Friday, October 19, 2018

Ducks versus Cougars

This weekend the University of Oregon Ducks travel to Pullman to take on the Washington State University Cougars. Sunday I said "Go Cougs" about that game. Then I looked at the standings.  In the Pac-12 North the standings are:

Washington: 3-1 in conference (5-2 overall)
Oregon: 2-1 in conference (5-1 overall)
Stanford: 2-1 in conference (4-2 overall)
WSU: 2-1 in conference (5-1 overall)

With Washington and Stanford both with two losses, the Pac-12 North could come down to Oregon or WSU. Depends on who wins the game this Saturday.

So I've decided to stick by my "Go Cougs" original thought. Here's why:

1) If Oregon wins, they will likely be the Pac-12 North champion.
2) if WSU wins, we still have a chance to beat them in the Apple Cup on Black Friday. We've already lost to Oregon.
3) If Washington doesn't lose any more games, and Oregon loses to WSU, Washington still has a chance to be the Pac-12 North champion. A chance.

So, Go Cougs!

The Oregon-WSU game will be Saturday at 4:30 PM PDT on Fox.

And Washington plays Colorado at home at 12:30 PM PDT also on Fox.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Fear

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Fear."

That could cover a lot of things, including a video game I once played regularly.

I don't do horror. I don't like horror movies or television shows or books. I call it the Lassie Effect. In the show Lassie, you always knew something bad was going to happen. And the anticipation of that just drives me nuts, especially the more they foreshadow it (which horror loves to do). Some people like that and that's fine. It's just not for me.

I also have no use for torture porn such as the Saw movies.

What am I afraid of? Big spiders, venomous snakes (and spiders), and EMPs.

EMP? Electromagnetic pulse. A rouge nation launches a nuclear weapon, but instead of exploding it a few thousand feet over Washington D.C., they explode it high in the atmosphere over middle America. This causes an electromagnetic pulse that burns out anything electronic, including the power grid. We'd be back in the stone age in a millisecond. And since my health problems require technology to keep me alive, I'd probably be one of the first to die. And if I managed to stay alive, the anarchy that follows such an event where people would be literally killing each other for food would probably kill me pretty quickly, too.

So what do you fear? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Huskies are 5-2

There goes any hope of being in a College Football Playoff (CFP) spot. And there likely goes any hope of being Pac-12 Champions.

The University of Washington Huskies lost, in overtime, to the reviled University of Oregon Ducks. That makes the Huskies 5-2 over all and 3-1 in Conference. The Ducks are 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference which pretty much ties them with Washington. But since the beat Washington, they would be the champs.

It was a tight, hard-fought game from the beginning. The score was tied most of the game. The Ducks would pull ahead, then the Dawgs would tie it. The Dawgs would pull ahead, then the Ducks would tie it. It all came down to a field goal with the score tied 24-24 with three seconds left. Husky kicker Payton Henry tried to win the game for the Dawgs, but missed (on his third kick because the Ducks kept "icing" the kicker by calling time out). So the game went into overtime. The Dawgs got a field goal but the Ducks got a touchdown, winning the game 30-27.

The thing is, Coach Chris Petersen had a choice at the end. Trust Jake Browning to get the ball into the end zone of a 4th and goal, or trust his not-very-reliable kicker. He should have trusted Browning.

The Ducks had every advantage. They were coming off a bye week and were playing at home. The Dawgs played a lot of the game without star running back Myles Gaskin due to injury. When rising start Salvon Ahmed went out, too, our running game was in trouble.

Even if the Huskies win the rest of their games, unless the Duck lose again, the Ducks will be Pac-12 North Champions. So we have to root for whoever the Ducks are playing. Next week they play WSU in Pullman. Go Cougs!

Next week we face the Colorado Buffaloes at home. Colorado was undefeated until last night when USC defeated them. That's Homecoming, too, for the Dawgs.

UCLA got their first win of the season defeating Cal yesterday.

A lot of Pac-12 teams had byes this week (I think four teams), including WSU.

Elsewhere in College Football

Number-two ranked Georgia was defeated this weekend by #13 LSU. And #6 West Virginia lost to an unranked team. That'll move all of them down some. That would have been good news if Washington had won. Might have moved them up in the rankings.

And #8 Penn State lost to unranked Michigan State. That will ding them in the polls.

The AP Poll

Washington was at #7 and Oregon was at #17 before this game. Colorado was at #19 before they lost to unranked USC.

Now Washington is #15 (not as bad a drop as I thought it would be) and Oregon is #12. Colorado is no longer ranked. But look who, on a bye week, is suddenly in the top 25: Washington State at #25.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Huskies versus Ducks

Tomorrow at 12:30 PM PDT, the University of Washington Huskies take on the University of Oregon Ducks. This is one of the biggest games of the year because the Huskies hate the Ducks, and the Ducks loath the Huskies. It's either going to be on ABC or ESPN2 or ESPNU. Check your local listings (I hope they make up their minds before game time). You'd think a top-10 team playing a ranked opponent could get on ABC or ESPN.

This is one of the biggest football rivalries in the Pac-12.

The Huskies are ranked #7 in the AP top 25 college football poll. The Ducks are #17.

It's going to be a hard-fought game. The Ducks are coming off a bye weeks so should be well-rested and ready to play. The Huskies played UCLA last week and won, but it wasn't the blow-out I was hoping for with the 5-0 Bruins. And we play in Eugene in front of 54,000 angry Duck fans. Angry, because last time we played in Autzen Stadium, we won 70-21.

And, to have a shot at the College Football Playoffs (CFP), the Huskies have to win every game left in the season, especially this one against a ranked team. To win the Pac-12 North we can lose one game as long as we beat Stanford later in the year.

UPDATE: I didn't think of this until a sportscaster said it, but the winner of this came could likely be the Pac-12 North Champion with Stanford out of the running. So now it's even a more important game.

Should be a good game. Go Dawgs!




Thursday, October 11, 2018

Health

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is: "Health."

I'm not a very healthy person. Some of that is my fault (overweight leading to type-2 diabetes) and some isn't (COPD from industrial exposure leading to pulmonary hypertension and edema). My health problems are such that I'm not sure I'll be alive in ten years.

I'm trying to lose weight (which I am about 50% of the time) but there's nothing I can do about the COPD and its accompanying problems. Because of the edema, I'm on diuretics and that limits my ability to travel because I have to urinate every 20 minutes. Either that or I don't take the diuretics and the edema gets a lot worse. So far it's mostly in my legs, but some in my arms and hands.

