“It’s Not The Years, Honey…”

“…it’s the mileage.” – Indiana Jones

Yes, that is my toe starting to stick out of the left shoe. Running shoes do that after enough miles.

We were reminded at the beginning of the week that:

  1. The COVID-19 virus situation was getting worse (based on the situation in Italy and how little was being done in the US)
  2. The stock market was expected to dive even further (based on the futures market over last weekend)
  3. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named was still in the White House (which explains a LOT about items #1 and #2)
  4. We had the freakin’ time change to Daylight Savings Time to mess with our heads.
  5. There’s a Friday the 13th today! (I’m 100% ***NOT*** superstitious, truly, but hey, sometimes an omen is an omen, know what I mean?)

CONGRATULATIONS! We all survived it!

With all of that “doom and gloom” on the horizon, no one was even warning us that the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, NASCAR, MLS, and every other capitalized sports acronym on the planet was going to pull the plug.

Hell, Disneyland is shutting down! I believe that’s actually mentioned in the Book of Revelations as one of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse.

There might not be toilet paper in the stores (there probably is if you just bother to go to the smaller stores instead of Costco) but there are a gazillion alternatives – if you don’t believe me, read the words of someone much more erudite than me.

Let’s be smart as a society, even if we have a world class moron as a “leader.” Ignore what he says and listen to the actual doctors say. A key is going to be “smoothing the curve,” spreading out the growth of COVID-19 so that people who get really badly infected and need ICU beds will have them over four to six to twelve months instead of all needing them at once in four to six weeks. It’s not rocket science.

Wash your hands.

Stay home if you’re sick.

Help others in need.

Then wash your hands again. Seriously.

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Filed under Health, Photography, Sports

A Hole In The Clouds Between Downpours

It’s wet out there. A little late in the season, but it was a dry, DRY February, so we’ll take it!

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Filed under Photography, Weather

Focus

It’s hard to do right now. Focusing. Prioritizing. Thinking straight.

What a day, huh? The NBA is shut down. Dozens, if not hundreds, of universities and colleges have shut down. The NCAA’s March Madness, if played at all, will be played in empty arenas. The Mango Mussolini stumbles his way through a teleprompter speech that wouldn’t get a C- from a fourth-grade composition class, makes at least three world-class errors or misstatements in it, looks like death warmed over, and instead of rallying the country it causes a drop of 1,000 points in the overnight futures market, which means that tomorrow’s opening is expected to be a blood bath in a market already over 20% off of it’s highs of just two weeks ago.

Oh, yeah. And people are starting to die. There are worst case scenarios that have over a million dead Americans, and people already arguing over whether or not they’re actually the worst case.

It’s hard to focus, to act, to think, to not be paralyzed.

A few years back, when I was becoming unemployed for the first time in my life and not sure what the hell was coming, one of my biggest fears was the potential for ennui, for depression, for falling off the planet and not knowing how to get back on. So I started keeping track of the simple things and forcing myself to hold myself accountable. I still might fall off the planet, but at least it wouldn’t be a surprise when it happened. And the process itself, the data, the lists, helped to steer me in the right direction and not lose my way.

Somewhere early in that process I started this website. It’s never been profound, or popular, or whatever else it might have been supposed to be, but it has been an anchor. In the almost seven years since I’ve started, I’m not sure there are ten days in which I’ve missed posting something. It might have just been a picture or a lame observation or something incredibly witty and clever that no one on the planet ever noticed or read – but it got posted.

At about 03:00 last night I woke up and realized that I hadn’t pushed the “Publish” button on yesterday’s article. Nor did I get up at 03:01 and go do that. And I missed posting about four days ago just because…I forgot.

That’s one symptom. There are plenty of others. None fatal. Not super critical. None involve the fate of the world. But they’re bothersome.

As the shit hits the fan, if I get sick, or if others around me get sick, there may be days I don’t post because of that. That’s okay – I’m not Superman. But while I and my family and friends are still not sick, it would be nice to still be on top of things and in control (yes, I’m well aware that it’s a “control issue”) and not seeing little cracks in the dam.


Yesterday’s post?

It was about the thunderheads roaming the area.

 

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Photography, Weather

Calm & Courageous Lizard

Keep being courageous – keep being kind.

Avoid watching cheezy English “vampires from space” horror movies! (A mistake I made last night – how did they spend $25M on that when “Alien” was made for $18M the next year??!!)

On a walk yesterday I saw a wall lizard catching the last rays of the day.

See him? Her? It? (I’m still not big on IDing the sex of fence lizards from ten feet. Or ten inches. Or millimeters.)

By the way – did you check for rattlesnakes behind that transformer or in that tall grass before you went closer? Neither did I. Which I just realized about five seconds ago…

He’s still calm. He’s courageous. Like I want to be. Like we need to be.

Too close! Screw courage! We don’t want to get eaten! (Or worse!) No paparazzi! We’re outta here!

Courage. (Within reason.)

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Filed under Critters, Photography

Courage

We’re going to need it.

I won’t even bother repeating what I think about the current head of the US government and those around him – go to my Twitter or Facebook feed if you’re curious. Be prepared for massive amounts of profanity.

This is going to be a bad week.

I just deleted a whole big, long rant about economic crises and health crises and you can read the news yourself.

We’re going to need to keep moving forward, keep fighting, and keep watching out for one another.

This is going to be a bad week.

 

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

Uranus

Want to see it? Do you have clear skies and a pair of binoculars any evening in the next week or so?

I went out and saw it tonight. The next few nights probably will be cloudy here in SoCal, but you might get luckier.

An hour or so after sunset, go outside and look to the west. You’ll easily see Venus, it’s the brightest thing in the sky except for the Sun, Moon, and sometimes the ISS. It’s so bright that you can literally read a newspaper by it.

Raise the binoculars and put Venus on the far right side of the field of view.

(Image from Star Walk app)

Look at this image from the Star Walk app. We’re zoomed in here and the objects’ positions are similar to what I saw through binoculars. Their size is ***NOT***. The app is showing icons for the planets. They’ll both appear as pinpoints. Venus will be really, REALLY bright. Uranus will be about as bright as the other stars shown. Let’s look at the patterns and locations and positions relative to each other – it’s a map app, not photo realistic.

Got it?

Annotated image – this is your cheat sheet. (Remember, pinpoints, not icons!)

Okay, so through my slightly hazy & seriously light polluted sky I saw Venus on the right, three stars in a triangle (labeled 1 to 3 in the annotated image), and if I moved over to the left just a bit there were two slightly brighter stars (labeled A & B).

Got it?

  1. Venus on the right
  2. Triangle of much dimmer stars to the left (Uranus is the one on the upper left of the triangle)
  3. To make sure, just look a bit to the left and you’ll see two brighter stars

Uranus and Venus are moving a bit each night. They’ll be the closest tomorrow night, but they’ll be close for days and days.

Got binoculars? Got clear skies? Go see Uranus.

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Filed under Astronomy, Space

A Symptom

There is much that ails us as a society. There are many diseases, both literal and figurative, that rot us from the core.

I ran across something that I see not as one of those diseases, but merely a symptom. I don’t know how to solve it.

Charity auction, among the items are concert tickets with meet & greets with the artists.

When the winning bid on the Jonas Brothers concert is almost ten times the winning bid on the Incubus concert, we might not deserve to survive.

Just sayin’.

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Filed under Farce, Music