Tag Archives: Bay Area

Well that was fun!

We just had a nice 5.6 magnitude earthquake here in the East Bay. I was playing video games with noise cancelling headphones in the kids’ room when I felt the desk shake. I was about to get all over the kids for not sleeping, and saw Dylan crawling out of his bunk. But when I took the headphones out, I finally realized that the whole house was freaking shaking and all kinds of crap was falling on the floor. Chandeleirs were swinging all over the place. So naturally, the first thing I did was to look it up on the USGS site and register my ratings. Then Twitter. Then blog.

This reminds me: I really need to quit playing video games and go practice.

Play Misty For Me

Come and see the show:

Benefit Concert Nov. 7 at 1 PM at 1755 Sunnyvale Ave in Walnut Creek, California, featuring members of the Taiwanese Bay Area community.

As of this writing, my pieces appear to be the Rossini Duetto for cello and bass, Koussevitsky’s Chanson Triste for bass and piano, and the last two or three movements from the Dvorak quintet. Yingwen is working on a Brahms Rhapsody, will accompany me on the Koussevitsky, and is accompanying a soprano soloist, a tenor soloist, and her choir. Should be fun!

Va de Vi

I judge a restaurant based on a) how much I enjoyed my experience and, b) how well this restaurant caters to celiacs on gluten-free diets. Va de Vi Bistro and Wine Bar in Walnut Creek, California gets full marks and a tip of the hat for their performance last Friday night.

First off, our waiter was excellent. Despite the fact that the place was packed, he was always around when we needed him, and spent time to clearly articulate our options and elaborate on any of the dishes we had questions on. As for the gluten-free menu, I simply asked and he consulted with the chef, returning with a menu marked up with the chef’s recommendations for me. More than half the menu was entirely acceptable with little to no modification.

The wine choices were great. I went with a couple of shiraz choices, and the Jade Mountain was delicious. I have never been disappointed with this winery so far.

For dinner, we started out with the Thai Chicken Papaya Salad. It was a delicious crisp starter with an interesting and unique flavor.

Next came the Pommes Frites, basking in garlic and parsley, but not greasy at all. Those were too awesome.

I ordered the Sauted Savoy Spinach, which just barely blanched in hot grapeseed oil, garlic, and lemon, garnished with some delicious cherry tomatoes. This may have been my favorite, were it not for…

The Organic Hanger Steak was Kobe beef and just about perfect. Yes, I think this was my favorite.

That was not enough for us, so we ordered the Grilled Korean Style BBQ Wagyu Beef to finish it off. This was the same Kobe as the Hanger steak, and extremely tasty. I liked the Maui sweet onion kimchee on top.

Dessert was an espresso. All in all this was well done and I’ll go back again real soon.


Earthquake SimulatorWe had a nice little earthquake tonight – 4.2 magnitude, centered in Lafayette.

I was reading Max a bedtime story when it hit. There was a nice loud pop, which sounded like something really big hit the front of the house. That was followed by some flickering lights and some objects swinging.

The cool thing about this was that we saw the Earthquake exhibit at the National Science and Technology Museum in Kaohsiung, and we took a ride in the earthquake simulator. It was set up like a small kitchen with a couch and a table, and we had the task of turning off the gas and stove, opening the door, and getting ourselves into secure locations within the room. It was simulated to be the magnitude and duration of the Chi Chi earthquake that devastated central Taiwan in 1999, and it was a pretty wild ride. So Max got quite a kick out of this event, and he was fully primed for his first real earthquake experience.

I think Yingwen is in her choir rehearsal right now. I am sure they must have felt it – they are all right near the epicenter.

Duruflé Requiem 9/11 Memorial Benefit Concert

I’ll be playing the double bass in a benefit concert on 9/9 and 9/10 for the program shown below. This all-volunteer performance is to honor the five year anniversary of the September 11th disaster, and proceeds will go to benefit the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. (See this shameless cute puppy photo for more detail on what our concert proceeds go to.) If you would like to get out of the house for a change and hear some beautiful music, you might consider coming to one of these performances:

The Pacific Collegium Presents:
A memorial benefit performance
In support of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation

  • Christopher Kula, conductor
  • Tonia d’Amelio, soprano
  • Joseph Wright, baritone
  • Susan Matthews, organist
  • Pacific Collegium
  • Pacific Boychoir

— Program —

Finzi, Lo, the full, final sacrifice
Festival anthem for chorus and orchestra

Finzi, Dies natalis
For soprano solo and strings

Duruflé, Requiem
For soloists, chorus and orchestra


Duruflé’s orchestrated setting of the Requiem Mass is a marvel of the liturgical repertoire, as well as being a seminal work of the 20th century Gregorian chant revival.

Lo, the full, final sacrifice is viewed by many as Finzi’s masterwork, though it is little widely known and virtually unheard in its lush orchestral version. A series of musical vignettes around the hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas: Adoro Te devote and Lauda Sion Salvatorem, set in English by the 17th-century poet, Richard Crashaw, it is particularly celebrated for its final Amen in eight-part divisi.

Dies natalis, also by Finzi, sets texts of another 17th-century English metaphysical poet, Thomas Traherne. Accompanied by string ensemble, this work explores in solo voice the innocent ecstasy of a newborn child discovering the world and its wonders anew.

Visit http://www.pacificcollegium.org/ for more information and to purchase tickets for this event.