It’s Getting Dark

Oh, Dear Reader, I have made a grievous mistake. Today is Valentine’s Day, and I should be happy, but alas and alack, I am not and it is all for this: I’ve anthropomorphized a robot.

The Mars rover Opportunity is probably something you’ve heard of, but don’t know a whole lot about. I know I didn’t know a whole lot about it until yesterday. I knew it sent us some great photos, and I thought it sang “Happy Birthday” to itself every year, but then I learned that that is actually Curiosity. Yeah, there are two little roving robots up on Mars right now (well, technically only one is left roving, and actually we’ve sent up seven total).

But Opportunity lasted the longest, landing on Mars 15 years ago. It was only meant to last for 90 days, but it proved to be much more resilient than that. Opportunity traveled just 28 miles in its lifetime, but those 28 miles have never been covered by anything else from Earth, so maybe don’t be a dick about it, okay?

On June 10th, 2018, Opportunity entered into hibernation to reserve its
solar-powered battery. Dust storms blotted out the sun, and it shut down with hopes it would boot up again when the dust settled and it could be charged once more. The end of Opportunity’s watch was called yesterday, February 13th, 2019, when, after six months of sending signals out to it, it had failed to answer. Its mission has been officially declared complete.

Its final message was:

My battery is low and it’s getting dark.

Mars Exploration Rover – B aka Oppy

I’ve struggled so far to not call Opportunity “him” for a number of reasons, mostly because he says “my” so the little dude comes off as sentient, but also, well, just look at him!

This is technically an artist’s rendering, but you get the idea.

For goodness sake, he looks like Wall-E!

Anyway, it’s not just me who’s humanizing this poor, little, lonely sentinel out in space, and undoubtedly all these sad-as-fuck tributes are aiding in the over-abundance of feelings I’m having for a hunk of metal:

The only source I can find on this is the signature, “blindwire.”

So, basically, I’m wondering: what the fuck? I have cried about this more times than I can count on one hand in the last 24 hours. For a little bit I wondered if I was suffering from depression, and it’s just coming out like this, but the truth is I’ve kind of always been incredibly weepy. I cry over the smallest things, especially if they are manufacture like a well-timed song or a commercial about forest creatures, but this seems extra bad. Something about this little machine is fucking me up hard.

The logician in me understands this: Opportunity is not a living creature, it does not have sentience, it doesn’t know what’s happened to it (at least I’m on board with those sentiments 99%). And yet…AND YET…I feel bad for it. I’m sad it’s all alone, I’m sad it doesn’t get to know how much it did for us, I’m sad it doesn’t get to come home. But maybe what I’m really sad about is what it appears to represent: the end of space exploration. Of course, this isn’t the case at all, NASA still exists, Curiosity is still out there, and we have a whole future ahead of us in which we’re bound to eventually get into some Star Trek shit. But seeing as we’ve entered the darkest timeline here on Earth, specifically in the USA, the future just doesn’t quite seem that bright, and the death of something so good from a time when things seemed possible (I was 16 when this guy shot off into space) just feels so heavy.

And maybe someday we’ll actually get to Mars, we’ll collect him, and we’ll set him up in the Smithsonian with a nice little plaque that humans can wonder over and appreciate. That’ll be a really nice day, and I guess it’s really something to look forward to, it’s just so hard to imagine as a possibility right now in the face of everything else our nation is going through. We seem so doomed to repeat ourselves, to stop dead, and–worst of all–to regress, and it’s terrifying and disheartening. But, on the other hand…

We’re not quite broken yet, are we? I mean, if we’re sad about it, at least we’re not apathetic. The 24 hour news cycle is so in your face that you can become numb to all the bullshit deluging out of it, but this little dude, sitting alone in a crater, covered in red dust, can still illicit real feelings (in me, at least). And maybe that’s a sign that the future’s not going to be so bad after all.

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Dear Spider On The Ceiling Of My Kitchen

I know I am about a million times bigger than you (do your multiple eyes allow you to comprehend our size difference?), I produce loud obnoxious noises (do you even have ears?), and I appear to have the powers of a goddess by turning on and off the sun (okay, that one’s real), but I assure you: I only want to be your friend.

You see, unlike most irrational humans, I understand you have intrinsic value as a living, breathing creature, and I understand you have extrinsic value because you feed upon my nemeses: mosquitoes. This is all to say, I have no desire to smoosh you.

However, none of these perfectly rational realizations preclude me from that most based reaction of fear when, bleary-eyed and hunger-panged, one nearly walks head-on into a shockingly large, dangling, brown-recluse-looking mother fucker. I expected you to be there just about as much as you expected me which is to say not at fucking all, and I appreciate your instinct to scurry up your anal silk to avoid collision instead of swinging onto my face and crawling into the closest orifice to lay eggs. See, I know you’d never do this, but that weird, primordial fear is inherent in so many of my species, so you probably have your ancestors to blame for my response.

I am sorry my shriek was so ear-piercing (again, apologies if you don’t have ears) and my movement to quick that you likely felt threatened. Further, I am sorry that I maneuvered around my kitchen while I went about normal human chores in such a way as to make you feel I was distrustful of your kind and you were being watched. It was very speciest of me, but I can be the bigger creature (which, I guess, I naturally am anyway) and admit that that is exactly what I was doing.

I’d like to start over, turn a new leaf, spin a new web, as it were, and extend to you a…fly carcass wrapped in silk. In this vein, have placed a small plastic container on the counter, very close to the spot you are currently occupying next to the pot light (and have been occupying for a few hours now, a fact I know because I can’t help how I was raised). You would only need to move a foot (something like a few hundred spider-feet) or so across the ceiling and drop down into said container. Once you have done so, I will very gently slid the lid on top so as not to jostle you, but I will not latch the lid. Then I will carefully place the container outside, open, so that you may exit it at your leisure.

