October 31, 2005

Gwen Alert

I just looked back after hearing even more scratching and found that Gwen uprooted her hamster house! It's now leaning precariously forward and is tipping as she continues digging. This may be an indication of full-scale revolt.

Posted by Andy at 10:51 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

The Gwen Report

Feverish scratching is taking place at 10:12pm. The whole hamster house is now shaking around, which could mean that Gwen has been reanimated as a Frankenhamster. I don't see any lightning bolts though...

Posted by Andy at 10:13 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

October 28, 2005

Gwenwatch, the Revenge!

Gwen bit me! I just caught her outside her basement lair for a lengthy drink, gave her a hamster treat, tapped at her cage a little bit in front of her and she bit me! I must have been asking for it - the hamster treat smell was probably on my finger and all. Fortunately for me, Gwen is an old weakling so no damage was caused, other than the bruising of my self esteem of course.

Posted by Andy at 05:21 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (2)


I am as a man tied to a raft exposed to the elements. Those who know him gather around, saying, "how can we help you?" but not one moves to break his bonds.

Posted by Andy at 04:06 PM to the Health category | Comments (0)

October 27, 2005


Here is a piece from the Rachmaninoff Vespers that I performed in high school in a group of local All-State choristers we called the "nine-tet." It has to be one of the most ethereal and beautiful pieces written (that goes for the entirety of the Vespers) and I know some of you will think so too. I would rate this recording as a "must have" in my collection, and am happy to share more detailed info about it if prompted. This recording is not from my high school group, I should probably add. In fact, many have a problem with the conducting style exhibited on this album, stating it is nowhere near authentic to the original version. I am of the opinion that this version is incredible and conveys its message clearly, thus negating the necessity to maintain absolute historical accuracy.

Bogoroditsye Devo, raduisya,
Blagodatnaya Mariye,
Gospod s Toboyu.
Blagoslovenna Ty v zhenakh,
I blagosloven plod chreva Tvoyevo,
Yako Spasa rodila yesi dush nashikh.

Bogoroditsye Devo, Raduisya


Rejoice, O Vergin Theotokos,
Mary full of grace.
The Lord is with Thee.
Blessed art Thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of Thy womb,
For Thou has borne the Savior of our souls.

Posted by Andy at 12:54 AM to the Music category | Comments (2)

Gwenwatch, the Night Rolls On

Around 5pm tonight I realized that I had been forgetting to give Gwen hamster treats! Yes, there are hamster treats, and yes, they were left for me along with the food. This could change everything. Well actually it couldn't, but it sounds ever so much more engaging to say that it could.

Posted by Andy at 12:16 AM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

October 26, 2005

Gwenwatch Day 10

I made a startling and kind of sad realization last night about our hamstery friend Gwen. As you may have been reading (yeah right, like anyone is reading this thread) she has been digging a basement level below her hamster house. Well, after some observation last night I feel confident that this is in fact her food storage depot! It appears feeble little Gwen is cutting down on her trips up and down the ladder to her food dish by taking more than she needs with each (infrequent) trip. I wish I could move the dish to the bottom level, but I would essentially have to dismantle the cage to do it. I did dump a small amount of food to the bottom last night, which could extend her life expectancy by a few hours with any luck.

Posted by Andy at 03:18 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

October 25, 2005

Next Stop: Rinaldo

Prepare yourself for some high opera! Below you may listen to a "triumphant entry" from Handel's Rinaldo featuring Gerald Finley, who is for my money the best bass on the classical music scene right now, and maybe the best over the past 30 years.

Sibillar gli angui d'Aletto,
e latrar vorace Scilla
parmi udir d'intorno a me.
Rio velen mi serpe in petto,
né ancor languida favilla
di timore pena mi diè.

Sibillar gli angui d'Aletto


All around I seem to hear
the hissing of Alecto's serpents,
and the barking of hungry Scylla.
An evil poison creeps into my breast,
and has stung me with the dull spark
of fear.

Posted by Andy at 10:53 PM to the Music category | Comments (2)

Gwenwatch, Tuesday Edition

Unfortunately my cable connection has been out for the most part over the past few days. I apologize for the startling lack of Gwen updates. Over this time I have realized that Gwen becomes far more active with some encouragement, and has no problem with careful petting and cage tapping. I moved her food down one level in her cage, as she has quite a bit of difficulty handling the ladders at her extreme age. The poor thing is all hair and bones.

Posted by Andy at 08:46 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

October 23, 2005

Gwenwatch Pasadena

We're now entering day 7 of my reports on Gwen the hamster. Day 6 was met with resistance in the form of an internet outage, but you really didn't miss much. Today, however, is a different story. Furious drinking has just taken place within the last 3 minutes, followed by scratching (at the lid of her hamster-house basement grave perhaps?), and now silence. I have heard that hamsters only turn silent when they are about to attack. Believe me, I am on my guard!

Posted by Andy at 03:56 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

October 22, 2005

Game Ruts

Here's a page from an interesting article over at Tom's Hardware about games getting stale. This is an issue I've considered any number of times with any number of games, most recently World of Warcraft, on which this particular page of the article focuses.

Tom's Hardware Guide Games & Entertainment: Tedious Moments In Gaming - Role Playing

For what it's worth, I think game creators get stuck in ruts in their work just as the rest of us do. Constant innovation is a nigh-impossible thing, but that's frankly what we gamers want.

