Tidying up a bit.

Spring is springing, and I need to do some cleaning. As is usually the case, winter brought sloth, lethargy, a general malaise… you get the picture.  Despite being upbeat as the kiddo turned one, and as we plan for this summer’s limited trip agenda, I’ve just been in a funk.  My Kentucky Wildcats lost in the Final Four, and since I felt they played lazy, sloppy basketball, I was indignant that they could squander so much talent and upset their perfect season.  My, I , I felt… was it ever really up to me and do I even matter in that arena?  No. That’s not who I want to be, that’s the funk talking.  Way too affected by a bunch of guys I’ve never met, playing a sport I was, at best, only ever mediocre at.  Best of luck in the NBA guys, I’ll be rooting for your replacements next year.

So, back on topic, I’ve been shut-out lately as it regards astrophotography.  Clouds, wind and high clouds, light pollution, the Moon, humidity… you name it, I’ve run into it.  Or have I?  It seems I’ve been shooting for the wrong targets.  Case in point: The Crab Nebula.  The astrophotos I’ve seen appear to not be too bright, but aren’t particularly dim either.  Thus, I was incorrectly led to believe that the little bugger would be relatively easy to see.  Nope.  Low contrast, small object, and the perils of all of the aforementioned confounding factors have continually conspired against me.  Even ‘long’ exposures with the camera turn out naught but a fuzzy smudge in the sky.  Not a ‘clean’ environment, and I’m not doing a good job of picking the things I can shoot, rather than flailing against the conditions.  As an aside, airplanes photobombing my astrophotography are still cool though:

Good views of Jupiter require better air than I’ve been getting recently, and more magnification than I can manage since my Barlow lens went on walkabout (it’s somewhere in the house… I’m just not sure WHERE).  The smallish swath of sky I have available through the trees isn’t currently offering up any alternate views, since Andromeda is gone at night for the season, and the Pleiades and Orion set too early for me to get any imaging done.  I can see plenty of stars, but am having issues getting anything ‘interesting’ in the viewfinder.  And therein lies the rub.  I’m looking for things to pique my interest, instead of finding the things I’m seeing interesting.  Clean the cobwebs out, and scrap the notion that I have to take ‘awesome’ pictures to enjoy being out with the scope.  If I’m limited to a small portion of sky, I should see what’s there, and learn about that.  Also, I think I’m going to have to switch to early morning observing so as to maximize family time.  Babygirl goes to bed after the sun goes down, so it might be better to level the tripod and run the power cabling in the late afternoon, and then just get up very early to observe.  It has the added benefit my being completely ‘dark-adapted’ when I wake up, if I can manage to get outside without too much light.  Plus, being a number of hours ‘later’ during the night, I should get a different set of objects to try and scope out.   Also, I think I’ve finally sorted out the ‘lollipop stars’ (you can see one at the left side of the previous image, above the light trail) issue.  Apparently Celestron was chasing this particular gremlin down for a number of firmware updates.  Some scopes took 3 or 4 versions to finally get the glitch fixed… I don’t know which one mine would have been on, but as of last night the issue didn’t creep up again after jumping to the latest firmware:
(Also upgraded the hand controller firmware while I was at it…)


On the motorcycling front, I managed to get the fork seal that was causing Ceto to drool in the garage sorted out.  Only after having to put leftover parts back in the fork.  Oops.  Being the 3rd time I’d pulled a fork apart yesterday, it only took me about a half hour to get it apart and back together (not counting the full 10 minutes trying to get access to the lower triple clamp pinch bolts).  No more weeping, and just in time for the best riding day of the year thus far.  I so wish I could have just played hookey today and bailed on work.  Also concerning motorcycles, the little Ninjette is going to be up for sale soon.  WHAT?!?  Yes, I have finally conceded that getting to the track is not going to percolate above the myriad of other things on our budget and calendar, so rather than letting the little bike sit, I’ll pass it along to a new rider.  Maybe even a newb rider… we’ll see.  I need to stick a battery in it and fire it up, but since I took the time to store it properly when we left HI, I shouldn’t have too many issues there.

Things done, things to do. I need to keep chugging around the house, and know that as long as I continually get rid of more stuff than I acquire, I will thin the herd eventually.  I’ve been minimally moving toward minimalism, but haven’t gotten completely squared away in that regard yet.  More spring cleaning.  I would like to post more, if only to document what’s going on somewhere outside my head.

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