Thoughts on National Running Day 2014

This is my third year of celebrating National Running Day. The first year, I did so by running in Schenley Park; last year, I quietly did my usual Frick Park run. This year, I ran in Frick Park again, a shorter run, because I took such a long break from running since last October, and only recently returned to regular running. Luna Venado Sandals Since it was a shorter run of just 3 miles, I wore my thin Luna Venado Sandals (only 7 mm thick) instead of the Luna Mono Sandals that I wore on last year’s run. Read On →

Sometimes the best speech is the one you didn't have time to prepare

I went to something like my twelfth CMU Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences staff appreciation lunch (I’ve lost track). Basically, they feed you, recognize people who have worked some multiple of five years, and hold a raffle for ten cash prizes topping out at $100 (I won $75 last year). It’s a pleasant annual social event, but one whose details I don’t really remember from one year to the next.

But this year was different. I will not forget this year.

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The Chess Improver: Is it worth studying your own games from thirty years ago?

For The Chess Improver, I wrote “Is it worth studying your own games from thirty years ago?”.

Copland's Appalachian Spring danced by the orchestra musicians: confronting my memories of boredom four years ago

I follow Greg Sandow’s blog on the “future of classical music”. He posted an article that got me thinking: he was all excited about an unorthodox performance of Aaron Copland’s half-hour-long “Appalachian Spring” by the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra in which the students of the orchestra actually moved around and danced as well as played their instruments. I have a confession to make: back almost four years ago, in November 2010, I went to a “Carnegie Mellon Night at the Symphony” in which “Appalachian Spring” was on the program. Read On →

Remembering the gift of being introduced to kayaking six years ago by a total stranger

Over Memorial Day weekend, Abby and I went kayaking on the Kiski River, at the invitation of Steve, the guy we first met six years ago. There’s a story I’d like to share about what happened by chance six years ago.

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The Chess Improver: You don't have to be who you think you are

For The Chess Improver, I wrote “You don’t have to be who you think you are”.

How a homemade ice cream cookie sandwich touched my heart seven years ago

Today’s was Carnegie Mellon University’s annual “staff picnic”. Basically, they provide some reasonable food in the University Center, including a variety of sandwiches and wraps (with many good vegetarian selections, by the way), and salads, and ice cream billed as “homemade ice cream sandwiches”. The menu in recent years has been pretty good, and stayed the same. I ate a single one of the ice cream cookie sandwiches, which was plenty! Read On →

Why I voted yet again

I voted again, as I’ve been doing regularly for some years now.

2014 PA primary election voter receipt

But why?

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When I'm feeling too tired to venture out, there's always Frick Park

Because of the rain forecast and fatigue (I had a tough week), Abby and I ended up not venturing out of the city of Pittsburgh for a hike yesterday. But this afternoon, things seemed to clear up enough that we went for a hike in our local Frick Park. It was a bit chilly actually, so we wore raincoats and also I wore a hat in gloves (yes, it’s May). Read On →

Pittsburgh Recorder Society: discovering the beauty of Alonso Lobo

We had another great turnout for the monthly meeting of the Pittsburgh Recorder Society. We got another new member, Joanna. I counted fifteen of us, total.

Today, the highlight for me was discovering some music I don’t remember encountering before, by Alonso Lobo, who lived roughly 1555-1617. Fred passed out parts for his “Versa est in luctum”, a sacred motet for voice (which we are playing as a recorder ensemble instead).

This music is beautiful and new to me, and Fred provided instructive interpretive guidance I will discuss.

I’d never heard of Lobo before (outside of recorder playing, I simply have very little knowledge of early pre-Baroque music) and had to look up Lobo after the meeting.

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