Friday, April 18, 2014

That special time of year

The freezing mark stands firm,
no longer penetrated by temps;
Fragrant ground with active worms,
fertile for new plants to be set in.

Good Friday and time to plant potatoes,
onions and get ready for May tomatoes.
Grass greens up in anticipation of flocks
of violets and dandelions, a color tornado.

How high do I set my ambition this year,
when I would like to do a whole vegetable garden?
My time and bodily strength I hold dear,
So maybe I'll just settle for a row of zinnias.

The mowing and weeding are just around the corner,
so I may as well enjoy this honeymoon of mid-spring;
Yard yields up bright surprises, defying lingering winter.
Hikes in the woods reveal mysterious flowering things.

By the time summers drudgery arrives,
my garden will be well established.
Time for travel and long car rides,
Welcomed back by a garden that thrives...

...on inattention and a few lucky rainstorms.

Happy Springtime and Easter all.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A cultural phenomenon

Phasers on stun, full speed ahead,
Klingons off the port bow,
Torpedoes away! Direct hit!
Their weapons systems are disabled.
Their propulsion nacelles are destroyed.
They are dead in the water, Captain!

Before there ever was a Jim Kirk,
Spock, Scotty or McCoy;
There existed another fine crew,
Archer, T'pol, Mayweather. Tucker and Tripp
All flew the very first Enterprise.

The NX-01 broke through many boundaries,
cleared a path at an amazing Warp Five –
With rudimentary high-tech weaponry,
this crew held off many hostiles, and stayed alive.

Discovering many wondrous things,
Fighting various threats unforeseen,
As far as the warp engines could fling
the ship, much knowledge was gleaned.

Finally defeating the Xindi schemers,
The crew set the entire Timeline right;
With a final few pesky threats eliminated,
the NX-01 helped create the Federation.

Archer saved the planet, and went out a hero,
Kirk merely built on his enduring legacy.
Those other captains were shirttail hangers-on,
important in their time perhaps.
But Archer and the First Enterprise
Were the equal of Zephram Cockran.
Giants in their time.

(Just an ephemeral trekking muse for today –
I may change my mind after the next movie.)


sci link of the day

here you go:   

Brought to you by the author of this: 

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What if

Our entire existence,
from the big bang to a final whimper,
was nothing more than a school experiment?
Creation in one day, cessation in the next.

Some student makes fine adjustments,
compacts just the right particle mix,
applies trillions times Earth gravities...
Then drops the thing into a black bottle,
and sets it off, observing intently.

The birth and death, destruction, loss,
cruelty, unjust travesty, disease, tragedy
all carefully logged and studied.
Was it adequate for the assignment?
Would the teacher take points off for
happiness, serendipity, and good fortune?
Or add them for those same things.

We'll never know, as poof
goes our world beyond our control.
But we can imagine such things –

So someone got a good grade that day.

Someday it may be us taking the test.

Sure hope we get it right.


To celebrate the Red Moon

Here is a link to some basic science facts, with supporting hyperlinks, in celebration of our recent eclipse, or 'Red Moon'


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Scientific Method

A four-step process of testing what we think we know about reality in all forms.   Something to remember in this day and age of mysticism and fantasy.  Fantasy can be entertaining, as long as it ends there.  Follow this link to read on and be enlightened...

Enjoy  :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Big event this Saturday

April 12, 2014 - will be at the Ankeny Authors Fair with 39 other local writers.   We cover every genre from mystery, through science fiction, to Romance and more.   From 9 AM to Noon.

Hope you can make it.   Here is the official Ankeny Page.    See you there.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

In Pursuit of Excellence

Most of us seek a higher goal of one kind or another. We are in pursuit of a particular kind of excellence – excellence to improve our lot, and the lot of those we love. Whether it be in our careers, or a particular hobby, to achieve excellence is a highly desirable outcome.

One does not become excellent at any pursuit without some sacrifice. You cannot climb Mt. Everest with only a weeks' training. You don't start a business and get to the million-dollar mark in a month. Every meaningful college degree is gotten only with many hours of study, years of classes and the like. A very high degree of achievement takes a lot of work, let's face it.

But of course, it pays off. The one percenters running our world did not have it handed to them (okay, perhaps some did). But more had to work their way up. They had to go where their bosses wanted, do what they were told, take schooling on the side. The ones who persevered, and maybe had luck on their side as well, made it to the top. Luck may play a role, but luck alone will not produce excellent results. Hard work can in effect create its own luck too.

So, here are a few ideas on pursuing and achieving excellence in whatever you set out to do.

Work on your desired outcome or objective every day. Don't let anything stand in your way, either. If there is some emergency, handle it, and then get back to your goal as soon as possible. You have to want it so bad that it burns in your gut, and does not leave you alone. Then, let nothing stand in your way.

