This is so basic it will probably annoy people. But I find I'm excited by even the smallest steps...
I took delivery of a StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ a few days ago (thanks Anony and others for the suggestion). With Bortle 10000 skies, 4000 street lights, city lights, porch lights... and nothing but cloudy skies night after night, haven't had much use of it. Tonight was "ok", moderately clear here. Moon was almost straight overhead, and 68%. Started with a 9-27 Apertura zoom, but then ended up using mostly a TeleView 7mm DeLite and then an ES 4.5mm. I really enjoyed some time looking at the Moon. With my little Orion Moon Map, I think I identified the Montes Apenninus, the Sinus Aestuum and the big seas to the north of them. Yes, easy, but it was fun to do, and to have at least a basic initial understanding of what I was seeing. The line along the terminator was awesome, particularly at the southern end, although I wasn't so clear on what all those craters were, since I didn't know exactly where the terminator was vis-a-vis the map.
With my cheesy little planisphere (and Stellarium) I figured out that bright thing to the left is Mars, and was able to at least get it in view. Down to the Orion stuff, I could get the main stars, but couldn't see M42 or any real detail (not good "seeing" I think is the right word). I did not use the StarSense app this time (I used it last Friday and was impressed with how easy it is and how well it works, but didn't need it for this stuff).
* I definitely need to get a better finder. I don't like the little red dot that came with it, it's kind of hard to site in, and the contortions needed to view anywhere near zenith were more than this old man is willing to endure. Maybe if I could mount something further up on the OTA... but it would need to come on/off easily, as I view this as a travel setup (I mean, for car travel, local, vacations, etc., not flying and such). I can certainly "point and find", especially major objects (like, um, the Moon), but I find it is helpful to line the scope up using the finder first, especially when not using the StarSense app.
* The whole deal seems a bit shaky. After locating an object then adjusting the focus, it shakes for a good while. Not sure, maybe it's just the nature of the beast.
* I need a better Moon Map (bigger). And also a bigger planisphere, or something... (I can't read the little writing easily).
* I very much like the "correct image" views I get with this scope and the diagonal it comes with. I realize that's probably a rookie thing, but it just seems right to me. I don't like trying to read maps upside down (or sideways).
* So far, SWMBO has not objected to this thing sitting in the living room. She did NOT like it when I put the Apertura AD8 in there (which I've hardly even used, due to the hassle of lugging it out of the basement playroom and setting it up). It does kinda look cool, and doesn't take up so much room.
So those are just a few "observations", from a Luddite who is finding this hobby fun, if a little intimidating. I apologize for taking up bandwidth with such mundane things! Any thoughts or suggestions (nice ones, anyway) would certainly be welcome.