Daily GUIDE-ance:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I do try to not post dumb stuff about how awesome my kids are on here, because I am bored to tears by that sort of thing. But I think I am about to anyway...

Tonight Jonni wanted to know what -1 + -1 came out to. She had several opinions, including one, supposedly from her teacher, that said it would be zero. So I told her the answer and then went on sort of an explanation of how great I am at math and told her about all the math classes I did in college and how awesome I was at it, partly to brag and partly to prove that my opinion was of more value than her teacher's was in these matters. I convinced her easily.

The end result of this conversation was that Jonni wanted to know what Calculus was. And she went to our book shelf and took out my Calculus book and started leafing through it. I tried, but in the end, I told her I couldn't think of anyway to explain what Calculus was until she knew Algebra.

And it turns out I don't own an algebra textbook. How wrong is that?!

So we evolved into a conversation about algebra while I was making dinner, and she really wanted me to give her some basic algebra problems to work on... so I did. First, I introduced the concept of a variable to her, by telling her that in algebra you had to make up a name for a number so that you could talk about it and think about it, while you tried to work out the number's real name. Normally, I said, they use X for that, but since you are using that for the times sign, X might be too confusing, so why not use J (our favorite) for now? Or, I added, not wanting to limit her, make up any name you want, if you want.

She wanted, and so she thought for a while and decided to use the word "Quamillion" for her unknown number's placeholder name, and to represent it with the letter "Q".

I really don't push her into this stuff, she just asks and I talk. It flows. Anyhow. I'm not sure what the point of this story is, but I'm going to bed now. There is it. Gnight all.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gnight already!
Don't make me start talking chess.
If you keep checking in here, you are going to hate yourself in the morning.

Friday, November 12, 2010

So, I can't quit. Why are you still here again?

Is there anyone there? Hello?
Actually, this is the last post of the day.
Okay. We've had the story's moral. It's been a full day. This is the end. My last post of the day. I hope this has been instructional. you boobs.

Go to bed!
This explains alot about how I managed when the jews took my phone away, though.
Sort of makes me wonder if I ever really woke up today at all.

there could be a moral to be learned there, but I can't quite put my finger on what it might be.
Have you ever had that experinece where you dream you are asleep and then, in the dream, dream you are waking up, only to wake up again later and realize that the first waking up was just a dream?!

Well- I dunno, but I just woke up at the keyboard again!
Ooookay, that is way strange. I just looked at my last couple posts and apparently, I posted my part of my dream sequence In My Sleep, WHILE it was happening! Obviously I spent too much time doing this junk.
Huh, wierd. I just woke up. I must have fallen asleep at the computer. crazee dreams.
Swabbing the decks in my udderwear now
These jews are mean. They took my phone and now I can't text.
I just got shanghied into the Isreali army!
A coward thinks he can live forever
If only he can shun warfare

-Norse proverb
Hey, you with the blog! Your kids suck! heheheh!
Diarrhea Glucose Necrophilia Tungsten Amphetamines Juicebox!
Back in 1904 Turklemeyer Lemp decided to hang himself from the brewery rafters one fine November evening, and a short time later Bosco Lemp Jr took a little dive from the third story window as an example to the younger members of the family. Who were all manikins, it turns out.
Last Post of the night! Gnight all!
It's 6:66!
I am considering suicide because of all of You!
Yer mom's a fagit
I'm playing with my kids and listening to them, getting to know them better. I'm so glad Im doing this!
It's 5:55!!!!!!! Sweet monkeys of brimstone!
I'm walking in the park now, enjoying nature!
I'm making out with my wife now.
People need to spend less time on the net. You should go get a life, go for a walk in the park, be with my family!
4nication is wrong.
You people need to go lift up the seat cushions of your sofa and lick up the crap you find there.
It's finally 4:44! I have been waiting 4 this moment 4 so long!!! 4 what it's worth, you should 4ward this message on to at least 44 of your friends 4 me.
Animals should have more rights than unborn human children. There's nothing insane about this.
I'm just a teeeeeeeeen age diiiiiiiiiirt bag, baaaaaaaaaaaby!
It's 1:11!!!!!!!!!
canned veggies
I'm driving to the store for grocerys!
It's 2:22! Weeeeeeeeelllllla! Let's all get GAY!
Why do people post such gay things on the internet? Nobody cares people!!
I'm surfing the internet now and listening to tunes...
I was going to go smoke some reefer, but then I got online and lost track of time. Freakin internet is wrecking my life!
AAAAAAArgh! It's practically 11AM and I feel like I have accomplished nothing today!!! Where did all the time go?!!?
Toweling off is uneventful so far
It's 12:12! Why won't you be friends with me?
I feel happy!
I'm having breakfast
Stayed up waaay to late on Facebook last night...
I'm taking a whiz right now. Don't you love that 'first-pee-of-the-morning' feeling? It usually takes so long that I have plenty of time to text, lol!
I think I'll pee the bed... Should I?
Stupid bladder. I hate it when I don't want to get up, but have to just to pee.
Almost time to get up... But I don't want to yet!
I'm sleeping Really Well! :)
Finally! I'm asleep! Dreaming of large women driving bulldozers.
Ever had one of those nights when you are soooo tired but you can't sleep? I hate those... :(
I'm in bed now! ooo the covers feel so GooD! :)
I REALLLY, SERIOUSLY need to go to sleep!!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Helpful Memory Trick

Me and Jonni were watching "They Might be Giants, Science" last night and they pointed out that since Pluto was deplaneted, the old mnemonic of

"My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas"

doesn't work any more and suggested instead :

"My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nothing!"

Which stuck me as terribly funny. And got me to thinking. And let me say that, now that it's too late, I am a bit disgusted with the stupidity of the human race for making us crutch along with the educated mother severing pizza thing all those years when:

"My Very Educated Memory Just Showed Us Nine Planets"

would have made way more sense. How did they not think of that one? I bet They did, but deliberately suppressed it. That would be like our educators. Of course now its too late. Curses.

So. Down to eight planets, and I have been lieing awake thinking of helpful memory tricks for you all to memorize their names and order. (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus Neptune, for those of you educated in public schools)

Here's a few:

My Victims Eat My Juicy Stuffed Up Nose.

Monstrous Vampires Eating My Jugular! Shutting Up Now!

My Vigorously Exercising Mother Just Showed Up Naked.

Once you get started on the naked theme it's hard to stop. More later mebbe...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It’s election day morning...

Thank goodness to friggin heck it will be over tonight. I’m tired of the whole thing. Who me? Bored with debate?

Actually, at this point, yes. Pretty much everything worth saying in this debate was said 2 years ago. You had to be almost a complete a human sheep to think Obama was a wise choice back then. It turns out that most people are, or at least were for that election. No shock there… humans are pack/herd animals, after all. We can choose to think, but most of the time we don’t. (That even goes for me.)

But if you still are shilling for Obama after two years worth of hard knocks… I’m sorry friend. You are just too broken for me to be able to fix. You’ll need a few more knocks, I’m afraid.

I’m not really bored with debate. But it’s all been said many times over, and even more, it’s not just been said but empirically demonstrated. Obama is either deliberately trying to wreck the economy and trash American freedom, or he is doing both out of incompetence.

Needed to get that out of the system. More sometime.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Letter Double You

I can't sleep and here is why: (Get it?! Why!?- of course you don't but you will in a minute)

Consider "W".

It's pronounced "double you". Note how the "w" sound never appears in the letter's name. Doesn't that bother you? (get it? YOU)

Now think about "Y".

Pronounced "Why". See- the "wuh" sound is in the letter "Y", but not in "W". It would make just as much sense to pronounce "W" as "why" as it does to pronounce "Y" as "why". WHY is that? (I'm on a roll!)

Most of the alphabet makes sense. Lieing in bed just now I have worked out that alot (8 or so) of the letters end in the "eee" sound: BCDEGPTVZ

Many of the others (5) start with the "eh" sound: FLMNS

Then there's the end-in-"ay"-sounds letters (only 2): JK

And the vowels. They mostly make sense, except for "U":
Why do you say the y sound in "U"? Shouldn't we just say "uh" instead?

So: 8 "eee"s +5 "eh"s+2 "ay"s+5vowels=20, leaving 6 anomalies: HQRW and Y.

