September 17th, 2017
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 09:24am on 17/09/2017 under ,
It's hard getting into new music when you're old.

There's various reasons, cultural and perhaps biological, that make it harder to passionately love bands that you hear in your 30s and 40s as much as bands that you encountered in your teens and 20s. I do try to listen to new bands—and support them financially—as much as I can, but I often find that even when I fall in love with a new-to-me band, half the time it turns out they they've been around for 30 years and I'd just never heard of them. I just don't bond with new artists as much as I'd like to.

So when there is a band that's new and hits all of my musical buttons, I get evangelical. I'm gonna do that for a bit. About a year and a half ago, I clicked on a semi-random link (someone complaining about a thing) and accidentally heard a single from a Sudbury band called Murder Murder who described themselves as "bloodgrass" and played nothing but murder ballads.


How do I describe this band beyond that they're a phenomenally talented bluegrass band with a morbid streak as deep as a 19th gold vein on your rival's stake? If your favourite Nick Cave & the Bad Seed albums are Murder Ballads and Kicking Against the Pricks, you think Deadwood was criminally underrated, and you find goth-hipster-cowboy a compelling aesthetic, you will dig them.

One of the things about them is that after hearing all their stuff, I knew that they would be fantastic live. Of course, the main problem is that, in the short time I've been obsessed with them, they have played everywhere but Toronto. They have in the past, but they mainly seem to do folk festivals in towns I've never heard of. I mean, they're big in Sudbury, but that is a bit far to go for a gig.

They finally announced a Toronto show, the launch party for their third album. By the way, their publicity is terrible. It took some actual digging for me to find out things like "when" and "where" and "is this a thing that is happening for sure?" It appeared to only be advertised on FB, with no advance tickets, and some initial uncertainty as to where the venue was. But! Found all that out, dragged my mother, who does not like country music at all but enjoyed this almost as much as I did, and at last got to see them live.

I was nearly as excited for the opening act, based on the description alone. Manslaughter are an all-female collective outlaw band. I would love to link you to their stuff, but this was only their second gig. You can add them on Facebook, though, which has links to all the members' other projects.


manslaughter



They did not disappoint. They're a bit like Neko Case except that there are 4-6 of them (depending on the song/show) and I am in love. Their best song is called "Murder Murder" and is completely adorable and I just hope they release an album soon so that I can play it for you all.

Murder Murder, as predicted, were phenomenal. Intense, rowdy, punk as fuck, and just a joy to listen to. Their new album, which I am currently listening to, is as excellent as their last two. Beyond the novelty concept (which, don't get me wrong, I adore), they are just really, really musically talented. You should check them out so that I do not obsess alone.

murder murder
Crappy cell pictures are a Sabs concert tradition.

Anyway here's their latest single: And have two more for the road, just because they're two of my favourites and they played both last night.



ETA: Why is formatting in DW such bullshit? Can I not just embed videos and move on with my life?
September 16th, 2017
sabotabby: (doom doom doom)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 09:33am on 16/09/2017 under
 Creepy dream.

at least I was creeped out )
nanila: Your plastic pal who's fun to be with (star wars: k-2so)
[personal profile] emelbe and I set our alarms for 02:30 and 02:35 respectively, just to be sure we got up in time to walk over to Caltech for the end of mission. We dressed and poured coffee into ourselves, made sure we had our badges, and got out the door in plenty of time to arrive before 04:00, the official start of the event and NASA TV coverage.

20170915_115359
Walking up to Beckman Auditorium (aka the wedding cake) from the south.

As it happened. )
Mood:: exhausted
Music:: no
September 15th, 2017
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
Thursday was meant to be a quiet day, since we all knew we had to be up and at Caltech by 4 AM for the thing we’d all been preparing for: the actual end of mission.

In reality, there were some impromptu science meetings at Caltech, one of which I attended in the morning. I slipped out just before noon, because I had someone to meet.

I headed down from Beckman to South Mudd to see my former JPL postdoctoral supervisor, from back in those heady days when I was still a lab scientist, for lunch. I hadn’t seen him since 2006. I eventually remembered where his Caltech office was. I could’ve found the JPL one much more easily, but it would have required me to check in and get a badge, which seemed a lot of faff for lunch. Besides, there are nicer places to eat in Pasadena. Once in the correct corridor, I spotted his technician hovering outside the door, plus another UK person from the physical chemistry community whom I’d never met but knows the bloke pretty well. There were lots of smiles and hugs, and we decided to head down to a restaurant over on Lake Street.

We had a very pleasant hour of conversation, reminiscing and catching up. I had a shock on hearing that their children, whom I remembered as children or young teenagers, were now grown up and had careers of their own. Of course I knew that would have happened in the intervening decade-plus, but it’s not until you actually speak together about these things that they’re driven home to you. They were equally shocked on learning that Humuhumu has started school - and has a younger sibling! The bloke and I had been remiss in our communication, clearly. We talked of science, of course, and of politics and its effects on research direction, and of our worries about the future due to Brexit and the current US administration.

