Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


A Card Carrying Fiddler

August 13, 2007

Well, not a ‘card’ so much as a fiddle. That’s right, I now own my very own fiddle. It’s very exciting. I no longer feel like a pretender, I now feel like an honest-to-god fiddler. I took some shoddy pictures this afternoon, but the sun light was not very good; I shall probably try to take more in the next day or two with better light. If a detailed recounting of my fiddle-quest does not interest you, I recommend you stop now and go read some comics.

Some weeks back, when Jessie was in town for a short period, she suggested to me that it was time to consider buying my own fiddle. I was quite excited by this suggestion because a) I’m always happy to add a new instrument to my collection and b) it felt like a serious vote of confidence from Jessie. She recommended a few places to look, and Mom and I dug up a couple more on the internet, but I did not begin looking straight away. It takes a little time to pick an instrument, especially one as sensitive as a fiddle—it is important, I think, to try many of them to find one that suits you, they are not as forgiving an instrument as a guitar. As such, I did not truly begin my search until last week.So near the end of last week I began looking for my own fiddle. I ended up at Reed Bernstein’s on Thursday, and he spent about two and a half hours with me looking at instruments. We began by looking at the fiddles themselves; using a very nice carbon fiber bow I tried four or five different instruments until I found one with which I was happy. I love both the sound and the feel of this instrument. Which is to say that not only does it sound great, but playing it feels completely natural to me.

Once I’d pretty well settled on the fiddle, we moved on to bows. We looked first at carbon fiber bows because Reed said that in my target price range they tended to be superior to wooden ones. I played probably six to eight different carbon fiber bows—including the $500 one I’d used to find the fiddle—and narrowed it down to one bow. Then, just to sate my curiosity, Reed brought out a few wooden bows. I played four or five of these and quickly narrowed this selection down to one as well. At this point it was very nearly a tough call: the carbon fiber or the wooden bow? I played both of them successively for probably five minutes. I suspect that some of the difficulty in this decision came from innate tendency to gravitate towards more “natural” materials. However, at the end of the day, the carbon fiber bow felt easier to use, so that ended up being my choice.

Now I had selected a fiddle and a bow; I was nearly set. The next step was to find a comfortable chin rest. Apparently, at least according to Reed, many shops don’t take this step. But Reed pulled out three or four different chin rests and had me try each one to see which I preferred. I tend to center my jaw on the body of the fiddle when I play, so I ended up with a chin rest that was centered on the violin, instead of being off-center towards the top of the instrument.

And last, but not least, I chose my beautiful case. Since my parents paid for the bow for my birthday, I decided it was worth the money to buy the higher quality case. Lined with a dark green velvet, and sporting a dial indicating the humidity in the case, I could not be much happier with it. Not to mention that it is very sturdy.

As though it weren’t enough that Reed had spent over two hours with me to help me find the right instrument, he offered to let me take the instrument home without purchasing it to play it over the weekend. A fortuitous turn of events for me, since I knew it was going to be hard to walk out of there without that fiddle, but I wanted to postpone the purchase on the off chance I found something I liked better. To make the rest of this long story a little shorter, I called a few places, visited another shop, but either they had no instruments in my price range, or I didn’t like the instruments they had. So today I drove back over to Reed’s, handed him my credit card, and walked out the proud owner of my very first fiddle.


It’s Not New Year’s…

June 20, 2007

…But I have a resolution nonetheless: I need to quit forgetting to bring my camera places. I bought it because it is very portable, it’s time I started taking advantage of that fact and just kept it with me at all times.

Corollary resolution: I need to get over my embarrassment of taking pictures of people. My Da, Doug, and Drew all get great photos and I believe that this is due in large part to their willingness to take them in the first place. (Duh.)

Finally, I think this means I’ll have to get on the ball about organizing the chaos of pictures on my computer. I really need to settle on an application to manage them and an organization scheme for them in my file system. Once that’s done, I should probably select the best ones and upload them to picasaweb. Who knows when I’ll actually have time for this…


Curse of the Întørwëb Surveys

June 19, 2007

Found this one on my friend Megan‘s blog.

You Would Be a Pet Bird

You’re intelligent and witty, yet surprisingly low maintenance.
You charm people easily, and they usually love you a lot more than you love them.

You resent anyone who tries to own or control you. You refuse to be fenced in.

Why you would make a great pet: You’re very smart and entertaining

Why you would make a bad pet: You’re not interested in being anyone’s pet!

What you would love about being a bird: Flying, obviously

What you would hate about being a bird: Being caged

What Kind of Pet Would You Be?


