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Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Denver Dec 18-22

November 19th, 2011 (10:30 am)

I've been off LJ for a while (I'm on Google+), but I have some friends in Denver that I only communicate with via LJ.

I will be in Denver arriving Sunday afternoon, and leaving Friday night the week of Dec 18-24.
I would like to have dinner and conversation with friends as many nights of that week as can be arranged.
If you are interested pick a night and a place. If you get me first, I'm yours that evening.


Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Going Dormant

October 17th, 2011 (01:14 pm)

I am very tired of having to delete spam from my more popular posts here, so I have disallowed comments from anyone but friends.
I am also going to let my account lapse into an unpaid account, so I will have fewer avatars on display, and who knows what other changes in service.

LJ was good. I'm not really using it anymore, or taking the time to maintain it.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Nailing Things Down

October 3rd, 2011 (07:06 am)

Every week or so, I get an email about some spammer or another adding a comment into one of my LJ posts or another.
I'm not posting here very much, but I have changed things to require the use of a CAPCHA to respond to my posts. Since I'm not posting much, this shouldn't be trouble for anyone I know.

I am posting on Google+ these days... mostly science type stuff. Quirky personal observations are going on Facebook. There is no place that I'm writing what I used to write on LJ concerning my personal life, but I think that is also moving to G+ now that I'm figuring out how to work the circles better.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]


August 18th, 2011 (09:03 am)

We had video cameras at the two i Sebastiani shows at Pennsic this year, and I grabbed several screen shots from the video for the sake of putting together a new i Sebastiani website... The old one is almost a decade old now... and I need to learn the current web technologies at the grass roots level.

These are from a show about getting blown off course in the age of exploration.

And these are from a show about an elder statesman's impending visit.

It was fun having a so many images to choose from. Normally snapshots from a play get people 1.5 seconds after they've had a great facial expression, or posture.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Getting Ready for Pennsic

July 23rd, 2011 (12:23 pm)

 I'm getting ready for Pennsic. Since I'll be in Chicago next week, this weekend is my last chance.

To the left I've got an image from my normal camera. To the right is a frame from the video camera I'll be using for closeups of the commedia shows, taken from the same place a few seconds later. I'm happy with how it handled the backlit subject in a dark place.

 Here are links to the shots and others. 

Mildly related sidenote: Livejournal let's me format my posts much more nicely than Google+ can (so far). The above is an example of something G+ doesn't make possible.... however, I am doing more of my bigger-than-FB posts on G+ these days. I currently have a few times as many contact/followers on G+ as I have active on LJ. I don't know if this link works for non-G+ members, but try it. I'm probably stopping LJ altogether before autumn 2011.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Trending toward Google+

July 22nd, 2011 (09:31 am)

Hi Folks,

I haven't been posting much anywhere. I'm kind of settling into to how Google+ plays into my new MO.
I may drift toward putting my introspective stuff here, and using G+ as a more wordy form of FB. I am feeling like I don't want to pollute my Astronomy posts to my astronomy circle with all my other stuff... but the astronomy stuff is my most popular public info.

I wish there was a way to exclude groups from the following list for certain posts, short of having an everybody but list.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Green River Festival

July 16th, 2011 (11:41 pm)

Here are some pictures from the last week and a half, but almost all were taken today.

This last week, I was teaching via WebEx from my basement. I have some issue with the built-in camera in my laptop, but it is basically going OK. One downside so far is that I have been getting close to zero exercise. I go to the basement, and come up for air.

But yesterday and today, I made a lot of progress on both big things and niggling tasks.

Finally, today, the family and I saw the final Harry Potter movie. I took off immediately after, so I didn't get feedback from the kids about how they liked it, except that Piper wants to see the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie.

The Green River Festival was fun. It was $55 to get in, and there were a long series of bands playing on three different stages. I was mostly at the Cosmic Wimpout tent, video-recording, and playing games with new people, and experienced folks as well. A good time was had by all... also, there were hot air balloons.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Not Saying Much

July 5th, 2011 (12:25 pm)

 I'm busy. Work is keeping me busy. My hobbies are keeping me busy. I've been home a lot, and not taking as many pictures as usual. I've been gearing up to do more with video, and because I've been at home, have felt more empowered to make progress. Some of my parts (cables, lenses, and such) are still in the mail.

One of my work things is I'm reading about Star-schema data-warehousing this week, and doing some labs/tutorials on the subject.

The net result has been not much writing to LJ.

Speaking of which... I had been looking at Dreamwidth conversion, but now I'm waiting (no hurry) for a Google+ invite so I can see if that would suit my needs and desires instead.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Great Practice

June 27th, 2011 (10:38 pm)

Here are a bunch of pictures from the last week or so.

It's been a busy several days, including, a trip home from San Francisco after visiting with Neil and Cara, then a week of working in Boston, and then my brother's wedding in Connecticut, a trip to Providence with Josiah to see some improv shows, and finally on Sunday, PGraph, a very talented hard-working bunch of improv people from Austin came by and helped supply ideas and stagecraft to the troupe for the Pennsic shows. Good stuff all around.

