More information on the topics discussed below can be found on the Internet!

Custom Search

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winter Storm Stella, March 14, 2017

21 inches of snow on the front porch by noon on March 14, 2017. Snow was still coming down. Three hours later, when it seemed to have stopped, I measured it again at 22 inches.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Moon occults Aldebaran, March 4, 2017

8:51 PM. Orion, the Moon in the Hyades,and the Pleiades
Saturday night I got home too late to get an image of the thinning and widening crescent of Venus. But I did get a clear view of the Moon in the Western sky between Orion and the Pleiades - smack on top of the V-shaped asterism of the Hyades.

Image may contain: night
8:53 PM
At that point, the Moon was smack in the ridiculously symmetrical vertex of the Hyades. Its dark side - lit up dimly by Earthshine, not bright enough to be visible to the naked eye - was aimed directly at the bright star at the upper left of the V.

Image may contain: night
8:55 PM
I had to look the star's name up - Aldebaran. While I was doing that, I came across an article that stated that the Moon would be passing in front of - occulting- the star that night.

The timing didn't seem right. For New York City, the occultation was slated to begin at 11:10 PM. But the exact details of an occultation vary depending on the location of an observer on the surface of the Earth - the Moon, after all, is a three-dimensional object and is much closer to the Earth than to the star it is covering, so its position relative to the background stars will be different for different observers. Surely the event would take place sooner in Northeastern Pennsylvania?

9:54 PM
Saturday night was a cold, cold night. But I had never observed an occultation before, and I didn't want to risk missing it. So when I went out again at about 10:20 that night, I decided to stay out for the night.

10:24 PM
 That was the plan, at least.

10:38 PM
I was wrapped up pretty well. But my camera had no real protection from the cold. Cold will sap the life from a battery, at least temporarily. Even though it had been recently charged, the low battery warning started showing fairly early in the night.

The words BATTERY EXHAUSTED appeared a few minutes before 11:00 PM, and the camera shut down.

I've been meaning to get a spare battery since I got my camera. I never got around to it. But I remembered that a cold battery can be brought back to life by warming it. To get the battery out of my camera, I needed to take the camera off the tripod, remove the tripod quick-release mount, open the compartment, and pop out the battery. I did this, and started warming the battery in my cold hand.

I dropped the quick-release mount.

It went bouncing across the frozen lawn in the dark. I felt around with one hand while holding the camera in the other, which was also closed around the battery. Nothing. I could try propping the camera on the tripod - no good, not stable. I would need to go into the house to get a flashlight.

I found one. In another minute, I found the quick-connect mount, far from where I had dropped it, with just a few minutes to go.

11:05 PM

After a few shots, the battery died again.

Fine, I thought. I popped the battery out an warmed it again. I held on tightly to the mount this time. About a minute left.

Image may contain: night
11:08 PM. Aldebaran about to be covered.
And then...
Image may contain: night
11:09 PM. Aldebaran is now covered by the Moon.
Gone.

I went back in the house. A glance at the clock revealed that the timings for New York City were pretty accurate for my location, too. It also revealed that I had been outside a heck of a lot longer than I had realized. I uploaded a selection of my images, watched the opening of Saturday Night Live (with Kate McKinnon playing Jeff Sessions in the manner of Forrest Gump), started recharging the camera, and went to bed.

I suppose Aldebaran popped out from behind the Moon eventually, but I was too cold and tired to watch.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Clouds, Moon, and Venus, March 1, 2017

March came in like a transitional lamb-lion this year. The day started out warm and later turned rainy, with the promise of high winds overnight. Clouds blocked out the sun most of the day, but sunset turned those clouds golden-orange.

I was slow to photograph them. Seconds count at sunset, with each passing moment bringing different light effects. The clouds in the east burned with a bright orange-yellow, while those in the west were red and pink. I focused on the ones in the west.

Image may contain: cloud, sky and outdoor
Facing west after sunset. First glimpse of blue sky all day.

Image may contain: cloud, sky, twilight, tree, outdoor and nature
A different view of the same scene.