H: Aich. How'd that ch sound get in there?
Q: cue. Should be pronounced "Queeee", to make it one of the "eee"s.
R: arr. makes sense basically, although it'd be more uniform if it was errrr along with eff, el, em, en and es.

So. Now sing with me the corrected alphabet:

Ay Bee -- frickin-- "See" makes no sense either! I did not see that until now. (har har!!!)ok: starting over:

Ay Bee Kee (frick, why do we even have that stupid letter, if it doesn't have it's own sound?! Out with it! 25 and counting!)

Sing along aloud now:

Ay Bee Dee Eee ef Gee eh
I Jay Kay el em en Oh Pee Quee er es
Tee uh Vee
(bahahah you said Oh, Pee! Queeers TV!)
Wee Ex Yi and Zee.

Sounds better, no?

Now I understand why the double you is pronounced that way. When you Look at it instead of Listen to it it looks a little bit like two "U"-s, side by side. UU, W.

So why not do the WHOLE alphabet that way?

Sideways Bag
Big Smile
Wounded ant
Upper fangs
Half fangs
Diving board
Tongue Piercing
Look down
Lower Fangs
Both ways

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Week's Acquisitions

After Jonni and I had finished reading the Great Brain books, and I was utterly sick of reading them out loud, Jonni took to reading them on her own.

These books are not all that easy to find. I believe they are possibly out of print. It took me a couple years, literally, of rooting though used book stores, trash cans, Jawa transport vehicles, Goodwills, etc before I could amass all 8 in paperback. Even then, in the end I was forced to buy the 8th (and rarest) book of the series online. (I am rich and could afford to buy them the normal way, but that takes all the fun out of it for me.)

Well, it took Jonni a couple of weeks, literally, to trash the bindings on most of my cautiously horded Great Brains. Bah!

So, it was a thrill, when she and me were at the local library this week and found ALL EIGHT OF THEM, in hardback, good condition for 50 cents each! We wasted no time accelerating from sight to ownership. Mine! all Mine! bwahahahaha! Suckers!

Also this week, I bought Carl Sagan's Cosmos, orginally $35 US back in 1980. Seventy-five cents, lightly used. heheheh.

Snagged a couple more Asimov books from the Foundation series too, for a quarter or so. Think I have all of them now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I watched Clash of the Titans the other day

and boy did it suck! If a script that weak can get funding, I definitely should become a screen writer.

Allow me to now air a thought: Did anyone else who saw this thing think that somebody on the committee for this flick have an axe to grind? Specifically kind of a "anti-theist" axe? The whole point of the movie was about how evil the Gods are and how everyone naturally hates them. This wouldn't bother me at all, except that the whole movie seemed to assume that this was an obvious point that didn't need any explaining. There was almost no explanation of what exactly it was that the gods were up to that had everyone so ticked off. Believe me, I'm all down with a plot that involves a few evil gods. I'm a polytheistic cult member with gamer tendencies. But the story ought to define what makes the gods evil, other than just the fact that they exist. I dunno if I would have picked up on this vibe so much if I hadn't spent so much time on my religious debate forum knocking around with angry athiests and getting to know their beefs against God so well.

After a few days to think about it, I have decided that I am not crazy to think this. Any thoughts?
Trent and I's correspondence game is over:

You can express you sympathy at trent.sever@myldsmail.net

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jonni and me were polishing off the Great Brain books at the start of summer for bedtime stories and she was way into those. Then we discovered Avatar, (the last airbender) which ruled our summertime bedtime stories. (Yeah, we watched TV for bedtime stories. SUE ME!! That show was Great!) Since we finished Avatar, conveniently about the same time school started... (again, Avatar ruled!! Still reeling)... Jonni and me have now moved on to what looks like it may be our next bedtime story thingy: Wrinkle in Time.

I was worried that it was a couple years ahead of her still, so I gave her every possible out if it turned out that she didn't like it. But she does! And we are only in chapter 3 or so, nothing has even happened yet. We met Calvin basically.

I really am digging on being able to read books I love to my kids, now that I have kids old enough to like them also. It's probably even better than we I discovered these books for myself. This is such a blast.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I wasted some time the other night picking out my favorite posts of all time here. Came up with half a dozen or so. Here is a link to them

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Speaking of dumb books,

I also failed to complete reading Time Enough for Love by Heinlein. Heinlein was a pretty good writer, but.... OI! 85% of the book was spent trying to demonstrate that we all have our perception of sex all screwed up (no pun)- and in a more enlightened age, we would all treat it very casually. Hi, I'm your neighbor, may I borrow some sugar? Drop by for some sex later! Anytime!

I gave up. He wasn't graphic, just ridiculous. So convinced that he was sane and the everyone else on the planet delusional.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sympathy for the Devil

We all know that George Lucas is the devil right?

Is there any punishment strong enough for the man who demolished StarWars? The defining epic tale of my childhood? And then trashes Indiana Jones for an encore?

Really. The Star Wars! What could be worse? What crime against literature and storytelling would be more monsterous that that?

To get worse you'd have to take one of the great classics... like HUCKLEBERRY FINN, for example, and write some psychotic sequel where Tom, Huck and Jim all get kidnapped by a, like, a mad scientist or something on board some sort of sci-fi flying machine and sail it to Africa and have sword fights with lions and tigers and arabs.

Would you believe Mark Twain actually wrote a sequel to Huck Finn with that exact plot? I read it a while back. Tom Sawyer Abroad. Its the dumbest book ever! I suspect he wrote it during that period of his life when he was very short on funds. Yes. Incredibly stupid. I'm not exaggerating about the plot, that really was it. It's the first thing in a long time that has made me think I might someday forgive George Lucas. This really is the ultimate Bad Sequel. Breaking Dawn was mild compared to this. To out do this, we'd have to write The Bible Part 2 or maybe a bad sequel to the Declaration of Independance.

And Twain wrote another sequel: Tom Sawyer, Detective. I have to find it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Predators on Facebook

It was unkind of me. But I couldn't help myself. I smelled an easy mark. I opened this debate with somewhat evil intentions. The Devil made me do it:

The person who "liked" Elmer's comment was me. What's not to like about it?!

He was giving up, which I couldn't have , so I egged him on.
Crickets for now. Jimeny Cricket was one of them, telling me that this was just wrong of me. He's a bit conflicted about us posting this too... Sigh. (Yaller dog and pison. Me Tom and Huck.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MS Excel as a CAD system

For a living, I work with a CAD (computer aid drafting) system. I use a very nice 3d system called Pro-Engineer at work. After I learned Pro-E, (and became pretty much awesome with it) it literally became part of how I think. Kind of like how reading and writing become part of you after you become literate. Or how it's pointless to ask a martial artist to fight without 'using any of that karate stuff'. It's now part of how I consider and evaluate new ideas. Its cool.

I've wanted some sort of CAD system for home for a while- it doesn't have to be as nice as Pro-e. A working 2-d system would suffice. But I didn't have one, so I was wistful for a while.

Then I decided to try to use MS Excel:

This is a screen shot of the layout I did when Liz and I redid our front walk. I reset the row height and column widths in XL to make squares in stead of the traditional rectangles, and then I zoomed way the heck out, decided my scale was one cell = 2" x 2" and started merging cells to represent the size blocks we were thinking about using. Copy, paste, etc. Tried out various patterns to see what stuff would look like, to see what would fill the space up best.

Here's a shot of the final, real world result:

Here's something I did the other day while bored:

It's a floor plan for an ultra miniature, one person house. Kind of a super efficient design with a single, college student type person in mind. It's dimensions are only 15x15 (tiny) but it has what you need. I lived in a place like this while I was missionarying in Nevada a million years ago. Me and Snave. Good times.

XL as a CAD system obviously has its drawbacks, but it is basically free and dimensionally accurate. Also, it's actaully alot simpler to use than Pro-E. It's basically just really really really nice graph paper. The commercial 3d systems out there are a million times awesomer than this, but people have been designing and building stuff successfully for thousands of years with basic 2-d drafting. Any drafter in the 60s and 70s would have loved to have had a CAD system as slick and sophisticated as XL is, once you are thinking out of the box enough to try to use it as one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What time is it?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I have a number of relevant, significant things I could write about. No, I guess not.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"The same year that Bobby became world champion, my elder sister, Susan, then 3 years old, found a chess set. Years later, Susan, my younger sister, Judit, and I led the Hungarian team to victory in the international chess Olympiad. Today, Judit is rated among the top 20 players in the world. When she became a grandmaster at age 15, she broke Fischer’s record as the youngest player to reach the mark. This was especially sweet, as Fischer’s opinion of a woman’s abilities was not terribly high. “They’re like beginners,” he once said. “They lose every single game against a man. There isn’t a woman player in the world I can’t give knight-odds to and still beat.”

