WEEK 35 2020
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Saturday - Hot. Windy. But somewhat clearer. The fire to the south is out.
Still dragging a bit, but things need to get done.
I needed to measure something, and went looking for my micrometers. They were right where they should be...or at least the empty boxes were. I think I've mentioned before that the handyman S and I used had a habit of disappearing small valuable items...
Speaking of which: the little scope arrived, left on my porch. I heard the delivery guy drive up, but by the time I got to the front he was already driving away. Didn't bother to ring the bell, which bothers me a bit, the porch is pretty exposed. On the other hand there is just about zero crime out here, so no big deal.
BTW, dropping the Explorer from my policy didn't gain me anything from AAA, in fact it raised my cost by $20. The way they look at it, and it makes sense I guess, is that when I was driving the Explorer, for an estimated 30% of the time, I didn't have it insured for damage, like the RAM is. So their exposure is actually greater. Since it's a bigger, newer, and safer vehicle it all cancels out, almost...
I made the mistake of trying to go to Home Depot on a weekend afternoon, then Lowe's. Gahh. Parking lots were FULL, stores were crazy inside. I ended up walking out without getting anything. Well, it's just wall construction stuff, nothing urgent that I can't pick up next week.
Friday - Still pretty hot, but actual blue skies, a nice change.
We had another fire start on the hill to the south - this one was on the AV side of the hill, just above the aqueduct I think, and there was a lot of immediate response. I imagine all the units mopping up the Lake Hughes fire were right nearby too.
Dental appointment late morning...didn't do much after the root canal. I'm getting more inured to these, but it does take it out of you. But this is, hopefully, the last of the major work. There is a fitting next week, which will be fun as always.
I went by the bank afterwards and deposited a check from AAA that I found. Usually I just toss the vast quantities of mail I get from them, but since I'd just dropped the Explorer from the policy I thought it might be worth looking. It wasn't about that, it was, instead, a $40 check!
So now I'm going to go through the "TO BE SHREDDED" box and open up all the AAA stuff, looking for free money.
Thursday - Hot and hazy, though the smoke has diminished and the sky is blue-ish at the zenith.
My sister mentioned she had a "virtual" job interview with SuperMicro, up in the San Jose area. We agreed that being "virtually hired" used to mean more. Heh. I was surprised to hear that Super Micro was still around, it just "feels" like an old company that would long ago have gone under and been eaten by a big company. But they are going strong apparently.
She also said that the winds had shifted and the smoke from the huge lightning complex fires was blowing out to sea, and that it was fairly clear there.
I have downloaded and installed Office 365, and run the little app from Microsoft that supposedly will let VbScript run against it, we'll see. A quick look at the code shows me casting stuff as CINT, for some reason. I only do it in that one place, so I'm guessing that was part of the specification, back in the day. I can't find my notes, so I can't be sure, but it's an easy fix if that's all it is. I'll need to set up directories and some dummy files to try it out though.
I went out with the binoculars and a planisphere for a bit, but it was a bust. All you could see was the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. Essentially no stars, it was so hazy.
Wednesday - Hot and just a little smoky.
My back was feeling better, so in the morning I went out and finished the last bay of the block wall in front. I actually just meant to back-fill around the finished portion, but my back wasn't hurting after that, so I went ahead and finished the last 12'. It went OK, it was getting warm but it wasn't horribly humid. I ran out of small bricks for the cap though. I'll have to pick those up later in the week.
Remaining is the two side walls, then some sort of quick Xeriscaping out front.
In the early evening I carted the C8 outside, and let it acclimate. About 10pm I went out, did a rough alignment with Polaris, and tested things. First I aligned the Telrad, very easy. Then I did a rough collimation test with Polaris out of focus: things looked great, the shadow of the central mirror was dead center. I couldn't do a high power test because it was smokey and the 7mm eyepiece I have is horrible, no Airy fringes to be seen!
It was still smokey and hazy: Scorpio and Sagittarius were completely invisible, as was the upright to the cross in Cygnus, nearly directly overhead. But the moon, Jupiter and Saturn were visible, and I used the Telrad to easy get them into view.
The just-past-half waxing moon in the 20mm Televue Plossl was amazing, as clear as I've ever seen it, despite the weather. Jupiter and Saturn were great too, though I won't say that I could resolve Cassini's Division on Saturn. The planets shadow obscuring the rings behind it was clear however.
The old 12mm and 7mm lenses did nothing. In fact the 7 won't even bring stars to a point. Looking forward to the new-to-me eyepieces!
Mars was low in the eastern sky, and Neptune is somewhere, and I was
going to get up and view them at 3am, but couldn't do it...
Tuesday - Hot and smoky, but better than yesterday.
I filled up the truck - it looks like we did 1100 miles at 21mpg. Not bad. Particularly as AH has kind of a lead foot and he drove on the way up to Yerington. I'm not sure we broke three digits on the speedometer...if not then it was close.
We took Highway 6, and that was neat. There are some really desolate and barren areas along there.
I paid some bills: the money I took out of savings seems to have "aged" and is now spendable. Yay.
I bought a couple more of the Televue Plossl-style eyepieces, online, used via Cloudy Night Classified, a 15mm and an 8mm. They should show up in a week or two.
I also bought a small refractor, 70mm, as a grab-n-go scope. I really want a 102mm, but they can't be found right now, and they are big and heavy enough to be on the border of not being easily portable. Unless you get a $1500 APO. The 70mm is cheap enough that if it falls over or gets eaten by a bear I won't cry. Costs less than a single Televue eyepiece. If it doesn't work out I haven't lost much.
Agena Astro replied to my email, but I can't be bothered to even look at it. I doubt I'll every buy anything from there again.
I did put batteries in the Telrad, and it lights up, so I need to get out and try it. It was so smokey that I didn't bother to go out, but perhaps tomorrow!
Monday - Hot. And still rather smoky.
I was pretty tired, so not a lot got done. There are bills to pay...
Yerington was neat, it felt like Vacaville in the late 1960s to me. Even surrounded by fields of onions...
On the way coming back I passed an older Ford Ranger towing a fishing
boat. On the back was a sign that said: "I identify as an F-250!".
Sunday - On the road, back from Carson City.
It was a nice trip - it rained over the pass taking the 395 south, which was neat. There was a fair amount of traffic, probably the most non-holiday traffic I can remember.
I stayed with my brother Saturday, but since he didn't seem inclined to do much just decided to head back on Sunday rather than Monday.
We had a good time, went out for a nice lunch on Saturday, hung out with a friend of his, but it was too hot to hike and too busy to go shooting. Oh well.
The fire plume from California extends all the way across the state, and across Nevada, mostly to the north of CC, but there was definitely some. About as much as the Antelope Valley I'd say.
Yerington, further east and a bit south of CC was much nicer.