Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Valens Heritage #9 is now out: Troyland

Everyone, Valens Heritage, book #9, and the third book about our former goofball cheetah, Troy, is out. Obviously his thoughts for his new Mongolian based theme park, are still very much on his mind!

Link-> Troyland (Valens Heritage Book 9)


Yes, I'd hoped to do the next Mihalis & Sean book which takes place in Nighthome / Faederland, the place of the Dark Elves and the Goblins, but with the things I was dealing with at the time, I needed something a little 'lighter' to write. Though I did give Ian and Craig their very own chapter! (Of course now those ungreats want more...) 

I'm sorry about the time gap in publishing, but as I've mentioned before, the place I publish these was starting to show signs of banning people for writing 'harem' and a number of authors took measures. I decided to just wait and see what happened. Apparently cooler heads prevailed because the things we all feared didn't happen. 

So please! Give it a look!

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Scotty, they did you Wrong...

 I'm sure many of you remember that old show from the 60's called 'Star Trek'. A fair number of the people who wrote for the show understood things like science and engineering and yes even the military

Unlike the 'Next Generation' where they understood none of that at all. I think in fact they were proud of the fact that the writers were all incredibly ignorant. 

Now, Scotty, that immortal engineer was pretty much the icon of engineers everywhere and who performed what is often a thankless job with great skill. One of the story aspects that became a trope of sorts was how Scotty always outperformed his estimates, always went the extra mile, and always got the job done ahead of schedule. This of course led to the whole 'meme' that Scotty was just always lying about how long a job would take, so he could look good when he got it done early.


What made it worse was when a moron of a script-writer working on the 'Next Generation' put that in one of the shows, because the moron had no idea how engineering or engineers work. Also, based on that Episode, Jordy sucks as an engineer and should have been shown failing in at least half the shows. Because that is the inevitable outcome of his approach to engineering - failure.

And oh, I'm an Engineer and once upon a time I actually worked AS an engineer. And also, guess what? I have been in these situations! More than once. This is one of those things that if you've had an engineering instructor in college who once actually worked as an engineer, you were taught. If you didn't you either learned the hard way, OR, some kind, older, more experienced, Engineer came over and taught you the truth. In my case wall to wall counseling wasn't involved, but I do know of instances where it was.

Here's how it goes: There is an emergency - for whatever reason - there is work that must be done and it must be done as soon as possible. An untrained person will give their best estimate, which is always wrong and they will fail miserably and either lose their job (if they're lucky) or end up facing civil and/or criminal charges (if they're not). In the military you'll be luck to avoid a courts martial. 

The thing to do is first look at what the best case scenario is. Make a note. Then look at the absolutely WORST case scenario. Make another note. Now understand the worst case should take into account the environment you're working in (like, is it on fire? Is it full of some nasty substance? Are you being attacked?) all of that stuff. Also, what's the spares situation? Do you have what you need? How long will it take to get it? (and that includes sending someone either out to buy/procure something, or just run down the the warehouse/stockroom). What's the situation with you? How much help do you have? How good/reliable is it? What's their situation? Do you need more people? Can you get more people?

Now you'll be able to take that worst case scenario, and if you're experienced enough, you'll know what parts matter and what parts don't. That is probably the most realistic scenario and timeline that there is.

So you take that and you Double it. If you're really good, maybe you only increase it by half. If you're new or unsure, you increase it some more. 

That's the number you give to your Captain, Commander, Boss, what have you. You NEVER, not EVER give them the best case scenario, even if they ask for it. Because that's a myth and will fail 100 percent of the time, every time. I can guarantee it. And if you give it to them, they will expect it, and then when it fails, again, your fault.

Now, here's the why of it: The person you report to is going to be making plans and decisions based on what you just gave them. If this is a critical situation, especially one where there could be injury or loss of life, those decisions need to be based on the worst case scenario. Because if they're based on the best case, and you fall short (which you will, again - guaranteed) then people are going to die and it's going to be your fault. And trust me, when the blame assignment game comes around, it will land squarely on you.

This is how engineering works. Good intentions have no place in it. Wanting to help by meeting unrealistic deadlines will get you screwed. Hoping will NOT make it so. I have quit jobs because my estimated time to complete was months past the deadline and they wanted me to lie about the schedule to make the bosses happy. 

