It’s very rare that we change our meeting dates — they are pretty much set in stone after March. If you cannot find us, ask at the front desk.
Part of the deal with the Espresso Hotel is that we have to expect the occasional change of location. Usually we find ourselves in a better room, such as when we got the Grand Salon. Last month, we were given their fanciest suite, room 700. We even had coffee service! Unfortunately, I know of at least one person who could not find us because he came early and the sign was not yet posted on the St-François door.
At the November meeting, we set the tentative dates for the following year. Please bring your agendas, and if you know the dates of events such as Grand Prix, Parades, and so on, please let us know. This will save us some grief later.
Our October meetinggot off to a very strange start–the hotel moved us to room 700, the biggest, fanciest suite in the hotel. We all took time to oggle the two bathrooms, one with a giant jacuzzi, lounged on the couches, sat around the conference table, and watched videos on the television. We even had coffee!!
Another strange thing–we had what I suspect is our lowest attendance ever. I hope it’s not because members couldn’t find us!
The Sunday morning cinema started late as we had fun trying to figure out the tech logistics of playing DVDs on a computer hooked up to the television. In honour of Hallow’en, Keith brought in 5 movies of terrifying horror & horrifying terror: Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man (1941), and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954. The Creature won the vote. Although very dated, and “scientifically-challenged”, it proved quite enjoyable.
Sylvain had an excellent presentation prepared on Perry Rhodan. We were astonished by the scope of this serial space-opera, the most successful science fiction series ever written. There are several story arcs, called “cycles” , and more popular characters such as Atlan have inspired spin-offs. There are conventions, collectibles, toys, and so on. Some of us had seen it in French translations, but others wondered how we had managed not to hear of such a huge phenomena. The official website is here: http://www.perry-rhodan.net/ Clicking on the international tab will bring up some English pages, but I found that Google translation worked quite well.
After a short break and the raffle draw, Keith and Sylvain teamed up to show us different aspects of the the Thunderbirds, in honour of the 50th anniversary. We saw something of the history of the show, the making of the marionettes, the fantastic models, and even silly plot-holes none of us noticed way back in our childhoods, but seem glaringly obvious now. There were wonderfully cool machines doing super-cool things, like moving the Empire State Building. Totally impractical, especially as the engineers on the job failed to take note of the underground river, but wow, it was so cooool. 😉
We were supposed to continue work on our animation project, but we were running late, some members were absent, and we decided we’d rather spend more time remembering the Thunderbirds and Gerry Anderson.
Supper was at La Cage au Sports, Bell Centre.We kicked around some ideas for next year’s programming. The November meeting will have to be trimmed a bit to make room for discussing 2016 programming, and working on dropping big rocks on innocent dinosaurs.
The theme for September 20th was Heavens Above! and telescopes took centre stage. Also all four corners of the room and the front porch of the hotel!
Guests Bill Strople and David Shuman, both members of the RASC Montreal Centre, brought in telescopes as did MonSFFA members Wayne Glover, Lindsay Brown, and Mark Burakoff. We got to see a classic refractor from the 50s, Newtonian & SCT reflectors, and a Coronado made specifically for solar viewing. The sky being clear, members were able to view our sun in all its glory, showing prominences and filaments. After supper, we viewed the moon through Lindsay’s telescope.
But starting from the beginning:
Early birds arriving at 11 AM watched Logan’s Run, a classic from 1976. Most members felt the movie stood up today, even though quite rooted in the style of the 70’s. Seeing it again with new eyes and more experience of the world, some members saw a deeper, more religious feeling to the movie.
David Shuman then set up his Coronado on the hotel’s front porch, so members came and went back and forth as he changed filters and settings to see different aspects of our nearest star.
Meanwhile, Bill Strople set up a huge, long focal length refractor from the 50s, and a brand new, not even on the market yet, Newtonian reflector on a Dobsonian mount.
Photos are by Cathy and Sylvain, click the thumbnails for larger photos.
Bill then gave a presentation on all the different types on display, explaining each one’s strengths and weaknesses. Mark followed up with an introduction to observing for the beginner, recommending binoculars and finder charts. Cathy pointed out the importance of magazines such as Astronomy and Sky & Telescope. Many telescopes languish in closets because their owners got bored with the moon and didn’t know where else to point their scopes. Both magazines have extensive websites covering everything & everything of an astronomical nature,
Sylvain posted cartoons with an astronomy theme, and there were various books and planispheres on display as well. A planishere of the southern sky proved intriguing as members realized there was no equivalent in the south to our north star.
Postcards from Pluto, a slide presentation, followed. Cathy showed the latest images from New Horizons. On display, was the poster for the discovery of Pluto, autographed by Clyde Tombaugh himself.
After the raffle, we discussed our Stop Motion project which we had not completed last month. (Stop-Motion Project Storyboards are here.) Plans were made, assignments handed out, members have homework!! (However, design a dinosaur sounds a lot more interesting than any homework I ever assigned. )
Supper was at la Cage au Sports, but not the one across the street that we usually frequent as that one it turned out was closed for renovations. Fortunately, it is only a short walk to the Bell Centre.