I had a few other things going on too, plus this week is my first week of running virtual classrooms for training. Hopefully I get the hang of it very quickly. So far, this approach seems to make it hard to be charming.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

"Good News Everybody!"

June 21st, 2011 (11:02 am)

The Subject line is a Futurama reference. This week will have a new episode! First in a while, hopefully brilliant.

Other good news:
- Parallelogramophonograph will be in the Boston/Providence area this weekend. This is an improv group famous for doing long narrative improv from stock characters... and including some of the owners of the Hideout Theater in Austin Texas.
- My younger brother is getting married Friday.
- Denise gets to see some Indie band she sponsored in a live show on Saturday
- Summer starts in a little over two hours
- A recent study using high resolution interferometry techniques have determined a lot of specific details about the Cygnus X-1 System... something that was a big mystery when I was in college. It is a black hole with a mass of 14 Solar masses, orbiting a giant star with a mass of 19 solar masses, about 1860 parsecs from here. Lots more details where that came from, but that's the overview.
- In spite of heavy use of the disabled list, the Red Sox had another high scoring game last night. Can they do it again tonight? ... also, Wakefield will be going for his 198th career win in Pittsburgh against the Pirates (his original team) this weekend.
- July 2nd will be something of a family reunion in Southern ME, celebrating my Cousin Kathy's son Dylan's last few days before Navy basic training.
- I like the results from my new video camera.
- This week's class is going smoothly (so far, knock on wood, etc.)

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Commedia and Pennsic Stuff

June 20th, 2011 (03:06 pm)

Am I going to be a land agent? It's looking like maybe I shouldn't.

I have a training gig in Chicago that ends on Friday the day before land grab. Can I get home, pick up Piper and drive West in time? I'm guessing the result would be a tragic loss of sleep. There is also some Performing Arts stuff I'm interested in happening in the Shire of Iron Ox in Jackson MS on July 30. If I can't possibly get to Pennsic for land grab, maybe I should go for it.

I'm thinking I could fly from Chicago to Jackson, and then Saturday night Jackson to Boston, and spend Sunday wending our way out to the site of the Freestyle canoe championships (Cooper's Lake) earlier this month...

On the other hand, I kind of just want to get to Pennsic ASAP. Tough choice.

Sunday was a practice for the ICOD show. We got some good stuff done getting the newer people more accustomed to my methods of putting a show together. I will feel better when we get some rehearsals with more of the established team. This Sunday coming up is the Public show again.

Related side note:
I have acquired a new video camera, so I can try to get one for a single view reference shot, and one for closeups. The new camera is pretty nice. I'm looking at how I can set up the microphones better than I have in the past.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Phobos and Jupiter

June 17th, 2011 (10:48 am)

This is a picture of Phobos (Mars' innermost and largest moon) and Jupiter, as photographed by one of the orbiters.

You can't see the stars or the moons of Jupiter in this picture because the brightness of Jupiter and Phobos required equalization levels for the image that washed them out, more or less the same as why your eyes don't usually see stars right next to the Full Moon.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

San Francisco & Other Places

June 15th, 2011 (04:57 pm)

Here are a few pictures from the last two weeks.

I haven't been taking that many pictures. I was a bit under the weather, and generally feeling uninspired to do anything but commedia work. Broader inspiration has returned.

Included here are pictures from Chicago, Phoenix (inside the airport), and San Francisco

Side notes:
- Last night I had dinner with Max (FKA Luke) McCal, and we talked improv and video. It was a fun evening at a microbrew place called 21st Amendment.
- Wakefield had a quality start, but got the loss. Shields started off looking vulnerable, but pulled it together for a complete game shutout. So on the stats I'm watching he got an appearance... 64 to go to catch Stanley.
- Hockey season will end in six hours or so.
- I went into, but didn't eat at the oldest continuously operating restaurant in California today. The wait was too long to eat and get back.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Storms in the Arab Spring

June 15th, 2011 (01:08 pm)

My friends in Egypt are sounding both irritated and frustrated. There are a lot of incidents that indicate that the far right (financially strong) control their media, and many progressive voices are being blacked out. There's probably a lot more to it than that, but I rely on Google translate, and Arabic often turns into abstract poetry in English.

The Pakistanis are rounding up the people who informed us about OBL. What can we do about that? Not much. I suspect that the recent spate of top al-Q people being killed is a result of info gleaned from the OBL kill site. Once that's exhausted, will we make nice with Pakistan again? How can we not, short of a massive military effort to take away all their nukes and nuke making facility? ... and if we did that we'd have to do the same thing against India, Iran, North Korea, and Israel. Pretty expensive and unpopular move.

The Syria thing is pretty nasty looking. Libya is ugly, Yemen is frightening. Isn't there some war in Afghanistan?

Yet, in spite of all the nastiness, I'm still feeling hope that the world will emerge better than it was a year ago... it just won't be quick.

