Writer’s Block

Today it seems I’m experiencing a touch of writer’s block.  This is not the brain numbing, deadline busting, can’t-think-of-anything block – my words just aren’t flowing as smoothly as I want and as freely as I am used to.  I might blame the heat – it is about 100 degrees outside right now; but the house is cool at its normal temperature.  I might blame the political discord that assaults all our senses daily but I’ve cut way back on watching the news so it is not politics.  Nope, it is just that I need to find a way to pop the cork and get those thoughts moving.

writer's block image

“Hello world.”  This expression helped jumpstart more than one programmer.  Just don’t make me work in C — at least not today.

I might flip on the TV and see what the latest scoop is being touted by the talking heads.  This would likely trigger a bout of Tourette’s and make my head hurt so I’ll skip that.  I’m not looking to correct writer’s block with fake news or flip flopping assertions.

writer's block friend

Maybe it is a good thing when our imaginary friends keep quiet.  That inner voice in me is starting to speak and I perceive the trickle of ideas as the text flows across this page,  There are many things to write about.  Friends, family, work, projects, hobbies, the future of mankind – we’ll skip moaning about the weather and politics.

writer's block solved

So for now, things are just ducky.  I’ve updated all my software, scanned for undesirable and bad things, made backups of EVERYTHING, and am ready to get on with it.

Check out the School Of Hard Rocks on YouTube.  And remember the fundamental rule of rock music: if you can hear it you are not playing it loud enough.


Congressional Baseball Shooting

The Congressional baseball shooting is an event that will drive us to train harder, be more vigilant and to stand as one.

America United

I pause with my fellow Americans to pray for the full recovery of those members of Congress and the Congressional staff that were wounded while playing baseball this morning.  I also join everyone in thanking the security officers who stepped up to the call and stopped what could have gone on to be an even more sad and reprehensible event.

This is a very sobering event.  Any shooting causes one to take note and reflect.  Mass shooting really drive thoughts.  Today’s Congressional baseball shooting is frightening for reasons beyond its being a mass shooting event.

We spend billions to track and check and block those who seek to hurt our nation.  We endure long lines at security checkpoints and who knows what is actually monitored on our phones and on the internet.  The shooter at the ball field today was not a radicalized someone-from-over-there.  He was one of us.  We don’t know much about him – yet – and with him being dead there will be much inference in figuring out what happened.  He was active in politics and he was openly angry.  Millions of Americans are active in politics and many of them are angry.  How do we reduce the risk that today’s madness is ever repeated.

Maybe it is time for our political spectrum to become more civilized.  We saw fisticuffs at political rallies last year.  Candidates and commentators are quick to move to very damning words.  Debates are rancorous and bitter.  There is a constant stream of unsubstantiated and vicious accusations – you’ve heard them; lying, breaking the law, leaking, treason.  The words are too hot and used too quickly.  Social media is a fountain of mud slinging and negativism – set up in a medium where it is like spraying gasoline on a fire.

We validate our actions by watching the actions of our leaders.  If our leaders actions are outrageous – we the people will eventually see the outrageous as acceptible.  If our leaders are gentlepeople – kind, courteous, even tempered, deliberate – the followers will likely be gentlemen and gentlewomen too.  We are, after all, speaking of the actions of “statesmen”.

America is a great country.  Americans are a great people.  We can speak softly and carry a big stick and stand very proud.  God bless America.

Other places to read about the Congressional Baseball Shooting

Alexandria Shooting: CNN

President Trump Appeals For Unity: LA Times

Cherry Pie

You know, it is really hard to beat cherry pie.  I enjoyed a most excellent surf-and-turf Valentine’s Day meal – topped off with a slice of cherry pie and some piping hot coffee.

photo of cherry pie

Of course, as spring approaches, I anticipate with gusto the strawberry pies that will be available.  And maybe some fresh strawberries in a meringue shell with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Later there will be blueberry pies and pecan pies and coconut cream pies.  But for now I am enjoying one mighty fine cherry pie.

Before we part, please mark your calendars for Pi Day.  I know it is irrational but it is fast approaching and gives us another reason (excuse) to celebrate.

NuWave Brio Corned Beef Hash

What could be better than corned beef hash on a cold winter morning?  Corned beef hash with eggs and toast and coffee – of course.

One of me special presents this Christmas was a NuWave Brio oven.  Now, I am totally new to air frying but this little oven is a real gem.  It is easy to set up, easy to load, cooks everything quickly and with no added oils or grease.  It is even easy to clean when all is done.  This is a win-win-win.

This morning I fired up some corned beef hash with eggs.  They were sooooo good.

corned beef hash in NuWave Brio

One thing I have noticed is that when using the NuWave Brio, I have to adjust the temperatures and times noted in any recipe or box instructions I am following.  Generally this means reducing the temperature by about 50 degrees and shortening the time by one third.  As I get better with the Brio, I will share my adjustments on this blog.

Happy Independence Day 2016

Happy Fourth of July to all Americans.  This is my favorite holiday – hands down.  Today we celebrate standing as individuals and as a nation on our own two feet and declaring independence.  We will have rousing parades, excellent cook-outs, and some amazing fireworks displays.  Our celebrations reveal much about us as a people.  We don’t bow to anyone, we don’t dip our flag, we don’t go looking for fights.  When called upon, we complete our commitments and we are almost always on the side of an underdog seeking freedoms like those we have. 

As we celebrate our Independence, the world looks on.  Every country has its holidays with unique celebrations.  But how many of these holidays are watched from afar like our Independence Day.  And what other country seems to have a 1-800-Dial-USA hotline that is always open and somehow always responds.  Having an independent nation filled with free men and women generates a power that is unique in this world.  That we use this power to help others without any expectation of homage, tribute, or servitude demonstrates our humanity. 

So, on this day enjoy hot dogs, burgers, and steaks.  Watch the parades and fireworks displays.  The finale will be grand but please remember this day is about independence and freedom.  We are truly blessed in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Who Do You Want To Be

Who do you want to be?  Or what do you want to be?  A doctor.  A lawyer.  An engineer.  A chef.  Anything is possible.  It just takes commitment and effort.

who do you want to be

Behavior, motivation, sensory input, executive function, drive, grit, satisfaction.

Just do it.


Kick Back Day

Today was a great day to kick back and relax.  The sky was clear and the temperature truly balmy – almost hot.  It is definitely a strange year in the weather arena.

I had a chance to read leisurely in my Psychology text.  Experiments and studies, data collection and reduction.  Statistics, correlation coefficients, skewed distributions, equations.  It was all a lot of fun and very relaxing.

cuppa joe

I learned the great value of landing in the control group – you don’t have to record tons and tons of data.  And how you can add “power” to a survey by either adding a lot more questions – especially asking the same thing in different ways – or surveying a larger sample of people.


How many times have we heard students complaining about homework?  Let me tell you, as a new student, homework these days is fun.  Maybe that should even be FUN.

This week we had a reading assignment in our massive text book.  However, we got to go online to something called “BlackBoard” and print out an outline of the chapter.  Our assignment was to fill in the blanks and tables in the outline as we read the text.  How easy is that?  Piece of cake.

online homework

Even better, on BlackBoard we can access the same set of slides used by the instructor in class.  And even better yet, there are linked in videos to watch – lots of them.  The only thing not flowing from the school’s website is popcorn – and I have plenty of that in the kitchen.

This psychology stuff is all right.  And school is more fun than ever.