Lesbian Activist Squirrel Update: I’m Apparently The Worst Marketer Ever

“You are the worst marketer ever! You’re like the guys that invented New Coke mixed with whomever cancelled Firefly.”

Ouch. That hurt.

The commanding voice was hard to ignore. It was my friend, very occasional blog author, and frequent (though constructive) critic, Dr. Mingo. He continued.

“You crank up interest in your Activist Lesbian Squirrels story and then, just when I start paying attention and it’s getting good, it drops off the planet. Then I get interested in your homesteading shit, and then you’ll drop that to talk squirrels.”

“Well…” I hesitated. I have no excuse. He was right.

“And nine posts about a two-minute eclipse everyone forgot about last month? Plus, who the hell cares about Bonnie Tyler. Isn’t she dead?”

“I’m a polymath?”

“No, you’re a blogger who lacks focus. What happened to the squirrel story?”

I tapped a few keys on my laptop. “Chapter five had a dozen posts between July 31st and August 10th.”

“And since then?”

“It hasn’t been long.”

“Look at the calendar.”

Shit! No squirrel posts for five weeks. Time really does fly.

Mingo didn’t wait for my inevitable lame excuse. “Finish the fucking squirrels.”

“Yeah, sooner or later I’ll…”

“Get serious and type it out. You had time off work last week, did you write?”

“I went squirrel hunting.”

“IS THERE NO END TO YOUR IRONY?!?”

“I’ll say, the little fuckers eluded me at every tree. I had pizza for dinner instead of tree rat. I still need a better air rifle scope…”

“God dammit, complete the story!” Mingo interrupted.

“Meh.”

“Now!”

My dog was nodding, as if in agreement. That changed things. If my dog and Mingo were in agreement I’d better do some writing.

“OK, how about a few more posts?” I capitulated.

“Ugh… fine. I’d rather it all at once but at least keep moving. Wait a minute, is this because of your damn dog?”

“I’m putting this on my blog.” I tried to change the subject.

“The dog is not sentient!”

“Gotta’ go. I feel like cutting plywood in my shop.”

“Keyboard first, bandsaw later. Focus!”

With that he hung up.

I’m not promising focus but there will be more squirrels. In a few days. Probably.

Posted in Lesbian Squirrels, Miscellaneous Squirrels, Sagas | 6 Comments

An Inside Joke

This post is for [REDACTED]. We were having a discussion about Game Of Thrones. (I read a few of the books. It was OK.) The guy I was talking to was a big fan of the show, which I’ve never seen. He voiced cogent arguments while all that popped into my head was this:

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Bleeping The F-Bomb, Curmudgeon Style

Phssthpok pointed me toward this:

Which reminded me of this:

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Fake News

Suppose you’re being fed a line of bullshit. How would you know? An easy start would be to:

  1. See if they contradict themselves.
  2. See if they contradict what you see in the real world.

Ace of Spades just posted an example of CNN contradicting themselves:

It goes from “baseless claim” and “flat out lie“, to “the government really did wiretap the campaign“. You can’t get more internally inconsistent. This is not a multi-year evolution of opinion as careful thinkers muddle through difficult concepts; it’s an 180 degree u-turn between “flat out lie” and “exclusive report” in 13 days.

If what CNN said on one day is called bullshit by CNN itself 13 days later, what it’s saying today may be called bullshit by CNN itself in a couple of weeks. They’re demonstrably untrustworthy. Regardless of your political affiliation, CNN doesn’t even agree with itself.


I’m too lazy to make screenshots of headlines. I prefer an old fashioned “reality check”.

In 2016 the press insisted all sentient beings would vote for Hillary. Reticent people like me were called rare, stupid, misinformed, racist, sexist, troglodyte, rubes. (Usually several times a day.) We ought to be either re-educated or lined up against the wall. (If the loathing wasn’t quite so explicit it wasn’t far below the surface.)

Was I really part of a teeny weeny tiny insignificant group of morons? As a reality check I started counting campaign signs:

In October 2016 I counted Hillary and Trump road signs along a 400 mile blue state road trip. Total count for Hillary? 3. Total count for Trump? Many dozens (I lost count). I posted that “Trump signs are outnumbering Hillary maybe 40 or 50 to 1”.