Of course this isn't an Arab Spring issue, but Greece is looking bad now too. Except the problem there is that the people have some ridiculous idea about not wanting to pay more taxes, but still having a social support network. They starved the beast, and it turns out the beast was pretty nice to have. Now, they have a generation of people who are going to pay the bills under adverse circumstances. No one is happy, but there is no way to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Interesting Times.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Misused Words: Radiation, Radioactive

June 14th, 2011 (02:30 pm)

I see a lot of people bemoaning the common misuse of words (continually/continuously, there/their/they're, etc).

One pair that I see frequently misused in the media and in conversation is Radiation and Radioactivity.

The difference is fairly simple if you think about it physically:

Radiation is particles or energy that radiate away from a source (perhaps an explosion), usually at or near the speed of light, and can often disrupt the electrons in atoms or molecules (or sometimes even in nuclei if the radiation is high enough energy) as they get slowed down by normal matter.

Radioactivity is a condition of certain unstable atomic nuclei that will eventually give off radiation. So a cloud of Xenon 137 nuclei that escape from a burning nuclear power reactor would count as radioactivity, as would the unstable Cesium-137 nuclei/atoms they turn into a few seconds later. The electron and gamma ray that escape from the Xenon during that transition count as radiation.

Side note
- If you are in space and get struck by a Cesium-137 nuclei that was blasted from a Supernova's shock front at near the speed of light, that counts as radiation (it was radiating away from the supernova).
- If a smoker has inhaled a Polonium-210 atom, and it gets in his lungs, that atom is radioactive. The alpha particle it will eventually give off is radiation, which might cause cancer as it disrupts his biological molecules.
- Radiowaves (as all forms of light) are also radiation, even if they are too low energy to disrupt your molecules. Hence the term Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation ... which by itself can't hurt you, unless it makes the water molecules inside you vibrate.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

The Times, They Are A-Changing

June 13th, 2011 (10:52 am)

The nature of my job seems to be changing. I just saw my confirmed list of training gigs from now to Pennsic, and after this week, the next week I'm teaching in Boston, and then after that, I'm doing eTraining from my home every week. I'm guessing that I am done racking up Frequent Flier miles and hotel points, and will have to start doing Camelot chores. Being a clever guy, I feel like I can adapt to this change.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Sunny in Chicago

June 7th, 2011 (11:11 am)

Today looks nice. I'm indoors next to a window looking out at tall buildings (some new, some neogothic) near the lake. Sadly my friend Phillip White has just moved to NYC, so I don't get to visit him this trip.

I've been sleeping a lot, and not eating so much lately, but I am starting to feel closer to normal again. Thankfully this intestinal thing (now in its third hit week!) has not been a mood suppressor. It has slowed down my creative process a bit, but we'll see if I can press ahead enough tonight. I'm starting to feel the juices again.

This summer is shaping up to be about great collaborations with people I've always wanted to work with, doing showy new things they should be great at. Early August is the culmination of four projects.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Happy Day

June 5th, 2011 (02:51 pm)

Here are a few pictures from a happy day in Camelot.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]


June 5th, 2011 (11:43 am)

Here are a few pictures from the last few days. The one to the right are people sorting strawberries at a local form just before putting them up for sale. I picked up a couple quarts on request from Denise.

Aside from that, there is a wedding in Camelot this afternoon, and lots of familiar people are on site. The Sun is shining, and the day feels nice. I don't feel highly motivated, but my things to do list is modest. Later this afternoon, I'm driving to Logan to fly to The Windy City(tm) for a week.

Yesterday I visited with Cat, Mason, and Preston. It was great.

Dottore Graziano [userpic]

Mars Opportunity Rover Hits 30K

June 2nd, 2011 (08:03 am)

Here is a map of Opportunity (the MER Rover on Mars)'s recent past and near future travels. This is a huge image (maybe 4000x5000 pixels).

To the left is a small excerpt. The rover is moving along quite quickly these days, having traveled more than 3 km in less than 60 days. It is currently traveling through a relatively uninteresting salt flat, much like turf it's covered for the last few years.

About 3 km ahead (2.4 km East, and 1.8 km South, a wiggly hypotenuse should be a little over 3 km) are some hills that were pushed up when a 10km diameter crater was formed about 4 billion years ago (a guess). So after seven and a half years on a dry salt lake bed, Oppy will get some elevation. Insiders are saying it'll get there by August or September depending on how interesting the dirt in the last hundred meters before the hill is, and barring electromechanical difficulties.

We are now about six months until the launch of the next Mars Rover (The Mars Science Laboratory). Back when we were flush, NASA thought we'd be sending probes to Mars every two years, but most of them were things that attracted less public attention than the rovers. Remember the Polar Lander, and the MRO with the big orbiting camera? There was also a skipped alignment for budget and technology reasons.The MSL is powered by a mostly harmless Plutonium isotope that gives off Alpha particles, which it recaptures and turns their motion energy into heat. The heat difference from inside and outside is used to create electricity. As a positive about this choice, the MLS can keep going during dust storms, and can work in shadows (like you might get in deep canyons). As a negative, this isotope was created heavily during the cold war. We're making much less of it these days, and are running out.

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