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Monthly Archives: September 2009

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Dreams of greatness

Over the past few weeks, I’ve become much less connected. I kind of like it. There’s much less pressure when I don’t feel like I MUST get to the computer to check the updates from the Twitterverse, or to have all of the items in my RSS reader marked as read. I haven’t been spending less time in front of the computer, just less time actually creating new content. The fact that school has started recently hasn’t helped.

I had a dream the other night (before the one where I was in front of my class naked), and that dream involved bagpipes (what else?). I played a really good Massacre of Glencoe in a piobaireachd competition, and ended up in second place for one of the gold medal contests. I was absolutely thrilled by this, because after all it isn’t every day that a lowly grade 2 piper competes at the gold medal level. As a result of my low ranking and high placing, I was invited to play at the Glenfiddich, which is sometimes called the unofficial world championship for solo pipers. Ten pipers are invited to play, and winning one a of few major prizes (or winning last year) will earn an invitation.

I booked my plane ticket and traveled to Scotland for the Glenfiddich (I must have been there for the first competition too but have no recollection of that part), and decided not to play because I didn’t feel like learning four new piobaireachds in a month.

One of the things that struck me as quite odd was that the competition was judged blindly (which very rarely happens… I’ve only ever heard of it happening once, and that was a band contest). The three judges were sitting at their table, separated from the competitors by a line of tall potted plants, wearing sunglasses and shielding their eyes with theirs hands so as not to see who was playing.

That’s about where my memory of the dream starts to get a little fuzzy (because that always happens), but I do remember the judges talking out loud and making comments about the sound of each player’s pipes while he was tuning.

I won’t try to try to recognize symbolism or assign meaning to this, because I don’t believe that dreams mean anything. I’ll just keep sleeping (and probably dreaming too) and keep piping. Rock on.

Competition Journal 2009 #8

The results from my solo piping competitions.

New Hampshire Highland Games, Lincoln, NH, September 19, 2009

Event: March/Strathspey/Reel
Judge:
Peter Kent
2/4 Marches Submitted: Major Manson at Clachantrushal, Mrs. John MacColl
Tunes played: Major Manson at Clachantrushal, The Shepherd’s Crook, Major David Manson
Result:
2nd

Event: Piobaireachd
Judge:
Lezlie Webster
Tunes submitted: The Massacre of Glencoe, The MacFarlane’s Gathering
Tune played:
The Massacre of Glencoe
Result:
5th, AGL

Event: Hornpipe/Jig
Judge:
Scot Walker
Tunes played:
The Man From Skye, Alex MacDonald
Result:
3rd

Event: 6/8 March
Judge:
Nancy Tunnicliffe
Tune:
Dr. Ross’ 50th Welcome to the Argyllshire Gathering
Result:
6th

Competition Journal 2009 #7

The results from my solo piping competitions.

Capital District Scottish Games, Altamont, NY, September 5, 2009

Event: March/Strathspey/Reel
Judge:
Gordon Peters
2/4 Marches Submitted: Major Manson at Clachantrushal, Mrs. John MacColl
Tunes played: Mrs. John MacColl, The Shepherd’s Crook, Major David Manson
Result:
6th

Event: Piobaireachd
Judge:
John Wassman
Tunes submitted: The Massacre of Glencoe, The MacFarlane’s Gathering
Tune played:
The Massacre of Glencoe
Result:
1st, AGL

Event: Hornpipe/Jig
Judge:
Marc Dubois
Tunes played:
The Man From Skye, Alex MacDonald
Result:
2nd

More facts about nuclear power

I’ve posted before about how I support the idea of nuclear power and think it’s the best strategy to replace oil and coal power plants in the near future. I read this blog post today from Built on Facts, and I’m all excited about it again. Not that I haven’t been, but it’s the most realistic solution to a huge problem that presents itself with technology currently available today. I still contend that anyone who is truly educated about nuclear power couldn’t help but see the sense in it, and education is the best strategy we have for getting new power plants built here in the U.S.

Inverness Gold Medal winner: Glenn Brown

I wrote a piper spotlight article a few months back about Glenn Brown, originally from Canada and now living in Glasgow, and I’m happy to report that Glenn won the gold medal at the Northern Meeting in Inverness today. I’ve commented about how much I enjoy listening to him play, especially because of the awesome sound of his pipes, and I figured it was only a matter of time before he won one of the gold medals. He placed second at the Argyllshire Gathering the previous week, so it’s pretty obvious that his piobaireachd is in top form right now.

On a related note, I had written yesterday about how Willie McCallum will be trying to win the Clasp, the only major prize he has never won. That competition will happen tomorrow, and I’ll keep an eye on the results.

A hole in the shelf of the trophy case

I’ve posted before about how great a piper is Willie McCallum; to say that he’s good just doesn’t do it justice. As mentioned, when I saw him do a recital at the National Piping Centre in 2006 he was introduced as “The World Hoover” because he goes all over the world and sucks up the major prizes.

I was surprised to learn today that he has not, in fact, won all of the top prizes. An article at pipes|drums heralds the Northern Meeting competition in Inverness this week, and it states that the Clasp, the piobaireachd competition for former winners of the gold medals, is the only major prize that Willie hasn’t won.

I’m rooting for Willie since I read that, and I really hope he has a good day. Best of luck to all competitors of course, but I’m rooting for Willie. He is certainly deserving of this prize!

The oddity that are blog stats

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a week, and I’m actually considering abandoning the blog idea entirely. The time and energy it takes to be a good blogger is quite extensive, and I’m still undecided on the positive impact of a blog. In fact the blog is now ineffectual as a way of promoting my piping services to potential clients (just try a Google search for bagpipes in Maine and I’m nowhere to be found), which was the whole reason that I started making websites some six years ago.

Anyway, I logged in today to make a short post. WordPress is kind enough to provide some stats on the blog, and shows a nice little graph of visits to my site by day. This is the graph that greeted me today:

stats

Notice a relatively consistent number of visitors over the past two weeks, then the big spike in traffic yesterday. Why? I have no freaking idea. There’s often an increase after I make a post, especially if I post it on Twitter or Facebook, but there’s been none of that yesterday. No visiting forums and touting my website around, no handing out business cards. Just more visits. I don’t get it. Thanks for coming here though!