Friday, July 13, 2018

Something Science Fiction.

Dear Reader,

I took a break from the novel I'm writing to whip this up. Consider it a thank you for sticking with me. As Monty Python says, And Now For Something Entirely Different:

~*~*~*~*~*~

As she walked down the center of the corridor, Angel's boots clanked against the grid marked metal. If there were dust on those boots, it may have sifted down into the vent system's cleaning functional down draft. Considering that as ship captain, Angel was too high priority for the corporation to send her planet side, those boots were immaculate. It was dead watch hour. The previous captain slept during the final watch of the night. It was a luxury. Angel was up from the start of the final watch until the beginning of third watch. Constantly in motion, constantly at work and monitoring her ship and crew, Angel was said to be the epitome of the interstellar command's ideal captain.

It wasn't much of surprise. She was engineered for military type exercise. There was enough machine in the cyborg that she overcame the 3 second delay for human reflexes. There was enough code in her neural system that she spoke fluently with machines via the neural-link. The last captain was a wealthy human. He bought his position. Money did not make him adequate. Thus, when the corporation needed someone to retake control of the ship, they purchased Angel.

Now, Angel knew what her duty was. Command the ship and make sure that the heliosphere was secure. The sub-corona orbit should have rendered the equipment in her useless. She should have been laying on the deck seizing as the neural-link shut down. The ship should have been falling into the photosphere because there was no proper explanation for why it remained up. Angel wasn't the machine they wanted. The corporation considered this a failed mission when the previous captain refused the sub-corona orbit and went rogue. The hope was that Angel's system was enough to force past the previous captain's security measures to make the ship transmit data back before the catastrophic failure of the systems happened and the ship plunged into Sol, just as the last attempt did.

Angel, however, had her first real taste of freedom on ship. With out the security corps around her, with out the entire regiment running the Gauntlet in punishment for her defiance (which should have been eliminated by the programming), Angel could at last be somewhat human. It was all she had wanted. When she accessed the ship, she learned that the rumors of criminal's being used for revere uplink experimentation were true. A man whose name was Aeolus who was uploaded into the ship forcibly formed the ship's consciousness. Somehow, Aeolus was sane. The previous captain insisted the ship was defective, but it was Aeolus refusing his commands because they put the crew in danger.

Now, in the darkness of the dead watch, Angel walked the corridor of the ship with what some would have called a hallucination of Aeolus. Most nights, they said very little to each other via the neural-link. They simply were in each other's company. Aeolus was hesitant to dive into the sun. Angel had no desire to die as well. Thus, it was through the three year long journey to the sun from the point where she had boarded that they calculated an orbit that would keep the ship moving on the magnetic currents flowing over the star. Just barely within the sub-corona zone but high enough that the ship's shielding could keep systems running, they skated on the edge of death and gathered data.

The official report back was an overwhelming mass of data roughly organized. The corporation didn't know that Aeolus was once a scientist. They didn't know that his crime was committed long before the corporation's founding, of speaking a truth about the environment that leaders didn't want to hear. Once stasis systems were developed, Aeolus was placed in one. Irony that his own technology was used to imprison him didn't surprise Aeolus. He simply looked at his keepers who were placing him into the pod and said, "One day, I'll return. And a storm of all storms will be unleashed."

Aeolus was working on a stasis system to contain and sustain the stellar environment so that Sol did not swell to a giant star or collapse into a dwarf. It was the protoypes that got turned into prison systems where prisoners were trapped in a suspended animation state. As the systems became more advanced and things like the neural-link were developed, Aeolus was the first one lifted up out of suspended animation to have things tested on him. Aeolus knew exactly what Angel had gone through.

Now, trapped within a computer system, Aeolus sifted through data at a speed that was even greater than Angel could process. And he came to a conclusion that it was time to leave. The first cataclysmic eruption was about to happen. "Turn five degrees on the z axis and twelve on y," Angel said out loud, her voice echoing in the silence. The image of a forty year old man dressed in officer's rank garb with out insignia nodded. Angel looked over at him. "Are you sure this is it?" she asked.

