Friday, March 29, 2013

Stats Videos

Over the past semester, I have been using online tutorials as a supplement for my Introductory Statistics course. Partly to share my knowledge with the rest of the world, partly to deflect any questions from students by asking "Well, did you watch the video yet?" While there is the possibility that such easy access to statistical concepts may reinforce truancy, absenteeism, and sloth, as well as fostering society's increasingly pathological dependence on technology, I try to be a bit more sanguine, thinking that it will serve as a useful tool for learning and memorization.

One reason behind making these is to make sure that I actually understand the concepts; another reason is to provide a reusable source of statistics material for students who do not fully grasp everything in one class sitting (and who does?); and yet another reason is to show off my wardrobe. (Hint: I rotate about two, maybe three shirts. You can see where my priorities are.)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tonight's Entertainment

For those of you in the Bloomington area, I'll be accompanying for a senior cello recital at the Jacobs School of Music Recital Hall. The program includes, among other pieces, the Strauss Cello Sonata. This piece is rarely recorded or performed, due to some tricky passagework for both instruments and a notoriously difficult piano part (see, for example, the stormy middle section in the following video starting at about 3:10). But, I also happen to be kind of stupid, so I play stuff like this regardless. No fear, baby!

Where: Recital Hall, Jacobs School of Music
When: Saturday, March 23rd, 10:00pm


J. S. Bach: Suite No. 5 for Unaccompanied Cello in C Minor, BMV 1101

Gaspar Cassado: Suite for Solo Cello

Richard Strauss: Sonata for Cello and Piano in F Major, Op. 6

     I. Allegro con brio
     II. Andante ma non troppo
     III. Allegro vivo

Monday, March 18, 2013

Video Games Can Increase Cognitive Ability, Make You Dangerous

As an adult, when I look back on my childhood and consider the ungodly number of hours I put into video games - Command & Conquer, Counter-Strike, Diablo II, Starcraft, Halo, Legend of Zelda, Tetris, Space Quest, Myst, Civilization, just to name a few - I shake my head in disbelief at how much time I frittered away. If I had spent half that amount of time in the gym, for example, I would have been one buff mamma jamma. Instead, all I have to show for it are several deeply ingrained but practically useless motor reflexes - such as the ability to buy an AWP and two flashbang grenades along with kevlar (but no helmet) in record time - and perfect recall of lines of dialogue from Metal Gear Solid and the finer plot points in Final Fantasy VII. In addition, I also developed a thick skin in response to the flood of insults, invectives, put-downs, and unending verbal abuse from other online players with names like AznMaGiC and Legali$e_iT. At the time, all of this seemed incredibly important; now, not so much.

However, a recent study suggests that this may not have all been an entire waste; and that video games relevant to specific cognitive processes, such as attention, spatial working memory, and decision-making, can actually improve these functions and show crossover to different cognitive domains.

A research group from Singapore recruited a sample of non-gamers - people I once would have looked down upon with contempt - and had them play a variety of different games, such as Bejeweled, Hidden Expedition, and The Sims (remember that?). The participants were tested on a battery of tasks tapping into abilities such as working memory and filtering out distracting stimuli. After completing these measures, subjects were randomly assigned to play one of five games (for a total of five groups), and to play that game for an hour a day over the course of four weeks. The subjects were then retested on the same tasks as before.

Participants improved markedly on those tasks most related to the game that they played - for example, those who spent time playing a memory matrix game showed significant improvement in the working-memory task. However, there was some cross-over between tasks as well, such as action-game playing associated with both improved filtering of task-irrelevant stimuli and increased ability to track multiple objects. Overall, the findings corroborated other studies focused on habitual gamers who primarily played first-person shooters, but showed that these improvements could be extended to non-gamers and to non-violent games. Taken together, this suggests that daily video game practice can both improve your cognitive abilities, and also make you a more efficient hunter of the most dangerous prey of all - man.

So, should we all start shelling out more money for video games and less money for books, poetry, and exercise equipment, such as whiffle balls? Not quite. First, there was no mention of how long the effects lasted - whether it was just for the post-test, or whether the effects could last for weeks or months. Second, although there was a considerable interval between the pre-test and post-test (one month), since this was a repeated-measures design, there is the possibility that there may have been some carryover effect; i.e., some effect of practice from the pre-test. Although there were significant differences between groups, it is unclear how this was affected by the testing before the training period. Lastly, there was no mention about playing an hour of video games a day affected other aspects of life, such as proportionally less time devoted to exercising, social interaction, and your girlfriend getting pissed off that you forgot to pick her up for your two-year anniversary date because you got so caught up in one of those three-hour Metal Gear Solid cutscenes that time seemed to stand still. Chicks, they'll never understand. (Guys, amiright?).

