In the bottle….

The first brew is in the bottle. Just a few short weeks to Pale Ale joy. :)

Keep up with my brew efforts at: http://www.scratchley.org/three-boys-brewery/

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Active Living Session Cancelled.

Sadly – due to low registration for the seminar I was offering at the Active Living conference, I’ve elected to cancel it. There was simply not enough interest to justify the expense of doing it, in addition without the engagement of a group, the material would have simply been too thin.

As an alternative, I’ll post both the presentation, as well as the Fly-Tying demonstrations here, and on YouTube for the world to see!

Talk to you soon!

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In a nutshell… yikes.

Ok. We’re back and in business. After much shuffling and cantankerousness, the site is back online. Again – many many many thanks to Pacres )) for his support and assistance on this one. If you aren’t familiar with Fly Paper – and you are a fly tyer, it’s a must visit.

Ok. Back to business. The season is heating up again and the kids are itching to get outside. Shack nasties have had a good hold on me this spring so I recently met up with old friend and dear angling companion Alex for a day hunting the elusive spring water in Alberta. We managed to find only one spot and boy, what a treat.

I’m still working on Casting under the Northern Lights – and I hope to be in a position to publish in June / July. Earlier if possible, but Summer is the target. It will be available on Kobo Books for under a fiver, so if you would be so kind when the time comes… Drop me an email – or post a comment here if you’d like to be on the mailing list come release date!

Alright! I’ve got some tying and writing to do today so I best get at it.

Happy Sunday!

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How long has it been?

Yeah, that long. I couldn’t even remember my login. With that – I think I’ll be blowing the blog away, and starting fresh with something new. Until then, you can always find me at http://scratchmy.tumblr.com/

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Astronomical Serendipity

As an amateur astronomy junkie, a photo hound, and a road-tripper by choice, travelling the highways and by-ways to find a fishing hole or observing location is par for my course. After waiting a year and a half for today’s transit of Venus the weather forecast guaranteed either an earlier night to bed or a road-trip.

The forecasts early in the day made a trip south a potential, but by 2pm just a few hours before Venus began it’s trek across the disc of the sun – we were clouded out to the south. Quick calls to our observing network pointed us north and east of Edmonton, with less than an hour to ingress.

Broken cloud and sucker holes chased us – or should I say – were chased by us as we outran storm clouds racing up from Montana and parts southeast. A trip through Elk Island National Park however proved fortuitous. We’d been heading for Redwater / Bruderheim, when the holes started aligning.

We spotted a turnout for Astotin Lake in the park, and dove into the shoulder.

2 minutes to ingress, clear view of the sun. I unpacked the camera, while Lance (@lancetay) rocked the celestron 3″ dob travel-scopes. We were out to see it with our own eyes… just a glimpse would be a success for us today.

As I raised my camera to the sun, the clouds darted past and I was greeted by a full disk of the sun peppered with sunspots visible through my 300mm (420mm effective) through an Orion solar filter. I quickly set an auto exposure value, adjusted for the frame darkness, set white-balance and fired of the Magic Lantern intervalometer.

Turning my attention to the scopes, I hauled out my Celestron Firstscope – a 3″ dobsonian tabletop scope (Best scope 50$ can buy – and don’t let anyone tell you different.) and plopped in a 26mm eyepiece to view through some Seymour solar film built into a custom full 3″ filter. As I peered through the eyepiece I saw my first glimpse of the sun in full disc glory. A quick refocus, and a Nagler T1 eyepiece and as I peered down saw the very hint of distortion along the disc of the sun as Venus crossed the corona.

I certainly didn’t get to see the annulus, or the diamonds as venus began it’s last transit for over 100 years, but it was awe inspiring none the less. Taking in the views dreamed of by Copernicus and Kepler I was among storied company – those who witnessed first hand an alignment of our sister planet with the Sun. Venus, that brightest of night lights has been a part of human mythology for time immemorial. She shines her crescent on countless evenings for us to enjoy, and today, gave herself wholly to the great life giving sun showing us only her back as she too gazed at the sun.

Serendipity is the happy accident. The finding of good or wonder without looking for it.

The serendipity of this event for us today was the knowledge that as the body of Venus passed in line with the sun, casting it’s silhouette for us to view we were still slowing the car to a halt. As the suns rays passed through the Venusian atmosphere enroute to earth, we were still unpacking the car.

By virtue of the great distances over which her silhouette needed to travel, it would take over 5 minutes for the silhouette to register on our eyes providing just enough time for us to set up, and the clouds to clear. Were light faster, faster than light one might say, we would have been simply too late.

The sun, our great life giver sends it’s energy to Earth in many forms. Light – the fastest – requires over 8 minutes to travel from the Sun’s fiery surface to Earth. That eight minutes, just right it seems, afforded us the opportunity to see a truly astronomical event. Serendipity.

G-CC20ANC-0829

VenusTransit-50Ingress-2

Thanks for the day – Ranger Bob – Lance @lancetay Taylor !

Categories: Art and Photography, Astronomy, Technology | 4 Comments

Mind the dust…

I’m going to be switching things up around here. New look will be part of it. Don’t pay any attention until I tell you to. Got it?

Categories: Day to Day | 1 Comment

My goodness…

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So many things happening, so few details shared with the masses. I’m going to be consolodating a number of my ‘online’ things into a few places. Google+, This blog, and my blog at the RASC will hold most everything. Tumblr is a pain, and I’ve got too many accounts etc. to manage. A number get attention, but not all of them, and not all at once.

Let’s see what 2012 brings. :)

Categories: Op Ed, Technology | 1 Comment

Wow. Where has it all gone.

Summer flew by in an instant it seems. Weekends with the kids, telescopes, pictures of the skies, ear aches, dancing, running, martial arts, new cars, too few mowed lawns, weed-gardens, sunshine, rain, mosquitos.

Summary to follow.

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No Netflix on Droid in CANADA?

What gives #Netflix? You guys are doing well up here. You’re taking many providers to task on their billing, service and bandwidth BS. And then, when you produce a product that will MAKE telco’s money – hello streaming over wireless – you give me this?

I’m confused. My device is in the list of ‘compatible’ phones – but your downloader says ‘Not available in your Country’ ?

Are you KIDDING me?

Lets get real here folks. If you’ll release a product in the over-litigious US and A, why would you not service the larger HALF of the continent? (*geographically speaking of course)

Grrrrr. I know it’s not a copyright issue, since the iPhone app has been out for a year or more. So what is it?

Categories: Day to Day, NerdSpeak, Op Ed, Technology | Leave a comment

APOD! I made it!

It’s long been a goal of mine to grace the pages of the NASA website “Astronomy Photo of the Day”. Last week – I achieved that goal and was granted the page for the 20th of July.

The day was a great one. My stepfather celebrated a milestone birthday in style, it was the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, and… I made APOD.

If you have a moment, please visit APOD and take a look at the image. Noctilucent Clouds have become a great interest to me as they are a part of what living in northern latitudes is all about. Being nearly 2/3rd’s of the way to the Pole from the equator does have a few benefits when you count Auroras and Long summer nights. ;)

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110720.html

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