No Context For You – December 29th

What I really hate is the fact that I’ve started to have hazy, half-awake, falling asleep, drifting off, stress dreams about Excel. The spreadsheet program. The one that I’m using hour after hour after hour at work and at home, most of the time seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The usual sort of stress dreams, minor nightmares, only instead of not being able to find my car or get my camera to work or find the hotel front desk in order to check out, I can’t get something to work correctly in Excel.

More importantly, I have a serious question. Something that’s bugged me about the program for years and years.

In order to shield certain information from view, you have the option to “Hide” rows, columns, worksheets, and so on. When you want to reverse that and show those “hidden” areas, the command is “Unhide.”

“Unhide?” WTF? Was that even a word before Excel de facto made it one?

Why not use “Reveal?” Isn’t that already a real word that means the opposite of “Hide?”



Filed under Computers, Deep Thoughts, Photography

Perched Junco

I’ve seen a Junco sitting out on the Christmas decorations once or twice, but it’s skittish. I finally got a picture from the living room through a break in the drapes.

It was cold and wet, but I’m sure that sitting on the fake, illuminated candy cane filled it’s little heart with joy.

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Filed under Birds, Christmas Lights, Photography

Our Sky Is So Much Not Clear

I think the word “opaque” comes to mind.

I hope some of you saw the planets. I’ll try again tomorrow. And for the rest of the week.

But tonight was definitely a no go.

There’s supposed to be a night launch out of Vandenberg in the next couple of days? Maybe? Weather permitting?

If the weather is like this, I won’t be watching. But if the weather’s like this, they might not be launching, so we’re even.

Again – desperately need the rain. But there’s a price.

But it’s very relaxing to listen to the rain and watch the lights.

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Filed under Video, Weather

All Of The Planets – If Your Sky Is Clear

There’s a thing going on this week where all of the planets (including Pluto), plus the Moon, plus Ceres will all be above the horizon and visible at the same time. Phil Plait has a great article about it with maps and so on.

In short, immediately after sunset, look to the west and you’ll see Venus right near the horizon, Mercury above it a bit in the twilight, then looking up from there you’ll see Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, with the Moon moving around in there from day to day. With binoculars and a map you can find Uranus, possibly Neptune, and Ceres, the largest asteroid. With a mid-sized telescope you can see Neptune, and with a big telescope and/or a camera set up you can see Pluto. The Earth, of course, is below you.

Wednesday’s the best day for this, but you can probably see it almost any night this week, adjusting for how the planets move a bit every day.

Assuming, of course, that you have a clear sky. It might be cold, but it needs to be clear.

We’ll be relatively warm, temps in the 50’s and 60’s, but it’s gonna look like this:

This is the storm moving in from the west. By noon tomorrow it’s supposed to be raining pretty steadily for the next ten days or more. Again, as always, we’re in year four of one of the worst droughts on record so all of this rain is extremely welcome. Except, of course, for that whole “rain = clouds = NO planets visible” equation.

We’ll see if we get lucky. I’ll take a peek this weekend every day around sunset. You should do the same.

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Weather

Christmas 2022

Cupcake down!!!

It was suffering horribly, so it was put out of its misery. (It was delicious.)

Meanwhile despite my common sense suggesting, demanding, shouting, and finally whimpering pathetically about moderation, I ate far more than I should have today. “Moderation” will resume tomorrow, as in, “I may not eat until New Year’s Eve.” But the food and company was great, gifts were received and given, and in general a good time was had by all.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday or a relaxing Sunday and are able to do whatever you need to do tomorrow, whether that be lying around like a beached whale, cleaning up after the present pillaging, or just relaxing after the stress of the this holiday and starting to prepare for the next one in six days.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Photography

Christmas Lights 2022 – The Tree

We’ve seen the outside lights – of course, there’s also a tree inside.

There might be another theme to our fall and winter decorating… Sorry, subltety isn’t one of my strong points.

As always, our tree decoration “theme” is “NO STINKIN’ THEMES!” Colored lights, white lights, bubble lights. Sporty’s annual aircraft ornaments going back almost 20 years, ornaments from when the kids were small, annual ornaments from when we’ve traveled after the kids have grown up and left. The star that has the motorized airplane towing a banner. You name it, we’ll throw it up there someplace.

It’s us.

I hope all of you have a wonderful and enjoyable Christmas tomorrow!

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Filed under Christmas Lights, Family, KC Chiefs, Photography

Christmas Eve Eve Hot Dogs

As I come into the kitchen to fix my plate I find the hot dogs already in the buns, with a whole smorgasbord of condiments laid out.

From the living room, she shouts, “Your hot dogs might be a little bit…charred. Put lots of stuff on them!”

“They look fine! Wait…did you put them in the buns already so that the charred side is hidden?”

“Of course, how stupid do you think I am?”

She probably learned that from my mother. At a very young age I realized that Mom would often leave one side of a grilled cheese sandwich a bit more “well done” than the other. That side was always on the bottom as the sandwich was served. By my teen years I would get the sandwich served still hot on the spatula with the top side visible, then plopped and flipped so that the other side could be seen.

Mom’s been gone for a while now, but somehow that family tradition continues on. I’m pretty sure I served grilled cheese sandwiches to my kids that way back when they were still at home.

Christmas Eve Eve. It’s been a heck of a week, lots of little victories, a couple of big ones, and still a ton of things to get wrapped up (see what I did there?) before the jolly fat guy slides down the chimney tomorrow night.

Hot dog powered, I will prevail.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Family, Photography

Skyscapes – December 22nd

A ripply line of clouds just after sunset, pierced with a long, thin arrow of a contrail.

Putting that extra two minutes of daylight to good use today.

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Filed under Photography, Sunsets, Weather

Sunset – Winter Solstice 2022

(Click to enlargenate!)

The winter solstice was about seven hours ago. Tomorrow, in the Northern Hemisphere, the daylight will last for a few seconds longer. South of the equator, the days will start getting shorter.

For us in the north, the light returns, the cycle repeats, the journey moves onward.

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Filed under Astronomy, Panorama, Photography, Sunsets

Christmas Lights 2022 – Music Center

The place is fabulous pretty much all the time, but the holidays are special.

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Filed under Entertainment, Los Angeles, Photography