I am Sick

No, I don’t have a cold, or the flu or even allergies. Well maybe, I do have an allergy but it is not what you might think. Picture 37

Life has kept me more than a little busy. There have been sheep and chickens and children and family life. They have been all been there. Most of that has always been there, and yet, I have managed to write. To say something even it was little more than nothing. But now on top of it all I am sick.

Not sick of the body, but of the mind and of the soul. I see what is happening in the country I love, and grew up believing was the greatest country in the world, and I wonder, how this could be happening.

I am not such a fool to believe that most of it is new. I am not sure a fool that I think that the government has not always been corrupt to some level. After all, fiction writers have been writing about how corrupt and dangerous the government is for decades, and we all know that there is some truth to fiction and that in some ways that truth is stranger than any fiction. What makes me sick now is to the level the corruption has reached. Those in power don’t even try to hide behind the veil of secrecy when they do these things anymore. As the new host of The Daily Show said the other day,

“You misunderstand us Mr. President, It is not that we think that you broke any laws. It is that you didn’t have to, that we think is strange.”

It is not That I Hate Reboots, I Just Want a New Story

It has been said that there are no original stories. There is no story that is not a derivation of some other story that has been told at least a hundred times before. This is probably true, but there are ways to take classic stories and make them new, and that is ok. Romeo and Juliet is a prime example of this. It is likely the retelling of a much older story, but then you have West Side story, that is very obviously Romeo and Juliet retold in a very new way. And that is ok.

Warning, this is where I go off the rails
and
things I say from here on out might be considered spoilers


You have been warned!

What I don’t like is the current trend in movies to simple take an old story and rewrite it with more action and different characters, that capitalize on the TWAK_Movie_Poster_nostalgia of the old version to get people in the seats to see the new one.

Now because I have not actually seen it, and only heard rumors, I don’t know that it is true, but I have heard that the new Star Trek Movie is a reboot of the Khan Story. If this is the case it will make me very, very sad.

WHY?

Well here is the thing, in a universe as big as the Star Trek Universe, really any universe that has as much room to play in like that, why would you retell a story. I was ok with them starting the time line over again so they didn’t have to stick with Star Trek Canon. But if the time line is started over again, why are they telling stories that happened in the other time line? Why not create brand new stories. Why would you just take the old stories and rehash them. I mean basically you have this whole huge universe that you have developed before you, you don’t have to follow the old rules because you already used the cheat code of resetting the time line, why would you go back to the old stories? I just don’t get it.

transformers_the _moviegi-joeThen there are the reboots of things like GI-Joe and Transformers. Why would you bother with those. I mean we all know the story of how the Transformers came to earth and save us from the Decepticons. It was not that great of a story the first time. Yes, good when you are 5-12 but now when you look back… are we all just so eager to relive our childhood that we can’t move forward? And because the writing was not that good last time and there as not enough sex in the old ones we had to add that? Can’t we just look at new properties that have not already had their chance on the big and even some times the small screen? I guess that is what bugs me most. There are so many great stories out there that we finally have the technology to show in a great way on the big screen, why are we retelling stories that we have already seen before?

USS_Enterprise-B_in_drydockUSS_Enterprise-CHow about this, instead of retelling the Khan story why not skip the whole Nexus thing where Kirk died in such an unsatisfactory way, and give him a death we can be proud of, and then pick up with other characters in the Star Trek universe? Enterprise_NX-01Uss_Enterprise-J,_dorsal_viewI mean there were two other Enterprises between Kirk’s Day and Picard’s day, that we have only vague outlines of what happened to them, there are some prime stomping grounds for a new run at the Star Trek universe. And there are More Enterprises between the end of Picard’s timeline and The time when the temporal cold war mentioned in “Enterprise” erupts into a full scale war. You could pick any of those, and have a lot of fun with them. Don’t forget that they call it Starfleet for a reason. The Enterprise was not the only ship. Doth Voyager and DS9 proved that you could have a Star Trek Franchise without the Enterprise and still tell a good story and have the fans like it. Why did they feel like they had to retell part of that story?

Updated
I have been thinking about this a lot. There are so many great stories already told in the Star Trek Universe that would be great to flesh out things that you only ever got hints at. One of those is the story of the Enterprise C (NCC-1710-C) from Yesterday’s Enterprise That Enterprise, has a great story. A heroes sacrifice at the end, but there has got to be more to the ship’s history. If they want to Tell a continuing journey, the could build up to that point. They could also have a great way of bringing the TNG fans in by having a couple of cameos by TNG actors in much the same may they did with Leonard Nimoy for the TOS fans. That would have been ok I suppose. If you had to retell a story, why not tell one that needed some fleshing out not one that everyone already knows, and can quote from memory?

