Contemplating The Lessons of the Great Texas Freeze

Stephanie Raffelock posted a very accurate look at the Texas freeze, and why it happened.  Well worth reading.  Climate change is real.  These extreme events don’t just accidentally happen.  There is a clear cause.

Read the post at:  https://www.byline-stephanie.com/post/contemplating-the-lessons-of-the-great-texas-freeze

Help Me, Dan Koboldt, You’re My Only Hope!

Still wading through the backlog from being offline over 3 weeks.  Luckily, one of the cleanup projects is going through old emails, including blog newsletters.  I’ve let a lot of them pile up, but here’s a list of posts by Dan Koboldt that might offer useful information to writers, or just an interesting read for everyone else.

Some Blog Recommendations for Writers

Blogger/author Dan Koboldt has a blog page wherein he offers interviews and articles with guest experts on various scientific topics.  He himself is a geneticist and writes sci-fi/fantasy.  Some posts include:

Prophets, Preachers, and Parasites in Fantasy

http://dankoboldt.com/prophets-preachers-fantasy/?ref=email

How to Name Characters in Fantasy

http://dankoboldt.com/how-to-name-characters/?ref=email

Parasitism in Sci-fi: It Gets Under Your Skin

http://dankoboldt.com/parasites-science-fiction/?ref=email

Futuristic First Aid: High-tech Wound Care

http://dankoboldt.com/futuristic-first-aid/?ref=email

Hypothermia in Fiction

http://dankoboldt.com/hypothermia-in-fiction/?ref=email

Pottery and Ceramics for SFF Writers, Part 1 & 2

http://dankoboldt.com/pottery-ceramics-writers-part1/

http://dankoboldt.com/pottery-ceramics-writers-part2/

13 World-Changing Weapons Invented In The Middle Ages

(This is an article Dan found while doing research and thought it interesting enough to note in his blog.)

https://www.therichest.com/the-biggest/13-world-changing-weapons-invented-in-the-middle-ages/

Head for Hire. Demolition Services Available.

Curse or Blessing?

I was offline at home for over 3 weeks, courtesy of my internet “service” provider.  You can guess how aggravating that has been, especially since it necessitates dealing with so-called “tech support”.

Still, it’s hard to decide if it’s a curse or a blessing, considering I have gotten a lot done offline since I couldn’t be online.

But I still wanted my internet fixed and working again…

NOPE.  Definitely a curse.  No amount of productivity is worth the agony of dealing with tech “support”.

A Problem No One Expected COVID to Cause

It’s that time of year again.  What time, you ask?  December/January is when my orchids start to rebloom.  Only, this year, there’s a bit of a problem.  The office has a couple of orchids decorating large common spaces, but in our work area (about 30 people) there are no plants other than what individuals bring in.  So for several years now, my orchids have decorated the area for months while in bloom.

Only, now, there’s only 2 of us in that area – the rest are work-from-home.  And the person other than me is in an office so not out in the larger work area of desks.  Occasionally, two others come in, but are not there on a regular basis.

Looks like I’ll be enjoying my crop of orchids all on my own this year.  There is little point to hauling them all into the office if there is no one there to see them.  I’ll likely take one for myself, and maybe one for the other person.  One of the “occasionals” might like to take one home with her while it blooms, but mostly the orchids will only be for me.  Which is nice, but I only see them evenings and weekends, so…

Ah well, there are greater problems caused than this.  I’ll just have to muddle through.

orchid garden

[This is MOST of them – there are another 3 not in the picture.]

Beauty & the Beast

Some of you may know that there was a tv show, in the 1980s, called “Beauty & the Beast”.  It starred Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton (yes, THAT Ron and Linda – before they were well known).  It had a entire fandom of literate women able to quote famous poetry – an unusual claim to fame, to say the least.

Admittedly, I liked the show myself, but I particularly enjoyed it for another reason also.  At the time, I worked in downtown Los Angeles, and many of the New York street scenes were places near our office.  I could watch the show, then walk down the street the next day at lunch and see where they had filmed!

And, by the way, George R. R. Martin was one of the show’s writers (yes, THAT George).

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehn, Goodnight – Be Gone 2020!

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead song, “Truckin’”, “What a long, strange year it’s been”.  Expectations and plans were overturned, status quo was blindsided, and life went into disarray.  I can’t even imagine how this generation of school children will cope in the years ahead.

