Once you can accept the Universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.

— Albert Einstein

On the Loose at the NEAF 2008

Or is it a kid in a toy store!!!

Of course I've been to others trade shows in my time... cars, electronics, trade shows in the medical industry.... but this was my first under the topic of astronomy.

There was of course the great talks given by som many speakers. The only frustration is I didn't have time for them all!! The few I attended were captivating and of course learning experiences.

Then there was the floor, full of vendors and their wares. Its one thing to see the products in catalogs bet better still seeing them for real. But dreams are made from catalogs..... How many of you remember sifting thru the  phone book sized Sears Catalog and dreaming of creating  your homestead!?

So I spent the majority of my time on the floor, ideas in my mind, credit card in my wallet and my wife no where near me! Alas, most of the 'toys' are beyond the capacity of my wallet. I'm more of the DIY man myself, but do enjoy dreaming of the perfect toy.

This time it was a search for a replacement set of binoculars for stargazing. My original binocs (7x50) from my Navy days don't owe me a nickel!.Encrusted in sand and dirt and poorly misaligned, they deserve retirement.Hmmm, but they do have lenses.... maybe if I took them apart.... I could make a long tube refractor.... What the hey.....


These eyes need something larger and maybe stronger.... seems even when reading a 100 watt lightbulb isnt enough!! LOL. So I finally settle on a new pair, lightweight and BIGGER of course....THey of course would have to be portable.. no mega toy this time... decisions decisions decisions... 15x80 or 11x80.... Figuring I would also attempt minor handholding I settled on the 11x80's. SO I plop the card down.... What I can't take them home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nope sorry no inventroy at the show but you'll have them as soon as we get home and can ship them! With a sigh and whimper, I go off for my next purchase!

I run into Mary Lou. She's looking for rocks!! Well, special ones....metiorites.... plenty to be had.  I was ready to tell her there were lots of rocks outside for free! But those were just rocks..... I reember as a kid sitting in the largest one at the Museum of Natural History in NY, back when I was a smaller humanoid and could fit into one of the holes! I shall not attempt it today.

 So I roam, pick up a few tubes to hold my collection of occulars etc. Ill soon have to move to larger cases to hold all the stuff... Forget the careful sequential visiting of table and booths... no.. roam randomly!!! for two days..... vendors see you ten times before you buy!!! Eventually someone puts a new box of stuff on the 'swap' table. A box full of solar (mylar) filters. After peering thru those great solar scope outside, I wanna see the sun..... but no Corondo for me....I would be wearing it on my head when I got home! These filters are a bit larger than my small scope can handle, but hey the price!!!! I grab one and strart to thinking... brainstorming on the way home..... The story to follow.....