Tasty Tasty Words

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

― Beatrix Potter

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

A Teeny Tiny Thimble

Today I give you a funny animal photo, because it’s Monday and my current levels of inspiration could fit into a thimble.

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Photo by Nitty Ditty on Unsplash

Ever Curious

My mother, ever curious, wanted to know what all the “green comet” fuss is about. Here’s a quick guide to C/2022 E3 (ZTF), a visitor last welcomed to these parts by Neanderthals.

A lot has changed since then!

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See a rare green comet closest to the sun on Jan. 12 in livestream | Space

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs (NASA JPL) gives the period of this comet as 50,000 years. This means the last time the orbit of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) brought it so close to the Earth, our planet was in the midst of the last glacial period or “ice age” and early Homo sapiens and Neanderthals still shared the planet.

Pretty pictures: A dazzling green comet has stargazers thrilled in amazing photos | Space.

How to Watch the Green Comet During the New Moon – The New York Times

Comets are clumps of dust and frozen gases, sometimes described by astronomers as “dirty snowballs.”… 

“They’re alive,” Laurence O’Rourke, an astronomer with the European Space Agency, said. “When they’re far from the sun, they’re sleeping, and when they get close to the sun, they wake up.”

[Nothing to worry about then. It’s fine!]

To catch the comet, look north.

On Jan. 21, the night of the new moon and thus the darkest skies, the comet will be close to Draco — the dragon-shaped constellation that runs between the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper.

Over the following nights, the comet will creep along the dragon’s tail. And on Jan. 30, the comet will reside directly between the Big Dipper’s “cup” and Polaris, the North Star. If you’re accustomed to finding the North Star by following the two stars on the end of the Big Dipper’s cup, then you should be able to spot the comet. Simply scan that imaginary line until you see a faint smudge.

For anyone living above the 35th parallel — imagine a curving East-West line running from North Carolina through the Texas Panhandle out to Southern California — the comet will be visible all night starting Jan. 22.

So C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is going to be visible for a while, but you might need binoculars. What did the Neanderthals think of it and its dramatic green halo, I wonder? 

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Photo by Huper by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Unexpected Overwrite

What kind of day is today? The kind where I discover that at some point during my recent computer update, several important files were overwritten by earlier versions of themselves.

Sure, that’s the stuff of fiction, and authors could have a field day building a world where people can buy younger versions of themselves. In my case, however, I wouldn’t want to slough off a decade of experience and I really didn’t want to lose three months of data. 

Happy news, however! I am paranoid about such things (the data part, not the “waking up to find that someone has siphoned off years and you’re left to bumble around in a world that has moved on without you” part). 

Backups. I have many (many) backups. One of them came through.

I spent too long rescuing files from the depths of this software update, but 1) rescue them I did, and 2) I came up with a fun new story idea. So it’s all good:)

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Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash

Passport to Wonders

“Libraries are a force for good. They wear capes. They fight evil. They don’t get upset when you don’t send them a card on their birthdays. (Though they will charge you if you’re late returning a book.) They serve communities. The town without a library is a town without a soul. The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance. Libraries are the torch of the world, illuminating the path when it feels too dark to see. We mustn’t allow that torch to be extinguished.”

― Libba Bray

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Photo by Ran Ding on Unsplash

Seriously, Though…

Where has this day gone? Despite constant motion since pre-dawn, I have accomplished exactly two of the many things on my list for today. Ok, fine, three if I stretch it. It’s time to buckle down and finalize the edits on this story.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

― Alexander Graham Bell

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Photo by Romain Vignes on Unsplash

Go Play

“You are perfectly cast in your life. I can’t imagine anyone but you in the role. Go play.”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Photo by Cleyton Ewerton on Unsplash

The Ground Beneath

Research for my supervillain lair: Welcome to Volcano Roots – volcanoroots.org

Scientists have been trying to image the intricate plumbing of volcanoes to help understand their dynamics and better predict eruptions… and plan better supervillain lairs. 

They didn’t really say that last part. But they should have.

As an example, here’s a handy explainer showing the depths beneath Santorini, a beautiful but geologically unstable Greek island in the Mediterranean. The graphic shows why.

Santorini and Kolumbo

It also tries to give a nod to the volcanically disrupted Minoan culture, late of Santorini, but the Latin placeholder text is less than useful. Here’s a link to help with that: Santorini 1600 BC and the End of Minoan Civilization.

If you have a chance to visit the island, I recommend it. Because nothing says a supervillain lair can’t be pretty.

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Photo by Tânia Mousinho on Unsplash

Work’s Progress

Today’s post-day job project is to start editing the final proof of my Writers of the Future story. Because words are magic, even when they have typos.

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Photo by Tetiana Shadrina on Unsplash

So Alive

“Imperfection inspires invention, imagination, creativity. It stimulates. The more I feel imperfect, the more I feel alive.”

― Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words

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Photo by Renzo D’souza on Unsplash