Tag Archives: fun

Chasing NEOWISE

I’ve been wanting to check out our newest celestial body for a while now, but tonight was the night. If you hadn’t heard, we have a comet in the nighttime sky once more. (Technically, it’s there all the time. You can only see it at night.)

Comets are amazing, and we really only get to see one or two in a lifetime. There are more of them around, but seeing one with the naked eye is kind of rare.

It was visible in the pre-dawn, but I missed it then. Now that it’s on its way back to wherever it came from, it’s visible after dark.

I tried a couple of days ago, but during the longest days of the year, it wasn’t dark before I absolutely had to go to bed. I was scheduled to work in the office the next day.

Last night I had to stay up to 11:00 to see it. I’m in Mountain Daylight time if you need to adjust your timing. I think it’s awesome, but it’s no Kahoutek or Hale Bop. Those were impressive comets.

They say NEOWISE is brighter now than when Halley’s Comet made its most recent pass. I looked for that one, and never saw it. Kind of puts some of this into perspective for me.

NEOWISE is there, but you can barely see it. I almost had to spot it from my peripheral vision. I was looking right at it and couldn’t find it. After spotting it, there was no missing it. It’s so pale, I couldn’t get a photograph.

You can stack the deck if you want to see it. I had to deal with a bit of light pollution in my neighborhood. Drive out of town where it’s more dark and it will help. In fact, I might do that myself this weekend.

If I had used binoculars it probably would help, too. I have half a dozen pairs, but I kind of wanted to see it with the naked eye.

To give you a head start, it’s between the horizon and the Big Dipper, and a little to the left. It’s there, have faith. Drive into the country, spread a blanket on the ground, take a bottle of wine, could make a nice evening. If you have something more upscale than an iPhone you might even get a picture for your blog.

Even though it’s a weaker appearance, it’s still awe inspiring. These things were considered harbingers at one time. In a year of murder hornets, COVID, riots in the streets, political meltdown, economic disasters, and more, maybe we don’t need a harbinger for the next event.

26 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Doubt Free at Last

Raven

My phone rang at about 7:00 this morning. “This is Lisa*. You have to do something about that stupid raven.”

“Doubt**. Why? What’s he done to piss you off so early?” I asked.

“It’s bad enough that he gets into Bunny’s food. I even took my pretty blue eye covers away from him and never complained. Today he has a new trick. He’s learned to open the freezer.”

“There isn’t really much in there anyway.”

“True, but he has the left side of your brain out and he’s pecking at it. Lefty’s going to be pissed when he thaws out.”

“Never mind Lefty. That’s my brain. I’m on my way.”

I pushed the gyro into the street and headed for the writing cabin, banked left at the Misty Mountains, and dropped down over the Plains of Trenzelor. I buzzed the runway to drive off the Beast of Bray Road and touched down. I used the elevator to get to the basement.

There was an old salmon net down here at one time. I rummaged through baskets of sapotes and star fruit, bagpipes and bellows. I found it tucked behind some spare parts from the Atlantic Robotics concept lab.

Lisa was yelling shoo as I tromped upstairs. “Where is he?” I asked.

“In the kitchen,” Lisa said. She had on one of her pinup outfits with tiny white polka dots on a field of blue. Her fingers were spread and waved her nails from side to side.

When I entered the kitchen, Doubt flew into the front office with a raucous Kaw.

The left side of my brain lay thawing on the counter. His ziplock Baggie torn and shredded. “Oh Lefty, I hope you’re going to be okay.” I turned to Lisa and said, “We really ought to get one of those seal a meal thingies.”

“I made a note; seal a meal thingie from Amazon. Just catch him and get him back to his perch.”

“Are you kidding, look at my brain. Get the shotgun.”

“You can’t shoot him. Lorelei*** will be pissed.”

We moved into the front office on cat’s feet. I started to ease the door shut to avoid chasing him from room to room. He saw through my plan and flew toward the closing door.

Lisa stepped in front of me and made a grab at him, but he banked and she came up with a few loose feathers. She snapped her attention to her nails and said, “Get the shotgun.”

Doubt circled the room squawking the entire time. I moved alongside his orbit and timed my swing. It was kind of like catching a giant butterfly. “Find a box or something to put him in.”

She went to the closet and brought back a white plastic bucket with a lid. She used her ruined nails to poke holes through the side.

I winced, thinking how strong she really is.

Doubt tore a chunk off the side of my hand, but I managed to shove him in the bucket. Lisa snapped the lid shut and ran for her desk.

I sat on top of the bucket and asked, “What are you going to do?”

She grabbed a Sharpie and a shipping label, and started writing. “I’m sending him away.”

“Good idea. Send him to Timbuktu.”

“I already wrote Florida.”

“Where in Florida?”

“Just Florida. Maybe the UPS people will keep him in the warehouse trying to figure it all out.” She looked up and smiled. “I’ll take him into town. Will you be alright without me for an hour or two?”

“Yeah. I’m looking forward to some Doubt free editing.”

* Lisa is the main character in Wild Concept. She’s a robot and works as my assistant these days.

**Doubt is a raven. He was a gift from my Muse, and was intended to help me somehow.

*** Lorelei is my Muse.

Important Footnote:

Doubt is going to appear over at S.K Nicholls’ blog mybrandofgenius. Please visit her blog and consider following her. She’s in the final stages of a new manuscript herself. Her book might be something you’re interested in

12 Comments

Filed under Muse