solarbird: (tracer)

I was in Oregon, in the totality zone, for the eclipse; this is more or less my trip report, written as fiction in the Fear of Spiders/Overwatch universe. The eclipse really was indescribable - you have to be there - but this is my best attempt to relate what I saw and how I felt.

All the locations are real world locations, accurately described, and specifically relate how I got down to Shiniko, Oregon for the totality, and back, after crossing the Oregon border from the north. All of Venom's and Widowmaker's lines are basically my commentary while being the one driving... inappropriately quickly... with my road trip crew down a surprisingly empty Highway 216.

[AO3 link]

"I loved it," said the Widowmaker, her voice fluid, "when the spider ate the sun. Slowly dimming light, then sunset all around, in all directions, and then - gone, but for the corona. Exquisite."

"That was wizard!" agreed Venom, speeding along Highway 216 west from Highway 97 to Highway 197 in the Oregon high desert. "The sky went violet! Blue, dark, rich, with extra violet, somehow. The pictures always made it look black, but it wasn't! So intense!"

"I think that was partly ultraviolet, from the corona," suggested the elder assassin, as the old-style automobile - a Spider, appropriately enough - barrelled down the road into the canyon, chasing the water. The speed limit sign said 55kph. She hit it at 120. "The light had such intoxicating depth."

"Felt like time just stopped! And I know from time." She giggled at little at herself, and shook her head. "Pictures just can't tell the story, can they?" said Lena.

"Not at all. One cannot even describe it, one must experience it. The changes in the air, the blue and violet glow, the heat vanishing with the sun..."

"And then, and then, the last bit of the sun goes out, and you look past the glasses, and - wow! The sun is, like, whole different star! And the sky is a different sky! It was like - it was like bein' in space, like being on a whole 'nother world!"

"The black hole sun, the streaming flares of fusing hydrogen writhing in the sky, the glowing colours - I never imagined the colours would be so intense." She sighed, wistfully. "I do not think my cameras captured the violet, only the blue."

The tires screeched at the first downhill hairpin turn. The road carried with it no forgiveness, no margin - cliff wall to one side, sheer drop to the other. A few guardrails buffered against the worst of the turns, or, at least, the first couple, and then not the next, and not the one after that. The Spider held the road, if barely, as the Talon assassins drifted in their vehicle, across the road, into the opposite-direction lane.

"I remind you," said Amélie, "despite having applied to the Commonwealth, this country is still right-hand driving."

"Yeh, yeh. Curve speed signs are for wankers."

Widowmaker smirked. "That one, if anything, seemed overly permissive."

The junior assassin slowed the vehicle, but not much, and sped it back up at every opportunity. "Nobody's usin' the other lane, I might as well."

It was true. Even with the tens of thousands of tourists flooding back from the zone of totality, Highway 216 sat empty of traffic, out in the high grassy desert, barreling down towards the Deschutes River, splashing and rushing at the very bottom.

"Even so," said the spider, "this road does not seem very forgiving."

Venom chuckled, and hit the accelerator again. "Feeling nervous, love?"

"Feeling impressed that the Cascadians do not seem to care about guard rails, perhaps." The car's right mirror - still just within its lane - came within a few centimetres of the cliff wall. "Or margins for error." She looked out over the cliff the road hugged. "This countryside - it is almost painfully beautiful."

Off to the left, a series of canyons, or one long, split canyon, almost cartoonish in perfection, stepped down towards the water, a mix of steep rocky slopes and bare basalt column cliffs, volcanic, spotted with the occasional first-coloniser plants, mostly gold, some auburn, some ash, and, almost inexplicably, splashes of dark, vivid green, the green becoming dominant the further down towards the river, but really, anywhere water might run or pool or even be slowed down, even a bit, for the thirsty plants to grab it up.

"Whole bleedin' country's a bunch of picture postcards, innit?"


"Glad they had the sense not to muss up the view with fences." Venom floored the antique Sypder into the next hairpin curve, not quite fishtailing, not quite sliding away and to oblivion. "I can't believe we're the only ones on this road. Look at what they're missing!"

"It's not the eclipse, but it is fascinating. Perhaps the tourists are afraid of the heights," said the spider.

"You mean, it's just us 'cause they're too scared?"

"And therefore, do not deserve to see this."

"Fair cop," said the younger assassin. "Woah!" she said, surprised by the severity of yet another hairpin. "That was a tight one!"

"Be careful, we cannot crash this vehicle here - we might start a fire."

"Blimey, that'd be a right cock-up," the junior assassin replied in all sincerity. "They have fires all summer already, don't they?"

"It seems so," the senior assassin said, gesturing back towards a burnt out patch they'd driven by, some 30km before.

"Well, good thing we've got that car park all lined up."

"Indeed. Just be sure not to hit the river. Fish and gasoline do not mix."

