05 July 2005

Thomas Stokes

Well, I met with Thomas Stokes today. He's the guy with the Native American flute booth at the Nook and Cranny. We met at Alameda Park. I'm enough of a paranoiac about meeting someone I've only spoken with on the internet that I had a very sharp knife in my pocket, that proved completely unnecessary. Thomas is quite a nice guy.

He gave me some useful tips, and told me some things I was already doing right. I knew how to cover the holes in the flute, for one thing, and I had good vibrato. I do not have very good finger dexterity (yet), or good control over transitions between notes. But the coolest thing was the drone. No, not from the Borg or Lawyer collectives ;-). A drone is a dual-flute. It looks like someone took two flutes and spliced them together, but only one side has any finger holes. The sound is awesome! I want one... Apparently there are also three- and four-chambered flutes, but Thomas doesn't have any. Yet.

We actually talked a lot about non-flute stuff. Turns out that he has done a little taiji (probably Yang long form, not the Cheng Man Ching form that I know), and has gone to some SCA activities. He told me a story that I think I'd heard before, from a friend of the other participant. Seems Thomas does some live-blade sword sparring and he came to Alameda Park once during SCA fighter practice. An SCA-er asked to see his sword, and Thomas obliged. The SCA-er also brought out his own 'real' sword (as opposed to the practice ones generally used in SCA sparring). Well, a cop happened by at the wrong moment, and told Thomas and the SCA-er that they couldn't have live blades in the park, and that they had to leave and not come back. Did I mention that Thomas used to work for the FBI? He wanted to know which city ordinance the cop was using to throw them out, and, by the way, had he called the judge for a restraining order to keep them out of the park. The cop was not amused (probably because Thomas knew the law better than he did). So Thomas and the SCA-er stowed their swords in their cars, drove around the block, and came back to the park from the opposite side. (Pam or Kim probably knows who the SCA-er was, because I know I've heard the story before)

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