Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A changing world

I don't usually post things that tend to be political in nature on this blog. That's not what we started it for and with the news recently of presidential appointments for cabinet seats, there is a lot of uproar in the headlines.

One such nominee is for the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, I don't know this person. All I see in the headlines are his ties to the big oil industry. Big oil and fossil fuel companies are prone to trying to roll back any regulation that interferes with their profits. Business is about profits. Always has been. Always will be. There is no changing that fact no matter what the business or industry. Regulation interferes with their business models and it costs money to adapt.

The point of this ramble is, the earth is changing. I am one that tends to believe in a scientific model and study the evidence and facts that come along with it. I fully understand facts can be manipulated by either side of an argument. If you are one who does not believe the earth is getting warmer, I for the life of me don't understand your position. The evidence is overwhelming. If you decry the warming argument, you at least have to believe things are changing and they won't be the same in a hundred years as it has been in your lifetime.

One problem is people always want to blame one thing. It's xx's fault, or it's yy's fault. I generally don't see the world that black and white. There are likely many things that contribute to our changing world. Fossil fuels growth over the years is one, perhaps your blue marble has moved a percentage closer to the sun in its orbit, perhaps the area of space our solar system is in has something to do with it, perhaps it's voodoo. Okay, you get the point.

The real issue is, our climate is changing and it doesn't really matter what's causing it. It's time we just agree it's changing and we need to look at opportunities that address those things that are within our control. For the first time in our history, we have the technology to help combat what is happening to our planet. We as a species can't control everything, but there is a tremendous amount of things within our control. It's time the governments of the world and ours specifically push away the special interests, take their heads out of the sand and see what's really happening to this planet.

It's the only one we have. It's our home. If we burn it down, we have no where else to go.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

New settings

The following is a topic I've rambled about before. It's a subject near and dear to my heart and all the hearts of men out there.

Laundry...

Well actually, the settings on the machines. I'm convinced they were put there by ancient aliens, or cryptic Egyptians from the times of the Pharaohs. They make no sense in the modern world unless you own a dry cleaning business. Well, they don't use those kinds of machines in their business Robert, you say. If that's what you believe, you've been sucked into their world of lies.

Let's start with the washing machine.
There are things that say cotton, delicate, heavy, normal, light and such. Does anyone really know what these mean? I don't. The only thing I want heavy is a custard filled donut. Take 'heavy' for instance. Is that heavy once it's wet or before it goes in? It's heavier after its wet. How about cotton. Is anything really made out of cotton these days? Then there's the water settings. You can't tell how much it fills because every time you lift the lid to look inside it stops.

Now, take a step back and look at the dryer.
How come none of those setting match the ones on the washer? Ah, now you're catching on. If this wasn't a plot against all men, they should read the same. The only thing I do with the dryer is shrink My Beloved's clothing. Funny how nothing of mine shrinks. It's all made out of the same stuff.

Permanent press, delicate, more, less...how the heck am I supposed to know how long something takes to dry? The machine's manuals don't even tell you that stuff.
I need different settings on the dryer. I need plain Anglish... jeans (you put in jeans), towels ( you put in ...okay, you get the idea), men's underwear, women's things, t-shirts, sweaters, braziers (okay, I don't think I'm really supposed to put those in but I have), and the coup de gras, mixed, the magic button that lets you put everything in that you have in one load and they come out perfectly dry and the same size as when they went in.

If there is truly going to be peace between the sexes in our time, we need to start with the laundry.

Oh, I forgot about 'bedding'. Gotta have a button for bedding. Might even need a separate button for fitted sheets, but that's a whole other topic.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Make it Great again, America

It's no secret that My Beloved and I have relocated our abode, downsizing in our pre-golden years to a smaller place. We went from a big two-story to a homey ranch with a little more land but a slightly smaller house. Our little retirement place was built in the early seventies, and as one would think, not in tune with the modern design trends.

With that being said, I have my own little Joanna Gains in my wife. She has a great vision and a wonderful sense of style. With all this in mind, we began the journey of bringing this little gem into the twenty-first century. We now have an open design and all that is left to do (mostly) is to find all the stuff that's piled into the basement and give those pieces their rightful place. Heck, we just found our flatware six days ago.

When one remodels, one must buy new things to remodel with. You need cabinets and vanities and countertops and faucets; well, you get the idea. To that end, we have searched through the many retailers to find our best buys and and capture the look and feel we wanted.

So, what did we find? We found some decent products but we also found many items that were built incorrectly or damaged right out of the box. So far we have purchased two vanities, had to return one with a bad door. One bathroom tub; had cracks and had to return it. One bath towel rack that was missing screws and has to be returned. For the moment we have to hang our bath towels on the handle of the new shower door, the door that had to be replaced because the screws installed at the factory were stripped and one had the head twisted off and couldn't be extracted.

