Solar Apoca-clipse Averted: One down, one to go.

What’s news with horror writer Paul D. Dail

I’d like to thank Blaze McRob for featuring me and The Imaginings at his blog.  Blaze is quite the philanthropist and uses any opportunity to help promote other writers, so I really appreciate him picking me for this entry.  To see it, click here.

Also, I was once again awarded the Versatile Blogger award from KG Arndell, as well as the Kreativ Blogger award from Kim Koning, a fact which segues nicely into…

What does the future hold?

Both the Versatile Blogger and the Kreativ Blogger award require me to post seven things that readers might find interesting about me.  So that will be my post next Friday.

But without further ado…

I haven’t done any research, but I don’t think I saw anyone else besides myself linking up the annular solar eclipse this past Sunday with the end of days.

I made that connection.

But in the end, the world didn’t end.  Again. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me give you a little background.

First about the eclipse.  An “annular eclipse” is where the new moon passes in front of the sun, but is visually smaller than the sun, giving the reported “ring of fire” (as opposed to the total eclipse where the moon blocks out the sun entirely).

The last annular eclipse was in January of 2010, and the next one will be May of 2013.  However, the last annular eclipse visible in the United States was in 1994, and the next won’t be again until 2023.

Okay, so it’s not anything like Haley’s Comet, but the thing about this recent annular eclipse was that the “sweet spot” for viewing the eclipse in the United States happened to fall on the small town of Kanarraville, Utah, where I live.

Add in the fact that I’m a horror writer with a Cold War influenced upbringing and you will see it wasn’t too much of a stretch that I might link a big astronomical event in my small town of 300 people with the impending apocalypse.

That damn movie 2012 didn’t help.  Even though the current popular thought (at least among us crazies) is that December of this year will be the end of time, the 2009 movie purported that it actually happened earlier, like in the Summer (personally I thought this was to somewhat mitigate the traumatizing effects of showing the end of the world with Christmas decorations).

And as I’ve said before (actually in my first-ever rather lengthy post), while I may pooh-pooh these modern day doomsdayers and soothsayers, a good part of me is never really comfortable until our potential expiration date has passed.

So naturally I hosted a party, a party I coined the Solar Apoca-clipse Party.  As did the town of Kanarraville.  Or rather the party found the town of Kanarraville, a quiet town twenty minutes away from any real amenities (there’s not even a gas station in town) and descended on it.

However, from what I saw, even in the reported 10,000 people that showed up to witness this event, there was nary a doomsdayer or soothsayer.

Of course, that didn’t make me feel much better.  After all, what if I was the only one who knew the truth?

[Starting to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be me? :) ]

Now it’s important that you know that I actually live about two miles west of town, in the middle of the sagebrush and pinion junipers.  When I first heard about this event, thinking that there would be many more like myself in attendance (project much? asks Dr. Freud), I was actually thinking that Jennifer and my daughters should go into town to her parents’ house, and I would sit on my deck with some form of a firearm (which I would actually have to borrow from someone) and protect my property.

Maybe something like this.

Thus the idea of the Solar Apoca-clipsed Party was born–originally (and really only briefly) a solely male, well-armed party.  I know, I know, but one of my friends is a National Park law enforcement officer, so he wouldn’t let anything too stupid happen.

As the date grew closer, I started to loosen up.  Again, maybe it was the making light of the whole thing, joking over drinks with friends.  Certainly the world isn’t going to actually end, right?  The party became non-gender specific.  It would be a good opportunity to get some friends together for a pretty rare event.

But was I still writing the scary stories in my head?  You bettcha.  I had all the scenarios going in the days preceding the event.  And even though it ended up being merely an eclipse, I definitely have a few story ideas that went onto a backburner to simmer.

I would’ve liked to have done more research…actually witnessed the event from the maybe thirty acre field closer to town where the sweetest of the “sweet spot” was supposed to be, but I had a party to host.

