Eclipse 2024

April 8, 2024

1:00am: Let’s get on the road.

Can the Pennsylvania Turnpike make up its mind whether the speed limit is 55 or 70? It changes like every mile.

4:00am: Fine, get yourself a snack. Top off gas, too.

Hmmm, there’s the exit to the road I was going to take originally. But had to change plans yesterday. Looking too cloudy there. New destination has a better chance, if still not a great one.

Crossing into Ohio.

And it’s raining.

That’s okay. It was supposed to rain this early anyway. We’ve got a lot of hours to go.

Heading north now. Past Youngstown… and officially in the path!

7:00am: Light out, still raining on and off, nearing destination.

Hmmm, clear traffic the whole way. Pleasant surprise. There was every indication traffic would be a nightmare. Maybe we’re just way early.

8:30am: Here’s a nice park by Lake Erie. Some other people in town checking it out as well. Hard to see the water from the fog from the rain, which seems to be clearing up.

9:30am: Better get some food now while we can. This little restaurant is filling up quickly with others in town for this.

After food, driving around town. Lots of neat houses right along lakeshore. There’s another cool park by the lake, with people filing in to enjoy the view. And the one later.

11:30am: Here’s the park by the lake we were in earlier. There’s more people and the bathrooms are open now. Plus my passengers want to make a stop anyway. Found a spot in the boat ramp lot.

What a lovely view of the lake, the sound of the waves lapping against the rocks. A bit of area to walk around. Watching the people show up and set themselves up here. Lots of snacks and a bathroom nearby.

Yup, I think this is our spot.

But what will we see? There’s so many clouds up there still.

Except… what’s that to the west southwest? Is that… clear skies?!

The clouds are moving from that direction. The big ones are passing, leaving fewer of them and just some high up wispy ones…

Holy shitburgers, I think we’re actually going to see it!!!

The clouds cleared more, allowing some more sunshine and warming the air a bit.

2:02pm: At last, it starts.

Can see some high up wispy clouds moving across the sun through the glasses, but they don’t block anything.

And on the lower right corner, the moon has begun to bite off a chunk.

Steadily, all around us, the light dimmed.

The sky turned a deeper blue.

The sun was a crescent. Then a fingernail. Then a sliver.

About as far as it would have gone had we stayed home (if no clouds this time).

3:10pm: Minutes away. Sky is darkening faster. Nearby lampposts and outside lights on a building by the water have clicked on.

3:15pm: Seconds away. Counting down. The last rays of sunlight disappearing as if a crack in the sky is being zipped closed…

WHOA

That’s not my picture. That’s NASA’s view of it from Cleveland, just a little west of where we were. But that’s about what appeared up there in the sky the moment the last ray of sunshine vanished.

This one is my picture.

My phone camera couldn’t focus on it too well, so it shows a whitish glob where in person at that spot was NASA’s above image.

In my picture, you can see the lit lamppost, as well as, oddly enough, that the sky on the horizon kind of looks like a sunrise or sunset. But… that’s not right. The sun isn’t over there. It’s up there behind the moon! Most of the sky was a deep dark blue, the part under the shadow, which in person was much darker than it appears here. On the horizon was where there was still sunshine. So it was like a sunrise or sunset… only upside down!

When totality began, people around us cheered. Some honked their car horns. Some howled for some reason. Sounded like someone shot off some fireworks nearby.

Up there, the white sunlight radiated out from behind the black moon, the very edges of it shimmering, as if the sun was itching to come back out and blind us all. Solar activity that is usually hidden to us, perhaps.

It went on for many glorious soul-touching minutes, until the bottom right corner got brighter. Glasses back on now! And the sunshine was back.

An industrial ship docked nearby in the lake blew its horn.

People around us packed up to leave and departed. We hung around to let the crowd clear. I stayed by the lake and watched the reverse partial eclipse pass. The air had chilled back down.

4:30pm: And that’s that.

Time to head all the way back home!

Our spot by the lake didn’t get the best reception, so we drove away somewhere else so I could see the traffic situation better on Google Maps.

Hmm, yeah, every road we could take back was backed up, though we’d be driving a while before we got to a backup. My fellow travelers were itching to get back on the road, so to shut them up, we started on southward, even though I thought it might have been a good idea to get some food first.

Sure enough, we hit a traffic backup. I went a slightly different way back this time to avoid some of the toll road as well as to go a way that looked clearer. That was fine for a while until we hit another very slow road. The exits off that road to areas with restaurants were also backed up, and those restaurants surely packed.

Eventually, we were back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which was moving a little quicker. Rest stops were completely packed with people. It got dark, and my lack of sleep was finally taking its toll, so I let the other person drive who had gotten some rest earlier.

Almost home and back into Maryland, without any food since every place was too full or already closing for the night, and more backups. This time construction and lane closures on I-70. Got past one slow area and into another one before long. Even once back on 270 we hit a few!

Home at last at 3am. Concluding a totally wild day trip to a midwestern state on a Great Lake, eight days shy of eight years since the last one. And perhaps longer than that until the next solar eclipse in this country, or whichever next one I’ll be able to see, whatever the world will be like then.

Next Up 2019

December 31, 2019

Sometimes there’s a story you know that suddenly, well, continues. Maybe after a long time. Maybe unexpectedly. Maybe the continuation existed for some time and you’re only now finding it. Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, and so ends 2019, a year of an inordinate number of next installments. And, just in general, the end of one year and beginning of another, a next installment in itself. Whatever. Let’s do this thing.

