Eclipse!

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:55 pm
allekha: (Tibet~)
Here in Greenville, the weather held. We claimed a nice spot by the river, a little while before the eclipse began, and I enjoyed playing with some new lenses for my phone camera and splashing in the water to cool off, reading more Genji. It was hot, but we'd brought umbrellas (unfortunately, I left my real parasols at home) and water in a cooler and plenty of sunscreen and even a couple of folding fans, so we were fine.

And then it started, and I kept going into the river to look at it through some sun binoculars, taking breaks to read more. Here and there the sun was covered by clouds for a few minutes, but for the most part it was beautifully clear. After a while, it was noticeably dimmer. My dad and I went across the river to go get ice cream (which turned into getting frozen yogurt for the three of us) and got back with about ten or twelve minutes to spare before totality. There were no clouds threatening the view, and the leaves were making pretty crescent shadows. Everyone was buzzing with excitement. (Everyone was also using proper eye protection \o/)

I didn't manage to finish eating before the moon really started coming to cover the last sliver. It was so strange to watch the light dim - of course it got darker, but it wasn't darker like at sunset, where the world goes paler and blue; it was like someone had just turned a dimmer switch down on the sun, with the colors intact. I kept thinking about how these eclipses probably freaked out a lot of pre-modern societies. Honestly, even I, who would be able to give a good explanation of the mechanics behind eclipses, complete with diagrams, without having to look anything up, was freaked out. The light was just unnatural.

Someone put up a cheer for science. Someone cheered, "Go, moon, go, moon--". I watched through the binoculars as the moon inched in that last little bit, and then it was gone and I couldn't see anything until I dropped them.

It really was not an experience that can be properly put into words, or seen in a video, or in those pretty photos of the corona shining around the moon. The air was dim and cool and the sky was pale and yellow at the edges, and I absolutely could not tear my eyes from the sun and moon. It was so awe-inspiring that I started to sob looking at it, this spectacular coincidence of our moon being just the right size to make the sun go away. It was so beautiful. It was one of the most magical, lovely things I've ever seen.

People shouted warnings. We went back to safe viewing. People cheered again as the sun started to peek out once more. It was still dim enough that my mom and I, who have sensitive eyes, could sit and look around in the sunshine without our sunglasses. In true Millenial fashion, I took a selfie with her to commemorate the occasion.

I understand how people become eclipse chasers, now. I'm hoping to make the 2024 one. My mom has thrown out the possibility of us trying to see the Antarctica one in 2021, if all works out. It was 100% worth three days of travel to come see (though as my dad pointed out, at least I didn't have to drive).
allekha: (Default)
Merry Christmas to all of those who celebrate it! (And if you don't, I hope you enjoy any other winter holidays you may celebrate.)

My family had a good, quiet time - it was just the three of us, and we put on the Nutcracker music while we opened presents. Some were practical (my mom got a new pot; my parents got me a chargeable handwarmer) and others not so much. There was a lot of chocolate. So, so much chocolate. On top of the Christmas cake, too (a new tradition ever since my mom and I had one when we spent Christmas in Japan). My dad received three books - The Undoing Project from me and Euclid's Elements and the new translation of Principia Mathematica from my mom, so a bit of light winter reading. I got the Avatar: the Last Airbender coloring book and a set of colored pencils to try out on it :D Plus another Japanese vegetarian cookbook.

My mom had told me to get a clock for them since the one in the kitchen had stopped working, and apparently she told my dad the same thing, so now we have a practical clock in the kitchen, and a decorative one sitting in his office waiting for us to find it the right spot. It has golden ratio spirals in the background and complex equations for each number, so it's a biiiit harder to read than the normal clock. Though it's much more interesting to look at.

Dinner was nice, eggs on toast and fruit salad and of course the Christmas cake, paired with raspberry-honey mead I brought with me. I started buying mead on a lark because I wanted to know how it tasted, but it turns out I like it and my mom just declared that she likes it more than wine, haha. And we Googled and found out that there's a local meadery twenty minutes away! They're only open three days a week; I wonder if they sell anywhere else in the state.

Z went and got me the whole (!?!) hardcover set of Avatar comics that are out so far, so, wow. <3 He also wrote a very nice note on the back of a Pathfinder character sheet for Yuuri <3 <3 Must find a way to integrate that into a game.

Speaking of Z, he made it safely back home. While he was here, we had a good time going around the area and eating local ice cream. I gave him a full tour of the campus here (much bigger than the one where we're studying) and we had a nice walk at my second-favorite park. And yesterday especially we worked on our Yuri on Ice cosplays - sanding and painting our experimental silver crystals for his costume and continuing adventures in dyeing fabric. We wanted the fabric under the mesh on Yuuri's costume to fit his skintone as well as possible and it was way too light; after putting a little dye in at a time, on our third try we dumped the entire rest of the bottle in and gave it an extra fifteen minutes, which did the trick. And now I have a dye pot! I've wanted to try dyeing fabric for forever.

I uncurled the wig I got for young!Victor yesterday (couldn't find a bangless straight one in the right color), which, for future reference, took just under two and a half hours and lead to sore hand muscles. It somehow feels even softer now - I love the wigs from this company - and as someone who had never so much as touched a hair straightener before (I have long hair, so I need to avoid damaging it), it amazes me that people actually use them on their hair. I was dampening down each section before straightening it and the straightener - on its lowest setting - was hot enough to turn the water into vapor. Yikes. No wonder it damages hair. Today I also used the straightener to undo the part and pull all of the hair back. It's now ready to style, which I'll do whenever the fake roses I ordered get here and I've made them into the crown.

The weather was nice today - relatively warm and sunny - though I slept through my chance to go for a run. Oh, well. I'll do some exercises tonight instead, and then try to get writing done now that I have the time.
allekha: (Default)
Some good news, now:

I just got my acceptance letter to the university that I really wanted to get into!!

I got into the honors program too!! Which accepts 400 out of 22,000 applicants.

Grinning like mad here.

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allekha

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