--Sofia Polgar

Monday, August 16, 2010

Credit Where It's Due

Please reference the below email chain Re: Avatar: The Last Airbender.

(You'll have to read it backwards email style because I am too lazy to unravel it for you. I am publishing it with permission from the author.At least, I think I have permission.)

Would it kill you to at least mention me on your blog? I did tip you off! Oh and you can tell Liz that I was not being presumpuous. At least not on purpose. Actually I don't get what you mean by that. Knowing the deffinition of a word doesn't always help. Most of that email I was kidding (kinda at least). It doesn't make since in this context. At least I'm not as bad as Virginia! I may just have to tell her!! Lol. G2g.

From: john sever
To: peanutter butter
Sent: Thu, August 12, 2010 9:02:01 PM
Subject: RE: Your latest blog post


that was actually Liz who wrote that, not me. She thought she was forwarding your message to me at work but accidently hit reply instead. I think she must have thought you were being presumptuoeuosus.

So you can see the peanut butter thing. Huh. Virginia is listed as Evil Satan, so don't feel too bad!

Yeah, Avatar rules. Just started the last season today. Amazing.

Congrats on the car and liscence!

Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2010 15:03:33 -0700
From: patrickbryan93@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: Your latest blog post
To: sageowl@hotmail.com

What "kid" are you talking about?! Me or Aang? LOL! I was only kidding anyway (though a little recognition for putting you onto this would be nice)! Honestly, you were fawning over Avatar in your blog! Not that I'm saying that's a bad thing. I personally agree with you! Avatar: the Last Airbender is awesome not to mention way better than its movie remake (which was merely "ok" in my opinion).
Anyway, dude. Would you mind changing my name in your contacts from "peanutter butter"? That's just insulting! JK, LOL!

From: john sever
To: peanutter butter
Sent: Thu, August 12, 2010 3:45:31 PM
Subject: RE: Your latest blog post

i, personally, think the kid needs smacked down. just my opinion. lol!

Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2010 13:23:20 -0700
From: patrickbryan93@yahoo.com
Subject: Your latest blog post
To: sageowl@hotmail.com

Yo, John!
Who was the one who told you the cartoon was better? Seriously, if I hadn't have told you to watch it you wouldn't have even watched a single episode! You aren't going to even give me any credit here? Not to mention your complete aditude change! Oh well, what ever. I'm just glad you came around in the end. I knew you'd agree with me in the end! Do you not agree that they screwed up the fire benders in the movies? Not to mention all the other stuff they scewed up! Anyway congrates on seeing the light! Lol!
Your's truly-

Friday, August 13, 2010

Comtemplating Postal

I've often thought that a nice idyllic job would be being a mail carrier.

Easy, walking around all day in the weather, nothing all that hard to do mentally, so the mind would be free to wander... just dropping off stuff. Seems to me that this job would be very calming and relaxing. Stress free, almost Utopian.

So why is it, I wonder, that these guys have such a reputation as psychopaths?

Maybe it's because only people who are already psychotic to begin with find this type of job attractive?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ha! Look what I figured out how to do! There's no stopping me now! This game is totally unremarkable, I just posted it to see if I could do it. I'm black and I win because this guy blunders his way into oblivion, despite his rating being much higher than mine.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

We finished season two of Avatar the other night, and I have to say it rules. The best cartoon ever. I've been pretty darn close to crying over this cartoon a couple times. And it's hilarious.

I used to think TV was a terrible format for story telling, but I was fundamentally wrong there, apparently. Between Avatar, Firefly and season 1 of Heroes... I've been forced to admit that it can be done very well indeed.

Geesh. I'm like, all caught up in the Avatar thing right now. Uncle Iroh... There's a segment in one of the episodes that shows him grieving over his dead child, that I just can't quite get over. Honestly, the only thing I can compare it to is when Dumbledore died in HP and I went around in a daze for a day or two, literally doing a miniature of the mourning process so that I could get on with my life. (Pathetic sounding, no?)

And the final episode of season 2... I'm just Blown Away. So. Major props for Avatar: The Last Airbender. The cartoon blows the movie away.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Facebook Account Got Deleted!

Or "disabled" is how they put it. No explanation why. Just gone, with a message mentioning the fact when I attempted to log in.

Pretty weird, and pretty annoying too. It was free of course, and what do you really expect from a crackerjack box, but still... I kind of liked Facebook!

Anyhow, I did the basic steps a couple days ago: asked for an explanation, tried to find the right thread in the maze of 'help' to pull on to get my account back, but I haven't gotten a response yet, and it's been three days. I've heard that an account will 'go to sleep' after a period of inactivity, but that wasn't me. I was actually in a flurry of activity, debating prop 8, energy policy and BHO's mental health all at once.

So naturally, I want to suspect that some conspiracy from the left is trying to silence me! In all likelihood it's just a hork in the system... but I really can't wait to know what happened. I hate it when they don't explain!

However: if it turns out that I got flagged for hate speech or treason or as being dangerously intelligent-or for calling Angelina Jolie a toothless bearded hooker-that would be just like me! I seem to have an innate knack for making the perfectly innocent (ok, relatively innocent) look terribly suspicious.

It kind of reminds me of the time in Nauvoo, when some insane Mormon woman came up and preached at me, Todd and Trent because we were playing Magic, which was a sin. I asked her to explain. She stormed away farting and barking that I needed to listen to the spirit. Sigh. I hate Mormons sometimes.

I did well, I didn't get mad or even sarcastic. Really, I didn't! I just asked her to explain.

I hate it when they can't explain.

But I am used to it.

(This was in between Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince. There were alot of people there that year who were all down on us for openly reading Harry Potter too, which genuinely surprised me.)

So- it's probably nothing- rationally speaking it's most likely just a glitch in the system. (This is why I hate systems in general.) Yeah. Just a glitch. Right? - but maaan- it feels alot like repression!


Monday, August 9, 2010

People who go on shooting rampages and end by shooting themselves should be more considerate of others. It would be better to shoot yourself first.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Two Awesome Books

I found TWO really awesome books in the last couple weeks. Both are from authors I had never even heard of before- just random grabs off the local library shelf. (I'm getting desperate for books, you see.)

Some how I managed to win the lottery both times.

Blind Lake, by Robert Charles Wilson,

is the best sci fi I've read in a long time. He's like Michael Crichton on steroids. He seems at least as at ease in talking hard, believable technology based on real science as Crichton was- only more so, because some of Crichton's work got awfully-- lecture hally-- and Wilson never does. Along side his powerhouse technical knowledge, he also has a gift for story telling. Great, believable characters, suspense. He juggles any number of story lines that seem quite disconnected from each other, but somehow you never get annoyed when he switch's storylines because you are intensely interested in all of them. I can't believe I've never read this guy before! And he also has a more powerful imagination that Crichton did- and I loved Crichton! Anyhow. I'm enthralled. Major props to Blind Lake. I'm getting all this guy's stuff now. And so should you, scumbucket.

Ghostwalk, by Rebecca Stott.

Rebecca Stott, a history professor with her first novel, is at home in the 17th century as Wilson is in the world of scitech. Ghostwalk is a mystery novel... er... I guess .It's a mark of her abilities that even after I finished the book it is hard to really give it a genre. Mystery fits, but doesn't really come close to covering it. The book is set in modern day Cambridge and centers around a historian who has pieced together some facts that possibly implicate The Isaac Newton in a series of suspicious deaths that seemed to have paved his way to scholarly success in 17th century Cambridge. Then a similar series of murders occur in modern times and... the fun begins. I was very impressed with Stott's gift for narrative and character development. I was kept guessing the whole time as to whether I was reading a ghost story or a historical sort of thriller novel. The story is told first person and I would never have thought to approach a narrative as she does- her character tells the story in a kind of emotional sequence rather than chronological sequence. It's terribly clever.

