Gone Swimming

Going through the pics on the camera to put up my fantastic view of the eclipse (sacrasm) I came across some pics I took one day. My son had a friend over, and my brats older brother and his pal were on their way to the river to go swimming, of course they wanted to go with them. I nixed the younger group from going. I am responsible for any kids that come to stay here, and letting them run off with the bigger kids, unsupervised, to the river was not my idea of properly looking after them.

So they were bumming around obviously stung by my adult decision, and I thought why not take them to the creek? It’s just down the road and there are usually good swimming holes dotted along its course. This perked them up, and we dressed appropriately, grabbed the insect repellant, and headed out in my 3/4 ton, 4WD Chevy.

We got to the creek, and as we go creeking often I have a walking stick that lives in the bed of the truck, walking stick in hand, and sprayed for skeeters, we headed off.

Along the way I spotted some fungi growing out of the creek bank, it was sporting a bright color hue that caught my attention. The damn focus on this camera is whack, but you can see it’s pretty cool:




Then we walked on down the creek where the really good swimming hole used to be. It wasn’t there anymore. I mean it was there, but we had some heavy rains earlier in the year and the old swimming hole had a log jam right in the middle of it. So we backtracked to a spot that looked inviting, but we passed by it thinking the good swimming hole would be there. Anyway we got to the hopeful spot and they made the best of it.


We stayed for a while and headed home. Not long afterward the two older boys came back, the swimming hole they went to at the river was overgrown with grass*. They didn’t get to go swimming. Ha!

*Several years ago while I was still diving some idiot bass fisherman from Texas, who thought there wasn’t enough cover in the river system, brought with him a sample of some sort of aquatic grass. They know it is from Texas because the state tested it’s DNA, and found where it came from. Anyway the grass was started way up river from our location, but it soon spread our way. It has become an infestation of enormous magnitude. Along the river banks and anywhere there is a shallow ridge, and there are many, it is covered up by this grass. I used to encounter this grass often while diving and it was a nightmare. It would get so thick I could not get through it, and have to abort the dive and move somewhere else. Besides being a major inconvenience to divers and boaters, it is also an eco disaster. I often wish they could find and prosecute the fucking moron that introduced this invasive species. An entire river system infested with this grass. Because some jackass fisherman knows best. I get angry every time I think about it… Think good thoughts, get back to swimming, lets not end this post on a sour note 🙂


The Eclipse, That Wasn’t

After a day and a half of getting my gear together. Taking a telescope off off this mount, removing another telescope from its mount, then putting the first scope where the other one was, twice. Which doesn’t sound difficult, but it took literally 50 trips to the shop to get the right hardware figured out. Then testing each of my two solar setups to make sure they were ready. Then scouting out a good spot to shoot/view from, because my view to the west is compromised by trees. Then loading everything up and driving to scouted location and setting it all up…

The clouds rolled in just in time to wash me out completely.


That was my view. It did not improve. I was totally bummed out from the experience. But, as usual the internet is a great place to see what you may have missed. APOD has a great pic of the event here:


To add insult to injury the clouds cleared out to become crystal clear skies not long afterward.

The next evening a friend of mine from Florida, a guy who bought one of my paralellogram mounts a while back, called to tell me there was a very new moon in close conjunction with Saturn that night. The same location for my missed eclipse was perfect for this new opportunity, sorry didn’t get any pics, but we were able to see both very close to the horizon and watched till they rolled out of view. This helped my mood a lot, having some success right after a huge failure got me back on track.

Got to take the wife for a follow up visit today to get the Frankenstein staples removed from here abdomen. She is much improved and getting around a lot better now. Still sore, still slow and carefull, but better.

Partial Solar Eclipse For Most Of N. America Tomorrow Evening

I will be spending much of today preparing for the eclipse tomorrow. (10/23/14) Here in W. Tn. we should see around 40% coverage, just less than half of the sun eaten by our moon. I am stoked for this event, for two reasons. One the forecast calls for clear skies, and two I am just that much of a nerdy science loving geek.

The eclipse will begin right around 5:00 PM CST.

Standard boilerplate warning. Do not look at the eclipse directly. Do not look at the sun with binoculars or a telescope without proper filtration, unless burning the eyes out of your sockets sounds like a good time. I have heard that a welders helmet is safe, and not safe, so that one I would call risky. Old cheap telescope kits used to offer a solar viewing eyepiece, they should not be used if you have them as they have been proven likely to explode, that sounds fun.

The only way to properly view the sun, or an eclipse, is to use a telescope or binoculars with proper modern filtration. More specifically with either a Mylar filter or a white light glass filter. Or you can use a decent quality telescope as a projector. Setup a white board, and let the telescope project the image upon the board.

There are Ha (hydrogen alpha) telescopes built specifically for viewing the sun, they are the cats meow, but terribly expensive. I wish I had one…

There are also solar viewing glasses on the market that allow you to look at the sun safely.

Then there is the option of building a cheap solar viewing box, with a shoe box and some tin foil. Instructions abound on the internet. When I was a young lad, there was a total eclipse where I lived. Our school teacher had us all bring in supplies to build one of these, and I was able to experience my first total eclipse with it. It was an amazing experience I still remember to this day. When the sun goes dark the birds and critters go quiet. There is an eerie calm I will never forget. The box worked like a charm.

Here is a link to one such solar viewer made from a box, although the one I had as a kid, we just cut a viewing hole in the top of the box, and did not stick our head in the box…?


Another one here, remember the longer the box, the bigger the sun appears through the viewing hole.


