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Friday, June 29, 2007

Groundhog Days of Summer

As you can see, Hunter has taken to hanging around outside now that the weather is decent, so I took her to the vet to have her shots. Apparently, she is eight or nine years old! I had no idea. This explains why she seems to prefer climbing to jumping - her hip joints are middle aged. She sure has a lot of pep for an old lady, though, as demonstrated by her willingness to stalk a groundhog about twice her size (she didn't have the nerve to pounce, which is probably one reason she has lived so long).

Summer school ended today, and thank Christ. In the course of six weeks, my public speaking course took me from being quite comfortable giving a speech to being neurotically full of dread and anguish when giving a speech. From now on, whenever I hear someone give a formulaic speech as advocated by the course material, I will immediately discount everything they have to say. Also, PowerPoint is evil and should be obliterated, along with everyone who relies upon it.

Poor Lexx. I took him apart, desoldered the broken power jack and soldered on a new one. The jack itself seems to be working fine now - it is able to recharge a battery. Unfortunately, the system won't boot. In fact, nothing at all appears on the screen when I turn it on. Sigh. I'll troubleshoot some more this weekend. It's become something of a challenge.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Vale Lexx

First up, my Dell Inspiron 5150, Lexx, which I bought a week after my wedding with the money we saved by not being typical Americans, who apparently spend an average of $20,000 on one tacky day of their lives, has sort of carked it. The power jack stopped working, which according to the internet, is not an uncommon problem in these machines. Dell wanted to charge $400 to replace the motherboard - a little ludicrous since new laptops start at $500 - so we decided I'd be better off ordered a new notebook and parting out Lexx on eBay.

I've ordered a Dell Inspiron 640m from their outlet store. It's the same size as my old laptop but pounds lighter, with a dual core processor (1.83GHz, which is less than my previous 2.33GHz, but I suppose Lexx was a little overpowered given than I don't play games anymore), a gig of RAM (which I'm upgrading to 1.5Gb with my old RAM), 120Gb hard drive (up from the 100Gb I just bought a few weeks ago), DVD-RW (finally I can burn DVDs), Truelife LCD display, and Windows Vista. Cost: $589 scratch-and-dent. A pretty awesome deal, especially given that I expect to make a couple hundred back at least with Lexx.

In the meantime, since I have nothing to lose, I am going to try replacing the power jack on Lexx. I worked on it for about an hour last night, but it seems my 15W Old Faithful soldering iron isn't powerful enough to desolder effectively, so I'll pick up a 30W sometime this week and try again.

Since I don't have a laptop to play with, I've been sewing a fair bit to keep myself busy. I made this Johnny Cash corset to list on eBay, and there's a mint-green NIN TDS corset to come. I also bought a new pattern and made the corset at the left there, and I'm thrilled with it. It fits me better than the original pattern, although it's a bit trickier and uses more materials, so if I sell them, I'll have to jack the price up a little.
Tripoli likes to sleep in chests of drawers. In cat news, Tripoli and Moonlight are now getting along very well, though Hunter still causes a fair few problems. In case you hadn't figured, that ginger-and-white cat who belonged to our negligent bastard neighbors grew on us (we found out her name is Hunter), so now we have three cats -- one for every year we've been married, which is a worrying trend.
Matt took these pictures of the inside of the Harrisburg Capitol building last weekend during a tour which we serendipitously showed up just in time to take. The building is widely regarded as the most beautiful state capitol in the country, funded as it was by vast profits from steel and oil. We went back up to the Burg to see Shakespeare in the Park, which was quite wonderful (last show tonight), though it was more than a little surreal to be in the audience for the first time.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Exciting things

I alluded mysteriously a few weeks ago to "exciting things." I feel I can finally blog about them.

On the day after my last final, I was e-mailed by and auditioned for the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival for their 2008 season. "But Melissa," I hear you say (I don't really, but in a perfect world where everyone asked the right questions to further a story, this is what you would say), "didn't you quit acting to become a music student?"

Why yes, I did. And as I have reported on this blog, the degree has been going splendidly. However, the roles in question were Juliet, and Marina in Pericles.

Aaaaaand I got them. Both of them.

So now I have to defer the spring semester of 2008 in favor of a four-month fulltime theatre gig. That's not ideal, but I'll be playing Juliet and Marina in a big city in a single season with a fantastic rep company (Matt and I saw The Taming of the Shrew there after my first callback audition, and it was top-notch). I couldn't turn that opportunity down unless I were in some kind of horrible accident that severed all four of my limbs and mangled my face.

I'm so happy. I need to find an Ashtanga yoga class or something to binge on for the next seven months. I'm going to need every ounce of strength and fitness and stamina I can muster.