The paper can be found here. And, in case you were wondering, deals for the latest Starcraft II expansion can be found here.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Birthday Post

A strange thing happened to me in my dream. I was transported to the Seventh Heaven. There sat all the gods assembled. As a special dispensation I was granted the favor to have one wish. "Do you wish for youth," said Mercury, "or for beauty, or power, or a long life; or do you wish for the most beautiful woman, or any other of the many fine things we have in our treasure trove? Choose, but only one thing!" For a moment I was at a loss. Then I addressed the gods thusly: "Most honorable contemporaries, I choose one thing — that I may always have laughter on my side." Not one god made answer, but all began to laugh. From this I concluded that my wish had been granted and thought that the gods knew how to express themselves with good taste; for it would surely have been inappropriate to answer gravely: Your wish has been granted.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Solid Plan: Study on Ethics Is Badly, Even Laughably, Plagiarized

RetractionWatch, a website dedicated to covering journal retractions, plagiarism, and all other types of skullduggery and chicanery, recently published a plagiarism incident involving a study about morality. Ironic? Undoubtedly. But the reason we can all enjoy a good chuckle over it is because it was abysmally executed, resembling a botched carryover job eerily reminiscent of the Chinese-English translation of Revenge of the Sith. Observe, for instance, the opening sentence of both papers:

The original Nosek et al abstract:
Moral dilemmas pitting concerns about actions against concerns about consequences have been used by philosophers and psychologists to gauge “universal” moral intuitions.
Compared against the plagiarized version:
Ethical enigma kernelling concerns about actions against concerns about consequences have been dealt by philosophers and psychologists to measure “universal” moral intuitions.
Note the quotation marks around "universal", suggesting that there are no real universal moral standards, and that we should instead get used to living in a fluffy, wishy-washy moral universe where nothing is really good or bad, just different - which, in my opinion, is merely a way to shut out the voice of conscience, and exonerate people like your roommate who ate the last of the hotpockets in the freezer without even asking. No wonder society is on the decline.

Anyhow, things went downhill from there, with an almost word-for-word lifting in the results section, and the convoluted title: Political Dogma Stroll’s Non-Political Moral Decision-Making Processes – A Quantitative Analysis of Ideological Decision-Making of Liberals and Conservatives in the Western Europe.

I don't know what a "Political Dogma Stroll" is, but dibs on the band name.

Thanks to Jay Van Bavel, who once hit two home runs in slow-pitch softball - going the other way

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Are Scientists Self-Critical Enough?

There is a widespread misconception among the American public that scientists and academics in general are smug, self-satisfied, abrasive, entitled, obnoxious, over-opinionated weenies who, for all of their competence in their field of study, can be surprisingly out of touch with ordinary realities, such as the basics of personal hygiene, how not to be socially awkward, or how to calculate a tip after dining out; and, furthermore, that their hyper-specialized environment fosters a profound ignorance of anything beyond their ken which inevitably leads to an atrophy of the non-specialized mind, the lack of which may be leading us to disaster. (Contrast this with Goethe, one of several intellectuals during the Enlightenment era who had good reason to believe his scientific accomplishments would be better remembered than his literary ones.) Despite these criticisms, I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth; that although academics have their fair share of shortcomings and peccadilloes, on the whole they are the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human beings I have ever known.

However, it is clear that we still need a healthy dose of critical self-evaluation every now and then. A recent opinion piece by Colin Macilwain in Nature highlights how self-criticism is necessary for the healthy operation of any industry, in order to highlight the bad as well as the good. For example, although within the United States federally-funded research has skyrocketed in recent years, there has been little systematic investigation into the effects of this spending; in short, whether Americans are actually getting a return for their dollar. This has parallels with the amount of education spending within the past few decades, which, although mind-bogglingly high, has not led to proportional increases in standardized test scores or improvements in rankings compared to countries who spend less. The argument that it would be worse otherwise is tenuous at best.

