Officially rainy and Jupiter setting

As of yesterday, PAG-ASA has announced the start of the southwest monsoon. This only means that the rainy season is already upon us, and I can now wear my boots again! This also means not using lot of leather bags. While I had a good experience with the Collonil Waterstop spray, it was just too costly. The bottle only lasted for about a month, with the rotation that I do.

To welcome the rainy season (that just seem wrong), I used a canvas bag with minimal leather parts.

Gucci in black canvas and leather tote with silver hardware, Doc Martens 8-hole boots

The silver hardware is reminiscent of the Gucci Jackie bags

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Mon and Moon!

March 17 and I can finally say: HAPPY 28th BIRTHDAY MON! =D I was in the rooftop, with Mon, JB and my mother, testing my new telescope when the clock struck 12:00 AM! I had a hard time adjusting with the telescope, though, as the image was expectedly different than the other telescope. Newtonian telescopes produce images that are upside down, so it was difficult for me to deal with it on my first try. Unlike the other refractor, which produces images backwards, this Newtonian is not ideal for terrestrial use. LOL

Almost twelve hours after, I was woken up by JB because we were to eat our lunch. I was originally to help Mon with preparing lunch for today, but he did not bother waking me up at all. We bought a pack of frozen cream dory and other ingredients from Trinoma’s supermarket last night. Mon had fancied another bout of MasterChef moment and made a very nice meal for us. I especially loved the honey and lemon sauce on the cream dory, as well as the lychee in the jelly. He eventually left after lunch because he also had to spend time with his family on his birthday. =D

What the birthday boy cooked for my family - Cream Dory, buttered vegetabes, lychee jelly and the healthiest rice

 

It was difficult to constantly bring the tripod of the telescope up to the rooftop, given the heavy counterweight, so the best solution I came up with was just to leave it in one corner. I would just remove the telescope tube, which wasn’t heavy at all. Thirty minutes before sunset, JB and I prepared our telescopes and cameras, hoping to get at least a momentary view of Comet PANSTARRS, but to no avail. Good thing that the Moon was visible to the northwest, near Jupiter and I was happy to point my telescope to these two celestial objects.

My new telescope - a Celestron PowerSeeker 127 EQ

Of course, I also tried imaging the Moon with my point and shoot camera and I was delighted with the result. My camera, though, can’t capture the same beautiful thing seen from the telescope as the Moon’s details were more breathtaking as viewed from the eyepiece. I first tried using the 25mm eyepiece (originally from the Meade telescope), then the other 9mm. The picture below was seen through the 25mm one.

First Moon photo from my Celestron PowerSeeker 127 EQ - 03172013 18h58 PHT

I also looked at Jupiter and it was beyond words! Given the bigger mirror of the Celestron, I was able to see Jupiter’s cloud bands as well as the Great Red Spot! With the Meade 70mm, I can barely discern these details and I usually half-guess whether I was seeing them. But using this 127mm, there was no mistaking the difference in the colors of the bands because of the better contrast. I attempted to image Jupiter but I can no longer push my point-and-shoot’s capabilities. All I got was a white blob with four dots (the Galilean moons). The next thing I might do is just purchase a CCD webcam and modify it for astrophotography because I don’t have enough budget for an SLR. LOL

Before wrapping up (because I had to eat dinner and take photos of things I will be listing on Ebay), I  turned my telescope to Orion and almost cried when I saw the Orion Nebula. Again, unlike my other telescope, I just saw a faint haze of light and cloud, which was the nebula. But with this new telescope, I was able to see a much better detail of the clouds and even distinctly see the ‘trapezium cluster’ of four stars! I’m still amazed of the Orion Nebula but I know I have to soon move to seeing other Messier objects. =)

 

I’m broke but I’m happy!

Just as I thought that nothing much significant would happen this Saturday, I was very wrong. I’ve been debating for a long time whether to buy a new telescope for msyelf or a sewing machine for my mother, when I finally decided on the latter. When we went to Trinoma a month ago, I passed by Western Appliances and saw their selection of Brother sewing machines. I had my eyes on a particular model (BM-2600) and I knew that that was the exact one I wanted to give to Mama. She has been hinting on this since last year and I have promised her as well to buy one soon. Well, that soon became almost forgotten and Mama did not even bother reminding me but she was still secretly hoping I’d get her one. LOL

Gift for my mother - a Brother BM-2600 sewing machine

 

I called Western Appliances after lunch to confirm with the person in charge of the sewing machines that I would be passing by earlier this evening to get a unit. I had alraedy saved up for this, so there was no point postponing the purchase again. I just want to get it over with. Out of the three available models, I decided on this one — and then the demonstration of its features happened. It took about 20-30 minutes to show every single function of the sewing machine, from changing the stitch up to the making of buttonholes. My head was kind of heavy with all the information, because I was used to our VERY old and dilapidated Singer sewing machine, which only had a single running stitch function. =D Good thing it included an instructional video in a DVD because I have honestly forgotten more than half of the functions he discussed.

