Thursday, September 18, 2014
We're starting to have the yearly color change. The temps get cooler than they were during the summer and soon the trees will lose their leaves. Probably next week I'll take a trip on the river trail and get some images I'll post here on the blog. Here's one for now.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I’d been the first to wake up. We were supposed to land on Europa and drill into the ice covering. It would be the first time the moon had ever been explored by humans. At least that’s what they wanted. For two days I checked the readouts and looked the hull over.
When I first awoke the air smelled stale. I got used to it though and now began to try to ignore it.
I thought I could feel a shudder under my feet. It was almost imperceptible and I knew I shouldn't be feeling anything out here between Mars and Jupiter. My pulse quickened and my wrist health monitor began to go off. I peered at every single thing near me in the ship. Looking around I couldn’t see any reason so I couldn't explain it. There has to be a reason? Am I going crazy?
They had done a great job of making us hyper aware during training. Then again, I realized, I might be a bit paranoid which the shrinks explained to us might happen the expedition. The hull hadn’t been breached or I'd see anything loose being pulled toward the opening in the skin. There hadn’t been any burns either to add acceleration or change direction. The craft should have been floating along in the void. In two days I’d be waking my fellow astronauts sleeping soundly and in about a week we should all be reaching Europa.
Then I looked out the small window in the side of the space craft. All of the stars I could see appeared as streaks. I ran to the monitors and gazed at them barely able to understand the words “No Signal” blinking back at me. “What the hell?” I muttered under my breath.
I should be on the earth side of Jupiter so there shouldn’t be anything to interrupt the signal I realized. Flipping to the telemetry readout to double check where I was at. It showed me where the craft should be in relation to the rest of the solar system. I should still have ten million miles to go but that wasn’t what was happening. The numbers on the distance readout were changing so quickly they were blurring. And they were growing larger.
Right now I longed to return to earth but it wasn't possible to do so. The spacecraft was being pulled to some new place inexorably. Then it hit me. Why don't I spin the craft around and execute a burn of a few seconds? "After I try this I'll get both of you up," I said to my still hibernating crew members even though they couldn't hear me.
My first thought was that I would need to see any results quickly. Hitting the blue button on the console the images on the LCD screens changed to the exterior of the craft. Streaks of light I knew were stars filled the image.
I sat down at the console and grabbed the pair of small joy sticks. In order to turn the craft I knew I should be able to hit both red buttons on the ends and then move the sticks in opposite directions. Closely staring at screen I hoped. There was no response in the craft.
It still hurtled at too high a speed to wherever it was going. Breathing a heavy sigh I let loose of the joy sticks and mulled it over. I want a drink! Unless I could convert my urine to alcohol that wasn't happening though. The equipment would only turn it into water that I would be drinking once more.
My two crew members were just coming as the streaks on the screen became visible as individual stars.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
It's going to be a great addition to my expanding library of books I've had something to do with. One of my short stories will be in it and it's entitled, "A Spiritus Renascentis." It's one that will have you looking at turn of the century photography in a whole new creepy, and rather disturbing, light.
Here are the covers of the print and e-book. It should be available in physical bookstores and online. I believe you can order the print copy on Amazon right now.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Once the hull was completed you then made the framework to fit inside. Right over the keel between the middle framework pieces you'd install the mast fish which would hold the bottom of the mast in place. Ropes would secure the top of the mast. Any stresses were transferred to the hull as a result.
Of all things a Viking ship builder did it all by eye and by feel. They'd have a basic plan in their head only and nothing was written down. They were quite the craftsman I think.
In this video they are splitting a tree into boards, shaping them, and installing them. They are even using the types of glue and flax caulking that would have been used. This video is about 5 minutes. http://youtu.be/Y12PN8gaQ4Y
This video shows much of the process in less than two minutes. http://youtu.be/78kpzwGmBxk
It's been fascinating contemplating all of the process. I've done some woodworking over the years and some of the projects have been pretty cool. Some of the projects closest to how the Vikings would have accomplished it were railings that were made from deadfall branches. I had to use a draw knife to clean off the bark and had to create notches to join the pieces together.
Today if we were going to build a ship we'd most likely make a framework first and then attach the hull. It's a totally different process.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Around the outside ring there was a ditch that was filled with sharpened stakes. Your only entrance would have been through those notches in the big dirt mound ring. Around the top of the dirt mound was a road. It would have been difficult to gain entrance if you were an invading army. You also didn't have much of chance if you were in the local populace and you tried to overthrow those who were your overlords. Yes, Christianity was forcibly introduced at that time. Many liked their old gods and didn't want the new one. I guess I can understand that.
If you look at it from above you of course notice a general cross shape. It also crossed my mind that the four openings could also represent the four cardinal directions. Each of those were ruled by gods in Norse mythology. Therefore Christianity might be more easily accepted by the local Danes was what I was thinking. I may be a bit off there but I would like to see further studies done on the concept.