Sunday, July 15, 2012

Improvements, Home and Otherwise

Now that I have a fast internet connection, I finally got around to downloading the latest version of Open Office. It’s a pretty big chunk of data that would have taken hours of time previously.

I’m pleased that the one and only thing that kept OO from being ‘perfect’ for my needs has been fixed. That is the use of Open Type fonts in my work and, in particular, for creating print-ready PDFs.

This is also a problem in my older version of Corel’s Word Perfect, although my more-or-less current edition of their Draw program handles OT fonts without problem. So, I assume, would an updated Word Perfect, but I’m not sure I’ll worry about that anytime soon. I do still slightly prefer WP for formatting, despite the extraneous codes it adds. They make clean conversion to the EPUB format practically impossible.

* * *

I’m pleased that we’re getting more rain this year. Last summer’s drought conditions were pretty bad but I didn’t need to mow just about every day like I am now. And my allergies were much less of a problem. Who knows which allergens are in the air at the moment but there’s something getting to me.

I certainly have enough flowers blooming so perhaps I’ve only myself to blame. The first hibiscus (Rose of Sharon) has bloomed, there are loads of Madagascar Periwinkles (which are a semi-weed), many of the petunias continue to flower. My hydrangea blossomed for the first time this year, as well.

But then, there is lots of grass pollen and mold spores and so on, so it’s all just guessing.

* * *

I continue to work towards getting the studios ready (art and music). The need to work around the needs of my mom’s care do prevent me from having things just the way I would like. That’s okay; I’ll get them as good as I can, as I can.

As far as actual recording and music-making equipment goes, I’m in pretty good shape – I can certainly do what needs done with what I have. The room itself needs work, both sound-treatment and sound-proofing. Treatment to make the sound of the room good, no odd echoes or cancellation of frequencies, and sound-proofing to keep outside noise intrusion to a minimum.

To some small degree, improving one will improve the other. Foam or fiberglass panels on the walls will attenuate sound from the outside a little. Not a lot but every bit helps. Right now my windows are open in this heat so it wouldn’t help at all!

Incidentally, adding foam, curtains, movers’ blankets, etc. can also help with heat insulation. That’s something I need more of, come winter. So I just ordered (having watched for the bargain, as always) a set of heavy quilted sound blankets that I can put wherever, for temporary insulation of sound and heat, as well as acting usefully in deadening the sound some. I made sure to get ones that are completely safe to use as actual blankets too – if one doesn’t mind a few grommets, they’ll work just fine on ones bed.

For now, they’ll probably go over the windows and the passage between the music room and the kitchen. I could also use some to rig up a temporary sound booth of sorts. A real sound-proof booth might prove a useful addition somewhere down the road. That, I would build myself, I reckon.

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