Sunday, February 27, 2011


I saw Discovery's launch for maybe twenty seconds, then it disappeared into some clouds. I did, however, get to see it through my 20x spotting scope. It looked pretty good, for the short period of time that I could see it.

For the most part though, the trip wasn't really worth it. Traffic was so bad it took me five-and-a-half hours to get back. (It took only four to get there.) Honestly, if I'd had any sense I would have just gotten a motel room in Cocoa Beach and stayed the night. There are, after all, other things to do there.

All the way back I told myself I'm not going to the next launch, but I probably will. There won't be any shuttle launches after that, so I'd hate to miss the last one. I'll just get a room.

Also, there are other launches, as satellites and whatnot are always being sent up. Many are so unpublicized that you have to search the web to see when they're being launched. (More than once I've turned on NASA TV and been surprised at seeing a rocket going up.)

So anyway, here's the video. I was looking through the scope, which is why the camera is just pointed in the vaguest of directions.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RIP, Glass Shelf

I came home at 1am to find this. It took me until about 3am to clean it up. I still feel like a dumb-ass for putting too much on that shelf. And I still get a chuckle out of looking at these pics.

Seriously though, that shelf was supposed to be able to handle 25 pounds. I don't think I had anywhere near that on there. (The only heavy unit is the stereo, and that's on the bottom shelf.)

The glass was heavy, tempered stuff. I'm still surprised that it cut loose like this.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

RUGBY! (or, Wait...what?)


I just watched my first Rugby match. BBC America is carrying it every Saturday over the next month or so. Times start around 11:30am eastern time, 8:30am pacific.

I'm hooked.

BBC America Six Nations Rugby

I didn't quite get all the rules, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. It's a lot like our football, but tackling doesn't seem to do much as the person tackled can still toss the ball to the nearest teammate (though I guess if you hold his legs still, the ball becomes dead at that point.) And though I don't quite get the point of a "scrum" (one commenter said it looks like a cross between a tug-of-war and an orgy) I'm guessing it's something like a face-off in hockey.

A few neat things: they don't stop play for much of anything. Except for maybe the halftime, I don't think there were even any commercial breaks. Even injuries are tended to while play is still in session, with the game sometimes going right over injured players and medical staff on the field.

I actually enjoyed it more than the Super Bowl, which was sort of left me cold. (It's just another football game. Why all the hype? And I'm glad I'm not the only one who was underwhelmed by the Black Eyed Peas. Then again though, don't all halftime shows suck?)

BBC America has some neat hosts. Here they are with some American football player. (I can't remember his name.)

And somehow, he got seated in front of an athletic supporter and a cup! Very nice. He was a good sport about it.

Anyway, Rugby has no pads, no real breaks, no commercials, and unlike soccer, no one fakes injuries because it doesn't do one any good to do so. If you haven't tried watching a game, give it a shot.