Thursday, July 31, 2008

Twelve tone infomercial

Dr. Horrible

for the one person reading that doesn't already watch Dr. Horrible: do.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I've been teaching a little boy how to play recorder for what is edging up upon a year now, as many of you know, he is an ornery little guy, a regular pain in the buttinski as my mom would say. Nonetheless he's a sweet kid. We came upon a break through just yesterday that sort of blew my mind.

I've always known about different sorts of learning, I am for the most part an aural learner....I think (?) . If I'm paying attention I'll remember most everything that I'm told, of course the trick there is the "if I'm paying attention" but still, I remember things like conversations. But it's still hard to wrap your head around the fact that people learn in different ways.

My student is going into the first grade next year, he's young for his grade so I don't think that he turns six until later in the year. I have been teaching him mostly things by wrote and imitation. I play something, he copies me, I finger things while he plays etc. He really struggles though, so I have all year been slowly acclimating him to the idea of written music, how it works how to write it and other complicated things that I wanted to introduce him to but don't expect him to fully get for another few years.

Yesterday I decided to have a little experiment. We took some written music and we sang through it on letter names, then with finger numbers and then I asked him to play it. BAM! did it. so I did it again today, except just singing letter names no finger numbers, the kid totally got it! He's a visual learner of sorts! It was really exciting and gratifying.

We'll still do somethings by ear because it's good to stretch the part of your mind that you're less comfortable with, but wow! It was incredible. I'm really glad because now when we work hard it is with results.

We still have to seriously work on his memory and his sense of pitch....

Monday, July 28, 2008

summer in chicago

Chicago is really the greatest sort of town to be in come summer time. That is of course if you overlook humidity and stifling heat come late July-August. You will never never be at a loss of things to do, really it's a matter of choosing what cool free thing to do.
I went to venetian night on Saturday, this is an event where boats parade through Monroe Harbor all decorated with lights and other props like floats in a land parade, there is then a big firework show that's coordinated with music. It's pretty cool, one of those things that if you live here you should do at least once. Here are some that I got good pictures of.

a venetian inspired boat

swing dancing on a boat

what you can't see clearly here is that this boat says it's blooming Daley and there is a picture of Daley shooting water out of his mouth...the picture is of Daley, the water's real!
Also the Buckingham fountain is all lit up and fabulous:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pink Floyd

How have I not listened to Pink Floyd knowingly until today? How did I not know I liked them? crazy.

Anyhow I have good news! And resultant bad news:

if you can't tell that's a giant blister on my left pinky. It happens when you play a stringed instrument for the first time in a while

Monday, July 07, 2008


My first spring in Chicago I was pleasantly surprised by how few mosquitoes there were. Far fewer than in Connecticut, especially near the river.

However this year we have many more than usual because, we've had a ton of rain that has simply not had anywhere to drain off to. Pictures are from this morning

I could not fall asleep last night, firstly I was warm, secondly I was itchy, and thirdly there was a mosquito in my room. I did the whole lie very still wait for it to land and then strike, but was entirely unsuccessful. I finally decided forget it! I'll just fall asleep and deal with the mosquito bites tomorrow.

Poo. This is one of those times when today Embly really resents yesterday Embly. My left forearm alone there are 11 bites, and that is not including three on my pinky knuckle or any other hand bites. Ms. Mosquito, surely you could have just bitten once and gotten sated with my blood in one go.

I'll get back to posting about music and singing one of these days. It has been going quite well actually, but apparently I don't write about deep things anymore.

Friday, July 04, 2008


The Mid-west truly is different than the North East, where I grew up, in a lot of ways. I'm not sure that Ryan's complaints of general rudeness ring true with me, but then I was an insider in that culture rather than a new-comer. And any comments about terrible directions are true, there is a definite sense of, well, if they don't know how to get there, then surely they don't deserve to get there. However the difference that I want to talk about and was really struck with actually for the first time last year on the fourth of July, was the fireworks.

We had gone to Indiana to spend the day with Mia's folks last year, and drove back at dark. I had been sad that I hadn't seen any fireworks shows, but I shouldn't have been, the sky was literally illuminated in all directions by fireworks flying over the roof tops. I have never seen so many everywhere at once. I guess in Connecticut they are just a little more illegal.

This year I decided to go see the fireworks downtown in Chicago, last year we watched them from the point, and it was absolutely disappointing, because they were about 7 miles away, rendering them puny and silent. So this year, since I knew that I could walk home (eventually) if the crowds were terrible, I decided to do it.

I had read that they were expecting over a million folks to show up last night, and boy were they ever right. I got off the blue line, and entered a sea of people. Alex and I made our way slowly through Grant Park, wrestled through the Taste, which had added an extra layer of impossible to everything, and get to the lake, where we sat on a hill and waited.

And waited. Why does everything always start late? Finally they started after teasing us a few times with some "test shots" at 9:50, only 20 minutes behind schedule. It was so worth it though! Standing right there at the water's edge at Monroe Harbor, the fireworks were huge, and shook you when they exploded. It was really a great show, lots of really pretty explody things that I wish I knew how they got them to work, like how'd they get a heart shape in a circle?

Then of course it was over and it was a game of trodding out with the masses. I made Alex guess how long it would take us to get from the lake shore to Michigan Ave. he guessed 45 minutes, it took us 20! It was needless to say absolutely nuts, it was finally walkable past Dearborn, and then Alex estimated that about a third of the people dropped off after every intersection after that, and finally past Union Station everything was all cleared up. Alex caught the bus at Halsted, and I hurried on home the rest of the way. I did try to catch the bus, but everything was all full up.

All in all it took me an hour and twenty minutes to get home from the moment the fireworks stopped to walking in the front door, a time that I'm not convinced that could have been decreased by the use of public transportation.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I usually leave the food pictures for the other blog, but this was art, so there!

We had Yotam and Alex over for dinner last weekend for pizza, Mia made some fantastic dough and Yotam mastered the art of throwing pizza.

Then as Yotam was staring at a piece of pizza he was struck by genius, there it was, Israel. With only a slight change it was Israel replete with West bank and Gaza strip.