Mapping Existence

How well does a map represent reality?

Now that we all live in the age of very smart smart phones, we have maps available at any time. In fact, Sharon asked me just recently if we need to update our dedicated car GPS unit. At the time she gave it to me, (circa 2007) it was by far the best way to navigate the highways of America. The trick is that it was not entirely accurate even then (I tested it on a meandering road trip to Tennessee), and it needs an annual infusion of cash to keep it up to date. It’s still a nice piece of equipment, but it can’t keep up with the always updated savvy of a modern smartphone. But no matter how you use technology to navigate the world, I’d be willing to bet the you are frequently surprised by what you find along the way. Smartphones still make occasional mistakes, but even in those  situations in which they are perfectly accurate, it can be an awkward surprise to show up at a location and find that what you expected is completely different from what you found.

Now imagine that instead of navigating a well documented map of today’s world, you are trying to navigate a map of people in history, your own descendants, or a group of people who represented a dominant historical trend. It gets tricky. Imagine that you are trying to navigate the solar system, in which a great deal of the characteristics are still subject to vigorous scientific debate. Is Pluto a planet? Imagine that you are trying to navigate the real galaxy in which our entire existence, everything we can realistically reach, resides. How far can you go before the whole thing devolves into pure speculation?

As it turns out, not very far. Of course, “not very far” is the nature of our current understanding of physics. We could effectively ignore everything outside our own solar system, and feel quite confident that nothing else will ever matter. If you took Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora as the template, then the rest of existence is purely hostile to us, and we should forget about it. Hey, that could be true, but it’s just as possible that our current understanding is as limited as our ability understand partisan politics, or the tax code. We could just assume that sooner or later, we will discover a gateway to a broader understanding that makes Einstein as passe’ as the idea that a mile a minute of velocity would kill us.

In which case, imagine trying to map a significant portion of the galaxy, much less being able to hold any portion of a random-ish three dimensional structure in our heads. That would give smartphones a run for their money.

Haha, politics.

It would be foolish of me to pick a side in politics. No matter who I pick, somebody would be offended enough that I fail to sell a few books. Nevertheless, I will take a position. I cannot vote for Hillary, for the simple fact that she has proven herself to be completely untrustworthy to me. She is a paragon of attracting power and money to herself. The fact that I trend towards conservative philosophy is beside the point. I’m exhausted by political bullshit, and Hillary, her political viewpoint aside, even though she seems to be picking and choosing from anything popular, seems to be the epitome of political bullshit. Just the fact of her picking and choosing among the smorgasbord of political popularity is enough to disqualify her, even ignoring her history of lying, and the ideology of the Clinton machine, she is a manufactured figure of political philosophy. She is a figure of expediency.

I believe in the Constitution, big time, and I would like to think that Ted Cruz’s endless presentation of Constitutional principals, is buyable, but my intuition tells me that he is another opportunist, tapping into a facet of the problem that true constitutionalists like me see as fundamental problem with the current America, I would like to hope that he means what he says, but everything about him tells me that he’s playing an expedient role that will get him what he wants. In short, I don’t buy his line. Plus, in less important terms, I can’t imagine listening to his nasal voice with his breathless finishes to sell sincerity for the next four years. In fact, the only way his presentation makes sense to me is if there is a hooker is under the podium.

As terrifying as it may be, the only way we avoid the obvious trendlines of the last 15 years, which as you may guess from my writing, ends in a huge crisis, is to let Trump kick over the tables and let the chips fall. Can I imagine what the outcome of such a risky position entails? Nope. But considering the alternatives, we need to find out.

Is American exceptionalism a real thing? It should be. To me that means that we need to make everything we need, and export the product of that superiority. If we, with all our skill and resources, can’t make what we need for every aspect of first world problems, then we have already lost.

If we can ignore what the rest of the world does in terms of what we think is important, then we can continue to be the greatest country in the world, and as the the centerpoint of the great democratic experiment, shouldn’t we accept that is the beginning of our value as an example to the world?

