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New Year

Started: 2021-01-05 20:18:17

Submitted: 2021-01-05 22:15:30

Visibility: World-readable

Fingers crossed for a better 2021

We spent New Year's Eve like we've spent just about every other night for the last nine months during the pandemic: at home.

Sun setting over Monterey Bay
Sun setting over Monterey Bay

As the sun set on 2020, we sat down to supper followed by our New Year's Eve tradition: chocolate fondue (inherited from my family because fondue is delicious but if one pins it to a specific event on the calendar one will only eat it once a year).

Jaeger, Calvin, Kiesa, and Julian eat chocolate fondue for New Year's Eve
Jaeger, Calvin, Kiesa, and Julian eat chocolate fondue for New Year's Eve

Calvin expressed interest in staying up until midnight, to count down and celebrate the demise of 2020 and ring in our hopes for a better 2021 ("maybe there will be zombies this year", Calvin said hopefully). We'd run out of Christmas movies to watch, and it was really the season for New Year's movies anyway, and I couldn't think of any New Year's movies, so instead I suggested a double feature: Total Recall and Terminator 2, two sci-fi action movies from the early 1990s, staring Arnold Schwarzenegger, released a year apart, bookending two major eras in film: optical printing versus digital compositing, with the first major character done partially in CGI. (It occurred to me, while watching T2, that only eight years elapsed between the T-1000 appearing on screen and Jar Jar Binks.)

To set up the movies, I explained the differences in visual production techniques, and how T2 set up everything that came after it (a message reinforced in the visual effects documentaries we watched later); then we kicked off the movies, back-to-back.

We had to pause T2 between the second and third acts to ring in the new year. I didn't have a clear plan for the countdown so I hurriedly searched YouTube for "countdown" and came up with a live stream of random cities around the time they were celebrating the new year, though I was in the last heavily-populated time zone to depart 2020, and all of the US west coast had canceled their outdoor fireworks displays and celebrations. It didn't help that the live stream was delayed by a minute, by the time I set it up on my Chromecast; but we counted down and toasted the new year with our celebratory beverages at midnight, wishing 2020 good riddance and hoping for a better 2021.

Remote New Year's countdown
Remote New Year's countdown

(I took a brief moment to wonder how Snapchat was handling the new year, since I spent New Year's Eve on-call for App Engine four years ago, watching the traffic spikes march across the world as each time zone celebrated midnight.)

View of Santa Cruz at New Year's
View of Santa Cruz at New Year's

I stepped out onto the deck where I could see Santa Cruz under the light of the moon. I could hear the pop of distant fireworks, and I could see little explosions in the sky over Santa Cruz and Watsonville, as people set off their own unofficial fireworks displays in the city.

View of Watsonville and Monterey at New Year's
View of Watsonville and Monterey at New Year's

We returned inside to watch the third act finale of T2, celebrating the ultimate triumph of humanity over killer robots from the future. This seemed like an adequately hopeful message for the new year:

Fingers crossed for a better 2021.

If you want to kiss the sky, you had better learn how to kneel.
- U2, "Mysterious Ways"