Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best musical performance I saw in 2007, Celtic division

The lovely, talented and always energetic Natalie MacMaster, from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. March 2007 at Burlington's Flynn Theater. Seven months pregnant and still step dancing! Cape Breton is home to some wonderful musicians, as well as a number of distant relatives.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Best ambiance at a concert, 2007

Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra at the Concert meadow of the Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe. July, 2007. 
Mozart, mountains and cows. The concert was on the day that the new Harry Potter came out, and there were 20 or so kids in the audience with their noses buried in the book. Perfect weather, sunset over the hills, and surprise fireworks following the show. During intermission, we paid our respects at Maria Von Trapp's grave, located in the garden between the meadow and lodge. In winter, the concert meadow is the center of the cross-ountry ski trails (link at right).

Most pathetic performance by an audience, 2007

Awarded to the audience at the December 1 concert (see below), which politely clapped for the unbelievably good Vanessa Perez/VSO performance of Bartok, and then gave a standing ovation to a completely lackluster performance of Tchaikowsky's 4th symphony.

The four of us who stood up for Ms Perez were appalled, and the orchestra looked embarassed at the reaction to the Tchaikowsky. Philistines.

(Second thought, more charitable). Misplaced enthusiasm is better than no enthusiasm at all.

Best Performance I saw in 2007, Classical Division

Vanessa Perez, Bartok's 3rd piano concerto. With Vermont Symphony Orchestra at Flynn Theater, Burlington, December 1 2007.Our music director, Jamie Laredo, is from Bolivia and has been bringing in some unbelievable soloists from South America. I haven't especially enjoyed Bartok in the past, but Vanessa Perez laid it out clearly and eloquently, like an inspirational teacher. Plus she's really cute. And geeky. Have I mentioned that I love geeky?

Best performance I saw in 2007, Blues Division

Marcia Ball at the Higher Ground Ballroom (South Burlington) September 8, 2007. Check out her solo starting at about 3:30.

If you ever get a chance, get yourself to one of her shows. Incredibly talented and a ton of fun. She's done wonderful work for Katrina relief, and bragged about her new grandbaby at the show we attended. What's not to love?

Monday, December 17, 2007

A pause in the snowstorm

Yesterday, the snowfall paused for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Started up again around dinnertime, and we've had another 10-12 inches since then.

Strangely, no one was swimming at the neighborhood beach

Air temp is 12°F, but the lake is a balmy 37.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Yes, the pirate ship tour is a tourist trap. But it adds to the ambiance. Cayman Pirate Week happens every November.

Snark at Rum Point (click to enlarge)

Closest I came to reading a blog all week. Didn't turn on the TV at all. And the only local issue I was aware of was the great mealybug problem.

Dr Mrs Gromit swims by

During the trip, I was bitten by a parrot and a fish (but not a parrot fish), and was pinched by a crab. My better half suffered a sunburned right butt cheek while snorkeling. All injuries were treated with pina coladas.

I'd like this for a bumper sticker


My camera hates me

My camera takes good shots of everyone except me. I'm pale, but not this pale. And I'm thin. And tall...very tall.

Monday, December 10, 2007

We're back!

We just returned from a week in the Cayman Islands. Dr Mrs Gromit says hi!

Cayman parrot (unfriendly wildlife)

After taking this photo, I held out my finger in the traditional "would you like to perch here?" gesture. The little bastard bit me.

Swimming with stingrays

Funny how I'd never noticed how curvy the horizon is in the tropics.

Sea turtle

Overly friendly wildlife

This was weird. We took a snorkeling trip to "Stringray City" where the rays come to see if you have treats to give them. I kept them at a greater distance than Steve Irwin did, but some people were a little more confident.

Cayman sunset

As soon as we arrived, we dropped our bags and headed out for a walk on Seven Mile Beach.