I recently figured out how to assign my own hot keys in LibreOffice Calc (Linux “Excel”, basically) after wondering for years if that was a thing one could do in M*crosoft Word. That was back when I used university computers for the bulk of my composition. And before Word was subscription-based, and you could get around not having Word on your system by using G**gle Docs, with slight losses on formatting.
Anyhow, I was surprised there wasn’t a “merge cells” hot key already. I make kinda funky personal charts and I have issues with my arms, so I needed to be able to merge cells quickly and physically easily. I assigned “alt+m” because it was quick and ergonomic to type and easy for me to remember. I probably could have just used a template for what I was doing instead, but I like to make my own stuff when I can because it’s set up better for my preferences. I’m very particular.
And. I can’t figure out how to properly compile then install Sneedacity, the first Audacity fork I tried as a replacement for Audacity on my “try it out” list. I spent roughly six hours over the weekend trying to do so in a hurry because I wrote and edited two songs that I wanted to record and share with my family members that don’t live in the same city. Lo and behold, my “Linux level” currently seems to be too low. I’m embarrassed because it seems like it should be pretty simple based on the instructions. I promise I wasn’t trying to use the Arch instructions for my Mint machine.
My partner was a fresh pair of second eyes on the issue on the last day I tried, and we both decided to try a different program for now, until I have more practice with compiling troubleshooting. I downloaded and installed Gnome Sound Recorder. It’s honestly more or less what I was looking for. It’s the most basic sound recording program I think I’ve interacted with for awhile. It may as well be a little tape deck recorder with a few push buttons, but the program has remarkably better fidelity. I might be imagining it, but it seems to have greater fidelity than Audacity??? It’s probably my imagination.
Gnome Sound Recorder can record system sound, which is one of my main uses for audio recording programs. I don’t use “real” instruments yet for a bunch of dumb reasons right now. I’m having trouble with the file types not being recognized as “mp3” within my system and other folks’ once I send them to people, but we fixed it for ourselves using VLC Player to play the files. Also, apparently, a lot of non-Linux systems don’t play .ogg files or something? What?
Uhhhh. Basically, I fixed the problem for myself locally for now, but if I want to share with anyone else, (I think??) I’ll have to convert my files or modify them somehow through my terminal in order to make it possible for m*crosoft or m@c users to listen to my files. Or I could try to convince them to use VLC Player, but I want to respect other folks’ comfort, boundaries, and consent around their technology use. I’m trying not to be a “you should...” person, because I personally find it grating on the receiving end and I don’t want to do that to other people.
I guess I need to learn how the different audio file types work anyway. I learned recently while working through the Godot tutorial that some file types are copyrighted--like ogg. So I would likely need to convert a large swath of my ““content”” in order to post it or use it in something that might make ad revenue if I ever felt inclined to do so. It’s probably easier up front to record everything in a “safe” file type. I dunno. I like .ogg for its easy loopability and compression. Dang IP stuff.
I installed Cecilia over the weekend as well. I misunderstood what it was for: I thought I could record “live” audio, but it looks like it functions more like a post-recording mixer/synthesizer for existing files from my basic, less-than-an-hour prodding so far. Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled by the little bit I played around with while trying to figure out what it was about using songs of mine that I already had .ogg files of. It allows for so much control over the entire audio “space” of a piece. Lovely program. The first thing I like to do with these types of programs is see how closely I can mimic the sound of the song playing in an empty stadium, and then see if I can make it sound like it’s playing in the distance in a densely-packed forest.
Anyway! I made a heavily-Americanized, Hungarian-style barley goulash using smoked paprika last week. It’s only the second time I’ve used paprika in my cooking that I can remember, the other being the thing right before the goulash! I’m a big fan of paprika now. I was surprised that the smoked paprika was actually spicy on top of being remarkably smokey, and it had a strong savoriness to it that rounded out the flavor of the vegetables I used. I didn’t even add much for the volume of liquid I was working with. My recollection from my childhood of paprika was that it was only used for color. I’m wondering if the jar we had was just stale because it wasn’t used very much? It certainly wasn’t as red or as fragrant. Maybe shipping and containment methods have improved that much since my childhood?
I used a giant batch of stock I made as the base for the goulash. I’m so pleased with how many vegetable trimmings, skins, roots, and leaves I’m getting from our CSA produce. They make such tasty, hearty stocks. Some day, when we live somewhere with a garden we can contribute to, I’ll use the spent stock solids for compost. For now, there is a local program that we can take our compostable waste to and they commercially process it and make rich dirt available for the public for free.
We keep getting rhubarb in every box. So, I made a pair of tarts. One of them was just right because I ran out of sugar during its construction so it had half of what was called for in the recipe, and the other was unpalatably sweet. I also made rhubarb salsa with this week’s rhubarb. It’s a fine use for the rhubarb that’s not sweet. Not much else to say about it.
I tweaked the recipe for the wet dredge from the three cup tofu recipe that I used a couple weeks ago to coat some yellow squash and then I dipped them in panko and baked them for some semi-indulgent finger food. I liked it a lot! I might type that up because I spiced the wet dredge and did some substitutions in it. I generally don’t like how slimey yellow squash/zucchini feels, especially when it is undercooked and the seeds haven’t softened much. I also don’t like how limp it gets if it gets overcooked. The crunch of the breadcrumbed exterior made how soft the squash got during cooking pleasant to me instead. The hard/soft texture juxtaposition helps me appreciate its limpness attribute. I feel like a lot of cooking is problem solving to make “bad” things “good” in the right context. I don’t mean to say that soft squashes are “bad”; I just personally don’t like them in most applications I’ve consumed over the years.
Oh! I also discovered that cucumber ends and seeds give stock a subtle, almost floral note. We’re probably going to be getting a lot of pickling cucumbers in the CSA soon, so I’m glad I tried using them in a stock already!
Summer Games Done Quickly came and went without my knowledge until about the last day. I’ve been bingeing a few runs here and there as I do housework and other chores. I really enjoyed the coverage of the three-way race of Super Metroid. I felt that the commentators were highly knowledgeable about the game, routes, and tricks and had a light, comfortable chemistry between them by the end of the run. Antimony’s quick wit and early-to-mid 2000’s cultural references tickled my funny bone and caught me amusingly off-guard many times throughout the race.
I know it’s a bit of a sinister parasocial trick I’m playing on myself, but watching GDQ takes me back to the feeling of seeming ease of spending time around other people with a common special interest in high school or college. I know the memories are rose-tinted and inaccurate, but the stirring up of them gives me pangs of longing for that more easily socially-navigable in-person space of “we are here for this particular thing so it is ok to monologue and riff off of each other about this particular thing because that is what this space is for”. I feel like there is a strong, greater societal pressure to “grow out of it”. And I just. Haven’t? And I won’t? Because it’s my neurotype and my life and I’ll cry if I want to.
My partner’s sibling and their girlfriend are moving to a different state for school and job prospects. It’s a big bummer because we were all thinking about starting some sort of story-based tabletop weekly thing once they moved back to our home city and got settled. I feel like that would have helped with alleviating my desire for more accessible ways to spend time with people in-person once it is truly post-pandemic times (because it’s all about me haha). Oh well. Maybe we can figure out a way to do it virtually, or we can find another small group of people locally.
Anyway, thank you for reading! I hope you are well. Seeya again soon.