Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

We’d originally planned to go on a hike at Great Falls for Columbus Day, but rain changed those plans to a more indoorsy venue: the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, which I’d been wanting to see but never got down to since we moved out to the county five years ago.

The museum occupies an old schoolhouse built in 1873 along Main Street. Upstairs is “The Fairfax Story,” a permanent exhibit of local history, small but dense with displays and artifacts ranging from pre-colonial times to the Civil War to the modern day.

Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

There was even a bit of space history in the mix, with a display case on NASA astronaut and Fairfax native Pierre Thuot.

Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

Downstairs is a mezzanine level for traveling and temporary exhibits. Out front is the visitor center, and from the front desk, a computer loudly broadcasts another historical artifact: an AOL “You’ve got mail” alert.

Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center

A nice little educational museum, right near Fairfax City, well worth a visit if you live in or near the County.

Lunar Eclipse of October 2014

I got up early enough to catch this morning’s lunar eclipse from the roof, but sadly did not make it to the Capitol in time for my original plan, to catch an eclipsed moonset with the DC skyline. Still, it was a lovely total lunar eclipse to start off the morning.

Lunar Eclipse Oct 2014 Lunar Eclipse Oct 2014 Lunar Eclipse Oct 2014

I also tried collecting my high ISO shots of the onset of totality into a crude animation:

Nicer gallery from Capital Weather.

Best tweet of the event was from Mike Brown aka Plutokiller:

Bardarbunga Drone and Ontake Hikers

Going back to volcanoes again, here’s a DJI Phantom drone, piloted by director of aerial imaging Eric Cheng (whom I had previously met a long time ago in Palau), visiting the currently erupting Bárðarbunga Volcano in Iceland:

Meanwhile, in Japan, a surprise eruption on the volcano Ontake has stranded and killed hikers on its slopes. One of the survivors captured video of the ash clouds from the eruption as they fled. Here’s a stabilized version:


I still run a webcam to keep an eye on the house while we’re out, and this week I found Martha making a special appearance in the archive.

Martha on Webcam

Both cats do like hanging around on tops of shelves lately.

Amelia and Martha #cats atop shelf

When they’re not looking out the window for birds.

Amelia and Martha by the window
Amelia and Martha look out the window

Or joining us at the dining table.

Amelia cat

Confessions Of

Sometimes I like to open up Google News and do a phrase search for Confessions of, which can turn up some interesting reading. Sometimes.

Confessions of a Google Glass Explorer. I was told that I was one of the first few hundred Explorers in the city, which made me feel like some third-rate Shackleton embarked on my own Nimrod Expedition into the neon ice.

Confessions of a Drone Pilot. Chillingly, to mitigate these effects, researchers have proposed creating a Siri-like user interface, a virtual copilot that anthropomorphizes the drone and lets crews shunt off the blame for whatever happens. Siri, have those people killed.

Confessions of a TSA Screener. Every now and then, a passenger would throw up two middle fingers during his or her scan, as though somehow aware of the transgressions going on.

Confessions of Cruise Ship Crew Members. Are crew members allowed to fraternize with the passengers? On the mass-market and other large ships, the answer is a simple “no.”

Confessions of a Divemaster. If dive guides or any staff members misbehaved too much, they’d be “NBO-ed” — i.e., fired and sent away on the Next Boat Off the island.

Confessions of a Fed Up Flight Attendant. Maxi Pads.

Confessions of a Vine Dad. Maybe I should stop. And yet … strangers liked me on the Internet—every insecure writer’s dream.

Tavurvur Eruption

Here’s a video of active volcano Tavurvur erupting in Papua New Guinea in August, recorded by an Australian taxi driver named Phil McNamara.

It’s an impressive explosion, with a visible condensation shock and a loud, delayed sonic boom. Tavurvur has killed people before, but current conditions during this eruption have spared surrounding populations from ash and debris.

BIG Maze

BIG Maze (designed by Bjarke Ingels Group) is just that: a giant maze of high wood walls, but with a twist: as you go deeper in, the walls gradually descend towards the core, revealing more and more of the structure as you approach the center.


We visited last weekend and I got a POV traverse video with Glass.

We hadn’t been to the National Building Museum for a while; it was nice to see it again.

National Building Museum

While in the maze we also ran into old friends and neighbors Jodi and Roberto.


Sadly the last day of the BIG Maze was on September 1st and it is now being dismantled. No word yet on if it will go elsewhere; would be nice if NBM acquired the piece as part of their permanent collection.