Tag Archives: iPod

Taoyuan Airport Impromptu Baroque Tai Chi Ballet

It is around 7 AM and daylight is just breaking out over the Taoyuan airport in Taiwan on Chinese New Year’s Eve after a long flight from SFO, and I’m sitting waiting for a connecting flight to Kaohsiung and I’ve been studying advanced SQL techniques. I turn on my iPod and put on some noise-canceling headphones to cut out some of the din in the room, with announcements coming in over the speaker and a rather loud dehumidifier placed behind my seat. I’m listening to Hilary Hahn play the Adagio from Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in E, BWV 1042. As the movement opens, this old woman gets up from her chair and starts practicing some morning Tai Chi Chuan. And it’s like I’m the sole witness to this sublime personal ballet. Her movements are graceful and limber, far beyond what you would expect from a woman of her years, and the movements of her hands in the air surrounding her seem to be in perfect step with every note being played. It is an indescribable moment of pure elegance; sublime, spontaneous beauty that will disappear with the the pre-boarding announcements coming over the loudspeaker for my next flight. For a moment there, I witnessed art – but I was the only one who knew about it.

Cultura 2006

Ah it’s that time of year again. Macworld announcements, and now this. Thanks jeantue for this wonderful distraction.

for those of you unattuned, this is just a casual list of friends that send around a list of their favorite cultural distractions for the previous year. I think it’s a fine tradition. For fun’s sake, I’m blogging mine this year. If you’d like to play, use a pingback to this post and any others you find, and tag it “cultura”.

From the creators, you are requested to write about…

…bands, djs, songs, films, theatre, moments, meals, photos, paintings, videos, tv shows, travels, egret sightings – whatever moved you! Whatever you liked best is what we wanna hear about.

The rules: There are none. Whatever format you want, whatever you wanna pick and whatever you wanna say is cool. A few people get elaborate. Many are brief. Some aren’t wearing briefs at all.

Here’s my picks for favorites for 2006:

Kaki King ~ …Until We Felt Red

This album knocked my socks off. Virtuosic, unique guitar style coupled with haunting songwriting. My faves:

I Never Said I Love You ~ Deeply sexy beautiful smoky dark early morning unrequited love music.

Yellowcake ~ Have your yellowcake and eat it too…

Gay Sons Of Lesbian Mothers ~ It’s not really as complicated as it sounds.

Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus

This album conjures up black turtlenecks, ber√�ts, triangular cocktails, and reefer madness.

All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother ~ I could be 7 different kinds of fungus.

Yo La Tengo ~ I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind ~ Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhgmlb.

Duruflé: Requiem

I first discovered this piece playing a benefit concert last September with the Pacific Collegium. I can say nothing else about this sublime, underperformed masterpiece for soprano, orchestra, choir, boychoir, and pipe organ, except that you need to go and hear the entire recording.

Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Reiner & Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Brahms: Violin Concerto & Double Concerto

This is my favorite recording of these two Brahms works. Piatigorsky does the masterful cello work on the Double Concerto. This is in my mind the definitive recording of both works, although I’ve had arguments on this subject with others…

Learning Mandarin via Podcasts

This is a great idea, beautifully implemented:


I like the fact that they’ve broken down the podcasts into newbie, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I especially like their business model: Distribute the podcasts for free, and charge for the additional learning materials.

They have chosen the blog format to present the material, and have made it available for subscriptions via iTunes and comments are open. Not to mention, a fairly attractive site design. Well done, useful, and innovative.

Exploring that podcast doohickey

No, I’m not talking about dabbling in doing my own podcast. I’m way more behind the times than that. Yesterday was my first experience with actually downloading and listening to one.

Well three to be exact.

My goal was to see if I could quickly find and download some new content, stick it on a CD, and listen to it for my drive in to San Francisco last night for my weekly orchestra rehearsal. I wanted to find something about technology, something about food, and something about music.

The food and music things were easy – I found a nice reasource at SFGate that had several great entries. I found a nice entry on dim sum and a piece on Jazz jam sessions at Amnesia. Finally I found a great show from Pro PHP for the technology component, and I was good to go.

Most of the time when driving in my car, I like to listen to music off my iPod. But now and then I like to get some news and information, and this way of picking my content is much more interesting than the parade of over-simplified content and constant commercials from AM radio.