Posted by Andy at 04:16 PM to the Games category | Comments (0)

October 21, 2005

Gwenwatch Night 5

Gwen is digging and scratching feverishly under her hamster house. Either she is looking to complete a finished basement or she is digging her own grave. We'll find out soon I imagine.

Posted by Andy at 11:56 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

Gwenwatch Day 5

We have movement outside the house and drinking from the water bottle today at 4:18pm. It also appears food has been eaten, perhaps sometime after 1am last night.

Posted by Andy at 04:18 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

October 20, 2005

Gwenwatch, 4th Installment

And... yes! We have water drinking, followed by judicious wood scratching at 11:41. Hopefully "scratching" doesn't constitute "death throes."

Posted by Andy at 11:43 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

Gwenwatch Part 3

10:30 - Considerable scuffling heard. Gwen sighted outside the house for at least one (1) minutes. The concern has been raised that perhaps Gwen is on a hunger strike in protest against her new environs. Perhaps I should set a mousetrap so I can pick her up and feed her more easily.

Posted by Andy at 10:42 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

Gwenwatch Continues!

This just in. At 3:52pm Eastern time scuffling was heard in the vicinity of the hamster house. No visual contact has been made at this time.

edit: Additional scuffling is underway at 4:41pm. Camera teams standing by.

Posted by Andy at 03:59 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (1)


Verdi's Requiem contains stirring music from beginning to end, but the ultimate moment for me lies midway through the Offertorio as the Domine Jesu Christe ends and the Hostias begins. Given the constraints of file sizes, I can only offer you the Hostias itself, which is beautiful in its own right. If you like what you hear or would like to know more about this recording, drop in a comment.

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine,
laudis offerimus,
Tu suscipe pro animabus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus:
fac eas, Domine, de morte
transire ad vitam,
quam olim Abrahae promisisti
et semini ejus.


For those not up to speed on their latin or mass-memorization skills, here is the translation.

Lord in praise we offer to Thee
sacrifices and prayers,
do Thou receive them for the souls of those
whom we remember this day:
Lord, make them pass
from death to life,
as Thou didst promise Abraham
and his seed.

Posted by Andy at 03:39 PM to the Music category | Comments (0)

New Music Category

I have decided to talk a bit more about music in this blog. I really liked posting the track from Renée Fleming's Handel cd and got a few nice comments via email, so I'm going to continue in that vein and post snips from my collection along with words or background. I have moved my Handel post to the music category now as well. Stay tuned.

Posted by Andy at 02:51 PM to the Music category | Comments (0)

Gwenwatch 2005!

On monday my friend Joe dropped off his and his new wife's hamster here just before embarking on his honeymoon. I have watched Gwen the hamster in the past (maybe 2 years ago), but this time I have decided to up the ante and provide you with a thrill-packed play by play as the days roll on...

Day 1
On Monday evening Gwen arrived, seemingly unphased by her journey from Columbia to here. Over the 3 to 4 hours we were both awake, I believe Gwen had a drink of water, otherwise hiding out in her little hamster house.

Day 2
I believe I heard a little scratching from within the hamster house. Gwen journeyed forth for a short drink of water around 9pm, then returned to the confines of her red-roofed abode.

Day 3
I assume Gwen made the daily water ritual, but I can't say for sure. To my knowledge there has yet to be a run on her food dish.

Day 4
That brings us to today. At 2:41, I can report no activity. Further bulletins as events warrant.

Posted by Andy at 02:41 PM to the Gwenwatch category | Comments (0)

October 17, 2005

Psalm 34

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Posted by Andy at 06:09 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

Wedding Over

I just got back from the wedding of two good friends of mine. I was a groomsman as well. In a nutshell, this weekend could really not have gone any worse for me unless I had been hit by a truck on the way home. This turned out to easily be within the top 10 worst things that have happened to me since I got sick, which essentially means ever. Please pray for me.

Posted by Andy at 01:22 PM to the General category & Health category | Comments (0)

October 09, 2005

Ravens Look Terrible!

Today's Ravens-Lions game was probably the worst football game I have ever seen. The penalties were bad enough, but I did not really expect the team to just throw in the towel as they did in the second half. It seems to me there is a coaching crisis in Baltimore.

Posted by Andy at 10:29 PM to the Sports category | Comments (0)

October 07, 2005

Site Bugs Fixed

The last few days have been immensely frustrating due to two small but persistent bugs in my Faiths and Empires campaign website. Neither bug is the result of bad code on my part, but rather errors in specific web browsers. I was able to fix both today to my satisfaction, but now I have to try to rest my right hand and arm for a while. Sadly, clicking and typing to the degree I've needed really screws me up. I'm still happy to have fixed those problems though of course. Hopefully now I can get back to adding creative and detailed content to make the site even better.

Posted by Andy at 10:27 PM to the Computers category & Health category & Roleplaying category | Comments (0)

October 02, 2005

Faiths and Empires website

I have completed the website for my Faiths and Empires Dungeons and Dragons game to the point where I feel good about putting it up on the internet. I have created my world with an eye on ancient historical cultures. Feel free to take a look, and leave any comments you might have about it on this post.

Enter the Faiths and Empires website.

Posted by Andy at 10:18 PM to the Computers category & Roleplaying category | Comments (1)