And besides, I had ventured down about four hours before the eclipse was scheduled to begin and got the idea that I would be much happier among friends than hanging out in the dusty, dry, exposed field where people milled around and a handful of vendors had set up shop to sell their wares.

There were, of course, the booths that you see at any event, from a monster truck rally to a feminist “Take Back the Night” gathering.  These are the entrepreneurs, looking for any opportunity to make a buck. But there were also the booths that were specific to events like these, vendors with names like “Mystic Treasures,” and “Artifacts of the Ancients.”  Crystals and tye-dyes.

But no one that looked too crazy.  No one wearing sandwich boards proclaiming: “The End is Nigh.”  So I went back to my house satisfied that I had made the better choice and that if nothing else, my property wouldn’t be threatened by whackos (or at least not whackos that I didn’t know).

The eclipse started at about 6:30, just as I was pulling the first rounds of burgers off the grill, but it would be an hour before full eclipse, at which point the scene on my yard was reminiscent of the pictures you see of people watching the atomic bomb testing in the 50’s (and ironically enough, we live in an area that is still seeing the effect of “downwinder’s syndrome”).

But in the end, the world didn’t end.  Again.

However, there were still a couple of amusing effects which I attribute to my sense of paranoia.  While my mother, who lives about 300 yards away from us and was in attendance at our party, was excited about the influx of the “astro-tourists” into our small burg, she also expressed what she described as a looming sense of threat.

And a good friend of mine who teaches at a Montessori school said she kept slipping up with her class and calling it the “Solar Apocalypse.”  That one makes me grin.

But otherwise, the exciting ending will just have to wait until I write it.

That is, if we make it past December.

The Ring of Fire! As seen from my house.

What do I want from you?

What do you think about all this end of the world business?

If you want to read more of my opinions on this topic, I actually wrote two posts which you can find here:

- End of the World Stories We Hate to Love, Part I (The Bible through Y2K)

- End of the World Stories We Hate to Love, Part II (“Oryx and Crake” through Zombie stories)

Finally, don’t forget to check back next Friday for seven more (hopefully) interesting facts about me.

Please subscribe to this blog to receive posts via email or RSS feed (on the right hand column).  NO SPAM, I promise.

39 responses to “Solar Apoca-clipse Averted: One down, one to go.

  1. The guy with the gun made me laugh out loud. I woke my dog :)
    I am unbelievably jealous that you could take those pix from your house. I wish I could have come to your party.
    I have a mild obsession with eclipses, comets, meteors and meteorites, aurora borealis, or any celestial event. And like you, I have a tendency to tie something to them–even if I have to figure it out or make it up myself.
    I had posters of the moon and its craters and constellations of stars hanging in my room as a girl. I saw the comet Kohoutek through a huge telecope when I was about 11 during an exciting evening trip to a local planetarium, saw the dusty Hale-Bopp comet in about 1996, and stood in the middle of Rayway Park in the 80′s trying to spot Halley’s. I woke my then 4 year old son up at about 4:14AM in 2002 so he could see the amazing Leonid Meteor shower. Freezing and wrapped in my winter coat I held him in my arms as we watched hundreds of lights hurtle towards earth. Amazing. My son was in an astronomy group for a very short time at and won a small piece of a meteorite–and it was me that was so excited I almost had a fit.
    Don’t miss the Transit of Venus on June 5th. –when Venus will pass directly between the earth and sun, and yet again will have many doomsdayers up in arms. http://www.transitofvenus.org/
    Sorry for the rambling–I LOVED your post and this topic…I could talk about it all day…and night.

    • Awesome comments, Penelope. We’ve shared some similar moments. I remember in a college Astronomy class we went to the observatory and took a 11 X 17 close up picture of the moon, and I always wanted to do a series of the phases and have them displayed across the wall. Maybe someday I still will.

      And the meteor showers are great. I’m not sure if you can see them where you live, but the Perseid meteor shower is an annual one that’s usually pretty good (if you can get away from city lights). It happens every August. I know that one year a group of us counted over 100 “shooting stars” in an hour.

