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Once again the sun used its 93 million mile cue stick to line up the moon with the continental US and I was on the other end to see the magnificent results.

My earlier blog post recalling the 1979 eclipse which I saw in Winnipeg, Canada has gotten consistent traffic, and quite a bit more in the weeks leading up to August 21st. On a personal level, I had been doing my best to convince people to do everything possible to situate themselves within the band of totality, which in my case began barely 10 miles from my house. I likened settling for a nearly-total partial eclipse to going to see a great concert but just standing in the parking lot instead.

My initial ideas for watching The Great American Eclipse started out with Washington, MO, but then changed to St. Clair, MO, which changed to Desoto, MO, then changed to Hematite, MO…when it became apparent that we were going to have a huge influx of people (and traffic), we eventually looked closer to home. We “invited ourselves” to our friends’ home in New Melle, MO, where we would have ~1:49 of totality. Both Mo and K took the day off, and we were also pleased that many our our Sunday School class also planned to attend.

We left early the morning of the eclipse, not knowing what traffic would be like. It turns out our fears were unfounded, as traffic at least in the direction we travelled was not affected at all. As we all began arriving, our hosts the Pikes and their dog Moses made us feel at home with a large spread of breakfast goodies supplemented with drink and food items we’d all brought to contribute as well.

We flipped between the NASA channel and local channels on the TV up until we had first contact (about 11:48 AM) and we began putting our various eclipse glasses, welder’s goggles, and pinhole boxes to work. We were quite pleased to have only a light cloud cover — certainly not enough to be a problem, although it was pretty humid and in the low 90s out by that point.

While waiting for totality, we paid attention to the changing shadows, and the light quality dimmed, dropping noticeably in stages the last few minutes before second contact.

Ava and Moses check out the crescent shadows on the sidewalk

Totality was new to everyone but me at our gathering, so there was quite a few shouts of amazement as the diamond ring faded to a bright ring and I reminded everyone that the eclipse glasses could come off, with the corona looking surprisingly as predicted. Using what I’d learned since the 1979 eclipse, I quickly went to my binoculars (I played it safe by not waiting until later when it got closer to third contact), which showed a nice red glow of prominences across the “top” of the sun. In addition, I’d learned that the five seconds before and after totality were still within safe limits for the naked eye, so as I warned everyone when I noticed the beginning of a diamond ring following third contact, I took in a couple seconds of it before donning my eclipse glasses. We were told that temps dropped ~9° throughout the eclipse. We also noticed the cicadas and crickets did in fact chime in for a while. Moses on the other hand didn’t seem to care one way or another.

intrepid eclipse watchers

The one regret I have is not having a working digital camera ready to take along, so I don’t have any personal photos of the eclipse itself, but like my first eclipse, I’m not likely to forget what it looked like. I’m pretty sure that all of us will want to try see the 2024 eclipse (not quite as conveniently located, east of us in Illinois) as a result of our experience with this time around. I know I do.


The City Hall Talking Jigsaw Puzzle Solution

I finally found the last of the Talking Jigsaw Puzzle series at a reasonable price, and I’ve completed the collection with The City Hall “Talking Puzzle” by Buffalo Games.

The premise for this one is the same as past puzzles: you must first complete each of the 4×4 piece rooms, and then you use the “conversations” between the rooms as clues to the ordering of the rooms. This particular puzzle had a minor twist in that it had an east and west side to it, and brick between rooms.

The only real complaint I have is like with all of these puzzles — the edges don’t distinguish themselves well enough, and you’ll end up having to resort to using the pattern on the back to put some in their proper place. Still, it was as fun to put together as all the others in the set.

solution — click to embiggen

The Hospital Talking Jigsaw Puzzle Solution

Slowly the last of the Talking Jigsaw Puzzle series are coming home to roost, this one being The Hospital “Talking Puzzle” by Buffalo Games. These puzzles require you to not only assemble each of the 4×4 piece hospital rooms correctly, but then you have to position each of the windows in a way that the conversation clues make sense. They’re fun to work on.

The timing on this one was meaningful in that I’ll be having hip surgery once more very soon. Again I made it easy for myself by putting the puzzle together on a glass table top so that I could more easily check the underside of the puzzle to see that the pattern was correct. I found that there were 2-3 room pairs that didn’t seem to readily make their respective positions apparent, but overall The Hospital was as much a treat as the others have been:

solution — click to embiggen

Only The City Hall remains…

The Fitness Center Talking Jigsaw Puzzle Solution

After the entertainment we got from putting together The Office Building by Buffalo Games, I decided to see if I could pick up one of the other “talking jigsaw puzzles”, and managed to find a reasonably priced Fitness Center (paired with another of The Office Building, which I gifted to my AZ nieces and nephew). Again, not only do you need to assemble each of the 4×4 fitness center workout spaces correctly, but you then must place each one in the correct spot based on clues given by the conversations on the puzzle.

This time around, I did assemble it on a glass table to easily determine if I had the correct results — I found this puzzle was a little ambiguous in a couple locations, unlike the last one. This puzzle differed from most of the other ones in that it was not a view of the side of a building. I didn’t check if the answer was posted anywhere on the web — here it is anyway:

puzzle 2
solution — click to embiggen

I was surprised that these are such collectors items. They came out in the early ’90s, from the looks of it. I’ll keep monitoring for any of the others to be offered at anything resembling affordable. Stay tuned!

The Office Building Talking Jigsaw Puzzle Solution

One of the items I laid out for the Snow Day Party we hosted was a fun puzzle that we’d enjoyed working on one time in the past, The Office Building “Talking Puzzle” by Buffalo Games. Not only do you need to assemble each of the office rooms/windows correctly, but you then must place each window in the correct spot based on clues given by the conversations on the puzzle. It’s a fun challenge.

Unfortunately, unless assembled on a glass table or checked frequently on the underside pattern on the pieces, it is difficult to determine if the correct results were obtained. I was surprised that no solution could be found on the web, so I’m resolving that shortcoming here:

solution — click to embiggen

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.