Moon Shot & WSOP Coverage

by admin on May 30, 2009

Yes, another moon picture from my front yard. Was hoping it would be accompanied by the ISS passing by, but with unexpected cloud cover during what would be the money shot, it didn’t happen.

The Moon

Now, if the moon or space isn’t your thing, poker is. I know this because Google tells me so. The top three search words for this site are, “moon”, “space”, and, “poker”. And frankly, I can’t think of anything more fascinating to search on outside of “Pauly Uncircumcised” or “Amy Calistri Interracial”.

OK, the above is a flat out lie.

Most people find this site by searching on “hoyazo euthanized”, and “waffles cosmetic surgery”.

With that in mind, go read the latest WSOP coverage linked to below. I can guarantee you I have enjoyed an adult beverage or three with each and every writer represented. I hope that does not reflect badly on me.

Al Can’t Hang
Poker From the Rail
Dr. Pauly
Pokerati
Wicked Chops Poker
PokerNews.com
Poker Stars Blog
Ultimate Bet Blog

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Twitter, Facebook Reserves Depleted

by admin on May 19, 2009

Social Media reaches out to extraterrestrials for evidence of intelligent life: Earth Speaks

(Hush now. I’m mocking social media, not SETI. I gave them thousands of hours of computer time during their SETI@Home project.)

And now, here is a giant spider I found on my porch.

Pregnant Wolf Spider; Gainesville, FL

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STS-125 Atlantis Launch

by sheverb on May 12, 2009

A photo-heavy post. With much unnecessary rambling.

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On the road to STS-125 Atlantis Launch

Our mission to view the STS-125 Atlantis launch was nearly aborted when someone forgot their tickets and we had to return.

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STS-125 Atlantis Launch Kennedy Space Center Entrance

Fifteen or so hours later, we arrived at our destination. During those 15 hours there was some driving, some Sunpass and decidedly more hip E-pass tolls, a Mexican joint that thankfully did not serve alligator fajitas, and a little beer and penny-ante poker in an only moderately disgusting room at a Super 8.

Oh. And there was a lot of not sleeping for me. I’d blame SSP’s snoring, but it’s all anxiety, baby.

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Kennedy Space Center, Visitor Complex on Launch Day

Arrival! Having slept about an hour and a half the night before, I tried desperately to channel fellow insomniac Betty, but I’m not sure she heard me. Her advice about just plowing through it helped. Insomnia will not kill me. [Select your deity] bless Betty.

But the heat? She never counselled me about heat.

Thankfully my fellow travelers were up for sitting in a darkened theater at nine o’clock in the A.M. watching Tom Hanks narrate a 3-D move about moon landings.

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STS-125 Atlantis Launch, Flight Simulator, GAY!

Rejuvenated, my iPhone captured my sweaty gray hair and the rest of us headed towards the new launch simulator at the Kennedy Space Centers Vistor Complex. I thought it would be comparable to the simulator at Epcot (which was so unsettling that for the following two weeks I was certain its G-forces compressed my brain and aggravated some undiagnosed atrial venous malformation) so I took the “observation” option allowing me to watch, via cameras, my cohorts being subjected to the rigors of a real live honest-to-god actual launch.

You can’t blame me. We were at NASA. The building housing this simulation appeared as large as the VAB. I might have an undiagnosed AVM. Let me repeat, we were at NASA. It had to be dangerous.

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(No photo here. They made me put my camera in a locker. Total shame.)

I looked on from the one lonely theater chair they supplied for people like me as my companions were jostled around a bit making my backseat ride through the E-pass lane just south of ORD appear more harrowing. Next time, shuttle simulator at NASA, I will ride you.

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STS-125 Atlantis Launch

The pod bay doors are for loading and unloading only.

With time to kill, we walked through the shuttle on display at the center. I’d seen it before and it was largely uneventful. The shade, however, provided relief. Since I was unable to channel Betty, it occurred to me that I might be okay with the lack of sleep provided I stay away from the direct 95 degree blazing sun.

