My Rambling Thoughts

My first bino!

I have always wanted a binocular, but I have not bought one because I have no use for it. :lol:

Since I was buying the Celestron 5mm Cel-LX eyepiece, which I had no immediate use for, I thought of buying a binocular too. I intend to use it for stargazing.

(Stargazing in light-polluted Singapore? There are few visible stars to the naked eyes, but a lot more can be seen through a telescope — if you know where to point. A telescope not just magnifies, but also gathers light.)

Previously, I had narrowed my choices down to either 8x40 or 10x40. For Astronomy, 8x50 would be better — but bigger and heavier.


Celestron Outland X 8x42 binocular

Specs:

  • 8x42 (8x magnification, 42mm aperture)
  • Bak-4 prism
  • Apparent FoV: 6.8°
  • Eye relief: 17.8mm
  • Weight: 670g
  • Waterproof: yes

I bought a 10x40 binocular from Toys R Us a few years back. It gave poor results, as expected. Comparing against this, it looks like it is actually a 8x25!

Using a ruler, I measured the exit pupil of the Outland X to be 5mm (it is supposed to be 5.25mm). The TRU one? A mere 3mm.

Trying the bino for Astronomy

Just nice, Jupiter was at zenith at around 10pm and the sky was clear, so I tried using the bino to observe it. What a disaster! It was too shaky. I definitely need a tripod (and a tripod adapter).

But then, I wonder if I can see any details at all. Can I see the four Galilean moons? From online discussions, it looks doable. However, I will need around 15x to see the rings of Saturn.

Next, I tried observing the crescent Moon early in the morning. It was also too shaky to do proper observation.

An over-powered eyepiece

The Celestron 5mm Cel-LX eyepiece was "suggested" to me on Amazon.sg for a price of $85+ (w/ shipping). It was 40% off! It caught my attention. Even so, I did not get it as it was over-powered for my scope.

It went back to regular price after a few days. After that, I had a twinge of regret and I wondered, was it cheaper than TaoBao?

To my surprise, I found a shop selling it for 399 yuan. After using TaoBao coins, it was 387 yuan (S$75). Shipping was S$4. I decided to buy it — it is for a future less-powered scope. :-D

This is my shortest F.L. eyepiece. The next smallest are:

  • Meade 5.5mm 82d eyepiece, also way over-powered on my scope
  • 6mm 66d ultra-wide eyepiece
  • Explorer Scientific 6.7mm 82d eyepiece

This should complete my Celestron Cel-LX eyepieces. If I had known what I know now, I would own only these eyepieces.:lol:

For my scope (NexStar 127SLT), two eyepieces would suffice: Cel-LX 9mm and the Celestron 23/62 Asp kit eyepiece.

Crypto-currency house of cards

Crypto-currency is really a house of cards. It is really the wild west without any regulation. Whether it is currency or exchange, whatever they promised or stated are simply false, e.g. backed by USD, segregated client funds.

FTX is supposed to be a big and reputable Exchange. A tweet caused a loss in confidence, resulted in a bank run and they were down.

To be fair, Alameda Research, whom FTX loaned most of its money to, was insolvent in May after Luna meltdown. It's just that no one called their bluff until now.

Top Lego sets 2022


Hogwarts Express - Collectors' Edition (#76405), 5,129 pcs, US$500, 2022

Very detailed, but the train is 7-stud wide and not the usual 6-studs, so it does not run on Lego train tracks. This is a display piece. If you want something more Lego-y, get the 2018 Hogwarts Express (#75955). That has only 801 pieces and has an even bigger train platform — apparently you don't need so many parts for the train.


Lion Knights' Castle (#10305), 4,514 pcs, US$400, 2022

The pinnacle of Castle sets. When I saw this, whatever nostalgia I had for Classic Castle sets went away. This was way better than any of them!

This set is too expensive for me, but if it is KO'ed, I can't say no to it. :-)

Other "recent" castles:

  • King's Castle #70404 (996 pcs, US$100, 2013)
  • King's Castle #7946 (933 pcs, US$100, 2010)
  • King's Castle Siege #7094 (973 pcs, US$100, 2007)

Classic Space fans should not miss Galaxy Explorer #10497 (1,254 pcs, US$100, 2022). It is a modern take of the original set (#497) [same name] released in 1979. Classic Space has never looked better!


