Thelma and Louise

8 02 2008

I’m in the last stages of organising my trip to the US, and had firmed up some dates when I’d be driving from LA to Portland. Anyhow, I’d only JUST sent out a couple of emails to friends/family along the way when my good friend in Boston IMs me and asks when I’ll be in/near San Francisco.

Reason: She’s running a training course there from 10-13 March, and wondered if I wanted some driving company from SF to Portland! How cool is that!

As it happens I intended lobbing into SF on or around the 11th or 12th and leaving on the 13th. So we’ve got it all sorted—I’ll share her room in SF for one, maybe two, nights, we’ll go to the Berkeley STC Chapter meeting on the evening of the 12th, then hit the road after she finishes training on the 13th. We should have enough time to drive up the coast (and avoid I-5), arriving in Portland on the 15th.

How good a fit is that? Thelma and Louise—watch out!

V in Morse code

8 02 2008

The things you learn… The other day I walked past the TV and heard someone say that the “V” in Morse code was the same as the opening bar in Beethoven’s 5th symphony! ta-ta-ta-daaaaa (dot, dot, dot, dash)

Well, who’da thought?? So I checked it out on the internet, and sure enough it’s correct. Seems it was used a lot in WWII after victory.

So why did this ‘fact’ take my attention? Well, V in Roman numerals is five, and Beethoven’s symphony is the fifth. And the Morse code sequence is the same as the opening bar of the 5th! I thought that was pretty clever. I’m assuming someone (Samuel Morse?) made a conscious decision to use that sequence. But if they didn’t, I’d call it a serendipitous moment!!

Star light, star bright

8 02 2008

Well, not exactly stars, but ‘planet light, planet bright’ just doesn’t sound right!

The past few mornings have been stunning. When I’ve gone out to get the newspaper just before dawn, low in the eastern sky has been a fingernail sliver of the moon, with two bright planets close to it.

One I knew was Venus, but I wasn’t sure what the other was until I checked out the weekly astronomy column in the paper earlier this week and found out it was Jupiter! So bright for reflected light from such a long way away.

Update (26 Feb 2008): At 5.45am this morning, when dawn was just a very faint light in the sky, the early morning ‘stars’ where shining very brightly in the east near the horizon. Venus was the brightest, and close to it was Mercury. Higher up was Jupiter, and Saturn (I think) was high in the north. There was about a half moon as well. Amazing. All those people who sleep through until the sun is well up miss out on a sense of their place in the universe… (Oh, and thanks to The West Australian‘s “Night Sky” column on Monday for alerting me to these—and telling me which planet was which!)