Sunday, 7 May 2017

Boat Battles, Boyhood and Being Busy

The word of the week is auspicious.

May 1 – Living Long

If you were immortal, how long would you survive?

It's interesting question, one that many people don't consider when discussing immortality and its ramifications. The gist is: if people were unable to die by natural means( disease, old age, etc. )but only by accident, how long would the average person live?

According to results of the simulation in the chart above, the average person would survive 8 1/2 thousand years! Of course, that's a simplified model, which only accounts for fatalities deriving from fire, auto accidents were firearms and not the complete gamut of ways one can depart this level of existence. You can find more information about the full simulation that was run here.

Still, it's an interesting thought exercise. I just finished watching The Last Witchhunter this week( it took me a while to watch in pieces every day )which stars Vin Diesel as an immortal witch-hunting warrior who apparently hasn't learned a whole heck of a lot in his many centuries of life. That always bothers me, as you'd think that someone who has all eternity might transcend their mortality( at least mentally )given enough time to learn about the universe... and themselves.

Something to think about.

May 2 – Happiness

Are you happy?

For many years, I asked myself the same question fairly regularly, and got different answers every time: sort of, kinda, not today and the most common: no.

Things have changed in the last few years, I'm happy to say( see what I did there? )and for the better. While I'm still having my rough spots, I am better able now to recognize how and why they're occurring... and so be able to do something about them before things get too out of hand.

If you're having trouble maintaining your Happy, here's a little list to help:

There's a far more detailed, larger image about how the state of happiness here, which I highly recommend viewing.

For me, helping others and finding my Flow when writing are the things that most quickly bring me back to balance, at least when my girlfriend's not around; her presence always brings a smile to my face and peace to my troubles immediately.

May 3 – Not Happiness

I had to make a hard decision this week: I'm going to be returning my new phone, even though I love almost everything about it and the price was more than fair.

Sadly, it's been rebooting randomly and the charger's gone wonky...

It's pretty, fast, cheap... and somewhat buggy.

While I think I've managed to remedy the reboot issue by turning off some 'deep sleep' features, there's not much I can do about the charger... And that also raises the issue of quality control levels: what else will go wrong in the next little while?

As I was thinking that troubling thought this week, I also came across this post, which suggests that the phone's low price is due to the fact that manufacturer 'dumped' it instead of releasing it officially due to hardware problems:

Add this to Things I Hadn't Considered...

Fortunately, I received a positive response from BangGood today, that they would provide me with a full refund as well as the cost of shipping the phone back to them. This is unusual, as most China-based online sellers will not reimburse shipping costs, which is often a dealbreaker for folks in North America wanting to return items when in assured sending costs run around $60-75 USD.

So, I'm returning the phone, and going back to my wonky OnePlus One for now. Seeing as I'm not using the phone as a phone on a daily basis, sitting at my desk, it's not as huge issue as it would be if I was constantly on the move, so that's a plus. However, I'm just going to grit my teeth and wait until some of the newer phones to market later in the year and see what I can pick up around Christmas or in the new year, depending on when market prices start to adjust themselves.

I tried, and I'd be foolish not to take a full refund offer for something that could fail sooner rather than later, leaving me with useless hardware and a $260 hole in my wallet.

May 4 – Love Living Locally!

Happy May The Fourth! How I wish today was an official holiday...

All the same, living in this city, especially at this time of year when the grass is green, the plants are all blooming and the weather is hinting at full-blown Nice Outside, is just like being on holiday all year.

The video below gives you an idea of why this is so wonderful to live in: on top of the wonderful weather almost year-round, it's just beautiful everywhere you look:

May 5 – Freedom

I do love my days off, like today, which I can spend however I wish!

Part of that's of course is writing this month, but today I also put in a little time getting my model PT-109 torpedo boat ready for this weekend.

Well, at least it floats...

I've been having some trouble with the props / propulsion system: the battery as I have are not powerful enough, causing the props to stutter at various speeds, and I think I might've reattached a prop backwards after greasing it last time.

Thankfully, the president of the local model boat club is very generous, and invited me over to his place this afternoon for some maintenance work on the boat. His basement was a magnificent treasure trove of modeling magnificence, containing dozens of boats and hundreds of different train cars, as well as all the supporting paraphernalia that comes from decades of working in both hobbies.