I think you will find the out of door suits you immensely better than my kitchen. Yours in sincerity and solidarity,

Ashley “Arachnids Are Friends Not Foes” Caggiano

Thoughts While Watching 2001’s The Fast And The Furious

For reasons unknown, Husband got it into his head that we, as a couple, need to subject ourselves to the entirety of the Fast and Furious movie franchise. Because I love him, I have agreed to devote 15 hours and 57 minutes of my life watching ethnically ambiguous men beat one another up furiously between races where they make their cars go, what I can only assume from the titles, is very, very fast.

We began with the first of what is currently only eight films: The Fast and the Furious. A la my She’s All That post, the following are my thoughts while watching, jotted down in real time in a notepad application on my phone. I have no screen shots, but I am sure, Dear Reader, that you remember this movie masterpiece frame by frame.

We’re 3 seconds in, and I can already tell this is not a movie that was made for my 31 year old lady demographic.

Are they gonna kill this truck driver? What the heck, I do NOT remember this at all!

Wouldn’t you stop if people were attacking your semi? How are you this good of a semi driver? Is this movie actually about semi drivers?

Jesus, this movie just feels like 2001.

PAUL WALKER!!! (My mom loved him.)

Is Paul Walker really going to have this girl cut the crusts off his sandwich? What a man baby.

This girl working at the diner (Jordana Brewster) is 2001 hot. She has no lips and a straight figure. 2001 was a simpler time.

Okay, Michelle Rodriguez just showed up and I am here for her.

“Sandwich crazy” needs to be entered into the DSM.

Who is this beardy fuck? Vince? Fuck off.

I’m feeling ultra gross how a tuna sandwich is being equated with Mia (Jordana Brewster) right now.

DON’T YOU EMBARRASS VIN DIESEL!

The movie is a commercial for NOS. I don’t know if that’s a brand, but I bet it is (and I refuse to look it up).

For a few seconds you see all these diverse people at the “car club” and you think this is nice, everyone getting together, but then they play music specifically from a person’s background and show how separate they actually are and–is that Ja Rule????

P Dubz’s car has blue lines under the hood so it is the coolest car there.

No hot lady with a flag signaling the drivers to go? What kinda bullshit car racing movie is this?

No one going 200mph would stop that easily.

The real miracle of this film is that, in the scene where they scatter from the police, no one hits anyone else.

I feel like I don’t even need to say this, but I’m gonna: All of these lines are terrible, and they even terriblier delivered. I had to make up a new word to express how terrible this dialogue is.

Now there’s a motorcycle gang! And they’re Asian! But they weren’t invited to the car club! But they race too! They have a turf war! What the hell?!

Dem cheek bones doe, dem tight pants doe! Johnny Tran needs his own movie.

AAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhahahahahahahaha the car BLEW UP.

All these lit candles at this drunk-person party–this house is going up in flames like that car.

Waaaaaay back in 2001 there were NO WOMEN on the police force.

Do you think anybody thought twice about calling this yearly dessert meetup “Race Wars?” Like do you think the writers, producers, or directors considered different names? Or do you think there’s a complicated, in-universe reason for the name?

FLOPPY DISKS.

This drop out with ADD should be the main character.

Vince fucking sucks.

Either I am thinking way too hard about this, or the director really wanted to give this backyard bbq a last supper vibe, and Vince is Judas. Or maybe it’s Paul Walker. Or maybe I’m thinking too hard about it.

I don’t think there are this many parking spaces readily available in LA.

P Dubz is a bad liar.

Okay, so Vince still fucking sucks, but he isn’t wrong about P Dubz being a cop. Man this is rough.

I just stopped paying attention for the last like 20 minutes and when I looked back up Vin Diesel was grabbing Michelle Rodriguez’s ass in such an awkward way that it looked like he was going to tear her in half buttcheeks first.

Okay, this movie is just Grease without the music. OMG what I would give to see Fast and Furious and Fabulous.

OMG SPOILER ALERT: Vin Diesel was the bad guy all along, I cannot fucking believe this!

Well it looks like, in a completely uncharacteristic turn of events, Michelle Rodriguez decided to wear her seatbelt and that happened to be the one time a car rolled over. Thank you for making a good choice and being a role model for all the kids who will see this movie.

The reveal that P Dubz is a cop to Vin Diesel was actually pretty great. This is easily the best scene in this film acting-wise, writing-wise, even how its shot.

Also giving the truck driver a shot gun was a good choice. You don’t see a lot of shot guns in movies anymore. Or at least I don’t. Maybe I’m watching the wrong kinda movies.

Is this thing ever going to end? There is so much yelling, and bullets, and revving engines.

Guess Johnny Tran isn’t getting his own movie.

Ooo, Vinny D and P Duz gonna talk the only way the know how: by racing!

The greatest love story of this film is the one between Paul Walker and Vin Diesel.

Choo choo, mother fucker!

Are we really doin this, bro? Yep!

Like Vin, I did NOT see that semi coming. (Hey there, Ashley from way after watching the movie here: Vin Diesel headed up a ring of robbers who heisted semi truck goods. Then Vin Diesel gets hit by/runs into a semi truck. I did not get this connection when I watched it, but now…are the writers of this franchise actually geniuses???)

KISS KISS KISS!!!!

Spoiler Alert: Paul Walker and Vin Diesel did NOT kiss. Guess they’re saving that for the second movie.