Mar. 14th, 2016

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It is March 14th, and even more interesting, March 14th of 2016 which works out to 3/14/16 which makes it Pi Day. (if you are using dates with the day first I don't think you ever have pi day, because April only has 30 days, so perhaps Pi day is a purely US thing. Are there other countries that write their dates with the month first?)

Anyway, in honor of Pi day, Kip and I went to the store and got pie (chocolate cream pie.) It was tasty. Pi day is a good holiday.

I bought a book of mandolin exercises ("Mandolin Exercises for Dummies") and have been doing them semi-regularly. I am only on the first few pages but I think they are making a difference. I am learning closed scales and bidding fair to develop a mandolin callus on my little finger. (The other three fingers already have pretty thick calluses.) Also the string skipping exercises have me thinking that one way to get faster might be to review my picking directions on all my fast pieces.

I am learning Billy In The Low Ground, which is a fun old-time fiddle piece that seems to derive from a Scottish Celtic tune. I can learn a piece much more quickly than I used to. And Thursday before last I got waved up to the mike at the Pick And Grin (Thursday night jam circle at local deli--musicians get fed free) to take my first instrumental break, on a tune I didn't even know. I've been figuring out how to play harmonies that work with the chord progressions so it went okay anyway (room for improvement, but I didn't crash and burn), and I was very pleased about that. (It helps that the Pick And Grin is very attached to G major--about half the songs are in G major, with the next most common keys being D A and E but after that it might be anything; Gflat major is not off the table here, which is why I am working on closed scales.)

I am just about finished with the outside fiberglassing on the instrument case and the next step will be to smooth out and fiberglass the inside.

And regarding my progress on Dutch, I finished translating the last page of Wee Free Men a couple of weeks ago (I translated a whole book!) and have moved on to A Hatful of Sky, and Dad and I finished reading De Koning Van Katoren and have begun on De Kunstrijder.

And I forgot to mention it but our little city has a New Library and the New Library has a meeting room that is separate from the library proper and groups can reserve it to use during library hours. And back, wow, I guess last summer, I met a fiddler named Joyce and I already knew Ed from the Barbershop music group and Ed knew Lauren (who is now a new filker and coming to conventions) and I suggested we move to the library meeting room because people smoke in the barbershop and that's a bit hard to sit in for an hour at a time.

And so we reserved the library meeting room for Tuesday mornings, and Joyce's husband Rex has since retired and can come play his flute with us, and we picked up a guitar player named Ralph, and Ed and Lauren had a friend named Lindsay who also plays the violin and we have a couple of people who have been coming to listen and we're up to six musicians and working up repertoire. If we get enough songs worked up well enough maybe we'll play gigs but right now we're just playing together for fun.

Which means I need to go to bed because I have to get up early tomorrow. Good night!

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