January: Water Event

-What was that?
-What did you just send me?!
-Replaying this game a lot.
-Reading, too.
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage
-Wait, is it finally out?!
-Vice

February: Revivify

-Time for the game!
-Nothing’s happening, nothing’s happening…
-It’s over. A lot of people in the audience look pissed.
Final Fantasy III/VI
-Unexpected snow day!

March: Ground Chicken

-Maybe I’d better finally do this and see what happens.
-Gathering information
-Did Ayanna Pressley propose a lower voting age AND use my hashtag?!
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
-And I’m stranded.
-Better get that looked at.
-Stranded again.
-Alright, need a new battery.
-What do you mean Bryce Harper went to the Phillies?!
-Is this still any good to eat or not?
-Maybe we all drink too much.
-Hmm, Nats aren’t off to a great start.

April: Walk-Off Walk

-Are the Nats going to win, like, ever?
-Holy shit, a walk-off walk!
-I’ve always wanted to see a walk-off walk!
-Captain Marvel
-Let’s see what this information gathering is turning into.
-Ah..
-On Monday it’s women in science.
-On Tuesday it’s a thing about an iceberg whose whole point was to make a Simpsons joke.
-On Wednesday, DEATH!
-On Thursday we’re not so great as a species after all.
-On Friday TREES
-On Saturday okay maybe we do some good things as a species.
-All leading to Easter Sunday at Brookside
-Time for AwesomeCon
-I bought way too many shirts.

May: Series 2 Episode 3

-I found it!
Avengers: Endgame
-Let’s replay Kingdom Hearts
-Birthday pizza and ice cream sundae.
-And now Kingdom Hearts 2!
-What do you mean you’re out of the Ryan Zimmerman Captain America bobbleheads?!
-Oh, well, we shut them out. It’s the Marlins, but still.

June: Obsolescence Insurance

-Are you really whining at me about something I posted nine years ago?
-Okay, done with Kingdom Hearts 2? What now?
-Play the third, of course!
-And to get a PlayStation 4!
-And the ancillary games. I guess I’d better play those first.
Kingdom Hears: Chain of Memories
-Okay, this card thing is weird.
-Star Wars game!
-And they lost bad to the Diamondbacks. Ugh.
-But Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle bobblehead!
-Maybe don’t ship us stuff on Thursday since getting stuck a day in Memphis is a thing that happens.
-Now I have to go to work on Saturday!
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
-Isn’t that Roxas?
Toy Story 4

July: Oxygen Sensor

-Hmm, old TV is broken. Set up the new one!
-We won the World Cup again!
-Megan Rapinoe > you
-Time for Lights for Liberty
-Check engine light?!
-Break from Kingdom Hearts for Crash Bandicoot remake. Not bad.
-The Nats got their asses kicked by the Dodgers and all I got was this sweet tote bag.

August: Special Portal

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
-At the fair!
-At long last…
Kingdom Hearts 3
-New version of The Lion King
-Book festival on Day 100

September: Orichalcum+

-Nats had been doing great but are kind of faltering again.
-I’ll go see them play the Braves…
-Let us never speak of the Braves game again
-And finally forged the damn Ultima Weapon
-Oh. I’ve finished Kingdom Hearts 3.
-Whatever should I do with myself now?
-Holy fuckshit, did the Nats manage to snag the NL Wild Card?!
-Bazaar!

October: #22

-Holy fuckshit, the Nats beat the NL Wild Card game.
-Well, time for another NLDS
-And the Dodgers destroyed Game 1
-Managed to force Game 5, here we go again…
-Kershaw blew the save…
-KENDRICK GRAND SLAMMED…
-The Nats got past the NLDS.
Downton Abbey
-Time to die against the Cardinals.
-What the shit, we swept the Cardinals?!
-How..?!
-Oh, my God, the Nats are in the World Series.
-Against… the Houston Astros on shorter rest and thus uninterrupted momentum.
-We’re doomed.
-And Baby Shark was done at the World Series
-LOL Orange Thing got booed at Nats Park
-Well, get this over with…
-Wait… what?!
-!!!!
-NATIONALS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!!
-Oh, and Halloween

November: Gloo Gloo

-Championship parade!
-I’ll just ignore any news about them on Monday
Rayman Legends

December: We’re Mules Now

-Cookies
-Holiday party
-Redoing 2014 Winter Festival
Frozen 2
-Another holiday party
-Shopping
-Lights
-Cookies
-IMPEACHED!
-Getting food
-Holy what, Silent Night has a fourth verse?!
-Christmas Day
-Simultaneous Simpsons and Doctor Who marathons
The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth
-Lights
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

There’s often more to a story, whether desirable or not, whether welcome or not. Though even if disappointing or underwhelming, it’s nice to know an end hasn’t been reached.

Anyway, it’s New Year’s Eve, and this part of the story ends, the one that arbitrarily lies inside the year 2019, and onto 2020 in about an hour, onto the next phase of whatever. It’s a leap year. There will be an Olympics. And, notably, there will be the chance to throw the Orange Thing out on his ass in November and please God let him be thrown out. Whatever it is, we go into the next part. Here goes…

Keyblades and Dugout Dances

August 31, 2019

It’s once again my annual countdown to nothing, and nothing has again arrived.