Because of my COPD, I'm on nighttime oxygen. I'm wondering how long until I'm on 24-hour oxygen.

I'd love to do more travelling but my health prevents it.

It I could lose weight, it would help a lot, but we all know how hard it is to lose weight.

How healthy are you? Are you happy with your health? Let me know in the comments.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Huskies are 5-1, On Top of the Pac-12 North

After beating UCLA yesterday (who are now 0-5), the University of Washington Huskies are now 5-1 over all and 3-0 in conference. This puts them alone at the top of the Pac-12 North (more on that later).

Going into last night's game, I was hoping for a blow-out. Something like a 48-3 victory. But UCLA wasn't having it and it was a hard-fought battle that ended with a score of 31-24. The Huskies led all of the game and had some brilliant plays. But the Bruins played better than their 0-5 record indicates. I was a bit worried the Huskies went in over-confident. And that may have happened. That and UCLA is improving, apparently. Next week UCLA plays Cal and that should be a close game.

It was a fast game because UCLA didn't throw the ball much so the game clock kept running. It was also kind of a boring game because UCLA didn't throw the ball much. UW quarterback Jake Browning played well and Myles Gaskin did his usually 100+ yards performance. Salvon Ahmed, a sophomore, also played well. Next year he's going to have to take over the starting running back position from Gaskin.

Next week we travel to Oregon to take on the Ducks. The Nike Quackers are coming off a bye so they will be well-rested. And we're playing on their territory in Eugene. That should be a tough game. It's at 12:30 PM PDT on ABC or ESPN 2. Check  your local listings.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

There was one upset yesterday in the Pac-12. Unranked Utah beat #14 Stanford soundly with a score of 40-21.
In Palo Alto! That's why the Huskies are now on top of the Pac-12 North. Stanford has a record of 4-2 overall and 2-1 in conference. That is the Utah Ute's first in-conference win.

So, again, that puts the Huskies firmly on top of the Pac-12 North. Gives us some breathing room if we want to be Pac-12 Champions. But not if we want to go to the College Football Playoffs (CFP). To do that we'll have to win every game from here on out.

The only other 5-1 overall team is the Washington State Cougars who are 2-1 in conference so they are not a threat to Washington unless Washington loses an in-conference game.

We are now six weeks through college football's 13-week regular season. Things are starting to firm up in the Pac-12.

In the Pac-12 South, Colorado is still undefeated at 5-0 overall and 2-0 in conference. It's looking more and more as if the Pac-12 Championship game will be Washington and Colorado like it was in 2016. The Huskies also play Colorado in the regular season on October 20th. That should be a good game.

Elsewhere in College Football.

There were three big upsets in the AP top 10. #5 LSU lost to #22 Florida. And #7 Oklahoma lost to #19 Texas. Finally, #8 Auburn lost to unranked Mississippi State. The only reason we care is because if LSU, Oklahoma, and Auburn drop out of the top ten, this could move #10 Washington up.

The AP Top 25 Football Poll

The AP poll comes out at 2:00 PM each Sunday (except Labor Day weekend when it comes out on Tuesday. That's 11:00 AM PDT (my time zone). So I'm always waiting for it in order to finish this post.

Washington moved up to #7 making them the highest ranked team with a loss (all the rest are 5-0 or 6-0). Stanford is no longer ranked (that surprises me). The Ducks moved up to #17. And the undefeated Colorado Buffaloes are up two to #19.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Honor

(Wow, October already!)

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Honor" (although they spell it "honour").

What is honor? That's something I haven't thought a lot about. So I looked it up in the dictionary. And found it has a lot of meanings, including "the center point of the upper half of an armorial escutcheon."

You "honor" someone by speaking well of them, or giving them recognition. Or an "honor" could be a privilege ("I have the honor of memorializing the deceased").

Back when I was in the Army they talked of "Duty, Honor, Country." I think the use of "honor" they meant was "a keen sense of ethical conduct, integrity."

Someone once said that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. I always think back to my days working in customer service, doing lab tests until ten at night or later (once until three in the morning). It would have been  easy to dry lab (make up and fill in the numbers) the tests. But I wanted to maintain my honor, so I did all the tests, even if I were there past midnight. And I usually got there between 7:00 and 8:00 A.M. So that made for a 16-hour day.

So I keep my honor as well as I can. What do you do to be honorable? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Huskies are 4-1

And to think I was a little bit worried.

Last night on Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium in Seattle, the University of Washington Huskies played the Brigham Young University Cougars. The Cougars were ranked at #20 and the Huskies were ranked at #11 going into this game. This was the second time the Huskies played a ranked opponent, the first time being their loss to Auburn. But this game was one mistake away from being a shutout for the Huskies.

One the first two plays of the game, the Huskies showed brilliance. Then they had to punt. The Cougars made it to the red zone and had to try a field goal. They didn't get it. In fact, there were three field goal attempts in this game, one by the Cougars, two by the Huskies, and all three missed. That was the last time the Cougars would make it past the 50-yard line on their own.

Then the Huskies just kept scoring. The score was 21-0 at halftime. And still the Cougars could not even make it past mid-field.

With just a few minutes left in the game, the score 35-0, the Cougars punted (as they did so many times). It was raining and Chico McClatcher signaled for the fair catch but then he dropped the ball. The Cougars jumped on it and suddenly they were in the red zone. I think Husky coach Chris Petersen had put in back up players for defense because I didn't recognize any of the names. Still, it took the Cougars to 4th and goal to score in the final moments of the game.

Still, the Huskies looked amazing. Running back Salvon Ahmed made two running touchdowns and he's just a sophomore. He has so much potential. Senior quarterback Jake Browning made all but two of this pass attempts (and there were a lot). He surpassed the all-time Husky record for passing yards by a quarterback last night. Myles Gaskin was his usual amazing self.

The only part of the Huskies' game that needs improvement is the kicking game. Out kicker is a true freshman and he's done fine in other games, but here he missed two. Not that it mattered in the end. The final score was 35-7.

This is the end of non-conference play for the Huskies. They are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Next week we face a hapless UCLA team that is 0-4 overall. There is a slight danger of over-confidence playing a win-less team. But I think Coach Petersen is good and tamping down on that. We play that game in Pasadena so it's an away game for the Huskies.