Forgive the Inelegant Prose That Follows

June 11, 2007

I had meant to write something briefly about this last week, but somehow I didn’t make the time. Now I find myself in a state of mind where it is difficult for me to concentrate enough to write something worth reading. So I will simply state it plainly. Jon—my guitar teacher—invited me to play a short set of three tunes with him at one of his shows. So last Thursday at the Laughing Goat, I got up on stage with him and backed him on The Red Box, The Humours of Barrack St., and Tamlin. Needless to say, I had a blast (in spite of missing two chord changes).

But now for the bad news; the reason that I am in such a scattered state mentally (or at least the catalyst). This morning, while walking at Chatfield with my Mom, my parents’s dog was bitten by a snake. No idea what kind of snake, Mom couldn’t tell. Having experienced certain levels of the adrenaline dump that can arise in these situations, I am not surprised.

She called me this morning—probably sometime around 10:00—to ask for help deciding what to do. She wasn’t sure whether, once the park ranger arrived to help her carry the dog to the car (thank the gods for cell phones), to drive to Castle Rock¹ to take him to his vet there, or to look for one closer by. She had to hang up before we’d really decided; so I looked on Google Maps for vet hospitals in the area, found one, and called to find out a) if they could handle this kind of injury and b) to warn them that Mom might be coming in with the dog. When Mom called back, it seemed that she and the ranger had arrived at the same conclusion I did: that she should take Nalu to this hospital that was near by. So I looked at the map and helped her figure out where she was going, then hung up and called the hospital back to let them know that she was definitely coming in.

When Mom and dog arrived, they put him on anti-venom and an assortment of other medications to treat the wound. He’ll have to stay there for at least a day, possibly more, while they monitor him and make sure nothing goes wrong. Last I heard, his temperature had gone down and he was panting less, the bite was still swelling (which is apparently not unusual), and they have him on morphine to try and help him rest. At this point, there is not much that anyone can do except wait.

Here’s hoping…

¹ At least a 30 minute drive from Chatfield.


No Surprises Here

April 12, 2007

You scored as Donatello. You are intelligent and peaceful…maybe you should consider going into a different line of work. Even though you are friendly, you should try to fit in with other more often.

April O’Neil
Mater Splinter (The Rat)

Which teenage mutant ninja turtle are you?
created with


Old Friends

April 1, 2007

Friday afternoon I went out with my mom to get reacquainted with some old friends from my childhood. I haven’t seen them in over a decade and I can tell you it was really good to see them again. Friday afternoon my mom took me to see TMNT for old time’s sake.

Was that too corny? Well, whatever. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I thought they did a pretty good job with it, too. Not that there was ever very much to the Turtles; they pretty much just squabble like kids and kick the Foot’s collective ass while making bad jokes. Not that it couldn’t have been messed up, I just think it takes a certain degree of effort to really screw up that formula.¹

It’s comforting that amongst the myriad things in this world that are in constant flux, some things remain the same—or at least can remain the same. Not only is the movie very much like the Turtles I remember from when I was growing up, but my love for them has not dwindled in the least. I am very excited about its release on DVD and I am equally excited at the possibility of a sequel—something at which they hinted near the end of the movie.

I only had two complaints. One, all of the humans looked the same. The Turtles and Splinter all looked quite good, but the humans looked like all humans tend to look these days in computer generated movies. In fact Winters reminded me a great deal of Mr. Incredible. For some reason in anime it doesn’t bother me that the people often look the same—that is part of its charm, in fact. But I’m getting sick of it in western animation; I miss the days when things were drawn by hand and the people’s faces had character (no pun intended). And two, they recycled some of the jokes from the first movie. Not a big complaint, but my favorite lines were the ones that were completely original to the film and I wish there had been more.

Now I wish they were still on TV so that I could watch again. I guess it’s time to start searching the internet for DVDs.

¹ I seem to recall a live-action Turtles show on Fox where they saw fit to add a fifth, female turtle for the sake of political correctness. This show struck me as rather lame.


A Jog Down Memory Lane

March 22, 2007

A day like most others: got up (eventually), worked, played guitar, hung out at Folsom St. Coffee. Somehow this afternoon I ended up looking over some of the digital photos on my computer; I think it was because I was looking for a picture to use for my Blogger avatar. So this evening I ended up going through all the ones that had been imported into F-spot on my desktop and uploading a bunch of them to picasaweb.

Took a few hours to get these things sorted, resized, and uploaded, but I was waiting for the upgrade to Feisty on my laptop to finish, so I had nothing better to be doing. I haven’t really gotten around to tagging and captioning these things; that will have to happen over a longer period of time, probably whilst avoiding work. So I’ll probably get started first thing tomorrow morning! Some of these may be of little interest to most of you folks, but here are a few that might be: