October 29th, 2012

Obviously, I’m not keeping this up since there hasn’t been a post since July. Needless to say, I completed the ride. I’ve been reading a lot. Some other things have happened. Some things haven’t.

Mostly, I’ve been posting things at one of these places:


Twitter (not very often)


and maybe a couple of others. I’ll post here from time to time, but probably not very often.

2011 NEC day 4

July 17th, 2012

Today was a bad day. Started out at 7:15 or so then it started raining at the top of Crawford Notch and rained for the next 3 hours. It was cold. Very cold. The good news is I think I fixed most of my foot problem. The bad news is everything else.

About 1/2 mike from the 2d rest stop, my hub broke the same way the other one did a month or so ago. I’ve ridden this wheel thousands of miles including at least 4 other tours. Why now?

Luckily, a guy brought a spare set and even more luckily the mechanic truck with the wheels on it was still at rest stop 2. But it was a 10 and I have a 9 so it took a while to swap the cassettes. So long that I was 10 miles behind the last rider on the road. So I sagged to rest stop 3 and rode the rest of the way from there. Even then I think I got in last or next to last. It was a struggle.

But I’m in now. Laundry is done. Great dinner. We will see what implications this has for the rest of the week.

2012 NEC day 3

July 16th, 2012

Got Into attitash at about 3:20 after leaving at 7:45 this morning. It was a very long, very hot day.

After doing this for so many years, the route seems a bit shorter I think because I know what’s coming. Or maybe I’m zoning out!

The foot thing is still a problem. I stopped at Rite Aid and picked up two kinds of insole inserts. They seem to help a bit but don’t fix the problem. They don’t hurt as much but they still go numb. Maybe tonight’s massage will help a bit. Time for new shoes I guess. These are 10 years old.

Tomorrow is 100 miles with 6000+ feet of climbing. It’s also supposed to be hotter than today. I’m melting already.

2012 NEC Day 2

July 15th, 2012

An okay day. Very hot though the sea breeze at the coast was helpful. 67 miles. My feet are going to be a problem. Not sure what to do about it. Bike is still performing well.

Got in around 2:30. Had a great thanksgiving style dinner.

The two day riders go home after dinner and the character of the ride changes after losing 2/3 of the bunch. The bus left 10 minutes early and left three people behind. There was a bit of kerfuffle after that.

Watched then end of the tour stage on the big screen in the student lounge. It was the sabotaged stage. Pretty pathetic for someone to do that.

Tomorrow is all up. Time for bed.

2012 NEC day 1

July 14th, 2012

Done with day one. 84.70 miles from Woburn MA at 8:30 to Kittery ME at 3:10 with 3 rest stops. No drama or problems. Bike is performing well. Having trouble with hotspots on my feet but this is one of the longer days. If I take off my shoes and walk around in the grass it feels better for a while. Maybe I’ll try moving my cleats tomorrow.

Some trouble checking into the hotel but it seems all sorted now. Hope I wake up in time tomorrow!

Look what I found!

July 10th, 2012

Yep, a derailleur hanger. After a two year search, I found it. There’s a new company making them. It’s called “Pilo“. When I found them, I wrote and asked if they had the right hanger because the one listed for “Fondriest” didn’t look right. He wrote me back and gave me the right model number. Fondriest is not listed for that model, but it looked right. Unfortunately, the company is in Israel and has no US distributor. Or so I thought.

The model number he gave me, D270, is listed for use with Cinelli. Since I really want this before the trip on Friday, Israel was out the question, but armed with that info, I searched for Cinelli, and what did I find? Model 319.

I was all fixing to be angry because both I and Emily, my mechanic, wrote to and asked about the right hanger and they said nobody makes them. But I ordered it anyway and guess what? It’s stamped “Pilo D-270″. So I guess when we asked a couple years ago, they weren’t made, but as Pilo is only a year or so old, they are being made now.

Anyway, happy ending. I have a new hanger.

I installed it this afternoon and am having some trouble getting the shifting right. I’m starting to wonder whether the wheel I was sent as a replacement for the one that broke might have a bent axle. Must investigate that. Shifting from small to large is fine, shifting the other way is not. It may also be something funky with the derailleur. It’s almost like it doesn’t release the full distance when the shift cable is slacked.



