The Eclipse: A Starred Review

Before the eclipse, the group I was going to see it with and I were debating the weather–and alternate plans–and exactly how far into the line of totality places were. The weather was… not bad, for a random Monday, but pretty sketchy for watching an eclipse. So, staying was a gamble, and so was going. I looked at the radar, and wound up staying. I was the only one who did, but the radar, combined with the fact that the alternate location wasn’t as close to the center line made me wary of leaving. It seems that if you have an eclipse under patchy clouds, the longest duration is probably your best chance of seeing at least some of it.

And I wasn’t sure. There was a part of me that was heartbroken watching them pull away without me… certain that they were right and I was wrong, and it was too late to fix the mistake.

So, an hour before the eclipse, I looked up at a cloudy sky and set alarms for the beginning of transit, and also for the beginning of totality.

I was pretty sure it was going to be raining, but I figured I could still go out in the rain and enjoy the darkness.

It didn’t rain where I was, and while the clouds never cleared up completely, they were whispy enough not to be a problem in viewing the eclipse. I spent a couple of hours lying on the grass in my yard with binoculars (actually, special Sunoculars, with a sun-filter built in) watching the eclipse.

Sunoculars are another world, entirely. I got them–at a cost of mumble, mumble–because I’m pretty near-sighted and cardboard things do not always work well with my prescription. If you point them at a lamp in the house, you will not be able to tell if the lens caps are on or off by looking. They turned out to be a really nice, really clear view, and you could also see the sun-lit clouds, and the shadows of some of the leaves above me, but I was skeptical until I actually saw it. I do recommend them. The magnification was good, too.

From where I was, you could hear the loud speakers on the high-school football field, but not the crowd, itself. I think they drug in the usual sports-oriented announcer, and that he was frustrated with the lack of screaming fans. His timing was also dangerously off, as he’s telling people when to put their eclipse glasses back on. (That might be something you have to know in advance.)

I got a couple of pictures, and the best of them is the featured image for this post. I’ll either take a better camera next time, or pass on the photos, entirely. They don’t do it justice.

I didn’t see any stars, probably due to clouds, but I did feel the temperature drop.

And then, totality passed, and I watched until the clouds gathered, and blotted out the sun, right around 70 or 80%.

As for the rest of my group? Well, it was raining in alternate location, and they had to settle for an indoor picnic and a few hours of togetherness.

Take that, extroverts.

There Was Once a Monsoon in My Lagoon

I woke up to a pretty good thunderstorm last night. I can’t remember the time, but it was well past my bedtime, so I took pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.
I’m going to be a little fried, today.

These are all cell-phone pictures, and they’re all lit entirely by the lightning from the storm. I don’t really know what accounts for the difference in color between them.


According to the count on the camera, I shot 226 pictures to get these. They were the best of the lot, and I know I couldn’t have done this with a film camera.


That’s a Ginkgo tree in my yard, just in case the thought of asking crossed anybody’s mind.


The blue one is one of my favorites… and I really don’t have any idea why it wound up blue. We also had some reddish-orange flashes of lightning, but I didn’t get lucky with those. You can almost see my neighbors’ house at the bottom. They were out storm chasing. The lunatics!!! (In this context, Lunatic should be understood to mean anyone whose vehicle is taller than mine, and therefore was able to be out in the storm. Pretty sure this would have stopped my engine.)


So, yeah. This is me standing by the front window in a thunderstorm, clicking away as fast as I could. I got these—and they’re pretty much the immediately recognizable, dramatic ones. I might be able to tinker around and get something useable out of a few of the others, but they didn’t wind up with the same clarity out of the box.

Right around seven full rolls of film. I would probably have missed a lot of these, or even all of them, if I’d been wasting time reloading. Not to mention the expense of film, and processing.

Waiting on That Storm

We’re having one of those days where everybody runs around like chickens with their heads cut off because some weather man said something. In this case, there’s supposed to be an ice storm. It was supposed to get here late tonight…. then, you know… around midnight. Now, it’s been pushed back to somewhere in the neighborhood of nine o’clock tomorrow morning.

I’m not holding my breath. Don’t get me wrong, I’m prepared-ish. Grown-up prepared, anyway. I have enough protein powder and… uhh, whatever that green powdered thing is to outlast any storm.

It’s just that… at this point… I don’t believe there’s going to be a storm. I think there’s something about the distance between us and the doppler station that causes distortions. They estimate, and estimate, and re-estimate, and in the end, the things that are supposed to hit us usually do wind up missing.

Don’t tell  the newbies that, though. When something finally does hit, they won’t be prepared, if they know.

I could stand a couple of days well and truly snowed in, iced under, burning the furniture for warmth writing time. Or…you know… snowed in, but natural gas and internet still works time off from the day job.

I wish it were going to happen.

Well, I’ve planned ahead. If I’m snowed in, fine. If I’m not, well… I’m disappointed, but I suppose that’s life.

It was nearly 50 degrees earlier. Now it’s back in the twenties.

We’ll just see about that

The Weather Outside is… Well, Writing Weather.

I’m in a winter weather advisory right this minute. Which is a fancy way of saying “It’s Cold.” How cold is it? Exactly cold enough that somewhere, some city person noticed, and typed it into his computer. That’s what makes a little red triangle pop up on my tablet. It is not, in fact, actually cold-cold. You can tell this, because there are currently no farmers complaining about having to collect their cows with a skip loader.

No snow, yet. Just cold.

Between the weather and the rabid shopping season, I’m delighted to be able to have things delivered to my door. And I’m really shocked at how excited I am to have a new calendar on its way. It’s a red one.

I spent most of today working on my revision.

That means I got into the original, un-organized jungle of first draft and looked for pieces that I can sort into Part One, Part Two, and Part Three of my novel. And the **ahem** “save for later” file, which usually winds up being the “throw in the trash later” file.

I recently came to the conclusion that I can squish my whole, 250k plus draft into ONE long-ish, but still viable book. Today, I am sorting, and trying to make the manuscript, itself, believe that.

I’m making progress. I have an outline. I have a plan. I have… a potential avalanche of pages that aren’t going to make it into the final cut.

Oh, well.