That game will be at 4:30 PM Pacific Daylight time on Fox. I'm a bit surprised a major network is carrying it with UCLA being as bad as they are. I thought the game might end up on the Pac-12 Network.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Stanford (ranked at #7 took on the #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And lost. This helps the Huskies
because now Washington and Stanford are both 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference and tied for the Pac-12 North championship. It may all come down to when the two teams play at Husky Stadium on November 3rd.

Oregon, ranked at #19, beat #24 California so the Ducks are also 4-1 overall, but only 1-1 in conference. I suspect when the poll comes out, California will drop off. I wasn't sure why they were ranked, having a bye the week before they showed up on the poll.

Washington State beat Utah, ending Utah's chances of winning the Pac-12 South. Colorado at 4-0 over all and 1-0 in-conference are on top of the Pac-12 South right now. USC is second at 3-2 over all and 1-1 in conference.

Washington State is also 4-1 overall but 1-1 in conference (lost to USC last week).

The AP Poll

The AP Top 25 college football poll comes out at 2:00 PM EDT. That's 11:00 AM my time. So I'm always waiting for it to come out so I can finish this blog post. And then today it was delayed until 11:30. So I was quite annoyed.

But I was happy to see the Washington Huskies move up to #10. Stanford dropped to #14 after their loss. Oregon climbed to #14 from #19. Colorado got into the top 25 at #21. And after losing to Oregon, California dropped back off after one week in the top 25.

Washington is now the highest-ranked Pac-12 team.

And, finally, BYU also dropped out of the top 25 after losing to Washington.

The Future

The Huskies have to win every game from now on, including Stanford on November 3rd. That is the only way they can be Pac-12 North Champions (unless Stanford looses an in-conference game other than to the Huskies). Then they have to win the Pac-12 Championship game to be Pac-12 Champions. Right now it's starting to look as if we might play Colorado again in that game. Then the Huskies might get invited back to the College Football Playoffs (CFP). I hope we don't play those cheaters, Alabama, again in our first CFP game. But that's a long ways away.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Paper Straws

Paper Straw
I know this is a political hot potato right now, but I'd like to add my two-cents on paper straws versus plastic straws.

I HATE paper straws.

When I was in Maryland last weekend (more here), I was served a drink (water) with a paper straw. At another place, they also had only paper straws so I went without.

A little background. When I was a kid, 50 to 45 years ago about, there were only paper straws. We didn't know any better. I remember one specific incident when I was drinking a milkshake and the straw collapsed in on itself, cutting off any ability to drink the shake through the straw.

Then plastic straws came out and the world got better.

In Maryland, this is what I re-learned about paper straws: they dissolve in liquid. The part that goes into your mouth gets mushy fast. The part that sits in the drink, gets mushy just as rapidly. My straw started bending at the air-liquid interface. If you don't drink your drink quickly, your straw becomes nearly useless. Plus, I swear there was a taste to the paper straw as it fell apart. It has to be held together with some sort of glue. I hope the glue isn't toxic. (Probably to make a paper straw not dissolve in water, you'd have to use a powerful yet toxic glue, I'm guessing.)

There's this stuff called "wet strength" that papermakers put in cardboard to make it survive contact with water. But I bet it's not FDA approved for putting in paper straws, and probably for good reason. If we're going to all switch to paper straws, we need an FDA-approved wet strength agent.

And when I got more water, I got another paper straw. It did the same as the first.

So I hate paper straws. I hope this anti-plastic-straw fad goes away soon or someone invents a better paper straw.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Living

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. This week's prompt is "Living." Which means I'm supposed to write about what, exactly? No clue is provided.

I saw this thing online some where. It said, "It's not the breaths you take, but how often your breath is taken away." In other words, don't be hung up on being safe and sacrifice enjoyment. I know of people who refuse to enjoy life to its fullest because it might decrease their life expectancy a few moments. Or slightly increase their chance of dying. They tend to be joyless, colorless people anyway.

This is why I drive fast (when I can) because it takes my breath away. Is it dangerous? Yes, but not as dangerous as the safety Nazis would lead you to believe (if you do it right). I've driven multiple times 155 mph (249 km/h) on the racetrack. And it took my breath away. And, yes, it was a bit dangerous. And I'll plead the fifth if asked how fast I've driven on public roads. But, believe me, I picked those places for their safety (and lack of cops).

(Ironically, the safest roads--road wise--to drive fast on, the interstates, are the heaviest patrolled. They are safe when not crowded, not when busy and now days it's hard to find an empty stretch of interstate. Maybe in Wyoming.)

So I suggest living, not worrying about dying.

Do you live? How? Tell me in the comments below.




Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Car Review: 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T

Yes, it has a HEMI
(The car might have been a 2019 model. It only had around 3,500 miles on it.)

Last weekend I traveled to Maryland for a family wedding. When I was arranging this trip, I decided to have a little fun and reserve a Dodge Challenger for my rental car (we paid for the airline tickets with miles, so we had extra in the travel budget). I assumed I'd get one with the V-6 engine. That has 306 horsepower which is good but not a whole lot. Plus, after renting a Mustang V-6 a few years ago that was supposed to have about 300 horsepower, it didn't feel as if it had 300 horsepower, so I assumed rental car companies "de-tuned" engines to produce less power.

So I was surprised when I walked to the car and there was a "HEMI" designation on the front fender. The HEMI is a V-8 engine known for making power, in this case 372 horsepower (with an automatic transmission; with a manual it makes 375). The color was unique, I thought, a very pretty burgundy except in sunlight it looked more red. My wife determined through Google that it was called "Octane Red."

If this car was de-tuned, it wasn't de-tuned much. It had a large amount of power. I didn't get to
5.7 L HEMI V-8
explore that power much because of traffic (lots and lots of traffic). But I did once in rural Maryland "floor it" and the car accelerated nicely. And I once accidentally chirped the rear tires.

The interior was comfortable for two. But if more than that, it was difficult to put adults in the back seat (in a nor'easter downpour no less). But the sound of the car was melodious. Even at idle the exhaust sound was lovely. When accelerating, it was orgasmic.

The engine is the same 5.7 liter V-8 that was in my old Chrysler 300C. But with this car, it had less mass to move (even though the Challenger is built on the same frame as the old 300C). The interior gauges were both modern and retro. It had one thing I like in cars, an indicator that your headlights are on while driving.

But there are some downsides. The aforementioned worthless backseat for adults is one. To put things in the trunk, you have to lift them very high. And one of our suitcases was big and heavy.

