Wayne’s Word

January 10, 2009

Wal-Mart at Midnight (And Blogging After Midnight)

Filed under: After Midnight,General — Wayne @ 3:31 am

As I have mentioned before, I do my marketing (grocery shopping) at Wal-Mart every Friday night.  It is an interesting place to be on a Friday.  I try to go about 9 or 10, but sometimes I’m busy and I don’t get there till later.  Occasionally, I can’t get there until midnight or later, but I always try to go so I won’t be behind on Saturday–and Saturday afternoon is the worst time to traipse down the grocery aisles.

In some ways, Wal-Mart is even more interesting after midnight.  There are fewer people there, but these few hardy souls make up for their small number with their uniqueness.  I often see a guy in a tuxedo or a girl in formal attire.  It’s not unusual to see a group of 4 or 5 guys, or less often girls, buying groceries by committee.  College room-mates, I guess.  Seems like an inefficient way to shop, but I guess it’s better that they learn that lesson now than later when they try to do something important by committee.

Here is something I bet you didn’t know:  Wal-Mart has a radio station.  Really.  It’s a national station for all stores.  It plays music for the overnight stockers starting at 11 PM.  It has a request line and a real live DJ.  I’m thinking about calling in a dedication for the stockers in frozen aisles.  You know that’s got to get a bit chilly, especially in the winter.

When I was ready to checkout tonight (last night?), it was a good bit later than midnight.  You see, I’ve been studying food and cooking the last few years and a trip to the grocery store is a chance to learn something new.  I try to look for some item or ingredient I’ve never used that I can add to my repertoire.  Tonight it was ravioli.  Not in a can–frozen ravioli that needs to be cooked.  A few weeks ago it was tortellini.  I haven’t quite got that worked out yet; ask my kids.

As I was saying, when I got ready to go, it was a good bit after midnight and only one checkout was open.  (By the way, here is a tip for you infrequent late-night shoppers:  If there is ever only one checkout open, it will be number 15.)  After a few minutes, they opened a self-check for 20 items or less, but that only helped me by shortening the line by one.  Combining the rationing of open registers, my recreational view of marketing, the drive home and the putting away of groceries (after midnight, I don’t get much help there) it’s getting rather late.  And if I decide to blog about it, it gets even later.

Tonight was a bit mild, so let me leave you with a couple of highlights from last week.  That time, I was there at a reasonable time, 9 or so, so this isn’t midnight strangeness, just the usual Wal-Mart Friday night strangeness.  When I was on aisle 4, canned vegetables, I noticed a lady pause a bit behind me.  I figured she was waiting to get something from the shelves where I was, so I got what I needed and moved on, leaving the educational part of the trip for another aisle.  However, instead of stopping where I had been, she came up beside me, pulled a sheet of paper out of a manila envelope and asked if she could ask me a few (more) questions.  I said sure and she asked me if I had a personal relationship with God.  I said yes, I was a Christian.  She said fine and said I could have the handout anyway.  I took it and said thanks as she moved on.  I guess Wal-Mart doesn’t like that, but, think about it:  Cold-call evangelism in the grocery section of Wal-Mart on a Friday night.  That takes nerves of steel.

A few minutes later on aisle 6, a guy came barreling down the aisle.  He seemed in a hurry.  He had a blue-tooth headset on one ear and was talking to someone, his wife I think.  I wish I could have heard both sides of the conversation, but all I heard was:  “Come on, talk baby.  Be like an announcer.  Alabama’s got the ball, it’s third down.  What’s going on?”  I guess it was Alabama’s bowl game he couldn’t live without.

If life ever gets boring, just go to Wal-Mart and shop for groceries on a Friday night, the later the better.  I’ll see you there.  I’ll be guy reading the cooking instructions on the package of frozen ravioli.


December 29, 2008

The Surprise Christmas Present I Gave Myself

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 10:17 pm

BillfoldSometime in 2007 I lost my billfold.  This was not the first time that this has happen to me.  I’m a seasoned billfold-losing veteran.  However, usually I find it in a week or two.

