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When is Superbowl Sunday? I better find out before it’s too late.

Shades of 1988, when I committed the biggest crime of my life. I dared to schedule a student recital on the most SACRED day of the year, Superbowl Sunday! What did I know having been raised on baseball, the Brooklyn Bums and heart-breaker pennants?

In Fresno, Bulldog fever was RAGING when I relocated from the Big Apple!

Championship football games, tailgate parties, hoop mania, and yes, even Girls Softball grabbed all the attention. Music education was relegated to the sidelines. At best I was coach of the bungling, Bad News Bears, a team of kids who never made it to PIANO practice. Soccer tournaments preempted lessons.


Amidst a swirl of sports events, I’d already booked the chapel, and not for my confessional. The pricey rental that I deep-pocketed came with a snazzy 9-foot Yamaha and lavender lighting. For an extra few bucks I got a tech who rolled in the night before to check on the heater, and to set up a long aluminum refreshment table.

He’d warned me that any goodies were to be consumed as far from the sanctuary as possible–maybe, to be safe, in the next room, a.k.a the rec hall. Any detectable crumbs incurred a $50 clean-up fee.

Such sacrilegious morsels were the least of my worries. Superbowl fever and its consequences were looming.

On the Big Day, a designated celebration of musical thanksgiving, a parade of parents entered the religious space wired up with ear phones, and what looked like antennae mounted on mini-TVs. There were VCRs (existent in those days) and fanny packs filled with ear buds. The clip-ins made parents look attentive while they were tuned out. A few moms unplugged them in time to catch junior’s 45-second sheet music tribute to a reptile. (“The Turtle, That’s Me!”)

Dads basically checked out, wandering off beyond sound detectable range, engrossed in field goals and bad penalty calls, but a few dropped back in to hear little Tommy play “That Thing Has No Name,” or sister Sue tap out the “Martian Dance” for a spaced out audience.

How these pupils managed in this chaotic setting was a Ripley’s Believe it or Not miracle-in-the-making.

Curiously, no one stayed to eat the chips and dips I offered in a pleasing post-concert spread. Parents stuffed their kids into car seats and drove off without a polite farewell of gratitude.

Next up were time-delayed Tailgate parties with beer, pizza, and buffalo wings. Beef Jerky added a deleterious dose of indigestion.


In the weeks that followed, a sizable group of my students dropped out. Was it a mystery?

By coincidence, the kids pulled from piano were neighbors on the Bluffs, (a man-made hill overlooking a man-made canyon with scads of hares dropped off by helicopter) It was a far cry from the natural, awesome landscapes of Malibu, or Monterey. In truth, the FAKE bluff was further miniaturized through the window of a passing Amtrak train. At least for beauty alone, Fresno could still boast the The Old Van Ness environs draped in mature pine trees on lavish acreage.

But I wasn’t going to raise consciousness about this, or anything related to my adopted home town.

As a priority, lessons had to be learned from the 1988 debacle.

At the stroke of midnight, 1989, I therefore pledged to be as conscientious about noting any calendar of conflicts affecting dental appointments as pertained to the former bi-annual student piano recitals.


Fast-forward to 2012:

Now that the chapel around the corner is over-charging music teachers, I use the new Valley Music Center for my musical EVENT. It’s dwindled down to ONE because of competing sports and dance activities. For sure, MTAC planned Festivals can fill in the gaps for those motivated.

Oops, I just noticed that I recommended attendance at the Daniil Trifonov concert which falls on a February Sunday.

I better check this date out pronto before I risk a major loss of students!




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Grounded but surviving the media crash! (Videos)

This is a follow-up to my last heart-throbbing media burdened blog, https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/feeling-disconnected-at-the-jewish-new-year/


So it’s part 3, of this technology scripted soap opera. The fire wire card was not the problem as previously entertained, and after all the camcorder plug-ins and outs at Computer Mania in Fresno, my understandably exhausted Sony DCR-TRV 340 met its premature demise in the company of its identical twin.

Latest tentative diagnosis: The fire wire ports in both my camcorders might have burnt out simultaneously?? (Hot connections over time? Bad chip?) Experts at the COW Sony Vegas video editing forum “chipped” in:

One tech savvy forum moderator covered all tracks:

1. The original fire wire chip in the computer has faulted and fried both your cameras’ fire wire chips. (Yes!)
2. A faulty or mishandled fire wire cable has bent the tiny pins in the camera sockets. (A strong possibility)
3. Windows fire wire port has been grabbed by a web cam. (I don’t think so.. I am not getting any web cam transmission)
4. And Murphy’s Law – both your cameras’ fire wire chips went to Heaven together. (an untimely departure, Amen, in any case)

One of my cyber friends, a fine pianist with a tech proficient husband dispatched her mate to the scene. The cast of characters had been growing, with some “extra” support thrown in.

