where my (2)π ?

another t-shirt idea 🙂
they must have put something very strong in that boba milk tea.. i up now for some 30 hours editing away… but fingers crossed, since we have to turn them all in in 24hr..

you know how some people are comfortable living in the 1/[ ] universe? instead of saying “i’d like a BIG bowl of phở please”, they’d prefer: “may i have a *small* 1/bowl please”. anyhow, i think it’s the brain, we grow up with units of meter, second, not 1/m , 1/s (note the axes always heading in the opposite way too, to aide more confusion..)

i supposed to edit this file hopefully second to last time. have been reading some 150 articles the last 2 months.. extremely intensive though i must say internal feeling** is great to wrestle with.

Anyhow, need to stay up a couple more hours, but i happy to report during the course of this i re-discovered first the totally serious missing 108 power of energy, and today found the (not-so) lost 2π. so all is well, the figures have the correct /unit and order of magnitude, let’s celebrate with something soothing.

welcoming June!

hurrrrrahhhhh, back to the office, in good health, and looooovely temperature:


The office AC is broken!!! guess who is THRILLED!!!  (though they’re working on getting it back up, boo!)
So, some celebratory music is in order! though without one in my head, how about some digging news: Yes, i found where/what N.Stutzmann will be conducting this coming Dec: Messiah (hurrah).


Though it seems they invited her to conduct so she will not be bringing her band but rather probably down-sizing the symphony orchestras with modern instruments.. Now we just need to wait until the line-up is listed. Though if S.Mingardo told me she’ll be there, it probably means NS invited her 🙂 . Perhaps she did read my blog plead for more collaboration 8 . And did I mention working my “magic” and now have already a host for Detroit? With a friend’s parents! with promises to bring them to see Nathalie.

Cannnnn’t wait to start jogging again this weekend. annnd so much looking forward to music soon. wau i loove June.

back, with music, from Nathalie Stutzmann, how about Messiah in German, much less goose-bump inducing due to lack of comprehension (yay!)

geography 102

a bit saturated in brain, so how about something fun. i quite proud of it :-), even used a virtual shovel to dig a couple of very important channels. Amazingly, a certain strait is missing!

ps- oh, colorscale + contours are in unit [km]. For completeness, i should really put lat/lon contour, but too tired… and too late. those text labels took ages.
ps2- don’t be alarmed by the 2-headed greenland, i see it all the time.

sticky tune

be warned, the content (and my fragmented line of thought) is a little disturbing…
got this strange tune since yesterday that left me head scratching searching for the source. it has to be from something very recent, but which opera??? “tà tá , tá ta ta tà tá” (if you know a tiny bit of vietnamese tones, you’d realize our 6 tones are nothing but music, and i can write any song in just such various accents and technically if i not way out of tune, anyone would be able to recognize song) . Anyhow, 2 visions (visualization? i saw nothing profound, just images) popped up in the head, one of a warm cozy room in soft yellowish light, and one of a kite flying. Though the flying kite is not the original source, it’s got a similarity nonetheless. Anyhow, here’s where the tune comes from originally, and here’s the kite flying scene, tear inducing everytime i hear it (not mentioning seeing…)

This is a movie worth seeing. Anyone who has lived in Vietnam in the late 1970s to 1980s and is an immigrant can identify with many of the scenes in it. Some of my siblings turned down watching due to fear of getting too emotional. And the janitors, the lawnmowers, recycling-collectors you encounter in the US, some were/are my relatives. An uncle told me once when he first arrived in the US, he applied for a job to clean the toilet at a university and they said he didn’t have the right qualification. Read more of this post


due largely to our upbringing, we siblings react rather passionately (in various degree) to accidental religious events we found ourselves in, ranging from holding head “sh*t, why the hell am i here??” (me) to “get up, get out, NOW!!” (oldest sister). so, with noël coming to this rather religious oriented country, our phone lines will surely remain active with reports of accidents…

Two weeks ago, i was invited to a christmas carol “concert” on dec 11 at Harvard Memorial Church, the one with the brand new shiny and amazing organ.  Why not, i grew up singing lots of christmas songs in church, all in vietnamese.  it’s always nice to hear the same tune sung in a different language. besides, i’ve been to that church three times to hear the superb harvard choir in combination with the amazing organ (and organist Christian Lane).
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first for everything

yes, i’ve done it! first ice hockey game ever! last time i skated on ice was…. hmm, can’t remember. last time on roller-blade, here’s the result.  so, our soccer league is coming to an end (1 more game, not sure when…), winter is coming, and i have always wanted to put on some kind of padding to learn how to stop!  it’s still a very big decision, super intimidating at that, especially for yours truly whose natural footing is definitely flat and not anything rolling/gliding.   it turns out we had helmet, knee pads, and gloves, but no hockey pants/shirt so i didn’t dare to stop.  looking through the gridded helmet while trying to skate is an interesting experience ;-).  i showed up 5 hrs before the game to just test if i still know how to skate without falling left and right.  then came the big decision to join the game, harumph!
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having fun

please bayerische staatsoper, may i have this wall-sized poster when you’re done?