"Easy peasy. Reach 'round, pull the body forward, will ya?"


She pulled the middle-aged man forward, from the - well, it wasn't really the boot, not one worthy of the name, not in an F430 - and propped him up against the centre console, between their individual seats.

The Ferrari flew over the first river bridge, as Venom let the engine really open up. "May as well go out in a blaze of glory, y'big ugly monster," she said, made the final turn at a desperately dangerous 220kph. "Good handling, I'll give you that. Right! Whenever you're ready, love..."

"Grab hold, cherie, and ready your grapple," the Widowmaker said, grabbing her lover and launching the two of them out of the automobile. Venom kicked the wheel hard to the right, and the Spider flipped over, briefly flying, then bouncing down the road, hitting once, twice, a third time, and skidding into a gravel parking lot before bursting into flame. Widowmaker's chain retracted, pulling the two Talon agents high into the air, and just short of apogee, Venom launched her chain, and up they went again, a second arc, and again, at apogee, Widowmaker's grapple made the top of the butte, where their ship sat, concealed, and waiting.

From atop their high vantage point, they could see the local wardens rushing forward with emergency fire suppression, the wreckage of the convertible already burning itself out, the body of Roger Müller - well-known multi-millionaire playboy and less-well-known deep financier of ultra-nationalist media and neofascist politicians - already well-crisped. His remains would show a blood alcohol content well above 0.17, over twice the legal limit, but entirely in character.

"And that's why y'don't drive pissed." Venom said to her partner, cheerfully.

"That was magnificent."

"Such a shame when people overindulge, innit, love?"

Widowmaker spun on her lover, pulling her abruptly, roughly, against her own body, eyes wide and open. "Yes. Let's balance it by overindulging ourselves."

Venom shuddered with quick arousal. "Fast cars and fast kills? I like the way you think, sweet. But let's move the..."


"So now I'm the sensible unf " - she said, as Widowmaker bit into her neck - "...we can't stay here, love. Somewhere else. The way we went south. Nobody's on that road, either."

"Fine. Bakeoven, then. How quickly can you fly us back?"

"You just saw how quick I got us here in an antique, didn't ya?"

"Point made. Go."


Jul. 18th, 2010 12:40 am
solarbird: (music)

So the Oregon trip went mostly really well, with one major fail moment which was not my own. But as a whole? Awesome. A girl could get used to that lifestyle. Seriously used to it.

I drove down to Eugene on Sunday to spend the night with internet friends there, since the whole show thing was so far away. Passing the 45th parallel in a car was a first, and conceptually kind of amazing; I tried to get a photo of the sign, but missed both times. I stopped in a rest stop to make a peanut better sammich and eat fruit rolls and ended up having a hot dog from racecar driver Ed and his partner Nancy going up from an event in Oregon to another event in Washington. It’s some sort of sub-NASCAR circuit and they don’t make a lot of money but they have fun, and it was really just nice meeting them!

I’d never been to the Willamette Valley before, and damn that thing is wide and flat. I expected flat – it’s farming country – but I didn’t know you lost site of the edges. I kept thinking MOUNTAINS I MISS YOU! and eventually they came back, and I got down to Andra’s house and met her partner Sandra and housemate Jana and ended up geeking about her music theory work and we had all sorts of fun. Thanks for dinner and crash space! And brownies! Yum. ^_^

I set out to Redmond in the morning, forgetting to get gas before leaving Eugene because why would I buy gasoline? I just bought gasoline yesterday. How could I need more? It hasn’t even been three weeks! So I stopped at a store on the way which had all the hallmarks of an updated 1920s/1930s general store and gas station, complete with antique coolers with huge wooden doors. I love those.

The mountain passes had these amazing stripes of silver trees – there’d been a forest fire, which is sad, but everything left behind kind of shone and glittered. I tried to take pictures while driving because I didn’t have time to stop, and you can see a little of it in a couple of the shots. It was both sad and gorgeous.

Redmond’s a nice town. I like the new park, and the 1940 late-nouveau city hall, and the amphitheatre is pretty big, really, for a three-teir theatre. Sadly – and this is the big fail – the event I was playing got cancelled after I got there, due to high winds. But I looked around and realised that neither the amphitheatre nor those kids playing in the amphitheatre’s fountain were blowing away, so decided that, well, y’know what? The event can be cancelled; I’m not. So even though most people left before I even started, I played anyway, and made the 8-10 kids and their parents who stayed behind very happy, and all the kids came up with their quarters and pennies, and I gave them stickers, and we all had a good time.

An archeologist named Fred out in Burns gave me crash space for the night, so out into the badlands I went! And I’m so glad I did. I had no idea the Oregon high desert was so… astonishing. I thought the valley was wide? No. This was akin to another planet. I have photos that look like moon photos. I got eyestrain from the hours of focus-on-infinity the trip entails.

