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What I’ve been doing, lately.

Learning to play the guitar, finally.

The Schecter Diamond Series electric to the left is courtesy of Domino (a high school nickname I can’t stop using), my accompanist, who loaned it to me so that I could practice on a guitar without so much force needed to hold down the strings.  The Washburn Lyon acoustic is the guitar Wasband got for me the Christmas before we were engaged, in 2008.  I figured 3 years in purgatory was enough, and finally pulled it out of storage on January 1st (total coincidence, BTW – this wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, just an impulse), tuned it, and began to learn how to play.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook have been privy to my late-night ramblings about chord progressions and “Seriously?  How complicated is this song, and WHY is it that complicated?  WTF, Y U NO MAKE SONG EASY, HUH?”

I can play several songs, albeit very slowly, and they’re definitely easier on the electric.  I’ve adopted the “guitarist’s manicure” of short nails on the left hand, and longer nails on the right, and it’s made typing, texting, and other activities very interesting.

Here’s proof that I know a couple of chords.  Also, that my fingers look really awkward (somehow, playing French horn for 13 years did nothing to help my left-hand coordination, because both my thumb and pinkie really want to be wrapped around a hook, and the other three fingers want to be flat, not curved):

It's an A! WOO! (Demonstrated on the Diamond)

B7! (Demonstrated on the Lyon)

Incidentally, this finger-retardation at the hands of my French horn is why I can’t play Guitar Hero past the “Medium” setting.  My pinkie just won’t cooperate.

I have begun to develop callouses, which makes typing even MORE interesting, because the tips of my fingers are numb unless they’re being subjected to metal-string-related abuse:

Note the cat hair sticking to my middle finger. It's inescapable in this house.

My fingernails are that sickly color because I nervously picked my nail polish off, instead of using polish remover, and they’re stained.  Why was I nervous?

That's right. School.

I started classes on the 9th, and I have to say that I am, once again, sorely disappointed in the lack of grammatical capacity of both my fellow students and my professor (a woman who has an entire website devoted to the books and articles she’s written, and plugs both in announcements and general comments in the class; that’s just tasteless, IMHO).  My classmates have the usual issues that you see in middle-school-aged kids, with incorrectly-conjugated verbs, subject-verb DIS-agreement, sentence fragments, and citing Wikipedia after expressly being told that Wikipedia is not allowed.  My professor, on the other hand, misspelled “Wikipedia” as “Wikapedia”, and continues to do so, seemingly at random.  It’s confusing and disheartening, because it makes me feel like she’s cutting and pasting things (plagiarism!) when she spells it correctly, which makes me not want to try as hard in the class to do a good job.  It’s such a little thing to bitch about, but when the ONLY interaction you have with someone is in writing, it’s really difficult to respect the blatant-error-maker behind the blatant errors.  My classmates don’t really have an excuse (I feel like I’m in English 101, rather than a graduate school course), and my professor has no excuse.

Basically, I’m viewing my classmates as the bloggers/Twitter users who type everything in all caps or in text abbreviations.  The difference is that I have to read their work and respond to it, or I don’t get a good grade.  It’s like a form of torture to me.

On a fun note, we’re talking about discrimination, and I’ve decided to buck the trend of talking about homosexuals, black or Hispanic folks, and women, and focus on a group of white males for my discriminated group (yes, really).  I’m doing my project on rednecks, and  how the connotations and direct meaning of the word have changed significantly in the past 150 years.  Yes, it’s a valid argument.  Yes, I’ve gotten some weird comments about it.  Yes, I’m loving every second of it.  It’s really the only joy I’m getting out of the class.

In addition to taking this class, I’ve been continuing to tutor as my only means of (much needed) income.

The subject that I can actually share information about in a public forum.

Somehow, 3 out of the 5 evenings I tutor are on the ASVAB.  After my first student, I put a blurb on my tutoring profile through the site I use to get customers about how much I was able to raise his score (18 points – not too shabby, considering the circumstances that I’m not really allowed to share with you; trust me when I say that it was a significant achievement on his part, though, and he worked his ass off to get there), and until I made my profile non-searchable yesterday (because no one wants to be tutored in the middle of the day, and my evenings are pretty full), I got four or five students asking me about tutoring them on the ASVAB.  I got a phone call through the recruiting station where my first student went (he gave them my information to give out, because he was so happy with how I helped him), and while that person never followed up, I have three solid days of ASVAB per week from two students (and this may turn into 4, depending on how my second student decides to proceed).  The other two nights are spent on elementary-through-high-school-aged sets of siblings, and will likely last until May.

In non-academic news, Sophie’s been feeling under the weather, and has taken to hiding under the end of the bed when she can’t be seated RIGHT ON TOP OF ME ZOMG:

Also, I need to vacuum. I apologize.

She sneezes a lot when it gets colder outside, because the heater coming on kicks up dust, and I started giving her antihistamines in my bathroom, which made her go, “NUH-UH, MOMMA, I’M OUTTA HERE, KTHX.”  I had to switch to giving them to her in Forrest’s bathroom, because she will never see it, otherwise, and that way she will actually go INTO my bathroom to eat and drink (which she’d stopped doing for a couple of days – it scared the shit out of me).

This is how I surf the internet (scary webcam photo with bad lighting – beware!):

The word "rack" is being taken literally by this creature. Also, lulz at her facial expression.

If I’m sitting up straight, she STILL tries to sit on my chest, and, um, yeah…my boobs are pretty big, but they’re not actually a shelf, so that’s when she gets pissed off and goes under the bed.


Other things are in the works, such as being an extra in two movies next month (local productions done by friends and acquaintances, for credit and a copy of the movies – my IMDB profile will grow a bit), singing in a show on February 3rd (all covers, but hopefully someone will have a damned video camera that works, this time, so that I’ll have something to show my family and friends who can’t make it), and the all-important task of finding a regular job.  Tutoring is fine, but as I mentioned above, people only want tutoring in the evening, and while I get paid a decent amount of money for a 2-hour session (it equates to a full day of minimum wage, minus taxes), I need to, you know, go to the doctor, have savings, and feel like a productive member of society.  I’m still irritated that the personal assistant job didn’t work out (long story that’s based around bad timing for the company, and the owner’s inability to see it because a lot was happening), but I’m putting out feelers, and I’m really hoping I can find something, soon.  If I was sure my feet and legs could handle it, I would have applied at Costco or something long ago.

This is really sad, but I’m stopping this entry to do a homework assignment that I was unable to do before due to some of my source websites participating in the blackout protest (I get it, I don’t disagree with it, but most major sites allow you to see the protesting blackout page, but provide a way for you to bypass it to get to the actual site, because, HELLO, that’s how they make money – my sites are kind of obscure, and while they meant well, they didn’t think to allow people to access the sites during the protest, which is kind of stupid from a marketing perspective, and is also really annoying from the perspective of someone who’s assignment was due at midnight).

As a friend pointed out, though…it’s better than the tired “my dog ate my homework” excuse.  :-P

2 comments to What I’ve been doing, lately.

  • Wham-O Frisbee

    if it makes you feel any more generous toward your instructor, your grandmother is a crap speller but a proven mathematical genius.

    • Can you pick a username and stick with it? I have to re-approve you every time you make a comment, even though you’re using the same email address.

      If my instructor would stop using emoticons in her official writings to us, I’d feel a lot better about the situation.