Original tunes: Willow Session and Salt Flats

Slow reels. Willow Session was named in memory of a really cool jam session that Jonah Sidman brought to my house, with Amelia Mason and Bethany Waickman. We played Camel’s Hump and Derry Reel super slow for like ten minutes apiece. So good.

Sheet music is available in the “Tunes” section of the website!

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Bodhran repair

I bought a bodhran (Irish drum) at one of the regular instrument yard sales held near Powderhouse Circle in Somerville. (If you don’t know about these, keep an eye out for posted flyers in Davis Square!)

It sounded great, but after I had taken it home I saw that the skin wasn’t taught in one area. It turns out the skin was beginning to tear off of the tacks. Stupid cheap Pakistani bodhrans!

But after a little research, I realized that there was something I could do. I wet the skin a lot to loosen it, and then I stretched it in the right direction with pliers and pinned it in place with good old-fashioned thumbtacks (green, for Ireland!). The original tacks alternated left and right as they circled the ring, so I just put the thumbtacks opposite them.

Now it’s working great! I wish I had thought to take a “before” picture, but this is after:


Don’t know how long it will last, but it looks pretty solid and I’m keeping it in a humidified room, so I’m optimistic.

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Original fiddle tunes: My Music Face and Jonah’s Pepper

Here are a couple more. These days, I generally try to keep things simple — since most of my tune writing actually happens without an instrument in hand (and sometimes no writing tools either), this is easiest, and the products are often more satisfying. But these tunes happened anyways. Enjoy, and if you want to learn them, you can find the “dots” in my tune library.

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Original fiddle tunes: Napoleon Crosses the Line and Audrey’s Dream

My pace of tune-writing has accelerated, and now I have a library of sheet music gathering dust.  But some of the halfway decent ones want to see the light of day, so I’m videotaping them and posting them to Youtube.  Here’s some tunes in cross-A!  Enjoy, and if you want to learn them, you can find the “dots” in my tune library.

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Upward Mobility

To see a clear demarcation of the social classes in American society, one need look no further than the boarding process on US Airways.

First, the announcement: “We are ready to begin boarding the aircraft by zone.” Then they immediately begin to board the aircraft by caste.

First, military personel.

Second, “first” class.

Third, Dividend Miles Preferred members

Fourth, Star Alliance Silver, Gold, and Platinum members.

Fifth, US Airways Premier World MasterCard® holders and US Airways® Visa Signature® card holders are invited to board via the Priority Access line, while Zones 1 and 2 (consisting of Bulkhead seats, exit row seats, and ChoiceSeats) boards via the “coach class” lane. Passenger is the Priority Access line are encouraged to cut in front of the rabble in the coach line. To be perfectly clear, Zones 1-2 have nothing to do with actual physical region of the plane.

Finally, Zones 3 – 5. “Does anyone want to gate check a roller bag?” they ask. “If you’re in Zones 3 to 5, you’ll probably have to do it anyways.”

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New Orleans

My family and I recently returned from a delightful jaunt through New Orleans, in celebration of my parents’ thirty-fifth anniversary. I felt like everyone there was trying to cram sticks of butter into my ears, either musically or culinarily. In other words, the trip was fantastic, and Sara is pretty sure I gained weight. The highlights among highlights were dinner at Arnauds (look up “Pompano Duarte”) and a show at Kermet Ruffins’ Treme Speakeasy (where the horn-tooting bandleader is also the restaurant owner and chef).

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Pineapple surgery

Another successful operation.



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Cereal Reviews

I have posted a set of cereal reviews.  They are more exciting than they sound.

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Fun with pancakes! Not bad for my first time. Thanks, Saipancakes!

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“Ergodicity” is the property of a time-varying system that all sets of initial conditions are ultimately spread into the same bland, homogeneous distribution. In honor of the lecture during which I doodled this, which I have to assume was fantastic, I have entitled this composition “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Inevitable Heat-Death Of The Universe.”

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