Dog on Bike

John and Pansy

John and Pansy

At the end of last semes­ter, I was talk­ing to my boss (and friend) John about the pic­tures I took of a woman with four dogs on her bike. He remarked that he also has a bas­ket on his bike for his dog, a minia­ture dachs­hund named Pansy. He’d told this to a num­ber of peo­ple, who’ve nat­u­rally all wanted to see pic­tures of Pansy in her bas­ket. But, he’d never had any pic­tures to show them. So, I offered to take some pic­tures once I got my new cam­era. After a few attempts foiled by bad weather or sched­ul­ing con­flicts, we finally got together a few weeks ago to do a photo shoot. John and Fran­nie had Veron­ica and me over for din­ner (a deli­cious home­made gaz­pa­cho with crusty bread and raw milk but­ter), and we walked over to a nearby bike path to shoot. I ended up tak­ing over a hun­dred pic­tures, but I’ve cut it down to the nine best. Click the photo above to see the gallery.

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Nevada Rock Art

When we were vis­it­ing my mom in Nevada last month, one of the activ­i­ties she arranged for us to do was to take a guided tour of Grimes Point Archae­o­log­i­cal Area. Grimes Point lies about an hour an a half east of Car­son City, near the town of Fal­lon. For much of the last 10,000 years, a lake existed in the area — mak­ing it an attrac­tive place for native peo­ples to set­tle. Fluc­tu­at­ing water lev­els resulted in mul­ti­ple dis­tinct areas and lay­ers of occu­pa­tion. Today, the site sits sort of out in the mid­dle of nowhere, with no siz­able body of water in the imme­di­ate vicinity.


Grimes Point has two main draws: Hid­den Cave and the Pet­ro­glyph Trail. Hid­den Cave is only open a cou­ple of times a month, so we’ll have to do that on another trip. The Pet­ro­glyph Trail is always open, but we had a spe­cial guided tour. I’ve seen pet­ro­glyphs in a num­ber of places in Ari­zona and New Mex­ico, but never in as high a con­cen­tra­tion as there is at Grimes Point. Just about every siz­able rock had some sort of rock art on it, and many were prac­ti­cally cov­ered. Some of the old­est pet­ro­glyphs (roughly 8,000 years old, I think) have been almost entirely reclaimed by the desert, and are only vis­i­ble from cer­tain van­tage points or in cer­tain light. (Most pet­ro­glyphs in the Amer­i­can South­west are cre­ated by scrap­ing the dark patina — known as ‘desert var­nish’ — off of rocks. The ‘var­nish’ is rede­posited over time, mean­ing that the old­est glyphs are now almost the some color as the sur­round­ing rock.)

We saw quite a range of iconog­ra­phy and tech­niques. Some of the ear­li­est carv­ings are deep snake-like grooves and lit­tle round depres­sions known as ‘cupules.’ Later work ranges from seem­ingly abstract geo­met­ric sym­bol and designs to things that are more obvi­ously rep­re­sen­ta­tional: ani­mals, peo­ple, and the like. Some motifs are sim­i­lar to glyphs at Pet­ro­glyph National Mon­u­ment and oth­ers I’ve seen, but the style is com­pletely dif­fer­ent (as one would expect from dif­fer­ent cul­tures liv­ing in sim­i­lar but dis­tant areas). One par­tic­u­lar exam­ple is the spi­ral — a motif the seems to be pretty com­mon across the south­west. Spi­rals I’d seen before have very thin lines, lots of rota­tions, and are quite com­pact. The one spi­ral we saw at Grimes Point was con­structed from a very wide line that only makes two-and-a-half or three rotations.

I took lots of pho­tos on our walk, many of them attempts to cap­ture the same glyphs from dif­fer­ent angles. I cut the col­lec­tion down quite a bit, and posted 22 pic­tures in a gallery. Click any of the pho­tos above to view the whole set.

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Bassoon Hero III

When I was think­ing about mak­ing recital posters for my mul­ti­ple recitals last year, I thought a few times about try­ing to cre­ate a bas­soon ver­sion of Activision’s Gui­tar Hero (a guilty plea­sure I engage in from time to time). I got as far as down­load­ing a hi-res ver­sion of the game’s logo and a bunch of screen shots, but I never got around to doing any­thing with them, and I sort of for­got about the idea.