June 26th, 2012

Got all the maps created for this year’s NEC.

They’re available at



June 11th, 2012

Cyclometer reads 14,998 after Sunday’s right. Two to go to 15,000.

Boston Pops

June 6th, 2012

Took Tom to the Pops last night for his birthday. It was a tribute to Cole Porter featuring Marin Mazzin and Jason Danieley.

It was the first time I’ve ever been to the Pops. It was good. Symphony Hall looks a lot different for the Pops than it does for BSO. We sat in the first balcony but the tables on the floor were a lot closer and more crowded than I expected. I’m not sure I’d enjoy that at all, the balcony was much better.There were curtains on the upper windows and the places was lit with stars and stripes. I think that’s a theme of the season.

The concert was good and was about what I expected, I think. Both guests’ voices were good with good stage presence although it seemed a little forced now and then. You’d think Symphony Hall could afford two spotlights when there are two guests instead of swinging it back and forth between them or having to choose whom to spotlight during a duet. The lights lighting the balcony fronts could use some work, too. It’s a little nauseating.

Who doesn’t like Cole Porter?

The Program:

  • Overture to Babes in Arms (Rodgers-Spialek/Troob)
  • Berlin Bouquet [Say it with Music, Blue Skies, A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody, Always, Alexander's Rag Time Band] (Berlin-Mason)
  • Pick Yourself Up (Kern-Ramin)
  • Gershwin in Love [Love Walked In, Our Love Is Here to Stay, Someone to Watch Over Me, The Men I Love] (Gershwin-Sebesky)
  • Carousel Waltz (Rodgers)

– Intermission –

Cole Porter Tribute

  • Another Opn’in’, Another Show
  • You’re the Top
  • My Heart Belongs to Daddy
  • Night and Day
  • It’s De-Lovely
  • Easy to Love
  • Always True to You in My Fashion
  • Where is the Life That Late I Led?
  • Let’s Do It
  • Anything Goes
  • In the Still of the Night
  • So in Love
  • From This Moment On

Good concert.

Boston Ballet – Don Quixote

May 3rd, 2012

Last night was a performance of Don Quixote by Boston Ballet at the Opera House. They had a sale a while ago for half priced tickets and since it was a good deal, we decided to go. I haven’t been to a ballet since going to Dracula many years ago. I guess it’s just not my favorite form are art. I can appreciate the dancing but don’t see that it does much for the story. Although, at times, it was effective, most of it seemed to be isolated vignettes of dancing, not a coordinated piece. But that may be what they all are like, I don’t know.

I also noticed that, while the music was good, I’m really spoiled by Symphony Hall. Nothing can match those acoustics.

Overall, I enjoyed it and am glad I went, but I don’t think this is something I’d subscribe to. I’m far more interested in the ballet music than the ballet dancing, I guess.


Beethoven, Mendelssohn feat Claire Bloom, Layla Clair, Kate Lindsey, Tanglewood Women, PAL Children’s Chorus w/ Bernard Haitink cond.

April 19th, 2012

Last night was the last of the year’s open rehearsals and, as outlined in a letter today, the last open rehearsal ever. Boo.

The program:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C, Opus 21

  1. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
  2. Andante contabile con moto
  3. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
  4. Adagio – Allegro molto vivace

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Overture and Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  1. Overture
  2. Scherzo
  3. March of the Fairies
  4. Song with Chorus (“You spotted snakes” Act II scene ii)
  5. Intermezzo
  6. Nocturne
  7. Wedding March
  8. Fanfare and Funeral March
  9. A Dance of Clowns
  10. Reprise of the Wedding March
  11. Finale with Chorus (Act V)

This was an okay program but a bit hard to get excited about. The Beethoven was good if a bit lackluster. I didn’t really care for the Mendelssohn. I appreciated what they were doing but I’m not much a fan of spoken word to orchestral works although Claire Bloom did a good job. (Holy crap! She’s 81?!?!) When you do excerpts like this, it all seems a bit thrown together, and the text gets all disjointed. It’s not a cohesive piece in the way that, say, Peter and the Wolf is.

