In the meantime, I've lucked out, in that there was another notable celestial event. It's the transit of Venus across the sun, basically that planet's version of an eclipse. Back in the days before satellites, the transit of Venus was the best way to measure the distance between planets, especially between us and the sun. (It still had its hiccups, though.) We can now watch a transit more perfectly from space, of course, but it still gives Earthbound onlookers a great idea of where exactly we are in our solar system and what else is out there with us.
I prepped for this about the same way I would've prepped for the eclipse. I looked on the appropriate NASA website and found exactly where in the sky it's going to happen, and, more importantly, I found a bit of high-quality welder's glass. Shade 14 is great for things like this, because although it gives an unrealistic green tint to everything, it allows you to see transiting planets and sunspots without killing your eyes with UV rays. I wanted to buy the glass at a welding shop downtown for really, really, really cheap, but a lot of other people had the same idea, so Sutton Garten was fresh out both times I tried. I ended up borrowing a piece (that I do intend on returning) from a guy at Indianapolis Welding Company on McCarty Street.
Before the big event, I figured I should get some practice. So, I looked for stuff that's always there: sunspots. I found a few in a test photo I put on Instagram, but I fretted a bit about the diffraction in my Polaris telescope. The slight duplication of the image would just not do. Plus, the eyepiece was such that the only photo I could take was on my iPhone.
Fortunately, my (filtered) 80-200 lens by itself works better, and the combo of the DSLR and the zoom allowed me to make enough of a high-resolution image to do crops to make the sun fill the frame. Of course, NASA beats me, but I think I did pretty well with my limited resources.
Now, if someone could send me to Cairns, Australia, on November 13, I could catch a total solar eclipse...