Let’s start with the miscellaneous stuff. It turns out that a worldwide war started on Monday night. Currently there are more than 500,000 participants. Yes, a half million people are currently engaged in war: “The Battle of Asakai”.Don’t worry, it’s all simulated in an online program called “Eve Online”. Here’s one of the articles, there are many news snippets talking about this.
Fascinating sounding game, it started when someone didn’t pay their bill for their space fleet home port. Evidently auto pay didn’t work. So their enemies attacked, enemies of the enemies attacked, and very quickly it became all-out war for a half million people. There is even a space / time warp called time dilation where speeds are slowed down to one tenth so everyone’s commands are done in order.
The second thing I learned tonight was about VARACTOR’s. Bob is looking for one and can’t find any in our local stores. I’m not surprised, I’ve never heard of one before. When I asked him, he called it a diode that works in reverse bios operations. Well good, that went right over my head. But thankfully Wikipedia came to the rescue. It turns out a VARACTOR aka a VARICAP are used for tuning radio waves. Thus they are used tune radios, televisions, and cellphones (and other things). The patent was awarded to the firm in 1961 that eventually became TRW who was eventually bought by Northrop Grumman. But before I can understand what a varactor is and how it works, I need to learn about capacitors, diodes, charge, and PN junctions. Hopefully none of my students in the class next week will ask these hard questions. If they do, then I’ll beg Bob to come help me teach. If you want to read about Varactors, see:
The next thing I learned was Duolingo. This is an IPAD game that was advertised as being more fun than candy crush. Why waste time with Candy Crush when you could be learning a new language? And since I’m going to France this summer, learning to speak a bit would be helpful. Well, the ads exaggerated. Candy crush has a much better zone out level than Duolingo. It’s perfect for calming a busy mind – enough attention has to be paid to moving candy around and avoiding the dratted chocolate; but it requires no thinking. Duolingo is fun; it has some interesting tools to compare your voice versus the computer; but I have to think. So I’ll do it a bit; but will continue the candy crush saga as a way of totally avoiding the world. I’ll continue my total French immersion program. Various French language lessons to and from work. And then an endless loop of music, poetry, and storytelling all in French during the day. Background noise where I hope to learn through osmosis.
Found two sites that have become very important at work. With my new self tasking — write up all the bug reports in rhyme; I’ve need some help. These two sites help find the rhymes and then let me ensure that I”m using the words correctly. Today I called someone’s work as having value of less than a pence.
There are two groups of co-workers. The recipients of my doggerel don’t know about my plan. Everyone else thinks it’s funny and want to see the rhymes. Amusingly enough there has been zero response from the recipients. I don’t think they have bother reading the results yet. Don’t blame them, we are all engaged in a huge mind-numbing assignment where the TO-DO lists are really really long. My manager thinks it’s funny and far better to have me “engaged” in the writing instead of being in his office whining about the work. I’m actually enjoying the challenge. Hopefully I continue to enjoy it for the next month or two. If not, then there are the 6 word story style to emulate. That’s going to be hard.
And the last important thing I learned today is that very expensive whiskey can be excellent. I had a bottle “Glenrothes” that was supposed to be a present. But it didn’t make it to the recipient. Its smooth; that means it does not burn when you sip it. But there is a fire and warmth when it goes down your throat. The taste is mellow, tangy, and a bit better. Everyone in the house likes this whiskey. I don’t think the bottle will last too long.
We’ve been planning our trip next summer. Well my 6 weeks in Italy studying old art has morphed into something very different; not arty. We are going to rent a cottage in Brittany for July. This is the wild area of France, known for outdoor activities instead of museums. We are going sailing, hiking, biking, walking, and general outdoor partying. The house is across the street from the beach. We are going to lease a car, a Reneault, for july so technically we are buying a car and selling it back to the dealer after a month. We might go to a Celtic music festival. And we probably will go see at least one old church. There is a plan to take a school tour at the Sorbonne in Paris and then buy Kate a sweatshirt from there. We will learn to shop at a French market, drink café and vin, and eat croissants. Sounds like lots of fun. And then it gets even more exciting.
My folks will be joining us at the end of July. And then we travel. Up to York, England to see the university (another sweatshirt), the town, and the ministry. This is the culture part of the trip. York is followed by a trip to Fort Williams, Scotland where we get to take the Harry Potter Train – the one you see in the movies. The next few days are not yet defined. We want to visit a distillery and see whiskey being made. Bob would like to try salmon fishing. Visiting the isle of Lewis in the outer Hebrides has been proposed. It would involve a train, a ferry, and a bus to get to the town of Stornway at the northern end. Then a plane could take us to Edinburgh where we will see Tattoo. The whole trip sounds like a fantasy; something that I never dreamed could happen. But it’s slowly coming together. It won’t really matter what we see, all of it will be good. I’m sure that five miles from a hotel, I’ll find more adventures than I ever imagined.