- Where HAVE we been, anyway?
- How not to move a piano
- Christmas music
- Jillian and I will be doing a recital together in January
- So, I is a triathlete
- Work is awesome (or at least, it should be by the time I get to this post)
- Kuhlau Sonatinas are hard
- Brief Einaudi concert review
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
But believe it or not, her eldest two children (Jillian and Jason, perhaps you've heard of them) followed up with triathlons of their own. Rock on! I am so proud of them, but for different reasons. For Jillian, the race was difficult and uncomfortable, and she wanted to quit halfway through. After some water and encouragement from mom, she want out and ran her third leg, and finished strong. Jason, I am proud of him for his enthusiasm and spirit. On the way home, he told us he wanted to do that again. Which reminds me, I need to see if there are any other events upcoming...
The mom / triathlete, and part of her Pit Crew. The sharpie number stays on your arm for a few days, and it looks really cool.
Jason kicks off his race.
Jillian finishing leg 2 of hers, a 5k bike (on a bike that is really not built for this sort of thing). Jillian was very unhappy at this point it time, I later came to learn...
... but she felt better at this point.
Not to long after, here came the World's Largest 2nd Grader.
The Three Triathletes and the Rest of their pit crew.
- Aw2pp, Official Family Couch Potato
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I'm not happy about this, I must say.
In other (and related) news, we spent most of the last week in Tennessee, helping Gramma MA spend some of her timeshare points in Gatlinburg. Brief synopsis: first part of the trip was hot, crowded, touristy, and quite a bit of fun, but probably not enough fun to return for. Second half was spent in the Smoky Mountains National Park, and... wow. Words fail me (as they often do). Amazing, outstanding, even more fun than Dollywood, if'n you can believe that. (Which is really saying something... Dollywood had the added bonus of continuous ragtime being piped through the park, coming at you from all directions.) Lots of spontaneous fun that we didn't plan for, and didn't see coming.
- Aw2pp, who is considering wearing a coonskin cap at all times, henceforth.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
* I mean "annoying" in the most endearing sense. He'd privately embrace the label, I'm certain.
One of the things about Jim Rome that remains with me to this day was his complete and utter disgust with Larry King. King's USA Today columns, for example, evoked powerful derision. Those columns were a stream of unrelated thoughts. The only way to know you had gone from one to another was by reaching an ellipsis... So his columns from the mid-90's read something like this:
I like puppies. In fact, I would be suspicious of anybody who doesn't...
Alan Greenspan was on my show last night. I've said it before, and I will say it again: he's a sharp fellow... I should floss more... This Internet thing may really turn into the Real Deal some day. You'd be surprised what all is out there...
In hindsight, Rome's scorn was completely unfair, as King's writing style was well ahead of it's time. Many early bloggers, and modern-day Tweets and Facebook posts all resemble the kind of material Larry King offered in USA Today 15 years ago. Larry King, Ladies and Gentlemen, the world's first Web 2.0 content provider!
With the notion that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I will now compose the remainder of this post in mid-90's Larry King style.
Packing up the family tomorrow morning for another round of road-trippin'. This time, we are meeting Gramma MA in Gatlinburg. Hello, Alpine Slides...
Piano is hard. Have spent most of the summer on a Kuhlau Sonatina. Might have it presentable for the August ABF Recital, who knows...
Jillian is working on The Entertainer in Alfred's Book One. She seems to like that version better than the one in her book. She's really coming along...
Einaudi is coming to Milwaukee October 16. Tickets are still available, although I don't have mine yet. Wonder if there will be some sort of Pianoworld meetup...
Speaking of Einaudi, how did that Anthony B. get so good, so fast...
Sue and I have been doing triathlon training this summer. Hoping to complete a race in September. I hate running. Running is hard. The swimming and biking, not so bad...
Thinking about moving to the Nashville area some day. Nice town...
After one year in my Honda Insight, I've driven about 15k miles, and averaged 48.6 mpg. Not bad. I'm wondering what that new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will be like...
Jim Rome tried to establish a market in Chicago. Didn't take here. Wonder why...
We've had 9 inches of rain at my house this month. That's a lot...
Elroy Jetson... can you imagine raising that kid...
I still haven't watched my recital performance. I will some day...
- Aw2pp, who promises never to do this again.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Bacon taped on a cat.
Bluhd ("not funny!").
"My-lah-HEE! My-lah-HOO! My-la-HA-HA!"
(You choose your own 15 minute phenomenon.)
But never in the history of the Interwebs have these three topics mashed into a cohesive whole. I will now attempt to rectify this unfortunate gap in our collective consciousness.
I am told, from those who know considerably more about it than I do*, that piloting a hot air balloon requires two things: careful attention to detail, and the ability to plan well in advance. The reasons for this are few and simple. First, you only have so many controls at your disposal. You can add heat to the balloon to increase lift. The same effect can be derived by reducing weight, which requires throwing things or occupants out of the basket**. Your other control is to do nothing, thereby gradually cooling the balloon, and decreasing lift. That's it. That's all you got. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of the wind, updrafts / downdrafts, or rope tethering you to the ground.
* - I know basically nothing about this, so it wouldn't be hard to find someone who knew more.
** - Is that what they call it? I wanted to use the word "Canopy" here, but I couldn't pull the trigger on it. See, I told you I know very little about this.
The main difficulty here, and the thing that requires careful planning, is that any adjustments you make on these controls take quite some time to manifest themselves. Depending on conditions, it may be 30 seconds, perhaps even a minute before you notice any change in the balloon's behavior. Novices, then, tend to over-correct course, out of fear that they didn't do enough. This can be a little dangerous, as once a balloon builds momentum in a certain direction, it tends to maintain it. Extreme corrections will produce extreme results, just not right away. An expert balloon pilot, like an expert automobile driver, politician, surgeon, teacher, athlete, or what have you, gets the job done effortlessly, with few adjustments and a keen eye on subtle results.
I have a weight loss / fitness level theory based on the concept of piloting a hot air balloon. Over the years, I have tried to foist this theory onto my poor wife about a dozen times. As an Exercise Science major in college, she is significantly better informed on this topic, which makes her approval of my thoughts and ideas in this space very important to me. So the fact that I have yet to get her to buy into my theory is a little deflating*, I must say.
* - Heh. See what I did there?
