Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Time to take the tape off my cello's fingerboard

Steady progress with my cello today. I've held back on new material for a while, focusing instead on the fingering workouts. I've got to train them where to go rapidly, without looking. This means that the adhesive tape has to come off the fingerboard, sooner or later. Initially, I wanted to be sure where to put my fingers, but now I can hear the off-notes, and I know where the fingers should have been. So, I'm ready to make the leap - probably in a day or so.

I want to play longer each day, but my hands stop working properly, and my back starts hurting. The good news is a callous is starting to form on my left forefinger. Listened to Yo-Yo Ma on "Appalachia Waltz", again this afternoon. Now I hear the cello on all sorts of music pieces and even commercials.

Writing this blog leads to overanalyzing my progress at the cello, daily, which makes it harder to actually see any real improvement over the short run. At the same time, Y commented today that she can hear improvements to quality and tone since I started.

The next challenge is to work on switching between different fingerings on different strings and getting the fingering right without losing the rhythm.

I ran across some really funny analogies today, collected several years ago by the Washington Post Style Invitational Contest for the worst analogies from high school essays:

"He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
(Joseph Romm, Washington)

She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.
(Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station)

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.
(Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring)

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.
(Roy Ashley, Washington)

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access T:flw.quid55328.com\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake
(Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills)

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
(Jack Bross, Chevy Chase)

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
(Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring)

Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like "Second Tall Man."
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
(Jennifer Hart, Arlington)

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
(Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.)

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth
(Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.)

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
(Russell Beland, Springfield)

The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.
(Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria)

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free
(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

The children heard the grandfather clock ticking. It sounded exactly unlike the digital clock in their bedroom.

Mary was as interested in Joey as she was in a two-day old tuna sandwich left on the kitchen table, hidden by a dishcloth. This perplexed Joey."

I read that the SAT tests now no longer include the analogies section. Apparently understanding analogies is no longer a measure of aptitude or education. I guess they decided that it was not PC to expect disadvantaged students to "get" the western-style analogies.

Funny how in the middle of all the liberal's attacks on the country, on the president, and on the conservatives in general, they bend over backwards to not offend any of their own "oppressed" people. I guess it's OK to offend those who you don't agree with.

Z is obsessed with an online computer role-playing game. If I'd let him, he'd spend every waking moment outside of school. So we restrict him to 3 hours a day. A bunch of his friends also log onto the same game, so they hang out together - doing quests, etc. Z has been doing it more intensively than most of the others, so he has a lot more powers and abilities, and they all tend to stick close to him for protection against other powerful avatars. He really types fast when talking to his (actually his avatar's) friends. Although he took a quarter of typing at school, nothing works like the desire to communicate rapidly and effectively. We setup the computer in the living room so we can keep an eye on him.

Z is a good kid, with a positive outlook on life, makes excellent grades, doesn't complain much, and still likes to kid around with us. It's not that I don't trust him, but at his age, temptation - especially for freely available online porn, is way too much to resist. He is allowed to stay up several hours longer on weekends, but I've monitored his history files and he's apparently staying clean.

His other passion is Legos. Most kids outgrow it by 13, but he's still very interested. I'm glad. I think Legos nurture creativity and logical thinking. He is always making more and more complex creations from the various kits.

Enough for tonite.

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