Friday, May 21, 2010

New Look at a Familiar Face, 25 Years On

Doug Harrington, circa 1985, by, courtesy of and copyright by Drew Fleming.

The web is an increasingly miraculous virtual place.

I have literally thousands of photos of my firstborn, taken during his 40 years here, but the web, just a few days ago, gifted me with this image that I had never seen before.

It stopped me in my tracks.

Taken by Drew Fleming in about 1985, it is the illustration for Doug's short entry on Wikipedia.

The Wiki article refers to Doug's partnership in songwriting and lead guitar performance with Jim Adams. Jim continues to keep Defiance alive -- along with his own successful IT career! -- and the band recently released a revival album, "Prophecy," much of which was actually written by Doug shortly before his death by melanoma four years ago. Even if thrash metal is not your cup of tea, I think you can appreciate the artistry involved in this two-minute home video of Jim laying down a couple of lead tracks for "Prophecy." Jim's fret-work is predictably impressive, but watch his right hand, too. Very, very cool stuff.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

For No Other Reason Than That He's Still Here

This recent photo of Kelsey has gotten some positive reaction over on the "Flickr" photos arena, so I thought I'd pop it up here for my smaller circle of blog friends.

Kelsey, fresh from a laboratory victory over dire expectations, May, 2010.

Good dog. Yes you are.
Even if you are a geezer.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Newsflash: Astronomers' Spawn Do Cool Things

If you live long enough, you're certain to rub shoulders from time to time with some pretty remarkable people. If you live even longer than that, you've got a good chance to encounter remarkable children of those remarkable people.

I'm lucky enough to work side-by-side with Karl von Ahnen, the technical director of the planetarium in which I teach my classes. Karl is worth an entire blog post all by himself... but this one won't be about him.

It will be about recent works by his son, and by mine.

Karl's son, Garth, recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz campus, with a major in fine arts and a minor in astronomy. He combines the two fields in animations, and one in particular will strike a chord with long-time readers of this blog. Called "Arcada Fog," it is a romp through the Copernican revolution.

(Photo from Garth's Facebook page)

The animation's central and unifying figure is Tycho's moose. The music is by a group of Garth's college buddies, "Acid Westerns," who are just now embarking on a career. I really, really like their soundtrack for Garth's trip through our most colossal paradigm shift. Turn the sound up, if you can, for the treat:

My own boy, Adam, has a career in voice acting that seems right now to be on the first stages of an exponential launch. As the economy recovers, his gigs increase -- but it's more than that. His abilities and opportunities seem to be revving up like some of us remember a Saturn V's engines did before the huge clamps on the pad let go. He has worked hard for the ignition, and that alone is worthy of my salute.

But listen to this, in the context of its delivery -- W.E. Henley's most famous work delivered in an environment he couldn't have dreamt -- and turn the sound up. Don't bother trying to maximize the video window -- it will eventually do that all by itself. And, as Adam says, you'll have to "watch it all the way through to appreciate the incredible effects."



Friday, May 7, 2010

While We Wait for Sherwood to Have a Thought Worth Communicating...

... a Diversion:

Fonzie on May 7th, 2010

Doggerel for a Cat

Who knows where his mind is,
Who knows where he goes?
Who knows what he’s thinking,
Who knows what he knows?

Deep thoughts about the future,
Or contemplating, if he can,
The foibles of his keepers,
And the final days of Man?

Perhaps he’s astrophysics’
Or mathematics’ sage,
Viewing in this corner
Hadrons' impact in the voiding gauge.

Or maybe he can see into
The chaos of our past,
Mistakes that litter pathways
That our curiosity outlasts.

Or maybe he’s just looking at a wall.