Category Archives: Fireworks

After A Few Days Off

The problem with taking a four-day weekend, especially at an incredibly busy time of year, is that you’ve got to come back to work.

Mind you, I truly enjoy my job, what I do, and in particular, who I work with. (That’s not even bullshit!) But I also get to live in the real world, where there is stress and a limited number of hours in the day and my body isn’t 100% sure what day of the week it is or what time zone I’m in.

So enjoy this picture from the Christmas tree lighting at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. With a few fireworks.

I need some sleep.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas Lights, Fireworks, Photography, Travel

I Saw Fireworks!

We’re out of town, and I wasn’t thrilled by the idea of going to hunt for a local fireworks display, not knowing the areas, neighborhoods, parking, and so on. But there’s a third floor balcony on the hotel, looking out over the freeway toward the bay, so I figured there was a chance that some of the local communities might have displays that we could see. A few other folks from the remnants of the con thought the same, and we weren’t disappointed.

It might have been from a couple miles away, but it still beat what we’ve had for the last couple of years. I’ll take it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fandom, Fireworks, Photography, Travel

War Zone

The Fourth of July. Last year’s celebration were muted, at best, due to COVID. This year we have to celebrate (I guess?) extra hard, first to make up for last year, second because we survived. There might be a few other things to celebrate this year as well, like the fact that we still have a country.

Anyway, despite the fact that we’re in a severe drought, it’s dry as a bone, it’s been hot as hell, and all of these fireworks are illegal as hell – it was a freakin’ war zone out there for two or three hours. Still some going off now after 23:00.

Here’s what a small sample looks like.

Here’s what a small sample (different sample than the one shown above, to be clear) sounded like.

And here’s what the finale from the Warner Center show (or possibly the Pierce College show) looked like, the iPhone flipping in and out of focus, from about six miles away.

Happy Birthday, America.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fireworks, Video

Full Moon Rising With A Side Dish Of Eclipse

SOOOOOO much happening today! Bird adventures! Lizards! Airplanes! BBQ! Fireworks (all illegal – see my video on FaceBook!)

But we’ll deal with those later. Let’s talk about catching the full moon rising over the Santa Monica Mountains (between Tarzana/Encino and Santa Monica) while also being partially eclipsed! It was only a penumbral eclipse but that still astonishing and at least 100 x more beautiful than my pictures can portray! But I’ll share them anyway.

Thanks to the Star Walk app on my iPhone, I was pretty sure it was going to come up right about there. Which just meant I had to find a hole through the trees on the hillside below me.

For a view of the bigger picture:

From there it was a not-so-quiet yet relaxing couple of hours of listening to the barrage, along with the peepers down the hill, a couple of nighthawk’s circling above, a pair of owls pissed off with all of the explosions, and the wind through the trees.

I had put away the good cameras, but before I came in I took a shot at a picture using the iPhone which I didn’t think was up to the job. I’m glad I tried – I was wrong!

Upper right, way overexposed, the full moon. Dead center, bright through the tree, is Jupiter. To the lower left of center, just inside of that big branch from the center tree, much dimmer than Jupiter, is Saturn. Below it all, the San Fernando Valley in all of its illegal fireworks glory.

I hope you had a safe Fourth if you’re in the US, wore your mask, and stayed physically distant if you went anywhere.

1 Comment

Filed under Astronomy, Fireworks, Photography, Space

Music Of The Night – July 4th Edition

Between one thing and another we’re not at a fireworks display tonight, which is unusual for us. Be that as it may, it’s not like we don’t hear them.

Here’s the audio off of a video I tried taking with my iPhone a while ago. The moon didn’t show up for beans in the video, but the sound tells a tale.

Note that there aren’t any public displays of fireworks within at least ten miles of us – everything you hear is being shot off by locals. Of course they’re all blatantly illegal, and yes, the state is dry as a bone with brush fires everywhere. These are from Sunday, June 25th, a fire that was just a couple miles from the 78 homes we’re building in Santa Clarita:

Enjoy the pyrotechnics, everyone! Happy Fourth of July to the US of A!

