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December 5th, 2016

09:35 pm: Bruckner's Ave Maria
Anton Brucker wrote the second of his three settings of the Ave Maria for an unaccompanied seven-part choir. As is typical of Bruckner's motet writing, the piece manages to combine long, chant-like lines with a strongly Romantic sensibility, giving it a timeless quality.

The performers here are the Norwegian choir Schola Cantorum.

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06:25 pm: Dunnet revisited
A throwaway remark about King's Quest led to a general conversation about text adventures and, eventually, the amusing sight of a Millennial struggling to get to grips with the impossibly basic interface of Dunnet.

The take and drop commands took a while to figure out, as did navigation — largely because Dunnet does not repeat descriptions of locations unless you deliberately look around. Attempting to use one object with another also resulted in a certain amount of confusion, when the message "You must supply an indirect object." was initially assumed to be a Lisp error.

Eventually they got as far as reading the paper but gave up when asked to ftp to a remote location. Entering the die command, they discovered they'd got 0 points out of a possible 90...

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December 4th, 2016

08:45 pm: Howells' Sing Lullaby
In keeping with the current mini-theme of unaccompanied choral pieces, here's Herbert Howells' exquisit Sing Lullaby from his set of Three Carol Anthems.

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03:25 pm: Exeter Santa Run
Down to the river mid-morning for the second of this weekend's runs. Unlike yesterday's parkrun, today's was a gentle 1.5 mile jog up to Miller's Crossing and back for a charity santa run. Getting there with time to spare, I stopped off at D&P's place to suit up. When I arrived, I discovered that someone was already dressed up and looking forward to his run:

A mighty funny looking reindeer...Collapse )

I pulled on my fancy dress while the others got ready. D tried to put some Christmas socks on little Dasher but she was not best pleased and pulled them off again just as quickly as they were put on her. Finally, all prepared, we went round the corner to the start where our santa suits suddenly went from fancy dress to total blend-in anonymity.

We started somewhere at the back and allowed H, our non-runner, to set the pace. All was going well until we reached Exe bridges, where the spaniels put on a sudden burst of speed — Dash, for all that's only 12 weeks old, is pretty quick and she ran a good part of the distance without needing to be carried. Our average pace was 7:37 a kilometre and we finished in 19 minutes and change, with a couple of slowdowns and a couple of surges when the dogs decided to step on the gas.

After the fun we picked up some rather classy medals and went back to the house for some lunch which definitely wasn't anything to do with my forthcoming birthday — as ever, all celebrations of my natal day are strictly off-limits but I find that I'm OK with having a not-birthday instead.

Dasher has a snooze...Collapse )

My afternoon was spent lazing around at home and catching up on things I'd put off during the week. I'd half-intended to go climbing, but the thought of going out in the cold put my off and I decided to treat today as a semi-rest and go tomorrow instead.

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December 3rd, 2016

09:17 pm: Biegga luohte
Here's the original piece by Jan Sandström which so intrigued me when I heard it on R3 on Thursday. Biegga luohte is based on a traditional Sami joik arranged by Sandström for eight-part mixed choir, solo tenor, and drum. This version, from the absurdly good St Jacobs Ungdomskör, features a particular clever vocal effect: the soloist turns around to give the impression of an off-stage voice.

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11:50 am: Forty-sixth parkrun
Having had a really good mid-week training run, I wasn't entirely surprised to pull finish in 20:05 this morning. If anything, I'm slightly annoyed at myself for not pushing a little harder and getting under 20 minutes — I definitely felt like I had more left in the tank at the finish gate.

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December 2nd, 2016

09:06 pm: Bethlehem down
Peter Warlock's carol Bethlehem Down is a beautiful, thoughtful piece of religious music. It also has a great backstory: in 1927 Warlock and Bruce Blunt were both too broke to go out and get drunk at Christmas so they decided to write a carol for a competition in the Telegraph, which they promptly won.

The performers here are Siglo de Oro.

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December 1st, 2016

09:23 pm: Det är en ros utsprungen
Having heard a piece by Jan Sandström on the radio earlier, I went looking for more of his work, only to stumble across this lovely performance of Det är en ros utsprungen. The performers here are Siglo de Oro:

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November 30th, 2016

09:18 pm: Change please!
It transpires the new fivers contain beef tallow. Time to start asking for change in coins instead?

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November 29th, 2016

08:11 pm: Gailey's Evil in Authority
From Sarah Gailey's excellent and insightful essay on Dolores Umbridge over on Tor.com:

We trust, often, that those in positions of power will use their power more for good than for evil. We trust in our systems: that those who do use power for evil will be removed, punished, pushed out by a common desire for good.

But then, we forget, don’t we? We forget that not everyone agrees on the definition of "good." We might think of "good" as "everyone equal, everyone friends" while others think of "good" as "those people gone."

The whole thing is well worth reading...

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