November is shaping up to be a busy month. I'm ready to begin my career as an amateur astronomer. I had written before about the Galileoscope, and they are very neat! I bought a $15 tripod from Amazon and I think it will work great. Now, if only these damned rainstorms would go away and give me some clear sky! Here is a picture of the setup. You are probably wondering how I took the picture and also ended up being in it there at the bottom of the frame. Keep wondering.


NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, and I have written about that a little. Fifty thousand words in a month. This could cut into my star gazing time, but I have a decent story idea that I think will be fun and has an opportunity for some social commentary. It will undoubtedly result in an unimaginative plot with hackneyed writing and terrible social commentary. Ah well. I might not even make it through the month.

On top of this, I have to travel for work this month and prepare a training presentation for our national sales reps. I don't mind public speaking. Its just that I am not all that good at it.

So, a busy month, to be sure. Which reminds me of this email I received recently.


After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said:
'Let me see if I've got this right.
'You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning.
'You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride.
'You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job.
'You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the final exams.
'You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.
'You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.
'You want me to do all this and then you tell me. . . I CAN'T PRAY?

I emailed the person who forwarded me this and told him that if she had that much work to do, then she didn't have time to waste praying. Get to work, lady!

But on a more serious note, I included that because I know I will be busy in the coming months and I am so thankful that I don't need to waste my precious time on my knees talking to myself in order to feel like I am living a fulfilling and good life.

And remember: Stay Skeptical and Think Atheist

Views: 50

Comment by Reggie on October 31, 2009 at 12:33pm
I didn't do NaNoWriMo last year, although I did want to. I'm really not knowing what to expect, so I have made no goals other than to hit a daily word count and use the weekends to put in a little extra. A friend who did it (and won) last year shared with me his spreadsheet that let him know if he was behind or ahead of the average number of words per day he needed to make 50 thousand.

I think I can do it if I am having fun with the story and just enjoying myself, but there is that element of discipline in order to get to 50 thousand in just a month.

I saw this link on a Twitter feed that has, what appears to me, very helpful advice for this project.

It sounds like you will be busier than I will be. If you do it, let me know. Maybe I'll start a support group here at T|A for it. But, it sounds like you have your hands full. :(
Comment by Dave G on October 31, 2009 at 10:39pm
Hey Reggie, share a link for that tripod? I could use one for my Galieoscope, too.

I'm also considering the NaNoWriMo, particularly since I'm going to have several days off next week (sans net access) that I can spend writing.
Comment by Reggie on October 31, 2009 at 10:52pm
Here is the link for the tripod. I used it tonight to look at the moon. My only complaint so far is the panning. I may have to play with it to see if I can get a smoother pan (in all directions). It is not smooth and it is hard to "lock on" with precision. The moon gave me some trouble, but I can foresee smaller objects being much harder to align the scope with.

But, for $15 dollars...I can't really complain. It's rather nice for the price.

If you do the NaNoWriMo, let me know.
Comment by Jason Brown on November 1, 2009 at 1:21am
Hey Reggie - nice one on the scope! I personally have just bought an 8-inch newtonian reflector and am happily reconnecting with old friends in the skies :) once you have all the panning sorted out you should be having a real happy time :) I'm a keen observer of the souther skies (living in NZ of course) and Jupiter is very prominent at the moment - always a good thing to lock on with, as it's so bright.

If you're interested in going a small step further, astrophotography is a hobby that's not as hard or expensive as it would seem, and having pictures is awesome. If you;re interested in doing this on a budget, check out my blog - 1200mm !
RE: the panning - add a little oil to your mount is one solution that has worked for me when I was using EQ mounts (I use a dobsonian now - more stable) ... hope it helps.

Good luck with NaNoWriMo!
Comment by Reggie on November 1, 2009 at 1:36am
Thanks, Jason! Astrophotography is something I am hoping this may lead to. Seeing some of your photos on your blog is encouraging. I figure I am a couple years (at least) away from that in regards to knowledge and especially equipment.
Comment by Reggie on November 1, 2009 at 1:38am
Oh, and thanks for the advice on the oiling the mount! I'll give that a try.
Comment by Jason Brown on November 1, 2009 at 2:00am
No problems, and seriously? A couple of years? My friend, I use a $200 dollar camera and a mount made from a computer backplate to get those shots :) And that's 200 New Zealand Dollars there, so for someone in the States ... you are looking at $US 150, and it could get even better :D

Comment by Dave G on November 1, 2009 at 2:57pm
Thanks, Reggie. Tripod on the way. And I signed up for NaNoWriMo this morning, and I'm already 500 words behind. :D
Comment by Reggie on November 1, 2009 at 5:11pm
@ Dave - Sweet! My username on NaNoWriMo is "reggiekrh". That is also my AIM screen name. I'll be on there as I write through out the month. I have at least two others that I know are involved and are part of my personal support group. If I can keep the pace I had today, I'll be done in two weeks. Of course, if I could eat like I do on that one day I stick to my diet, I'd lose 40 pounds in no time. That never seems to happen.

@ Jason. I was being very conservative by saying two years. If the equipment is not that expensive, then you are right. I need not wait that long.


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