Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Second Public Service Announcement

For all you West-Coasters who were feeling deprived because you only get to stay up late (or get up early) for Easter Vigil, Midnight Mass, and the 'Worlds, dry your eyes, and put on a pot of coffee. They're streaming the Glenfiddich Piping Championship this Saturday (at 3 AM, Pacific). There should be piobaireachd enough for the most insatiable--or at least nearly so, I am hoping.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quite the Opposite of Seasickness

Yesterday's schedule had a very large gap between the morning lessons and the afternoon ones, so I had a grand time trying out a couple of new tunes on my own. I have a very heavy practice mute that I like to use on my fiddle if I'm going to be doing anything terribly repetitious (or wobbly of intonation) within earshot of innocent bystanders--yesterday I had the leisure to discover that if I used the mute and turned up the studio speakers I could play along with the mp3 of my choice and still hear the details of the recording. So, yes, I tried through Bruce MacGregor's recording of "Sitting in the Stern of a Boat" several times. I love the second part of the tune--there is such a deal of wistful sweetness in the high B's, even if they're scarcely lingered on (because they're scarcely lingered on, I should say). And the understated accompaniment in this particular rendition is the ideal complement--it makes the tune richer without distracting in the least from the fiddle part.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bug of the Hour

I had a day off Friday, which meant I had to do laundry, but also that I had the leisure to walk to the grocery store, instead of driving, for a bottle of bleach. And that, in turn, meant that I was a scarce hundred yards from my apartment when I came upon what was left of a Great Purple Hairstreak cast away by the side of the road. Folks, the advertising is partly false on these. I would not argue with the great, at all, but "purple," is a stretch of the imagination. The bits I could see of the tops of the stiffening wings were close on the most beautiful royal blue that I ever saw. Being as it was a bleach-purchasing expedition, I hadn't taken taken the camera, but somebody on BugGuide has a decent picture of a still-living, if battered, specimen with the wings open. The last time I saw colours like that on a butterfly was in the rainforest exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium; according to Wikipedia, the Great Purple Hairstreak is "a common gossamer-winged butterfly species in parts of the United States." Common, says you? I repeat, that was the first one I had a good look at, though I had been hoarding the suspicion that I caught a glimpse of one on the wing a year or two back. Their host plant is, of all things, mistletoe. As I said to one of my kinfolk earlier this evening, that does leave one with the impression that poor, beautiful Baldr had the last laugh after all.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Couple of Sweet Tunes

Some slow marches from Jenna Reid and her fiddle, because I like slow marches, and if I didn't, I expect this rendition would cure me. The first tune is "Hey, Tutti Tattie" (or "Scots Wha Hae," if you learned your piping out of the Green Book); the second is the track title, "Johnny in the Nether Mains."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Not An Unexpected Topic. . .Entirely

The qualifiers that were shown for the World Pipe Band Championships this morning were most enjoyable to watch and to hear. On the watching end of things, I was particularly taken with the logos that the New Zealand Police Pipe Band and the Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band wear: both incorporate Scottish elements with the New Zealand fern, which is clever, but more than that, they're just very pleasing to the eye. (The logos in question, of course, can be seen in the headers of the respective websites of the two bands.) Most importantly, both bands turned out impressive performances, Canterbury winning through to tomorrow's final.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

And Here It Comes Again

Yes, the World Pipe Band Championships are this week. The format has changed yet again, now with the qualifier on Friday and the playoffs on Saturday morning. This page shows you where you can tune in.