Monday, April 30, 2007

Send up a count

ROTC Summer Camp. Squad tactics. Walking through the woods or along a road in the dark.

"Send up a count."

"One... two... three..." Whispered from cadet to cadet. (By the 70's it was no longer man to man.)

"All accounted for..." Sir/Ma'am/Sergeant.

I think that must have been where the constant counting I hear in my head became a habit. The habit of accountability, knowing where your troops are all the time.

Today I look at a pile of kittens at my feet and think one... two... three... four... five... five... five... Where's six? Who's missing? OK, I see four grays and one red. A red one is missing. That one's Honey. Where's Snap?

And off I go, searching. It was Honey the other night, Snap this morning. Candy went missing briefly yesterday. Two out of three times I found them... in the filing cabinet. During the first long search for Honey I remembered having seen them play behind and hop over the bar behind the filing cabinet, a wooden structure with a partially open back. I pulled out the drawer, and there she was sleeping. Just enough head room for an under-20 oz. kitten.

It still took me awhile to find Snap this morning. Next time I'll look there first.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

(Not so) simple pleasures

A sunny and clear Sunday morning, sitting high above the Chicago cityscape, sipping an excellent cup of coffee and reading the New York Times.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Travel amenities

I think I've finally got this figured out. There's a setting deep in the bowels of Blogger that lets me e-mail in a post and have it published directly. No more struggling with a web interface that doesn't quite work on my Treo to edit and publish.

I've also set up my Google Reader Mobile so that I can scroll through my massive list of blogs waiting to be read while I'm hanging out at the airport or otherwise waiting for travel things to happen. If I have a signal, I can read blogs. Except in the air, of course. But I have a couple of e-books, and there's always Sudoku or Kakuro to play.

The only thing I can't do with a Treo is CelloBloggers. Ning is not Blazer-friendly. But otherwise, I don't miss my computer much at all. And I certainly don't miss my laptop-lugging days.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cello lesson 4/26: Cello #3

Yesterday afternoon I stopped at the violin shop on my way to my lesson, returned the lovely French cello I have been playing and picked up a 7/8-sized Goronok, 2001. I'd noticed that, as lovely as the French cello sounded, long practice sessions and rehearsals were causing my long dormant left elbow tendinosis tendencies to stir. And sure enough, when I finally measured the string length it was 27.25 inches. So I asked that the next loaner be 27 inches or shorter, a length that has reliably caused no problem for me. Thus, the 7/8.

It's so much fun to try all of these different cellos while I am waiting for the varnish to dry on my new replacement. This week I went from a smooth antique sound to a brash youngster worth a log less, from a longer string length to a smaller cello, had less than a half-hour to warm up and walked in to my lesson, then a strings-only orchestra rehearsal where we had our only rehearsal on a new piece (Vivaldi Spring) before we play it in concert next week.

While I may not be entirely happy with my sound, I am delighted to finally discover that I do have a characteristic sound that is similar on every cello I play, and I no longer feel like if I could just find the right cello (or strings) I would sound better. That's not to say I can't tell the difference - I certainly can, and I have a much clearer idea of what I like best. I wonder - did anyone notice that I am playing 3 different cellos on the videos I've posted so far?

Back to my lesson. This week I again spent half the time on my scale (F MAJ again) and half the time on the Bach Prelude #2. We spent a good chunk of the technical time making more adjustments to my bow hold. I have a strong tendency to change position during the course of the note, and T- really wants me to retain the same flexible hand position for the entire stroke, changing with the bow change. Yesterday we experimented with moving my hand a little more toward the frog, so that my 3d and 4th fingers straddle the eye. This necessitates a little less pronation of the forearm, and facilitates movement that feels more side-to-side. I wish changing the bow hold was easier. Habits die hard.

On Bach, I struggled a little more with intonation than I had during practice this week, at least partly because of the foreign cello. I'm also in that half-memorized place where I can't trust myself to play from memory under pressure, but when I look at the music it appears unfamiliar. However, I played well enough that we were able to address the musical intent of a couple of passages instead of the technical requirements.