The whole trip out to Burns was just hypnotic. The strange low ecosphere hiding out in one metre above the ground? Crazytalk amazing. The deep violet colours with the greens and the yellows? Completely unexpected. I wish I could photograph it. I tried again, even knowing it never works. Stupid cameras. And, pleasantly, not as hot as I’d expected. Then I got there and met up with Fred for the Mexican dinner and conversation and better directions and a little obsidian arrowhead! I have it upstairs. Thanks, Fred! (He made it himself. ^_^ )

The next morning, I went to Glass Butte. I wanted a piece of volcanic glass, and… it was just lying out there waiting for me. Glass Butte DOES NOT LIE. It was everywhere. I got there at the wrong time of day to see the reported glitter effect, but on the other hand, everything kind of glittered out there – even the plants – so I doubt I missed too much. I also saw elk tracks, and a strange little lizard visited for about two seconds too long – I spotted it before it noticed I’d seen it, and then it ran like hell.

I went north the dry way, through the pass at Mt. Hood, looking at ancient river canyons and listening to tribal radio while rolling through Road Runner cartoon-style buttes down side roads and old highways and parts of 99. I’m pretty sure I spotted the pass of Caradhras on Mt. Hood. Someday I want to trace the old 99 route out as much as it survives in Cascadia, and travel it as best it can be travelled, but that’s for a later time.

Then yesterday, I had my final show of this long June/July set, at Juanita Bay, and now I go back into the studio for a big push on Dick Tracy. This man’s needed killin’ too long. It’s time for a reckoning.

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Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (music)

Where have I been?

  • South of the 45th Parallel.
  • Eating hot dogs with racecar driver Ed and his partner Nancy at a rest stop
  • Safe and sound in Eugene ensconsed with Andra and Sandra and Jana! who are awesome for putting me up and up with me. Thanks so much! ^_^
  • Redmond, Oregon, which had an obelisk and also high winds cancelling the event I was playing! After I got there, just before my showtime. Everybody left. But a bunch of kids came out to play in the amphitheatre fountain, so I thought, “Y’know what? The amphitheatre isn’t leaving due to wind, and these kids aren’t either, so neither am I.” And I played a free gig for a big ol’ gaggle of children, who came up after and gave me their pennies, and I gave them stickers, and we all had a good time. Take that, wind!
  • Nomming Mexican food in the Oregon high desert town of Burns, with Fred! Yay! Thanks, Fred! More people should go visit Fred in Burns. He’s an archeologist!
  • Glass Butte, which pretty much just handed me obsidian. Glass Butte does not lie. Also, there are elk.
  • Being ambushed by a river spirit. Or possibly wind. But I prefer the former.
  • Government Camp Lift and Mt. Hood, with chipmunks.
  • Through the remnants of Highway 99 in northern Oregon, along with a bunch of other old, twisty roads, the best kinds.

Where’m I now?

  • Back in Kenmore, Washington, tired but happy, for SEKRIT MEETINGS (disclaimer: not actually sekrit) and a Juanita Bay gig at 5pm on Friday.

More on that tomorrow. Now, I sleep.

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Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: Cover of the first Crime and the Forces of Evil EP release, Sketchy Characters (sketchy characters)

Well, I’m all packed and ready for Oregon. Shower tonight, drop overnight stuff in the bag, and off I go. If you’re in Oregon, near Bend, c’mon up to Redmond for my 1pm show on Monday the 12th! Centennial Amphitheatre, Centennial Park, Redmond. Sample musics at the top level of this site, like you’d expect.

This one’s different. Why is it different? Because this is far and away the farthest I’ve gone solely for a gig. I’ve played further away, sure, but I’ve had other business; this is just a gig trip. It’s my first overnight, it’s my first this far south, it’s a lot of little firsts like that which kind of add up, at least, in my head.

I’m not taking the laptop. Everything else in the world, yes; laptop, no. If you’re coming, awesome – I’ll see you in Redmond! If you’re not, wish me luck, and I’ll see you… when I see you.

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Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (music)

Well, that was fun! Gave out lots of cards, Anna sold CDs and sang along a couple of tracks, I talked to a lot of people – I got compliments on my voice, which is a new and awesome thing to be getting, and several people grabbed me after the show to say nice things, too. Thanks for having me, Inger and Tone! See you next year. ^_^

NEXT SHOW: July 12th, 2010: Centennial Park Amphitheatre in Redmond, Oregon; 1pm-2:45pm. The venue’s new, and supposed to look something like this:

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Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (music)

Hey Oregon peeps! I have a July 12th show in Redmond, Oregon! I’d love to have a second somewhere in the state within a couple of days of the 12th so I can call it my Oregon Tour! (lol musical cannibalism) I’ve been poking around, but so far, venues all say it’s too late to book anything that soon, call them again in October (omg). Help a struggling new musician find an audience, anyone? ^_^

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