This coming eclipse is, apparently, a once-in-a-hunert years event.

Well, not the eclipse itself. We get a handful of eclipses every year (and by “we” I mean “earthlings”). But *THIS* eclipse is a TOTAL eclipse. Which is still something that happens every year or so but the recentish total eclipses have all happened over Africa or Asia or South America or one of the oceans that doesn’t have any countries on it.

*THIS* eclipse will be travelling coast to coast. From Oregon to South Carolina. Somewhere in between those two states is Wyoming.

And that’s where I’m going.

Here’s the plan: We got a hotel room in Fort Collins. So we drive up to Fort Collins on Sunday. Walk around a bit. Catch some dinner. Maybe check out CSU and see if Avogadro’s Number is still there (note: IT IS!!!) and eat there for the first time since… 1991? Maybe? Could be Spring 1992.

Anyway, go to bed at the hotel then wake up at some ungodly hour and get in the car and drive north to somewhere between Orin and Glendo and feel some form of primal terror as the jaguar eats the sun before he comes to earth to devour us all. For a couple of minutes, anyway. Then we get back in the car and drive home.

Everything else is just pretty much prep for that. Sure, we’ll go get groceries and do some laundry and such but the big focus will be this coming darkness.

And then we won’t have to deal with a total eclipse again until 2024.

I mean, assuming the sun comes back after this one.

So… what’s on your docket?

(Image is “Play” by Clare Briggs. Used with permission of the Briggs estate.)

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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33 thoughts on “Weekend!

  1. I’ve got a bunch of gradient filters for my camera. I’m going to stack a few of the darkest together and point it at the sun, then record video.


  2. You see, this is why I’m pissed at this whole “only happens once in 99 years” BS.

    I was in Fricking Washington State when the total eclipse happened in 1978. You have to actually look past the BS advertising to realize this once in a hundred years thing is just about the path of totality being completely in the US. The one in 78 started in Washington and went into Canada. The damn science channel or discovery channel has been flogging this BS for the last month.

    But hey, enjoy the show! I got coworkers who are going.


    • My campus opens for the fall today. I have already had multiple e-mails from students telling me they won’t be here today (or tomorrow: travel time) because they have gone to the path of totality. (We get about 82.5% here, which is good enough for me. I can’t stand crowds and I’m too cheap to spring for a $300 Motel 6 room)

      I am slightly annoyed. Maybe, maybe my campus could have planned for this and decided to open the semester on a Wednesday (like they used to)?

      I’m just hoping they don’t expect attendance data from us for today.

      I have a cardboard frame with a piece of tinfoil and a hole punched in it. If it works, I might go out and project part of the eclipse on a cardboard and look at it like I looked at the partial one in ’79 when I was a schoolkid.

      (I am wondering how many reports we’ll hear of damaged eyes despite the constant drumbeat of DON’T LOOK DIRECTLY AT IT WITHOUT APPROVED GLASSES. It might prove something instructive about our populace)


      • (I am wondering how many reports we’ll hear of damaged eyes despite the constant drumbeat of DON’T LOOK DIRECTLY AT IT WITHOUT APPROVED GLASSES. It might prove something instructive about our populace)

        I wonder how many people will have heard the drum beat a bit too well and will put on their glasses while walking, biking, or driving.


  3. Patience. Colorado Springs is almost dead center on Aug 12, 2045. Why do these happen during monsoon season, instead of the parts of the year when a clear sky is almost guaranteed?


    • Apparently we will get totality in another 7 years (2024) here. That’s kind of cool because I’m actually pretty likely to still be alive for that one.

      the bad news is it’s in April, which is more than likely to be cloudy/rainy for us.


  4. I’m trying to figure out if my dad’s old welding goggles are Shade 12 or higher. Because the dang eclipse glasses are completely sold out everywhere. So we’ll probably just stand at the office window on Monday and gawk at how dark it is.


  5. I think we’ll get something like an 80% eclipse here. Mr. T mail ordered some eclipse glasses from somewhere, so I’ll go outside around lunchtime and stare at the sun. There’s a good chance the sun will also look quite red, with all the forest fire smoke right now.

    The kiddo is at the tail end of a trip in the mountains with my parents – we’re going down to Banff for the weekend to go on some walks and soak in some hot springs with them, then take kiddo home on Sunday afternoon.


  6. I’ll be at home in the Springs, enjoying 90 percent of a solar eclipse in the time between medical appointments.

    It’s very good having our houseguest here but I admit to looking forward to an overnight with just me and the cats while the boys are off chasing the eclipse. Need a battery recharge.


  7. Dear husband aka Idiot Photographer, found us a camp site on the grounds of an 1800s farmhouse in Nebraska that is basically on the centerline of the path of totality. $35 bucks a night and they are serving 3 square if you donate to the kitty. (Fundraiser to restore the house)

    We got eclipse glasses weeks ago and of course he got a solar filter for the camera.

    So work for me all day today home to pack car. Then level at ungodly hour to drive 7 houses to the farm


  8. I will be working at my kitchen table, waiting for it to go full dark at 10:35ish, when I will look out my window and see the night at day.