one of the things i enjoy greatly in my young life is visiting friends. i made very very good friends who share much of common interests during graduate study time. Interestingly enough a high concentration of them end up in Europe, particularly in the southern part of Germany. It’s always great to catch up and pick up conversations as if we were still in Boston 7-8 years ago.  A shift to another friend’s place last night found me “hide my ass dot com” yay! that’s a site that should be beneficial for ALL of us youtube-watcher resitricted by copyright whatever. I’ve already proven a test case where my post is blocked in Germany but now can be viewed here. (edit: sorry i tested last night it seemed to work but now it’s saying the video is again not available.  However, this site works: http://proxy.org/proxies_sorted.shtml –> i picked #5 = im-hidden.com and it puts me now in the Netherlands :-), clear cookies also helps.)

Munich temperature, 2.30pm sunday 03-apr-2011

There is only a hint of spring at the very tip of tiny tree branches in Boston last week, but here, flowers are blooming! the birds are singing. even the rain is beautiful. so, just some random pictures. I spent my weekend learning a lot about the life of a professional musician (and Salome and Elektra). Did you know viola players get made fun of the most? “At a party, a viola player try to grab a drink with his right hand but it shakes so much he couldn’t hold the cup without spilling.  His colleague approaches him: ‘it’s ok to use your left hand, we know it’ll never spill’. ” ;  “For 30 years, at every concert and rehearsal, this viola player opened his case, put out the viola and bow, then opened a tiny piece of paper to recite something, folded the paper and put back into his case.  His colleagues were always curious, so on his last day, they devised a scheme where one of the percussion players would sneak in while he was playing. They found the small paper with tiny writing: ‘viola left, bow right’. ” There are also jokes about soprano, bass, tenor, but none yet for mezzos :-). How does a soprano warm up? “Me, myself, and I. Me, myself, and I.” Read more of this post

i hiding

in the little corner and whispering to the walls a little secret: “bach’s mass in b minor is not for me, what’s wrong with me?”.  last night was the first in a long long time i drifted in a concert. when not drifting i was thinking the whole time i should have trusted my own judgment and attended the handel & haydn’s beethoven’s 5th instead.  i dislike this feeling where you’re at one place but wishing you were somewhere else.  but that says a whole lot about my relationship with bach’s mass in b minor. (i did escape jordan hall at intermission to try unsuccessfully to sneak in the unofficial way to symphony hall across the street to hear beethoven’s 5th).

but, i think i sort out why.  as a musically-uneducated person, i don’t know what to look for in bach’s mass. for any piece of music, the first crack is of course not very informative because everything is new to the ears.  there are certain things that keep calling me back in some pieces however. some examples are bach’s matthaeuspassion, pergolesi’s stabat mater, mozart’s mass in c-minor, tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, all of which i fall deeply in love with.  recently i’ve also fallen in love with beethoven’s fidelio (with nina stemme and jonas kaufmann).  things i don’t manage (yet) include bach’s cello sonatas, brahm’s ein deutcshes requiem, mahler’s 5th, various violin quartets…  but let’s get back to bach’s mass.  i figured out, at least for me, i need a big contrast at the start of a piece.  i talk a lot on this blog about conversations between instruments (voice included). what tunes my brain out is everything moving en masse (although i like this extract a lot, could it be just the various performers? tempo? why i hear more colors here?)

(i wasn’t the only one drifting, my friend was as well, and we were both wondering why we didn’t hear the first 2 soloists very well…).  i should even start out by confessing the whole week i was deeply sleep-deprived due to too much attempted (unsuccessful) dancing.