I will be setting up with two telescopes. One a 90mm achromat* refractor by way of the projection view upon a whiteboard, the other a nice quality 80mm apochromatic** refractor telescope using a full aperture white light filter. I hope to get many pictures. I used this same setup a while back for the Venus transit with pretty decent results. (I should dig up those old pics and post a few)

Most of N. America will experience this event. While not as spectacular as a total eclipse, a partial is still pretty cool, so get properly rigged up and go out there to see it! I am sure it will be live streamed as well, the internet is good for stuff like that, but there is nothing quite like actuall experiencing events like this.

Oh…in 2017 there will be a total eclipse of the sun. The maximum duration of this eclipse will be an hours drive from here. Guess where I will be?  🙂  The eclipse will be viewable from where I live, but I can gain precious seconds by taking a short drive. I can’t wait.

* Achromat refers to a refracting telescopes converging of color. An achromat focuses most, but not all, of the colors in the spectrum to the same focal point. Plainly speaking you will get a violet fringe on bright objects.

** Apochromat is a refractor lens designed to more adequetly focus the spectrum, reducing or eliminating this violet/purple fringing. The apo requires much more work to get done properly, resulting in a higher cost/ better peformance ratio.

It’s Good To Be Home

As has been mentioned in some comments recently the wife came down with abdominal pain 2 weeks ago yesterday. It was bad enough we went to the local emergency room at 4 in the morning. . They sent her 60 miles by ambulance before noon the next day, suspecting an abdominal blockage, or intestinal kink. After several days of no food, and pumping the stomach of the fluids in constant manufacture there, plus daily x-rays and multiple cat scans with no improvement noticed, they decided to do an exploratory surgery.

Upon entry they immediately saw the problem was an abcessed appendix. It had ruptured at some point, and continued to fester. Appendicitis being a bacterial infection, a lot of the surrounding area was inflamed with pus pockets. With the appendix removed, and the area cleaned up as much as humanly possible, she was left to recover.

Usually, and I thought this was mostly the case, an appendix will go bad and rupure very quickly and is easily dignosed. In this case, and while it is more rare, but not unheard of, the appendix went through more of a slow burn process, and even with the modern tech available was not easily diagnosed. It was suspected early, but they just did not know for sure till they opened her up.

We finally rolled in last night around 8 PM. After living in a small hospital room for 2 weeks it feels oddly strange being home, but at the same time very comforting. It is a pleasure to see the boys, to get my hugs whether I need them or not, and to sleep in my own bed.

The wife is still quite tender having a 6 or 7 inch gash in her gut, that is nicely stapled up in a classic Frankenstein way, and she will require much attention for the next several days. The biggest job before me is to keep her down. She is just not the type to want to lie around, and will soon overtask herself if I am for a moment distracted. I have threatened to tie cinder blocks to her, to keep her from getting up and moving around. She will want to clean something before the day is out. This I know.

It is good to be home. I suspect a nap in my near future… and a lot of work to be done.

The Basis For Creation Science Revealed


Yes indeed folks, make up a bunch of nonsense, toss in some science-y words, add a colorful graph, and voila! You have what passes for gas, I mean meaningful, insightful, horse shit… I mean creation science.

Now add some demented misguided liars for jesus, with lab coats they bought at Wal-Mart, and a green screened lab to complete the illusion, I mean the scam, I mean, the clinically sterile cargo cult pseudo science known as… creation science.

Moral of the story…just because it looks all spiffy, with people in lab coats, and science sounding terminology, oh and graphs, does not mean it should be taken seriously. Mocked is the first word that springs to my mind.

I rather like that headline: Blinded by Non Science. Perfect.

Pastor With Aids Refuses To Step Down, After Sleeping With Church Members

In a case of blatant misconduct, that should damn well result in charges being filed…

An Alabama pastor who knew he had AIDS and slept with multiple (no good number named as of yet) parishioners, among other claims of misconduct, who was voted out of the church…has the audacity to refuse to step down. I am not sure how that kind of stuff works, but I am hopeful that his next preaching job will be from his shiny new cell in the state pen.

Anyone knowing full well they are HIV positive, keeps that to themselves, and sleeps around is IMO guilty of attempted murder. There are other all too common claims of misuse of funds, and taking drugs as well. You often see these more mundane activities from the faithful, indicating some sort of morality issue.

I thought they were supposed to have cornered the morality market?

I apologize for not yet knowing how to copy/paste a link on a Kindle. They do abound on this story.




Quote Of The Month

This month’s quote is by yours truly.

God Damnit!

Mon night, well Sun. morn, the wife of Shelldiger reported to our local ER with severe abdominal pain. The next morn she was transferred to a much better regional H. Looks like an intestinal blockage/kink.

The treatment thus far has been cutting off all intake besides IV fluids, to eliminate pressure on the system. This is supposed to allow the kink to fix itself. If after several days (and the time is nearing) surgery will be required.

I expect by this time tomorrow night surgery it will be. I can assure you the wife is ready for this to be over. She has been receiving morphine and toridal (sp?) for pain. The ordeal very painful.

The Shelldigger has been sleeping on a hospital room chair thingy which can only be described as NOT comfortable. Every time sleep is allowed the DR ‘s and nurses show up for something. I am zombie.

My two boys at home are doing their best to take care of the critters, and themselves. Good to have some backup. Even if some prodding was required. Sometimes kids have to be reminded to put away their wants and desires when the world demands such. I hope this is a g rowing experience for them.

Anyway my posting is and will remain very light until things get ironed out. My friends who show up here, and who’s blogs I enjoy, please excuse my absence. I’ll g e t back when I can.

Posted with the wife’s Kindle, at least they have WiFi here! Please overlook formatting and or spelling issues.