I have a Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope…for those not in the know, that’s an 8″ optical tube on a simple tripod. They call them one-armed bandits (like the slot machines) because there is a single arm that goes from the tripod mount that it rests on up to the tube. Simple, easy to work, but it isn’t very stable, at least not in astronomical viewing terms. It doesn’t allow for much in the way of astro photography due to its limited ability to track the sky over time, thus limiting the photography options of long-exposures. However, there is one feature where the 8SE shines — it’s ease of use.
This was a key ingredient for me in buying a scope, based on knowledge of who I am and the patience I have. If a scope takes 30 minutes to setup, I’m not likely to use it. I need something relatively simple, and the 8SE requires you to basically setup the tripod, attach the scope to the arm, add some power and eyepieces, and you’re good to go. » Read the rest
Just after the Easter weekend, I posted an update about my tough weekend (An emotionally difficult weekend). Mostly what I described was how I felt disconnected from my roots since my mother died, and that I felt a bit lost. Lots of my friends chimed in, some with support, some with their own stories of loss, isolation, disconnection, even potentially feeling like an orphan despite being an adult. Some suggested ways to reconnect with the community or my own new family, although disconnection probably wasn’t quite the right sentiment that I was trying to describe. It isn’t like I feel isolated, no family, no friends, but rather more like an inexperienced sailor who has sailed out into the ocean but who now notices that he can no longer see the land that originally oriented him to his point of origin. So, lots of reactions, lots of support, and I appreciate all of it. » Read the rest
I had a chance to see James Marsters aka Brainiac from Smallville aka Spike from Buffy/Angel back in May for the ComicCon and passed on it — he’s not on my A list to see, and I wasn’t that interested the first time. However, he was here again, I was free, why not? I’m really glad I did because he was highly enjoyable. Most of what he talked about was Buffy or Angel, but he responded mostly to whatever questions were asked, fairly relaxed and laid back, the sort of guy you see and think, “Hey let’s grab a beer and chat”. Here was his chat:
Makeup: He said that it was somewhat rigorous for the six years he played Spike, but actually not as bad as it would have been 20 years ago. Instead, with the right chemicals for the adhesive and removal, he was down to 20 minutes to do the vampire F/X.
I like Picardo from Star Trek: Voyager where he played the Emergency Medical Hologram. The character is excellent, and the smaller configuration to the large hall worked well for Picardo’s panel. He immediately started answering questions, talking about his experiences first on Stargate and then on ST:VOY.
One of his favorite scenes: “Message in a Bottle” where he meets another EMH, and describes how he has expanded his programming to allow him to have sexual relations;
Did he make suggestions to the ST writers: He did, including that when he was alone in sick bay, maybe he could listen to opera — one of the most emotional art forms — and yet when the writers incorporated it, they had him singing to it too (which was not part of his suggestion). He also made suggestions for jokes, but not story arc. In the Message in a Bottle episode, again, there’s a scene where the two EMHs are trying to pilot the prototype ship, and Picardo says “Stop breathing down my neck”, to which the other EMH replies “I’m a hologram, my breathing is only a simulation.”
I went to ComicCon last year here in Ottawa with regular tickets, and upgraded this past year to VIP seats (much much better experience). But I hadn’t tried out PopExpo yet…it isn’t quite big enough yet to really draw big stars, and although there were several stars that were coming who were on shows that I watched, including Allison Mack from Smallville (she cancelled) and Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Dead Zone), I was planning to skip it. Instead, my wife surprised me with VIP tickets, and off I went.
First up, you need to know what I mean by “not that big yet”. While ComicCon has grown to cover 2.5 days in Ottawa, PopExpo is really more like 1.5 days. It is slow to get going on Day 1 (Saturday) and ends a bit early on Day 2 (Sunday). On the positive side, they have it set up so people can line up for events inside — no freezing outside! » Read the rest