Both my new writer's are terribly good at getting you into their character's heads. I can't say too much for fear of spoiling... But the bad guy in Blind Lake reminded me eerily of an exboss- you feel sympathy and still hate him- and Rebecca Stott gets you so well into the mind of this married guy's affair girl, that I have to wonder if she has experience? Believe it or not, Rebecca, that was actually intended as a compliment.

So there it is. I'm officially recommending both to you.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here is a link to a good article about of ethanol as a fuel. If you are looking for a sustainable, "green" fuel, ethanol is probably not what you think it is.

A quote:

"...the bottom line is that, broadly, to perform the same job as an equivalent volume of petrol, you’d need to burn about 40 per cent more pure ethanol, and it would emit the same (or very similar) amount of CO2. "

The article doesn't touch on the fact that the last time I checked, it still took about as much energy to convert raw plant matter into a burnable fuel as you can get from the end product burnable fuel. Which makes the whole excersize totally pointless. (Am I wrong about this?)

Also it doesn't touch on how mindblowingly awful ethanol fuel is on metal. (Your engine is made of metal.) I work in this industry. A conventional part of basic aluminum costs about a sixth of what it costs to make the same product able to stand up to 85% ethanol fuel. Its ugly stuff.

It's politicized science, unfortunately.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things I Don't Get: Part 3: Smoking

I could pretty much just stop with the title. I'm not here to point out the obvious.

When I was a kid about a million years ago, they had only just started putting those labels on cigarettes :"Warning: You will die." In highschool there were kids that smoked... they were kind of a clique. The jocks, the skaters, the geeks, the cheerleaders and the scumbags. It wasn't an insult, just kind of a moniquer. I think that back then it was less obvious that smoking was ignert. (Moniquer, ignert. what else can I spell?) Shoot, back then we all thought fag was an okay word, so clearly, what did we know? We said fag 100x more than we said the word internet ! Because there was no internet! (WoW! That's so wierd.) There were even successful adults that smoked back then.

But nowadays (I love being a wrinkled crabby old man!) smoking has gone so deeply out of style, that when I see a younger person smoking, I usually laugh a little bit. Because, it's like the shark said to the wounded penguin as it tried to swim away: "Come on!! Pleeease. Who exactly is it that you think you are fooling?" (Also, because I am a jerk that way, no question about it. It's all funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's HILARIOUS!).

Like I said, I think we can give a pass to old people (like older than me...) who smoke. They probably thought it was good for them when they started. But below a certain age... Sorry. I think we have to laugh at you.

Disclaimer: I wrote this in the middle of the night, under the influence of not sleeping, so if you have been personally insulted by this just be glad I didn't start in on my really cruel material like... like I have been writing and deleting for 10 minutes now because it's just that mean... nevermind.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

You know how, when Superman shaves,

he has to do it using a mirror to reflect his eye lasers back onto his face, because there are no razors sharp enough to cut his facial hair off? Well, I was wondering what happens when he accidentally makes eye contact with himself in the mirror while he's doing this? It'd be bad enough to get zapped by Superman's eye lasers, but imagine getting shot Directly In the eye! I'm sure it doesn't happen much now, but I bet it happened a couple times when he was learning how to shave. Why didn't Smallville address this issue? Idiots.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Took the bike out this morning.

There’s this bridge that reminds me a lot of the one over the river Styx, only narrower and in poorer repair, just outside of town. On it’s flip side is a lot of winding country roads, many Massive hills (I’d forgotten those were there until I was shifting), a donkey, a couple mildy breath taking vistas- breath borrowing maybe- Breath siphoning vistas- and the Unknown. Only that was this morning. Now I know where that road goes, so there’s less of the Unknown, and instead, I found a surprising but cool loop back home, which is good. And the loop back home was a lot more down hill. Passed a couple more biking guys on the down hill home. (Road bikes, helmets, spandex uniforms, sunglasses. Nothing wrong with that.) We saluted each other as we passed.

Back in town an hour after I left. Passed a swim meet and yard sales. Couple poor saps Working! Ha Ha Ha! Idiots!

I had many thoughts while I was out riding. I had a blast, by myself. Start of a perfect day…well we’ll see about the rest of the day, but so far, so good.

Took my MP3 player, which I usually don’t these days, but I have been having a sort of Guns and Roses revival lately and felt like it. And I suspect this guided my thoughts into sort of a retrospective mode.

My thoughts were as follows:

Do you remember when rock music was aggressive and the people we now call emo were just so many free lunches?

Do you remember when calling someone a fag was a good put down and not a hate crime? Political correctness is for fags.

When LOTR was a meaningless acronym and when RPG players were the persecuted underground?

Hmmm. Maybe those were all the thoughts I had. It seemed like more at the time. Oh well! Time for some FOOD!

OOOH- one more thought before I eat. The month of no chess paid off very well so far. I no longer feel like an addict. And when I do play I am much calmer (resulting in deadlier play!!!) and more able to reconize and learn from my errors. A glorious dawn awaits. Not a sunrise, but a galaxyrise.

Monday, July 5, 2010


While Liz was gone on vacation, I got so bored at night, what with the chess fast still on, that I found myself passing the time by writing long treatises on boring things. How boring? One about politics, one about economics and one about religion. Yeah.

The first one was a letter I wrote to a guy I knew about 20 years ago who sent me a friend request on facebook because he is running for congress. (yes That congress). So I looked up his political views online to see if they were any good. They turned out to be annoyingly vague and ambigious, so I figured, since I know the guy (or did once, enough for him to FB me), that I would try to touch base with him and ask for some specifics.

Welp, he never responded, which, is fine I suppose, but I haven't even gotten an automated "Gorg, Gorg, Gorg, we acknowledge your presence, blah, blip, I am actually an electronic secretary, shpa, noy hummmmm..." Coming up on 2 weeks now. So I find this annoying. I'd probably find it less annoying if so many people I know on FB hadn't signed on to his campaign based on the miniature amount of information he gives about his views online.

So here's what I wrote him. I can't blame you for not reading it, it looks dirt boring even to me, but here it is anyway. I wonder if I should accept this guy's friend request, just so I could repost my questions on his public wall?

I've read your three Key Issues and could use some clarification. In fact, I think anyone reading them would have similar questions.

1) You describe yourself as a "Fiscal Conservative", which is a bit like telling us you have one blue eye. We all immediately want to know what's up with your OTHER eye! So how about putting some easier to find info up on your web pages about your views on Social issues, especially on the “Life vs Choice” abortion debate. Also helpful would be your views on the definition of marriage. Would you have voted for the recent Health Care reform? Do you consider Health Care reform to be a social or fiscal issue?

2) Interested to know your views on Energy Policy. What do you think of Obama's handling of the BP crisis? And- I mean this last question in all seriousness- Can you give a scientific definition of the term “Watt”? As a professional engineer working in the energy industry, I see a lot of simple, technical ignorance of basic, high school level concepts evident in too many governmental policy decisions. A congressman making energy policy without a practical understanding of this basic term is like a board member voting on the allocation of funds without really knowing what a “dollar” is.

I’m a Missouri voter, (not in your district unfortunately). I’d like to support you, but your web pages don’t really tell enough about you as a potential congressman. I came away from reading them with more questions than when I started. I applaud your call for openness and clarity in government, but I’d have to have more clarity on who you are politically to consider supporting you. I’m all about independent thinking, but can you please post what some of your independent thoughts are?

So that’s it from John the Missouri Citizen.

Then there was a small amount of blabber of a minor, personal nature.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life is SOO good!

On a totally unrelated note, you should listen to "In Time" (stuck in my head at right).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heh heh. no Liz, No work for 5 days. This is gonna rule (as long as Liz doesn't get injured). Just me and the two smartest kids on the electron.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things I Don't Get: Part2: Christianity

Ok, obviously, I actually do get it.

On an academic, intellectual level at least. For instance, the idea that every human being is of approximately infinite value while at the same time being also so deeply screwed up as to be almost (but not quite) unsalvageable… What’s not to get there? So the core world view of Christianity makes perfect sense. That I get. What I really don’t get is Christianity's core... er-coping mechanism, for lack of a better. The “love your enemies thing”. I mean...Why?! Let alone how?!!

Take the simplest examples. Child molesters. Or terrorists, if you prefer. Baby eaters. The president. Pick one. Now, I can see the use of letting go of some of the raw rage. The high octane bloodlust type fury is just too much effort to carry around. Use what you can, chuck the rest out. But don’t try to bottle it up for later. It doesn't keep well, and if you happen to need some, it grows wild in all seasons. They's plenty mo.

