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Pain Day

The good news is that a referral from the dentist (because no one can figure out the discomfort I’ve been having in my teeth for the past ten months) to a endodontist has hopefully found the problem.

The bad news is that I’m now the proud owner of a root canal that I had ZERO expectations of when I got out of bed this morning. And what I thought would be an hour (maybe two) for an exam turned into an all day ordeal of drilling, probing, cleaning, refilling, and waiting for hours to get prescriptions filled.

The post-surgery, at-home instructions say, “It is normal to have some soreness after a root canal. This can vary in severity from very mild to substantial…” Just out of curiosity, define “substantial,” because this really and truly hurts like hell.

“Happy Monday!” my ass!

And to top it all off, before the ordeal started the endodontist promised me that if I was good and didn’t cry I would get a sucker and a sticker. I was. I didn’t. But it was all a lie, there was no sucker, there was no sticker. To add insult to injury, I had to pay a $158.80 co-pay. I get that life isn’t always fair, but that’s freakin’ ridiculous!

The good news is that Tuesday has got to be better than this, right?

I’m a tad zonked on the meds, trying to avoid doing anything to aggrevate the pain, like, say, breathing or blinking or having my hair grow, so here’s a random picture to hold all y’all over until I’m a bit more on this plane of existance. (BTW, I’ve been taught that “all y’all” is the proper form of a address for a group of four or more. I’m assuming that at least four of you are going to read this.)

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Venus & Crescent Moon In The Palm Trees

Pretty much what it says. It was the first time I could see the sky in the west at Sunset in many, many days, so I took the opportunity.

Tonight there’s one of the biggest solar storms in many years hitting the Earth and there are amazing auroras being seen all across Canada, the upper tier of US states, and as far south as Iowa, Kansas, and Northern California. Many other places that could see these unusual aurora (Chicago, Michigan, many others) are clouded out. Timing is everything and Murphy’s Law rules.

This far south, 34.2º, we won’t be seeing them. (But, yes, I went out and checked anyway.)

If you happen to see this post in the next couple of hours (early morning hours of Friday, May 24th) and you’re anywhere near the mid-US or parts northward and your sky is even a bit clear … go take a peak.  Let me know if you see anything, especially if it’s spectacular.

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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Sitting At Home On Valentine’s Day Night

We NEVER go out for Valentine’s Day. (Long story.) Except yesterday a good friend & coworker let me know that she had tickets for a play for tonight and something had come up so they couldn’t go…

SURE! We would love to go!

It’s my first visit to the Pasadena Playhouse, and we’re seeing Sondheim’s “Sunday In The Park With George.”

It’s going to be great!

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No Context For You – January 14th

There’s probably only one person who might read this who would recognize it, so for you there’s context. Sort of.

For everyone else, you get to wonder how little sleep I’ve had recently and how many times a night I’ve been getting woken up with leg cramps. Or maybe it just shows.

Getting old is not for the meek.

And the thought for the day, thanks to Dr. Julie Gurner (@drgurner) on Twitter:

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More Excellent Noise Tonight

Yesterday I noted that my watch warned me on Thursday about the noise levels at the Kings game.

There will be slightly fewer folks here than at the Crypt on Thursday. Capacity here is 17,500 vs 20,000 at Arena – but our band tonight will be a LOT louder.

It’s night #2 at the Hollywood Bowl for Danny Elfman’s Halloween 🎃 concert.

The moon was setting as we climbed the hill.

The crowd is packed – this is a hot ticket. The use of legal recreational pot is widespread, “No Smoking” signs be damned, and those of us not partaking are in danger of a contact high.

The opening act was loud and okay, but I didn’t catch their names and I have no urgent need to track them down.

Now, the full orchestra is assembled and momentarily it will be a Dead Man’s Party – literally!

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Focus & The Search For Flow

Thinking a bit this weekend about process and goals and methods, priorities and evaluating all of the same. The good news is that I’ve allowed myself (or forced myself, perhaps) to take that time and let my mind wander.

It always seems to come back to “balance” as a lynchpin. When time is tight and deadlines get near, I tend to get ultra focused on the goal. That’s good – but if you get too focused on that goal you can miss other issues and opportunites and get blindsided. Don’t lose track of the big picture. Focusing on landing the plane on the numbers and on the centerline is good, unless you lose sight of the flock of seagulls that you’re about to fly through with negative results.

