Quadrantid Meteor Shower

In the wee hours between January 3rd and 4th, the Quadrantid meteor shower will peak. Between a storm building up cloud cover and an early morning Monday, I may not be able to actually watch this. This live feed might be a good alternative, though, since it’s both elsewhere and earlier. Yay for remote viewing options!

The Quadrantids are delightfully weird. They’re named for a constellation that is no longer recognized. The stars still exist, of course. Essentially, we stopped telling that story and started telling a different one. The Quadrantids, blazing across a space that used to have a formal name, are astronomical relics of a story that got lost.

Perihelion Today

During my sunrise time search for New Year’s, I stumbled on this description of a perihelion. Today, Earth is at its closest point to the Sun. It’s a separate issue from day length and season: distance instead of tilt. I had probably heard the term before; I forgot.

Upon relearning it, a corner of my brain started waxing lyrical about elliptical orbits. Drifting away, then circling back in again. It’s an idea I like. I’m the sort who will focus intense attention on something for a while, then wander off to think about something else. What makes it different from just losing interest is how I often swing back around to that thing again.

Video games, half played in a few days, will get picked up for round two months, even years, later. Hobbies learned and abandoned catch my interest again, and all the carefully packed-away supplies are broken out. Ideas percolate slowly. Interests wax and wane (to drift with my astronomical metaphors slightly).

How do you recognize the difference between a permanent loss of interest and a temporary one? What things have you drifted away from? What things have you refound? What other old interests might still be waiting, getting closer to the light again as time goes by?

Experiment with Temporary Tattoos

The company Momentary Ink will create temporary tattoos out of uploaded art, letting you try out a design before committing.

I don’t have any strong desire for a tattoo myself. The cost is prohibitively high for most ideas I would consider worth the effort. Getting to play with a sheet of temporary tattoos, though, for a really reasonable price tag? Hell yes! Would also be an amazing option for cosplay and other costume uses.

Crossposted: http://joycesully.tumblr.com/post/136396655208/roachpatrol-notyourexrotic-styliferous

West, East, Last Light, First Light

To the West, cattle and the end of a year.
To the West, cattle and the end of a year.
first light of 2016
To the East, frost and a new start.

I’ve been idly tinkering with the idea of taking more photographs lately–an impulse that hits me every few months. I had seen someone else post a photo of the final sunset of 2015 in their area, so I thought I’d do the same. The sun had already gone down, and so it ended up being the last light of the year for me.

Of course, then I got the clever idea to get the first light of 2016 as well. Which is why I hauled my warm, vulnerable carcass out of bed at 6:45–having consulted a calendar of such things–to catch the first pastel glow behind the frosted fields and hills.

Of course, it wasn’t exactly light yet at that hour. But I needed the extra time to don the approximately forty-two layers of clothing needed to go outside. It was 26 degrees F, and I am still Southern California born and bred. That is not a temperature I endure without assistance.

From indoors and under-blankets:

Happy 2016!

From “The Witch’s Son”

IT CAME AS only a small disappointment and no surprise at all to the witch when her son announced he would set off on an adventure. “I will become a great hero, if only I can find some monsters to defeat,” he said, sixteen and still green as a sapling. “May I please have a lunch for the journey?”

Certain traditions refuse to be set aside lightly. The witch had been careful to pick a suitable location to build a typical cottage. In an oak forest, the trees all draped in moss, the cottage looked like something abandoned and forgotten since its first completed day. Far enough from any village that it took good, honest effort to reach it, the cottage attracted only the truly desperate.

The witch dealt in desperation: the unhappily married and the terminally ill and the ancestrally cursed. The witch maintained a decent reputation for indecent deeds. She got a child by illegitimate means and raised him with the intention of passing along her ways. It was very much the ordinary way of doing things.

Tradition, however, knows well to fear the willfulness of youth, for nothing in all the world has felled it faster than a green and wild dreamer. Despite her best efforts, the witch’s son had no mind for magic. He sooner tried to balance stacks of grimoires on his head than read them. Lessons in the uses of herbs ended with the plants trampled by his ever-running feet. He scared birds and beasts away with his battle cries and waving wooden sword. He refused to see or hear, touch or smell, so busy searching for the world he missed it entirely.

The witch knew he would not be deterred, and he was too proud to take the protections she could offer. While he talked himself breathless about the adventures in store, the witch packed him food for many days, clothing, her best and sharpest knife, flint and tinder: all the things he would need and would not think to bring. In the deepest, most lint-padded corner of the pack, she buried a charm.

“He is a fool,” she whispered over it, voice drown out by her son’s chatter, “but he is mine. Keep him safe. Let him go unnoticed where he may, let those who would do him harm keep their distance, let any who attack him be made weak.” The witch sent her son off with a full belly, a kiss, and that blessing, as much protection as any mother may grant.

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