So, is a good, hard look at ourselves really what we need? We might take an example from Wordsworth, whose wellsprings of self-criticism appeared to dry up halfway through his career, and so spent the remaining few decades writing verse he never should have started, the vast collection of his later work serving as a sort of monument to decayed genius. A recurrent theme with either individuals or societies faced with an embarrassment of riches and the unceasing flattery of their colleagues is a failure to occasionally step back and objectively evaluate oneself, which eventually leads to complacency, and, finally, decadence.

Some may attribute this lack of self-criticism to the recent homogenization of opinion within academia, which at one point was supposed to be a marketplace of ideas - no matter how eccentric - but where recently opinions on everything from religion to politics have become remarkably predictable, with miniscule variations in opinion, always in degree but never in kind, serving as a kind of ersatz dissent where one can still feel the thrill and righteousness of disagreement with none of the discomfort that comes with having one's worldview fundamentally challenged. Here I must disagree, as since we have committed to making steady progress toward truth throughout our species' history, it is necessary to discard incorrect opinions and theories as they come up, and so we must feel no compunction (ethically speaking, of course), to extirpate, smother, stifle, and suffocate contrary views which would seek to undermine opinions that have been empirically validated and widely held by the majority of intelligent individuals. Mill's views on this were, I am afraid, sorely misguided.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

One Weird Trick to Boost Brain Connectivity

Answer: Take an LSAT course.

At least, that seems to contribute to changes in resting-state functional connectivity between distinct brain regions, according to a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience by Mackey et al (2013). The researchers took two groups of pre-law students and divided them into a training group, which was taking an LSAT prep course, and a control group, which intended to take the LSAT but was not enrolled in the prep course. After matching the subjects on demographics and intelligence metrics, functional connectivity was measured during a resting state scan (which, if you remember from a previous post, is a measure of correlation between timecourses between regions, rather than physical connectivity per se).

Taking the LSAT prep course was associated with increased correlations between the rostro-lateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC; a few centimeters inside your skull if you take your finger and press it against your forehead just to the lateral side of your eye) and regions of parietal cortex (located more to the rear of your skull, slightly forward and lateral of the bump in the back of your head). The RLPFC seems to help integrate abstract relations, such as detecting flaws in your spouse's arguments, while the parietal cortex processes individual relations between items. Overall, when they combine forces, as shown by a concomitant increase in functional connectivity and test scores, your LSAT skills become unstoppable.

The parietal cortices and striatal regions, particularly the caudate and putamen nuclei, showed a stronger coupling as a result of taking the prep course; presumably because of the strong dopaminergic inputs from the basal nuclei and striatum, which emit bursts of pleasure whenever you make a breakthrough in reasoning or learning. This should come as no surprise to classical scholars, as Aristotle once observed that the two greatest peaks of human pleasure are 1) thinking, and 2) hanky-panky. (Or something like that.)

Taken to the extreme, these results suggest efficient ways to manufacture super-lawyers, or at least to strengthen connectivity between disparate regions, and alter resting state dynamics. This touches on the concept of neuroplasticity, which suggests that our brains are adaptive and malleable throuhgout life, as opposed to traditional views that cognitive stability and capacity plateaus sometime in early adulthood, and from there makes a slow decline to the grave. Instead, regularly engaging your thinking muscles and trying new cognitive tasks, such as mathematics, music, and fingerpainting, as well as grappling with some of the finest and most profound philosophical minds humanity has produced - Kant, Kierkegaard, Hegel, Nietzsche, Andy's Brain Blog, et alia - will continue to change and transmogrify your brain in ways unimaginable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

Thanks to Simon Parker. (LSAT professors hate him!)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts On Scientific Communication

Paint the following scene, like a fresco, somewhere in your mind where you can easily see it; on the posterior of your frontal bone, perhaps, or maybe on the underbelly of your cranium, so that when you gaze up at it, it evokes the same feeling of wonder and aesthetic awe as, say, the Sistine Chapel: You return home for Thanksgiving break, and you congregate with your family and the rest of the brood over a homecooked meal. You sit at the end of a long dining table, the plates sending up whorls of steam bearing delicious aromas within their droplets, thick slices of turkey set upon a platter like oversized playing cards, sweet potatoes slathered with pats of butter and drizzled with liquid brown sugar; boats of dark gravy passing around mindlessly, as though conjured into animation by the Sorcerer's Apprentice; green beans and cranberry sauce and French bread crowding out the edges of your plate and threatening to spill over onto the tablecloth; decanters of wine and beer and ales passed around amid the steady hum of general conversation, punctuated with laughs, some sharp and piercing, others deep and booming, and in general all is warm and cheerful and is the very soul of mirth.