DAY
100

And I haven’t posted since Easter, despite having a lot of things in the works. What have I been busy with? Mostly running around Disney universes beating up monsters with a giant key. And watching the Nats dance. And tweeting regarding some of it. Let’s just get right to it.

Day 1,

Day 2,

Day 3,

Day 4,

Day 6, “I need… more rage. I need… more hearts.”

Day 10, I don’t always spill food on myself, but when I do, it’s onto clothes that came out of the dryer two hours ago.

Day 13, oh, did you not like my word choice nine years ago?

Day 19, went to the store for: 1) Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far, for PlayStation 4, 2) Kingdom Hearts 3, for PlayStation 4, 3) a PlayStation 4.

Day 20, WTF is up with this card system?

Day 23, Obi-Sean Kenobi bobblehead

Day 25, where the fuck is my box?!

Day 29, what do you mean stuck in Memphis?!

Day 30, guess I got to go get it, on a Saturday!

Day 35,

Day 37, done with this card business, now for the prequel with, uh, wait, isn’t that Roxas?

Day 39, don’t do it, Woody!

Day 42, made chili, because I’m American, Americans make chili.

Day 46, TV is broken, long live the new TV!

Day 47,

Day 50,

Day 60, this game just keeps going and going, doesn’t she get out of the darkness?

Day 61, break from Sora and friends for Crash Bandicoot remake.

Day 62, The graphics are beautiful and the music is sharper. But that log spinning bullshit in Great Gate and Native Fortress is still bullshit.

Day 65, watched the Nats get their asses handed to them by the Dodgers and all I got was this tote bag.

Day 67, not even the garlic festivals are safe.

Day 68, Sora and Riku have their own Pokem- er, I mean, “spirits”.

Day 82,

Day 84,

Day 86,

Day 87, drop, drop, drop, drop, drop… looking for Special Portals.

Day 89, the other game still hasn’t ended, she’s still in the darkness.

Day 90, and, at long last… Kingdom Hearts 3

Day 93, John Oliver is Zazu

Day 100, it’s a festival of dead tree sandwiches.

As these 100 Days of Summer draw to a close, I once again ask why am I even still doing this relic of college days half my life ago? Maybe it’s for some connection to my earlier life, that even as things change, certain rituals remain. But there’s no shortage of that. Up next the baseball season will give way to the postseason. Then Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s and the Superbowl and Valentine’s Day and Lent and Easter and then I’ll be all “holy shit, how am I 37?!” And then once again it’ll be May 24, to do this again in 2020, for round 20, whatever form the world will be in then. Whatever indeed.

This has been Day 100 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 19.

Imperfect and Incomplete

April 21, 2019

Over the past 47 days I’ve looked up various information about our world and ourselves. And, I’ve got to say, when you really look at it, we’re in and part of a magical place. We all began as star stuff that formed and evolved under just right and unlikely conditions, and here we all are, on our Earth, on this beautiful (here in Montgomery County MD anyway) Easter Sunday.

As I write this, I’m sitting in Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, where I’ve come for Easter for eleven years now. And, given the line of cars I was in to get in here, a lot of other people have the same idea. And for good reason! It’s gorgeous and peaceful here, full of bright blooming flowers and budding trees. And everyone walking along the path in front of me, young and old, of any race, speaking multiple languages. Some in their Easter outfits having come here from church. Some in yarmulkes, to go on this evening to a seder. And so many others, walking among the flowers and in the sunshine.

What I see is what the world could and should be. I see the shared appreciation of a botanical garden on a spring day.

This past week, I wrote about the women scientists who despite misogyny made huge discoveries about our universe. I wrote about the bizarre iron-rich green icebergs and then some extremely dangerous but fascinating geographic and geologic features around the world. Then about some animals and their amazing abilities. And then some weird trees. Finally, some scientific articles I’d recently read, an all too small sampling of our species’ boundless creativity and innovation.

Outside this place and this day, it’s back to being reminded of all that’s wrong in the world. Even here, they have an exhibit about plastic pollution, a serious problem in need of our so very human ingenuity to solve and clean up. The diversity of the walkers in front of me is elsewhere a reason to kill and enact horrific xenophobic policies. The sexist attitudes that inhibit female scientists are still around, if much less so.

So many of these social issues are a distraction. How much energy gets wasted on ridiculous concerns like someone’s citizenship or skin color or sexual orientation or religion? How much energy is wasted on excessive accumulation of wealth and power by those with zero interest in actually using it for any greater good?

We’re humans. We are life on planet Earth. We are aware of ourselves and our place in the universe. We are the cosmos made conscious, the means by which the universe understands itself. Our presence, our existence, our progress is all a miracle. We inherited the universe in our own time to make our contribution and pass it on to those after us.

So we have to create and innovate, to cure and investigate, to fix and try again and again. We have to take care of each other and explore the world and universe around us and use it all responsibly, to do better each time. This is our sacred purpose. It’s just that simple and just that astoundingly difficult. But we can and must do it.

Happy Easter!

Each of us
A cell of awareness
Imperfect and incomplete
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet.

Rush, “Freewill

Same Old 2018

December 31, 2018

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve. Time to look back over the last 12 months. I begin most years feeling like this year will be special and with new experiences. And certainly this has been true for many. When this year began, however, I figured it wouldn’t be special. It’d just be the same old stuff I do every year. Well, let’s see what happened.

