We've been adopted

One week ago, a 4-year old came into our lives: (click the link for more pictures)

Serenity Blue (or Serenity, or 'Renity) is a gray ("blue" for the cat aficionados in the audience) domestic shorthair, with a white belly and socks on her feet. We were at the San Francisco SPCA looking at another cat on her hallway[1], when we heard an insistent "MEOW" from her room. We went over, and she won our hearts in no time flat.

She's a charming addition to our household;[2] in fact, she's one of the most even-tempered and loving cats I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. We're starting to learn how to get her to play, but for a while it was mostly lots of petting and attention. She's only woken us up in the middle of the night once so far. =] I'm looking forward to some fascinating times as we get to know each other.

[1] This place has to be seen to be believed. There are 6 hallways of cats, each with ~6-8 "rooms" off of them, holding 1-3 cats or 1-5 or 6 kittens. The rooms are spacious, and the volunteers are really great.

[2] The real reason we got a cat is that I've had this blog for years, and have been quite remiss in actually doing posts. Now I can join every other blogger in the world by posting cute pictures of my cat. It's very necessary.


More Symphony links

While it's been a little while since my last post, life has gone on apace, we've moved back to the Bay Area, and have lived in San Francisco for almost a year.

So clearly, it's time for a Symphony post. On Saturday, we went to the SF Symphony for a night of modern and interesting performances. The Sibelius Symphony #4 started off the night, and was powerful, moving, and disturbing. It was amazing how well he used every part of the orchestra, and F appreciated the great viola solos.

We then moved on to the premier of the SF Symphony commission, "The B-sides", by the (11-months older than me) composer and DJ, Mason Bates.[1] It's an amazing blend of symphonic and electronica styles, without either of them dominating completely. Michael Tilson Thomas called it a "bridge" piece, and I have to agree with his assessment. The last two movements were the strongest, and luckily the last one was premiered on the YouTube Symphony, so I can share it with you all:

After that was the intermission. For the second half of the program, we heard Prokofiev's Piano Concerto #2, played by Yuja Wang, a Chinese prodigy born in 1987[2]. Frances noted that her hands look like the legs of the Warner Brother's Road Runner; all motion blur. You
can see her doing the second movement (the Scherzo, which is basically all 16th notes) here:

She was completely fabulous, and we all felt like we were in the presence of greatness. When the concerto finished, she got a triple-ovation, which induced her to do an encore. She did her own riff on a Mozart classic:

which blew us all completely away. Just astonishing.

Does anyone read this thing? What's up out there, anyway?

- jonathan

[1] It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished in life.
[2] She's even worse than Mason Bates. =]