That did not happen this time.  I kept expecting it to show up any day, but it didn’t.  I slowly began assembling a temporary replacement.  My old billfold, my old driver’s license, a spare credit card I didn’t usually use, etc. I kept checking my credit cards online–no one had started using them–so I felt confident that it was somewhere in the house.   Slowly, as the time I was separated from my billfold grew, I became less attached to it.  I felt my commitment to it slipping.   I got a new billfold as a present.  I continued my recovery by replacing my ATM, my credit cards, my library cards (HPL & UAH) and finally, the most expensive replacement, my driver’s license.  At long last, the long painful separation was complete and I could now get on with my life.

Then on Monday night, 3 days before Christmas, a received a mysterious call from Wal-Mart on University Drive.  Did I have my billfold?  I checked–yest I did.  Well, they had found it.  It was my old billfold–the one I had not waited for, the one I had jilted and rejected.  I felt a brief–very brief–pang of pity for it.  The caller didn’t know where it was found.  They were astounded when I told them I had lost it over a year ago.

I don’t remember the date I lost my billfold, but I remember that I discovered it was missing when taking Kristen to the church building for some event on a Saturday morning.  Since I do my marketing every Friday night at Wal-Mart (I sure know how to live), it makes sense that I lost it there.  However, I still can’t understand how it was lost for so long.  (BTW, “marketing” is to “grocery shopping” what “table tennis”  is to “ping pong”.)

I picked it up the next day (Christmas Eve Eve) on the way to work.  Disturbingly, they didn’t check that I was the owner of the billfold.  (They could have just opened it and looked at the photograph on my driver’s license.)  Surprisingly, it was chock full of stuff.  I had forgotten just how thick my billfold used to be.  There was not any money in it, but I may not have had any in it when I lost it.

Among the useful things I found were:

  • $15 in Taco Bell gift certificates.  See My Taco Sauce Wisdom blog article for a thrilling explanation of why I once had hundreds of dollars worth of these.
  • $32.26 credit at the Booklegger–and not just general credit.  It was the more valuable “Sci-Fi” credit.  (More valuable because it can be used for Sci-Fi or General.)
  • A fully punched “punch card” for a free soft drink or Icee at Kangaroo.
  • A card for a free Chick-fil-a sandwich.
  • Notes on a communion talk I was writing.

Among the useless things I found were:

  • A card good for a free chips & dip at Q’doba.  (For the uniformed, they went out of business while my billfold was lost.)
  • A “punch card” for Bellicino’s good for a free sub that only needed one more punch.  (Again, same song, second verse.  And yes, I do seem to have a bunch of them don’t I?)
  • A coupon for buy-one-get-one-free-lunch that expired in June 2007.  And it didn’t have the restaurant’s name on it anyway.
  • A McDonalds “Arch Card” with zero balance.
  • An unpunched and expired “punch card” for Cost Cutters.  (BTW, note to Danny Holmes:  I can’t think about Cost Cutters punch cards without thinking about your story.  If you know Danny, have him tell it to you.)
  • Lots of canceled credit cards.

So, it was my early Chirstmas present to myself.  And even though it cost me a lot more than it was worth (puase here tothink about that briefly if you need to), it is, afterall, the thought that counts.

November 29, 2008

When Football Meets Reality, a Brief Manifesto in Three Parts

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 4:59 pm

Part 1: A Short Morality Play

You know the typical Sunday-morning or Monday-morning conversation between two rabid football fans:  whining, bragging and complaining about the game.   Now, imagine for a moment what that conversation would be like it one of those stereotypical football fans was replaced by a rational human being.

Rabid Fan: Did you see that game?  We sure whooped ‘um!

Rational Human: I didn’t know you played football for (insert name of college or university).

Rabid Fan: Oh, I don’t.

Rational Human: You went to school there?

Rabid Fan: Uh, no.

Rational Human: You used to play for them?

Rabid Fan: Uh, no.

Rational Human: Your son plays for them, maybe?

Rabid Fan: Uh, no.  Why do you ask?

Rational Human: But you “whooped ‘um”?

Rabid Fan: Yeah, we sure did!

Part 2, A Modern Proverb

The shortest path to misery is basing your self esteem on the outcome of an event over which you have no control.

Part 3, A Mantra

Breath slowly and deeply and repeat:

It’s just a football game, and I’m not playing*

* Unless, of course, you are playing.  In which case, get out there and whoop ‘um.


And don’t even get me started about professional football.  Why should I care whether a corporation’s group of overpaid employee-athletes wins a contest against another corporation’s group of overpaid employee-athletes?

