Monday, June 30, 2008

Each one misses by so far

So if you've subscribed to my blog using some kind of Reader (like Google Reader, Bloglines, etc.), you'll need to update your feed thingy for me because I switched to Feedburner today upon a recommendation from a wise blogging friend. So here's a new link to re-subscribe, or to subscribe new if you want to try out the Reader thingy. It's a nice way to keep track of blogs if you read a lot of them.
FEED ME (aka Subscribe to Spike, Peanut & Me)

That same wise blogging friend introduced me to the world of blog advertising, and this weekend, I got my first check. Woo hoo! So thanks to everyone who came and visited my little corner of the Internet. I will buy some beads and think of you :D

And because I am on a crafty roll, I want to show you what I made when I hung out at Wendi's house this weekend:

Gorgeous handcrafted beaded barrette from Anandi's Laboratory

Now ordinarily, I wouldn't think pink and red go together so well, but for some reason, I thought the background on these pictures just worked. And I'm happy to have another barrette to add to my little shop so the first one doesn't get lonely.

Hope you all out there in blog-land are having a good start to your week!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

To drown out what you said

I downloaded a new album from MP3 last week and I am IN LOVE. It was Matt Nathanson's "Beneath these Fireworks". I know, he doesn't really have a rock star name.

But the man can write a song. And in fact, his songs are the kind that already sound familiar to me even though I've never heard them before. Somewhere between Toad the Wet Sprocket and Matchbox 20, perfect little bouncy pop songs with tortured-relationship lyrics. I love it.

The other cool thing is his voice - it's a clear, soothing one, with the same qualities I love about Jackson Browne's. He kind of has the male equivalent of Vienna Teng's singing voice - just clear and pretty, and enunciates words so you actually understand them. (Pay attention growly metal singers, Adam Duritz, and Tori Amos!)

I found him through Pandora, a site whose praises I can't stop singing. Using their awesome technology, and amazingly huge library of songs, you create your own "radio stations" by adding songs and artists you like. Their system has a database full of metadata about each of the songs, so it uses that to recommend other songs you might like based on what you've picked. And if it chooses poorly, you give it feedback and it won't play that song anymore. And their picks are scarily accurate - I've discovered a lot of artists, especially metal ones, that I wouldn't hear otherwise.

My two favorite stations on there, depending on my mood, are a metal station that plays new (post 1998) metal, and one that plays shiny happy pop songs. It was on the latter that I discovered Matt Nathanson.

Here's a video from his newest album. I love this song too:

It's always weird for me to see the artist after I've heard their music - they never look like I expect :)

The other thing I like about this guy is his blog - somehow it seems totally accessible, like he's your buddy who just happens to be pursuing a career as a professional musician. I love that in one post he talks about being nervous before a show, and trying to win over the crowd, and he asks himself "What would Bono do?" In another he talks about how Paul Simon's "Graceland" is the perfect album and how it made him realize how much harder he had to work on his own music to get to that place.

In this day of manufactured pop stars and celebrity hysteria, it's nice to find an artist who just seems like a normal person. Woot. I can't wait till he comes to Seattle next, though it appears I just missed him a few months ago :(

Friday, June 27, 2008

I didn't mean to miss your birthday baby

First of all, Happy Birthday to Kristine, who shares the same birthday as me.

33 is sort of an uneventful birthday. Except that it's red, a palindrome, and divisible by 3 and 11. But what makes it especially cool is that it's 21 in hex. Which is so much more interesting.

(For those less geeky, I'm talking about the hexadecimal number system, where the base is 16 instead of 10.)

I usually have a policy of taking my birthday off - no one should have to work on their birthday. But unfortunately, I had a meeting I couldn't really miss. On the bright side I had no other meetings yesterday besides that one, so it was nice and quiet. I listened to a lot of metal in my office, kept the door closed, and cranked through a bunch of items I needed to do.