But love 'em?

Dude! What Is The Point?!!!!

I have enough on my plate just keeping my rude/hilarious comments about innocently homely/fat/oddly dressed/elderly/racially unusual/handicapped or otherwise funny-to-look-at pedestrians inside my car. I have enough trouble just not hating regular people for being stupider than me. Love a child molester? Way too much work and irritation- and for what? Some boring, lovey, good feeling inside? I can get that a lot easier off liking regular people.

I guess don’t knock it till you’ve tried it? There’s some that swear by this stuff, so I suppose I must concede that there might be something to it. But I betcha deep down those people are at least partly in denial.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who said this?:

"Often what passes for faith in this world is little more than gullibility."

1) Stephen Hawking
2) Joseph Wirthlin
3) Richard Dawkins
4) Ravi Zacharias
5) Barak Obama
6) MeatLoaf

Swell Prize to the Winner!! Genuine Autographed Punch in the Face!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I am not going to play any chess for a month.

As a a way of coping with my withdrawl symptoms, I made up a list of elementary chess vocab words. (see above)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Finished "The Fellowship of the Ring" this morning at about 3 am. The book, not the movie. It was good. I've read it before of course. Just... occasionally it's cool to rediscover a book.

Unrelated note: Check out Buzz Aldrin!

Friday, June 4, 2010



A few nothing babblings follow:

The nature preserve I live 3 miles away from Rules. Miles and miles of wilderness. Well. Cultivated wilderness anyway.

I think this summer running there will be a weekend tradition. I went out for about an hour on Memorial Day, in the hottest part of the day and just got Lost. Next time I take H20 with me.

Swimming season here in Pacific has officially started too. First swim tommorrow after my epic getting lost part 2 run. Rays. Nice.

Its the simple things. Food. Rays. RocknRoll. Beautiful women. (wait- Woman, singular!! don't worry- I can say stuff like that. we dont keep any loaded weapons in the house) Sleep. Books. Punching people.

Some good old buddies from Peoria were here last weekend. Amos and Riley and I did some wrastling. I've got Amos shaped bruises to prove it. I'm stinking rusty. The darn kids didn't win too much. But mostly cause I am bigger and stronger. My skill set is just not there. I need somebody to beat up on regularly.

I'm very jealous of Jonni. How I wish I got a 3 month summer vacation from work every year!!!!!! Liz's brother Patrick suggested that I should become a teacher, so that I could do just that. This idea has merit. I could teach. I'd be poorer, probably. I could steal on the side.

Pull Me Under. Anybody remeber that tune from the early pre and Anti grunge 90's? Dream Theater was the band. I'll toss it up on the right on "Stuck in my head."

Welp. Sleep. Beautiful woman. All just down the hall. gotta go.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Business Trip (gaghack!)

"-the Boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time amidst muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes; to which detestable pounding and piping dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic Ultimate gods, the blind, voiceless, tenebrous, mindless Other gods whose soul and messenger is the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep."

Last night I was stuck for about 2 hours in a stupid Washington DC airport, tired, bored, irritable and I started reading a wierd HP Lovecraft book (The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath) in the quietest corner I could find, which was not very quiet at all. I read the above in the first chapter.

The airport, with it's annoying array of timezones and stiff with the essence of pure waiting did indeed seem to consist of chambers beyond time. The unavoidable yet almost inaudible TVs with thier stupid commercials and theme music and the PA with its babble and everybody on cellphones... I truly was amidst muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes. To this detestable pounding and piping the slow, awkward and absurd business people and news shows danced while the blind, mindless Tv celebs conveyed their messages of crawling chaos.

Airports are a Lovecraftian Hell. A small black stray kitten would have been most welcome company. Glad to be home

Friday, May 21, 2010

Things I Don't Get: Part1: Make up

I'd get it if you were trying to hide in the jungle, or if you had been burned by acid, or were just naturally ugly. I kind of get perfume, because of you are trying to fake pheromones. (Even that is dumb because 1: it's kind of underhanded and sneaky and 2: wow-find something else to worry about.)

But why a normal person, going to a normal place, like outside, would feel the need to put paint on their face is just flat weird to me.

I can see it if it were part of some sort of heathen ritual. Or if you wanted to scare the jeepers out of the enemy tribe when you went to kill them. Or if it was Halloween. That's all good fun. I'm not saying it doesn't have it uses.

I'm not saying that all girls are stupid. I'm just saying what sort of bizarre thought process do you have to go through before you find yourself in front of a mirror putting skin colored color on your skin? How does a human being come to this?!

Yeah, I know. "You say you like the way we look just as well without it, but you treat us different when we wear it." So, that's probably true. But it's still dumb.

Does it make hash out of your psyche? "No. we feel better when we wear it" But isn't that the same as feeling bad without it? Is it like a self esteem deficiency thing?

I don't mind that you do it. It's cool. It's your face. I'm easy going. I like girls. But I don't get it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Anand Wins!

Bottom of the ninth, tie game. Today was the last possible full length game in the series. I thought it would most likely be a tie and go into sudden death speed games. (at this level of play a speed game starts with 20 minutes to each side with the possiblity to earn back time- to me this is a fairly sedate, slow paced game.) Toplov had white, and had been playing well, so barring a tie, the next most expected outcome was a win by Toplov, ending the series and dethroning Anand. The last thing I expected to see was Anand winning with black, but that's what happened. Before today's game both competitors had won two games each, always as white.

Conratulations to Anand, retaining his title, but you have to hand it to Toplov, he put up a monster of a fight.

What to look forward to next?

The Canidates Tournament: 8 players duke it out for the right to be the next to challenge Anand for his title. No date for the tournament has been set that I know of. 6 of the 8 Canidates have been determined:

Toplov (obviously)
Kramnik, who Anand unseated in 2008,
Gata Kamsky, The American!- who Toplov beat out to be this year's challenger,
Magnus Carlsen and
two other guys I have never mentioned before and don't know much about.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Day after Tommorrow

Watched "The Day after Tommorrow" and literally laughed the entire time. It was almost as high-larious as the latest Twilight Movie.

I'm pretty sure I could write a disaster movie in about 20 minutes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Here's a link to the high-larious story about how you can get a kicked off campus for wearing a t-shirt with the American flag on it.

Here's a link to the campus staff directory, in case you feel like explaining to anyone about how they are QUEER.

Friday, April 30, 2010

A link to the 2010 games.

Anand, BTW, (defending champion, from India) has taken a somewhat strongish lead. He's up 3 games to 2 and has white the next 2 games. 5 games have been played, Anand winning 2, playing white and tieing 2 playing black.

Anand next year vs Magnus?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Here's an algorithm I made up while I was a work today for determining if a number is prime or not.

Let X= the number you want to know if its prime or not
Let Y=2

1)Check: is X divisible by Y?

If yes, X aint prime.

If no:

2) Check: Is Y^2 bigger than X?

If yes, X is prime.
If no, repeat the process, increasing Y by one.

You could also simply increase Y to the next highest prime and it'd work just as well, but since to determine if Y+1 is prime you have to work through a bunch of steps of the algorithm, vs just using that number means you only have to work through the steps once, so I figure its faster just to crank through all the numbers rather than trying to filter out the non primes.

I am putting this up here just in case you needed something like this. It's free.

A pleasant factiod that comes out of this is that any number lower than 49 (7x7) is prime, unless it ends in 0,2,4,5,6,8, or if its digits sum up to 3,6 or 9.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010 Championship is on

Annoyingly, whoever the winner of this match up turns out to be, neither will have a really convincing claim on being the greatest in the world. Magnus Carlsen, the 19 year old Norweigen has the #1 win/loss rating in the world, and he is not in the 2010 championship.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Harry Dresden Casting Call

Liz and me started trying to figure out who we'd get to play the various characters from the Harry Dresden books, when we start filming the movie. (All we need first is funding and maybe a script)

Here's what we've got so far:

Harry Dresden: Tough one, but we are thinking mebbe Nathan Fillion (Mal from Firefly). I also like Hugh Jackman or Robert Downey Jr maybe?

Karrin Murphy: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Molly Carpenter: The girl from the Twilight movies

Michael Carpenter: Tom Welling would be perfect, but he's mebbe not old enough. And Mel Gibson is too old.