Image may contain: cloud, sky and outdoor
After a bit I remembered that the Moon would be visible as a thin crescent in the west. A break in the clouds revealed it

Image may contain: sky
The Moon and Venus, March 1, 2017. They had been much closer the night before, but we were completely clouded out. Fortunately the clouds broke long enough for me to grab a few images.

Image may contain: sky
The Moon, March 1, 2017.
Image may contain: night and sky
The crescent of Venus, March 1, 2017. I have never observed this before, even though it should be visible at least once a year. The crescent will become wider and thinner over the next few weeks. The zoom in this image, 42x, is the same as the zoom in the Moon image above. 

I'm heading back to work tomorrow, and will probably be in work past the time that Venus sets for the next five days. Will we have clear skies next Wednesday and Thursday? How much different will the crescent of Venus look then? We'll find out!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

July 17, 2016: Pale white disk in a pewter sky

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature
That's no moon...
Saturday, July 16, 2016, rain fell hard in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It left the ground saturated, and the air as well. The next morning a fog formed, hiding the rising sun.

I was scheduled to work that day. I went through my normal morning routine: make coffee, feed the cats, eat breakfast, get lunch together. As I washed my breakfast dishes I glanced out the window over the kitchen sink. A strange pale disk hung in the pewter-gray sky, Moon-sized but not the Moon.

I knew not to stare. Even with miles of fog and clouds attenuating the onslaught, there was still plenty of ultraviolet and infrared radiation heading into my eyes. But I wondered: could I safely take a photo of the fog-dimmed Sun?

I decided to chance it. I would use the high shutter speed setting that I routinely use for imaging the Full Moon. I would aim the camera freehand, to reduce the risk that I would burn out the imager.

I started out with the context-setting image above. In addition to shooting through fog and clouds I also had a layer of window glass between me and the Sun. Window glass inevitably has dirt on it, especially after a rainstorm. I worried that dirt might mess up any image I took. Reviewing my first shot, I saw that my fears might have been justified. There were spots on the Sun.
No automatic alt text available.
Aw, geez. Spots on my image of the Sun.
I changed position, took another image of the Sun through another part of the window. Same spots. The spots were on the Sun, not on the window.

No automatic alt text available.
Same image as above, brightness and contrast adjusted.
I tweaked the best image by adjusting the brightness and contrast to enhance what I now knew to be sunspots. Surprisingly, the image also seemed to show granules, the convection cells that break up the surface of the sun, though that could just be an effect of the clouds and fog and image enhancement. The image also showed obvious limb darkening, which is a real thing and not an image artifact.

No automatic alt text available.
SOHO image showing sunspots for July 17, 2016
I pulled up the SOHO daily sunspot image for that day and compared it to my image. Rotated about 50 degrees,  it was a perfect match. So thanks to fog, clouds, and my Nikon Coolpix p520, I had just gotten an image of the Sun, with sunspots!

NOTE: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. There are special filters that will allow you to view and photograph the sun safely, without risking damage to your eyes or camera. I was not using any of these. I got lucky because of the extreme atmospheric dimming. You might not.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The tomatoes of 2016


Image may contain: food

2016 was a bad year for blogging for me. I lost three of my animal friends - Scooter, Nikki, and Baby Boy - and I really had the wind taken out of me. I'm realizing now that I have some stories to tell from 2016. In some cases I told those stories elsewhere, on ephemeral sites like Facebook or Twitter. I'm gathering the information from those sites and presenting it here.

I didn't get seeds started until very late in the season, possibly not until late April or early May. I had picked up a packet of Better Boy and a packet Black Krim, a variety I had always been interested in due to the promise of its exotic color and flavor. Everything I read about this variety warned about low germination rates and low yields, so I decided to start more of that variety than the other.