After work, we went out to the Icon Grill downtown, with some other Caltech alums. It wasn't really a birthday dinner - they had just scheduled this Caltech thing at the same time and I thought it would be fun. I like the Icon Grill because it's *pink* inside, and has all these neato blown glass things all over the place.

And they make killer drinks there. I had an 'Orange Drop' which was their signature martini, and then some sort of amazing champagne/Chambord cocktail that was red at the bottom and pinkish on top. So yummy, for my "21st" birthday :)

I came home to find that Dawn had written this nice entry in our Etsy Seattle team blog. Woo hoo!

Today I *did* take the day off, and my plan is to find some craft wire so I can practice a new design before using the good sterling silver. I'm pretty excited about it - it just sort of came to me, but from a quick Internet search, it hasn't been done a million times before either.

Tomorrow, I'm going to visit with TJ for a little while at the racetrack and then head over to Wendi's and do some crafty stuff. Yay!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I saw your picture on another guy's jacket

Giant Hippo in Lake Washington

I seem to be focused on photos lately. One of the things I struggle with is organizing our digital photos. I have a decent file system set up, so that each major event gets its own folder, and I delete the pics that suck, crop the remaining ones, adjust the exposure and color as needed.

But I've only done it for the past two or three years. I have a huge backlog of digital pics to sort out, including my trip pictures from Germany in 2003.

I have the photo equivalent of a junk drawer on our Windows Home Server (insert shameless product plug here). I have a folder called "Etsy_originals" where I just dump my camera contents. A staging ground for the editing tasks to come. Once I've prettied up the photos I want for my shop, I resize them and save them to a special "Etsy" folder.

But lately I have been lax about deleting the stuff in my junk drawer. So I had a few hundred pics there, mostly of items in my shop, but a few events, like TJ's birthday party and a trip to Luther Burbank Park with Spike and Peanut.

I finally posted those to Smugmug so you can check them out by clicking the links above. There weren't too many pictures in either set, but really, who's going to look at pages of pictures anyway?

Also, now that I'm a picture taking fool for Etsy, I forget to take my camera out into the world. So I vow to be better at that. That's why I bought my adorable tiny camera, right?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Music of the deepest forest

Yes, boys and girls, it's time for another episode of "What I Made This Weekend"!

Music of the Deepest Forest Necklace on Etsy

I found this pendant at a secondhand store, and at first, thought it was pretty ugly. But since it was so *interesting*, I bought it anyway and kept it in my Box of Bead Stuff for Later Inspiration.

I didn't have something specific that I wanted to work on this weekend, so I started thinking about what beads I had to give me a starting point, and this immediately came to mind. Since the center stone is a deep shiny gray, it would have been too easy to do some black and clear beads with it.

I thought some more, and decided what it really needed was some lovely sparkly green. I ruminated on this design Friday night and most of Saturday, and sure enough, the bits and pieces came together in my head, so that by the time I was actually ready to sit down and make it, I already knew what I wanted to do.

Because the feel of the necklace is a little dark and gothic, I thought it was time to finally crack open that bottle of liver of sulfur, to artifically antique the sterling silver chain. Liver of sulfur contains potassium sulfide and some other nasty sulfate compounds, which when dissolved in water, quickly oxidize (ie tarnish) silver or copper.

So I had fun with my stinky little chemistry experiment, though next time, I might set it up outside instead of in the kitchen.

Today, I built another lightbox to use for my jewelry and magnet photographs. My current cardboard-and-tissue-paper one is too small, falling apart, and not really giving me the desired results, though it did improve my photos a bit.

I used the instructions on this site to build my lightbox out of 5 pieces of white foamcore board and some white duct tape. (I couldn't find the white masking tape he talks about in the article.) I struggled with my spatial relationship visualization issues while putting the box together, but finally got a nice even (but huge) box.

It actually works surprisingly well, since now it's big enough for me to get in there with the camera, and also not cast my own shadows all over everything. I still need more light, though (which has been the problem all along).