Anyway, my theory goes like this: losing weight (and achieving a desired fitness level) works just like piloting a hot air balloon. There are only so many adjustments you can make. The course corrections you implement take longer to manifest themselves than you'd think. Folks can think that their efforts are in vain, and give up before results should have been expected. You see the parallel here, I hope. The most important thing is to stick with the plan, then make subtle adjustments downstream as necessary. Because once positive momentum is obtained, it actually isn't that much tougher to keep it going in the right direction.
The corollary is that this works both ways, of course. Negative behavior patterns may not manifest themselves immediately, either, but it's the negative momentum you generate that is the bigger problem. One day sitting on the couch* makes sitting on the couch the next day just that much easier. Skip a day on the treadmill, and the next day is much more likely to be skipped. Eat badly one day, and you may as well have those potato chips the next day, too, what does it matter? And so on.
* - We need a new metaphor here. I know of nobody who actually sits on couches, by the way. We have four couches in our house, and they go pretty much unused. Recliners, on the other hand...
Now to piano. Works the exact same way. I don't believe single practice sessions, single lessons, or even learning single pieces of music make a measurable impact in my ability to play the instrument. It's the cumulative effect that does the trick. And the effect is not easily observed. In fact, not at all observable at first (at least, not for me, anymore). But the day-to-day improvement, derived from consistent contact with the piano / keyboard... this is where it is at. The more you do this, the better you get, and the more, in turn, you do this. Positive momentum begets more (both qualitatively and quantitatively) positive momentum.
And, unfortunately, it works both ways. Skip a day, skip a week. Bemoan your lack of progress. Skip another week because, wow, this is hard, and you haven't really improved in a few months. Is this even worth it after all?
In each case, piloting a balloon, building a better diet / fitness regimen, and practicing piano, the answer to fixing the problem is the same: do something. Nothing drastic, but change the unwanted pattern. Then be patient as the results come, which they inevitably will. Once you see those, observe them closely, and make subtle changes as necessary.
- Aw2pp, preachin' the Blues.
Monday, July 12, 2010
- Elizabethtown, Kentucky
- Blairsville, Georgia
- Montgomery, Alabama
- Smithville, Tennessee
- Louisville, Kentucky
Along the way, we played two pianos (thoughts on those coming later) and drove around suburban Nashville, pretty much convincing ourselves we'd like to move there someday. This week, I'm back in the saddle with work, and will spend most of the week in Indianapolis.
Thanks everyone for your comments on the piano touch post.
Anthony, can you send me a link or some information on Einaudi's Milwaukee date?
- Aw2pp, whose Odyssey is 2,514 miles closer to the end of its journey
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
And so was I. The piano as probably around 6' in length, and the bass was fantastic. Some of the middle notes were a little out of tune, and I'd have liked some more sustain, but my main reaction was to the key feel. As much as I liked the sound of this piano, I found the touch to feel cheap. Which really surprised me, for reasons I'll get to shortly. Over the course of the next two days (lots of downtime at these conferences, not to mention the 375 mile drive home afterwards) I gave this significant thought. Results follow, and I would really like your input here. Don't make me go back to Pianoworld and start a thread in the Piano forum on this question... things can get ugly in there.
After thinking about, every piano I've played, with two exceptions, can be categorized according to touch in one of two categories.
The first category I'll call "Switches". Every key is clearly pressed or not pressed, in the same way a switch is either on, or off. These pianos offer some initial resistance when a key is pressed, which lightens mid-travel down to the bottom, ending abruptly. Done well, these keys create sort of a snick-snick sensation, something akin to rowing through the gears of a well-tuned manual transmission. Almost* every digital piano I have ever tried has this feel, including higher-end Rolands, Casios, and Yamahas. But lower-end digital pianos, such as Casio's CDP-100 and the ubiquitous Williams pianos sold by Costco (and others, one presumes) have them as well. Even a number of acoustic pianos, such as my piano teacher's piano (a tiny Emerson grand), Sue's cousin Patty's piano (a tiny Apollo grand), and the large Kawai I mentioned earlier. I mentioned that piano's action surprised me... when I looked up the serial number, I saw that it had been built in 2006, which meant it had the much-lauded Carbon-fiber action. I didn't care for it. It felt cheap to me. Sure, many high-end instruments have it, but so do some low-end instruments, and (unfairly, I realize) I associate the sensation with cheaper instruments.
* - Almost, that is. Hold that thought.
The second category is the opposite of the first. I'll call these "Mushers". The keys have a gradually increasing resistance as one presses towards the bottom. But the bottom isn't a firm, abrupt end... rather, it is soft, cushioned one, where it is sometimes difficult to know whether you have, in fact reached the bottom. Ole Bessie, my in-laws' ancient upright, has this feel. So does the recital piano at church (a 10 year old Kawai RX-1, I am told). My old colleague Jeff had a Charles Walter I once told you about... it had this feeling, and I really liked that piano. Then again, my Houston friend Mitch has a 15 year old Young Chang grand that I didn't care for at all... and it had it, too. I can't think of a digital piano I have played that replicates this feeling.
I guess if I had to choose between the two categories, I'd have a slight preference for a Musher. Done well, I feel like I have greater dynamic control (insofar as I have any such control at this point). But the problem here is that it is easy for this to get out of whack, and if the resistance doesn't increase / decrease progressively up and down the keyboard, it becomes very difficult to play well. (This is the main problem with Bessie, whom we've gotten to know very well recently*, as well as the Houston piano.)
* - More on that in an upcoming post. You wouldn't believe it.
Those two exceptions? Among the couple-dozen pianos I have played over the last two years, only two cannot be easily categorized as either a Switch or a Musher. The first is our very own Casio Ap-200. Mainly, the touch is so light, it defies categorization. It lacks the initial resistance of a Switch (which is why I preferred it over similar Yamahas). But the end comes somewhat abruptly, making dynamic control difficult.
The other? My college buddy's Steinway. As luck would have it, we're going to stay at Dr. Crane's house this Thursday night, on our way down to see my Dad in Montgomery, AL. I'll let you know what Jillian* thinks of it. Somehow, his piano, although it underwhelmed me at the time (weighing the experience of playing it versus what I know it costs), nevertheless managed to be neither a Switch nor a Musher. And yet, it was both. Which makes no sense. And I am not a good enough writer to come up with fancy words to demystify this. We'll just have to play Le Onde on it, and get back to you.
