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Posts Tagged ‘yay’

“Libraries are a force for good. They wear capes. They fight evil. They don’t get upset when you don’t send them a card on their birthdays. (Though they will charge you if you’re late returning a book.) They serve communities. The town without a library is a town without a soul. The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance. Libraries are the torch of the world, illuminating the path when it feels too dark to see. We mustn’t allow that torch to be extinguished.”

― Libba Bray

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Photo by Ran Ding on Unsplash

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“You are perfectly cast in your life. I can’t imagine anyone but you in the role. Go play.”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Photo by Cleyton Ewerton on Unsplash

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Still editing, but I’m this close to done!

“It’s actually very difficult to make something both simple and good.”

― Paul Simon

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Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

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There is one part of my day job that is repetitive and annoying. It’s the kind of task that would be much easier if automated, and for a while now every time I have had to do this thing I think, “There has to be a better way.” 

Well, this week I found it.

It was a small thing, fixed with a hacky bit of code (my speciality), but figuring it out feels pretty great. Now every time I do the thing that used to annoy me so much, I instead feel a minor but deep-seated sense of satisfaction.

Perhaps you know the feeling? Something was broken and now it is fixed. 

When I’m up against a problem like this I always think that there has to be a better way. While I’m not always right I like that approach much better than rolling over and giving up.

So whatever it is you’re working on, keep pushing. If there’s a way to make it better, eventually you’ll find it.

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Photo by Alex Lam on Unsplash

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One realization I had after studying a bit of history is how little say most people have in it. Traditionally, a limited number of people have been in charge of most things, usually to the detriment of the rest. (We remember the pyramids, for example, but what about those conscripted to build them?)

There’s a reason democracies attract people. 

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” 

― Winston S. Churchill (often quoted, still true)

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Today is voting day in the United States. Not sure where you need to go or what to bring with you? These sites can help.

Get to the Polls

How to Vote

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Yes, there are a lot of forces trying to pull us apart, and there are many aspects of our economic and social lives that could be improved. 

There are also many elements we agree on. Consider health, safety, education, holding doors for the elderly, giving up a seat for the pregnant, and of course, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The devil’s in the details, of course, and as anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the news or social media can tell you, we are flooded with examples of what’s broken on a daily basis. But that’s not all that’s happening, or all that is possible.*

There are a lot of ways to live and I happen to think that democracy is one of the best. (Just ask those pyramid builders.) That doesn’t mean the system can’t improve.

How can we make our voices heard? Vote.

How do we build a world that works? Together.

* For a break from doom and gloom, I recommend a visit to David Byrne’s Reasons to be Cheerful.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”

― Neil Gaiman, A Game of You

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Photo by ruud slinger on Unsplash

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A call came through last night, and the voice on the other end of the line told me that my story had made it to second place in Writers of the Future.

Wait, what?

This is my fourth entry in the contest and, while I’ve received encouraging placements before, I did not expect to make the jump to the top three in my quarter. 

If you’re considering a submission I recommend it. Sure, thousands of people submit in each round but it’s open to all non-professionals, free to enter, and has one of the best pay rates in speculative publishing. Check out the official guidelines or visit The Grinder for more details.

My story is 17,000 words of adventurous and sometimes humorous science fiction. I love it, and am very pleased that the judges liked it too. 

“Piracy for Beginners” will be published in the 2022 Writers of the Future anthology. 

I’m off to celebrate!

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Photo by Benigno Hoyuela on Unsplash

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Earth Smash!

Way to go, NASA, you did good!

NASA’s DART mission successfully crashes spacecraft into asteroid

It was a cosmic smash-up watched around the world.

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Sorry not sorry! (Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL)

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Into the Trees

No writing today. Instead, adventure.

Morning: an early drive through the fog-filled hills of Quebec to canoe through a giant water maze, home to beavers, frogs, birds, turtles and more.

Éco-Odyssée

Lunch: hot dog with ketchup and sauerkraut in honor of my grandfather, who also liked them that way.

Afternoon: three hours of hiking, climbing, zip-lining, rock climbing fun.

Ziptour – Adventure – Discover our Arbraska Parks

A representative view from the aerial bridge trail. Strangely, it doesn’t look as high as it actually was.

And now we rest.

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This photo represents neither the location or season of today’s zip-line experience. The country and coolness factor are spot on, however. Photo by Constante Lim on Unsplash

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Smile: Wide

Today, I went shopping for a new bicycle. It’s been a long time since I was in the market, but I used to ride a lot, first with my family and later through the beautiful Appalachian hills. 

I found this site useful when it came to research, pricing and comparative data. Lots and lots of data: 99 Spokes.

Because it’s been so long and bikes have changed, I also needed a refresher on bike terminology and geometry. This page was helpful: Understanding Bicycle Geometry.

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The weather was perfect, sun shining, warm with just enough humidity to make you appreciate a breeze, and a brilliant blue sky.

Lingering supply constraints (thanks, pandemic!) meant that my choices were somewhat limited, but I was optimistic. The owner of the store introduced me to several options, then rolled a bike outside and gestured toward the side of the building. “Go ahead, take it for a spin.” It was a gravel bike, something I didn’t know existed until a couple of weeks ago. (Told you it’s been a while.)

The bike shop was located in a little shopping center, the kind with a parking lot out front and a service road around the back and sides. The parking lot’s pavement quickly gave way to gravel, potholes and a little grassy hill. Perfect for testing. 

I took bike number one for a spin. Then bike number two. I convinced Mr Man to find a bike of his own and join me. Then it was back to bike number one. It felt right. 

Fit: good. Function: good. Smile: wide.

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Photo by Jordy Chapman on Unsplash

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