My account of the Total Eclipse of August 21, 2017

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It was very hot. We found a country cemetery (Ingram Hill Cemetery, outside Harrisburg IL) on a hill at the last minute. It had shade trees as well as open spaces, and a beautiful view. The great hills of Shawnee National Forest rose in the distance. A huge storm cloud hovered in the east. We’d been anxious that morning about clouds; the radar showed scattered rainstorms. There were other clouds around the horizon, but over our cemetery was all clear.

The eclipse was in progress by the time we got there. We wouldn’t have guessed; it was bright and hot. My weather app said “feels like 104F.” Just sitting in ____’s non-air-conditioned car was exhausting enough for me to break open my emergency electrolyte drink. We sat under a tree and walked out from time to time to gaze at the eclipse-in-progress with our Schnuck’s mylar-and-cardboard glasses. I pressed mine over my sunglasses and saw a fat crescent gradually get slimmer.

After a while everything looked the same, except I could take off my sunglasses. There was a puzzling, “is it getting dimmer? I can’t tell” period. Then we could tell: it was getting dimmer. Soon the quality of light was similar to late in the day, except it was coming from directly overhead. The shadows weren’t long, as you’d expect. The crescent was very slim now. We marveled at how bright the sun still was in spite of being mostly covered.

My eyes felt confused, like my irises were twitching open and closed trying to find the right level. The light was from overhead, but got dimmer and dimmer. ____ said it was like moonlight, only warmer and brighter.

Then, suddenly, it got dark. Not “very” dark, not night-time dark; just-after-sunset dark. The clouds on the horizon glowed pink and orange. Overhead was dark blue. We couldn’t see any stars or planets, whether because our eyes hadn’t adjusted, or because a mid-day eclipse with the sun at its zenith doesn’t darken the sky enough, we still don’t know. The corona was exactly like the pictures, except brighter. It was white-hot bright. The moon was a black disc. It looked like an eye in the sky.

Per other accounts, I kept saying “oh my god” as I looked around the
darkened landscape with a sunset directly overhead. Listening to myself I sounded like I was having sex for the first time.

Every day I unconsciously (and occasionally consciously) orient myself to the rays of the sun. It’s like sensing gravity: gravity is always “down,” whether you’re consciously paying attention or not. Sunlight is always coming from the sun, its qualities – strength, color, direction – always indicating where the sun is. The eclipse gave every indication the sun was setting, but it was directly overhead. It was wonderfully disorienting, as if gravity itself shifted and we were floating.

Then the shadow passed and it was suddenly brighter again, though very dim for mid-day. We put our eclipse glasses on again and saw the thinnest crescent, but that was enough to change everything back to day. The shadows returned, and soon the regular mid-day chorus of birds and insects did too. We marveled, stunned and delighted and moved, at what we had just seen.

Gradually we felt the temperature rise. We’d barely noticed the oppressive heat subside, until it came back. We chatted with some of the local people who had taken in the eclipse at the cemetery near us. Fortunately no one blared music, and although we weren’t completely alone, we had a lot of space to ourselves.

Then we drove home.

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Total Eclipse

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It looked kinda like this.

God-Mother

God-Mother from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Here it is, the intro/prologue to Seder-Masochism. Uploaded at 1080p instead of 4K because I’m sure I’ll fuss with it still.

It is by far the slowest-paced thing I’ve ever animated. Be patient. Best at full screen.

Animated in Moho Pro.

Stills:

Denkou_01-03_15 - Frame 1192_1920

God-Mother_sun_orobourus_1920

God-Mother_bird_sun

God-Mother_fish_1920

God-Mother_deer

God-Mother_horses_1920

God-Mother_hands_1920

God-Mother_forest_1920

 

More horse gifs

Horse new2_2 Horse new2_1

I spent all day grappling with a bug in Moho. It was distorting shapes on duplicate layers, making it impossible for me to do my work. Hours and hours spent banging my head into a wall. I submitted a bug report and the corrupted files and…the techs could’t see the distortions. And in fact, when I re-opened my files, the distortions were gone, even though they were absolutely there before. I made new files and the same distortions occurred. But when I quit Moho and reopened the very same files – that were absolutely distorted and not just in the work area, but on renders too – the distortions were gone. So I finally have my workaround, and it only took a day of agony and despair.

Now I can duplicate layers again, so here are some horse gifs.

Men

Man2_3

Goddess Tree

 

Stouter, better:

  Stouter,

Continue reading Goddess Tree

Snake Seed Sprout

Continue reading Snake Seed Sprout

Snake Plants

Continue reading Snake Plants

Splash

Stylized splash made in Moho.

Variation:

 

Stylized splash made in Moho. Variation:

Continue reading Splash

Goddess of the Fishes

Continue reading Goddess of the Fishes

School O’ Fish

Continue reading School O’ Fish

Swimming Goddess

Moho Pro drives me crazy sometimes, but things like the above are easy as pie. Easier than pie, even.

Moho Pro drives me crazy sometimes, but things like the above are easy as pie. Easier than pie,

Continue reading Swimming Goddess

Herds

Continue reading Herds

Floaty Dreamy Prehistoric Horse

More Moho, which I like a lot more since abandoning “target bones”. I realize floaty dreamy movement is usually a rookie mistake, but in this case I’m trying to make the animals look floaty and dreamy. I actually need to make the deer and rhino more floaty and dreamy. The bear I have to make over from scratch.

More Moho, which I like a lot more since abandoning “target bones”. I realize floaty dreamy movement is usually a rookie mistake, but in this case I’m trying to make

Continue reading Floaty Dreamy Prehistoric Horse

Deer

What I’m learning in Moho Pro: Target Bones are more trouble than they’re worth. No target bones on this deer, less automation and more control.

What I’m learning in Moho Pro: Target Bones are more trouble than they’re worth. No target bones on this deer, less automation and more

Continue reading Deer