Friday, September 16, 2011

What's new - August and mid-Sept Edition

I started writing this entry at the beginning of September, but then time got away from me 'cause I was trying to have the satellite spotting stuff in here. But it's just too much ... so I'll get the sat stuff up later.

Once again it's been a month (and a half) since I've updated. Good golly. I barely check email once a week now. How sad is that???

The latest and greatest thing is that I built my first new computer in 7 years. It's finally up and running. And it's bad-ass. It's a Quad-Core AMG 3.2 GHz w/ 8 GB of RAM (with two slots left where I can upgrade it to the max of 16 GB someday), a 1 TB HD (small, I know), a dual-layer DVD-burner (I didn't see the point in getting a blu-ray player since I've been comtemplating getting a dedicated bluray player anyways), a 500 W power supply, a fairly decent ASRock mobo and a case that looks like a f'ing spaceship. The case itself was much mroe awesome than I even realized. It has a hot swappable 2.5' hard drive bay. You just take the drive and plug it into the front. Good thing I had that 100 GB drive from the laptop laying around! It's fast as all hell and I get giddy every time I get to use it.

We said goodbye to the minivan about a month ago. It was a good vehicle while we needed, but the gas prices were just killing us while it was getting like 16 MPG. Now we're in a Ford Fusion getting over 30 MPG. Woot. We likes it.

We went to the zoo the other day. Lots of animals were out. Both polar bears were out and swimming. The otters were swimming. The penguins were out in force. The wolves were running around. The elephants were hanging outside. Even the Pallas' Cat was out and about. And then the family ate Skyline. Tasty!!!

I was excited to see that in July 2011, Red Bull finally got past litigation and are now (presumably) proceeding with the Red Bull Stratos project. The plan is to put Felix Baumgartner in a gondola attached to some balloons, send him up 120,000 feet (that's like 23 miles or something, let him jump out in a space suit thingy and them, hopefully, have a free-falling human break the sound barrier. There are 4 world records in there: 1. Altitude record for freefall, 2. Distance record for longest freefall, 3. Speed record for fasted freefall by breaking the speed of sound with the human body, 4. Altitude record for the highest manned balloon flight. They were supposed to try last October on the 50th anniversary of Col. Joe Kittinger setting the majority (if not all) of these records in 1960, however literally 3 weeks before they were going to make the attempt, someone claimed to have contacted Red Bull with this idea initially but were left out in the cold, so they sued. As of July, the have amicably settled their differences. Game on! Go Felix!!!

Don't forget the super awesome Ben Folds 3 CD Retrospective is being released in October. W00t!

I'm still looking up license plates. I've upped the ante as well, I'm also looking for truck, trailer, motorcycle, dealer, temp and state govt plates as well. I've got got over 30 of the car plates. Not much of anything else, though I do take pride in spotting a California motorcycle plate.

We have too much stuff. The wife is making dents in the crawl space as I type this. I might have to hire Ian to sell some stuff for me again, though he says that teh ebay action is for poop as of late, so... who knows.

August is turning out to be a pretty decent month for sky watching. There was the Perseid meteor shower, and it's also been cool enough that the mosquitoes haven't been too horrible. This past week was great because the moon was 'off-phase' and wasn't up for most of the evening. I spotted my brightest objects just the other night. It was a flare from an Iridium satellite which clocked in at -7.2 magnitude. to put that into perspective, the lower the number the brighter... the sun is something like -26 and a full moon is -12.7. The brightest ISS sighting I have had was -4.6, so this nearly doubled as the brightest object I had seen. My August sightings thus far (something like 60 objects) are below. I'm nearly 3/4 of the way to my 1,000 object mark which is pretty cool. And Resurs 1-4 (ye olde faithful) is coming back around again for several months which means I should be able to hit another goal of seeing a single object 50 times.

Hope all is well with everyone else. There was a record show last weekend that I totally spaced on, but I'm kinda recorded out (though I still like to peruse around). Next show is Nov 12th according to my postcard.