You Have To Go Through This To Get To That

If you want to take a couple of days off and go to see some friends north of the border, not only do you have to get a ton of work done on the move (which is progressing) and at the office (where we’re still mid-audit but surviving) and at the hangar (where it always seems to be a losing battle to stay current), but then you have to deal with THIS abomination:

I reserve the right to be grumpy tomorrow. Especially crammed into a middle seat.

I know it will be worth it. But still…

Look out, Toronto. Here I come!

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Filed under Paul, Travel

A Lovely Thing In The Sunset Sky Tonight

It was stunning – the pictures might have been a touch better if I had been able to grab a tripod, but given the last few days of panicking and packing, I’m not sure I could put my hands on a tripod in less than about an hour (or six) if my life depended on it. So holding my breath, being really still, bracing on the neighbor’s mailbox, and shooting a lot of pictures and hoping for one or two that didn’t suck will have to do for tonight.

The two-day old moon is on the left (370,557 km away), Venus on the right (225,892,785 km away).

The 6% crescent of the moon is illuminated by direct sunlight – the rest of the moon is illuminated enough by reflected Earthlight so you can see the dark mare areas.

With a better setup and a bit more magnification, you would see that both the moon and Venus are showing the same crescent shape and (to an excellent first approximation) the same percentage of illumination.

Angles! Geometry! Science! Math!

It’s also just very pretty, dangling up there in the twilight.



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No Context For You – April 16th

Yep, that’s pretty much the way I’m seeing the world these days. Not sure which way is up most of the time. Things that used to take me 30 seconds to put my hands on now take 30 minutes, assuming I can find them at all.

This might be a definition of “winning” that has so far evaded my ken.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Photography

That Feeling When – April 15th

That feeling when you hurt in places you didn’t know you had places after four days of intense physical exertion in a big push to get stuff moved out of the house prior to escrow closing, either to storage or to the trash or to someplace where it can be donated, and everything is hurt and bruised and you just want to hold very still but the gods have a wicked sense of humor so all of that dust you’ve been sucking into your lungs throughout this ordeal now has you sneezing and when you sneeze you involuntarily clench every muscle in your body and every muscle in your body screams out in agony and then you have to sneeze again and you’ve become something like a badly designed toy that does nothing but hurt itself and it would be really funny if it were happening to someone else but it’s not and excuse me I have to go start sneezing again…




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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Music, Paul

Slower Than The Speed Of Smell

Last night I posted some quick pictures at the last minute about 23:50, pausing in the middle of a marathon packing and panicking episode. Then, because this really HAS to get done this weekend, I went back to loading the truck.

Being a good neighbor (even though it doesn’t matter because, hey, we’re moving away!) I was working hard to keep the noise down. I didn’t haul any of the big metal shelves up the big metal ramp into the big echoey metal truck, I tried to step quietly, etc. Which was going well. Right up until the point where something in the garage made a big metal screechy sound.

Ever seen a Rube Goldberg machine?

I make a big metal screech sound, standing near the entrance to the open garage door…

…which made the dog across the street two doors down start barking madly…

…which startled and freaked out the skunk that was trotting down the sidewalk on my side of the street…

…who did what skunks do when threatened…

…which, being just 50 or 60 feet from me, suddenly made me want to gag, vomit, and die, not necessarily in that order…

…which didn’t matter to the skunk, who was no longer being threatened and was now in front of the open garage and seeing all of the light figured something was up (perhaps he’s been talking to the lizards?)…

…which left me gagging and dying and trying to figure out how to dissuade the skunk from coming INTO the garage while at the same time not startling him again.

The skunk finally decided that there was probably nothing edible in the garage and the Freds would just have to figure it out on their own. But I got to spend the next hour and a half wondering if anyone in the neighborhood had a spare gas mask.

You’re right, Donielle, it’s an ADVENTURE!!!

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Filed under Castle Willett, Critters

Moving Out & Moving On – April 12th

This is going to be a long, exhausting weekend.

The “plan” was to load up tonight, take to storage tomorrow & unload, then load up again tomorrow night, then take the second load out and unload on Sunday. Maybe even a second load on Sunday! Aim high!

19:30, there’s that palm tree and the sunset. Let’s make the magic happen!!

Three hours later, about the time I figured I would be fully loaded, I’m maybe 40% loaded.

Four hours in, I’m a little more than half loaded. Perhaps the timeline needs some revision…

They say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If I live until Monday, I’m going to be one BAMF!!

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ISS Pass, April 12th

Again there were some clouds, but having learned a couple of lessons yesterday…

Being later and darker, I went back to longer exposures. These are all five second shots, again combined with StarStaX 0.70. Part of the allure to tonight’s pass was the way it was going to be going right past Orion, which is clearly visible just to the left of center.

FYI, the stars aren’t misaligned or smeared because the tripod moved – they’re trailing because the planet moves! Over the course of these twenty-two exposures in 2:02 the tripod was reasonably still, the ISS rose in the lower right and headed toward the upper left, one of those 737s headed into Burbank crossed the upper right corner, and the planet I was standing on was rotating so that it appears that the western horizon in front of me is rising up to meet Orion. (Conversely we could think that we’re standing still and Orion is “setting” in the west, sinking down toward that horizon, but why be conventional?) If you blow the image way up, you’ll see that each of the bright start trails is also really 22 little lots in a line.

Having gone overhead up past Orion (and I notice that I once again bailed about three exposures too soon before moving the camera) I swung the camera off to the south and got in five more pictures before the ISS disappeared behind the coastal clouds.

Practice makes perfect. Now, if I just had some really dark skies I could try some really interesting stuff. I might have to leave Los Angeles behind to find those dark skies, though.


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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space