January: Common Area Tree

-What a ridiculous ad.
-Time to head to Greenbelt to see them vote to lower the voting age!
-Except everything is encased in ice and it would be incredibly hazardous to drive all the way there.
-Going to have to miss this one.
-But they did it!
-Why is someone waking me this early on a Saturday morning?
-Oh. Shit.
-A dead tree seemed to have gotten in a fight with my parked car.
-Someone get this tree off my poor car!
-Oh, wow, windshield survived. Just this minor dent.
-My car is a champ!
-Seems Hawaii had a missile alert snafu.

February: Shot 6

-Time for the game!
-I hate the Eagles but I’m so sick of the Patriots so… *cringe* Go Eagles. *cringe*
-Ah, the Eagles did win!
-Really wished I’d changed the channel right away after that.
-Olympics!
-It’s Ash Valentines!
-JavaScript
-Oh, shit, Parkland shooting.
-Time for US vs Canada women’s hockey final. So tense. Another heartbreak?
-Argh, overtime!
-And now a shootout.
-Sudden death.
-HOLY CRAP, WE WON!!!!
-Jury duty!

March: If They Could

-JavaScript
-Black Panther
-No, raising the gun age to 21 won’t stop shootings. It just pins the blame on youth.
-Finally a ski evening before the season is out. It’s at least open this time but not much snow.
-This week in the United States: The Orange Thing and Joe Biden are gearing up for a fistfight, and the most popular book out now is a gay fanfic about Mike Pence’s rabbit.
-Time for March for our Lives!
-And for Easter weekend… AwesomeCon!

April: AGI

-AwesomeCon again, for Easter Fools Day.
-I bought a lot of refrigerator magnets.
-Ready Player One
-Was that really the best way to handle the Apu thing? Because it really wasn’t.
-March for Science isn’t all rainy this time. Not as many people though.
-It’d help to fill out the form correctly.
-Caps are in the playoffs again, heading to the second round against the Penguins, again. Sigh. Here we go again.

May: Walk Off

-Star Wars Day at Nats Park! Day before my birthday.
-They lost.
WES threw me a birthday party!
-Not technically. But platform was a party and it was my birthday, so there you go.
-Back at Nats Park next day on my birthday.
-They’re losing.
-They came back in the ninth.
-Nats win!
-Whoa, the Caps actually beat the Penguins and advanced to the conference final!
-Royal wedding.
-Caps are about to be eliminated from Eastern Conference final.
-Well, they won Game 6 in a shut out. That’s good.
-And Game 7 is a shut out, too.
-Caps are going to the Stanley Cup final!!!
-I’ll head over to the gaming section and glance in the case just for shits and giggles, not like they’ll have it-
-Holy shit, they have it!
-SNES CLASSIC!!!!
-Now for Stanley Cup final against Vegas Golden Knights.
-…
-WHAT?!?!?!

June: It’s Not a Desert Mirage

-Caps have pulled ahead in the series.
-Time for Game 5.
-WTF did you do?!
-Game 5 is tied.
-We’re up by one in Game 5.
-Oh, what’s happening to the clock?
-Almost over.
-Is 0.6 seconds enough time for the Golden Knights to tie it up?
-Oh my God.
-OH MY GOD
-It’s for real. I’m seeing this.
-That’s MY team!
CAPITALS WIN THE STANLEY CUP!!!!
-And just two days later…
-JUSTIFY WINS THE TRIPLE CROWN!!!!
-So Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, and jockey Mike Smith drank out of the Stanley Cup with Jimmy Fallon because of course they did.
-Anthony Bourdain
Flag Day.
-Suddenly a very busy week.
-Didn’t make it to the rally about the immigrant family separations.

July: Would

-My turn to bring snacks!
-Now to make chili con… corn. I guess.
-And ‘splosions.
-The country is sparkling once again.
-Looks like Scott Pruitt is out.
-Sunflowers
-France wins the World Cup over Croatia
-Orange Thing meets with Putin and straight up commits treason in plain sight.
-Does that mean what I think it means?

August: Salchipapas

-It does!
-Hmm. No cable or internet.
-What a horrible couple of days!
-Got it repaired.
-Final episode of Sense8.
-Do they have it? Do they have it?
-They do!
-NES CLASSIC!!!!
-Time to go counterprotest some white supremacist assholes invading my city.
-Not very many of them. LOL
-Taking someone to the fair to meet the sheep.
-I also got centrifuged.
-Let’s go again.
-Or not.
-There goes McCain.
-It’s a puppy!
Mmmm, poke.

September: Indelible in the Hippocampus

-Stop saying “and no one is talking about it“.
-Eighth Grade
-Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
-o snap, anonymous op-ed from inside Orange Thing administration
-It’s the 17th anniversary.
-Dinner with some cool people
-BoJack Horseman!
-Nats game!
-And they actually shut out the Mets 6-0!
-If people could not launch into “kids these days” discussions, like, ever, that’d be great.
-Brett Kavanaugh did some bad things. He retorts by yelling about beer or something.
-Bazaar!

October: Deadpan

-He insists he’s an impartial judge really.
-And gets confirmed anyway.
– “Half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman”
-Dallas sucks
-Pumpkin cookies! Could be improved.
-Brazil, WTF are you doing?
-Time to give out candy to whoever comes to my door!

November: Boneless

-Sugarloaf
-WES auction (and lamps)
-Time to vote…
-Damn it, Florida, Georgia, Texas… oh, a whole lot of states.
-Why must people fight?
-Are we going to meet up?
-No, doesn’t look like it.
-What do you mean you’re not doing the Thanksgiving Day song?!
-I went with a boneless turkey this time.
-It’s good.
-Cooking and then eating Thanksgiving meal while watching parade, dog show, and football. Nice.