I think I had a better germination rate for Black Krim than Better Boy. Both were started in terra cotta planters on a windowsill that would get the morning light, a spot that has given me good germination success in the past. After a few weeks on the windowsill I decided it was time to begin giving the seedlings some exposure to the outside world by placing them on the front porch (which receives sunlight from midday on) before I left for work and bringing them in at the end of the day. After a few weeks of this hardening-off, it was time to move them into an outdoor nursery, large planters with eastern exposure nestled under a Rhododendron. By early June they were ready to be planted in the yard.

I didn't dig a dedicated garden this year, and the one I had dug back in 1992, directly over a shallowly-buried gas line, has been allowed to grow over. (My last real garden was in 2006, in one half-heartedly dug next to the 1992 garden, but I haven't planted one since then.) But there are some spots that are good for planting around the foundation of the house. There is also a spot in the back yard behind the shed, rosebush, lilac, and garden swing. For years it had been in the shade of a neighbor's arborvitae growing along a chain-link fence. After some new neighbors moved in a few years ago, they removed the arborvitae and replaced them with a white plastic fence. Almost immediately weeds sprang up along the fence, big, exuberant weeds that would regrow as quickly as they could be pulled. Something was special about that location, I realized. That was where I would plant tomatoes.

I had too many.

I filled the space by the fence with Black Krim, six or seven of them.

Image may contain: plant, tree and outdoor
Black Krim tomatoes. This used to be a very productive weed patch. Some of the weeds can still be seen in the background - I haven't torn them all out yet. This is facing south-southeast at about 3:45 PM. The lilac bush is casting a shadow. The tall stake is about six feet tall. July 14, 2016
Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature
A baby Black Krim! This one is about two inches across, bigger than I realized when I saw it and the other tomato babies yesterday.
July 14, 2016

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
Another view of the former weed patch turned garden. There are six Black Krim plants here. The two biggest ones have been in the ground about five weeks, and the smaller ones have been in about three. They were all started from seed at the same time in mid-May. July 14, 2016

The south-facing side of the house receives full sunlight for most of the day, plus reflected sunlight from the house. The heat there can be horrible, and the soil along the house has been baked into lumps of light-tan clay. I had covered it with several inches of cut grass at the end of the previous year in anticipation of planting a new garden there, and now the soil seemed much more friable. I planted Better Boys on the west half of the garden, and Black Krims on the east half.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
Better Boys along the south side of the house. These get midday sun exposure, but even by 3:45 the house is casting a shadow on them. The middle one is the one I was tying up when I was stung by a hornet. As I was taking this picture I watched a hornet fly under the aluminum siding over the basement window. I'm gonna have to keep that in mind. July 14, 2016
I planted other tomatoes in odd spots. A lone Black Krim was placed along the north side of the house, which receives precious little direct sunlight, and mostly in the hours around sunset. I also planted a single Better Boy on the east side of the house, where I had once grown eight-foot-tall Chadwick's Cherries,. I put the remainder in large pots on the east side of the house in a line parallel with the south garden. 

Image may contain: plant, flower and outdoor
A lone Black Krim on the north side of the house. This one gets almost no direct sunlight, except for a few hours before sunset. It is well over three feet tall, and is nearly the size of the ones by the fence. It also has several baby tomatoes! July 14, 2016

(Note the sewer vent cap painted like a giant mushroom. )
Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
Another view of the weed patch tomato garden. July 14, 2016
By mid-August the tomato harvest had begun.

Image may contain: food
First Black Krim! (Ever!) Picked August 13, 2016.
(
The color came out too red in the photo. It was really more brown than red.)
Image may contain: plant, tree and outdoor
The Black Krims between the lilac and the fence. This used to be a very productive weed patch.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
The potted tomatoes. Better Boys in the middle, Black Krims on the sides.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
South-facing, East side. Black Krims. The one on the right was damaged when I knocked it over with a hose. I've added hose guides around it, but it never recovered.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
South-facing, West side. Better Boys.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
East-facing, mostly in shade. Black Krim.


Image may contain: outdoor
Black Krim, fence garden. Last tie is at the very top of the stake.
Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and nature
North side. Black Krim. Receives less than three hours of sunlight each day. Possibly the tallest of all.