The eight-speed transmission was good most of the time, but when you were cruising, it went to 8th gear to save fuel (I assume). If you pushed on the gas to accelerate, it would lug the engine before it would downshift. This was disconcerting in traffic when you needed to respond quickly. And thanks to the wide C-pillar (there were no B-pillars), there was a horrible blind spot. I felt as if I were taking my life into my hands nearly every time I changed lanes.

But, over all, I enjoyed driving the Challenger R/T. It was fun. And that exhaust note was so bewitching.

About driving in Maryland. On roads with more than one lane in each direction, Maryland drivers tend to do about 70 mph no matter the speed limit, and I saw 55 and 65 mph speed limits. The one exception was on the 50 mph speed limited Bay Bridge where they tended to do about 60.

In rural, eastern Maryland (the "Eastern Shore") on two-lane roads, locals tended to go 5 mph under the speed limit or, at best the actual limit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Huskies are 3-1

A couple of good things happened in sports over the weekend. 1) The Mariners were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. And B) the University of Washington Huskies beat Arizona State to move to 3-1 on the season.

Even the Seahawks won!

I was on the eastern side of Maryland (the "Eastern Shore") for a wedding this weekend (more on that later) so this is why you're getting this now instead of Sunday morning.

Being in the Eastern time zone, the game started at 10:30 PM. It went to 1:30 AM.

The Huskies got the ball first (the ASU Sun Devils won the toss and deferred, as it common these days), and on their first play tried a trick play. It was intercepted by Arizona State. This put the Sun Devils in the red zone. On a 4th and goal, they scored. Not an auspicious start to the game. I was worried.

You see, for some reason, the Huskies have trouble beating the Sun Devils. Last year in Tempe we lost. The announcers pointed out that of the last 11 meetings by these teams, ASU has won 10 (or something like that, it was late and I was tired).

But then the Husky offense took the field and between Myles Gaskin's running and Jake Browning's throwing, they marched down the field for a touchdown. The ASU defense could do little to stop the Husky offense throughout the game. The ASU offense made some good plays but only got one more touchdown in the fourth quarter and the rest of their scores were field goals. The final score of the game was 20-27. Not a blow-out, but a win is a win.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Washington State played USC, and barely lost 36-39. That's the Cougar's first loss of the season (and,
I think, their first Pac-12 game). Stanford beat Oregon, but had to go into overtime to do it.

The Polls

 In the AP poll that came out Sunday, Stanford stayed at #7. For some reason Washington dropped to #11 despite their win (Auburn is now #10). Oregon moved up one to #19. And for some reason, California, which has yet to play any conference games (they had a bye this week) is #24.

Next Week

Next weekend the Huskies play their final non-conference game, taking on #20 BYU (the second ranked team we'll play). They play at home so that is helpful. The game is at 5:30 PDT on Fox.

Stanford plays Notre Dame. Both teams are undefeated. Utah will be playing Washington State in Pullman. And Oregon plays California in Berkeley.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Social...

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Social." Not sure what they mean by that. Feels as if I've sort of written about this before.

I'm not a very social person being a strong introvert. I'm very shy which I've worked hard to overcome but still in social settings such as parties I'm the wall flower. Or I talk to the dog.

And I have to be social this weekend. My nephew is getting married Saturday.

People who can jump into social situations and chat people up amaze me. How do they do that. And I know that extroverts get energy from such situations where introverts get drained by such situations. And I'm definitely drained.

That was one reason I didn't fit in well in the corporate world was the job I had required me to be social. And it was a struggle every time. Now about the only time I have to be social is at book signings. But they exhaust me.

How do you handle social situations? Jump right in or talk to the plants? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Huskies are 2-1

With last night's win over the Utah Utes, the University of Washington Huskies go to 2-1 on the season.

This game was significant because it was the Huskies' first in-conference game and it was on the road. Last year the Huskies had problems on the road, their only two losses coming when away from Husky Stadium.

At first the game looked like it might be a blow out. The Utes went three-and-out on their first possession and then the Huskies made a touch down on a Myles Gaskin run on their first play. But after that it turned into a defensive battle which kept both scores fairly low. The final score was 14-7.

The Huskies looked better than they did against North Dakota. But they still have to figure out the run game. Gaskin only made that one opening long run, and had a lot of runs that went almost nowhere. We have a new Offensive Coordinator this year and I'm wondering if that's part of the problem. He doesn't know how to use Gaskin effectively. Also, for some reason, Salvon Ahmed only carried the ball once in the entire game. And he didn't get far, either. I spent the entire summer saying "Ahmed is going to be so good this year" and so far, he hasn't lived up to my hopes. How dare he?

Jake Browning's throwing game is looking better, too. The biggest problem the senior has is he still tries to make plays he just can't make and as a result, gets sacked way back. He needs to know when it's over and fall on the ball. He also got called for intentional grounding once (and I thought it should be twice).

The Utes' defense had two targeting calls against it. One was blatant and the other was a bit questionable. Targeting is when the player leads with his helmet for a tackle. But two Utes were ejected from the game. I bet the Utes' fans will be grumbling about the officiating for two weeks (they have a bye next week).

Next week the Huskies play Arizona State Sun Devils in Husky Stadium. Arizona State was doing well this year, having won their first two games, including beating a ranked Michigan State. But yesterday they lost to San Diego State. Arizona State is one of the Huskies' two losses last year, so the Dawgs will be looking for payback. That game is at a ridiculous 7:30 PM on ESPN,

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Washington State beat the FCS team Eastern Washington. I thought
Eastern might do better ,but the score was 24-59. USC got tounced by Texas 14-37. That puts USC 1-2 on the season. They may not be the Pac-12 South champion. Right now the Colorado Buffaloes are in first place in the Pac-12 South at 3-0. Stanford and Oregon lead the Pac-12 North at 3-0. So we definitely need to beat Stanford and Oregon to win the Pac-12 North.

One team that's having a tough time is UCLA. They are 0-3 and lost yesterday to Fresno State (a former cupcake). UCLA has a new coach (as do five Pac-12 teams) but if this keeps up, he won't last long.

By the way, the teams with new coaches are Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon, and Oregon State (who stole the Huskies offensive coordinator to be head coach).

But it's early in the season. Only Stanford, Washington, the Utes, and USC have played in-conference games. And only Stanford and Washington have in-conference winning records (of 1-0). We'll have to see how things shake out when there's more conference games in the record books.