    On a side note, po-po is making the rounds of the neighborhood, checking for people car-camping for the ApocEclipse. I am down the hill form the hospital and heard multiple ambo sirens going once it hit dark. People are stocking up on gas (I haven’t sold my old truck yet just for this reason) and there hasn’t been a run on food that I have seen, but I haven’t been to the grocery store since Monday. Downtown is already packed with people, about half the folks I know are AirBnBing their house and all nonessential medical activities will be shut down Monday.


  9. Granddaughter #1’s birthday on Sunday.

    Friend driving from Portland, OR to Princeton, NJ for a new gig is in town, so will see him on Monday.

    Been binge-reading the Alex Verus urban fantasy series. The author does an excellent cliffhanger at the end of each book. Unfortunately, I’ve reached the end of the series published so far, and the next one isn’t going to be out until July or so next year.


  10. I thought NASA said it was a dragon eating the sun this time, not a jaguar. It changes every time, you know.

    I am literally a dozen miles south and west of totality, so I’m just hopping in my car somewhere around noon Monday and driving north on back roads that Atlantans(1) hopefully will not be using (They probably will be going up roads to the east of me.), halfway to North Carolina, until I get to somewhere that looks like I can park.

    1) Or Atlanteans, Atlantis is coming back for this eclipse, right?


    • Daily Beast

      A U.S. Navy official said Monday that the USS John S. McCain suffered a steering malfunction prior to its crash near Singapore on Sunday, CNN reports. The official said it was not yet clear why the warship’s backup steering systems weren’t utilized to regain control before it ran into a merchant vessel.

      They probably snapped the rope that runs around the wheel drum and then down under the wheelhouse and around several blocks to the tiller. It’s probably rot or wear, though they could have been chewed through by rats. If the rope snaps (or gets cut by a cannon ball), a bunch of seamen are supposed to grab the tiller and steer manually. Since that didn’t happen in time, perhaps because of how densely trafficked the strait is, the Navy will have to look into how long it normally takes to get the backup guys to the tiller.

      Or (conspiracy theory), maybe Northrop Grumman used cheap Chinese blocks and cordage instead of quality American gear with hand forged axles and white oak sheaves.


      • I don’t know at what point DDGs stand up the sea & anchor detail for the transit through Malacca, but with that traffic and that relatively narrow navigation channel, it wouldn’t suprise me that they had (or should have had) someone already sitting at the back-up steering station.

        But one potential scenario is that the rudder goes hard over due to some malfunction in the hydraulic system, and it takes literally a minute or two to undo the hydraulic lock and shift steering control – but in that time, the McCain (probably going 15 kts or so to keep up with the pace of traffic) has significantly drifted across the traffic lane and bascially drove right in front of the tanker.

        (note this is all just an off the cuff hypothesis based on very limited and unconfirmed public information)


        • So we have an engineering casualty (steering).

          I’m going to assume, given the scuttlebutt I have been hearing, that the McCain was only turning one shaft in order to save fuel (because the Navy has been getting strict about fuel budgets). This would explain why a rudder failure was a problem.

          DDGs are twin screw with variable pitch props (VPP), and rudder systems are designed to fail to zero (no angle). If the rudders we’re not jammed on something, the ship would lose rudder control, but would not be stuck on a rudder setting. However, if she was trailing a screw, the side forces and angle of thrust incidence would cause the ship to turn regardless.

          Normally this is not an issue, because of twin screws and VPP (the ship can adjust shaft rotation rate and prop blade angle of each screw to turn or keep the heading), but a trailing screw takes 2 minutes to come to power (60 seconds for an emergency turbine start, 60 seconds to come to power). If the tanker was being overtaken and the separation was tight, even a light turn could take it in the path of a tanker and there is no way a tanker can turn or stop to avoid a crazy Ivan.


  11. I joined and then went to a gym, for the first time in 20 years. Two days later, I am deeply regretting this.

    I did some cardio, a machine circuit, some cardio. I did not feel I had pushed too hard. My arms, chest, and back beg to differ. My legs are pretty much “We carry your heavy butt around all the time, we didn’t notice the weight lifting. We thought you were taking a nap”. I go back tomorrow — aiming for every two or three days.

    Cardio is more of a mixed bag. On a bike, it takes me almost ten minutes to hit my target heart rate. Which means I can’t stay there long as my legs get tired. If I want to get there faster, I have to up the resistance even higher, which tires my legs out even faster.

    An elliptical, on the other hand — I set what I feel is a nice, comfortable pace and my heart shoots to my maximum heart rate and the machine shuts down for my own safety. I think it’s the lack of impact — I’m moving at what would be a good sprint speed on a treadmill, but I don’t feel like I’m sprinting. Next time I’m going to work at setting a more sedate pace. I’ve been reliably informed I should aim for 5 to 7 minutes on the elliptical for awhile — my body will adjust in time.

    But good god my triceps and biceps hurt. I didn’t feel anything at the time.


      • That sounds weirdly sarcastic. :)

        But no, mostly biceps and triceps. A bit on the shoulder and chest. Hopefully I’ll get to go tonight, I might be stuck at once a week for the next few months. Which beats zero times a week but…..


        • Dude, the day after the first half mile I jogged, my sides from under my armpit to where my ribs stopped were *SCREAMING*.

          They don’t do that anymore… but I, apparently, worked out breathing muscles that had spent the previous decade cheerfully napping.


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