Image may contain: plant and nature
Ripening Black Krims, North side.

The "weed garden" tomatoes grew best and most vigorously, despite (or because of?) considerable shade. The lone plant on the north side of the house grew almost as vigorously. The plants on the south side grew well, but needed the most attention; the high heat would dry them out quickly, and in the end they seemed almost stunted. So too the potted tomatoes, which also seemed to display nutrient imbalances. The lone tomato on the east face of the house grew well, but produced few if any tomatoes.

I harvested bushels of tomatoes, eating them raw, fried when green, in sandwiches, and cooked into sauce. I did not find the flavor of the Black Krim as as exciting as I had expected, and actually preferred the Better Boy for most applications. I may actually start fewer seeds this year, and may reverse the locations of the tomatoes relative to 2016. We'll see how things go in 2017!

Poem: The Winter Garden

Here's a poem I wrote back in February 2015, which was almost the end of an especially harsh winter. It's nominally about the gardeners' madness known as "The Februaries," which I have managed to resist for another year.


The Winter Garden

There's a madness that comes upon gardeners
when the Winter has worn on too long
and Spring is just out of reach

It's the reason there are so many extra seeds in each seed packet.
We call it The Februaries.

Seeds will sprout in their own time
they respond to the rhythms of the season, the length of the day,
the coolness of the night

You can't plant a tomato seed in December and expect to have tomatoes in March.
Seeds don't work like that, and every gardener knows this.
Seeds started in February have a lousy germination rate.
They will rot in the soil, and those that sprout
will produce seedlings that are weak and leggy
stretching desperately for sunlight that isn't there
waiting to be bathed in warmth that is weeks away.

Yet every year, some - many - most gardeners will give in to the madness
convince themselves that this year maybe, just maybe
things will be different.

The seeds will sprout, the seedlings will be robust,
and will grow into plants eager to be transplanted into the garden
as soon as the soil can be worked.

Weeks later, as March brings with it the promise of new life
the gardeners will look with disgust at their seed flats
empty but for a few scraggly seedlings embarrassing to view

And they will throw out the lot,
toss it into the compost,
and plant the rest of the packet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

See the crescent of Venus!

Venus, 42x zoom, February 19, 2017
Because the orbits of Venus and Mercury are inside the orbit of Earth, we can see these planets display crescent phases when they are between us and the Sun. Venus is a lot closer to Earth during these crescent phases than during other points in its orbit, so it appears much larger - to the point that the crescent of Venus can be discerned with the naked eye by keen-eyed individuals. My eyesight is nowhere near good enough for that, but the zoom feature of my camera, combined with a high shutter speed mode, has allowed me to take pictures like the one above. (For a sense of scale, with the same settings the Full Moon fills the entire vertical space of the image.)

From February through March 2017 Venus will put on quite a show in the west after sunset. Unmistakably bright, its crescent will be getting thinner while the disc of the planet itself is increasing in size - meaning the planet will maintain its brightness, even though its appearance through binoculars, telescopes, and high-zoom cameras changes dramatically. (See this page, which is continuously updated, for more information, and the full version of the table below.)

How the crescent will grow through March 2017. Source
This isn't a rare occurrence, but it's worth getting a look at when it does come along. Check it out through late March 2017!

UPDATE 1:
Venus, 42x zoom, February 24, 2017
UPDATE 2:
Venus, 42x zoom, March 1, 2017
UPDATE 3:
Image may contain: night and sky
Venus, 42x zoom, March 8, 2017.

Image may contain: night
Venus, 42x zoom, March 12, 2017.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Poem: Ora Pro Nobis

This is my first published work - that is to say, my first written piece to appear in a publication (Word Fountain, The Literary Magazine of the Osterhout Free Library, Winter 2017 issue.) I have previously had the tremendous honor of having my work appear on the buses of the Luzerne County Transit Authority as part of the Wilkes University / LCTA Poetry in Transit series, and I have of course published numerous pieces online on my own blog, Another Monkey. But this is the first time my work was submitted, selected, and published in a physical magazine that people could hold in their hands! Copies are limited but will be available at the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The entire contents of the magazine will be made available online at some point.

