You all know about Rickrolling, but now theatre group Commedia Beauregard (also known for A Klingon Christmas Carol) takes it into the 23rd Century with Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” translated into Klingon (jIyIntaHvIS not qajegh):
Here’s Martha by the window this morning, softly reflected in the glass:
And here’s Amelia exploring a desk hutch after I had cleared it out for sale on Craigslist:
As of October 1st, our kittens Martha and Amelia are one year old, and are now officially cats. Big cats! Compare the two of them between March and September:
And on October 1st:
To celebrate the occasion I have taken every Vine video I’ve recorded of them since their adoption in January, and combined all these six-second clips into a grand chronicle of the Companion Kittens’ First Year. Enjoy.
If you don’t have that much time to watch kittens in six second bursts, here are my personal favorites:
Happy birthday, Martha and Amelia. Now you’re cats, but you’ll always be our Companion Kittens.
(As such, I will continue to tag them as “companion kittens” on Flickr.)
Mental Floss: History of the Trapper Keeper. My Trapper Keeper period ran from high school to about sophomore year of college. Back then my taste ran towards the “Designer Series” Trapper Keepers: surrealistic computer-generated 3D landscapes and colorful floating geometric shapes and chrome spheres — a very early 1990s aesthetic. This Guilty People column on Trapper Keepers has a gallery which includes the specific covers I had through high school:
There is also a Homestar Runner main screen called “Trapper Keeper!!”
Sunday was a big spaceflight day. First, the commercial Cygnus spacecraft (which was launched from Wallops Island, VA on the 18th by an Antares rocket just like the one I watched in April) docked with the space station on a demo resupply mission for NASA. I got up early in the morning to try and photograph the two spacecraft as they orbited over our area but only saw the bright dot of the ISS; Cygnus was too dim to be seen through the light pollution of the DC area.
“ISS Tours”, a video playlist of inside tours of the International Space Station by NASA, ESA, and Roscosmos astronauts and cosmonauts through the years, compiled by myself after scouring YouTube. You’ve seen how I see the ISS from the ground, and now you can watch how crew members in orbit see it from inside.
Also of interest is game developer Richard Garriott’s Man on a Mission, about his private visit to the ISS in 2008, during which he also filmed Apogee of Fear, ostensibly the first science fiction film recorded in space. (It’s really bad.)
And of course, there’s Chris Hadfield’s cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity:
It’s not strictly a tour of the station, but there’s certainly enough scenery in the video to merit addition to the playlist.
The visible part of the International Space Station’s orbit has lately taken it over our area early in the morning, and as we get up at 5AM every day now, I’ve had several opportunities to photograph ISS flyovers from the parking garage roof deck. (The LADEE launch photo was a great encouragement.) First two attempts were a bit cloudy, but the clouds actually served to enhance these long exposures.
Another pass from last Monday was stymied by glaring light pollution from the new Metro parking garage across the street, but the ISS is faintly visible along the bottom of the frame.
So far what’s worked for me is to stick to ISO 200 to minimize grain noise and suburban light glare, keep aperture wide (usually f/3.5), and go for 30-120 second exposures to get a full streak across the field of view of a 16mm lens. Some time I’d like to try this from a much darker place, and see if I can use a higher ISO and even longer exposure time to get more stars — maybe even the Milky Way. As it is, I tried to shoot Orion and the harvest moon, with unimpressive results. (Wind wasn’t helping.)
Sunday was fun: church service in the morning, and in the evening we had an inaugural concert for the newly finished First Baptist DC organ project, and in between we visited the National Geographic Museum to see A New Age of Exploration, an exhibit celebrating NatGeo’s 125th anniversary.
I noticed a few mentions of the Philippines in the displays: an 1898 cover about the islands shortly before the Spanish-American War, and a 1922 atlas marking the Philippines as a US territory.
We also played a few augmented reality Kinect games, exercising the right to “bear arms,” so to speak.
Back at church, the new organ was wondrous, rich and full in tone, with a pair of trompet en chamades in the English and French styles, and a variety of effects like a tinkling zimbelstern, harp, and convent bell. Our organist Dr Lon Schreiber of course got a standing ovation.
It’s going to be great singing under those pipes every Sunday. Here’s a video of Lon playing some Franck on the new organ before the recital:
Organ recital program in this tweet, InTowner story on the recital, more about the church’s organ project, the builders’ “Opus 2795″ page on Austin Organs’s site, and my photos of the organ’s construction.
On Friday night, 6 Sep 2013, NASA launched LADEE, a small robotic spacecraft designed to study the moon’s tenuous atmosphere. LADEE was lofted into space by a five-stage solid-fueled Orbital Sciences Minotaur V from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, VA (which I had previously visited for the launch of Antares, another Orbital Sciences rocket). We watched the Minotaur launch from the roof in Fairfax, and I had my DSLR out to catch this 141 second long exposure:
Visited Amy’s parents in New Jersey for the long Labor Day weekend. First time driving the Fiat 500 up that far, and it performed admirably.
On Saturday we went to New York to drop by The Metropolitan Museum accompanied by Amy’s brother and his fiancee, taking the train in from Elizabeth Station. I’ve always loved seeing all the foliage growing over the older tracks at Elizabeth.
On Sunday we went to church, had an outdoor barbecue with Amy’s family, and viewed a tape of her uncle’s roller coaster modeling days. We went home the next day, stopping at Walt Whitman Service Area to eat some Roy Rogers and look at the New Jersey merchandise.