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October 1, 2009

Sidetracked by FB, but Friday Cat Blogging Anyway

Like several of my blogging buds, I've been sidetracked by FaceBook. I started in late June and now have 139 friends. I've found it to be a fascinating experience - I've connected with some folks from high school (and I hadn't really kept up any of those relationships) and I've reconnected with colleagues all over the country, some of whom I'd lost track of. I also have frequent conversations with relatives and with my MN colleagues.

I've found it to be more engaging than blogging, because there is an immediate audience, one known to me, and I can share feedback with others when I wish. With blogging, I've never fully known the extent of my readership. I have had over 11,000 hits, but that's not terribly many for 4 years. I've enjoyed posting and doing my own version of citizen journalism. My blog has also been a spot to reflect in a more extended way than is possible on FB. The two media serve different functions, but they both take precious time. I haven't decided to stop blogging, but we'll see.

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In the meantime, fall has arrived in Massachusetts, and the tonks are huddling in their fleece bed. Of course, these are just the MN tonks. Shadow and MacKenzie mercilessly hassle New Mexico Chloe - we have to intervene in major screeching chases around the house several times a week. They are each sweet and wonderful in their own way, but the 2 female chemistry is not working. We thought that when we found a new home for Sadie, this would stop. But in her absence, the other two have taken up the cause. Pookie continues to be above it all. Once in a while, he and Chloe sniff and touch noses, but they're certainly not sleeping together!

Just so she doesn't feel left out, here's a recent snap of Chloe - she loves warm places too!

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Posted by hgroteva at 10:47 PM

October 24, 2009

Musical Encounter - All Kinds of Strings

We had an unplanned musical encounter last night at a place I've been wanting to visit for other reasons - but what fun! S saw an announcement about a concert being given at the Montague Book Mill, featuring the duo of Cheyenne Brown (on celtic harp) and Seylan Baxter (on cello and vocals). Seylan is from Scotland, and Cheyenne is originally from Alaska, but met Seylan in music school in Scotland. Anyway - cello and celtic harp is quite a felicitous combination. The Book Mill is in an old mill house, complete with creaky floors and doors and lots of atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the cello-harp concert and look forward to listening to their new CD. Here is their website.

Following their set was Jozef van Wissem on baroque lute. A pretty interesting guy, but he never let fully loose with his playing. Most of his pieces sounded similar, more like etudes than the real thing. But the real treat came at the end, with 2 early 20-something guys who look like the most improbable duo you could find. There were only 2 of them, but in the course of their one (long) set, they played bass clarinet, violin, sleigh bells, other bells, a small keyboard powered by blowing, a gadget that looks like a castle with a keyboard, a small piano played by bellows, and I'm sure I'm forgetting at least 5 other things. The piece lasted about 30 minutes and was surely improv - but they made some interesting sounds and had some nice points of contact. And oh yes, they had 3 small casette tape recorders and did looping -- recorded snips and played against their recordings, becoming ever more complex. One of the guys told me they were from Brooklyn, but I didn't catch their names. They were in their own world, totally absorbed ... Flow personified.

The encounter was largely unplanned and unexpected - a welcome respite to a month that has been very highly structured with commitments and deadlines. Montague is 45 mins north of here, but there are lots of little places like it (well, not really like it) tucked away here in western MA. I look forward to exploring many of them!

Posted by hgroteva at 2:33 PM