Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Little Better

It was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky, a little wind. I biked 21 miles in 1h50m. A little rough at first, but better towards the end. I think that's a good sign.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Walk This Way

Haven't biked after that first time. Our May has been rainy, cool and windy. I did walk 90 minutes yesterday and today with the dog tho.

Played guitar a while yesterday at LexJam. I would say an inferior product to our Wednesday jam at O'Neills. At one point a guy rather than saying "12 bar blues in A with a quick 4" proceded to call out all the chord changes for the 1st 3 go-rounds. People also seemed to be pretty challenged at catching stops. None of my band showed up.

The official band name is "King Chukka", in honor of our lead guitarist King William (Allen). I just set up a personal myspace page, so I could see some music videos that a young coworker had posted to their myspace page, I guess if King Chukka ever starts doing some gigs I will create one for the band. The online stuff seems to be more and more time consuming, with limited return for the time. Probably better off practicing music -- except, the osteoarthritis in my left hand has spread from the thumb into the first finger. Playing in public, the adrenaline rush pretty much blocks the pain of playing; practicing, usually not much in the way of adrenaline.

Re music in:

  • The new Portishead, "Third", is anxiety-producing to the extent that it is hard to listen to. A few places I noticed riffs that sound exactly like Stereolab. 3 stars rather than 2.
  • Elvis Costello, "Momofuku". Not doing much for me yet, probably 3 stars.
  • The Yardbirds, "The Best". I got this off of eMusic after Amazon sent me an ad for a Yardbirds CD. As it's downloading, I notice the reviews "none of these are the tracks I expected, it's some kind of live tapes" -- and indeed it is. Very well done, but not what you expect. I think I'll go on and get the one from amazon as well. "I'm Not Talking" -- I'd forgotten what an odd, fun song that was. The Wikipedia page on the Yardbirds had some interesting stuff. Eric Clapton, their 1st lead guitarist, quit when they started doing more pop stuff -- he was a total blues purist at the time. He recommended Jimmy Page to replace him. Page was happy doing studio work so he recommended Jeff Beck. After their bass player quit, Page joined the band as bass player until the rhythm guitar player learned to play bass, so Page and Beck could play lead together. Beck was kicked out of the band while on tour in Texas??? Page then went on to Led Zeppelin. The 1st Led Zeppelin tapes were actually done as The Yardbirds, but then Chris Dreja, the rhythm/bass player, told them that he owned the name.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

It Wasn't Pretty

Finally biked this morning. 11 miles in 50 minutes, much huffing and puffing, much use of low gears. And forgot to take water, which definitely doesn't help with the alcohol / dehydration.

Anti-grackle strategy seems somewhat successful. Removed bulk seed feeders, bulk feed available on a squirrel-proof feeder with small holes only, no sunflower seeds. They're still around, using the birdbaths, but, at least I ain't feeding them much. We have cardinals, sparrows in the small-hole feeder, finches, goldfinches, chickadees. We also have up to a dozen doves, who unfortunately like the safflower seed just fine.

Impulse bought a new guitar -- a baritone guitar! I did not know there was such a thing, so the purchase was clearly justified. It came in with light baritone strings tuned down a step to D. I tuned it down further to C and it sounded great. I have ordered standard baritone strings and want to tune it down to an A -- a fifth down.

Unfortunately, after consulting with two (clueless) support people, I sent it back, because the side dots on the neck don't match up with the main dots on the fretboard -- and just an hour ago, read an article saying this was by design. Hopefully I will get it back before too long. Here's a picture.

Music-in, I've been all over the place:

  • "I.O.U" (1982) and "Atavachon" (1986), by Allen Holdsworth. From Guitar Player magazine, "the greatest prog-rock guitarist of the 80's and 90's". Pretty prog-jazzy stuff, 3 stars.
  • "Shine" (2008), by Estelle, and her earlier effort "The 18th Day" (2005). She was one of 4 I brought home from London on my "check it out" list. Kind of reminiscent of Lauryn Hill, 4 stars.
  • Sam Cook, "Keep On Movin", 1963. 23 tracks, pretty much none of his big hits, but some good stuff nonetheless. 3 stars.
  • Mississippi John Hurt, "Library of Congress Recordings, Vol 2, Disk 2". I was looking for a version of "See See Rider" for the jam, really struck by his laid back voice. 3 stars.
  • Portishead, "Third". Very aggressively innovative, just got today, needs more listen. I'm guessing 3.5 stars.
I downloaded all the colliding galaxy pictures mentioned in the last post. My favorite was this one. It reminds me of this picture of NGC 1275, my favorite galaxy, at the center of the Perseus cluster, Abell 426, 100Mpc distant and still the bright extragalactic X-ray source in the sky. I am seeing both of these as: an existing large elliptical galaxy with a large (10^5 or 6 solar masses) central black hole is being plowed into by a spiral galaxy whose plane intersects the black hole. As the spiral rotates, it feeds its spiral arms into the black hole. I'm wondering if there's any way this can cause the spiral's progress get seriously impeded, such that it is trapped and eaten more than you would expect. The NGC 1275 picture tho shows much less sign of the elliptical target -- but, it seems like something has to be there triggering the stuff to the west of the spiral shape -- so maybe the spiral is proportionately larger.