Uncle Josh Crunches Some Numbers

I guess it has been a couple of weeks since starting the data gathering, and Stephanie is out of town this week, so I should probably look at some the numbers I did collect. What else am I going to do, clean the kitchen? My goal of first starting by comparing 5 full years from “back then” to 5 full years of “just now” aren’t coming along as well as I’d hoped because data for the 30’s and 40’s is sparse. I plugged my data into Google Sheets which has some cool graphing features I didn’t know about until I asked for a graph. Here are the high temperatures for 2011-2016: It’s more of a saw curve than I’d expect. Here is the Daily Delta for that time period: This is the sort of noise I expected to see. The Delta is simply (Tomorrow’s High)-(Today’s High). I included the high Continue reading Uncle Josh Crunches Some Numbers

Uncle Josh Posits a Theory about Climate Change

This week started fairly warm. On Thursday the local high dropped by 12 degrees, and jumped up 19 on Friday. Overall it “warmed up 7 degrees in two days” but we experienced 31 degrees of change. I wondered if this sort of thing was happening more frequently than it had in the past, which could illustrate for me the effect of climate change. I like to call it Climate Destabilization, because I think it’s a more accurate term and while man-made climate change is real and happening, it’s a political shibboleth that is only denied by the ignorant or people paid by the oil industry. I don’t want to be ignorant. I want to know. I want to see the data myself. Fortunately, I have the tools to ask myself key questions and derive some answers from them. And I want to share it, because I’m that kind of guy. Continue reading Uncle Josh Posits a Theory about Climate Change

Uncle Josh on Sacred and Commercial Holidays

This morning Stephanie endured a bit of my decaffeinated rambling on the way to work about how we name our days and holidays. It started when she described a text-based conversation with a friend who forgot that this is Holy Week and a Very Busy Time for those of us in church choirs and altar guilds. Then Stephanie mentioned that this friend doesn’t call Easter “Easter” but “Resurrection Day” and that sounded very strange to me. Almost secular. Commercial, even. And that’s the start of this strange ramble. First, I acknowledge there is some hypocrisy to naming the most important Christian Holy Day after a pagan European fertility goddess, but that wasn’t really the point. I also realized that all our names for the day of the week are pagan in nature. Again, not the point but a mere pair of digressions that I usually spout off before getting to Continue reading Uncle Josh on Sacred and Commercial Holidays

Broadway Night 2016 Wrap Up

We survived Broadway Night 2016! This is our annual fundraiser for the music program at church. We do two shows of Broadway musical numbers. We had 20 songs done by the ensemble and soloists. I got to sing “Suppertime” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown right before dinner, and Stephanie and I did a duet on “As Long As You’re Happy” from Nick and Nora. But the most fun I had with the whole shebang was writing the emcee¬†script. Researching the plays is kind of tedious, but getting to piece together everything into one continuous script was a joy. I love this kind of word crafting and wish my regular writing could be this fun. Some of my personal favorites: When you’re single and looking for love, especially as a supporting cast member in a musical, you may feel like Cupid is using you as a perch instead of Continue reading Broadway Night 2016 Wrap Up

Uncle Josh Contemplates the Dark Side [Spoilers for Star Wars The Force Awakens]

This is one of my stocking stuffers this year. It’s designed by ArtFolds and it is almost two hundred pages of folding and dialogue from the movies. At the point pictured above, I have read through the prequel trilogy in quotes. At one point, reading this and folding paper has been a strange meditation on my current work in progress (it helped a lot, actually), the prequel trilogy, and The Force Awakens. Something that has never been made clear in the movies is any explanation why some people are connected to the force and some aren’t, and why Hutts and Toydarians are immune to Force-fueled mental suggestions. (Midichlorians, you say? I deny they exist. They aren’t needed and open rather ugly doors). One thing I remember about the early drafts is the Force was a thing, a physical thing that gave the wielder power. It was a prop. I think Continue reading Uncle Josh Contemplates the Dark Side [Spoilers for Star Wars The Force Awakens]

