Songs of the Fisherman

This is the longest piece I’ve learned. Consisting of eighteen sections, Songs of the Fisherman 漁歌, like many other guqin pieces, portray the retreat to an existence that is immersed in the natural rhythm of the universe. The earliest printed version dates to 1546, and the associated original preface depicts …

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Christmas Dinner

As in most years, we all took part in making Christmas dinner. On the menu was minestrone soup, baked brie, pappardelle pasta with puttanesca sauce, and seared cod with asparagus.

Star Trails for Christmas Eve

For this Christmas Eve, I thought it would be interesting to post star trails taken from Loma Linda. Surprisingly, there were many more visible stars over lighted San Bernardino. Flight paths from air traffic in and out of nearby airports add some interest. This picture was captured last night from …

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Of the Father’s Love Begotten

One of my favorite Christmas hymns, Of the Father’s Love Begotten is based on the medieval plainsong melody Divinum Mysterium, which first appeared in print in 1582 as part of a song collection known as Piae Cantiones. Coupled with the Latin poem Corde natus by Aurelius Prudentius, it takes on …

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Thanksgiving Lunch

Once again, it’s that time to gather with friends and family, giving thanks for everything. This year, we had friends from Hangzhou—Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital and Zhejiang University Children’s Hospital.

Dialogue of the Fisherman and the Woodcutter

While this melody is quite ancient, even by the time it appeared in print in 1559, Dialogue of the Fisherman and the Woodcutter 漁樵問答 remains a popular tune in today’s guqin repertoire. Two popular motifs are intertwined in this piece. The title clearly underscores Daoist themes—that one gains special knowledge …

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Colorado Fall Color

This year’s Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Councilors’ meeting took place in Denver, and this being peak season, both for fall foliage and for the elk rut, I took time afterwards to do some sightseeing. The original plan was to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. The US government shutdown …

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Flowing Spring of Jade Stream

Sitting on a large boulder by the waterfall, I recorded this ancient piece—Flowing Spring of Jade Stream 碧澗流泉. Like many guqin melodies that express motifs from nature, this one is supposed to evoke the mood of a gentle brook cascading over rocks. Normally accustomed to playing on a guqin table, …

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Autumn Meditations at Dongting

This short melody, dating from 1549, depicts the fall season at Dongting 洞庭湖 in Hunan 湖南 province. This lake basin is fed by four river: the Xiang 湘, Zi 资, Yuan 沅, and Li 澧. The piece is divided into three parts, with the first and last parts in one …

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Part 6, Return to Seattle via Victoria

The next morning, cruise director Dave treats us to a backstage tour behind the Princess Theater. We leave the open ocean and curve back into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Suddenly, Andy discovers that we have cell reception! It’s a straight line of sight to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, and …

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Part 5, Alice’s Birthday at Sea

It’s Alice’s birthday! It will be a day-at-sea celebration. Maître d’ Jean Paul Musiu and executive chef Joel Directo demonstrate curing salmon with sugar, salt, cracked pepper, and fresh dill and making Caesar salad from scratch by whisking together chopped garlic, capers, black pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, pasteurized raw …

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Part 4, In Juneau and Skagway

The crew makes up time, getting us to Juneau only slightly later than scheduled. A shuttle bus drops us off at the tramway station, and we walk the rest of downtown. The old St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church welcomes tourists like us and worshipers alike. Andy and I make a …

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Part 3, First Glimpses of Alaska

Golden morning light bathes the docks and the town of Ketchikan. We decide to do a walking tour of this first stop in Alaska. We’ve escaped—from the contiguous states and the rocky seas. Turning onto Creek Street, the famous historic red light district of old Ketchikan, the stench of dead …

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Part 2, From Seattle to Inside Passage

People, all trying to escape onto the cruise liners, jam pack the Smith Cove terminal. The entire hall swirls with excitement of the upcoming vacations. The process takes a long time, but we finally board the Golden Princess, have a late buffet lunch, and go through emergency drills. Soon, the …

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Part 1, Sightseeing in Seattle

It’s Friday, and we’re off for vacation to celebrate Alice’s birthday! Dad and Mom went up earlier to do some Seattle touring and shopping while the rest of us worked. After a really busy week, we all meet up. It is going to be an escape of sorts—that’s what the …

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Harmony of God and Men

Long ago, before there was Chinese writing as we know it, before we have the seven-stringed guqin, before the great flooding, a celestial being appeared and warned of the imminent danger. This account is attributed to Emperor Yao 堯 (c. 2300 BC), who received the celestial while he was offering …

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Alice’s Early Birthday Party

So, it’s less than two weeks to Alice’s birthday. Today turns out to be the best day for everyone’s schedule. Like back in 2011, we’re celebrating in the courtyard again.

Firmiana Leaves Dance in the Autumn Breeze

No other tree conjures up as much literary imagination as the Chinese Parasol Tree (Firmiana simplex). According to tradition, it is only the Firmiana that the phoenix chooses to alight upon. The autumn season is closely associated with this tree, whose broad leaves turn to gold and drop, supposedly one …

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Mono Basin and Little Lakes Valley

This first day of the trip, we arrive safely at the Mosquito Flat backpackers’ campground. Brad, Grant, and Max had gone up earlier to get the bear canisters and to pick up the permit, which was in my name, and Jeff and Jeong Mi rode in my car, leaving behind …

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Mount Baldy Peak

Rob arranged this hiking trip up Mount Baldy, and four of us from orthopaedics joined in. We left Loma Linda a little after 5:00 am. By 6:20, we were on the trail, ascending up the Baldy Bowl Trail, otherwise known as the Ski Hut Trail. At the Hut, we have …

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Senior Farewell Banquet

This year, Jon Allen, Ben Chen, and Adeel Husain finish residency. Jon and Ben will be starting fellowship in Spine Surgery, at UC Davis and UC San Diego, and Adeel will fellowship in Adult Reconstruction at the University of Pennsylvania. Research award recipients went to Adeel Husain and Kenny Jahng. …

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Landscape through the Zoom Lens

This morning, after my run, I took out my zoom lens and explored the yard. Summer season just started, and a whole new set of foliage and flowers are on display.