Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year Eve Fun

Act One - Lego Holidays:
A. always brought over lego sets for the holidays. We use it as an opportunity to build something together. Over the years the sets have gotten much more elaborate. This year we dabbled in architecture (see Guggenheim picture) and even a functional lighthouse (with light and strobe action). This is not the lego that only included rectangular blocks. As seen in the museum, lego came up with round discs and round corners. Most of the texture details were created from stacking individual lego blocks. If you are used to colorful lego blocks, you'd be surprised to find that this sculpture only used three colors, black, white, and tan. Who knew Lego minimalist works so well? Wright would have approved. As an aside, other Wright creations have also been interpreted by Lego artists.

For the lighthouse tower, we had used many quarter circle pieces and 'elbows', or curved pieces that reminded me of mac n cheese. The lighthouse also had two highly stylized seagulls, one of which had a fish in its beak. The other fish was on top of the grill. They designed the lighthouse with a mobile wall so that the final product also gets to be on display, with the inside and all.

Intermission - Guess Who digital edition
If you haven't played this game before, basically it is a game of being observant, descriptive, and using process of elimination. Each side picks a character and the other side has to guess based on a series of 'yes' or 'no' questions. The old edition had only one set of characters. The new one included various expansion packs, such as 'monsters', 'household appliances', and 'animals'. I thought some of the expansions were quite funny with their designs. This game gets you thinking about what common items are shared by the characters, sometimes hats, glasses, clothes are obvious choices. Other times it is about big eyebrows, inside or outside the house, or showing toothy smiles.

Act Two - Holiday concert:
Last year, after much fuss was made over instruments, we decided to coordinate a small concert this year with all the family members. Unfortunately due to some miscommunication about different arrangements of Wizard of Oz, we ended up pulling together a program featuring different combinations of players. Who knew all my all state competitions would come so handy. Good thing I was always an excellent sight-reader! This exercise made me realize how difficult it must have been for composers before the digital age to transcribe things and write different parts for different instruments. Also made me wish I had more scales memorized so I can transcribe on the fly upon hearing the tune. There is always room for improvement. One thing stood out to me, it was fun to play pop hits with other people, even if we had varying degree of music knowledge. Parents should note, it is good to encourage kids to participate in group play instead of trying to make them play some impossibly difficult classical piece. Group play encouraged me to listen and try to go along with my partner. It also inspired me to practice more.

Program (in no particular order)
Memories featuring M. on piano, L. on trumpet and me on flute. Broadway classics are awesome.
Various solos including Beatles featuring J. on Alto sax
Moon River featuring me and L. The same book also had classics such as My Favorite Things and Fly Me to the Moon.
Fur Elise featuring A. on piano and me on flute. I've never played it on flute or piano but it worked out quite well.

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