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.

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