We have had other issues with products so far. Many have been made in America, some not. Some of the defects have been minor while some have caused the entire item to be returned to be replaced. Our president elect might want to make America great again, but I'd settle for American's making something great again.

So far I'm not impressed with the quality control of home remodeling products.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Another Eve Upon Us

Again I post a ramble on this Christmas Eve. It is my favorite day of the year, if you remember. I post this almost every year. The hustle and bustle is complete and the splendor is spread along the floor. A fire is often ablaze in the hearth, though this year that would make things a bit too warm. This is the first Christmas we will share in our new home. I hope it will be ripe with new traditions and decorations to make this house our home. It is different; it is beautiful. It is ours to sculpt and enjoy with those we love.

Each year I am asked what I want for Christmas. At my age, I really don't want much. A tool I stumble across now and then. It's really the simple things that sit best with me. My daughter knows the kinds of black licorice I like and sprinkles them to me throughout the year. I enjoy seeing Ragin Cage's eyes light up when he sees the presents under the tree. And for My Beloved, each passing year on this night we try to share something special; perhaps a glass of wine or some other special touch just between us.

However, all that pales in comparison to the quietness of the evening. Unfortunately, Old Man Winter has not blessed us with his kiss of white this year. I do enjoy winter's white, the fresh blanket of snow that lays upon the ground. There is nothing quite like a white Christmas. Because Santa does need a good snow base to land on rooftops. Those sleigh rails can do some serious damage to roof shingles you know.

I wish everyone who finds their way to this blog a blessed and very Merry Christmas, or a joyous celebration of whatever spiritual holiday that calls to your heart.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Godspeed John Glenn

For any who follow the headlines, we all know that 2016 has been a rough year. The number of notables and celebrities who have passed away seems staggering when compared to previous years. Likely it's not, however what could be is the number of mega-stars who have passed away.

Most who have gone on are famous in their industry. A great many are entertainers, movie stars and musicians have spoken their final lines and sung their last verse. Now, I am not one who follows many in the entertainment world. I know the names but I don't really know them. It's just not my circle. It is not my calling.

I am more saddened by the passing of one who I would consider a true American hero. The others are notable in their own right, however none possess the capacities of a man who served the public, fought for our rights and wowed the American people with a trip around the earth.

John Glenn served as a United States Marine, a fighter pilot in the Korean War, and in his later years served as a Senator in the US Congress. What launched him into the public spotlight was his flight aboard the Friendship 7 as the first American to orbit the earth as the United States became embroiled in the space race. He stood above so many with his compassion and passion for serving this country. So many who are in the public spotlight at some point fall victim to scandal or corruption. Life can be a messy business. John Glenn fell to neither of these. He was a man of integrity and honor and whether you agreed with his politics or not, he was a man of conviction and humility.

He is my definition of a true hero. That word is loosely tossed around and attributed to many just because they are famous or notable. Heroes are truly few and far between in this world and John Glen wears that moniker with distinction.

Thank you, and godspeed John Glenn.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A new beginning

As one grows older one tends to begin to think there are less true adventures to begin in life. Well, that's not quite the way it goes all the time...

Tomorrow, My Beloved and I begin moving into our new home. It's not really new, but it's new to us. It'll be quite the change to what we were used to over the last twenty years. We built our last home and sold it a couple months ago. To that end, we have been refurbishing an older house which will become our new home. It's been a challenge at times with my work schedule to try and help out My Beloved who has shouldered most of the burden in dealing with contractors, timelines and special orders. It think she's likely painted more in the last two months than in the last twenty years.

What she has done is take a tired old house with good bones and begin transforming it into an updated and shining new homestead. She has the ability to see how the disparate pieces will come together and what the finished product will look like even without an image or a computer to show her. She has some serious design talent. She politely asks my opinion at times but the vision is hers. All the tile, flooring, faucets, paint and lighting have all come together from her fabulous vision.

Oh, there are still a few last minute details that need to be worked out and not everything is quite in place, but that is what happens with this type of adventure. She has made a beautiful new home for us continue our lives together.

I don't talk much about her on these pages as she is someone who doesn't always like the publicity, but she is my world and life.

Now, if anyone wants to help carry boxes and furniture over the weekend ...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Report Ensign; Ghost Fleet

I haven't posted much about the current book I'm working on. Hell, I haven't posted much about any book I've written in a long time. Although this blog is more about my life and thoughts of the world and how I interact with it, my writing is a huge part of my life.

