Dead Electronics

  • I have driven the highway through Great Smoky Mountains National Park again.  This last time, the trees on the mountains were frosted white, and there was a smoky cloud hanging over the mountains.  This has reaffirmed my goal of backpacking this park, which I plan to do during the summer of 2019.  That means this year I need to get some solid backpacking experience during weekends in Missouri, and I need to be maintaining and improving my physical fitness for basically the next eighteen months.
  • I managed to finish Oathbringer on the last day of the year.  It was really very good, but of course long.
  • Now that my workload has lightened up, I’m finding opportunities to get back into filmmaking.  I’ve agreed to two nights of recording sound for a film next weekend.  I’m skeptical of the production for a variety of reasons, but even a bad gig will be good for me, if for no other reason than that I have equipment I haven’t used on a film yet.  I’m also in talks with another producer who is aiming for late February.  That one is unusual because all of the dialogue will be spoken into visible prop mics, and he wants to take all of the audio directly from them.  I also have half an idea for a short film script, and I’m rolling it around in my head trying to make something of it.
  • Ugh.  The curse of bad fiction.  I tried, briefly, to read The Aeronaut’s Windless, by Jim Butcher.  It’s like he’s writing for tweens.  His characters are cliché and one-dimensional, and his dialogue is stunningly obvious.  And I assume he ripped off all the airship and steampunk business.  I tried to keep going, but I just can’t do it.  His work is popular, but interesting concepts are evidently just not enough for me.
  • To take a break from that, I started reading Night Watch, by Sergei Lukyanekno.  It is the first in a series of urban fantasy novels set in Moscow from twenty years ago.  I’m not ready to call this bad fiction, but the author’s style is unsettling.  It is all action and no repose.  There is no internal reflection and little of the protagonist’s thoughts.  The character launches into explanation and action with no hesitation or deliberation.  Maybe Russians are like that, but I think not.  I guess we’ll see how long I can take that.
  • I have fairly well decided where I’m going for my next two vacations.  A beach vacation on the Padre Island National Seashore this spring, and summer camping roadtrip east to West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.  I’m planning the specifics, but neither one of them should be too challenging.
  • My computer was dead this morning (which turned out to be a failed motherboard), and in the process of troubleshooting I discovered that my digital multimeter was also dead.  It’s time to finally get myself a good one.  The one that just died was a fairly basic Radio Shack model that I bought about 23 years ago to replace the one before it that got crushed by a terminal server that fell off a rack (after bouncing off my head).  I have worked with several electronics people who all swore by their Fluke meters, and I have considered upgrading, and now I have a good excuse.  I’ve been researching them online, and I’m glad I did, because I’m fairly certain I have chosen just the right one (the Fluke 177).  This process has made me realize that I have been working in the dark with the electronics gadgets with which I’ve been experimenting because of the limitations of my meter.