So Scotty did what he was supposed to do. He gave the most realistic answer he could, the worst case one, then he and his team went and busted ass to beat that answer. Every good Captain/Commander/Boss/etc knows this. They've probably even experienced the well meaning but inexperienced engineer way back when who always promised on the best case, and delivered on that almost half the time - and failed all the rest.

Being right half the time doesn't work in engineering, and I can show you a bridge that collapsed in Florida killing several people because they were 'often' right, but not 'always' right. History is full of such examples. Engineering is not like writing software - you have to be right 100 percent of the time. Because there are actual real world physical consequences for being wrong.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

A week later

Yes, the younger dog has noticed. He's been a little skittish and a bit more 'clingy' than usual. He also goes looking for King in the mornings still.

Knight is definitely smaller, at 80lbs (to us this is a 'small' dog) and he's a lot more skittish and not as brave as King. At 120+ lbs, King was big and not afraid of anything. Even when he could barely walk, he still was not afraid of anything outside. Knight however barks a lot, especially when he goes out at night, to 'scare' off anything he's afraid of I guess? (The property is fenced, so not like a lot can get in).

So now when I go outside, at certain times, I very much get 'puppy dogged' because he doesn't have King, who was a lot bigger, out there with him.

The spousal unit is looking at Great Danes. Knight is their dog (he's a GSD and they're all one person dogs) and for the most part, I think I'm done with pets now, so if we get another dog, it'll be theirs as well. Honestly I'm starting to think we probably should, because I think Knight just isn't dealing well with being the sole pet in the house now. Even my cat has died (about 3 years ago).

But, time will tell. I'm still getting over it, it'll be a while I'm sure. Getting motivated to work has been a bit tough this week, but such is life. The changes in my daily routine still throw me of course.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Numb, I am Numb

Today I put to sleep my best friend (after my spouse) - My dog King.

King's birthday was the day after mine, and I got him in '11. He would have been 13 in two months. Which is old for large German Shepherd. Our last one I don't think made 12.

King was my first (and now last) dog. The dogs I've lived with throughout my life were never mine. They typically were either family dogs or someone else in the family. Now this isn't to say I've never had pets, I've had several domestic cats and about a half dozen 'wild' or 'exotic cats. Four of which were big cats. So I'm used to animals.

But King was very much my dog. German Shepherds are one person animals. Sure they'll get on with everyone in the family, but the are very much one person's. I'd never had a dog before that was truly 'mine' and so I decided I was going to get a 'large' old school square-back GSD. I got him at 8 weeks of age, so he and I were together for 12 years and 8 months.

The last two years started getting hard. Mostly little problems. The last year his hindquarters started giving him issues - this is a sign of age in all quadrupeds. It has nothing to do with breeding. He lost a lot of weight in the last six months and started having appetite issues about a year ago. We'd resorted to a series of 'bribes' to get him to eat. For about the last month I was hand feeding him his meals, because he just couldn't eat standing up.

Through all of this he was happy, he was alert, he was engaged. He could get around, though not well. As long as he was happy, I was fine with things.

Yesterday he lost the ability to walk. It wasn't 100 percent, just 99. Trying to get up and failing would make him so tired he wouldn't try again. Now he'd been having problems for the last two weeks, but only rarely and if I grabbed him and steadied him or lifted his rump, he'd recover and be fine. But yesterday you had to hold his hindquarters off the ground and 'wheel-barrow' him. Which for a 100 lb dog, isn't easy.

He'd also been waking me up at night for weeks now. The last couple of nights I was up with him most of the night. Last night, I was up with him all night long. Not being able to get up was hard on him, and he was no longer happy and I think he was starting to hurt as well. So today I took him to the vet and said goodbye.

We buried him when we got home. His grave is next to that of my cat that died about 3 years ago. He's in pretty deep, and there are heavy stones on top of the grave. But it's also inside the fence, so the coyotes shouldn't cause any issues.

But still, it's been a rough few weeks and a very rough day. I started my independent writing career in March of '11. I got King (Full name: King of Rancho Cordova - yes he was a registered pure breed) in July of '11. He was there when I decided to go full time and he's been there throughout my entire career.

And now he's gone.

I will miss him.