(The feeling just before passing out is similar to the sensation of a panic attack. When in an environment that fosters both panic AND actual fainting, the only recourse for this anxiety-attacker was to make excuses to hang out cool dark places. Which we did. After watching another well-timed IMAX 3-D movie about the ISS, I discovered yet another small theater broadcasting the live NASA feed. It came with an employee named Robert who answered questions about launch. Bonus! I asked him about the extra seven seconds added to the launch time the previous evening (alerted to this nugget of info by my iPhone as I lay awake the night before with the Kindle app). He talked of the proximity to our location to the equator, the vast distance between the IIS and the Hubble, the ridiculous amounts of fuel required to get there. Unable to understand why this wasn’t worked out before 11pm the night before, I asked, “What was it? A miscalculation?”

He said, “I guess.”

Really!)

And then it was time for the launch. The Visitors Complex was not nearly as crowded as I expected it to be and I was able to wander between the spot we staked out and the interior of a nearby building for cooling airs a couple of times before the big moment.

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STS-125 Atlantis Launch

STS-125 Atlantis Launch

STS-127 Atlantis Launch

I didn’t use a tripod or my crappy telephoto lens. I just hand-held my Canon Digital Rebel with a 50mm lens.

I have regrets. They are many.

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STS-127 Atlantis Launch

And then the crowd went wild.

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STS-127 Atlantis Launch

Happy campers after the launch.

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STS-127 Atlantis Launch

Anxiety free after the launch.

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STS-127 Atlantis Launch

Post not complete without the epic fail we discovered at the Space Shop.

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On the road to STS-125 Atlantis Launch

What a long strange trip it’s been.

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Hatching Moon

by admin on April 28, 2009

The moon! It's hatching!

The mosquitos conspired against me. I was outside for under five minutes trying to shoot the moon tonight. There was barely enough time to set up the tripod let alone adjust the shutter speed or aperture before I was bitten no fewer than twenty times. Can’t risk West Nile or Equine Encephalitis what with the Swine flu going around. I’d surely be misdiagnosed and likely die.

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I’m just clumsy

by admin on March 22, 2009

I hate it when I prematurely close the table when I bust out of a tourney. I don’t mean to be the bitter jackass who doesn’t say, “Good luck,” to the remaining players when I’m done, I’m just clumsy.

I’ve only had time to play two of the BBT 4 games this time around. The first one was a dismal failure, but I made the final table in the second one this afternooon, busting out in 5th place. This was due in a large part to being dealt an extraordinary number of great hands and in a small part to attempting to focus on just the game. My brand new tourney rule was broken sometime during the second hour, however, when I had the NCAA scores loading on ESPN.com, Nasa TV running in another window as the ISS crossed Mexico and the Florida peninsula (I can see my house from here!), random IM chats going on, half the bottle of shiraz being gone and SSP calling from work. I’ve barely seen him in the last five days as he’s been tied up in the IT-end of our corporate move and I didn’t want to say, “Let me call you back! I have a hand! And Xavier’s about to win this! And I’m looking at shit flying around in space! I’ll get back to you!”

Incidentally, it’s been a long time since I’ve played poker with bloggers. When did they get so good?

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Awhile back Gary (GCox) and I wrote a couple of posts for Al on FullTilt about microlimit games. They’re really the only cash games I play since the UIGEA passed and I fear reloading. Much of the feedback I’ve received involves the lower limit tourneys being more profitable than the cash games and I’m inclined to believe that’s correct.

* * *

And also but plus, the legendary AlCantHang paid a visit to the dome. He was a good sport about heading out to Payne’s Prairie for the Kepler launch after a long day of travel. He captured the historic event as a tiny bright dot on his camera and returned to the dome for shots of Soco and Rock Band. I made the terrible mistake of trying to keep up with him. I recovered four days later, memories of the subsequent poker game and barbecue a complete blur. Pablo, myself and several dome-particpants polished off the bottle of Jack. Al? He came awfully close to finishing the bottle of Southern Comfort on his own, as evidenced below.

