Monthly Archives: September 2017

A Hot Beverage

How about a spicy soda?

I was daydreaming, again, and came up with these, what do you think? (my lame Photoshop skills at work…)

Cap Cola

Which uses capsaicin — the same chemical in chilies or peppers that make them hot.
“A volcano in your mouth”


Pepper Pop


Which uses piperine — the chemical in black pepper.
“A spicy dance in your mouth”


Waz’ UP soda

That usesĀ  allyl isothiocyanate from the Wasabia Japonica,
“A punch in the mouth”



And lastly (no image)

Ginger SNAP Soda: with gingerols from, well, ginger root of course.


Courteous Email Habits

If someone you know well, a close friend or family member, sends you an email do you reply? Answer truthfully now.

Do you reply every time? When to you shine them on? Do you ever ignore requests?

“Hey Reginald, could you read this bit and tell me what you think? I’m curious about this website, what do you think? I’m asking all my close associates, what do you think about me moving to New Zealand? Do you have any recommendations for the type of car I should buy?”

What I’m referring to are questions which might be solicitations for your opinion, or recommendations. Or just broad questions regarding what you may or may not know anything about.

Do you answer them?

Me? I always reply. Even if that reply is a “Received — will take a look and reply if I can contribute.”

Others? Well, that’s the prompt for this essay. I’ve been looking for beta readers for various writings of mine. Recently, when I’ve offered the pieces to those I’m sure would be courteous enough to at least reply — nothing. Silence.

What is wrong with you people? Has the world taken the concept of email and turned it into junkmail? Just because email has the word MAIL in it doesn’t automatically mean you treat receipts as trash if you don’t care for the subject matter.

Email is more like a single duplex communication channel. You know, a Walkie-Talkie.

“Reginald, come in Reginald. Over.”


“WTF Reggie! I know you’re there. I know your radio is turned on. Why won’t you reply? You’re still my brother, cousin, close friend aren’t you?”

Do you treat email like a discard-able communication medium? Like, most email, even from friends and relatives, is junk, trash you can cast into the rubbish bin?



Sheesh, Capitalists!

“Here’s What Stocks You Want to Own in the Event of a War With North Korea”

What a load of aristocratic horse hockey! Cramer’s TheStreet is trying to tell you “Hey, here’s how to make money on the up coming end-of-the-world — get in now while you still have air to breathe!”

  • Do these people even realize how like human scum they are?
  • Is there a more despicable slice of humanity than capitalists?
  • Do capitalists even have souls?
  • What do you call 1,000,000 capitalists at the bottom of the sea?
    A good start. (an oldie but tasteless joke).
  • Are there conscientiousness capitalists? I guess… I’ve never met any. They “say” they are but most likely would read an article like that and, if it made sense, take financial advantage of the information.
  • Do I despise capitalists? No. Only those who own capital.


Success teaches nothing

Success teaches nothing. Only failure provides for learnable lessons.

You are a stock market neophyte. You pick five stocks from the NASDAQ. Each one doubles in a month. You sell them, doubling your money.

Did you learn anything?

You’ve never skied. You ride to the top of the lift, get off, strap on your skies and push off making it to the bottom in a single go.

Did you learn anything?

Your father is a Mob boss. He has lieutenants over for dinner. You bake a cake. You’ve never baked a cake before. You forget the flavoring. Nobody complains.

Did you learn anything?

You’re hired to sell steel for an iron mfg company. A hurricane takes out the only competition. You sell more steel than the company has ever sold.

Did you learn anything?

Enough already! Sheesh, we get the point. Success through luck teaches nothing. Only failure, adjustment, and retry serves to teach. The 1001 ways how NOT to make a lightbulb. The School of HarkKnocks. The quitters never win and winners never quit.