Ah, the Reality.

So, for the past four years, I’ve been chasing the bleeding edge of prototyping and design, particularly in drones. I assure you that I can not only build a drone for any purpose at this point, I could also write the software to make it do what you need.

Instead of finishing the Renewal story, which has been living in my head for far too long, I have been mastering a set of skills outside of writing. One could argue that writing is useless without real world experience to draw from, but one could equally argue that the experience is worthless without writing about it.

The truth is that any story I publish is a 90-day gamble. That’s how long it takes for a published ebook to start paying. I honestly haven’t managed to get ahead of that curve even once since I published the first segment of Renewal.

I have two problems. One is that 90 day gamble. That’s how long it takes for writing to start paying off via Amazon. The other is the short term income, which I need to just keep afloat. Needless to say, keeping the pirate ship afloat takes precedence over writing, which at best is that 90-day gamble. That’s my most lame excuse for how long it has taken me to publish the sequel.

For the past four years, the short term, keeping it afloat, has come in the form of building drones, or more recently, working for an amazingly talented boat designer. I have in mind to change that this year. Which means a number of things, the most important of which is enough time/financial slack to finish my Renewal story. The real world is a major impediment to whatever lives in my head. If you go to right now, you will see a test domain for  Devlin builds truly great boats, and he has my respect. Unfortunately, we can’t all afford 6-figure boats. Very soon it will change to a domain for my short term income site, which is all based around the fact that I am a talented designer of things that can be laser cut, or CNC cut, even though I don’t have the tooling to do anything outside of laser cutting at the moment. The good news is that laser cutting is versatile and the results are very cool. The bad news is that it is not the end-all-be-all of versatility. My hope is that you would pay for something I can do. If I can do enough of that, I can pay for enough time time to write, and I can find enough time to finish the Renewal trilogy, and get on with the other stories I am anxious to write, most of which are literally yelling to get out of my head. Unfortunately, I can’t escape the practical realities…

So, for those of you still waiting, this serves as an explanation and a plea of sorts. Regardless, I thank you for for reading. It’s more than I ever hoped for.






In the most American of holidays, I would like to say that I am most thankful for my wife and family of critters  Six dogs and three cats. I am most sad that my mother is not here to celebrate, Her version of Thanksgiving was always the best connection to my larger family. It’s surprising how much I can miss her after 16 years. She always did Thanksgiving so well.

Good Grief, it has been awhile!

Hello, stalwart readers of this woefully neglected blog.

I’m not in the mood to make any excuses for the incredibly long time making Decay available. Part of it was entirely outside my control, but right now it’s back in my control, and I am not delivering. I’m not sure how much of my life I’m going to have to ignore to finish something I’ve called finished several times already. Rest assured my wife and editor are flogging me mercilessly to get ‘er done.

Part of it is the fact that we have no TV here at the house. Television on a 24-hour news cycle keeps me cranked on the obvious pitfalls we are experiencing in this country. It’s so far out of hand that I grieve for something that somehow continues to function like a set of lungs on a ventilator. However, without the mindless blather striking me in the forebrain, I can blithely ignore the fact that all the trends, as I see them (take that as you will), continue to look bleak. By ignoring it, I lose the fire that motivates the Renewal universe. Either we change voluntarily, or we’d better be ready for some shocking changes, because the math doesn’t add up to long future of same-old, same-old.

What happens if the three-generation status quo collapses? How many ways could that happen? How delicate is the balance between the lives we live and something entirely foreign to us? How will people react? How are they reacting now? How wealthy do you have to be to be north of the dividing line between security and being haphazardly tossed by the winds of change? What does it mean to be in a situation like the Ukranians are experiencing right now? If everything we hear about the NSA, just for example, plays out to its logical conclusion, what will our lives be like in this country, and what resemblance will it bear to the intentions of our founding fathers? How far will we let it go before we really start asking the hard questions?

Would anyone hazard a guess?