Thursday, December 01, 2005


The fourth day

I played an hour and a half today, but wow is my fingertip sore! I'm staying confident that I'll eventually develop a good callous. A few times I noticed that I was apparently holding the bow properly. Before I tired out, I was able to slowly run the scales and do some reasonable fingerplay; then all of a sudden I just couldn't hit the notes anymore. So then I worked on bowing until my right arm got tired. At times I was even beginning to feel comfortable with some of the rhythms and timing.

I'm struggling with the tuning. I found some MIDI downloads on the internet for each open string. My cello really sings on the open G and it is easy to tune in that one. The low C is somewhat harder, but I do feel like I can get there. I'm not yet comfortable with the sounds on the open D and A strings. I wonder if an electronic tuner would help?

I downloaded the Sibelius Scorch program, today. Nice. Here's a description from

The Sibelius 'Scorch' plug-in is totally free and takes only a few seconds to download. It is an impressive piece of technology, which allows you to follow the music as it plays, stop and start the music from any point, and best of all transpose the entire score instantly. This is great if you want to try out a piece in a different register. The one drawback of the Sibelius files on are that they are not printable. If you really want to print off the Sibelius score, PC users can press the 'Print Screen' button and then paste the screen image into an application like Paint or Photoshop - and print from there. The Scorch plug-in is available from

I haven't decided to join, yet, but they do offer some nice free downloads, and if you become a member there's quite a few more downloads. The electronic imitation of the cello is pretty pitiful, but at least it lets you hear the piece at different tempos and you can go back and pick it up at any point.

I went to our local music store and after talking to them a while, I brought home a guitar stand to see if it would fit my cello. It was short by an inch or so; so they ordered an "official" cello stand. It should be here Monday.

I picked up some Yo-Yo Ma CDs today at the library. Wow!

TV Shows
Steve Carrel plays Michael Scott in "The Office". He's great! It must be hard keeping a straight face during the rehearsals and taping. There's a hint of Ignatious/Major Hoople in that character. I love how clueless he is. And of course, there's Dwight.

Another standout oddball show, "Arrested Development", won't be renewed next year. What a shame! Fox didn't try very hard to promote it. They kept it off the air for a month during the playoffs and then threw two episodes together without much fanfare. The next day they announced it would not be renewed because the numbers weren't good enough. Bummer.

Of course, who couldn't like "My Name is Earl"? Earl's brother Randy, played by Ethan Suplee, is one of the best characters I've seen in years! Earl's ex-wife Joy, played by Jaime Pressley, is also great! I also like Darnell.

We're watching all three of the alien series: Z likes "Surface" the best, my favorite is "Invasion", and my pick for first to go is"Threshold".

I listened to "Surface" the other night while I was blogging, and I was really surprised at how poor some of the acting was - especially the scenes where the two characters popped to the surface from several thousand feet deep in a homemade diving submarine without getting the bends, and then had to deal with a leaky raft at night in a storm, with sharks and of course the mysterious alien lizard/whale/whatever. Because I wasn't watching what was going on and could only hear their voices as I typed, I couldn't help but notice how lame their acting was in those particular scenes.

In "Invasion", Sheriff Tom Underlay, played by William Fichtner, is one of the more interesting drama characters in years. Even knowing he had apparently been "absorbed" by one of the lighted manta rays, you still have to like him. The other night, his deputy who had lost his arm in Iraq, showed up with his arm intact after the Sheriff set him up for a "merge" with a glowing manta ray; the Sheriff convinced him to cut it off with a chainsaw. Also Dr. Mariel Underlay, coolly played by Keri Matchett, is intriguing.

Politics, again
Today, John Murtha again called for an immediate pull out from Iraq. I don't really get him. Does he possibly have sources inside the Pentagon that are telling him a different backstory, or is he just following a script handwritten by party central? By stepping forward as a straw man for a total pullout, he takes the heat off of the rest of the party. They can either stand with him as Nancy Pelosi did today, or against him as Joe Lieberman has done. Or better, they can just stand back and watch the interplay. Meanwhile the damage is being done, step-by-step, in small increments, and they'll benefit from Bush's gradual erosion of support without ever having to take a position.

There's almost nothing else going on in the news, other than the current hot debate about Iraq. Meanwhile oil prices have fallen back a bit; the xmas shopping frenzy looks strong; the economy is picking up steam; Iraq is about to have another election; there's been no terror attack on the US outside of the middle-east war zones since 9-11; and Bush is finally talking about immigration and border security.

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