T- asked again what else I wanted to play besides Bach. I told him I'm OK for now, working on the Hummel piano trio, Op 12, which I don't bring to my lesson. I really should choose something else to work on there. All Bach all the time is grueling.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The Sugar Babies have had a busy week. They have moved completely out of the tub, though I still confine them to the bathroom at night. During the day they spend most of the time playing and sleeping in the office. They have made a couple of short treks into the house at large, but still prefer the more confined and familiar space... unless both Sweetie and I leave.

We did make a quick trip to vet services yesterday. After 2 1/2 weeks the three smallest kittens have gained no weight to speak of. And all the kittens except one have diarrhea, which I won't describe in detail. They all got a round of deworming, though no parasites were seen. I think it may just be cow's milk intolerance, since it started with the introduction of KMR. (With all the advice not to feed kittens cow's milk, I am astounded that kitten milk replacement is based on cow's milk, as are most of the kitten glop formula recipes. WT?) Anyway, we're trying some dietary modifications.

Other than not gaining weight, the kittens are growing fine. They are all excellent climbers. D- described the experience of putting her arm in the tub as being attacked by spiders, as they all clambered up her sleeves. I wish to reassure her that the world is safe for sleeves since Sunday, when we did a round of toenail clipping. Do you realize that I currently have 180 feline toenails residing in my house?

As for play skills, I've seen a couple chase the balls, but they prefer chasing each other. I see lots of pouncing, wrestling, sideways hopping, puffing up and chomping down. They are also starting to express playmate preferences. My favorite pair is Chip and Sugar, the biggest brother and the smallest sister. She's a scrappy little thing. The two red tabbies, Honey and Snap, are also a regular pair.

Another thing all but Snap learned to do this week was belly rolls. After learning belly-up in the lap I have seen everyone else sleeping and playing this way. I consider that a sign of excellent socialization. Here are a few I captured on film.

Honey, Taffy and Candy.

Taffy belly up, Chip checking things out.

Chip decides that looks pretty comfortable.

Tiny Candy squirming.

It's Tummy Tuesday. To see more of the (feline) sunny-side-up variety, visit LisaViolet.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

AT 4/20

AT stands for Alexander Technique. I've been studying it for 4 years, as a complement to my cello technical overhaul that began at the same time. And this week it occurs to me that it is about time that I jot down memorable points from my lessons, on the theory that if I keep the points in mind (conscious) I may need to be reminded of them a little less frequently before I manage to physically incorporate them.

My reminder this week was to think of every position as a balancing act among the various points of contact between me and my supporting structures. For instance, when playing the cello, contacts include both feet on the floor, both upper thighs on the chair, both "sitting bones" on the chair, left hand on the cello neck, right hand on the bow, left knee on the cello bout, right knee +/-, and chest against the cello.

One of my most deleterious tendencies is to pull away from whatever I touch, and the added tension keeps me from playing freely. So this reminds me to rotate my attention around all of my points of contact, asking if I can do less myself and give more of my weight to my supporting structures.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Between frequent kitten feeding and clean up, practice, and some extra Alexander Technique events this week I haven't had time to collect my many thoughts into blog posts. I need to go warm up for my cello lesson, so this is a quickie.

I put the sugar babies in a plastic bucket while I cleaned the nursery one morning this week. Here is Uncle John babysitting. And yes, that's Taffy saying "Hi!", then Sugar, Chip, and Candy. The red kitties must be huddled in the bottom.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Yes, one more post on the topic of dinner.

If you are following the Sugar Babies' weight chart, you would have noticed that on Saturday most of the kittens weighed the same or less than they had the week before. The exception was Honey, who began to eat from a dish on Wednesday. When Sweetie offered her tummy for rubs, which she is doing more frequently, I noticed that her breasts are nearly flat. Not much milk left in there. So, D- and I had a conference, and decided that even though the kittens did not appear to be in distress, they could use more calories than they were getting.