Just as you are about to dig in, however, one of your uncles asks you what you have been studying and doing for the past few years at graduate school. You begin to rattle off a series of experiments you have carried out, and for the moment you are in the zone; you are on the same wavelength as your audience, and with them you are connecting, really connecting. You are pleasantly surprised to have captured their attention for even this long, and others nearby have dropped their conversations to listen in. Truly, you are fulfilling your duty as a researcher and as a good citizen by shining the light of science upon your benighted brethren.

However, while you continue to spew your academic argot and list all of the good deeds you have carried out as a severely overworked but cheerful drudge, it slowly dawns upon you that nobody really understands what you are saying. The looks on their faces are friendly, but slightly bepuzzled; they have a faint idea that you are talking about something important, but they haven't quite grasped it yet. Your audience includes an anesthesiologist, a veterinarian, two accountants, a minister, a police officer, a civil engineer, a public relations specialist for the Washington Wizards, a smattering of children strung out across all grades of middle and high school, and a cousin who is a bassist for a grunge band called Dark Triad; a diverse group no doubt, but by no means an uneducated one.

And so it is with deepening anxiety that you continue to talk, and talk, and talk. You begin to ease back on the technical language, but you realize that you cannot explain what you do without using technical language, and, to be honest, you have never really tried. As the faces of your listeners begin to project varying shades of bemusement and boredom and as the furrows of concentration and confusion deepen within their brows, you abruptly terminate your speech. After what seems like an eternity, someone finally pipes up: "Wow, that sounds really interesting." And the obligatory phrase from Grandma: "Well, I think that's very nice." But you can tell that they don't understand, not really; and now you have doubts about how much you understand it yourself. It doesn't help that, during your little spiel, the food got cold. Not that cold, but just enough to piss off everyone.

Most academics, I think, has had an experience similar to this; and while there are those who continually harp on the virtues and benefits of communication with the lay person outside of academia, very few provide any coherent rules or advice about how to do it. It's difficult enough to explain to others outside of your field what you do, whether they are in academia or not - heck, it's difficult enough to discuss it with people outside of your own lab.

But why should you have to change? Why can't words like cognitive control and dynamic causal modeling and pruritis ani become common currency, so that any regular Joe on the street can immediately understand what you do (and what you suffer from)? Clearly, our public education system has failed us.

However, the more you think about it, the more you realize that isn't necessarily the case. Whenever you get an email alert about a journal's latest table of contents, your eyes are immediately drawn to your specialty, skimming over all the other ones you either don't know enough about, or simply don't care. This, within a journal tailored to a relatively specialized field. Your friend doing single-cell recordings a few doors down could publish a high-impact paper in this very journal, and you wouldn't have a clue. Possibly it has something to do with the culture and system of rewards within any specialty, and particularly within academia.

I bring all of this up because of a few conversations I've been having lately with one of my labmates. Usually after we're done gossiping about everyone else in the department behind their backs, and complaining about the quality of undergraduate papers we have to grade, the conversation turns to something more profound, such as how to make our research more integrative across disciplines. Far too often one feels stuck within a scientific cul-de-sac: Sure, your research matters among those people whom you interact with and read on a daily basis, but it is an infinitesimally small slice of the general community.

As luck would have it, I recently came across an article in an educational journal discussing this very topic. The issue, in the author's opinion, stems primarily from the writing style that dominates the majority of journal and scientific communication, which rewards a stilted style, abstruse vocabularies, and hinders the understanding of any reader outside of that specialty (Harley, 1983). Although written nearly three decades ago, its point is valid in any time:
The language that people most often use in psychology and sociology...must have something to do with the frequent failure of studies in these fields to earn much credibility with colleagues in other fields or with the general public. It is a language that confines itself almost exclusively to abstract nouns, impersonal or passive constructions, and statements so heavily qualified that they cannot seriously be called assertions (p. 245).
Although there are certain writing standards for a reason, I believe that it is easy for them to be carried to far to the extreme. For example, whenever a manuscript is targeted toward a certain journal, the aim and vocabulary of the study tends to change as well, in order to have the best possible odds for publication in that journal. This is all in the self-interest of the submitter, and therefore the rational thing to do. But it has the potential to obscure the original aims of the study, and to render it less comprehensible to a wider audience, since reviewers must be placated, and this typically means casting the paper in a highly specialized mould. Thus some degree of clarity and comprehensibility is lost, to the benefit of the researcher, perhaps, but to the detriment of the wider scientific community and the lay reader. (I have seen some halfhearted attempts at more highflown rhetoric - e.g., "Here we review the latest dispatches from the forefront of this field, and map out some of the territories where lie monsters" - but they are more cheesy than inspiring.)

