Saturday, December 29, 2001

Stupid White Stuff

Again.... grrr... snow.

And aching back, shoulders, etc., from using the snowblower, then the snowshovel, and today using the roof rake-thingy to get the snow off the roof. Tired and achy are the feelings of the moment. Plus I broke the shovel. That white stuff gets heavy!

Isn't Spring just around the corner? Give me a thunderstorm with hail and 99% chance of tornadoes. That'd make me happy.

Unlike snow. And the holidays.

Saturday, December 22, 2001

Succumbing to it

"Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? It's the sound of... inevitability."

And sure enough, our good weather is coming to and end for the rest of the year it sounds like. There's a Winter Storm Watch out for us through Christmas Eve. YUCK!

Maybe - if we can believe Peter Chan - up to a foot of the white crap in certain areas. And we ain't talking cocaine. This is the cold, frozen water molecules that the insane people love to call snow. And goodbye to the warmth - after Sunday, it's possible that there won't be any high temperatures above 20°! Aughh! Someone take me away from here!

I realize some people like that stuff – I don’t. I hate having to bundle up to go outside. I just want to walk out in shirtsleeves and shorts. I guess I had better go out now while it’s still above 40° outside.

Good thing I don’t have to work on Monday. Traveling will be horrific. People aren’t used to the snow, and will drive like idiots.

Talking about this makes me sooo depressed. I can’t wait for May. But it’s so far off… Can’t anyone help?????

Saturday, December 15, 2001

Bored Now

Talked about being bored and not any energy to do anything. That was last night.

No one around (as usual), nothing on television. I was too lazy to throw a movie in the DVD player. I didn't feel like doing anything on the computer. I didn't feel like sorting photographs. I didn't want to call anyone (why should I be the one calling? If people want to talk to me, they can call here).

So I shut everything off and went to bed before 10:00 pm. How pathetic is that?

Friday, November 30, 2001

Now Down to Two

A sad day today. Word has come this morning of the death of George Harrison yesterday (November 29, 2001). With the death of John Lennon December 8, 1980, this leaves only Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. The music is a little quieter today.

Now playing on the stereo: The Beatles - 1

Wednesday, November 07, 2001

Coming Down from the High

Whew! Yawn! Am kind of tired and worn out right now.

I was up until 2 am putting my aurora shots on the website (check them out if you haven't - or actually want to), and then I had to get up early in the morning. Dawn Patrol early.

Up to work to put in a schedule request, then down to Corporate Color to pick up my slides. They turned out great, and they are now mounting them. The guys there thought the photos rocked, and mentioned they saw them on the television the night before.

Then... to GRCC (that's Grand Rapids Community College for you out-of-towners) to show the photos to Will (astronomy prof there). He took the digital versions off the website for his class PowerPoint presentation.

Then... out to the Post Office annex to mail the club's newsletter for the month. Since they know me out there, they wanted to see the photos.

I want to go back to bed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2001

It's Red All Over!!!

Last night, the sky was on fire.

Last night was one of the top ten aurora displays that I've seen around here. Not quite as good as March of 1989, but really close.

At 9:20 I got a call from Peter Chan - Chief Meteorologist at WXMI TV-17 - to tell me there were signs the aurora was starting. Since we (myself, Jeff, and my brother) were at the observatory, we walked outside to see a shaft of blood-red light going up in the northwest sky. That was the starting signal to get the cameras out and start shooting.

And of course, we had to get the word out while shooting. Between firing off the shutters, cell phones were busy: Kendall called all of his friends, while I rallied the astronomy troops - calls to Jake Bourjaily, Tom Slager, Rick Clements, Randy Mergener, Joe Blumm, and even a check in with George Lessens at WZZM TV-13. When the aurora went past the zenith and down to the southern horizon, I even put in a call to Ed Graff in California, Jim Ashley in Arizona, and Andy Harwood in Florida (later I read that the aurora was seen in south Texas, so Jim might have seen it. I don't think Andy did, thanks to Hurricane Michelle).

We shot all around the sky: north, south, east, and west. Even straight up. We were in the aurora it seemed like. At times the stars disappeared due to the intensity of the auroral display. The only thing that spoiled the event was the moon rising in the northeast, but it came up late enough that the most intense displays had passed.

I finally took my last shot at 12:25 am. 4 rolls of print film and 1 roll of slide film. I have the prints back already, and the colors are just as I remember seeing them. Reds, greens, yellows, and - even though I didn't see it visually - purple.

We had almost everything you could have asked for in aurora structure. Rays, arcs, columns, corona. No flaming arcs or streaming magnetic fields though. So in that respect, the aurora of June 1991 is better.