      And yes, I had heard about the Transit of Venus. I’ll have to look into it further. I’m sure you’re right that there will be many giving some portents to the event. Luckily, we still have our glasses and will be able to watch it :)

      Thanks again. Hope you have a good weekend.

      • I’ve been outside for the Perseid on a pretty clear night, but did not see any lights. The Leonids show pretty well in the Northeast each November.
        And if you ever do get those pix done I hope you post them–I would love to see.

    • Oh, I tried to watch the Leonids in 2002, but in Charlottesville, VA it was overcast. Through a gap in the clouds I saw one massive meteor, and then the gap closed and the snow started. My best friend stood out there shivering with me and staring up at that wall of clouds longer than anyone could (should?) have been expected to humor me. I should write her.

  2. Nice post. I dismiss all the end of the world doomsayers, whilst still, like you, feeling a little, niggling sense of, you know, what if? But you know what really irritates me? The fact that, one day, somebody will be right. Simply because, the world has got to end one day, I suppose. Hopefully not in our, or our kids’ lifetimes though.

    • Good point, Ken. Most likely there will be an end… at least to our “civilization.” And I’m sure you are right that some group will be all smug about it when it happens. Sort of an “I told you so” mentality :)

      But I agree. Hopefully it won’t be in the next couple of lifetimes. I still have some books to write.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. Interesting, but as someone who dabbles in astrology and makes it a point to observe energy shifts in all solar and lunar eclipses, I wonder…would the stars really bestow a far superior role to the USA vs any other longitude and latitude on earth?
    I am so proud and honored to be an American, but Astrological and Astronomical events look at planet Earth as a whole!
    I like to follow the energy shifts of the respective eclipses…the energy in this particular one was not heavy Karmic it was influenced by Gemini Astrologer Jim Shawvan predicted ( about 1 year ago) a big week on the social and information highway because the Sun, Moon and Mercury all join together in the sign of Gemini…maybe that was facebook going public?
    I’ll let you know when a dark and heavy one is coming… Then you can Pop the Chapagne and brace yourself!

    • Hey Catalina, thanks for the comments. Actually, I was being even MORE egocentric in thinking that it had something to do with the fact that I lived where the “sweet spot” happened to be :) But yes, I understand that it’s the earth as a whole, and that while I have my place in the universe, I’m relatively insignificant in the big scheme of things.

      Thanks for keeping me posted when I should be concerned. It’s good to know someone on the inside. I’ll be sure to have another party and invite you to it.

  4. Every morning, I peek out front to see if the zombies have come. The coast remains clear, but like others have said, that niggling little “what if” is always playing at the back of my mind. I don’t know anybody who hasn’t pondered THE END. Perhaps it’s not that we fear the final THE END, but treasure a bit of satisfaction in thinking, “Well, if I die and am not around tomorrow, at least nobody else will be around either.”

    Great pics. We were clouded over and I didn’t get to see anything except the edges of the clouds turned yellow and orange.

    • I’m still holding on to the possibility that at the end of the world, I might survive and become some post-apocalyptic bard, using an old Smith Corona to either put my words to print or fend off bear attacks. But an interesting possibility. Then you add in the religious side that says, “Not only will everyone else die, but only a few of us will get to ascend to Heaven.”

      Sorry you missed it. We were concerned about the clouds (especially as I was hosting a party), but it turned out to be perfect weather.

      Thanks for commenting. Hope you have a good weekend.

  5. If the world *had* ended, I would have missed it. It was cloudy in Vancouver and I forgot all about the solar apoca-er, the eclipse.

    From what I hear, the bible says no one will be able to predict the end of the world, so that fact that there were no crazies with sandwich boards would have been ominous indeed. If you think about it, Paul, you may have single-handedly saved the world with your party. In fact, I would appreciate it if you woke up every day believing that this would be the day of the apocalypse.