By the weekend, Honey, Chip, and Taffy were doing a good job eating from the bowl, but the littlest kittens just weren't ready yet. So out came the syringe, and I became a surrogate mom. Wow! Those kittens were hungry. Take a look at Sugar, Candy, and Snap enjoying their dinner. And at us all wearing it.

I fed them as much as they wanted four times yesterday, until their little eyes closed and they keeled over sideways. And today Snap is holding steady and everybody else has gained an ounce or so, on average. They are eating less frantically, so we'll continue on the three meal-a-day plan. I don't think it will be very long until they are all eating from the dish.

Sweetie continues to nurse, though less often. Our new routine is I feed them, then they nurse. I think she's more like a big pacifier than a food source. She wasn't very pacific last night, though, when I heard yowls and growls and general caterwauling coming from the nursery. She had climbed in with the kittens, who were vigorously nursing a mere 20 minutes after I had stuffed them to the gills with formula. Though very gentle with the kittens, she was lying there screaming like she was in a cat fight, and did move a couple away from what seemed like a tender area mid belly. I watched for a few minutes, to make sure she wasn't about to go on a murderous rampage, and she just left with a pained expression on her face. She let me examine her belly, which was unremarkable except for mild tenderness of the middle pair of nipples. Nothing hot or swollen. This morning she let me do a pretty thorough abdominal exam. She has a little more milk swelling than she had yesterday, and again the middle nipples seem irritated but all are nice and pink, no redness, nothing hot.

I checked in with the shelter, and L- suggested she may be going into heat. Ah, the life of the unspayed puddy tat. I'll keep watching her for now.


It occurred to me after I posted my last lesson summary that we discussed one more thing: using ringing notes to check intonation. Rather than editing that post to add that point, I thought listing all the ways I know of to check notes (without electronic assistance) might be a useful exercise.

* Check against an open string. This applies to playing C, G, D, or A anywhere on the cello by playing the note, then the corresponding open string, and comparing the two notes.

* Use vibrations of open string. In this case, playing the C, G, D, or A should elicit sympathetic vibration of the corresponding open string when in tune.

* Double stop with adjacent open string. Works best with 3ds, 4ths, 5ths, and 6ths low on the fingerboard.

* Play passage against an adjacent open string drone. Works best when the drone is the tonic, 4th, or 5th in the key.

* Ringing notes. Use a fast, light bowstroke that releases the string, and listen for the resonant ringing. This works best for the "string" notes, C, G, D, and A, but can actually be heard to some extent with all the notes when they are in tune.

And finally, this is how I would "find" each of the notes in 1st position, beginning with C and working upward.
C - open
C# - play open D, then 2nd finger on D IV, then C# is leading tone with 1
Db - play open C, then Db points to C
D - play open D, then compare. Ringing note.
D# - get E in tune (see E) then D# as leading tone
Eb - tune D as above, Eb points to D
E - double stop with either open G with A, depending on the key. Tune A as below.
F - tune F on II with open A, then compare. Hear 4th with open C.
F# - leading tone to open G
G - open
G# - leading tone to A
Ab - points to open G
A - compare with open A. Ringing tone.
A# - tune B. Leading tone to B
Bb - points to A. Or tune Bb on I, then compare. Or double stop with open D.
B - double stop with open D. Or tune B on I and compare.
C - compare to open C. Ringing tone.
C# - leading tone to open D
D - open
D# - tune E, then leading tone to E
Eb - points to D. Compare double stop with open G to double stopped G-D
E - double stop with G or A, depending on the key. Compare to E harmonic on I.
F - double stop with A
F# - Tune G. Leading tone to G. Or double stop with open A.
G - compare to open G. Ringing tone.
G# - leading tone to open A.
A - open
A# - Tune B. Leading tone to B.
Bb - points to A. Compare double stop wth open D to double stopped D-A.
B - double stop with open D.
C - compare to oopen C. Ringing tone.
C# - Tune D. Leading tone to D.
Db - points to C
D - compare to open D. Ringing tone.
D# - Tune E. Leading tone to E.
Eb - Tune D. Points to D.
E - compare to harmonic under your finger.