Yes this is still bothering me. Yes, I will write a review of the movie once I have seen it and I will do my very best to be fair, but right now I am just annoyed.

Updated Again

I did finally work up the courage to go see the New Star Trek movie. Here is my review of it

Some Changes – Life Gets In the way

Update Below
Could Not complete

 

I am going to try to keep this short.

Right now, jeffhite.com is down. It is not just my site, but the entire host. I have a great host. I really like what he is doing and the service I have gotten from them. The problem is that he is kind of a one man show. I honestly can’t complain about the hosting that his has given me over the last year, and I will recommend him to anyone who asks.

But like any one man show, life happens. I, especially with the year I have had, understand that. Having said that I kind of need to have a host for my site. So this week I will be working on that. The good news is that I do have decent backups, and once the other host comes back up I will be able to recover the rest of what I don’t have backups for.

I the mean time things are going to be here. This site will eventually redirect to the new site. I am sorry for the inconvenience. I will make sure that all the links to A Method to the Madness: A Guide to the Super Evil are back up today.

Thank you all for your support.

– Jeff
***UPDATE***
I have made it official, I have moved to a new host, (yes I am letting wordpress host the site, really it seemed easiest) The new URL is http://jeffreyhite.com Three extra letters, but since I could not transfer the old url (again host being down) I had to get the new URL. Eventually I hope to transfer the old URL over here so no matter which one you use, it will get you here. Thanks for all your continued support.

How I meet Their Mother – A Date with my Wife

Picture 37I don’t get out a lot. Wait, that didn’t come out right. I don’t get to go out on dates with my wife a lot. It has become a lot easier in the last couple of years . A lot of that has to do with our wonderful oldest son, who at 15 does a pretty good job watching his younger siblings while his parents sneak out of the house for a while.

So on Sunday we went to an evening Mass at one of our local Parishes. (As a side note I am very happy this Mass exists since it gave us a chance to go to Mass together, even though I had to work this week. Thank you to the folks at Our Lady of Mercy for giving us this option.) After which we went out to dinner at Red Lobster with a gift card I got from my employer.

Normally I would not mention the restaurant but it plays an important part in this story. On the ride between Mass and dinner my lovely bride and I had the discussion, of where we would like to go. The gift card we were given was for the parent company of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and a few others, so we had some choices. We finally came to a conclusion when she said, “let’s do Red Lobster, it has been a long time since we have been there.” we rode a long in the relative quiet of the car for a little while as decision made we headed toward dinner.

The silence was broken when I said,

“You know, I think the last time we when to Red Lobster you threw up in my car.” A moment of thoughtful silence
“Wow, that date was before child #1, and I have thrown up so many time since then that I had forgotten about that.”
“Well I am glad we are now measuring time in numbers of times you have thrown up.”

Our conversation continued in the silliness for a while, but eventually lead us to a discussion of how we met and our feelings around that time.

Back when I looked like this,—->piza<—– and yes I am in this picture but I am not going to tell you which one, I met my wife. Techically this picture was taken after I met her but more on that in a few moments. Needless to say, it was a long time ago and very far away.

We got to talking about how we felt about each other in the time between when we met and when we actually started dating. It was a unique time in my life. We had lived in Germany for a number of years and knew that this was likely the last year we would be there so we were trying to cram as much as we could into it as possible, doing as many of the exciting things as we could. Clouded by time when I think back to when we lived there much of what I remember was that year.

That year was also the year that my wife moved to town. I have always maintained that the moment I met her I knew I wanted to be with her. And that really is mostly true, but as we talked about it, I discovered something a little bit different. Slightly Paraphrased:

Me: In October Andy suggest that we should maybe date.
My Wife: I wasn’t ready then.
Me: I know neither was I.
MW: You should not date someone unless you can see yourself married to them, and I could not see that in you yet.
Me: Right. By November though, I was pretty sure.
MW: [smile remembering it]
Me: and by The Christmas concert [smiling remembering the cookie that she had given me that I never ate because could eat it and have it too.] I knew for sure and I was just trying to figure out how to reconcile it with the rest of my life. And by the time I went to Italy I realized I wished I had brought you instead of my other friends
MW: That probably would not have gone over well with my Dad.

