The Countdown

 

Asteroids by Nicholas Wilson

Asteroids by Nicholas Wilson

Scientists had first observed the asteroid months ago, but most people didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the consequences. For the first few months after the discovery people suspected some sort of impossible scientific conspiracy, like the big bang, the Higgs Boson, or global warming. Many researchers and pundits were accused of conspiratorial motivations involving a far left or far right agenda. Christian theologians began preaching the coming of the Apocalypse, as if Jesus were somehow riding into town on the asteroid like a holy space cowboy, which in turn led to a dramatic increase in prayer and salacious requests of salvation. Most assumed that between the United Nations, the global industrial military think tank, and brainy scientific literati, some sort of solution would be proposed and executed before the impending strike. Blow it up with nuclear warheads, use rockets to alter its path, blast it to smithereens by lasering into its icy core, construct some sort of giant space blockade out of plastic bags and styrofoam. Human kinds brightest minds would undoubtedly surmise some sort of solution to this impending disaster. For most life went on in a predictable and routine manner, unfazed, despite the fact that asteroid P-52637 was hurtling toward Earth at 280,000 miles per hour, and though there was a level of unpredictability in its trajectory, most models and calculations seemed to indicate it would make a direct impact somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere on December the thirtieth.

After the brainiest engineers’ plans and calculations had proven inadequate in abating the large chunk of space dust’s path, the impending impact grew closer and more unavoidable. Some people became frantic, attempting to live an entire life in the course of a couple days. Others rioted in the streets trying to seize control of their destinies while they still had destinies to seize, looting things like high end liquor, big screen TVs, and surround sound systems, so they could watch the doom and gloom footage in 1080p while they got drunk and tried to forget about it. Not that the shop owners or police cared. Some of them were looting too.

Some people tried to frantically build catastrophe shelters or spaceships in hopes of avoiding the carnage altogether. Others grew despondent and fell depressed into a sort of paralysis, a state prevalent enough to be termed the comet coma. The whole of humanity seemed to be reaching a sort of emotional apex covering the spectrum of possible responses. Anger, sadness, denial, elation, regret, apathy, forgiveness. Most, it seemed, suffered from a strange combination of all these, inducing even more instances of comet coma as the impending impact approached with its promise of blasting life as we knew into the the nether regions of space.

While some became agitated and lashed out at the cruel absurdity of it, more and more fell into their comet comas, still alive on the outside, but lifeless and empty on the inside as if they were already dead. It was an inescapable and vacuous feeling of having everything we had worked for and dreamt of and aspired to accomplish in our lives suddenly taken. Sure we all die, but this felt so much more permanent than death. Most of us hoped that even though our time on Earth was limited to this one life, some small piece of us—a memory, a child, a resume of accomplishments, an obituary in the local paper—would live on past our temporal existence.

Knowing that there would be no tomorrow for any of us somehow made today so much more valuable. I lamented the fact that it had to take this impending catastrophe to trigger this realization. I did my best to avoid the coma and the comatose pacing the streets in despair like zombies. I tried to embrace the sanctity of this moment—of every moment—before these moments spiraled to their cataclysmic end. And as that fiery ball filled the sky and reminded us all of our impending mortality, I climbed onto my roof, popped my best bottle of wine, and lifted a glass to the heavens. It had been a good run.

Cheers!

Posted for the DP Weekly Writing Challenge: Countdown

here's looking at you

Befriend the Bend

Refraction refers to the bending of a wave when it changes its medium of transmission. This bending can result in separation, compression, distortion, and differing levels of visibility. It can make small things seem bigger and far off things seem closer. It can delight the senses or confuse the mind. Even though there may be a simple scientific explanation that doesn’t mean it has to make sense.

In fact scientists are now developing simple lenses that are effectively bending light so far as to make objects seem invisible. Yet more proof that we may not always be able to see everything that is in front of us.

Posted for the DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

Dream of Life

sunrise

sunrise in Seattle

Sometimes my memories feel like dreams, and I wonder what really happened. What did I really see? I take photos in hopes I might be able to make sense of it all later. I look back at my photos to be sure that it wasn’t really just a figment of my imaginary world.

