Stars, Sails - the Parallax View

A family of astronomers at sea... coming soon to a galaxy near you...

02 September 2016 | Fort Myers, FL
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23 April 2014
11 November 2013 | Fort Myers, FL
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11 March 2013 | Fort Myers, FL
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Spring ahead

11 March 2013 | Fort Myers, FL
Heather / sunny and 72F
This is the week... After a wonderful but too-short visit from Derek's mom (we are in the market for a queen-sized comfortable daybed, now!), after the Irish music session Sunday evening at TP Hoolihan's, Monday evening we're hosting a smallish group for after-work chatter and food, then Tuesday is haircut day for Heather and also Womynfolke practice (a cappella women's singing group at our church. Really fun!), then Wednesday is Irish Session and farewell to John B, a wonderful accordion player who is moving out to the LA area, then Thursday morning is the "point" of having the haircut: Heather's job interview (well, a sample lesson, actually, since the point I guess is for the committee to see whether I can teach physics), and oh yeah, dance class in the evening: Derek is doing something more professional, Thursday is Colloquium for him. And after that? Friday if Heather still has any brain cells left she will finally get her whistle lesson (yay), and Saturday the 16th we're hosting a chili cook-off and "St. Practice Day Party." Then Sunday is... well, Ian and then Wolfhound playing Irish music all day at TP Hoolihan's. Best St Paddy's lineup in several years, for us, I think (keeping in mind that the Bahamas has only limited Irish trad venues and that's where we were last year)!

[Heather] Have to say, it has been so much fun practicing at these sessions and with Trina for whistle lessons, we got here in August and so it's been about seven months, and although at first I was pretty tentative about bodhran playing, it's gotten to be a HUGE amount of fun! With whistle I am still shy about playing in public because I don't trust my pacing, but I will play slower airs at the drop of a hat (like Carrickfergus or Si Bheag Si Mhor), and even occasionally start a jig or reel in "slow session" (the teaching/learning hour every second Sunday before regular session starts).

Finally, I have to learn to do something lower-key at session when asked to sing; I'm used to "performing" for a crowd that wants attitude as well as high-volume sound, and session singing does not have to be that way (and in fact I gather it's less annoying and more musician-ly if it isn't that way!) Ah, things to learn. Then there's a boat to clean...

Grant is doing well, taking another round of tests for his Calvert program and we've been in the process of applying to local schools for fall (he starts high school this fall). The private school had a testing session and he did very well, especially in math and spatial reasoning, and I registered him for the International Baccalaureate program at the public school of our first choice (Fort Myers High), but all of that is up to the committee that does school assignments, and if he goes to the private school (which is incredibly close to where we live, and is an excellent college preparatory school) the assignment would be moot, anyway.

Derek has started a colloquium series and has lined up speakers for the initial semester of it -- each Thursday. Speakers come from all of the sciences relevant to the Whitaker Center, so there are marine toxicologists and physicists and biologists... really a fun idea, and we are hoping that attendance improves as word of mouth spreads. He's also completed and shepherded through the publication process a single-author paper on a mechanism he decided was promising for providing the "extra" energy to the atmospheres of "hot Jupiters," exoplanets close to their primary star which exhibit more heating than expected. He'll be doing some more models and presenting the new results at the American Astronomical Society meeting in June (which, delightfully, is in Indianapolis, breaking the pattern of having summer meetings in really hot places -- OK, that pattern was actually broken last June, when the venue went from June in Las Cruces, NM 2011 to June in Anchorage, AK 2012! And the future lineup looks very temperate). He's also teaching physics, which he enjoys greatly, although I do confess I felt some sympathy for his students when he commented, while holding a volume of The Feynman Lectures, "I'm going to do this the way Feynman does it, it's better than the way their textbook does it, and that way they can see two different methods."
Feynman never expected THIS!
Comments
Vessel Name: Parallax
Vessel Make/Model: 37' Prout Snowgoose (1982)
Hailing Port: Pensacola
Crew: Derek, Heather and Grant
About:
Two astronomers, looking for variable stars and adventure. After cruising the Caribbean aboard S/V Paradox for 18 months in the early 90s, the crew swallowed the anchor and had a child, always planning their next Great Adventure: cruising under sail with Grant, showing him the world. [...]
Extra:
We knew that if we ever got a catamaran, we'd want a name to celebrate her twin-hulledness. Parallax is seeing the same thing from two slightly different points of view, which with our two eyes is what gives humans our depth perception. It's also a good metaphor for one of the benefits of marriage. [...]
Parallax's Photos - Main
No Photos
Created 19 August 2013
No Photos
Created 15 April 2012
Derek designs and builds a fridge where there was previously a bunk... and there is great rejoicing!
22 Photos
Created 1 June 2011
The first couple of weeks of the refit of Parallax. It's a messy job, but someone's gotta do it...
14 Photos
Created 21 October 2010

S/V Parallax

Who: Derek, Heather and Grant
Port: Pensacola