* - Although, no matter what she thinks of it, we're not getting one of these... I majored in Math (among other things) at Vanderbilt, and as such, have a pretty good facility with numbers. Even I can't count high enough to estimate the unimaginably large number of software licenses we have to sell to even begin considering a new piano. Much less a $60k Steinway. It would be easier to just commute to Kentucky and play Dr. Crane's once in awhile.
So help me out here. Does this match your experience? Most of you who commonly stop by (thanks for doing so, by the way) are piano players your own right. Some (hi, Anthony B) have very nice digitals, far upmarket of mine. When you cross-shopped, did you experience this same dichotomy? Others (hi, Professor K) experienced the confusion and joy of playing many highly-regarded grands... how would you describe your pianos, and those you like / dislike?
- Aw2pp, who obviously thinks about very frivolous things on long road trips.
Monday, June 28, 2010
- Aw2pp, who may have to start turning down offers from the NY Times Book Review crowd if he keeps churning out quality material like this.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Once again, my apologies for extended blogger silence. I was at a conference most of last week (although the hotel had a piano... more on this soon). And this week, we're doing our best to get something closed before the close of our Fiscal Year at the end of this month. But, since you probably allocated a certain amount of time to fritter away anyway (you're here, after all), take the five minutes it will require to read this.
The Secret to Classical Music: It's Just Music - Culture - The Atlantic
There are two follow-up posts as well. Great stuff.
- Aw2pp, who is available on TV, on the Internet, and on Your Phone.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Really, it was bad, and I am a little shaken and discouraged from it.
- Aw2pp, who doesn't park anywhere after a 2" snow fall.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Jillian was amazing. Awesome. She played with a smile on her face, and clearly, obviously enjoyed being up there.
Mine? I was so bad, so unbelievably bad, that I am actually a little proud of myself for plodding through. More details later.
- Aw2pp, who now needs to go resume his place on the Blackhawk's Bandwagon.
Just saying is all.
(Quick update with information that doesn't warrant its own post... just played three takes in a row that I liked. I'm quitting while I am ahead.)
- Aw2pp, who bets Chopin went through this all the time.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
* - Yes, that probably means I've now played it 300 times over the last three months.
The second, sloppy, and in fact, I got distracted halfway through, thinking about an error I made in the first half, and how I was going to play it SO MUCH BETTER the second time through... which, of course, since I was distracted, I messed it up even worse. But the third...
... the third...
Wow. I know a lot of words, but I don't know of any to explain how satisfied I was with how I played it the third time. I was another person. The music took on a new life.
Naturally, I have no expectations that that will happen again tomorrow. But wouldn't that be cool?
- Aw2pp, who is starting, for the first time, to play piano.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Chicago - Phoenix
This was sweet.
"Need to check a bag, Mr. Aw2pp, no problem? How about two, no extra charge? Very good then. Now, see all those people standing in that long security line? Yeah, the unhappy ones looking at their watches? Go around them to the priority lane, and we'll get you through TSA screening quickly. When you get to your gate, listen for priority seating, and board before everyone else does. Sorry we couldn't get you in First Class this time, it's all filled up. But if you book a little earlier next time, we can make it happen for you. Would you like an Exit Row seat instead? Window or aisle? Ok, very good then, thanks again for flying American."
Phoenix - Chicago
Because, as you know, our tournament ended a little sooner than planned, I was at the airport this morning 11 hours before my scheduled flight. Thinking being, it would be better for all involved if Sue could pick me up at, say, 11:30 AM (while Jillian and Jason were at school) rather than at 9:30 PM (when Jill, Jay, Ro and Joey should be sleeping, but instead would have to accompany her on the 82 mile trip to and from O'Hare). So how did that go for me?
"Hey you, if you want to check that bag of yours, it'll cost an extra $25. What's that, you want to be added to the stand-by list for other flights to O'Hare? Are you serious? We only allow our Platinum Plus and Executive Platinum members to stand-by for other flights. You are clearly NOT one of those. In fact, you bought your ticket May 16, so you are way down on the priority list. It'll snow here before you get on one of these earlier flights. On some days, we would allow you to pay $50 extra for a spot on the stand-by list, and you're welcome to give that a try, but today, you have no shot. You'd just be wasting your money. Not that we wouldn't be glad to take it. Anyway, enjoy your 11 hours at Sky Harbor airport, and enjoy your middle seat on your three hour flight to Chicago this afternoon. Thanks again for flying American."
Any idea what to do in Phoenix for 11 hours? At least I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.
- Aw2pp, whose boarding pass says simply "Steerage".
Monday, May 31, 2010
Very disappointing result for us. Finished tied for 32nd overall.
Pics, vids and maybe some stats in another week or two.
- Aw2pp, who is now headed to aa.com to see if there are any early flights home to Chicago.
* - To be fair, most teams would agree with this. As would most of my teammates. Except when it costs them (us) a match. This is one of those things that I guess I understand, but is much harder for me apply personally. If I touch the ball, I say so. If I touch the net**, I say so.
** - Those of you who have been out of volleyball for a few years may be surprised to hear that you are now allowed to touch the net under most circumstances. I know, I hate it too.
Next up is the Bronze Bracket. Unlike the Gold, which is double-elimination, any match we lose in Bronze will end our tournament. Winner of the 12 team Bronze bracket will take home Gold Medals (go figure) that say "Bronze Champions". They'll also be able to claim a final National Rank of (counts it up...) 25th. We are going to need to get our heads back on our shoulders before our first match... or our trip through Bronze is going to be short and sour.
- Aw2pp, who will now go find the closest Subway, then go back to the Convention Center.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
After dropping our second match yesterday, we seem to have composed ourselves, and took care of business in sweeping both matches today. To recap, now, pool play:
Match 1 - RVC Red (from Boston), we won 2-0
Match 2 - Vamo' Alla (from the Chesapeake area, not Indiana as I had previously thought) we lost 0-2
Match 3 - Graywater VBC (Seattle), 2-0
Match 4 - Balls and Beers (Milwaukee, natch), 2-0*
Match 5 - Metro Long Beach (New Jersey), 2-0
* - Midway through game two of this match, I had one of the top 5 kills of my 20-year volleyball career. It was unusual... I knew I was going to be set, and I figured they (the other team) knew, but when I went up to swing, I found myself all alone, no block in sight. I questioned this momentarily. "Where is everyone?" No block ever appeared, so I swung away. I'll post a clip of this if I can.