December: You Can’t Mansplain the Suffragette

-There goes HW.
-Mannheim Steamroller
-Sometimes I feel really out of place
-Winter Festival!
-Pumpkin cookies! I nailed it this time!
-Christmas shopping and then mailing.
-More cookies.
-Light shows.
-And… Christmas Eve.
-Happy 200th Anniversary, Silent Night!
-Solo Christmas.
-I made my own feast of roast beast!
-Then a lot of watching Doctor Who.
-Ralph Breaks the Internet
-Recapped the year.

So that’s that. Less than an hour to go before that big crystal thing in Times Square makes its descent. So did anything interesting happen? Capitals won the Stanley Cup. World politics continues to be totally cuckoo. Me? Didn’t manage to go on any excursions this time. A lot of my friends had an interesting year. I just sort of sat here and watched it all go by.

Maybe in 2019 I should do a little more again. Sounds like a plan. It’ll be along in half an hour…

Round 18

August 31, 2018

This again! Yup, it’s August 31, so that means…



Day
100


It’s this thing I started doing in 2001 counting down the days I’d return to college, and for some reason am still doing 15 years after I graduated.

Anyway, let’s get to it…

Day 1, ah, the day after the Caps won the Eastern Conference.

Day 3, *Infinity War credits roll* … What?!

Day 4, I got it!!!

Day 7, WHAT?!

Day 14, what did you do?!

Day 15, CAPITALS!!!!!

Day 16, Anthony Bourdain

Day 17, JUSTIFY!!!!

Day 18, shade is thrown.

Day 20, Caps parade crowd size >>>> Orange Thing’s inauguration crowd size

Day 22, Flag Day.

Day 25, go walk by a lake.

Day 32, what do you mean you don’t have the orzo tabouleh anymore?!

Day 35, so busy.

Day 36, so very busy.

Day 37, so busy it’s unbelievable.

Day 38, protest against immigrant family separations! Which I couldn’t go to because I was so tired from all the busy.

Day 41, snack time!

Day 42, chili con… corn.

Day 43, Pruitt’s out.

Day 46, ah, someone is back in area!

Day 49, go walk by a lake again.

Day 50, pizza pile!

Day 52, these sunflowers do what they want.

Day 53, awww, I was hoping Croatia would win it.

Day 54, okay, is the Orange Thing just committing treason in plain sight?

Day 66, why do I get sucked into these pointless arguments?

Day 67, only to realize no one is on my side?

Day 68, *opens fortune cookie* *it’s empty* That can’t be good.

Day 70, hmm, cable’s out.

Day 71, I knew it!

Day 73, cable’s back.

Day 77, goodbye, Sense8!

Day 80, YASSSS!!!!

Day 81, fuck off out of my city, white supremacists!

Day 85, at the fair with Kathleen who met the sheep.

Day 87, fair again? no, other stuff happens.

Day 88, Disenchantment!!!

Day 90, crab cake and crepe!

Day 94, so McCain goes.

Day 95, PUPPY!!!!

Day 97, another crab cake.

And…

Day 100, a Friday, before the three day Labor Day weekend, and I’ve got some poke. Mmmm.

As these 100 Days of Summer draw to a close, completing my annual countdown to nothing, our political climate continues to be batshit and leading to… something or other. What can you do? Well, there’s voting in the midterm election in November, of course. What else? The usual. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, of course. And whatever else is ahead. Got to look ahead. It’s the direction we’re going, even if it’s always so hard to see.

*rereads last paragraph* Ugh. Who writes this stuff?

Anyway, back to this for some reason next year for Round 19, on May 24, 2019, whatever the world will look like then.

This has been Day 100 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 18.

If They Could

April 7, 2018

So I was at the March for Our Lives in DC two weeks ago, joining in with WES, who I somehow managed to find in the crowd.

Check out my sign!

Yup. I figured everyone else would have the basic gun control angle well covered, so I went the voting age route, if with a well-deserved jab at the NRA to play to the audience.

And if this whole thing isn’t a major reason for lowering the voting age, I don’t know what is. But more on that in a moment.

The speakers were mostly Parkland students, as well as survivors and friends and family of victims from that and other shootings, all demanding an end to gun violence, all urging our leaders to take action. All calling for sensible gun control.

Not that that’s a simple solution. Gun control has its own complexities and can very easily be racist, ableist, and numerous other inequalities (which, not being Kathleen, I’m not going to sit here and spend ten paragraphs naming!). Certainly not even those at the march would be in agreement as to what that would look like, as some just want guns to be more difficult to get, requiring background checks and perhaps licensing, while others straight up want the Second Amendment repealed.

But all that aside, gun control as a response to school shootings would be significant in a way I hadn’t really even realized before. Until one of the speakers straight up said they do not want zero tolerance policies.

That’s right. Zero tolerance policies and other academic security theater, making the schools become somehow even more like prisons, are often the go-to response from policymakers when these atrocities happen. We’re seeing calls for harsher school environments. The idea being that if students are super restricted they won’t shoot or be shot.

In other words, instead of going with gun control, which would directly affect and restrict adults and acknowledge that adults must accept responsibility and make sacrifices, whatever they may specifically be, they go for zero tolerance policies and tougher schools, all of which pin all the restriction and blame on the young students they’re supposedly protecting.

