The inaugural Liberty Mile: a review of Pittsburgh's first road mile race, a great community event

Franklin's race number and Bikila LS shoes

Tonight I was really excited to race in, and also watch, the inaugural GNC Live Well Liberty Mile, a road race that runs along Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh, starting from the Strip District and ending downtown.

It’s about time Pittsburgh had a road mile race! Pittsburgh already has the wonderful

I hope this event is here to stay. Here’s my report on the event as both a runner and a spectator.

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Playing Baroque flute at my friend's wedding reception

Steve and Kelly Today was a very special day. It was the wedding day of one of my best friends, Steve, whom I first met in Pittsburgh over a decade ago. Abby and I were thrilled to have been able to travel to be there for Steve and to meet and get to know Kelly. It suddenly started raining very hard at the outdoor wedding, which caused a lot of improvised changes in plans, but the rain cleared up eventually and everything went well: the details do not matter when we’re talking about love and friendship and family. Read On →

The first Steel City Ruby Conf: an amazing experience

(Updated 2012-08-22) Last Friday and Saturday, I attended the intense new local tech conference in Pittsburgh, the first Steel City Ruby Conference. It was one of the most amazing, unusual experiences in my entire life. I’ll write up more about this conference in a week or two, as I have a lot to do right now. For now, I’m just announcing that I have been inspired to plan to do many things I’ve never done before. Read On →

The paradox of practice: it's harder to go slow than go fast

Recently, by coincidence, I’ve seen a lot of articles about the benefits of slow practice of a skill, whether in music or martial arts. Some good links that really apply to all physical skills:

We live in an era of speed. It’s gotten to the point that there have arisen some movements against speed, for slow.

I have a confession to make: it’s really hard for me to practice music slowly. I myself am guilty of often practicing music too quickly, not making the most of my practice. For a while, when I was starting to play music again after an absence of three decades, I was pushing myself with a metronome. That was useful for a while, but eventually I realized I had to slow down.

I am now actually trying to apply the advice in the articles mentioned and really slow down in music. Because I know in my heart that slowing down works.

When I think about it, I have successfully used slow practice in many fields in the past, from ballroom dance to running to chess. I’d like to give examples of what slow practice actually means in each of these and how I attribute my success to it.

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Zapping the PRAM several times to install Mountain Lion

Yesterday at work I tried to upgrade my desktop iMac from Lion to Mountain Lion. I failed miserably. I tried various things, including running Disk Utility to repair the hard drive, but I kept getting the error “There was a problem installing Mac OS X. Try reinstalling.” I searched online for help, and found that a lot of other people had encountered the same problem. And a lot of people reported success after resetting the PRAM, or as my boss over the years has called it, “zapping the PRAM”. Read On →

Got my new Casey Burns Small-Handed Irish flute!

I’m excited that I finally got my Casey Burns Small-Handed Folk Flute, a fine keyless Irish flute, that I ordered almost two months ago! Here are photos of my flute, assembled and disassembled: Casey Burns Small-Handed Folk Flute, assembled Casey Burns Small-Handed Folk Flute, disassembled Now I have to start breaking it in, gradually, over the next month, according to the instructions. Read On →

My first appearance on a music recital program

Pittsburgh Recorder Society spring 2012 recital program

A month and a half ago, I reported on an upcoming music recital I was going to perform in. In fact, I did perform, on Sunday, June 17, 2012. It was my first appearance in my life on a musical recital program, and my first time solo on modern flute.

The event was an informal spring dinner party/recital at Helen’s home for the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Recorder Society. (By the way, we also have a Facebook page now.)

Why did I put myself on the spot, by volunteering to play, and what did I choose to play?

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Ignoring London 2012: why I do not watch the Olympics any more

Olympic logo

The 2012 summer Olympics in London have begun.

I am not watching it, and I will not follow any of the events or results in the news.

I am speaking as one who has fond childhood memories of watching the summer Olympics, and even some exciting memories of watching as late as Athens 2004. Why my change of heart?

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Walking and running in Invisible Shoes: a review of the Connect

For three weeks now, I have been wearing a pair of Invisible Shoes huaraches almost exclusively when walking and running outside. I have worn them daily walking, and I have run in them on roads, on sidewalks, on grass, and in park trails.

This is a review of the 4mm sole Connect model (I might get a 6mm sole Contact later).

Here is what the shoes look like with “slip-on/slip-off” lacing:

As you can see, the sole is quite thin, just 4mm:

Here are some photos of me wearing the shoes:

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Mideast Early Music Workshop 2012: a life-changing experience!!

The whole past week (July 15-21, 2012), I attended my first ever music camp, the annual Mideast early music workshop held at LaRoche College. It totally changed my life!

A big report, with photos and videos:

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