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The Fantasy season has officially begun for me – I just finished the first of two live drafts. I’m typically a loser – I’m not sure I’ve ever done better than a losing season, though I’ve had a couple of great starts (before star players are seriously injured). Here’s to a new year, and hopefully at least an even season. =)



Goodbye, CC. Have fun hitting!



David bought me a Zune!† =)†

I came home from work, he took my laptop bag and lunch box from me, and said, “Do you want a present?”† Of course I responded in a very excited affirmative – a surprise like that from my husband is a BIG deal (he’s a planner and very practical – not much into surprises).† He gave me a pair of scissors, and I said, “Thanks!† Scissors!† Just what I always wanted!”† He laughed and pushed me into the living room, where a box sat on a chair.† We opened the box and there it was – my very own Zune!† (For you non-computer folks, a Zune is Microsoft’s version of a video†iPod.)† I’m so pysched – it’ll be PERFECT for the flight to Hawai’i!

Yay!† I’m still excited about it.

Techno-babble (disregard, moms):† I’ve been playing with it for the last few hours and have figured it out – all but ripping DVDs to Zune formats.† I downloaded several applications (shareware-style stuff) and the best I’ve seen so far is called AnyDVD Converter.† The DVD to .wmv conversion is fast, and doesn’t require a DVD to .avi step before going to .wmv (a big plus on the speed side of things).† The video quality is stellar, the audio quality is good and rich – the only problem (and I imagine this is something to do with me and my computer, or else this program wouldn’t be rated so highly) is that my audio and video aren’t syncing up.† I only tested one DVD (but several times, from scratch), so I’m in the middle of ripping another DVD to see if it was the disc’s fault†(fingerprint, or something else that would cause file reading drama).

Techno Update:† The issue is the video conversion – it’s dropping frames.† It’s very subtle, but very consistent – it’s dropping 1 or 2 for every 30 or so.† =)† So, now to figure out how to stop it dropping frames.† I’m hoping it’s just†a resource thing on my machine, but I’m not completely sure it is.† *sigh*



Last night, I dressed up as a very large Dorothy Gale (thanks, Mom!).† The Indiana Wind Symphony, in which I play the saxophone, had a Halloween concert at a local middle school.† The entire [professional] ensemble dressed up in costumes to play some really fun music.† The first half of the concert was movie music from Gone With the Wind, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, The Wizard of Oz, and Star Wars.† During intermission, there was a costume contest for the audience.† The second half was more serious (but still Halloween-themed) literature.

There was another Dorothy onstage with me – my costume was better, and I wasn’t wearing a wig, but she had a REAL dog in her basket.† A real dog!† On the stage while we played!† Dorothy costumes were popular…† A little girl in a Dorothy costume won the audience contest, and when she came onto the stage to get her prize, the tuba players behind me reached up and patted me on the shoulders, saying, “Better luck next year!”† I told them that next year, I’d have a dog, too!

Pictures probably won’t be appearing anywhere on the internet.† =)† At least, none of me.

Anyway, I’m trying to convince the folks who run our website (and haven’t been interested in my help, even though I do this professionally) to start posting/podcasting our music.† I think it’d be a better way to get our stuff heard, and possibly generate more interest in the ensemble.† I know they make professional-level recordings of each concert – which sound a heckuva lot better than my husband’s little mp3 recorder’s recordings.† Even with his little recorder, though, you can tell that we don’t play like an amateur community†ensemble.† For one thing, we’re in tune!† For another, we actually play challenging music.† It’s too bad David’s recordings sound so muffled and miss all the mids, or I’d just start having him record concerts and post the music myself.† =)

Anyway, family – if you want to listen to the concert (again, not a good recording at all), you can go here: www.aukerman.org/IWS.



Since David has been away since Thursday and since I haven’t been feeling well, I’ve spent most of my free time for the last few days on the couch.† Watching Heroes.†

I resisted for an entire season, thinking I watch enough TV and that this show is complicated enough to require a religious viewing – rather than an as-I-have-a-spare-Monday-night viewing (as I could do with a sitcom).† I was right.† I do watch enough TV, especially now that shows are starting to come back on.† And this show is complicated.† But it’s fantastic.† Bethany (closest girlfriend) assured me that it would be well worth my tube time, so I dived in.

Hi.† My name is Tara.† I’m addicted to Heroes.



Things, I think, are finally back to normal.

I am at home.† My husband is at home.† My dog is at home.† We have no large trips looming in the near future.† Dave’s started school again.† I’m back into the swing of things at both of my jobs.† I even found some time to do a little extra stuff today!†

And football season is started, which means I’ll be watching TV again.†

20 minutes and counting…



I just watched, for 2 hours tonight (!), America’s Got Talent. It was awful. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. After all the grief I’ve given cousin Jen for watching American Idol, I am feeling rather guilty. =)

What hooked me was a commercial promo before the show even started. They showed a kid (with no audio – someone was doing a voiceover) doing a dance I immediately recognized, even without sound. This kid did some moves from a Bollywood film called Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai – a movie I watched in college. I know the moves because I had a roomie who frequently practiced them.

So I waited anxiously to see this.

(The movie version is here.)



