Playing the piano like Tom Bopp

Tom Bopp played the piano for the retirement party last night, and getting to see him in action made me think a lot about playing the piano and the power of music. I’d love to be able to play like Tom.

I started learning to play classical piano when I was 5 or 6 years old, and took lessons all the way through high-school. But, I had stopped playing since then, until Tom put his foot down and bought a piano for me about 8 months ago.

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Not the Usual Yosemite Fare

This is a strange weekend for me. It is filled with activity options that wouldn’t normally occur to me as Things to Do in Yosemite. When I got here 5 years ago, my list was pretty short – climb, hike (to climbs) and backpack (for far away climbs), but the more I’ve lived here the more I get exposed to all of the other things that are going on in Yosemite.

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Poem by George Bilgere

This was the poem of the day on Writer’s Almanac and it really struck a chord. Thought I’d put it here so that I didn’t lose it. It’s amazing and wonderful that we can catch up with friends and loved ones while dining alone in a cafe, it’s comforting not to have to eat alone. But then, maybe those are just blinders. Maybe there is a cost to being immersed too. Maybe one of the great things about Yosemite is that your cell phone doesn’t work have the time, and you have to put it down and look around.

Bridal Shower

by George Bilgere

Perhaps, in a distant café,
four or five people are talking
with the four or five people
who are chatting on their cell phones this morning
in my favorite café.

And perhaps someone there,
someone like me, is watching them as they frown,
or smile, or shrug
at their invisible friends or lovers,
jabbing the air for emphasis.

And, like me, he misses the old days,
when talking to yourself
meant you were crazy,
back when being crazy was a big deal,
not just an acronym
or something you could take a pill for.

I liked it
when people who were talking to themselves
might actually have been talking to God
or an angel.
You respected people like that.

You didn’t want to kill them,
as I want to kill the woman at the next table
with the little blue light on her ear
who has been telling the emptiness in front of her
about her daughter’s bridal shower
in astonishing detail
for the past thirty minutes.

O person like me,
phoneless in your distant café,
I wish we could meet to discuss this,
and perhaps you would help me
murder this woman on her cell phone,

after which we could have a cup of coffee,
maybe a bagel, and talk to each other,
face to face.

Badger Pass powder

Tom Feb 14
Tom skiing
With all the snow that has been falling lately in Yosemite, Tom and I have been taking advantage of having Badger Pass basically in our backyard. Even on weekends that we have dedicated to working on house projects, we can often manage to sneak in a least a few turns. Not only has the snow been falling, but it’s been falling low and light, which makes for excellent skiing.

On a personal note, this year I’m starting to feel like it would be OK again for me to get shaken up a little bit, and take a few falls, if you know what I mean. I’m still pretty tentative, but on a relative basis it’s a huge step up from where I was last year. When the snow was firmer I got in a few runs on the NASTAR course, trying to go as fast as I could, and now I’m hitting some rougher terrain with more confidence, and taking some falls. I keep thinking it would be fun to ski some steeps in Tahoe one of these weekends, but of course there is always so much to do.

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