Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ed's Astronomy Adventure With The Sidewalk Guy

Hi my name is Ed and my life is changing and my head is spinning - let me explain. Several years back I, my wife and daughter moved to Sparks NV. Our neighbors across the street Richard and Cindy Smith welcomed us with a pizza and snacks as we where moving in, and we have had friendly contact since. I have noticed over the years that Richard is a little different than our other neighbors - he seems to spend a lot of time looking up at various times of the day and is obsessed with his front lawn! A couple of weeks ago I noticed Richard holding a large Moon chart in his hand as he was attempting front lawn management, by the way his green lawn drives me crazy! Anyway in spite of my shyness I had to go over and ask "what's up with this?" Well as you readers already know Richard let out a burst of excitement and preceded to do a astronomy PR job that everyone should be exposed too. After some views through the Ricardo 10"Coulter which has a plumbing piece focuser in his backyard I was hooked and I need to buy in to this astronomy thing again which I attempted in the past without much success. Of course by this time Richard is in a state of euphoria and it's time to go shopping for a scope. With Richard's guidance and experience I set my budget and make a wonderful purchase of a Zhumell 10" Dob with some of the observing stuff I need to get started on the right footing. This is starting to get exciting!

My scope arrives and the Sidewalk Guy is already worked up, as he is easily excitable and loves astronomy stuff. "We are gonna have some fun here Eddie my man" as he pours over my Telrad Charts, "you are gonna love this, trust me". Well I really have no choice for the money is spent and Richard is standing in my family room already planning my every move -he has taken over! He is very impressed with this scope and says I will have "tremendous experiences using it". I'm not really sure who is more excited about this whole thing. Later with his continued input I learn how to set up my scope, adjust the optics, how to point it, focus it, and how to properly look through it to gain the best view with my challenged eyesight. He is even showing me how to move and use my scope for extended times without back or neck ache. Richard is really a full service kind of guy. Right now he has me practicing setting up the scope along with pointing at bright guide stars - just getting the feel of things. With his trusty laser Richard leads me to the major guide stars of the summer sky and is getting me familiar with the northern circumpolar which of which he says"is of extreme importance to my navigation skills". He has me pointing and focusing my scope on these stars and says"get to know them". In between all of this he stands in the background watching my every move and drooling over the new scope. I must relent some I let him play with it and he precedes to knock out some star clusters in a constellation I never heard of like it was a drive to the grocery store. "Ed these optics are really nice, the whole scope is a wonderful value.................can I "burrow"it for say 2 months?" he inquires. The problem with this is if he "burrows" it I will never learn! I offer him a beer instead and he simmers down. He points my scope to a corner in Cygnus and says "just play around here, look and train your eye. As I move the scope I see clusters, star chains, holes in the background and even star color! "Don't concern yourself with finding stuff, just sight see" my mentor says," just take it in"- with a burp from his beer.

We are off and running. I ask Richard about doing outreach with him............wait what is happening to me, why do I want to expose myself and my new scope to the hordes in public places? Am I ready for the energy level of my neighbor as he ventures on to the walkways of life and engages the great "unwashed". I need to heed Sidewalks advice and take a month or so of just taking it in and learning some basics and getting use to his energy level and need for constant snacks. The hordes will always be there as well as the sky, just enjoy my new toy for awhile and I will. But how am I going to manage my astronomically inclined neighbor with the green front lawn and 10"Coulter with a plumbing piece focuser - can anyone give me advice?

Richard also mentioned something about the Moon.................what's up with that?

5 comments:

Drive-by Astronomy said...

Ed I'm sorry to be the bearer of this incredibly life altering news but... you have been infected and by one of Sparks, NV most publicly invasive and relentless astronomy outreach educators.
Your symptoms will worsen uncontrollably at an exponentially rapid rate. There is no cure. You will succumb to it.
The "SUG"ster is a carrier of this virulent astronomical malady and unfortunately he is in very close proximity to you so there is no hope. He can be considered "Ground Zero" for this in your area.
Palliative care is your only option. You will not hinder its progression or reverse it. We are here for you to assist with keeping you comfortable, assisting you with the use of your new 10" Zhummel, and contributing to the advancement of your appreciation of the awe and wonder of the universe.
You will experience frequent pleasurable mood swings varying from manic periods of extreme awe, fascination and excitement to the gentle soothing lows of enjoying the wonderfully quiet solitude under dark clear skies. Insomnia will rear its ugly head followed by episodes of post-observational hangovers the following day.
It will become systemic. You will soon find your self perusing Sky and Telescope and Astronomy Magazine, numerous astronomy references, a multitude of various websites, forever pondering and yearning for what additional astronomy gear you need shipped by tomorrow.
The desire to purchase more eyepieces will commence without warning. You cant avoid it but talk to SUG and let him guide toward the proper eyepiece. Maybe try others eyepieces in your scope.Yes you'll begin to want more star charts, astronomy references, a green laser, a pair of binoculars, lunar maps, and at a critical stage of your affliction... a red head lamp. Not serious in itself but the fact that you won't mind being seen wearing it in public is and it is a mid stage sign of this pathological passion.
You will begin hiding astronomy gear purchases from your wife. It happens.
You'll check the Clear Sky Clock throughout the day as well as Space weather.com, APOD, LPOD, and images of the sun. You will spiral up into a wonderous abyss of double stars, star clusters, galaxies, nebula, planetary nebulas, planets, and more. Don't fight it.
You mention at the end, Richard and the Moon. This topic is too difficult for me to speak of. You must know though that the sight of it will exacerbate your condition further. Take it one day at a time.

Have a great adventure with your new 10" Dob. I have the same scope and love it.

Marc said...

Poor Ed, it's too late for him now.

You need help when your preferred reading is Uranometria instead of an actual "book with words" rather than a "book with dots".

Drive-by Astronomy said...

I'm sorry to hear that Ed's affliction has taken a turn for the worse.Eddie boy you have SUG nearby for help.

NiteSkyGirl Blog said...

Wow that is such a great story !
re:obsessed with his front lawn!
funny dude.
re:Moon chart in his hand as he was attempting front lawn management
really funny. check and see if his ant hills look like the lunar landscape!

re:what's up with this?
oh no wonder your astronomically imprisoned now. sidewalk dude lives to answer that question!
Re:My scope arrives and the Sidewalk Guy is already worked up he probably spent the night waiting for the ups truck.

re: Richard also mentioned something about the Moon.................what's up with that?

how are you with group therapy?

Actually you have the best guide!

Sidewalk Universe said...

Dear Blog Community,

Ed is glad that you all can take time to advise him on his condition and he is already experiencing the symptoms laid out by Drive By, he is seeing dots Marc, and is wondering how to manage his neighbor NSG.

Yes NSG - the SUG was doing comparative landforms studies of the Earth and Moon. Pegged once again!!!!!!!!!!!