantage of that, of course:

Having had a long day, we didn't stay too long, but it was nice to sit out on a patio for a few hours with friends, enjoying the relatively balmy weather around a patio fireplace! Ah, spring in Victoria...

Mar 20 – Armour Progress!

Sundays: sometimes you relax...

... and other times you dive right into a project! Today saw some significant steps forward in getting my cosplay ready for the Emerald City Comicon taking place in a few weeks in Seattle. I finally finished putting together the paper templates for the armor, which were extremely complex and time consuming to assemble. Getting a three-dimensional shape from two-dimensional sheets of paper meant many dozens of small fiddly bits of paper that had to be taped together on my mannequin, after being printed out from a Pepurka file - so many little bits!

Once the templates were assemble, I place them atop one of my EVA foam mats and cut carefully them out using an X-Acto knife. While rough, the soft foam shapes are easy to assemble, and look great when pinned temporarily together:

That used up a significant portion of my day, pretty much and the concentration necessary lefty feeling rather tired by evening, when it was time to write my blog. I did feel a sense of accomplishment today in getting the foam shapes cut out, as I have to now do some detail work on them this week before hopefully painting them next weekend. I will have to strengthen them internally as part of that detail work, as they'll be too flexible otherwise and might cause the paint to crack.

Lots left to do in the next few weeks, but I like a challenge!

The next two weeks will see me concentrating almost exclusively on my costume, getting it ready for its debut the first week of April in Seattle. My M41A rifle is complete and was shipped to me several days ago, so should arrive by the end of this week at the latest - exciting! So now I have to get the costume ready to go with it...