What a night! When will come another?!? (to paraphrase Shakespeare).

Saturday, November 03, 2001

Oh The Pain

I guess there's a bad side to spending most of the day outside.

Now, November’s in Michigan can be fierce, so it's great when you can go out without a jacket for the day. Unfortunately, when what you're doing is yard work to get ready for the unholy winter to come, it hits you later. I spent almost 6 hours outside blowing, raking, bagging, mulching leaves from the yards, in order to cut the grass for the last time this year. It was both fun and tiring, but it was a great day out. And to make it better, even though I was tired, I spent the evening at the observatory, becoming reacquainted with Saturn.

Now this morning, the pain set in. Sore shoulders, back, arms, etc. A little bit too much work outside. But hey! It felt good while I was doing it! Isn't that the way it always is?

Today's more of the same, and I'm even going to mow the lawn, since I didn't get to that yesterday. And tonight -- back out to the observatory. Maybe I'll stay out there long enough to observe Jupiter.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Ecstasy and Agony

Boy, this day has gone from the heights of joy to the depths of despair. Kind of.

Started out nice. Had plans to go out and photograph Julie and Ginger (Ginger's her horse, ya know). Got out to the farm quite a bit south of town around noon. I actually beat Julie there.

After getting horsie in, cleaned up, saddled up, we went out to the back fields so she could put the horse through its paces. I took a bunch of photos while Julie had the horse trot, canter, etc. Then we went to the back where the jumps were. Julie had to practice those, and was really happy that I was there to A) take pictures of it and B) to watch her and the horse for form, balance, etc. I was her "trainer" for the day. :) After about 1/2 hour at that, we took the horse back to the barn/stalls for un-saddling, brushing etc. We then went back out to the arenas, where I took even more photos of the both of them, some when Julie was trying to get Ginger to perform a trick (which she was doing great yesterday, but was now camera-shy). She gave up after a bit, and we went back to the stalls (again), put the blanket on the horse, and Julie put her back in one of the corrals while I loaded another roll of film in the camera. She changed into another outfit while I collected some of the other equipment I needed for the portraits.

She came back out in a few minutes, and we walked out to a couple of gazebos that they have on the farm. After a few shots there, we walked way out in the back of the farm in search of picturesque settings that I could put her in. We didn't find any, but I did take a few more on the walk. It was really windy anyway, and that didn't help the situation, as it kept blowing her long blonde hair around.

After a bit we decided to call it a day, and try again next week. I managed to get around a dozen shots of her, and will finish the roll(s) next time. Hopefully not as windy, but just as nice of a day. It was really fun being out there, and what was better is that she had fun doing that. I took off for home as she went in to put things away and do some more "horse-things." All in all, I think it was a good 3.5-hour swell spent. I only hope the photos turn out. I don't know why I am worried about it. I think I know what I'm doing, and I've got a beautiful subject.

This evening, I noticed my friend Greg is down at his parent's house. All the past few weeks, I've been saying that I was going to go down there when I saw his car. Now tonight, when I see it, I back out. Figures. Spineless weasel am I. Loser boy with a capital "L" on my forehead (despite what Crystal says). I guess I just don't know what to say if I went down there.

Oh well, trying not to dwell on it. It just figures. I've got no ambition, I guess.

Monday, October 15, 2001

Got Munchies?

I found out that my company condones/promotes drug use.

I was in the store yesterday, and found the following sign on a rack of items:

Halloween Mary Jane Assortment

Wow! We're selling Marijuana for Halloween! And I bet it comes it nickel/dime bags, along with the ever-popular "brick" and "kilo" amounts.

Our new slogan: "You've got the munchies for Halloween? We've got what you need!"

Monday, October 01, 2001

Topic? What Topic? Maybe 1001001

Did it again last night. Nothing really bad, just didn't pay attention to my actions. Consequently, I might have alienated a couple of people the way that I and a couple others were talking. Oh well. I always manage to put my foot in it where women are concerned. Not that it matters that these two would have any interest in me. It's just one of my many flaws.

And on a brighter note, today's another Binary Day. There are 9 of them this year:

10/01/01 - today

Fun, isn't it? :)

Thursday, September 27, 2001

Production Values

Today was so productive. Didn't do a darn thing except fool around with the layout of the website.

Last night was the premiere of the new Star Trek show Enterprise. I was cautiously optimistic for it, and rightly so. It's not as bad as Voyager (yet), so there might be hope. But I doubt it. Berman & Co. wouldn't know what to do with Trek if they were omniscient. The theme song sucked Klingon Targ bile. I'm right now listening to the song "Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling. That's the song used in the teasers all summer. Too bad they didn't use it. I could have lived with it.

