One week of commuting on foot because of CMU Carnival

This week, the Morewood Parking Lot, where I have an annual parking permit for commuting to work at Carnegie Mellon University, is being used for the annual CMU Spring Carnival, so this year I opted for the new possibility opened up by CMU Parking Services to volunteer to not park in my lot, in order to reduce demand for parking. In return, I get a $50 credit toward my parking fee.

(A photo from the CMU Carnival live webcam.)

So today I walked two miles to work and another two back home, taking about thirty minutes each way at a fairly brisk pace.

Why was I so eager to volunteer?

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Free course review: Software Engineering for Software as a Service (Part I), from Coursera

So after putting quite a bit of time, from February 20 to March 23, into the free Coursera course “Software Engineering for Software as a Service (Part I)”, I just received my “Statement of Accomplishment”:

Congratulations! You have successfully completed the free online offering of Software Engineering for Software as a Service (Part I), offered February to April, 2012. To successfully complete this free online class, students were required to watch lectures, complete quizzes, and do weekly assignments.

My review:

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Why I Gave Up Coffee Yesterday

Yesterday, I did not have my usual afternoon coffee.

Two days ago, I had decided to give up coffee (for at least two or three weeks). My final cup of espresso made at work:

Cup of espresso at work

I found a surprising variety of reasons to quit coffee.

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Two weeks after getting my first smartphone

I got my first smartphone in my life just two weeks ago, a Samsung Galaxy S II. I’ve been too busy to actually sit down and read the 279-page manual, but here are some observations on how I’ve used the smartphone so far.

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My first sampling of English country dance and contra dance

By “accident”, today I participated in my first sampling of both English country dance and contra dance. Abby and I went to a large birthday celebration in which many of the guests were musicians and dancers, and hence there was live music performed by friends and someone who taught and called dances. I hadn’t intended to participate, despite having the idea of trying contra dance planted in my head three months ago, but out of a sense of etiquette and opportunity, did participate in a couple of the “easier” dances. Read On →

A delayed St. Patrick's Day party: playing tin whistle and alto recorder

Since so many people couldn’t make it to Henry’s St. Patrick’s Day party, Henry threw another party two weeks later, a second St. Patrick’s Day party! Abby and I attended this one too.

This was another huge milestone for me, musically.

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What I did immediately after the National Day of Unplugging

The past 24 hours, I observed the National Day of Unplugging.

This is not a report on what I learned during that experience. I will be working on that report, which will probably be spread out over multiple posts.

This is a report of what I did, “plugged in”, right after the event ended.

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Paradox? I will observe the National Day of Unplugging but just bought my first smartphone this week!

National Day of Unplugging 2012

Just in February, I heard of the National Day of Unplugging scheduled for March 23-24, 2012, and immediately put it on my calendar, with the hope of observing it.

For some time, I’ve been struggling with being increasingly plugged into the Internet, and Clay Johnson has been advocating an information diet, so I decided to do this day of unplugging as an experiment, to observe what my habits have been and learn something about myself.

Ironically, on Wednesday I just bought my first smartphone, after years of never having used one. So what’s going on?!

Brand new Samsung Galaxy S II

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Flute update: celebrating Bach's birthday, using a Thumbport, improvising to bossa nova

It’s been eleven days since my last blog post on my flute progress. During this time, there have been various changes in my life, including radical changes in my musical life. It will take me a couple of additional blog posts to discuss these changes, but for now, I’ll talk only about today’s snapshot of my flute activity.

(Update of 2012-03-12)

I had ended up quitting the CMU AUO, and then having a wonderful musical experience a birthday party.

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The joy and challenge of making beautiful sounds together

Today I enjoyed yet another monthly meeting of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Recorder Society. I haven’t been talking much about playing recorder, because I’ve been focused almost entirely on flute in my own practice, but I’ve been faithfully attending the monthly meetings of the recorder society, because I very much enjoy playing in an ensemble and continuing to learn to be a more aware and sensitive ensemble musician. Read On →