Keydet Piper I'm thinking bagpipes

Monthly Archives: May 2008

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In any language…

So yesterday was my birthday, which was no secret for my students. I came into my first afternoon class and all the students had written “Happy Birthday” in their native languages. As the afternoon went on the other classes added to it, and the final product is shown below. How many languages can you identify?

Competition Journal 2008 #3

The results from my solo piping competitions.

Rhode Island Scottish Highland Festival, Richmond, RI, May 17 2008

Event: 2/4 March
Judge: Bruce Burt
Tunes submitted: The Clan MacColl, Major Manson at Clachanstrushal
Tune played:
Clan MacColl
Result: did not place/break down

Event: Strathspey/Reel
Judge: Bruce Burt
Tunes: Arniston Castle, Lexy MacAskill
Result: 5th

Event: 6/8 March
Judge: Chuck Murdoch
Tune: Pipe Major Donald MacLean of Lewis
Result: 3rd

Event: Piobaireachd
Judge: Amy Garson
Tunes submitted: The Massacre of Glencoe, Sir James MacDonald of the Isles’ Lament
Tune played:
The Massacre of Glencoe
Result: 5th

Why bagpipes have a bad name

This blog post came to my attention this morning. I’d like you to focus on the video. If people like this are playing for the uneducated public in high tourist areas like Edinburgh, it’s no wonder people don’t like bagpipes. It’s hard to tell anything about the guy’s tuning from the video, but the playing, my God. Lots of crossing noises, not keeping to tunes, and I don’t know what happened in Scotland the Brave, besides the obvious fact that it wasn’t the same version I learned (since I learned to play it correctly). Ugh.

Stoopid People #1

So this came to my attention yesterday. If you’re too lazy to click on the link, here’s the basics.

A substitute teacher in Land O’ Lakes, Florida (seriously, it’s a real place, 20 miles north of Tampa) performed a brief “magic” trick for one of his classes, in which he made a toothpick disappear and reappear. He was later called in by his supervisor and told he wouldn’t be able to take any more substitute assignments because he was being accused of … wait for it … wizardry.

I’d like to know where (and when) are we? Is this Salem, MA in 1692, the middle of the witch trials? Madrid, Spain in the 16th century, the Spanish Inquisition (which nobody expected)? I was under the impression that it was 21st century United States, where reason and common sense prevail, or at least no one seriously believes in witchcraft anymore. Am I wrong? Apparently.

To quote my source of this story Phil Plait, “Teh stoopid! It hurts!”

Time for a change

I picked up a few pennies as I walked down the hall this evening and I thought of my change jar. It’s actually a tin, and whenever I have change in my pockets I’ll dump it in there. It tends to accumulate, and periodically I’ll take it somewhere to empty it. So with the change jar on my mind, after I dropped those two new pennies in I decided to count it. Why? Well, why not?

So I spread everything out on my coffee table, turned on the Red Sox game, and proceeded to sort. It took a while (from the 6th to the top of the 9th inning), but I got it done.


The grand total: $149.72

This immediately raises two questions:

  1. How do I turn it into real money?
  2. What do I do with the real money?

1. There’s a few options here. I could check with one of the banks in town (there are two) to see if they have a coin counter, thus saving me the hassle of sorting everything again. It doesn’t seem likely they’d let me do that since I haven’t an account at either institution (they offer 0.25% interest on a savings account; do you blame me?). The other option is the Coinstar machine in the local grocery store. It’s easy and fast, and I can apply it toward my groceries (like I ever buy them), but they take 8.9 cents of every dollar. It’s true I’d still have $136.39, but I can think of better uses for the other $13+ than just giving it to a machine. Coinstar does have an option for free coin exchange if I turn it into a gift certificate, but I’m not sure I want that much money reserved for a specific store. So the answer to this question is still up in the air.

2. $149.72 is a lot of money, and I have no idea what it will be spent on. Maybe I’ll post a follow up to let you know.