11 March 2012

Happy birthday, my son's mother!

(Shot in The Trossachs, Scotland, around Christmas 2002, which is almost ten years ago when we were still young and kicking.)

Today is Fanne's 37th birthday and mine is coming a month later. Time flies; we're both getting older and older. I found this photo just before I got ready to march to the land of Nod, so I decided to write something down, reminiscing the days when we were young.

In August 2002, Fanne turned down three MBA programme admissions from three University in England and applied for another one at the University of Stirling, because I had been offered a place on the programme leading to the degree of PhD in the Department of Film and Media Studies there.

Thus we went to Scotland together. While Fanne returned to Taiwan in September 2003 after finishing her MBA study, I stayed in Scotland for another four years until we were married in the Church of Holy Rude, Stirling in summer 2007. We finally came back and settled down in Taiwan.

So it is our story.

(Shot in front of Cambuskenneth Abbey, Stirling in summer 2003)

05 March 2012

Two-fingered piano playing

(Ready to play the piano for Dad?)

With the ever-increasing popularity of computers and our dependency on these machines, more and more people can touch-type, i.e. to type with all fingers and at least one of the thumbs without looking at the keyboard. Nevertheless, some would prefer two-fingered typing to touch typing and they still type proficiently.

Two-fingered typing is one thing; two-fingered piano playing is quite another, although both activities are carried out on a keyboard. Whereas we don't usually press several keys of a computer keyboard at the same time, except when using special keys to modify normal actions of other keys, such as +, most of the time we do have to produce more than two notes simultaneously on a piano.

However, two-fingered piano playing is theoretically workable. The pianist David Rubinstein composed in 1999 Piano Music for Two Fingers. There are actually five pieces: for both thumbs, both index fingers, both middle fingers, both fourth fingers and both pinkies, respectively. Audio previews are available here.

My two-year-old son's palms and fingers are probably still not big and strong enough to play the piano properly, but instead of pounding on the keyboard to produce tone clusters like most young children, he would rather press one key at a time with either of his index fingers.

Well, there is a long way for him to go in the future should he want to make more sounds on the piano in an organised way, but it appears that he is quite happy with his two fingers for the time being.

(Look, how concentrating he is!)

(Right, it's right hand's turn.)

03 March 2012

Rebirth of my 27-year-old piano

Mr Chen, the piano specialist, came to my place, restored everything and tuned the piano today, just before Ronne's second birthday next Monday.

Great birthday gift, though not brand new, isn't it?

(Looks like new, doesn't it?)

(How lovely: the Bach half-statue indicator of the automatic piano dehumidifier. When the red light is on, the dehumidifying gadget is operating.)

Ronne always asks my mum to play (by 'play' I mean 'engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose') the piano with him and sometimes would like to stay at my mum's place in order to play the piano.

Well, from today onwards, he can play properly the piano with his father at home.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I received a Christmas card last week.

Yes, I know, certainly, undoubtedly, definitely, surely, indubitably, undeniably, obviously... (I am sure that everybody can easily think of more), Christmas and New Year holiday have long gone, but it was 'missent' to THAILAND.

Bloody hell, does the spelling of my country's name 'TAIWAN' look like 'THAILAND' at all? Hopeless, Royal Mail. Shame on you.

Well, think of the cliché 'every cloud has a silver lining' and try to look on the bright side: it's only two months late. It could have been worse.

I once received a 'MISSENT TO TANZANIA' postcard several years ago. My wife (then girlfriend) sent me a card when she was in Cambridge for a short-term language programme. The post card arrived three month after she returned to Taiwan.

Therefore, they have been improving, from three-month to two-month. God bless Royal Mail.