In November (just before the election) I tried it again. Total count for a 550 mile road trip in two “very blue” states was 27 Trump signs, 5 Hillary signs.

Of course this wasn’t a scientific survey, but I had an inkling that the press did not. What’s amazing is that a nitwit blogger who looks out of the dash of his Dodge at reality saw something totally invisible to what once were called journalists:

It didn’t have to be like that. If “journalists” had gotten in a minivan, drove beyond their neighborhood, counted signs, and maybe even talked to people… they might have had a warning. They didn’t (or wouldn’t). That mistake led to what has become almost a full year of painful cognitive dissonance.

Of course, nothing is new under the sun:

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The Bonnie Tyler Explanation And The Evil Cake Song

[Note: pretty much every link on this page is SFW. Go ahead. However, if you play them in your office your co-workers will demand an explanation or (probably correctly) out you as a geezer who pre-dates Seattle Grunge.]

So that backfired!

[For those of you who just tuned in, I Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” recently established an earworm beachhead in my skull. The single word “eclipse” had done it. Everyone knows you can’t kill an earworm but, for reasons which elude modern science, it’ll you can plant it in someone else’s head and run like hell. So I wrote a 1,400 word rant to exorcise it. It worked! I had a blissful earworm free evening. Then things went pear shaped! Follow if you dare.]

It began with a commenter who linked to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

Guiltily I’ll admit I sorta’ like that song. It’s a guilty pleasure at best. It’s over-orchestrated, overwrought, over produced, and almost a parody of itself. But I liked it when I was young and as the ’97 New Beetle proved, we’re all soft about our youthful influences. So I can live with it.

I hadn’t, however, seen the video. In my youth I listened to it on a “Boom Box” (a technology that held sway until Apple killed it with iNinjas). No screen on a boom box so no bullshit. Just the ability to rattle windows and drain D-Cells by the dozen. Also when I was a kid… we actually played outdoors. Amazing how the past is different.

Was there anything more American, than 65 dials and switches shoved into a deafening wad of batteries and speakers. I love my culture!

The video, on the other hand, is precisely why the 1980’s were shit. It has very large hair and an inexplicable blend of cougar based homo-eroticism, and a boarding school. If you missed it; perhaps you are too young to remember the 1980s, or maybe you spent that decade drunk, or perhaps you spent it hiding in a bunker waiting for the Russkies to vaporize us all… you should watch it. Consider it a cultural foray into why the past wasn’t all good.

I commented on the Bonnie Tyler video experience:

“What. The. Fuck. Is. Going. On. In. That. Video.

Did I just spend five minutes watching a cougar with ’80’s hair having an ecstasy freak out at the young gay men’s athletic club and religious cult boarding school?”

Almost immediately I was presented with the “Literal Translation Version“, which is pure brilliance! (A salute to commenter Phssthpok for 5:33 of concentrated awesome.) You must see it! (Ideally watch it after you see the original. You’ll kill 10 minutes total but  what the hell else are you doing right now?)

Meanwhile, my brain dodged Cheeseburgers and Lawyers. Nice try folks but I cannot be swayed by Jimmy Buffet or Warren Zevon. (Zevon’s lyrics remind me that somewhere there are poor bastards that had to raise young members of the Bush and Kennedy clans and they certainly got those sorts of calls.)

Just as the dust settled, Tennessee Budd fired this:

“MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet green icing flowing down….”

It meant nothing to me. I playfully sent off Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints“, which I like so much I don’t mind when it “earworms” (to coin a verb).

Little did I know that MacArthur Park would hit me like a nuclear bomb!

Folks, this is important. MacArthur Park is the name of that goddamn “Cake in the rain” song. It’s the weaponized smallpox of earworms. If I’d associated MacArthur Park with the brutal, unrelenting, schmatlzy, death blow that is the Cake song… I would not only have refused to click the link… I’d have set my computer on fire.

