2012-07-16 – New York Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks

Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, fireworks…  What more could you ask for :-)?

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Yale University Day Trip

This past weekend, one of my boys and I took a ride to Yale University to listen to one of our friend’s graduation recital from the School of Music; in short, it was quite well done.  Some of the pieces she, a cellist, played included:

  • Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 and Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70.  While I am not a fan of his works, I have to admit that these pieces had a seamless flow to it, much like his better-known piano pieces.
  • Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in d, aka Impressionist music at its most “experimental” and fun.
  • David Popper’s Wie einst in schöner’n tagen, Op. 64 and Nocturne No. 4, Op.47. And I thought this dude was only the Hanon of cello music (see http://www.amazon.com/Hanon-Exercises-Acquirement-Independence-Schirmers/dp/0793525446).
  • Ludwig van Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 3 in A, Op. 69, a piece that I remember slaughtering back in ninth grade because it was too difficult for me to play at the time.

Also of note:

  • Being back on a college campus felt rather surreal for me, especially considering this is one of the top universities in the United States.   It felt like everyone around me was infinitely smarter simply because they attend Yale.
  • In many ways, New Haven is a microcosm of how economically stratified society has become today.  Within a span of less than one mile, you can find a bustling, affluent college town and a deteriorating inner city.
  • Having all-you-can-eat sushi is asking for a death wish.
  • Lastly, and because my boy and I did pass through Stamford CT, wanna raise some hell :-P?

WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT

Off to Pittsburgh, and Myrtle Beach

My Mom and Dad are attending the wedding of a friend’s daughter in Pittsburgh PA next month; I might add this is the same friend that encouraged my Mom to come to the US back in the day.

While booking their travel itinerary, I learned a few things:

  • Southwest has an awesome website and Hilton has great customer service.  I say this because I somehow managed to book their plane tickets and hotel the week AFTER the wedding is to occur, and yet was able to resolve my reservation errors promptly with the help of Southwest’s intuitive booking system and a courteous customer rep from Hilton.
  • There is a reason why Southwest’s unusual routing and stopover methods are the punch line for so many cheap shots.  While it was easy to book a direct flight out of Pittsburgh back to LI-MacArthur, getting to Pittsburgh with the routes Southwest asked you to take left me scratching my head:
    • No direct flights at all?
    • And must you insist on a Baltimore-Washington stopover?
  • Trying to maintain three separate frequent flier mile accounts for my Mom, Dad, and I is much more tedious than I thought, especially registering our [government issued] names.

Additionally, my Mom, Dad, and I are planning to go on a golf vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina not too long after the wedding in Pittsburgh.  Initially, I resisted the idea because to be honest, my golf game absolutely sucks and lacks consistency.  It really does not matter how good your equipment is: if you suck and do not practice on a regular basis, not even Taylor Made drivers and Pro V1’s can save your game.  In the end though, I committed myself to try and get good enough to at least attempt to play on some of the more advanced courses down in Myrtle Beach, even if that means losing more than 100 balls from water hazards.

It helped that planning for this trip to Myrtle Beach made me all the more excited to go, although I do wish that Spirit Airlines would stop trying to make Ryanair look like Emirates.

To be fair, their flights are round-trip direct from LaGuardia to Myrtle Beach; the other option was to either take Continental Connection from Newark-Liberty direct [and most likely pay more], or stopover in Atlanta or Charlotte.

So in short, February 2012 is looking to be an active month for all of us, which I hope is a good thing.