The point is that looking back on it, I remember thinking that I knew as soon as I met her, but really it wasn’t until later that I really understood what spending the rest of my life with her really meant. Now (22+ years from that Christmas concert) I can honestly say that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but it was the best misunderstood decision that I ever made.

Visiting The Magi

100_3839-1024x768When I was much younger than I am today, I had the wonderful opportunity to live in Germany. At the time I didn’t realize how lucky was. I mean how many times can you bee dragged down to the Rhine river and look at castles. At least that is what I thought at the time. When I look back on it now I can’t imagine that I felt that way.

As I said I got to see a great many wonderful things. Among those was the Cathedral in Koln. As a child I only saw it once. I have since been back there and seen it again, but it did not change the way that I saw it. You know that feeling when you see something big as a child and then see it again when you are older and it does not look so big? That was not the case with this Cathedral, if anything it looked bigger and more impressive to me. And made me feel smaller.100_3468

Since the Lutheran Movement took hold in Germany, many of the large Cathedrals are not Catholic, this does not by any mean lessen their impressiveness, But it does change the way I see them. the Koln Cathedral is one of the largest in the world. It is also the seat of the Catholic Church in Germany. And as I said very impressive. Beyond being impressive for it’s size, it is impressive for something else. 100_3839-1024x768

100_3845-1024x768
In that gold case in the center of the Altar are the relics of the three Magi. I know the pictures are terrible, the camera I was using was old, and always managed to focus on the wrong things. Oh well. The point is that they are here, and I wanted to share them with you.

People Going To Space

When I was a kid I wanted to do a lot of things, but chief among them was being an astronaut. My brother and I even build our own spaceship. We had big plans, we were going to Venus, we would plant trees and make it breathable in a few years. We at least knew enough that we needed something to convert the Carbon dioxide, but we were missing a few other facts, like a temperature of 460 C.

Image Credit: NASA
Image Credit: NASA
This first attempt obviously a bit amateurish, but give me a break we were only 8 and 6 at the time. By the way that is me in the front, he is in the “engineering spaces” in the back. You can just see him holding on to the brake. The ship was built from scrap parts that were laying around my the yard as my uncle build his house, where we spent a lot of weekends that summer. It was the early 80’s we had big imaginations.
100_4386 Skip ahead to the present. I still don’t see Star Fleet Headquarters on the shore here, but at least we have made some progress. Since then and now we have had a pretty successful shuttle program, that while it didn’t get us to any new planets or cool Venus down enough that my brother and I could plant those trees, it did teach us a lot about living and working in space. There were some bumps in the road, but as the Star Trek – Enterprise theme song so ably puts it, nothings going to hold me down. It says a lot of other things but that is the one I want to take away from this.
This past year we saw some incredible steps toward finally getting into space. The private companies, SpaceX and Virgin Galatic have made some impressive progress toward normal space travel, Notably with the dragon space craft docking with the international space station and the their new reusable rocket system. Again not traveling to other planet but a big step. This past year NASA also put on one of the greatest shows with their Curiosity rover, Landing on Mars.
It has been a great year for space travel. Here is looking forward to another very exciting year.

The Writing

Picture 35

It has been a while since I have talked about where I am in my writing. Since November I haven’t been writing. That is not 100% true, but close enough to it that we’ll just call it good.

When November 6th hit it was like a ton of bricks, and since then I have not been able to write much of anything. Really I have had a hard time getting into any of the projects that I was very excited about before that. But, I did promise myself that I would not stew in my own juices forever.

January was my target date for getting back on the horse, and the first thing to do is a good clean rewrite of an article that is long over due. After that I am going to slowly climb back into the project that was my NaNoWriMo novel this year, and hopefully have a first draft of that finished by spring.

In the mean time I hope to get at least one more story in each of the other universes (Cradle and Rocks and Stones) that I have started out, with any luck one of the universes will be developed enough to have a novel length work ready by NaNoWriMo next year so that I can use that as my project.

So that is it. That is the plan for them moment. Nothing really set in stone, I am going to try (since it is the beginning of the year) to set a goal of writing a little each day but I am not even going to set that in stone because I know how well that has worked in the past.

Dragon Captured by ISS

NASA vs SpaceX

Dragon Captured by ISSIn the interest of full disclosure here, I want to be an astronaut when I grow up. So if anyone from NASA is reading this, hey I love you guys, and I really would be a great astronaut.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way. Oh wait. Where is that picture? I have it here somewhere. One more for the NASA guys… It is of me and my little brother in our home made space ship. We had great plans back then.

But what does that have to do with NASA and SpaceX? Simple, one word Drive. What do I mean by that? Well that is a bit more complicated.

