Month: April 2014

Haven’t Missed a Beat

Seven years after their “Farewell for Now” tour in 2007, Nickel Creek – the precocious bluegrass child prodigies who’ve grown into some of the best progressive string band musicians of this or any generation – reunited this year for their 25th anniversary tour. You may ask how a band with players in their early-to-mid-30s has a 25th anniversary tour.  Well, mandolin mad man Chris Thile was nine when the band first formed, and neither of the Watkins siblings were teenagers back in 1989. It doesn’t really matter.  I’m just glad they’ve come back together for this tour.  And I was thrilled to see this group of talented musicians – anchored by veteran bass player Mark Schatz – last evening in Charlottesville. I was at the downtown mall pavilion for the 2007 farewell tour…and I was at the same place for the reunion last evening.  If you don’t believe me, I have the t-shirts to prove it! In addition to the reunion tour, Thile, fiddler Sara Watkins, guitarist Sean Watkins, and Schatz released a new CD …

Beautiful Stockholm

Our trip to Scandinavia last month ended with Andrew joining Candice and me for four days in Stockholm.  While Claire (who had to head back to school) visited the city a couple of years ago, it was the  first time for the three of us. We were not disappointed. Candice had booked us in a small boutique hotel in the heart of the old city, just steps from the Royal Palace and the Cathedral.  That proved to be a perfect launching point for our explorations. We knew we wanted to follow-up on our visit to the design museum in Copenhagen with a visit to the Swedish design museum. After walking over to an adjacent island (see Andrew and Candice on the bridge, with the Cathedral and Royal Palace in the background), we spent the better part of a day at the design museum and adjacent modern art museum, Moderna Museet.     We were all enthralled with Blockholm – The Fantastic City, a project where everyone was invited to rebuild Stockholm using the Minecraft computer game. The Moderna …

Savor Every Precious Moment

I’m going to interrupt my string of posts about our wonderful Scandinavian adventure to insert this short grab bag of recent experiences that have made me laugh, think, or cry (or more accurately in most of these cases: chuckle, pause, or tear up).  Because, in the words of that great philosopher Jimmy Valvano: If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special. So let’s gets started. Since it is Masters week in Augusta, where better to begin than the grave of Bobby Jones in Atlanta’s beautiful and historic Oakland Cemetery.  I was in Atlanta last weekend for work, and we toured the cemetery…along with many other historic sites in the city. I’m sure the number of golf balls at the foot of Jones’ grave are much higher this week, as some Masters fans make the pilgrimage to Oakland every year.  But that interesting funerary art isn’t want caught my eye.  No, I soon …

Planes, Trains…but no Automobiles

Unlike their American counterparts, European cities are known for their many transportation options. Copenhagen and Stockholm fit this pattern, and we tested it all during our recent trip to Scandinavian. With our family’s interest in preservation and urban planning, we headed into these cities with exploration in mind.  Andrew, after just six weeks in the country, knew Copenhagen like the back of his hand. So we had an expert guide for our first week. What did we find? First, Copenhagen knows how to make bicycles part of a real transportation network.  One-third of the city bikes to work, and with dedicated signals and lanes with curbs, they make it very easy for everyone.  The picture at the top of the post is a cycle counter that clocks thousands of daily bike trips across a busy bridge in the center of the city. Copenhagen residents also “dress for the destination, not for the trip” – meaning that they wear regular clothes instead of spandex when jumping on their bikes.  One of the great websites we found …