I am still kicking myself for forgetting to take a photo. You must instead picture me with a group of men: one starting to disappear into the frailty of old age, peering out earnestly from large-framed glasses, one solid and grey-haired and mostly silent with twinkling blue eyes, and one cheeky-grinned middle-aged bear of a chap with a shock of brown hair and a beard. All sitting together in a booth of a Japanese restaurant, eagerly shoveling the contents of bento boxes into our faces, occasionally bursting into roars of laughter while cheesy ‘90s music played in the background.

We parted with promises not to let another eleven years pass before we met again. I was left with the warm glow you get from (re)connecting with friendly, kind, intelligent people. It was a lovely way to buffer against the excitement and strain of what was to come on Friday morning.

20170914_214801
Chilling out in my JPL t-shirt before the end of mission.
September 14th, 2017
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
On Wednesday morning, [personal profile] emelbe and I saddled up and drove over to the Jet Propulsion Lab for a tour. We put her trusty sat nav on, and I noticed that instead of a car, the little icon was an x-wing. She turned the audio on. “Driven well you have,” said Yoda. “In a quarter of a mile, turn left. It is your destiny.”

It was decided that it was fitting for Yoda to be allowed to direct us to JPL.

20170913_171945
JPL tour badge with Curiosity on the front. We got to keep these.

Tour, with side trips down memory lane )
Mood:: accomplished
September 13th, 2017
elistaire: (dreamer elistaire)
posted by [personal profile] elistaire at 08:22pm on 13/09/2017
I had been meaning to get this one up for a long time, and I finally did tonight.

Here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/12088164

And beeej's remix is here: http://hl-remix.livejournal.com/22712.html

(I hope she gets it up at AO3 so it isn't lost forever. Maybe a few kind words from the rest of us....?)
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
I flew into Los Angeles on the Sunday before the last-while-Cassini-is-still-in-orbit-around-Saturn Project Science Group meeting began. I was feeling dodgy when I got up at 6 AM, but I napped in the taxi and took some ibuprofen, and hoped that the feeling would go away.

It did not.

I made sure my usual mobile pharmacy (ibuprofen, paracetamol, Rennie) was stocked in my rucksack before I boarded the plane, and was glad I'd done so about three hours into the flight when my fever started spiking. I alternated ibuprofen and paracetamol every two hours. The flight attendants kindly granted all of my requests for cold water/cans of ginger ale, which were frequent. It was one of the most miserable long-haul flights I've ever had.

I spent nearly all of Monday in bed apart from a brief foray out to get a hot Thai curry into my belly for lunch. This paid off on Tuesday, and I was able to spend half a day at Caltech to dial into the penultimate operations meeting. (There will be one more after the crash, but obviously we’ll no longer have an instrument status to report.) I was excited about this, because I had been saving up something for a very long time.

In fine fettle was the other option )

to be continued
Mood:: fighting sleep
September 8th, 2017
nanila: Pokemon Go 2km Egg Hatch (pokemon go)
posted by [personal profile] nanila at 09:56pm on 08/09/2017 under , , ,
First, I received my Cassini Grand Finale stickers from the delightful [instagram.com profile] marka_design. I put one of them on my 15th and final Cassini lab notebook, and I plan to put the other on my laptop and take a photo of it when I'm at the end-of-mission events next week.

IMG_20170907_142354_265
My red lab notebook with one of the Cassini stickers.

IMG_20170907_142354_264
A photo of a page of ops checks (deliberately blurred) in my lab notebook, with the focus on the two Cassini stickers as received.

There was a JUICE meeting at my institute this week. It was not for our instrument team, but for another that we work closely with. They convinced the project scientist to attend. He gave us an informative and exciting presentation, but most importantly, he brought a small stack of the very first official ESA mission stickers. I actually didn't snaffle one because I went off with my counterpart on the other team for an hour and a half splinter meeting. However, the PI from their team kindly saved us each a sticker.

IMG_20170908_151017_871
The first official JUICE mission sticker, showing Jupiter, the Galilean moons and the JUICE spacecraft. This will go straight onto my new laptop when I receive it. It seems oddly fitting to be retiring one laptop and beginning to use another right at the end of the Cassini mission.
Mood:: a gratuitous icon post
Music:: children whuffling in their sleep
location: bed
September 6th, 2017
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
20170901_105145

This is Sad Batman. Sad Batman, a black crayon rendition on orange construction paper who looks a lot like a Christmas tree with a bat head, is sad, "because he lost Wildstyle and Emmett". This is a reference that will make no sense if you haven't seen The Lego Movie and hence will not make you LOL as hard as I did.

On a completely different note, check out who's fashion-ready for the Cassini End of Mission. We were at Marks & Spencer buying school clothes last weekend when Humuhumu spotted this white fluffy jumper with pink sequin ringed planet. I couldn't resist.

IMG_20170903_160549_007

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