Then tonight, I hap­pened across this:

Some­one (I don’t know who) has had the same idea, and done a very good job real­iz­ing it. The artist neatly side­stepped one pho­to­shop­ping issue that kept me from work­ing on the idea: by plac­ing music stands in front of the play­ers, s/he elim­i­nated the need to erase the bod­ies of the gui­tars, which are much wider than a bas­soon. The necks of the gui­tars don’t pose the same prob­lem, as the bas­soons’ bells eas­ily cover them. The image is very well done all around; I espe­cially like the Wii-style bas­soon controller.

[via Dead Robot]

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An E-volution of Experience

Through the magic of Face­book, I recently became aware of an upcom­ing con­cert at my alma mater, Ari­zona State. The event, which fea­tures a num­ber of stu­dent ensem­bles, will offer alter­na­tives to the stan­dard sit-in-your-seat-and-quietly-watch-the-stage concert-going expe­ri­ence. While lis­ten­ing to the ASU Sym­phonic Band, a struc­tured impro­vi­sa­tion group, and an array of cham­ber ensem­bles, audi­ence mem­bers will have their choice of activ­i­ties. From the event page on the ASU School of Music website:

Inter­ac­tive options include: blog­ging with musi­cians in real time, get­ting a play-by-play of the event from a knowl­edge­able musi­cian just as in sport­ing events, immers­ing your­self in music-related con­ver­sa­tion with other audi­ence mem­bers, or you can sim­ply sit back and enjoy the music in a tra­di­tional con­cert envi­ron­ment. Please remem­ber to bring your lap­top or smart phone with you, should you plan to par­tic­i­pate in the blog­ging activities.

The idea is a very inter­est­ing one — try­ing to attract new audi­ence mem­bers by alter­ing the whole dynamic of the event. I assume that the var­i­ous groups of peo­ple will be located in dif­fer­ent parts of the hall. While Gam­mage Audi­to­rium is quite large, I won­der if the play-by-play or the con­ver­sa­tion cor­ner will bother the peo­ple who opt for a tra­di­tional con­cert expe­ri­ence. I also won­der how many peo­ple will actu­ally live-blog the con­cert. That sort of thing seems to be most pop­u­lar for polit­i­cal con­ven­tions and Apple events.

I hope the event is a suc­cess though, and I applaud the effort to shake things up a bit. Gary Hill, the Direc­tor of Bands, is very forward-looking as a con­duc­tor and music direc­tor. Although I only played under him for a cou­ple of years, I got the chance to play a plethora of cool new music — much of which was out­side the tra­di­tional con­cep­tion of what ‘band music’ is or should be.

I won­der if I’ll be able to find a live blog of the event, since I can’t attend myself…

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Swimming and Shakespeare

When we were in Nevada a few weeks ago, we spent an after­noon and evening at Sand Har­bor on Lake Tahoe. It was hot out­side, and refresh­ingly (if ini­tially shock­ingly) cold in the lake. The water is very clear, although there wasn’t a whole lot to see — near the beach, at least. It was pleas­ant to go for a swim in a large body of water, dry out on the sandy beach, and real­ize that I wasn’t cov­ered in either salt or lake sludge.

Stage by the Lake

After we’d had our fill of the beach, we cleaned up and walked over to the Lake Tahoe Shake­speare Fes­ti­val’s out­door stage, which has the lake for a back­drop. My mom had got­ten us tick­ets to that evening’s pro­duc­tion of A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream. After find­ing our seats, we sat down to a deli­cious pic­nic assem­bled by the var­i­ous mem­bers of our group. The food was tasty, the venue was gor­geous, and the play was… weird. Most of the Athe­ni­ans were rich yacht club types (a good fit for many of Tahoe’s sum­mer res­i­dents), while the rebel­lious Her­mia and Lysander were goths. The faeries were mostly pseudo native Amer­i­can, except for the token black guy wear­ing a loin­cloth and car­ry­ing a spear. The mechan­i­cals were a vari­ety of blue-collar work­ers, with Nick Bot­tom as a guitar-wielding hot dog vendor.

To these dis­parate (and never sat­is­fac­to­rily explained) groups was added a bizarre mish­mash of music. Nick Bot­tom came out to The Boss’s “Born in the USA.” The var­i­ous songs within the play were sung in rock-ish set­tings with instru­ments played by mem­bers of the com­pany. Through­out the play, a new-age Navajo — who was often on stage — played so-called “Native Amer­i­can flute.” Per­haps the weird­est thing came at the end. Dur­ing Puck’s solil­o­quy (“If we shad­ows have offended…”) the flutist played and another Indian con­duct­ing a smudg­ing cer­e­mony on stage. The whole thing was a hodge­podge of dif­fer­ent and largely uncon­nected direc­to­r­ial direc­tions. But, at least we had plenty to talk about on the ride back down to Car­son City.

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