My end-of-summer vegetable medley recipe

Franklin's end-of-summer vegetable medley

I whipped up what I’ll call my “end-of-summer vegetable medley” (since summer is basically over now), using ingredients we happened to have on hand, from Kretschmann Farm as well as from Abby’s parents.

Read On →

Excited by the new season of the Pittsburgh Recorder Society

Today was the first meeting of the new season (September-May) of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Recorder Society (and on Facebook). I was excited to be back, since the last time I actually played recorder at all was a month and a half ago at a potluck/recital; I’ve been focused recently on playing Baroque flute and modern flute, with a tiny bit of restarting piano.

We have a new plan this season!

Read On →

Déja vu in chess: recognize this Sicilian pattern?

Just a couple of days ago I wrote about playing the Sicilian Defense in chess. I noted how I play both sides of the Sicilian Defense: I enjoy the fight both as White and as Black.

Tonight I stopped by the Pittsburgh Chess Club briefly, and played four quick blitz games for fun. One of them was one of my shortest blitz games ever. I think it lasted no more than thirty seconds.

How did that come about?

Black resigned, 2012

Read On →

The passion of Bach's Air on the G String: three very different interpretations

Yesterday, while driving home from work, I had my radio on, tuned to Pittsburgh’s classical music station, WQED FM, as usual, and I immediately recognized the piece that was being performed. I listened with curiosity and then anger and disappointment as I made my way home.

It was a movement from one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s orchestra suites (Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068), the movement that has been popularized in the form of “The Air on the G String”.

I think this piece is a good litmus test of how we perceive and appreciate Baroque music.

(Update of 2015-06-10)

Many readers have commented on this post, and therefore I have written an important sequel to this post, 3 years later!

Read On →

Happy Programmers' Day!

Happy Programmers’ Day!

I only by accident found out that today was Programmers’ Day. It is apparently observed the 256th day of each year. This is my first year of “observing” the day.

Since the day is almost over, I hurriedly came up with this little piece of code. Guess what it does?

{% codeblock Mystery Ruby lang:ruby %} require_relative ‘utils’

class Mystery attr_reader :mysterious end {% endcodeblock %}

Read On →

Round 2 of the Pittsburgh Chess Club tournament: winning in the Sicilian Defense; the philosophy and psychology of struggle

Second round

Yesterday was the second round of the current six-round Tuesday night tournament at the Pittsburgh Chess Club, the 14th Fred Sorensen Memorial.

Last week I reported on my quick “Greek gift sacrifice” win in the first round. This week, my game was far from quick: it was a long struggle lasting most of the allotted four-hour maximum; my game lasted over three hours before I finally won.

In this post, I frankly discuss the course of the game, including the crucial psychological aspects.

I begin with a summary of the basic philosophical concepts of the opening, the Sicilian Defense, in terms that I hope both novices and non-chess-players can appreciate.

Read On →

The paradox of writing: doing versus writing

For about eight months now I’ve been faced with quite a paradox: although I have written a good amount of content for my blog since I started it just under a year ago, in September 2011, the fact remains that by the end of 2011, I’d fallen way behind on writing about really important things that I had been doing in my life. I intended to catch up this year, but instead, I launched into even more significant, life-changing projects, very few of which I have actually even reported on at all here! Read On →

Finally performing some sonatas for Baroque flute

English Airs and Dances

Abby and I went to another party at Henry’s, the first one we’ve been to in five months. He’s had other parties, but we’ve been very busy all spring and summer.

Tonight was another big musical milestone for me.

Read On →

Running my 8th Pretty Good Race 5K: dealing with disappointment

Registration table

This year I ran, for the eighth time in my life, the CMU Pretty Good Race 5K; on National Running Day earlier this year, I described how special this race has been to me.

Things did not go as planned, but I made the most of the event anyway, and was happy and even amused by some of the things that happened.

Read On →

My Pittsburgh Ruby talk: "nil: historical, theoretical, comparative, philosophical, and practical perspectives"

Franklin speaking at Pittsburgh Ruby on nil

As promised, I finally gave a talk at our local Pittsburgh Ruby group!

Here’s a brief report (along with links to a video and slides).

Read On →