Monday, September 28, 2009

"You are under my control"...

We've been watching "Meet The Robinsons" lately. One of Rowan's favorite parts are when the villain (aka "Bowler Hat Guy") hypnotizes various creatures*. To ensure they have reached the proper level of suggestibility, he tells them, dreamily, "You are under my control..." To which, the hypnotized animal replies, dutifully, "I am under your control..."

* - Mainly, the Singing Frog, but also a dinosaur... yes, this all makes sense if you see the movie.

Now that you have that image in mind, add our little three year old, walking around the house with a yo-yo, waving it back and forth slowly, and saying, in a forced monotone, "You are under my control..." If only she knew how much we, her parents are under her control. Hmm, come to think of it, maybe she does know. Let's table this topic for another day.

All this leads up to today's Useless Internet Drivel link. Those of you who are subject to motion sickness... move along now, you must leave. Likewise, any of you who are subject to visually-induced migraines or seizures. Away with you. But the rest... click on this link, and follow the instructions. IT'S AWESOME! (And a little unexpected, I must say, but that's just me.)

Visual Trick that messes with you

- Aw2pp, who took about a minute to fully recover from this. Just to warn you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nerds only, please

If you don't place yourself in some sort of nerd-relatedcategory, please go about your business. Nothing to see here. Have a good weekend.

The rest of you* (er, us) will appreciate the amazing awesomeness of this mix. I'm speechless in its presence.

* - And, given that this is a piano-related blog, that probably still constitutes a not-insignificant number. It's not like we're discussing something trendy, like Project Runway, Las Vegas, or Dan Brown's latest release.**

** - Although feel free to discuss these things amongst yourselves, natch.

And just to lay claim to some serious nerd credentials here, it's in my DNA: my Aunt and Uncle were part of the production crew for the original Cosmos series. In fact, that set for "Spaceship of the Mind" was the brainchild and creation of my Uncle John, who also reviews cars for a living. He has an Emmy at his home in San Pedro to prove it, and he'll let you hold it if I bring a nice Central Coast Cab with you. Personal experience suggests Justin Isosceles will do the trick nicely.

But I digress. Enjoy every moment of this. I know you will.

- Aw2pp, who will wear glasses (not contacts!) if'n he ever needs them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Festive Dance

I had a lot of fun learning this little piece. I had a maddening time trying to get a perfect recording (you know me). Instead, I leave you with this perfectly acceptable, yet subtly flawed version of this faintly Slavic thing-a-ma-bob. link

Festive Dance - Aw2pp

Technically, I was done with this last week, but wanted to grab a recording before moving on. My Alfred's pieces are (at the risk of incurring the wrath of the angry piano gods) easy these days. I am able to pick them up in maybe 2 or 3 hours (which, these days, still translates to a full week... not getting much bench time with our new busy Fall schedule). I know Hava Nagila looms shortly in the distance, and that is certain to take me a week or three. But for now, I am putting one lesson after another in my rear view mirror.

To make up for this, PT has assigned me some of her standard stuff. So I am working on a Clementi Sonatina. Without going into too much detail at this point, it's a real pain. In the Alfred's stuff, the LH mainly plays chords or simple repetitive patterns. In the Einaudi pieces I have learned, where the LH is often playing a repeating bass line, allowing one hand (sometimes both) to go on auto-pilot. Not so this classical stuff, where I have to pay very close attention to what both hands are doing. And, uh, well, I can't. At all. So this could take awhile.

- Aw2pp, keeping it between the ditches.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Even if you don't like tennis...

... ya gotta watch this.

- Aw2pp, who has nothing else for you today, but even if he did, Roger Federer would have something better.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lessons resume tonight

I've been away from lessons for a couple-three* weeks. During this time, I:

- Went from "yick, that sounds awful" to "hey, I recognize that!" on Stella del Mattino. Might fall back on this as my recital piece in November.
- Completed Festive Dance (oh, I owe you a recording) and did enough on Alfred's Scherzo to be annoyed by it.
- Worked some on the Clementi Sonatina I asked for last time.

* - "Two or three." This phrase works much better verbally, it seems.

So it should be a full lesson this evening, which is a bit of a problem. PT likes to talk. A lot. Each 30 minute lesson usually contains about 10 to 15 minutes of talking and catching up. Not sure there is enough room for that today, but we'll see.

In the meantime, since I have nothing much else to say, here are the annual first day of school pics, including Ro's First First Day of School. Enjoy.

- Aw2pp, new "Mad Men" fan.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Anthony B's Senator (well, one of them, anyway)

Setting aside whatever you might think about his politics, you'd have to admit, this is pretty impressive.

- Aw2pp, who did not play the accompanying piano music for this clip.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Checking in with Jason

I went to the Cubs game the other day with The World's Largest Kindergartner First-Grader. It was Jason's first Cubs experience. Here, I have the pictures to prove it.

Among other things, it was an afternoon of mental gymnastics. Jason has begun the Ask Random Questions About Everything phase, as I think I did when I was his age. If my recollection of my childhood is correct, and if he follows the same path I did, he'll remain in this phase for another 6 or 8 years. At least.

As best as I can recall them, here are some of the questions Jason asked. In no particular order, since it's not like they came up in a logical progression anyway.

  • How do the airplanes know where to line up? (On the way to the game, we drove on the Kennedy Expressway, which roughly parallels incoming flight traffic to O'Hare.)
  • Is fencing dangerous?
  • How do they make the lines in the grass?
  • How do the leaves grow on the wall? (The famous Wrigley Ivy.)
  • Who is the tallest person in the world? How did he get so tall? Do you think I will be that tall? (This started a whole other conversation about Pituitary Glands, then the endocrine system in general, and quickly exhausted my subject matter expertise. I was not sufficiently informative. My guess is that we'll come back to this some time soon.)
  • Why are there so many dragonflies here (at Wrigley field)? What do dragonflies eat? Do they think there is food here for them?
  • How many birds are here (again, at Wrigley)? What kind are they? Are there hawks here? Do you think our hawk friend will be here?
  • Do you think the organ player is our piano teacher? Do you think she could play this song on the organ? How much practice do you think it takes to be an organ player?
  • Why are Kane County Cougar games so special?
  • What is that guy doing? (Answer: lying down, stretching.) Why does he have to lie down to stretch? I don't have to lie down to stretch. Here, watch...
  • Why does wind blow in different directions?
  • Do you think Brown Bears who go up to the North Bole become Polar Bears? Is a Brown Bear bigger than a Polar Bear? I bet it bites harder, don't you?
  • What is the difference between an asteroid and a meteor?

That's about half of them, I'd guess.

- Aw2pp, who'd better get studying up on some of this stuff.