28 August 2017

[map, art] A Club For Those Who Want To Map Like Jerry

Back in 2013-2014, which I documented for the record, I documented my stumbling upon the organic life's work of a man named Jerry Gretzinger, who was creating, as he went, an imaginary world, 8 x 11 sheet by 8 x 11 sheet.

It's quite large now. over 50 feet long in one direction, and his world has toured the world, being shown in museums and art galleries. At first it was said to be called "Ukrania", but the name which has stuck is simply "Jerry's Map". Since it's been a while, here's the idea: Jerry began creating an imaginary city during lulls in a tedious job. The year: 1963. The original town, Wybourne (the original tile, pictured right) grew and grew from that beginning and then, as interests do, he moved on and shelved it. Eventually, a nephew discovered the stored map, asked him what it was, and he started growing it again. And never stopped.

This is something I've done and many aspiring artists and map affectionados such as myself have copied it. To us, Jerry is a hero because he's made a true commentary on the many forms art takes ... process, evolution, accomplishment. He operates on a set of basic rules controlled and governed by his own internal logic and directed by a deck of around 100 command cards fashioned from recycled playing card decks. These cards prompt for everything from introducing new colors to generating new tiles to creating new collages on the tiles to archiving and refreshing the world. So, to my mind, like no other artist, Jerry's Map not only chronicles the change in art over time, but it chronicles the changes the artwork makes on the artist, who folds that back into the process. The changer is changing the changed, and the changed is changing the changer.

Today I stumbled on a sub-Reddit called "Mapping Like Jerry!". It's a collection of similarly-inspired and aspiring artists who, seeing what Jerry has done, are moved to create their own versions of imaginary worlds. Jerry himself takes part, joyous as the friends he's obviously made along the way.

The sub-Reddit is at https://www.reddit.com/r/JerryMapping/.

27 August 2017

[art] The 10 Commandments Of Art, Portland-style

Saw this yesterday at I've Been Framed, the Portland AF art supply and framing store that can, literally do no wrong (I've tested this):

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not exactly a commandment-based life form. But if you have to adopt a set of them, this is as good a set as I've seen anywhere.

The spirit of generosity and accommodation is ideal, and some parts of it apply to more than just art. I tender it and my observation as a humble gift to the general conversation.  

[maps] Oregon State Offical Map 1971, The Mid- and North Willamette Valley

This is a further scan from the 1971 Oregon-official state map I've uncovered. The previous map scan was of an inset-map from the back of the map, where city detail thumbnails and lovely state photographs can be found. This particular one is from the front, and is clipped from the main state map.

The ardent reader will by now have noticed the fold-marks, dark areas, and some areas slightly out of focus. All an occupational hazard when scanning maps that have spent the better part of the last twenty years folded and scanned in on a desktop scanner; please excuse the technical difficulty.

Only cities north of 30,000, give or take, are given the dignity of footprints on this map; the yellow-outlined areas are meant to give an idea of the expanse of the incorporated areas of the towns. Still, the were rather out of date at that time; the city limits detailed for Salem are more appropriate for about 1955-60, rather than 1971, which was about the time urban growth in Oregon really picked up steam.

At the time, that inaccuracy infuriated me; now, it's the most charming thing in the world, as is the kind layout, the conservative choices of colors and typefaces (especially for the larger town; the thickness and the squashed aspect ratio of that type has a subtext of cheerfulness, approachability, and friendliness.

A sort of "Oregon nice".

26 August 2017

[OR_liff] Portland-Salem Area Map, From ODOT, 1971

This I'm just posting because it's map, it's dear, it's sweet, it's nostalgic, and it's Oregon.

This is a map of the greater Portland-Salem area, the population and power center of my state, from an offical Oregon state map of 1971, from ODOT:

Everything in this is the landscape of my childhood. Even so, the city boundaries are somewhat out of date, even for them; Salem only had a population of around 68,000 (it's over 160,000 today); Gresham has topped 100K; all the city boundaries have expanded considerably.

But the roads are still largely in the same place. It's still Oregon, that's for sure. 

[design] Vintage Reproduction Folgers Coffee Can, Complete With Actual Modern Coffee

We found this little number at the Grocery Outlet store near our home; we bought it because it's cool and, won't lie, it contains coffee.

Just like drinking coffee in the 1850s
The can, if the upshot I'm getting from the design, is a reproduction of the designs one may have seen on Folgers cans back in the 19th Century day. Purchasing the can re-awakened some increasingly rustic memories of my own, such as what it was like to regularly buy coffee in cans at all, and the only words you had to know to select your coffee were terms like Chase & Sanborn, Yuban, and Maxwell House, rather than Sumatra Mandheling and kopi luwak and French roast and Starbucks.

