Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tomorrow I'm flying off to LibertyCon

And the airlines are of course going to do everything they can to make this trip less than enjoyable.
I leave the house here at noon, I arrive in Nashville at midnight, then drive a couple of hours to get to the con.

Why am I doing this again?

Anyways, I hope to make some new friends and maybe meet a few old ones. Time will tell. I just hope as trips go that the traveling part of it doesn't suck. I remember when flying used to be fun. Sadly everyone has done everything they can to wring the joy out of it.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sometimes it slips by you

So, I was reading Kaiju, book number seven in the Portals of Infinity series and I realized I'd made something of a blunder with the first chapter. You see, the first chapter is what I think of as a 'throw away chapter', it's not exactly important to the story, it's more of a setup chapter to bring the reader into the story, without going into anything too important, and it allows me to drop a few hints and made a little foreshadowing before I actually start to hit them with the story and the plot.

What I missed however is that there are some things in that chapter that I should have explained for those readers who haven't read the previous books. I missed it because I wrote that chapter when I was about halfway through the book and I realized I needed a different opening than I had, because it didn't 'flow' the way I wanted it to. I wasn't thinking 'new reader' at that point, and I should have been.

So I think I'm going to go back and re-write the first chapter. Oh, not a major rewrite, I suspect I'll add less than two hundred words to the entire chapter. It won't change any of the story, however I think there are a few things that I should have Will or Nikki make comments or asides to, so new readers aren't left dangling about certain aspects of the story, the characters, and especially the world.

Another little thing on the list of a thousand little things, to keep in mind for the future.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Whose Bright Idea was that?

It used to be, when the power light was on, the device was on. When the power light was off, the device was off.

Now, it's the opposite. I really want to know what 'genius' came up with that idea?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It really is 'your own fault' - You are the Master of your own Destiny