I’m putting the link below but I’m serious about this… don’t fuck with the Cake Song… it’ll earworm your ass into the stone age. You’ve been warned:

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Eclipse 2017 After Action Report: Part 09: Carly Simon Is Pissing Me Off

I’ve gone into left field with this thread but it’s my blog and my dog is sleeping. Until the dog wakes up I have no editorial bounds.

The eclipse is about more than celestial visions and meatloaf. At the moment it’s about Carly Simon. She’s in my head and it’s pissing me off. There is no reason my head should have anything to do with Carly Simon!

I’ve always thought of Simon as an average vocalist from the 1970’s with a tragic penchant for future catlady whining. I especially dislike “You’re So Vain”. Now it’s an earworm and it’s killing me. Among the lyrics is the word “eclipse” and my mind has latched on to it. There’s nothing worse than bad lyrics. It’s as if squirrels are afoot!


As a form of exorcism, I’m going to discuss the song “You’re So Vain” and list the incontrovertible reasons why it should be stricken from the record and replaced with something better… which is pretty much anything that doesn’t whine so much.

For your homework you may listen to the song below (there’s a “remastered” version as well but the synonym for “remastered” is “fucked up” so I’m linking to the original):

Let’s start with the positives, there’s an excellent initial lead in and a nice beat. Then Carly Simon jumps in with the lyrics and I begin to foam at the mouth.


Argument #1 why this song pisses me off

Here are some of the lyrics:

“You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you? Don’t You?”

Uh… yeah! The fucking song is entirely about him. There’s nobody in the song but the vain bastard that dumped Carly Simon on her ass! There’s nothing about the girl’s hopes, dreams, future, job, hair color, car, favorite food, or sexual proclivities. It’s all about him. The song describes the color of his goddamn scarf (apricot) but doesn’t say anything about the girl. Is she a redhead? A professional bowler? A heroin addict? You can’t tell because it’s not important. She made it all about him and then challenged him with “you probably think this song is about you”. Who the hell else is it about? Ghandi? Robotron? The neighbor’s cat? An oak tree?

It’s completely dismissive of the whiny bitch who’s singing; so yeah, it really is about him!


Argument #2 why this song pisses me off

The eclipse line that is stuck in my head.

Here are the lyrics:

“Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun.”

Holy shit, what a great idea! Is there a better use for a personal Lear jet? If you’re rich enough to have a Lear jet and you use it to enjoy the beauty of nature… that’s bad? It’s vain? Where else should he fly? Las Vegas? Portland? Bhopal?

The song describes a handsome sexy dude that’s richer than God and can have anything he wants. So he goes out to look at the sky. Yeah that’s real jackass behavior there.

For that matter, what does one do with a Lear jet that could be perceived as humble? Rescue kittens? Deliver pizza?

If I had a Lear jet I’d fucking see every eclipse in my lifetime. Also I’d use it to haul elk haunches from British Columbia; which is why guys like me don’t have Lear jets.


Argument #3 why this song pisses me off

It fails to make me identify with the sufferer.

The lyrics are about falling for the dude’s sexy apricot scarf and how they were a pretty couple but she wasn’t unique. Indeed “all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner”. So the singer had the same aspiration as all the other women and even got to live the dream for a while; because she was pretty. Then it went away.

I’m supposed to feel bad about that? Is she saying that nothing is such a tragic loss to humanity as rich pretty people who are sad?

The singer’s not curing cancer, not building bridges of love and peace, not caring for a child, not even delivering a truckload of grain to the elevator; just a pretty girl that’s got the sads because she’s no longer part of a pretty couple. First world problems bitch!


Argument #4 why this song pisses me off

It’s self deluded and clearly so.

The song drones on about how he “gave away the things [he] loved and one of them was me”.

I call bullshit. He didn’t give away the Lear jet did he? Unless he gives away the Lear jet there’s no indication he gave away anything that meant Jack shit to him.

The song indicates he kept the things he loved; the confidence, the cool hat, the sexy scarf, the Lear jet, the works. He’s not living in a mud hut is he?