The chorus was sort of overkill too. Lots of people on stage and the maybe sang for … five minutes. Tops. Great experience for the kids, though.

It was good. Not great.


April 19th, 2012

Went for a bike ride last … Saturday? I think. The plan was to about 50 miles or so. It was a nice day. From Lexington Center, I went to Concord via the airport then to Carlisle, stopping at Ferns for a brownie. MMmmm!

Heading back, I just got back onto the MInuteman outside of Lexington Center and heard (and felt) a ping! Great.  A broken spoke. I got off the bike and looked for it, but couldn’t find it. No broken spoke, but the rim was so out of true, it wouldn’t go around; I couldn’t open the brakes enough for it to pass. I had to take out the brake cable from the housing to allow the brake to open enough for the wheel to go around.

I got to Lexington Center and there was a mobile bike repair at the depot, so I stopped to ask for an Allen key to open the brakes (I didn’t have my tools! D’oh!). He asked if I wanted him to tighten up the spoke just to get home, so I said sure. We put it up on the stand, but couldn’t find any broken spoke, but there was a loose one. So we figured it had just unseated or something. So he started tightening and we say this:

It’s a broken hub. Damn.

(The red arrow points to the broken bit. The blue line is where there should be a spoke.)

So, pedaling home at 10 mph with no rear brake. Luckily, I have a spare rear wheel from a previous set I crashed with and damaged the front wheel. I saved the back and have been using it on my trainer. Time to put it back on, I guess.


BSO : Bach, Lutoslawski, Beethoven feat. Leonidas Kavakos

March 28th, 2012

Last night was the last concert in my Tuesday night series at the BSO.

It was fantastic! Best in quite some time.

The program:

BACH : Concerto in D Minor for Violin, Strings and Continuo, BWV 1052

LUTOSLAWSKI : “Musique Funebre” for String Orchestra [1] [2]

  • I. Prologue
  • II. Metamorphoses
  • III Spogee
  • IV. Epilogue

BEETHOVEN : Symphony No. 4 in B-Flat, Opus 60

The guess conductor and soloist was Leonidas Kavakos who did a spectacular job. He looked like a hipster with long, flowing black hair, funky glasses, and a black Nehru-style jacket.

I wanted to see this concert because he was both conducting and playing as soloist at the same time and I’d never seen that, although I read that it used to be common in Mozart’s time. What I didn’t realize was that the piece was for string orchestra which really made it sort of a very large ensemble rather than a full orchestra. This isn’t one of my favorite pieces, it sounds too much like practicing scales at rehearsal for me. Still, excellent.

The second piece started as a dirge, but turned out to be fascinating. I want it played at my funeral! I’m not sure the audience cared all that much for the piece, but what was remarkable was that Kavakos was able to control the BSO audience, one of the most tubercular anywhere, keeping them pin-drop quiet. Amazing.

The final piece was Beethoven’s 4th, which he conducted totally without music with the second movement conducted without baton (he had the first cellist hold it for him as he had no stand). His conducting style was unusual and very expressive. Very fun to watch. I’m unsure what his reception was from the orchestra, it was kind of hard to tell.  The audience didn’t really care for the first two pieces but warmed to the third.

This will be simulcast by WCRB on 99.5 FM and on the Internet  on Saturday. Listen if you can.

I liked it so much, I’m going back on Friday.

Also … here’s a 12-year-old video of Leonidas Kavakos playing one of my favorite pieces, Sibelius Violin Concerto. And here is as he looks today, conducting Brahms No. 1.

P-Bruins 2 – 1 P-Pirates

March 28th, 2012

Went to the Baby Bruins game last Sunday with a couple of friends finishing off the rest of my flex tickets for the year.

Providence won 2-1 in a shoot out over the Portland Pirates. It was a good game even though the seats weren’t the best. We took a couple of friends and had sliders and beer at Harry’s before the game.

