Feb 192015
 

V_2_rocket

I recently posted a preview of a novelette in progress, Downtime.  What I didn’t say and maybe should have is that the story was inspired by one of my favorite writers, Ray Bradbury.  Two of his works factor in: Rocket Summer from The Martian Chronicles, and the immortal Fahrenheit 451.

Bradbury’s evocative visuals in Rocket Summer led me as a twelve-year old to imagine that anyone could assemble a space-worthy vehicle with the right parts and know-how.  Like many in the 1970s who got caught up in the great Space Race, I had a reasonable understanding of propulsion and was not remotely dissuaded by the fact that all of my homemade missiles had exploded on the launchpad.

Surely I just needed the proper materials; Mom’s rich assortment of household chemicals labeled Flammable!  Danger!  Explosive! just weren’t doing the trick, no matter how many I mixed together. Continue reading »

Feb 172015
 
After several years feeling mostly unmotivated, I’m getting back into fiction writing.  Fortunately I have many (too many) aborted attempts to finish, so no shortage of material.  I’m finally feeling inspired so I’ve been devoting lunch and evening time to working on a particular few.

I intend to start by publishing ebooks on Amazon, and from there who knows.  I anticipate that the first release will be Downtime, a dystopic tale about survivors of a destructive planetary shift in the future.

I’m presenting a draft of Downtime’s introduction here for your critical pleasure.  Feedback is welcome; note that this portion is mostly solidified but subject to tweaking and tightening (some passive voice needs attention, for one).

I will be sharing the full version with a select few after completion of the first draft.  I will especially be needing guidance on Finnish culture and dialog. Continue reading »

Feb 032015
 
Being a family guy, as many of you I’m sure know well, means ego sacrifices.  So many over time that a husband/father begins to feel like a component in a machine.  A critical one, sure, but a component nonetheless.

Speaking of machines… one of the toughest concessions I made due to marriage was choosing automotive practicality over preference.  I’ve always been a utility or sports vehicle guy.  But there’s nothing remotely sporty about the white, under-powered 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass I drove with gritted teeth during the halcyon years of married life.  The idiot who eventually stole it removed a huge albatross from my pack-animal neck. Continue reading »

Jan 282015
 
I keep running into this term “life hacking” without actually knowing what it’s supposed to mean, but on the surface it sure seems to fit what I’m embarking on this year: a personal reboot.  That includes an overdue divorce.

I haven’t started the actual divorce process yet– been very busy preparing to prepare for it though.  I envy any couples who are able to walk away from each other without any major difficulty.  My adult sons aren’t a factor, but years of accumulated crap has sure become one.  Hopefully the fact that I want free of it all, including our house, will help. Continue reading »

Jan 232015
 
The last time I assembled a home-built PC was over ten years ago.  I’d won an Opteron CPU at an AMD event at a time when those babies were very expensive and among the most powerful workstation options, so I decided to begin there.

Impatient and lacking in funds, I got real resourceful at finding deals.  Many items were of their previous generation; new enough to work for me but often heavily discounted.  Ebay was, unsurprisingly, a great place to shop.  So was Pricewatch. Continue reading »

Jan 222015
 
As some of you know, I’m separated from my wife of over two decades and preparing to divorce.  At first I couldn’t even think of getting involved with someone else, but after a year of not seeing or hearing from your ex, well, those inhibitions tend to dissolve.  I really do miss the company of others, especially the fairer sex.

A former coworker and longtime friend recommended I try Match.com, a site she swore had worked for her.  I was leery; I’d seen too many online-instigated romances fizzle or even explode.  But she ultimately convinced me and I created an account. Continue reading »

Jan 062015
 
Last year was tumultuous in many ways, both general and personal.  Filled with the sort of challenges that make a society question where it’s at and an individual dig deep for strength.  Definitely a make-or-break run of 365 anything-but-boring days.  I’ll steer clear of the macro stuff for now though and just vent about my own situation. Continue reading »

Aug 282014
 
Ok, I’m getting slaughtered in the Helsinki photo contest, so it’s time to up the game. You’re going to want to read the whole post.

I’m going to pull YOU in as a potential prizewinner. That means a FREE TRIP TO HELSINKI, FINLAND for you if I win the contest (Facebook contest winner gets two tickets) and you get drawn from the list. Continue reading »

Aug 272014
 
Okay, I admit it: I screwed up.

Yesterday in my zeal to win a trip back to Helsinki, Finland I lost all common sense and spammed the crap out of  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a few texting streams.

I know better.  I should have done better.  Impatience is no excuse, but it got the better of me. Continue reading »

Aug 262014
 
Today I’m spamming the Internet with yet another appeal, this time involving a possible opportunity for this unofficial ambassador to revisit one of my favorite cities: Helsinki, Finland.

There’s no funds or funny stuff required.  Visit Helsinki has arranged a contest where contestants’ photos are displayed in a Facebook media album and all you need to do is Like those of your favorite participant.  In this instance, me.

And in case you need further motivation, as I noted in the previous post here I’m working on a book about maker communities.  One of the coauthors, Jarkko Moilanen, works in Helsinki and I’d like a chance to get with him face-to-face for a bit.  I also hope to interview former Maemo/MeeGo community members (now with Jolla) to get their perspective on collaborative communities.

I have many friends in Finland and several of them have jumped in to help.  But so far it’s not nearly enough– I’m being beaten pretty soundly by another contestant and could use all the assistance I can muster. Continue reading »

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