Day: November 20, 2015

Friday, 20 November 2015

08:23 – Barbara and I are both covered up preparing for the move and building kit inventory. We decided we could do without the Trooper for the next couple of weeks, so we’re piling stuff into it that we want to take up the day of the closing so that we can spend the night up there. I have to remember to leave room for Barbara.

One of the many nice things about living in Sparta will be the reasonably dark skies. Looking at the light pollution maps, it seems that our back yard will be noticeably darker than Bullington Farm and Pilot Mountain, which are two of the main observing sites of the Forsyth Astronomical Society, and darker even than the Wake Forest University lodge near Fancy Gap, Virgina, where we used to observe. Barbara and I haven’t been out under the night sky for a long time because of my vertigo. It’s much worse in the dark. If I try to look up, I topple over backward. As she says, though, we’ll have a solid deck and I can observe from a chair without ever having to stand and look up. I wonder if I can still find stuff in the night sky. Once upon a time, I was pretty good at that. We’ll see. The other nice thing about observing there is that there’s a bathroom right there (which women particularly appreciate) and it’s easy to go inside to warm up. Living up there, I may continue work on the Astronomical League’s Herschel 400 list. Many of those 400 faint fuzzies had surface brightnesses way too low to make it practical to log them with a 10″ scope from the light-polluted skies around here.

Speaking of astronomy, there’s been some discussion in the comments about the likely effects of a huge solar storm. We actually sat out in the dark watching the effects of a monster solar storm a dozen years ago. And another, much smaller monster solar storm a couple years before that.

With relocation stuff and building science kits taking up most of my time, I didn’t have much spare time, but here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • I read the other three books in Theresa Shaver’s Stranded series. She’s obviously an inexperienced author, but she gets better with each book. Right now, I’d put her in the same class with the better recent PA novelists like Steve Konkoly and Angery American. Speaking of A. American, three months ago he released the sixth in his Home series, Enforcing Home. I have it on my Kindle, but haven’t gotten around to reading it. Interestingly, after publishing the first five books in the series with Penguin, he’s gone back to self-publishing. It makes sense. He earns a 70% royalty on Amazon. Through Penguin, he earns probably 30% of the 70% Penguin gets, or 21%. At the same price point, that means he makes 3.33 times as much for each unit sold.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.

14:13 – We’re just back from Home Depot, where we picked up a mailbox and post, paint and painting supplies, cleaning supplies, contractor bags, and so on. I was thinking about picking up another 5’x2′ five-shelf shelving unit, but decided we could wait until we actually make the move to see many more units we need. I think we could fit at least five of these units–250 square feet of shelving or 350+ cubic feet of storage–in the garage with all-around access and several more in the basement. I do need to find out how cold the garage gets, but we’re moving up there at an ideal time of year to determine that. As long as it stays above freezing in the coldest weather, we’ll be fine.

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