There’s a thing folks talk about these days called “flow,” where you’re clicking on all cylinders, operating at a higher level, just churning out high quality results like they were flowing magically from your fingertips. I’ve occasionally gotten into the flow, and it is a sweet, sweet feeling. One aspect of it for me is that it’s not stressed or high pressure or tense. When I find the flow I’m relaxed, loose, and totally balanced. Think of a major league baseball pitcher who’s throwing a no-hitter or perfect game and it’s just smooth, like he’s on autopilot and can do no wrong.

But that’s wrong as well. You can’t be on autopilot, you have to have situational awareness, you have to be in control.

Which brought me back to the idea of “focus,’ but in a photographic sense. With my DSLRs, for “normal” photography I often have the camera set to autofocus, which is good and fast and easy most of the time. But I’m finding out that more and more, particularly with things like astrophotography, bird photography when they’re not in a simple location, critter photography where they’re trying to hide like their lives depend on it, then going to manual focus can be critical. Shooting into the shade at the base of the tree with a lizard there trying to look a lot like tree bark can fool the camera’s electronics. Peering into the sunlight and shadows of some lush fruit tree, your camera doesn’t know that you want to focus on that bird-like shape instead of those leaves. And looking at the Moon rising through the pine trees, some sensor and software designed ten or fifteen years ago doesn’t know to ignore the branches and make the Moon as sharp as possible.

This picture and the first one are a matched set, taken seconds apart with different techniques for focusing.

Keep track of your focus, assumptions, and situational awareness. Search for the flow – it’s out there. You can find it.

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Accurate, If Not Acceptable

How does one get the “jet lagged” (for lack of a better term) without ever leaving home?

WTF was coating that apple fritter?

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New Neighbors?

We already have two house finch nests out on the back porch, but they’re hidden well, tucked up behind a pair of outdoor speakers that the landlord had installed back when he lived here. However, we have a lot more finches around than those two pairs. They’re horny and flitting about all year around (they can have a couple clutches of eggs per year) and it looks like a third couple has started a nest.

The nest from two years ago is just to the left of this, two roof segments over. These pair of finches has been checking out all of these little compartments for several weeks, and it looks like they’ve finally settled on this one.

Good choice, with those couple of vines anchored up there, gives them a good base of support to build against. Some of their building material makes me think they found a coffee filter or some other trash to use. NONE of this was there yesterday, but by this afternoon they had a nice bit of construction done.

Later in the day they both came back several times to add on and to scout lookout positions. Lucy (the female) is up in the nest and Ricky (the male) is perched in the vines below the thermometer.

I’ve had a talk with them about how they’re very near the door to the back porch that we use all day long and we won’t bother them, but I don’t know if they got the message. Right now they’re still taking off like a bat out of Hell every time the door opens, just like the two right above that door, behind the speakers.

This may take some getting used to, by all of us.

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Evening Stroll

My watch bitches at me if I don’t get up and move around once an hour. I tend to take short walks around the yard, front or back, or down the block a house or two.

Tonight I noticed that the two street lights that have bedeviled my astrophotography and ISS photos for the last four years are both out. With the twelve day old moon 96% illuminate above it’s still easy to see, but for at least a hundred yards or so between working lights it’s strangely NOT like being in the middle of a huge metropolis.

Think what it’s like out there away from the metropolis and all of those working streetlights, porch lights, cars, stadiums, and so on. I’ve seen it, used to live there, but it’s been so long. LA’s pretty at night, Jim Morrison’s “city of light,” but I miss the dark sky and the stars.

Soon. I hope.

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Working Class Rose

Looking at some of the other roses that have been blooming in the last week, many are to me the equivalent of beautiful actresses or models. They’re the epitome of beauty and grace, hovering on the edge of perfection. They’re like the champion dogs at Westminster, meeting the standard established for “roses.”

This one didn’t give me that vibe.

The vibe I got from this rose is “working class.” This is the rose that isn’t going to be spending any time on a pedestal, being admired for “perfection.” But for all of that it’s no less beautiful, no less aromatic, no less stunning in its subtle colors and enormous ball of petals.

This is a “Rosie the Riveter” of roses (yes, I did that on purpose), getting the rose job done and getting it done well, without worrying about any extra effort on useless style points. It’s big, it’s brash, and it will kick your ass (and cut your fingers) if you don’t give it the respect and admiration it deserves. This rose didn’t come from Beverly Hills where the beautiful people lounge, it comes from Philly and has a nine to five job and the attitude to go along with it.

I love this rose!

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