Monday, May 21, 2007

This one time, at Burning Man, I learned some stuff...

So, yesterday, I was using Stumble Upon for the first time in quite awhile (if you've never used Stumble Upon, you're missing out on one of the coolest 'net-surfing experiences evar). I was perusing videos, and got a few very cool science and astronomy ones. This made me start thinking of the last time I went to Burning Man, back in 2004.

I was pretty burnt out (pun intended) on Burning Man by then, what with 2004 being the 8th year in a row that I had attended. I did not have much fun, for various reasons, and vowed I would not be returning (and thus far, I have not). But there was one stand-out, flat out awesome experience I had while there.

Some folks had seen fit to build a dome waaaaay out on the playa to server as a planetarium that they named Bok Globule, and every night they would give presentations using a software package called Digital Universe that was created by Hayden Planetarium. (In theory, one can download it for free from their site here, but it's been giving me a "service temporarily unavailable" error since yesterday). The presentations were given by one Carter Emmart (warning: super-long YouTube video), who is "Director of Astrovisualization" for the Rose Center for Earth and Space.

Now, I had an interest in astronomy when I was a kid, but it really fell to the background as I got older. These presentations way out in the desert were awesome. I saw it one night, and it truly blew me away. It gave you a feeling for how amazingly huge and awesome the universe is. Sometimes, things like that can leave you feeling really insignificant, but this one left me feeling full of hope, with a sense of how important it is for us to care for the one Earth we've been given.

Watching the cool science and astronomy videos via Stumble got me thinking about the planetarium, and I did some Google searching and found the site of a guy named Don Davis who worked on the planetarium. I have always hoped there was some kind of recording or more permanent presentation made by these folks, so I shot Mr. Davis an e-mail to ask him if he knew of one. Mr. Davis was nice enough to respond in a very short time and let me know that unfortunately I was out of luck on that count. I thanked him anyway, and tried to let him know how much the work of their group meant to me.

I wish I could find something I could watch at home that would be as inspiring as that awesome show I saw in the desert, but I've found nothing. I've watched things like the IMAX movie Cosmic Voyage (which was kinda cool), but there isn't anything that matches up in my mind to Bok Globule. I guess my memory will have to do.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Employment looms; selling house seems distant...

Got some good news yesterday in that I will have a job come end of June. Yay me! I have grown weary of being broke.

However, the house has been on the market for a week and a half, and no one has even come look at it. I know in my head that I can't expect it to sell overnight, but I do want it to hurry up. We have an "Open House" tomorrow from 1pm to 4pm, so if you know somebody who wants to buy a house a little bit in the country, direct them here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Test Drivin'

So, the other day I had my Durango at the dealership to get its regular service. It was going to be about an hour, so I cruised out to the showroom and was drooling over a Dodge Charger R/T. I started chatting with the sales manager, who was trying to get me to trade the Durango in on one. I told him that was not going to happen, but he said I could take it out for a test drive.

I swear, this car is made out of testosterone. It is the most unashamedly macho car I have ever driven. Five minutes driving this bad boy around, and I felt like Vic Mackey. I wanted to drive real fast, knock down some doors, rough up some gangbangers, and take their drug money. It was cool.

The Charger mixes old school muscle car raw power with modern amenities and something of a luxury car feel. It has much better handling than I expected from a car of its size and design.

Still, even if I had the $30k or so it would take to buy one, this isn't the car I would buy. It's nice, it's cool, but it's just not $30k worth. I wouldn't turn one down if somebody just wanted to give me one, though.