Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

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Eclipsed

Sun with lens flare

I missed it. This morning most of Northern Europe experienced a partial eclipse of the sun. And seeing as I don’t happen to have a telescope and a piece of card handy, I missed it. The shot above is the best view I could manage. Crap, isn’t it?

Oh, if only it were overcast! In the right conditions, the cloud layers filter the sun’s beam, letting the solar disc shine through in a perfect outline while cutting out all that nasty, retina-melting glare. I’d only have to look up, and there I’d see it — the sun, with a chunk bitten off. But alas, this morning we were cursed with the clearest, bluest sky we’ve had in months. Fuck.

I missed the last one too, the better one. It was a morning in mid-August 1999. They issued warnings about going outdoors in the hours preceding — lest you be burned alive by magnified cosmic rays or some such, I don’t know. Anyway I had a shift on the concession stand at my local multiplex that morning, stuck behind the counter serving popcorn to gluttonous philistines as the sky grew gradually darker, so the warnings didn’t apply to me.

Turns out, in the end, I didn’t really miss all that much. There was no sudden pseudo-nightfall like I expected; just a slight dimming, like what normally happens when a large cloud passes overhead. Big deal, I said to myself as I snatched glimpses at the glass-fronted foyer every now and then.

Now that I think about it, I didn’t really miss all that much today, either, which makes me feel a little bit better. Still, would have been nice though.

So many books…

[I had intended to post this comment on Markham’s new blog but he seems to be having some technical problems. So it’s going here instead. (I mean, what’s my weblog for if I don’t post on it every now and again?)]

So apparently bloggers like books, eh? What with all the reading and the writing and all, who woulda thunk it?

But enough of my sarcasm. I also share the bookish addiction. It’s not so bad that I can’t walk past a bookshop without being drawn inside by some mysterious magnetic force. But when I do pop into Waterstone’s or Hodges Figgis now and again, more often than not I can’t leave without having bought something. Damn those three for two offers!

As for reading the bloody things? I do tend to go through periods of not reading anything substantial, bar newspapers and magazines (and websites, natch), so the book pile has been growing steadily for some time. But I have been on a bit of a reading buzz lately.

Since my recent jaunt abroad I’ve read and enjoyed The State of Africa by Martin Meredith (highly recommended Markham, if you haven’t read it already); The Quarry by Damon Galgut; The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem; and am trying to make Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures last as long as possible…

I also breezed through Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase, which had been sitting in my bag one-quarter read for the last six months, and I’ve just started A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester, on the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, which I picked up for virtually nothing over Christmas downstairs at Eason’s.

And there are at least ten other books on the shelf just waiting to be delved into. Provided my current reading buzz lasts, that is. If not, they’ll just have to wait, and make room for the others I’ll undoubtedly add to the pile in the coming months.

(And by the way Markham, The Winding Stair is still open. Or at least it was when I was crossing the Ha’penny Bridge on Monday morning.)