Other than our moment of inattention against Vamo' Alla, we've had an easy time of it. Problem is, Vamo' Alla swept the pool, which means in order for us to advance to the Gold Bracket (where Championships are won, of course), we now need to win two matches instead of one. So 8:00 AM tomorrow, we'll take the court against Rizen VBC, from Hawaii. They are exactly the kind of team that gives us fits... little, quick, smart. I'm officially concerned.
Last comment, completely unrelated to anything. My Yahoo email address sent some spam a couple of nights ago to everyone in my address book. Ordinarily, this is a sign of a virus, but in this case, I don't have the Yahoo address installed on any email client*. Which suggests to me that this was a problem on the Yahoo side (and if anyone can point me somewhere that might verify this, I'd be obliged.) If'n it happens again, I might be forced to cancel that email account. Not sure what else I can do about it. So apologies go out to those of you who were spammed a couple days ago. Here's hoping that's the last of that.
* - Like Outlook or Lotus, for example. Viruses commonly are written to co-opt these programs.
Depending on how we do tomorrow, it could be a very, very long day.
- Aw2pp, virus-free since 1998.
* - Yes, I was one of those who sat. It's a long tournament, the Open, and I willingly take every break offered to me.
We rebounded later, winning our third match of the first day, and finishing 2-1. All is not lost, but the path to the Gold bracket probably is now one match longer than it should have been.
- Aw2pp, who now understands what people mean when they say, "But it's a dry heat."
Friday, May 28, 2010
My flight leaves this afternoon for Phoenix, for the 78th Annual USA Open National Volleyball Championships. Or as my Junior Olympic coaching friends call it, "That Big Party USAV Uses To Fund Itself For The Rest Of The Year." Or as I call it, "The Annual Convention of Really Tall People."
Last year, as you may recall, we finished 5th out of 48 in Men's A. It was an insane result, really, much better than we had a right to expect. After all, we started a 5'10" (ie, unusually short) setter, and me, a 6'5" (ie, somewhat short*) 40 year-old (ie, unusually old) middle blocker. This year, our setter is no taller, I am a year older, and yet, even though 72 teams** are entered, optimism is high. We'll find out our seed tonight, then get underway tomorrow. Daily updates to come, including match results, soreness complaints***, and a running tally of the number of people I come across who are taller than me.
* - Ok, Sue, fine, I admit it, I am no longer 6'5", I am 6'4". Maybe.
** - Moving the tournament out west seems to attract a large number of West Coast teams.
*** - This year brings an added challenge, in that I am saddled with something called the Croup. It's a virus that has been going around the family for a few days (thank you Joey and Rowan). Before the doctor diagnosed them last week, I had heard of Croup, but thought that it was a made-up disease our great-great grandparents dealt with, or something that had been eradicated years ago with the advent of sterilized operating rooms. (See Dropsy, Scrofula.****) Wrong, it's apparently a real malady. And a fairly debilitating one at that.
**** - And yes, I was wrong about those, they are real too. Just called something different today. Obviously my pre-med college curriculum, such as it was, didn't take.
Finally, to channel Phineas and answer the question you're almost certainly thinking... why yes, yes I am too old for this sort of thing.
- Aw2pp, a Middle Blocker for Chicago Coast North, leading his team with a .289 hitting percentage on the year.
Friday, May 21, 2010
* - What would these people call themselves? I wanted to call them Tiddlywinkers, but wasn't sure if that would have resonated. Besides, "Tiddlywinkers" sounds faintly NSFW, even if it is perfectly harmless.
The World Cup is starting this month. As you know, I'm a sucker for excellence... you've heard me say that I'd watch the world's best Tiddlywinks players* compete if it were televised. But regardless of how you feel about soccer (er, football), it's highly likely we can agree that soccer is inherently more interesting than Tiddlywinks.
Anyhow, even though we Americans are ranked something like 16th in the world, you can bet I'll be watching. This fires me up. Furthermore, now you know why I subjected you to growing grass the other day. I had to prepare your for this. Anything more exciting in the previous post, and we'd risk being overcome by the vapors.
- Aw2pp, who used to harbor a vague and completely misplaced notion that he had some soccer (er, football) skills. Then he spent a few months in Brazil. Nothing like extended time in Brazil to disabuse one of such fantasies.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
If you think that's exciting, wait until next time, when I start talking about my work.
- Aw2pp, who just can't help himself sometimes
Friday, May 14, 2010
Those of you who think my Le Onde recording is wonderful and seamless (hi family!) should probably skip the rest of this post. Fact is, I spent a cool 5 months working on this piece. Hard work. Even now, when I play it, my mind is completely atwitter with specific thoughts relevant to where I'm at. The rest of this post will attempt to capture most of those.
First, a comment on the specific recital recording itself. In the end, I had the choice of two imperfect recordings. Recording A was recorded a week or so ago, at a time I wasn't even really intending to make a recording. And it had some awful, obvious errors on both the front and back halves. I kept it, though, because when I listened to it afterward, I was very impressed with how well the subtle things were done. More on those shortly. For now, consider recording A to be the figure skater who fell on her triple axle, and two-footed a landing late in her performance, but scored well on what those judges call "artistic impression".
Recording B was flawed in less obvious, less subtle ways. There was a pause here and a flub there, but it was overall cleaner than Recording B. And it was recorded later, just after a lesson. In listening to it, it was less polished, but had nothing major going against it... nothing that I couldn't live without. This is the figure skater who landed all her jumps, but scored lower for reasons known only to the Illuminati who judge the sport.
Of course you know I went with Recording B, even if I have a slight preference for the more imperfect, but subtly superior version. Both of them are good, though, and represent quality takes of which I'm proud.
Here is what goes through my head when I play this. I hope, by capturing this stuff here and
- First 12 seconds - Keep the tempo even here. Build from soft to medium loud with each measure. (This "build" command repeats itself through the music for every LH pass. It's my attempt to create the wavelike feel.)
- "We're not at the beach yet, but we can hear it off in the distance."
- Measure 5, Starting at 12 seconds - RH melody kicks in. It must overcome the LH, and yet, decay, medium to soft, with every measure. In addition, the melody (the higher notes) must be accented over the secondary notes. This is crucial. Finally, the last dotted half of the passage (the first of which occurs at the 18 second mark) needs to be lightly accented, and MUST occur exactly the moment the corresponding LH note hits. (This is what makes the note sing, as Denis was asking.)