For notes in 4th position and higher, I make use of open strings and available natural harmonics for comparison. In general, the harmonics available on each string correspond to the major triad with the string note as root. So:
C - C, E, G
G - G, B, D
D - D, F, A
A - A, C#, E

That's what I know about intonation in a nutshell. I welcome all comments and hints.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Slow Practice

So I tried it. T- is right, an hour just slips by working like this. Not only that, but it seems to enhance my mushy memorization skills. After the first hour, in which I covered the first 12 or 13 measures of the Prelude, I was able to play the section from memory, and it sounded much less "square" and better in tune. So I thought I would put it to the test, and shoot a quick video.

OMG! My nerves killed me! This is such a good thing to do. No pressure other than a running camera sitting in front of me, but I felt all the tension of a live performance. Before listening to the clip, I put my observed performance at about 75% of what I had done 5 minutes before. I struggled with the tension in my body and in my face, and I heard all those little intonation errors. I heard them! That's great! And you know what? After watching, I'm still pleased with the outcome, because it is better than it was before. And as documentation of the progress to come, I'm posting the clip here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cello lesson 4/12: Intonation Day

Today we did a lot of work with only a little material. I started off with a play-through of Bach 2nd Suite Prelude, en route to working on the Allemande, but got side-tracked when the opening phrase was just awful. So we stepped back and spent the first half of the lesson on my Cossmann warm-up, only the A string. Skills we worked on:
* Know which position I am in at all times.
* Know what notes I am playing. Further, know which accidentals I am playing (Eb vs D#, for example) and adjust intonation accordingly. And even further, do this by ear, and not from the page.
* Play slowly enough that every note is in tune.
* Play quickly enough that my hand is fluid.
* Use exaggerated rolling motion of the forearm to enhance balance and relaxation of the hand with each note change.

I was pretty well warmed up after that, so played the Prelude. While happy that my fluidity is better, I was frustrated that it is still more "square" playing with an audience than playing at home. I was even more frustrated that my intonation was just off, and I seemed powerless to fix it while I was playing. Guess that's a side effect of tuning my ear.

So for the rest of the lesson we focused sequentially on the first two measures, taking the following steps:
(1) Play the notes of the measure at no tempo, tuning each note and paying attention to the finger motions required to play each note exactly in tune with the maximum efficiency of motion and optimal hand position.
(2) Play the notes in rhythm but at a very slow tempo WITH the metronome, fighting the urge to stop and fix notes one at a time. If a note is out of tune, play the excerpt again and fix it then. If you can't, revert to step 1.

The key to this exercise is hearing which notes are out of tune and remembering which notes you need to fix at the end of the excerpt. That was a struggle for me. T- advised working with a small enough number of notes at one time to make that possible, gradually increasing the size of the excerpt.

It is so frustrating that I can easily hear which note someone else plays out of tune, and I can clearly hear my own intonation at a slow enough tempo, but my ear can't seem to play in tune at normal speeds. But I was really getting excited about the possibility of improving that, especially while doing Step (1) and observing my finger motions. T-'s point was that working this way could easily fill 5 or 6 practice hours a day, and he wanted to hear no more complaints that I can't figure out what to do with my practice time .

And we never got to the Allemande.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sugar Babies (Gp 6 Weights)

The contrast with D-'s Sausages is marked. Hers are huge and fat and energetic and eat constantly. These are small and wiry, sleep most of the time, and go long stretches without suckling. Sweetie isn't a great eater, either, unlike Juliet, whom I witnessed inhaling a whole 5 oz. can of kitten pate at one sitting.

This week I have introduced a slurry of KMR (kitten milk replacement) and either kitten pate or Gerber's Turkey and Broth baby food, but only Honey has shown much interest. And Sweetie. I finally found something she likes other than donuts (which I won't let her have, no matter how much she wants one.) Yes, Sweetie appears to have a sweet tooth. (We won't discussed how I discovered she likes donuts.)