Perhaps this meme someone did of Friends says it all:

Im alive

May it continue to be so in the new year, but my heart goes out to all those who suffered in any of many ways, and particularly if they lost someone dear to them.

Here’s hoping we all see a much improved situation in the new year.

Things Astronomical

If you have a fairly good view (and clear) of the western sky, you might like to peek at this.  It’s visible to the naked eye.  Jupiter and Saturn will be closest – only 0.1 degrees apart – on the day of the solstice, December 21, 2020.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen every 20 years; the last one was in the year 2000. But these conjunctions aren’t all created equal. The 2020 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226! 2020’s extra-close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction won’t be matched again until the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of March 15, 2080.

             [more details:  https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/great-jupiter-saturn-conjunction-dec-21-2020]

The moon isn’t really near it now, but if you look pretty much West/Southwest just as the sky darkens (for me it’s around 5:50-5:45 pm PST to be dark enough) (and it’s high enough then to be above the top of the building I face), you can see it.  You usually have to find Jupiter first, and then look for Saturn knowing that it’s nearby (NW from Jupiter, at about 11:00 on a clock face).  If you can see more of the sky than I can from my apt., you may be able to find the moon and then look to the southeast from it.   [Correction as of just now:  Saturn has moved and now is more at 1:00, and it’s getting more difficult to see both as they get closer together – unless you have a better view than I do.  If you have binoculars, they work great.]

They come closest to each other on Dec 21, but you can see them now, and probably for a while after tomorrow.  I had to hope I’d have clear enough skies for it.  Usually things like this are hidden because they’re in a direction I can’t see or we have an evening cloud cover hiding them, but I’ve been able to see them get closer together almost every night since late Nov.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, But Not at My House

When I was younger, I got stuck being the one to go get the tree, put it up and decorate it (to my mother’s specifications).  Occasionally my brothers would help put it up or take it down (physically), but certainly none of the decorating part interested them.

Later, my roommate was a decorating whirlwind.  The joke used to be that if you sat still too long, you’d end up with a bow on you.  So I got swept along in her wake as she put things up to her satisfaction.

Maybe that’s part of why I’m not big on decorating now that I live alone – I got decorated out.  And I’m kind of lazy, but that’s beside the point.  Which is not to say that I have NO decorations up.  I have a Christmas ribbon (with snowmen on it) that came on a present many years ago.  It happened to be exactly the size as the top of a lampshade I have, so that’s where I stuck it.  And left it.  For years now.

While I enjoy Christmas decorations –  put up by other people, mind you – I’m not wild about the decorating and undecorating and all that goes with it.  One year my roommate was gone and her family took pity on me, sneaking into my apartment while I was at work and setting up a tree.  I figure they put it where they did as the easiest spot, and thinking I’d move it where I wanted it.

When I got home and saw it, I could appreciate the gesture, but still was not eager to have to deal with it.  Where it was placed was kind of in the way, so I looked around wondering where to move it to.  After several minutes, I realized that was too much trouble, so I decided it was fine where it was.

Then, I knew how much work it would be digging out the lights and decorations, so I decided the tree would look wonderful au naturel.  (Fortunately?) I happened to be given a few Christmas ornaments as gifts at work that year, so that was the sum total of my décor – a handful of ornaments and maybe 2 candy canes.  Besides, that tree is the stuff of legend and I barely lifted a finger!

Now if they had just come back and taken the thing down, everything would have been perfect…

It Appears the Nature Gods Took Pity on Me

After last week’s lament over the loss of my hummingbird visitor, this guy showed up at my office.  He was having a fine time peering through my window and watching me (when I moved).  He returned the next day also.  At some point he seems to have a left a ‘present’ of…’something’ and a little bird poop.

If he’s leaving presents outside my window, does that mean I have a new boyfriend?

hawk_12.09.20b

hawk_12.09.20a

Bummer!

My neighbors (in the facing apartment across the courtyard) moved out.  They took their plants.  Now my hummingbird is gone!

I could plant some flowers myself, I guess, but that would take effort.  It’s hard enough dealing with the dozen or so orchids lining my balcony window.

Maybe I should just print a hummingbird picture and tape it to the balcony sliding door.  Yeah, that might work.  That’s why I have a lot of Pinterest pages – I have “collections” of things I like, without having to dust them regularly…