- Measure 15 (30 seconds) - Start building volume. The increase from piano to mezzoforte in 4 measures is more sudden than you think. Don't be afraid to be too loud there, you'll quiet down quickly thereafter.
- Measure 20 (38 seconds) - And the reverse is true here. I had more trouble with the gradual diminuendo than the gradual crescendo, for some reason.
- "We're at the beach, and the tide is coming in, albeit very gradually."
- Measure 25 (45 seconds) - Starting a new theme here. Still piano. Resist the powerful temptation to rush this section.
- Measure 28 (51 seconds) - Crescendo, but then immediately dip back to piano. I never quite pull this off.
- Measure 31 (55 seconds) - Since you were back to piano, crescendo again. The music calls for a slight allargando (something of a reduction in tempo), but Einaudi himself doesn't seem to do this here in any of the recordings I have. Either way, I usually forget this, because, as you see, there is a bunch of other stuff going on in my head by this point.
- Measure 33 (59 seconds) - Repeating the second theme. Supposedly, we're beginning mezzopiano this time (as opposed to piano the first time around), but that didn't leave me enough room to crescendo in the upcoming measures. So in practice, I typically begin this second theme softly, and build. Speaking of which...
- Measure 35 (1:03) - Start building the volume, so that you're blasting away by the time you get to measure 39.
- "The waves are building. The tide is reaching its peak."
- Measure 39 (1:09) - Loud here. Accent that first note, and the first one in measure 40, then quickly soften to piano, to increase the contrast with the next section. Big slowdown, too, for exactly the same reason.
- Measure 41 (1:12) - Play this relaxed, but as loud as you can without making errors. Save the ferocity for later. Don't rush.
- Measure 44 (1:18) - That LH D needs to be crushed to get the proper accent. The RH D needs to be subtle, because it's contrast with everything else that is going on is enough to bring proper attention to it.
- Measure 47 (1:22) - Quick reduction in volume and tempo, followed by an equally quick rebuild.
- Measure 55 (1:35) - Start quieting down. In a few measures, you'll have a quick build, then back to almost nothing.
- "The tide, having reached its max, begins to recede here."
- Measure 59 (1:41) - It's ok to be very quiet here. We need the contrast with what's coming up. Don't crescendo, stay quiet. (Note, I usually always crescendo here anyway.)
- Measure 63 (1:45) - Loud. Accent the LH firmly at the beginning of each measure here. The RH is a tie; as much as you want to hit that D again, DON'T!
- "The tide has gone out. The beach is very quiet."
- Measure 64 (1:49) - Key measure. Einaudi calls for una corda, but wait until you hit that first note, then push the pedal. Regain the tempo and don't let it drag. Be smooth. Though we're supposed to be piano here, the LH tends to drown out the RH if you let it. Don't.
- Measure 73 (2:05) - Slow down, then pause. Create the impression that the piece might end here. That would be confusing, because we've not resolved anything.
- Measure 74 (2:08) - Hanging just briefly on the pause, start anew. There should be a sense of relief here.
At any rate, the second half of Le Onde is very similar to the first, and as such, most of the same thoughts run through my head. I'll be briefer now, detailing only the changes for the second half. There aren't many, but they are important.
- Measure 90 (2:36) - Constantly coming back to B on the LH creates significant tension here. Don't let that affect you. The tension is for those who are hearing the music, not you.
- "The tide is coming back in. But it's different this time. Are those storm clouds?"
- Measure 101 (2:54) - Finally, the LH moves off that B onto a D, releasing the tension. Everything feels familiar now, with the exception of those disconcerting pauses (measure 108, 117).
- "Yes, it is a storm."
- Measure 126 (3:36) - Blast away. When you went through this section the first time, you were loud, but relaxed. No need for that now. The music calls for ferocity here, even if my recording doesn't sufficiently convey that. So be it. Einaudi's recordings don't, either.
- Measures 147 - 149 (4:08) - The entire piece builds to these measures. Hammer the accents. This time, that RH is NOT a tie, so hit that D again in 148 with everything you've got. As before, hit the first note in 149 before deploying the una corda.
- Measures 153 to the end - I had quite a bit of trouble with this page. My saving grace is that Einaudi plays these measures slowly and carefully, so I did, too.
- "The storm is passed, the tide is going out, the beach is quiet again."
- Aw2pp, who feels like going out and running a 5k about now, even though he hates running.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
As I said earlier, today is / was piano lesson day. I stumbled my way through Night Song in Alfred's... that is MUCH harder than I thought it would be, and it will need another week before we move on to Hava Nagila. Then I launched into Le Onde. It was pretty good... not perfect, but good. I told her I was trying to put together a good recording for the ABF Recital (a concept that still mystifies her, by the way... online recitals?) And that it would be nice if I could put together perfect recording, but also that I'd come around to the idea that "good" is good enough.
She said something she'd said before: "It's good enough. Don't try to improve it. You may improve it, but not by trying. Strive for excellence, which is much more attainable and worthwhile than perfection."
I got home, pushed the record button, and five minutes later, ended up with this. Hope you like it. It's good enough. Imperfect, yes, but good enough. More thoughts on it later this week (as you've come to expect from me).
Box.net link to a recording of Le Onde I'll be submitting as my recital piece
- Aw2pp, goat rodeo clown.
But I'm telling you, for the first 3 or 4 minutes, it was some seriously good music.
Back to it. Thought I'd share that with you on this slow afternoon.
- Aw2pp, who will now get back on that horse and try again.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
- Aw2pp, who understands that the answer to the question "Is it Opposite Day?" is always, always, "No."
Friday, May 7, 2010
- Bessie lives
- ABF Recital Submission
- Jason loves baseball and other kid stuff
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Cincinnati Bengals Line Coach takes up piano
What's interesting about this is that he took up the instrument to get inside the mind of a performer. Money quote:
Because, over the course of a night, if (a concert pianist) plays 20,000 notes, and he misses a couple, he's had a bad night. And that's kind of the business I'm in - teaching people how to perform, particularly under pressure.
Never quite thought about it that way, although, with public recital #2 coming up in about 5 weeks, I should. I knew piano would teach me about music and preparation It has re-affirmed a lot of what I already knew, mainly having to do with HOW we learn things. But it never occurred to me to think of approaching piano from the perspective of a performer.
I'm going to have to think about this a little while more, but wanted to share it with you anyway.