The coffee inside? Just good, non-remarkable yet tasty, workingman's coffee. Which means it'll be no challenge to drink, and after the can's empty we shall fill it with some rusting nails and screws and leave it on a shelf in the garage to slowly rust itself while we enter our geriatric years; only to be discovered by a salvage crew in the late 21st Century, where they will take it on Antiques Roadshow 2087 hoping for a true find only to discover that it's a reproduction from 2017 and charming but not all that valuable.

God, I wish I could be alive for that.

[Oregon Eclipse 2017] Getting There Was, Actually, Less Than Half The Fun.

It's not the destination, it's the journey, so they say. Stop and smell the roses is also what they say.

I'd like to find they and give they a swirly or something. Unless they has more constructive things to add, they can keep their lips well buttoned, as far as I'm concerned. They never had to commute to and from a total solar eclipse, did they?

Another thing they said there'd be is a literal car-mageddon. They were wrong, until they were right.

From the 1971 Official Oregon
State Map, published by ODOT
Now, as I've priorly regaled, I am a child of Oregon earth, specifically, that Oregon earth around Silverton. I don't need GPS or really even much of a map if I'm anywhere north of Albany and east of Independence here in the northern Willamette Valley, God's little half-acre, and I'm pretty good at south of that too. And what they were saying was that Monday, August 21st, 2017, was going to be hell-on-wheels, provided those wheels were on an Oregon road in the mid-Willamette Valley.

Still, we went for simplicity in the battle-plan. Head as far south as we could in the time we had. We started out from Out 122nd Way at around 8:15-8:30 AM. From the research I did, I figured if we could get anywhere south of Aurora, or perhaps Mulino if we hit Hwy 213 instead of Hwy 99E, we'd be in line for some worth-it eclipse viewing. As we headed south, I had a tab open to Google Maps traffic as well as TripCheck.org, the ODOT statewide traffic site. It was looking grim then, with notable traffic slowups reporting along 99E between Oregon City and Canby in the gorge stretch of the Willamette River above the Falls, some notable slowing in the area between Canby and Aurora, and at Hubbard. Hwy 213 south of Oregon City was reportedly a long, 2-lane parking lot with an accident, which also affected our Plan C: Beavercreek Road into the backside of Molalla. Hwy 99E looked like the best bet, all things considered, so down the Pacific Highway East we went.

Strange thing, though. By the time we reached Canby and scored some Dutch Bros, it was 9:15 AM and we were a little on-edge, but here's the bizarre thing: there were no real appreciable jams or travails. As a matter of fact, it was pretty clear. In a few minutes, we were almost to Aurora, which is three miles farther down the road:

Highway 99E at Barlow Road. No poblano.

About 3/4ths of a mile beyond the last photo. Just over this
hill is Aurora. Amusingly, the yellow diamond sign
to the right there reads CONGESTION.
Our blithe sojourn into the east side of Woodburn was scant minutes away.

So the trip down went. Happy, casual, relaxed. I had heard that the expected throng at the Oregon Coast was a no-show; could it have been similar to with the mid-Willamette Valley? The signs were promising.

It was a roadside sight
on the way down, now,
we call it home
That promise was actually broken after the event. It was time to go home and everyone left at the same time. Our vantage point was at about Young Avenue and North Pacific Hwy in Woodburn, as previously mentioned. After waiting a few minutes to let the rush of the event abate we too embarked on the northward trek home. We hit the old bumper-to-bumper on before we were even half-a-mile down the road in Woodburn; it was locked and loaded from just north of the Hwy 211/214 junction, just south of the MacLaren Youth Correctional Home, to Hubbard. This two-mile distance took more than 45 minutes to cover.

There was not only time to stop and smell the roses, there was time to smell the exhaust from other cars, the seething impatience of other drivers, the interiors of other cars (but be polite, always ask first!), to lick the roadsigns and electric fences, to settle down, marry, and start a second family. People would get to Hubbard, park the car, find an apartment and just live there because, hell, they weren't going anywhere anyway. It took so long to get from Woodburn to Hubbard that when we saw this sign, I got out, signed up for lessons, completed them, and by the time the car passed the other end of the property I had three offers for concert bookings.