November 24, 2008

Food Drives Ain’t What They Used To Be

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 8:54 pm
Food Drive Donations

Food Drive Donations

My employer, who shall remain nameless, is having a food drive like so many businesses, schools, churches and other organizations.  A few days into the food drive, I happened to take a look in the collection box in the break room on my floor.  Among the 10 or so items in the box were:

  • Organic Sauerkraut
  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Clam Chowder

Call me old-fashioned, but to me this just doesn’t seem right.  A food drive should concentrate on the basics:  cans of fruit and vegetables, soup (chicken noodle an the like), beans, pasta, rice, boxed side dishes, and other staples.  Somehow, I don’t think people looking for a little extra help with groceries at this time of the year are looking for sauerkraut and premium coffee.

I have some experience with this.  When I was younger, my dad worked with the benevolence ministry at church.  My brother and I went with him sometimes.  In particular, I remember one Christmas Eve–or maybe Christmas Eve Eve, it’s been a long time–that we spent most of the day gathering cans and boxes from the church’s pantry, buying other items at Big Brothers, and then delivering groceries to several needy families.  As a young boy, it was an eye-opening experience–delivering help to families who were in want of even the basics.

But, Clam Chowder?  In a food drive?  Well, perhaps in these modern times anything is possible.

I like the way my church, Madison Church of Christ, organizes food drives.  There is a list of items for a Thanksgiving meal: corn, dressing, gravy, etc.  Families who want to help do so by buying the items on the list and bringing them to the church building.  Other people contribute money which goes to a meat voucher for each bag.  This means each family gets food they really need.

However, in the end, I guess it’s the thought that count.  I guess that someone, somewhere, is hoping for Starbucks coffee for Christmas.

November 1, 2008

Christmas Music On November 1? Enough already.

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 8:53 pm
Tags: , ,

I was in Wal-Mart today doing the weekly marketing and

What to my wondering ears did appear
but an worn-out Christmas song no one wanted to hear.

It was I’ll be Home for Christmas.  Ironically, I was buying hot chocolate mix at the time.  (Swiss Miss as recommended by Cooks Illustrated.)  I also heard Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer and the Hallelujah Chorus (When did that become a Christmas song?)

I guess now that Halloween is over, it’s time for Christmas merchandise and Christmas music.  I remember when we didn’t have to start dealing with non-stop Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  Those were the good old days.

Who is it anyway that wants to hear Christmas music in early November?  No one that I know; at least no one who will admit it.  It’s like fruitcake–no one you know wants one but stores seem to think every one wants at least a dozen.

I’m not opposed to Christmas music.  I like it just as much as the next guy–unless the next guy is Burl Ives.  But, when you are saturated with it for so much of the year it becomes annoying, just like a Top 40 song in heavy rotation.  Or, at least for me, a Top 40 song in any rotation.

So people, let’s unite to over-throw the tyrannical conspiracy to devalue Christmas music by forcing it upon us non-stop.  Let’s stand up and fight to redeem our musical heritage.  Let’s barge into the stores and Muzak offices and shout to the ceilings “Enough is Enough” until they relent in their mind-numbing quest.

But, you first.

September 29, 2008

An Easy Time-Saving Tip

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 8:00 pm
Tags: ,

Here is an easy way to save several hours a year, and just in time.  Don’t watch the election return coverage. Just wait until the next day and read the final results. It doesn’t really matter if you go a few hours without knowing who won, does it now?

If you think you enjoy the drama, think again. It is not like a competition such as a football game where the results are decided while you watch. With a few exceptions, everyone has already voted. And even then, you’re not watching the voting–just the counting.

Do you really need to listen to a bunch of pundits arguing who will win when you can wait a few hours and see for yourself, or worse, listen to them “declaring” a winner as if they get to decide the elections?

Do yourself a favor, skip the election coverage and do something useful with your time:  Read a book, play with your kids, or even take a nap.

September 13, 2008

A Management Lesson from Starship Troopers

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 12:13 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve been thinking about management structures lately and I remembered a favorite passage form Starship Troopers. (The book, not the film.) I think there is an important management lesson to be learned here from Heinlein.

