Melancholy Holiday

Today, 31 years ago, my Mom died.  This is a picture of her at age 8, with her Uncle George in Ballston Spa, NY.  One of my cousins shared this picture with me about 5 years ago.  I don’t recall ever having seen it before at that time.  My cousin told me that George apparently always had these pants that were too big for him, so the family invariably called him George ‘Baggy Pants‘ Burton.  

Her passing (to me) was one of those things that you’ll remember as long as you live, and of course, the day just happens to be the same one as when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

I’m not going to relate the circumstances of her passing, that’s a story left untold.  I remember it vividly, that’s sufficient.  I don’t have a lot of pictures of her growing up and in her teens and twenties.  I do have a few pictures of her and my father, but the majority of the family pictures are with my brother, who, for whatever reason refuses to share them.  (Which admittedly is somewhat weird, since he is in denial about what sort of childhood he had with them and myself)  Consequently, I’m left with my own memories and a few pictures that I’ve had saved, as well as shared photos from my cousins who are still living.

Every year that goes by, I celebrate her birthday on July 14, recall my parents’ wedding anniversary on October 8, and of course mourn the date of her death, November 22.

I miss you every day Mom.  

Suspend that disbelief

Hi, my name is Mark, and I’m a Star Trek nerd.  And geek.  Nice to meet you.

I’ve been watching Star Trek (and truly many different genres of Science Fiction) since the 1970s.  Yes, I’m that old.  Tell your friends.  In all that time, I have watched all the tv shows that the Star Trek universe produced, I actually have read many of the books written by people who like the topic.  I used to be able to speak and understand Klingon.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had the need to do so, and my skills have eroded.  Fortunately, I’m not a big fan of gagh.  Even so, there’s a mantra my wife and I have used many times over the years, although I think someone else coined it.  Suspension of Disbelief.

What that means is, when something is so outrageous in a work of fiction, you take it with a grain of salt or suspend the disbelief that you have to allow the plot to take its course.  It allows the story to continue and come to its conclusion, all without pointing out all the inconsistencies that you find and all the plot holes.

Since I’m on the subject of Star Trek, let’s use that.  If you’ve never watched the show (ok, I pity you), this isn’t going to make a lot of sense. Still, I’m going to continue presuming that you, dear reader, at least have a familiarity with the series and understand the characters I’m going to be referring to.

In the movie Star Trek: First Contact; a Borg cube is on its way to Earth to attack, and conquer the planet, to assimilate, or convert all its inhabitants into copies of themselves, i.e., making them all Borg.   For whatever reason, whenever the Borg attack the Federation (The United Federation of Planets), they always do it piecemeal.  One attack, one ship.  Never do they make an effort to start somewhere else and work their way around to the other planets in the Federation, as it might actually make sense to do that.  They always go for a frontal assault and fail.   Too, they almost always attack where the USS Enterprise is or can get to easily.  It’s almost as if they require the ship’s presence to do what they’re doing.  Naturally, the Enterprise can’t be destroyed or get too beat up, or worse yet lose their primary bridge crew, because if they did, how would the show/movie continue?  Long story short, it can’t.  So the Borg, or whoever is the villain, is going to lose.  Every time.  It’s almost sad that the baddies aren’t aware they will go down in flaming defeat every time.

The current Star Trek series, Discovery, requires a heapin-helping of Suspension of Disbelief.  In the current season, the ship has been brought forward 930 years from where it was, to the 32nd century where an event occurred in their recent past that they’re calling ‘The Burn’.  For some unknown reason, the material required to make their engines work suddenly, and very catastrophically, stopped working.  This caused a cascade effect whereby the majority of the Starfleet was destroyed, and the Federation, as it was known, basically ceased to be.  Star travel went from ships going from Point A to Point B in days to months, or even years in some cases.  To make matters even worse, the communication method that had been used for approximately 1,000 years no longer worked, so information was no longer easy to obtain.

To me, here’s where the SoD comes in.  Not all the entities in the series use the same method of propulsion.  Federation/Starfleet vessels, as well as the member worlds of same, employ matter/anti-matter engines, that utilize a mineral called ‘dilithium’ which is used as a catalyst in the engine to stabilize the M/AM (Matter/Anti-Matter) reaction and make for a smooth ride.  Other entities in the series don’t make use of it, and wouldn’t have been affected by The Burn, but they’re not mentioned at all in the series.  If indeed the Borg had been such a threat in the 24th century, it certainly stands to reason by the 32nd, they’d be so much a presence that there would be hundreds, if not thousands of Borg ships streaking through the quadrant.  And taking over what remained of the Federation.  But we don’t see them.  Nor do we see any Romulans, who certainly had a setback 650 years previous when their star went supernova, taking with it their home planet and its satellite, Remus.  But by the time of Star Trek: Picard, they’ve rebuilt their fortunes to have been able not only to decommission and study an inert Borg ship, but they were also able to build and staff a fleet of several hundred warships when it became necessary to attack and destroy a colony world of synthetic lifeforms.

Suffice it to say, there are a great many plot holes in the current series.  But it will be interesting to see if the writers choose to address any of them.  Or just allow disbelief to run around, unchecked.

Watching for the mail

Seeing as I’ve been on vacation for the past week, as usual I’ve had lofty goals for what I wanted to get accomplished. It’s now Thursday Friday (see what happened there?) and admittedly, while I’ve gotten a lot done in terms of laying on the couch, napping, and relaxing, I haven’t done a whole lot on the list of things I wanted to get accomplished.

A lot of that has been due to the weather we’ve been having, at the beginning of my vacation it was actually unseasonably warm, and I should have taken advantage of that, and I did to a certain extent. But not really enough to get my major project accomplished, ie getting the car into the garage for the winter. At present, the garage is still a bit of a mess, with things strewn here and there, and no organization to be found. Since the beginning of the week it’s been cold, windy and not very hospitable for a garage that has no insulation, and I’ve been biding my time for the temperature etc al to be more convenient.

My other issue has been watching the progress of a package that has been traveling from China since October 20. It made it to the US last week and everything went smoothly until it reached this side of the country. At that point, the hilarity ensued. The package arrived at the regional hub in Rochester, NY but it couldn’t seem to make it all the way to me. Over the last week it’s been to three different post offices in my vicinity and back to Rochester a further three times. Wednesday evening I decided to get involved, going to the USPS website and attempting to redirect it to me and give better instructions on where to leave it.

It didn’t work.

I tried again last night, and this morning it was back at one of the other post offices it had been to previously. I figured, before it traveled back to Rochester a fourth time, I’d call them and see if at worst I could come collect it.

The postmistress was very happy I called, though it was going to be unnecessary for me to travel. They are taking the contents of the box, putting it in a Priority box and overnighting it to my post office. Where it should arrive and be delivered tomorrow. In theory. Considering the amount its traveled in the last 5 days, anything could occur at this point. I’m just glad the items weren’t perishable.

Though in a way they were. I had hoped to receive my Biden/Harris stuff before the election, although Trump’s antics over the past 2 weeks hasn’t negated the need or desire to have them. At any rate, I’m sure the USPS in Rochester will be happy not to see that package returned.

On a side note, I managed to take advantage of the near 70° temperature today to both gather, collect and deposit my neighbor’s leaves on the curb. It feels good not to have to worry about them all winter.

Next job; the garage!