So the rest of the evening, i was really craving for beethoven’s 5th.  deep down, i think i was craving more for the sound of the baroque violins. unfortunately the timing wasn’t right so we didn’t manage symphony hall and ended up in the pho place next to it instead.  while we were chatting away, a violinist arrived with her 2 friends who were holding the program. I was lamenting (a bit too loud) to my friend “ahhhh, that’s the concert we didn’t manage”. she must have heard it and nicely turned to me and asked which one.  “This one you just played! we tried to sneak in but didn’t manage!” She looked a bit puzzled but her friends explained it was sold out (that wasn’t the reason for us though, it was more because the intermissions at the 2 concerts didn’t match so we missed the timing of sneaking in).  Then she asked if i was a musician, “no, but i’ve heard the Handel and Haydn group played before and and have truly enjoyed it”.  We got in a little bit of a chat and she suggested i should try to get ticket for sunday and that i won’t regret.  After that, we bid each other pleasant nights and parted ways, and my friend (and I) was so impressed how nice she (the violinist) was.  friend was amazed because from what she had heard, musicians play the same piece over and over again and tell other people they’re veeeery sick of it. i get the feeling the handel and haydn group is a very small group of highly motivated musicians who really enjoy what they are doing and are always exploring new music. anyhow, i’m just babbling in open space here because with all my indecisions (and such great news for the H&H society), their concerts are completely sold out except for 3 seats at $75/per.  so i’ll learn about rossini’s petite messe sollennen and miss beethoven’s 5th after all.  anyhow, let’s finish the rambling with this incredible 2011-2012 season program from the handel & Haydn society, i soooooooooo excited:

23/25-Sep-2011 Mozart piano concerto #22, Symphony #40
28/30-Oct-2011 Pergolesi Stabat Mater
2/3/4-Dec-2011 Handel Messiah
20/22-Jan-2012 Vivaldi The Four Season with Aisslinn Nosky
30-Mar-2012 and 1-Apr-2012: Bach St Mathew Passion
27/29-Apr-2012: Mozart Coronation with Rosemary Joshua

can’t wait.
mozart piano concerto #22:

who are you?

so, instead of working on my paper, i feel the urge to vent a bit in the blog space. as you might have read, the old place was pretty quick and kind to separate me from their privileged system. first i should clarify it’s not a university that cut me. anyhow, they are known to be HIGHLY inefficient at the tax payers’ expense. As an example, this was a frustrating conversation i had with their tech support 3 days before the cut-off was official: Read more of this post

$@%*&(* separation

am clearly not in a good mood this noon.  #@!#$(*& old work place totally disconnects me from all access, including access to all my work, @#$*(&?$# .  If you are at a university, when you change job, they give you 1/2 a year to 1 year to access your account.  I mean OF COURSE we need access, it’s the work we’ve been doing the last few years!!  what the hell they think i was doing that can be so easily transferred over and be disconnected in 1 day/week???  grrrrrrr .  Actually the problem emerged 2 days before I left, suddenly appeared in the mailbox was a separation email: “we are now separating you, all your (&#*$% privileges will be lost, your email will abruptly end in 2 days.”   WTF!  I haven’t started at the new place, I don’t have an official email address set up, no computers.  what about all my work???  “Well, you know, it’s our policy.  We can file some paperwork to give you remote access , but it’ll have to go under review, and will take time.”  Review of what??? I have access now, and in 2 days, you will have to do a complete background check on me again?  And of course I had to sign that damn piece of paper a few years back allowing them to probe freely into my private life (with a judge order I might add), all in the name of lame national security.  That’s 200% overhead for you dear US citizens and residents, your hard-earned tax money at work.

Anyhow, the bottom line is, whatever damn policy is in place, clearly they expect me to just file my nails every day at work.  This way when I’m done with and ready for separation, I can just pack my nail gears and leave, no need to gain re-access!  How can any respectable (and it’s supposedly one) institution expect people to collaborate if their people only have 1 week to inform ALL their collaborators of a contact change?  And how unprofessional is it that I have to give my colleagues my YAHOO personal email account for contact?  And to inform them “oh, sorry, i can’t work on our paper for the next ____ time period because I temporarily don’t have access to the data.”

Anyhow, a day trekking in the mud with jeans soaking wet clearly didn’t help my mood.  And now I can’t access anything for a while.  time to get a hot chocolate perhaps, if there’s one…

But i did have a very pleasant evening last night listening to Beethoven at the NEC.  The highlight for me was the 2nd movement of his Sonata #3 for violin and piano.  All players for the evening are students at the NEC in a special class, and they’re performing all 10 sonatas within 3 days.  The violin player for this particular piece truly captured all my attention during the slow movement.  I liked her way of playing better than what’s expressed in this youtube clip here.  However, have a listen, it’s really beautiful

If you’d like the whole thing, here’s clip1, clip2 (above), clip3.