What I’ve been doing this week:

1) Working on the new book. Up to page 56 now! And watching Caribbean vacation shows on the Travel Channel and calling it research. Never mind that the story is set in the 1530s, and it’s doubtful there were any all-inclusive resorts with cabanas and unlimited mango margaritas, it’s the atmosphere I’m after.

2) Deciding what books to order to celebrate my birthday, which is on Tuesday! Mango margaritas all around!

3) Mourning the loss of the Golden Globe awards. No gowns! No jewels! No hilarious tipsy acceptance speeches! January will be blah indeed.

4) Watching the DVDs of the BBC series Robin Hood, which I got from Netflix. My North and South DVD needed a rest, so I thought I would give this one a try. So far–interesting. More thoughts later. In the meantime, my friends are sick of me constantly yelling “Mr. Thornton! You are being such a meanie! And wash your hair!” at the TV screen.

And, in case you thought my week was totally wasted, I found out January 12 is the anniversary of the founding of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The RAS’s website states that it “…encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar system science, geophysics, and closely related branches of science.” Anyone over 18 who proves acceptable to the Society can apply for a fellowship even today. It all began at a dinner at the Freemason’s Tavern on January 12, 1820, when it was just the Astronomical Society (it received a charter from William IV in 1831). It was formed by mostly “gentlemen astronomers” to support and further their research.

The minutes of this meeting record: “On this day several gentlemen…met together by appointment at the Freemason’s Tavern, Great Queen Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, to take into consideration the propriety and expediency of establishing a Society for the management and promotion of astronomy.” 14 attended this meeting. The Duke of Somerset was elected president, but resigned a week later. His friend Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society, thought a new Astronomical Society might drain resources from the RS. William Herschel then became president, with Francis Baily secretary and Daniel Moore chairman.

The second meeting on February 8, at the Geological Society rooms in Bedford Street, Covent Garden, boasted 83 members. The Monthly Notices began publication in 1827 (prior to this reports of their meetings were found in the Philosophical Magazine). It wasn’t until 1915 that a Supplemental Charter admitted women to the Society.

So, if we can’t see stars on the red carpet, at least we can still see them in the sky! What have you been up to this week?