Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pleasant Times

Hello everyone. It's been a little while. I didn't have a training cession this week but am continuing the process of fine-tuning my new computer and speakers. I've been fiddling with some of the audio enhancements built into Windows7. It turns out that these speakers are not quite as suited to gaming as I had hoped although I still have hope that the newer games will perform better with them. I can play older games with headphones or even with the built-in speakers in the Mac itself. I have yet to dig into the Mac ap store and obtain any games for that side of things presuming there are ones I'd find interesting other than interactive fiction. When I'm a tad more confident with Voiceover and the Apple OS, we'll certainly find out about that. As things stand now, I'm growing very comfortable with Windows7. It's great to have things moving so quickly and easily. I've had to get used to a couple of key changes. For now, I'm doing email right from the gmail website rather than through a client. It's a tad more cumbersome but I can make certain that important messages get archived. As long as I keep up with things, it ought to be manageable for now. Eventually, when I'm more comfortable in the Mac OS, I'll doubtless use the Apple Mail program. I took it for a spin and very much like what I experienced. It just seems a bit silly to go into another operating system merely to do email. Once I get my music and stuff moved properly into Itunes, have Twitter and Skype running, and have figured out what word processing tool I prefer, it may not seem so strange to spend a day in a place with no Windows. Moving my music has been only a partial success so far. It looks like the easiest way to do what I want is to have two libraries in Itunes. One would have my pop songs and the other would be for my more instrumental stuff I use for writing and relaxation. I tried importing everything into one library mistakenly thinking it would be easy to sort out into playlists. Won't make that mistake again. On the Winamp side, I've had to get used to not having global hotkeys to do things like pause or move to the next or prior track. I may try coppying my configuration file from my netbook and see how that works. Otherwise, I'd have to disable a whole bunch of the hotkeys which conflict with Windows7 shortcuts. It hasn't all been smooth sailing. I'm still in awe of my scanner's speed though. It makes my older one look like a damned turtle in comparison. Going through a pile of junk mail can hardly be called a chore any longer. The laser printer is also very fast as my father and I found out today.

Things have also been going well at The Dam. A couple of the kids took an interest in me this week and I had some good initial conversations with them. There was also a meeting where I got to meet some more of the people who work and volunteer at The Dam. It's certainly an interesting way to pass an evening and I look forward to more of these going forward. Frankly, I very much doubt I'll come away from my volunteer term there with the kind of life-long friends other people have found through their efforts. Everyone's rapped up in their own busy lives. I doubt I'll run into any of them other than the couple who go to my church in any other context than while we're there for the youth or for meetings. Still, I believe I'm starting to reach some of the kids there. Even if I only make a meaningful difference for one, it's all worth it. I'm backed up by people who really know their stuff and I'll keep on absorbing as much knowledge from them as I can. At first glance, this sort of work doesn't show me to best advantage. I find it hard to know when I'd be welcome in conversation and when I'm merely getting in the way. Also, I can't engage in the games much where a lot of connections are made. Still, there are moments when curiocity and exhaustion give occasion for pause. They'll take a moment to get their breath or plunk down on a chair or couch to rest a while. That's when I can act meaningfully in their interest. I just have to keep ready and patient.

I feel renewed in a fundamental way these days. There's a lot to learn and explore. It also helps that the weather is slowly improving to suit the season we're now officially in. It won't be long before I start walking to the Dam and back. We'll finally see how much all the lessons, gps landmarks and practice over the past year pay off for me. There's also the rest of the training on my computer. It makes such a big difference to have movement in a few different directions in life. Last weekend, I was visited by Mark and Wendy. We went out to South Street Burgers for dinner and they also stopped in for a visit in the apartment for a while. I actually spent Earth Hour in conversation with people who were around my age and physically present. Finally, I have real reason to hope that it's the start of another trend which continues. Special days lose so much of their meaning and impact if they aren't shared with others. The next day, there was Soup Sunday at church followed by a visit to mom and dad's house to see Allison and my three little nieces. Dan had to work this time.

When you have this much going on in life, that painful sense of disconnection really fades away. Getting to this point has been a long slow cumulative journey. There's a growing sense that my hope for better things to come isn't just a desperate attempt to keep my head above water by denying reality. There really are possibilities. Being cheerful and sharing that good cheer has become much easier lately. Best of all, I don't have that sense that it all might evaporate on me. While I very much hope to find my special lady, I've reached a point where I can cheerfully wait and, for the most part, enjoy life as it is. It's a very good psychological place to find oneself.

A major accessibility conference just happened and I haven't even kept proper track of what went on there. In earlier years, I would have listenned to every single podcast which resulted from CSUN and other such conferences just to pass the damned endless time. Having more to engage with has also given me the perspective necessary to turn down a chance to become a governing elder at my church. I'm honoured that they recommended me but I just haven't been a member long enough to do the job justice. I need to know a lot more about how things work and how decisions effect the church before I put myself in a position to shape that process in such a substantial way. Perhaps, after another two or three years attending, I'll feel like I've gained enough perspective to do a good job of it. I'm simply too new a community member at this point. Also, my relationship with the church is too important to me to put short-term gain in front of the larger long-term picture. In all likelyhood, I'll be here for quite a long while. Over the shorter term, I hope to have more experiences with various aspects of the church. I may look into going on a short mission trip and get at least a modest look into that aspect of things. Also, if there's a need for more involvement in other areas like the classes on the Belhar confession, I'll be ready and willing to attend and do what I might.

It's just coming up to eleven PM here. Today has been a very good one. I listenned to some nifty podcasts. One of which was an episode of Ideas about what it's like to go into space. Grab that episode while you can. Dave Williams and his fellow astronaughts do a splendid job of sharing their experiences. A couple of recent episodes of Age of Pursuasion were also terrific. One looked at key women in marketting history. The other looked at people who took risks and thereby acomplished noteable success. Both episodes were fascinating as that show tends to almost always be. I spent a short while out on my balcony just taking in the soundscape as I stood at the railing. Haven't done that in quite a spell. Earlier, before I went out to lunch and drinks with dad, I had a bit of a scare with Rogers billing. I accidentally hadn't paid a good chunk of last month's bill. I hadn't realised that there were two separate acounts online for my iPHONE and for my internet plus cable TV. I had just paid the phone portion figuring I'd eventually see the rest of the balance owed pop up in that same acount. It never did and I never checked the acount selection part of the page. I know better now and can keep things more on the even keel I prefer my expenses to be. Automating payment isn't all that smart in my position since there could be times when it might very much matter when I pay such a big part of my expenses from my balance. Gotta make certain that the funds are actually there. Nice to have everything paid up again. Economics are getting somewhat tighter but are still quite manageable with proper discipline and patience. I very much enjoyed hearing Star Trek First Contact earlier this evening. That was one of the two best Star Trek films. It sounded splendid through my new speakers. So much depth of story, character development and ultimate hope for a better future packed in that one. Goodness! Winamp seems to be sending me a message. Of all songs, it picked Michael Gettel - The Storyteller Sleeps. Go figure. As I'm starting to lose focus, that strikes me as a good idea. Until next we meet, dear Reader, pleasant times.

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