Sunday, April 30, 2006

sun and sand!

I'm headed out the door - FINALLY - for a week on the beach in Florida! I've been looking forward to this day for weeks. I intend to try to forget all about work and day-to-dayness until Friday.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

lucky numbers

My new addiction is the Virginia Lottery. Not long ago, my mom started getting a couple of tickets each week for the Florida Lottery because the jackpot was up to $82 million least until last night, when two people matched all six numbers and crushed the jackpot back down to $3 million. It's only $1 a ticket to play in both Florida and why not get two or three tickets?

"Consider it entertainment that might reap big rewards," Mom says. She's right, I suppose: after all, the Mega Millions lottery in Virginia was up to $265 million on Tuesday before one person hit the jackpot in Ohio. Now it's a paltry $20 million or so. Pocket change by comparison. I bought three tickets on Tuesday and I did get the Mega Ball number correct on the first one. That won me a whopping $2. Not a big winner, but still - I was excited about the drawing all afternoon. And I made back two of the three dollars I spent. True, I didn't win a damn thing on the one ticket I bought last night for the Win for Life drawing, but who cares? There's another Mega Millions drawing on Friday night.

Who knew $1 could buy so much excitement?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

holy itunes?

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, the end of Holy Week. For those of us who work in the church, this is the most important (and often busiest) week of the liturgical year. It is a time when - hopefully - our hearts and minds are open to holy and the divine.

Now, with that in mind...the following statement may sound a little strange: I'd like to share with you three coincidences involving Holy Week and my iTunes. Seriously. I make no claim as to the meaning of these incidents - I know only that they happened and that the odds of all three happening are slim, to say the very least.

Incident #1: Good Friday, 2005 (last year)
Having finished singing the noon Good Friday service, I went into my office to get some work done before heading out for the afternoon. I opened iTunes on my computer and put it on shuffle. (I should note that I have over 3,400 songs in my iTunes - that's over 10 days of continuous play. I have almost my entire music collection on there.) The second or third song of the shuffle was a track from "Jesus Christ Superstar" - specifically, it was the track entitled "Trial Before Pilate (Including the 39 Lashes)." The timing was significant enough to me that I mentioned it to a couple of people in the office.

Incident #2: Palm Sunday, 2006 (last Sunday)
Each year on Palm Sunday, we end the service with a very moving rendition of the hymn "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded." It begins with a boy soprano singing the first verse solo, followed by the choir singing verse two a capella in four parts. For those not familiar with the hymn, the melody is from Bach's "Passion Chorale" - it is a traditional Holy Week hymn. Following the service, I went home to make lunch, still humming the song. As I sat down to eat, I put my iTunes on shuffle. The second track that played was Paul Simon's "American Tune." For those that don't know the song, the the melody is also from Bach's "Passion Chorale." It is the same melody as "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded." (Side note: We actually sang these two pieces - "O Sacred Head" and "American Tune" - together in alternating verses at a Maundy Thursday service two years ago.)

Incident #3: Holy Saturday, 2006 (today)
Having been busy for most of the week and finally having a day of relative rest, I decided to clean out my closet this afternoon. As I began to work, I put my iTunes on shuffle. On this day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the second song that played was from "Jesus Christ Superstar." The specific track? "Trial Before Pilate (Including the 39 Lashes)."

Happy Easter, all...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

minutia of a thursday afternoon

I really need to get a new look for this blog.

My friend Austin just made herself a rockin' new design and layout for her blog. Check it out: it looks pretty great, right? I think it's the second redesign in the last three months, each one better than the previous one. And all of this in spite of the fact that she promised me back in October that she would drag me out of my dorkdom by putting her creativity to use and providing some hot new design idea for my blog. You might have noticed that that hasn't actually happened yet. (Yes, I'm calling her out, just a little bit - but only because her site looks so freakin' sharp!)

Meanwhile, I have to share the best link I've received via email all week (maybe all year). Erin gets the credit for finding this little nugget - it's the Falling Bush screensaver: Republicans, beware - you won't like this. The rest of you (I think perhaps ALL of you reading this?) enjoy! And take note: when he gets stuck, you can drag him around with your mouse, even squeeze him through seemingly too-tight spaces. Endless hours of entertainment!

Speaking of entertaining, my favorite - albeit not terribly PC - quip today comes from my sister, Leslie: "There's nothing like an overweight Hasidic Jew riding on the back of a Vespa to make your day. I love Miami."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

inside the ipod

I can't pinpoint the date, but somewhere along the line I became a bit of a tech nerd. This morning, I got to scrub in on an iPod "surgery": Randy and I took his third generation iPod apart to replace a battery that wouldn't hold a charge anymore. This was appealing to me on three levels:

(1) I'd never seen the inside of an iPod before, and I had no clue how to open it since it seems so beautifully seamless. Fun challenge.
(2) Taking your iPod to the store to get the battery replaced costs $75. However, if you can figure out how to replace it yourself, the battery alone is only $25. I'm kind of cheap, so I love the "do-it-yourself" quality at work here.
(3) Most embarassingly, I know that this is the closest I'll ever get to participating in some cool, rare, Grey's Anatomy-style surgery (apparently I'm a TV nerd, too).

In truth, it's amazing how simple the iPod looks inside...and equally amazing how small the hard drive is that holds 20 gigs worth of digital information. We were able to swap out the battery pretty easily, and it seems to be working fine so far.

So I may not be ready for open heart surgery or brain tumor removal yet...but I bet I can program your DVD/VCR combo.