Ora Pro Nobis
Harold Jenkins

Between the worn wooden pews
parishioners in a double row
approach the priest to take Communion
rocking with each step

Fewer every year
thinner, fatter, grayer, balder
fewer baptisms, more funerals

No more bazaars to mark the end of summer
with Polkas and bingo and beer
No more ancient pipe organ playing the hymns
sung in the tongue of the people who built this place

Storybook saints line the walls
silent in their stained-glass windows

A dragon hides behind the robes of a Pope
looks warily at the armored figure in the next window over
Does he wonder what fate awaits him
when the pews are empty and the organ falls silent?

He does not. He is colored glass and paint.
It does not matter to him
if in a few years he is a storybook window in a church far away
or shards of colored glass in the rubble
of a church that used to be.




Saturday, December 31, 2016

Poem: 2016 is over, and what have we learned?

I wrote this poem after I got to the Be Daring Open Mic at Adezzo in Scranton on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. The first two verses were already in my head, as well as the fourth and fifth. The third was put together while listening to Fresh Air on the way up to Scranton. The sixth needed to be there. The ending was totally stolen from Tiffany Ryan Bates, formerly of the blogs SuperTiff and If I Were Queen of the World.


Update, 1/1/17: This isn't the poem I originally intended to write. That one would have been much angrier. But I've done angry poems before, as recently as last month, and I didn't want to dwell in the anger. The theme would have been "Screw You, 2016," which was too similar to stuff I've done before. It would have featured this bit, which is about as far as I got with it:

You took David Bowie
Leonard Cohen
three of my cats
two of my friends...

Then I thought about it a bit. The losses of Scooter, Nikki, and Baby Boy were devastating, as were the losses of a woman I had known who finally succumbed to the traumatic brain injury she had sustained in a car crash months before, or the death of another friend, a hilarious and brilliant and infuriating and generous and materialistic pork-loving Jew whose big heart finally gave out. All these losses and more, much more. Losses sustained by me, unknown losses by listeners and readers, losses opening up realms of grief and pain...I decided that wasn't what I wanted to say about the year. I didn't want to dwell in grief and pain and so much sorrow, either.

So I asked myself: Is there anything positive I could say about this year? Any particular that could be related as a universal, any universal that could be related as a particular, that would be in some way encouraging and uplifting?

This is  what I came up with.


2016 is over, and what have we learned?

David Bowie taught us that it's OK to be ourselves
whoever or whatever we are
and when we get tired of being ourselves
it's OK to become someone else
and be that person, too

Leonard Cohen taught us that it's never too late

he didn't get started in music for his first third of a century
and spent the next five decades becoming
the most loved and respected musician of his time

Carrie Fisher let us know

that we don't have to hide our illness
or our battles
We can be open and honest and damned funny about it
That princesses can kick ass and shoot straight
strangle the bad guy
and sometimes kiss their brothers

Bernie-or-Bust folks taught us

that if you work real hard you can achieve your goals
even if you have no plan for what to do when you get there

Donald Trump taught us a lot of things

that it's not enough just to be right
you have to be able to convince others that you're right, too
(I expect he'll keep teaching us lessons
for the next four years or so.)

The Ghost Ship taught us to always know where the exits are

know how to get out of whatever you've gotten into
that if the place where you've come to party looks like a deathtrap
maybe it is

2016 taught us many things

time is fleeting
tomorrow is not guaranteed
love the ones you love while you have them here
and keep on loving them after they're gone
use your breath to tell them you love them
tell them now
now
now
not one bad thing can come from that

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Poem: Some thoughts on the outcome of the 2016 U.S. General Election

I started writing a post about the 2016 presidential election a while ago. What the turnout was like at my polling place (unusually heavy), what it was like to cast my ballot, the vibe I got from the other people in line...the creeping horror of watching the results come in from North Carolina, and Ohio, and ultimately Pennsylvania, and realizing that the worst-case scenario was coming to pass...

