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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Why am I still a Cowboys Fan?

I've followed the Dallas Cowboys since forever. Don Meredith was QB, All American from UNM Don Perkins was RB. Suffered BS (Before Stauback) when Tom Landry would alternate QB's with each possession between Stauback and Morton. Hoping beyond hope that Danny White would somehow figure a way to win the conference championship game and make it to the Super Bowl, only to be crushed time and again. The agony has always been worse than the ecstasy.
Wife and I timed her contractions when she went into labor with our daughter while watching the Pokes lose a game the last year Landry was coach.
 Ah the glory days of Super Bowl victories, the despair of Super Bowl losses, but at least they went to the playoffs, won more than they lost and if they had a bad year there was always the Denver Broncos to fall back on especially with Elway.
Since Aikman and company, what a great team they had for a few years, there's been nothing worth rooting for, but still every game the adrenaline ramps up, I hold my breath on important plays and hope with futile hope that Romo will not get intercepted in the last minutes of a game or the center won't hike the ball over his head, or a wide open receiver drops the ball in the end zone or when they do catch the game winning touchdown at the last second a ref drops a yellow flag.
I'm sure everyone who has spent 50 or more years following a beloved team has similar feelings because all teams have their good years and bad years.
I really wonder about Detroit fans when their team has never been to the Super Bowl. Come to think of it, have the Jags and Panthers ever gone to the big game? It must gall Cleveland fans that the team they rooted for that never made it to the Super Bowl moves to Baltimore and has won two.
As I said I follow the Broncos, yell and scream when they score or get intercepted, but I don't get the adrenaline rush in their games like I do with the Cowboys it's just not the same.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Maximum Frustration

I sent the manuscript and cover to Lithexcel on Tuesday expecting to have ten books in hand by now. They haven't even given me a quote yet and aren't returning my calls. Guess I'll need to find another printer.
Smashwords has accepted the manuscript, but not the cover. This means the book will be on their site, but won't go out on their list to other companies like I-books or Nook. They want the picture to be 1400 pixels in width and 1700 pixels in height. Using Publisher I can get my front cover to 1000 pixels in width and 1350 in height. That's 24" in height and 17" in width, what the fuck to they want a wall size painting?
They recommended using a free picture program named Gimp. I downloaded it. Actually got the dimensions they want, but can't size the picture to the frame. Oh the program is free, but if you want to figure it out Amazon sells about five books starting at 25 bucks to 30 bucks.
I've removed the book from SW.
Speaking of Amazon, they at least have a cover maker program, but you use it while publishing and you can't save the picture or download the program. Amazon has the KDP select where their members on Prime can borrow a book for free every month. If you put your book up for this you can't be e-published anywhere else, for three months.

Lithexcel finally got back to me and I'll have the first ten books Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fan Plan Meteor Strike Published

 Today I sent Fan Plan Meteor Strike to the printer and I should have the hard copy in hand by the end of the week. I've e-published it on Smashwords and it is available now for a mere ninety-nine cents until Monday October 21 when I will raise the price of the e-book to $1.99 and e-publish on Amazon at the same price, but it will be available on Kindle Direct Publishing so those who are members of Amazon Prime can borrow the book for free.The paper and ink book will sell for $10.00 each. The beauty of doing my own publishing is that I can retail the books for what would be my cost through Create Space and other print-on-demand companies. Those companies also insist that e-books sell at paper and ink book prices.
I need to write the second book in the trilogy Fan Plan Next Generation, edit Human Sacrifices and Vander's Magic Carpet to publish them in paper and ink before finishing the trilogy with Fan Plan The Count Down. Methinks there is much work to be done.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Zebra Balloon

It's that time of year again in Albuquerque. Our international balloon fiesta. We stopped braving the crowds after our kids became adults and leave it to them to take the grandkids. Where I work is very close to the park and it's easier to watch from there. Here's a video of a zebra balloon that flew overheard Saturday.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

My obligatory Breaking Bad post

Today in the NY Times there's an obituary of the show. It finished with these words:

But the show never fully spelled out why Walt broke away from Gretchen and Elliott in the first place.
There were hints throughout the series. On several occasions, Walt accused them of cheating him out of his share; that bitterness seemingly helped steer him into his life of crime. But it wasn’t clear that his version was correct — in an episode where they confront each other at a restaurant, Gretchen said that Walt left her without any explanation. And the true story never came out.
“Breaking Bad” brilliantly tracked Walt’s transformation from teacher to criminal mastermind. But it’s still a mystery why that talented chemist turned his back on fame and fortune and became a humble high school chemistry teacher.
That is one secret Walter White took to the grave.
Here's my two cents worth on the descent of Walter White brilliant scientist to zombie science teacher. To a certain degree the first year of the show is the anti-Mr. Holland's Opus. There's more to being a teacher than getting a paycheck, Walt never understood that.
  1. Jessie tries to talk Walt into quitting reminding him that in the beginning all he wanted to make was 270k to see is family comfortable after he's gone. They now have millions so why keep going. Walt tells him that he sold his shares in Gray Matter for a couple of months rent before it got big and that GM is now worth 27.5 Billion dollars, he checks on it. Knowing what he could have had and threw it away has eaten at his soul all his life from that time on.
  2. When Walt meets with Gretchen and tries to get her to say they are paying for his treatment without explanation, this is where she says he left without explanation. Here it takes a little reading between the lines. Walt is verbally abusive to her. There was a reason he left and sold out. My reading is he suspected her of having an affair with Elliot, but wouldn't accuse her of it directly. The fact that Gretchen and Elliot then get married and go on to live on Mount Olympus reinforces his suspicion and animosity. It explains also why he won't take their guilt money or sympathy. Pride goeth before a fall, and it certainly applies with Walt in the first season.
  3. A quick scene where Walt and Skyler are looking at buying the house. She's pregnant with Walt Jr., he's working at Sandia Labs, which is much better pay than teaching. He wants a bigger house, she's conservative and wants to go small and get a bigger house later.
  4. The explanation for his lung cancer is that it came from his work at a lab, I think they said Los Alamos, but the other scene it was Sandia Labs. Could have been both or they forgot to have a continuity check between episodes. Reading into this, Skyler may have nagged Walter into leaving the labs due to the radiation he was working with, though it was too late. Skyler took a man capable of being a master of the universe and turned him into Harvey Milktoast. Walt was a brilliant mind forced to wander in the wilderness of mediocrity for most of his life. 
  5. Face it Walter is whipped the whole series, nothing says this louder than after Jessie pours gasoline on their carpet and he's frantic to have it cleaned up before she gets home when they have a storage shed with over 80 millions dollars. Now that is one whipped man!
  6. I'm not dissing Skyler, she's right. All that money made them live in fear, it gets Hank killed, she's terrorized by masked men, they become destitute and Walt is on the run finally dying in a shoot out.
  7. Skyler loved Hank the school teacher and fights his every attempt to break out of the mold she forced him into. Hank hated his life and when he knew his days were numbered he equated love with money only his pride wouldn't let  him accept Elliot and Gretchen's offer, and chose to make it outside the law. The tragedy of living outside the law is you lose the protection of the law.
  8. The ascent of Walter White from zombie science teacher to super meth cook was his death sentence. He finally admits it in the last episode that he did all of it for selfish reasons. Breaking the law and living in fear made him feel alive. Maybe taking a ride on a bull named Fu Mancu would have been better.