3 May 2023 – Random Thoughts

by | May 3, 2023 | Random Thoughts, Writing | 0 comments

My mind has been a bit splintered since I woke up today. that doesn’t happen often, but when it does, my thoughts are even worse than a super-bouncy ball inside a Plinko machine than they usually are.

It has the potential to make writing rather challenging, which is probably why I currently have five-ish In Progress stories.

I would love to be one of those people who can start with an idea and follow it all the way through to the end of the story and then do it again and then do it again… rinse and repeat… and so on and so forth.

Are there any other cliches that mean ‘keep the cycle going as long as possible’ that I could throw in there? Hmmm… I’ll have to think on that while I write the rest of this.

I’m typing this at 9:47am (Eastern), so for the next 12 minutes and change, the wallpaper on my primary monitor is “The Towering Sky” from Ryan Bliss at Digital Blasphemy.

I discovered Digital Blasphemy upwards of twenty years ago, now… and I fell in love with Ryan’s art. Especially the landscapes.

I purchased a lifetime subscription (back when he still offered them) and download versions of the artwork I like for both 1920×1080 and whatever weird resolution the MacBook Pro uses for its built-in screen. It doesn’t get to use its built-in screen very often, since the laptop spends most of its time on a VESA-mount laptop stand and connected to a Thunderbolt 3 dock, but I’d still rather have them and not need them than deal with how the built-in screen funky-fies 1920×1080 wallpapers.

He has since branched out into various products based on his art–such as canvas prints–and he has links to his various shops on his website.

He is my favorite visual artist so far, and I always enjoy seeing one of his ‘new release’ emails hit my inbox. If you like digital artwork to use for your desktop wallpaper, I simply cannot recommend him enough.


A notification of an article from the Washington Post this morning informed me that New York has passed a law that is the first of its kind in the United States: a ban on gas stoves and other fossil fuels in most new buildings by 2026.

I’m not going to re-hash the article here. After all, that’s what the link above is for.

My main concern–especially if this law survives any legal challenges it may face and then if it further starts a cascade of similar laws across the country–is whether our electrical grid can support the change-over.

Granted, yes… the law only applies to new buildings, but what happens when/if a law eventually passes that requires retrofitting existing buildings?

One of my personal goals is the acquisition of an electric vehicle. I had been looking at a Tesla Model X, especially since I can’t seem to make any of my historically normal drives without seeing Tesla Superchargers somewhere. But I’m also consider the Ford Mustang Mach-E. My only concern with the Mach-E is ground clearance; I made the mistake of putting a trailer hitch on my Taurus for my Kuat bike rack, and that hitch damn-near dragged on the yellow line.

But be all that as it may, switching to electric anything means we have to provide electricity to power it.

My neck of the woods is notorious for electrical outages. Mother Nature seems to randomly decide to play with the power company’s infrastructure at various points throughout the year, and oddly enough, those lines overhead don’t resist large trees or tree limbs very well. The utility poles themselves don’t seem to resist the trees or occasional hill slip, either.

One option is a standby generator like a Generac… but those standby generators usually run on natural gas or liquid propane. So, how long will it before they get caught up in the ban on fossil fuels that may cascase from the New York law.

The better option just might be solar, if your location is suited for it. I’ve been looking into that as well, considering I have a hillside that gets pretty good sun year around.

But that just covers me. What about the rest of us?

Well… that’s where upgrading both our electrical grid and our power plants comes into play.

I personally would like to see the United States dump considerable funding into research toward a reliable fusion reactor. Fusion reactors–unlike Fission (such as Three Mile Island or Chernobyl)–cannot melt down. Matter of fact, heat is good for them, as nuclear fusion requires both heat and pressure to occur. I’m sure fusion reactors have their drawbacks same as their fission-based counterparts, but they are considerably safer.

Humanity seems to have an excellent ability to “kick the can down the road,” as some say. If we are truly going to switch away from fossil fuels in favor of electricity-based devices, our electrical grid and our power plants have to be able to support the new load… not to mention future expansion.

I’m not really sure that this is the kind of thing that will respond well to, “Hey… let’s mandate electric without doing jack shit to the grid and see what happens.”

But I guess we’ll see.


In less than an hour after I received the notification about the New York law about natural gas and other fossil fuels, the Washington post helpfully provided a second article that discusses a new hydrogen power plant in Texas.

Bit of odd timing there, if you ask me, but I’m sure it’s fine.

Now, I will freely confess that I haven’t read the article in depth, yet. I skimmed the first few paragraphs while my mind valiantly tried to focus on it… and sorta kinda succeeded.

What I did take away from it, though, is very interesting to me.