Let’s take for example what it takes to make what just happened the other day happen. I don’t know about the rest of you but I was up at O’dark-thirty watching Dragon make it’s final approach to the ISS, and I watched until I had to go to work, and then I watch the RSS fed. It was an amazing thing for the first private craft to dock with the ISS, but to me it is that any craft can dock with any other in orbit. The Math and the Physics involved to make that happen are just mind boggling, and I think that if more people understood how really hard it was more people would get excited by it.Gemini8 and agenda spacecraft. The first docking of man made objects in space It takes people that are incredibly driven and passionate about something to be willing to spend the the amount of time that it takes to learn this and then sink more time and money and effort into applying that knowledge to make something like this happen.

Just an interesting note. In Gene Krantz’s book Failure is not an Option one of the things that he says is that during the Mercury and Gemini missions the “big board” as actually run by people standing behind it reading off ticker tapes and moving the wooden cutouts of the ship across the board. That is the drive I am talking about.

I think that NASA and the United States in general have lost that drive. The willingness to make it happen so to speak. Let me use a couple more images to show you want I mean. The first three are of the Iconic NASA Mission control.
This next shot if of the SpaceX mission control.

It might not be immediately obvious what I am talking about here so let me explain. The look of the NASA control room has not changed since the early days. Sure you could argue that you use what works, and they have updated the systems behind those big blue desks. But it is more the people and what they are doing. Look at the SpaceX picture again. Most of those people are younger, and they are using all off the shelf equipment. Look at the NASA pictures again. Some of those people look like they have been there since the Mercury missions. Before you get all excited and say there is something to be said for experience. I agree with you. But it is obvious from these images that there is an institution here. NASA is a dinosaur. They have not changed, they have not kept up with the times, and while there is something to be said for experience, there is also something to be said for being young and trying something new, and being willing to take some risks.

Will it work? Well there are some advantages to being a cooperation young smart and nimble. First you can hire anyone, from anywhere around the world who has that drive, that passion you are not limited to working with people from your country or going the miles of red tape to hire someone from outside the country. Have you ever tried to get a government job at any level? You can do things quickly. They are probably not bogged down in in processes, and procedures and at this stage in the game they probably make changes rather quickly.

There are also pretty big advantages to being part of a government. There are things that a government agency like NASA, will have access to that a smaller company would not, Launch facilities for example, or the agencies that control things like the ability to launch something into space. Maybe in the future if more corporations become space capable those agencies will become more available but at the moment that is a sever disadvantage. Right now if they want to launch NASA and Government organizations like like it, have the only facilities in town, and those facilities are very tightly controlled.

Another advantage is national pride. One of the factors that put us on the Moon in the first place was a national pride to make it happen. If the United states or some other countries National space agency manages to capture that again, they could very well leap out in front again drive the space community to the first colonies on the Moon and Mars.

So who comes out on top from this? The answer is everyone. Competition might be the greatest motivator ever. At least part of the reason we made it the moon first is competition, who could plant their flag in the soil on the moon first. In a world where nations are sharing more, if one makes a huge leap in technology, they are going to share it. And A space capable cooperation, might make such a leap in technology and it will give them the edge for a while, but one thing about space flight is that it is expensive. If they make a leap in technology, just being able to be the first ones to do something will only put so much money back in the budget, and selling that technology to the competition will make a lot more financial sense.

In the end, the entire human race is better because of this. The number of things that will come from further space exploration that will benefit mankind will far out weigh any negatives that might come from the rivalry that may or may not exist between companies like SpaceX and Virgil Galactic and Agencies like NASA and the Russian Space Agency. This is a win for the human race.

images of the dragon spacecraft and Kennedy Space Center are from http://nasa.gov. The Image of the SpaceX “Mission Control” is from the LA Times article entitled SpaceX’s mission ends with a splashdown in the Pacific found here: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-spacex-dragon-splashdown-20120530,0,702546.story

How to get your wife pregnant

I think I have finally figured out the mystery. So guys pay attention. Now understand this is second hand knowledge but it makes as much sense as anything else I have heard.

The other day one of my wife’s friends said she saw us holding hands and looking sweet. Then commented, “I bet I am going to get an e-mail saying she is pregnant soon.”

Sure enough my wife is pregnant. So now we know what causes that.

Holding hands and looking sweet.

so all you guys be warned.

Now I can answer the question, “you know what causes that right?”

20120427-202840.jpg

See the Annoucment at Talking Hites

Please see the announcement about last weeks Podcast at Talking Hites