A related issue - probably the focus of another blog entry - is the quality of scientific talks, which, addition to scientific writing, forms the other arm of scientific communication. Most public speaking isn't all that great to begin with; but when the topic is something specialized and rather dry, to the non-specialist it can be Chinese water torture. I have observed that subpar talks are rarely critiqued on the basis of anything other than the content, which is a mistake. The nuts and bolts of presentation style - speaking clearly, maintaining eye contact, varying the vocabulary and vocal tone, responding to the nonverbal cues of the audience, among other things - should take precedence over the content. Without the solid foundation of presentation style for your talk, the content is like porridge that is poured, not into a bowl, but onto the floor, where dogs will lap it up. Does it make the dogs happy? Undoubtedly. But everyone else will be nonplussed.*

None of this is to say that the content of scientific communication should be unnecessarily dumbed down, or bowlderized (if you're that kind of researcher). But the next time you want to talk about your research, think hard about your audience. Who knows? It might make you a hit at next year's Thanksgiving dinner. Or not.

*I am a professional blogger. Do not try metaphors like this on your own.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Surface Rendering in SPM

Because everybody loves a good surface rendering, SPM has a built-in, quick-and-dirty tool for splashing those results on your brain surface like splashing pool water at your friends while on your spring break trip to Cancun. (Swing and a miss - but hey, at least I went for it.) I think this technique is a little dated, and personally I think Freesurfer and SUMA do a much better job; but if you just want a quick figure, and if you want to at least earn the bare minimum of respect from your fellow researchers - classified as one step above slime and two steps below the macaque monkey - then this will help you earn that respect. I know what you're thinking: What about telling your fellow researchers that you dress yourself in the morning? Surprisingly, that doesn't work nearly as well.

More details on the strengths, limitations, and spraypaint-like features of surface rendering can be found in the following video.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Head Motion and Functional Connectivity

Yesterday as I was listening to a talk about diffusion tensor imaging, a professor asked about the influences of head motion on DTI data, and whether it could lead to spurious effects. Another professor vigorously denied it, stating that it was much more of a problem for bread and butter FMRI analyses, and in particular resting state functional connectivity analyses. At one point he became so animated that his monocle fell off, his collar stud came undone, and eventually he had to be physically restrained by the people sitting next to him. It was then that I knew that I should pay heed, for it is unlikely that a scientist becomes highly excited and talkative over matters that are trivial; in short, I could sense that he was talking about something important.

I have done few functional connectivity analyses in my brief life, but what I understand about them is this: You take the timecourse of one voxel - or the average timecourse over a group of voxels, also known as a "seed" - and then compare that timecourse with the timecourse of every other voxel in the brain. (When I speak of timecourses, I mean the sampled signal over time.) If it is a good fit - in other words, if there is a significantly high correlation between the timecourses - then we say that the two regions are functionally connected. This is a bit of a misnomer, as we cannot make any direct inferences about any "real" connectivity from two correlated timecourses; but it can serve as a good starting point for more sophisticated analyses, such as psychophysiological interactions (PPI; also known as context-dependent correlations) which measure changes in functional connectivity as a function of task context. For example: Does the timecourse correlation between cognitive control regions and reward-related areas change depending on whether the subject is instructed to upregulate or downregulate their gut reactions to rewarding stimuli?

One of the most popular variations of functional connectivity is something called resting state functional connectivity (rsFC), where a subject is simply instructed to relax and listen to Barry Manilow* while undergoing scanning. Functional connectivity maps are then calculated, and usually a comparison is made between a control group and an experimental or patient group, such as schizophrenics. For us FMRI researchers, this is about as close as we can get to simulating a person's natural environment where they would be relaxing and thinking about nothing in particular; except that they're in an extremely tight-fitting, noisy tube, and unable to move in any direction more than a few millimeters. Other than that, though, it's pretty normal.