They also say that #WalkUpNotOut bullshit, telling students not to walk out and demand change but to just “walk up” to some lonely classmate and befriend him so that he doesn’t flip out and shoot everyone. Which, while certainly befriending people is good, is just more of adults shirking responsibility and blaming the problem on young people and bullying, with a side of “therefore, sit down and shut up because it makes me uncomfortable when you challenge authority or think critically except where doing so is convenient for me”.

To these adults, it’s all a young people problem, young people need to be made to behave and kept on a short leash, and if adults are responsible for anything it’s that they’re not being tough enough with those horrible young people.

And, of course, gun control would affect voters. The students being heavily restricted and nonetheless still shot at aren’t old enough to vote.

That’s also why I’m so dismayed at the push to raise the firearm purchase age to 21. As I said before, it doesn’t actually accomplish anything or force our society to tackle the hard questions around guns. It just, like with the zero tolerance policies, pins the blame on young people and calls that a victory. They rightly see zero tolerance as the pathetic cop out that it is, yet somehow raising the purchase age is any better? Vast majority of these mass shooters were well over 21, and the deaths of their victims weren’t any less tragic and horrifying. Nikolas Cruz is only 19, sure, but I doubt an age restriction would have stopped him here, or that in two years he’d be over whatever made him do this and that he’d be all sunshine and roses. Not that I think he should have been able to get an AR-15 however he did, but that should be a question of the general population’s ability to get one rather than picking on and thus blaming young people.

After all, blaming young people is just going to make this worse. Not only are policymakers choosing to place restrictions that apply only to young people and not anyone or very many old enough to vote while ignoring gun control policies which would apply outside of schools and affect adult voters and actually be effective (or at least much moreso than zero tolerance policies and increased age restrictions), but in showing little willingness to consider more effective options, they’re making clear that, despite the thoughts and prayers, they don’t really care that much that these kids are dying. After all, they are teenagers, a group thoroughly villified at all corners of society. Teenagers are nothing but trouble, something their voters must put up with. The voting parents are devastated, absolutely, and that’s where there’s some lip service to these voters having lost cherished property but not much more. Even after Sandy Hook and the victims being much younger, nothing was done. Kids might make adults as a whole feel sentimental, but it doesn’t mean they value their lives enough to make widespread societal change for them. Except where they can make themselves look like they care to score points with other adults.

Hence my sign.

The march included frequent reminders to vote in November, against those who just do and say whatever the NRA tells them. Those who would rather make schools more restrictive and punitive than even think that an adult might not need to be able to get a semiautomatic weapon that easily. Because, as the march concluded, we must remember the children at the ballot box.

And I was standing there with gritted teeth, thinking “there’s an obvious change to call for here… politically active teens needing to beg adult voters to vote a certain way… we’re just a few miles from three towns that did it… come on…”

Because, seriously, would this be an issue if these teens could vote? I mean, yeah, probably, but all this highlights what a gross injustice it is that they can’t. They want safer schools and for these mass shootings to stop, but because they don’t have the franchise, elected officials aren’t under all that much obligation to listen or care except where those of voting age show solidarity. Because the group that is endangered in these shootings, the students, isn’t considered a group worth having a voice except by way of parents and teachers, which is of course not good enough. Lower the voting age to 16, and make the high school students a voting bloc who can tip the election results one way or another, and suddenly the candidates can’t afford not to listen to their demands or at least stop scapegoating them.

This isn’t just wishful thinking on my part. Lowering the voting age has very much been part of the conversation here, with a slew of articles and whatnot coming out around this issue here and here and here and here and here and here and here. The Parkland students’ activism, while not about this specifically, absolutely demands it. Without the youth vote, adults can much more easily simply choose not to listen.

Without the youth vote, adults can much more easily not care when young people die.

Well, That Happened 2017

December 31, 2017

*inhale* Here goes…

January: This Is Not Who We Are

-I wonder if this is a good idea after all.
-Cash only!
-Hidden Figures
-It happened. That thing is… sworn in.
-So tonight… the un-ball!
-Me: “And when some ultra-narcissistic loudmouth seeks the highest office in the land by supposedly speaking for us all when he promotes fear and hate and the ugly manifestations thereof, we have to say NO! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT DOWN! THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!”
-Women’s March!
-Wow, two hours just to get on the Metro.

February: Overtime

-Falcons are kicking ass. Another year without a Superbowl going into overtime.
-Okay, the Falcons fell apart and the game is tied at the end of regulation.
-Python
-These people are driving me nuts.

March: Ten Hours Apart

-Python
-Finally, a weekend cold enough to go skiing.
-What do you mean you closed early for the season because it’s been too damn warm?!
-Well, I’ll just have to go to one further north.
-I still have a mouse in my house.
-I have a bad feeling about this event…
-Worse than I thought.
-And I just yelled at someone about it. Well, don’t put on an ageist event!
-Maybe I was harsh. Was I harsh?
-Hey, two NYRA babies born the same weekend!
-Got rid of the mouse, I think.
-So am I going to do this or what? And how?

April: Third Time’s the Charm

-Python
-Something about the zoo, old chemistry equipment, and a Canadian.
-March for Science in the rain.
-We are the cosmos made conscious.
-We are the means by which the universe understands itself.
-Act like it!

