Thursday, April 11, 2024

Total Solar Eclipse April 8, 2024 Indianapolis, IN


 

It was odd, eerie, interesting… for close to an hour, the sky dimmed slowly – then at totality, it got dark rather suddenly – enough that the street lights came on. An action cam I had set up on us to record the ambience captured the darkness, as did my trail cam, which switched to IR mode for the nearly 4 minutes of totality.

Flo wasn’t expecting to feel weird, emotionally – but, quite unexpectedly, became dizzy and nautious, which lasted a while after the event. Migrating geese tend to stop-over here this time of year, and they went a bit nuts Monday, flying, flapping and honking as if they were quite disturbed; other birds made more noise than usual, and zipped around as if they were confused. Our cat Marcus, who likes to hang out with us outside, sat calmly on the front steps, bathing, as if nothing at all interesting was happening. Near where I stood, a swarm of ants appeared; they weren’t there just before the totality – I have no explanation for that.

For me, it was… pleasantly eerie. Jet contrails randomly criss-crossed the sky Monday, dozens more than are normal for here, but the sky was clear enough for the eclipse duration. It was much darker than I’d experienced at a partial eclipse years ago, and I have to agree that totality is more intense and odd-feeling than any partial. Some of that, of course, is just the novelty – if this routinely happened once a week, it wouldn’t be a big deal, I’m sure. Still, it does manage to tug at the emotions, on a primal level. A predictable glitch in the routine continuity of what we label as normal.

Photographically, I seem to have a bit of a theme going on here. Years ago, for a magazine illustration, I photographed a coyote skull and placed it front of a full moon. Last summer, I captured a huge bat fluttering across the Super Blue Moon. While at the computer a few years back, I heard Flo shriek as she looked out the back door – a huge spider was spinning a web the size of a bed sheet, between the gutter and the back porch – I photographed the spider, then later added a full moon I’d snapped out front, to the image.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Not One of Us #78

 
Contents:

Did You Pay for This Room?, by Pamela Weis
You Cry, Child (poem), by Lynn Hardaker
When I Was Switched at Birth, My Parents Were Sent Home with a Jar of Tongue Depressors and Didn’t Notice for Six Months (poem), by Robert Beveridge
Skinner, by Tessa Bahoosh
Hagstone (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
The Dedication of Sleep, by Devan Barlow
Mistletoe Theodicy (poem), by Marissa Lingen
Troth, by E.C. Wonder
At the End of Everything, by Spencer Nitkey
Rat Bush, by Patricia Russo
Art: John and Flo Stanton

 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Not One of Us #77

 

Contents:

Slip on Stone, Whispers in Walls, by Cassandra Daucus
Scarcity Economics (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
Trutnov, by Leen Raats
The Butterfly (poem), by Patricia Russo
First, Snare a Blackbird, by Sarah McGill
Lost on a World Tree (poem), by Marissa Lingen
The Familiar, by Edward Ahern
Count (poem), by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Art: John and Flo Stanton

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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Lucky Shot

(Click on the photo for a larger version)

 

While thinking about going to bed, I remembered it was a Super Blue Moon out, and decided to take a crack at it. The weather was quite comfortable, with a slight breeze, when I set up the tripod in our driveway. Still, at the extreme zoom necessary to get the shots that night, the slightest hint of a breeze caused a noticeable wobble on the camera’s screen, so I used the timer. I took a load of stills, and several times shot a minute or two of video. While keeping an eye on the screen, during one of the videos, I noticed something zip past the moon, and after I downloaded the files, located that particular video. I was delighted and rather surprised to see such a large bat zip across, reverse course and flutter to the top of the moon, then down in the direction it had come from, almost as if it was acting for an opening scene of a horror movie.

If I’d still been shooting stills, I’d have missed it. If I hadn’t been a bit lazy, I would have driven to a favorite spot away from city lights, where I’ve frequently done night photography, and once again, I would have missed that bat. Examining the videos from that night more closely, I noticed that the bat crisscrossed the moon several more times during my shoot, though none of them nearly so close.

My family moved to this neighborhood in ’62, and we’ve been at this address for more than 30 years – I’ve seen many bats flutter around the street lights, eating insects – but they’ve all been tiny, and I’ve not seen one that size at all, in Indiana.

All things considered, I was quite lucky to manage to capture that bat, at that time, at that angle, hamming it up for the camera.

Click here if you'd like to see the 4-second video

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Subjective Time and the Brain Clock

 

    Isn’t it intriguing how we can partition-off our thoughts, memories and even innate abilities? Have you ever awakened from a deep sleep, and for a moment, found yourself unable to tell if it was morning or the middle of the night? Or been so absorbed or distracted, you had to ask someone what time it was? Yet, there also seems to be an internal clock of sorts, an ability to keep accurate track of time, off in another part of the brain. Once, when I was a child, I came up with an experiment – I gave myself suggestions to awaken at an arbitrarily chosen time – I remember in particular, 3:17 A.M., as one I picked. I’d go to bed at 9 or 10, and sure enough – I’d find myself opening my eyes, and when the bedside clock came into focus, it would read 3:17. I repeated this experiment numerous times, in case it was just a fluke. Loathing the abrupt intrusion of the alarm clock, in a similar fashion, I trained myself to wake gently, 5 minutes before the alarm went off-though it was always set, just in case.

    Years later, while working for the H. Lieber Company downtown, I’d take my lunch in the ancient warehouse part of the building, and do a recharge self-hypnosis session, always returning to fully awake in plenty of time to clock back in. Co-workers and bosses would slog back to work after a heavy lunch, and rather hated me for returning full of energy and enthusiasm, as if it was 8 A.M. again.

    This temporal experiment from those days was inspired from an account by a hypnotherapist, who needed a bathroom break, and suggested his patient watch Gone with the Wind in his mind. When he returned minutes later, the patient reported he’d watched the entire movie. Our perception of time is certainly relative to criteria and reference points, internal or external. Can a certain cluster of brain cells sense and measure internal processes in such a fashion, that it could serve as a clock? Or, do we sense and measure external beats, pulses or rhythms? Would we lose that sense if the outside source were blocked, say, by a Faraday cage or an isolation tank?

    Albert Einstein explained relativity: “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

    With a few carefully worded suggestions, my workday zipped past like a 5-minute shower, and those evenings with my wonderful wife stretched on beyond the metered clock. Subjectively, at least, it is possible to flip relativity in your favor.

    There is still so much we still have to learn about ourselves.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Not One of Us #76

Contents:

Breath, by Romie Stott
All This Water, by Nicole M. Wolverton
An Iron Ring (poem), by Jennifer Crow
Night of the Data Eaters, by Kyle E. Miller
Changeling Child, or the Oak King’s Champion Rescues a Baby from a Hot Car (poem), by Meep Matsushima
Lovely, by Nicole Walsh
Our Daily Bread (poem), by Ed Ahern
The Green Room (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
Art: John and Flo Stanton (cover); John Stanton

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Friday, July 7, 2023