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Some familiar tunes, plus some new tunes in a lively Celtic concert this Saturday, March 23, at 8:pm at the Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway, Greenbelt Maryland. Tickets are $17 for regular admission and $14 for students and seniors. Call 301-441-8770 to make reservations. Hope to see you there.
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Went to see Hilary Hahn, my favoritist violinist at present, who performed at the Kennedy Center yesterday evening. It was great. Hilary has commissioned 27 short pieces to be used as encores, and she played 9 of them during the concert, interspersed between the major works on the program, the Corelli Sonata No. 4, the Chaconne from Bach's Partita No. 2 for solo violin, and the Faure Sonata No. 1. Except for the Bach, this was all music that I had never heard before, so it was an excellent introduction to a lot of good music.

Hilary was ably accompanied by Cory Smythe on the piano, except, of course, during the Bach. Usually Hilary memorizes everything and doesn't use music in a concert, even in a recital. However, she did use music for some of the new encores she commissioned, leading to a few light moments when she had to place the music back in place on the stand after a breeze in the concert hall blew her music closed. It was actually fairly amazing to see her put the music back, while playing the piece. At the end of the first half of the concert, Hilary played the Bach Chaconne. Amazing performance for which she got a well deserved standing ovation.

Hilary commissioned 27 encores by various composers to increase the available repertory of encores for violinists, something which really hasn't been done much since the time of Fritz Kreisler. She is on a concert tour at present to introduce the encores, which I understand she has finished recording. The only rules she had were that the encores were to be no more than 5 minutes and for acoustic violin and piano. As a result, the encores are varied in style and content, from very modernistic to very lyrical. After the concert, Hilary signed cd's Got a chance to say hello and ask her why her violin case <> doesn't come out a sign too, although how violin case would sign was a bit of a mystery. All in all a very satisfying evening.
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Go to Google and click on the black bar where the Google logo usually is. That will take you to a petition to stop the legislation currently pending to adversely regulate the Internet. Keep the Internet free!!!
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INTP - "Architect". Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 3.3% of total population.
Take Free Jung Personality Test
Personality Test by
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Here's hoping everyone has a very happy Holiday season for each and all of the holidays that may be celebrated this season.
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Happy birthday, Bit. Wish you many many more.
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My band, the Homespun Ceilidh Band, a rocking Celtic band, will be performing at the Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway, Greenbelt, MD 20770, (301) 441-8770, at 8 pm on this coming Friday, April 8. If you're in the neighborhood, come on down for a really great concert. See the Greenbelt Arts Center website,, for information on how to get tickets. Tickets can now be ordered on line at the website, or by phone at the number above.
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It has been a real pleasure following all of you, even though I don't post much. In that spirit, I'm following the meme that's been going around the past few days.

Copy and Paste if you have enjoyed the blessing of meeting people online that you never would have met any other way. This is my end of the year shout out to the many "friends" I have never met and those I have all too rarely been in the same room with, who have inspired, amused, comforted, encouraged, and touched me in so many ways. Here's to another year together!
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My band, the Homespun Ceilidh Band, is doing a holiday concert this Friday, Dec. 17, at the Greenbelt Arts Center, 301-441-8770, at 8 pm. Come on if you are in the DC area and enjoy some holiday celtic music, and see me play my Hardanger and my viola. Should be fun. We had a pretty good rehearsal tonight.
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I'm very glad that the people who made it to the APToBtVS gathering in Flagstaff had a good gathering, although shortened by a wildfire. I'm especially glad that they are all safe and were able to gather their stuff from the cabin safely. This will be the gathering with real adventure, not that just on the little screen.
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The old year is leaving and a new one is about to begin. Lets remember those we lost in the last year and hope that the new one is better for all than the last. (Of course, we tend to say things like that every year, don't we?) So, more music. That will make it much better.
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Today, since it's after midnight here on the east coast, is Thanksgiving in the old US of A. Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating with the eating of the turkey or other good things.

