Concerts, 'Clipses, and Crab

This past week, Daði Freyr came to Dallas for his North American tour. I was shocked when he announced he would be stopping in Dallas, let alone Texas, so attending was a no-brainer.

This was my first concert since Covid, and I was lightly nervous. Actually, I'm always a certain level of nervous at concerts, but that's more of a social anxiety thing. There were much more people than I initially expected. Years ago, I saw Castle (a great metal band!) perform at a bar in Deep Ellum, and there was maybe a dozen people there. I was worried Daði would get a similar crowd. That's very dumb, in hindsight. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is huge, did I really think I was the only person here who kept up with Eurovision? Granted, the venue wasn't huge, but it was a great showing and equally great energy from everyone there. Daði played an impromptu song about stereotypical Texas things (cowboys, barbeque, bolo ties) and then ended it with an ad-libbed song about Buc-ee's which killed. To be a Texan means various levels of suffering, but one of our only joys in life is a gas station with a beaver mascot. And when the tall Icelandic funny man on stage starts talking about Buc-ee's, of course you're going to react.

I wasn't expecting Daði to play as many Icelandic songs as he did, but I'm not complaining. Well, if I could nitpick a little, I would have traded one out for Shut Up, one of my favorite tracks from I Made An Album. But whatever, maybe next time he comes around. If he ever comes around again.

The whole concert I was wondering if he would play his cover of Whole Again, and then bam, the final encore song of the night. I was ecstatic. Through a large chunk of last year and the very beginning of this year, I wasn't in a super great headspace. For a number of reasons, I latched onto Daði Freyr's cover of Whole Again. Why? I don't know, but I found myself listening to that song on repeat for hours at a time. According to it was my most listened song of the year, but doesn't even know the half of it. I wound up hiding the scrobbles eventually, lest my stats get all messed up. To hear Daði sing it in person was something I'll remember forever. I'm usually not a sing-along-at-the-concert kinda guy, but you better believe I was belting out Whole Again along with Daði. Zero regrets.

Two days later was the big solar eclipse. Big for us, because my hometown and most of the area was in the path of totality. I had requested the day off months in advance, because this is (most likely) a once in a lifetime thing for me, and I wanted to spend it with my partner in my own backyard, not standing outside in a parking lot with a bunch of coworkers. That morning we drove way out of our way to get Krispy Kreme's limited solar eclipse donut. It's a regular donut with way too much frosting on it, and then an Oreo on top of that. Not really anything to write home about, but I'm a sucker for dumb limited edition snacks.

I live in a boring town where nothing happens. Seeing local stores go eclipse crazy was wild to me. All of our local grocery stores has glasses for sale, and our local Walmarts had shirts, keychains, socks, and so on. The only thing I could compare it to was going to a highly touristy town, like Vegas or Orlando, where even the grocery stores have cheap souvenirs just waiting for you while you purchase your bread and milk. The Sunday before the eclipse, a man parked a van at the end of our street and was hawking shirts and glasses and flags(???) to people waiting at the intersection. A nearby town announced they were holding a giant eclipse-watching party, complete with the World's Largest Moon Pie.

As the big day got closer and closer, the weather predictions were getting more and more dire. Not only was it going to be cloudy, but they were also calling for rain later that afternoon too. Our local meteorologist looked straight into the camera and said "we're screwed, folks". It was pretty depressing to hear this, as I had been looking forward to this eclipse since I became aware of it a decade ago. But hey, at least the sky would turn dark for a few minutes, right? At least we could experience that. On my social media feeds, locals were mulling over the 6-hour drive to Arkansas, where they were predicting nothing but sunshine. I won't lie, I was thinking about it too. Driving 12 hours in a day to Little Rock and back is technically doable, but at what cost?

That morning, the sky was actually fairly clear, but the clouds started to gather about an hour before the eclipse started. The first hour of the eclipse was our worst visibility, but fortunately that's the least interesting part of the eclipse. Then, a miracle happened: forty minutes until totality and the clouds broke. We never had an obstructed view after that. We didn't even have the rain that was all but guaranteed that afternoon. Absolutely wild.

Not sure I'll ever witness anything as amazing as complete totality in an eclipse. The whole time all I could think about is people from millennia ago. I don't know how long astronomers have been able to predict eclipses with any sort of regularity, but I know the average farmer in his field wouldn't have seen it coming. Imagine tending to your crops one afternoon, and then the lighting gets weird, and then the wind picks up, the sky darkens, and all the birds get quiet. I completely get why someone would think their god is mad at them and the world is ending. In the few seconds it took for all the light to go out, my brain had this animal reaction of "this is wrong, this isn't supposed to happen! Something bad is happening!". Imagine being a caveman who only has the most tenuous grasp of the world around them at that moment. Imagine how relieved you'd be four minutes later when the sunshine comes back. Imagine it never happening again for the rest of your caveman life, and you're only left with the memory of how the sun went out that one time.

Now to switch gears on a completely unrelated and not as celestially beautiful topic, I finished the ref sheet on a new sona.

Len isn't going away, Len is still my bestest boy and the character which most accurately represents 'me'. This is just a secondary character for funsies. This is Crab!

The reference sheet for Crab, a male deltasuchus. Crab is orange with brown stripes, like a tiger. He has yellow teeth and claws. His eyes are purple and yellow, and his spikes and tongue are purple.

Why a Deltasuchus and not just a regular crocodilian? Well, because

  1. Prehistoric animals are cool.
  2. The Deltasuchus is a North Texas native, and was discovered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area! They're a regular hometown hero. I still have every intention of leaving Texas, because it's just a place that I find too hostile to enjoy in its present state. But it's where I'm from, and it will always mean something to me.

I'm still tooling around with Crab's personality, but even now with nothing more than a name and a ref sheet I'm very happy to have a secondary character to toy around with.

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