    • Ha! I like it, Paul’s our insurance against the world ending. Like the guy who always carried a bomb in his luggage onto planes, because the chances of there being two bombs on an airplane were astronomical!

    • Thanks, Marie. I’ll see what I can do.

      And yes, I’ve heard that about the Bible as well. Funny how people still try to figure it out, though. Remember that preacher who said he had the mathematical answer to the end of the world? I think it was supposed to be last May sometime. Ahh, the audacity.

      But I’ll keep single-handedly saving the world for all us sinners :)

  6. Bah – I completely missed it, and I have no excuse. I live by world-famous mountains and I could have hiked up and taken a look.

  7. Oh the party was so much fun! The 1.5 hour drive home (when it should have taken 20 minutes) was not fun. But it was worth it. At one point in the bumper to bumper traffic, an imbecile tried to do a u-turn and ended up blocking traffic both ways. I yelled loudly “are you f@&king kidding me! Unfortunately my window was down and I startled several old ladies who were walking to their car. I did apologize, but thought it rather amusing really.
    As an Athiest I do not hold any stock in religious doomsday predictions, but I do believe eventually we will destroy ourselves and cause the end of the world in a human sense. Sometimes I think about the reliable springs I know about for water, and what I might do for food. But really, I don’t worry too much. If if happens, I will be dead more than likely, so why dwell on it?

    • It was great having you there, Kodi. I’ll be putting up some pics on Facebook. Definitely some fun ones. And I heard that the drive back was pretty lengthy. Just means you should’ve stayed longer :)

      And yes, we will probably do ourselves in way before we do in the earth. I remember in college in the early 90′s when the “Save the Planet” stickers were en vogue, and I wanted one that said, “The planet will take care of itself. Save the people.”

      Thanks for commenting. And thanks again for coming out for the festivities.

  8. First of all, Paul, thank you for thanking me.

    I have witnessed several things in Cheyenne today that most certainly show the world is ending soon. There was a fight at the bus transfer station between bus riders and homeless folks. Seems the homeless guys were smoking and drinking beer at high noon in the bus waiting area and when some religious person told them that was wrong and they were going to go to Hell, the homeless guys attacked all of us standing there. It was pretty cool, really. I found out my cane makes a dandy weapon-from both ends-and I turned out to be the circumspect hero of the day. When Blaze is a hero, you know the world is ending.

    The second item involved a guy in a business suit drinking a 40 ounce bottle of Old Milwaukee beer in the library. Why is this a portent of end times? He was perusing the Dean Koontz area and is a local Methodist minister. Fortunately, no books were hurt in the telling of the story. Security ushered the man of God from the premises and all is well.

    The third thing occurred when I noticed from your pictures on your blog how much the solar ring looks like a wedding ring. Now that scared me!

    So, yes, the world is ending, but if you stay close to me, I’ll keep the demons at bay with my cane.

    Real life is wonky! Monsters are cool!

    Blaze

    • I heard somewhere that the next total eclipse of the moon best visible in the United States is supposed to have its sweet spot somewhere in Wyoming. 2017, I think. You bring the cane. I’ll bring the Old Milwaukee. That should cover about all of our bases.

      Thanks as always for stopping by. Hope your weekend is treating you well.

  9. Paul, thanks for the mention and the link. I know you’re busy.
    All the best!
    KG

    • No sweat, KG. Thanks for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. It’s fun to try and think up seven interesting things about myself (and hope that people agree, eh?).

      Hope you have a good weekend.

  10. Erik Gustafson

    What beautiful photography. We only had a partial eclipse around here so no one was worried about the world ending. And what an honor to be featured by Blaze!

    • I like Erik more and more every day! Hey Paul, read Erik’s book, FALL LEAVES AND THE BLACK DRAGON. I gave it a Five Star review on my blog, DarkMedia City, and my FB page.

      Blaze

      • I actually have Erik’s book already. It’s on my TBR list. Unfortunately, my free time for reading is pretty slim, so it takes me awhile to get through books. Jonathan’s (the one I reviewed last Friday) has been on for months. But I look forward to Fall Leaves and the Black Dragon.