From Starship Troopers …

The M. I. (Mobile Infantry) has the lowest percentage of officers in any army of record and this factor is just part of the M. I.’s unique “divisional wedge.” If you have l0,000 soldiers, how many fight? And how many just peel potatoes, drive lorries, count graves, and shuffle papers? In the M. I., 10,000 men fight.

In the mass wars of the 20th century it sometimes took 70,000 men (fact!) to enable 10,000 to fight. The root of our morale is: “Everybody works, everybody fights.” It is this “everybody fights” rule that lets the M. I. get by with so few officers.

[In the M. I.’s organizational structure] you wind up with 317 officers out of a total, all ranks, of 11,117. There are no blank files and every officer commands a team. Officers total 3%. In fact a good many platoons are commanded by sergeants and many officers “wear more than one hat” in order to fill some utterly necessary staff jobs. Even a platoon leader should have “staff”—his platoon sergeant. But he can get by without one and his sergeant can get by without him. But a general must have staff; the job is too big to carry in his hat. He needs a big planning staff and a small combat staff. Since there are never enough officers, the team commanders in his flag transport double as his planning staff and are picked from the M. I.’s best mathematical logicians then they drop with their own teams. The general drops with a small combat staff. Besides necessary staff billets, any team larger than a platoon ought to have a deputy commander. But there are never enough officers so we make do with what we’ve got. To fill each necessary combat billet, one job to one officer, would call for a 5% ratio of officers—but 3% is all we’ve got.

In place of that optimax of 5% that the M. I. never can reach, many armies in the past commissioned 10% of their number, or even 15%—and sometimes a preposterous 20%! This sounds like a fairy tale but it was a fact, especially during the 20th century. What kind of an army has more “officers” than corporals? (And more non-coms than privates!) An army organized to lose wars —if history means anything. An army that is mostly organization, red tape, and overhead, most of whose “soldiers” never fight. But what do “officers” do who do not command fighting men? Fiddlework, apparently—officers’ club officer, morale officer, athletics officer, public information officer, recreation officer, PX officer, transportation officer, legal officer, chaplain, assistant chaplain, junior assistant chaplain, officer-in-charge of anything anybody can think of, even—nursery officer! In the M. I., such things are extra duty for combat officers or, if they are real jobs, they are done better and cheaper and without demoralizing a fighting outfit by hiring civilians. But the situation got so smelly in one of the 20th century major powers that real officers, ones who commanded fighting men, were given special insignia to distinguish them from the swarms of swivel-chair hussars.

Excerpted and abridged from Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. If you haven’t read the book, read it. There are a lot of other lessons to be learned.

… To Corporate Troopers

After making some substitutions, we get a reasonably applicable management lesson. The analogy does not carry-over perfectly from the M. I. to a company, particularly because the army has no equivalent of secretaries and admin assistants. But, the general principle still applies.

The model company has the lowest percentage of managers in any company of record and this factor is just part of the model company’s unique “divisional wedge.” If a company has 10,000 workers, how many do actual work? And how many just advise, assist, and shuffle papers? In the model company, 10,000 employees do actual work.

In the mass business ventures of the 20th century it sometimes took 70,000 employees (fact!) to enable 10,000 to do actual work.The root of the model company’s morale is: “Everybody is employed, everybody works.” It is this “everybody works” rule that lets the model company get by with so few managers.

There are no vacant positions and every manager manages a organizational unit. Managers total 3%. In fact a good many sections are managed by project managers and many organizational managers “wear more than one hat” in order to fill some utterly necessary staff jobs. Even a section leader should have “staff”—his assistant section manager. But he can get by without one and his assistant section manager can get by without him. But a BU manager must have staff; the job is too big to carry in his hat. He needs a big planning staff and a smaller working staff. Since there are never as many managers as managerial positions, the organizational unit managers in his BU double as his planning staff and are picked from the model company ’s best project managers and then they still do contract work with their own organizational units. The BU manager manages with a small working staff. Besides necessary staff positions, any organizational unit larger than a section ought to have a deputy manager. But there are never as many managers as managerial positions, so they make do with what they have. To fill each necessary managerial position, one job to one manager, would call for a 5% ratio of managers—but 3% is all there is.