Remember, as Willow said, Thanksgiving may be a sham, but as Buffy said, "it's a sham with yam - a yam sham."
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Hope you had just the bestest of birthdays and that you will have many many more.
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I just finished reading two books by Stieg Larsson, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Girl Who Played with Fire." They are two thirds of a trilogy, with the last novel scheduled to come out in English in a little later this year. I can hardly wait until it does to get it.

Stieg Larsson was a journalist in Sweden who wrote these books in his spare time. Alas, he died at the age of 50 of a massive coronary, leaving the three books completed, plus, I understand, a fourth which was largely done on his laptop. The books are thriller/mystery books, with an unlikely pair of heros. Mikael Blomkvist is, like Larsson, a journalist and owner of a small magazine called "Millennium", which has kinda become the title for the series. In the beginning of the first novel, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," who has just lost a case of libel against him and is forced to leave his magazine. He comes into contact with a wealthy businessman who offers him a job, which he needs, to write a history of his family, and to find out who killed his niece, Harriet.

At the same time, a security firm has a private investigator named Lisbeth Salander, one of the most fascinating characters I have come across in fiction. Salander is described as being 24, four foot eleven inches, and weighing 88 pounds. She is also described as looking anorexic and could easily be mistaken for a teen boy. She is basically asocial, rarely talking, and is considered by many as a nut job, or a psych case, or autistic. What she is is badly hurt by her past and determined to not be a victim. She is also a brilliant hacker and highly moral, although not always compliant with the law. Seems that Lisbeth was hired to investigate Blomkvist by the industrialist, and when Blomkvist needs an investigator, she is recommended and hired. Together they manage to solve the mystery. Oh yes, Solander also manages to save Blomkvist's life at one point, and they develop an attraction to each other, which becomes a major conflict for Solander.

Salander is a bit like Faith in "Buffy" if Faith dressed punk and was a master hacker. Like Faith, she does things on her own terms, and is capable of using violence to protect herself. Like Faith, she is underestimated by the larger society.

One of the themes of both books is the treatment of women. The Swedish title for the first book translates as "Men who hate women," and there is much of that in both books. Blomkvist is one of only a few men who have treated Salander as an equal, many men in her life, including her "legal guardian," having treated her as a sex object. Of course, being resourceful, Salander manages to turn the tables on her "guardian," which sets up one of the conflicts in the second book, as the "guardian" seeks his revenge.

The books have been made into movies in Sweden, although they have not been released in the US or the UK, nor have they been given English subtitles. There is some discussion about US producers making a version in English. Yellow Bird, a film company in Sweden, has the rights to the films, and they did authorize an English version of some of the "Wallander" stories, another Swedish detective series, starring Kenneth Branagh, which were very well done and which appeared recently on PBS.

I am looking forward to the release of the third novel and to sometime seeing the movies, hopefully the original with subtitles. The second book is currently number one on the Washington Post bestseller list for fiction, so they are quite popular, and I would highly recommend them.
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Went to see "Julie & Julia" at our local theater in Greenbelt. The theater dates back to the founding of the town in 1939 and has a nice big screen. It's also reasonably priced. Much to my surprise, they are showing "Julie & Julia" this week, as usually they don't show first run movies. So Trix and I decided to catch the late afternoon showing. The film is good. Meryl Streep, as Julia Child, was excellent, as was Amy Adams (Cousin Beth in the "Family" episode on "Buffy"). It failed to have any explosions or rocket launchers, so it was a fairly quiet film, but very well done and entertaining. I would recommend it.

Afterwards, went to the local Chinese restaurant and had dinner. All in all, a good day.


Jul. 29th, 2009 01:35 am
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Got my Dollhouse DVD set from Amazon today and watched both the unaired pilot and the 13th unaired ep, Epitaph 1. I enjoyed both, although I felt that the unaired pilot revealed too many plot details to be a useful pilot. It would have really made the show go much faster if it was the actual pilot. As an episode, though, it was better than most of the early eps in the show. As to Epitaph 1, all I can say is "Wow." All I can really say without being too spoilery is that it is set about 10 years into the future, and uses lots of flashbacks, and it has Felicia Day. Yay!!! I really enjoyed it.
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I'm just seeing if this crossposts to my LJ.
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I'm now signed up as fidhle on Dreamwidth, for any who wish to find me there.
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So today I was riding my bike when I felt a lens from my glasses fall out of the frame. Since I was on the motorcycle, I couldn't do anything except hope that it had gotten caught in my helmet or clothes. Darn, no such luck.

