Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Diary

There has been a lapse in my posts because I haven't had much to write about and have been preoccupied with other things. I recently purchased some new software and hardware for my Dobsonian telescope, which I can now operate with my Android smartphone and find millions of objects automatically. Of course, actual viewing conditions don't permit that, and there has been about one good viewing night all summer, which allowed me to get my best view so far of Saturn. I prefer fainter objects such as galaxies, which require optimal viewing conditions. Because of all the trees in the yard, there is just one spot, with a V-shaped opening between the trees, where I can see objects near the southern horizon, and those objects are only visible in it for a few weeks before moving out of range. Jupiter is gone and Saturn soon will be. I had wanted to see if I could split the companion star of Antares, but I didn't get a chance. One of the things that is interesting about astronomical observation is that after a while you get the sense that you are living inside a giant mechanical clock. I'm also spending time selling online some old equipment that is no longer needed.

Another occupation, which I don't do much anymore, has been finding an old friend. Even though I don't expect much to come from it, I enjoy the hunt. He is a high school friend named Evans, which makes him hard to look up. The last time I saw him was in about 1973, and I haven't heard anything from him since. I invited him to my wedding in 1974 and he didn't show up. Since I couldn't find him directly, I began to look into his family. His father was the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, and he had two sisters. Although his parents died long ago, both of his sisters married husbands with less-common surnames, and their weddings were announced in The New York Times. One sister is now the chief curator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. I sent her an e-mail at work, but she didn't respond. The other sister, I just found, lives in Massachusetts. She owns a vacation house in Vermont that is advertised on VRBO, and I was able to contact her through that website. It turns out that her brother is alive and living in Miami. I will be e-mailing him soon.

In other news, I noticed a footprint in the mud in the woods behind the garage that did not belong to us. Out of curiosity, I purchased a game camera and positioned it to point at the back of the garage in order to capture potential intruders. So far, the main star of the ten-second videos recorded has been William, who can be seen coming and going from the woods at night, occasionally stopping to sniff the camera, and once carrying out prey. There have been raccoons and a fox, but no bears or deer – or people, other than us. I think the footprint was probably left by our neighbor, Fred, who is not a likely burglar.

I was recently contacted by an anonymous reader of this blog who expressed his/her appreciation. That encourages me to continue writing it, but is not necessarily enough to go on forever. I refuse to write solely on the basis of wanting to write, and believe that I must at least write something that might be useful, without being repetitive. Many of my general ideas have already been expressed, and new readings, though they may always provide a source for additional subject matter, are not necessarily easy to find. Very little fiction appeals to me, and finding good nonfiction is haphazard in my case. There isn't much to say about current events, since, for example, the fact that Donald Trump would turn out to be an incompetent president was already likely before his inauguration. The main story about Trump's legacy may be how long he was permitted to remain in office, and here we are, still pulling teeth. If you have any suggestions regarding the future direction of this blog, I am always open to ideas.

I will continue on the topic of D.H. Lawrence when I have more to say.

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