Saturday, November 26, 2011

dead blog?

well, haven't posted here in's not that nothing's going on...just so many different outlets for social connections.

great Thanksgiving and looking at puppies (lost Clarence over the summer and we are still grieving)

Natalie's in Heidelberg studying for a semester - we visited in October.'ll keep this blog sort of in zombie mode for awhile longer...but not much longer, I suspect.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Friday, October 29, 2010

Snow on the Hills

A favorite reel, reconfigured a bit for Scottish Small Pipes, here played on the A chanter.

I first heard the tune played by Jack Coen on a forgotten CD and learned it first on whistle, then flute, and now pipes. One day I hope to play it as smoothly and with as much dignity as Jack does on that recording.

[pipes made by EJ Jones, Asheville, NC]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I've been through Hell

Hell, Michigan, that is.

Great place...kind of small.

Ran some nearby trails at the Pinckney Recreation Area. So very Midwest - low gray ceiling, threat of rain, wind swaying the hardwoods. And I like hardwoods...plenty of hickory, walnut and oak on the Crooked Lake Trail. Tall reeds in the fingers of the lakes, boardwalk crossings, beaver channels cut into the marsh. Smelled of moisture and fall...I relished that - left Chapel Hill at 90 degrees and dry as a bone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Santa Fe MTB

Enjoyed this outing w/Slate and Faceplant...they fell over a lot...bums...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some new tunes...Small pipes and D chanter....

Thinking about the pipes and new tunes...and old tunes that are new again. I think I'm getting the hang of these things, but still make cross-fingering blunders and keep reaching to play smoothly with a consistent tempo.

...another 10 years or so and I might be getting there...wherever that is...

A couple of multi-part jigs. The first, Helvic Head adapted for the smallpipe range, followed by something I picked up off a CD long ago...I can't find the CD and can't remember the tune, but I loved playing it on flute and whistle. I've silenced all but the bass drone on this set, and it's pretty hard to hear. I'm learning that playing without drones allows me to more clearly hear what's coming from the chanter - if the notes are right, in tune, etc.

Scottish Small Pipes crafted by EJ Jones.

I'm trying to get a grip on a fairly standard pipe tune, Steam Train to Mallaig. This covers about the first 2/3rds of the piece and I continue to make inevitable errors. Another challenge for me on this tune is using the low hole on the chanter...this is the first time I've actually used it with any intention or regularity.

A great tune and I hope to figure it out by the time I'm 80 years old.

Final set here is a Richard Keane / Teribus tune that I just love...particularly when EJ and his buddies are playing it. It's called Farewell Pixel and it has, for me, some tricky handling in the second, fast part. I'll keep after it. I also enjoy playing it on the A chanter. Hope to hear this in person sometime, when Teribus comes to the area.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Squonk takes age group win in 5K!

...was nursing a chest cold during the family gathering on Topsail Island...still...won my age group at the Surf City 5K on last Saturday. Entirely run on the beach, I squared off against my brother-in-law for the division and secured victory by about half a minute. (Like, we were the only two in the age group). Hence, I've decided to scrap ultras and trails and become a 5K beach running professional. Duncan won by 4 minutes or was fun. A nice event - $10, loosely organized. As I was about to pin on my number I looked up to see the American flag and right beneath it the Confederate Battle Flag. That caused some consternation, so I pinned my number upside down, mumbling that this was in protest of seeing that flag, regardless of its heritage, at a municipally sponsored event. Five minutes before the race start the flag was lowered and stowed; I put my number right side up. For winning I received a very handsome medallion and Waffle House water bottle. Yes, Waffle House was a primary sponsor and they had sausage biscuits for all after the race. One of the largest runners - big feet - received a pair of giant bear-claw looking booties....I was envious and am wondering how I might train to improve my foot size should I return to defend next year...actually, I age up...damn...maybe I'll be the only guy in my age group and then can race myself....