September 24, 2017

Dobsonian Telescope

We are moving to the woods for a few weeks. With the result that we will be able to endure some quality stargazing.  To assist in that pastime, I bought a Dobsonian telescope off of craigslist. I am hoping to get a DSLR to telescope mount and see what the universe looks like.

Report: Telescope initial response: It was a very hazy evening with light clouds, but you can easily make out the craters on the moon. This was on my smartphone (with limited white balance) which turned out acceptable for the hazy weather.

August 21, 2017

2017 Continental United States Solar Eclipse

Today we had the 2017, August 21st Solar Eclipse, which crossed most of the continental United States. It was a great time to be had by our attendees! We saw the solar bands, and it got dark outside, and the temperature dropped noticeably!

Kool Kats with front row seats to the 2017 eclipse theatrics.

duct tape + tripod + binoculars + paper + tape + diaper box + solar eclipse

Back at the 2012 Transit of Venus, I fashioned a solar funnel to see more detail on the surface of the sun. However, for today's eclipse, the binocular/tripod combo seemed to be an ideal setup.

July 19, 2017

New Dictionary of Biblical Theology

One of the highlights of my studies at Western Seminary has been the course on Biblical Theology. One of the best resources from that course was the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology.

Such a great work! This dictionary has three main sections. The first is composed of several articles and essays on the understanding, use, and place of biblical theology. The second section walks through the various parts/books of the bible, and the content found therein. The third section develops biblical themes.

The themes section is especially helpful in getting some wide angle views on themes presented in scripture. This book is really helpful if you are interested in getting to know the material of the Christian scriptures better. Specifically how the different books relate to each other.

Reformation - Luther 1517-2017 - 500 years

Over a decade ago, I picked up a DVD of docu-drama Luther (2003). I took it to Nigeria with me, and left it with some friends to enjoy there. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the posting of Luther's 95 theses and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, I picked up another copy. The movie is a decent rendition of a compelling story.

Here I stand, I can do no other.

July 16, 2017

Complete Guide to Idaho Hot Springs: Second Edition

A review of Doug Roloff's Complete Guide to Idaho Hot Springs: Second Edition. 

Volunteering information about Hot Springs is a tough proposition. The springs listed in this guide are generally public record.

Doug Roloff has put together what I would consider the definitive guide to Hot Springing in the state of Idaho. The book lists over a hundred Hot Springs in Idaho (and a few in Oregon). Having visited 44% of the Hot Springs listed in the book, I can attest to its accuracy (at least for the ones I'm familiar with, and having researched most of the others).

This book is packed full of helpful information. An insightful introduction to various factors of Hot Springery is featured at the beginning of the book. Roloff then cordons off Hot Springs by geographical areas. He has included maps, Global Positioning coordinates (sometimes approximate), hiking information, pool temps, and a wealth of information.

Idaho has over 224 Hot Springs, so this book is not exhaustive. It doesn't feature commercial or privatized Hot Springs (though some closed/privatized ones, like Last Chance/Krigbaum). The content of the book seems to be aimed mostly at unimproved Hot Springs (though the pools at Sharkey or Baumgartner would be exceptions). I think it is generally aimed at unimproved or free Hot Springs. Some of the Hot Springs are probably less than soakable, as they don't all feature pools (such as Ninemeyer, etc on the road to Atlanta). The book features black and white photographs of almost all the springs (Mormon Ranch Hot Springs featured a nice vista).

The Hot Springs chosen evidence thoughtful insight in the presentation of excellent spring choices. One of the bonuses that come with this book is camping information near the various springs. I wish that I'd found this book long ago. It would have saved me from traipsing up a creek in the dark (probably more than once).

Important aspects of this book:

  • Idaho focused
  • Generally unimproved or non-commercial springs 
  • Navigation and hiking directions as well as Global Positioning coordinates
  • Black and white photos of almost all of the springs

Here are a selection of books that I found helpful in finding and enjoying Idaho's Hot Springs:

June 29, 2017

Arcade - Xevious

A staple of the arcade was the game Xevious. In the game, you piloted a futuristic space-plane outfitted with guns and bombs. Your plane is on an ever rolling forward mission, but you can move it side to side and up and down, evading enemy craft, gunfire, and flying sky parallelograms. All manner of enemy craft would continually try and destroy you, with aerial fire, ground fire, and perhaps a mid-air collision. There were bosses at the end of the rolling stage, and after defeating the boss, your plane would casually fly onward, transitioning immediately to the next level.

One of the most distinct parts of this game was the somewhat-trilling, rather intense background music. The slightly obnoxious music created suspense as careened your futuristic dog-fighting space-plane left around the screen, evading gunfire and obstacles.


June 22, 2017

Apple ][GS - Pool of Radiance

I grew up with computers, when I was very young, we had an Apple ][, and I would watch my brothers play games on it. As Personal Computers expanded beyond Apple, so did the games. We had an Apple ][gs, and there was a blight of retail games available for that computer. On visiting the local software store, they had a game for the ][gs, Pool of Radiance. It looked intriguing, and though I was eleven or twelve, I bought it. I didn't end up playing it much initially, but eventually when I figured it out, I spent many long hours cleaning the streets of Phlan and beyond, listening to 'alternative music.'

This game was the first stand alone, retail, boxed game that I remember buying for the Apple ][gs. It was the first outing of the D&D ruleset to a computer game, and was set in an somewhat paned 3D city, with top view isometic battlefields, and also a rarely used map screen.

The most important thing I remember about the game itself was getting silver weapons, and how they made a considerable difference in fighting the nasties early in the game. The game also featured a paper decoder wheel ring to unlock the copy protection.