"If my calculations are correct, we'll reach Earth in eight minutes. The CME will pass through the orbit path but not reach Earth. It will be at least one Juipter radius away from Luna. The sky will light with fire, but they won't be harmed. Then we have three days before the next ejection. Time enough to gather supplies and set our route," he answered. Angel looked down at her boots. Black ones, standard issue. In a half hour, they were about to be on Earth and then she was going to raid the seed vault at the Antartic before launching again in a desperate attempt to flee the shock wave of the beginnings of stellar collapse. If they were lucky, the sentient ship of eighteen souls, one cyborg, and a cat, would escape the Oort cloud with out damage and reach deep space to follow the route of the last interstellar traveler to move through the system to sanctuary on an M class planet.

"It is time, go to your quarters. All systems are secure. The crew are quartered and all hatches are battened down." Aeolus said, a trace of humor in his final statement. Angel looked over at him. "Storm's a brewin', cap'n." Aeolus said in his best imitation of the pirates of antiquity. Angel turned and entered her quarters. As she laid down in the stasis system pod, Aeolus set to the work of making sure that they were in correct orientation for their launch out of the sun. He laughed at the idea. For the first time in a hundred and fifty years, he felt almost human again. Down beneath that magneto-sphere, the star shuddered.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Musical inspiration:
The Way from Zack Hemsey

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo: Day 10

Dear Reader,

It is day ten of the campaign. Rations are running low. The enemy forces have attempted sabotage and distraction at an increasing rate. Fortunately, the schoolmaster's brigade is keeping them at bay for a few hours a day. When they slip free from the schoolmaster's forces, the small army are particularly ferocious. It is only by bribing them with our rations that we can achieve a temporary truce. Said bribery must happen on a regular basis or they begin audio warfare. The chants of "Mom, we're hungry!" are slowly robbing me of my sanity. Thankfully, the reinforcements arrive near dusk and the enemy is held off by the forces of the father and then sleep claims them.

Please, pray for me. I am three days behind the main force. I believe the enemy can tell my weaknesses and are attempting to use them against me. Adorable children are my bane, dear friend. I shall send my next missive as soon as I reach 15K.

Regards,

Deb

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Prompts for the week:

Your most hilarious incident involving spoiled food.

Anon. quote ~ The best way to tell a lie is to tell the truth ... carefully edited truth.

If you were Jack Bauer for a day, you would ... (Insert any other action hero if you didn't watch 24.)

Your verbal pet peeves?

Rules your children follow in public places but not at home.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Taking a break from writing, to write some more.

Gentle Reader,

I am presently working on writing a book. I've managed to write myself into a corner. Thus, I am posting here to give you all an update on how things are going. My doctors have made some adjustments to the medications I am taking. Fortunately, my mercurial health insurance company agreed to go along with these changes. As such, I am on the path to better health.

The diabetes thing is still very much a work in progress. My blood sugar numbers are beginning to come into the range of 'normal' as long as I maintain my strict dietary protocol. I have lost a significant amount of weight in the process of it all. My general practitioner is of the opinion that there may need to be further medication adjustments made. I see him in a month and a half to assess what progress has been made. It is a struggle that I refuse to lose. I simply can not accept the idea that I'm going to lose my health and welfare because my pancreas is not working properly. I know of many diabetic people who are healthy and manage their condition well. It is my goal to be among them.

My depression is much improved with the help of my psychiatrist. Having a doctor that actually listens to me is a wondrous thing. I am not going to say I am entirely past the depressive episode, but I think once I adjust to the new medication situation I will be. Just another week or so. I know that I am improving because I am writing again and I have a little less despair over everything. I am a touch stumped on how to proceed forward with this blog. I have a poll that you can take that would help me out a great deal.

We are currently dealing with oppressive heat and humidity. Fortunately, I haven't been a ball of pain due to migraines. I'm not sure if that will happen when the front finally comes through and the heat wave breaks. Still, things are improving to the point that I am able to see clearly with out my glasses for the most part and I can keep up with my busy children (and almost as busy husband). This is a huge improvement over where I was at just a month ago. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I am sure they helped as much as the assistance of my care providers.

Yours in gratitude,

Deb

Monday, June 18, 2018

Please bear with me.