Using the new box, I retook some of the photos for older items in my Etsy shop. Here are a couple of the "new and improved" versions:

Heart Needs a Second Chance Upcycled Bracelet on Etsy

I Want Candy Sterling Silver Earrings on Etsy

The cool background is just scrapbook paper I found at Joann Fabric & Crafts today. I got a little pad of paper called "The Rockstar Stack", filled with all these adorable rock and punk-themed patterns, with the most gorgeous colors. Most of them are too busy to use as photo backgrounds, but the paper was too pretty (and shiny!) to pass up. But I've made good use of a few pages already with the shop photos I re-took.

Thoughts on the new pics?

We just look away

So far it's been a niiiice, lazy weekend. Yesterday was one of those days where I woke up feeling sort of bleh, and tired, and like not doing much, so I didn't. Do much, that is.

One of the best parts of my day was catching up on the TiVo'd episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" for the past couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough so Week 1's performance show was deleted. Hmm, maybe I should check the new fancy "Recently Deleted Items" folder and see if it's still there. Apparently at some point our TiVo was beamed a software update from the Mother Ship so we have been noticing some subtle changes in the way the software works.

Aaaanyway, here's a performance that truly moved me - Twitch and Kherington's (!) waltz. I'm beginning to think that the flowy movements of the Viennese waltz really speak to me. (Or something.) This one isn't as good as Danny and Anya's performance last season, but it's still really gorgeous, even if the music is craptastic Celine Dion:

I think I loved it more because Twitch is a hip-hop dancer, so this is totally unexpected.

I also like that the show seems to make an effort to find a diverse bunch of dancers, and mixes them up when assigning partners, unlike those eHarmony commercials where you always see "like with like" - the Asians apparently only date Asians, etc.

So I guess I'm not going through TV show withdrawal - I'll have SYTYCD to carry me through the summer. I am missing "Grey's Anatomy", though. The return after the strike was all too short, though the episodes *were* pretty amazing. I guess I'll just have to save up for the DVD box set to get my fix.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Say what you want

Katy over at Sycamore Stirrings tagged me with this blog meme last week and I never got around to doing it. So that's what I'm gonna do now, though I'm going to be a bit of a rule-breaker and not tag anyone else for it.

I'm supposed to tell you six random things about me. I suppose they have to be somewhat interesting, huh? You probably don't care that my dinner tonight was a glass of milk, a peanut butter cookie and a chocolate chip cookie. Why? Because I'm a grownup and I can eat what I want, that's why.

Ok, here goes.

1. I graduated from high school just before my 16th birthday. While I wouldn't recommend that from a social development point of view, I love that I got 2 "extra" years to sort out my life, so my extra quarter in college and starting grad school late didn't really affect me much.

2. I met my husband when I was 16 and harbored a secret crush on him for a LONG time. We didn't start dating until I was 24. We got married just before I turned 30. Crazy, I know.

3. The hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life was getting through Caltech. That I came out with a decent GPA and an actual degree is icing on the cake. I have never worked so hard for anything in my life.

4. Spike and Peanut are the only real pets I've ever had. (No, I don't count fish.)

5. One of my favorite movies is "Crimson Tide". I have no idea why, since it's not particularly spectacular in any way. Zero bubble.

6. I really, really want to spend some time in Ireland. I don't know if it's because I started reading Maeve Binchy books when I was young, and have read nearly every one, or because secretly I'm Irish (kiss me!), but I can't wait to go there. That's gonna be our next big vacation, whenever that is.

So there you have it. If you decide to do this meme, post a link in the comments here so I can read it!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

There's nothin that I want to do

Happy Father's Day to my Appa, Dad, and any other fathers out there!

Today was just about perfect. Yesterday, TJ and I were discussing our out-of-shapeness, and he suggested I just get up today and go to the gym first thing.

Instead of that, I took Spike on a walk to my office to time it so I had a better idea of how long it would take during the week (and so I couldn't convince myself it was just *too* far). For the record, it took me 21 min to walk to TJ's building, and another 19 min to get to mine. So a 40 min walk, which isn't bad. (It's all uphill though, which is rough.)

