Peter Lyons

Oct 13, 2008

AstroJazz

Ha ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha ha! Things are going fantastically these days. First a brief mountain weather update. We had our first snow Saturday night and it actually stuck and didn't all melt today. It's been rainy and chilly down in the plains though. I was hoping to get the house settled before I bought a new car but I'm so paranoid about driving my Sentra up Coal Creek Canyon in the snow that a new (used) car must be purchased stat. Also, the past two night-time drives up to the mountain retreat have been incredibly foggy. Like 15 mph foggy. Pretty nerve wracking.

Friday I attended a concert/presentation/lecture in the Fiske Planetarium called AstroJazz. It is led by this Astro Physics Ph. D. Dr. Cherrilynn Morrow who is also a jazz vocalist. So basically she sings some jazz standards with altered lyrics talking about outer space, plus some originals, and she has a slide show projected up onto the planetarium with some fantastic telescope photos and lots of timely astronomy news related items. Plus there's the normal planetarium projections. It's really funny because she's such a hardcore star geek that she wants to turn it into a lecture and her slides sort of lead her in that direction, then she hits a slide with a song title and she's like "Oh right, time to sing another song about solar storms". It was such a delicious mix of geekiness and...OK...well actually it was just pure unadulterated geekiness, but there was jazz music too! Here's a piece of fascinating trivia for you music nerds. So generally solar activity in terms of solar storms and susnpots seems to follow a fairly consistent eleven year cycle back and forth between quiet and noisy periods. However, there was an unusually long period of low solar activity between 1645 and 1715, known as the Maunder Minimum. There is a theory that this long quiet period on the Sun caused a "Little Ice Age", and during that time tree growth was slowed considerably, producing unusually dense wood. These trees were grown and harvested just at the time of Stradivarious's "Golden Period" of violins, and this USA Today article explains the theory that this dense spruce was an important ingredient in the unmatched quality of the violins from this period by Stradivarius.

Saturday I saw a very appealing house that, after family and friends consultations indicated support, I will be making an offer on ASAP. Wish me luck! I also saw Burn After Reading on Saturday and I guess I had slightly higher expectations based on the word on the street. I enjoyed it, but I didn't think it was all that noteworthy. Maybe, like Fargo, repeated viewings will reveal lots of fantastic subtleties.

Today I also had a great brunch and then a nice long rock climbing workout. Tomorrow it's up to Fort Collins for work.

In other news, I have become hopelessly obsessed with the Joe Henderson tune "Y Ya La Quiero" sometimes listed as "Y Todavia La Quiero". Now, I've always thought this tune was off the charts good, but now I'm just playing it over and over and then going to youtube and finding other versions of it. Joe Henderson is the absolute devil on Tenor Sax. When he plays in the low register it's like he's hitting you in the face with an oar, and when he does his evil trill noises your head bursts into flames.