Thursday, December 31, 2009


The long-lost Steve Ross made it to town after four years of absence.... He felt the need for some exercise so we got up Kuliouou in an hour. Not bad. The south winds have been here for over a week and it makes the views (a little hazy) but nice.... Good cloud cover for 'northern folk'.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Home

Today, I got a table! That just about rounds out the house. Not quite sure about the layout, but this is a good first try I think. It's starting to feel homey.... since we're not eating on couches and at 'the bar' anymore.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Papers Database II

In the process of editing the LCVR paper and getting ready for the survey paper, I finally finished this "Papers" database project. My hard-drive is now clean! Along the way, I found Richard Townsend's "Mad Star" page with some videos I'd seen at a conference. I really think videos like this are great for PR, showing what we astropeople do and for general geeking out. Very cool... and they help me remember why massive caffeine intake, late lonely nights and the bit of squish around my midsection are worth at least some fraction of my time in existence.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

And then Jeff had at it....

I thought we were just about done editing this LCVR paper when Jeff had another go.... I guess the general 'verbosity' needed curbing. It's always enlightening, painful, eye-opening and generally entertaining to see blood-red ink flowing all over a paper even after round 11. Good thing I don't get paid for my command of the English language.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Papers Database

It seems my week will be spent writing again. A bigish project is closing Feb 1st and needs to be published ASAP. I've spent several days editing my 'papers' database. I have to say I really like this program - "Papers" lets you tag, search and organize pdf files just like iTunes organizes mp3s. I've got way too many references to track and this database has helped. It's also a total drain on my life to dive in to a massive pile of literature and read all the projects people have done over the years.... Why can't we just go back to the 1800's when you could know everything there was to know in a few years of study?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Glider Ratings!

I spent a lot of time flying this weekend - three days straight at the airfield. I managed to get endorsed to take my commercial pilot exam (so I can get paid to fly strangers around). I also got certified for 'aerotow' which means I'm allowed to fly normal gliders - the ones that don't have engines and must be towed up by another airplane. I did a few normal glider flights as well as a 'rope break' where we let go at 100 feet and did an 'emergency landing'. Fun times. I'm another step or two closer to being able to take the Fox up alone and make my friends faces fall off pulling high-g maneuvers! I did a few more practice flights doing wingovers and spins as well as formation flying with Sean in another glider. Time well spent. Now I just have to study for the exams and keep practicing... I spent a while talking to Steve about the Lomcevak, pinwheels and other ridiculous maneuvers. Lomcevak is Czech for 'headache' or 'hangover' so you get the jist. Fun times indeed....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Barak is ruining my christmas....

Ok, I'm a little peeved at the moment. Barak is spending his xmas break in Kailua and has seriously cramped my airspace style. Now I've got to file 'flight plans' for anything I do and I'm restricted in hours and range. Dec 23 to Jan 4th. I thought presidents were supposed to be busy! "No loitering" either. Dammit. I wanted to glide the Ko'olau range.....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Working Wingovers

I've really been working wingovers and spins lately. When the trades are strong, I really like doing the 'loop' between the ridge and the aerobatic box. Take off and get in to the ridge lift then shut down the engine to cool / save gas. When the engine is almost too cold to start, fire it up and climb as high as you can before overheating. Shut down and go aerobatic! Then get in the ridge lift, cool the engine some more and start all over again. I'm probably on my 50th wingover but they really don't get old..... Joanna came up last week with her little video camera and (after cracking a hole in my window!) got in a few good screams when spinning.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Day of Engineering Curriculum

I was on Maui for the day helping out with the curriculum design for the new 4-year BAS... I'm buried in MS Word / Excel. It's amazing how many things you have to consider when creating a new degree program. Totally understandable but amazing anyways.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

English is hard.

I've been stuck in the darkness editing the PASP paper on 'achromatizing a liquid-crystal spectropolarimeter'. The referee didn't really have any problem with the work, just the text and it's flow. I agree. After re-reading it, parts of it really sucked. But then again, I drink too much coffee and don't have a degree in english anyways.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two more long nights

On Wednesday and Thursday nights, I was up doing some more spectropolarimetry as well as helping align and run the new curvature AO system. We ran in to a few issues but it was a great learning experience. And, as usual, we got to measure some fuzzballs:

And here's what a fuzzball looks if you watch it on 2ms timescales:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Three lonely nights

The last few days have been a blur of data collection, hardware troubleshooting and general observing mayhem. As usual on a mountain top.

Sodium in the universe:

A ghostly star: