night rowing on the allegheny river

rowing in pgh1

the water on this cold autumn night was perfect, the antithesis of the devilish waves of my previous post <updated with video proof> \ this time i was not the cox but one of the bow pair rowers / the bow pair individually or together are frequently called upon to steer <so i should really have been a better cox on that windy saturday morning>

this is likely our last nighttime rowing practice on the river <just as my dragon boat team had its final on-the-water practice the previous night> \ we will be changing our clocks this coming weekend and darkness will descend earlier  /  it is not easy to row at night especially since in-sync timing means following the motions of stroke who is six seats in front of me \ i practically cannot see my visual metronome, stroke‘s blade

we rowed upstream and then downstream towards the city / pittsburgh with its three rivers and magnificent bridges is beautiful at any time but even more so viewing its lighted form at night on a calm river silently gliding in an eight-oared shell+

some reading to catch up on


the atlantic article about douglas hofstadter is a thought-provoking, illuminating discussion about the work that has been done in artificial intelligence | the difficulty of understanding & replicating human intelligence | and the divergence in thinking about how to study AI / GEB is one book that i have not made much progress with but this article has inspired me to make a go of it again

i learned about this book from a fellow stats major in college

ports, run your oars

coxing on wind waves1

was what i forgot to say first as we were preparing to get on our 65-foot shell \ but disaster, or rather the embarrassment of flipping a boat by the dock, was averted as my rowers yelled it for me / it was my first time to cox and conditions were far from ideal  \  the strong winds this morning on the allegheny river was producing what is cleverly called “wind waves”  /  from wikipedia:

Wind waves have a certain amount of randomness: subsequent waves differ in height, duration, and shape with limited predictability. They can be described as a stochastic process, in combination with the physics governing their generation, growth, propagation and decay—as well as governing the interdependence between flow quantities such as: the water surface movements, flow velocities and water pressure.

relive the nasty wind waves & our theo troubles <#3’s foot stretchers came off>

i am very bad with spatial directions especially if it involves a vehicle and so:  < direction-challenged novice cox + choppy waters  + no coxbox + theo  > made for an interesting practice /  unfortunately for my teammates, it turned out to be more like an on-the-water coxing clinic and today is our last daylight practice before our final head race  \ steering with the rudder took most of practice time to get used to /  i could not overcome mixing up commands: use bow or #2?  who should be holding water, who should be backing?  \  i could see the frustration in my stroke, an experienced <rower*sculler*cox> practically the shadow cox / but despite the havoc that the wind waves brought and the fact that we were on theo, the team rowed well and she stayed set  / thank you, rowers <especially stroke>

my physique is a distinct disadvantage for a rower but perfect for a coxswain /  i am almost sure my coaches and teammates would have preferred that i turn my passion from rowing to coxing especially during races where my lineup has been, consistently this year,  d.f.l.  \ well, i can see how coxing can be attractive too / today i was simply steering so as not to crash on anything but an experienced cox not only steers but co-plans with the coach on strategy, executes the strategy, is on-the-water coach, motivates and boosts morale, and can be the key to winning a race

obsessed with a chaconne | a shout out to s.l. weiss


i have been listening <drifting to sleep mostly> to chaconne in g minor by silvius leopold weiss almost everyday for nearly two years now  / my overplayed chaconne playlist stats: 76 minutes, 9 different performers, 10 renditions – solo guitar, 4 guitars, 13-string guitar, alto guitar, lute and lute*flute*viol  \  it  is the last movement of weiss’s sonata #14 for lute and flute though only the lute part survives

weiss was a contemporary of bach, the sun that dimmed every other musician of his time \ thus weiss <and johannes hieronymus kapsberger, another muted star of the baroque period> are less known, less appreciated | bach is ferociously difficult to play on guitar for novices like me because he wrote music for the lautenwerk, a type of harpsichord / so transcribed to guitar, bach takes advanced skill to play \ whereas weiss and kapsberger, both accomplished lutenists and < innovators> wrote music for the lute, a cousin of the modern guitar

chaconne in g minor sounds modern to me / no, there’s nothing modern about it, it’s baroque, says my summer guitar guru \ but contrast it to any work by bach <whom i adore and is the original godlike genius> and i say chaconne in g minor is timeless / maybe it’s the medium <the classical guitar> that makes it sound modern at least to my ears and the most appropriate for this piece  / the lute for which it was written, clearly dates it and while some lament the loss of the flute part, i do not

david ratelle gives a flawless, heartfelt performance of this beautiful piece \  this is how i aspire to someday play it / two years listening to it hopefully would have embedded itself in my musical memory so that next summer i will be more than ready to take it on

they don’t make movies like they did in the 70s


a friend was recently watching carrie  and though he was born like 20 years after the movie came out, carrie gave him the feel of the 70s / some of my favorite movies come from that period \  early redford ❤ days of the condor, butch cassidy & the sundance kid, the sting, jeremiah johnson> and early pacino <dog day afternoon, the godfather> they don’t make movies like those anymore /  i cannot think of any actors of this or the previous generation who can claim to be building an equally noteworthy body of work  \ there’s something so polished, shiny and pretty about the actors and movies of the present time – contrast to, as my friend exulted, the rawness of carrie

redford is back!

discovered the church


thanks to pandora* / the church,an aussie alt rock band from the 80s who sometimes sounds like depeche mode, sometimes like a young r.e.m. \ “the church radio” on pandora brings together for me the right combination of feel and sound from that era, a much better amalgam than “the cure radio” or “the joy division radio”

they widely licensed their only top 40 u.s. hit “under the milky way” / i’d never heard it before nor did it sound familiar, maybe its commercial popularity stayed down under

* its somewhat portly but attractive font is mrs. eaves small caps

while you were asleep

sleep sweeps brain toxins


brain toxins swept away while we’re sleeping! like a dishwasher!

this is the best science news in recent weeks / it hasn’t been observed with humans \  i wouldn’t mind being a guinea pig  /  they can do the tests during my naps \ does it work during naps?  / is there a threshold length of time for the sweeping to happen?