The US Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

Last weekend I travelled down to Nashville, TN with my wife and good friends to observe a total solar eclipse. Nashville was in the PATH OF TOTALITY1. The last solar eclipse I can recall was when I was in elementary school. I viewed it through my dad’s welding mask. It was neat.

Entering Nashville. They Warned Us.
Entering Nashville. They Warned Us.

We spent the weekend in Nashville with some eats and some sights. I got legitimate Nashville hot chicken2 3 4, and then proceeded to hang out in 95º F playing mini golf. Poor decision on my part. I digress…

Am I the total eclipse of Erica's heart?
Am I the total eclipse of Erica’s heart?

We headed to a park just outside of Nashville to avoid crowds. The park itself had a pretty large audience, but there was plenty of space and parking for all5. I didn’t really prepare to take decent photos of the eclipse. I attempted to take photos through my eclipse glasses6 and they didn’t really pan out. However with some cloud cover I was able to capture some slivers of sol. Totality hid behind some clouds until it revealed itself to the hoots and hollers of the observing crowd.

I was elated to get this shot.
I was elated to get this shot.

The eclipse was other worldly. Photos are neat, but do not capture the true experience. I know some in Ohio were mildly impressed by their partial eclipse, and even if they had 90% coverage or more… 1 to 10 percent of the sun, is still ALOT of sun. As totality neared, it was like someone throwing on the dimmer switch of the sky, but when totality hit, it was truly amazing. It was like dusk came out of nowhere.

Day to Dusk within minutes.
Day to Dusk within minutes.

And then, it was over. The partial eclipse waned out of existence, and we were poised to head home in the early afternoon. It was warned there would be significant traffic7, however we did not anticipate the true impact the eclipse had. It looks us nearly 14 hours to head home.

Gridlock into Elizabethtown, KY
Gridlock into Elizabethtown, KY

We tried to work around it, taking back roads, but it wasn’t enough. The eclipse audience was nothing short than a small migration8. During our stay and travels we met/saw people from Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. As we approached midnight, and weren’t in Ohio yet we were beat. Rest stops were packed, and it was stop and go. We arrived home near 6 AM on Tuesday completely exhausted.

Would I do it again? Yes. 9

Also this post is brought to you by McDonalds, the official restaurant of the 2017 solar eclipse. 10 11 12

McDonalds, the official restaurant of the 2017 Solar Eclipse.

  1. Seriously. if there isn’t a metal band named Path of Totality, someone needs to get on that. PATH OF TOTALITY 2017!!!! 
  2. XX-HOT, I got rep to maintain yo. 
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince%27s_Hot_Chicken_Shack 
  4. Legitichicken? 
  5. Kudos to the Goodlettsville parks department and police dept. for being so organized. 
  6. Purchase stock in eclipse glasses in early 2024. 
  7. See photo above. 
  8. Also, Elizabethtown, KY… get traffic situation figured out okay. We spent nearly 3-4 hours just trying to get through here. Probably more. 
  9. Good thing there’s another one coming in 2024. PATH OF TOTALITY is touring in OHIO! 
  10. How? How does this even happen? How is this a thing? Why is this a thing?! 
  11. Accept no substitutes. We only ate McDonalds our entire visit. 
  12. I wonder who they are going to get for the 2024 eclipse? 

Auditory Creative Endeavors

I dislike Winter very much. I never have inspiration to do anything creative even though I’m indoors for most of the season. Now cut to Spring, my favorite season, and the choice season for critics alike1. I’ve felt reinvigorated to start some new things and start creating. So I have.

Podcasting

Shawn and I have started a new podcast called Sines, Co-Sines, and Tangents.

Sines, Co-sines, & Tangents, our new podcast that's part of our Four Score & Seven Pongs Ago endeavor.
Sines, Co-sines, & Tangents, our new podcast that’s part of our Four Score & Seven Pongs Ago endeavor.

The joke is his name is Shawn Sines, and I’m his co-host, and we talk about all kinds of things that devolve into many tangents. Now that I’ve explained it, the title is now 300% more hilarious.2

Podcasting Setup (Photo by Shawn Sines)
Podcasting Setup (Photo by Shawn Sines)

It’s great to be back to podcasting, and to talk about video games with someone who appreciates them like I do yet has a completely different take. I love the democracy of podcasting much like the open web. We aren’t subject to YouTube ads , algorithms, proprietary formats or delivery. People can use whatever app they want and we own our content and deliver it directly. It may take longer for people to find it but it’s a principle I stand behind.3 4

I also love the technology behind our setup and making a good sounding podcast without a lot of post production. 5

Music

I’ve been getting back to making music. It’s not something I’m terribly good at, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I got inspired last year near vacation time. I haven’t made anything I’m very happy with to publish on the internet yet. But it’s something I’m continuing to do to stay creative. I’ve made several musical equivalents of writing on the piece of paper and throwing it in the trash bin.

In the process I’ve learned more and more about synthesizers. If there’s an instrument I identify with, it’s the synth6. A mix of technology and music.

Making music has reminded me when I started with photography. I wasn’t amazing when I started taking photos, but with years of experience and understanding the tools I had, experimenting, I’ve reached a point where I’m happy with it. For music I have been using a MIDI keyboard and my iPad with several different synth apps, and sequencers. Some might dismiss this as not “real” music. That opinion disheartens me. I grew up with electronic music by way of video games. In many instances the creators of music in video games were simultaneously programmers and musicians, writing the music in code. I read an article on Bandcamp about all these amazing genres of obscure music and it was enlightening. There’s room for everyone and taste in music is subjective. I will continue to learn and experiment, and maybe I’ll have something to share with the world in the near future.