John Marcone: Jason Isaacs (plays Lucious Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies)

Thomas Raith: Orlando Bloom

Ebeneezar McCoy: Robert Duvall

Sanya: Will Smith, partly because it would be great to hear him do a Russian accent

Shiro: Jackie Chan. No just kidding. The action would be good, but Jackie would wreck Shiro's character. Its be hilarious though. I dont have anyone for Shiro. The dude from Crouching Tiger?

Billy the Werewolf: We kicked around the idea of getting Sharkboy-whats hisname- the werewolf from the stupid Twightlight movies- partly because ha ha ha and partly beacuse we need someone who can be a geek, the muscle up. Shia?

Still working on people like-


Charity Carpenter:

Waldo Butters:

Donald Morgan:

Bob('s voice):

Susan Rodrigez:

The list goes on and on.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Coolest Geeks

You know, most famous people just annoy me. They seem to live in a constant state of tripping over themselves to conform to some lame social standard of coolness. In the process, they forget the first rule of the truly cool, which is : "Dude. Relax. Be Yourself." And here enters in the zen paradox:

The coolest people on the planet are the biggest geeks.

Cause they just don't care what the world thinks- they just get on with life comfy in thier own skin and do frickin cool schtuff.

Here's the top 16 coolest geeks that I know of. Obviously the list is slanted towards chess obsessed, engineer type Rush fans, because I made the list.

So I am interested. The coolest geeks of all time- Post Tolkien. (I think before Tolkien there wasn't really such a thing as geeks, just protogeeks. Tolkein crystalized the concept. Plus, it's just not fair, if you include Tolkein and Isaac Newton etc etc blah blah. )

So. Who did I miss? Who am I wrong about? And don't say George Lucas cause he is a total idiot.

Ok no further ado. In no particular order:

The John Sever Fanclub!!
Sweet Sixteen
Coolest Geeks List!
(work in progress)

1) Sir Ian McKellan

He's Gandalf and Magneeto!

2) Rowan Atkinson

Who is really cooler and geekier than Mr. Bean? (Plus he's the bird in the Lion King!)

3) St. Wierd Al YankovicA stronger artist than just about everyone he has ever parodied.

4) Gary Gygax
Inventor of D+D!

5) Peter Jackson
The genius and vision behind the Lord of the Rings movies
6) Sir Patrick Stewart
Picard and Professor X!
7) Neil Peart
Drummer and Lyricist from the rock band RUSH.

Penned sci-fi lyrics for tunes like "2112", "Red Barchetta", "The Analog Kid"

8) Richard Garfeild

Invented Magic the Gathering, and in fact the entire genre of fantasy trading card gaming.

9) Magnus Carlsen
Norwiegian Chess genius, possibly the strongest player in the world, at age 18. (or some other really young age that I am not bothering to look up)

10) JK Rowling
Author of Harry Potter

11) Carl Sagan
Astronomer. Never afraid to get passionate about science in front of millions. (or was that billions?)
12) Geddy Lee
Bassist and vocals for RUSH. One of a kind voice that screams geek. Yet utterly cool.
13) Jim Butcher
Author of The Dresden Files. Gamer. Martial Artist. LARPer.

14) Gary Kasparov
Possibly the strongest chess player from last generation. First world class player to be defeated by a computer (Deep Blue)

15) Elon Musk
Inventor of paypal. Owner of SpaceX, the world's first commercial spaceflight business. (Made famous in the novella To the Stars, email me for the full version)
16) Douglas Noel Adams
Author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Died too young. Missed.
That's my list. Of course there is such a thing as just being a geek with no cool what so ever, and there are plenty of those people too. But these guys, much like myself, somehow manage to be both.
So. Who am I missing? Who am I wrong about? Very interested in your thoughts!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Not to be a bitter grouchy evil Gorg or anything, but I remember alot of authority figures from my childhood telling me that I shouldn't say I hate this or I hate that or I hate so and so, because hate is such a strong word.

But I want to publically register that I disagree. I think its ok to say it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Hunger Games

Started reading The Hunger Games by Suzzanne Collins less than 24 hours ago. Finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzzanne Collins less than 4 hours ago. It's GOOD.
(Renae, you would like it.)

Seems like Liz calamities and good books go together.

I also read The Pool of Fire by John Christopher a couple days ago. Its part of an older juvenile sci-fi trilogy or quadrology, that is fairly hardish to find. It was also pretty good.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

So, Liz tripped Sunday night. Yesterday she started having trouble remembering stuff. Dr. M says she definately has a concussion. Today she is less loopy than yesterday but not 100%. Needs supervision. CT scan is normal, so no bleeding in her brain, thank God.

It could be a matter of weeks until she is all the way better... Dr says that this is just hard to predict.

New Dr appt tomorrow should reveal more, hopefully.

If you are any type of believer, prayers appreciated. Agnostical types requested to address prayers "to anyone that might be listening, just in case." Atheists send cash I guess. ha look at that, sense of humor still somewhat evident.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Okay, the below post is the opening to the 31 page Sci-fi short story I gave my brother Trent over Christmas, that I mentioned a month ago and gave myself to the end of Febuary to put a little more polish on.

Happy to email the full word doc to anyone who asks:


To The Stars

It is the year 2049. After decades of research and development, aging businessman, entrepreneur, engineer and billionaire, Elon Musk, has launched his most ambitious project yet. A crew of 50 men and women, including the 78 year old Musk himself, have embarked on a 3 year journey. If they succeed, they will go down in history as the first human beings to set foot on and return from an alien planet.

Back on Earth, the family and friends of the massive crew get along as best they can.

It’s an August night, cool after the heat of the day. Sol is huge on the horizon, as the Earth rotates Rocket City, Texas out of the sun’s direct line of fire and into the fringes of early twilight. Engineers and scientists sit down to dinner. A boy in his first car swings by a girl’s house.

On going cycles.

Are girls impressed by the quality of car driven by their dates? Do they judge a guy based on paint jobs and horse power? Trent Schafer, being 17, didn’t know the answers to these questions. Just to have his bases covered, he had worked an intense summer job, so that he could blow a lot of money to buy something vintage. And then he had put in hours- no, weeks repairing, replacing, sanding. And programming.

Well, it hadn’t been all about the girl. The summer job? What kid wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to be part of an orbital construction crew in freaking outer space?? (Opportunities like this come up occasionally when both your older brothers are on the Prime Crew.) And Trent had grown up around so many gearheads and techies that rescuing a 2010 Mustang from a junkyard was almost second nature. A lot of the kids in the neighborhood could have done it. Well, not the programming part- that was Trent’s personal specialty.

But anyhow. He had the car. This was its maiden voyage in fact. And with Drake and Kelly both more than 100 million miles away, the person he most wanted to share it with slash show it off to was Alison.

So, are they? Do they?

“Trent!” she squealed “You finished it?! Sweeeet! Wow! Awesome!” She circled the Mustang the like the Moon circles the Earth- always facing it.

Alison had sleek black hair that flowed past her shoulders. Her complexion was unusually pale, especially for her hair. Her lightning blue eyes tied the skin and hair together in a striking combination. Trent had once read a story book description of Snow White that had reminded him of Alison. The book had drawn more strongly from Brother’s Grimm than from Walt Disney; Alison made Disney’s Snow White look like Shemp Howard. She was tall for a girl, her 5’ 10” on a level with Trent. Her figure was athletic but with enough distracting female curvature that Trent often found himself looking more directly into her eyes than was strictly necessary.

Trent’s face broke into a grin that made his ears climb up his scalp.

“Yeah?” He encouraged “You like it?”

“Bad!” she enthused, “To the bone! Yeah, it rules.”

She ran a delicate finger along the midnight blue paint job, and the fire colored sunburst across the hood.

“Who laid this paint down?”

“Larry. You know, Kelly’s buddy? He cut me a deal.”

“What about this design?” She indicated the sunburst.

Trent tapped his skull. “I laid it out in CAD. Larry complained because it’s not authentic 2010, but I like it. You wanna see the inside?”

“Friggin’ Aye!”

He tapped his cell phone, the car chirped and it’s doors opened themselves. The teens slid inside.

She continued to marvel. His ego continued to inflate. His cheeks began to cramp up from all the grinning.

Another chirp from the cell phone and the engine started to purr. She glanced at the steering wheel.