- Aw2pp, recalcitrant perfectionist
Friday, April 16, 2010
Box.net link of a rough recording of Le Onde
First of, Denis, I am no help to you. Your question about making the dotted half notes sing... I am not sure that I do this, nor am I certain how I would go about doing it. I try to make a soft accent... something akin to the horizontal lines you see over notes in pieces like I Due Fiumi (see the very first note, for example). That subtle accent, combined with a very dull attack on the left hand, gets me closest to what I think you are describing. In this recording, the best example of this is about 36 seconds into the piece (measure 18).
There is an important caveat here: this sounds very different on PT's piano (a 4'6" Emerson grand, for those of you just joining us*). My hunch is that the singing quality you are looking to derive on those notes would be achieved differently on different pianos. I'll take your thoughts on that.
* - Where have you been, anyway?
Tempo - I am delighted that this checked in around 5 minutes in length. My template for this piece is Ludovico's studio recording on the Le Onde CD. It turns out that recording is just a few seconds shorter than mine, so, for the first time in my piano-playing life, I seem to be playing something at tempo. That despite a somewhat plodding and hesitant first page or so (not sure what is up with that, but it can be fixed).
Dynamics - They're getting there. A lot of work to go there, but it's an improvement over what I was doing just a week or two ago.
Errors - Obviously, these need to be ironed out. Some are more irksome than others. For instance, I have decided the climax of the piece begins in measure 147, and ends on the first note of measure 149. It's inexcusable not to have that part (and it's cousin in the first half) down pat.
The Wave - I am trying to invoke the wavelike sensation by building on LH arpeggios, getting softer on the RH arpeggios. Need lots of improvement here.
But mostly, I grabbed the recording to listen to the flow, and follow the music as I listen so that I know where I am missing dynamic and tempo markings. With two weeks left before ABF recital, and 6 weeks before we go Live! In Person!, I am pleased with where I am.
- Aw2pp, who always wanted to play Le Onde.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like, as when one likes a person but disapproves strongly of one of his or her habits.
I define it as Lady Gaga playing Ragtime. And playing it very, very well.
- Aw2pp, who will now go crawl in a hole somewhere.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
This sign is in the parking lot where Rowan takes dance class. One of the moms told me, with a straight face, that it has drastically reduced the number of vehicle-pole collisions in said parking lot.
- Aw2pp, who will probably ignore warnings and hit the pole some day.
Monday, April 5, 2010
If it were a normal recital, I'd be going for recordings now. And failing, mostly, because that is what I do with recital recordings. I record and record and record, right up to the deadline, throwing away 99% of my takes because they have Fatal Errors. Eventually, I come across one that has errors, but non-lethal ones, save that recording off the Ap-200, and courageously try to improve on that recording. But I don't, and near the deadline, I upload that recording to the ABF Recital Server.
That's usually how it goes. But this time is different. ABF Recital time is a month away still. And though I have yet to play Le Onde error free, I am playing it to my usual recital standards, such as they are. In theory*, this gives me three weeks to improve on my usual standards, and yet another month to clean it up before playing live before a studio audience.
* - Of course, as Homer Simpson once said, in theory, communism** works. In theory.
** - Did you know that the term "Communist Government" is an oxymoron? No, I am not making a joke here. I recently read that Communism is really a final stage in a process, by which the people own and manage everything the State previously ran, only, there is no State, no Government. Only "The People". An evolutionary step in the process is Socialism, where there actually is a government in charge of heading in this direction. In practice, it turns out even Comrades like power, so they tend not to give it up. Ever. So they remain in a Socialist (and usually totalitarian) condition. Which means there has never been, nor will there ever be, a Communist nation, at least insofar as Marx defined it. See what you get from coming here? I should post more often.
Headed down to Indianapolis to visit two prospective customers this week. I checked... the Fairfield Inn does not have a piano, so progress will have to hold a few days.
One other observation, totally unrelated to the price of tea in Liverpool or anything else... I recently discovered, much to my astonishment, that I am unable to play our piano unless the desk lamp is on. Even though all I have been playing for a couple weeks now is Le Onde, which, by now, I've memorized. But even in broad daylight, I absolutely cannot play unless the desk lamp is on.
- Aw2pp, who wonders if, after 15 years sitting in front of computers, it is finally time to visit the eye doctor.
Friday, March 26, 2010
"Wait, she's 3, right?" Good question, glad you asked. Our TKD Studio has a little intro program for pre-kindergartners, called, curiously, Little Ninjas. So, no, this isn't the full-fledged program. They don't do Poomse or memorize facts about the American Flag, for instance.
"Wait, Ninjas? Isn't that Japanese? I thought Tae Kwon Do was a Korean Martial Art." Another good question, but you are really taking me off the subject here. Quiet now.
Anyway, Ro passed. Photographic evidence follows.
But the best part is the board break. They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Well, then a movie must be worth a 1,000 pictures, so enjoy.
My favorite part? The jumping up and down at the end. I bet all those real Ninjas do that, too.
- Aw2pp, who just can't get over the idea of "Kung Fu Master" Jackie Chan starring The Karate Kid remake. Doesn't anyone think about these things first?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Me: What does this allarg. mean? I see that it is always followed by an a tempo, and recordings of the music sound like they slow down... is it just another way to write ritardando?
PT: No, it's more than that. Think broad and majestic as you slow down.
Me: Um, ok, what does that mean?
PT: Think of the glamorous stars walking down the red carpet on Oscar night. Play like they walk.
* - My wife, when she gets around to reading this, will be laughing at this point... she knows I consider The Oscars to be one of the most annoying things to watch on TV. That and Kendra.
Me: What about this poco tratt.?
PT: I have no idea.
We looked it up... it means to hold back, and is more common with string music. Whoddathunkit?
Where I am with Le Onde... I have the first half down and memorized. Once in awhile, I play it so well, I am pleased with it. And it is LOTS of fun, I almost don't want to play anything else these days. The problem is, I am so locked in on the pattern of the first half, the latter half is coming much more slowly, as the changes are subtle. But crucial. So I have some memorization to do on the back half.
Brilliant Reader Denis asks:
How did you solve the issue with 'singing' the main half notes on the right hand in bars 5,6,7 and in the rest of the song?
Great question. Measures 5 and 6 work like this for me: 524131
Measure 7 like this: 514131(2, the F# in the next measure)
It works well, but I bet you question is more of an artistic one than a technical one. That is, how do I play it "sweet and songlike, marking the melody*" (one presumes that would be the high notes). Still having trouble with this. What works for me is to accent the first note in the measure, then get progressively softer as I move down the scale. The first section, it's not coming out like I had hoped. The second section, however, beginning in measure 25, it comes out quite clearly, and I'm almost happy with it. Don't know what makes this section easier, but it is.
