Chuck's  2016 Ramblings...

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August 19th, 2016
August 11th through the 13th last week constituted the Perseid meteor shower.  The PNGs (Pencil Neck Geeks) who do this sort of thing, estimated that because of a perturbing affect of Jupiter’s immense gravity, Earth dwellers would be in for a very active Perseid meteor shower yielding over 200 meteors per hour.  Linearly that would be about one meteor every eighteen seconds.  With ideas of bright streaking meteors running rampant in my mind, I figured I would spend those three mornings searching for meteors.  I secured a special use permit with the City of Chesapeake for Thursday and Friday morning observing at Cornland park for our astronomy club, the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers, from midnight until dawn.  I took Thursday and Friday off from work so that I would not have to pretend to be awake while dealing with the taxpayer’s money.  I did several dry runs with my camera equipment and prayed to the clear sky Gods for good weather.  The weather guessers, those folks actually paid to be consistently wrong, kept indicating a 50% cloud cover each morning.  I am happy to say they were wrong, again.  I arrived at Cornland about 11:45 PM on Wednesday night.  Mel Spruil was already there, the heat was horrible and the humidity and general climate was foul so we just relaxed in our folding chairs and watched.  By three in the morning Mel and I had only counted about fifty TOTAL meteors so Mel packed it up and went home to catch some sleep before work and I stayed another hour noting about eight more meteors. 

The next day I slept in a bit and managed to convince my fifteen year old grandson Cameron to accompany me to Cornland the next morning, I told him it would be fun.  Cameron and I arrived at Cornland about midnight and there were several folks there to watch as well (Mel, George, Chris, Lee and Ms. Bush?).  I started setting up my camera to capture the meteors and found I had left a crucial part at home.  Cameron decided to hang out there with Mel and the other observers while I made a speed-run home and back to get my forgotten item.  Once back and my camera up and capturing I sat down to start counting meteors.  I think that between my grandson and I we counted about a hundred total meteors until he crawled into the truck at five AM to sleep.  I tore down my camera at 5:40 AM as it was just to light for the pictures and most of all of the stars had given away to the coming daylight. Sleep was pretty easy for most of Friday.  I had to pack up different telescope stuff for our Movie Night at Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach. 

I had to be at Mount Trashmore before 6:00 PM if I wanted to drive our equipment to the observing area.  The Movie Night went swell with tons of visitors young and old alike.  I was able to get out of there about eleven PM.  I went home swapped out equipment and then drove back out to Cornland Park for the third installment of the Perseids.  George Reynolds and his grand daughter Sam were already there counting meteors.  I set up my camera again and then joined them.  By three in the morning we had counted way less than fifty total meteors and decided to call it quits.  George and Sam left followed by me.  Out of over five hundred pictures taken with my trusty 7D camera centered on the double cluster, within the Perseus constellation, I captured five individual meteors.  Not quite as productive as I had hoped for.

some pic

Over 500 images taken and this was the best one I captured.  Note the light pollution from Chesapeake.

August 6th, 2016
Just after my bride and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on January 21st 2013 I stopped updating my Ramblings page.  I volunteered to fill a position at work that was vacated by a retirement.  I was unaware of the entire scope of the position.  Within in a very short time I was overwhelmed and struggling to keep my head above the water.  The position was as a Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) for a “few” contracts.  The few contracts were actually three service contracts and five equipment production contracts.  I received about a three week pass down from the retiring COR and then I was the acting COR until I actually finished COR training later that summer.  By the time I completed my COR training I was already questioning my sanity.  A couple of the production contracts finished up that fall, so a little fell off of my plate.  Just when I thought I could catch-up, I found out that the follow on contract for my biggest service contract was not as far along as I had been told so I had to learn the ins & outs of putting together a multi-million dollar contract by trial by fire.  I routinely worked 12+ hour days and spent the weekends reading NAVSEA business rules.  I was still an active member in our astronomy club, the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers and I was still dabbling in competitive shooting at our gun club so the time available for scrawling out my woes on the Internet fell to the wayside.

I am now, over three years later, in a little better position at work in that I have a reasonable idea of what the heck I am doing and I am only dealing with two service contracts and one production contract now.  I did become the President of the astronomy club and I am still throwing lead down range at the gun club, but I seem to have some “spare” time these days and so I have decided to start posting on my Ramblings pages again.

A lot has happened in the last three years.  In somewhat of a chronological order:

    o  My male Rottweiler Bronco died (2013).
Karen’s father died (2014).
Karen’s mother moved in with us (2014).
Our daughter Cheryl was diagnosed with Lupus (2014).
Karen’s mother moved in with her younger brother (2015).
We acquired Stewie our mutt dog (2015).
Our female Rottweiler Ninya died (2015).
Our female cat Tessa died a month after Ninya (2015).
We acquired our new Pit Bull Ruby (2015).
Our old man cat Scout died after nineteen years (2016).
Our daughter Cheryl’s house caught on fire (2016).
Cheryl and her family are temporarily living with us (2016).

I may delve into some of these as time permits in attempt to catch up, but time will tell.  I very much would like to get back in the swing of updating the ramblings weekly as I used to and certainly at least monthly.  Right now I just want to get something posted!

some pic

Christmas 2015 at the Dork's place.  ( L-R  Chris, Sophia, Cheryl AKA The Dork, Casey, Karen & Cameron )

That's all until next time...

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