Posted by: Mark | June 27, 2017


It’s not Pandemic but I played Blink today. It’s fairly mindless and devoid of strategy but makes for a good break from overly complicated games. It can be described as a freeform version of Uno but moves too quickly for players to get mad at each other. Considering that, there is no longer a reason to play Uno ever again.

Posted by: Mark | June 26, 2017

Five Stories

One of my resolutions was to write 40,000 words and finish five stories. I’m not close to 40,000 words but I did finish the fifth story.

Actually it’s more of a chapter in a mosaic novel but I set precedence last year by counting one.

I’m hoping the Resolutions Police don’t fine me.

Posted by: Mark | June 24, 2017

Resolution Update 26

Another meh week:

1. Run 730 miles – ran on the elliptical machine for 15.3 milesfor a total of 141.6. I would have had more but had problems from blood work on Friday.

2. 5,000 push ups and 8,000 leg lifts – 1,021 push ups and 1,060 leg lifts. The phlebotomist couldn’t find a vein and left my arm sore. I should have at least tried but I had an excuse.

3. Lose 26 pounds – the doctor’s scale said I gained a pound but I had shoes on and full pockets

4. Support 24 local artists – still two.

5. 42 manuscript submissions – 22 submissions.

6. Write 40,000 words and five new stories – 22,561 words and four completed stories.

7. Read all the New Testament – Complete.

8. Read The Nature of Things – on chapter 3, page 96 of 257.

9. Finish Finnegan’s Wake – Complete.

10. 300 blog posts – this is 107.

Posted by: Mark | June 23, 2017

22 Submissions

Another minor milestone: I passed the halfway mark for my resolution of sending out 42 manuscripts.

Very minor.

I had been sending out over 100 a year but, without college office hours, I got out of the habit.

I haven’t had a successful submission since 2015 but that’s partially because I haven’t sent much out.

Maybe I’ll hit with one I sent out today. If not, I’ve got another 20 to go.

Posted by: Mark | June 20, 2017


On the heels of my 1,008th leg lift of 2017, I just did my 1,005th push up. My resolution was 5,000 and the year is halfway over, so I probably won’t get it. I guess it’s better than just eating junk food and no push ups.

Posted by: Mark | June 19, 2017

De Rerum Natura : Chapter 2

After Finnegans Wake anything seems like an easy read, even a Roman poem about the nature of atoms.

In Book Two, “Movement and Shape of Atoms,” some of what Lucretius argues holds up. He claimed that atoms do not have colors. Depending on how you define “have color,” that’s true. Also, “it must not be supposed that atoms of every sort can be linked in every variety of combination.” Definitely true as seen with noble gasses.

However, not surprisingly, most of his atomic theories are wrong.

Lucretius was attempting to explain natural phenomenon without relying on the gods. Good for him. That’s better than most Americans. Still he made a mistake in assuming that everything is made of atoms, even sound.

Sweet music is made of smooth, round atoms but the screech of a saw is made from jagged, cutting atoms. Without the concept of either molecules, sound waves, and subatomic particles, Lucretius didn’t have a chance.

In fairness, how much farther will science go with atomic theories in another 2,000 years?

Even when Lucretius was dead wrong, he argued in a rational manner. Again, Americans have no right to look down on him.

Looking forward to the next chapter about Life and Mind.

Posted by: Mark | June 18, 2017

Bunch of Games

Played five new (for me) games today at Game Day. None were mind-blowing but all were decent or better.

King of Tokyo was probably the best.  It’s a board game equivalent of Rampage with players as kaiju. It’s easy to learn, fairly short, and fast-moving. A great game for monster fans.

Sequence has been around for decades but I’ve never heard of it until today. It’s a combination card and board game, basically along the lines of Connect Four. It’s about as far from kaiju as you can get but it still was an easy game to play.

Dragonwood probably would be better if I had a little more practice. It’s a card/dice/D&D type game. Fantasy card games live or die by their artwork–Dragonwood’s wasn’t bad but it doesn’t really stand out from competition.

Pandemic : Contagion might have been the best game if I’d played it more than once. Opposite of the regular Pandemic game, players are germs, looking to wipe out the human race. Great premise but complicated at first. I definitely would like to try this one again.

Mancala is as old as time and I’ve seen it before but never played it before. It’s simple but quick. They’ll probably be playing this 1,000 years from now.

Posted by: Mark | June 17, 2017

Resolution Update 25

In a good year, this would have been a bad week. In this year, it’s pretty decent:

1. Run 730 miles – ran on the elliptical machine for 27.6 miles, and went one mile on the treadmill before it broke for a total of 126.3.

2. 5,000 push ups and 8,000 leg lifts – 973 push ups and 1,034 leg lifts.

3. Lose 26 pounds – exercised and still gained five pounds.

4. Support 24 local artists – still two.

5. 42 manuscript submissions – 19 submissions.

6. Write 40,000 words and five new stories – 21,255 words and four completed stories.

7. Read all the New Testament – Complete.

8. Read The Nature of Things – on chapter 2, page 82 of 257.

9. Finish Finnegan’s Wake – Complete.

10. 300 blog posts – this is 102.

Posted by: Mark | June 16, 2017


I finally broke 1,000 leg lifts, towards another of my New Year’s Resolutions. However, to hit the goal of 8,000, I should already have 3,660 by now. I have six months to make it but it doesn’t seem likely.

Posted by: Mark | June 15, 2017

De Rerum Natura: Chapter 1

De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things or On the Nature of the Universe) is a 2,000 year old poem by the Roman philosopher Lucretius. I picked it as one of my New Year’s Resolutions. Was that sensible? Was reading Finnegans Wake?

“Chapter One: Matter and Space” dealt with ideas that ranged from modern to antiquated.

His first point was “Nothing can ever be created by divine power out of nothing.” It’s apparent from the start that Lucretius was a philosopher, not a scientist. The scientific method hadn’t been invented so he used decent reasoning and rhetoric but it sounds off to modern readers.

Same with his next point: “Nature resolves everything into its component atoms and never reduces anything to nothing.” He made many points that hold up today but without scientific reasoning it feels off.

“There is vacuity in things” was absolutely right–matter is not completely solid but has much empty space. Again, good logic but scientific subjects without scientific reasoning just sounds odd.

It really comes across when Lucretius is dead wrong: “No species is ever changed,” “The universe is not bounded in any direction,” and when he seems to argue against the existence of gravity.

I’m probably not going to learn much about the actual nature of things but it gives a better insight to the Roman method of thinking.

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