Anyway, I can see I will be obsessing about these teeny ones. But they look fine, they're reaching normal milestones, and they are not dehydrated. They're just not gaining weight.

11 F 12 M 10 F 14 M 15 F 13 F
Date Honey Snap Taffy Chip Sugar Candy
Sa 4/711 10.5 10.5 10 10 8.5
W 4/11 11.5 10.5 10 10 9 8
Sa 4/14 11.5 10.5 10 10.5 8.5 8.5
M 4/16 13 10.5 11 11 10 9.5
Tu 4/17 13.5 11.5 12.5 13.5 9.7 10
Th 4/19 13 11 13.5 15.5 10 10.5
Sa 4/21 12.5+ 11+ 14+ 17 10 11
Mo 4/23 14.5 11+ 14+ 18 10.5 11
We 4/25 16 13 15.5+ 15.5 10.5 10.5+
Th 4/26 17+ 13+ 16 19.5 12 10.5
Sa 4/28 18.5 13.5 15 18.5 13+ 10.5
Mo 4/30 20 14.5 15.5 19.5 13+ 11.5
We 5/2 21.5 15+ 17.5 22.5+ 14.5+ 12
F 5/4 22.5 18 19 24 16+ 12.5
Su 5/6 24 19.5+ 19.5 27 18+ 14
Tu 5/8 26 21.5 22 28.5 20 15.5
W 5/9 27 23 23+ 30+ 21.5 16.5
Th 5/10 28.5+ 24.5 24.5+ 32* 23 18
Su 5/13 31 26.5 27 34 24.5 20
W 5/16 34* 28.5 29 38 27.5 21
F 5/18 35.5 32+* 30.5 40.5 28.5 23
Su 5/20 37 34 31.5 42.5 30.5 24.4
F 5/25 * 34.5* 28
Tu 5/29 37 30.5
Sa 6/2 40.5 32*

Honey: red tabby with white face, feet and belly
Snap: red tabby with buff feet and spotted belly
Taffy: mostly gray torbie with light gray face and buff feet
Chip: dark gray tabbie
Sugar: gray torbie with white face and feet and flame by nose
Candy: dilute gray torbie

Date Events
4/6 Arrival
4/11 Start offering weaning formulas
4/14 Start syringe feeding Sugar, Candy, and Snap, others if interested
either KMR + 2nd Step KMR or KMR + Gerber's
4/15 Chip begins eating Baby Cat
4/19 Kittens stop KMR
4/21 Mom stops KMR
4/23 VS eval - kitten diarrhea and no wt gain
all given round of deworming (neg stool exam)
Sweetie + milk on exam
Snap, Sugar, and Candy SQ hydration
change diet to DM kibble, + pate
4/26 VS eval - persistent foul yellow watery diarrhea
(except Honey) Candy very punky
Ponazuril (for coccidia); neg stool exam
diet Authority kitten pate + DM kibble mixed
4/27 Candy - last kitten to start eating from the dish
5/1 Add acidophilus to food 1 cap/meal
5/7 VS eval-Sweetie's diarrhea
Sweetie hydrated, metronidazole 0.4 cc BID x 5d
all - Ponazuril 2nd dose
5/9 Candy breaks the 1 lb barrier
5/10 Chip is first to reach 2 lbs
5/21 Chip, Honey, Snap, Taffy return
6/2 Candy finally reaches 2 lbs.
And Sweetie is emphatically in heat.
6/3 Sweetie, Sugar, and Candy return

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


There's a tummy under there... can you see it?

But wait... I only count 5 kittens.

Where's Taffy?

There she is!
Even with dinner calling, she can't resist visiting the people.

Oh... did you say dinner?

Hey! There's no room for me!

It's Tummy Tuesday. To see more of the (feline) sunny-side-up variety, visit LisaViolet.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I had a surprise waiting for me this morning in church... a brand new microphone in a tiny velcro strap to put on my bridge. Previously we have had a mic on a short boom a foot or two in front of each cello. I must say, having the microphone actually on my cello made me uncharacteristically nervous. Oh, no! Now everyone will be able to hear those runs I fudge! Yes, I confess. If there are more than 4 sixteenth notes in a quarter note I kind of slide the notes at an appropriate rate to land in time on the next down beat. My eyes still blur when they see too many notes crammed into too small a space.