“You don’t actually drive this do you?”

“No. No way, are you kidding? You think I want to smash this ride up?This tok way too much work for that. I linked it in to Trafficnet, obviously. This here,” Trent thumped the wheel, “I just left in place because this is a vintage piece of art. It’s even functional, but I don’t use it. Chinese?”

“The Beijing Palace?”


Trent clapped his cell into its receptacle in the dashboard. A blue glow cast shadows briefly across his features as the cell phone’s optical sensor located Trent’s face, and then his eyes. A thin beam of light focused, not on, but into his cornea, and a menu of options, along with an annoying, flashy ad praising Cellnet’s superior service, appeared in the air, visible to Trent alone. With a few REM speed flicks of his pupils he shut off the ad, indicated the restaurant as their destination and booked their arrival time priority as extremely flexible. The weather was excellent and summer was almost over: might as well enjoy the ride.

The 40 year old Mustang backed itself out on to the warm pavement, linked into Rocket City’s local Trafficnet and drove itself toward the highway.

Most major US cities had adopted Traffic Net systems, but Rocket City had beta tested it. Musk Enterprises held the patents and guzzled cash from municipalities like it was going out of style. (Which, point in fact, it was.)

In 2010, the mustang had been a small car, but in Rocket City 2049 it was massive. The swarm of vehicles it merged with as it headed downtown averaged half its size. Most were at maximum capacity with two passengers. A few hummed along with no one inside at all, either enroute to pick someone up or else courier vehicles. The passengers read, slept, ate, flossed or chatted on their cell phones, oblivious in the main, to the flow of traffic around them. A few, like Trent, people-watched.

“Check out that Fat Dude!” he snorted to Alison “He barely fits in that teeny Volvo!”

Alison punched him. “Be nice!” she flirted.

Fat Dude looked up from his half pound burger and gazed in their direction, like a fish in an aquarium, almost as if he could hear them despite the intervening windows. In unison, Trent and Alison innocently whiplashed their necks around to be fascinated by a featureless brick office building.

Trafficnet kept all vehicles cruising at a safe, efficient and uniform speed, so Fat Dude stayed within 4 meters of them for roughly an eternity.

It was with some relief that Alison and Trent felt Trafficnet begin subtly shuffling the vehicles around them, as an intersection drew into view, accelerating one briefly here, opening up a gap there, weaving the two bisecting streams of traffic through each other, without impeding the flow of either. A busy 60 mph crossroads, smooth, efficient and even safe, with no body stopping or even slowing more than slightly.

Trent’s car spun a smooth radius through the four way crossroads. Fat Dude stayed steadily abreast, an unwanted skating partner.

Alison moaned and slumped below window level in her seat.

“You gotta to be kidding me!” Trent groaned and laughed at the same time, punching his cell phone. Once again the laser light focused on his retinas and the phantom computer interface appeared.

“This can not be right” he insisted, half to his car and half to his date. He did a quick double check of their Trafficnet status.

The destination was wrong.

“What the—!“

Annoyed, Trent disabused the computer of its notion that they wanted to visit a parking garage and ordered in the Palace again, this time jacking their priority up several notches. This cost money, but summer was almost over and he felt rich.

“You programmed this thing yourself did you?” inquired Alison innocently. Trent regarded her from beneath a single raised eyebrow.

The Beijing Palace was located outside the suburbs of Rocket City. It was owned, Trent happened to know, by a family who had a cousin on the Prime Crew. Jon Lei, of the Buzz Aldrin, in fact. Jon was a friend and colleague of Trent’s oldest brother Drake, who was onboard the Delta.

The Palace was slightly above the mean for classiness. It was set in a modest, middle class strip mall with a broad glass store front. A few tables sat on a patio outside, and a few people were enjoying the night air with their meal. When Trent showed Alison into the restaurant’s small waiting area, they were greeted by a fat porcelain Buddha and a dozen exotic looking fish in a tank. A broad bladed tai chi sword with a colorful pom pom and a snarling lion’s head for a tang hung above the entrance to the dining room. A shriveled old woman who stood barely higher than Trent’s navel smiled mutely at them from behind a credit register, then shouted something in what Trent assumed to be Chinese to some one out of their line of sight. She gave them another wordless smile and a nod. A moment later a middle aged man with a rough shock of black hair and black slacks, a white apron and bad teeth appeared to welcome them to his restaurant. This was Mr. Lei, who Trent knew only as Mr. Lei, but who recognized Trent right away.

“You ah Drake Schafer’s brother, riight?” He asked as he showed them to a table for two tucked behind a bamboo curtain. “You ah going to go to space too?” he inquired, smilingly.

Trent enjoyed being talked to as if he was a full adult like this. It was something that seemed to happen more frequently since Drake and Kelly had left. It also however, made him feel a bit awkward and formal. As if he needed to respond like an adult.

“Well actually,” Trent began and told Mr. Lei about his summer job. Mr. Lei was duly impressed.

“Really? Izza that riiight? Wow, that is a velly ah good job for you! Congratulation! Just like your brother. Very good. And your other brother.” He continued to smile, genuinely enthusiastic, and Trent felt obliged to introduce Alison, and explain about her father being Farin Bishop, also from the prime crew of the Delta. Mr Lei was pleased, happy and enthusiastic anew at this news and shook Alison’s hand warmly. Alison flushed very mildly and Trent felt unaccountably good about himself.

A look of concern crossed Mr Lei’s face.

“But ah” He began tentatively “ The Delta… I ah saw on ah Internet-“

Trent sighed inwardly.

“-that ah there is some ah problem on the Delta?”

Alison sighed outwardly.

“Oh really?” she asked and her very mild flush was gone. “What exactly did the internet say was wrong with the Delta? Was a paper jam on a printer? A burned out lightbulb? A fuel tank needing refilling?”

“Ah actually-” began Mr. Lei.

“Because, you know, each of these has been reported by the media as a ‘mechanical failure’ since the five ships left. It’s actually been a very uneventful voyage. They barely even accelerated after the first month. But it’s obviously the most important event in space travel since Armstrong, Buzz and Collins, so naturally the media is killing themselves to make headlines out of nothing. Its really rather pitiful.”

A pained sort of smile crept over Mr. Lei’s face.

“Well actually” He backpedaled “This ah one is ah little bit strange.”

“Really.” Alison challenged “How?”

“Well they ah actually did not ah say anything was wrong with ah Delta. They just said it was ah missing.”

“Missing?” snapped Alison “That just means NPR’s science division is so inept that they can’t locate it, which, frankly since the ships are in orbit around an alien planet now, really should be no surprise to anybody. NPR does realize that they landed the Collins in January, don’t they, so there’s only 4 ships to find now, anyhow-“

“Ah actually it was ah CBS-”

“Well, yeah any time you want to see B.S... See the thing is, Mr. Lei, that even though this mission is the most important event, scientifically speaking, this century, it’s actually quite unpopular in certain circles”

Mr. Lei glanced around and licked his lips.

“There are, as you know, several political groups here in USA (she pronounced it OOO-saw) and whole governments elsewhere who find it terribly threatening that a private citizen, without any help from them has accomplished so much.”


“Not that they haven’t tried to take over, of course. You remember when we set up assembly on the moon? ‘Regulations to protect the Lunar Ecosystem’ Gaaa! Lunar Ecosystem! It’s the fracking Moon! There is no freaking ecosystem! So of course Elon told them all to go to hell. Threatened to move mission control to his own private island. Told them to back off or he’d take all the flags off the all spaceships and fly the whole damn mission under the Jolly Roger. I wish he had, that’d have been fricking awesome! Sorry Mr. Lei- about ranting and all but-“

“No, no, you ah right-“

“But there are tons of people down here who would like the mission to fail somehow and its just ridiculous! Sorry, really. Mission control is in constant radio contact with each of the five ships. The Delta is just fine.”

“No that’s ah... great!” Mr. Lei smiled as if he had enjoyed Alison’s outburst, (as in fact he had). He rubbed his hands together and seemed to savor being able to draw a breath.

“Great.” He repeated. “How about some food?”

Everyone laughed.

When they were alone with their menus, Alison looked mortified.

“What did I say?” she hissed in an undertone.

“Nothing that wasn’t true.”

