February 2023 archive
this morning
Bunny tracks in my driveway.
We got an inch and a half of fresh snow yesterday.
17" of snow outside my south door, 22" on the north side, and it's not finished.

It woulda been a good idea to move my car down to the end of the driveway yesterday.

I wonder if anyone's going to try to tell me how beautiful all this snow looks.
Yucca brevifolia
probably in violation of California Health and Safety Code §114259.5
Dog in the supermarket this morning.
Time-lapse video (YouTube, 22 seconds): 124 days in the life of my left index finger.

I recommend manually setting the quality to 720p; YouTube often chooses a lower value on my vids if you leave it set to Auto.
So. The day after I linked to a cam of an eagle nest, the parents have stopped tending to their eggs. Your guess is as good as mine as to what they sense is amiss and as to whether they will return to this pair of eggs. I've seen a raven eyeing the nest while the eagles are away.
One of the better recommendations I've gotten from YouTube: continuous live feed of a bald eagle nest over 100' above the ground in a pine tree near Big Bear Lake. Infrared lighting at night that doesn't disturb the eagles. There are two eggs in the nest, expected to start hatching this week or so.
U-2 incident  
balloon incident
sent by:
shot down by:
about 60,000'about 60,000'
shot down over:
cover story:
weather aircraft
weather aircraft
When I started playing marimba, I asked around to see if someone in my area could teach me. I wasn't expecting to find anyone, what with this being a remote rural area and marimba not being a popular instrument. To my surprise there was a skilled percussionist in the valley: Germaine Franco.

When I met Germaine, she was taking a break from her career in music. She was teaching Spanish at a local high school and had the occasional music student like myself. She charged me $35 an hour, a lot less than what I thought her time was worth.

I wasn't a great student. I didn't have a good sense of rhythm when I came to her, I wasn't good at reading music, and I needed work on the basics of mallet percussion technique. Germaine was patient and gracious. But she was also exacting, having come from a conservatory background. When I told a guitarist in my town that I was taking lessons with her, he said, "Ohhhh, I've heard about her. She's a perfectionist." Well, I liked that about her.

Teacher:student is a special kind of relationship. I was lucky to study with Germaine and I felt bad that I wasn't able honor her by being a better musician.

After about a year she moved back to Los Angeles to work on film music. I stayed in touch with her for a while and she'd tell me what she was learning about the software they used, how film scores get prepared and played, and so on. She was being modest. She told me she was working as an assistant to a composer and didn't mention that she'd scored a few films herself. I started seeing her name in credits of movies I went to.

Every so often I'd look at her page on imdb.com to see what she'd been doing. After a few years of not looking, I checked a couple months ago and saw that she'd been nominated for an Oscar (Best Original Score) for Encanto (2021). The movie's soundtrack album--Germaine's score and songs written by Lin‑Manuel Miranda--topped the Billboard 200 chart in the USA for nine weeks and also reached #1 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.

The 2023 Grammy awards ceremony was this evening. Encanto won in several categories.
Otospermophilus beecheyi
The last Boeing 747 to be produced is en route to its customer today. I remember the 747 being a big deal when it first came out. For an airplane type to be in production for over 50 years is pretty cool.
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