* - Pardon my Italian, but that is my guess on what the music is instructing. "Dolce e cantabile, marcando la melodia."
As to the third, beginning measure 41, I am just blasting away. He has some dynamic markings in 47 and 48 that temper things a bit, but, for now, I am playing this as loudly as my technique (such as it is) will allow. When I am ready for a recording, I will give a listen to what I am doing with this part, and probably make some changes.
I'm 2 months out at this point, but 5 weeks away from ABF Recital 18. I'm happy with where I am, enjoying the journey, and will hope to maintain progress for another month. My goal will be to have this down so completely that, come first Friday in June, all I have to worry about is getting a good haircut beforehand. We'll see.
- Aw2pp, inveterate tinkerer
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
But not all.
Phineas and Ferb is almost as funny as early Simpson's episode. High praise indeed.
Jillian takes my lesson this week. Le Onde is getting better, I have begun work on the second half. And Sue is sicker than she's ever been (Strep).
With that, you're up to date.
- Aw2pp, who dresses ironically.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Enough of that. PT pointed out something last lesson that Gramma MA has been saying for a long time now... these Alfred's pieces are easy, let's bust through them for a few months, and see if the book will catch up with where I am musically. The good news is that you'll see recordings coming more often. The bad news? They'll be imperfect, as I won't be spending the time it takes to make them less so. The goal: 1 or 2 Alfred's pieces a week (6 a month). That might have me starting Book 3 in September (more or less... we'll see).
Case in point number 1, the Divertimento in D. It's ok, not great. It should be faster. It should have greater differentiation between the forte and piano sections. It should be smoother.
It will be none of these. I'm already on the next page. Deal with it.*
* - That admonishment is more for myself than anyone else... you kind folks are much more forgiving of my play than I am. Keep up the good work.
Box.net link - Divertimento in D
- Aw2pp, who respects The Pouch.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Astin-Weight upright on Craigslist
Now, let me pause for a moment, and allow the Voice of Reason to guest-blog. Welcome, VoR!
Thank you, Aw2pp. It's a pleasure to be here. You don't allow me around much, so I will enjoy my pulpit while I can.
Better pianos will come along later. You will be in a better position, financially speaking, to purchase a better piano, later. These are unassailable facts. If you wait until later, you might even be in a position to score one of those Charles Walters you like so much, gently used. What will you do then, if you've already bent over backwards for this monster?
Besides, an $850 piano does not cost $850. There's the tech inspection, moving, follow-up tuning and technical work it is sure to need... the ad itself says some of the keys stick. Why would you...
And that's enough for today's contribution from our guest blogger, the Voice of Reason. But wow, unless they left the thing outside for the last three Winters, that seems like an awful lot of piano for $850.
- Aw2pp, who has no discipline.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I think we have a solution. My ABF Recital 18 piece, as you know, will be Le Onde. On May 15, which is when I will most likely submit the piece, I will have been working on it for 5 months. That should be plenty of time to prepare in a measured way, while still giving token attention to Alfred's. I'm going to focus on clearing 6 Alfred's pieces a month, until further notice.
I like my chances.
- Aw2pp, Tae Kwo Do Yellow Belt. You heard me.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Under that band-aid is a nice, clean 1" gash, sutured with some sort of glue and a couple of butterfly bandages. He looks like a hockey player. But he'll be fine. No stitches, so we're still 0-fer on that metric.
I know February is a short month, but gee-whiz, where did it go? Tomorrow is March 1, which means Spring is only 6 to 8 weeks away here 41 miles west of Chicago. To my friends and family who are already basking in the new warmth, good on ya. We're not insulted that nobody visits us this time of year. Really, we're not.
Not a lot of piano news. Work? I'm still my own rep, which means, among other things, fewer bench hours for me. PT has been very gracious accommodating my capricious schedule. Currently, I am scheduled for lessons Wednesdays at 3:30, but that time has been hit-and-miss this month. Thankfully, we've been able to backfill lessons as other students drop their slots. But it also means my progress is slow... I had hoped to be able to play Le Onde all the way through by now, for instance, but no dice. That second page, it gives me fits...
In other news, the kids earned their Tae Kwon Do Yellow Belts yesterday. Photographic proof follows:
Jillian's proud. It's easy to tell with her. Here's hoping that will always be true.
Now the kids on the playground will be even less likely to mess with The World's Largest Seven Year Old. Not that this was a problem in the first place.
Rowan and Boomer, alas, did not test. But they still had fun. Her time will come. Boomer's, I'm less sure. He (I think it's a he) doesn't seem to be taking well to his Poomse.
Me? I missed it. I was off playing volleyball. My test is this week, though. The only problem I have had in practice is with board breaks. Let me testify: if your teacher tells you to hit the board with the side of your hand, you need to listen to them. From my experience, I can tell you that it is possible to break boards with your ulna (that is, the outside of your wrist or lower arm), but the board may not be the only casualty in the encounter.
(Yes, I broke it. The board that is. Not my ulna.)
- Aw2pp, who already misses Curling.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
You may recall that for Recital 16, I played the first movement of a Clementi Sonatina. (If not, no worries, I'm here for you, give it a listen here.) This time, I recorded the final two movements of the piece, and submitted them as a single recording. No, I did not record these in a single take... in fact, the two pieces were recorded (consults a calendar, hold please...) 3 weeks apart. But through the magic that is Audacity , I joined the two recordings, and added 4 seconds of space between them. Just like the pros do.
Here is the result, for your listening pleasure: Box.net link
Some thoughts on this music... I would really, REALLY have loved to iron out the couple of pauses in the second movement. And I would really, Really, REALLY loved to had played the third movement faster. But such is life. To be completely honest (and frankly, you'd expect that out of me, no?) I am happy with these recordings, and happy to have tackled them. I found the third movement to be the easiest of the three, and both of these pieces easier than the first movement I submitted back in November. Who knows, maybe I have improved?
On that note, it's back to Alfred's. Picking up with the Divertimento, a piece written by one of the Alfred's Editors, but in the style of the Divertimento Master himself, W. A. Mozart. I would like to observe that Alfred's pieces are starting to seem easy to me, and that working on the fun pieces (recitals, Einaudi) are making me progress faster than the Alfred's music is progressing. I'd like to, but I can't, because even though the Alfred's pieces seem easy, I don't seem to be busting out recordings of them. Maybe the next six weeks will be productive in that regard.