Al explains the mysteries of life to SSP in my kitchen at 5am.

Near Dawn: Al and SSP

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End of an Era

by admin on March 19, 2009

I’ve lived and worked and laughed and cried here since 2002. This weekend we leave our idyllic location and move to a “corporate park”. I wish I could post the photos I took of real live people today because the selection below doesn’t come close to expressing what this place means to me.

mmrd

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mmrd

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Discovery Launch at Paynes Prairie

by admin on March 16, 2009

This evening, Pablo, MMD and I camped out at the end of William Bartram Trail at Paynes Prairie waiting for Discovery to launch. (I shot this location in ‘07. Upon looking back, those photos blow out the latest web design. Argh.)

I provide the above link and info to assist potential Google searchers. We were about 141 miles away from Cape Canaveral.

Here’s a shot close to sunset with the 70-300mm Sigma at the end of the boardwalk facing southwest.

discovery 2009

Here is Sweet Sweet Pablo. (Changed the lens.)

discovery 2009

And this is Sweet Sweet MMD.

discovery 2009

Back to the Sigma. I’m at the end of the boardwalk looking toward the street. You can get an idea of how far that might be here. They have no idea I’m spying on them!

discovery 2009

MMD took this photo of a giant sun setting over the other end of the prairie. He’s a better photographer than I am.

discovery 2009

I expected at least 90 seconds after the actual launch before we could see the shuttle from our location, but I was wrong. I didn’t even have time to focus. At this point, my brain was firing SHUTTLESHUTTLEHOLYFUCKTHESHUTTLE and I lost all sense of the mechanics of the camera.

discovery 2009

A closer view.

discovery 2009

Getting higher.

discovery 2009

Here’s a shot from MMD’s camera a second later.

discovery 2009

I waded through 227 photos when I got home and I was stunned to see the solid rocket boosters disengage.

discovery 2009

The shuttle is flying away so fast that barely a second later all you can see of the rocket boosters is that one tiny bright lump below the large bright lump.

discovery 2009

A little bit farther now.

discovery 2009

One shuttle, two boosters and (not pictured) three happy campers.

discovery 2009

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This I Eat: 2.14.09

by admin on February 14, 2009

Naked berries grown in Stark, FL. (Speed trap capital of the state!)

Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3s.

Bourbon salmon.

This salad attack contains spinach, assorted lettuces from a bag, broccoli, celery, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, dried cranberries, walnuts and apples. Not pictured? Blue cheese!

Frankenberries. I took those pretty naked berries and swirled them around in some melted 70% cacao chocolate. OMG.

Spring Fire

by admin on February 11, 2009

It’s a little early for forest fires in Florida, but when we took the pups out for their nightly constitutional, the air was thick with smoke.

This photo is (once again) so exceedingly over exposed that it looks like dusk but it’s really 10:30pm. The light from the dome was so inviting . . . come home!

Smokey Dome

Bad Moon Rising

by admin on February 9, 2009

I can’t exactly blame the moon for being bad, nor can I blame my equipment. It would be entirely unfair to both the moon and to Canon. I blame my poor photography skills. Out of the 150 photos I took tonight, here are six. I selected the over exposed shots because they caught the clouds and the horizon. I have no earthly idea what I’m doing, but I had fun doing it.

Poorly photographed full moon over Alachua, 02/09/2009

Poorly photographed full moon over Alachua, 02/09/2009

Poorly photographed full moon over Alachua, 02/09/2009

Poorly photographed full moon over Alachua, 02/09/2009

Poorly photographed full moon over Alachua, 02/09/2009

Poorly photographed full moon over Alachua, 02/09/2009