It took us so long to get from Woodburn to Hubbard that I learned the
piano her. I open at the Keller in December; watch this space

North of the Hwy 551 turnoff the grinder loosened up a bit but it choked back up by the time we got to the east end of Canby. 99E was stop and go from the west end of Canby to just past New Era, then broke open again, choked up a little just as we got to the Oregon City city limit at Canemah, then was stop-and-go but a little less aggravating through Oregon City's adorable-yet-claustrophobic downtown. We stopped at the Shell station by the Arch Bridge for a breather.

The distance from the spot we were, in Woodburn, to the spot we found ourselves in, in Oregon City, is close enough to eighteen miles. We had made that trip in about three hours. Woodburn to Oregon City - at an average of six miles per hour.

If a total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event, then so is that traffic. And if I ever get my hands on they, they's got some hard explaining to do.

And so it goes.

24 August 2017

[art] The Weird Dystopian Past/Present/Future of Simon Stalenhag

Looks like I may be a bit late to the party on this one, because Simon Stalenhag has been doing this for a few years now; his books, Tales From The Loop and Things From The Flood, explore this bizarre world.

But for me, the first-timer to his work, it's a viscerally-disturbing yet visually-compelling and intellectually-intriguing thing. Giant mecha stalk the landscape; inscrutable glowing monoliths dominate the skyline; legions of people wearing what seem to be VR headpieces causing them to resemble queer birds wander the landscape, apparently in thrall to some hypnosis from within them. The technology appears human, yet not-human; was there an invasion? Did some sort of technological breakthrough run amok?

The styles seem as once far future and near-past; cars and homes that came from California tracts of the 70s and 80s mix unironically with tech that seems to have come from 200 or even 300 years hence. Civilization seems to have been severely compromised but seems to function on some level; a young lady with her sidekick android explores suburban and rural homes which have been deserted and have fallen into some disrepair; perched on one item of living room furniture is a TV set from 1975. In a desert outback, great things resembling crashed spaceships decay; in other settings, mundane police investigate. Cables run from mysterious machines into houses and buildings which may or may not have people inhabiting them.

This world is full-tilt-boogie wierd, and gets at once under the skin and stays there.

His website is full with a metric f-ton of his work, and he gives you and upclose and personal look by not only posting his work but also extreme closeups of detail. The artwork looks as though it was done with acrylic, and the brushwork reminds me of Vincent diFate. So if you take diFate, add in a large helping of technological dread, garnish with retro-recent-future dystopia and a generous side of Blade Runner a'la Ridley Scott, and then amp that up to 11 on the eerie, you have this amazingly compelling vision.

The website to visit is http://www.simonstalenhag.se/.

23 August 2017

[Oregon Eclipse 2017] That Moment During Totality When Your Mind Gets Blown

I really didn't count on the emotion I experienced at the height of totality on Monday, about 10:18:30 AM. And that both bemuses and amuses me about myself.

What follows is fairly prolix and self-indulgent, so I'll forgive in advance anyone who bails now. But I discovered a valuable thing, even though I can't put it into words. Perforce:

When I was a lad, I figured I'd be some sort of scientist when I was grown. Science fiction always attracted me, as did the sky and the stars, so astronomy seemed likely. I devoured books on the stars and planets, avidly watched every space shot, drew and designed spaceships and dreamed of writing stories about exploring the cosmos with them. And, along the way, dreamed of seeing total solar eclipses.

The event of February, 1979, was a bust, in the looking-at-the-sun way. I was home from school that morning, why, I couldn't now say, but I remember sitting on the couch in my home in Salem, Oregon, watching 19th St SE in front of the house, watching the preternatural darkening, listening to the quiet that fell just like it did last Monday. Problem with February 26th, 1979 (coincidentally, also a Monday) was that it was overcast here in the great Willamette Valley, so all we saw was the darkening. My eventual hometown of Portland made the news, though; unlike this last event, the path of totality did a quick left hook through northern Idaho and Montana into Canada; Portland, Oregon, was the only major American city to be involved. Local totality was at 8:14 AM, and this being winter, it wasn't long after sunrise.

So, come up 37 years later, and here we were, all flocking down to the narrower path of this eclipse, and in an ironic twist, weather forecasters guessed that maybe August 21st, 2017 was going to be cloudy too, but it was nice and wide open and clear. And we all saw the thing, and we were hit with something we expected, but didn't know.

