Love at First Sight

I was in Best Buy several weeks ago and saw a laptop from 30 or 40 feet away. I instantly knew it was different and that I really wanted it. After not too much time of examining it I decided that I didn't really want it—I really, really wanted it. A week later I discovered that their marketing slogan is "Do you believe in love at first sight?" I didn't before, but I do now. Check out this commercial. It just makes me want it even more.

Atheism 2.0

Just saw this on TED.com. I like this guy's ideas.

Studying Piano

I can't imagine that there is anyone that has talked to me in the last month or so that hasn't heard that I'm taking piano lessons. In fact, everyone is probably pretty sick of hearing about it and probably thinks that's all I talk about. So for those of you that don't talk to me as often, let me tell you about my piano lessons. Clavinova Digital PianoFirst a little background. I have often wished that I had started learning to play the piano when I was younger. I would love to be able to play classical music by Rachmaninoff and others. I took lessons when I was 17 or 18 for about a year or so. I did learn to read the bass clef and made some progress in many ways, but also learned a lot of bad habits and didn't learn a lot of the technique and theory like I should have. Since then I have dreamed of the day when I would be able to own a piano and start taking lessons again. About 6 months ago I woke up one day and realized that I was finally in a position where I had enough money and time to take lessons if I wanted to. That's literally what happened. I distinctly remember lying in bed on a Sunday morning and suddenly being struck by the realization. I thought about it a lot for about a week and came to the firm conclusion that I absolutely wanted to start taking lessons. So I started the process of buying a piano. If you're not familiar with how complicated it is for me to purchase anything, you should read about my experience buying furniture. In short, it took me several months of looking around and reading about various models before I felt I had enough information to begin looking for the piano I was going to buy. Then after several more months of looking around and trying pianos out (occasionally dragging a pianist friend of mine along to get his opinion too) I found the perfect one. It's a Clavinova CLP, so not as many bells and whistles as the CVP line, but with weighted keys that actually replicate the action in a grand piano. For a digital piano, I think it feels great to play. It also has the glossy black finish, which fits in perfectly with the rest of my decor. The hunt for a piano teacher ended up being a much shorter hunt than I was anticipating. I got several lists of teachers from a few local music stores. There was one name on the list that I recognized: David Glen Hatch. He is a world renown concert pianist, so I figured he would be able to refer me to exactly the right kind of teacher. After talking on the phone and subsequently meeting with him for a (fairly thorough) interview, he offered to take me as a student. I was frankly shocked he was willing to take someone so amateur as me and actually had an opening, but really glad he was. Now I've been taking lessons for about a month and a half. My goal is to practice 2+ hours a day. I've had days where I've practiced 4 or 5 hours, though I've also had days of practicing 30 minutes. I am still trying to figure out how to balance practicing with everything else. I've been working a lot lately (12+ hours a day). On those days I actually tend to be good at practicing, because I don't try and do anything else: just work, practice, and sleep. The problem is, when I work fewer hours and try to do other things in the evenings like eat and do laundry, etc, then my practicing tends to suffer. Eventually I hope to get to the point where I can actually practice 2+ hours a day without it consuming my life. I'm really excited to by studying the piano under Dr Hatch. He is really a fantastic teacher. His instructions for how to learn and practice are always very clear, precise, and effective. He has very high expectations but also is very encouraging. One of the best things is that every time I come away from a lesson he has made me more excited to practice and learn the piano (even when I was miserable from having my tonsillectomy). I do think it will be a little while still before I would refer to myself as able to play the piano. But I that day is coming ...

Updated Apartment Pictures

I've rearranged my apartment quite a few times. The latest was after I purchased a new Clavinova digital piano a couple months ago. Here it is in it's new home.

Facebook Integration

I set up a Facebook integration on my blog —  just testing it out.

Starving But Unable to Eat

For those of you that would like an update, I've decided that tonsillectomies are not quite as fun as they sound. I've also decided that having 1 tonsil out is quite enough. I was told that the discomfort would get worse during the first several days and then get worse again during days 5 to 7. The day after I actually felt really good: not much pain or discomfort and much better than I felt before the surgery. But just as predicted, things steadily became more uncomfortable. I had the tonsillectomy on Tuesday. By Friday it was really difficult to eat, even while on pain medication. I'm on day 6 now. Fortunately I don't think days 5 and 6 were any worse than day 4; however, eating and talking are both really, really uncomfortable. It's about all I can do to drink a glass of juice or an 8 ounce Ensure shake. With every swallow the pain gets worse. After drinking or eating 8 ounces of food it usually takes me an hour or more to feel okay again. The pain medication also doesn't have a consistent effect. First off, I have to take it with food which is excruciating because the previous dose has usually worn off. Then it takes a half an hour or more for the pain medication to kick in enough to counter the soreness from having to eat something. Then after a couple hours the pain medication all of a sudden comes on full force and for about a half an hour I lose the ability to stay focused on anything and feel really drowsy. This is the best time to eat, because it only hurts a little to eat, so I can actually drink two glasses of juice or eat a yogurt and some apple sauce before having to give up. Basically I am just able to eat a little more before hitting the same level of pain so it still takes a while after that for my throat and ear canal to stop aching. On a more minor note, my jaw muscles and teeth have become a little sore from clenching them so tight every time I swallow. I have also lost my ability to swallow in my sleep and have had to start covering my pillow with a towel at night. At least it's more absorbent so I can move to dry spots multiple times throughout the night. So right now I'm starving and I've lost 5 pounds this week (which I just barely got back after my connective tissue graft). I haven't had pain medication for 6 hours, so taking it with food is going to be really awful. Most food sounds really good to me, but the discomfort of swallowing definitely outweighs the benefits of eating right now. Starving to death is sounding more and more tempting ...

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse from Amazon

Many people have admired my mouse and keyboard. I still love them and highly recommend them. For those that would like to purchase the same ones, here they are. I have signed up for an affiliate account through Amazon so if you click on these links to make your purchase I will get a small cut.

Still Very Funny

I posted this a while back. Found out recently that the embedded video I used had been removed from YouTube. So I fixed it. Here it is again for those that missed it the first time. And also for everyone else that didn't, so you can watch it again. I still laugh every time in case anyone is curious. This is definitely the funniest commercial I have ever seen in my life.

Flip-Flops

According to the Men's Health guide to style:
Rule #17: Wear Flip-Flops Only at Home What makes a man a man? He is strong. He is certain. He is prepared at any moment to meet a manly challenge with courage and fortitude. When a child wanders off the curb into traffic, when a date is hassled by a street tough, when a fire breaks out and someone needs resucing, a man is there, fast and ready. He is not skipping cloppity-clop-clop down the street, squeezing his toes together so his flip-flops don't fall off.
I couldn't agree more.

Mod 5 Volume Levels

Perhaps I shouldn't admit this, but yesterday while driving I realized that I typically only use volume levels on my car stereo that evenly divide by 5. It turns out that under very rare circumstances, this isn't actually sufficient. Yesterday was such an occasion: 35 was too loud and 30 wasn't quite loud enough. I compromised and went with a volume level that was even. I figured that was good enough under the circumstances.