In place of that optimax of 5% that the model company never can reach, many companies in the past promoted to management 10% of their number, or even 15%—and sometimes a preposterous 20%! This sounds like a fairy tale but it was a fact, especially during the 20th century. What kind of a company has more “managers” than project managers? (And more senior staff than technical leads?) A company organized to lose contracts—if history means anything. A company that is mostly organization, red tape, and overhead, most of whose “workers” never work. But what do “managers” and senior staff do who do not manage employees? Fiddlework, apparently! In the model company, such things are extra duty for other managers or, if they are real jobs, they are done better and by administrative staff. But the situation got so smelly in one of the 20th century major corporation that real managers, ones who managed working employees, were given special titles to distinguish them from the swarms of swivel-chair hussars.

In case you are interested, some of the substitutions I made were:

M. I. model company
army company
officer manager
general BU manager
soldier, trooper worker
command manage
fight work
platoon section
men employees
war contract
rank level
sergeant, corporal, non-com technical lead
private non-manager
combat worker
commanders high-level managers
drops does contract work
team organizational unit

May 4, 2008

A Running Scorecard for the Rest of Us

Filed under: General,Running — Wayne @ 3:31 pm

Look in almost any issue of the HTC News and you will see results of the Huntsville Track Club Grand Prix, a yearly contest for HTC members. Throughout the year, winners of certain races are awarded points and at the end of the year, the Grad Prix winner is the one with the most points—just like auto racing. I’m sure this is a spirited affair, with rival runners passing each other in the standings throughout the year and the results often not being settled until the final race. But, let’s face it: Most of us are never going to be in contention for the Grand Prix, or, for that matter, score any points at all. But, that’s okay—not everyone can be a winner, or even a contender.

However, we ordinary runners would like to score points for our runs, too. It doesn’t have to be points for winning, just points. So, with that in mind I have created a running score card for “the rest of us”.

Runners and Technology: Runners interact with a lot of technology, sometimes intentionally and some unintentionally.
+10 Activate a motion detector light.
+50 Activate two motion detectors simultaneously.
-100 The owner comes running out with a shotgun to see what’s happening.

Traffic Regulations: There are a lot of traffic regulations for drivers, but don’t you ever wonder if any of them also apply to runners?
+1 “Running” a stop sign.
+100 Breaking a speed limit. (Tricky, since the human speed record is 12 mph).
-200 You get a Moving Violation for either of these.

Interactions with Drivers: Not all drivers understand the concept of “running”. How do you interact with them?
+10 A driver stops and asks if you need a ride.
+25 You are actually running and not just stretching or walking at the time.
+50 They look at you like you are crazy when you tell them you are out there without a vehicle on purpose.
-100 If you wimp out and take them up on the offer.

Running with your pet: Running with you dog can be a rewarding experience for both of you You can improve your health while enjoying the company of man’s best friend.
+10 Take your dog running with you
+25 Take more than one dog with you.
+100 Figure out how to take a cat running with you.
-75 Your dog stops during the run and refuses to go any further.

Personal Accomplishment: As we get older, the PR’s don’t come as often as they used to, if they come at all. Sometimes we need to set different goals.
+10 Complete a run of more than one mile with your shoes on the opposite feet.
+50 Run a complete race of at least 5k with you shoes on the opposite feet.
-150 If it was not intentional.

Record keeping: Keeping good records can be helpful and modern technology makes it even easier.
+10 Log the time & distance of the run with a spreadsheet.
+25 Also log temperature, pulse rate, weight, etc.
+50 Use a database and data mining techniques to find a correlation between your pace & the dew point.
-100 Do this while you are running.

Races: What can we do when we run races to help out or just stand out?
+5 Wear your race number where it can be easily seen.
+25 Wear a costume such as Mr. Incredible.
-150 If this is not during a race.

Day and Night: It is always fun to start in the dark and watch the sun rise while you run, or vice-verse.
+25 Cross a day/night boundary while running.
+250 Cross two of them in the same run. Double below 60 deg latitude.

February 12, 2008

Heroes Happen Here?

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 10:00 pm
Tags: , ,

I don’t which is stranger: that there is a new comic book style comic strip featuring IT (Information Technology) people or that there is a new comic book style comic strip from Microsoft. They’re the same thing and it’s called Heroes Happen Here. You can read it at Microsoft’s Heros Happen Here website which is promoting new versions of Visual Studio, SQL Server and Windows Server. You can also read it at their Technet blog or subscribe to the feed. To read the past strips in their full glory at the HHH website, you need to install Microsoft’s new bright and shiny “software tool”, Silverlight. If you don’t have Silverlight and don’t want to install it, you can read the archive in plain ol’ JPEG format at the Technet blog.

