Telescopes and Learning About the Night Sky

This month and the rest of this year I will be using a telescope and learning about the night sky with my sister’s son. She found a used telescope for sale at one of those thrift stores that she like to haunt and bought if for the kid. Of course, neither she nor my nephew know anything at all about telescopes or astronomy. So she calls me up and asks me to come over a couple of times and show them how to use the telescope.

Now, I had a telescope as a kid and kept it on the balcony outside of my bedroom. I had a great view of the Potomac River from my bedroom and only one tree in the backyard that could block my view. I got my telescope for Christmas from my dad, after we both did a lot of research into the different types of telescopes and shopping hard for the best price. Of course, I knew in advance what the Christmas gift was going to be, but the cool thing is that it was EXACTLY what I wanted!

So, tomorrow night I’m heading over to her house. The least she can do is fix me a free dinner for spending a couple of hours over there. Although she is not a good cook. I don’t think she knows how to do anything but open a can of Chef Boyardi and plop it in a bowl so she can microwave it for 60 seconds. So, on second thought, I’ll order a pizza for delivery to her house and at least I know I’ll be fed while I do my uncle duties with the telescope.

Lazy Sunday and a Quarter Moon

This morning I slept in and missed all the good TV shows. There is a wonderful show early on Sunday morning on CBS, in a magazine format with interesting stories and some great photography at the end of each show – usually of a nature scene or wildlife of some kind. The stories are short, informative and entertaining. I do regret missing that this morning, but I think I needed the couple of extra hours to recharge my batteries after such a hectic week last week.

Yesterday I really pushed it and got all the errands run and everything done that I could possibly take care of so I don’t have to do much today. I cut the grass, cleaned out the car, and even made a trip to the landfill to get rid of a batch of recyclables that have been accumulating in the garage.

This morning I think I will read the Sunday newspaper, spend some time with my dogs out in the backyard, and fix a big dinner so I have lots of leftovers for next week’s lunches. Maybe a roast beef with mashed potatoes and a big batch of buttermilk biscuits – that is sounding really good and I bought all the fixings yesterday while at Kroger getting my week’s groceries.

That’s my plan. What are you doing today?

This Week Has Two Mondays

Yesterday was obviously Monday, but since it was Labor Day and most of us with good jobs had the day off from work, today is our work weeks Monday. I had a hard time all day remembering that it is Tuesday, as it really did feel like a Monday.

Here in Nashville, Labor Day means little. There are no parades, it is not the end of summer as we have at least another month of warm weather, and school started back in August. It is just a day to go to the Lake and fish or swim, or a few lucky ones go out of town for the 3 day weekend.

Back in the Northern Virginia area, Labor Day is a big deal. It means the end of summer. Swimming pools close the day after Labor Day. School starts the day after Labor Day. People with beach houses have to go for the last long weekend with nice weather and pack up everything to shut down the house for the winter. And we do have parades and festivals all over town.

What does Labor Day mean for you? I was glad to have a day off and got a lot of yard work done, washed and waxed the car, and then grilled some steaks for my friend Eric and his girl, Wanda. Only thing that would have made it better was if I had a nice boat and could have spent a few hours sailing on Percy Priest Lake.

Joined a Blog Network

There’s a group of people on Facebook who have made a page to share their thoughts and experiences about blogging. It’s been several good discussions and I was reading reading through the comments last night to see if they had any tips I could put to use. Its usually helpful to network with other people and learn from their experience.

The person posting the most was Linda Bradshaw and she obviously has a lot of experience with blogging. She was posting general topics and thought provoking questions, trying to engage all the group.There seem to be a lot of people using the Blogspot and free blogs now. To think that these didn’t even exists as recently as 10 or 12 years ago makes the huge growth even more remarkable. Ten years ago I didn’t even know what a blog was, and now everyone has one.

One thing that I thought was odd is that she doesn’t want people to post the URL to their blogs on that group. She said that people would make reports to Google. That bothers me quite a bit. I would like to think that people with a common interest would not stoop that low. I guess some people are not happy unless they are making someone else’s life miserable. I know people like that.

It would be interesting to see numbers on how many people have a personal blog and actually keep it up for a long time. I heard that most people lose interest as soon as two months after making a free blog, and that 40% of bloggers stop after only 4 months. I guess that makes the long time bloggers a special breed.

Air Show This Weekend

This weekend might mean Mother’s Day to most people, but to fans of airplanes and the military, this weekend is Air Show Weekend.

Last year was the return of the annual airshows to this area. They had to stop for several years because of funding and sponsorship problems. But they worked it out and came back last year. They always do the show in May, when the weather is mild and the not too hot to be standing on the tarmac for an entire day. Just a shame that they do it on Mother’s Day, as there are already a lot of traditional activities here tied into Mother’s Day celebrations. Last year’s show was a fantastic weekend, even though it rains for a short time in the middle of the show.

This weekend will be very much like last year’s except that the Blue Angels will be flying this year. That will be a real treat. I can’t wait to watch them.

photo of jets at air show 2011

Last year it was not the Blue Angels, it was the other flying team, the Thunderbirds. There is only one other flying team that performs at air shows in North America, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. The fighter jets that they fly are the newest accomplishments of aviation engineering and military might. If you have a chance to attend an air show, it will be an impressive display and a memorable day for the entire family.