I was thinking back today to an incident that happened almost six years ago, when I was among the first to arrive at an airplane crash, right along with the pilot. You may have seen it on the news, some college prof from a lefty school made a lot of money selling footage of it to the media (yeah, that always struck me as funny, a socialist making money off of other people's misery. But do they really know of any other way?)
The aircraft impacted the ground a bit more than a hundred feet from where I was standing, with my friends, at supersonic speed. At one point as it was about to auger in, it had actually been pointed at us and I had everyone ready to run. Instead we just hit the ground and hoped that none of the debris would hit us. Fortunately for us, it didn't. But ten other people weren't so lucky, and of course the pilot was killed instantly as well.
Now I was a fan of the pilot and the airplane (though I'd never really met the pilot personally) and that year I was cheering him on, after he'd been robbed of the championship the year before because of an idiot in a thunder mustang and a bunch of officials who really weren't up to snuff (in short, they canceled the last race and gave the award to the winner of the previous heat). On the previous lap before the crash, I had noticed something that wasn't quite right, which I now know was the aircraft starting to deform and break up. I suspect my report on this behavior to the NTSB probably clued them into a number of things (yes, I made a report, I used to be a flight test engineer for Grumman Aerospace, trained to observe and all that crap). But of course none of us knew what really happened at the time.
Then the report came out, and while there is still one question that they were never able to answer - why wasn't there a fireball when the aircraft hit the ground, they were able to answer why it hit the ground.
The pilot screwed up, like a big dog, and he killed not only himself, but ten other people and wounded dozens more (some horrendously). It wasn't the extreme modifications he made to his airplane, no, it was a lack of proper maintenance and a refusal to stop as his airplane started to show signs of exceeding its design limitations.
The bad maintenance had to do with the trim flap that caused the accident. It came off the aircraft because the bolts holding it on were older than many of the spectators, they were way too old to have been used on that aircraft anymore, and they hadn't been properly fastened.
Also, the plane was obviously starting to break up as he flew it, because the canopy no longer sat flush on the canopy rail. That would have been glaringly obvious in the cockpit that his aircraft was in the process of coming apart. There was no way he could have possibly missed that. He should have knocked it off at that point. But he chose not to. So yes, he caused the crash and he bears full responsibility for everything that happened.
But even if he hadn't been aware of all of that, he still would have borne complete responsibility.
You see, I learned in the Air Force that you, the pilot in command, are responsible for whatever happens to your airplane. No matter what it is. Even if one of the guys in maintenance messes up something that was their job, it's still your responsibility, your fault. Because you own that airplane while you're in it and you should have found that problem or known better. It's your butt on the line after all. You don't just kick the tires and light the fires, you're supposed to do a walk around, look at important parts, and read the maintenance logs.
Now I want you to think about that previous paragraph a moment.
We were taught that if anything goes wrong, if anything bad happens, we own it. It's our fault. Period. No excuses, not ever. It's our responsibility.
Now compare that to what people today are taught, what you've been taught. I was brought up to take responsibility for my actions, but the USAF taught me that I'm responsible for everything that goes on around me, and if something bad happens to me, it's my fault. Not someone else's, mine. That might sound extreme to you, or bizarre, or perhaps even abusive. But you quickly come to realize that they're right.
You are the master of your own destiny and you are the one that controls what happens to you. If something goes wrong that you didn't think of, well then damnit, you should have thought about that, shouldn't you? This whole owning of your own destiny, of taking responsibility, leads you to start looking at things more carefully, of choosing your actions with a little more care to your own personal wellbeing and survival. Of being aware of things around you, and stopping to take care of that little annoying issue instead of putting it off until later, because there just might not be a later and just how stupid will you feel when it bites you on the ass?
So if you get robbed, for example, it's your fault. How come? Simple: Why didn't you see it coming? Why were you in a place where thieves hangout? Why didn't you have a contingency to deal with it? Why did you attract their attention?
You get in a car accident: Why weren't you watching out for that guy? Why didn't you have someplace to go when they made that mistake? Why didn't you know what to do when 'X' broke on your car? Why wasn't your car properly maintained?
You start applying that logic to your life and when things go bad, or wrong, as they invariably do, you don't sit there and blame others, (well okay, maybe you do a bit to your friends and others in public - we're only human after all), but instead, when you sit down to think about what happened, the first thought to go through your head is: Where did I go wrong? Followed by: What did I do wrong? And you usually end up with: How do I keep this from happening again? No, instead you're most likely the person with a plan, and the person who does something to either stop what's happening, avoid what's happening, or minimize what's happening.
You've seen those people who have bad things happening to them again and again, right? They make all sorts of excuses, telling us how it's not their fault! But the truth is, they're the ones doing it to themselves. I know, I've been there; we've all probably been there at one point or another. But after the second time I made changes to myself to make sure that there wasn't going to be a third time. Because I knew it was my fault, because  I've decided that I'm the master of my own destiny.
I've seen too many people locked into cycles of bad circumstances as they just keep telling everyone how it's not their fault, and so they never take ownership of the situation, they never try to fix what's broken or what's wrong, or do something about the thing that is constantly ruining their life. They never find a solution.
Now let's go back to that September day in 2011 when someone tried to drop an airplane on me and my friends. I supposed a lot of you are saying 'well what the hell are you going to do about that?'
Simple, pay attention, weigh your options, and act on them. For several seconds that sucker was literally lined up to hit us, so we all got ready to run. But before we could it changed its target (P-factor) and so we hit the ground instead. When you're only a couple of inches above the ground and there are coolers everywhere, as well as other low level obstructions, that's the best option you have. And because there wasn't a fireball, we all survived without injury.
Now most problems in life do not come at us with the speed of a P-51 mustang in a supersonic dive at full throttle. However that doesn't exclude you from thinking about just what might happen. Did I think someone might drop an airplane on me that day before I went? Of course I did, I was heading to an event where accidents are expected and people do die. It even says on the ticket that you can be injured or killed and they take no responsibility. So I owned it before I even set foot there.
Well life really isn't any different, is it? The stakes are high, it's your life after all, and things are going to happen to you, good and bad, throughout it. So once you become an adult, once you've been handed the responsibility for your own life, you need to own both the good and the bad that will come your way.
Because until you do that you'll never avoid so many of the bad things that can, and do, happen to people everyday. And no, I'm not saying that bad things will never visit you, there will always be those few things that truly are beyond your control. But so much of it is, and until you admit to understanding that the person in the mirror is the one that makes things happen both for you and to you, you'll never be the master of your own destiny.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Miner a forty-niner

Went to my friend's claim yesterday to help him improve the camp some up there. We got a lot of work done, did some brush clearing, put up a tent, hauled a large water tank up the side of one of the hills, cleaned up some more crap that's accumulated there from others.

