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Showing posts from 2015

Space Jellies

“I can just see it now, first alien species discovered. We’ll be famous!” Yasir stood up from his station, arms waving in early celebration. “Shut up and monitor them. We need to start getting behaviors. Also I would rather not attract their attention. Keep the active sensors off Yasir.” Roger focused on the orbital charts. “Alright, but really we should celebrate.” Yasir grumbled and sat back in his chair. “Yeah, later.” Roger growled. For a few minutes the three crew members on the exploration vessel focused on their tasks. “Look at them, floating in space. They look like jellyfish, maybe space jellies...” Yasir tried to describe them. “Yasir,” Jane looked over her shoulder from her station and gave him a warning head shake. Roger was studiously ignoring them. A few more minutes passed. Roger grunted, “Hmm. Looks like they are tacking against the solar wind toward that asteroid field. Unusually dense.” As the pilot, that was saying something; usually only rings around planets gave the sm…

Star Wars Review

Disclaimer: Reading the following will most certainly SPOIL certain plot elements or SPOIL your excitement to see the movie. SPOILERS ahead.

This movie goes loosely into my category where the Hobbit movies are, however, I was hoping that it might be a bit closer to the extended cannon. So I broke my general rule of lowered expectations for a better movie experience and had the reason why I hav my rule reinforced. I loved it and I hated it. Let's get the love part out of the way because it is much shorter:

Diversity of cast: excellent. Just the ships, the planets, and all but the desert scenes: awesome. Orange Yoda: necessary and pretty interesting, but this starts getting into the negative part of this whole thing. The story telling: if I hadn't seen episodes I and IV I would be enthralled and would have missed many of the weird plot holes and conveniences.

Alright, here we go down the rabbit hole of negativity. If you end up going to the dark side just because you hate me aft…

Course Correction

“Course correction filed. Target centered. Time to transition, five minutes thirty-four seconds.” The light synthetic voice droned, obviously bored with simple things, but it took an edge that Jordan didn’t like, “Captain,” A word without much of the tonality it should have, “The problem with subspace disk four seems to increasing. I would suggest that we don’t use it as it may interfere with the more stable bubbles generated by the other three.” Jordan couldn’t decide if it was good or bad to have an AI that was worried about their welfare. Mostly good, but they really needed to make this run as quickly as possible. “What alternatives do we have?” “The first, and only real alternative is to leave the disk out of the jumps, of course we will have to course correct again and make a slightly shorter hop for Proxima Centauri in order not to risk a long burn on the other side.” Of course, the disks were what kept them together in subspace, protecting them from the different physics existent…

Running is not allowed

“Running is not allowed.” This was the third time and much louder. Jordan gave up ignoring the the otherwise unperturbed voice in his ear. “Yeah, yeah. Only on treadmills. Shouldn’t you be asking me to walk?” “I tried but it seems your receptiveness to well reasoned suggestions is lacking.” She could say that again. Jordan glanced up at the displayed time and saw only a few minutes before the scheduled departure. He didn’t need to make the launch, but he wanted to see her again. “I will have to notify the authorities as you are not self-regulating.” The tone of voice didn’t change for the threat, but Angie didn’t have that capability as a ten year old version of the virtual assistant software. “Ang, could you give me two more minutes? I promise I will keep the running to just the gym after this.” He dodged past surprised tourists visiting the habitat. Their guide calling after him. “I cannot promise that others are not going to call you in, and I will definitely have to file a report.” Jord…

Allergy

John studied himself in the mirror as best he could through tears. Red, puffy eyes stared back at him, a running nose already leaked just a minute after using a tissue. He couldn't do his job well if he always looked like this. He readjusted his coat and a sneeze caught him unaware. At least he had an appointment with the doctor today.

***

 "Mr. Filner, I am afraid that the results were inconclusive." Dr. Snozuk came bustling into the small room a clipboard in one hand with papers folded over the top and a pen in the other hand. "We only found one thing that you seemed to have a serious immune response to, and it simply doesn't grow in this environment."

"But if I am not allergic to anything else why do I have all the symptoms?" He tried not to wipe his nose on the jacket sleeve. Dr. Snozuk must have noticed John's involuntary half-lift of his arm because he grabbed the box of tissues behind him and set it next to John.

Dr. Snozuk waited while…

NaNoWriMo Conquered

I made it. I wrote 50,000 words. Now I need to write a few more parts and then start editing.

I finished the last day writing just over five-thousand words. My fingers flew and I think I put down some very good scenes. I have let it sit for over a week so that I can have a bit of a fresh view coming back to it. I will also look for excerpts to post in the coming weeks and months. I am shooting for a small novel ~70k words and will probably just have electronic versions because it is a bit shorter.

Jessie has offered to read it so I really need to think about putting it in readable format for her as well as having a good way for her to mark it without going through a horrendous rigamarole in order to take her suggestions. I write with Scrivener and although I don't know all of its features and how to use them I do like the interface.

So really I am writing this to get my gumption up to open it again and start writing or editing. I just need to carve out time. I also need to keep wr…

Update for Week Three

Saturday I hit the halfway mark of 25,000 words and Sunday I managed to reach 28,000 which is much more than I ever thought I would write.

The toughest part about writing is to continue writing. Often I want to go back and edit, or focus on something a bit more. But I know if I do that I will have about a few thousand words of story and many thousands of backstory. I find that I am putting quite a bit of backstory in the story, but just writing and trying to hit the 50k. Hopefully this week I will be able to focus a couple more days of 2,000 or 3,000 plus word days. Since I need 22,000 more words I will definitely need to get a few more big days.

I expect that I might be able to start editing in not too long, and Jessie already has some good feedback.

