Oct. 9th, 2008 12:40 pm
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Since last February, when our store began opening an hour earlier each day, I've been getting up at 4 am on work days. This tends to give other people pause when they hear about it, but now that I am used to it it really doesn't bother me much.

It becomes something of a problem when I train new night bakers, and have my sleep cycle completely dislocated. Tuesday night I started training the first of my three new night people. It went well (except for the part when we discovered that the afternoon dishwasher had failed to wash the large mixer bowl--oh, the trauma!), but it was after 4 am when we finished.

Night baking is physically demanding work, and training is mentally demanding. I drove home in the darkness of the night, feeling all the previous 20 hours of awakeness pressing down on me. I parked and got out and looked up as I walked down the driveway to my apartment door.

There in the southern sky Orion faced off against Taurus, the mighty bull of heaven. Sirus tagged along at the hunter's heels, and from their perch on the bull's shoulder the Pleiades glittered as they gazed down on the sleeping world. I gazed back at them for a long time.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Yes, it's been awhile. I've been writing story-stuff and trying to remodel my production schedule at work while being understaffed and dealing with other managerial stuff. But that's not important now. What is important is that last week much of the world was treated to the sight of a total lunar eclipse, and I got to see it. I almost didn't, because though I knew about it I spent most of Wednesday night trying to finish off a story that HAD TO GET DONE and had been resisting efforts to get done for some time.

So, anyway, I was sitting in my chair slaving over a hot laptop when my phone rang. I didn't get up to answer it because over the years I've slid into the habit of letting my machine screen my calls, but when I heard mbf Karin's voice I jumped up (after carefully removing the laptop), tripped out of the blanket around my legs, hurtled into the bed room and grabbed the phone. Karin and Ami call from time to time to chat, but rarely on weeknights, so something had to be happening to prompt her call now.

"Nancy!" she exclaimed. "Have you seen the eclipse?" "Not yet," I said. "I'm writing and I was going to finish this scene off first." "GO NOW!" Karin said. "It's in totality!" "I'm hanging up now and putting on my shoes," I said. I put on my shoes and coat reflecting on how lucky I was to have friends like that.

The moon looked like a sepia photograph of itself. It ranged in color from smoky-quartz in the upper left quadrant to ivory in the lower right. Later when I checked the NASA website on the eclipse I found that this was caused by the fact that parts of the moon were much deeper into the earth's shadow, which I thought was very cool.

I admired the moon for as long as I could take the cold and then I went back in to write. I went back out just after totality had ended and saw something breathtaking: most of the moon was still dark, but one edge was now a bright, eye-searing silver. It made me wish I could paint, though even that would probably not be enough to do it justice.

There will not be another lunar eclipse for several years. I need to remember to call Karin when it approaches, to return her kindness.

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
We had lots of thunder and lighting last night. To be truthful I'm just guessing on the thunder part because I know we had lots of lighting; I woke up several times last night to the realization that I was seeing lighting flashes through my closed eyelids. It was a neat effect, but not conducive to a full night's sleep. This is perhaps one one of the reasons I've felt so non-energetic today. I'd like to get to bed early tonight, but I really need to polish off my current writing project, because I have several new projects coming down the chute after this one. At least with all this rain I don't have garden work tempting me away from my computer!

It's thundering again now. I checked the NWS website earlier and there seems to be a band of storms from southern Nebraska through most of Kansas. Lincoln will catch its northernmost edge; Beatrice (which, if you ever find yourself in Nebraska is pronounced "bee-at-ris"), Maryville and Manhattan are going to be in the thick of it. This is just not a good weekend for Kansas.

I just got up to check my bread in the oven and opened the kitchen door to see what was up: it's raining again. *sigh*

EDIT: I just rechecked the NWS radar: the storm line has extended northward to Norfolk (which is pronounced "nor-fork"--I'm not making this up), so Lincoln is now in the middle of it again. I think when my bread gets out of the oven I might just give up and go to bed.

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I woke up this morning to the sound of rain and my alarm clock. I had set it for an early hour because this was the first week of the Farmer's Market down at the Haymarket and I was, as always, looking forward to fresh, juicy radishes. I turned my alarm clock off and went back to bed because while I'm willing to get up early on a Saturday morning for fresh vegetables I draw the line at getting rained on. So I drowsed/slept for a few extra hours, savoring the sound of the rain and thunder that came through my bedroom window--lying in bed and listening to thunder has always been one of my favorite things.

I finally got up and got my shower, and by then it was 8 o'clock, the official start time of the Farmer's Market. The rain was then coming down hard, so hard the air had turned grayish. At this rate it feels like I'm never going to get my garden in the back yard going! It stopped raining during the middle of the day and we even had some sunshine, but it's getting dark and thundery again.

I checked the National Weather Service website, which had this cheery bit of news:
The NWS Storm Prediction Center is forecasting the development of a few strong tornadoes over parts of the central plains Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. The areas most likely to experience this activity include central Kansas and central Nebraska. Strong tornadoes, very large hail, and damaging winds will likely be observed.

Just what I want to hear on the anniversary of the May 1975 Omaha Tornado!

It's somewhat depressing to realize that I have no working flashlights or portable radios in the house atm. Since I stopped going camping with the Girl Scouts, I have no reminders to buy batteries. Maybe, having written it here, I'll remember this week. In the meantime I should hurry along the fic I'm writing--if the tornado sirens go off, I probably won't stop to grab my computer on the way to the basement.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
After finding a way to compute Universal Time from CDT and visa versa, and finding my latitude and longitude, I went back to Your Sky to search out my mysterious star. With some fiddling around (oooh! Horizon controls!) I have determined that it's none other than Venus. Yay!

If you have any interest in the sky at all, Your Sky is a site to make friends with. It's got lots of things to play with, it didn't seem too hard to figure out how to make it do what you wanted, and it computes the location of astronomical objects for any time day or night, so you can figure out where to look if you want to find Venus after sunrise. (Evidently it's possible under some circumstances, so I'm now ready to try it.)

In exploring it, I discovered that it was a section of a site called Fourmilab, which is maintained by John Walker, one of the authors of AutoCAD. Fourmilab is the kind of site I would run if I had the time and patience to run a personal website--it's got the recipe for a reverse-engineered blue cheese salad dressing, directions on how to rewire your Christmas lights with LEDs, a variety of classic SF novels for downloading, an array of free computer utilities (I'm thinking of getting the Crater Screen saver for my home computer, because "What better way to protect your monitor's phosphor than by smashing rocks into it at dozens of kilometres per second?") and more. Just go look; you'll see what I mean.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I walked to the bus stop this morning when dawn was in the eastern sky but the sun had yet to make an appearance. The moon was full and still high in the west, and a little ways to the left of it was a bright star--so bright it had to be a planet. There was another bright star in the south-east, and I guessed it was a planet also.

When I got to work I did a websearch for star maps, and found a really nice-looking one that needed my latitude and longitude (which, sadly, I do not have memorized), and this one at Weather Underground that needed my zip code (which I do have memorized).

Checking the dawn sky with this map has left me with a mystery, as the south-western star appears to be Jupiter, but there doesn't seem to be any planets where the south-eastern star was. It might be Altair, but that doesn't seem right. The game's afoot! I need to look up my lat and long, and do some more map-hunting.


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