When I told DH about the new arrangements he made that light-bulb-turning-on face and said that the sounds from the orchestra *had* been much clearer that morning. Fortunately, the only thing he remembered standing out was a ragged clarinet passage. Phew.

The AV support at this church is phenomenal. There are at least two big mixers "out front", one on stage left and one in the middle of the auditorium. In addition, there is a room full of monitors and I have no idea what kind of electronic equipment back stage. In addition to two super-sized screens for the congregation to watch videos and live close-ups of the pastor, choir, orchestra, and other performers, there are small monitors at the front of the stage and a larger one (36 in. or so) in front of the orchestra and choir where they project lyrics and program prompts for the performers. And the choir wears FM frequency radios that feed from the auditorium so that they can hear what things sound like out there. Amazing.

I haven't counted the choir members, but it's a big choir. More than 60. Maybe close to 100. (Now I'll have to count to see how good my estimating is.) In orchestra we have 4 violins, 1 viola, 2 cellos, occasionally more or less. Flutes, clarinets, bassoons, oboe, trumpets, trombones, tuba, drum set and guitars, piano, keyboard(s).

Those AV guys must be really good. I can't imagine making a beautiful sound out of the joyful noise of a separate feed on every instrument. I hope they are good enough to turn my cello down during my most spectacular flubs.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Group 6, Day 1

Here they are!

By report, there are four girls and two boys, and they look to be about three weeks old, with eyes open and observing, and shaky walking skills. I went up to get 5 kittens, and got a bonus... there are 6! Oh, and Mom, which makes 7 total cats. Kitten season is beginning. This week there were three moms with litters plus two spares looking for foster homes. And kittens aren't all. While I was picking these up another foster mom was there picking up three puppies.

Here's Mom:

Her name is Sweetie, a lovely DSH torbie, but she is both smaller and skinnier than she looks in this photo. Her story: she and her litter were in an apartment building that doesn't allow pets. Doesn't that just leave you wondering? Was she someone's surreptitious pet that got pregnant? And how, if she was squirreled away in an apartment? Was she a stray, found in the area? If a stray, how ever did they keep her together with all 6 kittens?

It's not only me. My bigs are dying of curiosity, though they seemed a little less anxious to visit the nursery when they caught a glimpse of Mom. They definitely have the routine down, though. As soon as I went in, they were right there at the door wanting to see the kittens.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another cello

I saw a great sign on the door of one of the studios at the music school today:

Slow Practice = Fast Progress
Fast Practice = Slow Progress
No Practice = No Progress

Yeah, baby.

Unfortunately, I demonstrated a bit of the last at my piano lesson. I think I'm past the point where practicing in class is enough to keep me moving forward. This week I'm going to start making a habit. What to try... Maybe 15 minutes before (or perhaps with) my first coffee.

In other news, I swapped my first loaner cello for another today. The first was a modern cello (2006) by a local maker. It was fun listening to it get better and better as I played it, but it did have days where the wolves on open G or A were very annoying. On some days I considered trading in my future replacement cello and buying it, but it just didn't have the same appeal as my deceased cello.

The new loaner is a completely different animal, an old (old) French cello. I've just finished my first practice hour with it, and I can tell we are going to have a lovely time together. A very rich and even sound, which I like, but a little "harder" to get the sound out. I can't wait to hear it at orchestra rehearsals tonight and tomorrow night. No lesson or trio until next week, but that will give me more time to adjust.

John gave his seal of approval, immediately coming to my side during Elegie, and staying for several passes through Chanson Triste. I really think he is developing some musical sophistication. He waited patiently while I was playing, but butting against my arm at each cadence. I wish my ear was so good!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Twinkie and Inkie

There's more than one way to get a belly shot. The easiest, and hardest, one is the roll-over-and-stretch pose. Easy because cats do it all the time, hard because it lasts only seconds and you have to have camera in hand at the right moment. If you have the kind of slothful feline that sleeps belly-up, I suppose that would be even easier, but I don't have one of those.