The Polls:

The AP Top 25 football poll has Stanford climbing to #7 from #9. Washington stays at #10. And Oregon stays at #20. USC and Arizona State drop off the top 25. So now only three teams in the Pac-12 are in the AP Top 25. The top four positions are #1 Alabama, #2 Georgia (up from #3), #3 Clemson (down from #2), and Ohio State #4.

And finally, Auburn (who we want to do well now) lost to LSU, so Auburn dropped to #9 and LSU jumped to #6 (from #12).

Now we just wait a week for the next college football Saturday.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Winter is Coming

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Winter." Which is timely because we are into fall now and winter is coming (apparently that's a Game of Thrones reference).

(Okay, technically, fall starts on September 22nd, which is nine days away.)

I used to like winter. But now it just annoys me. The winter of 2016-17 was awful. We had snow for months and just as the roads would get clear, it would snow again. We had freezing rain twice (I think) and once it was so bad I didn't even leave my house for a day. And then there's trips over Snoqualmie Pass in the winter. Snoqualmie Pass sits between where I live and the greater Seattle area. My son goes to school there and he doesn't drive. So I had to go get him for winter break. And every time I went over the pass, the State Patrol decided it needed to be chains required except for all-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires. Luckily, my car is all-wheel drive and I put on Blizzak tires in the winter. So I didn't have to put on chains. But that's an indication of how bad the roads were.

(Once, before I owned this car, I had a car that was rear-wheel drive. And it was chains required. I put on chains, drove for a while, and then took them off. It wasn't nearly bad enough to require chains. Another time, in the same car, it was chains required. I didn't put them on and knew if I could make it up the steep hill just before the pass, I'd be fine. I made it. The car slipped a couple of times but I got up the hill, more due to my skill and the Blizzaks than anything else. It's a $500 fine if you get caught without chains.)

And the roads aren't always just bad on the pass. Sometimes they are bad from where you start going up the pass until home. So you're going 35 mph the whole 180 miles, almost. Makes for a long trip. People would pass us and then a couple miles down the road they'd be in the ditch.

I like to drive, but driving in slick conditions take the fun out of it, and makes it work.

Don't know what this winter will bring. I'm hoping it will be more like '17-'18 than '16-'17. But you never know.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Huskies are 1-1

I usually do these posts on the Sunday morning after the game on Saturday. But this week I had a family thing Sunday so I'm posting today.

The University of Washington Huskies are now 1-1 with their victory over the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux Hawks. The Hawks are an FCS team so this is one of those easy non-conference games used to build confidence and get some practice in before playing Pac-12 teams.

I don't know if the Huskies were over-confident but they still didn't play well. North Dakota managed to shut down our running attack so quarterback Jake Browning ended up throwing a lot. At halftime the score was only 0-17. For a top-10 ranked team playing an FCS team, that's a low score. After halftime the Dawgs looked better. But then something interesting happened. With about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Coach Petersen pulled the starters and put in back-up quarterback Jake Haener (a red-shirt freshman). And he and the other back-up players actually played better than the starters. They got two touchdowns and made it look easy. Haener may be next year's starting quarterback and if so, that's good news.

The final score, because of those two late TDs, was 3-45.

Next week, the Dawgs travel to Salt Lake City to take on a tough Utah team. I hope their play is
improved before then or they're going to have problems. At least they shouldn't be over-confident.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Stanford beat USC by a score of 3-17. That means Stanford is going to be a tough opponent when we play them later in the year. And we have to beat Stanford if we're going to be the Pac-12 North champions.

In the AP top 25 poll, Washington dropped one space to #10 and Stanford went up one slot to #9. Oregon climbed to #20 and USC dropped to #22. There's no other Pac-12 teams ranked.

UPDATE: I missed Arizona State who, after beating #15 Michigan State, is now ranked at #23.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Strength

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Strength."

Strength is interesting. I've never been a very physically strong person. My upper body strength has always been lousy. Even when I was in the military, I usually just barely passed the physical strength requirements. And forget doing a pull up. I've never managed to do one of those. I did once achieve running a seven-minute mile. I was proud of that. Of course, you watch marathons on television and in the 25th mile they're doing four to five-minutes miles.

But there's more to strength then pumping iron. There's strength of will. For example, it takes a lot of will to write a novel. And I've done that quite a few times. You could say writing a novel is my "marathon."

I've always had a strong brain. A little dyslexic (never was a good speller) and sometimes it gets confused. I will type a word that sounds like the word I want. And often I spell "how" as "who" (same letters, different order). It's strange.

I remember in college people carried planners and they would write down deadlines such as tests and when papers were due. I never did that, I carried it all in my head. Now I put everything in my phone because in my aging brain, I can't carry it all in my head anymore.

How are you strong? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

College Football Rivalries

One of the (many) fun things about college football, is the rivalries. Probably the most famous one is Ohio State and Michigan.

But the Pac-12 has some rivalries, too. Most are based on geography (same state or city). Some are based on past history. The Pac-12 usually, but not always schedules rivalry games for the last game of the regular season.

For example, USC and UCLA (both in Los Angeles) is a rivalry. And Stanford and Cal are rivals (same metro area).  And of course Arizona and Arizona State, Oregon and Oregon State. And Washington and Washington State.

But at the University of Washington, we also hate Oregon. For me, this is because they beat us a lot in the past few years (the last two, 2016 and 2017, UW won). And they were insufferable about it. Also, Oregon has a lot of Phil Knight (Nike gazillionaire) money to buy good coaches. So there's a bit of envy going on for Washington fans. Just be assured, Washington fans hate Oregon. To me, the Washington State rivalry is friendly. The Oregon rivalry is war.

In terms of teams I want to beat it's Oregon first, then Washington State, then USC, then Stanford, then the rest.

One interesting rivalry is Colorado and Utah. I kind of think this was a "wag the dog" rivalry. They are the last two teams to join the Pac-12 (making it "Pac-12" instead of "Pac-10" like it was for decades). So they needed rivals in the Pac-12 and chose each other.

Rivalries add fun to college football. Which is already a ton of fun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Huskies are #9

The AP Top 25 Poll came out today. And the University of Washington Huskies drop to #9 (as I sort of predicted) from #6. The team that beat them, Auburn, is #7.

