Mostly-Full or Slightly-Empty

Last night we were driving back from San Francisco (details forthcoming) when we spotted the moon a few degrees above the horizon. This was around 7:30, so it was still before sunset, and the moon was rising. We noticed that the moon was not quite full, with a little bite taken out of it at the bottom.

We wondered whether the moon was nearly full, or just past full.

I said, “There has to be a way to figure this out logically.”

My Dad said that this is an empirical problem, so he was doubtful we could reason our way out of it.

I said, “Well, we know that on average there’s more than one full moon per month, and so we ought to be able to figure out from that whether the moon rises a little earlier each day, or a little later. And if we know that then we should be able to figure out whether it’s nearly full or just past full.” I decided that since there’s more than one full moon per month, that meant that the moon was rising a little earlier each day, and that meant that that moon was not quite full.

About 20 minutes later I said, “The moon looks a little more full to me now, so I think I’m right.” Much laughter ensued.

I think my reasoning was a little off, mainly because what I really need to know is whether the moon rises more than once per day, and using “full moons per month” as a proxy for that is not right, because they’re not the same thing. Indeed, since our months are somewhat based on the lunar cycle, “full moons per month” is a circular argument. Well, sort of.

But it turns out I was right anyway, since the full moon is tomorrow.

Which goes to show once again that it’s better to be lucky than good.

Visitor and Visitation

A busy few days. But when aren’t they?

Wednesday I went to gaming. Lots of people are going lately, since Susan is expecting her and Subrata‘s first child any day now. Maybe any minute now. And when that happens, I expect we don’t have regular gaming for months. Who knows how long? So I stuck around until after 10, and we played two games, both of which I finished second in. Which seemed perfect, since it seems like I usually finish second. 🙂

Wednesday night also marked the first night of my vacation, since Thursday afternoon my Dad flew into town for a week of mayhem. Well, really a week of driving around the area and seeing the sights and hanging out and talking.

Unfortunately (not that this is his fault) his arrival coincided with a heat wave which spent Thursday breaking heat records around the region. It broke 100 degrees in my city, and was uncomfortably warm until at least 8 pm. Ugh. We sat inside and tried to stay cool in my non-air-conditioned house, in which the temperature got up into the 80s even in the relatively cool downstairs. But eventually it did cool down. I was glad not to feel obligated to participate in Bike to Work Day – brutal!

Fortunately other things – like his flight – went smoothly. It’s been about 4 years since Dad last visited, so it’s good to have him out again.

Today was still very warm, although not as bad. We drove over the hills to Half Moon Bay and had brunch at the Main Street Grill, and walked around downtown. Then we bought some bottles of water and drove to a nearby beach where we walked along the lovely path atop the bluffs overlooking the beaches. There was a nice breeze, the waves were crashing loudly into the shore, and there were lots of people and wildflowers to watch as we went along.

Then we drove south along the coast, stopping at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, and then at the Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve, where we walked out a mile and a half to see the elephant seals who were nesting and lying in the sun along the beach. I’ve been there before, but not in nearly ten years. They’re pretty neat to see, but the hike out is moderately difficult, especially getting over the sand dunes at the far end of the trail. We made it, though, and learned a lot from the docents positioned by the lions. But we were beat when we got back to the car.

We drove back via Santa Cruz, where we stopped briefly at the lighthouse. It was a lot cooler in Santa Cruz than it had been farther north. We also watched surfers who seemed to be having an especially good batch of waves to ride – at least, compared to what I’ve seen other times I’ve been there.

We met up with Debbi and had dinne at The Counter, and came home to cooler weather, opening up the windows to get the house cooled down. As I write this, it’s down in the 70s outside, and it feels like the worst of the heat has passed.

Which is good, since it will be much easier to enjoy the weekend if we’re not trying to duck into air conditioning at every opportunity!