Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

nice ride

I spent over 20 years with a ’56 Porsche Speedster as my main ride. I wouldn’t give up a minute of it. But I sold that to finance my escape from The People’s Republic of California. About 16 years later I got a little runabout that scratches the same itch. Today I gave it a bath. It is very un-pretty. The Speedster highly rewarded washing and waxing. The CRX does not. I probably have not washed it in a year. It may be subtle, but I did notice and appreciate the cleaner look. It would be a treat to drive them one after another at Sears Point, Laguna Seca or over the Lost Trail Pass. That, of course, is […]

suppressors

I endured the expensive and long process currently required to gain permission from our rulers to own a sound suppressor for my rifle. Over 9 months and $1,000 for a hundred dollar part that enables your neighbors to go about their business without noise pollution should you choose to sight in or practice with a firearm. Darn near a year for some faceless apparatchik to affix a rubber stamp and signature to my papers. Precious few of us bother. Therefore one person’s shooting is an entire neighborhood’s disturbing the peace. I repurposed a .223 AR-15 rifle into a 300 AAC Blackout, mounted the scope without proper tools, or any experience for that matter, and got help mounting “the can”. […]

deployable radio

This ammo box is actually a handy way to carry a 2-way, 2-meter radio. I built this organizer for a friend’s radio setup. He gave me the radio, battery and fuse block to work with. Customer specifications said it should be tipped on its side, opened and operational from that position. The radio was 20 centimeters too deep to fit as requested even pressed against top and bottom. Plus I wanted room to keep it from contact with the metal box. What you see here is actually my third prototype. With the first, I ASSUMED the radio would fit in the box exactly as specified by the customer. It is not so much that ‘the customer is always right’, […]

analog calculators

In this age of converting everything to digital, bits, bytes and button pushing, my recent trip to a beginners’ long-range shooting school (see my first 1K) brought the power of slide rules back into my world. I am also [re-]discovering the beautiful metric system of measurements. The normal, average, mundane, commonplace answer to everything today is “I have a computer that does that”. Substitute “smart phone”, calculator or other electronic alternative to knowing how to actually do stuff and you have the answer to 99.9% of the computational questions asked today. I am not going to conjure up ways in which that dependence on electronics could fail us. Needless to say there are times, places and circumstances where it could. […]

trombone trio

After four years of wishing I could find, and looking for someone to play trombone with, I began growing my own trombone trio. I found a couple of lads interested in learning, gave them each a trombone and began giving lessons near weekly. As with nearly everything else I do, I am underqualified, but the best I can find who will actually get the job done. In this case, both are in homeschooled families, so I am The Music Department of their school. I bought other instruments, and gave a few lessons, but the trombonists are the only ones who have stuck with it, now going on five months. We recently got into the more enjoyable phase where we can […]