Maybe I'm too picky. I thought it would be a lot better. Oh well. I knew better than to get my hopes up. I'll just look forward to Fellowship of the Ring in December. Oh yeah! And Buffy next week. And every week.

Monday, September 17, 2001

Thoughts about Wild Things

Just a thought entered my mind.

I just love seeing people around having parties, and knowing that I'm not ever invited (or welcome). It must be nice to have friends who live in town.

On another thought, it's real fun to be out under the stars - like last night - and see the stars, galaxies, etc., along with moving lights in the sky. And they aren't civilian or commercial aircraft. Just gives me a warm fuzzy knowing that the guys with the Right Stuff are up there on patrol.

We saw some on Sunday night, when I was helping teach GRCC’s astronomy class. Although there had been a slight let-up in the ban on flying, there wasn’t much up there. Looking skyward, we were seeing objects moving around. I called a friend of mine in the military, and when I asked him if he knew of anything flying tonight over West Michigan, he said – in a mockingly typical military fashion - “I can neither confirm nor deny that there are any assets currently on station.” Basically that meant he couldn’t tell me. But then he said “I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw some animals, like Eagles, Falcons, etc.”

An “Eagle” is an F-15 fighter, and a “Falcon” is an F-16 fighter aircraft.

Sunday, September 16, 2001


Well, I really blew it big time tonight (actually Saturday night, as this is now Sunday morning). And what's worse, I knew better!

But I let someone get to me. All the Zen and Sun Tsu in the Universe didn't help me this time.

I only hope the damage that I did can be reversed. Otherwise I will have ruined the best thing I had going for me in my miserable excuse for a life.

On another note, it’s been really weird being at the observatory, and not seeing any planes flying.

You get used to seeing aircraft and their contrails. But for the past few days, as the airspace is restricted to basically nothing, it’s eerie.

Sunday, August 12, 2001


Tired is the word for the day.

Last night I got to the hill a tad late ("stewardess, what exactly is a tad?") and rushed to get things ready for visitors' night. I tried to take a nap earlier, but it didn't work out. After enduring several hours of showing the "great unwashed public" the view of Mars and M17 through the scope (and having to put up with teenagers in the dome for 20 minutes - obnoxious brats), we got down to the business at hand: watching the Perseid meteors. Bob & Sara showed up, along with my brother and his friend Lee. Tom showed up with some friends of his - a young lady he's been photographing, and her brother. We all sat outside to get the best view, but that's all there was - a view. No meteors to speak of. From midnight until we finally packed it in after 3:30, I saw maybe 20 meteors. Not the advertised 75 per hour. The only thing to hope for is good meteor counts for the Leonids in November and the Geminids in December. (Note to astro gods: I want these hours back. I could have been sleeping.)

Bob & Sara (or Bob&Sara to keep them together) stayed the latest, and left at 3:45 when I did. Got home a little after 4, logged onto the net to post my observations to the newsgroups and my Michigan Astronomers group, then hit the bed at 4:30. Ah, bliss!

But not for long! No sooner than I fall asleep than the stupid PHONE RINGS! I jump up to get it, and notice that it's 7:30. And what's worse, it's a wrong number. I tried to get back to sleep, but couldn't. I went downstairs, turned on the TV to the NASA channel, and half dozed until 10:00, when I went to the computer show (purchases: more RAM, blank CD-R's, CD cases).

Kinda boring rest of the afternoon. I'm trying to get a few minutes to relax, as its hill time again tonight if it stays clear. I've got to enjoy the rest of today and tomorrow, because on Tuesday (I'm pretty sure) I have to go back to the hell that is work. The only bright side is that I'll get this roll of film developed.

Friday, August 03, 2001

Total Amount? Few

A few things tonight...

1. I was taking my evening stroll around the neighborhood, as I am wont to do recently, when I had a striking, strange thought run through my head.

As I was walking down the street (at approximately 10:00 pm), the moon - nearly full - was rising in the southeastern sky. With the scattered cirrus, cirrostratus and stratus clouds in the sky, the moon gave off an eerie glow. The sky around the moon was lit up, but some of the clouds just below the moon had a stringy, dark quality to them.

All of a sudden an image popped into my head of Tim Burton films (none in particular, just his style). Along with that I began running Danny Elfman's "Sleepy Hollow" in my mind.