May: West Side

-What a nice birthday!
-COLD!
-Okay, I think we need a new water heater.
-Oh, that’s over now.
-Awww, Chris Cornell.
Politics is getting violent!
-Something about fish, more fish, and a Canadian.

June: Radiculopathy

-I’m formulating a plan.
-Ouch!
-Oh, look who came back east.
-AwesomeCon! Something about a keyblade, a life-size dragon, and a Canadian.
-Ouch!
-I have a pinched nerve. Now for weeks of slowly subsiding arm and neck torture.
-Pier Six concert

July: Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus Would Freeze

-Chili and ‘splosions. After seeing ‘splosions from above last year.
-Something about an art museum and a Canadian.
-I think I somehow got lost hiking on Theodore Roosevelt Island. LOL
-A long coming event comes rather unceremoniously.

August: 80 Percent

-Ah, white supremacist assholes in Charlottesville. Lovely.
-Eating bacon s’mores and weird Colombian hot dogs and Krispy Kreme burger at the Montgomery County AgFair. The fair fare, if you will… I’ll just show myself out.
ECLIPSE!
-One of those times you get bad news that actually wasn’t all that surprising and it has the side effect of increased confidence in your intuition.
-And now I’ve got a cold for the first time in almost four years.
-I think it’s time for Kingdom Hearts again.
Pizza pile!

September: Tabouleh

-New season of BoJack Horseman!
-Welp, now I’m traumatized.
-Middle Eastern Bazaar.
-I’m dabkeh dancing and eating tabouleh and the same time because why not?
-The words we’ve feared every day are said.
-Lots of bad hurricanes.

October: Rainout

-Nats game! I finally go on the last game of the regular season. They lost.
-Taste of Bethesda!
-Alright, finally calling them on their ageist bullshit, particularly what happened in March.
-Something about a rain delay, robots, and a Canadian.
-And… the Nats lost another NLDS Game 5 because of course they did.
-Dinner with three NYRAnians!
-Going to the auction with a keyblade.
-Finally booked the damn thing.

November: Kaleo and Po’okela

-Hey, Astros got their first World Series win.
-I think I overdid it on the hot chocolate.
-Time to go…
-Holy crap, I’m finally in Hawaii!
-Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor and some marine mammal friends!
-Black sand beach and Kilauea Iki and Chain of Craters and Mauna Kea!
-And back home.
-To Stone Soup.
-And Thanksgiving weekend to sleep off the trip.
-#27: Southern Cross

December: An Existential Question

-Again, not doing the entry a day thing anymore. Screw it.
-Meh, not sure I want to do Christmas alone again. I guess I’ll go to Las Vegas again.
-Winter Festival!
-Off to stop Glenarden, who lowered their voting age apparently without anyone knowing, from raising it again.
-Okay, Glenarden has issues and we want none of it. Let’s just go encourage Greenbelt to lower theirs as is planned.
-Cookies!
-Lights!
-Why in the name of hell did I decide to go to Las Vegas on Christmas Day again?
-I got stuck in hourly parking at the airport because everything else was full. It’s going to cost me a fortune!
-And enduring those few days.
-And back home to the very cold.
-And here’s this recap.

While 2016 was a lot of “because fuck you, that’s why”, 2017 was the unraveling of the very fabric of space-time, with event after event, be it personally or the world at large, being of the “is this actually happening?” variety. Cool stuff like some stuff that went on around Easter as well as going to Hawaii. And politics continues to boggle us all and lose all of any sanity it may have had, what with, oh, every time Orange Thing says or does just about anything.

So, 2018, what’s next? With 2017 and all its surprises drawing to a close, what are we left with? How much further can anything spiral, any which way?

I suppose we’ll just have to strap ourselves in and find out.

That’s 17 of These Now

August 31, 2017

Oh, look what day it is…


DAY
100

What is the 100 Days of Summer? I think I last explained like a decade ago so maybe I should again. Every year starting in 2001, I have counted the days from May 24 through August 31. It was back then counting the days to when I’d return to college, being the summer between my sophomore and junior years, as I very much did not want to go home. Eventually that original Day 100 arrived and I was back at school and happy. Same the following year, so I repeated the event with the exact same days even though they didn’t quite correspond. I graduated the following May, so ever since it has been counting down to nothing, but I still do it for some reason. Anyway, here’s what happened.

Day 1, *looks at Round 16 recap which ended with referring to May 24, 2017, and “whatever shape the world is in then”*, *simultaneously bursts out laughing and in tears*

Day 2, finally, reading Game of Thrones!

Day 3, oh, Montana…

Day 4, where has Cards Against Humanity been all my life?!

Day 6, something about a fish store and a Canadian.

Day 7, covfefe.

Day 9, new season of House of Cards, you’ve got nothing on reality!

Day 16, lots going on!

Day 17, ow!

Day 20, why are we being bug bombed?

Day 23, oh, look who came back east.

Day 25, AwesomeCon! Something about a keyblade, a life-size dragon, and a Canadian.

Day 27, ow.

Day 28, ow!

Day 29, owww, what the hell?!

Day 30, ah, I’ve got a pinched nerve, making my arm hurt like hell. :irked:

Day 42, chili and ‘splosions!

Day 49, ice cream!

Day 50, sushi!

Day 53, something about an art museum and a Canadian.

Day 54, I would find a way to get lost on Theodore Roosevelt Island.

Day 66, well, it finally happened.

Day 80, DOGS!

Day 85, the fair! And bacon s’mores on a stick.