After supper, we observed the moon over the police station with Lindsay’s telescope and Mark’s binoculars. Had we arrived 20 minutes earlier we would have seen Saturn., but it was hidden behind the bulk of the station.
There is talk of arranging an observing session from a dark sky. Stay tuned.
Please note that the schedule for the meeting on the 20th has been moved up a half hour; Logan’s Run will now start at11:00 AM. This change is made because we will have GUEST SPEAKERS from the RASC MONTREAL CENTRE: Bill Strople and David Shuman.
Bill is an avid observer and collector of telescopes, new and antique. He will be bringing in a few of his favourites to demonstrate. Bring in your reflector, Bill will collimate it for you!
David is well-known to MonSFFA members as he has often come to speak to us about space exploration. An avid model builder and NASA follower, David is also an observer who once built his own telescope from scratch. Weather permitting, he will be showing us the sun through his Coronado, a telescope made specifically for solar observing.
Everyone has paper, bring in a scrap of something interesting, maybe something Keith can use in the stop motion project, and earn a participation point for the Christmas special draw.
(I wish I could be there, ‘cos, golly, do I have paper! Paper made with silk, flowers, timothy grasses, mulberry, –I’m hoping one day to get some of that paper made from elephant poop. Yes, it does exist, though I’m not sure why! –Origami Cathy)
We’re changing things up a little as we resume the club’s regular meeting schedule with our traditional August “fancraft” meeting this coming Sunday. Rather than the familiar series of hobbyist and crafting workshops we’ve been hosting for the past several years, this year we’re planning a group project. We’ve come up with the idea of making a short stop-motion film employing paper cut-outs.
Keith Braithwaite has devised the proposed film’s simple story: a variety of dinosaurs are grazing in a prehistoric landscape, when suddenly, a meteor streaks from the heavens, dropping onto one of the dinosaurs and crushing the hapless creature. Then another, and another meteor falls, each taking out an individual dinosaur until there are none left. The title of the piece is Theories of Dinosaur Extinction—Number One: The Meteor Theory. The potential for sequels is apparent, should this venture prove successful!
We will create the characters, backgrounds, and other elements from coloured construction paper and such, artistically enhanced using crayons, pastels, or pencils. We may also, perhaps, incorporate parts of photographs culled from magazines or newspapers to further heighten a particular look.
We’ll tap the artistic talents of our members to draw, colour, paste, carefully cut-out, and animate the piece. MonSFFen are therefore asked to come prepared: bring in a couple pairs of scissors or a utility knife, a roll or two of scotch tape, and any scraps of coloured construction paper, cardboard, wrapping paper, and such that might be applied to the project. A couple of glue sticks, too, would no doubt come in handy. Note that for practical reasons, we’ll be working with dry mediums, so no paints, please.
If you have old magazines, posters, or photos that you can contribute to the project, bring these in, as well. Of particular interest would be any organic images of nature—plants, forest or meadow landscapes, etc.—or anything in the green or brown colour ranges that might be cannibalized for the purpose of decorating a prehistoric landscape.
Time allowing, we’ll set up an animation stand and shoot the picture at the meeting. We estimate that a 30-second short will require some 720 individual frames. If that proves too ambitious to manage within the few hours available to us, we’ll simply complete the project at a subsequent meeting. But we certainly expect to have enough time to design and create all of the elements needed, and at least get some of the animation completed.
So MonSFFen, bring your supplies and drink deep that morning of your creative juices!
May 31st meeting starts EARLY–we begin setting up the book sale at 10 AM, and sales begin by noon. Volunteers get first crack at the books. Also, if you have a few items you would like to sell or auction, bring them in, too. We’ll be glad to help you de-clutter for a small cut of the profits, 😉
Early birds arriving around 11 O’clock were entertained by a series of clips compiled by Sylvain st-Pierre: ATTACK OF THE SPONSORS FROM MARS. These often hilarious TV adverts were mostly new to us.
The SF Cinema Matinée, hosted by Keith Braithwaite, featured BUGS. Five movie titles were on offer, the winner was THEM!. The audience was impressed especially by the strong dialogue and reasonably sound science. It holds up well.
Paleo Art, again presented by Keith Braithwaite, Jurassic Art–Painting the Prehistoric Past, proved very interesting especially as he showed the evolution of our interpretation of the fossils.
News: Danny Sichel gave a brief presentation on The SCP Foundation and also advised us of a sale of used library books. The sale is Saturday, second of May, to Sunday 10th of May, from 13h to 19, at l’Aréna Etienne-Desmarteau, 3430, rue de Bellechasse. Bring lots of bags–apparently the entire floor of the arena is packed with books discarded from several Montreal libraries. almost 11 thousand books and magazines in fact, and every day books are added to replace those sold. WEBSITE with map, pictures, poster.
Swimming with Cyber Sharks–-Tips on Protecting Your Computer From Attack: Steven Janssen gave an interesting presentation on protecting our computers. The main lesson learned was to create strong Pa$$Words. Common phishing tactics and frauds were also discussed.
Supper was at La Cage, where we were bombarded by noise as the restaurant was packed to the rafters with hockey fans. Ah, well, at least we got seats, and service was reasonably quick in spite of the crowd.