So I went to the local eye doctor to get a new prescription so I could buy some new glasses. Of course, he diluted my eyes to check inside.

When I finally did leave the store, with Trix driving, I noticed that my diluted eyes made all the lights be much bigger and have star-like rays from them, kinda like some x-mas tree lights. It was quite pretty, all the red, green, white and yellow lights shining in the night. Kinda like party lights all over town. Magical.
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“Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent 52
He reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
He said I've got no further use for these
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride”

Richard Thompson: 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, last verse

My brother, Charles, died at home on Wednesday morning around 3 am from leukemia. He spend his last few days at home, in the company of his wife and son, in hospice care, but had spent much of the last year in one hospital or another. He was 74 years old.

Charles, when he was a teenager, bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle in parts, and rebuilt it. My mom would come home and open the oven, only to find one of her pans being used to oil a chain or some parts. He finished the bike and then began to learn to ride, which was not an unusual learning experience in the ‘50’s. As I recall, the first time he rode it, he dropped it making a turn. There was no damage done to him or the bike. I can sympathize, because when I got my motorcycle in May 2007, I managed to drop it when coming to a stop after riding around the block. Very embarrassing, but no damage to me except for my pride, and little damage to the bike.

Charles rode motorcycles most of his life. When he was in Ethiopia while in the Army, he had a MotoGuzzi bike and rode that around the country. I know that he rode that Harley across the country at one point. More recently, he had some BMW’s, first a classic bike from the ‘60’s or early ‘70’s and then later a late ‘70’s R90 or R100/5 bike, which he rode until he got diagnosed with leukemia in the spring of 2008.

I often rode with him, meeting him at a restaurant, usually in or near Laurel, which is about half-way between where he lived and where I live. We would then often go for a little, or not so little ride. I called our rides the Ward Brothers Motorcycle Club, but we never got jackets or anything. I guess it’s too late now.

He maintained his interest in bikes until close to the end. At one point, I was taking my laptop to his hospital room to show him movies, including, as he requested, “The World’s Fastest Indian” I also got some films from the “Long Way Around” and “Long Way Down” series of adventure motorcycle journeys. He enjoyed those when he had hopes of riding again. I guess I knew he was giving up when last week he said he didn’t have an interest in motorcycles. He had apparently given up on the idea of getting well enough to ride again.

Charles was always the adventurous one in the family. When we were kids in Arizona, he managed, while in high school, to get trapped in some of the old mines in the area around Bisbee. Seems he and a couple of others kids decided to explore, but managed to lose their lights somehow. Since there were vertical shafts in the mines and it would be easy and fatal to fall in one, they were basically unable to move until they were rescued. It made the national media at one point. Later, he learned to fly an airplane and was an active pilot, flying a Luscombe. He was also an active sky diver, and, even when he had stopped doing those activities, he participated in bicycle rides across Maryland, even fairly recently.

Although he had some problems in academia, he was one of the most intelligent people I ever met and he loved to discuss and debate issues of all types. He, at one point, joined the Toastmasters and was active in that group. He worked as a computer programmer for the Social Security Administration until he retired a couple of years ago. He also invented things, including a device to shoot coins into the baskets at toll booths.

When he had a major incident which first put him in the hospital, he told his wife that he had had a wonderful life, and I think he had. He got to do a lot of things he wanted to do and provide for himself and his family.

He is survived by his wife, Joan, and his son, Greg, who is now an attorney in Miami. He and Joan had a daughter, Susan, who, tragically, died in Charles’ arms in early 2007. Susan was learning to ride a motorcycle, and had a Suzuki 650 bike. I can imagine Charles and Susan riding their bikes, perhaps accompanied by those angels on Ariels in leather and chrome.

May he enjoy the ride forever.