Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In a World Where Nothing Seems to Go Right...

I'm having one of those "WTF?!" days, kids. Bear with me.

Okay, so...first, I couldn't access my PayPal account and I tried several times this morning. Just could NOT get in. So, I asked for a password reset. I received the email and proved it was me two different ways. Thus, password changed.

It still would not let me in. I tried several times. Just kept getting the same message. I called them on the phone and changed the password AGAIN. Still wouldn't let me in WITH the person on the phone. The solution? I had to clear the email address from the line and type it in again...THEN enter the password.

BOOM. I was in, but...

Well, never mind! The problem was solved. Camper? Happy.

Next...I found an email from my mother-in-law, trying to clue me in to an article on our local newspaper's website. Problem? No link in the email.

Okay, no big deal. My dear and helpful wife takes a moment to go to the newspaper's website while I try to move on to something else. She finds the article and emails the link to me. Mind you, we both work from home and are in the same house.

What could possibly go wrong here? If you guessed that my wife's laptop could see the article but mine could not, you'd be right. Yes, kids, for some reason on my computer, the text of the article was a collection of gray bars instead of words.

What the....what??

All right...I'm just letting that one go. Putting it behind me. The problem is, I really wanted to read that article. Oh, well.

Thirdly, we've had this weird box on our lawn for years. It's been a real pain in the ass to mow around, but we're pretty sure it's been put there on purpose and is of some importance. After all, it belongs to AT&T. Well, with the last snowfall it started to come apart. Being the proactive citizen who doesn't want anymore disruptions of any of my communications systems than normal, I called AT&T customer service and reported it.

3 freakin' weeks ago! Well, it has snowed some more and do you know what happened? Yeah, you guessed it. Have a look, I took an Instagram picture.

So, now this thing's tipped over. Wires exposed to the elements. So far, nothing has happened, but I wanted to reiterate its existence. I remember having an issue with my Twitter account locking me out a couple of months ago. After several days of trying to get THAT solved, it was found that Twitter mysteriously took a disliking to my "" email addresses. The solution was to switch it to my gmail account. That worked and I again rendered myself and the villagers inside my head happy campers. The cool thing is, as I mentioned this in a "Tweet" as the kids like to call them, an actual AT&T representative "Tweeted" me, to offer his/her assistance. That was very kind, yes. I told this person in a "Tweet" that it was figured out and he/she replied with a very positive message of congratulations.

SO! Thusly, I attempted to "Tweet" the Instagram picture, in the hopes that this AT&T person would again come to the rescue. Guess what.

You people are so smart! Yes, somehow the "AT&T" part of my dialogue was altered each time I shared the picture with Twitter. I tried a hashtag, I tried the actual Twitter account name for AT&T but each time, the "Tweet" was altered, changing the AT&T bit of it and preventing the representative from ever seeing it.

Yes, my dear friend, Sheldon. Bazinga, indeed.

Oh, well. Maybe that stupid thing outside will short out, disconnect me from the drunken internet, phone service and TV and allow me to get to some actual work done.

Until next time, kids.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Perhaps I'd Better Start at the Beginning

I've been writing since I was in school, but it was sporadic at the very least. I was one of those kids in high school who had the teacher read his assignments aloud in class or was directed to do it myself. Was I ever humiliated by this? Sure. Once. But, that is another story. The bottom line is this: I'm a late bloomer that decided one day that I wouldn't be happy until I had my name on the front of a book that I had written. So I did it.

I liked it. So, I did it again. I liked that one, too. So, I kept on doing it.

Anyway, all of my books published since 2010, beginning with The Dregs of Exodus and rolling right on through to the upcoming release, Minuteman Merlin share the same origin. They all revolve around the futuristic and fictitious event I called, "The Great Exodus".

In our near future, we discover a "Super-Earth" and call the planet, "Alethea". This is the Greek word for "Truth". It is a jewel hiding behind a rather large star and is discovered by a commercially created and launched deep space probe. As data is sent back to Earth, it is found that the planet can support life and countries all over the world scramble to begin colonization.

It's a mad scramble for technologies in the manufacturing of starships and cryogenics and computers and whatever else is required  to get 100,000 people at a time to "Alethea" which is about 30 light years away. So, having not achieved the speed of light, what does this tell you?


Yes, that's right my friends. It takes longer than the 30 years to get there. But, as the ships become more and more advanced, each one gets faster and closer to the speed of light depending on how well it was built and tuned here in orbit over Earth or the moon. A good ship will have achieved about 95 to 96% of the speed of light by the time its ion drive engines push the ship to its maximum speed.

What does that mean for the passengers? Well, they don't have to worry about their tray tables not being in the full and upright position upon landing for one thing. They are put inside a little tube and thrown into a giant donut-shaped compartment and put into a chemically induced long-term sleep. By the time they reach Alethea, it is like they just appeared on the surface of the planet, having not aged a bit.

Attractive idea, no? YES, it is, trust me. Because once on Alethea, everything is a new adventure for these colonists. Life is wonderful despite the longer days and the higher gravity and thicker air and... well, why am I telling you all this?

Go buy a book!

So, that is "The Great Exodus" that is mentioned in the author's foreword of my stories. Yes, it's different as it is a rather positive thing for Mankind to do. There's nothing so awkward and inconvenient as an Armageddon or some terribly horrific apocalypse brought on by an asteroid smacking into the Earth or some global war killing billions. We just see something shinier in the sky and go for it.

What could possibly go wrong? I'm glad I pretended you were still reading this blog and asked. All of the stories that I write deal with those that have not gone to Alethea. There are some that decide to stay. However, since the best and brightest of humanity is busy building civilization on Alethea, guess what happens here.

Again, you're right! Technology does snap back like a rubber band and the quality of life here dwindles. People forget how to maintain communications satellites, therefore, no satellite provided services. The cure for cancer and influenza is forgotten, so the billion or so remaining on Earth start to suffer again from illness. Governments collapse, frontier justice re-emerges, 'dogs & cats begin living together', but WAIT! Don't SAY it! There is no 'mass hysteria' why?

Anyone? Anyone?

There is no mass hysteria because there are no masses.

So! Each of my stories are snapshots of what happens after this mass migration to Alethea happens. I hope that cleared up the questions that you didn't have in mind before not reading this.

Thanks guys! See you real soon for another installment of my ramblings.