“What they really are afraid of is that we will set up our own private colony on Mars, which is beyond retarded. Do you know what Mars is like? Put the Gobi desert in Antarctica under the biggest rip in the Ozone you can find, and you got a pretty nice day on Mars. Did you know that the icecaps on Mars are not water? They’re carbon frickin’ dioxide! Frozen solid! It snows C-oh-two on mars!”

“It’s crazy, is it not?”

“Yeah. But now Mr. Lei thinks I’m a psycho”

“No he doesn’t. He likes you. He thinks you’re funny.”

“Funny?! Oh nooo!”

“It’s a good funny. As in Funny-funny.”

“Yeah, like funny farm funny.”

“Could be worse.”

She threw a chopstick at him.

The food was good. The company was also good. They were just reading the drivel in their fortune cookies (you will be unexpectedly reunited with a loved one, reach for the stars, follow your heart) when there was the sound of breaking glass and shouting.

Trent spun around in shock to see a nightmare figure. It was a man, but much bigger than a man should be. Seven feet tall- or was it eight? It had smashed through the plate glass front of the diner, and had somehow trampled to kindling one of the tables at which an older couple had been eating.

It was as broad as any two men. A male human head topped its massive shoulders, dark of skin and eye. A single shoulder length dreadlock of black wool depended from his scalp and a black goatee from his chin, but beyond the man’s face, no other skin was visible. His body, arms and legs were entirely encased in… Trent’s mind grappled to identify it – it was maroon, with the appearance of something between glass and plastic. Body armor unlike anything Trent had ever seen, covering the man from the neck down, giving him the appearance of a robot from one of the sci fi channels.

The massive red-armored juggernaut swatted a bamboo curtain from it’s path. It went flying, like a wadded up tissue, and shattered against a wall 20 feet away. The giant’s glaring eyes swept the room. He waded forward through the chaos of debris and terrified diners, each step pounding the floor like the dropping of an engine block, vibrating dishes, silverware, and what little glass remained in the plate window.

Then, before Trent or Alison had had time to register what had happened, the man-thing’s dark eyes turned in their direction. Trent had just enough time to assume that it must be focused on something behind them, but before he could glance over his own shoulder, the huge body, with shocking speed had pivoted and crossed the distance between them in four foundation-rattling strides. The armored feet actually tore divots out of the hardwood floor as it came, and then the monster had seized Alison by the neck and yanked her bodily from her chair. She let out a squeak that might have been a yell of terror, but it terminated abruptly as her air was choked off in the monster’s grip.

Trent found himself on his feet and he made a move to seize the thing’s arm (it felt odd, almost metallic, but warm and slick) but the giant shook, or shrugged and Trent was momentarily airborne, like the bamboo curtain. Whatever it was, it was strong, in a way normally associated with industrial grade construction machinery. Trent’s back and tail bone slammed into the edge of a chair, which went over. Pain shot up his spine as he slammed into the floor.

The juggernaut spared Trent no other glance, but rotated ponderously and trampled away towards the gap it had created in the plate glass, Alison struggling in its one-handed grip. There was more shouting and screaming as terrorized restrauntiers made a panicked stampede for any and all exits. Trent struggled to regain his feet, got entangled as a woman in heels tried to leap over him and they both went down.

“Hey! Gacking pizzle! No! Frimmin’-”

Trent’s parent’s had neglected their three sons education to an almost criminal level when it can to practical profanity. As a result of this abuse, he never knew what to shout in a crisis. He shoved the heeled woman off of him with a foot to her skirt and struggled up, but the monster was half way across the restaurant now, and Trent realized something: The giant had moved fast when it had crossed the room to seize Alison. If it made it to the open street, there would be no catching it. It slowed to swat down a man who had somehow, in his attempt to flee, wound up directly in the monster’s path, but this minor delay was not going to give Trent the time he need to catch up.

A man in black slacks and a white apron, a spare man with a bad hair cut and bad teeth appeared from nowhere. With sudden grace, Mr. Lei sidestepped a chair that went skidding by and dodged a shrieking teenager, to close with the juggernaut. A silver and black aluminum baseball bat whistled through the air and connected with the back of the monster’s knee. A strange, unearthly pinging noise filled the air. It was a blow that would have crippled any normal man.

The juggernaut stumbled forward, going into a half a kneel, but it recovered. With Alison still clawing at its armored glove, the monster turned its glare on Mr. Lei.

Who was already swinging again, and this time for the monster’s unarmored head.

The giant’s arm swung up to intercept the bat with uncanny speed. There was another alien spronging sound, and Mr. Lei momentarily turned his back on the monster, spinning the bat off the recoil in a complete 360 degree arc, this time to intersect its belly. A deep gonging sound resounded, and the juggernaut bent slightly at the waist, but an evil smile crossed it’s dark features, and its arm locked around the bat, trapping it against the armored torso. Instantly Mr. Lei retreated, abandoning the weapon. The juggernaut reversed its grip on the bat and came on. Mr. Lei leaped backwards, deftly toeing a chair into the thing’s path. A giant boot came down through the chair, crushing it to kindling. It brought the bat up for a backhanded blow, and Mr. Lei had nowhere to retreat.

Suddenly the thing screamed, the first time it had vocalized, and released both the bat and Alison, collapsing to its knees, its armored hands clutching at its face. Alison tumbled to the floor, her face green and white, retching, breathing in great gasping gulps. She rolled away from the monster. Trent rushed to her side and saw a small red and white canister, a bottle of pepper spray for would-be rapists and muggers, gripped in her hand.

The juggernaut was not down yet. Mr. Lei sprang forward and his right foot drove a fast, smashing blow at the thing’s unprotected face.

Its armored hands, still sheltering its nostrils and eyes from the Alison’s chemical assault lashed out, deflecting Mr. Lei’s kick. There was a sharp cracking sound, and Mr. Lei screamed, falling to the floor, his leg broken.

The demon cyborg rose to its full height again, still howling in pain, its eyes swollen almost shut, but it raised a booted foot, intent on stamping the small Chinese man on the floor.

An explosion, louder than any other noise so far tonight and the juggernaut staggered, almost into the glass shards clinging to the frame of the plate window. Another deafening roar, which Trent now positively identified as gunfire, and a tiny grey-haired woman, shrieking a torrent of Chinese profanity ran from the kitchen, pumping the action on a shotgun nearly as tall as herself, and taking aim at the giant yet again.

The monster did not hesitate. As the third shot split the night, it smashed its way blindly through the remnants of the window, its armored gloves shielding its head. It broke into a staggering run, and then, without warning, was airborne. It vanished in the sky over the building as sirens began to wail in the distance.

A few minutes later, half a dozen cops showed up. There was a fleeting moment in which they almost shot Grandma Lei who refused to relinquish her shotgun, or to quit yelling in Chinese. The situation was averted when several other members of the Lei family emerged, and explained that the old woman didn’t understand a word of English and was deaf as a post to boot. An aunt or someone, with a lot of high speed jabber, took the gun away and broke it down expertly. She had two Lei nephews turn a table right-side up so that she could set the pieces down, and then the cops took charge, and began asking questions.

An ambulanced arrived for Mr. Lei, Trafficnet having blown a medical priority channel through the city streets to get it there. The cops looked at the bruises around Alison’s throat. She felt fine, she insisted. They reacted with some incredulity to the story of a maroon armored giant inflicting the damage to Alison and to the store, but Trent, Alison and the Leis all told essentially the same tale. No other customers had remained in the restaurant, when the police had arrived, but apparently some of them had not gone far. They now came flocking back, and the police were soon out numbered by eyewitnesses. Yellow tape went up and the officers began first ordering, then escorting people out of the crime scene.

Half an hour later, an officer instructed Alison to get herself checked out in an ER. When Alison declined an ambulance ride, he took her name, Trent’s name, their contact info and a formal statement from each. Then he called a medical priority pass for Trent’s vintage hotrod into Trafficnet. Trent helped the cop pack Alison into his car, then ducked in himself. Trafficnet reved up the 2010 engine, and the vehicle hurtled out into the street, scattering lower priority cars from their path, making safe but highly efficient time to what they both assumed must be St. Francis’s of Rocket City.

This is the first handful of pages in what turned out to be a 31 page novella. I am jazzed everytime somebody wants to read the rest, so please email me at sageowl@hotmail.com to request the full word document and I'll send it along. It's free, although I do want to hear what you think, so if you read it let me know what you like/hate about it. Thanks-