Fix this! If you want me to see this cad as tragic, write a few lines about the lost sexy scarf. Tell me how it wound up dumped in a gutter by a fading loner. Describe how he wanders around the streets of Hoboken, back hunched against the weather, scarfless neck exposed to the rain, a broken man accidentally spilling cloudy coffee on his formerly fashionable pants. He should be doomed to walk the world regretting his moment of self-destruction and wondering where he left his Lear jet keys. Absent that I’m going to assume the singer was a stalker and her boyfriend bailed out of the situation before she keyed his Learjet.


Argument #5 why this song pisses me off

It’s an endless stream of negativity!

It sucks to get dumped. We get that. However, hopelessness is not uplifting. It’s ugly.

Everything about “You’re So Vain” is so negative and hate filled that it goes past the event horizon of sad and circles around to blaming the world for your sorrows. Would it kill Carly to end the song with a round of recovery. Something like “but I’m hot and I just did the gardener so I don’t need your fucking Lear jet.” I’m all about people overcoming sorrow y’all. Fuck it, add in some heavy metal drums and really get your freak on. Enough of this sitting in the corner sighing.


How to fix this shitty song:

There’s nothing wrong with sorrow. It’s cathartic. But if you’re going to sing about misfortune you have to do it right. Weeping wont’ cut it. Here are alternatives:

  • Embrace the suck and go down the rabbit hole. For this I present George Thorogood from House Rent Blues:

“I ain’t seen my baby since a nigh’ and a week
Gotta get drunk, man, till I can’t even speak
Gonna get high, man, listen to me
One drink ain’t enough, Jack, you better make it three”

  • Throw in a twist. For this I present B. B. King from Never Make Your Move Too Soon:

“Three days of snow in Birmingham
Thought you would wonder where i am
Rang our number all night long
It’s no comfort on the telephone
Ran out and caught a midnight flight
Thought a little love would make everything all right
The landlord said, “you moved away”
And left me all your bills to pay”
Look out baby, you might have made your move too soon

Left me with a keno card
This life in Vegas sure ain’t hard
I ran it up to about fifty grand
Cashed it in and held it in my hand
That kind of word can get around
And make a lost love come up found
I hear you knocking baby at my door
But you know you ain’t living here no more
It’s too bad
I think you made your move too soon”

  • Make a horrid joke. For this I present Guns and Roses from I Used To Love Her But I Had To Kill Her”

“I used to love her
But I had to kill her
I had to put her
Six feet under
And I can still hear her complain”

  • Indulge in a revenge fantasy. For this I present Carrie Underwood from Before He Cheats:

“I dug my key into the side
Of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights
I slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats”


Hey, it worked! I got that damn brainworm out of my head. Brilliant! Thanks for joining me on this trip and if anyone needs a lyricist I’m available for hire. I work for beer and/or Lear jet fuel.

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Eclipse 2017 After Action Report: Part 08

[Has it been a week since my last post? Damn it! I just left it sitting there, in the eerie twilight of mid-day, when all that is normal is not and the air is pregnant with the magic of an eminent eclipse? An accidental celestial cliffhanger? What an asshole!

I’ve been busy with a schedule that’s redlining and the blog took it in the shorts. In the meantime, my ponderings become obsolete… like me. The eclipse has been forgotten and there have been two hurricanes. At least the kids are in school and PAWIRNEATT (Project About Which I’d Rather Not Elaborate At This Time) progresses to my satisfaction.

As I remember an eclipse that’s the definition of “yesterday’s news”. I’d like to send a special thanks to Dorthy Grant who encouraged me to take as long as I need to write the story. “Thank you!” Also a note to Dr. Mingo who said I should shut the hell up and get back to the squirrels. “Patience, friend. Winter is coming.”

So, where was I…]


I deliberately did no “homework” about the eclipse, preferring to just experience it. Even so, thousands of photos have led me to expect a reddish ring in the sky. A halo, a ring, a circle. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the precise moment and totally to my surprise, my goggled view dimmed to almost nothing. Removing them with some uncertainty (I wasn’t sure what you can and cannot look at) I glanced skyward. The heavens had lit up with a cold white burst of… glory.

