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All posts for the month July, 2011

I spent last week at my Grandmother’s farm trying to pound out the end of this book-thing I’m working on. West is the title and the direction Mercator is running in. He’s almost there…

I’m not going to lie, writing this book has been quite a bit like running through a maze where every once in a while you have no choice but to knock down a wall using your head. Hit one of those walls last week, didn’t expect to, but I did. I must have rewritten those pages five times trying to get it down to one.

One bad thing about writing fantasy is having to translate a hugely complicated bit of history or metaphysics into a tiny easy to read package. I’m writing for kids after all. I just keep writing the same bit of explanation over and over until I figure out what the most important bits are. I just keep pruning away until all that is left. All I want is enough to get the gist of the situation and hopefully keep a hint of the background. If it isn’t necessary for the moment and the story, it goes. It’s hard work, but it’s also fun to play with the words. Dialogue is always fun.

I’m afraid that’s all I have. I’d better get back to this brick wall. One more solid hit should bring it down.

At this very moment the Amorphophallus titanium (Wikipedia) at the university of Illinois is beginning to bloom for the first time in 100 years. That’s right, this plant is older than you great grandfather and is named after the dead. I’ve heard it called the Corpse Flower because it smells like rotting flesh. Check it out! The flowers only last a couple of days. LINK TO LIVE WEB CAM. OOOoooo.

And in the other corner a iphone video taken from the inside of a dude’s guitar. Check out how each string wave form has a different rate and vibration that corresponds to the note.

Ooh science? or MAD science?

Today we witness the end of an era. It shouldn’t be the end, but it is. This morning Space Shuttle Atlantis launched for the last time. Not only is it Atlantis’ last flight, but the last flight for any of the shuttles.

Once upon a time America was a country of hard working, self-sacrificing, dreamers whose eyes were set on the stars. In three decades we went from prop planes that could not break the speed of sound to landing on the moon. It may have been fear of the Red’s that spurred us on, but it was a glorious heyday for human innovation, exploration, and research. The race was launched by a basketball sized orb hurtled into the upper atmosphere by the Soviets and ended with the “one small step.” We may have been at war, but that did not keep us from reaching to the stars and dreaming of a brighter future. And when Columbia first lifted out eyes, the stars were within our grasp. When the Iron Curtain fell we worked with our once enemies and our faithful allies to create an International Space Station where we might strive together to better understand our world and reach out to the next one.

And now? Now we have nothing. Our future in space is in deep peril. There is no replacement for the Shuttle and the International Space Station only has a couple of years left. The dreams of millions who grew up looking to the stars in hope of journeying among them are shattered. For the past two decades we have dedicated less than 1% of our national budget to NASA. In case you didn’t know NASA isn’t just about Astronauts, it is our most important scientific institution responsible for thousands of patents for products that make our lives better. Look it up. And now? They want to cut more. We can spend 600 billion dollars plus on the military for two wars we don’t want, but we can’t spare 2 or 3 for NASA. This doesn’t reflect well on either our leadership or the people who keep them in their seats.

But… there is hope.

This is still a country by the people, of the people, and for the people. We are responsible for our future. It is our choice, mine and yours, what direction our country and our world goes in. Either we Choose to stand up and make a better future for the next generation or we let others choose it our future for us. We are not victims, we are Americans. Our forefathers made the hard choice over and over again to fight for a better future. This isn’t just about NASA, this is about getting our priorities straight, and being willing to make the hard choice and make sacrifices.

I choose the Moon. I always have, and I always will.

First Fridays with my friends one of my favorite things about being back in KC. I’m not sure exactly when it started, but sometime in the last 10 or 15 years there has been a movement in Kansas City to revitalize the downtown area. So far it’s worked. One of the first things to develop in this push was the Cross Roads District just north of Union Station. It’s a little pocket of the city where a number of art galleries, restaurants, and other indie style retail shops have cropped up. In the summer the First Friday of every month all of the art galleries are open late, there are local musicians on the street playing, and usually concert with someone well known in the lot behind Grinders (which has fantastic pizza and atmosphere). Much to my chagrin, I haven’t gone to nearly as many as I should have, but I’m working on it.

And of course I have to mention the Fourth of July. We celebrated the night before with a big dinner with family and friends. No fireworks though I did get to watch a bunch on the horizon from my writing window.

And I really don’t have anything to say about today. It’s the 5th of July somehow. My Mac is working fine again after getting stuck booting up into Ubuntu. I’m tempted to switch to Linux, since I do need a new computer someday.

That’s all I’ve got!