Hydrogen–for anyone who might not be aware–is the simplest element that we (currently) know of. It has one proton and one electron, and that big ball of yellow in the sky heats and lights the rock we all live on through the fusion of hydrogen into helium, which has two protons and two electrons.

Hydrogen is also very reactive. It isn’t quite as energetic as Sodium or Lithium, but it doesn’t require much to get going.

Which is what fueled the demise of the Hindenberg.

In the grand scheme of things, using hydrogen as a fuel source seems like a really good idea.

After all, it is the most plentiful element in the universe (based on our current understanding). It does not require a complex process or catalyst to ignite; just ask Captain Max Pruss… if you can pull him back from the Great Beyond.

But like everything else in our existence, it does have its trade-offs.

One of my biggest concerns is how protected the fuel tank that contains the hydrogen would be. Would it store raw hydrogen, or would there be multiple tanks of fuel used to generate the hydrogen which is then burned?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of driving my car down the road with a pressurized tank that will go up in a fireball like an action sequence out of a Michael Bay movie if I’m unlucky enough to get rear-ended.

The simple fact is that no technology springs fully mature from the forehead of its initial inventor. There will be pitfalls, setbacks, and maybe even the occasional epiphany.

But again, we should already be developing these technologies. Hell… we probably should’ve been developing them back when I was in high school (which was–frankly–more years ago than I’d care to remember — #DamnI’mOld).

This is yet another example of the human superpower to kick the can down the road. Regardless of what explanation you prefer as to why we don’t have reliable and mature alternatives to fossil fuels, the simple fact is that we need them.

Climate change is indeed A Thing.

When I was a kid (no… I didn’t walk uphill both ways to go to school; I rode the bus), I could go play in the snow just about anytime I wanted during the winter. Our snowfalls didn’t get anywhere close to what places like Maine and Alaska ‘enjoyed,’ but it was enough that Mom made sure I had a snowsuit every year.

Winter used to be a winter wonderland more often than not. Now? It’s little more than a muddy mess. And that’s just across the span of thirty to thirty-five years.

Mom told me stories of needing chains on her car’s tires for traction during most winters when she was driving to college in the mid-1960s. Now? I don’t even bother with studded tires. All-Wheel Drive and all-season radials do me just fine.

I honestly don’t know if there’s a solution to the underlying issue. After all… what one Congress giveth, another Congress can taketh away. Scientific research should not be a bone the local junkyard dogs fight over.

But such is life…


Starting April 1st, I joined the Great Dean Challenge. It is a challenge that Dean Wesley Smith announced for the final nine months of the year. His goal is to write one million words between April 1st and December 31st.

So, let’s dig into the math.

April 1st to December 31st (inclusive) is 275 days. One million words divided by 275 days equals 3,636.3636, which means it’s easier just to say 3,650 words per day.

So, for April (and the other 30-day months), the monthly word count needs to be 109,500.

I came… close. Closer than I have in many recent months. I wrote 84,807 words in April, missing only five days. There were a lot of days where I didn’t write close to 3,650… but only five days that I didn’t write at all.

The goal of the Great Dean Challenge (if you picked the Full challenge, like I did) was to come within 20,000 words of his final word count, meet his final count, or exceed it.

Dean Wesley Smith has been a full-time professional fiction writer since 1988 and has a reputation for being very prolific. Assuming he meets his target of one million words, even coming within 20,000 words of him will be more than double my published words to date, even counting The Fall of Skullkeep.

Because I am either blessed or cursed with the mindset of always trying to take the long view, I cannot help but ask myself just what I’ll do with one million words of stories if I do indeed complete the challenge.

Yes… ‘publish them’ is the obvious answer and what I will (eventually) do with them.

But there will be some (like Novel #11 last year) that I won’t want to publish right away for whatever reason. What do I do with those?

Which is why my mind has been circling the idea of returning Patreon and doing something on my website (here) like a Free Fiction Friday.

I tried Patreon a while back, but I wasn’t writing enough to support it. I also don’t like how most fiction writers using Patreon publish chapters. I’ve never been one for serial fiction, so I’d rather just wait for the full book to be published. This mindset is probably limiting me… but such is life, I suppose.

As you can see, I haven’t quite worked through the idea yet in my mind, but this topic is one of the reasons I’ve had difficulty concentrating on my stories today. After all, it’s one thing to write the words, but having written them isn’t so great if I don’t have a plan in place to make use of them.

Yes… I enjoy the process of writing the stories. That’s all kinds of fun, but the publisher side of me would feel better if there was some sort of plan in place for what to do with those words once the writer side of me finished with them.

I’ll let this percolate in the back of my mind for a while and keep you updated on any new developments.

Well… I think that’s about all I have for today.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me.

Best wishes to you and yours, and stay safe out there.


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