Soooooo, here is a rather long excerpt from my current work in progress that is tentatively titled 'Ghost Fleet', book two of the science fiction Home World Series. It is the sequel to 'Star Eagle Six', book one of the series. The passage involves a brilliant young ensign and scientist Jeff Sinclair, giving a report to Stuart Joseph the captain of the starship Parras. The ensign is accompanied by lieutenant commander Sinna DuClair, a bridge commander. I hope you enjoy the selection.



“Okay, give it to me.” Stuart Joseph leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. Ensign Sinclair and commander DuClair sat across from him in the bridge conference room. Joseph had a slight scowl on his face. He didn’t like being pulled off his bridge to listen to a report. “This had better be good.”
“We have a clue to the destruction of LeLairn, Captain.” Sinna was sitting up straight, her posture rigid, her hands folded across her lap. She always felt uncomfortable sitting in front of the captain. It reminded her of being called before the principal in school, or being in a job interview. She was much more relaxed when she was on her feet, moving around; more on equal terms. “I think you need to hear ensign Sinclair’s findings.” She nodded as she looked over to a nervous ensign. “Go ahead Jeff.”
“Well sir,” Jeff began nervously, stopping as captain Joseph held up his hand.
“Son, make sure you bring this down to my level, okay?”
“Yes sir.” He looked over to Sinna quickly before beginning. “You know of background radiation as a constant throughout the universe I assume sir. It’s the single remnant that points back to the Big Bang.”
“I’m aware ensign. I’m not stupid.”
“Sorry sir. Well, what we found was a path that cut across the LeLairn system that shows a clear disturbance in that radiation. It measures approximately one-quarter an astronomical unit across.”
“What caused it?”
“That is something we don’t know yet, but it is a definite interruption in the local field. I didn’t have time to begin to analyze its structure yet. As the duty cycle finished I started working on the report to send up.”
“Reports can wait when you’re on the cusp of finding something tangible.” Joseph let his eye move to his commander before returning. It was enough to force a nod back in his direction.
“We did measure a difference in width from where it seems to have entered the system to when it exited, although the it seems to have broken up at some point.”
“And that point being?”
“Likely when it interacted with LeLairn prime, sir.”
“Interacted meaning …”
“Yes sir, when it collided with LeLairn.”
“Very good. What’s next?”
“There are several things to look at. We need to calculate the variation in width to begin to determine a point of origin. We also need to investigate what could have caused it. It’s possible it was a weapon, or, it could be a naturally occurring phenomenon we have never encountered before.”
“What’s your best guess, son?”
“Well sir.” Jeff paused and swallowed hard. “I can’t think of anything I’ve ever even dreamed of that would point this in the direction of a natural occurrence. If I had to guess, I’d say it was not natural.”
Joseph let his head drop. He pushed himself away from the desk and turned toward the viewport behind him. He watched the stars in the background as the destroyer Victory loomed at her station off the starboard beam. He let his mind go blank for a few moments, lost in the dark solitude.
Ensign, how can you be sure LeLairn interacted with this anomaly?” Joseph turned back to his officers.
“I’ll have to run a time line to see where, or if they interacted.” Jeff sat silently for a moment before continuing. “Although I don’t want to point out the obvious sir, we went looking for a smoking gun, and we found it.”
“How long will that take?”
“Only a couple hours sir. There are a couple problems we face to do this however. We don’t know the velocity of whatever it was that caused the disturbance in the radiation. I could take an educated guess at that and plot the orbital path of the planet back in time. We’ll see if they intersect.”
“What’s the other problem?”
“Sir?”
“You said there are a couple problems. You’ve told me one. What’s the other?”
“It’s the variation that we might encounter since we don’t have all the facts.” Jeff’s eyes narrowed as he began to think through his rationale. His voice lowered like he was speaking only to himself. “If the variation is more than plus or minus seventy-eight hours …”
“Jeff, stop mumbling,” Sinna said as she nudged his arm.
“Sorry sir,” he said as he looked back up. “If the time frame is off by a factor of seventy-eight hours then this likely isn’t the cause of the explosion.”
“Why seventy-eight hours?”
“That’s the length of three LeLairn solar days. The path of this disturbance cuts obliquely at an angle of twenty-six degrees across the plane of the system. It’s not horizontal to the plane. If it takes longer than seventy-eight hours, it would miss LeLairn prime.”
“Go find me some answers Ensign,” Joseph replied. “Make sure I see it as soon as you’ve reached your conclusion.”
“Aye sir.”
“Do you want any help with this?”
“No sir. Others just slow me down.” He hesitated from his statement. “Sorry sir, that didn’t come out right.”
“I know what you mean Ensign.” Joseph turned back to the viewport just in time to see the stabilizers on the Victory fire keeping her at station. “Carry on.”