Dear Reader,

I have no words to express how much I appreciate your constant companionship. The fact that you remain interested in my blog despite my difficulties posting helps me have hope. I am severely depressed right now. I shall be seeing my doctor soon. Other issues in my life are negatively impacted by my depression and it just spirals into a great big chaotic mess by the end of the day. I try to find the words to write for you. This is the best I can muster right now.

I had plans. Those plans keep slipping through my fingers as depression tells me that there is no point in writing anything anymore. It is perhaps some of the worst experiences of inspiration. I'm inspired to grieve. I have been inspired to contemplate horrible things happening due to anxiety telling me they are going to come to pass regardless of how realistic they could be. I have found myself inspired to come up with arguments to rehearse that I'm never going to have because I'm not going to be talking to those people ever again.

When it comes it writing anything for pretty much any project, the inspiration goes flat. Then I stare at the screen for a while, feel like a failure, and go do housework to try to make myself feel better. And I am the sort of housewife who rather hates housework. It is not that I am washing the dishes to avoid writing as much as it is I am washing the dishes so that I have concrete evidence that I am capable of doing something.

Do not fear, I shall not be doing anything rash. As I have said, I have an appointment coming up soon. I have my loving family for support. I just am having a really hard time right now. And I wanted to express my appreciation for your support.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Book Review: The Catechism of the Catholic Church (pt 1)

Title: Catechisim of the Catholic Church
Editor: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Publisher: Doubleday Date: 1995

Part one, Section II gives a resonable way to recognize other religions as spiritual kinfolk to Christianity and Catholicism. Note discussion in No. 32 of this section.

Question re: Pt. 1, Ch 1. Section 3 No. 38 -
Why is it not argued that God would reveal such knowledge to the faithful seeker's heart and mind? Wouldn't God do that? If you're truly interested in your faith, wouldn't you ask for divine guidance? Perhaps I'm not looking at it correctly.

Pt. 1, Ch. 3 Att. 1 Sec. 3 No. 155 -
"Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace."
- Above statement derived from St. Thomas Aquinas
- All things revolve around truth.

Pt. 1 Ch 2 Sec 3 can be summarized thus:
The bible was written by man inspired and influenced by God. Must be read in proper context and with understanding of literary styles used.

pt 1 Ch 3 Art. 1 Sec 3 No159 -
Very interesting - "[...] methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific matter and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God [...]"

Following that is a discussion of freedom of faith. I.e.- faith in God must be freely given. Forced conversion is anethema. Conversion by example and education is correct.

Pt. 1 ch 3 art 1 sec 3 Nos. 163-5 -
Faith vs. dark night of soul; look to faith that has persevered during times of trial.

Pt 1 ch 3 art 2 No. 166-
"Faith is a personal act. [...] No one can believe alone; just as no one can live alone. [...] I can not believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith i help support others in the faith."
- look to the community of believers (the Church) for mutual support and companionship during the darknight of the soul.

Pt. 1 ch. 3 art 2 sec 2 no. 170 -
"We do not believe in formulas but in those realities they express, in which faith allows us to touch [...]"
- Tradition (dogma) is flexible. Earlier section in Pt. 1 Ch 2 says larger traditions of Church as a whole are guides to expression of local traditions therefore:
a. Regional traditions add to Church's flexibility
b. Regional traditions make Church more responsive to needs
c. Regional traditions make Church more accessible

This preserves the spirit of Catholicism as embodied during the house church era.

pt. 1 ch 3 art 2 sec 3 No 173-5
- look up St. Iranaeus of Lyons
"For through language differe through out the world, the context of the Tradition is one and the same. The Churches established in Germany have no other faith or Tradition, nor [...], nor those of the Celts, [...]" - does this prove my earlier argument?

Apostle's Creed = individual profession of faith
Nicene Creed = collective profession of faith

[Edited to remove copy of Apostle's Creed and Nicean Creed.]

- images pale with spiritual truth, God has no gender.
- Mary concieved with truth and honestly.
- Jesus was a man, Jeasus was the son of truth and honesty.
- Jesus, as a man suffered, experienced temptation, experienced despair & loss of faith (hell), pronounced dead, rose again and went to his followers.
- Jesus's spirit then acended to Heaven (nirvana, what ever the name of that place of truth) and is with God. Jesus's spirit will return to judge all.
How can Jesus be with us all the while and we failed to see it?

Pt. 1 Paragraph 3 Sec. 3 no. 555-6
Why did the Father will the suffering of the Son?
- suffering stated as a necessary component of life?
- daily life is holy
- all sinners responsible for crucifixion & passion thru hypocracy and defamation of the memory of Christ? hypocracy = relapse into sin?
- Jesus's murder was permitted, why? To bring about salvation; to restore a positive relationship with God?
- despair at Gesthame = assumption of sin?
- cross = Selepnir/Yggsidrall?
- suffering servant = humanity's champion?

pg. 164 paragraph 633, 645
hell = abode of the dead
"[...] For this reason the risen Jesus enjoys the soverign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or other forms familiar to his deciples, precisely to awaken their faith."
- God is an independendly revealed experience. God appears to us in forms and way we can understand.
- Jesus willed his crucifixion?

[I paused in reading this to read the next text.]

Originally Published: 8/23/06

I am clearly not a Catholic. At the time I was reading this and other Catholic texts, I was seriously contemplating converting. Messy story later, I remain a witch but have a deep appreciation for the technical elements of this faith. And some of that wisdom has influenced my own practices and considerations upon the matter of theology.

Book Review: The Joy of Praying the Rosary

Title: The Joy of Praying the Rosary
Author: Msgr. James M. McNamara
Publisher: Ressurection Press Date: 2003

Pg. 49 - The Kingdom of God is simply love.

Pg. 51 - Why are moments of feeling God's presence during prayer typically rare?

"One burden is the experience of trying to express to others what seems too ineffable for words." - True!

Pg. 52 "All is gift. All is grace. The only proper response to a gift is gratitude." - True!

- surrender = acceptance

- Did God have a choice regarding the Crucifixion?

Pg. 59 "Jesus suffered as expitation of our sins." Why did Jesus have to suffer?

Pg. 64 Why does/would Jesus love me?

Pg. 65 "[...] pray as you can, not as you can't and do not try to run faster then grace."

The suffering of humanity described on pg. 67 reminds me of the book of Job.

Pg. 70 "Only in God will we find true joy and lasting peace."

- This reminds me of Augustine's statement about the soul's longing for God.

Pg. 72 "[...] He [Jesus] gives his life through forgiveness. In the midst of His agony He speacks to His beloved Father: 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do [...]." - mercy & unconditional love?

Msgr. McNamara says Jesus quotes Psalm 22 in that statement. I should look that up.

Luke 24:5 - past vs present?

Pg. 84 lesson- let go past. Give it to God.

Pg. 87 "[...] let us pray for the gift of perserverance."
- Home is where love is.

[Edited to add: I still find myself deeply moved by this text. It may not be something that is of the faith that I practice, but there is a great deal of truth in it.]

Originally Published: 8/23/06

NOTE: Some of my notes make sense to me today looking back on this. The rest I need to grab a copy of the book and read the context for it. I really should have done a better system for notation here.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Evandari Seed Bread.

Photo from Pexels.com
The people of Evandar in the northern kingdoms have less access to wheat. They use seeds and nuts as the basis of their bread in many cases. This can result in a bread that is much like maslin bread where there is access to wheat or barley. It can also result in a bread similar to what people in northern Europe had during the late Paleolithic period.

Evandari cuisine is varied but they each have their staple dishes for the general region. Seed bread is one that can be found on the tables of any of the northern kingdoms and the northern regions of the central region. The wealthy stud theirs with dried fruit and spices. The poor just use what ever they can find in it.

Here is an approximation of Evandari Seed bread.

3 cups of coarsely chopped mixed nuts and seeds (ie: hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds).
5 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt

Beat eggs until well combined. Fold eggs into nuts with oil and salt. Turn into a parchment lined pan. Bake at 325 degrees for an hour. Cool in the pan and turn out when room temperature. When cool, slice and serve with jam.