Providence have been working the hard sell on next year’s flex tickets, but it really depends on what the T is going to do with fares and schedules. If they cancel weekend service, that’s it for getting to Providence, there just won’t be any way to get there on the weekends. Businesses like the Bruins and the rest of Providence need to step up and tell the T this will kill their businesses.


BSO : Kodaly, Dvorak, Mendelssohn

March 22nd, 2012

Last night was a BSO rehearsal night.

I’ve been really lax in putting in shows I’ve been to, but I’ll get them filled in at some point. I’ve got about five concerts, six books and a play or two to write about.

But last night was quite good. Guest conductor Juraj Valčuha from Slovakia really put the orchestra through its paces. I’ve never seen anyone work on little parts of the program so much. Usually, it’s more of a dress rehearsal, but he went right up to the 10:00 limit. He’s sooo young! He looks like someone who should really be out playing kickball. But he’s also very, very good.

The program:

Zoltán Kodály

  • Dances of Galánta [1] [2]

Antonin Dvořák

  • Violin Concerto in A minor, Opus 53

Felix Mendelssohn-Barthody

  • Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Opus 56, Scottish

All three pieces were spectacular. The second and third pieces must be particularly difficult to play as I saw the string bows move in ways I’ve never seen before.

The guest soloist for the concerto was Frank Peter Zimmerman who we saw last year. Always good and seemed to really like this piece. It was unusual, I think, because the soloist never had a solo. There were only one or to very small phrases where the violin was playing unaccompanied, otherwise someone in the orchestra was always playing an underlying theme.

These weren’t three of my favorite composers, but I’ll have to rethink that after last night.



March 20th, 2012

Four new Kiva loans. I’ve been remiss and let my dividends pile up without reinvesting. So, four more loans, numbers 35 thru 38.

Harutyn in Armenia who will use $1800 to buy water valves, pitchforks and other products to resell.

Alpaquitas -26 Group in Bolivia will use $3000 to buy supplies to knit wool sweaters.

Los Girasoles De Cuaji Group in Mexico will use $2500 to buy supplies for a general store, among other things.

Andres Roberto Palomino Alvarez in Peru will use $750 to buy a freezer to store ice cream for sale.

Andres Roberto Palomino Alvarez was assigned to the Older Borrowers group and the rest were assigned to the GLBT group.

One of my loans is delinquent, but not by much and I expect it to be updated shortly.

You can get a free loan for a short time! Give it a try!

BSO – Copland, Tomasi, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky w/ Giancarlo Guerrero

January 27th, 2012

The BSO has had some terrible luck with guests canceling for health reasons. Tuesday’s concert was supposed to have Riccardo Chailly conduct, but he withdrew. He withdrew quite a while ago and so they were able to find a guest to replace him for part of the concert, but the interesting bit is that the entire program before intermission was conductorless.

The program:

There were four pieces, highlighting three sections of the orchestra. The brass section did the Copland and Tomasi; woodwinds did Straus; and strings did Tchaikovsky. The strings did their piece standing up, which really added an interesting dynamic to the piece. The whole thing was fantastic. Each piece was introduced by a member of the section, two of whom (brass and reeds) I’ve heard speak before. Something really different and just expertly done.

I’ve never heard the Rite of Spring live and was one of the two main reasons for getting the Tuesday series (the other reason being Yo-Yo Ma). Rite of Spring is one of those pieces that changed everything. Even though, initially, it wasn’t well received, it was tremendously influential all the music that followed. Everything in it was new. It’s also one of my most favorite pieces ever.

After intermission, one of the largest orchestras I’ve ever seen at Symphony Hall was under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero of Costa Rica. His style was captivating, and the orchestra really responded.

Then, five or six minutes into the piece. the fire alarm went off, the hall was evacuated, and the concert was canceled. At first I think everyone thought it might be a cell phone until the strobes came on, then the automated announcement.The conductor turned around with a priceless WTF look in his face. The orchestra master was trying to find where the noise was coming from until he saw the flashes, then the whole orchestra (and audience) waited to see if it was real or not. The announcement, I’m sure you now, says something like “if there is an alarm after this message, evacuate the floor”. It alarmed. We evacuated. It was a false alarm, but apparently the must, by law (they say) evacuate the building.

