Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Iridium Flare Spotting

My brother got me into a bizarre thing. Iridium Flare spotting. It's slightly cooler than train spotting but not much. Can't be bothered explaining what an iridium flare is so here's a quote from the FAQ's.

"An Iridium flare is caused by the sun being reflected from one of the three main mission antennae (MMA) of an Iridium satellite. The MMAs are flat, highly polished aluminium surfaces, and when the angles are just right, they can reflect the sun just like a mirror. There are over 80 of these communications satellites in orbit, and they are operated by the Iridium LLC Consortium."

So there is this website where you can put in your location and it will tell you what 'iridium flares' will be visible tonight (if you have a clear sky).

For instance tonight in Maastricht:

The second two are a bit late but the first one at 11.27 I'm gonna try and see. 'Alt' is how high it is in the sky so 29 degrees up from the horizon. Azimuth is where on the compass it is so Westish. The distance is unimportant, as is the Intensity to flare centre. Satellite is the name of the satellite. They were imaginatively named 1-80.

The important bit is the first Intensity as that is how bright it will get when it flares. You can see the satellite before it flares like you can see most satellites.

'-5' is the magnitude of the one tonight. For comparison the brightest star in the sky (sirius) is '-1.44' . The moon is -12.7. So imagine that the moon lights up the streets. '-5' should be quite bright. the flare usually lasts about 2-3 secs, as the satellite revolves.

At first i thought it would be quite boring doing this but the fact that if you are there and looking at the right place at the right time and see an object 780km high up which is not visible normally is quite thrilling.

It is even possible to see Iridium flares in the daytime appraently, much harder but possible. Maybe thats what Truman Burbank saw in 'The Truman Show'. Wouldn't surprise me if they have also been many times mistaken for UFO's. When you see a picture of one.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Has the World Cup just become shit or not?

Germany v Sweden - Boring as shite.

Argentina v Mexico - well OK

England v Equador - also boring as shite

Portugal v Holland - Good to watch but not for football.

Australia v Italy - One team wanted to win and the other won by a dodgy penalty.

Switzerland v Ukraine - just plain crap and was only looking forward to the penalties (which was rubbish)

Please bring some entertainment on with Brazil, France, Spain and Ghana.

Come on Ghana!!!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Going to Walk the Dog

I've managed to avoid my local so far through the World Cup. But decided to go tonight.
1: It'll be stress free. We are through.
2: I got turned down a job I applied for today that i really wanted.
3: It's Tuesday and the dog needs a walk.

I don't really have a dog, just my pussy which i play with a lot!. The phrase is from Newcastle (Geordie-Land), where the local brew (Newcastle Brown Ale - or Newcy Brune) got the nickname 'dog' as that was the old fellas excuse to the wife when he wanted to nip doon the pub for a pint.

Anyway so I'm abandoning the sofa for the pub. I have a wierd feeling about watching football int the pub this year. I've been about 10 times to watch Boro UEFA matches and each time I have been the only Boro supporter in the whole place. So at least I won't look like a dick if we score tonight.

I think we do need to win though tonight to avoid the Germans. They must be becoming confident now with 8 goals to their name and 9 points. I was happy to hear though that 5 of those goals are actually scored by Polish. Klose and Podolski.

Anyway my prediction for tonight is England 3 - Sweden 1
Rooney 2 Gerrard 1 and Larsson 1

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Requesting permission for flyby.

That's a negative ghostrider, the pattern is full.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Fools Gold - Selling crap on eBay

I've been dabbling on eBay for a couple of years now and it never ceases to amaze me what people will buy. On a trip back chez parents last month I was asked by my mother to clean out some shit from the attic. I found some old flyers from my Uni days in Manchester which i was going to bin but then thought "hang on I should try some of them on eBay".

The first i tried was a flyer A5 size from the Ha├žienda (FAC 51), Whitworth Street West. Manchester. The flyer was advertising the Monday Club, which was a new night featuring up and coming bands. the first band to be showcased was the 'Stone Roses'.

The NME reviewer wrote afterwards ""I'm already drafting a letter to my grandchildren telling them that I saw The Stone Roses at the Hacienda". So OK it was an important turning point in their career. But still it's not a ticket stub (which i threw away....oops!). Anyway at the time we were anoraks and i used to swipe lots of these flyers from the foyer on the way out. I was feeling very coreagous that night coz i took around a hundred.

Unfortunately I threw about 90 of them away when i shifted my stuff up to the attic and only kept 6. Anyway I sold 2 for £10 each. 1 on it's way to Stockholm and 1 to sunny Eastbourne. So if i could find 100 more anoraks (serious collectors) on eBay I literally threw £1,000 in the bin that day. Oh well.!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A day at the races

Last week i spent a day at Redcar Racecourse (locally known as Radkah Races) watching the gee-gees.

Now a day at the races is always meant to be fun, but made more memorable if you leave the course with a pocket full of cash and not empty handed. So we approached the day with a professional punter's manner. We studied the form, the tipster's comments, we selected the best odds from each bookmaker, we went to the parade paddock to see how the horses looked.

But the first 4 races not a sniff of success. And there was 7 of us there!!!. I think the odds of us all not winning a penny on 5 races (all betting on different horses must have been 1,000,000-1). And was it not for me spoiling the run on the last race we would have gladly placed a bet.

The last race i gave up on any methods and said " I'm gonna toss this pound coin 10 times and the number of heads i get is the number of the horse i will take". I got 5. the favourite was number 5 at 8/11 odds. So i splapped my last £10 on it.

And it romped home. Making me a awe-inspiring £7.27 profit.

The great 'Lester Piggot' who was guest for the day presented the prizes to River Kirov's owner and jockey. He probably would have told me not to declare my winnings to the taxman but considering on how much we lost that day I don't think i will bother anyway.

Mr Piggott presents the trophy to the owner of River Kirov

The start of the 4.55 at Redcar