Thursday, April 30, 2009

The routine

Went observing tonight because the observatory is finally in working order, the sky was relatively clear, and I had some free time. Things I tried that worked: using SkyMap to obtain the coordinates of celestial objects and then using the telescope's Seek mode to automatically aim towards them (the Moon, Saturn, Alpha Leonis, Polaris); using a "found" object to recalibrate the telescope's position; photographing objects in focus through the finderscope. Things I tried that didn't work: photographing objects through the main scope; imaging objects with the CCD camera. To-do: put a thermometer in the observatory; characterize the unlabeled eyepieces in the observatory, which basically means all of the eyepieces; have IT check out why the computer doesn't recognize the onboard soundcard or the PCI video capture card; print out a list of the Messier objects and add it to the observatory handbook; lobby the school for one of those "city-lights filters," because the light pollution in Zhangjiang is just horrible.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Last night for dinner I decided to take Charlotte out (Jodi stayed home to study) for a father-daughter dinner and to pick up diapers at Zhangjiang Carrefour. We took the Dongchuan Line bus to the Orchid Gardens (玉兰香苑) area on the outskirts of Zhangjiang to look for food. That area is an earthy, Chinese-diverse area that feels very vibrant and alive to me. There's restaurants from all over China, tons of people out on the street at night, and lots of "illegal activity", as in unlicensed taxis and street vendors. Two funny things I experienced: a guy wearing one of those "I ♥ China" T-shirt where the heart has the stars from the Chinese national flag, except it said "I ♥ Tibet"; and James Taylor playing over the muzak system in Carrefour. Been a long time since I heard James Taylor.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009



"Banama" (Banana)
"Piba-biller" (Peanut butter, rhymes with caterpillar)
"皮豆" (potato in Chinese)
"maminnow" (potato in English; also tomato)
"'Aika" (Micah; also calls me Daddy, 爸爸 and 老公)


"Bababababa" (???)