I used to shoot photos of the moon with my iPhone. I used a mail order bracket and my lousy old Sears refracting telescope. The quality wasn’t the best, but I like how it evokes the old Chesley Bonestell artwork from the 1950s. Years before the Apollo missions, we figured that the lunar maria were smooth, ringed with jagged peaks, based on how they looked through earthbound telescopes.
We found out later that the moon looks completely different when you actually visit. The maria are strewn with boulders and pocked with smaller craters, while meteorites have worn the mountains into rolling hills. I like Bonestell’s version better.
The stars at the lake are so bright that I’m having to re-learn the sky. Murky, light-polluted Portland gives you maybe twenty bright ones; here in Whitefield there are thousands. I haven’t seen a sky like this in years, possibly ever. They’re so bright, I actually can capture the Big Dipper on my iPhone. I do have a little help from an app called Night Modes, which is giving me a quarter-second exposure. That’s too long for me to keep the camera still without smudging everything, but it does reveal a hint of stars.
If I crank the exposure up all the way.
And label the stars.
And pretend a little.
What I learned at today’s school shootings training (with apologies to Harper’s Index):
Occurrence of U.S. mass shootings, times the world average: 270
Percentage of mass shootings that take place in schools: 25
Percentage of shooters now wearing body armor: 24
Percentage carrying more than one weapon: 36
Percentage who had no prior police record: 42
Number of mock assault rifle attacks I helped disarm today: 7 or 8
Number where I sustained a real-life bruise, ding, or scrape: 7 or 8
Number of disarmings I performed correctly: 1
Number of times I would have been gut-shot by an AR-15: 6 or 7
Ratio of cops and ex-military to educators at today’s training: 2 to 1
Educators who were required to be there: 0
Percentage of mass shootings that are committed by one person: 98
Percentage of mass shooters that are male: 97
Length of the average school shooting, in minutes: 12
Percentage that last 5 minutes or less: 37
Percentage of shootings where police arrive after the show’s over: 47
Average number of dead: 3
Average number of wounded: 4
Since 1980, the number of kids who have died in school fires: 0
Since 1980, the number of kids who have died in school shootings: 300
The number of teachers: 45
The number of fire drills in which I’ve participated since becoming a teacher in 1996: 150+
The number of school shooting drills: 0
I’ve done this a lot.
I attended Johnny Shaw’s Noir at the Bar event tonight at Beulahland on Northeast 28th. Johnny and five other crime writers read short stories and other excerpts of their work. Featured were Greg Rucka, Barry Graham, Lisa Alber, Chris La Tray, and Roger Hobbs.
I especially enjoyed Alber’s reading from her upcoming Irish murder mystery Kilmoon, which will be out in April.
Graham, who never has anything nice to say about his native Glasgow, recited his selection from memory. His story was the finest I’ve heard involving one man eating another man’s eyeball.
I’m on the slate for the next event. After hearing Graham’s eyeball thing, I need to read from “Clutch.”
I went into Powell’s to get a couple of books for class and saw that Featured Extras is still on the shelf. They’ve moved it steadily down as other projects come in.
Hang in there, buddy!
My short story collection Featured Extras is on display at Powell’s City of Books! It’s also available for sale in paperback and on Kindle. You can find more information about the collection here.
The cover for Featured Extras, my short story collection, is complete. Roxanne Patruznick, artist; Michael Batty, layout guy/typesetter/developmental editor.
Featured Extras comes to Kindle and paperback on June 15th.