I liked the idea when I heard about it, but the actually strips give me mixed feelings. Perhaps the kindest way to put it is to say that the writers have yet to find their “voice“. The strip can’t decide if it wants to be Dilbert, Drabble or Spiderman.

There Are Two Ways We Can Do This

I’ve come to the conclusion that a strip like this can go in one of two directions:

  1. A strip about the ordinary things that happen to an IT person, but with a dramatic flair. Short to medium length story arcs, but with a minor resolution each day: a punch line or plot point. This is like most newspaper “funnies”. Think of it as Dilbert, but with humor and drama with more detailed art work.
  2. A classic comic book melodrama that involves IT; heroes & villains, but no superheroes or supervillains. More drama, less humor, longer story arcs. It would be about IT in roughly the same way that Superman was about the newspaper business.

HHH clearly started as the first type. Here is a good example, the strip from day 4. This has humor and IT, but also can be part of a larger, more dramatic, story arc. BTW, does anyone know what his shirt says? In an earlier strip his shirt proclaimed “DO THE MATH”

HHH Day 4

However, on day 8 the strip morphed into the second type fast enough to give your brain whiplash. I had to re-read that strip and the past few strips and was still confuzzled, as my daughter would say. Anyone who has read Robert Heinlein’s “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel” will remember that moment in the story when reality suddenly vanished to be replaced by a surreal melodrama. Same thing here. Below is the comic from day 9. Hold on to your brain. The following days’ strips get even more surreal.

What Is a Comic Strip Storyline Writer To Do?

I don’t think that mixing the two types of comic strip will work. HHH should pick one and stick with it.

Which would be best? I think a strip of the first type would be best. It’s funny and light-hearted. Sure its stereotypical, but it is a comic strip. The first week’s strips might be called hokey or corny by some, but they were still funny and IT people could identify with them. I cut out the first strip above and put it on my door at work.

The changed strip does feel more like a comic book, or at least what they were like–I haven’t read one in a few decades. But, it feels a lot less “real”. These things don’t happen to real IT people. We don’t have a helicopter sent to take us and an old computer to catch a chartered plane. (Well, maybe if you do IT for the CIA.) We can’t identify with this sort of thing. If the strip is supposed to be about “real” IT heroes, this won’t work. And I can’t see anyone putting any of this type of strip on their door. Certainly not me.

July 13, 2007

I Found UFOs in the GalaxyZoo Galaxy Survery!

Filed under: General — Wayne @ 8:00 am
UFOsSounds like a tabloid headline, doesn’t it? Well, it’s true! The objects I found are unidentified (they are not galaxies, nebulas or other deep-sky objects) and I assume they are flying because they are not on the ground. I didn’t say anything about aliens.
Dashed Green LineIt all started with a photo (ref. 588007005232496884) from the Galaxy Zoo project. On July 13, Oxford University announced the Galaxy Zoo Project & website to classify galaxies with the help of ordinary people around the world. I was looking at a few galaxies to classify them and got a photo with a dashed green line in it. “This is not a galaxy,” I said to myself. (You can’t put anything by me.) I adjusted the URL parameters of the image to zoom out and enlarge the image to get the whole line. The image on the right is a section of the line. It is hard to see in the small image, click it for a larger imgage to see the line better. What can this be? Could be an asteroid or a comet, except they don’t blink and aren’t green. Could be an airplane, but where are the other lights. Also, based on the number of dashes, this looks like it only lasted a few seconds. I am sure these exposures are much longer than that.
Dashed Green LineThen I became curious about a blue smudge I saw to the right and ‘adjusted’ over to it. Then I saw the ‘superman’ lights. (Doesn’t the top red one look like the symbol on Superman’s chest?) At least now I think I know what this is: an airplane with flashing blue, green and red lights. I assume the shape of the objects is from reflections in the optics. However, I don’t understand why the lines are not longer. The exposure seems too short. Since the project suggest emailed about any unusual objects, I emailed the reference to the project. Perhaps I’ll have the answer soon.
You can click on the images above for a larger image (1000×700). Below are the links to the same images on the sky survey server. Its take a while for the images from the sky server links to load because they must be generated form the database each time.

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