Thursday, April 26, 2018

I Hate the Heat

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "The heat – love or loathe it."

Loath it! It gets over about 80°F (27°C) and I'm dying. I am so glad for air conditioning. If it gets over 90°F (32°C) I'm dead. Okay, not really, but I absolutely don't want to be outside in the heat.

I've often said you can always dress warmer but you can't dress cooler once your naked. And society frowns on that in public.

Once when I was in the Army, we had exercises at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (also known as 29 stumps). It was in August and Twentynine Palms is in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Highs were in the 120°F (49°C) range. Lows at night were around 90°F (32°C). I was miserable. And that was back when I was in good shape. It was so hot that your clothes would have salt in the creases under the arms, behind the knees, and inside the elbows from your sweat. I remember pouring salt on everything I ate.

I'm not exactly crazy about the cold, either. If it gets below about 0°F (-18°C), I'm pretty miserable, too. But at least I can put on a coat.

That's why I like spring and autumn as seasons. It's rarely too hot and rarely too cold. And the roads are bare so you can enjoy driving. And I like to drive.

How do you feel about that heat? Or the cold. Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

I'm Inspired By....

 I found another 52-week writing challenge. I found it here. It's supposed to be for 2017 but I'm doing it in 2018. It seems to have new questions.

The first one is "I'm inspired by..."

This is kind of funny because one question I asked all my guests on the Speculative Fiction Cantina was "What motivates and inspires you." So now the tables have been turned, sort of.

I'm inspired by being read by strangers. I want people I don't know to enjoy my writing. This is what keeps me writing. That, and I enjoy it. It's not the money (believe me), it's being red by strangers. Of course, the more strangers who read me, the more money I make.

So that's what inspires me. What inspires you? Tell me in the comments below.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Going to Party Like It's 2028

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in 30 (or so) weeks. Here's one I skipped back in February. So I'll do it now.

The prompt is: "How do you see yourself in ten years?"

Well, older. When you're my age, ten years isn't all that much.

I'm 57 years old now, mostly retired, and I write. When I'm 67, I don't know. I'll probably still be writing. I'll probably have more health problems (or the ones I have now will be worse). I'm hoping I'll still be alive. I might take my self-driving car to the Senior Center and have coffee every morning (my father does that now, well, except for the self-driving car part).

I'm really going to hate self-driving cars. Someone once said, "The speed limit will likely go up with self-driving cars." I said, "What good is a faster speed limit if I can't drive it?"

I probably will have even less hair than I have now, and probably none of it will be red anymore.

I will be fully eligible for Social Security. If that's still a thing.

Probably not a whole lot more will change. I will probably have broken down by then and bought a tablet computer. Or a eyePhone (that's not a typo).

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Comment below.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Technology Traps

Something got me thinking the other day about "technology traps." These thoughts aren't original with me, but I learned the concept from James Burke.

What's a technology trap? Loosely, it's a situation technology puts us in that, without that technology, we'd be in big trouble. For instance, say there's an EMP attack on the US and most of our technology goes away. You can't go to Safeway to buy food because it's too far to walk and if you can get there, there'd be no food because there's no trucks to bring it in. Unless you can farm (without mechanized farm equipment), you'll starve to death. Do you know how to hitch up a horse to a plow? I don't.

I think nothing of driving 100 miles away. It takes an hour and a half, about. But what if that EMP attack happened when I was 100 miles from home? That's a minimum five day walk home. With no food or water. I'd basically be stuck where I was. Even going to Starbucks is a five miles drive. A five mile walk is much more difficult.

Some people have to think about this. If you live in Alaska or Arizona, you need to be prepared for car breakdowns. Otherwise you could freeze to death or die of heat stroke before you could get to safety. A girl transferred to my high school from Phoenix, Arizona. She said all students were required to take a desert survival class. If your car breaks down and you're ten miles from help and it's 110 degrees out... Or your car breaks down, you're ten miles from help, and its 40 below because you're in Alaska.

Of course, with cell phones, it's not quite so urgent. Unless your cell phone battery dies.

I even think about this at times. Driving over Snoqualmie Pass in the winter, I make sure I have a full tank of gas, warm clothes, food and water, cell phones and phone chargers in the car. Which is not everything the Washington State Department of Transportation recommends.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Small Town/Rural Life Requires Cars

A while back I read an article by a guy who lives in New York City celebrating all that could be had on the block he lived on. There were restaurants and shopping and grocery stores and little mom-and-pop businesses. And he could walk to all of them. And, of course, the next block over, not very far away, were more delectations of city life. Anything he couldn't walk to there were, of course, the subway, buses, or taxis.

He owns a car, but he keeps it at his country house (the guy's a successful non-fiction writer) where it was needed.

And it made me think about the block I live on which I suspect is bigger than his block (it's one mile in circumference). And on my block there are...houses.

I live in a subdivision outside a small town. There are farms a few streets over and there the blocks tend to be one-mile by one-mile squares. People who live out there are miles from their nearest neighbor, sometimes.

The nearest store of any kind to my house is three miles away and it's a gas station/convenience store. The nearest grocery store is probably closer to six miles away. And those farmers, try twenty or so miles to the nearest store.

What about public transportation? There is a bus system, but it's very limited and doesn't serve rural
areas.

Anything exotic is probably more like 70 to 100 miles away in larger towns/cities. Such as good sushi.

I don't think some people who live in cities understand why some of their fellow Americans needs cars. And gasoline cars, not plug-ins. If you need to go grocery shopping, you don't want to wait 8 hours for your car battery to charge. If you need to go to the emergency room, you really don't want to wait.

And we need reasonably-priced gasoline while you're at it.

Now I like cars. But cars are also necessary tools in rural areas. And I think some policy makers from large cities don't understand that.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Letter

Time once again for the thirty-day blogging challenge that I'm doing over approximately thirty weeks (I am skipping some). The penultimate prompt is "Something/someone that inspires you." Well, I already covered this earlier. So we'll skip that one and go to the last prompt: "A letter so someone. Anyone."

Wow, need to think about this.............

Okay, here we go:

Dear Naysayers:

You said I couldn't. You said no one would be interested in what I write. But you were wrong, according to my book sales. At least some people are interested. At least some are interested, enough to sell some books. No, I'm not a New York Times best selling author and I may never be. But I'm doing what I love and what I love to do is write.

Of course, the fact I can write for a living has to do with my twenty years working hard in the corporate world, where I did not fit in very well. The corporate world wants creativity in some areas and conformity in all others. Not a good combination, especially for me, a born rebel. But if I had to live off what I make writing, I would be living in a cardboard box.

So, you naysayers, go away. Let me write. Let me live my life as I wish.

Rebelliously Yours,

Evan


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Interview

Today my interview with the Horrible Writing podcast goes live. If you want to hear it, it's here. I talk about writing and my struggles with bipolar. I'm very honest and open about it. And I talk about some horrible writing. Yes, horrible writing that I did.

So check it out on the Horrible Writing podcast.