10:00 AM, 85 degF, West Houston TX
Summer is coming to an end. Slowly but surely the days of sub-100 degF and 90+ humidity are numbered. The Mrs has spent most of the summer renovating our back porch after years of hiding inside. Take a look …
I am taking this week off on a “staycation” to get some much needed work done around the house. My new job gives me 6 weeks vacation so I might as well use it.
We are sitting on the back porch having a Starbucks treat. The Mrs is crocheting while I read THE HARLAN ELLISON COLLECTION – I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM first published in 1967. SciFi guy that I am and in my teens when it first came out, I strangely never read it although I knew of it and have frequently used the phrase when dealing with the frustrations of life.
Also enjoying an unlikely breakfast of Romaine lettuce as I endeavor to loose the 30 lbs I gained after going back to work over a year ago. I tend to be a social animal and find it all too easy to go to lunch.
We are in the shade on the south side of the house with a very nice breeze that come and goes. Small scattered clouds are drifting by over head.
In the short time I have been writing this, the temperature on my Apple Watch has risen to 87 with a predicted high of 93. But for now it is very pleasant.
Wishing you all an equally peaceful day …
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Order it from Audible
I just finished listening to Cryptonomicon for the second time. Cryptonomicon, published in 1999, is eerily prescient of the technological developments since then. Written at the dawn of the Internet it presages digital banking, digital encryption, and global telecommunications.
Cryptonomicon is a fascinating mix of historical fiction, science fiction, and techno-thriller. It follows two timelines – one in World War II, the other present day. The World War Two timeline follows the exploits and adventures of real and fictional characters involved in formulating and breaking the Nazi and Nipponese codes used to send vital wartime communications. The present day timeline follows what one quickly learns are the descendants of the WWII cast of characters who are building a data crypt and associated digital infrastructure in the Phillipines and Sultanate of Kinkuta. The past and present are woven together in a fine tapestry.
Neal Stephenson is at his best in Cryptonomicon. It is filled with action, suspense, and humor. A good read and a better listen. This is a must-read book for devotees of Stephenson, WWII, cryptology, and the Internet. I give it four thumbs up.
I have decided to take Maggie’s advice.
First I went through and turned off email notifications.
Then I went though and bulk deleted all the emails associated with Blogs I Follow.
Next I need to focus on “you know what” …
I … can’t … keep … up
Seriously, stop blogging. Just for a day or two.
How did it get this bad?
It started simply enough. I decided to automatically follow anyone who liked or commented on any one of my posts. Then to make sure that I read them, I went to “Blogs I Follow” and made sure I got an email notification for every new post. I figured that anyone who liked or commented on one of my posts was a like-minded spirit and would be interesting to follow. More or less this turned out to be a correct assumption.
Others turned out not so much. Some had long, rambling (boring) tl;dr posts that I just couldn’t wade through. Some posted every minute of every day and flooded my email with posts. Some posted on topics that were of absolutely no interest to me. So for these I went back to “Blogs I Follow” and turned off email notification.
Now I was down to the blogs that were interesting. Your blogs. Your stories. Your cats. Your photos. Your news. Your ideas. Your humor. Your successes. Your fears. Your emotions. All of it good. All of it interesting.
Even as I write this, the email counter ratchets upward. Notifications are coming in faster than I can delete them. But I can’t just delete them. I have to look at them in order to delete them and then I read them and then I click on the link and go to the post and then I read the comments and by the time I’m done more notifications have come in. Even worse I may decide to reblog one. By the time I’m done, yet more notifications are in my mailbox.
I originally started this blog a few years ago as a venue for writing Fiction and autobiographical history. Then I started adding cat photos. Then reblogs of interesting posts and videos. Now I can’t even keep up with the blogs I follow.
In the same way we can draw a line from Wernher von Braun straight to Apollo 11, when a spaceship carrying astronauts lands on Mars in 2027, we may well be able to draw a line straight to Elon Musk—because that Mars lander will most likely have the SpaceX logo on it.
Musk is arguably the most visionary entrepreneur of our time. Seven years after he quit a PhD program in applied physics at Stanford University, he sold his share of PayPal and Zip2, companies he cofounded, giving him a reported net worth of $324 million. He rolled his money into Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a company he founded in 2002, then went on to cofound Tesla Motors, which is poised to revolutionize the automobile world. He is a devout environmentalist and proponent of solar energy—his Teslas can literally be driven on sunlight. In 2013, Musk proposed a unique high-speed transportation system in a vacuum tube called Hyperloop, which he put into the public domain. A Hyperloop tube running between Los Angeles and San Francisco could reduce travel time to thirty minutes.
Musk formed SpaceX just when it seemed as if NASA was slipping into irrelevance. Like von Braun, he is a transplant, in this case from South Africa and Canada. Musk, like von Braun, is a perfectionist who is convinced of his vision and determined to achieve it. And as with von Braun, no one seems to understand how serious Musk is when he says we must get to Mars. Against all advice and all odds, he has managed to do the impossible: find enough capital to finance Space Exploration Technologies and to keep it afloat and moving forward even when its first three rockets blew up. Along the way, he has raised a truly revolutionary question: Who needs NASA to get to Mars?
Excerpt From: Petranek, Stephen. “How We’ll Live on Mars.” TED Conferences LLC. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.
Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/5DUPZ.l
Also available from Amazon and all of the usual sources.
I am currently reading … and listening … to this book (via Audible.com).