As long as that big orange glow doesn’t start up in the dry brush near our (your) house tonight, we’ll be celebrating the 5th of July as well.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fireworks, Freakin' Idiots!, Photography

Multitasking On The Fourth

Okay, everybody remember that Juno arrives at Jupiter tonight! If your fireworks got rained out, or were yesterday (what’s up with that?), or are already over, or you’re not in the US and you’re just thinking that we’re especially wacked out today (BTW, you’re correct!), then hunker down in front of NASA TV and watch the show!

If you don’t have NASA TV on your cable or satellite system, or your fireworks are going on simultaneously and you don’t want to miss them, or you’re going to be at a ballgame (like we are), then watch it on your phone or computer or tablet or your freakin’ Apple Watch! C’mon folks, we’re in the 23rd Century here! (Actually, I don’t know if you can watch it on your Apple Watch. You should be able to on general principles alone – just sayin’.)

My thoughts will be will all of the thousands of folks across the globe that have worked for decades on this mission. Tonight’s one of the true do-or-die moments, with very, very little room for error.

To all of my fellow NASA Social tweeps at JPL, a few short miles from Dodger Stadium, where I’ll be – I’ll be watching, keep up the great work! And just on the off chance that any of you were thinking, “Damn, I really wanted to see that game tonight and the fireworks, but now I’m stuck being at JPL!” I have some nice seats on the third base side I could trade…

Head at JPL and Jupiter, body at Dodger Stadium watching some of this (these are from July 4th 2006 at Dodger Stadium):

IMG_2791 smallIMG_2807 smallIMG_2815 smallIMG_2829 smallIMG_2843 smallIMG_2850 smallIMG_2860 smallIMG_2875 smallIMG_2884 small

1 Comment

Filed under Astronomy, Fireworks, Photography, Space, Sports

The Sound You Hear

Well, THAT sound is the fireworks being shot off up on the hill by knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, pinhead excuses for human beings who apparently think the “EXTREME FIRE DANGER” warnings (not to mention the dozen-plus active brush fires in SoCal) are for everyone else. I know that the LAPD is probably stretched thin, but couldn’t we spare one officer to make sure these clowns end up sitting in a cell someplace until at least the 5th?

But the OTHER sound you hear is the wailing of the war drivers who can no longer mooch off of our wi-fi. (Note for the record – I have absolutely NO reason to believe that any of our neighbors are actually are doing this. They all are lovely people.)

We’ve been having more and more serious and more frequent issues with our internet connection for the last two weeks or so. Today I was able to take care of the problem. Our cable modem was years and years old and finally failing. It was relatively simple to swap it for a newer one at the cable company office. They also said that our connection speeds would increase significantly. (That would be a sweet byproduct of this upgrade!)

It turns out that our new modem has built-in, dual channel wi-fi. We had been using a separate wi-fi router before, but it hasn’t had any security on it for a while. It used to – I set it up when I first installed it. But some time in the last year or so it got reset and I got lazy and never put the security back in place.

The good news is that our cable company is now giving out modems with the security protocols enabled by default. To log in, there’s a thirteen-digit, random, alphanumeric password printed on a label on the bottom of the unit.

The bad news is that they don’t bother to tell you this or give you anything that might even vaguely resemble an instruction sheet or manual. God knows how the average lay person figures out how to log in, let alone change the security settings on the equipment. But when it comes to tech, I’m not the average lay person.

After googling for the model’s user’s manual, I figured out how to log in (without calling customer service!) and found the built-in utility for updating modem settings to be better than average and quite easy to use. I first figured out how to change the SSIDs to “WeLoveTheStarsTooFondly” and “ToBeFearfulOfTheNight.” (There are two because of the dual-speed access.) I changed the passwords, then changed the password and username to log onto the modem.

