Monday, June 29, 2009

Teenage Wasteland

Those mysterious space blobs are now a little less mysterious. To recap: last month astronomers found powerfully energetic blobs--the scientific paper actually called them "blobs"--at the very edge of observable space, some of most distant objects ever recorded. At the time the leading theory was we we witnessing the violent births of baby galaxies, with baby black holes at their centers.

As it turns out, they are teenagers. They are galaxies going through all sorts of crazy changes before maturing and stabilizing. James Geach, the lead researcher of the study, said that the chaos "is due to the violent processes occurring in the galaxies, black hole growth, starbursts, mergers. They're having a final 'tantrum' before they're done growing and then 'passively' evolve to the present day.

Sound familiar?

NPR was reporting rather breathlessly last week that Enceladus, the geyser-spouting moon of Saturn, has liquid salt water seas under it's crust. It might be true: Cassini flew through the geysers last year and, according to one set of scientists, found evidence of salt water in the geysers. That is deeply cool, in that salt water oceans were the cradle of complex life on Earth. However, the same issue of Nature has a paper from another team of scientists from Boulder, who say there isn't enough sodium in the samples to support the salt water ocean hypothesis. So the jury is out.

And NPR is a little bit busted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Furniture and piles of boxes drift around the house like ice floes. The larger chunks--couches and tables and comfy chairs--have found their spots in corners, along walls, in the center of rooms. The smaller bits, us included, float about bobbing among them, unanchored.

I love the house. I hate moving.

Here's a cool story about the house I heard from the previous owner. Apparently it was the home of a railroad tycoon, and when he died at the railyard, the railroad took over the house and permitted the widow to live there, as long as she offered the second floor up to boarders associated with the railroad. She went along with the arrangement. I imagine she had no choice. I like to look down the length of the second floor hallway and picture what it might have looked like. Almost makes a person wish for ghosts.


Another story: the guy who told us that one, the previous owner, lovingly restored the place with his wife. They lived here eight years. Then they divorced. Clearly he loves the place. You can tell by the way he talks about it. He has mentioned several times now the parties they held in the backyard, the Christmas lights, the goldfish pond, the patio. How it all looked. Or how they found the fireplace at an estate sale and the hassle involved in getting it shipped here. Most of these wistful anecdotes end abruptly, as he moves on to another subject, embarrassed, distracted. Houses are a pretty potent metaphor for marriages, for families, for lives. Gotta be tough to fix one up, only to turn around and sell it.

He's kind of a ghost here too. Along with the railroad widow.

We'll add our own histories to the house, eventually, and become like ghosts ourselves, our stories passed along by word of mouth. Or blog, in this case.

There are no stories yet. We're still unpacking.

Monday, June 22, 2009


There is a pleasing symmetry to receiving a Happy Father's Day blessing from your kids in the morning, and passing one on to your own Dad in the afternoon.

The only blemish on the day was provided by those damn Mets.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sneak Peek

Stairs leading down to the front door. And to one of the countless piles of unpacked crap, there to the right of the door. That's a hand-painted mobile of the solar system, on top of the box.

Dig that groovy colored tile at the base of the stairs.

Living room. Yes, those curtains are pretty gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

And the wooden fireplace mantle and frame is deeply, deeply cool.

A handful of wooden doodads that will eventually be added to the fireplace around the mirror as detail.

Detail from one of the doors.

More detail from one of the doors. This is a metal panel laid into the wood, about where your hand lands when you push the door open. Which I assume is the purpose. There are lots of these about the house.

We are all moved in. Exhausted, and a little overwhelmed. But we did it.

Back to work.