Tuesday, August 21, 2012



Some striking cloud stuff this morning...

And a nice looking ride.



Friday, August 17, 2012



I awoke a bit late, so it was a rush to the shower and the car to head up to Gainesville for my brain scan. While it was scheduled for 3:30, I had been informed just a few days ago that I had to be there an hour early for a blood test so they could make sure the stuff they were going to inject me with wouldn't kill me.

Oh happy news! A blood test, needle; and an injection, needle...

To divert any apprehension on the part of the reader, this was a brain MRI just to check some things regarding my eye sight as I have some strange things going on with that, and my last Optometrist thought if we could, it would be nice to take a look at it just to see if there was any physical factor, doubtful though that might be.

I was also curious as my mother had had some long term brain shrinkage that was not discovered until a couple of weeks before her death and had led to about ten years of various "guess-ignostics" so I figured as long as they are looking, to have them check for any signs of that sort of thing.

I raced on up and made great time until I hit the exit for Archer and that was backed up, and it was stop and go for the rest of the 5 miles or so to the VA Hospital. This was midday, and these are three and four lane roads each way, no accidents, just a lot of conflicting stop lights. They really need to address flow issues in that area.

As it had started raining, which seems to be a fairly regular thing for my travels to Gainesville of late, ever since I discovered the arboretum right there and have wanted to return to it, so I was happy to find a spot, the spot, in the handicapped lot closest to the entrance.

Of course, that put me at one end of the very large and spread out building, and both the lab for the blood test and the facility for the MRI were at the extreme other end of the building, so I scooted down long corridors, around turns and back, and eventually up an elevator one floor to the blood lab.

This was the most efficient lab I have ever experienced, which means no social banter, sit down, present your ID, put out your arm and bamm! I did have a little advance warning, as the man called before me reappeared way too quickly.

I now had an hour to kill till my appointment, and also because they wouldn't go until they got the results of the blood work. I moved outside, happening to be at the main entrance which has been significantly reworked since the last time I saw it, and as smoking within 300 feet of the entrance is no longer allowed, I moved down along the building until I found a place where it was okay to indulge.

As I sat there on my scooter and lit up, I noticed a great looking old oak and decided to get the shot. I played with various settings to try to work out the high contrast and get details in the tree without overexposing everything else, or properly exposing everything else without turning the tree into a dark silhouette, but it turned out in the end that "intelligent auto" gave the best result.

Behind the tree, note the pyramid like structures. I mused on what they might be as I sat there, and figured maybe some kind of ventilation system, but it was only when I made the trek back in and went to the MRI facility that I learned what they actually were.

Across the street from the VA Hospital is Shands Medical Center, and across that long distance, and the 6 lanes of road separating them, beneath the ground, runs a tunnel to facilitate workers and patients having to move between the two locations. A few hundred feet down that long underground passage is the MRI facility, placed there to isolate its powerful magnetic fields both to protect them and protect others from them.

And it is those rooms that are in fact roofed by those pyramids behind my tree!

Pretty neat bit of synchronicity!

I won't get the results till Monday- or my Doctor will, but the operator said she did see what came out and that yes, there was a brain there; but beyond that I would have to wait for the Doctor to read the pictures- and that I could also request a CD of the images. She did express some concern about a small spot of Republicanism she thought she spotted, but I assured her that that was a momentary experiment in the 80's but she made a note to the Doctor to check for any possible lasting harm. I'm not really concerned- a lot of us loved Ronnie.



Thursday, August 16, 2012



The following report was written 4 days ago, on the 12th of August, but this morning I was once again awake early and as I stepped out side and was once again struck by the starry sky, I grabbed my binoculars and saw something even more amazing. This led to my setting up my tripod and shooting for about two hours. Even this morning I saw several meteors to my great delight, but they seemed to bracket my long exposures, so none of them was recorded. Pictures follow.

I woke up at about 4:45 this morning, [August 12, 2012] sleep interrupted, achy, tired...

Wanting to get some space and to try to loosen up a bit, I grabbed a large glass of water, lit a cigarette and stepped out on my porch to take in the quiet and the night sky.

