The Pool's Finally Been Filled!

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

It's been a long time coming, but finally we have a pool full of water and some of the retaining walls are painted.

DSC_0173.jpg
DSC_0171.jpg

Quartzon Interior

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Getting close now!

DSC_0129.jpg

Glass Fence and Painted Water Feature

Sunday, April 10th, 2011
DSC_0078.jpg
DSC_0074.jpg

Beethoven Moonlight Sonata

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Lugwig van Beethoven is another of my favourite composers for piano. Beethoven's piano sonatas are astoundingly beautiful - Pathetique, Waldstein, Moonlight and Appassionata among my favourites.

Pianist and author Charles Rosen on Beethoven:

Beethoven enlarged the limits of the classical style beyond all previous conceptions, but he never changed its essential structure or abandoned it, as did the composers who followed him. In the other fundamental aspects of his musical language, as well as in the key relations within a single movement, Beethoven may be said to have remained within the classical framework, even while using it in startlingly radical and original ways

This recording is myself playing Beethoven's hauntingly sad - but calming - Moonlight Sonata.

Played through Cantabile (of course) using Synthogy's Ivory virtual piano.

beethoven.jpg

If you're interested in listening to some other Beethoven Sonatas there are some excellent recordings available on the Piano Society.

Another awesome sunset

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Another beautiful sunset taken from our front balcony. I'm pretty sure the vertical steaks are rain.

DSC_0022.jpg
DSC_0028.jpg

Science and Tragedy Pushed Aside for Sheen

Monday, March 14th, 2011

On Friday night's 7PM project, Dale Dominey-Howes from the Australian Tsunami Research Center UNSW was explaining what caused the tragic tsunami that hit Japan. But about 90 seconds in Dale was cut short - I presumed to get to other coverage of the tsunami. But no...

After one more quick news story, most of the rest of the show was dedicated to their exclusive interview with Charlie Sheen. Really? That's more important? Probably thousands of people are dying and whole towns are getting wiped out in one of the worst natural disasters ever and the 7PM Project wants to talk to a celebrity drug addict.

I realize the 7PM Project is a fairly light-hearted look at the news, but it reminded me of this from a few weeks ago:

"Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he's a celebrity drug addict while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy Mays 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while."

Pleasingly this did go viral on Facebook and Twitter (see full story) and shows that people do care - unfortunately just not enough. Jeff Wilfahrt, father of one of the soldiers says:

Get this on the front headlines and make people aware of what’s going on. That’s what I’d do if I was king. But I'm just an unemployed 58-year-old man in Minnesota who misses his son.

I agree, but the blame for these media coverage fails lies with us the general public. The media knows all to well that any celebrity gone wrong story is a winner. Just like a car accident, fallen celebrity stories are hard to look away from - but next time try to just turn the page or switch channels. If enough of us do the media will pay attention.

Discovery Decomissioned

Friday, March 11th, 2011

As you're no doubt aware, the Space Shuttle Discovery has touched down for the last time.

To think that construction of this spacecraft started while I was in primary school, first flew while I was in high school and has been in active service for all of my adult life is remarkable. 39 times this vehicle has gone through the demands of launch and re-entry.

Astronomer Phil Plait summed this up nicely on his Bad Astronomy Blog:

Today, Wednesday, March 9 at 11:57 a.m. Eastern time, Discovery — the Orbiter that launched Hubble in to orbit, then serviced it twice; that deployed Ulysses; that was the last Orbiter to dock with Mir; that twice was the first Orbiter in space after another was lost; that served more flight days than any other Orbiter, 365 in total, a solid year; a spaceship built by humans that’s logged 238,000,000 kilometers (148 million miles) in space, the most used spacecraft ever built by humans — set her wheels to Earth one final time.

I’d say "Welcome home", but the ground is not a spaceship’s home.

So with that in mind, rather than a final landing I've opted for a ready to go photo:

DiscoverySTS133.jpg

Discovery Prepared for Final Launch

Photo used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) licence.
Copyright © 2011 nasa photo hq. Original

White Rainbow

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Until the other morning I'd never heard of, let along seen a white rainbow. According to WikiPedia, it's actually called a fogbow and the lack of colour is caused by the extremely small size of the fog water droplets.

DSC_0934.jpg

So I was pretty impressed with this, but not as much as this guy was with his rainbow.

Rendered Walls and New Fence

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Some more progress on the pool! The retaining walls have now been rendered (can still see blocks outlines due to some retained moisture) and the crooked fence has been reset and new boards inserted.

DSC_0939.jpg

Reality vs Sketchup

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Before we started building our new pool, I did a drawing of what we were planning in Google Sketchup - Google's 3d modelling tool. Now that most of the major construction of the pool is in place I thought it would be interesting to see how closely they match - and it's quite remarkable:

PoolSketch1.jpg
PoolSketch1b.png