This is neat.† I’m listening to an Imogene Heap track that sounds like she:

a) recorded an entire song’s worth of words/syllables on one pitch,
b) mapped those syllables to a synthesizer,
c) played “herself” singing a stack of harmonies for a song, then
d) sang the melody and primary harmony tracks over it.



Leah and I have just finished watching all 6 hours of the A&E Pride and Prejudice – and she said she liked it!† She assures me that she didn’t say that to make me happy (I happen to think it’s the best thing since… well, ever).† Tomorrow, we’re going to watch the American version, and then the Bollywood version.† (For her literature class – compare and contrast.)† I’m in heaven.† =)



“The Office” in my office… You will get such a kick out of this if you watch that show, and may even find it funny if you don’t. Read the following, which – I kid you not – came straight from my office email Inbox.

A quick intro: I work in the clinical education department of a hospital group. Our department is made up of mostly instructors, instructional designers (like me), and developers (programmers). In an effort to promote departmental unity, a “Fun Committee” was developed. They’re doing a good job of springing random, mostly fun, events on us to break up the monotony of the work week, and they really are good people. But sometimes, they get intense. And funny. =) The latest fun event: an in-office bowling league. We bowl a hard foam ball into hard foam pins down our office hallways…


Hello Everyone,

Three pins have been damaged due to Horse play and one pin is still missing. Each pin has a replacement fee of $6. Please return the pin to a Fun Committee member today. I am here until 3:30pm and [another Fun Committee member] is here until 3:45pm. Please do not strike each other with the pins as they are made out of soft foam and not very sturdy. We have attached another set of rules for your review.

Please see a Fun Committee member to pay for the damaged pins. The League will resume, after we have received payment for the damaged pins.

[A member of the “Fun Committee”]

Good morning,

I am sorry to report that no one has stepped forward and paid the outstanding money for the damaged pins. The Fun Committee paid a total of $60.00 each, for two bowling sets. Even with payment for the damaged pins, we do not have the funding to purchase another bowling set, but we had hoped to recuperate some of the the funds we spent for a bowling set that we are now unable to sell.

Several people have stepped forward and volunteered to pay for another bowling set, but we do not feel it would be fair to ask this of those that were not responsible for causing the damage in the first place.

We are sorry to announce that bowling has been discontinued pending payment for the damaged pins.


[The Fun Committee Head Honcho]

Seriously, itís okay to admit to juvenile acts caused damage to the pins. We ALL get overzealous and carried away at times. I am sure we can all agree there will be no social scorning of the responsible party!! Just speak up and letís continue with the league. Otherwise we need to have the office exterminated for the large rats that ate the pins!!

[An instructor]

It is sad to know that in our department of adults, no one could respect the materials that were purchased for us for enjoyment. This was a creative idea that the Fun Committee came up with so we could have fun together outside work and someone had to abuse that. Our team was enjoying our Friday morning bowling times and it is sad to know that it is being discontinued.

I hope those responsible decide to step forward and take account for their actions.

This doesnít help encourage our Fun Committee to create any more fun ideas for us if we canít even handle this one.


[Another instructor, after having read the previous instructor’s email… so much for no social scorning. =)]

Ummm, I admittedly have not seen the injured pins, so please forgive me if Iím just uninformed, but is it possible that some of the pins became damaged (or at least began to be damaged) during normal play? Or during storing them into the box? Iíve definitely seen some laser-rocket bowling, and I canít be alone in my lack of thorough examination before storage.

Iím just simply wondering if a slight tear could go unnoticed and become worse during storage, transportation, etc.?

[A developer]

No. The first week of bowling the pins were fine. I stored the pins and the pins were not cracked. I have also checked for damage and I can tell you that the only damage that had occurred, was a slight tear inside the finger hole of one of the bowling balls.

[Head Honcho, responding to the developer]

That was not the case. Prior to storing the equipment we went through the boxes. That doesnít mean it didnít happen during normal play, but it didnít happen during transportation or storage. We would just like for someone to come forward, even if it means putting the money in an envelope and sliding it under a door.

[Another Fun Committee Member, responding to the developer]

I havenít run this idea past the Fun Committee, but think we could solve this problem for a small additional cost to each of us. There are about 30 participants in the hallway bowling and $120 has been spent for the equipment. That works out to $4 each to cover the entire cost. I know we have already paid $1 each leaving $90 outstanding. I suggest we each kick in an additional dollar for this round and plan on paying $2 for the next round?

[A designer]

[A round of people, at this point send emails to the tune of “I’m in” or “Let’s just do this so we can get back to bowling”…]

Hello Everyone,

This is the final email about Bowling. It is absolutely canceled for this week. If you would like bowling to resume, anyone who would like to VOLUNTEER funds towards a replacement set, is free to do so. The cost of the replacement set is $60.00. We will not be splitting up the cost of a replacement set amongst the bowling league. There is a deadline for volunteer donations towards the replacement. The deadline is Monday, April 23, 2007 by 3pm. Turn in your donations to a member of the Fun Committee.


The Fun Committee!

Isn’t that hilarious? We’re back to bowling, so I guess the volunteers shelled out the cash. =)

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