Hello everyone! Welcome back to the last Four for Fridays of the year! It's been a great year for a great many things. Hopefully it has treated everyone great as well. Here are some questions for you....
1) What are your goals for the new year?
2) Do you have goals that are imposed on you by someone else?
A friend of mine in Port Charlotte had this picture made for me and Biggie D for Christmas. Yep, that would be me (a bit trimmer than I think I am), our pup Sable and a book bag from Cracker House Books (Biggie's bookstore). I thought it was the neatest thing to do for us!
This morning NPR had a story about social media memes and viral videos in 2012. One of the themes of the story is how memes and viral videos have such a short shelf life, Gangnam Style excluded (anyone remember Kony 2012?)
For some reason I thought back to the early days of the world wide web (not to be confused with the early days of the internet...the internet dates back much farther) and what was one of the first viral videos: The Dancing Baby. The Dancing Baby was first released in 1996. There was no Youtube (really) back then and those of us that had internet access at home were rocking dial up (and not even 56k modems as they didn't come out until '98). I honestly can't remember the format I first used to see it but it was probably either Quicktime or RealPlayer. I am not sure when I first downloaded it, but it had to be fairly soon after it was released. I base this on the fact that the Dancing Baby was used on the television show Ally McBeal and when I saw that episode, I thought wow, that's an old reference. Looking at the Dancing Baby Wikipedia page, I see that episode aired on January 5th, 1998 so I had to have downloaded it quite a while before that.
And of course I started wondering how many people remember the dancing baby. I am sure there are people my age that weren't on the internet that might only know it from television. Then there are younger people who would never have seen it at all and laugh at how crude it is. Obviously, this viral video spread much more slowly and had a much longer shelf life than modern videos just given how few people were able to see it.
Just in case you have no idea what I am talking about, here is the original Dancing Baby (now on youtube).
So what do you remember about the Dancing Baby (if anything)?
Christmas Eve we went to my sons house to open gifts with my two older kids, my sons girlfriend and the grandchildren. It was great and I had so much fun watching my granddaughter rip open her presents. The best part when when my sons girlfriend opened a blanket for my grandson then my granddaughter thought it was hers. Then she opened her blanket and she put her head on the blanket. Her is my granddaughter with the blanket I made for her.
She was so happy to get her own blanket. She is getting so big now and I just can't wait for her to be able to say Grandma and Grandpa.
After the presents were done being open Drew brought out a ring and let the kids know we are engaged. Yes Drew and I are engaged as of Christmas Eve. I knew about it because I was able to pick out my engagement ring. We are not pushing it to get married right away because I would like to wait for our Grandchildren to be old enough to understand this and be able to walk down the aisle to be flower girl and ring bearer.
When we left my sons house we went to my younger sisters house because my younger daughter was staying there the night. My mom was there and you should have seen the look on my moms face she was so happy. My younger sister was so jealous about it all. Then from there we went to Drew's parents house to spend Christmas Eve with his family. His mom was the first one to know about us being engaged and she was so happy for us. Then the rest of the family was told and it was so nice to know that they are happy for us. Then Christmas Day morning we went back to my sisters house to open presents with my younger sister and my mom then we went to my older sisters house for Christmas Day with the rest of my family. That is when her family was told about Drew and I being engaged and they are happy for us.
This is a picture of my engagement ring. I have the best man I love more than anything else in the world and he is the sweetest man I have ever met. This Christmas was the happiest one for me because I was able to go and be with both families that I love very much and I was with the one and only man I love so much.
Unfortunately, in Tucson it was cloudy most of the day, especially later in the afternoon when the Moon and Jupiter would have been positioned for a daytime attempt. Early in the evening, the clouds were very thick and you could barely see where the Moon was in the sky behind the clouds with no sign of Jupiter.
After watching the Doctor Who Christmas special, I went outside just to check and see if there was any chance of seeing anything. Much to my pleasant surprise, there were Jupiter and the Moon surrounded by a 22 degree Moon halo! Needless to say that necessitated grabbing a camera and a couple of my wider angle lenses (since the radius of the halo is 22 degrees, that means I need a a lens with at least a 44 degree field of view to see the whole thing...fortunately, I have a couple that will do the trick). So here are the pics.
Very nice treat on Christmas night. Just goes to show you never know when the sky will give you a little break.
So after you finish your Christmas dinner, take a step outside and you can get a nice view of the waxing gibbous Moon very close to Jupiter if you live in the continental United States (if you are really lucky and live in South America, you can see the Moon pass directly in front of Jupiter and block it out for a while! Would love to see this one!) Here is a chart of what it will look like from Tucson at about 6:30pm local time.
There are lots of neat things you can observe. First, the Moon will rise a couple of hours before the Sun sets (in Tucson the Moon rises at 3:34pm and the Moon sets at 5:25pm). Since Jupiter is so close to the Moon, this gives you a chance to spot Jupiter during the day. It will help if you have a pair of binoculars. Jupiter will be in the same field of view as the Moon in most binoculars. Once you spot Jupiter with binoculars and know where it is, can you spot it before the Sun sets? Most people can find Jupiter during the day with binoculars but it is challenging to see it without optical aid. See how early you can spot Jupiter.
Once the Sun sets, all four Galilean Moons will be visible. This is a good time to break a telescope someone got as a Christmas gift and train it on the Moon and Jupiter (you probably won't be able to see both at the same time through a telescope unless you have a very wide field telescope).
Another good observation to make is note how fast the Moon moves relative to Jupiter. They are closest together about 6:30pm EST and the Moon moves about one half degree per hour. One half degree happens to be about the diameter of the Moon. With a nice bright reference point like Jupiter nearby, you should be able to observe this motion over a couple of hours with just your eyes, no telescope required. Better yet, take a picture of them early in the evening and then go out later and take another picture (just be sure to use the same zoom setting and mounting the camera on a tripod is essential!) I have done this with point and shoot cameras that have as little as a 3x zoom lens way back in 2004 and modern inexpensive cameras are much better than what I was using back then!
Although this is a nice conjunction, if you miss it, the Moon will come around for an even closer conjunction with Jupiter in January, but that is a future blog!
I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and please if you have any travel plans be careful. I am writing this early because tomorrow morning Drew, the kids and I are going to be traveling up north to our families.
I just can't wait to see all the family on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. I think some of my sadness is because I really miss the family. I know some of it is because my dad is not with us for Christmas anymore but I know he is looking down and watching all of us.
Tomorrow we get to see my older daughter, my son and his girlfriend and the grandkids after we open gifts with the kids we go to Drew's family have dinner and spend the night at their house. Then Christmas Day morning we go and exchange gifts with my mom and younger sister then we go to my older sister's house. After that we come home. Drew has to go to work on Wednesday. Yes the next two days is a lot of traveling for us. But the best part of it is to see the family and I am with the one and only man that means everything to me yes that is Drew that I love with all my heart.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas. I will have pictures on when we get home.
Every Wednesday, Madame Zoltar responds to your queries and comments in her blog, Dear Madame Zoltar. Are the stars in your favor? What to do with that 401K? Find out by sending your questions and thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
"The famed Bald Eagles from Decorah, Iowa are back on their nest and ready to start a new family! World famous and live streamed via the internet by the Raptor Resource Center, anyone can view the parents raise their eaglets from egg to fledglings from the comfort of their homes. Using infrared cameras and microphones, the eagles can be seen around the clock during the nesting season, which starts in January or February and runs till June."
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