Dealing with setbacks during my second month of meditation

A month ago, I reported on my meditation practice in January 2013.

The month of February was even more problematic for me than January was. I’ve noticed a pattern that January tends to start our fairly well, because of rebooting after the winter holidays, but then “feature creep” catches up in life.

I did not manage to meditate every single day, but thanks to the Insight Timer mobile app I use, with its “journal” feature, I have a lot of when I did and my brief thoughts after each session.

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Another exciting concert at Bar Marco: Chris Norman and the Chatham Baroque playing a tasty assortment of dynamic music

Just this week, Annie of the Pittsburgh Recorder Society sent out email reminding us of upcoming musical performances of interest, including some by the Chatham Baroque joined by visiting Chris Norman.

Chris Norman

When I heard that Chris Norman was coming, I frantically started rethinking my schedule for the week, because I really wanted to see him playing his wooden flutes. He has been one of my primary musical heroes since I first encountered him at a public music jam session last year sponsored by the Renaissance and Baroque of Pittsburgh. That day was one of the most important days of my life, which I will never forget, because not only did I see and hear a real master, but also was encouraged to participate myself in playing music.

I’ve always also been a big fan of Chatham Baroque, for their lively, alert performances of the standard repertoire as well as new collaborations and projects.

So I managed to attend one of this week’s concerts, and I was not disappointed!

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Pittsburgh Python: distribute and other Python community controversies

I was very interested to attend this month’s Pittsburgh Python User Group meeting because Nick Sloan was going to give a talk about packaging with distribute: packaging in Python has been a huge source of confusion to me, both as a user and as a developer.

Since my use of Python at work or for personal purposes has not been very large scale, I have limped along with settling on a clean setup to use for packaging my code. This is in stark contrast to my management of libraries in Perl, Ruby, and Java, where I think there has been more of a consensus in adoption of certain tools and conventions.

Also, Joe Esposito sent around some links to interesting discussions and news in the global Python community, so I looked forward to hearing what everyone thought.

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Stepping it up at the French and blues jam

Last month, I reported on exciting new developments in the local French/blues music jam that happens approximately once a month. We continued with the excitement this month, playing more complex and difficult tunes that Lisa, John, Donna, and others have been transcribing. By the way, if you are interested in checking out some of our growing French repertoire, take a look at our transcriptions, choosing tunebook “Campanule by Gregory Dyke” and “Tunes for Mondays by Lisa Tamres”. Read On →

OpenHack Pittsburgh: studying Scala

Last month was the very first meeting of OpenHack Pittsburgh, so I eagerlly looked forward to attending the second one, which was held at The Beauty Shoppe, a new coworking space in East Liberty. The space was still under construction and so it was kind of surreal being in there with a half-finished bathroom, walls and rooms that were not completely done yet, missing light fixtures, etc. It was cool that we were allowed to use the space though. Read On →

2013 Pittsburgh Marathon training progress since signing up three weeks ago: finally coming up with a plan!

Today, I finally started creating an actual training plan for myself for the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon, three whole weeks after signing up!

Why so late in the game (the marathon is just two months away, basically), and is it too late to start serious training?

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Finally doing the Cathedral of Learning stair climb as part of Team Ferlee

I have not been doing a lot of Cathedral of Learning stair climbing in the past month, because of life getting in the way. I did do a fast single rep while tired, and then another single rep when short on time, and a single rep in the middle of a long run, but that was it.

Today, however, I started getting back into things. It’s been hard motivating myself to do the Cathedral of Learning stair climb, in part because I don’t inherently enjoy doing more than one rep. But now, I am part of an official team for the Fight for Air Climb! This makes all the difference.

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Celebrating two years of playing recorder

I was very excited to celebrate two years of playing recorder by attending the Pittsburgh Recorder Society “Midwinter Musical Feast” potluck and informal recital at Helen’s. Last year (2012) we didn’t have a winter party, but I still remember when two years ago (2011), on February 19, I started learning the alto recorder at home by myself, and then decided to join the Pittsburgh Recorder Society. Helen was actually my first email contact from the group, and she had immediately invited me to come to the Midwinter Musical Feast, but not having actually met anybody yet, and also barely just beginning to play recorder, I was too intimidated and decided to skip the party and instead practice for two weeks before attending my first meeting of the group. Read On →

The second meeting of the Pittsburgh Scala Meetup: Josh Suereth on functional patterns for the asynchronous Web

Tonight was the second meeting of the Pittsburgh Scala Meetup. It was our first “real” meeting, in the sense that our first meetup was just a little gathering in a bar, and this time, we were able to use a nice space in Revv Oakland to meet in. Attendance A large number of people showed up, which was encouraging, indicating local Pittsburgh interest in Scala. Presentation Josh Suereth gave the first presentation for the group, a version targeted more to novices of the talk he gave at NE Scala 2013, “Functional Programming Patterns for the Asynchronous Web”. Read On →

Pittsburgh Chess Club Championship 2013, Round 6: Winning as Black like a madman!

Round 6 panorama

Round 6 Wallnau-Chen

In the 6th and final round of the Pittsburgh Chess Club Championship of 2013, I was Black against Kurt Wallnau, as I mentioned I would be in my report on round 5. I’d promised him before the game that I was going to play for a win as Black (Black is OK!), even though I only needed a draw to secure undisputed first place in the tournament, since I went into the final round one full point ahead of him.

I played aggressively like a madman and brought home the full point, thereby becoming the Pittsburgh Chess Club Champion of 2013!

I have to admit that objectively, my opening choice was risky, but I’ll explain why I played so wildly as Black.

Final position

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