Mike Selvaggio, in another sly insight put it this way, graphically:

Courtesy Mike Selvaggio

My emotional experience wasn't quite exactly there, but it's largely congruent. In the general way, Mike nailed it. Look: when I was a kid, I, as I said, ate up astronomy books. I must have, by the time I was a teenager, looked at thousands of total eclipse photos and depictions and knew, as well as any layman could, what happened during eclipses. Before this, I joked a bit, took it lightly. I thought I was prepared. Well, I was - to look at another picture of an eclipse.

Watching this thing in the sky, in front of me, was something other than else.

After darkness solidified and I had got my observers foot tentatively back under me, I looked up directly at the sun's occulted disk. I saw everything they told me to be looking for: that perfectly-circular disk of black, the bright hard line of the edge of the corona, the filmy, wispy corona itself. I recall seeing a couple of little red dots, solar fires tipped along the rim of the thing, and an awareness of scale and significance and actual motion through space suddenly not only became apparent to me, it actually seemed to reach inside me and settle in. I suddenly also felt as though I was perceiving the Moon's very motion across the disk of the Sun.

Emotionally, it swept me up into a place I couldn't have foreseen. For just the briefest moment, I felt like I was watching the very clockwork of the cosmos move, with knowledge and awareness and clarity. Of course, the Moon moves, but it is, at least for me, even at best, impossible to perceive; but here it seemed as apparent as the spinning of a bicycle wheel. This had the effect of making me so awestruck that I began to fall backwards; The Wife™ remarked that she thought me about to swoon. Her arm around my back kept me rooted in reality, else, she wasn't too damned far off, actually.

I thought momentarily about relative insignificance because I, for the fleetingest of moments, had a concrete idea of my size against that the the Earth and the Moon and the Sun, and it wasn't a despairing sense of insignificance but a positive one; while it's true that compared to these great celestial bodies, I'm microbe-sized, it's okay, because that's the way the cosmos is and that's our good place in it; someone or something has to be here, in this niche, and it is us, and that's he way the whole thing is supposed to work. I felt, in a way at once prosaic and profound, utterly conscious of my physical place in the universe, and it connected me in a way this jaded observer had never been connected before.

It's amazing how much of the Sun can get
covered during an eclipse before things
get profound. Graphic courtesy Mike Selvaggio.
Anyone reading this has probably heard of the 'diamond ring effect'. It's the terminal grace note of a total solar eclipse, the point at which totality ends. As the Moon begins to move off the solar disk, a bit of the Sun's margin peeks through a lunar valley, and causes the appearance of a flare on the rim of the occulted disk, the "diamond" of the ring. The astronomical term-of-art is third contact. The flare is piercingly-bright, much mitigated by the fact that it's such a small point; then the flare lengthens and spreads along that rim, quickly becoming too bright to comfortably view, at which point the eyes must be quickly averted. Light floods back into the sky. 

After a short time of putting back together the blown mind, one may feel a little bit different. I did and I do. Commuting home from work this morning, I was more observant in a different way. The world sprang to life in a certain subliminal fashion. I was more attentive to the way things moved about in the world around me - or my attention was more quickly arrested, take your pick. And the transportive bliss I experienced at the moment was lingering, and that was the thing I hadn't planned for, the thing that picture after picture of totalities couldn't preview for me.

The memory reminds me of a study some years back which redefined the idea of what the LSD 'flashback' was. For a great long time, the popular, if uninformed, idea was that the substance lodged in the body in such a way that, every now and then, a bit of inert stuff was released back into the bloodstream and you'd experience an echo of a trip again. The study seemed to suggest that, rather than being reactivated chemical, the 'flashback' was nothing more or less than the memory of a very potent moment of altered perception. And this made sense; after all, if you remember a charged experience, doesn't it also seem to follow that the emotional and perceptive memories involved would bring you to a similar place? What are neurotransmitters but just another chemical, in this sense, another drug?

And that's the way It'll be with me and this eclipse. You have memories and you have memories, but just a few are cosmic-written-across-the-sky-bliss-out memories. I'll never forget the way that eclipsed Sun looked, and when I picture it in my mind, like a cascade, resonant notes of everything connected to it will come to the party, and I'll taste that indescribable, ineffable, unspeakably poetic bliss of cosmic scale and motion and perspective for a moment again.

I'll have flashbacks the rest of my life, but it'll be eclipse flashbacks. And I'll be a lot less jaded about some things, and since it's between me and the universe, it's something nobody can ever take away from me.

[Maps] Google Maps Traffic Records The Eclipse

Sometimes it's more interesting to take an indirect look at something amazing. And, as amazing as watching Monday's total solar eclipse was, Google's live mapping of everything that moves under the sun brought an unexpected surprise.