Other Pac-12 teams are:

Stanford #10 (up from #13)
USC #17 (dropping from #15 after their tough win Saturday)
Oregon #23 (up from #24)

For the rest of the season the AP poll will come out at about 11 AM Pacific Time on Sundays.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Huskies are 0-1

It's tough having your first game be one of your biggest games.

Yesterday the University of Washington Huskies played the Auburn Tigers in the "Chick-Fil-A Kickoff" game in Atlanta. Before this game, the Huskies were rated by the AP at #6 and Auburn at #9.

In the first quarter, the Huskies looked as if they had forgotten how to play football. After a three and out by the Huskies, the Tigers marched down the field and made a touchdown.

In the second quarter, the Huskies played better. In the third quarter they played like they used to. In the fourth quarter, they played as if they were tired. They still tried, but made too many mistakes. If they had played the whole game like they did in the third quarter, they would have won. As it was, they lost the close contest by 21 to 16. It was a very defensive game and missed fieldgoals hurt both teams. But the Huskies more so.

The Auburn offense shut down the Huskies' vaunted run game. Quarterback Jake Browning could pass but he missed too often. And Auburn played dirty, earning a lot of penalties. At one point I thought the referees gave the Huskies an offensive pass interference just to make up for all the Auburn defensive pass interference calls. At one point Jake Browning was obviously targeted with a helmet-to-helmet tackle and it wasn't called.

The AP poll doesn't come out until Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday. So we won't know until then how badly this hurts us in the polls. It should drop us to at least #9.

Also, this likely means the Huskies won't make the College Football Playoffs (CFP). And in order to win the Pac-12 North they'll have to win every game for the rest of the year. To win the Pac-12 championship, they'll have to win the Pac-12 North then beat the winner of the Pac-12 South who is projected to be USC. Right now the Huskies are tied for last place in the Pac-12 North with Oregon State, who lost to #5 Ohio State by a score of 77 to 31. Oregon State is the worst team in the Pac-12.

Other teams that lost in the Pac-12 on opening weekend were UCLA and Arizona.

Of course, I still love my Huskies. It was 10 years ago that they went 0-12. And I loved them then, too.

Next week we play North Dakota at home. North Dakota is a FCS team. They are the "Fighting Hawks." They were the "Fighting Sioux" until the Pesky Promoters of Political Correctness at the NCAA made them change it. I wonder if any Sioux were asked about it.




Friday, August 31, 2018

Huskies Start Football Tomorrow

The University of Washington Huskies start their 2018 football season tomorrow facing Auburn in Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game. It'll be on ABC at 12:30 P.M. PDT.

Last year the Huskies had problems with on-the-road games. They lost to Arizona State (and shouldn't have) and Stanford both while on the road. They lost their bowl game to Penn State on the road. But they were undefeated at home.

The pre-season AP top 25 poll has the Huskies at #6 and Auburn at #9. All the other pre-season polls I have seen have the Huskies ranked higher than Auburn. So at least the voters of the polls have faith in the Huskies. But Atlanta is about 100 miles from the Auburn campus so this is basically a home game for them. Atlanta is around 2,200 miles from Seattle. So the odds makers have Auburn slightly ahead or even.

Playing a team such as Auburn in non-conference play is an attempt to avoid the problems Huskies had in 2017 when their non-conference play was deemed too easy ("cupcakes" as ESPN put it). They played Rutgers, Montana, and Fresno State.

This year they play Auburn, North Dakota, and Brigham Young in non-conference play. North Dakota is an FCS team but Auburn is a very good team. I'm not sure how good BYU is. So it's going to be tougher to be unbeaten in non-conference play this year. And if the Huskies hope to make it to the CFP (College Football Playoffs) again this year as they did in 2016, they'll probably have to win all non-conference games.

If they win tomorrow, they will be on their way to possibly another CFP appearance. If they lose, all the naysayers will come out saying 2016 was a flash in the pan and the Huskies can't play in the big leagues.

Tomorrow's going to be a tough game for the Huskies. I'm hoping they win, of course.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Community

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. This week's prompt is "Community."

I'm not a real community kind of guy. I'm a strong introvert and I tend to be alone more. Or just with close family and friends.

However, I have been in Toastmasters for seven years. I've held several offices in the organization and I have achieved the highest educational award: Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). I'm sort of trying to drift away from Toastmasters. I've pretty much lost interest in it after so long. Plus it would be nice to have my Monday evenings free again.

I also was on the board of the local economic development council for six years. And for four of those years I was the secretary of the organization. I enjoyed that a lot as I knew what was happening in the local economy before most other people did. Often the companies coming would be secretive about it and not want their name out in the public. Code words would be used such as "Project Springboard." One time the Executive Director said, "AstaReal is coming to our area and that's no longer a secret" and we all said "Yay!" Then at the next meeting he said "Don't tell anyone that AstaReal is coming to our area, it's still a secret." And we all said, "Oops." Of course, it's not a secret now as they are here in town.

But I haven't been on that board for a few years now. I did some freelance writing for the organization but they stopped having me do that.

So I guess I've been more involved in the community than I originally thought.

Tomorrow I'll probably start writing about University of Washington football since their first game is Saturday. Go Dawgs!


Saturday, August 25, 2018

One Week!

Only one week until Husky Football returns. Getting excited and I can't wait! #PurpleReign #BowDown #GoDawgs

Friday, August 24, 2018

College Football Rankings and the Coming Season

It's eight days until college football starts on September 1st. If you can't tell, I'm excited for what my University of Washington Huskies might do this year. I'm hoping they win all twelve regular season games. Or at least eleven. With the players they have this year, I think it's very possible they could be undefeated in the regular season.

The football polls seem to agree they will do well this year. The AP Top 25 sports writers' poll has them at #6. The USA Today coaches' poll also has them at #6. Both of those are national polls that include all 129 FBS college teams. That puts the Huskies in the top 4% of college FBS teams.

The Huskies play in the Pac-12 conference. Of other teams in the conference, the Huskies are the
highest-ranked. Of the other Pac-12 teams, Stanford is at 13, USC is at 15, and Oregon (who we hate) is at 24 in the AP poll (the one that counts).

I'm hoping the Huskies will win the Pac-12 North and play USC in the Pac-12 championship game...and beat them. We haven't played USC in the regular season for a while (since 2016 and they won) and I'd like to put the beat down on those arrogant bastards.

But no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Last year the Huskies lost a road game to Arizona State (and shouldn't have). Something like that might happen this year (the other regular season loss was to Stanford at Stanford). We didn't win the Pac-12 North last year (Stanford did) and we didn't go to CFP (no Pac-12 team did).