I’ve thought a lot about how to describe what I saw. I know millions of others saw it too. As far as I can tell they’ve never come close to describing the thing I witnessed. Maybe I’m a romantic dipshit? The kind of guy who’s read too much, thought too deeply, and is prone to looking at an odd sky and declaring it Dulcinea before firing up my Dodge to tilt at windmills? Soft headed and more affected by beauty? Or is everyone else too busy fucking around with cameras and cell phones to actually see what they are looking at? I don’t know. All I can say is the bubbleheads on TV make the sublime sound like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and that’s missing the point.

Everyone was silent. Then there was the involuntary “Ooooohhhh” we’ve all heard at a fireworks display. But not a loud raucous cheer, more like a hushed intake of breath.

With goggles on it was hardly visible, but with the eye alone it was astounding. I had no idea of the risk to my eyes. I finally decided that if the eclipse was the last thing I saw, it was probably worth it. Have you heard anybody ever say that? No? That’s because they’re talking heads reading a text written by some otherwise unemployable English major or because they haven’t seen the real thing. The eclipse on an LCD screen in your living room is not the real thing.

I saw veil of the universe pulled back. I saw eternity. For something like two and a half minutes, I peered past our atmosphere and beyond the ubiquitous yellow haze of normalcy and reached out into the firmament. I saw infinity.

The human senses are not equipped to process this thing. Our vocabulary is inadequate to describe it. There are things you cannot witness second hand.

Then, it was over. Perhaps that’s for the best. Possibly such achingly strong beauty is best perceived in glimpses. A few minutes per lifetime being the maximum dose primates like us can endure. As if by design, it was too fleeting for us, the most cynical of creatures, to grow cold and cast it aside as just another pretty thing.

When the first sliver of the sun returned, the goggles went on, and the real magic blinked away. The foreplay remained; it was still eerie, it was still a land of strange crescent shaped shadows and David Lynch foreboding, but the sky had closed and it’s secrets were behind the glare.

Nobody was unaffected. In the first few minutes, people in the little mixed group started extolling to each other the virtues of what they just saw. Ever the loner, I let it sink in and enjoyed the shadows. The effect didn’t last long. On the empty road two big rigs drove by; the timing such that I’m sure they were in motion during the event. They had their headlights on. I can think of nothing sadder than driving straight through the zone of totality and stubbornly refusing to come to a full stop for even the three minutes it would take to see… everything. How much can a shipment matter? Is arriving 5 minutes sooner on the one day among thousands in the one place on earth where this moment had just passed worth it? Could they really know what they missed? Those two drivers may be among the most tragic creatures living.

After perhaps a quarter of an hour Mrs. Curmudgeon approached me, still staring at the 3/4 missing Pac Man shape though goggles, “Ready to go?”

Car were being started. The lot was half empty. In my mind I imagined Flo fretting over a ketchup bottle. Americans, for better or worse, can see heaven and almost immediately switch to their earlier issues. The road was already packed. Fifteen minutes after totality, when the skies were still dim, the road was packed! Somewhere ahead the two truckers were probably stuck in the same traffic… maybe a half dozen miles from here.

“After that?” I leered. “Shouldn’t we cuddle or something?”

“Perv!” She laughed, “Get in the car.”

And so we piled in the car, with Mrs. Curmudgeon at the wheel, and headed out. The road was totally blocked heading away from the zone and utterly empty in the other direction. I do not follow herds so I navigated us in the contrary direction, deeper into the place we wished to leave. It took me 30 seconds to formulate a plan of escape. If a thousand idiots block a road it’s time to change course… duh.

Now it was the battle of the traffic, which I would win. Continuing gradual fading of the dim skies or not, the celestial moment was over as a practical matter and the consensus was clear. We were back to acting like lemmings on pavement.

Regardless, the trip was worth it. If you have not seen an eclipse, do so before you die.

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Eclipse 2017 After Action Report: Part 07

[Perhaps I’ve gone on too long. Everyone and their dog wrote about the eclipse a week ago. Rather than a news report (as if news exists anymore) I’m trying to capture the spirit of the thing. If I failed, chalk it up to me being a lame ass blogger stumbling under a topic beyond his ken.]

