Lunar Lander


How many of you remember the old Lunar Lander video game? For those who don’t it is a simple game that challenges you to land a LEM on the lunar surface. You have to slow down the horizontal speed; slow down the vertical speed; and find a flat place to land. Well, it is simple til you crash a bunch of times because you are going too fast or at the wrong angle. Oh, you also have to watch your fuel. No fuel and you “die’>

You are probably wondering why I am bringing this up. Well, I am on an exercise bike every day and find a game helps me to enjoy the ride. It distracts my mind and gets the kilometers in. Also I met with my Japanese side of my family and played the game with my nephew. He grew up on Play Station 2 so I was wondering how he would like old school video. He liked it and wanted to keep trying till he got the landings right. He is a quiet person so sharing a game worked out better than trying to get him to talk.

I figure some of you are Lunar Lander Pros so you can give me some good advice to not crash so much. So far the moon surface is so full of holes from my failed attempts the “cheese” is not green but Swiss.

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Calm Down and Enjoy the Ride

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!

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Books of the Year: 2018

Gnome carrying pile of booksHere are my picks for the best books of 2018, fiction and nonfiction. These aren’t the best books published this year, but rather the best I’ve read in the last twelve months. The winner in both categories is barely distinguished from the pack, and the runners up are all worthy of reading. Runners up appear in alphabetical order by their author’s surname. Each title is linked to my review of the book.

Fiction:

Winner:

Runners up:

Nonfiction:

Winner:

Runners up:

What were your books of the year for 2018?

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1st Pic of 2018 & Fun Pond Facts!

The Koi aren’t visible now because they hang out five feet down.  Since their metabolism goes with temperature, they are lined up like cord wood  on the bottom.  I reduce the flow in the water recirculation and filtration systems quite a bit, otherwise the waterfall unnecessarily super-cools the water.  The fish still respirate, although slowly, but they don’t eat and shouldn’t even be fed when the water is below about 50F.  It’s about 40 now.  The natural heating from the ground, which remains at about 55, prevents the pond from completely freezing, but it can get down to about 35 during protracted cold spells, especially if it’s also windy.   At 40F, their gut is so sluggish that ingested food decomposes before it’s digested and can make them sick and even kill them.  If the water surface begins to freeze, I place a floating 1,500W heater in the pond to maintain an opening.  The resulting dissolved gasses from their respiration will poison them if it can’t escape into the air.

I have a standby generator wired to indispensable circuits in case we lose power due to an ice storm.  If the pond pumps aren’t running, all the plumbing will freeze and the crying towel will be sopping wet.

All my fishy friends are healthy, the New Year is upon us with positive aspects, the days are getting longer, and camping season approaches.  We are especially jazzed about our upcoming trips to Moab, UT and Yosemite.

First snow of winter 17/18 in our back yard.
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TOTD 2017-12-31: New Year’s Eve Photos

This photo is two different entrances to the same shrine. The sign says “First Visit” in red. To start the New Year off right you visit the shrine and get the gods on your side. People buy amulets.

 

The nest photo I think is self-explanatory. New Year’s Eve is for cleaning.

(The little sign tells every one when to throw away certain things. The top two are every Wednesday for plastics. The next one says second and fourth Thursday for non-burnable trash. The last one is every Tuesday and Friday for burnable trash.)

 

These next photos are taken near the shrine by my house at about 8 PM New Year’s Eve. It is a fair type atmosphere.

Candied apples anyone? Only 300 yen.

Roasted corn for 400 yen.  Golden fried chicken at 300 yen for the Single, 500 yen for the Double, 800 yen for the Mega, and 1000 yen for the Giga. (Send money to my PayPal and I will send back a low-calorie picture.)

 

What do you think?

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New Year’s Customs

The biggest holiday of the year is New Year in Japan. It outranks Christmas by a lot. People prepare for the New Year by cleaning their houses and preparing Osechi. The holiday last from the first of January to the third.

Japanese want to start the New Year right so that means get the house in order. Not a light cleaning for guests but a thorough cleaning. Some people I have heard change their light bulbs at this time of year.

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=682235

The traditional New Year’s meal is Osechi. As you can see by the picture it is beautiful. There is a wide variety of dishes and it is served cold.  For the New Year’s meal it is put into trays. Later the trays are stacked on top of one another. The top tray is has a lid. Depending on the size of the families it the number and size of the trays differ.

 

As I wrote it is served cold so the only thing that is hot is tea and Ozoni. What is Ozoni? No, it is not a San Francisco treat. It is a type of soup with lumps of rice in it. The cooked sticky rice is smushed together to make a patty. This patty gets put in the soup. Sometimes it is one lump sometimes it is two lumps. This soup must be eaten carefully because you may choke on it. People have died.

 

 

By yoppy – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2778924
By SjschenOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

My first New Year’s meal was around a kotatsu.  This is a low table with a electric heater in the middle and a blanket (blue in the picture) to keep the heat in. In the old days they used charcoal for the heat. We ate the meal and watched special New Year’s day TV programs. Also we would eat mikan. Mikan are easy to peal oranges.

It used to be that was about all you did on New’s Years day besides visit a shrine. I live near a shrine so I see a lot of people pass my house to go to it every New Year’s. They even close off the street and restrict parking.  Now there are a lot of businesses open during the holidays.

How about you?  What are your New Year’s customs?

 

 

 

 

 

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