I tried, but I couldn't.

Trump won. Trump won the Electoral College, the result that counts. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote - at the time of this writing, by a margin of over 2.5 million votes - but that doesn't count for anything but bragging rights. Trump doesn't have that. Trump will always have to live with the fact that the majority of voters wanted Hillary Clinton. He does not have a mandate. I don't think he'll give a damn.

There's plenty of blame to go around. I voted for Hillary. I argued for her online. I confronted people who posted anti-Hillary memes yet still somehow considered themselves anti-Trump. That wasn't enough.

I have friends who went out and knocked on doors and made phone calls and busted their asses trying to convince potential voters to vote for Hillary Clinton. I didn't do that. If I had, would that have made a difference? Probably not. If a thousand other people and I did that throughout Pennsylvania, would it have made a difference? Possibly. But just Pennsylvania would not have made a difference. Other states would have needed to have gone blue as well.

What happened?


It will take a while to analyze all the data. My first thought was that the people who voted for the first time ever for Barack Obama in 2008 (for the FIRST! BLACK! PRESIDENT!) and for the second and last time for Barack Obama in 2012 (in lower numbers) didn't bother to turn out for Hillary Clinton in 2016 (just like they hadn't bothered to turn out in 2010 or 2014 to give Barack Obama a Congress that would work with him rather than against him at every turn.) But it may not have been as simple as that. Many longtime Democratic voters flipped for Trump this time, including many in Luzerne County, where I live. This simultaneously lowered Clinton's vote totals while raising Trump's. In effect, these "turncoat" Democrats did double damage compared to Democrats who stayed home or Republicans who voted for Trump.

Stay-at-homes had a big impact. Despite the unusually heavy turnout I encountered (which, it turns out, was 2-to-1 in favor of Trump in a city that has consistently voted Democrat), overall turnout is alleged to have been the lowest in twenty years. Why did people stay home? Some, apparently, because they hated both candidates so much that they wanted no part of either of them getting elected, and decided that they were fine with whoever won - but would deny any culpability for either candidate's victory.

Others, I hear, decided to stay home because they figured Hillary had it in the bag. I find that hard to believe. While at times it seemed unbelievably preposterous that anyone would be stupid enough to vote for Trump, it was pretty clear that he had plenty of support. Even if you assumed (as I did) that many of them were just loud-mouthed idiots who were making the noise of a dozen or more actual voters, anyone who took the election seriously knew that there was a possibility, however remote, that Trump might win.

I don't think most people took that possibility seriously. I think the people pumping out Hillary Hate until the last moment thought that, come the morning after, they would be sneering at the stupidity of all the sheeple who voted for Crooked Lying Hillary Clinton. The Bernie-or-Bust types and Stein and Johnson voters figured that they would sit back, curse the Hillary supporters, and spend the next four years reaping the benefits of her Presidency while throwing rocks. I don't think even Donald Trump himself thought he would win; in his final speech the night before Election Day - actually, the morning of Election Day - he sounded sheepish and tired, a man who had put in a lot of effort but who was finally accepting that he wouldn't win. I think he and his supporters had plans for the next four years, and they didn't involve embracing Hillary Clinton as President or adopting the position of a loyal opposition working with her cooperatively to further best interests of the United States.

He won. She lost. Democrats didn't take the Senate, or the House, either. And despite the fact that he clearly lacks a mandate from the voters, Donald Trump will be appointing Supreme Court justices with little-to-no opposition from Congress.

So.

For three weeks I've ranted and raved about this outcome. None of that will help. I expect that Julian Assange has another Wikileaks release coming soon, one which will cast serious doubt on the legitimacy of Trump's victory. Whether this release comes before or after his inauguration probably depends on which one Vladimir Putin decides will create the maximum chaos.  But I managed to distill my anger into a single poem. Anyone who has followed me on Facebook since the election will recognize elements of my posts and comments in this piece. It was first presented at the Be Daring Open Mic Thanksgiving Edition at the Cafe Adezzo in Scranton, PA on November 30, 2016.


