Wednesday, November 22, 2006

By popular request

I got a comment requesting that I get around to posting a picture of the mercury transit. Here's one from It was taken by Howard Eskildsen of Ocala, FL. The dark area in the top left of the picture is a rather large sunspot that produced several CME's when it was around the limb and almost nothing when it was on the disk. The small spot towards the bottom of the image is Mercury. Man, I need to get a solar filter for my telescope.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Update - Percussion thingy

What is this called?
Evelyn Glennie learning the coolest thing in the world.

Shortly after posting the last entry I found this picture of Evelyn Glennie learning the instrument I wrote about. I still don't know what it's called, but this is what it looks like. Oh man, I really must learn this.

Stoopid cold, Day 5.

On my birthday I came down with a cold. Fortunately I wasn't scheduled to work that day or the next, so I could stay home and recover. But now it's day 5 of the cold and it's still not gone. Sure, I feel mostly better, but it's getting a little old not being able to breathe through my nose. And what a waste it was to have a couple perfectly nice days off and spend them in bed dreaming the feverish dreams of the ill. Grr. But now it is friday and I'm on the mend. Oh happy friday.

I was going a little stir crazy doing mostly nothing while fighting off the cold. I finished the book I was reading, "Pastwatch" by Orson Scott Card. I also finished watching all the netflix discs I had at home, Word Wars, a Deadwood season 2 disc, and "Touch the Sound", a biography of sorts of the deaf master-percussionist Evelyn Glennie. I can't honestly recommend "Touch the Sound" as it was quite slow paced and, at times, a little out there, but as a percussionist myself I enjoyed the footage of the music making. I had the good fortune to see Evelyn Glennie perform live and in person at Stetson Chapel back at good ol' Kalamazoo College in my school days. She really is amazing, but the movie, sadly, is not.

One thing about the movie I did find fascinating is a new percussion "instrument" I don't believe I've seen before. Imagine, if you will, a wooden ball, about the size of a softball, in this case painted red. Now imagine two specially designed wooden "sticks" such that you can balance the ball on the ends of the sticks in carved out shallow cups. The player holds the two sticks, one in each hand, and sort of juggles the ball in the air using various points on the sticks to make contact with the ball, thus creating different clickety-clack sounds. When done in rythm, this creates a percussion beat.

I must acquire this and learn to play it. If I knew what it was called maybe I could find it, but I don't even know where to start. Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Transit of Mercury

NASA - 2006 Transit of Mercury

I just got back from watching the mercury transit on the heliostat we have at the observatory at work. Mercury was still in the solar disk as the sun set behind the flatirons. It was awesome to see in real light coming from the sun, rather than in digital images on a computer screen. The transit is in progress as I write this, so I don't have an actual photograph to link, but perhaps I'll find one a bit later.

T-Bird and Balanced Rock.

T-bird and Balanced Rock
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
Just got back from a trip yesterday that included a couple days of Arches National Park. This is our obligatory "interacting with the crazy scenery" shot. Click on the picture to view more from the trip.

We also spent a couple of nights in Glenwood Springs enjoying the hot springs. The hot springs were fun, but made me miss the summer days when I can enjoy my own (unheated, non-natural spring) pool.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Me Picking Giant Reagan's Nose

Me Picking Giant Reagan's Nose
Originally uploaded by thewbert.
When given the opportunity to pick the nose of Ronald Reagan's Giant White Head, I obviously jumped at the chance. I mean, who wouldn't?