Eight days until we face Auburn in Atlanta. The odds are even at this point. So it could be anyone's game. Go Dawgs!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Healing

Mystery Bruise
Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. This week's prompt is simply "Healing." No idea what they mean by that.

There are two types of healing, emotional and physical. I have noticed since I became type-2 diabetic about two years ago, I don't heal as fast. My son's cat will scratch me and it'll take forever to heal. Or I'll have a mystery bruise (I don't know how I got it) that will take ages to go away. This is, I understand, typical of people with diabetes.

Then there's emotional healing. I have been told some emotional hurts never heal. I've only had a few of those (such as my grandmother dying). The constant ache eventually goes away. And you stop thinking about it every day. But when you do think about it, it still hurts. And probably always will. The hurt does get less over time. The cliche "Time heals all wounds" is pretty accurate, actually. Maybe not heals, but "lessens" would be more accurate.

How do your wounds heal? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Friendship

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is: "Friendship."

Being an introvert, I tend to have one good friend a few other friends, but mostly just that one good friend. This was the pattern as I grew up.

When I got married, my one good friend was my wife.

Right now my one good friend is a fellow writer in Canada and we communicate mostly via text. She's a Jeopardy fiend (has tried out for the show) so we often talk about the losers on the show.

I have friends that I met in Toastmasters and friends who are in my writing group. But those aren't close friends. At least not as close as my close friend.

How many friends do you have, and how many are close. Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Friday, August 10, 2018

I Am at SpoCon in Spokane

Today I am at SpoCon in Spokane, Washington. I will be there through Sunday.

The con is at the Doubletree Hotel. Here's the address:

322 North Spokane Falls Court
Spokane, Washington

This is my first time at SpoCon as a visiting Pro. So I'm hoping to have a good time there. Follow this link for my panel and reading schedule.

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Connect

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is simply "Connect."

I had to think about that for a while. What do they mean by "connect"?

With the internet I've connected to a lot of people I would never have met otherwise. I have Facebook friends all over the country and some in the U.K. and Canada. I was thinking about this, and I don't have any FB friends in the Southern Hemisphere (even though I've been to the Southern Hemisphere but I've never been to the U.K.). A lot of those distant friends I met through my publisher, World Castle Publishing. Others I met through writing forums, Twitter, and other social media.

My wife a long time ago somehow got involved in a ListServ (remember those) of women all over the world. At Christmas they exchange gifts. It has moved from email to Facebook, I understand.

I've connected to people through being in Toastmasters. Those are all local, Eastern Washington folks (although one moved to Mexico).

In today's world it's easy to connect with a lot of people. And I love learning about other cultures such as that of the U.K. and even Canada has a different culture than the U.S.

Who do you connect to and how? Let me know through the comments below.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Friday, August 3, 2018

Football has Changed

1990s Husky Quarterback
The other day I was watching Pac-12 Network and they were showing a University of Washington Huskies (Go Dawgs) game from the early 1990s. And I noticed something: in the past 30 or so years, football has changed.

In the 1990s the shoulder pads were huge compared to today. I don't know if that's because they can get as much protection with smaller pads today, or it was decided so much protection wasn't needed. I suspect the former. And I think the small pads have changed how the game is played. In the early 1990s, the game was more brute force. Today there seems to be more finesse as players can dodge and scramble to get out of tackles, not just barrel into each other.
Huskies' Current Quarterback

And I prefer today's football. Yes, there is still the rough and tumble part of it. But the quickness and skill of a running back able to dodge tackles and speed down the field is much more entertaining to watch. I love watching Jake Browning (the Huskies' current quarterback) run and throw and connect with his wide receivers moving with near ballet-like grace. Or see Myles Gaskin find a hole in the defensive line and scramble through it.

So the game has evolved, and I think for the better. Can't wait for the Huskies' first game on September 1st against Auburn. Just 29 days away!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Weekends

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. This week's prompt is "Weekends." Which reminds me of an old commercial tag line: "Weekends were made for Michelob."

As a freelance writer and author, my weekends are not much different from every other day. I do try to take some time off. And if there's college football (i.e., the University of Washington Huskies) on Saturday, I definitely watch that. (College football starts September 1st, so just under a month away!) And I often watch Seahawks football, but I'm more of a fair-weather fan than the die-hard fan I am of Husky football (I was a fan even 10 years ago when the Huskies went 0-12).

But sometimes my weekends are very busy such as if I have a freelance deadline coming up and I need to get my stories done. I try to schedule my work so I do most of it Monday through Friday, but sometimes that doesn't work. People don't want to talk to you until the weekend so that's when you do the interview and write the story. Or, if I'm working on a fiction novel, sometimes I get a lot of writing done on weekends because I don't have anything else going on.

Lately I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons on the weekends with my son and some friends of his and mine. It's a good way to kill half a day.

Back when I was doing the Speculative Fiction Cantina, I would set up the next show on Sunday mornings. Now I spend Sunday mornings do what I want, unless I have work to do.

What are your weekends like? Let me know in the comment below.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Past

T
ime once again for the 52 week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "The Past."

There's a line the The Princess Bride (the book, and maybe the movie) where Buttercup tries to tell Wesley all the bad things she's done (like get engaged to the Prince), and Wesley says "The past has a way of being the past" (I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember the exact line, but I think that's pretty close).

And I try to live by that philosophy. Sometimes it's tough, the past comes back to haunt you. Past hurts, past screw ups, past embarrassments.

If we're going to remember the past, we should remember the good things. But we don't, not always. There are some people who, it seems, dwell on the bad parts of the past. And there are those who blithely move on from their past as if they weren't responsible for any of it.

We shouldn't forget the past. But we shouldn't linger on it, either. And what happened in the past cannot be changed. So look to the future.

How do you feel about the past. Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Love

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is simply "love."

Love is weird. It's something I don't think science can readily explain. Is it only imprinting like a duck for its mother? That can explain the love among families. But what about meeting a stranger, "falling in love," and deciding to spend the rest of your life with them (although that's getting rarer these days).

A lot of people I think make the mistake of confusing desire with love. "You give me great orgasms, so I must love you." They don't consciously think that. But that's what their brain is doing. So they get married and then when the sex gets boring (as it will) they "fall out of love" and divorces happen. You can only hope that happens before any kids come along because divorce is bad for kids. Very bad.