Once we got there, TJ picked us up and we all went to Norm's, which is a fabulous pub/restaurant in the Fremont neighborhood that allows you to bring your dogs *inside*. We had an awesome brunch, and Peanut and Spike behaved themselves very well, in exchange for a 1/4 lb hamburger all to themselves, some blueberries and other fruit from my plate, and a couple of French fries.

And then we wandered around in the lovely sunshine for another half an hour or so. It was the perfect Seattle summer day - clear and sunny, but not too hot. It *almost* made up for the awful weather we've been having for months.

And then we came home and just hung out. Dogs were good and tired so they just found a spot to sleep for a couple of hours while I caught up on my work email and got the basic structure of my organizational system into Outlook. I feel ready to tackle the work week now.

Oh, and I sold another set of GeekMagnets today on Etsy. Woo hoo!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Look away, baby, look away

Did I already mention that my new job is sucking up all of my free time? Every last minute of it, I say. But only because I let it. I actually like it a lot, and I feel like I have a good handle on my immediate tasks. My new manager is also very good, so I'm happy.

One of the urgent tasks for me (in broad terms) is to get a bunch of people across the company to update a bunch of records in a database and add new ones. In a very short timeframe. (Now let's be real here, they had a long time to get this done, but of course, I've only been at work for a few weeks and the deadline is coming up fast.) So my very unglamorous role at this point is to "nag" people into doing it without completely getting on their nerves.

I started off pretty good, but it all went off the rails today. I like to strike a balance between casual and formal in my email notifications. (Somewhere between "hey dude, go look at our gnarly database when you get a chance" and "the overlords demand your immediate attention to this time-sensitive matter")

I even got an email today from someone I've never met saying how he appreciated my "nice" tone in the emails :) That actually made my day. And it was going to have to do, because I totally screwed up the rest of the day.

The problem actually started last night. Around 7pm, I was still working, and waiting till I had to meet Nathalie for a late dinner.

I had put together a fancy-schmancy spreadsheet of an export of our database listing entries that needed to be updated plus their owners. The owners part was a little challenging - I had to link up our records to another internal database and do a VLOOKUP formula in Excel to match them up.

Oh VLOOKUP, how I love and hate thee.

So I was pretty proud of my spreadsheet with all of its nice columns and this extra data brought in by our friend VLOOKUP, and I proceeded to send it out to about 100 people whose names were on the list, after sorting it by name for their convenience.

Mistake #1 - Sorting the spreadsheet apparently only sorted *part* of it, so the data in one row across got all mixed up.

So I send this thing out, and sure enough, because my coworkers are sharp people, someone emails me about an hour later saying how he thinks there's something wrong with the spreadsheet because it's showing entries he doesn't own.

By the time I see this email, I've had a nice cocktail, dinner, and it's 11pm and I'm ready to go to sleep. So I figure I'll tackle it in the morning, and secretly hoped that there wasn't really a mistake and that he was wrong.

So I got in really early today (after a short detour to downtown Seattle to get Top Pot donuts for some coworkers who helped me out on some urgent stuff).

I quickly found the issue in my spreadsheet and "fixed it". or so I thought, and re-sent it out to the folks listed on the new version. And figured "whew", crisis averted, since it was before 8am so most people weren't at work and hadn't seen the old or the new versions yet.

Mistake #2 - Same coworker from last night (I think this guy doesn't sleep!) emails me again to tell me his entries still aren't correct. When I check it's because VLOOKUP is actually now looking at the WRONG column for the lookup ID number, and pulling in a completely different (and WRONG) set of owners for these entries. Because I added a "check" column to my spreadsheet and forgot to change the original formula. And then I knew it was going to be a bad day, truly.

So of course, I start getting a whole flotilla of emails throughout the day about how this looks totally wrong (because it *is*). When I correct *that* mistake and send it out again, I think that I must be in the clear because who could screw up that many times on something so simple.