Uncle Josh Considers the Life and Times of Clara Oswald

Doctor Who is one of a few shows I actually watch these days, and for several years I’ve been happy with the latest companion Clara Oswald. I like Clara. I think she’s a great companion. I think she has the potential to be the Sarah Jane Smith of this generation. Of course, they’ve thrown that all away with Face the Raven, the 10th episode of series 9. I will miss her. I don’t understand the anger with the character. Most of the criticisms fall under the “she has no character arc” banner. When we first met her, she was Souffle Girl, and then the Impossible Girl arc started, with two deaths for the character before we met the modern Clara. Yes, throughout the second half of Series 7 she was the mystery. As the franchise built up to the 50th anniversary they explained the Impossible Girl. It was a clever Continue reading Uncle Josh Considers the Life and Times of Clara Oswald

Uncle Josh Turns to the Hymnal

I have found it hard to put things to words lately. This is making NaNoWriMo difficult, my online writing class an impossibility, and any sane reaction to the Paris attacks beyond all hope. But today the processional hymn managed to give me words: O God of every nation, of every race and land redeem the whole creation with your almighty hand; where hate and fear divide us and bitter threats are hurled, in love and mercy guide us and heal our strife-torn world.   From search for wealth and power and scorn of truth and right, from trust in bombs that shower destruction through the night, from pride of race and nation and blindness to your way, deliver every nation, eternal God, we pray!   Lord, strengthen all who labor that we may find release from fear of rattling saber, from dread of war’s increase; when hope and courage falter, Continue reading Uncle Josh Turns to the Hymnal

Uncle Josh Enumerates Some Fears

I’m taking a break from NaNoWriMo to write about NaNoWriMo, because this year is a bit more of an experiment. I have a spotty history with NaNoWriMo. My first try was back in 2004, and I finished the story at 35k. I’ve tried in other years but the NaNoWriMo database seems to only go back to 2011. In 2013 I tried to write Loyalty Oath, which is a story I’ve had in my head since I was a teenager and the novel has been kicking around my someday list since 2005. There seems to me to be enough to this story to warrant a novel, or at least a full NaNo attempt. So this year I am re-writing it, and I’m trying a few different things. One, I’m trying to write each major scene from more than one person’s point of view. I have four main characters in this thing, Continue reading Uncle Josh Enumerates Some Fears

Uncle Josh Contemplates Narrative Bookends

As part of my online writing course, someone asked for a critique of a story that she felt wasn’t working. I offered to blather about it a bit. One of her concerns was the ending falls flat. There was a decent enough emotional ending, but I think I understand her feeling. The rough story: Inspector on unpleasant field work. The draft I have is 8 pages long. The first 6 and a half pages take place in the field, the last page and a half in the office, where the narrator learns she actually suceeded in the external task of the story. In my commentary, I suggested that this feels wrong because it is only one half of a pair of bookends. If the story started in the office, went to the field, and returned, then the bookends may work better. Alternatively, cutting the setting of the ending and keeping Continue reading Uncle Josh Contemplates Narrative Bookends

Uncle Josh Struggles with a Writing Assignment

This post is part ramble, part warm up. I’ve been taking a MOOC from the Univserty of Iowa called How Writers Write Fiction, because I find taking classes can spur me to write when the rejection letters get too heavy on me. This is week three, and the focus is on plot. Here is the assignment: Write a story with any number of characters (these can be newly created characters or borrowed from your Class Session 1 and 2 writing assignments), where an external force demands that a character or all the characters jump into action. No problem there. The thing I wrote for Session 1 was a scene froma story I’ve been trying to write since 2006 or so. Here’s the second part: Additionally, include in the story a separate decision made by a character/the characters that does not result directly from the external force. And….this is where everything Continue reading Uncle Josh Struggles with a Writing Assignment