Kittens can be induced to relax belly-up in the lap, and I've posted a few of those. No kittens in the house today, so I went spelunking in my archives to choose this photo for Tummy Tuesday - an action shot. It helps to have one person on the toy and the other on the camera, and you see that while the belly is easy the face may not cooperate.

That is Twinkie on the left, and Inkie in full upright belly. (And either Winkie or Binkie is doing a chin-up under the bench. I hadn't noticed that before, and there's not quite enough gray showing for me to tell.) They were two of the litter of 4 + mom that D- fostered a few months ago. We called them the Elves because of their oversized ears, which were particularly noteable when they were very small.

This is also a Happy Tale. Twinkie and Inkie became Max and Gus when they found a home together a few months after this photo. Here's one from just before they left foster care, a couple of teens who still liked to play with toys.

It's Tummy Tuesday. To see more of the (feline) sunny-side-up variety, visit LisaViolet.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I'm classifying this post as an 'idgit, though it's not the result of a funny web quiz. And I figure I owe my dedicated readers (hah!) an extra post today, having written nothing over the weekend while I was traveling.

There were several new folks who joined CelloBloggers over the weekend, including one who blogs in Japanese. Guanaco explored some options for doing a machine translation of his blog into English, with some success. We would also like to have ready translations for other non-English cello bloggers we've located. Nothing like the optimism of the uninformed.

So today, having returned to my 21st century computer I was doing some reading about the promise and pitfalls of machine translations, and I ran across a site whose sole purpose is to demonstrate the entertainment value of translating a phrase from English to another language and back again. Here is the phrase I tried, and the results:

Original English Text:
the piece we played at orchestra rehearsal yesterday aggravated my tennis elbow

Translated to Japanese:

Translated back to English:
Us the part which idled in the orchestra where the rehearsal increases yesterday my tennis elbow

Translated to Chinese:

Translated back to English:
We wasted time in the orchestra rehearse yesterday to add my tennis elbow components

Translated to French:
Nous avons perdu le temps dans l'orchestre préparons hier pour ajouter mes composants de coude de tennis

Translated back to English:
We wasted time in the orchestra prepare yesterday to add my components of elbow of tennis

Translated to German:
Wir vergeudeten Zeit im Orchester uns vorbereiten gestern, meine Bestandteile des Winkelstücks von Tennis hinzuzufügen

Translated back to English:
We wasted time in the orchestra us prepare yesterday to add my constituents of the elbow of tennis

Translated to Italian:
Abbiamo sprecato il tempo nell'orchestra che noi ci prepariamo ieri per aggiungere i miei costituenti del gomito di tennis

Translated back to English:
We have wasted the time in the orchestra that we prepare ourselves yesterday in order to add my constituent ones of the tennis elbow

Translated to Portuguese:
_ nós t desperdiç tempo orchestra que nós prepar nos ontem a fim adicion meu constituent tênis cotovelo

Translated back to English:
_ we t desperdiç time orchestra that we to yesterday prepar in the end adicion mine constituent tennis elbow

Translated to Spanish:
_ nosotros orquesta del tiempo del desperdiç de t esa nosotros a ayer prepar en el codo constitutivo del tenis de la mina del adicion del final

Translated back to English:
_ we orchestra of the time of desperdiç of t that we to prepar yesterday in the constituent elbow of the tennis of the mine of the addition of the end

If you are as easily amused as I am, check out Lost in Translation.

Not Paris

My impression from reading recent blogs is that most cellists belong in Paris. I cannot tell a lie. I liked Paris well enough, but the attitude left me a little cold. I've never been to Amsterdam, so will certainly keep my eyes open while I'm passing through this summer. Or maybe I should consider a mere layover to be a missed opportunity.

You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).