Very weird, and it made for an "unnerving" rest of my 1/2 hour walk.:)

2. Possible bad news on the car front. Jim called from next door, and he's found a crack in the head. That's major problems. We're looking at buying a new cylinder head, or a used/rebuilt engine. Jim said we should fix it up and sell it. I would love to have that truck I saw. Can't afford it though, and with the cost of this car repair, I can't afford anything for a while.

3. I thought I was losing my mind a few weeks ago.

I just happened to have the TV on the Weather Channel, and the Local Forecast came on. Much to my surprise, instead of the bland, repetitive music they played, I heard the instrumental portion of "Layla" - performed by Derek & The Dominoes (Eric Clapton). Wow.

So tonight what happens? I've got the channel on again, and when the Local Forecast comes on, I hear the instrumental part of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" from Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album.

Makes me wonder what else is going to show up. :)

4. At work a couple of things happened. Jamie called me on my empty threat to rat her out about an inside running joke between us, because she knows I'd never do anything to hurt her. I told her I wished I wasn't a nice guy, she gave me a dirty look, when I then restated it by saying I wish I wasn't that predictable. Then Crystal said she didn't mind - and actually wanted me to - go with her to a hockey game. I really don't think she meant it. She was just trying to be nice to my face. I know people put on fronts, and I'm guilty of doing it myself. But I know the truth.

More later...

Monday, May 28, 2001

Synchronicity II

There must be some kind of cosmic synchronic thing going on lately. There have been a ton of coincidences that are giving me the willies.

  1. My friend Ron calls a cement contractor about some work that needed to be done at the observatory. The guy knew Ron, and went to school with him. Not only that, but I went to school with his sister.
  2. I'd been thinking about Sarah from the astronomy club, and lo and behold she shows up one evening. (See, it's getting weird).
  3. My Dad has people over to give estimates on putting in central air. One of the guys knew him from when my Dad sold auto forms. Another guy played little league baseball with my brother.
  4. Last week, I waited on a customer who I went to school with years ago (think Kindergarten & grade school). She remembered a few things, and about hanging out at the old ice cream shop at the corner with my old friend Greg.
  5. A few days later, Greg's sister comes in and I wait on her. She tells me to try and email him again, and her as well.

So far that's it, but who knows what else is around the corner? In fact, I was thinking about an exchange student I knew years ago, and when I went over to my friend Ed's house last night (he and his S.O. were in town from L.A. for the weekend) I had this strange feeling that she would show up - but she didn't. Maybe that broke the string. We'll see. What (or who) else should I think about? Maybe something will happen. Reminds me of a joke I came across:
"Stressing the importance of a good vocabulary, the teacher told her young charges, "Use a word ten times, and it shall be yours for life."

From somewhere in the back of the room, came a small male voice chanting, "Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda." "
Time will tell.

Monday, May 21, 2001

Missed Opportunities

Figures! All the fun things happen while I'm at work.

I'm standing doing my job, when over the intercom comes word that there's a Tornado Warning for us. Aughh!! And what's worse, I find out that there have been touchdowns, not just TVS's (tornadic vortex signatures, for you lay-people) from the Nexrad system.

One of the guys who I work with saw a vortex, and apparently a funnel passed right over work. Yeah! And also, Christie was up in the break room, and saw the damn thing pass right over!

Also funny is that I walked to one of the security people during this. He was holding a weather radio and listening to it. I asked what was going on, and he replied that it was none of my business and I wouldn't understand. Yeah, right. Me not understand. I've just been chasing weather since the mid-1980's. So I open my wallet and whip out the card I have from the National Weather Service - the one that says I'm a trained spotter. Well, this dude changed his mind right then.

Once again, I was in the wrong place.

Sunday, May 13, 2001


Wow! Talk about weird synchratic occurrences! Up at the observatory last night (for visitors' night) and having fun. After most of the public left (the "great unwashed," as we call 'em), Randy, Jeff and I are hanging out in the dome. I mention that I was thinking about Sarah, and about maybe trying to get in touch with her.

Cut to 20 minutes later. Randy had left, and Jeff went downstairs to see who was still around while I moved the scope. He comes back up and says that Sarah's outside! Woo-hoo! So much for my dilemma of calling her mom to get her (Sarah's) address.

Man, she still looks and sounds the same. Great as always. She's living on Colorado, and engaged to be married. Reminiscing ensued, but we didn't bring up the most embarrassing things in respect for her fiancé who was there.:) I won't even bring any of that stuff up here, in case they do look at this site.

I'll send her an email, and hope she stays in touch. There are always certain people you want to keep in contact with, just on general principles. Sarah's one of them.