On the other hand, the next stop on my introduction to classical music (Sonatina version) tour is the first Kuhlau Sonatina, Op. 20. I've looked at the music. It has lots and lots of black on it, and intimidates me greatly.
Spending the rest of this week in Toronto, doing work stuff. Y'all play nice now, eh?
- Aw2pp, father of four, master of none.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Actually, the room looks like this pretty much all the time. But those of you who know us (a shout out to the Poop Doula, hello!) already knew that.
- Aw2pp, on-the-spot-reporter
New Years' Day, 1980, Thousand Oaks California, mid-afternoon. We were watching the Rose Bowl at my Grandmother's house, and once I felt and heard the earthquake, I dove under a table, like they taught us in school. Shortly thereafter, the announces at the game mentioned they had felt it too.
Some summer in Alabama, mid 1980's, late morning. My dad and I were out in a lake and heard distant thunder. Anne, my stepmom, hollered out the window that there had just been an earthquake.
April, 2008, Chicago. I didn't feel it, but Sue did. As did a lot of other people. Paper later said it was like a 5.1 or something, if I remember correctly.
Last night, 3:59 AM. I was awoken by Sue's gasp / scream.... a scrasp, if you will. I did also hear a loud boom, as if a meteor landed in the cornfield across the road. (Not that I know what that sounds like, but I can imagine.) But it was over very quickly, much more quickly than other earthquakes I've known. Which was very confusing for me, all the moreso given that it was 4:00 in the morning, and nothing makes sense at that time anyway.
Anyhow, all is fine, but it makes one wonder... consider the natural disasters that can befall us... earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, droughts, tsunamis, and the long-suffering nature of being a Cub fan. And maybe others. It now seems that a large majority of these can strike us here 41 miles west of Chicago. We're obviously spared two (tsunamis and hurricanes), which are byproducts of living near coasts. Everyone understands that that is part of the price one pays for doing so. (Although we do have our own version of a tsunami, the Seiche.) As to volcanoes, the only one to maybe cause concern in these parts is about a 1,000 miles away, although if it blows, we've got bigger problems on our hands than "Gee, I wonder how much we can get for our house."
Still, it makes one wonder, why are we living here again?
Piano-related post coming some time this week, I promise. Maybe even a recital piece, who knows?
- Aw2pp, who maybe needs to ponder his navel a little more.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Which is good news and bad news. The good news is that Jeff left some high-quality bidness on the table, and if I can get some of that closed this month, hey, I get the compensation for it! Woo-hoo! What's more, doing so would demonstrate some serious value to my new employer, who seems to like me quite a bit as it is. Maybe I can land some fancy new stock options or something before someone like HP or IBM buys us out.
The bad news is that this changes my work patterns quite considerably. I was never in charge of boring things like calling potential customers, qualifying inbound marketing leads, or cold-calling. No, my work began after that point in the process, when a lead has been properly identified as something worth pursuing. It was then my job to impress the people such that they'd be willing to sit down and discuss more boring things, like contract terms and conditions. At which point, I'd eject from the picture and move on to the next opportunity. Now? I have to do the fun stuff and boring stuff, too. Heck, I even have to call conference and trade show people to talk about setting up booths. Yick.
But I guess that's why the people who do this sort of thing make lots of money.
Ironic, then, that this is happening now. It was a little more than a year ago when IBM decided they could do without me and about 16,000 of my colleagues... I guess when you are a 380,000 person company, a couple ten thousand here and there don't really make much difference. But now I am in the midst of new upheaval, of a different sort. And it's kinda exciting. And frightening. Simultaneously.
But it doesn't leave much room for bench time. Not sure if I am going to have that recital piece ready in two weeks or not.
- Aw2pp, who is progressing 31 qualified leads and opportunities.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
As you'll recall, we drove last month to Houston and back. The weather was so nice we... went indoors and played one afternoon at Pump It Up. The gang was pretty excited, as you see. Even Joey was doing some high-stepping.
But yes, there was also plenty of outdoor playing. Mostly on the trampoline, which has an interesting effect on your hair, as Rowan will now demonstrate.
Other outdoor pics...
The first ever Aw2pp family volleyball game. More to come, I am sure.
Really not sure what is going on here, but clearly the racket committed some sort of grievous offense.
Remember that Young Chang piano I mentioned a few weeks ago? Here I am playing it, with that silly "I'm playing the piano" look on my face.* That's a glass of Amarone, by the way. It was tasty.
* - Some day, I hope to be a good enough piano player to be able to think about things like, "Gosh, I wonder what I look like, I should try to look cool." Until then...
Returning to 41 miles west of Chicago
All good things must come to an end, and our fun in Houston was no exception. When we returned, we returned to Winter. In fact, for more days than I can count, we've experienced something called "Freezing Fog". It goes something like this... the temperature outside is, say, 19 degrees, humidity is 100%, and the little floating water droplets instantly freeze onto anything they contact. It is actually quite a site, especially at night, but unfortunately you are going to have to take my word on that, because I am not a good enough photographer to capture cool nighttime freezing fog. But during the day... still nice.
Up the street to the north
Some of our trees
More of our trees
If you look closely enough, you might could see Mr. Tumnus.
You'd think, based on all that snow on the ground, that what you see in the trees is snow. You'd be wrong if you thought that. Instead, this stuff is the frozen fog droplets, which, as Tom Skilling taught me this week, is called Hoarfrost. (Stop snickering, you in back. I'm serious: Hoarfrost. Look it up.)
Of course, there is snow on the ground, and our children like to go out playing it, right? Negative. Here they were when I came in from taking these pictures.
Later, Jason at least took it upon himself to build a pyramid out of Connect 4 chips.
Finally, we had a day or two of clear weather. Here's a sunset, with something called a Light Pillar.
Turning around, the sun was at an interesting angle to the house across the street. The picture is not nearly as awesomely cool as the actual scene was, unfortunately. Where's a tripod when you need one?
Tonight, lesson #2 on the year. I think I have progressed enough with Calypso Carnival to get a pass on it. Here's hoping.
- Aw2pp, who, for one, welcomes our new insect overlords, and would like to remind them that as a trusted piano blogger, I could be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.