NuVera Online - The Virtual Experience for Grown-Ups

The one about the Pokemon

I know a lot of you are sick to death of hearing about Pokemon Go, but let me tell you, if you have a kid who’s accustomed to sitting on the sofa to catch his or her Pokemon, and now they’re all but begging you to get out and about so they can hunt for Pokemon instead of staying inside in air conditioning, you realize this is the greatest thing ever. The Wii was Nintendo getting us off our butts; this is Nintendo getting us out of the house.

All of the headlines that have made you question the sanity and/or value of humanity in the past week? Some of that stuff might not have happened if folks had something in common, something that brought people from disparate backgrounds together to actually get to know each other.

Even if that something is looking for imaginary critters with ridiculous names, that’s better than hunkering down in the bunker and being afraid of each other, right?

A brief note about the universe

Sagan doing what Sagan does bestA controlled explosion.

The same science that’s behind a gun is the same science that’s behind a rocket.

Set off an explosion in a chamber capable of withstanding the pressure. Channel the force of the explosion to create thrust at the open end of the chamber, or to discharge a projectile from the open end of the chamber.

Fire a bullet to satisfy some sense of tribal pride, some sense of fury that someone dares to believe or dares to have simply been born differently than you.

Or fire a rocket into space and learn more about how we were all actually born the same, and how the differences barely matter because when you look back, the borders don’t exist.

It’s all about controlled explosions. Chemical explosions, or bursts of passion.

We can choose to learn, or choose to burn. It’s. that. simple.

I know I’ve probably driven half of everyone reading my Facebook and Twitter feeds crazy in the past few days/weeks/more-than-weeks (remember how Pluto-happy I was about 350-odd days ago?) with all of the space stuff. But it matters. You may not see how it applies directly to you. But it does.

I try to share that awe and wonder with everyone who wants to know more. Articles…podcasts…websites. “But you run a sci-fi site, right?” Sorta. The focus has shifted in recent years. In a way, the sci-fi is there to lure you in so I can talk about that awe and wonder.

I figured out a long time ago that I wasn’t going to be an astronaut or a scientist. I’d read National Geographic and Astonomy Magazine articles about the people playing various roles on the Voyager and Viking missions, and I’d idolize them like rock stars.

Did/do I ever have the mental agility to join their ranks? No. Found that out pretty early too. Only later in life have I figured out why. Why some days I can hold this whole universe of knowledge in my head, and synthesize it successfully, while other days I have the mental acuity of a particularly gited sea cucumber.

But one gift I do have is to smoosh some words together and tell a story and draw you in to learning more than I know about this stuff. (Spoiler: that’s a skill you acquire as a parent.) So if it really drives you batty, I’m not insulted by anyone who wants to exercise the unfriend/unfollow option…

…because I’m not going to stop going on and on about it anytime soon. There’s a whole universe out there waiting to be explored. I’ve long since moved past the point where I care if one person attributes that universe to God, another attributes it to Allah, a third attributes it to the Big Bang, and yet a fourth attributes it to the Great Green Arkleseizure.

None of that changes the fact that the universe is out there.


We just have to judiciously harness the right kind of controlled explosions so we can stop harming one another and go see it.

Conversations with Little C, day 635

Hulk out!C: Daddy! [waves building block creation around] I got a block.

ME: That’s great, buddy! What else have you got?

[C disappears into his room, comes out carrying a squirmy Portia]

C: Daddy! I got a cat.

ME: Maybe she wants you to sit her down. What else have you got?

[C disappears into his room, comes back out waving a plastic chair over his head, narrowly missing computers and tables and cats with it]

C: Daddy! I got a chair!

ME: Woah there, Jerry Springer!

A persistent vegetative state

I was going to do lasagna for dinner, then decided to do steak and veggies instead. I think the veggies turned out better than the steak, and the steak was nothing to sneeze at.

The foods

Which brings us to…how in the world did that phrase even get started? Has anyone ever deliberately sneezed at something? Is there some supervillain named Antihistaman whose evil superpower is precisely targeted sneezing? If he detects a bogey, does he launch a booger?

C’mon, people, we’ve got to find out. This question’snot going to answer itself.

P.S.: The second steak survived to be taken to work tomorrow for lunch, as planned. The veggies? They did not survive tonight. Um…plan B?

Conversations with Little E: Day 3188

Chief AndersonYou know, son, back in my day, anime was wide-eyed folks doing good and occasionally forming up into giant robots…

ME: So…wait a minute. It’s called Yo-Kai Watch because…he’s actually wearing…a Yo-Kai…watch?

E: Yeah, dad. What did you think it would be?

ME: I thought maybe…it’d be like…I dunno…a tornado watch?

E: A tornado watch? Dad! That wouldn’t make any sense.

ME: And that way season 2 could be Yo-Kai Warning…

E: Dad! Just stop!

Star Wars “Vintage” T-shirt construction kit

Thanks to scans of the (now incredibly rare) 1977 Star Wars Iron-On Transfer book, anyone can now get some inkjet iron-on transfer sheets and make their own brand-new copies of the almost ubiquitous T-shirts that we were all wearing as kids way back when.

Or…you can roll your own. I isolated the “frame” that’s common to my favorite designs (I refer to it as the “asymmetrical chrome frame”) so anything can be put in the middle. For example:

So here is the empty frame. Click on it to see and download the full-resolution PNG file with transparency; simply right-clicking on this will only get you a low-res JPG.

Make a “vintage” T-shirt of any character you like – BB-8, Ahsoka, Qui-Gon, the lady in the Chewie mask, stoned-looking Wicket from the Ewok TV movies, even Bea Arthur or Jefferson Starship from the Star Wars Holiday Special.


First book… second edition… now available!

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