Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Tenth Day of Christmas

It's the tenth day of Christmas today. In the Middle Ages, people would have been gearing up for the biggest festival on Twelfth Night. In the Current Middle Ages, people are doing just that. With any luck, my Christmas presents to myself may arrive in time for Twelfth Night, or maybe Distaff Day.

Sorry, people who are in the SCA or used to be have a tendency to speak of dates in Medieval holidays.

I woke up today much later than usual today, and the Mummers Parade was on TV! It's been ages since I've watched the parade on TV!

While I never went downtown when I was a kid to see it, I have watched the Harrowgate String Band strut their stuff on Frankford Avenue!

This is a photo of the Frankford String Band, which I've also seen strut in person.


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Last night, I saw the final episode of Doctor Who with David Tenent, and it was good!

Previous doctors have met their ends suddenly, and without warning. Well, Tom Baker's Doctor could tell it was coming, but didn't use the information to his advantage. I don't want to give away any spoilers (well, I really do, but some of you may not have seen that episode yet), but this time the Doctor has a lot of warning (the Ood have been trying to get hold of him for ages to let him know), and even after the deed is done, he still has a chance to see old friends before he's gone.

So, anyway, we have a new Doctor! Geronimo!


By the way, Geronimo seems to be the new Allons-y.

Somehow, it just doesn't have as much class.

Anyway, Doctor, "Your song is ending, but the story never ends."

Heroes is back tomorrow night with an all new two hour episode!

The holidays always inspire lots of reruns, but it's wonderful go get back to real TV! You know, new stuff! January will see lots of shows returning with a new season.

One of those shows coming back is Chuck, and you can get ready for the new season by watching a series of back-to-back reruns on SyFy Thursday evening starting at 5 pm here.

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Speaking of TV, I have a spooky story for you that I was reminded of by TV (Ghost Hunters, to be exact).

John keeps telling me I have to tell you more about some of the things I've done in my life, and this is one of the odder ones, so here goes:

My aunt and uncle used to be involved in N-SSA. I know I've mentioned that before, but for those of you who haven't read about it before, it's a group of Civil War reenactors.

Jean asked me to go to some of their events, and the first one I went to was at Lakehurst Naval Air Station. If you ckick the link, you'll find that it has a different name, now.

We arrived on Friday evening, and had enough time to pitch our tents and get set up before it was dark. There wasn't much to it, just a line of tents of the participants, and, at right angles to that, Sutler's Row. Sutlers are merchants. Yes, this was a shopping opportunity, too!

This was my first skirmish, and I got to meet a lot of people and sit in one of their tents and sing Civil War songs. It was lots of fun.

The next morning, I woke up to a strange, droning sound. I dressed quickly and got out of the tent to find a heavy fog. Somebody told me to look up and pointed up at the sky in a direction that was behind the tent. I kept saying "I don't see anything" (due to the heavy fog) and they told me to keep looking.

Suddenly, out of the fog, about 30 feet up, there appeared an airship! It was right there, so close it startled me!

It went right over my head, and then another one appeared, and another and another! I don't know how many airships there were, but they kept coming in overhead, one after the other!

I was told that they had been waiting something like two weeks to land. In order for an airship to land, the air has to be very still, and we'd had too much wind for a while.

Later on that day, there was a special tour that had been arranged for us visitors to the air station, and a bunch of us went off on a military bus. We got to see lots of things. One that stands out in my memory was the flight lind (which we didn't actually get very close to, and they wouldn't let us off the bus).

I do remember a lot of planes parked on the ramp with their wings folded up like this:


They were painted in the Naval design, and the place above doesn't really look like the ones I remember, but the wings fold the same way.

But the big event was Hangar One!

Hangar One is unbelievably BIG! The gentleman who was giving the tour told us all about it at length. There was a lot to talk about, and he gave us all the details. At that point in time (I'm told there are bigger ones now, but I don't know why), it was the biggest open interior structure in the world. It was intended to house airships, and could hold quite a few. It was also so big that it sometimes developed it's own local weather patterns, and they had known it rain inside the hanger, even when it wasn't raining outside. When we saw it, it was empty.

I missed a lot of what the guide was telling us because I kept being distracted by the oddest thing I'd seen so far (I was 16, and still in high school). The scene looked peaceful, and nothing seemed to be happening, but right in front of the hangar was something that is hard to describe.

I could see the scene as it was, but I could also see something else. It was like there was a huge photographic slide that I was looking at it through. The slide was moving (as in video), and I could see it just as clearly as I could see the ground in front of the hangar.

But what was in the slide was not calm and peaceful, it was turbulent and full of fire! An airship was there, and it burst into flames! It was very chaotic, and it just went on and on with flames bursting out of the airship and consuming it as if gradually fell the last few feet of it's landing.

Finally, the guide came to the end of his tour of the hangar and asked if anyone had any questions. I asked him if anything unusual had happened at that particular place, pointing to the spot where I was still watching the airship burn. He said "Oh, yeah. That's the exact spot where the Hindenburg crashed and burned!"

This is what I was looking at:


This is the first photograph that I've ever seen of the Hindenburg fire that's in color. It's even more impressive when you're looking at the real thing. Fire tends to overload film and increase the contrast, but when you see it for real, it's a lot brighter and redder. It looks a lot scarier, too! And this photo was just the beginning. The fire spread and engulfed the whole airship, and I got to watch the whole thing in horror and fascination!

Ghost Hunters, by the way, really amazes me. It takes one of the most exciting topics I could imagine, and makes it so boring that I can't see how they could possibly do it! They dismissed the area where I saw this by saying it looked spooky, but nothing was happening. If you see that episode, by the way, the spot they show has changed a lot. It's well paved and decorated with a marker. It wasn't when I saw it. It was just an empty patch of land.

My sister, Lynn, came along on this camping trip, and she swore she'd never go to another one again!

The incident that inspired this was making a sandwich and finding a bug in it when she ate it! She started screaming bloody murder about finding a bug in her sandwich and my then-uncle, Art, told her not to complain because it could be worse. She demanded to know how it could possibly be worse, and he said "You could've found half a bug!" That was when she went nuts and insisted she'd never go camping ever again!

I had lots of fun that weekend, and hated the smell of black powder when I first smelled it. On Sunday, we had a shooting competition for muzzle loaders, and I got to sit behind the line and watch it with Jean and some of my new friends. A sutler came by selling ice cream, and I at a small tub of vanilla ice cream that was black powder flavored (from all the smoke in the air). After that, I enjoyed the smell of black powder.

Well, enjoy the last little bit of your holiday!

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Addition:

I found a trailer for the new season of Doctor Who, and I thought you might like to see it:

1 comment:

  1. Just FYI, the photo of the Hindenburg on fire is actually a Black & White photo that was digitally colorized. No color photos were taken of the Hindenburg accident when it took place. The only actual color photos were Kodachromes of the wreckage burning on the ground several hours after the crash. (See http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/disaster/myths#color )

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