My wife and I listened to the entire unabridged Jack Reacher series (in order) via Audible.com. The reader, Dick Hill, is excellent. The nice thing about Audible is that you can listen to your purchases on any and all of your devices. I don’t know what genre to classify the Jack Reacher series as … it is part detective story, part mystery, part action. Highly readable and/or easy to listen to. We lost many a night’s sleep due to the inability to wait for the next day to find out what happened next.
Jack Reacher Books Full-Length Novels in Order
- Killing Floor
- Die Trying
- Running Blind (also known as The Visitor in the UK)
- Echo Burning
- Without Fail
- The Enemy
- One Shot
- The Hard Way
- Bad Luck And Trouble
- Nothing To Lose
- Gone Tomorrow
- 61 Hours
- Worth Dying For
- The Affair
- A Wanted Man
- Never Go Back
- Make Me
I had my joke
Time to be serious.
This is one fine book. I am listening to it on audio book from Audible.com
I like audio books. Easy on the eyes. Accessible while driving to and from work. Multi-tasking friendly.
Whether in hardcover, paperback, eBook, iBook, or audio book … READ THIS BOOK. Unless of course you hate science fiction. (Why would anyone hate science fiction?)
The Martian is in the same class as Apollo 13, Castaway, and Gravity. It is a satisfying survival/rescue story replete with lots of techie goodness, human compassion, bureaucratic assholery, and will-to-survive. Prior to seeing the movie trailer, I was unaware of this book. The movie, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon is looking better and better.
According to Wikipedia, [the] office cubicle was created by designer Robert Propst for Herman Miller, and released in 1967 under the name “Action Office II”.
However, the first famous use of the concept of the cubicle did not occur until 1984. That would be George Orwell’s 1984 (written in 1948).
It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate.
The cubicle is mentioned thirteen times in Orwell’s 1984 and at times is a major plot device. Then as now the cubicle was/is a cramped, privacy-free, dehumanizing, uniform workspace where your every move is open to observation and your every word can be heard by all.
• • •
So the next time you report to your cubicle for work, just remember, Big Brother is watching.
3:09 AM on November 29th and I just calculated (using one of those web calculators) that it has been 182 Days since I last published anything on The Nudist War (TNW).
What can I say? What excuse can I give? Writer’s block? Too busy at work? Too busy at home? Lack of interest?
The truth is most likely all of the above. Writing The Nudist War was an escape from reality, an escape from life. Now I am in the thick of both. Too tired or busy to write after work at night. Otherwise occupied on the weekends.
Sure I blog (or re-blog) the odd bit of news that interests me. The cats continue to be somehow more photogenic everyday. I even continue to get new followers. But I am not writing. Not writing.
I closely follow the stock market, nursing my 401k along. Buying low, selling high, developing a sense of timing that has held true for many quarters. “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful” ~ Warren Buffet. I raise cash at the top and buy hand over fist at the bottom. Well that’s the plan at least. Like most investors I buy too soon (running out of cash) and sell too soon (not raising as much cash as I could).
As I write this, all three cats are piled on top of me. The Pickle boy just plopped his massive frame under my chin – purring loudly. Hillary and Patches are in their usual spots.
It’s not as if I haven’t been thinking about TNW, I have, quite a bit over these past few months. I have a number of plot developments and plot twist in mind, I just haven’t been able to get off my ass and get back to writing. I am taking a few days of vacation through Critmas (Dec 2), so maybe I can finish the next chapter.
I am currently re-reading George Orwell’s 1984, published interestingly enough in 1948. There is talk of yet another remake of the novel into a movie (see IMDB), the first being in 1956, the later in … conveniently enough … 1984.
A world constantly at war, justifying constant surveillance, sound familiar?
In truth, it appears to be modeled more after the worst (truth and fiction) of the old Soviet Union, yet it could easily be remade to reflect more modern times (even down to the flat panel vid screens hanging on the walls and cubicles for the workers, except that the cubicles of Orwell’s 1984 appear to be bigger than the ones I am used to seeing).
If you had to read it in grade school and have long forgotten it … or have never read it … go get a copy and read it. Amazon, iBooks, used book stores – all good places to buy it on the cheap.
1984 may not have been like “1984”, but 2014 has just enough similarities to make one ever so slightly uncomfortable if one thinks about it too much.
Also just over 30 years ago …
I couldn’t have done it without you.
I didn’t want to have to do this, but you have forced me to. Based on the number of ‘likes’, I am maybe one of four people reading Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse The Journal of Cleopatra Stevens.
That’s just wrong.
Continue reading Or else …
With the re-blog of Day 42, I decided to go back and start rereading to refresh my memory. I realized that the lab was on different floors of the CDC Special Circumstances building on different days. Quite a feat I’d say, wouldn’t you?
I wonder what other glaring inconsistencies I will find?
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Nobody every accused me of not being passionate. Just ask the Mrs.
My previous two posts, Quiet and Introvert, seem to have struck a nerve …
and then it occurred to me … wait a minute … didn’t I read that Introverts are likely to be writers?
So I’m talking to Ye Olde Kid Sister about the Huffington Post article on Introverts and she recommends Quiet by Susan Cain.
So I launch iBooks (did I mention that I do everything on a first generation iPad? The one Ye Olde Kid Sister gave me for Father’s Day, lo these many years ago) and I buy Quiet. So now I am reading Quiet and What Happens To Us and wondering why I have no time to write …
The first story in the book (the last screenshot) is especially timely considering that this Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech.