lapis_lazuli022: (Default)
I think I've figured out why I don't like Sudoku: there's no reward. I like puzzles that lead you to uncover some hidden secret message, or give points, or have some other kind of bonus for completion. With Sudoku, you fill in all the little boxes and that's the end of it. Sense of pride at filling the last little box just isn't enough incentive for me. I have nothing against timewasting, I guess I just prefer it to be goal-driven timewasting.

I continue to love my iPod. I've never had an mp3 player that I've used as regularly for as long, but there's something about having my entire music collection along with me, so that I can listen to anything I'm in the mood for (instead of having to choose a playlist of what I /might/ feel like hearing on a particular day) is really nice. I've only used about a tenth of the thing's capacity, as well, so there's plenty of room for expansion. I'd like to get a second power cord so that I can charge it at work, and I need a new case for it to keep it from getting scratched up in my bag.

It still seems like a luxury, and it's a luxury I was hesitant to shell out for at the time, but when I'm commuting about two hours a day (sometimes three or more, accidents and traffic depending), I get where I'm going with a lot more of my sanity intact when I don't have to listen to the inanities of the people around me. Public transportation would be fine, if it wasn't for the people.
lapis_lazuli022: (flower)
This morning we got up early and took a scenic drive out to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to visit Planet Harp. These drives never take as long as we expect them to, so we were there about 45 minutes before the shop actually opened, and had plenty of time to browse around Bethlehem and Hellertown and see the sights.

The town of Bethlehem is all caught up on the star thing, and uses it in many of their logos and designs. In fact the tourist bureau tells you to "follow the star" to the notable tourist attractions in town. Slightly cheesy and overdone, but mildly amusing if you know you'll only have a short-term exposure to it.

Bethlehem itself used to be a bustling hub of steel manufacture, but has since slid into disrepair. As we drove by dinosaur equipment and burned out factories, I kind of wondered what it would be like to roam around there with [livejournal.com profile] kristenlou. A lot of the old buildings and machines were ripe for photography, and I'd have been interested to follow her around and see what caught her photographic eye. :)

Of course, that would have required there being places to stop long enough to take photos of the interesting buildings and machines. It'll take some more exploring to find places off the highway where that'll be possible.

Meanwhile, we did manage a photo of a bakery offering their famous Hotdog & Apple Pie (um... pass?). And when you go to the movies in Hellertown, PA? You really go to The Movies! (image) )

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The harpist at Planet Harp was busy starting a lesson, but still came out to meet me and say hello. She asked me to hang around for a few minutes until her husband, the guitarist, would be in and could help me. He was indeed very nice and helpful.

They didn't have the kind of harp I'd been looking for (a small, 22-26 string lap harp, like the Stoney End Brittany), but Ted (the Planet Harp guy) suggested that larger harps are much easier to learn on for beginners anyway, because you don't have to worry about keeping the thing from sliding off your knees at the same time that you're worried about where your fingers go and everything else you have to worry about.

He sat me down in front of a 29-string Stoney End Braunwen model with full levers, (which is the same shape and style as the one I'd been interested in, just a bigger version of it) and gave me the basic orientation. It felt comfortable, and I was encouraged by how easily I picked up on posture and which strings corresponded to which notes and other assorted things. And I liked the way it sounded.

So I rented it!

It's already dinged and scratched, and has a big (cosmetic, not structural, they think) crack in the neck, so I don't have to worry about having to be extra super careful with it. If it picks up a few more scratches, it's no big deal. And if it falls apart at that crack, it's already been noted so it's not my fault. It's in the rental agreement and everything. There is one lever that doesn't catch... it's on a high A that hopefully I won't have to use very much.

They'll call me when they get lap harps in, so that I can come and look at those in person. And if I decide to buy from them, they'll work something out with me for having been a renter. Good deal.

I picked up an instruction book, too, and started working on it tonight. I have to say, my progress so far is really encouraging. I'm used to being able to get the hang of instruments easily, and it frustrates me too much when (as with guitar) I can't.

I won't say I'm taking to the harp like a natural, but I'm certainly taking to it like a musician. I worked my way up to the first two-handed song in the instruction book this evening, and while it's going to take a lot of practice to make it sound polished, it already sounds like music. And, also? It's fun! I can do this. :)

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lapis_lazuli022

February 2015

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