As a side note, does anyone want to guess how many of these modems in the greater LA area have the username still set at “admin” and the password still set at “password”? I’m thinking that greater than 50% is a sucker bet, and I wouldn’t necessarily bet against it being greater than 75%.

But here at Castle Willett we’re tight now. A good, secure set of passwords, solid security protocols activated, and the hardware firewall set to kill, not stun.

If we find our yard tee-pee’d tomorrow morning I suspect it will be from some frustrated war drivers.

The thought makes me smile.


Filed under Castle Willett, Computers, Fireworks

Things I Have Learned At My First Angels Game Of The Year

Angels Stadium remains a beautiful park.
The Younger Daughter is Queen of the Photobombs. Especially when the bombee is the lady who gave her a dirty look earlier when she yelled a Monty Python curse.

The crowds are tad sparse this year, especially for a Saturday night with fireworks to follow.
My daughter’s blue car looks purple due to the redshift as she passes us in the carpool lane.

It’s a good thing that baseball food is zero calories and zero carbs!!

At least it will be much easier than normal getting out of the parking lot tonight.

While the wi-fi at the stadium is much, MUCH improved, the PA system (at least in the nosebleed seats) still sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

The replay system this year could still use some improvements, both in speed and in accuracy.

I have a fitted baseball cap. With this übershort haircut, it’s too big (or, more accurately, my head’s too small) so it sits down on my head so far it rests on my ears, making it difficult to put my glasses on or take them off.

I absolutely HATE blown saves!

1 Comment

Filed under Fireworks, LA Angels, Sports

A Day For Celebrating!

It was the first day at my new job and it was fantastic! I think this is going to be a great experience for me.

And, it’s the last day of NaNoWriMo 2015 and I’ve “won”! I’ve hit 50,257 words in fifteen chapters, and I even know how the story ends (I think) in about five more chapters!

What do we use for celebrations?


IMG_2792 small

IMG_2886 small

IMG_2876 small

IMG_2865 small

IMG_2851 small

IMG_2844 small

IMG_2831 small

IMG_2818 small

IMG_2808 small


Filed under Fireworks, Job Hunt, Paul, Photography

Fourth Of July Adventure!

I hope you and yours are having a fun (and safe) Fourth of July if you’re in the United States – if not, Happy Saturday!

I’m at the Dodgers game with The Younger Daughter, looking forward to baseball, hot dogs, and fireworks. At the moment the big question is, “Who starts a Fourth of July fireworks game at 4:15??!” We shall see.

But in the search for adventure beyond the norm, we decided to see if we could get to Dodger Stadium using public transportation. Yes, LA does have public transit!


In theory we could have caught a bus a block from home and then switched to the Orange Line bus to get to the North Hollywood station, which is the closest subway station to our house. This would have taken an hour or more.

In practice, we drove to the North Hollywood station in twenty minutes. (In rush hour, it would have been well over an hour.)


The North Hollywood station is at the end of the Red Line subway. A train was just pulling in. We rode with many Dodger fans.

Mind you, this was not like riding the train to a Yankees or Cardinals or Nationals game, where 95% of the passengers are going to the game. For us it was maybe 10%. But that’s 10% in the land of the automobile and freeway obsessed. It’s progress.

We got off where the Red Line ends at Union Station. From there the Dodgers and LA Metro have a free bus shuttle up to Dodger Stadium.


So it’s actually a piece ofcake to get here using public transit. The bus makes a stop outside of center field and also at the top of the stadium behind home plate. 

Downtown Los Angeles looks like a postcard today.

The stadium is ready and has been upgraded a little bit each year, but as always with Dodgers fans, it’s a late arriving crowd. (A 4:15 game? Really?)

The big flag is out, it’s time to play ball! Let’s hope it’s as easy getting home tonight as it was getting here! (If not, maybe we’ll try Uber or Lyftfor the first time.)

Enjoy your holiday!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fireworks, Los Angeles, Photography, Sports