If you're on the left or the right, you've missed the point

Not too long ago I was shopping in my local grocery store when I ran into an old friend whom I had not seen in some time. She and I had been out on the streets of San Francisco on the night of Barack Obama’s election to witness the electric atmosphere and celebration. She and I wrote slogans in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the Ninth Circuit that night and a few other times. She was there at the grocery store with a fellow she introduced me to, adding in almost worshipful tones that he was, «an Occupier.»

Armchair observation

The Moon was very near to Venus in the sky tonight. It took me by surprise as I had not been following the Moon’s phases closely but with my western-facing living room windows it was very difficult to miss an unusually bright Venus next to a bare sliver of a crescent Moon in the evening sky tonight.

Through the binoculars the Moon was stunning. Usually even with earthglow it’s difficult to make out features on the shadowed side of the Moon, but the earthglow was particularly bright. The Sea of Showers and Ocean of Storms were fully visible. 

When you focus upon a star…

I took the binoculars out into the yard tonight for some planetary observation. Following my father’s advice, I focused the binoculars on a star before looking at Venus and despite the difficulty getting the image to stay still I could make out the crescent shape. It looks like Venus is getting much closer to its transit of the Sun. I think that Venus will start getting less bright in the sky as the crescent gets thinner. Of course it will also get harder to observe as its setting time comes closer to sunset.

What's the price of a signature?

Last night I made a late night run to the grocery store and was surprised to see a woman with a clipboard by the front entrance asking people coming in and out to sign some form of petition. It’s not uncommon to see this at Safeway; the entrance is a bottleneck for all traffic in and out and a favorite spot for pollsters and panhandlers alike. What was odd was that there would be someone collecting signatures at nearly midnight.

Venerean phases

Venus has been very bright in the evening sky lately, as you may have already noticed. A friend of mine was playing with an astronomy program on his iPod Touch while we were walking the other evening and asked what «that bright star» was. I said that an object in the sky as bright as the one we were looking at could only be Venus (correct) and I speculated that Venus might be brighter when farther from us, because we’d be seeing more of the bright side (not correct. Sorry!)

Getting things started

For years I’ve been a fan of the first suggested practice in Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way program: morning pages. The suggestion is to do three pages of automatic writing (writing without stopping to think) the very first thing every morning. I’ve gone through periods where I’ve done the morning pages faithfully, and months on end where I haven’t done them at all. Faced with the litany of things I usually feel I have to do, it is a challenge to keep this practice.

Photoshop scratch, system swap, and solid state

The first rule of Photoshop club is: don’t let Photoshop use the system disk as a scratch disk. It’s a good rule of thumb and it has helped many people get much better performance from their Photoshop systems. It’s helped even more people think they were getting better perfomance from their Photoshop systems.

What bowl?

A few days ago on my way out of the bank after making a deposit for a client (not the sort of thing I usually do, but if it helps the checks clear it’s time well spent) the branch manager (an overly friendly man, but that’s preferable to the alternative) said to me, «enjoy the game!»

I stopped to think and turned to him. «Game?»

«Yeah,» he chuckled. «There’s a football game. You might have heard?»

Of course by now I knew what he was talking about. I said, «isn’t football season over?»

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