Thoughts and essays about music, physics, martinis and pretty girls.

[ about the author ]
Name: Roger L. Smith
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Interests: Astronomy, Science,  Bicycle Racing, Music,  Photography, Tennis, and why...
Occupation: Computer Scientist, Software Engineer

blogger's profile

[ contact Roger ]
via email

[ Roger's web site ]
Martini Records

Roger's original music ]

Martinis at Midnight

Thursday, June 24, 2004

tonight i'm listening to rickie lee jones' latest release "the evening of my best day". i've been a fan of hers for a long time and it's great to hear new stuff, although it's not that new anymore.

last night i watched "i am sam" staring sean penn and michelle pfeiffer. i like movies but i'm not hung up on them. most movies don't find there way into my heart. i have a small collection of movies that i like, but 99% of movies i see, i don't need to see again.

when this movie started, i thought "this is an unlikely role for sean penn" and i was curious how it would play out. well, sean did a fantastic job in this role. his performance equaled that of dustin hoffman in "rainman". however, this movie touched me a lot more than rainman. a father needing to be with his daughter. i understand that love. i can't compare my life to that of sam, but i understand the love. then to contrast it with the life of rita (michelle) who played a beautiful rich lawyer whose family life was falling apart. it brought tears to my eyes. i know i'm being over-sensitive, but this movie is one of the few that touched my heart.

i have never seen so many clouds in my life. i had the telescope out a few days ago, but couldn't manage to find anything outside our solar system that was very interesting. my new plan is to start learning all the constellations and what deep space objects can be found within each.

stay tuned, the sky will begin to clear... it has to!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

sea change

have you ever had times when life just seems to get hung up? when it seems like you never have time for the "normal things" in your life. i feel like i've been through that for the last month or more. i finally feel like i'm getting back to normal.

i'm listening to beck tonight. the album: "sea change". this is an awesome cd. it's great music for my current state of mind. i especially like track 2 "paper tiger". i wish i could write music like this.

i have been working on new music. hopefully one of these days i'll have something new and ready to record. hopefully one of these days i'll be working on music again with an old friend.

Friday, June 11, 2004

last tuesday morning we attempted to see venus moving across the disc of the sun (the transit of venus). we walked up the road to a higher point, where we could see the eastern horizon over the trees. it was about 6:35 am and the sky was amazingly clear considering the months of crummy weather we've had. we had our instruments that we wanted to use to safely see the transit, however we did not use the telescope.

we began with using the pin-hole box, which produced a small reflection of the sun, but we could not make out venus. the binoculars mounted on the tripod would be our last resort. after a few minutes of fumlbing around with aiming and focusing, we spotted venus. we had a very nice reflection of the transit on a simple piece of paper. we made several tracings of the image. we also tried taking digital pictures of the reflection, however the images did not show venus.

i plan to post the images and scanned drawings of the transit on my website. compared to many of the other images of the transit i have seen on the internet, mine are very basic. it was still a very exciting and spectacular event to have seen.

Monday, June 07, 2004

transit of venus

it's many days since i've posted and tonight is an appropriate time for a post. in about 90 minutes the transit of venus will begin with first contact. the transit of venus is when the planet venus is directly between the earth and the sun. venus should be in front of the sun for about 6 hours, however i'll only be able to see the last hour or so of this extremely rare event. first contact is when the outer edge of the planet venus appears to touch the outer edge of the sun. if i'm lucky and the sky is clear, i should be able to see 3rd and 4th contact. this is when venus appears to be moving out of the disc of the sun.

there is a ton of history about the transit of venus, which is all entirely fascinating. i'd suggest browsing the site http://www.transitofvenus.org for more detailed information. you can also view the event online from a link on this site.

i have 2 simple and crude devices that i plan to use to see a reflected image of the sun and venus. remember, you can never look at the sun witout the proper solar filters (which i don't have). first i have a box with a small hole in one end. the hole will let light through and display a small image of the sun on the back wall of the box. i also have an old pair of binoculars fastened to a tripod. with this i can hold a piece of white paper or cardboard several inches away from the binoculars and see a reflected image of the transit. i plan to take some pictures of the process, and make some drawings of the reflected images if the weather is clear. i'll post whatever images i get on my website and post a complete description of how the morning unfolds.

think clear skies.


[ weekly top 10 ]
rogerlsmith's Last.fm Weekly Artists Chart
click the chart to see what i'm listening to right now.