The Focus has Changed

I am happy to announce that I have dropped the "blog" part of the web address in favor of my own domain: falconsfocus.com. Of course this is much like a vanity plate at the moment while I figure out what I am going to do next, but I am enjoying it thanks to Google's cheaper domain name service.
It is still written on Blogger, hence the weird layout, but I am working on that too. I am looking at several options from Wordpress to hosting on a cloud such as Google or AWS. Probably Wordpress since it is so popular and maybe I can get better formats without giving up basic control over the layout. It also has quite a few plugins that I could probably figure out though I really don't want to go overboard.
But really I am more focussed on writing and work at this point, so maybe next month. Also check out my pages links over on the right. I mentioned that I reformatted the links, but I haven't gotten around to fixing the projects or the sci-fi writing links.

Weekly Novel Writing Update

Or "WeNoWrUp" for NaNoWriMo.

This week I never got ahead of the writing. I started the week with about 8000 words which was only 5000 words behind. Monday evening I pounded out 2000 words in a couple scenes that are quite important to the plot, and then followed up the stellar performance the next day by writing nothing. So this week definitely had its ups and downs.

I am slowly increasing my average words per day so that I am moving my expected date of finishing up, but I really need a few solid hours.

Last week's tirade about suffering sounds either more poignant or just ridiculous after Friday's events, probably a little flat. I could write on that sad event, but I think it would just be a bunch of righteous rage and freaking out that our intelligence communities really didn't have the group on their radar. The whole thing makes me sick.

Back to writing, normally scheduled events were not so nice to my writing schedule. Work was pretty solid including a meetup…

Writing Update and Other Things

I have ten things to write about that aren't part of NaNoWriMo, of course. My story isn't quite on the rocks word-wise, but I just wrote a post and have a few other things that are on my mind thanks to work and church.

Suffering is Not for the Faint of Heart - Talking about suffering, let's hope all your tribulations are small and solvable.

I also would like to write about how faith can come with writing. A small sticking point that somehow reason can't be applied to faith. Or maybe, it can't lead to faith. It is a very interesting question that I am somewhat invested in.

So I hope my unwritten words this week read my post on suffering, because they are suffering from me not writing them. Currently I have 6,987 very rough draft words. At the end of today I am supposed to be done with 13,333 words. A difference of nearly seven thousand words. Which if you read my post means that I still need to write nearly four hours today. Oof.

You can follow my progress at the NaN…

Suffering is Not for the Faint of Heart

In case you haven't read my byline, I am a Christian. It doesn't mean so many of the things that people think it does, sure some of the rumors are true, but really?

Anyway, I would like to broach the topic of suffering. It's a bit scary to look for a definition to back up my thoughts and find that Wikipedia has a pretty in-depth article on suffering. Most of the time suffering is all about physical pain, Sure I have my aches and pains. Many other times suffering is about the mental issues. People are generally focused on their own problems, and many have issues that need help, and need work.

I could talk about what Christians consider suffering, being persecuted for our religion, but I think that there is a suffering that everyone is subject to in life.

This week has been a tough one for our office. Who hasn't had a tough week at work? My previous job had four years with the possibility of losing funding. Our leadership was extremely supportive throughout the whole pro…

Growing Culture

A pre-post edit: I am finishing writing this and editing with the events of Nov 3rd in mind, which were certainly a hugely negative approach to motivating our team that my interest is a bit shaken, or maybe I just have to be more cynical, or less?
The Center for Open Science is growing, and its culture is changing. It sometimes seems like a confusing jumble of all sorts of not quite conflicting interests, but order has been coming to our controlled chaos. In some ways it is awesome, in others it might just deaden things.
I write this as one of our developers is leaving us. He was the first developer hired by the center and laid quite a bit of the groundwork that we use day-to-day. He has his reasons for moving on, but it is still sad to see him go. His enthusiasm really solidified my interest in working for COS, it was serious development, as well as being a serious cause.
I started in February when we had about 30-ish full time staff and many fewer projects going on. There was quite a b…

Beginning of November Updates

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Ran a 5k yesterday. It was a trail run, which was fun, but I am certainly not in the shape I was when I discontinued running a few years ago. Despite the varied terrain I managed a time of 32:42. Which is about the time of my first ever 5k. Definitely room for improvement. I know there has to be a Turkey Trot or something similar around here near the end of this month, so I hope to improve incrementally.

Also updated my Links page so that it actually has consistent formatting. For some reason Blogger's formatting is not very healthy. You may have noticed that my blog has changed formats quite a bit, but that is all in an attempt to keep it legible. Maybe I will have to switch back to the Magazine or other formats.

Also carved a pumpkin and gave out very little candy.

Edit:
After getting home and giving the Subaru a cursory brake inspection to see if the pads needed replaced, I realized that today is the first day of Novel Writing! I almost forgot. I will start, right after this:

H…

What is Heritage

What is Heritage
We went to an Oktoberfest on the 24th of October in Staunton. And while the music was good and there were many food offerings by local shops of somewhat German cuisine, it was smaller than expected. Fortunately the location was quite interesting itself.
The Frontier Culture Museum is quite similar to a museum that we visited in 2012 in Norway, the Norsk Folkmuseum. It seems to be a favorite type of museum for Jessie, and I quite enjoyed wandering around as well. Looking at the houses brought in from around the countryside and talking to the recreators made me think about how we interpret history, both culturally and personally.
Since the festival was based on a royal marriage in Munich, Germany, it is definitely a German festival, though often people love it for the beer. I am about half-german with my mother’s side mostly German peoples, or nearby as I have learned from my mother. This certainly influenced my decision to take German in Junior High and High School.
Did my…