Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekend Update: Summer's (near) end edition

Well, we've hit the penultimate weekend of 'official' summer and already we're seeing the signs of the winding down of the season: one of the big baseball camps in the area is already empty, already moving in the bulldozers and heavy equipment for what will almost certainly be another expansion. The big camp is still open, still fielding teams, but at this point, the big crush of traffic 'in town' should start easing off, at least during the week. I have a village parking pass that allows me to park almost anywhere without having to feed the meters, but what good does it do when there's nowhere to actually park? Well, that headache is about to go away for about nine months or so.

THE BIG EVENT last week was the eclipse. Did you see it where you were? I'm happy to say, the eclipse glasses worked. I got to see the eclipse (partial only, alas), and I got to keep my vision! It was not a productive afternoon. Round here, we saw a slight 'dimming' of the day, a slight change in the color, but it didn't get dark.

SOMETHING I FOUND AMUSING If you read my newspaper column I linked last week, I recalled how, as a child, I was terrified of going out on a day we had an eclipse, lest I accidentally look at the sun and go blind. There's a family that lives on the property where I work, with two small children. The kids' mother also babysits other children from time to time (including my bosses' kids). It was a hot day, and they were all going swimming, but the kids wanted to swim at the gym instead of the lake because they wanted to be inside. At one point, they came over to the office after the eclipse started: all of them with their eyes glued to the ground, all of them making sun visors out of their hands. I guess it's good to know that kids do listen! We did let them use the eclipse glasses, and they were blown away.

THE CATBIRD flew back to school this weekend (actually, we drove her). The house goes a little quieter.

ACTUAL REWRITING has now officially commenced on the RiP which means, naturally, I had a moment of inspiration on the WiP yesterday. I may have to put an actual door on that back room.

CHESTNUT It's been a while since I posted a picture of my favorite little tree, so I ran out across the desperately-needs-to-get-cut front lawn and took a picture. I need new glasses--can't see close up well enough to take a decent photo most times (I've always had horrendously bad distance vision; now I can't see up close, either). This is what it looks like today:

It's not the greatest photo. On the left is the chestnut today. On the right is how it looked at the beginning of June. Hard to tell from this image, but it is definitely bigger, and while the new main stem is leaning a little, it has actually grown to the point where it is taller than that original main stem (seen on the left side of the leftern picture).

FINALLY some music. What made me look up this song late last week? I'm really not sure. It is a rather disturbing piece, but what the heck. Ladies and gentlemen, Ballad of a Thin Man, by Bob Dylan. Enjoy the day, enjoy your week, let me know what's going on!

Bob Dylan - The Ballad of a Thin Man from Vasco Cavalcante on Vimeo.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Celestial Events and other things

Semi-random postings for this ecliptic day.

* As you may or may not know, I write a monthly column for one of our local papers. This month's column is on eclipses. Take a read!

* That column is not exactly a "How to" guide for safe eclipse viewing. If you want that, go here!

* A friend of mine gave me a pair of eclipse glasses last week. I checked them out, they meet the safety standards set forth by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), but I have to say I'm a bit nervous about using them anyway. Personally, if I were the leader of a terrorist network who really wanted to screw with United States, I'd get a bunch of people working in the factories where they make these things and have them damage the glasses. It's all about the long game!

*I was heartened to see that the giant rally in Boston was peaceful, in that no one was killed or even severely injured. Not heartened to see that counter-protesters were apparently going after the police., or that they instigated some physical altercations with people who were there to attend the rally. Hands off, people. It may already be too late, but you do not want anyone to be able to legitimately lump you in with the other side.

*Writing! There is writing happening! It's still of the 'scribble notes and arrows and circles all over the printed page' but it is writing nonetheless! I'm a little excited about this.

* There can only be one piece (well, two actually, but you really can't play one without the other, if you ask me) of music for today. From Pink Floyd's landmark Dark Side of the Moon comes "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse."

How was your weekend? Any plans to view the eclipse today?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Short thoughts on Charlottesville

I had two uncles who served in the Navy in World War II. Another flew a P-38 with the 8th Air Force out of southern Italy. Three of my friends had fathers who helped liberate Europe. Two of them swept across France and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. The other landed at Anzio and was wounded in action. All of them are gone now. I can't imagine any of them would be especially happy with what transpired this weekend.

It sickens me to know that Hitler's ideals are alive and well and living in the United States. It sickens me that thousands of racists, under the pretense of "protecting our history and heritage," were chanting slogans right out of Nazi Germany (and if you are honestly upset about the removal of a General Robert E. Lee statue, and you claim you are not a racist, fine. But don't march with the KKK, and don't chant "Blood and soil" and don't Sieg Heil your way through Emancipation Park). It sickens me that so many people feel so sure of their beliefs, and so comfortable in our current climate, that they will gather and march in such numbers. It sickens me that our president will not condemn them, will not call them what they are. At this point, all calls on him to do so are pointless. He's made his statement with silence and vague words.

Heather Heyer is dead because of Nazis, because of hatred, because of racism and bigotry. She's just the latest in a long, long line that almost certainly stretches back to near the dawn of humanity. Sadly, she won't be the last. I don't know how we stop it, but I know we must.

Monday, August 7, 2017

From the Department of "NOW I've Seen Everything"

Okay, first off, I'm going to admit that this is a blatant 'filler post' that has nothing to do with writing. The fact is, once again I was unprepared this morning, then got home late, had a late dinner, so here we are, with me trying to maintain something of a schedule. Then again, maybe you'll find something inspiring.

On the way home from work this afternoon, I heard this story on the radio. My first thought was, "Are you effing kidding me?" And let me tell you, my inner voice was not saying this in that "Wow, how cool is that?" sort of tone, but in tones that were condescending, snide, and snarky.

But I'll also admit the "Are you effing kidding me?" was quickly followed by another thought: "I'm going to have to Youtube that." And so, I give you three words that have no business going together: Dog Surf Competition. Enjoy.

And, in a classic example of falling down the internet rabbit hole, here's Kama, the surfing pig.

Ever surfed? Ever surfed with a pig or a dog? Tell us about it!