computer update

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After church and grilling burgers for Eileen and her friend Barb (who is visiting), while they went off to Whitehall, I went and bought myself a new netbook, yesterday.

The biggest difference between this one and my old one is the battery life is 4 hours instead of 1. The keyboard also seems a bit bigger.  I was very happy with how quickly I was able to install Chrome and then sync the browser so that all of my bookmarks and passwords were instantly on my new computer. This comes from “living in the cloud.” I was able to open the box and then use the computer for my usual treadmill reading within fifteen minutes or so. Cool.

Today begins the home stretch for my May Ballet term, five evenings to go. Last Friday I borrowed some dance CDs from one of the instructors which have been developed by Paul Lewis, the pianist for the Joffrey Ballet Company and the dance teacher, Judy Rice.

I am especially interested in that each track gives the name of the movement exercise, the tempo and the time signature, e.g. Tendu from 1st Position – Moderate 3/4 to Faster 2/4 (Poulenc).  I find this organizes in my brain some information I have been gradually assimilating.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t always tell the exact piece he is uses if it’s a classical piece, just the composer. But still I am finding it helpful.

When I first began playing for ballet, I alternated between improvising and playing pieces by Chopin, Bach, Schubert and others. The problem with this is that composers do not always write 4 and 8 measure phrases and I found that I would sometimes have to change the music a bit to make it work for class. Also tempos can be a touchy thing. The dance prof needs the music at a certain tempo, sometimes this contradicts either the intention of the composer or my interpretation. It requires flexibility in these areas from the pianist.

One of the things that startled me about the recordings of Paul Lewis is how much liberty he sometimes takes as he plays the pieces on the CD. This actually reinforces something I have discovered which is that the more musically sensitively I play the better it seems for the dancers and the teacher. Good to know.

I’m not sure the instructors want me to use a lot of the kinds of pieces Lewis puts on his CDs. It seems that recorded music is a second best solution for dance class. The reason for this is that when I improvise a little tune for an exercise I can tailor the music to the exercise. Also I can watch the instructor more easily when I’m not looking at music and make subtle adjustments she indicates to me.

I’m working right now at my new netbook and find that I can use it a bit more fluently than my old one. The keyboard is just a tad bigger as is the screen. And the computer is also a bit faster.  Whoo hoo! Nice improvement,.

The weather is lovely here today in western Michigan. Typical cool summer day with a nice breeze.


‘Music for Silenced Voices’ –

This is a link to letters responding to a recent article about Shostakovitch. I like it that they seem to contradict each other.


Book Review – 2030 – By Albert Brooks –

The actor/director/writer has written a novel. It looks like fun.


Our Irrational Fear of Forgetting –

No you don’t have Alzheimer’s. You just forget stuff.


intelligent homosexual etc by tony kushner

This is actually just a bookmark to the New York’s “Public Theater” page.  It currently seems to have some video excerpts from Kushnber’s new play, so I bookmarked it to come back to and check them out.


Bin Laden’s Gone. Can My Son Come Home? –

Accused American terrorist has a dad who wants him freed. Moving story from the other side of this question.


Was It Something I Wrote? –

Interesting story of a writer who was threatened by Russian secret police types…..


How Good Are American Colleges? –

Better than you think, apparently. But the writer does boil it down to this:

“A student can get a wonderful, or terrible, education at just about any institution, depending on the courses she takes, the professors from whom she learns and the amount of effort she invests.”


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1 thought on “computer update

  1. I thought that Albert Brooks was the one who committed suicide yesterday, but it was Joseph Brooks. He wrote the song “You Light Up MY Life”.

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