I shot this photo from my deck, on a chilly night at the end of March 2018. Then I went inside and ordered Michael Swanwick’s chapbook/objet d’art Blue Moon, helping to ensure it would sell out instead of being burned.
Current status: sitting in the Double Decker listening to “Talk Dirty to Me”. I haven’t heard that in years. I’m not convinced I missed it, either.
With some of the money I inherited from my dad, last year, I bought an 11–16mm f/2.8 lens for my camera. In plain English, it’s a nice fast lens with a nice wide field of view, which means that it’s great for astrophotography.
Tonight, the stars aligned for me, as it were. There was almost a 50/50 chance of some aurora sightings, per SpaceWeather. The temperature was a balmy -1°C, which was a pleasant change from the -25°C and -35°C nights we’ve had for the last couple weeks.
Long story short, there was a faint haze to the north. Editing with Gimp brings out quite a bit more than the naked eye could see.
As my camera clicked away, I leaned back against the car. At one point I thought of Kurt Vonnegut’s quote: If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
On my way back to work after lunch, a City of Brandon truck passed by on the street, carrying a load of freshly-cut evergreen boughs. Just for a second I smelled sawn pine, faintly, and I felt a momentary touch of nostalgia, because pine was the wood of choice for Dad, whether he was in the shed at home or teaching shop class. It was common wood: soft, inexpensive, and ubiquitous.
I grew up smelling cut pine.
Then it passed and all I could smell was winter in the city again.
“…the idea that young adults can not be exposed to unpopular opinion in the classroom—that’s an idea that’s about as dangerous as an idea can get.”
Here’s the tally for this year’s Hallowe’eners:
- Mad scientist
- 2-year-old (approx.) in a bee costume who was apparently scared of me because I’m a stranger, and had to be convinced by her mother to accept a chocolate bar from me
- Zombie banana (however that works)
- Vampire cat
- Cowboy in a snowsuit
- Cat in a snowsuit
- 3 more cowboys
- Ghoul with flashing red LED eyes that made him look like a dire Jawa
- Jason Voorhees in a parka
- Princess in a parka
First doorbell: 6:15 PM.
Last doorbell: 8:45 PM.
Leftover candy: sufficient but probably not fatal.
Happy Hollow Bean, y’all.
…“And what is the purpose of this celebration?”
“To collect the all-important food.”
Speaking as someone who watched his father slide into dementia, this is very interesting.
To combat [memory loss, researcher Anne-Christine Hertz] built a prototype called BikeAround, which pairs a stationary bike with Google Street View to take dementia patients on a virtual ride down memory lane. Patients input a street address of a place that means something to them—a childhood home[,] for instance—and then use the pedals and handlebars to “bike around” their old neighborhoods.
Cassini, the little probe that could, has finished its mission in the Saturn system with a suicide dive into the gas giant’s clouds.
It sent back myriad images and countless other data, improving our understanding of the solar system.
Thanks, Cassini. Much obliged.