Still, I suppose it’s better than burning to death.



January 15th, 2012

This year is the year of re-investment. I spent 2011 contributing new money, now it’s time to keep that money in the system and reloan it as it becomes available.

This time, five new loans this time. This will bring me up to 34 loans. The previous loans are all being repaid on time or ahead of time. Yay!

The loans this time are:

Donato of La Paz, Bolivia.

A loan of $1,100 helps Donato to buy fabric for making women’s skirts. His wife works making women’s skirts. she will use it to acquire at wholesale the fabric that is her raw material.


Pum of Takhmao, Cambodia.

A loan of $1,000 helps Pum to build a fence surrounding her house. The loan will be used to build a fence surrounding her house to protect it from any losses and make it a safe place to live.


María Leticia Delgado Anchundia of Montecristi, Ecuador

A loan of $1,100 helps buy plastic products and containers for resale to farmers in the countryside.


Yasser from Dahieh, Lebanon

A loan of $1,500 helps Yasser to increase his business merchandise with new products with special offers for his grocery store.


Danny Alredo from Ventanas, Ecuador

A loan of $1,000 helps Danny Alfredo to purchase agricultural inputs, fertilizers, seeds, urea to sow corn.


All loans were attributed to the GLBT team.

CLICK HERE to join me giving Kiva loans!


God of Carnage

January 7th, 2012

Last night was the play God of Carnage at the Huntington Theatre. It was excellent!

Two couples, Annette and Alan Raleigh and Michael and Veronica Novak, meet in the Novak’s severely upscale Brooklyn home to discuss an earlier playground incident where the Raleigh’s 11-year-old son Benjamin hit the Novak’s 11-year-old son Henry in the face with a stick, breaking two front teeth. It begins with two ostensibly adult couples discussing the incident but quickly devolves when, with each passing point, each couple becomes more and more infantile.

It’s very funny with shifting alliances throughout the play: Novaks v. Raleighs, Men v. Women, and mixed. Even though these couples are in the same socio-economic class, they are worlds apart, even from each other and these differences are laid bare. The air of civility quickly thins and all of their 11-year-olds show through.

It’s very visual and slapstick at points, even farcical. At each step along the way, the couples look like they might pull back from the brink of total tit-for-tat, yet they take breath and take one more step lower on the low road. It takes a slice normal and follows it into the theatre of the absurd.

This is really worth seeing. It’s just starting, so you have time.


A better summary than I could come up with.

Apparently, it’s also going to be a film by Roman Polanski.


BSO : Hayden, Turnage, R. Strauss with Marcelo Lehninger conducting

January 5th, 2012

After a long hiatus, last night was the resumption of BSO concerts with a Wednesday open rehearsal. The program was:

Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 88 in G

Mark-Anthony Turnage: From the Wreckage, Concerto for trumpet and orchestra

Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra

This was a terrific concert for many reasons, the first of which is probably that it’s the first one in nearly two months. This is the first time I’ve gotten to see Lehninger conduct. He’s the young one from Brazil, picked by Levine, who stepped in at the last minute to take over for him after Levine’s disastrous (and final) rehearsal last season. He’s got great command of the orchestra, is fun to watch and has great hair.

The Haydn piece was fun and safe. One of his “Paris” symphonies, it’s quite dynamic and pleasant to listen to.

The blue hairs are really going to hate the Turnage piece. It’s loud and heavily jazz inspired. I quite liked it, and I think it would grow on me more over time. Even though it’s a single piece, it’s divided roughly into thirds with the soloist playing flugelhorn then trumpet then piccolo trumpet. I liked the second part particularly. One of the most compelling features of the piece is that four percussionists are situated throughout the orchestra (rather than just in the battery) which produced a really awesome stereo effect during the piece. Excellent.

Everyone is familiar with the opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really listened to the thing the whole way through. There’s a lot there, going from pleasant to haunting with lots of interplay between the different orchestra sections.

It’s also the first time I’ve heard the organ at Symphony Hall, something I’ve been hoping for for quite some time. Magnificent.