But before we event went to Western Appliances, we had passed by Cutting Edge on a whim to oggle at their selection of telescopes. However, it might have been a wrong call because I can’t stop stressing over the Celestron telescopes on display and I seriously considered buying one, especially as these units do not always show up in their stores. To cut the long story short, I eventually bought a new telescope!

A Celestron telescope from Cutting Edge!

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Meade ETX-70. And eversince I bought one (secondhand) exactly a year ago, it has been serving me well. However, it was really frustrating to look at some of the planets because of the faulty base, making it extremely difficult to focus on an object. Higher magnifications exasperate me so much, but it was really good in viewing asterisms or other wide-angle subjects

When I got inside, Cutting Edge had four types of Celestron telescopes on sale but I instantly got ‘infatuated’ with the Celestron PowerSeeker 127 EQ. It cost Php 1000-more than the 114 EQ so I thought that it was no-brainer to pick the 114 over the 127 at that price. LOL I went to the cost-efficiency route in judging with the added mm in the aperture.

I'm broke but I'm happy - Brie with the sewing machine and the telescope

 

I went home with an emptier pocket, but I was happy. =D Mama was extremely happy and giddy and I immediately said “Belated Merry Christmas! Advanced Happy Mother’s Day! Advanced Happy Birthday!” Hopefully, she’ll give the hinting a rest because I already bought her new sewing machine.  As for the telescope, I thought that if I keep on putting off getting one, it will continue until the end of the year and I have no time for that. If I were to empty my pocket, I might as well do it now so that I’ll have time to focus on more important things for the year — and that includes being more serious with Ebay etc!

One word: FLOP

First of all, I’ll call a spade a spade; the examination earlier this day was a disaster.

I woke up very early at 5:00 AM because I was to meet my classmate in Marcos Hiway by 6:00 AM. Everything went smoothly, even with a light drizzle on our way. We then had to wait from 7:00 AM until 8:00 AM, when the exam would officially start. There were only 12 of us in the room and we were also to leave our things in front of the room next to the proctors. When I said things, I mean ALL of the things we had and that includes water bottles.

We were made to answer 10 personal questions and the rest was the exam proper. So technically, even if there were 180 items, only 170 will be corrected and we should answer each of the questions within a minute and few seconds. I never underestimated the exam but I honestly think that I might have overlooked the review of some of the sections. I can’t remember how many items I had to shotgun but as far as I can recall, almost two hours out of three had already passed before I reached item number 90. The Math portion of the exam was easier than I expected but I wish I could have answered it first before I got glazed eyes from the English part. At this point, I will not be surprised if I fail the exam because I have no qualms admitting that it was hard. The greatest surprise will be passing it and I have already told a few people I would treat them to a box of pizza if that miracle were to happen. The only similarity the exam has with college entrance exams was the multiple choice part, meaning everything else was different. LOL I have moved on but I will take every  lesson from that experience with me until next year, if I were to take the exam again. i’ll just consider it an expensive, getting-one’s-feet-ready review. =D

I then went to Pisa in Italy to unwind…Just kidding!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa --- NOT --- Worlds of Fun

After the exam, I met up with Mon to have lunch in Gateway Mall and we then went next to Sta. Lucia Mall because my family was there. They already had their own lunch and we just followed them to Worlds of Fun, where my niece and my nephew were both busy playing. I can’t remember when was the last time I was there, especially my last experience riding the mini-“rollercoaster” (I hazard a guess that it was more than a decade ago, since high school). Even if I knew that the horror train ride was not exactly scary, I still refused to try it because I might end up scratching the person next to me. =D

Rode a mini-rollercoaster with my sister and nephew

With JB - Gray T-shirt with poncho print, Bench jeans, Yves Saint Laurent white patent sneakers and green Prada Tessuto Robot 2 tote

After 4:00 PM, we went home and rested a little because I was looking forward to seeing an elusive visitor before sunset — Comet PANSTARRS. The comet was slated to reach its perihelion today and I was waiting the whole week for an unobstructed view from our rooftop. And then the inevitable happened, there barely was a cloudless portion of the sky and I only had 20 minutes before sunset. I was with Mon, JB, my telescope and my brother’s camera and it was really depressing that we did not get even a momentary glimpse of the comet. So, what I did next was just take pictures of the two of them while we still had a little daylight.

JB playing with the telescope

In deep contemplation

And another kid playing with the scope

Naks!

I did not manage to get pictures of the comet but the pretty diffused light did wonders to my brother’s bridge camera. Well, that was some silver lining! Today was a very stressful day and it was almost twelve midnight again, five hours more and I would have been awake for 24 hours already. The flop of the exam and the comet did dampen my spirit, but looking back, the whole day wasn’t that bad at all. I can always review, try next year and be more ready. Meanwhile, since the following months will no longer be crucial in terms of strict scheduling, we can now plan for our next trip out of the country!