My subject: E mail:  SONY Fire wire, Help!!!

Enter the iMac, the one I SKYPED with.

Friendly assistance from afar:

“Have you tried connecting the camera(s) to your iMac? I think you do editing on PC but the iMac should have a fire wire port and should see the camera(s). That would tell us if it was the PC and not the cable or camera(s).”

Upstairs to my Dell PC, downstairs to iMac, the fire wire cable and power adapter dragged along. Plug in, plug out, slip and fall–my eye glasses fly off, buried somewhere in a heap of wires. The living room looks like a post war pile of rubble. Aiden cat has fled the scene, safely encapsulated in a cabinet somewhere in the house.

The camera device is not seen. My tech supporter tells me to call the nearest Mac store for further assistance. I should bring my cams along for state of the art testing. (Introduce a “modified fire wire cable 1EEE1934 with a bigger 800 size port”) What??

Before long, I’m driving off in my car beside a cache of wires, cams, power adapter, battery charger– off to Fashion Fair Mall Mac outlet to figure out if I can bypass the missing camera “device” on Sony Vegas editing program, and sub in with iMac/iMovie built-in software.

Luke greets me after he’s been tipped off by an Apple store Supervisor that I’m desperately in search of a solution. I’d been cut off by phone three times, finally getting hooked into the boss. He’d booked an emergency appointment for me at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night. A Fresno State Bulldog game cleared the crowds on a normally busy weekend. Catch the Bulldog fever! Rah! Rah!

Now we’re back to start: Luke connects a NEW, adaptable fire wire cable from my cams to the store model iMac without detecting any camera device. (So what else is new?)

USB works for web cam transmission but won’t do the editing job. I’m starting to jive with the lingo, but what to do next?

Luke shows me the way.

“Record and edit your music straight from the iMac” with that little green eye ministering to the whole process.

Is this my iMac Savior in waiting? I’ll be anxiously clicking the iMovie icon to find out.

I jot down every last WORD from the wise young man and head home with high hopes of absolution. I really feel bad about how I handled the Sony camcorders with the hot wire plug-ins. I did them wrong, destroying their very essence, and my last-ditch efforts to save them, were in vain.

I tell myself to put the whole ordeal behind me before I lose my sanity. I’ll forge a new connection, exploring an exciting UPDATED universe of media technology without ever looking back.

Re-charged with hope and optimism, I pore over my notes from Luke’s tutorial from the Mac store. He had walked me through every step OF THE WAY in precise detail. Ironically, two emissaries from the Watch Tower had knocked on my door earlier in the day, handing me their religious literature on the Jewish holiday, no less. They must have known where this was heading before it had all played out.

As fate would have it, I gave the iMac direct connection to videotaping a mighty try, that produced the following result:

OMG, this snatch of a Mozart sonata sounded like a canned Skype transmission!–an unjust and abysmal facsimile of my singing nightingale Haddorff piano. The instrument’s auditory imprint was unrecognizable.

I compared to a Sony camcorder rendering of “Fur Elise,” processed through Sony Vegas software on my Dell PC:

I sent my friendly, tech savvy tutor a despairing note with the You Tube link attached. I vowed to purchase a new camcorder at the soonest opportunity.

My frenzied email elicited a sobering response:

“Before buying another camera, consider whether you are happy with the video on your iMac but not the audio? If so, perhaps all you need is a microphone that doesn’t have to cost that much. Think about it. Just my 2 cents.”

He made a good point. In a state of emotional turmoil, I couldn’t think clearly, but as an after thought, did I really want to launch another expedition with unknown quantities? For sure, I would be consumed with type of mic, size, input, output, fidelity, and cost. The possibilities would be infinite. And how would I test the mics without first purchasing them one by one–plugging in each, ruminating over whether this or that particular model did the job. I could see myself traipsing to Sound Stage and Guitar Center for days on end in mad pursuit of capturing my three separate pianos with an assortment of mics. Another rampage set in motion. No thanks!

More frustration into the night. I’m poring over Camcorders at Amazon after having renewed my Consumer Reports subscription. Ratings, reviews, specs, comparisons to other cams. Complex graphs with strong and weak features. Confusing % measurements in CR.

I must extricate myself from this media driven rut and buy a new cam without a memory card, flash drive, and zillions of accessories that will rack my brain for days and weeks.

I’ll take a deep, wholesome breath and tap a user-friendly cam into the CART.. ready to buy!

I’ve chosen the Sony DCR-HC52 MiniDV Handycam Camcorder with 40x Optical Zoom.”

It has the cassettes I know well, but smaller, so I’ll have a familiar “interface” when I re-power up my Sony Vegas video editing program. I’m told that DCR-HC52 is compatible with iMac so who knows, this could turn out to be a marriage made in heaven.

In the meantime,

RIP: DCR-TRV 340’s.