  1. “Mother Nature raves ‘this season has really started to grow on me. 5/5 it’s a mastapeece'” – The Columbus Gazette March 20th 2017 
  2. The next time a friend doesn’t understand a joke, make sure to explain to them why it’s funny in several different ways. They will appreciate it. 
  3. I intend on writing more about the Open Web and how it’s dying soon. 
  4. Look, I’ve gone off on a tangent. 
  5. There are still a few kinks to work out as I write this. 
  6. If you haven’t watched the Lords of Synth yet, you’re missing out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXgNo5Smino 

Perspective

Perspective is a powerful tool. It can bring people closer to one another. It can change how one approaches the world.

I was thinking about perspective when I passed a solar array on a trip in the moonlit night to Northern Ohio to celebrate Thanksgiving. I thought to myself how even though the sun was not directly seen or felt it was still present. It lit the moon. It was cold but compared to the cold of outer space, it was relatively warm. Even in the harsh winter months the sun is still what keeps our little world alive.

Thanksgiving is reserved for a time of giving thanks to what matters most. Health, family, friends, a roof over your head. I use the day for perspective. Not everyone has an enjoyable time around the holidays. But as you’re watching the news about what else is going on in the world, take a second to consider what you’ve got and what really matters before you go out and trample people for a Black Friday deal or complain with your family members about something trivial.

I like to go back to a few years ago when things weren’t great and how much better I am than then. I am thankful, truly thankful. I am not always happy and that’s okay. Perspective is what puts me in my place.

I am thankful for you reading this. Now go eat some prehistoric prey of your choice.

The Jarbochov Stratagem

My blog has been under the moniker of the WyomingJarbo.blog for almost ten years now[1]. The name has early 2000s written all over it.

For those not in the know my nickname has evolved over the years. In high school it was Jarbo[2], which I then reconfigured into Wyoming Jarbo as an homage to Indiana Jones except with the completely rectangular and least populated state. I thought it was funny.

Later after answering many questions about the “Wyoming” part[3] of the name I adopted Jarbochov[4]. After the great Twitter username change of 2011[5] it has been my handle ever since. It’s unique and it was born out of serendipity rather than manufactured or forced.

Over the last year I’ve reflected on how much I miss creating things. I like writing but I also put so much thought into it without much action. The most common advice I see for people who want to write is to just write and not worry about the audience or the content. So that’s my new goal, or stratagem to approach myself and the world.

A stratagem is a plan to outwit an opponent or to achieve an end. My opponent is myself and the world. My goal is to write more, to show the awesome of the world, of technology, of video games, of life. My aim is to muddle up the system add some shades of gray[6] to everyone that reads this. The world is simple where we think it is complex, and it is complex where we think it is simple.

I hope you stay along and encourage me throughout this corporate rebranding of the online space of Jared Cherup, and I hope to contribute in a more regular fashion.


  1. WyomingJarbo.com has actually been around since 1999.  ↩
  2. “Jarbo” was a product of several misspelled checks I received from The Columbus Dispatch while I was a paperboy. I still cashed them.  ↩
  3. No I’ve never visited Wyoming, but I want to.  ↩
  4. Jarbochov was formally adopted during a game of 1000 blank white cards. It’s an reconstructing of “Mikhail Gorbachev” and “Jarbo”. Also some walls were involved.  ↩
  5. I joined Twitter in 2006, and for years my username was “jcherup” which found completely uninspired.  ↩
  6. No, not those ones.  ↩

Collecting Memories

I’ve been a Nintendo fan as long as I can remember.

My first memories of Nintendo were playing the NES at the barbershop my Dad took my brother and I when we were kids. The earliest games I remember are Duck Hunt, Gyromite, Top Gun, and of course Super Mario Bros.

My memories are inherently tied to video games, specifically Nintendo games. I don’t remember what my first kiss felt like but I can tell you what the first time playing Super Mario 64 in a local game store felt like: dreamy bliss. It’s confounding how my brain is wired.

When I started collecting video games, systems, and accessories a few years ago, it was spurred by finding my original Game Boy in a box of old items. That was the spark but I’m not certain what has kept that flame bright. Was it my sled named Rosebud? Was it to add to my geek cred? My precious antique cans? I think I am finally realizing what it is. It’s my link to the past (see what I did there? no?) Maybe that’s just my way of justifying material possessions. I understand people who want to eschew keeping all but the necessary physical objects. I just have never been able to do it myself. I like having things that other people have created, and things I can use to create.

Now I’ve moved into the realm of “collector” complete with a “collection.” It’s weird for me to think about. I don’t have items just to have them; they all mean something to me. They are part of me. Games differ from movies and books. Movies and books are easily rented or purchased regardless of publication date. Games on the other hand can often fade into the time they were created. Some will be remembered or even rereleased. But some will live on only on the system they were created for. Take Earthbound for example. It was a Nintendo game released for the Super Nintendo. It is actually fairly rare, and until 2013 never rereleased or available again for purchase. It’s a quirky RPG without a real equivalent. Maybe games like these will never fade and some library will exist for them to be played by anyone in the future, or maybe they will eventually die. Video games are a very young medium.

I don’t have anything in particular to achieve with my collection. I hope to share my memories with others, for them to share their memories with me. To share my experiences if I ever have a child. If I do I’ll raise them right.

Honestly I can’t imagine where this will end up. Maybe in ten years I’ll be selling everything for drugs and guns thanks to Armageddon (Thanks Armageddon!). I do know one thing that I keep coming back to: these games, toys, time wasters, playable stories, experiences, or whatever else to call them – they are a part of me. They are part of how my brain works. I’m collecting my own memories.