The Bad News

Yeah, so all has been quiet on this front for some time. The reason for this is pretty straightforward, I’ve been experiencing intermittent issues with the keyboard on my laptop which became catastrophically worse late last week. Look at yours right now. See all the letters between W and P? None of them on my laptop’s keyboard work any longer and most of them get used all the time to write simple sentences.

Today, after much hullabaloo on the phone with Apple, I drove to the mainland specifically to get it repaired. I’ve watched the surgery necessary on YouTube, and it’s pretty involved, so I sought help. Help, it turns out, cost considerably more than the laptop is worth.

“So there he is, banging away at this post,” you’d rightly point out. “How the hell is doing it?” Well, I bought a cheapo keyboard and turned my very expensive Macbook Pro into a desk potato. This may become my new mascot or something.

“What’s next?” you ask when informed of my clever and inexpensive workaround? Well, obviously a lot less portable computing. When I work away from my desk, I’ll necessarily be doing so on a tiny device like my phone. This is slower and considerably more prone to borkage, but possible.

Right now my big project is a Space Opera retelling of Shakespear’s Romeo and Juliet which I’m very glad to be working on once again. If I do anything to improve my workspace, it will be to add a bigger monitor to this potato setup. However, unless and until I’m able to sell some stories, this is going to remain an aspiration since it lacks funds.

Doomsday Giveaway

This is Matt. He’s got a pile of books he purchased last January that no one picked up. Matt is sad because books without readers are indeed a depressing fact of life. But there’s a silver lining to the cloud that hangs over Matt’s troubled head.

You can pick up one of these excellent reads. Doomsday Chronicles is an anthology of short stories that reads like a laundry list. That’s if your laundry is, in this case, some of our time’s best genre writers.

You can click on the picture of the book or here and pick up your free copy on Matt’s dime, while they last. All he asks for is a) that you follow him on Twitter and b) that you leave a review when you’ve finished reading the book.

Write For Yourself

This is Matt. He just wrote a chapter of a book he doesn’t need anyone else to approve of. This is the first time he’s done this in quite some time. He understands that there will be critics. The critics will likely read this chapter and say critical things about it. That’s what critics do, but Matt doesn’t care. He likes the chapter. It made him feel pretty good to write it.

Tomorrow morning Matt will get up and do things. Let’s hope that when Matt does writing he doesn’t become his own critic. No one needs critics who makes them feel bad for writing, especially Matt.

Name The New Ride

Help me name the new ride

That’s right, above is the new 700 x 47 CC Surly Long Haul Trucker (in Blacktacular) I recently purchased for some long-range, self-supported action I have planned. As is the custom in my house I need to name this ride. The bike it replaces is an elderly gelding that has been rolling for almost as long as me. It was named Scout after Tonto’s horse.

I’ve since stopped naming bikes after famous horse (although Mr. Ed has occurred to me). Its companion, a plus-sized version is my 2011 Surly Necro Pug, is named Rosie from Farley Mowat‘s 1963 autobiography Never Cry Wolf.

“Bored to death!”

Ten + One Wilderness Areas

Because everyone is doing it: Ten wilderness areas that I’ve been to and one that I have not.

  1. Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  2. Norse Peak Wilderness
  3. Pasayten Wilderness
  4. North Cascades National Park and Stephen Mather Wilderness
  5. Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness
  6. Goat Rocks Wilderness
  7. Flat Tops Wilderness
  8. Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
  9. South San Juan Wilderness
  10. Okefenokee Wilderness
  11. Passage Key Wilderness

Depression Kills Me

So, in case you were wondering, the answer is “yes.” I’ve been depressed quite a bit lately. Just stuck down in deep, dark old funk.

Also, “yes” my depression has a lot to do with the weather we’ve been seeing here in Puget Sound. That and the stupid string of sicknesses I’ve experienced since the start of the year. Oh, and we’d be judged remiss if we forgot to top that pile-o-poo with the joke-of-a-government we’ve been bequeathed.

I’ve been caged by my mortality and my awareness of that unrelenting, unavoidable limiting factor. A real pickle.

Today, I managed to pull out exactly enough of the stops to transport my family from my island home to the bustling, urban paradise of Seattle. Here we shall spend the next few days living it up and in the process breaking a couple of bars.

We visited the Japanese Gardens today and that was a lot like jumping into a well organized Caribbean bay or warm, salty water. Dimsum and so many bao that my belly felt like it might split, the most comfortable-discomfort I think a person can endure. Other than the relentless exuberance of our six-year-old, today was a really good day.

Right now I’m counting the time I’ve spent writing by sipping scotch in a bar on 1st Street. While I feel Jack London’s judgemental gaze from a lofty spot on the wall, I’m once again producing words. Slowly, sometimes laboriously, but they’re coming. I’m surrounded by intimate human dramas.

At the bar is a couple interviewing their third for tonight’s intimate indulgences, I’m left to wonder how fast that rocket will go off. A rude dude just rode a wheelie down the street on his LED ignited Hayabusa. There’s a lonely man brooding in the glass, glare and reflected light of the front window. If he breaks out a deck and starts to type madly he’s going to be the star of a hacking short story. I’m almost ready to give him mine.

For the first time in what feels like forever, I’m writing. Re-writing! Good golly the floodgates are open!

Job Creators

This morning Google highlighted an infographic on Forbes which tells you a lot about my browsing history. We’ve been investigating and investing in our house and our future of late and that means that we’re in the process of designing and building a solar installation.

We’re surrounded by big trees here, most of which we do not own, so our existing roof (which faces southwest) isn’t a good fit. The good news is that we have a straight view south, across East Passage (where it curves around Tacoma), and a growing need for a good shed. Consequently, our path to energy independence is a little longer than most, but we hope to have ~6 kWh on the grid by the autumn.

That said, time isn’t apparently on our side. Despite the growth in PV within the US over the last eight to 10 years and the decrease in cost for that power the White House, and our Thug Congress seem intent on destroying that emerging energy infrastructure.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump will sign an executive order this week rolling back President Obama’s Clean Power Plan — an “Energy Independence Executive Order” designed to reduce regulations on domestic energy resources. The White House also confirmed that it would announce the creation of the Office of American Innovation on Monday, led by Jared Kushner.

On the heels of Trump’s “Healthcare” defeat, we should apparently expect more job-killing actions, per this morning’s news banners. Politico warns, for instance, that the WH plans on destroying environmental protections, energy standards, and the EPA along with those. They intend to accomplish all this through executive fiat.

Are these people so blind to the world that they can’t see where reality is running rough right over their ideology; hasn’t anyone thought that the Free Market might just want to kill all coal jobs? Perhaps they’re entrenched, so sunk in old costs that thinking ahead of their own institutional inertia becomes an exercise in time travel? Imagine if the Koch brothers only invested in PV back in the 70’s. I don’t know the answer to this poser, but I do know that rebranding your son-in-law “Chief of American Innovation” then sending him out to liberate a few more hydrocarbons from the Earth’s crust is a fool’s errand. Energy Independence won’t ever come from extractive sciences.

Yep, that’s not where the jobs are. Your beloved Free Market is telling you where it’s headed and you’re not listening.

Come hell and unavoidable high-water, we’re still going to innovate our way toward a more energy independent future. Adaptation is now the only mandate. The shed and then panels will rise, but we’re in a privileged position. While the rest of the world prepares for the inevitable changes that the globe will see, our nation backslides at the lead bullies and brats! Frankly, just one more reason for #BluExit.