Some thoughts on the outcome of the 2016 U.S. General Election

America, you fucked up.

Two-hundred and forty years since you declared your independence,
seventy-five years since you joined a war against fascism,
you turn around and hand your country to Fascists.
Not just the presidency, no, that wan't enough.
You gave them the congress, both damn houses
and threw in the Supreme Court to boot.

Trump voters, I ain't even mad at you.
Not much, anyway.
(Well, that's a lie.)
Fish gonna swim, birds gonna fly,
folks like you gonna do what folks like you gonna do.
You won. You own this.
For the next four years, whatever happens is on your head.

Busters? Hey, I liked Bernie, a lot.
I was gonna vote for him in the primary.
Then I got a look at some of the crap y'all were posting.
You swore up and down that Hillary would never win.
And guess what? You did it! All those "dank memes" paid off!
Congratulations!
Now what?

Stein and Johnson voters?
Yeah, you tried real hard.
Too bad your candidates didn't win.
Did you really think they had a chance?
Or were you just making some sort of noble gesture?
Well, you did your part for the cause.
You helped get Trump in office.

Stay-at-homes?
Boy, you had it tough.
Sit on your ass instead of stand on your feet.
You could have made a difference.
Instead, you just stepped aside and let Trump win.
You get the most blame of all.
You did nothing, and let evil triumph.

The rest of us?
You're probably as tired and pissed-off as I am.
We can't just crawl in a hole and hide.
Two years til we can take back congress.
Two more after that til we're done with this jackhole.
We've gotta fight, and keep fighting
and remind everybody else
that even if they fucked up this time
they get a chance to atone for what they've done.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tunnel and bridge on Dundee Road, Hanover Township

Dundee Road is a narrow two-lane road in Hanover Township, Pennsylvania that runs between Middle Road on the south and the Sans Souci Parkway on the north. I rode this road many times as a child in my grandfather's car, and my uncle's, and my mother's and father's, too. The road passes through a tunnel and under two ancient bridges, as well as under Route 29.

This road was rarely taken out of necessity. It's a scenic route, flanked by trees on both sides.  We would take it on Sunday drives, fun outings sometimes culminating in visits to the cemetery where my family is buried. It was a tradition that whenever we went through the tunnel we would beep the horn to hear it echo.

For as often as I traveled this road as a child, I rarely took it as an adult until a few years ago, when I realized it was a convenient shortcut on my commute to work. Traffic and road conditions are inconsistent enough that I never trusted it on the drive in, but it was a fun and nostalgic route to take on the way back. And sometimes the afternoon sun would light up the trees in a way that was simply amazing.

Dundee Road is currently closed to through traffic, and is scheduled to be closed through 2019 so it can be used as an access road for a large-scale construction project - a project I fear may include removing these old, decrepit, and obsolete bridges, and possibly the tunnel as well. I have long wanted to get these photographs, but for a small connecting road it sure gets a lot of traffic. Even today, I had to step out of the road to let a parade of construction vehicles drive through, and then had to get out of the tunnel in the final photos when a truck drove up behind me. 

The first three photos show the view after you go through the tunnel from the Sans Souci side. I don't know if this was a foot bridge, a rail bridge, or some other sort of bridge.




The next two shots are the view of the same bridge from the other side. I had to step out of the road while taking these images so several construction vehicles could rumble past.




Here is the tunnel seen from the south side looking towards Sans Souci. I took this from a side road into a small housing development - a relatively safe spot to take a photo of a tunnel.


It's somewhat less safe to take a photo from inside a tunnel, even on a road that is mostly closed to traffic.


And it is considerably less safe to adjust your camera's settings while you are stopped in the tunnel to change the settings to favor proper exposure of the scene at the end of the tunnel over the interior (and interior graffiti) of the tunnel. 



So when you hear a truck roaring up behind you and realize that storm clouds rolling over the sun mean you've lost your light, it's time to call it a day.