Are we a people who have seen too much? Have CGI and 50 channels of shit on cable jaded the world? All I know is that I was near ecstatic to see (through goggles) a tiny nibble torn from sun but nobody else seemed that enthused. (The alternative, that everyone else is normal and I make mountains of molehills, is equally reasonable.)

I stood there, baking in the heat, and watched. It moved ever so slowly. Periodically I’d remove my goggles and glance around. No sign of anything different. Interesting! (I’m such a nerd that “nothing has happened” can be a fascinating observation.) The sun looks the same even when it’s partially gone. Like a politician’s soul, it can be mostly eaten away and yet you can scarcely tell.

Mrs. Curmudgeon and the teenagers arrive. They’ve brought my lunch in a Styrofoam box and I’m grateful.

“Did you give Flo a big tip?” I ask.

“Huge, I think she’s going to need therapy after today.”

“Did my ‘to go’ order cause issues?” For some reason I’m worried about Flo; as if I’ve known her for years.

“Nope, the cook handled it. The cook owns the place by the way. She didn’t seem worried about the crowd.”

“I hope they take a few minutes off to see the eclipse.” I’d hate to think of someone slinging meatloaf and mashed potatoes during the only two minutes of totality in their life.

“I’m not sure Flo could handle it.” Mrs. Curmudgeon chuckles.

Since the eclipse is moving slowly I pause long enough to put the styrofoam box on the roof of the car and…

“Oh. My. God!” I’m shocked.

“What is it?” Mrs. Curmudgeon is at my side in a flash.

“I ordered a bacon cheeseburger on meatloaf Monday?”

“Yeah, we were wondering abut that. You feeling OK?”

“What have I done?” I shudder.

But the cheeseburger is adequate and I’m starving. Ignoring massive buyer’s remorse I chow down while Mrs. Curmudgeon and the teenagers stir themselves to take their first goggle clad glance at a partial eclipse. It’s 1/4 gone by now. The teenagers are chattering about the mashed potatoes and I wonder if I’ve missed the true meaning of this celestial event.

Is God telling me to savor meatloaf on Mondays and leave the celestial for a different time? I ponder this as I finish the greasy burger. It’s a pretty good burger after all. But it’s not meatloaf and can never be meatloaf. Unforced error!

Some of the folks nearby are looking through a glass plate, they didn’t make a goggle order in time. I pass out several of our spare goggles and they’re somewhat reluctant to take them.

“You sure you want to give these out?”

“Yeah, how many sets can one man wear?”

“But…”

“How about this, next eclipse you buy the first round of goggles?” This works and everyone smiles. They can see a lot better through goggles than passing a glass plate back and forth.

Whew! It’s never easy for me to put strangers at ease. I have a theory that I look like a serial killer and act like I might break out into a monologue about meatloaf… it scares the squares. This time I did well. Everyone’s happy. Like the Boy Scout I once was, I’m always happy to check “good deed for the day” off my list. (Finding a little old lady trying to cross the street is a rarity y’all!)

There’s a feeling of camaraderie in our spot. Some folks came from 50 miles away, others (like me) came from almost a thousand… and all we’re doing is watch the sun dim. As activities go it’s self-motivated, completely voluntary, and it can’t possibly be twisted into opposition to anything. We could use more such events.

I find myself trying to ascertain what my human senses can tell me about the diminishing sun. You can’t look at the sun (without goggles) and the day is still very bright. Without goggles you’d never know an eclipse was drawing nigh. It’s still hot but when I bask, arms outspread in the light, I feel a little less radiation than before. It’s subtle. The sun can be half gone and you’d never know unless you were paying attention.

After a while I return to the shade. It’s hot out there, half a sun or not. The teenagers are in the car “chillin'”, by which I mean they’re hyper-extending the reclining seats and mashing Cheetos into every corner of the interior. (Kids do to a car’s interior what a herd of wildebeest would do to the living room.) Mrs. Curmudgeon is quietly reading a paperback.

I return to standing in the dirt, arms extended, as if I’m waiting to be stuck by lightning. The sun doesn’t fade gradually like a dimmer switch or youth. It’s still there, but eventually the world becomes different. I’m soaking it in; looking at shadows, goggles on, goggles off… observing. Around 2/3 gone the effect has become noticeable everywhere. The shadows are weird. The birds are disappearing. Some of the insects are suddenly quiet.