If you are exhausted, or frustrated, and just want to hang it up for the day. Or if you want to table or scrap your project, do this first: Follow the one more time rule. My dad told me this in a roundabout way, by suggesting once, “You don't want to play just one more game?”

Follow the one more rule: Do it one more time. Go over your project or proposal one more time. Practice one more swing. Everything happens one thing at a time. Be determined to go beyond – to do it just 'one more time.' You don't have millions and multitudes all at once in you. But you can do it just one more time. So do it. One. More. Time.

Take good care of yourself. You are all you ultimately have, all you were born with, all you will die with. Take care of your physical and emotional health, as though you were your own loved one. You are worth it. You are ultimately all you have in this world. Treat yourself kindly, with respect, and like royalty. You deserve it, and you are worth it.

Keep a tight grip on your finances, as much as possible. Finances have to come first. Face it, we all live in a capitalist, money-driven society these days. Money has to be managed, or it will manage you. You manage it, and keep control of your destiny.

Good relationships are a tonic for the soul, and a high motivator. Try and cultivate a few friendships, especially in your chosen field. Inviting a colleague out for dinner or coffee can pay rich dividends in morale and information both. And try to keep in mind, it is not hard to be nice to people. It is the smartest thing you can do sometimes.

Make a master goal board, and set your goals a few years out. Then, break them down into smaller pieces. For example: Participate in a major golf tournament, time five years. Minor tourneys, in one year. Drive five buckets of balls, five days a week. Every month play at least ten 18-hole games. And so forth.

Re-assess and re-work your goals on occasion. Excellence recognizes that fate throws us ugly curves at times. As excellently-designed human beings, we can ADAPT and re-configure ourselves and our goals. Adapt, change direction if need be, and go on. Let nothing stop you, nothing defeat you on your journey to excellence in your field.

Routine and ritual can help keep you on track. Saturday is golf day. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are weight room day. Sunday is church, or cleaning day. And every day, you can take a moment to think, what have I done to push myself towards excellence in my desired pursuit? A regular routine can simplify the process of getting from here to excellence.

Good luck in all your pursuits, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Earth to Robinson, do you copy?

From 1964 to the Present Time

     Here am I, sitting in the easy chair, turning on Netflix. My Smart TV pulls down thousands of IP packets, and paints me a trip back, down memory lane. It is around 1964, and the hot new movie out is called “Robinson Crusoe on Mars.” A human crew consisting of two astronauts, crammed into what looks like a large, yellow Gemini craft. Existing on tubes of food paste. They have made the long trip to Mars, on good spirits, cheerful to the last. A soft orchestral tune plays in the background. They realize a huge meteor is going to hit them. They fire retros to avoid it, but end up in a degraded orbit. Each has to land their personal capsule on the bleak Martian surface.

     It goes on from there, and in my opinion, it is kind of engaging, even now. Takes me back to a time when all we had were capsules, test chimps and high hopes. Of course, by 1964, we had concluded the Mercury program, so we had some experience in low Earth orbit. But the Moon still beckoned distant, and it would be five more years before we landed – Neil and Buzz stepping onto the powdery surface.

     Still, we had space fever then. You could see it in popular culture, and feel it in the air. We were flying test planes ever higher in the stratosphere, soaring in fact as well as in dreams. It is easy to understand the enthusiasm felt by, say, the Chinese and Indians now regarding space, when you look at how we were in those days.

     As I flash through memories to the present, it can be gratifying. Our successful Moon landings. The first station, Skylab. Then a long hiatus before the Shuttle flew. But when it did, what a sight that was. Our first real re-usable spaceship, that landed like a plane. It lofted many satellites and labs, and staged dramatic capture and repair of some platforms. Culminating, of course, in the construction of the International Space Station - a wonder unto itself.  Even though it took a long time to “turn it around” the sight of shuttles were always enjoyable, and gave one the feeling of a true “Spaceliner” .

     But they were also enormously expensive, and it came out later, some engines had to be entirely re-built between missions. Some of them were like totally re-built or 'new' spacecraft. Not as re-usable as we thought, and they cost a lot more. But still, we built them, we did it, and we learned. NASA was always trying to improve and uprate the engines, or it looked that way to me. I mourn the loss of the shuttles. Just hope our private industry companies can begin to match that engineering excellence shown by those NASA teams.

       Anyway, this rant is not about that. I just enjoyed the trip back in memory lane to those hope-filled, analog, toggle switch, metallic frame 1960's days. We would build our way to the Moon if we had to hammer every rivet in ourselves. And we did. Where did that spirit go?

      Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Maybe it is time for a Robinson Crusoe on Beta Centauri. Thanks for reading.