Loop Coaster (#10303), 3,756 pcs, US$400, 2022

This is a masterpiece in engineering. A single crank controls all the movements. The tracks actually forms the word L-O-O-P!

It looks better than the 2018 Roller Coaster (#10261). In that set, the white supporting pillars are too prominent.


Boutique Hotel (#10297), 3,066 pcs, US$230, 2022

The 2022 Modular Building. It looks like an updated Grand Emporium (GE). The creative part this time is that the corner building is triangluar in shape.


The City of Lanterns (#80036), 2,187 pcs, US$160, 2022

Reminds me of Ninjago City sets. It seems I like busy dense city sets. This set is very versatile. It is made up of smaller modular buildings that can be re-arranged. It comes with an extra straight track so that two sets can be combined easily (using one from each set):


Straight from the designer

It has even been re-built into a Modular Building gas station (some extra parts needed)!


Express Passenger Train (#60337), 764 pcs, US$190, 2022

TLG has been trying to make sleek passenger trains. Sometimes they use molded parts (looks good, but people complain it is not very Lego-like), sometimes they brick-build it (does not look good cos not slope-y enough).

This looks pretty good, but the front is way too long and the rounded front looks like a bumper. And finally, the carriages have working doors! (Most train MOCs try to incorporate this.)

Of the passenger trains with brick-built fronts, I like Passenger Train #7938 (669 pcs, US$130, 2010) the most.


Downtown Noodle Shop (#31131), 569 pcs, US$45, 2022

This has vibes of Corner Deli #31050 (467 pcs, US$40, 2016), no wonder I like it. The alternate builds are also good.

The list price is S$75. I'll get it if I can find it under S$60.


Forest Hideout (#40567), 258 pcs, gift, 2022

Forestman, how can I say no? It is a free gift if you buy above a certain amount at Lego store, but it is resold on other shopping platforms. I got it for S$47 on Lazada. It is quite expensive, but is cheap compared to classic Forestman sets.

Top Lego sets 2021

Unlike 2019 and 2020, there were many sets that caught my eye in 2021. Spoiler alert: I didn't get any of them.


Ninjago City Gardens (#71741), 5,685 pcs, US$350, 2021

This is a good follow-up to City (#70620) [2017] and City Docks (#70657) [2018].


Police Station (#10278), 2,923 pcs, US$200, 2021

The 2021 Modular Building. People had been asking for many years for a Modular police station — ever since Fire Brigade in 2009! Well, they finally got their wish, except it does not look like a police station. It looks like a bank.

The creative part this year is the two quarter-width buildings! I can foresee many people "restoring" them to half-width.


Medieval Blacksmith (#21325), 2,164 pcs, US$180, 2021

This is a gorgeous standalone set, but it is a little too large and detaileod compared to other medieval sets.


Castle in the Forest (#910001), 1,957 pcs, US$180, 2021

This is a really nice set, reminiscent of Forestmen sub-theme. It was to be limited to 5,000, but system misconfiguration allowed 10,000 to be sold. The cheapest available from USA costs US$435 on Bricklink today.


The Legendary Flower Fruit Mountain (#80024), 1,949 pcs, US$170, 2021

I'm not interested in Fantasy, but take away the fantasy elements and this becomes a very nice landscape scene.


Medieval Castle (#31120), 1,426 pcs, US$100, 2021

This looks more like an entrance into a fortified town than a castle. I thought this was good until I saw what came in 2022... I had this in my cart for a long time, but ultimately decided not to get it as it did not look very castle-like. I bought Pirate Ship (#31109) a few months earlier. That was a nice brick-built ship.


Ferris Wheel (#31119), 1,002 pcs, US$80, 2021

As usual, am interested in 3-in-1 fairground sets, but not enough to get this. Fairground Carousel, the set from 2019, was KO'ed, but this one was not. I was hoping it would be, but looks not.