Of course, eventually, when you are successful, and you succeed, the fact that you failed often and spectacularly may have been forgotten or ignored or even suppressed. And that’s sad. Perhaps we should cheer the losers, the failures, those resolute folk who fail, learn from their failure, and still strive to succeed. Can you imagine booing the easy winners?

Would you rather be lucky or tenacious?


Cigarettes and whiskey

Cigarettes and whiskey and wild, wild women, they’ll drive you crazy, they’ll drive you insane.
Cigarettes and whiskey and wild, wild women, they’ll drive you crazy, they’ll drive you insane.

Plan or Peregrinate

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

From this source:

If you read that (and I suggest you do, but just skim the droll languages part in the middle) you’ll find that that is all Tolkien wrote for years before he: drew a map (Thror’s Map) and then wrote the story The Hobbit.

It would appear that Tolkien both wandered while writing, and also plotted out a plot. He did both, over time, weaving an expansive experience of events, landscapes and peoples.

I point this out as many people might believe works like LOTR were planned, designed, architected. It turns out they weren’t (or it wasn’t, and I expect many others were not either).

The idea here is that one must do both, plan and rove, outline and wander. To think that you could write an entire cogent, cohesive story without any form of deliberation is hubris indeed; bumbling along until the end when voila — masterpiece. But in opposition, to adhere to a strict structure A, A.1, A.1.i, A.1.i.a… Ugh! What a bore. Where’s the novelty in that? Where’s the exploration, the discovery?

So you need both.

One way to go about getting both would be to wander, yes, through the telling of your story, discovering the plot, as it were, but to do so in an extended timeline. Write a chapter or three, and then let them sit, marinate, develop in your mind. That way when you come back, a time later, you will have evaluated what you’ve already written, but also dreamed of intrigue or complications, new characters or destinations, and wondered how you were now going to weave these into your story… So you have to then revise what you’ve written early on, to integrate your new plot twists which now allows your mind to develop a larger more expansive storyscape.

I wrote a piece here about Write is War. Writing is strategy and tactics. You have to have both to win. I think Tolkien waged his writing war well. In the end, if you write something that sells, I think you too will have learned that you have to plan AND peregrinate (meander).

Other comments from that letter above I found intriguing…

“I wrote the Trilogy as a personal satisfaction, driven to it by the scarcity of literature of the sort that I wanted to read”

“…find ‘interpretations’ quite amusing; even those that I might make myself, which are mostly post scriptum: I had very little particular, conscious, intellectual, intention in mind at any point*”

“In any case if you want to write a tale of this sort you must consult your roots, and a man of the North-west of the Old World will set his heart and the action of his tale in an imaginary world of that air, and that situation : with the Shoreless Sea of his innumerable ancestors to the West, and the endless lands (out of which enemies mostly come) to the East.”

“Anyway I myself saw the value of Hobbits, in putting earth under the feet of ‘romance’, and in providing subjects for ‘ennoblement’ and heroes more praiseworthy than the professionals”

“So the essential Quest started at once.”

“But I met a lot of things on the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the comer at the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than had Frodo.”


Cascadian temblor – soon?

NASA released a rather interesting video of the last 15 years of recorded earthquake activity on the planet.

At the end of it you’ll see a set of stills. These are all quakes, 6.5 and greater and then 8.0 and greater. Here’s the last of these images:


Pretty startling that all around the “Ring of Fire” (sounds Tolkienian no?) that the west coast of North America is the one place where 8.0+ temblors have not occurred.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, the Pacific Northwest has not had a BigOne since January of 1700. The Juan de Fuca tectonic plate boundary and the Cascadian subduction zone are areas which “stick” for hundreds of years (300-600) and the release, quickly and dramatically. The quake in 1700 was not recorded as no Europeans either were there or survived. But the tsunami it produced was felt and recorded in Japan. It’s a fascinating story of how the geologists figured out the northwest was a location for earthquakes.

But suffice to say, every year, we’re getting closer and closer to the BigOne.

Soon? Yeah, maybe.