Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Annual NaPoWriMo Post, 2015

It's that time again-- National Poetry Writing Month. The idea behind it is to get people writing poetry (hence the name). The one "rule" I'm aware of is to write a poem every day. It needn't be a terribly long poem, and it needn't be shared with anyone. I've been sharing my poems here, though I've tried to restrict my writing time to be relatively short so that I don't try to be too perfectionist about things. I've "won" NaPoWriMo five years running, I'm hoping to make this my sixth!  I really enjoy the month, and my most-visited post on this blog is a poem from 2012's NaPoWriMo. Even better has been some of the camaraderie I've been able to enjoy and people I've been able to meet through NaPoWriMo!

In past years I've tried to have a theme-- in 2010 I devoted each of the 30 days to a different Major League Baseball team. In 2011 it was all chemical elements. Since then I've focused on space and astronomy. I kind-of plan to do the same this year, though I'm going to allow myself to wander off into other topics if the mood strikes me. I'm on a spate of extended travel, so if I'd rather write about the Alps I'm going to do that. :)

In the past I've also made an offer to my gentle readers, which I'll again extend: I will happily host any poem you'd like to share. You can do it anonymously or credited. Just get ahold of me here in the comments (or otherwise if you have other means) and we'll work something out.

Come join us, won't you?

Intro posts for:
NaPoWriMo 2010
NaPoWriMo 2011
NaPoWriMo 2012
NaPoWriMo 2013
NaPoWriMo 2014

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Astronomers Song (Part 2)

Way back in 1990 I wrote "The Astronomers Song", which has been a bit of a go-to song of mine ever since. It focuses on three giants of Renaissance-Era astronomy: Tycho, Kepler, and Galileo. It's a fun little song, and I've always liked it.

Occasionally, I'd think about adding more verses. Over the last couple of days I did just that, adding some much-needed diversity to the mix by singing about Caroline Herschel, Maria Mitchell, and Annie Jump Cannon.

I also happen to be at the telescope right now, observing at the Radcliffe 1.9-m at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland. I'm in the middle of a long trip and brought my guitar along for company. The observing cadence right now has basically 10 minutes of exposures, then a minute or so of setting up the next one, then 10 more minutes of exposures. Every hour or so there's about 10 minutes of monkeying around to find a new target.

I figured I'd put those two things together and record a quick video of the new verses to the song, which I'm dubbing "The Astronomers Song (Part 2)". I look pretty bleary because I'm in the middle of an observing run and I'm getting over a cold, so please don't judge. :)

Also relevant music:
OBAFGKM (song in question in the lyric "the mnemonic lives on in song")
The Astronomers Song (In-Jokes with Myself version)