Mistake #3 - Now people are emailing me saying they can't actually see any of the data because the spreadsheet is looking for some external data. At this point I am ready to cry. Because I had another spreadsheet open while working on this, and pasted over some cells with formulas, it linked the two workbooks so when I send out one, people who don't have the other get crazy #REF errors. And again I look like a raging idiot.

So I fix this, and get the bright idea to put this on the network, so I can fix it and not have to send out an attachment to 100 people each time. I did that, sent out the link with more profuse apologies, and was notified by someone else that his data still didn't look right.

Mistake #4 - VLOOKUP has a parameter for whether you want the search to be approximate or exact. I guess there might be times where an approximate search might be ok, but really? And the value for approximate search is TRUE rather than false, which is totally counterintuitive. So I fixed it, and since the spreadsheet was out on the network, it was automatically updated, hopefully before anyone else saw issues with it.

At this point, I was pretty much done. I have sent out lots and lots of apologizing emails and my credibility with some folks is probably pretty low, which means I need to work back up to *not* being an idiot.

I left work before 5 today and came home for a big fat nap. Now I feel slightly better, though I've still got some emails to reply to in my work Inbox. (more apologies).

Lessons learned:

1. Triple check spreadsheet before sending it out - maybe even wait until the next morning to look at it with fresh eyes.
2. Post documents on a network share rather than sending attachments. Easier to fix up and smaller message size if you resend.
3. Be VERY careful with VLOOKUP. It will bite you if you're not careful.

Sigh. It can only get better at this point, right?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Your love is like a tidal wave

Almost done with the "hey I made this" posts, I promise. At least for this week, since I can't seem to make much jewelry during the work week. Today's posting was a necklace that took several months to come into being.

One of my bead suppliers is online, and I have historically had a problem with judging size online. I have ordered a way too small cookie sheet (the size of a legal size piece of paper), a way too big messenger bag (would fit that giant Apple 17 inch Macbook and still have room), and tiny magnets that were almost too small to see, let alone use for any of my projects.

So anyway, I was bead shopping online several months ago and saw some very cool onyx nuggets and bought them. Well, when they arrived, they were *huge*. I know the dimensions were posted, but somehow I thought I knew what that meant in my head without actually getting out a ruler to *see*. So these giant rocks sat on my craft table for months because they were so much bigger than I expected. I didn't know what I was going to make with them. And of course, once I labeled them in my head as "too big" I didn't really *see* them anymore or think about them when making new projects.

Until this weekend. The stash of new oxidized silver beads from India were on my mind and wanted to be featured, and I knew the onyx would be a perfect backdrop since it's not too flashy. And when I got those beads out, I realized that yeah, some of them were really big and heavy, but many of them weren't *that* enormous.

So I picked out the smaller ones, and made a necklace I have been envisioning for weeks - simple, but chunky and substantial:

Matching pair of earrings to be posted tomorrow. I love how they both turned out, and how if you look at the onyx very closely, some of the stones seem to glow internally, so they're not just cold rocks. Yay for projects that turn out better than my mind's eye imagined them!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Out here in the water so deep

I'm so excited to have a whole gaggle of things to post in my Etsy shop this week, so please bear with me for another crafty post.

This project was to get me back into the crafty state of mind this weekend. It had literally been weeks since I had sat down at my craft table and made anything, and probably over a month since I made something that wasn't a custom order with specific instructions.

So you know that feeling when you can make *anything* and then suddenly you're totally stuck? I guess if I were a writer (a REAL writer, that is), it would be writer's block. Or blank-page paralysis.

So I reached for the closest little bag that Amma brought back with her from India, and it was full of adorable little earwires with a cute oxidized silver flower embellishment. I figured earrings would be an good "ease into it" project.

I dug around in my bead boxes and found these divine orange heart-shaped beads I had salvaged from a bracelet at Goodwill. I only had 3, so I picked the two most similar for the earrings.

