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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Somebody needs to dial back the Smudge tool a bit

I was out on a marathon shopping trip this afternoon.  First to a local vet to get a replacement for the medication for Homer that my mom dropped and spilled out last night when trying to juggle a glass vial, rubber stopper, and plastic syringe all in one hand.  This itself was a mini-marathon, since I was picking up the medicine at an Emergency Vet on a Sunday afternoon, and all sorts of actual emergencies kept coming in that took priority over my medication dispensing, so that things went to "ready an hour from two hours ago" to "ready in five minutes" to finally getting the medication an hour after I arrived.

From there I crossed the soon-to-be-demolished Eighth Avenue Bridge in Wyoming (PA) and traveled on to the Harbor Freight Tools in Wyoming.  Years ago I formed an antipathy towards Harbor Freight after several bad experiences at their Dickson City location.  At that time they only stayed open at that location until 7:00 PM, meaning that anyone working the 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM shift at the nearby factory that was one of the largest employers in the region had only a brief window of shopping opportunity considering that it took at least fifteen to twenty minutes to punch out, get to your car, navigate five miles or so of highway traffic, and get to the store - only to find shelves missing the things you were shopping for, and other-than-helpful staff who would actively avoid you until nearly closing time, when they would then inform you that the store would soon be closing.  (When I suggested to the manager that they might do more business if they stayed open a little longer, he chuckled and responded "Yeah, we hear that a lot.")  On top of that, the proportion of products sold there that are made in China is higher even than in Wal-Mart, and possibly in China itself.  Still, they had a few things there at the Wyoming location that I was specifically looking for, and the staff there is much friendlier and more helpful than the lazy, surly jerks I encountered years ago in Dickson City.

On the way out of the store at 4:27 PM I noticed that the clouds looked strange:  dark and wispy, like trails of smoke or even fake clouds:


One other thing, not so obvious here:  the sun is at the upper center left in this image, and an almost-solid array of crepuscular rays are raining down to the left of the middle light post.  I have seen this sort of thing before, but it makes you wonder if this is just an optical effect, or if there is some sort of weird physical layering of cloud layers going on.

My next stop was Sam's Club in Wilkes-Barre.  I put in more time there than I did at Harbor Freight, and I snapped this photo as I left at 5:31 PM:


After that I was off to my final stop of the afternoon before heading home:  Weis Market in downtown Nanticoke.  I snapped this photo on the way in at 5:52 PM:


...and this photo on the way out at 6:42 PM:


Note that these stripes run roughly east-west.  There was one more bit of show to be seen hours later, well after sunset.  The sky was dark and cloudy, but an eerie glow like a false Milky Way ran east-west across the sky.  I have surmised that this glow was actually these same clouds, now reflecting the upward-directed lights of the Wyoming Valley below.

If I didn't know better, I would have thought that these clouds were fake, and someone needed to take it easy with the "Smudge" tool in PhotoShop.

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