These types of experiments have become all the rage in recent years, with several studies claiming to have found meaningful resting-state differences between healthy controls and several different patients populations such as schizophrenics, depressives, Nickelback fans, and drug addicts. However, a few publications have called into question some of these results, stating that many of these differences could be due to head motion. As we've talked about before, head motion can be a particularly insidious confound in any experiment, but it is especially troublesome for functional connectivity analyses. This can arise due to systematic differences between control and patient populations that are possibly confounded with motion. Take, for example, an experiment contrasting young versus older populations. Older populations are known to move more, and any observed differences in functional connectivity may be due solely to this increased motion, not underlying neural hemodynamics.

A study by Van Dijk, Sabuncu, & Bruckner (2012) looked at this in detail by scanning over a thousand (!) subjects, and binning them into ten groups based on increasing amounts of motion (e.g., group 1 had the least amount of motion, while group 10 had the most motion). The authors found decreased functional connectivity in the "default network" of the brain - usually referring to the functional connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex and retrosplenial cingulate cortex -, decreased connectivity in the frontal-parietal network, and slightly increased local connectivity among clustered voxels, simply based on motion alone. (Keep in mind that each bin of subjects were matched as closely as possible on all other demographic measures.) Furthermore, even when comparing bins of subjects closely matched for motion (e.g., bins 5 and 6), small but significant differences in functional connectivity were seen.

Figure 3 from Van Dijk et al (2012). Functional connectivity among different networks measured as a function of head motion. Both linear and nonlinear (quadratic) terms were modeled to fit the data.

Figure 4 from Van Dijk et al (2012). Note the comparison on the far right between groups 5 and 6; the mean motion difference between these two groups is a few thousandths of a millimeter, but noticeable functional connectivity differences are still seen between the two groups.

Lastly, a subset of subjects were rescanned in order to see whether motion was reliable; in other words, if a subject that moved a large amount on one day had the same tendency to move a large amount on the next day. A clear correlation was found between scanning subjects, suggesting that motion might need to be treated as a trait or individual difference, just like any other.

Figure 5 from Van Dijk et al (2012). There is a robust correlation between the movement of scanning sessions, even with the outliers removed (marked in diamonds).

So, what to do? A few recommendations are to match subjects for motion, correct motion prospectively (Ward et al, 2000), and regress out motion when performing a group-level analysis, as you would any other covariate. Apparently traditional methods of motion correction on a subject-by-subject basis are not enough, and increasing awareness of the pitfalls of between-subject motion is important for evaluating current functional connectivity analyses, and for conducting your own experiments.

This study hit me in the face like a wet mackerel since I am beginning to investigate a recent AFNI tool, 3dReHo, to do local functional connectivity analyses for publicly available datasets on the ABIDE website. However, as far as I can tell, motion limits were not used as exclusionary criteria, which may be a possible confound when examining, say, autistic children to controls. More to come soon. Or not.

*I Don't Want to Walk Without You

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Learning the Fundamentals of R, Made Fun

For those of you new to R, or just curious, there is a fantastic interactive online resource for learning the fundamentals; and even those who have used R for a while may find it useful for refreshing and revitalizing their knowledge. The interface is slick (I use that word deliberately), offering incentives for completing each stage of a particular R concept or command by tracking your progress and showing how far you have come and how much farther you have to go. Finally, at the end of the day you can earn badges showing that you have successfully mastered, say, matrices and data frames, which roughly translates into getting laid anytime you want.

As some of you may know, I tried do something similar; but after a few abortive attempts at creating tutorial videos, I have decided to leave this to the experts. "Then why didn't you leave singing to the experts, instead of making a giant ass of yourself at karaoke night and picking a song by Four Non-Blondes?" Champions dare to fail.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Recital Pics

Here are a few pictures that were taken from the recital on Monday:

Taking a bow. We spent a few weeks choreographing this.

Starting things off; Mendelssohn, I think.

The rest of these are from the Grieg. Note that there is no page turner, even though my score runs for forty-five pages; by the end of the night my page-turning muscles would be bathed in lactic acid.

I know what you're thinking: What was the greater risk in your life; Playing without a page-turner, or taking a leak in the locker room shower your senior year? Difficult to say, my friends. Difficult to say.