I Can’t Stop Thinking About The Eclipse.

2017 Eclipse

I can’t stop thinking about the eclipse.

I thought I pretty much knew what to expect from the 2017 solar eclipse. I understood the science. I had already witnessed a few partial/annular eclipses. I’ve been anticipating the event for a few years now and had read about the sensory changes I could expect to witness. I had a few good viewing locations scoped out with choices depending on the cloud coverage or crowds we might run into that day. My 3 1/2-year-old twins had plenty of food, water, sunscreen, eclipse glasses, and excitement. We were prepared for the event. But I soon learned that nothing could prepare me for the experience.

We had a perfect location on a ridge near Muddy Mountain Wyoming that provided 360 degree views. We were away from the crowds. And most importantly it was cloudless with 2 minutes and 18 seconds of anticipated totality.

We spent an hour watching the partial eclipse and eating a picnic lunch in the shade provided by some old, scraggly, Limber Pines. Eventually, the temperature began to drop slowly. Soon our surroundings dimmed and crickets began to chirp. I found myself caught off guard by the strangeness of my environment. The landscape appeared rosy and dimmed – as if I was wearing sunglasses. My stomach flipped with anticipation and anxiety caused by the surreality of my surroundings.

Quickly, much faster than I anticipated, darkness descended on us. The disorienting passage of time was head-spinning. I took my eclipse glasses off to see if I could see the umbra race toward us from across the valley below. But it happened too quickly. It was with a ridiculous suddenness that the moon’s shadow had shrouded us. I quickly turned around and looked up and saw the eclipsed sun glowing in the sky and my brain turned inside out.

My fingers fumbled around for my camera phone and I somehow managed to capture the image above. I tried to take a video of the “sunset” that surrounded us in every direction, but I only managed to catch these three seconds. I was overwhelmed.

The corona was much more bright and lustrous than I envisioned. It shone bright white and with a jaw dropping brilliance. We were all bewildered with its beauty and absolute strangeness. To look up into the sky and see a sparkling shine, unlike anything I have ever seen in my years of looking at the heavens. To share this with my wife and children.

And then it was gone. And now I can’t stop thinking about the eclipse.

Bookslut Is Dead. Long Live Bookslut

RIP Bookslut. It has published its final issue. I’m sad to see it go. I was never a heavy reader the site but I always had an affinity for it. See, my foray into the blogging world started fourteen years ago with a book blog that started just a month after Bookslut. So I have always considered Bookslut to be a much more worthwhile, articulate, entertaining and much smarter stepsister-blog to my little “I Love You Too” book blog.

There is an excellent interview in Vulture with Jessa Crispin, the site’s founder and editor. Here’s a favorite pull-quote to get you salivating:

There’s always space to do whatever you want. You won’t get as much attention, but fuck attention. Fight for integrity. Now everyone has a TinyLetter instead of a blog. As soon as the first writer got a book deal for a TinyLetter, everyone’s TinyLetter just became book-deal bait, written the same way. This weird conformity just takes over as soon as the possibility of money or access or respectability comes up. That’s disappointing.

This Is My Jam

This Used To Be My Jam

This Is My Jam

It happened. This Is My Jam is no longer with us. But it died in the most beautiful way. Although This Is My Jam no longer accepts new submissions the site has been completely archived and remains for your listening pleasure. What a refreshing change from the usual “We’re deleting everything in a week because we got acquired/ran out of money.” thing we’ve heard so much of lately. No Jams were lost.

One really cool feature of the archive (here is my archive page) is the automatic generation of a Spotify playlist from your submitted jams. Though Spotify on had only 25 of my 37 jams you can listen to them all on the archived Wall O’ Jams. I’m sad to see This Is My Jam go but I’m glad they left with such dignity.

Hail Cocktail !

Hail Stone Cocktails (Cockthails? Hailtails?)

On Saturday evening several parts of the Denver metro area experienced a quick but rather violent hail storm. So I decided to make the best of it and make some Hail Stone Cocktails. I simply mixed lemonade, lemon pellegrino, gin, muddled mint, and hail. Garnish with a sprig of basil and enjoy.

Hail Cocktail !

There has been some debate on reddit as to how safe drinking this cocktail is. I can only tell you that it didn’t make me sick and it tasted great. I’m venturing to guess that the most dangerous ingredient was the gin, not the hail. But that is coming from a guy who has eaten watermelon snow on several occasions.
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The Best Two Second Slayer Video Ever

I was upset to read that Slayer’s guitarist Jeff Hanneman died yesterday morning at age 49. In honor of Jeff’s passing I present to you my most favorite two second Slayer video ever.

These two ushers had a hell of a night during the August 25th 2010 Slayer show at Magness Arena in Denver, CO. They stood like that the entire night. Magness Arena really doesn’t have a lot of concerts (Though I have seen Pixies and Jane’s Addiction there) and I don’t think these poor ladies had any idea what they were in for.

Faithful Friends Who Were Dear To Us, Will Be Near To Us No More

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is probably my favorite Christmas song simply because of its emotional ambivalence. It resonates closely with so many of the feelings I have around the Christmas season. The lyrics open up that uneasy longing for that unattainable ideal of Christmas that so many of us want. The holidays can be hard.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Pop that champagne cork
Next year we may all be living in New York
No good times like the olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more
But at least we all will be together
If the Lord allows
From now on, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

My emotions during the holidays weigh heavily. Christmastime brings a contemplative melancholia that I actually revel in, and there is a wistful type of comfort in accepting this. In knowing that the season is steeped in nostalgia and want for a better time and place. In accepting that my memories will grow a little dimmer with the passing of the year. In acknowledging that our world can be unraveled, changed, and built back up with little of our own control. In understanding that friends, family, or loved ones are gone from our lives – for good. I feel akin with the folks who recognize that Christmas can be complicated, emotionally irresolute, and inherently blue.
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What Is Old?

Having recently turned 40, the question “At what point does a person get ‘old’?” holds some interest for me. I like this idea from the above link, “A person becomes old when his mind is more occupied by memories than aspirations”. I like this because it doesn’t stigmatize being old and at the same time allows for becoming old to be a choice. But I think the more honest answer is “One becomes old the minute one is aware of how they are perceived by those who are young.” Old is not a state of mind – at least not your mind – old is inflicted on you by youth.