Monthly Archives: December 2015

Can’t go home again – USA vs. Argentina in Men’s Volleyball


USA defeats Argentina to win the FIVB Men’s 2015 World Cup. Click for a shot chart

I followed volleyball very closely up until the early 2000s when wholesale rules changes changed the sport too much for my tastes. I still keep in touch with fans and coaches I met during several years where I watched a lot of men’s and women’s collegiate matches and the occasional international match, posting notes to of Usenet news. I learned how to take shot charts and do rudimentary statistics while in graduate school and enjoyed doing that at the events I attended in the mid to late 1990s. I looked up some recent international men’s matches at the suggestion of one of my ‘volleygoombas’ and took a shot chart for the first time in fifteen years using Youtube video. I put down some thoughts on USA’s win over Argentina for the 2015 World Cup which qualifies the men for the 2016 Olympics.

Click here to read more and for the Youtube video of the match

Ingrate Expectations – Why I like, but don’t love, Python


Knight vs. Legendary Beast of Arrrrrgh. A metaphor. Gwendal Uguen/Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Update: 31 May 2023.  I learned Python in 2014   thanks to a patient colleague and a lot of online resources. I offer some thoughts on some of its good and bad aspects. Also available on Github and NBViewer. and have regretted it ever since.

Autonomous Collective: KCO’s Ives and Brahms in Santa Monica

Image courtesy Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra

Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra’s Brahms Fourth in Santa Monica’s First Presbyterian Church showed off the group’s journey with democratic approaches to a hierarchical performance practice. There’s no need to reanalyze this staple of the repertoire – its overall arc of tragedy still contains some wonderful melody and gives each section ample opprtunity to shine. Excellent winds and horns set and held the stage with the ensemble growing tighter and more confident with phrasing as the piece developed. This specific mix of the orchestra’s large roster got accustomed to the space and one another in short order. Conductorless playing has to be difficult and must be doubly so when the music calls for soft and shimmering strings. The Brahms starts off this way and the Ives Unanswered Question is a few ethereal minutes of nothing but. Kaleidoscope upped the ante with strings in the sanctuary lobby, woodwinds in a balcony, and the horns offstage behind the altar. Execution fell just short of ambition but acknowledge the effort to add this to the degree of difficulty. The real Unanswered Question was, as is often the case, “Where’s the audience?” The Friday night turnout was reminiscent of Los Angeles theatre with performers outnumbering audience and that’s a shame. One hopes the Sunday matinee in Glendale fared better.
This group looks quite capable of handling Ives, broadly speaking. It would be great to hear those gonzo horns and winds in the rollicking finale of the Second Symphony with its invocations of Reveille, Columbia Gem of the Ocean, and the Camptown Races. Oh doo-dah-day.

Next up: Weinberg, Mozart, and Schoenberg on 23 January (LA Theatre Center) and 24 January (Santa Monica, First Presbyterian Church)