Nobody wired is unfamiliar with Google Maps's traffic layer. It's useful in getting the idea of how tied up a place is and for enabling anxiety in getting from Out 122nd Way to the Woodburn to view the eclipse.

No need to take my word for it, just ask my wife.

After the event (and finally home from a three-hour trip from Woodburn back to town) I was checking in on line and caught a posting from a Facebook friend, Mike Selvaggio, which showed a screenshot of the southeastern United States in Google Maps with Traffic turned on, and the following explanation:
Easy way to identify where the eclipse path has been... Just look at a traffic map of the U.S. (as for us out west, we are *still* on our way home at 4mph.)
... and there, dawdling downward and rightward from Saint Louis, a handful of stretches of interstate highway along a curving path into South Carolina stood out in slow-n-go orange and traffic-jam red within a remarkably tight corridor.

As anyone who tried to make it home in a hurry from the mid-Willamette Valley knew that day, getting there was surprisingly easy. Apparently, everyone who was going had gotten there and was just waiting for the event. Going back, though ... well, picture it's like if the State Fair or the Aerosmith concert had gotten out, only 750,000 other people went and they all hit the road at the same time. For us, an 18-mile trip from Woodburn to Oregon City along Highway 99E was done at about 6 miles per hour on the average. A historic traffic jam to match the celestial event; no shit, there we were.

Mike's observation lit a fire and, before too much more time had transpired, I fired up Gmaps and turned on the traffic and did three screenshots of my own, stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, transcontinentally. And this is what I got:

The road network out here in the Great American West is sparser, but it still provided enough points to make a line. I do note that some jammy areas exist a little to one side; well, humans are a swarming thing. We aren't neat and don't obey the discipline an eclipse's umbra is; outliers are a thing.

But it's all close enough for jazz, and makes Gmaps traffic layer an indirect lens through which to view the eclipse all across the country. There isn't a stone you don't drop that doesn't make a ripple. 

22 August 2017

[OR_liff] An Oregon Solar Eclipse Journal, 21 August 2017.

Welcome to a place whose descriptive phrase, the mid-Willamette Valley, cause my heart to sing like a finely-tuned instrument, and a minute many of us have been waiting for for rather a few years was impending.

Work let me go on time at 7:00 AM. We were on the road southbound by 8:15 AM, flying by the seat of our pants, as is our way. A number of plans danced through our heads up until now, but we knew, in our heart, the only practical one was hit the road and get as far south as we could by 10:15 AM, and that was the bones, sinew, and details of the thing. No more, no less.

At 9:40 AM, we found ourselves cruising down the main drag on the east side of Woodburn, Oregon, N. Pacific Hwy. Just north of Young Avenue, where Hwy 214 enters town, there is, wonder of all wonders - an Arctic Circle. We suddenly know where our eclipse brunch is happening. The latitude and longitude pair 45° 8' 15.468'' N, 122° 50' 36.8268'' W is near enough within a few feet where the nose of the old Subaru warhorse was parked in the parking lot, by the front door. Getting down as far as Woodburn was a boon, especially considering the traffic-ocalypse we were promised prior to the apocalypse. We saw many pullouts on our way down: the two weigh stations by the Wilsonville-Hubbard cutoff were neatly but tightly stocked with lookers, and there's a lot that the Hop Festival uses in downtown Hubbard that had happy people arrayed about in lawn chairs, eclipse glasses firmly in place, following faithfully the Horkheimer dictum keep looking up. 

On the 21st of August 2017, Hwy 99E was the place to be.

Once in Woodburn we started looking for a good parking space, which was also no challenge. When the Arctic Circle hove into view, The Wife™ squealed with delight and I found the empty parking lot most welcoming. Our meal, and our vantage, was set.

The remainder of this is a stream of pictures, arranged in the order I took them by the time coded into the metadata. The actual times may vary by several seconds, of course.

09:41 AM PDT

The view north (toward Portland) on N. Pacific Hwy.

... and the view south (toward Salem).

10:09 AM PDT. 

Our own 'pinhole camera': a square of foamcore which projected a little fingernail-shaped sliver of Sun on another white piece of foamcore ... or even the white tabletops outside the Arctic Circle.

10:12 AM PDT.

The Wife™ said she'd seen the sunlight go a little wan. I didn't see it at first, but comparing it with the first photos above, it's now kind of obvious. The sunshine is a bit off, almost imperceptibly, but it's going there. There's a sepia tone to the sunlight and the atmosphere now.

We are now about six minutes out from start of totality.

10:15 AM PDT.