That’s the threshold. When the sun is 2/3 gone you’re in a David Lynch scene.

I’d promised myself to ignore my phone and camera. Others will take photos, I’m there to experience. But I can’t help myself. I badger my cheesy phone to take photos and the poor thing is out of it’s league. I have dozens of hazy blurry photos of a red dot.

It dims more. It’s twilight. Everyone is silent. The light looks oddly focused and eerie. Everyone is silent. Someone’s car radio has been playing the local radio station, which has been punsterifically playing Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. The radio is silenced. This is not the time for puns.

Traffic has stopped. Nothing moves. The streetlights come on. If there ever is a complete reset of all reality… this is what the first moments will look like. I’ve forgotten the meatloaf.

Mrs. Curmudgeon has put away the paperback. The teenagers are watching too.

The air is cool. It is neither day nor night. This trip was worth it!

[Stay tuned…]

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Eclipse 2017 After Action Report: Part 06

No shit, there I was…

So it’s T-minus something or other and I’m beside myself with excitement. I’ve never seen an eclipse (how did I let that happen?). Now I’m in the right place at the right time and it’s gonna’ be awesome! Cars are drifting in ones and twos off the road until there are about two dozen of us in the non-descript dirt lot. We are the ones that decided the skies right here are good enough and dinking around in traffic to see the skies over there is bullshit. We are kindred spirits. This is my people! There is electricity in the air!

Folks are setting up folding chairs and digging sandwiches out of coolers. I keep glancing at the sun (with goggles on) and getting fidgety. The skies are mostly clear. It’s very hot. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect viewing setup.

Meanwhile, my family has abandoned me.

I find them inside the cafe where an aged waitress, lets call her Flo, is freaking out. There are perhaps six people in the joint, which is apparently the biggest crowd Flo has ever seen. Flo makes sure to tell every single customers, all of whom are waiting patiently, that this is “chaos… just total chaos“. Then she takes their orders and goes to the kitchen and loudly repeats the order. “Two for meatloaf, it’s a madhouse out here!” I look around. The happy half dozen people in scattered seats don’t seem to have the slightest hint of chaos in them at all. Everyone is smiling and mellow. They’d make an Amish library look like Daytona Beach after a Jose Quervo truck overturned during spring break.

The cook emerges, spatula in hand, and glances at the sparse crowd; then at me. Flo scampers by carrying a glass of water muttering something like “zone of totality, it’s a zone of exhaustion I say!” We look at each other and shrug.

My family is parked at an ancient Formica table. They’re seated in some of those old school chrome tube seats with the sticky vinyl seat cushions and reading menus that probably haven’t changed since the 1970’s. Flo and the seats are probably about the same age. My family is completely relaxed. I’m practically vibrating and they’re totally chillin. They’re reading paperbacks and waiting for Flo to manage the huge crowd and take their order. The only one who is even mildly agitated is me (and Flo).

Flo finally shows up in a flurry of complaints and everyone orders meatloaf. It’s meatloaf Monday y’all. It comes with mashed potatoes but one kid gets onion rings. I’m staring out the window. Flo harrumphs that I haven’t yet ordered. I can’t focus. I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss an eclipse because I’m too lazy to go outside! Absent mindedly, I place my order. Googgles or not I can’t quite see the sun from this location. I can’t stand it. I grab my goggles and go. I pass two people entering as I leave. In the background I hear Flo rant about the “massive crowd that is totally filling the place and also…”

I miss the rest. Three paces past the door I’m staring at the sun.

There is a tiny nibble out of the sun! Holy shit! It’s now. Awesome! Jörmungandr has risen. He’s going to eat the sun and give rise to Ragnarok… Or at least it’s going to be a rare display of solar weirdness. I’m delighted to see the show. Sweeeeet.

Then I realize I’m standing in the dirt, staring at the sun like a madman (with goggles) and nobody, and I mean nobody, gives a shit.

What. The. Hell?

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Eclipse 2017 After Action Report: Part 05: It’s All About The Meatloaf

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