Monthly Archives: October 2009

Pandora Light Jazz Friday Random 10

I decided it was time to create a new Pandora station, so I threw one together of a light jazz genre, seeded with Jeff Lorber and Pat Metheny.  Here are the results:

  1. jeff lorberPhilly Style” – Jeff Lorber, Philly Style
  2. “In the Moment” – Althea Rene, In the Moment
  3. “Silent Movie” – Pat Metheny & Brad Mehldau, Metheny Mehldau Quartet
  4. “Airstream” – Path Metheny, American Garage
  5. “Highland Aire” – Lyle Mays, Lyle Mays
  6. “High Steppin'” – Larry Carlton, The Best of Larry Carlton
  7. Gigabyte” – Jeff Lorber, Philly Style
  8. “Cinnamon Sugar” – Fourplay, X
  9. “Cockatoo” – Spyro Gyra, Catching the Sun
  10. “Unrequited” – Pat Metheny & Brad Mehldau, Metheny / Mehldau

Bonus track (one of my all-time favorites): “Last Train Home” – Pat Metheny, Still Life (Talking)

Have a great Halloween!


(Not) Seeing Spots

The sun has been in the midst of the deepest solar minimum in several decades, with long stretches of days with no sunspot activity at all.  Sunspot 1029, one of the largest sunspots in years, emerged this week as the newest member of sunspot cycle 24…and yet, thanks to the St. Louis’ wettest October on record, I had no opportunity to see it in person.  Through the middle of this week, we were already >7″ over the normal precipitation for October, and had set the record even before the current latest storm.

sunspot 1029
sunspot 1029

On the fateful day of September 11, 2001, I had taken the day off from work to speak at K’s science class at Harris Elementary School.  (It seemed like a good excuse to stay home on my birthday.)  As you can see here, that was during the heyday of sunspot cycle 23’s maximum.  I have a pair of solar filters (inserts from one of my Astronomy Magazines, something like this) that I brought along, and the kids were thrilled to be able to see sunspots directly with their own eyes.

Needless to say, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the return of the bigger sunspots like 1029, and it goes without saying that I’m also anxiously awaiting being able to see the sun, period!

Grand Cards

Just completed another trade through the mail, and at the same time proved that there can be civility between rival teams when it comes to swapping cards.  Over at Grand Cards, the Detroit Tigers are the featured team, and more specifically, the site’s namesake Curtis Granderson.  Here are a few of the Twins cards from the return part of the trade:

Grand Cards cards
clockwise, from top left: 2007 Topps Gold #569 Bartlett (1203/2007), 2008 Upper Deck Hot Commodities #HC17 Morneau, 2008 Topps Gold #287 Morneau/Santana/Mauer (0139/2008), 2009 Topps Toppstown Gold #TTT12 Morneau

I didn’t even know that Topps made a gold parallel of the Toppstown cards.  Live and learn.  Anyway, if you have any cards from the Grand Cards wantlist, I wholeheartedly recommend making a trade offer, especially if it can help heal the memory of Game 163.  (Aw, sorry, I couldn’t help myself 😉 )

Pandora Friday Random 10

This week I got an email from saying that I was close to the limit of how much I could listen to Pandora in a month for free.  Here’s hoping that I get my 10 thumbs-up tracks before I reach that limit.

  1. KraanPolarity” – Kraan, Dancing in the Shade
  2. “Flood” – Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay
  3. From the Beginning” – Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, Trilogy
  4. “Escape” – Journey, Escape
  5. Carry on Wayward Son” – Kansas, Leftoverture
  6. Secret Separation” – The Fixx, Walkabout
  7. The Sound of Muzak” – Porcupine Tree, In Absentia
  8. “More Than This” – Roxy Music, Avalon
  9. “The Dance of Eternity” – Dream Theater, Metropolis pt 2: Scenes from a Memory
  10. Baby Blue” – Bad Finger, Straight Up

Whew, made it.

The Ghost of Halloween Past

Halloween means, among other things…jack-o-lanterns!  I’ve managed to photograph all the jack-o-lanterns carved each Halloween (more-or-less) since our move to the St. Louis area in 1990. Here’s a year-by-year inventory:

1992 Halloween jack-o-lanterns
1992: well, Mo outdid me with her large jack-o-lantern in the middle

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Our Anniversary Vacation – pt 4: Mount Rainier

(continuing from pt 3…)

We had decided prior to our trip to head back towards Portland a day earlier, so that we wouldn’t have to make the entire trip from Vancouver to our 4PM flight at Portland International in a single day. Wanting to get through Seattle before settling down for the evening, we chose Tacoma for our stopping point. This time it took quite a bit longer to get through the border check, but once we explained that a “trivet” was a hot plate, all was fine.

internaltional border
Peace Arch border monument at Blaine, WA

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Our Anniversary Vacation – pt 3: Vancouver

(continuing from pt 2…)

Our initial plan for Vancouver was just to see the city and area before the Winter Olympics arrived there next year, and though we checked out some books from the library and took some notes ahead of time, we kept our schedule there wide open for exploring.  Temperatures were in the upper 50’s/lower 60’s and overcast in the mornings, so a jacket was in order.

The first morning we went across the street to the ATM to get some of the local currency.  While we were in Canada, we found we were getting about C$93/US$100 exchange rate after fees, which seemed like a good deal, especially considering the convenience.  The SkyTrain station in Metrotown was around two blocks from us, so we purchased all-day passes (C$9 each) which were good on SkyTrain, buses, and SeaBus.

We had heard plenty about Stanley Park (why do I hear “School Days” when I say that?) so that was our first destination.  We were immediately struck by the buildings of Vancouver; throughout the city (and especially concentrated downtown) were hi-rise apartments, of mostly glass.

downtown Vancouver

downtown Vancouver from Stanley Park

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Pandora Friday Random 10

Time for the Friday Random 10, once more powered by Pandora.  Thumbs-up tracks only:

  1. Billy BraggGreetings to the New Brunette” – Billy Bragg, Reaching Out to the Converted
  2. “Policy of Truth” – Depeche Mode, Violator
  3. “Little Boy” – Andy White, Andy White
  4. “All About Satellites and Spaceships” – Seven Percent Solution, All About Satellites and Spaceships
  5. “More Than a Feeling” – Boston, Greatest Hits
  6. Freeway Jam” – Jeff Beck, Blow by Blow
  7. “Even If You Dream” – Wang Chung, Points on the Curve
  8. “Freak Parade” – Todd Rundgren, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia
  9. “Africa” – Toto, Toto IV
  10. Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” – Utopia, Utopia

Have a great weekend!