Punkin’ Chunkin’

Burlington Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Pitch-097

Laura and I used to love watching the World Championship Punkin Chunkin each year on the Science Channel. The show was hosted by Mythbusters Cari Byron and Grant Imahara and featured some amazing catapults and trebuchets. Sadly, the event has been cancelled because of an accident in 2016 involving one of the producers of the show.

Fast forward to this year…

We were delighted to see that a “Pumpkin Pitch” would be part of the 2017 Burlington Harvest Festival. We knew we HAD to see it, so last Saturday we headed over to the Skagit River Park in Burlington to watch the festivities. Continue reading “Punkin’ Chunkin’”

Totality

2017 Total Solar Eclipse-10
Photo by Tom Taylor – 8/21/2017

No words. There are really no words to describe the experience of a total solar eclipse. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to try. At least I can show a few of the photos I took (nearly 10,000, if you include the GoPro time-lapse images) and describe the events at our house leading up to and during the eclipse. It was a most excellent eclipse party, and the experience is one I wouldn’t have missed for anything. Continue reading “Totality”

Eclipse Preparations

Eclipse
Image from the National Weather Service.

The big event is only one week away. Next Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will cross the United States. Being the obsessive person I am, of course I have already been making plans for the event. The three questions I get on Facebook and other outlets are, “Where are you planning to view the eclipse?”, “How are you planning to view the eclipse?”, and “What are your photography plans?” I’ll try to answer those in this post. Continue reading “Eclipse Preparations”

An Eclipse Playlist

Eclipse
Image from the National Weather Service.

 

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock it would be hard to ignore the fact that in a couple of weeks a total solar eclipse is going to cross the United States. The hype has been amazing and huge crowds are expected to gather all along the path of totality. Here in Greenville we’re fortunate to live in the path of totality. I’m making preparations for our own eclipse event, and will be posting some of those preparations over the next several days. However, the first thing one needs for such an event is a good playlist. Here’s mine… Continue reading “An Eclipse Playlist”

History Mystery X-Files Tour with the Upstate Minis

Upstate Minis at PARI-008

This past Saturday Laura and I joined the Upstate Minis for their annual History/Mystery Tour. In the past the group has visited the Georgia Guidestones and other historic locations in South Carolina. This year the tour took on an X-Files theme, with a visit up to the Pisgah Astronomy Research Institute, aka PARI, in Rosman, North Carolina. This was our first time on the History/Mystery Tour, and despite bad weather, we had a blast. Continue reading “History Mystery X-Files Tour with the Upstate Minis”

Archeology at Pottersville

Pottersville Kiln Excavation-013
Potsherds at Pottersville

October is Archeology Month. As such, the Archeological Society of South Carolina has been promoting several opportunities for the public to get involved on its Facebook page. The one that caught my eye was an excavation at the Pottersville site north of Edgefield. last Friday I contacted the dig supervisor, archeologist Nicole Isenbarger, and made arrangements to visit.

November of last year Tommy Thompson and I tried to locate Pottersville. I had the coordinates, but the location didn’t look right. The directions we got from the guy at Edgefield Pottery sent us on a wild goose chase. As it turns out, my original coordinates were correct. So, early Friday morning I headed out to rendezvous at the dig site for an 8:00 am start. Continue reading “Archeology at Pottersville”

Blood Moon

I had grand plans for this morning’s “Blood Moon” eclipse. I had a place all staked out with clear views for moonset and sunrise. I was going to set up a time-lapse with my GoPro, and possibly even one with my D7000. I had my D50 ready with the 500mm lens – I was all … Continue reading Blood Moon

MaKey MaKey and Google Earth

Makey Makey and Google Earth-001
MaKey MaKey – Front Side

Before Christmas I got an Amazon gift card for my birthday, and I used it to buy a MaKey MaKey. It arrived just before the hectic Christmas rush and our traveling, so I didn’t really get a chance to play with it. These past few very cold days have been the perfect opportunity to see what this thing can do.

So, what is this thing?

A MaKey MaKey is an Arduino-based computer interface that allows any conductive material to be substituted for a key on the computer keyboard. The name is a contraction of “Make Anything a Key,” or “MaKey.”

The kit comes with alligator clips and jumper wires to attach to…just about anything. The board is connected to the computer via USB. You connect the clip to some conductive material such as aluminum foil, liquid, or even a piece of fruit. Another clip is attached to the ground on the board, the held in one hand. Touching the fruit-foil-liquid will complete the circuit through your body and trigger the key, depending on where the first clip is attached on the board. Continue reading “MaKey MaKey and Google Earth”