I've just now noticed that the lights in the Arctic Circle's sign have come on.

10:16 AM PDT.

The contrast between the lighted sign and the environment is now more palpable. A sort of duskiness has begun to tone the sky down.

10:17:07 AM PDT.

While still quite light out, the sign lights for the business next door have come on. The dark feels as though it's an actively gathering thing. The sky is deepening to an indigo toward the zenith.

10:17:17 AM PDT.

As above, only moreso. Color is being neutralized from the world around us. There is now a strange tension in the air that I can't describe - or maybe it's just me, keyed up from the expecation.

We are just about one minute out from totality.

10:17:42 AM PDT.

The sky to the west (looking west-northwest over the Arctic Circle) seems to have acquired a delicate pall of darkness. We are  about 35 seconds, give or take, out from totality.

10:18:05 AM PDT.

It might be a subjective thing, again, but the feeling of being borne down on by the arrival of the umbra is a thing that is almost solid in the mind. Anyone who doubted that anything would happen would stop doubting now.

The visual contrast between the still-daylit (but just barely) sky and the now-energized lot lights and building illumination is so discordant that the mind begins to bend a little. On the horizon, in every direction, an orange tinge more appropriate for sunset than mid-morning.

Everything you look at contradicts itself.

10:18:20 AM PDT.

The edge of the umbra arrives at Woodburn, Oregon. The semi-darkness goes from unreal to surreal.

10:18:30 AM PDT. Totality.

It's a peculiar (in the singular way as well as the full-tilt-boogie way) darkness in the heart of the shadow. It's as dark as a moonlit night, but there is something about the darkness that it is imbued with an eerie light rather much unlike that of the full moon: it's a light inside the darkness. The air hushes, then a light breeze goes up. You feel the temperature decrease ever-so-slightly. The orange sunset is a 360-degree thing, anointing all horizons in every directions equally; you are struck with th realization that you are looking outside the shadow, which does a thing to your perceptive POV, and you realize that a mere handful of miles separate you from that area.

10:19:20 AM, PDT.

By my reckoning, we are a little more than halfway through totality. It took a few more precious seconds to find my foot in this fleeting new world than I'd like, because right now the mind is in overdrive, striving to create in the memory an indelible record of everything one is seeing.

Here, by the way, is the star performer:

It's not ideal, but for a snapshot on a digital camera taken without fiddling around with any settings, more than enough to be a lifetime's treasure.

10:19:40 AM PDT.

A tighter shot of the omni-directional sunset. A contrail glows there. The traffic signal at Young Avenue and Pacific Highway is neon in its scintillation.

10:19:49 AM PDT.

The obscured Sun competes with a streetlamp. The streetlamp is winning, for now.

10:20:05 AM PDT.

The eclipse about to do the "diamond ring", the gracenote that heralds the end of totality. We have been in the dark for pretty close to two minutes now.

During the times I wasn't snapping photos, me and The Wife™ were looking directly at the eclipsed Sun. They tell you not to look at the Sun during an eclipse, and that's true in the main. We take it as read that the Sun is incredibly bright; consider that you can have up to 99 per cent of the Sun's disk covered and it's still difficult to tell for sure that any light has been occluded at all. Partial eclipses are cool, but that's still the blinding sun, and it will damage your eyes just as surely as a totally uncovered sun will.

But once the Sun is completely occulted, and only so long as it's completely occulted, you can chance a look. One still must be careful; when you see the diamond ring, it's a few split seconds before you must look away. We watched that bead of light erupt on the rim of that perfect circle and then spread outward from there. We looked away before it got too bright.

Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun,
But Mama ... that's where the fun is.

10:20:36 AM PDT.

The light began to intensify and we're now back at a point where it's just kind of dusky.
That, and our minds are blown.

A once-in-a-lifetime thing. And if you couldn't be there, at least I could show you. It's a personal thing that will remain at the edge of my perception as long as I live now.

The drive down was - you might say - totally worth it. They don't leave total eclipses on your doorstep every week you know.

21 August 2017

[OR_liff] Oregon Eclipse Totality at 45° 8' 15.468'' N, 122° 50' 36.8268'' W, 10:18AM, 21 Aug 2017

Guess where we were today? And what we were looking at?

Here you go:

Woodburn, Oregon, about 90 seconds of totality, 10:18 AM, Monday, 21 August 2017. Not only will I never forget this, I will be having eclipse flashbacks unto, I should hope, my deathbed.

That is not as macabre a thought as you'd think. I have more pictures, they are to follow.