This is why I'm an advocate for no premarital sex. If you love someone without mind-blowing orgasms, then chances are you actually love them. I know that makes me old-fashioned and out of step with the times, but I don't really care.

But I still don't understand love between two strangers. What causes it? Hormones? Pheromones? You spend enough time with someone and they are a decent person, you'll fall in love? I don't know. I don't know if anyone knows.

What do you think love is? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

On the Inside

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is once again "A favorite book/music/movie." Which I have pretty much covered before.

So we'll go to the next one which is "On the inside." There's no further information about what that means.

On the inside, I'm all red and squishy.

On the inside, I'm shy and full of anxiety.

On the inside, I'm creative and funny.

On the inside, I'm a procrastinator.

On the inside, I'm me.

What are you on the inside? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Speed Limits Can be Dangerous

Ask any budget director for any government jurisdiction (except the federal government) and they will likely tell you that fines and penalties are a major part of their revenue stream. And most of those fines and penalties come from traffic tickets. And a lot of those, perhaps a majority, are speeding tickets.

I am convinced that most speed limits are set not for safety, but for maximizing revenue.

But, you might be saying, if you post a speed limit of 35, people will go 40 mph or even 50 mph. That's true, to a point. But the reason is likely the road is safe at 50 mph and the speed limit was set to maximize revenue. Most people drive at a speed they feel comfortable at, and pay scant attention to the actual speed limit. People aren't suicidal. They drive what they think is safe yet comfortable.

I remember when I drove in Idaho with its 80 mph speed limit on rural interstates. And while I was doing 85 (as I tend to go 5 mph over any speed limit as long as conditions permit) a lot of people weren't even going the speed limit. They weren't comfortable at 80.

Washington State was considering raising the speed limit on part of I-90 from 70 to 75. I went to a public hearing to speak in favor of it. One older woman got up and said she was against it because 70 mph is too fast for her. And I was in a Facebook discussion of speed limits and one person said (and I paraphrase from memory) "A mile per minute is fast enough." That's 60 mph.

I am old enough to remember (and have driven) back when the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) was 55 mph. The problem with that was that governments learned they could make money off of low speed limits. And so did insurance companies so they still lobby for lower speed limits. Why do they make money? Because they raise your rates if you get a speeding ticket. Think about that. Say a road had a speed limit of 70 mph. Then the NMSL went into effect dropping the speed limit to 55 mph. Someone going 65 mph might get a ticket for going 5 mph slower than the old speed limit.

Now if the speed limit were raise to, say 100 mph, there would be very few tickets handed out because most people wouldn't drive that fast. Even I may not drive that fast (or 105 mph). Or I might. I was driving in Poland years ago and I was doing 100 mph on the mostly empty road and I got passed by a white BMW with German plates.

Some people think the faster you go, the more you're risking death or injury. If you crash going 100 mph, you're probably dead. But you first have to crash. A study showed that the further you deviate from the average speed (which may not be the speed limit) the more likely the crash. But the interesting thing, shown in the chart below, is it's more dangerous to go slow than to go fast.


Cars travelling faster or slower than average is what's dangerous. So let's say the speed limit on a road is 35 mph but the average speed is 50 mph. People going the speed limit are actually being more dangerous than people going 55 mph. The 35 mph speed limit is a dangerous speed limit. This is why speed limits should be set via engineering methods and not pulled out of the ear of some bureaucrat or politician to maximize revenue. And a person who thinks they're going safe by going the speed limit (or less) is actually one of the more dangerous drivers on the road.

So what's my point? If speed limits weren't a major revenue stream for governments, we might have speed limits based on reality. Roads would be safer and speed limits would likely be higher.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Learning

Back to the 52 week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Learning."

The following is my philosophy on learning (should be read in Morgan Freeman's voice): "When you stop learning, you start dying."

And I really believe that. I loved college (primary education, not so much, I was bored). I love learning. So I read, research my books, watch Jeopardy (yes, you can learn doing that), and watch documentaries. If I read non-fiction, I often do learn. If I read well-written fiction, I learn to do my craft (writing) better.

One thing that killed me when I graduated high school (so very long ago) was the kids who thought their days of learning were over. And they were happy about that. And I thought "Aren't they going to get jobs where they will have to learn how to do the job?" I couldn't imagine not learning. And I can't imagine being happy about it. If you want to drive me nuts, don't let me learn anything new.

How do you feel about learning. Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!


No, it's not "The Fourth of July." It's Independence Day. Just happens to be celebrated on the fourth of July.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Celebration

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. This week's prompt is simply: "Celebration."

What do I celebrate? My birthday (which is coming up soon and I'll be a ghastly 58 years old). Christmas. Book sales.

I also celebrate my wedding anniversary (37 years in December). And book sales.

This weekend I'll be at a celebration for my son's April wedding as DisneyLand. The wedding was small. The celebration won't be.

Next week I'll be celebrating Independence Day (on the fourth of July).

My writing goal is not to make a lot of money (although that would be nice). It's to be read by strangers. To entertain and perhaps influence strangers. My most pedantic book is probably Rock Killer. Which was my first novel written (and third published). But all my books will have some of my philosophy in it, which, if you haven't figured out yet, is rather libertarian. If, through my books I can make the world a bit more libertarian, I'd be happy.

So I celebrate book sales.

What do you celebrate. Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Rich Girl

Saturday when I was driving I heard the song "Rich Girl" by Hall & Oats. This song came out in 1977 when I was in high school. And there was one girl who immediately got labeled "Rich Girl." Her name was Shelly and her family was well off. They always had a new Cadillac and lived in a big house. I had no idea what her father did to earn his wealth.

One day in English class, the teacher was trying to instruct us not to use vague terms in our writing. So she asked the class what was a "comfortable" yearly salary. She wanted to show the range that people thought that term meant.

I think the low was $15,000. I rather shocked the room when I said $25,000. Then Shelly pipes up with $30,000.

What struck me as I was remembering this is how low those numbers were. Now days $25,000 is about poverty level for a family of four (it's actually $25,100).

So we need to adjust those numbers for inflation. One thousand dollars in January 1977 is equivalent to $4,300 today. So...

$15,000 = $64,500
$25,000 = $107,500
$30,000 = $129,000

Of course, 1977 was at the beginning of the double-digit inflation of the end of Jimmy Carter's presidential term. And we've had forty-one years of varying inflation to degrade the dollar.

Or maybe this is just an indication of how old I am.