Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Last week, Sylvia finished up a bicycle repair class she's been taking at summer camp. Today, Tom Reingold, who taught the class, invited her over for a lesson in wheel-truing -- the last step to getting her new bike ridable. It is a blue Jamis Ranger of recent vintage which Tom found in his ramblings in need of lubrication and tuning-up, and a new seat. And it's all done! Sylvia took her first ride on it this evening.
I'm impressed -- I must have been 14 or 15 before I did a full tune-up on a bike. Click through for more pictures of the bike repair.
Sunday, June 12th, 2011
Sylvia has been running for several months now with the local branch of the group Girls on the Run, getting progressively more endurance and faster (well she was pretty fast to start out with; principally she is gaining endurance). Yesterday she ran 5K at the Florham Park Jaycees' annual event, with a bunch of other girls from the group (and several hundred runners in all). The run took her 36 minutes and tired her out! Here she is coming off the starting line with her friend Alessandra -- Sylvia and Alessandra crossed the finish line together too. Click through for more photos from the run.
Friday, May 27th, 2011
Sylvia is nearly done with elementary school, getting ready to move on to middle school -- one of the highlights of her fifth grade year was performing in the fifth grade musical, Grease Jr. Here is a photo of her with two friends from the cast party -- the photographer is Jeannine Redd, and congratulations to Jeannine -- the photo was selected for inclusion in the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition's Through the Lens of Integration exhibit.
Sunday, May 8th, 2011
Today, the readin household has two new members; Sylvia's new pets Woodstock (on the left) and Cheepers. Click through for a closeup.
Saturday, May 7th, 2011
One of my very favorite-ever pictures of myself is this one, taken 8 years ago, when Sylvia was 3 and my parents were visiting -- I believe it was their first visit at our new house, the house we live in today. My dad took this picture of 3-year-old Sylvia on my shoulders, entranced by the dogwood blossom.
Every year since then, the dogwood has produced fewer blossoms, fewer leaves; and this year it is well and truly dead. I spent some time this afternoon cutting off its limbs. For Sylvia's documentation of the process, look at our family album.
Update -- a year later, it is down.
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Alas! It looks like Sylvia and I are not going to make it in to the city to see Cave of Forgotten Dreams before the end of next week, when its run will be ending. I am hoping against hope that it gets a broader distribution, either now or at Oscars time -- how could something like this not get nominated? If not, well, I guess we'll watch it at home, without 3D... Julian Bell's review in the current NY Review of Books makes it sound unmissable.
Saturday, April 30th, 2011
This is my grandfather's violin, which I've been playing (with significant interruptions) since I was 12 years old or thereabouts. Today I gave it away, to my daughter. A couple of thoughts --
I took the pickup off; if you're looking for a cheap Barcus Berry transducer to mount on your violin, give me a holler. It is nothing fancy but it served me well. Of the two stickers on the case, Sylvia will be keeping "Katze und Mädchen, ein komisches Paar" and getting rid of "Future Corpses of America" -- probably a wise decision. Need to get a better bow for Sylvia as I cannibalized the good bow for my Stroh fiddle.
- Wow, Sylvia is playing a full-size violin now! It seems like the transition from ¼-size did not take a very long time.
- I have really switched over pretty completely to the Stroh fiddle in the year or so I've had it. It feels like my native instrument now. I was playing this violin with Bob and Janis earlier today and noticing it felt a little foreign, the sound was not the Stroh sound which I have acclimated to.
Sylvia was going through the stuff in the outer pocket of the case and found sheet music for "Old Joe's Hittin' the Jug", which I had forgotten I had, and the dvd of Elixirs and Remedies. (Which, nice, I'm watching now.)
Sunday, April 24th, 2011
While we were in China, 20th Century Fox's Rio had its premiere worldwide. By happy coincidence, Michael's House, where we were staying in Beijing, is right around the corner from the China Film Art Research Center and its attached first-run theater; so Sylvia and I got to watch Rio dubbed into Chinese. (To be specific, dialog was dubbed into Chinese; song lyrics were left in English and subtitled.)
It was, well, a really good movie to watch in a language you don't understand. The plot and characterizations were broad enough, the motivations and emotions corny enough, that we had no trouble following the story by just watching the zany, pretty charming animation -- and I'm pretty sure I would just have found the dialog and the non-visual jokes annoying, that they would have hampered my enjoyment of the movie.* And watching it in a language you don't understand is way better than watching it with the sound turned off -- the clues you get from gibberish dialog about who is speaking and what their mood is, and the clues you get from the soundtrack about the direction of the movie, are important.
(I wondered, and have no idea, whether the Brazilian characters were speaking Chinese with a stereotypical Portuguese accent.)
* (Sylvia enjoyed the movie in Chinese but wants to see it again in English. She will probably get more out of the jokes than I would.)
Saturday, April second, 2011
Well out of a year and a bit of jamming together, John and I have put together something worth listening to (IMO obviously). You can download our demo tape from box.net if you'd like to check it out. (Click the "Download Folder" button to get the tape as one big .zip file.) Streaming here:
Mountain Station is John Hicks on guitar and vocals, Jeremy Osner on Stroh fiddle and vocals. Follow us on Facebook to see new songs when we record them, and works in progress...
- "Highway 61 Revisited" by Bob Dylan (with a bit of fooling around with the lyrics from yours truly)
- "NJ Transit" by Jeremy
- "Dancing Barefoot" by Patti Smith
- "Revelator" by Gillian Welch
- "Shady Grove," traditional
- "California Stars" by Woody Guthrie and Wilco
- "St. James Infirmary," traditional
Update -- I am thinking with this post I'll be taking a brief hiatus, a couple of weeks. Thanks for reading, those of you who stop by regularly -- I'll be back, just want a little time off.
Please help us find our audience! If you are reading this post and you like the music, I would greatly appreciate links back, from your blog or your rss reader or Facebook, whatever. Help get the word out...
Saturday, March 19th, 2011
Sylvia and I and some friends will be outside tonight looking at the Supermoon -- the brightest full moon in years, it being at its perigee with the earth of only 221,567 miles at the same time it is full. And this same approach of the two bodies allows Larry Burns of Atwater, CA to declare victory years earlier than he expected to be able to, in his decades-old quest to bike the distance from the earth to the moon.
Update: Some great photos of the super moon from Flicker users.
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