We managed to get my boat running smoothly by testing it with more powerful batteries, which I happen to have on order but haven't arrived yet. We also third out which prop was reversed and fixed it, so I should be ready now for this weekend, when the local Victoria model boat society is holding their annual Battle Of The Atlantic Memorial event - it should be a whole lot of fun!

May 6 – Sidney Complete

My lady and I went to Sidney this morning. We were there for the third and final session of Ben Coles' writing seminars, with today's being entitled 'Do Authors Need Professional Help?' which I appreciated on several levels. It was another two hours of excellent information, which again validated my own research into the modern book business in many ways, telling me that I have a good grasp of how things work. It also told me that my aim should be to be traditionally published, with a major company and most likely through an agent to protect my work from being undersold initially, as can happen with writers who don't know how to get a good deal from a publisher.

As we were still fairly full from the huge breakfast we had at The Roost, we headed back into Victoria and spent the afternoon on a patio at Bubby's Kitchen enjoying the gorgeous sunshine: beer and chocolate cake made it perfect.

I spent part of the evening trying again to get the crowdfunded Lockitron that arrived this week to work. That's right: I decided not to wait another 6-8 months for the other 2 parts( Internet Bridge and lock keyway )to arrive, but rather went in search of( and amazingly found! )an original Lockitron for a mere $75 on eBay - yay!

So far, I've managed to get it talking to my home network, but it just doesn't want to speak to the Lockitron app on my phone( either of them )which will enable it to actually perform various functions. I'll keep working on it though; it's better to keep trying now and then instead of just staring at the newer version sitting on my shelf.

May 7 – Toys and Naval Battles!

The 19th Annual Ultimate Toy Fair was happening today at a local arena!

My lady and I purchased inexpensive earlybird tickets so we could get in the doors as soon as it opened at 8 AM, to beat the inevitable crowds:

Though I wasn't expecting to do more than a bit of nostalgic looking, within only a few minutes, I managed to spot something worth getting - well, 2 somethings:

A VAMP( missing steering wheel )and a complete Whirlind!

We both had a nice time wandering around the aisles, pointing things out to each other and reliving fond childhood memories kindled by the sight of plastic toys in various states of disrepair. It was the perfect size show, as we had finished thoroughly checking everything out by the time 9 AM arrived in the crowds started to get unnavigable, so we headed out, as we were due elsewhere:

The Harrison Yacht Pond, and the annual Battle Of The Atlantic!

It was a perfect day to be out at the pond: sunny and slightly cool, but with no wind to ruffle the surface of the water, which was shining like clear glass. It made for incredible pictures, like these:

Just some of the great pictures that today's weather allowed...

We spent several hours enjoying ourselves, though I wasn't able to get my boat out immediately as someone else was using the same radio channel; ironic, since we were the only two people with old-style controllers. Once I did get my boat in the water, I unfortunately discover that one of the screws clamping down the starboard prop shaft was stripped, and so the boat stuttered through the water as the propeller received little to no power. It was rather disappointing, but it's something I can probably fix for next to nothing, but it will cost me time.

To top the day off, after a nice lunch at The Bent Mast in James Bay, my girlfriend and I played a new boardgame acquisition: the now-rare Thunder Road! I actually own a copy, but the pieces are lost somewhere in my storage tubs, so I was thrilled to find a copy for sale locally for 1/4 of what they're going for on eBay, if you can find them, plus shipping - score!

I *love* this game... 

It's a quick game, where the object is simple: just have the last surviving vehicle on the road, which spans two long boards. Each player gets three vehicles of different strength, plus an attack chopper, with both combat and will been resolved by the role of six-sided dice. Whenever any vehicle reaches the edge of the second board, any vehicles remaining on the first board are removed, and then the road is 'extended' by placing the first board in front of the second, and so on until the game is resolved. We managed to play three games in about half an hour, and each one was different depending on our luck and strategies. It was just as enjoyable as I remember and I'm sure we will play it regularly.

I'm doing better every week these days, eating full meals and walking an average of 10K steps a day, without more than the occasional twinge in my left foot or right leg. I'm still quite weak when it comes to my core muscles however, as I've noticed with their intermittent soreness day-to-day depending on how I set / for how long, but that's something I can manage and will likely go away once I'm back to exercising as well as swimming regularly. Here's to a healthy rest of the year!