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.... [Read More]

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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:... [Read More]

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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.... [Read More]

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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.... [Read More]

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