The first thing I noticed was a beautiful crescent moon, and the brilliant spot that I knew to be a planet above and another below. As my eyes adjusted, I could see a mostly clear sky, a few wisps of cloud stuff, though there was also enough local ground based light that only the brightest stars were discernible. And there is one little patch above and a bit to the right of the moon that I can barely get an idea of seeing that hints at a cluster of stars. Seems to be just on the limits of my receptors and it drives me crazy trying to see it and wondering what it is.

I sat on the top of my ramp and enjoyed the quiet and the view. After a moment, I remembered that there was a meteor shower due on August 12 and 13, today and tomorrow, and I wasn't sure if that included the early hours of the 12th or the late. But on the chance that it might be happening now, and knowing quite often the very early hours are the time to view, I took occasional searching views of the entire sky, including straight above me, not a natural or comfortable position for the neck, so even though I suspected that was the most likely area where any might appear- if they were to appear- I couldn't hold it for very long at a time.

I sat there for about 15 minutes without seeing anything more remarkable than what  I have already described, but then, just as I happened to glance straight up, as if timed for me, a brilliant streak raced across the sky directly in my sight; it vanished so quickly that I wasn't even sure I had seen it.

Unlike what one sees portrayed in movies, the streak of a meteor is an almost instantaneous phenomenon- there is no time to even cry out, "Look!"

Encouraged by this suspected sighting- if it actually had happened- I decided to remain in place for a while longer, and between glances at the moon and planets as I watched their elevating position above the tops of the pine trees in my yard, and hanging my head in an effort to stretch out tight neck muscles, I would glance straight up for a bit. Maybe another 15 minutes had passed when I caught my second sighting, surprising me, as I happened to glance to my south and again it appeared right in my line of sight, maybe 30 degrees above the tree lined horizon across the street.

A few minutes later, the most remarkable, and 'wish I had a camera capable of catching such a phenomenon' view, the largest streak of the three occurred just over the glowing crescent moon.

I returned to bed.

Above, I refer to "...one little patch above and a bit to the right of the moon that I can barely get an idea of seeing that hints at a cluster of stars." and it was this that I saw through the binoculars this morning and determined to get a shot of.

Note also that in the pictures, 1 minute exposures on my Lumix FZ35 on Starry Sky setting, many  more stars are visible than I could make out with my old eyes.

Here is the big view, looking directly east from my back porch. Note the two planets, and in line and above them near the top of the image, that frustrating patch of light.
 Cropped in to show only the top planet and the bothersome patch, which again, shows here much clearer than to my naked eye.
 Here, I have cropped way in and enlarged to show as best I can what is actually making up that patch the so intrigued me. There are 6 "bright" stars and several more lessor ones in the group. The others all around didn't show at all to my unaided eye. In fact, even the "bright" ones were barely hints of something to my unaided eye, not really seen.
And to end off, a nice portrait of Orion lying on its side atop one of my trees as sunrise begins to hint at its arrival.



Sunday, August 12, 2012



There was a party in Inverness on Saturday.

Kinnard Chiropractic hosted Patient Appreciation Day, with the promise of food,  fun, and bouncing for the kids.

Upon first hearing of the event, I, along with my Doctor and his assistant, had declared our intent to take over the bounce house.

The event began at 10 and ran until 2, and though I didn't arrive till a bit after 1, I found there were still many guests. I was told that at its peak, there had been close  to 200 at the party!

It was funny, cause as I neared the office 12  miles east of me, what was a beautiful clear day, suddenly threatened rain. Sprinkles started to show on my windshield about half a mile out, and slowly grew. However, as I pulled into the parking lot, it ceased and that was the extent of it in that area. I learned later that other areas of Inverness had recieved a good drenching.

I was greeted by some of the staff familiar to me, and then my own chiropractor, Dr Daniels, and I was delighted to see that he had brought his wife and daughter: I got to meet them! We chatted a bit, and then our eyes turned to the colorful inflated house of bounce, and we found that we did not actually have to invade, that we were all welcome, regardless of age. The earlier crowd having now thinned down to a mere handfull by this point, many of the staff joined in our invasion.

I took a turn, and it felt good bouncing, but I shouldn't have done that drop to my knees... I am sure Dr Daniels will be taking care of that at my next appointment.

Many thanks to Dr Kinnard and his staff for the celebration and service to the community!



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