      • Erik Gustafson

        Thanks Blaze!! You are too kind

    • Hey Erik, good to see you. Only partial, eh? Maybe the world would only partially come to an end where you live :)

      And yes, I was pleased that Blaze put me up at his site. I really appreciated it. Apparently he likes your work as well. Hope you’re having a good weekend.

  11. Loved this post, Paul. I share your paranoia and your self-depreciation about it.

    • Thanks, Renae. Glad you stopped by and glad you enjoyed the post. I had fun with it. I actually had more information, but I didn’t want to make it too long.

  12. I don’t consider the end of the world often. I keep my considerations of terrible outcomes on a smaller scale. Being singled out for terror gets to me more than the hypothetical of everyone and everything poofing out of existence.

    When the Solar Eclipse occurred, I was in the ER. I don’t think the event was visible this far East, although co-workers sent around photos from far West Texas. If I had remembered that the world was ending, it’s likely I would have been thankful because, wow, I was feeling really bad!

    I hopped over to say hi to Blaze & check out the post – thanks for the link!

    • Hey Aniko, hope you’re feeling better.

      And “singled out for terror.” What do you mean by that? I know that you have talked about something that happened to you in the past, and if that’s what it is, no need to expand here. I just wondered if you meant “terrorism.”

      I guess the real terror can definitely be scary because it’s something we see every day. But on the other hand, the imaginary (or call it apocalyptic) terror is pretty scary as well because there’s nothing we can do to protect ourselves from it.

      Anyway, thanks for going by Blaze’s site. He’s pretty prolific, but if you scroll back to February (I think. Maybe April), he featured a whole slew of “Women in Horror.” I thought that was pretty cool. Anyway, again I hope you’re feeling better and that you have a good weekend.

  13. A whole gamut of things can fall under the ‘singled out for terror’ heading. The overwhelming characteristic would be the sense of alienation and inability to reach for help. This could be caused by an act of terrorism, being haunted by a violent poltergeist, stalking, senility, hexes, a family curse, being marked for human sacrifice, or any number of negative circumstances. Not all of these might be considered “real,” but they are isolating. I guess the survivors of a widespread apocalyptic event are isolated, too, but that scenario feels less freighted with despair to me. In fact, even if it is raw chance that left the survivors alive, they are left with an elevated status, heroes by circumstance. Apocalyptic survival seems to me to be more about the triumph against and despite adversity, and less about the horror of being outmatched or undergunned in an elementally horrifying way. Of course, ‘undgergunned’ is nothing that guy in the picture will ever be, that’s for sure! ;-)

    • You’re awesome. Thanks for the clarification. And glad you mentioned the elevated survivor status. You’ll have to see my response to Jaye’s comment (an idea I might’ve already expressed somewhere else… maybe here. I lose track.)

  14. Whenever somebody talks about the world ending in December, I usually make a joke. But there’s always that nagging voice in the back of my mind that says, “What if?”

    Ah, well. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t end, if only so we can read your story about it, Paul. :)

    • Right there with you, brother. I doubt the world is going to end, but maybe that’s just because I’d be pretty irritated. I still got stuff to do.

      Or maybe I don’t. ha ha.

      Thanks for your comment.

  15. Amazing pictures – I’m insanely jealous you got to see it up close and personal, especially since you got to do it without the “benefit” of astro-tourists (a fabulous word, btw) in the way…

    Oh, I’m also glad the world didn’t end. Obviously. And looking forward to your story about how it might/would/could. Equally obviously.

    • Hey Jill, thanks for stopping by and commenting. It was definitely fun to have some people out (but not a bunch of strangers). We had a lot of kids running around, too, so it felt like one of those cool moments that they would hopefully remember one day.

      I’ll keep you posted on the story. It might be awhile, but the whole event was great for research purposes.

      Hope you have a good Friday and weekend.

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