Day 88, the fair again! And a Krispy Kreme burger. And another bacon s’mores on a stick.

Day 90, eclipse!

Day 91, oh…

Day 92, πŸ™

Day 93, am I getting a cold?

Day 94, yes, this is a cold.

Day 95, I think it’s time to replay Kingdom Hearts! πŸ˜€

Day 96, it’s a

Day 97, much needed

Day 98, escape

Day 99, from reality.

And now…

Day 100, still playing the game, about done and onto replaying the second one soon, and I picked up some pizza on the way home from work! I didn’t have any space in my room for the pizza box, so I just stacked the pizza slices onto a plate, so really it’s a pile of pizza. Yummy!

So there’s another vague and cryptic (because none of your damn business) recap of these now rather arbitrary days onto which I still assign a very outdated importance because I’m a little too attached to my annual traditions. But, hey, we all have our coping mechanisms. Sometimes everything is going to hell, but you can still think, hey, it’s not so bad, I’m still observing some annual tradition like normal. Speaking of which, we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the new year on the horizon, as we stare down these final four months of 2017.

As these 100 Days of Summer draw to a close, in a year that is just one glitch in the fabric of space-time (shut up, that makes sense) after another, as the personal and the political alike fly off the rails over and over, where next does this ride take us? What a frightening thought.

So ends this round, to return of course for Round 18 on May 24, 2018, whatever form the world and universe is in then. If still remotely recognizable. Probably not. :scared:

This has been Day 100 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 17.

NOPE 2016

December 31, 2016

It’s over. It’s finally over. Well, let’s take a last look…

January: Science Is Everywhere
-New TV
-Zoo Lights
-Something isn’t right.
-Spice cookies
-David Bowie?! Awww.
-Oh, dear, that house had an electrical fire.
-Alan Rickman?! Awww.
-Something still isn’t right.
-Wow, big snow storm.
-Got to watch as much Doctor Who as I can before Netflix pulls it.

February: Wagner
-Muse concert!
-Something very much isn’t right.
-Superbowl! Chili and cookies as usual.
-Something is most definitely not right…
-Oh. Oh no.
-I… I waited too long.
-Unless I’m mistaken? Am I mistaken?
-What is going on?
-I’m… not mistaken. πŸ™
-Soul searching late night drive. What do I do now?
-Wait. Is that a $72 roundtrip airfare to Chicago? Hell yeah, I’ll go to Chicago!
-Okay, I’ll go on a bunch of trips this year.
-Starting with a ski day at Seven Springs!

March: Kommissar
-What a bizarre board game.
-Goodbye, Downton Abbey.
-Zootopia!
-Lots of stories for Lent this year.
-Marzipan eggs!
-Brookside as usual.
-Solo Easter!

April: An Even Wackier One
-Now to the Outer Banks!
-But I won’t spend any money because I don’t want to reward North Carolina for their anti-trans bathroom asshattery.
-Up at 4am to go to the damn airport.
-Good morning, Chicago!
-The ledge at the Tower Formerly Known as Sears.
-Wow, that’s a weird pizza.
-It’s that painting you’re supposed to stare at, according to Ferris Bueller.
-Mmmm, Italian beef.
-Back to Midway. Back home. This was just a day trip after all. πŸ˜›
-My state’s turn for the presidential primary.
-Well, that was pointless.
-Now visiting the alma mater on the way to another day trip destination.
-Ah, the Ocean City boardwalk. Lots of kites!
-And a disturbing number of Trump shirts in the gift shops. -_-
-Mini-golf!

May: Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime
-Damn. The orange swamp monster secured the nomination.
-Birthday!
-Now to Baltimore to go to the aquarium.
-What a bizarre book title.
-Ugh, damn it, Capitals.
-Ugh, everything else.
-Nationals game. They lost.
-Another Nationals game. They lost.

June: 11:45 Entry
-More meh.
-But I’m going to New York next!
-Catching a bus at 6am.
-Bus is late. Must rush.
-Got there just in time. Up the escalator.
-I’m here.
-At last, after 19 years, I’m atop the World Trade Center! πŸ˜€
-Brexit vote: UK, WTF are you doing?

July: Metro Center
-Next up: Flying out to Las Vegas for July 4th weekend.
-Then flying back over July 4th fireworks!
-Then landed to find TSA opened my suitcase. :irked:
-Meh.
-Something about the Newseum and a Canadian.

August: Inkers
-Rio Olympics!
-Road trip to Connecticut!
-Weekend in Atlanta!

September: Arnos Grove
-Nationals game. Hey, they won this time!
-The Bazaar is in October?!
-Here we go again, seven years to the day after I left last time…
-London!
-No sleep on the flight over, though. :\

October: Six Pitchers
-Mmmm, Bazaar.
-Damn it, Nats. -_-

November: For Some Reason
-Election Day, at long last…
-No.
-No, no, no, no, no.
-ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER THAN THIS!
-Just… how? why?
-To airport super early…
-Hello, Magic Kingdom.
-What the shit? It’s November. Why is it so crowded? There’s never anyone here in November! :irked:
-Landed back at BWI. Why is my car not unlocking?
-Oh. I left a light on in my rush to make the flight. For five days. *grimace*
-I haven’t seen her in many many years.
-To Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. Something about an aquarium and a Canadian.

December: Foamed Milk on a Pumpkin Spice Latte
-Christmas.

Alright, 2017 ball up there in Times Square…

Get us the fuck out of here! :scared: