Office Upgrade

New ChairWhen we moved to Arizona, we brought only a few items of furniture from the California house. Damsel had designs on furnishing the new house with all new items. That was true for the bedroom-turned-office as well. We bought two new desks and a short filing cabinet for computers and peripherals storage. However, we did not buy new office chairs; the old ones were brought for that purpose.

Now, the original office furniture for the old house had been there for a while. I checked our financial records and found that the office furniture - including the chairs - had been purchased in December of 2001. That’s just under thirteen years ago - time to get some new chairs. Damsel and I both went down to the (greater Phoenix Area) West Valley today and purchased two new chairs similar to the one shown in the graphic.

We also bought two chair pads that sit on the floor in front of the desks for the chairs to roll around on. We had been using area carpets for this, but the plastic pads seemed to be more durable and easier to clean and maintain.

This minor office upgrade is just the beginning. Damsel and I have decided to redecorate the great room and dining area with all new furnishings. The old tables, table lamps and sofas will be donated to charity (as will be the old office chairs) and replaced with new items in the near future.


Adios AR 2192 (For Now)

AR 2192

I went out to the courtyard to photograph the last image of the great sunspot of 2014, AR 2192 before it rotates out of Earth view. According to the article below, there is a possibility of the spot to return to the Earth-facing side of the solar disk in a couple of weeks. Click on the image to enlarge.


SUPER-SUNSPOT PREPARES TO DEPART: The biggest sunspot in nearly 25 years is about to leave the solar disk.

. . .

As AR2192 approaches the sun’s horizon, it is no longer facing Earth. However, the odds of an Earth-directed radiation storm are higher than ever. The reason is, the western limb of the sun is well-connected to Earth. Solar magnetic fields springing out of that region spiral back to our planet. If a sunspot passing through the area explodes, those spiralling magnetic fields can funnel energetic particles in our direction.

In only a few days, the behemoth sunspot will begin a 2-week transit of the far side of the sun, carried around by the sun’s 27-day rotation. However, that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of this magnificent active region. Big sunspots typically persist for two or three solar rotations before they decay. After it leaves, AR2192 will return in November.


Sunset Colors

Sunset Colors

This sunset image was in the file from a week ago. We get a lot of nice, colorful sunsets like this year around. Luckily, we didn’t have a dense cloud cover for yesterday’s eclipse.

The weekend forecast is for more clear skies and we will be looking the International Space Station tomorrow evening. At our location, the ISS will pass over just before seven PM AZ time. I might try and photograph the passing, but no guarantees. ;)

Click on the image to enlarge.


Partial Solar Eclipse

Partial Eclipse Panel

Damsel and I watched periodically as the new moon partially obscured the sun today. The eclipse stats for Phoenix (according to NASA) are as follows (Times MST):

  • Eclipse begins: 14:21
  • Maximum eclipse: 15:38
  • Eclipse ends: 16:45
  • Sun altitude: 24°
  • Sun azimuth: 236°
  • Magnitude: 0.449
  • Obscuration: 0.331

The three-image panel above shows the lunar disc (left to right) just appearing, near maximum obscuration and just disappearing. I used the same setup today as I did for the 2012 annular eclipse and transit of Venus. Click on the image to enlarge.

The terms “magnitude” and “obscuration” above (I infer) refer to the percentage of penetration of the lunar shadow across the solar disc and the percentage of of the total solar area blocked by the moon. Those numbers (more or less) can be seen in the middle image above near max eclipse. I assume that the azimuth and altitude (elevation above horizon) are for maximum eclipse time.

We were blessed with beautiful, clear skies during the event and enjoyed yet another one of God’s wonders from our desert home. We’re still planning to be in a position to see the August, 2017 total solar eclipse event.


Now THAT’s a Sunspot!

Sunspot 2192

We are going to have a partial solar eclipse tomorrow afternoon. I went out this morning to take some practice shots of the sun and it just so happens that major sunspot AR 2192 is transiting the nearside of the solar disc. There are several other smaller sunspots visible. Click on the image to enlarge.

As for the eclipse, there are some details about it on NASA.

And more about this giant sunspot at

Earth-effects could increase in the days ahead. AR2192 has an unstable ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful explosions, and the active region is turning toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate at 65% chance of M-class flares and a 20% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours.

Watch for some of our eclipse photos here after the event.

UPDATE: Sunspot 2192 has moved to the right and is in a position almost directly facing the Earth. Click here to view photo taken 23 Oct 14.

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Wickenburg Weekend Bike Invasions

Bikers in Town

We don’t normally go out on the weekends, but today we had occasion to drive to the post office and then to deposit a check that came in the mail at the bank. We also did some shopping while we were in that end of town (Old Wickenburg).

As we drove through the old section, we noticed a lot of two-wheelers parked at the cafes downtown. We hear the bikes on the weekends from home, but rarely get to see some of the nice motorcycles in person. This bunch of bikers were enjoying some of the great Mexican food available at the only Mexican restaurant in old downtown. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Happy 239th Birthday, US Navy!

USNHappy Birthday to my old armed service force, The United States Navy.

I enlisted in 1960 when President Eisenhower was still in the white house and I mustered out in 1966 while President Lyndon B. Johnson was busily escalating the war in Vietnam. I never regretted the training, experience and honor of serving in the US Navy.

From The Patriot Post:

On Oct. 13, 1775, the U.S. Navy was born when the Continental Congress authorized the arming of two sailing vessels with 80 men and 10 carriage guns in order to intercept British supply and munitions transports. The Declaration of Independence came nine months later, followed by the creation of the Department of the Navy in 1798. Today, our Navy is the most powerful in the world. We at The Patriot Post offer our thanks to all our sailors for a job well done and wish you a Happy 239th Birthday! God bless you and your families.

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Second Spring Butterfly

Second Spring Butterfly

Signs of Second Spring have persisted for several weeks. Today, there were dozens of butterflies browsing the flowers on the sage, red birds and Rosemary. The nice thing about using Rosemary for ground cover along the RV drive, is that butterflies of all sizes, colors and descriptions are attracted to the tiny blue flowers.

I captured this photo of a yellow and gold butterfly lighting on a Rosemary just under the top of the little hill out back. Click on the image to enlarge.

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A Personal History


I attended a time management seminar as a requisite to becoming a senior technical group leader when I worked in the aerospace industry in 1991. The seminar was based on the popular Franklin Planner organizing tools.

For over fifteen years, I faithfully recorded notes, personal and vocational goals in my planner. I retained the records in binders, one for each year I used the system. I was organized, believe me.

As we cleaned out the old stuff from the house in California after completing the sale, I elected to bring my volumes of planner with us to Arizona, so I could review, and dispose of the old notes as appropriate.

There were a lot of important events I recorded. I looked in the initial 1991 volume today and found the page where my first grandchild was born. That was the granddaughter who just recently gave birth to my first great grandson last month.

It will be conflicting to me, but, since we don’t really have a place to store them, I will probably gather them up and have them shredded. Way too much personal and potentially dangerous (i.e. identity theft) information. Nothing too incriminating . . . ;)

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Exiting California

Lisa Benson Cartoon

We are now completely disassociated with Kalifornistan, save for our friends and relatives there. We will go back for visiting purposes, but our money and property will be elsewhere.

And, we’re not the only ones leaving the formerly Golden State. Millions of retirees, like us, are out of there. Plus, businesses and manufacturing jobs are moving. The Lisa Benson cartoon above adds some snark, but a very good article by Daniel J. Mitchell links the changes in California to a steady flow of jobs to Texas and other places.


Much of my writing is focused on the real-world impact of government policy, and this is why I repeatedly look at the relative economic performance of big government jurisdictions and small government jurisdictions.

But I don’t just highlight differences between nations. Yes, it’s educational to look at North Korea vs. South Korea or Chile vs. Venezuela vs. Argentina, but I also think you can learn a lot by looking at what’s happening with different states in America.

So we’ve looked at high-tax states that are languishing, such as California and Illinois, and compared them to zero-income-tax states such as Texas.

With this in mind, you can understand that I was intrigued to see that even the establishment media is noticing that Texas is out-pacing the rest of the nation.


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