He just moved onto this claim like a year ago, it's back on a creek he used to prospect on many years ago, him and his dad were the first people to get leases from the owner, something like 40 years ago. So the owner gave him what he thinks is one of the best spots. And seeing it and the other spots around there (the owner owns the entire valley, probably a couple thousand acres) I have to agree he got a really excellent spot.

I do like this a lot better than his previous claim (which he'd been on for over a decade), it's a lot bigger, a bit closer, and there's more room to set up a campsite. He's planning on putting in running water, a kitchen, a shower, and a bathroom. The water tanks he's got are huge, he's got pumps, a filtration system he built, solar panels. It's already looking pretty nice, will be nicer still when finished.

I don't know if I'll do any gold mining there myself, it's a lot of work and the amount you get is usually in the grams, there have been prospectors on the land there for over a hundred years so all of the 'easy' gold is long gone even if you do get the winter floods washing more down each year. It's mostly a hobby for him these days anyway, though he did do it full time once, many years ago. I might give it a go one day just to say that I did it, but not a big fan of panning, and in the end, everything you get has to be panned to get the gold out of it. Unless you're doing a big operation, with all of the money and equipment that takes, you don't find nuggets anymore.

Still was nice spending a day in the mountains, and some time swimming in the creek. It's still up pretty high because of the runoff from the snow melt.
Last picture is of the camp from way on the side of the ridge.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Yes the made in Mexico Nabisco products suck.

I heard people talking about how the Oreos weren't that good anymore, now that they're made in Mexico. They're right, they aren't.

Went out and bought a box of Ritz Crackers today (the old big box ran out a while ago) and tried one. Hey! That's not a Ritz, it's not even a cheap imitation of a Ritz. I look at the box, yup, made in Mexico too.

So in order to save a few bucks, they totally destroyed the value of their brand. I can buy much cheaper alternatives that actually taste better now. I guess they were tired of being in business, cause they just lost mine, for life. And I've been buying their products for decades.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

If it's not one thing, it's another

So, got some unfortunate news today. Now to find out just how much it is going to cost me.
If I get really lucky, I'll get that money back, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Vending at Biggest Little Fur Con

So yes, I tried my hand at vending at BLFC. Mostly I was doing it to gain experience at vending, and learn what I needed to know about it. I was already planning on going to the convention, as it's local and I've been going since it started a few years ago.

I learned from being a vendor that I pretty much have everything I need. I did borrow one rack from someone for doing displays, I will need to buy one of those, and a cashbox (borrowed one of those as well). Otherwise, I have what I need.

I learned that (as I suspected) furries don't read anymore, so sales sucked for me. I was the only author selling at the con, and I was the only vendor selling novels (sorry, graphic novels don't count, they're just overgrown comic books. Porn doesn't count either, they're not novels, and again, pictures). So I won't be selling at any furry cons, ever again.

I also won't be attending any furry cons anymore. While BLFC was very well run (a rarity among furcons these days) I realized that there was absolutely nothing there of interest for me anymore. No one is interested in writing, or reading, anymore. There are no writing tracks, there is nothing for authors.

I've got zero interest in fursuits, or some of the kinky sex fetish panels (of which there are now quite a few). The fandom has now diverged completely from those things that once interested me (and well, I know more than enough about kinky sex that I don't need to go to any panels on it!) Also I no longer contribute anything that the fandom is interested in (writing, lectures on training and caring for big cats, the bar) and while I still know a lot of people there, that's hardly a reason to go to a convention where they're all too busy to be social anyway. So the truth of the matter is, I'm done with furry.

Instead I'm going to start going to regular scifi and fantasy conventions like I used to, as there is a lot more appreciation for authors, writing, and things science fiction and fantasy there. The whole reason I started going to conventions in the first place. I just need to start finding out which ones are within a reasonable traveling distance.

So yeah, busy weekend (it started on Thursday), but not a fun one.