And then I thought that I wanted to do something *more interesting* than just sticking a bead on an earwire. (Even though the beads are really cool, in this imperfect handmade way.) And out of the corner of my eye I saw the compartment filled with the little blue metallic twisty seed beads that looked awesome in the tube but languish in my box because I never did figure out what to *do* with them.

Orange and blue look fantastic together. And with a tiny little gorgeous oxidized silver bead, also from the prized "Amma" stash, my "Just Like a Tattoo" earrings ignited:

And now I'm wondering if I should just keep them. I love how they remind me of those murals you see around LA, with a heart surrounded by flames and all sorts of bright colors around it. I guess it's a fairly popular tattoo design as well, hence the name.

Well, they're for sale now in my etsy shop. If they're still here in 4 months when the listing expires, these babies are ALL MINE. It's a win-win situation, right?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

In the distance there was a woman

We went to see Indiana Jones and the Giant Temple of Crystal Poo today. And that just about sums up what I thought about the movie. Shia LeBeouf annoys the crap out of me, and Harrison Ford seemed like a big dork. Sigh. I will admit that Cate Blanchett was awesome - I don't remember many of the movies she's been in, but in this one she did a good job.

New Etsy posting for today - upon Aimee's recommendation, I made a "barrette for grownups". She said she was tired of all the plasticky things she saw at places like Claire's, which are clearly not for grownups, but the nice ones at Nordstrom are way too expensive and sometimes way too flashy for everyday wear.

So I used the technique I learned in a class I took with Leslie at a local bead store, and applied it to a barrette instead of a pendant. I'm pleased with how it turned out, though pictures of sparkly things have been quite challenging. I'm still working on that part.

Thoughts? Comments? Like the lanyard, this is an experiment. If someone buys it, I'll make more. Making these takes a long time since each bead is individually wrapped onto the barrette. But once I got into the rhythm, and with a little help from Iron Maiden, it was nice and soothing :)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Everyone around loves them

Today was an awesome day for craftiness. I finally got to sit down and really go through the amazing stash of beads Amma brought me from India. A lot of them are really detailed, gorgeous oxidized silver beads. Some are almost too pretty to use :)

I made 5 things today for my Etsy shop. (And as usual, I'm torn about whether to sell or keep them.) So I'll post one a day for the next several days, so as to get maximum exposure in the Etsy search (everything is sorted by time posted, with most recent first).

Today's item was an experimental one for me - an ID badge lanyard thingy. I have these gorgeous "cane glass" beads I bought at Shipwreck beads when I went there with Wendi a few months ago, and I wanted to make something bright and shiny with them.

I'm trying to branch out instead of making the same necklaces, bracelets and earrings all the time so I thought I'd try an ID badge holder since more and more workplaces and schools are requiring people to wear their badges.

So here it is:

Whaddya think? If someone likes it, and buys it, I'll probably make more. This is my own little experiment...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

You still have made a choice

Yikes. I can't believe it's been so long since I posted. Actually, I can. In the back of my head, I knew returning to Microsoft would definitely increase my working hours (though I hoped I'd only be spending the time I used to commute to my downtown job in addition to a standard 8-9 hour workday.)

Hmm, so after about 3 weeks on the job, it seems like my average work day is about 10 hours, and I might need to get my email surgically removed from my body. The good news is that I really love my new job, and my new manager is pretty awesome as well.

So you'd think with all this working, I wouldn't have had time to do anything fun. Not so, thanks to concert tickets purchased months ago, and a husband who forces me away from the computer every now and then. Here is a list of pretty awesome things that I did in between a lot of work.

Rush Concert, The Gorge, Saturday May 31

Last Saturday, Dave and I went to see Rush at the Gorge. The Gorge is a concert amphitheater built right on the Columbia River, about 3 hours east of Seattle. Words cannot adequately describe the beauty of this place. I was in shock. The concert stage is set up in front of this amazing backdrop of the Columbia River Gorge. If you ever get the chance to go there, even for a totally crappy band, you must see it. It is unreal.

