Get Knotted, 2016

This year has been one of a few high points and a number of lows. Some pretty awful, horrible lows. The year started with the death of David Bowie, and it ends with my family mourning the loss of a loved one…and with a number of world events mirroring those that built up into World War II.

With 11 days to go, it makes one wonder what’s coming next. There probably isn’t enough booze for it, regardless.

It’s no longer #ThanksObama, it’s #Thanks2016.

Fun and Games in the ER

lfg0148xxSo. I missed last week’s #FlashFictionFriday thanks to an ER visit for a bad reaction to new medication. After days of feeling like a wrung-out dishrag run over by a tank, I’m almost back to (ab)normal.

I have nothing but appreciation for the doctor and nurses who talked me through the panic that accompanied feeling like my body was completely shutting down, even though it was the strangest ER setup I’ve ever seen. First, you go past a ‘reception’ area in the hallway, where you have to stand there to check in (I couldn’t). Next, you go into a waiting room to chill out until a triage nurse can evaluate you. Then, you finish dealing with registration at yet another reception counter (but with chairs there), and finally, you get shuffled off to the “yellow” or “green” ER area based on your symptoms.

They wheeled me off to “green” (I was shaking uncontrollably and my legs had given out), which was kinda nice in that it meant my reaction probably wasn’t life-threatening. They parked me in front of the nurses’ station, though, so they could keep an eye on me while waiting for an exam area to become available. They had limited exam cubicles, so they’d set up a couple of ‘waiting’ areas within the ER where more mobile people had to sit and wait after being examined. A bunch of people in those areas had IVs, which seemed a bit odd. If someone is in the ER and needs an IV, it seems like it’d be a good idea to keep them as stationary as possible…but who knows.

My doctor was fantastic. She’d clearly seen this type of reaction before, which was both reassuring and disquieting, but she went through a few tests to make sure nothing else was happening. They dealt with treatment fairly quickly, kept me for a while to make sure that the reaction had passed and I’d be okay, and then sent me off with a different prescription. All in all, a strange but decent experience with Canadian healthcare.

Now that I’ve mostly recovered and caught up on my workload, I’ll get more posting and writing done. Current plan is to refresh my knowledge of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style so I can work on streamlining my writing. If you haven’t read this style book, I highly recommend it.

I. C. Ceres

Hi Ceres! You lovely little dwarf planet, you. You’ve spent the past few billion years just chillin’ in the asteroid belt, but NASA Dawn is closing in to survey you. We’ll find out how you’re flashing us from your surface soon.

an image of Ceres

Ceres, courtesy of NASA

In case you haven’t been following it, NASA’s Dawn mission set out to survey two baby planets (Vesta and Ceres) in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn visited Vesta from 2011-2012 (you can take a tour of Vesta here), and then headed for Ceres. The spacecraft uses a nifty ion drive that is low powered, so it takes a while for it to move between solar bodies.

Dawn reached Ceres in March of 2015, and is currently setting into a survey orbit pattern. Once the survey is complete, though, Dawn will be remaining at Ceres. NASA’s mission journal is available for view, if you’d like more info on what they’ve accomplished and the plans for the survey.

Great article by @aminawrite at the LA Times is available here.

For more entertainment and information on the mission, follow I_C_Ceres and Dwarf Planet Ceres on Twitter. Yes, there’s two, and they’re cute. They both post and reshare information on space exploration and events of interest. Check them out!

Variant Reflections – New R.L. Robinson Anthology

If you enjoy science fiction / speculative fiction / fantasy, I strongly encourage you to check out this anthology. Robinson’s newest collection of stories is priced at $0.99 and offers a range of worlds for you to experience. He’s fantastic at expressing the range of emotions (sometimes diffident or conflicted) that drive his characters through the story arcs, which does a wonderful job of pulling the reader further into a given world.

I truly enjoyed every story, but hoping he’ll eventually release separate anthologies based on “Mods and Rockers” and “Unremembered”.  “Mods and Rockers” added some punk flair to a dystopian future, and “Unremembered” was a haunting story of the aftermath of a war with beings and weapons that weren’t fully understood. The final story about the King in Yellow was wonderfully twisted.

Give it a read!

Variant Reflections – Digital Science Fiction Original Collection at Digital Science Fiction’s website

Jump to the Kindle edition on Amazon

Have you ever done a Google search and chuckled over the wording of the titles returned by the algorithm?

Our sun, dear Sol, has stellar siblings. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone who has a basic grasp of how solar systems form. The titles of various news articles proclaiming the discovery of one such sibling left me shaking my head in amusement:

Our Sun’s Long Lost Stellar ‘Sister’ Found

Astronomers find sun’s ‘long-lost brother,’ pave way for family reunion

Our Sun Has a Sister

Solar Siblings? The Sun’s ‘Long-Lost Brother’ Revealed

I’m not sure which is most amusing – the fact that everyone is shocked that multiple stars could form from one nebula, or that they couldn’t agree on whether a massive inanimate object should be a sister or a brother. Can’t we just call it a sibling and move on with our day?

Hooray for anthropomorphism! 

Inertia

I’m struggling with inertia, but trying to jumpstart my writing by creating and running a space-based RPG. First few sessions have gone reasonably well (we’re all still learning the setting and my PCs are settling into their characters), and tonight brings the first real test of the players’ abilities. Should be interesting to see whether I gauged things right or if I’ll wind up *cough* accidentally *cough* causing a TPK.

It would be poor repayment to those who chose to play the first game I’ve GMed, but it seems as though there’s only a very fine line between the encounter being boring and it being too much right off the bat.

I wound up borrowing heavily from the Babylon 5 as my start point and the plot is finally grabbing my interest. *I* am looking forward to seeing where this story will go, and that’s a very good feeling. Time to go finish off this encounter and we’ll find out how the party does with it tonight.

To the Moon, with CosmoQuest!

I don’t know how I’d managed to miss this site, but it’s glorious!

CosmoQuest is looking for people to help map Moon craters, and you can win swag for helping them out! It’s fast, easy, and a whole lot of fun looking for identifying landmarks – go to the “Do Science” menu and check it out.

Image

This? This is the Moon. Help find craters near the Apollo 11 landing site!

 

You can also help them find Kuiper Belt objects through the “Ice Investigators” option. Give it a whirl – the object you discover might wind up being the target of the New Horizons mission!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…why are you still here? GO GO GO!!!!