Andy’s Birthday at the Huntington

For Andy’s birthday, we all went out to the Huntington. First, the trip took us through the cactus garden, then desert ponds and down the Australian trails, leading us to the entrance to the Japanese section. The new area was open, and much more landscaping had been finished since the …

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Second Lesson Pieces

In my second lesson with Lui Laoshi on April 29, 2012, he gave me two more pieces. The first piece is 古琴吟, also known as 相思曲, which is supposed to allow practice of accurate finger sliding positions for the left hand. The ethereal harmonics at the beginning and end of …

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First Guqin Lesson

So on April 22, in my first lesson, Lui Laoshi had me start out with 仙翁操. The song describes XianWeng, or The Transcendent Venerable One, which points to the Song dynasty hermit, Chen Tuan. The main technical points, according to my teacher, is that it allows the student to learn …

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Guqin Lessons

After constructing three instruments, I finally started taking formal guqin lessons—from Lui PuiYuen (吕培源). This all came about in an interesting way. More than ten years ago, I found the 與古齋琴譜 (Abiding with Antiquity Guqin Manual, 1855, tr. Binkley) on the internet while looking for construction details. After making my …

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Jonathan and Tina’s Wedding

It was around 2:30 this afternoon when we walked into the beautiful Vibiana, located at the center of downtown Los Angeles. After the Northridge earthquake and subsequent restoration, The Cathedral of St. Vibiana became simply The Vibiana. Extended family came first, to get group pictures taken with the bride and …

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Marinated Baby Artichoke Hearts

The three artichoke plants produced a lot of baby ones this year. The artichokes were picked today. After lunch, I trimmed, steamed, and marinated them with garlic, black  pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and thyme. They should make good addition to salads.

Birthday Surprise

It turned out not to be the Aprilia Primero Fullery model that everyone was expecting, as judged by all the Facebook comments. * * * * * “Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you…” I hear singing coming from the outside as I open the garage door. Why are …

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Samantha and Adam’s Wedding

Samantha got married to Adam this afternoon in the beautiful setting of Edward-Dean Museum and Gardens. Low clouds diffused the sunlight, and the whole place was gently lit. The actual ceremony was short and sweet. Afterwards, there were appetizers, an elegant buffet dinner, and dancing. It was nice to see …

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Japanese Garden’s Centennial Toast

Today, the Huntington Library held its exclusive preliminary viewing commemorating the Japanese Garden’s centennial year. The curator said that they don’t know the exact date of the anniversary, but it might as well be today. On the upper level of the garden, a new tea house and water feature adds …

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Grilled Artichokes

This afternoon, I prepared and grilled some artichokes. Every since my first time having some grilled artichokes at the Rutherford Grill in Napa Valley, it’s been a favorite. Here’s the version with lemon thyme marinade. Cut artichokes in half, trim, and de-choke. Dip the artichoke halves in lemon juice mixed …

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White Rock and Black Canyons

This trip was cancelled. It had been planned for several months, but because the government decided on a last minute paving job on the access road to the Hoover Dam launch site, they refunded all permits. I wrote everyone to give them other options, and Desert Adventures was graceful enough …

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Red Rock Canyon

This past week, I was at Red Rock Canyon. The main reason for visiting was to attend the American Association for Hand Surgery, which was held at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa. The meeting started on Wednesday, and I went as an invited faculty member. Thursday afternoon was …

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Gazebo Framing

Since starting the framing process in late December, the gazebo is finally taking shape. The fanning rafters were a little tricky to design and calculate, but everything is coming along well.