My old housemate had a teary-eyed moment yesterday of remembering when we were living together, so I got to thinking a bit about why I moved and what's happened since. I moved out primarily to be closer to work, because the minimum 45-minute commute was really getting to me, especially training at a dojo that would then take 60-90 minutes to get to at the end of the day. As bonuses, my current dojo and the girl I was dating at the time were both down here. But, I also felt like I needed to leave the shelter of that house, finally; a safe place that filled my social needs without my having to really do anything. I needed a change.

It's worked out pretty well. I had always been really unhappy living alone, but despite sharing my current house, it's mostly like living alone, so I've had to engage and work with the things I was always unhappy about, and they're mostly dealt with, which is good. I very rarely feel isolated any more. It's kind of a nice hermit thing. I have other stuff to deal with about being open to people, but overall it's been a lot of really good work.

I bought a Squeezebox this week, basically a thinger that streams audio from a computer to your stereo (or anything with an audio input). It doesn't actually do anything that a PC can't do, but in addition to not having to administer yet another computer, I can move the Squeezebox around: I have the server software running in the back room on my beefy shell server, and I move the Squeezebox back and forth from the living room stereo to my bedroom stereo. Everything about it screams that it was designed by engineers who are tired of the gratuitous stupidity and middling quality of most products: it ships in a box that's exactly the right size, it has a small AC transformer that doesn't block other plugs, the UI is simple but elegant and powerful, the software works properly right out of the box. I've noticed that my house is always filled with music now, because I can easily listen to the internet streams that are mostly what interest me nowadays. And it has an alarm clock function, so waking up has become a new experience, because instead of the radio, with commercials and DJs talking, I'm waking up to culture failure, which is particularly lovely in the morning. I can feel all over how much more gentle it is. Not that I'm any more rested, but it's a great mellow start to the day.

Aikido is frustrating. I'm trying to get ready to test in June, and it's difficult...normally I don't test until I'm ready, so this is kind of an experiment to be a bit more proactive and try to push past it all and get ready anyway. Working through or around the frustration is part of that.

The New York Times has a fascinating look at a new kind of church taking root in (often remote) high-population parts of the country. I performed at a church of similar size in Fair Oaks, California a few times with The Irrationals, an enormous place meant to hold a couple thousand people. (I'm pretty sure it was Fair Oaks Presbyterian--if you look at this satellite map, you can see the huge complex of buildings they've got.) Nice enough people, but the amount of money involved was a bit unsettling: we got there and they opened up a drawer full of $2000 wireless microphones (Shure Beta 87s, which I highly recommend--the wireless bit accounted for about $1500 of the price).