The concert itself was pretty good - Rush did a lot of their old stuff, though it was disconcerting to see how old the band members looked, even compared to when I saw them in college about 15 years ago. (OMG, college was 15 years ago?!) They didn't play either of my favorite songs, but they are such amazing musicians that it was a treat to watch. They did a lot of songs from their new album, which were just ok. Not good, not bad. The venue totally made this a worthwhile trip. And Neil Peart's drum solo was crazy amazing.

Word to the wise: if you are going to the Gorge, remove all contraband from your vehicle. We saw two arrests which seemed clearly due to the presence of the Happy Weed in vehicles of young dudes on their way to a show. The cops were in full force on their way to and from the show. I guess it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Oh, and the thing I learned at the show - the classic Rush hit "A Passage to Bangkok" is all about weed. I guess I'm just totally naive - I must have heard it a thousand times, and never quite caught on. But many of our neighboring concertgoers clearly came prepared.

Sex and The City Movie, Sunday June 1

The Good Thing that happened on Sunday was that I convinced TJ to go see the SaTC movie with me. (I would have gone by myself otherwise.) It was so fun! I forgot how much I enjoy a totally substance-free movie. (And by substance, I am not referring to weed.) It was funny, the outfits and jewelry were gorgeous (and some strange), and of course everything turns out ok at the end.

Tomato-Shrimp Risotto, Sunday June 1 and Thursday June 5
I dug out an old Weight Watchers cookbook and found a dubious-sounding recipe for risotto you can make in less than 20 min in the microwave. I figured it was worth trying once. OMG it was AMAZING. I am totally sold on using the microwave to actually cook things. I liked it so much, I made it twice this week. And ate it for four meals. Woot.

Iron Maiden Concert, Monday June 2

So several months ago, I heard on the radio that Iron Maiden was coming to town. I was never a huge fan of them - somehow they just seemed more like a "guy's band", like Judas Priest. I'm not sure why I never got into them, considering their singer Bruce Dickinson is pretty amazing and they have some really cool melodic tunes.

Since I had never seen them before, and since these guys have been around since the early 80s and may never tour again, I figured I should go. A horizon-broadening experience - a cultural outing. So I wasn't really actively excited about it, but I love metal, and the energy at a concert.

I am a HUGE fan now. Their concert was basically just a Greatest Hits show. No new crappy music to deal with. I had heard of every single song except one and they played my favorite song of theirs (The Clairvoyant, if you must know.) They had the typical 80s metal band elaborate sets, smoke machines, FIRE, fireworks, and awesome lighting. They had an Egyptian set for the Powerslave stuff and a pirate ship set for "Rime of the Ancient Mariner".

They had a 20 foot tall mummy version of Eddie, their scary mascot. They had another Transformers-looking version of a 12 foot tall Eddie come out on stage.

Simply put, these guys *still* know how to put on a great show. Bruce can still sing, and their four guitarists (weird, I know) are awesome too. Everyone, band and crowd, was having a great time. It surprised me how many people under 25 were there, too. And they were totally into all the old songs, singing along like they had been there in 1985 when those songs came out. Heck, most of them weren't even ALIVE. But the energy of that show was just fantastic. I think it was one of the best I've seen, all time.

Amazing Bead Delivery, Wednesday June 4

Amma sent me the beads she bought for me in India. Sadly I don't have pictures yet so I can't post any, but WOW. I will have a lot of fun with these. She bought a LOT of unique handmade silver beads, some really pretty gemstone beads and a giant stash of sterling wire for me. The not-so-fun part was locking my keys in the car at the FedEx office. Thank God for nice husbands, or I'd be making jewelry in the FedEx parking lot in Issaquah right now.

Hopefully I can post some pics and make some pretty things this weekend. My etsy shop has been sadly neglected for a little while - I haven't posted anything new since last month!

Whew! So that's a lot of catching up I just did. What have you all been doing??

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