Sometimes when I see the photos I become convinced that it actually was a dream, that somehow I have attained photographic evidence that the world is not always what it seems. Sometimes the photo is more of a dream than my foggy imaginary memories. Sometimes the photo feels like proof that this life actually is a dream, which leads me inevitably to the question, can we live our dreams?

Can our dreams be real?

Posted for the DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

Signs of the Times

Motel Mt Whitney

A sign can take so many forms.  It can be a reminder, a rule, a law, or a warning. It can be a gesture, action, or graphic presentation meant to provide information or instructions. It can also indicate the probable presence or occurrence of something else, something unseen but to be expected.

The signs are all around us. I just wish I could figure out what they truly mean. I love taking pictures of signs, and have so many I could post hundreds.  But that would be a sign of something else.

Here is just a few.

Posted for the DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 12.33.13 PM

Order of the Mustache

I had tried to grow a mustache many times, but my attempts had never proven successful. I could muster no more than a sparse collection of fuzz that resembled a teenager’s sad attempts at cultivating a crumb catcher. I had grown lambchops, soul patches, chin straps, and amish beards, but for some reason the skin between my mouth and nose was a barren wasteland when it came to facial hair. At some point I had relinquished hope, and all my sad attempts were forgotten and my future prospects abandoned. It was years later that I finally tried again, despite the vehement protests of my wife. She claimed she was allergic to mustaches, but I had already resigned myself to conquer this mustache barrier. I wanted to cross this off my list of lifely accomplishments, and scratch one more item off my bucket list.

I let the little patch of skin above my upper lip go unshaven for a week, and to my surprise a mustache began to form, regal, full, bushier than a wombat doused in rogaine. No more would I be labeled a failure of testosterone or male maturity. No more would I be mistaken for a grey haired teenager with a beer belly. My manly lip turf would prove my worth to society and assuage at least one of my childish insecurities.

It didn’t take long to notice that people treated me differently with a mustache. Older women and men began calling me sir. Children respected and feared me. People showered me with looks of reverence when before they had looked at me with a combination of disdain and pity, and sometimes disgust. My mustache made me feel more important, more manly, and more relevant than ever. My posture improved, my self esteem blossomed, and my head felt inflated with helium. I floated through my errands as if gravity no longer concerned me. The men either looked at me with envy, or if they had a mustache they stroked their stache and gave me a knowing nod of approval.

The cashier at the grocery store, a bald man with a nattily trimmed mustache gave me a wink and a nod, and touched his mustache. Then he called the manager over, a man with a bushy mustache that could have easily put Magnum P.I. to shame. He placed his right finger on his nose and then stroked it across his mustache much like every other mustachioed man had done, and then looked at me expectantly. Not knowing what else to do I mimicked his gesture. He smiled and proceeded to use his manager code to take twenty five percent off my grocery bill.

mustache2.2On the way home from the store I was so perplexed by what happened at the grocery store that I blasted through a red light and was pulled over by a police officer. The man had a mustache of special effects proportions, like some sort of computer generated super-stache. It seemed to command the entire lower portion of his face, covering up his mouth and wiggling back and forth when he spoke. He approached my car, and upon seeing my mustache repeated the same gesture as the grocery store manager, a finger to his nose and then a quick stroke of the mustache. I responded in kind and he laughed and told me to be more careful. We members of the order must be cautious, he told me. We must not abuse our privilege. Then he asked if I wanted a donut. Sure I told him. He brought me one with rainbow sprinkles.

When I got home my wife noticed the rainbow sprinkles littering my mustache. Yet one more reason why mustaches are disgusting, she told me. How in the world did I get rainbow sprinkles in my mustache, she asked, crossing her arms and glaring at me.

I just stroked my mustache and told her she would never believe it.

 

 

Light at Night

 

sunset

sunset in big sur

I have been so busy getting back into teaching mode that I haven’t posted anything in weeks. Finally, an entry for the DP Weekly Photo Challenge. Some photos I took at night. Cheers!

carbon cycle

carbon cycle